The Raven

The Raven

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Origins of the Feminist (1)

"Thus suffered that first martyr and apostle of God, the virgin Thecla, who came from Iconium at eighteen years of age; afterwards, partly in journeys and travels, and partly in a monastic life in the cave, she lived seventy-two years; she was ninety years old when the Lord took her."

Saint Thecla, the woman who baptized herself, 
"when she finished praying, she turned about and saw a pit of water and said, ' Now is a proper time for me to be baptized.' Accordingly, she threw herself into the water and said, 'In your name, O my Lord Jesus Christ, I am this last day baptized' " (Acts of Thecla), and was not afraid to defend herself against unwanted sexual advances, "But he [ Alexandra, a Syrian magistrate] being a person of great power in Anitoch seized her in the street and kissed her; which Thecla would not bear...laid hold on Alexander, tore his coat, took his crown off his head, and made him appear ridiculous before all the people (Acts of Thecla),

Thecla was one of the first female leaders of the early Christian Church. Renouncing her marriage to her betrothed, even though it ensured a secure place in society for a woman, and inspired by Apostle Paul's telling of the Gospel,became a student of him.

"my daughter, Thecla,  like a spider's wed fastened to the window, is captivated by the discourses of Paul, and attends upon them with prodigious eagerness and vast delight" (Theoclia, Acts of Thecla).

She was persecuted for going against tradition, but she stayed steadfast in her calling. She eventually became a missionary, dressing in men's attire, "she dressed herself in the habit of a man and went to him in Myra in Lycia. There she found Paul preaching the word of God, and she stood by him amidst the throng"

SOURCES: Frontline, From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians:

The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"mankind" is a Judeo-Christian is made should be human-kind

the female used to be worshiped as Mother Goddess of the Earth; something happened and the male took over. when women try to become powerful, or show our power, we are ridiculed when all we are doing is reacting to "mankind"

Monday, March 11, 2013

May Those Who Love Us Love Us...

"May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts.
And if He cannot turn their hearts, 
May He turn their ankles, so we will know them by their limping!" 

Saint Patrick's Day is a bit less than a week away.
Here are some tidbits of Irish history:

Four leaf clovers are NOT a symbol of Ireland. It is the tri-leaved shamrock that is an Irish symbol. The myth goes that Saint Patrick plucked one from the ground to illustrate the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost when he was spreading Christianity to Ireland. The four-leaf clover is rare and considered to bestow luck unto any person that happens upon one. It is said that with Ireland's turbulent history they are lucky to have survived as a people... Yet, as John Lennon sang, "If you had the luck of the Irish you'd wish you was dead. If you had the luck of the Irish, you'd wish you was English instead."

Corned beef is not a traditional Irish food. When the Irish began mass emigration from Ireland, due to famine during 1845 through 1851, to The United States, and settling in cities like New York, they found that the pork/ham, a traditional food in their diet, was too expensive. Their Jewish neighbors introduced them to corned beef, a less expensive alternative; therefore, today, is eaten on Saint Patrick's Day.

....God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world.... hahahaha! no, to see what really happened look at this episode of Family Guy!

The Irish tri-colour is a symbol of peace between the Catholics and the Protestants. The Orange for  the Protestants and the Green for the Catholics; the white in the middle for peace. It, unfortunately, is called "the rebel flag".  (I have Protestant family still living in Belfast and they are threatened by the removal of the Union Jack and in its place the Tri-colour. The flag itself is peaceful, however, the removal of the British (UK) flag, and the actions of sectarian groups such as the IRA, are not peaceful).

Saturday, November 3, 2012


"On November Eve the dead are abroad, and dance with the fairies" p 118 Fairy and Folktales of Ireland. 

To me, this sounds lovely... yet, as long as the fairies are good ones. It also reminds me of what my grandmother told my cousin when her kitten disappeared; she told her to not be sad, because her kitten must be across the Bay having tea... We were also told that if we were not good, the gypsies would take us away. Lighthearted scaring when we were misbehaving was a familiar thing in my childhood. This reminds me of this time of year, Halloween, my favorite time of year!

Why we celebrate this time of year goes back 2,000 years ago to Ireland (and the present-day  United Kingdom and Northern France) inhabited by the Celts.The Celts, who fought naked, impaled their enemies' heads on their swords as they road naked into battle (as told to me by my uncle, and confirmed by my Irish History Encyclopedia) sacked Rome in 387-86 BC (p. 63 Charles Doherty, How The Celts Influenced Ireland; The Encyclopedia of Ireland, 2000). Evidence of Celtic culture,  the La Tene, can be found in Ireland dating back to the 3rd Century BC.

Pagan culture existed before the Celts in Ireland, yet the Celts get all the credit! (they were pretty intense as you can tell by the aforementioned nakedness and head impaling).

