Passing children through the fire for Moloch

TW: violent homophobia and homophobic language, violence to children, suicide

“It is well known that the homosexual agenda is just an insidious plot to prevent gay teenagers from dying.” – Stephen Colbert

It is clear that homophobic bullying is directly responsible for gay kids and teens committing suicide. Nonetheless, some despicable people insist that governments and schools cannot take action to stop such bullying. These reprehensible scumbags assert that their freedoms of religion and speech mean that they, and those who agree with them, cannot be prevented from spewing their homophobic vitriol. By making this argument, they are defending a “right” to sacrifice children to their religion.

It’s bad enough when anti-bullying efforts are crippled by carving out “religious” exemptions like the situation in Michigan. By pushing for that waiver to be written into the law, people like the mis-named Michigan American Family Association explicitly assert that it may be difficult to tell the difference between bullying and “sincerely held” religious conviction. By resisting any and all anti-bullying efforts – as these extremely conservative Christians have consistently done – they are arguing that it is impossible to differentiate between “Go kill yourself, faggot,” and “I believe the Bible says gay sex is wrong.”

Moreover, when convictions have to be taken into account to decide whether something is or is not bullying, that’s a claim that intent is magic: the “right” beliefs suddenly transubstantiate merciless verbal and physical abuse into well-meaning religious outreach. What kind of “sincerely held” beliefs make it not just acceptable but necessary, as a religious obligation, for teens to say and do things like this to each other?

This is a matter of religious purity. Homophobes realize that they are quickly losing the battle to claim that QUILTBAG people are somehow objectively wrong, bad, or dangerous. They are retreating to the stronghold of freedom of religion, abusing its defenses to shelter the last holdouts of violent homophobia. In so doing, they are making it clear that their objections to people being gay are religious in nature, just like Muslim strictures against drinking alcohol or Jewish dietary laws prohibiting pork.

Take another example: some extremely conservative interpretations of Islam mandate incredibly restrictive dress codes for women. If they break the modesty standards of their group, women may be punished physically. When the US invaded Afghanistan, situations like this were held up as examples of how awful the Taliban was for enforcing its religious views on everyone and even threatening them with grave physical harm or death for disobeying. The fact that the Taliban had “sincerely held” religious beliefs didn’t seem to give them a free pass to abuse and kill others.

More specifically, extremely conservative Christians who claim religious motivations are also acknowledging that they’re engaging in these behaviors (whether they call it witnessing or bullying) for their own religious benefit. By saying it’s their rights that are being infringed, they discard any figleaf excuse that what they’re doing is for the victim’s good. They are defending cruelty and sadism that leads to kids’ deaths for the sake of their religion.

They are defending religious child sacrifice.

Some Christians have been quick to make this claim about other religions, both historically and in the present day. They have vilified and condemned those accused of it. Now they insist their religious beliefs require other people’s children to suffer and die. They are passing children through the flames – but this time it’s for Jesus.

Persephone by Ariel Springs

This wonderful drawing of Persephone going to the Underworld was done by my friend Ariel Springs. I love the fact that Ariel challenged the traditional narrative by showing Persephone as happy. If you look very closely, you’ll also see that the plants on the left are blooming, but the ones on the right are wilting and dying, showing how the path leads down to the land of the dead. I’m impressed with how many ideas she was able to include in a relatively simple drawing. Thanks, Ariel, for letting me share this.

Meditation Moment – Staying in the Feeling

As October rolls around, many Pagans begin preparing for Samhain, the Celtic festival of summer’s end, when the veil between the worlds of living and dead is especially thin. For Pagans today, this is often a time for acknowledging those who have died in the previous year and telling myths about death and rebirth. For all who may be grieving or remembering grief at Samhain, I would like to offer some suggestions about how meditative techniques can help you experience and move through those feelings.

Concentrating on these emotions, especially the ones we usually seek to avoid, may seem like the very opposite of the calm peace and even detachment cultivated through meditation. I have often written that when other thoughts or concerns arise during meditation, you should acknowledge them and then return your attention to whatever you’ve chosen to focus on. It’s true that this is the best course to take when your distractions are relatively simple, everyday sorts of matters. But deep emotions, like grief, cannot be dismissed as easily, and forcing ourselves to do so can become an unhealthy form of repressing our feelings.

