Friday, December 21, 2007

The Wheel Turns

Here we are at Winter Solstice, after a long dark night, the light returns for the next six months—each day growing a bit brighter than the one before. By the Celtic calendar, this day marks the halfway point of winter, and we can look forward to spring beginning on Imbolc, February 2nd.

In in my branch of earth based spirituality, this marks the beginning of the year; as the light returns, so the cycle is again renewed. During the long night of Solstice, it is a great time to think about all that you want to shed. What is no longer serving you? What do you want to leave behind as the wheel turns. And since balance is always important, as the sun grows stronger, it is time to envision what you want to increase in your life, community and world. As every good pagan knows, nature abhors a vacuum-- whenever you rid yourself of something, it will behoove you to give thought to what you are making room for. Remember, the personal is political, and the political is personal; you don't need to be limit your meditations to your individual life—this can also reflect wishes for your community and your world.

Being an animist, pagan, spiral walking type, I love following the cycle of the year, and see the changing of the seasons as the eternal dance of the goddess and god, known by many names. The goddess is constant, with no beginning, and never ending. She is always transforming; throughout the year, we experience her as the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, and then back again, seamlessly. The god's cycle follows that of the lifespan that we know, beginning with birth on Winter's Solstice, and ending with death at Samhain. Throughout the year, these archetypes, or powers, change in season with the world around us.

Let's start with today, the Winter Solstice. As I have said, this is the time that the cycle renews. As the Sun is re-born, a new year begins with bright and shining potential. As the new sun grows in strength, what aspirations do we want to grow into reality? What can we do to give strength to that new world that has justice, love and laughter at its core?

Next comes Imbolc. Traditionally, this involves a feast dedicated to Brigid. This is the beginning of spring, as the lambs are born, and signs of life begin to appear in earnest, giving hope that the greening of the year is getting under way. This is a time of beginnings, and initiation. The god is still in infancy, but gaining strength, the goddess rests after birth, readying herself for the Rites of Spring, celebrated at the next turning point.

Ostara, aka the Spring Equinox—the Rites of Spring. This is a time to celebrate the fertility of the goddess in her Maiden role, and the god grows well into his youth. This is a time to nurture and feed what we have started, and see what else needs to be manifested in our lives. This is the time of the planting—laying tangible foundations for your ideas and projects.

Beltaine is a celebration of sexuality, and the year turns to early summer. Traditionally celebrated by erecting a Maypole, and dancing during the day, giving way to bonfires and sex at night. This is the time that the god becomes a man through his union with the goddess. As the poem goes:

"Hooray! Hooray! for the 1st of May,
Outdoor fucking begins today!"

Alright, it's probably not an ancient poem, but I have to say, I like the sentiment.

At Summer Solstice, or Midsummer, the god enjoys the apex of his power. This is a time of great expansive energy and celebration. This is the time to focus your power to give your dreams "lift off". Play hard. Think of the energy as a drum circle reaches that fevered frenzied climax. Manifest!!!

Lammas is celebrated August 1st. It is the festival of the first harvests; assess what you have manifested, how is it coming in? What do you need to prune, adjust, reshape? This is the time that the god grows older, waning in energy, while the goddess as mother harvests the seeds and nurtures the god growing within her, awaiting his re-birth.

At Mabon, or Fall Equinox, we celebrate balance. Projects dreamed in the winter and started in the spring come to fruition. It is a time to give thanks for what has come into your life and to prepare for the more introspective times ahead. The god, old now, rests after harvest-- preparing for his death.

The last turn of the year is Samhain. This is a time of dreaming, of communion with the dead, and those spiritual allies that are not incarnate. The veil separating this physical world from the land of the dead and the faery grows the thinnest at this time of year, making it a great time to gain advice and contemplate visions to guide you through this dark and introspective time. The god dies on this day, and old year passes away. The world lies fallow, resting until the gods rebirth.

Which brings us back to today.

The winter solstice technically happens at 10:08 tonight, Pacific Standard Time, but this turning point, like all pagan holidays, encompasses a short span of time as energies grow and shift. Pagan holidays don't really work in a binary sort of on/off switch way. The lessons of each season coming daily before our eyes. So as we move into this time of renewal, ask yourself what you want to transform or renew in your own life. What are you making room for? What are you leaving behind?


And then there is the global orgasm for peace. A movement to have everyone in the world orgasm at the time of solstice (yes, 10:08 PM tonight, PST, adjust for local time), while thinking about world peace. Sort of the next step in the "Make love, not war", philosophy.

While I think that we have to do much more then cum for peace to change the world, I do believe that consciousness creates reality, and good sex is a great way of raising energy, so why not? Besides, it sounds like fun.

Monday, December 17, 2007

FCC Contact Information Update-- Seems things are Tricky

I received several calls today telling me that when the person called the clever number from the FCC website (1-888-CALL-FCC), they were told that this wasn't a number for comments, or to talk about FCC issues.

Go figure.

The FCC doesn't make it easy for the public to communicate-- ironic that communications is their middle name.

