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Went to UU (Unitarian Universalist) church again today. Woke up at 8:45 so I could be out the door at 9:45, since last week I got up at 9, only to find that the bus after 10 didn't leave till 25 after, and was late getting there as a result. I was early today by enough of a margin that I sat outside the library reading for about 15 minutes before walking the rest of the way to the church. I got there early enough to get a good seat and light a candle in prayer for Africa.

They had a full choir today. One of the songs was a bit odd; I don't know how to describe it, so I won't bother. But it's called "Song of the Birds" and is credited as "Traditional Catalan." (Then "arr. Pablo Casals et al")

The worship assistant, who read this poem by e. e. cummings, the parish concerns, pastoral prayer, guided the offering, and guided the "moment of silence" meditation bit today is, I think, a transwoman. I'm not certain, since I didn't ask, but I'm fairly sure she is, which is cool. And a cisgender lesbian talked about "growing in faith, in hope, and in love" which was about her personal growth thanks to the UU church; that was pretty cool, too. I love this UU church. :-D Both these things made me ponder the possibility of telling my own story on stage, too.

Part of the sermon was a story about a group of American soldiers in Iraq who were angry and seeking revenge for some of the people in their group getting killed, and beating up some men as a result. Then one soldier realized one of the people there was a boy with Downs Syndrome. He had a son with the same condition, so all of a sudden the situation changed for him because he was starting to see them as actual people. He stopped the beatings, as I recall, because of that. It reminded me of the song "Crusade" by Voltaire.

When the service was over, I went downstairs to check out the free veggie booth. Lots of tomatoes; no zucchini this time. In a way, that's good. I just started using the one that I got last week, that looks like Hagrid put an engorgement charm on it, and that bugger is a real pain to cut. I was cutting the narrow end, and had to be very careful, yet still put enough force behind the blade. I ended up having to cut around the circumference of the thing. Slicing it up had the same difficulties, and even cutting the slices into smaller pieces was more difficult than it should have been. I got a thorough workout cutting it! I may just cut the rest in half lengthwise, scoop out the insides to mix with some other stuff like feta cheese, and bake it. Bound to be easier.
Oh, had some tea while I was down there, too. And I brought home several roma tomatoes and what I think are cherry tomatoes, some of which are a tad on the large size.

Once I left the church, I went to the library. Had to hunt around like mad to figure out where they moved the 296 section to, as it had been moved. Got a book on shamanism, and a couple about African pagan religions. Also got on the computerized card catalog system and put Ceiswr Serith's "A Book of Pagan Prayer" on hold, since hir "Pagan Ritual Prayer Book" was so good, at least until it started getting to a list of example prayers. Some of those were interesting, but I skipped most of them. Might go back.

Oh, that reminds me, I said I was reading outside the library; well, one thing I read in the Pagan Ritual Prayer Book was about sacred spaces being separate from everyday life, and how ancient pagans had permanently set-aside sacred spaces. It made me realize a major reason why I almost never managed to do a ritual while living with Lilla. Lilla had gotten first dibs on bedrooms, and so took the larger one; there was no room in my bedroom for my altar AND my computer. I suppose I should have put the computer stuff out in the living room or something, but I had the altar out in the dining area. Fuck, it's hard enough doing rituals often enough with my altar in my bedroom now, and I live alone now! And the thing is, the whole time I lived with Lilla, I knew that was a bad place for the altar, because I never felt comfortable using it while it was there, but I never thought to put my computer stuff there, and my altar in my room. Seems so obvious now, though.
      *Sigh* What I really want is a whole room just for the altar. A nice big room, preferably with a non-flammable floor of some kind, like cement or stone. I had something like that when I lived in Creston with Mom and Dad... there were two storage rooms down there, and the smaller one of the two was almost completely empty, so I would use that as a ritualroom. It was so cool! Close the door, light the candles in the middle of the room, and I could dance or otherwise move around the fire at the center.

