Rabbit Rabbit 1-1-21

This one is important.

This is a celebration of the fact that I can write -21 on things instead of -20.

This is a celebration of the fact that the year from hell is finally over.

Sure, Republicans in Congress will make asses of themselves trying to overturn the election for their Glorious Overlord (according to insiders because they want to appeal to Trump’s base, although beats me as to why). But most of the country appears to have accepted the results (except our die-hard red-hat friends, who are planning to march on Washington or who have secluded further into disconnection from reality). The more I think about this the more I think those people are best left behind to fade into obscurity.

And yes, that includes a good 3/4 of my hometown. And I’m OK with that. I never fit in here, anyway.

I won’t kid myself. I’m not expecting for all things to immediately become fixed on Jan. 20th or any other date for that matter. Just as I don’t expect that same thing when it comes to the apocalypse (don’t deny it; “remake the world anew” and all that).

But there are two things I do feel: relief and hope.

See, hope is the last thing to go when things get bad. It’s like breathing, very hard to give up.

Rabbit Rabbit 8-1: Augury

In Beckett’s post “Run, Rabbit, Run – An Augury for One” he puts forth the following theory: gods do not direct animals to perform certain portentous actions wherever humans happen to be able to witness. Gods direct humans to where portentous events are occurring so that we can witness them. There’s a big difference between the two. The first is human-centric, the second is not. The second regards humans as another “cog in the machine” of nature. Gods can direct animals, but direct us instead because it’s all the same and the outcome is more important.

This wasn’t intended to be a Rabbit Rabbit post. I’ve been sitting on the above paragraph for a couple of weeks, wondering where I was going to go with it.

Last night, I baked some bread. I offered a slice to the gods, and Andraste asked to hang onto it. Then, later today, I was asked to give it to the local river spirit (of a body of water I refuse to accept is a “creek”). I confess that my last interaction with this spirit was essentially asking a stranger for a favor. I knew what I had done and tried to keep radio silent on the matter. I’d succeeded for two years, and then came tonight.

Finding the right secluded spot away from people was a challenge provided by nature and complicated by people, with a live music event in the nearby park. Slight water logging and many bug bites later, I had found the spot. I sat, and I explained myself.

I said Andraste asked this of me. I thought about how best to disperse the bread (worried someone would notice). I apologized for the incident two years ago. I explained that I had become acquainted with the work of someone who taught me better, who was steering me toward right relationship with nature.

I think the river accepted. I know something between us mellowed out after the final bits of bread floated downriver. I talked very briefly about how everything was collapsing (in that, I tried my best in the world we live in and I disagreed, but was a cog in the machine, and the full weight of the year of our Lord 2020 has been brought to bear on capitalism). And I sat there for several minutes staring at the pool I had found in the river, between two bunches of dead trees and fallen branches.

I had wondered, but dared not disturb, what took shelter there.

And, for a little while, I was completely alone with the river, or so it seemed. And that was fine.

I’m recounting this to suggest that I had been guided there for that specific purpose. When I bid my farewells and began to feel more at peace, I remembered this post and what I had been working on. I suspect the thesis of Beckett’s piece is that humans can be guided the way we think animals are guided by the Gods, and it is probably easier for the Gods to guide us than to guide a multitude of players to compose a specific scene They want us to see. I think as a result, humans are guided more often than not (or whacked with the appropriate clue-by-four, as needed), but think too highly of our own agency and centrality in the world.

(Yes, we have agency, but no, the world does not revolve around us.)

And I will say, this is certainly the year of my changing pagan practice. I think the tree in my yard would agree.

Rabbit Rabbit 7-1

Ever since the lockdown started, I’ve been neglecting my Rabbit Rabbit posts. (The last is from March 2nd, and it looks like before that I struggled with consistency, too.) I’d picked up the phrase from a tumblr blog doing its best to spread good luck and blessings, and frankly my skimping out just won’t do, not in times like this.

It’s been stressful, and frankly I spent a lot of the past few months wondering why I’m getting punished, why my coworkers get treated a lot better than I do. The truth is the system is inherently rigged and I was set back by an alcoholic father, who refuses to make amends for what he did to my starting financial situation (or anything else, for that matter). So I’ve been increasingly advocating for burning the whole thing down and starting over.

I think Americans need to stop worrying about money as the only value of the human experience. Republicans especially will whine about “the economy” whenever someone wants to pass a safety net bill, but money is not the value by which life is judged. In fact, wanting money to have money is a bad thing. The average person doesn’t want a hundred dollars or a thousand dollars or whatever. They want what that can give them in the moment in a capitalistic society. Food, shelter, money toward their medical bills and other debts, travel, and so on, generally in that order. We want to be able to meet our needs, and I’ve come to believe we should do something about the middle man in that equation.