So with a few more clicks on their site I have found the following information from the "finding people at the FCC page":
The phone number of the chair (who is the man pushing the vote to end the ban on cross-ownership, allowing big media even greater hegemony)
Martin Kevin (202) 418-1000
The phone number for
Robert McDowell is 202.418.2200. Word has it that McDowell is not wild about lifting the ban, and polite calls to him are probably a great idea.
The phone number for
Deborah Taylor Tate is 202.418.2500. It's unclear if she supports lifting the ban at this time, she probably needs to hear some opinions.
The phone number for
Jonathan Adelstein is 202.418.2300. He has said publicly that rushing this vote through is a big mistake, he doesn't support lifting the ban-- always good to call and say thanks (how often to FCC Commissioners hear that?).
The phone number for
Michael Copps is 202.418.2000. Along with Adelstein, Copps has spoken strongly against lifting the ban-- thank him, too.

You can email each commissioner from his / her contact page, just click their name above and scroll to the bottom, where you'll see a link to an online form for comments, marked "email".

Seems to me that the number listed at the bottom of each page of the FCC's website (that is 1-888-CALL-FCC) might be a number that the public could call to try to communicate with the commission, but what do I know? Just seems to me that it shouldn't be this hard; it's almost like the some in the commission don't like being in touch with the people, as it were.

Thanks to everyone that has contacted them, or is going to contact them in the morning. I really want to hear your experience, if you are able to get through to any staffers.

Good luck!

FCC Chairman Determined to Vote Dec 18th to Repeal the Cross-Ownership Ban

FCC Chair, and Bush loyalist, Kevin Martin, is pushing for a vote of the FCC on December 18, to end a ban on some media cross-ownership. He is proposing that the FCC ease the cross-ownership ban in the top 20 U.S. markets. Currently, this regulation keeps a company from holding a broadcast outlet and print daily in the same market.

It's not exactly like there is a vigorous diversity of ownership at this time-- six mega-corporations filter much of what we see now. Given the problems that we have recently experienced with all major corporate media failing to inform the public when the administration was manufacturing the case to invade and occupy Iraq, how is less competition going to be better?

We need more diversity in media ownership, not less. When the corporation is able to control what you see on television, hear on radio and read in the daily paper (not to mention manage the news website) they are able to reinforce their message in a closed loop. The public looses the ability to check out news stories or even entertainment media from diverse perspectives. This leads us, as a general public, to be easily duped and manipulated by the elite that direct and own the major media.

You can call the FCC today to register your comments against Martin's proposal. Let the FCC commissioners know that you care about media ownership, and are paying attention. You can call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (that's 1-888-225-5322) or you can email comments to them through their website

You can find more information at the website Stop Big Media, and while you are there spend a couple of minutes watching the video "Junk News is Making You Sick"--it's worth it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Waging Peace -- Taking Responsibility

We talk a good deal about the horrors of war. As progressives, we have taken to the streets, written letters to representatives and letters to the editors, staged die-ins, created documentaries and poetry, and many other things to try to bring an end to the war and occupation of Iraq. The body counts are tremendous with nearly 4,000 officially acknowledged US dead, and over 1 million Iraqis dead (which is a number 3 times greater than the number reported in most U$ media).

As American's we have a responsibility in this madness being perpetrated by "our" government, in our name, with our money. It is our moral imperative to do what we can to stop this terror, and also to mitigate the suffering that has been done in our name, for the benefits of the ruling elite.

Last Friday, I interviewed Maxine Fookson, a Portland pediatric nurse practitioner who started a local chapter of No More Victims. She got the idea when she was listening to Democracy Now! on KBOO, and heard a man named Cole Miller talk about his work with national group.

No More Victims (
) is an organization that works to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis, especially children, by providing essential medical supplies and services. Remember that this war for "liberation" has demolished most of Iraq's infrastructure, and the situation is hellish. Even without the incredibly vicious war, the situation is dire: according to an OXFAM study, 90% of medical facilities lack the necessary supplies to give adequate care. A UNICEF report states that Iraq's water and sanitation systems are so heavily damaged that 70% of people do not have access to safe water. The World Health Organization reports that diarrhea and acute respiratory infections account for about two thirds of deaths among children under five. 21% of Iraqi children are chronically malnourished.

This is where No More Victims comes in. Through organizing in local chapters across the country, they are fundraising to send much needed medical supplies to Iraq. In doing so, they educate the wider community in the US about the daily misery of Iraq.

They also arrange to bring kids that has been seriously injured in this hideous war to the states for medical care that they couldn't get in Iraq. The local chapters work to find medical professionals and facilities to donate their services, and families to host the child and parent through their medical treatment. The child and parent then go home to Iraq, knowing that some people in the US want to bring healing to our worlds. A bridge of compassion is built, peace is taken out of theory and put into action.

The Portland chapter is called the Iraqi Child Project, and it is very new. Maxine says that they need people to get involved, and they need money. They want to raise enough funds to bring a child to Portland for treatment. That's going to take a whole lot of work, but what is peace worth?

You can get more information about the Iraqi Child at 503-234-3501 or emailing

I believe that making these human connections is one of the most effective ways to wage peace. The corporate owned press sanitizes this war into a video game with no consequences. The words "collateral damage" are obscene. We must speak the truth about war, and take the steps that we can take to end this madness, and bring healing.