If deep emotional issues are a concern for you as this Samhain draws near, instead of treating the emotional experience as a failure in your mediative practice, you might try embracing the emotion and allowing yourself to feel it fully as a necessary part of letting it go. This is tricky; you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the feelings or reinforce their presence in your life. As a result, the rest of the suggestions I give in this article will be fairly general ones that you have to adapt to your own situation. I strongly suggest trying these kinds of techniques as part of a steady meditative practice, and taking other actions to work through your grief at the same time, especially talking with people you can trust. Above all, be compassionate with yourself.

Grieving is a long and complex experience, and every situation is different. In the process of coming to terms with a death, many different emotions can play a part, including fear, anger, remorse, and resentment. Allow yourself to acknowledge any and all of these in turn, even if they seem paradoxical or difficult to explain to others. What you are feeling does not make you a bad person – it’s how you handle the feeling that matters. You may want to read about the stages of grieving; these are not a simple linear sequence, but they may help you understand that you are not alone in going through a lot of different, difficult feelings while grieving.

Facing these feelings, acknowledging them, is the first step to beginning to move through them towards acceptance of what has happened. Accepting the current sitation does not mean that you have to like it, but it enables you to turn your attention to the future again.

As you go into your feelings and begin to acknowledge them, the same meditative techniques of self-monitoring that you use to direct your attention can help you stay in the feeling, rather than turning away to some more desirable topic. You might use these while doing an activity you’ve chosen to help you express the emotion, such as a creating a piece of art. Meditatively centering yourself on the emotion can keep you engaged with the purpose so that you fully explore the emotion and can release it into the activity as much as possible.

On the other hand, if you feel like you’re drowning in the emotional current, you can use that same approach of self-awareness to help you identify when you’re getting in over your head, so you can take steps to turn your attention elsewhere. Again, these two approaches complement each other: you don’t want to repress your feelings during the grieving process, but you don’t want to stay stuck in them forever, either. Use your best judgment and ask those around you or a trained counselor for help in striking the right balance as you move through the process of grieving.

I have found that the best time to engage with, experience, and begin to release an emotion is when I can move my attention back and forth between the emotion and the calm, compassionate self-awareness that I usually occupy during meditation. This usually happens only after some time has passed since the event that caused the emotion. As needed, I switch my focus in a way similar to the technique I suggested for meditating using opposites.

If this is too difficult for you, another approach is to visualize an interaction between different aspects of your self. Let one part of yourself give voice to the emotions and struggle you’re experiencing while another part of you listens as attentively and compassionately as you would for your closest friend. If you are familiar with the way Starhawk talks about different parts of the self, you might consider these to be your Younger Self and Talking Self, respectively. Or they might be the person you were before and the person you are coming to be in the present. Regardless, the goal is not to increase the separation between parts of yourself but to make healing and wholeness more possible by allowing yourself to go through the emotions to be able to return to your center.

Ultimately, as the immediacy of a feeling diminishes, you will be better able to apply these techniques and to come to terms with your emotions. Remember, above all, that these emotions are not a failure of your meditative practice or an impenetrable barrier. They are not separate from you; they are part of you. Using meditation to help yourself cope with and reconcile them can be a valuable part of returning, again, as always, to your center.

Janet Porter wants me to die

That’s the message she rallied her supporters to send to the Ohio legislature today. And Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Mike Huckabee all agree with her.

Trigger Warning: difficult pregnancy, death

I used to live in Ohio. If I were still there, this bill would scare me out of my wits. I have a disability which means that trying to carry a pregnancy to term would kill me, probably long before a fetus became viable outside the womb. As a result, I did the smart thing: I had my tubes tied.

Tubal ligation is the most reliable form of contraception available for women, but it’s still not perfect. There’s a minute chance that I could get pregnant. If I do, with my tubes tied, it will be an ectopic pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies are a medical emergency; they cannot be carried to term. The only treatment is to end the pregnancy, medically if possible, surgically if necessary. If left untreated, an ectopic pregnancy will cause the woman to have severe internal bleeding. She will likely die.

I would likely die – because Porter’s “heartbeat bill” and the “personhood amendments” would make it illegal to treat ectopic pregnancies, as well as ban in vitro fertilization and certain kinds of birth control. When Porter and the politicians who support her argue for these pieces of legislating, they are arguing that if I, or any other woman, ends up in that situation, she should be left to die.

