Monday, February 26, 2018

Cave of Forgotten Dreams


Cave of Forgotten Dreams
(2010)

I admit it, I'm a nerd about many, many fields of study. The Chauvet caves in Southern France have always left me in a state of awe, so I was delighted to discover this documentary deep in the bowels of Netflix. 

The film begins with a quick run around the old hills and rivers of southern France where Chauvet cave is hidden. The landscape speaks of eons past for it is old old old. Our guides appreciate the magnificence of the way we travel and we fall into silent reverence, awe. When we finally see the entrance to the cave we see that authorities have sealed it and have actually placed a locked steel door to protect the delicate balance of chemistry and biology and artistry within the cave. The original entrance to the cave suffered a massive landslide thousands of years ago and is now buried within about fifty or more feet of rubble and crystal stalactites. What an interesting thought to ponder, that the immensity of time allows for both the masterpieces inside to have been created, a massive landslide, and another amount of time for that additional fifty feet to develop stalactites and stalagmites that nearly form columns...

The gorgeous shots of these crystal-covered pillars is truly breathtaking. Can our human observation of these columns adequately appreciate the beauty of Nature's ways? Can we appreciate the immensity of the creation of this single cave chamber through utterly natural, knowable forces? Does it move us that this chamber existed completely without humans' awareness for eons? Is it my mind alone that struggles to process such reality? 

We move forward into a chamber only to be welcomed by a massive bison, as though the artist could barely contain his delight at the discovery of canvas worthy of his dreams.

In fact, the paintings are absolutely transcendent to me, yet it is the time passage that makes my mind stop and pause... I cannot grasp the idea of thirty-five thousand years. I want so much to imagine the one who carried the flaming torch deep into the cave, rubbed that torch over the side wall to clear it of ash, and then painted his own handprint onto the walls. I want to, for a moment, enter into that flash of time when an artist actually scraped the cave wall free of crystallized coating and painted true images of paleolithic horses and bison with such accuracy. OR that next moment, possibly five thousand years later, when another artist painted bison, rhinoceros, and ibex onto the same walls, now, again, glazed with crystal.

The silence so deep, my own heartbeat in my ears, there he is...fingers full of red ocher, confidently recreating the abundance of life...or calling out to the spirit of those animals? The dark so deep. Where my light does not shine remains as it has been for an eon, pitch and lightless. The bones of cave bear at my feet are already beyond age and I am here where no one will again step for another age. There, the skull of a cave bear completely clothed in crystal. It is silent here, yet not, for the earth itself has a voice of its own. He works alone, stooped, broken finger, lost in the dreams in his mind. 

He dabs orange pigment into the wall making a leopard pattern, sits back and appreciates his work. He alone has done this. He alone knows of the secret of these cave walls. His name is unknown today. His hands have become legend, myth, dream. He is somehow as real as this room, yet shrouded, as indistinct in the time between us as mist. The time keeps him forever enigmatic and veiled...yet still before me...

Who was he? Can you see him?
Does his humanity call to you?



You might also enjoy:
Books for your Skeptical Children
February 12: Darwin Day
The Eyes Have It

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Libtard Snowflake


Never in the history of this blog have I ever gotten overtly political. NEVER in my time on Facebook, prior to 2016, have I been a political loudspeaker. But I can't help myself these days. I simply can not be silent.

Saying Stop Shooting Our Kids  does not make me a libtard snowflake.

But I see what they are doing there, they  being the people who are working so hard to desensitize us to human suffering. They  being the generation before me that wants to suggest that the current outcry to STOP the bullshit is a bunch of sensitive 

do-nothings. They  being the people who want to shame the people who are slowly finding their own voices.

I know what they are doing.
They are snidely and systematically attempting to devalue the opinion of the loudening voice, the voice that has been kept down, quiet, hidden, feeling alone for all of these years. The minority voices of all kinds, the voices of all women, the voices of anyone different from the white man, the voices of people without religions, the voices of people without the power, the voices of the victimized, the voices of the wounded. 

They are trying but we won't let them.


The name calling is the battle cry of the person without a leg to stand on. Remember, rudeness is a weak person's imitation of strength.

Let's not buy it!
Let's buoy one another up!
Let's support the disenfranchised who have the courage and the voice to stand up and say NO MORE.

Come out, come out and let your voice be heard.


You might also like:
Female and Atheist
Let Them Eat Voice
Feeling Peevish

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My Writing Group and Writing Prompts


One of my favorite things is a little writing group that I started a year or so ago. We meet weekly, as long as all conditions are right, at a local coffee shop across the street from a beloved friend that we all secretly hope joins us.  πŸ’“ Most of what we do is, using prompts from books, websites, or of our own creation, from all over the place, and write for three to ten minutes. Then, if we wish, we read our writing to each other, pause with love for one another, and move along.

Our writing often prompts wonderful conversations full of emotion, love, and connection. It's truly a beautiful thing, with a side order of iced tea and brownies.