Maybe moving beyond money is ridiculous, so let’s change the way we look at it. Us Americans have a saying, “The Almighty Dollar”. (And, coincidentally, a pastor named Dollar, who is a televangelist.) Idea time: consider money as a means to an end, instead of the end itself. I kind of think this is part of the idea behind Medicare For All, which also dovetails with concepts like sovereignty and obligation.

For the novel I’ve been working on, one of the alien cultures believes, “Those who can, take care of those who cannot”. It’s baked into their society even if their current struggle is over who “counts” as a member, despite the existence of their empire. Children are in the legal care of nearby adults. Health care, food, shelter, and so on are not treated as “rights of the people” but as obligations of “those who can”. A clan elder is responsible for those his or her junior, just as an officer is responsible for those in their command. This responsibility is pounded in as something one expects when one gets older and starts their own career. And here’s the kicker: money is a recent invention for them. They don’t understand all the peculiarities that make currency and economy tick. And this has caused them problems.

The reason I write science fiction is because I want to present what I think we should be more like. I want to show people what’s possible, because it can be dreamed, even if it’s by that one radical you knew as a mousy little twerp in middle school.

Rabbit Rabbit – Jan 1

This is the time of year I put everything into the brand new calendar, making sure I have all the dates right and so on. Of course, I’ve since moved on to a type of calendar where most of that is of little issue (bless Llewellyn, for all their faults and even if they will publish anyone). Today is New Year’s Day. Last night, a bunch of people got very drunk and kissed strangers at the stroke of midnight in the name of good luck. This morning, they’re hungover, watching the Rose Parade, and thinking about football. Many people still make resolutions, only to kiss them goodbye come February.

These phenomena have me thinking: maybe a proper “new year” celebration just as the harsh bits of winter set in, is a bad idea. It’s certainly arbitrary, and who knows why January was chosen as opposed to some other date, but from where I stand, I’m seeing forward into a cold, harsh couple of months, and worst case scenario? It won’t let up until June. Were it up to me, I would keep the warm holiday gatherings going for at least a few more weeks, as I see absolutely no reason to cut off the warm fuzzies of “the Christmas season” at 12:01 Dec. 26th. Especially when I’ll want that fireside vibe come February when we start seeing -20 routinely.

Maybe there is a logic behind the Jan. 1 date that I’m missing. Something perhaps to do with the coming cold. I have my doubts, but that isn’t to say a New Year’s date can’t be chosen without a reason. Kemetic New Year, Wep Ronpet, is marked by the heliacal (before the Sun) rising of the star Sirius, which used to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile River. Fields are flooded, go have a party or go work on the Pharaoh’s new project. Makes sense to me.

I’ve also read that Samhain is “Celtic New Year” on a principle that the day starts at sunset, such as in Jewish tradition and the system known as Byzantine time, and so a new year should start at the beginnings of the darkest part. Also makes a fair bit of sense.

Learning all this has given me a more fluid idea of what “new year” means. I’ve kind of reached the conclusion that it can start at any day you see fit, really. Similar to the saying “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”. But I don’t do that, not in the way that sounds. I take it to mean that if I want to start something, I don’t have to wait for an arbitrary date unless there is a practical concern involved (such as filling in a new calendar).

Rabbit Rabbit – Dec. 1 (Dec. 4)

The Christmas season is now upon us, and I’ve done something peculiar with it. I know a lot of Pagans choose to eschew Christmas altogether for its religious connotations, choosing Yule or another winter holiday instead. But I’ve decided that if a lot of Christmas symbolism is Yule related, then I can nix any talk of the Nativity without much trouble and throw up the lights, wreaths, and trees, and put on some eggnog or cider and hope February is not abysmally cold. That seems to be about the only thing humans in the northern hemisphere have agreed on, after all: that winter is a bitch and it’s best to hunker down, put on as much food as possible, welcome guests you see out in the cold, and try not to starve to death.

I have generally given Christmas over to Ra as a means of honoring Him and it makes logical sense based on my geographic location. But there is also an element of Andred there. She is not particularly a hearth goddess, but there is something to be said for being home during the winter, for having an “off season” from war. (This was, I should note, a convention historically for quite a long time. Nobody had any mind to go out fighting or raiding or so on after the harvest was over, and that carried over into the customs of war until WWI, if I recall correctly.) And there is definitely that feeling in the air this month and through most of the worst part of winter. You just want to hunker down by the fire with people you like and some hot chocolate, with some nice warm lights up perhaps. It’s a good time, and I don’t see why that should just cut off at the start of a new year (arbitrarily setting the new year in the middle of winter is another matter entirely but we’ll get there).