This is worse than the occasional audience member yelling “Let him die!” when the Republican debate turned to the topic of helping the uninsured. That’s bad enough, but this is worse. This isn’t just about not providing financial support. This is about making it a criminal act to give me the necessary health care to save my life.

Don’t be fooled by the slick language and the “heartbeat” schlock. If this bill passes it will not only be a tremendous setback for women’s rights, it will put women’s lives in danger. Maybe your mother’s, maybe your sister’s, maybe your daughter’s. Maybe yours. Definitely mine.

NARAL was right when they called on politicians to “stop the war on women” by supporting Planned Parenthood earlier this year. This is another front in the same war, a war I was conscripted into when I was born, by virtue of having a uterus and a disability. Janet Porter and her supporters want to strip away the little bit of protection that modern medicine has been able to devise to keep this accidental confluence from killing me. If they do, by the vagaries of chance, I still might dodge that bullet. But not everyone will.

By the way, Janet Porter is in with the Christian Dominionists up to her eyeballs. So when they talk about praying for a “culture of life” in the US (a dogwhistle for outlawing abortion and probably most birth control), they’re talking about wanting to let me die. My opposition to Christian Dominionists isn’t just religious: it’s about protecting my own life and the lives of others. When these folks have support from and influence with several of the contenders for the Republican nomination for president, I can’t sit back and ignore them any more.

Review: Edghill, Bell, Book, and Murder

Edghill, Rosemary. Bell, Book, and Murder: The Bast Novels. Paperback, 448 pages. Forge, 1998. Omnibus edition of Speak Daggers to Her, 1994, Book of Moons, 1995, and The Bowl of Night, 1996, by the same author.

These three novels are set in mid-1990s New York, and follow the experiences and exploits of Bast, a Witch who has to draw on all her talents, mundane and magical, as she stumbles into a series of murders, betrayals, intrigues, and even a curse. In the first novel, one of Bast’s friends is found dead, possibly as a result of malefic magic from an unethical coven and coven leader. Bast’s investigation navigates deep currents of what magic means in the world today and how we can and should use it and respond to it; the outcome is ambiguous in some ways, which is one of the things I love about these books.

Edghill accurately represents the uncertainties of working with magic. There’s no hocus-pocus here, no Harry Potter-esque wand-waving that makes lights flicker, and not even any telepathic messages or ominous Tarot readings. There aren’t detailed accounts of rituals, either – very little of the book takes place in the setting of a circle or ceremony.  Instead, Edghill represents magic as we experience it: in the workings-out of intent in the world, with all the attendant murkiness, with multiple causes and effects intertwining, and with a distinct lack of clear-cut choices in most situations. Bast resolves the situation with the potential curse, but the resolution is as magical – or not – as the suspicion of malefic action was in the beginning, depending on how you see the whole situation. (I’m being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers, but also because simplifying the complexities of the plot would destroy the exact effect that I appreciate about this book.)

In the second book, Bast faces the politics – good, bad, ugly, and stupid – of the magical community in the 90s, from Niceness Wicca to an S&M leather coven, from Ceremonial Magic to Womyn’s Goddess worship, plus seekers of all stripes. I can’t speak for the accuracy, not having been in that historical setting, but Edghill’s portrayals come across as incisively accurate and still a good assessment of the kinds of politics and power plays that go on between individuals and groups. Bast herself is something of an insider-outsider, giving her a chance to reflect on the biases of her own viewpoint, which is an exercise that every reader ought to engage in as well.

The third book finds Bast squarely in the middle of a confrontation between neo-Pagans, fundamentalist (often rendered hilariously as “funny-mentalist”) Christians, and the law enforcement agencies who have to try to sort everything out. Villains and potential villains abound; achieving the right relationship between law and justice is more like a complex negotiation than a straightforward set of consequences. This one is the most difficult for Bast personally but also leads to the most reflection on the hard limits to which Bast will and will not go – even in the face of desire.

These works have aged well; there are a few places where a cell phone would have really changed the plot, but those are simple enough to overlook that they don’t distract from the pleasure of reading. Since the explosion of Cunningham-type self-initiated solitaries and the fashion for “magick” (sic) among teens in the Silver Ravenwolf vein, the makeup of the community one finds at open rituals and bookstores has changed a bit, sometimes quite a bit, but the population Bast interacts with is familiar to anyone who has spent a little bit of time around Pagans and magic-users.

