Thursday, September 22, 2011

random notes 9/22/11: equinox, asatru, death, climate change

the equinox
I’m so glad the fall equinox is here! The beginning of the dark half of the year. For six long months beginning now, nighttime will be longer than day. 
mwoo ha ha ha ha ha!
I know that as a black person I’m supposed to be all into the sun and heat and everything, but I actually adore the cold and the long, dark days of winter. When nature is biting and stark. I love waking up at 6am and it’s still dark out.  I love that it’s dark again just a few hours later. I love the way the sun hangs low in the sky even at high noon. I love that all the birds around these parts are quiet this time of year, except for the crows. 
I’ll be marking the day with a little solo ritual. But mostly just enjoying the darkness.
white nationalist asatru types
A real clusterfuck over at the Wildhunt earlier this week. ‘Nuff said, check out the link if you’re interested but be forewarned: some of the comments might make you barf.
hurricane irene again
The storm did a real number on my area of upstate NY. Lots and lots of flooding. As I mentioned in my last post, the trunk of our favorite tree split in two and half of the tree came crashing down. Glad that happened in an empty field and not our roof. 
The majestic maple. How grand you were in autumn, blazing gold and red! 
So sorry! Sometimes I just break out in random poetry. We were shocked to wake up the next day and see the damage. Just sat on the stoop and stared. The next day, the mister and I did a little ritual under it to help with healing the half that still lives. I sure hope the remaining trunk doesn’t catch some tree disease, being all exposed like that.
The storm also eroded our driveway and knocked out our water heater. It is costing about $2,500 to repair everything. But we were lucky. Many people sustained a lot more damage.
Storms like Irene constitute the “new normal,” as they say. Freak, extreme weather patterns that have become standard operating procedure as a result of climate change. As Bill McKibben writes in his most recent book Eaarth, in a way we’re no longer living on the same planet most of us were born on. 
Earth has changed so radically these past few decades (deforestation, global warming, polar ice cap melt, ocean acidification, mass extinctions, etc.) that it’s becoming fundamentally different from the climactically stable planet that fostered civilization ten thousand years ago. That’s a scary thought.
And it’s changing much faster than scientists had predicted even ten years ago. 
The melting of the ice caps is a bad thing for humans and other species as it sets into motion a positive feedback loop which continually accelerates the pace of atmospheric warming. This in turn causes more melting. Which causes more heating. Which causes more melting. And so on.

The reason this happens is because the ice caps reflect heat back into space, whereas the ocean absorb the heat and make everything hotter. Soylent Green anyone? (A very prescient movie.)
Crystal Blanton wrote a great post over at Daughters of Eve a week or so back on the importance of us black alternative spirituality people making appropriate death arrangements beforehand. You know, before we actually die. Even you young folks take heed, as one can get hit by a bus at any age. 
If it’s important to you as an type to not have a Christian burial and funeral service than you need to arrange that beforehand and let your loved ones know. There’s got to be someone close to you whom you trust to carry out your wishes.
In my dad’s case, that person was me. When he found out he had terminal cancer, he wanted me and my husband to take care of him in his last weeks. So we did. And during that time he made it clear that he didn’t want some “big-ass” Christian funeral or burial. He wanted us to throw a party after he was gone, and he wanted to be cremated. 
He didn’t trust my mom with making sure that happened because she comes from a long line of funeral parlor owners and he was scared she’d go that whole route, against his wishes. We ended up doing a small, non-religious service at his favorite hangout and had him cremated. Dad wasn’t religious but he did believe in astral travel, having done it, he said, as a boy. And he also believed in communing with the ancestors. 
I’m quite sure he was happy with the send-off.
Me I’d like a Viking funeral. Just burn my body and send it off to sea. Since that’s probably not going to happen here’s my Plan B: to be buried in the earth so worms and microbes can feed on me. As a first-world human I’ve consumed more than my fair share of the earth’s resources so I’d like to give back in this very small but crucial way. Y’know, be a part of the natural cycle. 
In many states straight burial in the ground is not allowed, the law says you have to be in a coffin. My state, NY, is one of those where it’s prohibited. So if I can’t be soil fertilizer, then regular old cremation will have to do. Spread my ashes maybe in the mountains, or the ocean. That would suit me just fine.

And on that note. . . merry equinox, or whatever people say!


  1. Greetings Sister!
    I am just getting back into ritual- but ritual based solely on my intuition. I am only incorporating worship that I feel from my gut rather than asbsorb intellectually.
    When I feel magic in the air, I check the calendar & it's usually around one of the soltices or equinoxes. I have always been a dreamer, so to start with ritual again, I wrote my dreams down after waking.
    Thanks for your post, so glad you & your family are safe.
    Many Blessings

  2. I didn't know Dad was so spiritual until about two years before he died. He looked at a pic of my son and said, "He looks a lot like my mom. You know, if you believe in reincarnation..." At the time, I thought, "Dad you have got to be kidding. Your mother looked like a rock troll. It was painful just to look at her." Years later, I looked in the face of my gorgeous son and thought "Dad was right. He does look like her." Dad wanted a cremation, and he got it. He didn't want the preachers yelling over him, and as for me, I don't want anyone who makes a living from playing on people's fears about Hell presiding over my funeral.

  3. I am glad you got to read the Daughters of Eve blog on death. It was something that had been calling to me since my mother died in 2010. since my mother was "Pagan Friendly" and often participated in rituals with the coven, I had both Christian and Pagan things at the memorial. The coven did a crossover prayer for her and her sister sang one of her favorite Christian songs. It was important to me to honor my mom's life as she would have lived it. Now, my aunt died august of this year and that did not really happen for her. I had conversations with her about it before she passed and those things were overlooked by those making the decisions.

    Leads me to really think about what I want to put in place for when my time comes.

    Blessed Be.