Monday, April 20, 2009

Other Articles & Jewitchery Sites

If by some chance you have arrived at my humble blog without running across these other writings, then I am pleased to present them for your purview. In larger population centers I'm sure there is a Jewitch or 2 wandering about that would like to meet up. Out here in the hinterlands though I've had to learn about the movement through other's articles although I did find another Jewitch at, of all places, my synagogue. With Judaism being such a nature based and mystical religion I shouldn't be surprised that there are as many of us as there are - I just hadn't realized that it's as widespread as it is as a movement unto itself. For the Jewitch who finds some comfort in knowing that you're not the only one or just looking for another perspective or more information, here's a list of internet sites I found . . .

Nice Jewitch Girl
Nice Jewitch Girls . . .
Jewitchery wikipedia article
Being Jewish & Wiccan
Peeling a Pomegranate blog
Craftwork of a Jewitch blog
Useful Information for the Budding Jewitch blog
Tel Shemesh
Walking Stick Foundation
Judeo-Paganism or Jewish Paganism
Jewish Pagan webring
Walking on Fire blog
Pillar of Smoke
Jewitchery yahoo! group

If you know any other sites re: Jewitchery that I haven't mentioned, please leave me a comment. I've restricted this particular list to sites specifically relating to Jewitchery but there are lots others that are conducive to asisting one in melding Judaism and worship of the Goddess/pagan perspectives in creating rituals etc. One of these days I'll get around to doing a post listing those sites, especially the ones that have helped me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I was watching a report on the release of the CIA notes re: the treatment of terrorists during the Bush administration tonight and it made me angry. Those who protest the disagreeable treatment of terrorists or suspected terrorists in the course of their questioning seem to feel that not only are these people entitled to the rights of an American citizen, a position I happen to disagree with but which is a topic for another post and probably a different blog, but that this interrogation should not be more than uncomfortable for the interrogatee. First of all, I don't think that torture is terribly effective in gaining accurate intel but it makes me angry when people think that it is such a violation of somebody's human rights to deprive them of sleep, to cause them significant pain, to physically assault them, to subject them to a situation where they feel they can't breathe, are subjected to uncomfortable environmental conditions or to place them in a situation where they can't think. If being subjected to these things is truly a violation of one's human rights then my human rights are being violated by the very entity that Thomas Jefferson declared gave me those rights and the medical establishment, government and society that does not aid in my release from this situation.

What the heck am I talking about? The fact that most nights I spend at least a half hour feeling like my body is being subjected alternately to the strains of the rack and strappado, that I frequently wake up with painfully black and blue legs, that often when I try to relax I am subjected to muscle spasms including ones which seize up my breathing for as much as 10 seconds causing the same panic as someone who feels like they are drowning (BTW, waterboarding protocols specified no more than 40 seconds), that my perception of temperature and smell has been affected to the point that I am often freezing or sweltering at temperatures which are comfortable for most people and I perceive many odors much more acutely than most people, that often I suffer from significant fatigue and insomnia and anything that is strong enough to knock me out and allows me to get real rest leaves me hung over, that it is often agony to move or stay in position and I almost continuously am in pain. True, there are homeopathic and pharmecutical treatments that address many of these situations but because of the cost of healthcare in this country I don't have access to the diagnostic procedures that would direct me to the proper course of treatment and I can afford only so many $70+ prescriptions a month; the cost of homeopathic treatment is little better. That isn't even taking into account the side effects; I happen to value my ability to be a reasonable facsimilie of a thinking person and most of the drugs that are strong enough to alleviate the pain, allow me to sleep, quiet the spasms etc. rob me of that and I tend to be more violent when sleeping deeply albeit less aware of it.