The only other big difference from the present day is the lack of an overarching cultural concern about war that has been present since September 11th. For those who can (or want to) cast themselves back to the seemingly idyllic 90s, when whether everyone brought potato salad to the potluck rated as a major concern, these books will be familiar territory.

I’d recommend these to anyone who is pursuing a Pagan or Wiccan path and especially people who enjoy murder mysteries. It’s great to see a well-executed example of the genre set in our sub-culture, and you might just learn something about magic and meaning along the way.

Review: Starhawk, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying

I have not had new posts for a while because an uncle of mine died, and I was spending time supporting my mother and being with family. As a result, I drew heavily on this book, which I had had for a while but hadn’t read. I hope to resume something like my usual pace this week.

Starhawk, M. Macha Nightmare, and the Reclaiming Collective. The Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings, and Meditations on Crossing Over. HarperCollins, 1997. Paperback, 353 pages.

I turned to this book when I needed resources, and it provided. If you’re going to be in a leadership role in the Pagan community, you should at least have read this book, and I strongly suggest you should own it. If you’re a Pagan, you may not see it as important, but it is a handy thing to have around and could provide interesting resources and challenges for you around Samhain.

This book is a compilation of articles, meditations, rituals, prayers, chants, songs, poetry, and more. It manages somehow to be both wide in scope and deep in content, and although it is not assembled for front-to-back reading, I found the comprehensive table of contents easy to use.

Part one, The Pagan Tradition, has thealogical material, reflections, and meditations. Uncharacteristically, this is the part I have read the least of, because it wasn’t what I needed when I pulled this book off the shelf. What I have read looks thoughtful and articulate, and comes from a variety of writers, without trying to express a monolithic view of what Paganism is or ought to be. Part two, The Pagan View of Death, has some very useful discussion of specifically how Pagans can understand death, again, with respect for a variety of viewpoints.

Part three, The Dying Process, and part four, Death Has Many Faces, are the “meat” of the book. The section on the dying process includes many personal reflections, some of which will bring tears to your eyes and others which will make you laugh aloud. The summary material provides good advice of several kinds to those working with the dying or the grieving, and generally advises an approach that lets those closest to the situation take the lead, with others providing support and nurturing, while making sure to take care of themselves at the same time. It addresses issues relevant to people in a wide range of grief situations, including sudden or violent death, the death of a child, deaths from HIV, and abortion. Specific suggestions give concrete options while the general themes are consistently carried throughout.

Part five, Carrying On, has other advice that is invaluable, especially for Pagans who may find themselves counseling or consoling people who are still working through the grieving process weeks, months, or years later. This section may seem almost irrelevant to someone who has not experienced the death of someone close, but it is one more indication that this book was put together by people who have experienced that which they write about.

The real treasure in this book is the stock of rituals, prayers, songs, poems, meditations, and visualizations. A lot of material here comes from Starhawk, especially prayers, but plenty of it is from other people, largely from the Reclaiming Collective. Again, the breadth of material is impressive, including a prayer for cleaning the rooms of someone who has died. I found the resources easy to modify, to pick and choose and reassemble something that worked for the situation I was in.

I have not done many of the meditations, but I look forward to trying them, and I think that some of them could provide great pieces for Samhain rituals, even for a solitary who has little to grieve. There are also excellent starting points for Pagans to think about and prepare for their own deaths, including basic suggestions about legal issues to consider, as well as practical and magical ones.

I would have liked to see more material about hospice and palliative care, and how to work with the medical community to achieve the goals of the patient in the case of a long and debilitating terminal illness. I don’t know if that omission is the result of a lack of awareness and experience with hospice and palliative care; that area of care has certainly grown and developed in the last decade. Another factor may be that this book does provide the kind of “need it now” resources that I praise. But there is also plenty of material for longer-term reflection, and I think a chapter on what hospice care is, how it works, when you or a loved one might choose it, and how to define the goals of care and get them met would have been a tremendous addition.

You may not like or enjoy all the material presented in this book; almost certainly, you will not agree with all of it. But I found that it had adaptable resources when I needed them, and that even the material that I found jarring was a useful stimulus to additional thinking and meditation.

