Tuesday 29 March 2016

The Caturian Legends

Long, long ago . . .

In a land far, far away . . .

When many perilous enemies were abroad in the realm . . .

There was a castle. A castle made of the finest carpeting. Behold!

I tell thee true, oh unbelievers and sceptics, 'twas a castle full of cats. The bravest, fiercest, most chivalrous felines that ever lived.

Yea verily, the Cats of the Round Kibble.

And forsooth, many were the cat heroes amongst them. First and foremost was their mighty leader, King Catur . . .

And his fearless, if somewhat morose, champion . . .

These noble felines spent their time eating, sleeping, playing with cat toys and, oh yes, questing. They were always questing for impossible things to locate, like the Holy Grail. Of course, being cats, they had their own motives for wanting to find this most sacred relic.

And oh, the legendary feats of skill and daring accomplished by these heroic cats!

'Zounds, but all manner of evil fell before them!

Their deeds shall live forevermore and be recounted with awe whenever cats gather together to feast on fat mice and pass around the catnip.

Thursday 24 March 2016

My Pagan Tattoo -- The Quotation

[Photo by My Rare One]

So finally we come to the last element of my tattoo. Now, what's up with that pagan quotation?

The ancient Spartans once sought the advice of the Oracle at Delphi about whether they should go to war against Athens. Would the Divine be on Sparta's side, they wanted to know. The Oracle's enigmatic answer was: Bidden or not bidden, the Divine is present. The optimistic Spartans took that answer as a firm "yes," even though the prophecy didn't actually answer their question.

To me, this phrase sums up my personal experience of the Divine. Our belief or lack of belief is irrelevant to the Divine, whatever it may or may not be. We need not ask or try to determine whether the Divine exists or not. If the Divine wants to manifest in our lives, it will regardless of our own beliefs, desires or actions. And if it does manifest, you'll friggin know it, my friend! Your life will be turned upside down and inside out, whether you want it to or not. Bidden or not bidden.

Carl Jung also had this quotation carved in Latin over the doorway of his home clinic in Switzerland. Jung interpreted the phrase as meaning: Yes, the Divine is present, but in what form and to what purpose? We can't take anything for granted about the Divine. Since Jungian philosophy was central to my own spiritual development and understanding, this is another reason why I chose to get inked with the same quotation in English.

This post concludes my series about the meaning and significance of my pagan tattoo -- now you know all about it in more excruciating detail than anyone would ever want, hope or expect, LOL! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 23 March 2016

My Pagan Tattoo -- Thor's Hammer (Divine Masculine)

[Photo by My Rare One]

The Divine Masculine is honoured in my tattoo by a stylized Thor's Hammer. Although it is primarily portrayed today as the God of Thunder's weapon of war, Thor's Hammer is also an ancient fertility symbol. As My Rare One perceptively noted, the rounded double hammer head with its upward handle is "a classic cock-and-balls motif, isn't it." At pagan Norse wedding feasts, it was customary for the bride to sit with a Thor's Hammer in her lap to promote the fertility of the marriage.

In an ancient myth, Thor and Loki relied on that custom in order to retrieve Thor's Hammer from a giant who had stolen it. Loki dressed Thor in drag to pass him off as the giant's intended bride, accompanying him as bridesmaid in order to field any awkward questions. After having successfully managed that deception, the two gods just simply waited for the Hammer to be placed in Thor's lap at the wedding feast. Back with its rightful owner at last!

And then, Thor and Loki killed everybody, everybody! -- well, it's a Norse myth after all, what did you expect?

Tomorrow: The Pagan Quotation

Tuesday 22 March 2016

My Pagan Tattoo -- Labrys (Divine Feminine)

[Photo by My Rare One]

The Divine Feminine is honoured in my tattoo by a Labrys, the ceremonial double-headed axe of the ancient goddess-worshipping Minoan Crete civilization. This immensely old fertility symbol represents the vulva's butterfly-like double labia. The Labrys is so inextricably associated with women that classical Greek, Roman and Western art often portrays it as a favourite battle weapon of the Amazons, the mythical female warriors who fought against patriarchal domination.

This latter interpretation also led to the Labrys being adopted in the feminist 1970s as the symbol of the Lesbian Nation. The modern Women's Spirituality movement has now revived its original spiritual meaning as well. And, of course, all three movements -- feminism, lesbian rights and women's spirituality -- have been central to my own life.

Tomorrow: Thor's Hammer (Divine Masculine)

Monday 21 March 2016

INKED! A Tattoo Virgin No More

Long-time readers may remember a series of posts I wrote a few years back about my thwarted plans to get a tattoo. Long before tattoos on women were a mainstream fashion, dyke chic meant that every lesbian had to have at least one tat! But like a female Hamlet, I waffled forever over what design I should get. And then when I did finally resolve to get inked for my 40th birthday, I got downsized in government job cuts and prudently decided not to spend the money after all.

After that, the moment simply passed. And then years, many years, passed. The desire to get some ink did not surface again until 2014. I was born in '57 and 2014 was when I turned 57. It was like my friggin year of Harmonic Convergence! And lo, all of a sudden, in a flash of blinding inspiration, I knew exactly what I should get for my tattoo -- a design of great personal significance to me.

