Friday, January 27, 2017

Hag Stones: Seeing through the glamour

Single Form by Barbara Hepworth. 1961-1964. Bronze.  See it
at the United Nation's Building, New York.
"We must begin to see ourselves as existing in society not as isolated selves but as part of the whole. " 
– Rev. William Barber.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." — Marianne Williamson

“We are deeply committed to a society where people love one another and don’t kick people when they are down.” - Rev. William Barber



The Fairy GodMother’s Association (FGMA) has just issued an alert. They are investigating an outbreak of “fear glamour.” This magical spell is part of a series of enchantments that fall under Terror Management Series.  It is used to create a "culture of fear."

People who are infected show a mild to extreme, irrational fear towards humanity.  It is largely based on assumptions. FGMA have reported infected people appear to rely on others (including the media, Facebook, and snapchat) to spoon-feed how things should be. Ultimately, FGMA has identified that the spell is being used for the following: to silence or censor people, to isolate people, and pit people against each other based on differences (i.e., rural vs. urban, poor vs. rich, college educated vs. GED, gay vs. straight, conservative vs. liberal, man vs. woman, black vs. white – you get my point).

When talking to infected persons, they appear amnesic regarding their country’s history and/or lack the awareness of the stories about the struggles their ancestresses and ancestors experienced. In extreme cases, the infected person’s fear seems based on their lack of knowing their rights or caring for the rights of other. These individuals describe having a complete sense of hopelessness and a willingness to withdraw from community activities. They are hoping for a knight in shining armor rather than rolling up their sleeves to work on hard moral issues.

This glamour is highly infectious. The U.S.’s last outbreak began in 1950 ~ 1956 and lasted through the 1980 and is commonly referred to the Second Red Scare, Cold War, or McCarthyism.

Recommended Actions for Prevention:

  • There has been some success using a Hag Stone. The stones have the ability to cut through the glamour. The uninfected look through the hole and can see the truth. However, there is an inadequate supply for the stones from Europe due to political control of imports. FGMA is asking people to share.  FGMA has had additional success using the strategically placed Barbara Hepworth's sculptures.   
  • The uninfected should also consider drawing conclusions for themselves. FGMA recommends reading, active listening, having civil conversations with neighbors, and drawing a conclusion for yourself. They also recommend the of the analysis should be around the moral issue: how do we treat each other. Are we generous or stingy? Kind or a bully? Sympathetic or unfeeling? Welcoming or unfriendly?
  • Secondary Prevention for mild cases.  Reducing media and social media consumption and attending a local community event: school play, band concert, helping the food pantry, meditation or prayer circle, or discussion learning group around a moral issue you are passionate about.  


Let Them Not Say
by Jane Hirshfield, 1953

Let them not say: we did not see it.
We saw.

Let them not say: we did not hear it.
We heard.

Let them not say: they did not taste it.
We ate, we trembled.

Let them not say: it was not spoken, not written.
We spoke,
we witnessed with voices and hands.

Let them not say: they did nothing.
We did not-enough.

Let them say, as they must say something:
A kerosene beauty.

It burned.
Let them say we warmed ourselves by it,
read by its light, praised,
and it burned.


This past week I marched in one of the many international women’s marches. We were a sea of pink hats each made to fit the style of the maker. My friend and I were wearing ones I made. The count estimates more than three million people in 500 US cities took to the streets with our signs, slogans, chants and song. There were lone marchers around a suburb block and several on hospital floors. I know there were many women who feared to come out and there were those who thought it was a waste of time or the marchers were sore losers.

For me, the march gave me a jolt like being knocked off my feet from being touched by a fairy wand. The march challenges and inspires me to be re-committed to helping people and to mend holes. The march also reinforced my rights as a citizen of the USA stated in my constitution: “Amendment I: Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

These written rights I have are a privilege other people, mostly women may not have internationally. I also had the privilege of time to attend the march in my home state; a working person may have not had that time. But the purpose for writing down the quote above is for all to see so it can help break this spell of fear.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kindness Tea Party - Alternative Narratives

Three Graces by Marie Bracquemond,
1880 oil.See it at Musee d'Orsay, Paris
"Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu

“All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries.”
Kathryn Stockett, The Help

