Public Shaming – Yes, its a Rant

Public shaming has been around for centuries.  The Scarlet Letter is the fictional story by Nathaniel Hawthorne of Hester Prynne who conceives a child in an affair and is forced to wear a read “A” on her chest.  In this day and age however we certainly don’t have things like this happening right?  I mean with the music we have available now, the movies and TV shows we certainly shouldn’t have any need for a Scarlet Letter A.

Nearly every culture has some form of public humiliation for those that break the rules of society. Just four years ago a mom came under-fire for using public humiliation as a way to get her kids under control. 

However on the internet a new wave of Dog shaming has taken hold.  Here you can see images such as the following:

Though done with fun in mind this just shows that we are a culture of poking fun at others.  A Mesa Principal has taken this in a whole new direction.
In an Arizona High School has traded in its letter A for a new letter.  That letter is G.  Taking public shaming to its fullest extent the principal of Westwood High School decided that two of its mighty Warriors should be taken down a peg or two.  See these fine lads had been fighting and what’s the best way to tone down the aggressive behavior of his football players?   Give them a modern Scarlet Letter.

Principal Tim Richards gave his two fighting players two options.  One take a suspension or two, hold hands. 

One of the boys involved stated that he was embarrassed because people were asking him “are you gay?”  To further this crazy idea that this is a great idea the community of Westwood posted a sign that says “Westwood neighborhood supports Principal Richard”.

Source: CBS 5 News

So let me get this straight (no pun intended) the best way to correct or shame your athletes was to have them appear feminized and/or gay in public?  Why is that exactly?  Is that because being gay is a bad thing or something to be ashamed of?

Source: Facebook

First we have to look at the actual process of saying that two boys holding hands is a punishment and then further that they should be ashamed of this behavior.   This screams of bashing the LGBT community.  Here again we are used as punishment, in my opinion this is no different than when drill instructors in the military used the word “ladies” when referring to recruits or coaches using the same verbiage, because you know… Being a “lady” is a bad thing.  It’s less than. 

Here again we are perpetuating the acceptance of ridiculing our youth only this time the entire community is coming up and saying HEY, we support that! Really, Westwood, Really?  You support that?  You support telling high school kids that it’s ok to laugh at, point fingers at and humiliate your kids by calling them Gay?

I personally am appalled at this behavior.  We are standing on the precipice of the Supreme Court possibly taking on the constitutionality of denying LGBT citizens marriage and good ‘ol Mesa decides let get in a few jabs before the show.  What’s next dancing in Black-face?  How about maybe some good ol’fashion cross burnings?  Police there can already demand “Show me your papers!”

 Completely different from the viral video of just a little while ago when a Dad makes his son cry and then says "I'm a horrible Dad" because he son just wanted to be a single lady...

I’d love to have some dialog around this.  Is anyone as upset as I am?  Do you think this is a good thing? 


 Namaste & Blessed Be

Pagan Blog Project 2012 - X is for Xylomancy

Xylomancy is divination of the past, present and future using wood, twigs or fallen tree branches.  In biblical times seers would divine based on the pattern fallen tree limbs or other pieces of wood made when lying on the ground.  Like Dendromancy and Tephramancy (divination of ashes in burned tree trunk) it is thought that it has its origin in the tree worship.

I’ve searched the web and found several sites that are related to Xylomancy.  Most have the statements above and then links to various resources on trees.  Art of Divination for example has a list of trees correspondences.  For example it lists the Blackthorn for unexpected change and Beech for stability and energy flow.  

Some ways to practice Xylomancy include stripping the branches of ½ the bark and tossing them on ground to examine the random patterns made.  Further watching the way logs are arranged in a fire place while they burned was another form of Xylomancy.

I found this video of Yule logs burning if you'd care to give it a try.


I found that Llewellyn lists this as divination by observing the pattern of thrown sticks or staves.   To me this sounds slightly different then the first definition which makes it sound as though we’re looking at random tree limbs falling in or around someone’s property and the second like throwing of bones

I then discovered that if I could only get my FAFSA to recognize Hogwards as a valid college I could go take a course on Xylomancy and learn divination by analyzing pieces of burning word.  Again slightly different than the original definition and in my mind leads more to fire scrying than “wood scrying”. 

In my reading I’ve found that generally people ancient times (and sometimes me when I find my mirrors turned faced down) look at things that are out of the ordinary or different as an omen.  For example, if a baby died and a midwife was present she was sometimes accused of witchcraft and held accountable for the baby’s death.  If a black cat comes to your house, it brings difficulties, and breaking a mirror would be considered a bad omen.  

So there you have it, a very basic introduction to Xylomancy.  I’d like to thanks my dearest sister Kallan, for a wonderful suggestion of this word and to remind you to head over to check out her blog!