[Photo by My Rare One,
who does not really like tattoos at all
but who has adjusted]

And to answer everyone's inevitable question -- no, it didn't really hurt because modern, high-speed tattooing equipment has eliminated much of the pain. It felt like someone was lightly dragging a hot needle across my skin, that was all. Some mild discomfort, yes, but nothing that I would dignify with the word "pain." Fer chrissakes, I've had menstrual cramps that were a million times more painful than this! Tattooing was nothing by comparison.

So what is the meaning and significance of my tat's design? It's a pagan tattoo honouring the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine and which also cites a famous pagan quotation about the nature of the human/Divine relationship. As you can see, I decided not to get a coloured tat but went old school with simple black and grey scale. That's a nod to my father's monochromatic tattoos that I remember so well from childhood onwards.

I'm going to post individually about each element of the design over the next three days. Hey, I waited 57 years to get a tattoo, I damn well intend to milk its blog post potential for all it's worth!

Tomorrow: Labrys (Divine Feminine)

Saturday 19 March 2016

Eostre Has Arrived!

This weekend is the Spring Equinox in North America -- it arrives here in Alberta late tonight, while in more easternly time zones,  it arrives early tomorrow morning.

In ancient pagan terms, the fertility goddess of the earth -- Eostre -- stirs and awakens after a long winter's sleep. She infuses everything with new life and the energy of rebirth and regeneration. From Her name, we get the English words estrogen, estrus and Easter.

Her intimate connection with sex, reproduction and new life is shown in Her two central symbols -- the sacred rabbit and brightly coloured eggs.

Flowers from the awakening earth also spring forth in a burst of much welcomed colour after winter's monochromatic whites and greys. Eostre is busy colouring in her book with every crayon She can lay Her hands on!

May you all enjoy the blessings of rejuvenation this Spring! Happy Eostre, everyone!

Thursday 17 March 2016

Happy Irish Heritage Day!

Sure, an' 'tis enjoyin' yer hangovers tamorra ye'll be! Erin go bragh!

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Why Cal Heighton is a Bad Influence on Me

Like everyone, I read and enjoyed comic books as a kid. In those days, my favourite superheroes were Batman and Superman. But as I got older, I moved on to novels and more serious reading and didn't give comics a second thought again for . . . well, for decades.

And then, about six years ago, I started reading Cal Heighton's blog, Cal's Canadian Cave of Cool. Cal is a major comics enthusiast and has a huge collection of superhero toys and memorabilia. He is probably one of the most prolific and entertaining bloggers out there, in my opinion. Under his tutelage, without even really being aware of it, I have been indoctrinated into becoming a devotee of the Marvel Universe and a rabid fan of all things Thor, Loki, Avengers and X-Men.

I have even, may the Goddess help me, started my own wee Thor 'n Loki collection. (Please pardon the blurriness of these photos from my little point-and-shoot camera.)

And I've got a few figurines of some of my other superhero faves too:

And now look what Cal sent me in the mail last week!

Winged helmet and Mjolnir accessories -- articulated joints -- a real cloth costume -- and best of all, long blonde hair that is brushable like a Barbie doll's -- SQUEEEEEEE! What a great addition to my little collection! Thank you so much, Cal!

But Cal, My Rare One wants to have a stern word or two with you. She thinks your bad influence has made me go absolutely nutso and driven me right off the deep end. Despite being forced to sit through more Marvel movies than she would ever have thought humanly possible or advisable, My Rare One STILL does NOT see the charm or attraction of my fandoms. So while she's on the warpath, buddy, you might want to lay low for awhile and put on your Odin cosplay disguise to throw her off your trail. Just sayin'.

Sunday 13 March 2016

Driving a Stolen Bucket List

Not only did I steal this quiz from Toni at Wandering and Wondering, I stole her post title too! But that's okay because she's just as big a thief as I am. She stole this quiz from Bob, who stole it from Anne Marie at From My Brain to My Mouth, who stole it from Travel Penguin . . . .  So feel free to steal it yourself if you feel like playing along with the Bucket List Quiz on your own blog!

Please note: (1) my own comments are in italics; (2) links in the comments lead to selected posts from this blog's archives, if you want more gory details

(  ) Shot a gun [clearly this is an American quiz]
(X) Gone on a blind date [with a guy named Suzuki -- no, not Dr David]
(  ) Skipped school [not me, I was a good girl]
(  ) Watched someone die [and I hope I never do]
(X) Visited Canada [again, clearly this is an American quiz]

(X) Visited Hawaii [Maui and Oahu]
(  ) Visited Cuba
(X) Visited Europe [England and Italy]
(  ) Visited South America
(  ) Visited Las Vegas

(  ) Visited Central America
(X) Visited Asia [Japan and South Korea]
(  ) Visited Africa
(  ) Visited Florida
(X) Visited Mexico [Mayan Riviera]

(  ) Seen the Grand Canyon in person
(X) Flown in a plane [seriously, who hasn't? apart from my 90-year-old mother]
(  ) Served on a jury
(X) Been lost [but now I'm found; was blind, but now I see]
(X) Traveled to the opposite side of the country [both East and West]