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

We live in a world that is constantly telling us stories. These narratives have a way of shaping our lives.Their plot lines describe what or who to be afraid of; what is a beautiful face or body type; what we should eat; how you should act; or what success looks like. It is hard to escape these stories because they are reinforced by the media and the number of hearts and the reposts. I often find it hard to escape from their grip of my subconscious. Sociologists call these stories the dominant narrative

Jeyne Roberts writes, “There are three sides to every story. Yours. Mine. What really happened.” The dominant narrative is a one-sided story. It pits my story against your story. If your story wins. It becomes the story that is perceived as valid and real. However, there’s a problem with listening to only one side, you don’t get to hear the stories from other perspectives. By not hearing all the stories, I believe you miss out on the nuances of the story. And, if you hear a similar story, you may jump to a conclusion influenced by past plot lines.

I a firm believer of making your own decisions and coming up with your own solutions to problems.  Following the CCWWW philosophy, you need to put on your lab coat and unearth different viewpoints.  You also need to make sure your solutions consider others wants and needs.  By hearing only one viewpoint and choosing the dominant narrative or one story, puts you in conflict with the CCWWW philosophy.  Meaning: everyone should feel like they belong, they are valued and they are heard.  (It doesn’t mean you have to agree with the other person’s story only hear them out).


You don’t listen to what I say.
When I lean towards you in the car
You simply smile and turn away.

It’s been like this most of the day,
sitting and sipping, bar after bar:
You don’t listen to what I say.

You squeeze a lemon from a tray,
And if you guess how dear you are
You simply smile and turn away.

Beyond the hairline of the bay
the steamers call that shore is far.
You don’t listen to what I say:

Surely there’s another way?
The waiter brings a small guitar.
You simply smile and turn away.

Sometimes I think you are too gay,
smiling and smiling, hour after hour.
You don’t listen to what I say.
You simply smile and turn away.

Fuller, John. “Song.” Collected Poems.  London: Chatto & Windus, 1996. 

Kindness Tea Party
I have been doing a lot of reflecting at the end of the year.  One story I have stumbled on is the number of people who state they feel like don’t belong or they are not heard.  I keep hearing and reading in the news and in my Facebook feed.  I’ve also noticed that this story doesn’t seem to fit with the dominant narratives playing out in the media: us versus them, liberals versus conservatives… It makes the story a little more complicated because both us and them are telling this tale. 

The first time I heard about this story of not feeling connected was in a random essay on Facebook.  The story immediately made me think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and number 3 on his pyramid: love and belonging; (and the OSU professor who droned on in a large, hot lecture hall).  Maslow identified that humans need to feel that they belong and are accepted in a group.  We are mammals that require social connection to love and be loved.  This loving connection has increases our survival as a species.  If this need isn’t met than the affected human may develop a laundry list of psychosis: loneliness, social anxiety, depression, and ultimately people who can’t form a relationship. 

And, how do you prevent or fix this problem?

One activity I am launching this year with another co-worker, is a Kindness Tea Party in the work setting. The Tea Party is a magical opportunity for people at my work to connect through food and listening. We are holding it in the late afternoon. I’ve sent the invitation out to about 100 people (paper and via e-mail) and asked them to bring their own cups (fancy hats are welcomed too). Twenty people have responded saying they are planning on coming.

Equipment Needed:
Electric Coffee Urn (Earl Gray Tea)
Electric Pot to heat water for (Hibiscus tea and Green Tea)
Two containers to make the other two teas
Cream container
Food (shortbread, brownies and a tin of lemon cookies)

No tea is complete without fortunes.  We decided to print off fortune cookie messages and place them in a bowl. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hidden Figures

Starry Night and the Astronauts by Alma Thomas
Acrylic on Canvas, 1972 
 find it at
The Art Institute of Chicago® 
Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew - Cicely Tyson

No one ever heard of a black woman pilot in 1919.  I refused to take no for an answer.  - Bessie Coleman

Know how to learn. Than want to learn. - Katherine Johnson.

I have been reviewing my posts that received over 100 views.  My readers seem to have honed in on three topics: kindness, my version of spirituality that includes kitchen magic, and feminism.   