Actually, what would be most ideal, I think, is something like what the Shao'Bahn Order has in my Traipah stories: an outdoor ritual area, possibly sheltered from rain, definitely sheltered from prying eyes, with bushes at the border. The altar itself consists of a two-tiered dais; in the center of the top tier of the dais is a pit for a bonfire. There is a stack of wood nearby, somewhere nearby is an accelerant (something that doesn't stink horribly when it burns; maybe alcohol), and sitting in a hole on the bottom tier is a pole with the starter flame on the end of it. The altar I'm picturing in my mind is made of white stone, but I find it more likely the Shao'Bahn Order would use onyx or some other black stone. If sheltered from the rain, the shelter would have a chimney or just a hole, some way for the smoke to escape.
      I think the pit would be square, with a concave bottom, so the alcohol could pool there (so it doesn't all evaporate before you get a chance to light the bonfire.) Although more modern Shao'Bahn temples might use some kind of eternal flame, possibly.

~ ~ ~

Now for older news: The other day, Friday night I think, I was struck by an idea I absolutely HAD to write, just before bedtime. Computers were off already, so I wrote it on paper. It's a fable from the early days of the Shao'Bahn Order; not historically accurate, but fun. Involves Uu'zahr'thay Hai'nox - founder of the Shao'Bahn Order - and a conversation with Shao'Kehn, who is speaking through a Duenicallo avatar. It's going to take a while to type the whole thing down, but let me just share one of the best bits:

      Shao'Kehn (sarcastic) = "There is only one piece of food in all the world; when it is eaten, everyone will starve. There is only one gulp of air; when it is gone, all will perish. There is only one path up the mountain; if an avalanche wipes it out, tough luck. There is only one eternal Truth, and if circumstances cause people to lose that precious knowledge forevermore, oh well... such a pity."
      "That is the stupidest thing I have ever..." [Uu'zahr'thay] trailed off, as pieces flew together in her mind. "Could it be? That there isn't just one Truth for everyone, or even one Truth for each person... except in a collective sort of way, like findok fruits or traldjeth nuts...?"
      Shao'Kehn grinned. "Yes. A dead animal is just a corpse to an Ah'Koi Bahnis, but to a Duenicallo, it may be dinner. What nourishes one may poison another. But a starving man may need to eat from someone else's plate until he's strong enough to find his own food. Yet if he does not know how to find his own food, he is stuck relying on others to feed him. Some people take a cruel delight maintaining others' dependence on them, for those who are the victims in that arrangement are easy to coerce. And other people are too lazy to break free of such dependence. Then, too, there are those who wish desperately to be free, and cannot find the strength."


Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
kengr
Sep. 26th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
Actually, what would be most ideal, I think, is something like what the Shao'Bahn Order has in my Traipah stories: an outdoor ritual area, possibly sheltered from rain, definitely sheltered from prying eyes, with bushes at the border. The altar itself consists of a two-tiered dais; in the center of the top tier of the dais is a pit for a bonfire. There is a stack of wood nearby, somewhere nearby is an accelerant (something that doesn't stink horribly when it burns; maybe alcohol), and sitting in a hole on the bottom tier is a pole with the starter flame on the end of it. The altar I'm picturing in my mind is made of white stone, but I find it more likely the Shao'Bahn Order would use onyx or some other black stone. If sheltered from the rain, the shelter would have a chimney or just a hole, some way for the smoke to escape.
I think the pit would be square, with a concave bottom, so the alcohol could pool there (so it doesn't all evaporate before you get a chance to light the bonfire.) Although more modern Shao'Bahn temples might use some kind of eternal flame, possibly.


You don't wahnt alcohol. It evaporates too esasily. That can lead to explosive mixes. Or merely being gone when you want it.

What you want are "natural" oils. Probably plant derived. Many of those have nice scents. Heck, simple pine resin will ignite easily, and smell nice. Or cedar, or...


fayanora
Sep. 26th, 2011 02:22 am (UTC)
Oooh, good idea!

Now... on Traipah itself, there's a tree that makes a flammable oil that pre-Reformation AKB used for a renewable biofuel.
(Deleted comment)
fayanora
Sep. 27th, 2011 09:16 am (UTC)
I tried a digital altar once, but I prefer a real altar.
(Deleted comment)
fayanora
Sep. 27th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Part of the thing for me is, I like doing rituals in the nude. But since Lilla and I often went around nude in our apartment, that wasn't a concern. I never really knew until last Sunday precisely why doing a ritual at my altar was nearly impossible there. It's that I, too, prefer to be alone when I do rituals. That, and I had an instinctual preference for a permanent sacred space. My current altar placement barely qualifies as such, but it qualifies.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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