Blogging for Yana

**trigger warning**

As many Pagans, I was brought to tears this morning by Cara Schultz’s post about a Pagan woman in Syria with whom she had been corresponding:

I’m at a loss for how to write this obituary, this tribute to a life lost so horribly.  The usual forms a reporter uses won’t work in this situation.  I don’t know her birth date  or the exact day she died, and because I don’t want to put others in harm’s way in Syria, I can’t even use her real name.

Cara had expressed concern about Yana’s safety (and the safety of other Pagans in the region) earlier this year: I keep hoping I will hear something, but it’s been several months and still no word.

And now comes the worst kind of word: that Yana had been denounced as a whore and a witch (by her own brother), had been taken by authorities and tortured, had been dragged into the streets, raped, and murdered.

Goddess grant her peace.

As the news spread, other bloggers stepped up to speak of the global nature of Paganism (and our responsibility to it) and the importance of interfaith work in addressing intolerance. Cara has set up a donation page on Doctors Without Borders in Yana’s name and donors have already raised over $1,000 to help those most affected by the conflict in Syria.

Tonight I light a candle and mourn. Tomorrow, I work for change, because Yana is only one of many women trying to survive in Syria.

Til not another woman dies.

Blessed Be.


Take the Path

Blessed Imbolc! Tomorrow is the start of my 21st year in service to Goddess. Tonight I’ll be sitting down to celebrate as I acknowledge and release the lessons of the past year; bless the present and all that I am today; and take the next step on the Path that leads to a better future for all. My last six weeks (since the longest night) have been focused on this work, and the physical space(s) that I am creating to honour the Path have taken me through many incarnations of life-that-could-have-been.

This song has been on pretty much constant repeat over these six weeks, and will likely continue to guide me on this journey.

May your own celebrations be filled with light, love and laughter. Blessed Be!



On Remembrance

Today is a day of Remembrance. Mary Daly defined Re-membering as “Realizing the power to See and to Spell our connections among apparently disparate phenomena” – to bring together that which has been taken apart, to heal that which has been torn from each other, to work for harmony and peace.

To See is to be aware of that which is around us. To See is to understand that we are not a nation of war.

To Spell is to connect what we see with what we are trying to create. To Spell is to understand that remembrance isn’t enough to stop war.

To Remember is to connect our Selves to the history of Peace so we can name what needs to be done as we work for Peace.

Today, I again commit my Self to the work of Peace, asking Goddess to guide my thoughts, words and actions on this path. I Remember those who have come before me, those who work with me, and those who will come after me. I See with clear eyes and I Spell with a clear heart. Blessed Be!


She Changes (On Collaboration)

In his [Ulrich Beck’s] view, if sovereignty is understood as the capacity of a given country to influence the problems of the world on behalf of its citizens, then it is only by engaging in international cooperation, by networking, that states can actually become sovereigns in the global risk society. (Castells, 2010, 364)

It seems backward: in order to have autonomy, you need to find ways to collaborate with others. Our society is no longer about the individual; it’s about the group, the network that we create together. To create is to change.

She Changes Everything She Touches.

If we don’t change what we’re doing, or how we’re doing it, then we can’t create anything new. It doesn’t matter what level you’re working at. It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do. If you’re not changing, you’re not creating.

And Everything She Touches Changes.

If you’re not ready to collaborate, then say so – and let the rest of us get on with it already. It’s a big world and we’ve got a lot of creating to do.

The (Network) Structure of Occupy

I’m working on a paper for POLI 580 today, and this little video popped up in my Twitter feed explaining the network structure of Occupy – just as my paper talks about the network structure of politics on the Internet. Sometimes, life is just like that.

And from my paper:

The networked society has changed how people interact with each other, and those that “fold technology into their lives” (Castells, 11) are most successful in making new connections as well as reinforcing the old. The networked society is not isolationist or antisocial; it is made up of multiple points of connection for individuals.

Now, back to my paper…..

Caring in Community

It’s been a busy week, work-wise, as I’ve been deeply engaged in our own Senior Centres Week activities or supporting events held at other organizations. Last night I was privileged to speak at Senior Care – Who Cares?, an event co-sponsored by the Calgary Seniors Resource Society and Public Interest Alberta. The full text of my speech is online; here’s an excerpt:

There is a tension in non-profit work between the quantitative – counting numbers, calculating statistics – and the qualitative – the anecdotal parts of our work that have so much meaning to individuals. The relationship between two people, whatever their role, is not something that can be forced, nor can it be ignored. In a senior centre, there is an increasing tension between building of relationships and completing administrative duties.

Working in the area of community development and trying to create new ways of engaging everyone regardless of age or state continues to bring up this kind of tension. I don’t subscribe to a client-worker relationship model, or believe that any one person has all the answers. I do believe that each of us should be recognized for our skills, talents, and abilities as long as we are using them for the good of all. I believe that the three-fold Goddess, where Maiden, Mother and Crone all have an distinct but equal role, is the model we should be using in engaging people in our communities. And I believe that a complete community includes all of us. Blessed Be!

“The artwork has been rejected.”

Solar Spill billboard ad

Alberta has now suffered its third pipeline leak oil spill in three weeks, but an ad like this can’t get on a billboard in its capital city. (“The artwork has been rejected.”) This ad was intended to push the provincial government for a full public inquiry into the recent oil spills and to increase support for alternative energy sources. Premier Redford herself is calling for a national energy strategy that would include such ideas. Too bad everyone’s a critic.

Pipeline Days of Action

It’s incredible that 1009 people have now been arrested in this rolling civil disobedience action.Today is the final day of action and it’s expected that many more will join Margot Kidder, Naomi Klein, and others who have risked arrest in order to ask for what President Obama promised – a cleaner, better future for all of us. (Photo from TarsandsAction Flickr stream – taken by Josh Lopez)