In order to be in concert with natural cycles – the whole cycle, from beginning to end to new beginnings – even Pagans who are not grieving or have never grieved should face the existence of death, including their own. This book is a good place to start that process, and a tremendous contribution to the Pagan community’s shared pool of knowledge, understanding, lore, and ritual.

Protect us all, or let it be

Since the Supreme Court affirmed that the execrable calumny produced by Fred Phelps’ clan (Westboro Baptist Church) is protected speech, Congress is considering passing laws that would expand the exclusion zones of time and space around military funerals. Unfortunately, I think this is a bad move on many levels, most of all because Congress should either protect all funerals or acknowledge that enduring some truly vile speech is the price we pay for freedom of speech.

My partner got into a passionate discussion with someone the other day because the other guy was insisting that members of the military are extra-special, better people, overall, than non-military. My spouse, who has made his career in the military, disagreed. He doesn’t think he’s anything special, and certainly not a better person than non-military people. He also knows first-hand that people in the military are a lot like any other kinds of people: they screw up and do bad things. Honor is something they strive for, not something that automatically accrues to them when they join.

I said afterwards that the other guy was trying to express a deeply-felt sentiment (mostly gratitude) but that he kept translating the depth of his feeling into hyperbole, but not realizing the difference between his hyperbole (with respect to the facts) and his feelings. Regardless, it deeply disturbed my partner because he does not want to see the country put the military on a pedestal to the point where that attitude could destabilize our democracy.

This potential law is an example of that kind of attitude. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad most citizens have learned to separate their feelings about the members of the military from their feelings about the national policy those members are enacting. But my partner is right that perpetuating the idea that the military is sacrosanct is dangerous.

If I saw this sort of legislation being sought to protect the funerals of high-profile QUILTBAG people* (which are the Phelpses’ other favorite target), I would still be concerned about it as a potentially unconstitutional limitation on free speech. But as it is, this proposed legislation is an insult to all the other grieving families that the Phelpses target. If grieving families are worth protecting, and the speech can be limited in this way, then the law should protect us all. That’s what the military lives and dies for.

*QUILTBAG is an acronym that arose on The Slacktiverse’s comment threads. It’s intended to capture the alphabet soup of the ever expanding GLBT… acronym. It means Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transsexual/Transgender, Bisexual, Asexual, and Gay.

Witches’ Pyramid in action: Ban large handgun magazines

After I wrote about how the Witches’ Pyramid helped me understand how to frame my response to the Arizona shootings, I’ve been working on acting in accord with my words. One of the best opportunities for doing so is to support legislation to ban large-capacity magazines for handguns. Sen. Lautenberg is working with Rep. McCarthy on such a ban. I urge you to write your Senators and Representative to support this legislation. Detailed discussion, including a sample letter to Congresspersons, is below the fold. Read more

Witches’ Pyramid and responding to violence

The shooting yesterday in Arizona that left multiple people dead, including a federal judge and a child, and critically injured a Representative, was an abhorrent act. As I struggle to shape my response, I found myself turning to a teaching tool often called the Witches’ Pyramid. In short, it is the saying that the four duties or powers of the Witch are “to know, to will, to dare, and to be silent.” In practice, each of those acts is associated with the characteristics of one of the four Elements, and together they form a way to make sure our practices are balanced and responsible. The Witches’ Pyramid has a lot to offer on how we can and ought to respond to this situation.

To Know: Obviously, we don’t know yet all the relevant facts about the situation; early reports were confused, including some saying that Rep. Giffords was killed. The 24-hour news cycle is going to work already with possible details on the background of the shooter and his motivations. The Element of Air and the duty and power of knowing mean that we should not jump to conclusions and should seek to gather all the facts possible. As we do speak – spreading our own knowledge about what happened – we should do so responsibly. That responsibility includes both not saying unfounded things and the responsibility to speak about this. What then should we say?

To Will: One immediate response is to keep those who are injured and the families of the dead in our prayers, possibly including sending healing energy to them. This is a reasonable response, and the Element of Fire certainly includes lighting candles, but that’s not all we should do. Concentrating on our feelings of regret and on our positive wishes for those affected gives us the emotional satisfaction of a deeply-felt response, and we should certainly acknowledge our grief and shock and use them positively. But channeling our deep feelings into only pathos can easily turn into a superficial bathos rather than a real act of will. Fire is also the Element of transformation. When I light a candle for this matter, an answering spark is kindled within myself. Feeding that spark only with the immediate emotion ensures that it will soon gutter and fade. But feeding it with the knowledge – as we continue to learn – of what happened, of the sources and the reasons behind this act, can light a fire that has the potential to transform more than just my immediate feelings. How then do we use that will?