Celtic culture began to settle in Ireland. As the bountiful summer crops were harvested, and the once green plants began to hibernate as the months grew cooler and dimmer, the people of Ireland felt an end to the year. Soon, they too would hibernate. As months of longer nights and shorter days approached vines withered and dried up, all the land began to look dead. This seemed symbolic of human death and it was believed that during this time, the boundary between the living world and the dead/spiritual world became breached. October 31 was believed to be the mark of the time when the souls of those who had died could come back to the human world. An extra place would be set at the dinner table for passed loved ones and candles would be lit along the roads to help guide the spirits back to the spirit world.

During this time, the priests of the Celts, Druids, could make predictions for the coming year. Huge bonfires were lit, costumes made of animal heads and skins were worn, and offerings were burnt to ensure blessings for the new year. This harvest/prayer time was known as Samhain (sow-en), Summer's End. After the bonfires, the indoor hearth fires were re-lit with remnants of the bonfire to ensure blessings during the cold, dark months of Winter.

You may think the Celts heathens, un-Christian, yet, Celtic culture and the culture of Christianity intermingled, (as inextricably as a Celtic knot, hahaha) but, seriously, you can see an example of this in the Celtic Cross- the circle for the symbol of the Sun and the Cross, for Jesus, or Christianity.

In 1000 AD the Catholic Church moved their observance day, originally May 13, of the martyrs and saints to November 2 and sanctioned it All Soul's Day,(i guess they it thought sounded "chuch-ier" than Samhain.) The new observance day was also called All-hallowmass; the night before this day, November 1, was called All Hallow's Eve and eventually Halloween.


costuming:  during Halloween, as days grew cold and dark sooner, it was believed that ghosts, some very bad, roamed the Earth. To avoid being recognized as a human, while traveling over the moors and through the woods, people would wear scary masks.

 trick-or-treating ancient, pagan practice was to leave food and wine out for roaming spirits in the time of Samhain. Later, this practice was replaced by the Church. In England, during All Soul's Day's parades, impoverished people would go around and beg for something to eat. They would be given little cakes called "soul cakes" in return for a promise that they would pray for their giver's passed relatives.

jack-o-lanterns: no Irish history would be complete without some drinking!  There was once a man called Stingy Jack who invited the Devil to come drink with him (the Devil is never very far when whiskey spirits are raised). Of course, Jack didn't get his name by paying for his drinks, so he dared the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use for their drinks. Once he did so, he put the coin in hos pocket next to a silver cross, preventing the Devil from turning himself back.  He made the Devil promise him that he would not bother him if he turned him back, nor take his soul if he died. The Devil promised and so Jack turned him back. A year later, Jack tricked the Devil again into climbing a tree for a piece of fruit. Once up there, Jack carved the sign of the Cross in the tree so that the Devil could not come down. Once he got the Devil to promise that he would not bother Jack for another ten years, though it seems Jack is bothering the Devil!, he let the Devil come down.
When Jack died, the Devil would not take his soul, for all the annoying trickery,  nor would God allow him into Heaven. So God sent Jack out into the darkness giving him only a burning lump of coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a hollowed out turnip for a lantern and then became known as Jack of the Lantern, or as the Irish say, Jack o' Lantern. The people of Ireland, Scotland and England carved scary faces into potatoes and turnips and placed in their windows to keep away Jack and all his tricks. God forgive 'em.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Be Good in the Woods"

I skipped my therapy session and went to my local arts district for Third Friday events; I confessed to my therapist when he called and I answered my phone not knowing or expecting it to be him. I know I should not have skipped, and I felt bad, but I want to feel inspired, and creative- explore the grey areas; I wanted to see art and craftsman(and woman)ship. All week I feel stifled, even though part of my job entails creating floral arrangements, I am part of a mass-market industry that does not allow for unique artistry.
I am trying therapy because during my treatment for alcoholism I learned that my way managing life got me into a rehab facility because I made my life unmanageable, so I should try doing what people who have their life together tell me to do.  But I feel they are trying to make things black and white for me when I live and think in grey. I know they think the grey areas cause addicts to use and they are trying to teach us that we can control our lives by simplifying it, but I don't think anything in life is simple... I  am glad I skipped, but I won't do it again.
Wandering downtown in the arts district, I am enchanted even by the little wildflowers in whimsical pots or in the grasses greeting me at each little shop. During my visit this week, I met a man who creates dragons from trees and pine cones. While walking with his granddaughter in the woods, she picked up a pine cone and said that it looked like armor. He agreed and was inspired, thinking of dragon scales. He said that when walking through the woods, the trees all have their own spirit; I connected with this idea, for I am greatly inspired by the shapes of trees. I was amazed at his creations. He peels away each scale from the cone and fixes it to a frame made out of wood and corn husks. He carves the teeth from pistachio shells! He made a large head of our fabled Jersey Devil. These dragons, grotesque enough to scare a young child, are fragile bits of nature that are often forgotten, thrown away- shells, pines cones and corn husks- are reassembled to create a mighty image of mystic lore that warn children to "be good in the woods" or they will get you! If you look in the woods you will find that there are some trees, a type of pine I think, that looks strikingly similar to  dragon scales; it could be just a limb, or a neck, of some woodland creature waiting!
I want to write more, but my headache is becoming more bothersome and I feel like my skin is crawling; I have had about 5 or 6 cups of tea! I must now try some relaxation and rest my eyes... after all, it is nearing 2am.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Russian Roulette