Unlike those the government has subjected to 'torture', I, and many who suffer with medical conditions, have not done anything to remotely justify this treatment. I often ironically make the comment that it's a good thing that I am something of a masochist. In fact, being a bottom in a BDSM scene is easier since there is a point under a decent top where the pain can transport you to an elsewhere that has it's benefits and you have the comfort of the knowledge that 1) you made an active choice that led to this torturous situation and 2) there will be a release from the torture, a reassurance that I am sure the terrorists in US custody enjoy that I and many others do not. Somehow I have a hard time feeling a whole lot of sympathy for the terrorists the US has tortured in the interest of alleged national security. When somebody starts being as concerned about the human rights of those of us who are tortured on a daily basis as they are of those who are detained by a government then I will feel as if there is a true interest in justice and not just causes. OTOH, the fight against torture has to start somewhere.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Observations from the Middle

Today was Tax Day. It was also Tea Party Day for a whole lot more people than I would have reckoned on especially in this political backwater (approx. 200, .7% of Houghton County population). It also marked the first time I have ever participated in a rally, march or political statement other than signing the occasional petition and regularly voting even when I had to hold my nose to do it. Oh, I have also occasionally written letters to my elected representatives which not a one of them have ever deigned to give me the courtesy of so much as a reply by form letter. Needless to say, I have felt a distinct lack of political empowerment and been disinclined to expend energy in what appeared to be an exercise in futility and frustration. Combine that with my family's philosophy of keeping one's head down and not doing anything which might draw attention from the 'powers that be' and the mere act of stating an opinion by being intentionally present at a politicalesque gathering takes on significance. The fact that I married a relative political activist might have something to do with me having a little more faith in an activity like this.

What I found disconcerting though is that although I agreed marginally more with the average participant at the Houghton Tea Party, and probably Tea Party attendees in general, than I do with the majority of my friends who say, attended essentially anti-Bush rallies in the last 8 years, I still found myself occupying a middle ground which is becoming increasingly uncomfortable and increasingly disparaged. It seems that if you indicate that you agree with one or a few opinions that is held by a specified group then it is assumed that you agree with all of the opinions that are perceived to be held by the members of that group. At the risk of sounding petulant - it's not fair, it's not accurate, and I protest! OTOH, I am not the type of person who feels that I can convince the myriads of people who have fallen into this type of binary thinking that they are in error.

I am growing very weary though of being neither fish nor fowl and there being very little understanding or acceptance of those of us who live on the land in between. For instance, just because I tend to dress modestly and rather plainly, strongly defend my right to keep and use firearms, resent outside interference in the way I choose to live my life, including many of the policies that are supposed to help society - from seat belt laws to registration of livestock and vegetables, believe that life is treated too cheaply in our society and find some measure of value in conservative values and ways of living to name a few of my conservative positions; it is assumed that I promote the idea of the US as a Judeo-Chrisitian nation, am anti-abortion, couldn't possibly be a feminist or in favor of same-sex marriage, or open alternative sexuality for that matter, believe that nature is here to be dominated and utilized by man with his convenience and 'needs' being paramount, resent social assistance programs and couldn't possibly support socialist goals. There used to be a time when people got to know people and find out that they didn't necessarily fit into nice pigeon holes but our frenetic society doesn't allow for this anymore. The same attitude that draws us to the technology most of us use daily (cell phones, text messaging, email etc.) to make our lives more efficient has promoted a mindset towards shortcutting everything - including dealing with people. If we know one or at most a few things about somebody then there is a tendency to think that no further exploration is needed and we can move on to the next person, issue etc. This shortcutting has led to the devaluation of people as individuals and treating them accordingly.

Another part of the equation is the increasing radicalization of our society in religious, social, political and many other forums. This tends to include promoting disdain or outright hatred of the other side and this, combined with the tendency to pigeon hole people, breaks down tolerance and makes it very difficult for someone who holds opinions and attitudes from both sides to function in social situations without either 1) being willing to argue or 2) being willing to sit silently while those around you lambaste things you value that they don't agree with. If you request a change in topic they either 1) treat you like you're being unreasonable or 2) want to argue the issue under the guise of asking why you want to move on. Although I'm pretty good at it, I don't enjoy confrontation and I just want to socialize with people who share my interests in the particular topic at hand; ie. if I go to a seder or Shabbat services or a circle or a medieval or artistic event I don't want to have to deal with having a social issue/political/religious debate. I believe that social, political, religious etc. discussion and debate is important but people should be able to engage in social interaction without being afraid of either confrontation or dismissal.

I am not advocating that people shouldn't be able to talk about issues but I pine for the days when our society had better manners and less inclination to pigeon hole people. I want to be treated as an individual person, not a member of a political party, social class, ideological group etc. and be able to interact with all types of people without having to enter a room wearing psychological battle armor.