Namaste & Blessed Be

Violence Equals Violence

Today just a day after my rituals regarding the Mallory Owens incident, I'd like to talk about something that people by this time in human development should be aware of. Violence equals violence.

At my now, 42 years I've become quite the pacifist.  I don't want to see wars.  I believe we should not be blowing people up.  Over anything.  I sit sometimes and watch the news and think, it's just a piece of dirt.  Yes, I know you think its holy, and they think its holy and OH YEAH this group over here thinks its holy but guess what?  It's still dirt.  You know what's more important?  Having children hear a plane and not duck for cover.  People are turning into these uncaring beasts.

Over the last few days I've seen, dogs being tied to cars and drug, women beaten to a bloody pulp, kids dying in air strikes and what for?  What exactly is this all for?

Mallory has come forward and stated that her attack though unjustified was not a hate crime.   She said, "He had his reasons."  That sounds very familiar to things battered women say.  I still follow the page that seems to have been created by her mother, who is very very concerned about her.  I can honestly say, if my child looked like that, and I knew she was in the same house with that same person, I would be scared for her.

An attack, whether a physical attack on a child in your care; an attack on a wife or partner, an attack on a stranger tied to a fence, or a bomb flying through the air destroying a school, is still one thing.  It is violence.  We are an advanced people.  We are the products of evolution.  We are the products of arts and education.  We have millions of years of learning, and relearning things and yet we sit and continue to make the same mistakes.  

It is not my place to say that Mallory is lying or if she is just suffering from a battered spouse situation.  I do know one fact.  At the hands of one man, she was beaten so badly her mother didn't recognize her.  There is no reason to hurt another this way.  We should not be allowing people who are capable of the massive amount of rage it takes to beat a person like that out on the street.

Yesterday in my blog post I stated that I wanted to donate some of my sales to her hospital bills.  I think maybe a better option might be to donate to a women's shelter or group home.  I have not had anyone purchase based on my offer to donate to Mallory so I'm comfortable setting out this challenge to my blog followers.

Do not take her defense of her attacker as a dismissal of his behavior.  There are many people out there who believe that date rape is fine, there are many people who think that women should not have rights and there are many people who believe that people of color are less than.  When asked by social services as a 5th grader if I was being abused I said no.  I keep it secret that I was being hit by my second husband.  To admit that you are being abused is a very difficult thing.  And many continue to return to the violence because they don't know anything else.

We may not be able to help Mallory directly.  No more than we could help Matthew Sheppard or the many other victims out there.  We can however put the world on notice that we will not tolerate violence and ultimately this is what this is about.  Violence equals violence.

If you or someone you love is being abused please reach out to your local police department or search on the web for violence support. For more information on domestic violence check out this link.

Namaste & Blessed Be

A Post for Justice - Mallory Owens

Today is the day I usually save for my rituals to Hecate.  A group of folks that I’m friends with started doing Tuesday night rituals to keep our country in freedom.  I enjoyed this ritual; I looked forward to Tuesday so I tried to continue to do it.  When Hecate’s Supper or when a full moon is near, I usually post pone Tuesday and wait for the lunar event for my ritual.

Yesterday I saw something that really disturbed me.  A young lady, Mallory Owens, in Alabama was brutally beaten after being invited to her girlfriend’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner.  So while some were eating their dinner and enjoying the comforts of being with the family, this poor girl was beaten beyond recognition according to the complaint.

The family says this has happened before.  We don’t know why no one stopped him.  Her alleged attacker, her girlfriend’s 18 year old brother did not approve of the relationship.  Travis Hawkins Jr took it upon himself to punish Mallory for her crime.  Her crime was love.  

When I first saw the pictures I was confused.  How could the police in Alabama allow someone who did this to another living thing out on the streets?  I questioned the threads in my LGBT groups on FB.  I search everywhere I could think of on Google.  This couldn’t be true.  It just couldn’t.  No one would invite someone into their home and then do this to them.  I was in utter disbelief.  Slowly the news sources started to come in line with what the Facebook Page – Prayers and Support for Mallory had been saying all day.  They really did allow a person who beat this girl so badly out on the street. (news story)

As a survivor of domestic abuse, I can say I never reached out to the police for assistance.  I can say that I have turned in people who have attacked children.  I have been the safe house for kids to run to when the bullies across the way were coming. I am an advocate.  I have a strong sense of justice and law.  I believe this is why I am so attracted to Hecate.  She after all is the Goddess of Witchcraft and Justice.  As I sit here in these early morning hours and think about what I want to do to support Mallory so many things come to mind.  I’m not going to show you the pictures of her savage beating.  I’m not going to show you the blood pooled on a pillow behind her head while both her eyes are swollen completely shut.  