I look to this season for a sense of warmth and happiness, that home is an OK place to be and not some backdrop for the horrifying nightmare surely brewing. Christmas especially was the time of year my parents didn’t try to kill each other or myself, and even though I was probably the only one that did any decorating nine years out of ten, it was still OK. It was warm and pleasant and that was never a feeling I wanted to lose. In fact I’ve been able to hang onto it more and more after moving into my own place and shifting away from preferring Halloween (although the collection of free candy is pretty sweet, if I’m not too sick and exhausted to go out for it). As the song goes, Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful.

Rabbit Rabbit (Nov. 4, Good Luck Still?)

I’ve forgotten this for a few days, sadly, but I have a couple of thoughts, namely on the past month. I haven’t been into Halloween as much this year as I have been in years past, and I have since been unable to determine why. Perhaps I want to just get to Christmas already and feel like my world is happy and warm and content as winter sets in (remarkably early this year. I hear it will be colder than last year, and I’m not looking forward to that). I’ve never been into Thanksgiving, and don’t give it more thought than “I will probably make something nice that day I’m not sure”. It isn’t that I am ungrateful, I am quite grateful, but my mother has always loved Thanksgiving and it has this undertone of “be thankful that I am your mother or you’ll be sorry!” to it. I had Thanksgiving one year with a friend’s family and I was shocked and overcome with how warm and inviting the atmosphere was. It felt as though this whole huge family was there just to be there, and I loved it so much. My own family never felt like that, and I don’t remember it from holiday dinners with my mother’s family. That is, however, the feeling I receive from my gods. So, I will cook something nice this year, and share it with Them, because I love Them.

The second thought is, I saw a post (https://riley-poole27.tumblr.com/post/188823229297/hypervigil-theyve-always-said-when-you-feel-a) which suggested that not a person, but a rabbit, crossing your future grave caused a shiver down the spine. I had always heard otherwise, but this gives me some life and hope. I hope Andred’s creatures have found a nice spot for me. I wonder if I will find it before I die. I wonder if such a thing can be divined. Probably.

I think, in aggregate, I am moving away from celebrating any warped concept of “family” I developed growing up, and into celebrating my gods (and with my gods). Feeling Their energy and reveling in it and believing that the world is right. It’s certainly better than allowing my parents to live in my head without paying the rent or utilities.

Rabbit Rabbit – Oct. 1

I have dreams about her now. It didn’t happen before I stopped talking to her, but it’s happened since. Three times, in fact. The first, I dreamed that she was trying to take credit for my achievements and claim that I almost cost her money by switching majors in college. I yelled at her to go fuck herself. The second, I barely remember, but I think it may have involved an assault. The third time, last night, I dreamed that she repeatedly broke into my apartment, spread lies of me to my neighbors, and then assaulted me, forcing me to kill her in self defense.

They say dreams can be interpreted as divine messages from the gods, or more modernly, as something in your brain trickling through the process. Peanuts being percolated, if you will. I’m worried about what these dreams mean, and I have no good guesses. I know of stories online told by people who dreamed of their abusive parents, a trend which decreased when they severed ties. I’ve followed the opposite trend.

I try to think that I’ve moved on, the way my dad claims she has, even though she’s been harassing my therapist and my employer in an effort to resume contact with me. I probably wouldn’t give that day a second thought if they did not keep reminding me of it. So, who is really “over it”?

Rabbit Rabbit Revisited

It is five months later, and a lot has changed since then: I own the car, my mother is off the apartment lease, and we still don’t speak. I can’t believe that it was snowy in May, and I further can’t believe that I’m back in the Christmas spirit before Summer is officially out. My father has my phone number, but I was forced to block my mother after she got a hold of it. He continues to insist that I “talk to her” about “whatever it is”, because surely it must be “in the past”. Historically she’s been terrible at listening to me, so talking will probably not work and I have little interest in it, regardless. I learned from him some of the facts of the three years or so in which the lawsuit, Mom’s cancer, and Dad’s arrest were so tangled up that I could not pick them apart.

However: I also learned that he sees himself as a hopeless victim and still has a “woe is me” mindset, but there is no chance in hell that his wife is any sort of crazy wicked beast, at all. None.

I still consider those principles true (even though I have yet to find any proper evidence still, but perhaps that will be a later “Rabbit Rabbit” post). Perhaps I will add to the list, things like: “The only purpose in fighting a war is to end it” (which is more “soldier” than “warrior”, but I have never held any delusions about glory in battle and bloodshed). It is a slowly growing list that I might make a page on, distilling each down to a fairly simple explanation, hopefully.

And, as “Rabbit Rabbit” is curse breaking, I may endeavor to make more of these posts, on the first of every month, discussing aspects of the journey, contemplating life, maybe expounding on these principles. Time will tell.