(  ) Visited Washington, DC
(X) Swam in the ocean [well, paddled my feet in the Pacific]
(X) Cried yourself to sleep [why the hell is THIS on a Bucket List?]
(X) Played cops and robbers [is Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham close enough?]
(X) Played cowboys and Indians [alas, yes -- too much American TV, gawd help me]

(X) Recently colored with crayons [in my Kliban Cats colouring book that I got for Xmas!]
(X) Sang karaoke ["Stop in the Name of Love" is my specialty]
(X) Sang a solo or duet in church ["O Little Town of Bethlehem" when I was eight or so]
(X) Paid for a meal with coins only [easy to do with Canadian loonies and twoonies]
(X) Made prank phone calls ["is your refrigerator running?"]

(X) Laughed until some beverage came out your nose [coca-cola if I recall]
(X) Caught a snowflake on your tongue [what Canadian hasn't?]
(  ) Had children
(X) Had a pet [I miss you, Her Royal Highness]
(  ) Been skinny-dipping

(X) Been fishing [pickerel a.k.a. walleye]
(X) Been boating [does a cruise ship count?]
(  ) Been downhill skiing
(  ) Been water skiing
(  ) Been camping in a trailer/RV

(X) Been camping in a tent [and hated every miserable second]
(  ) Driven a motorcycle
(  ) Been bungee-jumping (ripcord jumping)
(  ) Been sky diving
(X) Gone to a drive-in movie

(X) Done something that could have killed you [several times]
(X) Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life [a few things actually]
(  ) Rode an elephant
(  ) Rode a camel
(X) Eaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner [many, many times!]

(X) Been on TV ["Reach for the Top" in high school, LOL!]
(  ) Stolen any traffic signs
(X) Been in a car accident [had mild whiplash once]
(  ) Been in the hospital in the past 24 months
(X) Donated blood [sold my plasma as an impoverished university student]

(  ) Gotten a speeding or any other type of ticket in the past 12 months
(X) Gotten a piercing [hey, earlobes count!]
(X) Gotten a tattoo [yes, I finally did it! so stay tuned for some upcoming posts!]
(X) Driven a four door vehicle [what the hell's so special about a four door vehicle?]
(X) Ever owned your dream car [my Toyota Yaris, LOL!]

(  ) Been married
(  ) Been divorced
(X) Fell in love [with My Rare One]
(X) Fell out of love [just temporarily but then fell back in love again]
(X) Paid for a stranger's meal [if donating money to the food bank counts]

(  ) Driven over 100 mph
(  ) Been scuba diving
(X) Written a published book / story / poem / song [here's an example]
(  ) Eaten snails [no, but I ate frog legs once -- that should count!]
(X) Broke a bone [my baby toe -- hey, it was painful as hell!]

Thursday 10 March 2016

The Elusive Van Gogh

Marie Smith of Island Musings wrote an interesting post last week about her difficulties tracking down Van Gogh's painting Starry Night to see it in person and about her acquaintanceship with a nephew-descendant of the famous painter.

Her post reminded me that it's been awhile since I posted a collection of Van Gogh LOLs on the old blogarino (click here to see it). It is definitely time to post another set because the genius of Van Gogh is appreciated by MANY, isn't it?

Famous for his self-portraits, wouldn't Van Gogh have loved living in today's SELFIE society?

The poor bugger was also famous, of course, for THAT EAR . . . .

While Van Gogh lived, worked and died in poverty and obscurity, his painting Starry Night is today one of the most priceless and recognizable artworks in the world. Homages to it are EVERYWHERE -- sometimes in the most surprising places!

So hey, everybody! Hug a struggling artist today and slip them a fiver or two, eh? You just might be encouraging the next Van Gogh.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Happy International Women's Day!

This year to celebrate International Women's Day, I'd like to honour the accomplishments of Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space.

[Tereshkova in 1963]

In 1963, as a 26-year-old Soviet cosmonaut, she was the sole occupant and pilot of Vostok 6, spending 3 days in space and orbiting the earth 48 times.

Before becoming a cosmonaut, Valentina was a textile factory worker and amateur skydiver. Her space flight made her a hero in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries of that era.

After her space career, Valentina attended the Air Force academy and became an engineer, ultimately earning a doctorate. She also became prominent in the Communist Party and held many high political posts. She is much decorated and honoured.

[Tereshkova in 1969]

According to Wikipedia:

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Tereshkova lost her political office but none of her prestige. To this day, she is revered as a hero, and to some her importance in Russian space history is only surpassed by Yuri Gagarin and Alexey Leonov. In 2011, she was elected to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, where she continues to serve.

[Tereshkova in 2014]

Now 78, she appears to be as feisty as ever, with an ongoing sense of adventure. She has offered to resume her cosmonaut career in order to participate in the first one-way space flight to Mars. And wouldn't that be a fitting way for Valentina Tereshkova to cap her lifetime of achievement?

[I owe a big shout-out to Cal at Cal's Canadian Cave of Cool for teaching me about Valentina Tereshkova via his regular posts about her. Many of these photos and much of this info come from his blog.]