What I am going to do is ask you to do is take the hand of someone you love.  Your son or daughter, aunt or uncle.  Take the hand of your partner, lover or spouse.  Hold it tightly and think for one moment that someone could see you with their hand in yours and decide that you are not worthy of life.  That’s what happened to Mallory.  Someone decided that her love, her dedication to her partner was something that was wrong.  And the “RIGHT” thing to do, was to beat this poor girl nearly to death.

A petition has been set up for Mallory because the law in Alabama has decided that Mr. Hawkins was allowed out on the streets.  He was charged with 2nd degree assault.  I wonder, if Mallory had been straight, would he be out?  If Mallory had been his wife, would he be out?  We can’t say, there are lots of variables here.  I do feel this way.  I’ve gone to my partner’s family’s house for Thanksgiving before.  You’ve done it.  There’s always thought of “Will they like me?” “I hope I say the right thing.”  We don’t know if Mallory thought these things, but I do have to say, can you imagine the utter hurt, dismay and complete abandonment she must have felt as the first swings started?   Can you imagine how alone and confused she must have felt?  These wounds will take much longer for this dear soul to heal.

Below is the chant I wrote that I will use tonight in my ritual to call upon the Goddess Hecate to bring justice for Mallory.  I urge my blog followers to pick up your totems, open your prayer books, call your congress, and take some sort of action to stop this kind of thing from happening again.  If for no other reason, at least that Mallory was someone’s child, and no matter what you think of her sexuality, no one… NO ONE deserves to be treated this way.

Calling to Hecate for Justice
Hecate Hecate Hecate
Dark Mother, Mistress of the Night
I call upon you and your hounds under the dark moon
Bring forth your justice with all its might.

Hecate Hecate Hecate
I call out to you times three
Protector of women and those in need
I’m here at the crossroads, belladonna in hand
Requesting from you justice for this horrible deed.

Hecate Hecate Hecate
Hear my chant and bring forth justice
Vengeance is not what you give, nor what I seek
Bring forth your powers to protect the meek.

I will be donating a portion of my sales in my shop to her cause.  I don't have a huge amount of money but I urge anyone that can to please reach out and try to help this family.

Namaste and Blessed Be

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Nachos

One of my favorite types of food is Mexican food.  I love cilantro and chilies.  The bold flavors and savory cheeses are amazing.  I like the zesty flavors without the smoking hot spices that many restaurants add to their food.

It’s also one of the easiest cuisines to make vegetarian.  This recipe is a very versatile recipe and it can be modified in several ways. Meat can be added, Shrimp or different veggies.  You can also add rice to it and roll into a burrito, deep fry as a Chimichanga or covered with some red sauce and made into a play on an enchilada.

I do some simple things with my recipes to make them a bit better for me.  First, I only use white cheeses or those without any artificial colorings.  Next, I try to buy organics whenever I can.  Not only does it ensure that the product is Non-GMO but it also takes care of the BPA that may be used in canned veggies.  

At times buying organic can be expensive, but when you weigh the costs of medical treatment and the amount of food you need to eat to be comfortably sated, I believe it’s a fair exchange.


Photo Credit - Renee Olson

1 Can Organic Re-fried Pinto Beans – I get my organic canned veggies from Harris Teeter
1 Can Organic Beans – I usually use Black Beans but I was out, so I substituted Kidneys
1 Bag Organic Corn Chips – I get these from Target, they sale Blue, White and Yellow
1 Block of Monterey Jack Cheese – You can use any cheese here
4 Tablespoons of Sour Cream
½  Jar of Enchilada Sauce
1 package of cream cheese
½ Teaspoon  Chili Powder - optional
Fresh Cilantro - optional
Fresh Jalapeno - optional
Fresh Onion - optional

On medium/low heat add the package of cream cheese to the pot and melt.
Grate the about 1 ½ cups of the cheese from the block and set aside.
Add the sour cream to the cream cheese in the sauce pan.
Open the can of re-fried beans and add to the sauce pan.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Add ½ of the enchilada sauce to the sauce pan.
Add ½ the grated cheese to the sauce pan.

Photo Credit - Renee Olson

Once the mixture is melted, open the can of beans and add to the mixture.
If needed use the rest of the sauce to thin.
After warmed through, add the optional items to taste.
Open the bag of chips and spread on a tray.
Spoon the “dip” over the top of the chips and sprinkle with cheese.

Sometimes when I make this I prefer instead of serving on a plate as nachos, I leave the mixture in a bowl and use a dip.

Left overs can be stored in the fridge.  I like to make Curry a lot, so I usually have left over rice.  Adding the rice to the bean mixture and rolling in a flour tortilla is a great way to maintain a meatless diet but also a way of getting the most out of your dollar. 

Did you make this?  Have a variation on the recipe?  Want to share your own? Feel free to leave it in the comments or send me a message and I’ll post it here.

Namaste & Blessed Be