Rabbit Rabbit (A slightly organized stream of consciousness)

I heard from someone online that they post “rabbit rabbit” or a variant thereof on the first of every month for good luck. It may well be good luck, rabbits and hares are associated with such, but I also find myself reminded of Andred each time this comes up. Like a little regular reminder about how She watches over me, keeps tabs on me, and wants the best for me.

Due to recent events, I’m quite pleased to receive this reminder. I got into an altercation with my physical mother, who then decided to treat the incident as if I were being a rebellious teenager and not trying to defend myself. Both parents are in on the stupid game and have, among other things, two cars in their driveway and on their property that they do not have need for, but for whatever reason cannot or will not get rid of. Lately it gets me thinking about the saying, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” Text messages about how I need to do XYZ and ABC will happen by such and such date and I cannot do yada yada yada that read like bluster about how they are still in charge, and I’m being insolent, play into this theme as well, for now I’ve switched phone numbers and post office boxes, the access to which they will be denied.

I’ve also come to understand a couple of deep principles about interpersonal relations, which I suspect, but have yet to find evidence for, are bits and pieces from ancient codes for warriors, chivalric and otherwise. First is:

You are less of a man if you do not take up for your flesh and blood

The biggest problem I’ve had with my father the past several years is his inability to stick up for me, his actual daughter, and his constant siding with his second wife, my mother, despite her long string of abuses and crimes. So long she even has a record for some of them, despite denying fault to this day and perhaps to Judgment Day, as well. Yet, he quit drinking exclusively so she would not leave him, and either buries himself in work or simply decides that her word is law, in spite of his “man of the house” act.

The thing is, the person you marry is surprisingly little to do with you. It’s someone you fell in love with, and while that can be a wonderful thing, and a healthy couple will find a place for each other should need arise, unhealthy couples are different. When one person is abusive or neglectful or has their head in a bottle of booze, the other has to think about their children. And no, “staying together for the children” does not work in a case like this. The kids will grow up and wish you left. When it comes down to it, if you don’t choose your children over this crazy that you married, then you deserve the crazy.

It also ties into themes I’ve read about of protecting the innocent, and leaving alone those who cannot defend themselves. Hunters, alien and otherwise, do not kill offspring and females if they can help it, and warriors are often those who protect defenseless individuals from harm (or further harm, depending on the situation). If you knowingly stay in an unhealthy, abusive marriage with your children, rather than leave and take them with you, then, to coin a phrase, you are no warrior.

Image result for tim shaw doctor who

(Shameless Doctor Who plug because I can. Though let’s face it, he was oversimplistic to a fault when he dropped that line; Graham is a warrior of a different sort.)

The second aforementioned principle is:

The use of passive aggressive tactics makes you look like a wet blanket who is unable to handle any problems him/herself.

This in part developed as I processed a rather lengthy chunk of dialogue in a comic I’m reading, part of a larger debate on mankind and its relationship with nature, on Earth and otherwise. But I was able to relate this particular section to my own life and my own changing understanding. See, the point to this section was less that the “old ways” were a kind of idyllic pastoral Arcadia that we for whatever reason abandoned, but rather that we were as violent as ever, but more direct about it. The world was also violent and dangerous, and the measure of a person was how well they handled it.

People also, according to this, fought each other directly for standing, or to sort out disagreements. To quote: “But if I bust a guy’s chops he clearly understands that I don’t like what he’s doing.” These days, elaborated slightly earlier in the exchange, people are sneaky and underhanded, going around direct confrontation to get what they want because it’s seen as, perhaps, more “moral.” But human nature is human. I think there’s a good bit of truth to this. Civilization exists to minimize confrontation between individuals, and that actually might be a bad thing.

Without the avenue of confrontation, what’s left are passive aggressive tactics, or being honest and keeping your head down. The latter approach is fine, except for those with ambition. The former approach is where I, personally, have run into problems. Both of my parents are fond of passive aggression as a means to get what they want, instead of outright asking, demanding, or so on. It comes off confusing, and after a while of it, annoying and exceptionally stupid. What’s the point of expending effort being passive aggressive when first, it usually fails to get you what you want; second, it gets people mad at you; and third, it makes you look like someone uncomfortable with direct confrontation. Hitting someone you have power over is one thing, but when the playing field is level, the game has changed.

The differences between myself and my mother, and the way we both engage with the world, has left a few things up for debate between us. She likes it that way, but I don’t. I never have (not in grade school with a dumbass boy playing tag, and not now). Perhaps I live by older rules, taught by my True Mother as a way to properly live. I have no idea how I would fare in an older society run by them, but I would at least feel like I understand it.