Today's post falls under the theme of feminism.  I recently read Lynn Bilal's post on Prevent Connect about oppression and how many social justice issues are connected.  She quotes author bell hooks who asks people to look at each form of oppression (sexism, racism, ageism...) as part of a larger system of keeping people in place.  Lynn Bilal's guest blog encourages civil conversations this month around the story of unseen and nearly forgotten black women who worked at the Langley Research Center, Hampton Virginia. Ms. Bilal asks people to look at the intersections between these African American women's experiences as STEM scientists, sexual harassment, gender and racism.   


Look What We Have Become by Rocker Grace Potter.  Song honors women of NASA


Hidden Figures Poster 2016

A Celtic Wise Witchy Woman knows her-story and the woman who didn't take no as an answer in order for her world to be better.

Step 1:  Again, I am borrowing from Lynn Bilal's blog.  I want to encourage everyone to take the time to see the movie Hidden Figures.  The movie is in theaters in the U.S. starting January 6, 2017.  It is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.  The film depicts the experience of three African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson.  These women served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut and Ohioan John Glenn into orbit.

Step 2: Have a conversation with a friend, family member, co-worker... This can be an opportunity to talk about racism, gender bias, and sexual harassment portrayed in the movie. OR, use these questions obtained from Margot Lee Shetterlys book Hidden Figures, YA Edition.
  • What does this job mean for Dorothy in terms of social mobility?
  • From what we know so far, in what ways do Dorothy and Katherine’s experiences mirror each other? In what ways are they different?
  • How does the civil rights movement take shape during this time period?
  • Are the women who become “girl computers” held to a higher standard? Do they hold themselves to one? Why or why not?
  • How do the racial problems in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s change the perception of the U.S. abroad? How is this used as propaganda by the Soviet Union?
  • How was the fight for social equality affecting education? How would those practices affect Langley recruitment? In what ways is Mary’s transition to engineer significant?
  • What impact, if any did the Soviets having engineering schools dominated by women play-out in American press, especially in papers like the Washington Post?
GROUND RULES for Civil Conversation:

  1. Listen more than you speak.  It is okay to have quiet time. These are tough topics.
  2. Be kind to one and other.  
  3. Be forgiving.

Extra Credit Resources from Lynn Bilal 
Additional Resources

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Aspiring Mystic Artisan

Medieval Women Cutting Out Fabric artist unknown
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.  CG Jung

Spirit first, technique second.  Gichin Funakoshi
God gives us the capacity for choice.  We can choose to alleviate suffering.  We can choose to work together for peace.  We can make these changes—and we must.  Jimmy Carter

It’s been three years since I wrote regularly on this blog.  When I checked in over the holiday break, I was surprised to learn how many people have read my blog.  Thank you. 
  • Where have you been? 
  • I checked-off of an item on my bucket list.  I set off to university and finished my graduate degree.
  • And what’s next?
  • I’ve have many ideas floating in my head, but I’m waiting.  I’m taking time to listen to Motherfather Spirit before packing my backpack. 
Starting a journey under the Capricorn moon has shook me up.  In the past, my bags would be packed, rituals done, and off I go.  I was determined to get my dream at any cost including setting off into uncharted and unfriendly places. However, not this time.  I'm being opened to the path Motherfather Spirit pushes me towards.
Many of you know the Capricorn symbol has a dual body. It is both mountain goat and fish.  (The fish part I often forget.  Perhaps I’m always concentrating on the goat side because it is in front.  The fish part is in the back--hidden.) To be a master at anything you must practice with discipline (this is the goat part), but you also have to be connected to Motherfather Spirit and your soul (this is the fish part).  A master of (name your skill) has balance between what they are trying to create and spirit. 
It means before picking up a pencil, shovel, whisk, keys, (fill in the blank), you stay put and take the time to listen. 

Oh this is so hard to do in the world I live in.

 Tina Turner - Mother Within (Heavenly Home) - 'Beyond  


This year I am changing how I make my Feng Shui Shield. For nine days I plan on meditating on each square/bagua. Before beginning my meditation, I will focus on the theme of the bagua and ask Motherfather Spirit to give me insight. Each day I will keep a journal to keep track of what wisdom is shared with me.  I will build my shield from this.  

During the darkness of the new moon I will anoint my shield with the "Candle Spells for New Beginnings" ritual.