i remember sitting in English 102 at my local community college in 2005. We read a story, i cannot recall just now the author, about a man who day-dreamed about the days of knights and chivalry and sat in bars drinking to escape the modern world. i spoke up and said that i am a lot like the character since i often romanticize about past times. my professor said, "yes, but you're not sitting in bars lamenting about it." he should have said, "You're not sitting in bars lamenting YET."

i finally went to get serious help for my alcoholism. i am three weeks sober. i never had a problem admitting that i was an alcoholic; in fact, i felt emotionally free being an imbalanced, manic, drunken writer, misunderstood by the world and sought solace in a whiskey bottle. i liked the manic feeling whiskey gave me... in my early days of drinking. i was quick with a witty retort and males seemed to be taken back by how fast this little 5'2'', 103 pound girl gulping whiskey could put them in their place. I felt strong; for the first time i was not a meek little thing awkward and searching for the ease of expressing the words trapped in her head. i thought i was another Edgar Allen Poe,James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway... but, they wrote books, i just dreamed of writing books, drank and wandered in graveyards talking aloud while sipping whiskey, waiting for an epiphany that would cause me to race home and finish my novel and change the world. i have always felt a presence of something around me; i do not know exactly what it is, but it is a benevolent spirit. i feel it now as i type. i know if i speak, it hears me.

Every time i drank it was like playing Russian Roulette. i never knew for sure which drink would set me "off"- if i would loose control and go on a manic journey, both mentally and physically. i began to feel like a ghost haunting my own house, mourning someone i had loved and lost.

i did not start out this way. i had planned on being a published writer by 19. I planned to be a sober writer because i wanted it to be a pure, natural mind that emoted. I wanted to be unique in being a sober, profound writer. I began my novel at 18. I am now 26, a recovering alcoholic and still working on finishing my novel.

during my three weeks, away from home, following a regimented schedule, being forced to socialize while sober, i found that i am intelligent, witty and will stand up for myself. i learned i can still be tragic and dark and deep and wander around talking to Nature. i felt a peaceful connection with Nature, the trees especially. creative imagery became more vivid and i became more articulate when i spoke to the groups. I realized that i had stopped living. whiskey was my abusive lover. i isolated with it. i miss it. i don't want it to be sad without me because i know how it feels to be sad, alone and misunderstood.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Environmentally Friendly Winter Washing Tips

While it's tends to get too cold to haul your laundry out to the line to use the solar dryer, we must use our electric dryers to dry our clothes. Last year I read some clever tips to help save some energy... and money: (of course be sure your lint trap is cleaned out before these tips)

Use COLD water; 90% of the energy associated with doing laundry comes from heating up the water (

~Dry heavier clothes, jeans (be sure to pull inside of pockets out to dry), sweaters, towels... separate from lighter clothes, blouses, lingerie. Add in a couple clean, dry bath towels. This will help absorb dampness and cut drying time almost in half. I tried it, it works pretty well!

If you do venture out to hang clothes in winter and they freeze; carry them in FLAT, don't crumple or fold, it can cause the fibers to break (Household Hints and Handy Tip; Reader's Digest Association; 1988)

The common liquid Fabric softener and dryer sheets are horrible for the environment; try Eco-friendly ones that are ok'd by the EPA such as:

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Fabric sheets

DETERGENTS ok'd by the EPA:

METHOD laundry detergent free of perfume and dyes
METHOD laundry detergent with smartclean technology
PUREX with Natural Cleaners (Dial Corporation)
CLOROX free and clear, lavender and original scent

~If you have an old umbrella, remove the material, turn upside down; the skeleton of it makes a brilliant indoor drying rack (Household Hints and Handy Tips; Reader's Digest Association; 1988)

~Hairspray can remove stains; spray on stain, blot until the stain disapears and then wash (Joey Green's Magic Brands; Rodale 2001)

~Baking Soda boosts your laundry detergent's cleaning power; add about 1/2 a cup of it with your usual amount of detergent (Joey Green's Magic Brands)

~To help reduce dampness in closets or other storage areas hang a bundle (about 12 pieces) of chalk (Household Hints and Handy Tips; Reader's Digest Association 1988)