To Dare: We dare to do more than just listen to the news and light a candle in response. We dare to let the knowledge and the spark of our will move us to more emotion than can be soothed with an immediate mourning. We dare to take our response into the realm of Water, into our relationships, and act on it. We talk about what we know: about how violent rhetoric sets the stage for violent acts; about how untreated mental illness afflicts not just individuals but societies; about how easy access to means of violence increases the damage done when other safeguards fail. We look for ways to transform those problems and we dare to put our will to work shaping the world into a better form.

To Be Silent: This is the hardest part of the Witches’ Pyramid, especially in this situation. Here it does not mean that we work in secrecy, that we don’t “advertise” our actions. It means that we take time to listen, to observe, and to reflect on the situation and our actions before we begin the cycle again. In the year, Winter, the season of Earth, is a prelude to Spring, the season of Air. Witches work in cycles, with cycles of nature. Earth reminds us to prepare to listen so that we can know, so we can will, so we can dare – again and again and again. Our response to the shooting should not end in a week, or a month, or a year. Our response reverberates down the continuing cycles as we constantly work to shape ourselves and our world. If we work to limit violent rhetoric, but the result is a chill on certain kinds of free speech, then we may have to decide we’ve gone too far. If we work to assist mentally ill individuals, but end up creating more problems for people who see the world differently than we do, we have to realize that outcome, respect it, and change course.

Only with all the parts of this cycle working together can we make a difference. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

I refuse to live in fear

Since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, there has been the inevitable “but it’s eeeevil and will make your kids into witches and Satanists!” nonsense from conservative Christians. In one such bit of scaremongering, I ran across this little gem: “My greatest concern is that godly fear that protects mankind from dabbling in the spirit world is being taken away…” Wait, let me get that right – you think that fear is the way your god keeps you safe? By making you too afraid to do something?

Fear is a useful thing sometimes, I admit. It’s especially useful when it’s your subconscious’ way of telling you that something is just not right. Before you have time to process that that tree just moved like a giant cat is getting ready to jump down on you and eat you, you start moving away. But fear isn’t in and of itself a good thing. And it’s not a good way to prevent people from doing something. It might be useful for, say, animals to be slightly afraid of fire so they don’t burn themselves, or small children to be slightly afraid of the deep end of the pool so they don’t drown. But those boundaries get pushed, especially when we grow up.

I refuse to remain an unreasoning animal or a small child, to be threatened and frightened and controlled by those bigger and meaner than I am. I refuse to worship a deity who behaves like a bigger version of an abusive parent. I choose to grow up, to listen to both my emotion and my reason, and to cultivate holy love, holy joy, and, yes, holy awe, instead of a “godly fear.” I refuse to live in fear.

One of the things I value about Wicca is the way my relationship with the God and Goddess is one of love and respect, not one of fear and fear-based worship. The deities can be frickin’ scary sometimes, I will freely admit – anybody who looks at Gaia as just love and care hasn’t seen much of the real world, as in carnivores feeding themselves. The Morrigan is not someone to mess around with. One of the reasons I don’t do more with Northern traditions is that I have a hard time relating to Thor without getting overwhelmed with fear. And that’s not the way Wiccans worship. I worship because I love the divine, and I am sure that, even with the ravages of all the scary, difficult, painful, things we have to deal with in life, the divine loves me.

In fact, my relationship with the divine is what frees me from fear; God and Goddess are with me always, going through what I go through, and helping me have what I need to deal with it. The Morrigan is there when I need to draw on somebody with a lot more warrior in her, and understanding that, not just being afraid of it, is part of me taking responsibility for my own life and relationships with others, including deity. But mostly, my worship is about cultivating the love that underlies all of that, even the Morrigan’s warriorship. The love that brought the world into being, that makes it keep going, the love that enfolds all of us now and when we die.

I will not live in fear, because living in fear is not fully living. I will live in love, and face even my fears with love.