With the love of this writing group, I've decided to add my suggestions for some excellent writing prompts. All around the internet you can find website with dozens of memoir writing prompts, most copy from one another. Each of these personal narrative prompts is from my own head. Enjoy:


  • Which of your parents are you the most like? How. Describe your similarities and differences.
  • Describe the relationship that you consider the one you call your "first love". Does it affect you in any way today? Are you still on contact with that person?
  • Write about a fashion trend that you can't get on board with.
  • Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Write pros and cons of being that type of person.
  • Write about the most inspiring teacher, mentor, authority figure you have had in your life. 
  • What are some of your pet peeves and what do they seem to say about you?
  • Write about a beautiful moment from the past week.
  • Make a list of small things that bring you joy.
  • Describe a time when you felt too far away from home.
  • Write about your hometown. Its positives, negatives, things that give it character. Write some of your essential memories from there. What would a visitor see?
  • Write about a time when you realized you had misunderstood the whole thing.
  • Describe your mother or grandmother's kitchen.
  • Write about a time you got in trouble as a child, especially when you didn't mean to.
  • Were you a bully as a child? Explain what made you behave that way.
  • Imagine you have a million dollars. What would you do with it. No taxes.
  • How do you like to spend an afternoon on your own.
  • Write about a road trip you took.
  • Write about a party you threw.
  • Write a letter to yourself at a certain age. The letter should say the exact things you needed to hear at that moment.
  • Write about a time in your life when you made a major change. How did it go?
  • Imagine it's 200 years in the future and your time capsule was just dug up and opened. What is inside and what does it mean?
  • Write about a childhood friend and some unresolved issues from that friendship.
  • Write a list of things that you are grateful for.
  • Write about the first person or relationship that broke your heart.
  • What recurring elements do you see in your dreams? If you gave them meaning, what might they be telling you?
  • Write about a song that holds meaning for you.
  • Write about a time a friend or family member came to the rescue.
  • Write about how the people in your life know that you love them.
  • Write about a time you became separated from the group.
  • Write about a time when someone made you feel empowered.
  • Write about a time when you had to end something, and were the better for it.
  • Write about a low point in your life and how you found your way out of it.
  • Write about a movie or book that you wish you could step into. What would you do there?
  • Write about a bedtime story you made up for a special child in your life.
  • Write about a person that you admire without using their name.
  • Do you, your parents, or someone you know have a wonderful love story to tell? About how they met? Tell the story.
  • Write about a time you were too drunk/stoned/high.
  • Describe a time that you look back on fondly.
  • Tell a story about being unwisely in love.
  • Make a list of things that you love about your life.
  • Where were you on 9/11?
  • Where were you when the Challenger exploded?
  • Think about a person you have lost touch with. What was your relationship like? Would you like to reconnect?
  • Write about a book or some books that made a huge impact on you and your life.
  • Write about a time you had an encounter with someone famous.
  • Write about a time you were the victim of a crime.
  • Write your own version of NPR's This I Believe.
  • What is your absolute earliest memory?
  • What does it seem are common impressions of you that people seem to have?
  • Write about the most painful thing you have ever experienced.
    Have you learned anything from it?
  • Write about a time you were on stage.



You might also enjoy:
My Daughter is  Fierce
My Writing Process Blog Tour
More Writing Prompts
A Fascinating Blog Post

Monday, February 19, 2018

Why are You so Angry at God???


This post was featured on Karen Garst's blog faithlessfeminist.com
I am delighted to see it so well-received there. The idea for this post started about five years ago when I read a book by atheist activist  Christina called Why are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless

I thought Greta's book was brilliant, but incomplete. And that's why I took this effort to add to the incredibly long list of things that I an angry about. Please add your own in the comments.



Am I raging and wounded? Have I seen too much pain and unfairness that 
I have entered a period of anger at God? Am I in despair and feeling hopeless? Am I afraid that God has abandoned me in my desperation? 
Am I feeling that Life Isn’t Fair? Am I unable to locate any gratitude towards God?

In my time I have been accused several times of being angry at God? 
The Christian god, presumably. People making this suggestion to me never ever take my reply as honest. They simply cannot accept the reality that, 
No, I am surely not angry at your god.

The truth is, I have no anger whatsoever at any so-called deity.
I do have anger at religion though, tons of it. 

The organizational, structured shame and guilt and abuse and prejudice and hatred and misogyny.

I’m absolutely livid that the conservative right has placed an abhorrent human being in the White House because that man had the lack of integrity enough to play to their agenda. I’m further enraged, enraged I say, that those people have given up their own abilities to think clearly and have looked to their religion to determine their political allies. It has divided this country in half.

I have anger at the YEARS of sexual abuse cover ups in the church, at the abuse of power and religious political power, at the tens of billions of dollars of financial abuses, overt lies and manipulation, all religious wars, massive sexual abuse scandals that are forgiven by church authorities, encouragement of faith over reason.

All pics Courtesy of Pinterest
I’m angry about every single effort to defeat true knowledge in the place of religion, about inculcating children into the fantasy of religious belief, about religious teachings taught in classrooms and offered as facts to the minds of children, about prayer over medical treatment, about every effort to hide truth under the cloth of bullshit, about the fact for each and every single person who has ever struggled to understand something in earnest while being taught to stick with faith, and about every vile adult male who ever married or injured a young girl or boy well within the bounds of their religious practices or traditions.

I'm angry that black atheists have to struggle doubly hard to be freethinker in this country. 

Black Nonbelievers, Inc.

I’m angry that all doubt in the religious mind is told that it is the resident demon putting those thoughts into their head. UGH.

I’m thoroughly disgusted that outrageously, overtly powerful and wealthy people are thought to be humble. It is abhorrent that wealthy church members are powerful church members, that people in poverty are encouraged to embrace and accept their position of powerlessness.

I’m disgusted for every single penny or other coinage with the words In God We Trust on them, for every misappropriation of false history passed along, for every single person on their knees in prayer with tears streaming down their faces with the belief that that action is their only option, for all of the church history that has been falsified, and for every single young person struggling with the guilt of absolutely normal maturity and sexuality.

I am fully disgusted at the ostentatious wealth of the Catholic church, 
much of it stolen from conquests, while the church de facto encourages and supports poverty.

I’m saddened tremendously by the people who believe in some nether-regioned bad guy that is after them and all of the anguish that accompanies this belief.

I find it a huge loss that few religious people ever seek to understand the incredible beauty and vastness of the universe. Just think of the millions of minds that have been handicapped by religious belief.

I’m angry that people spend so much of their sincere effort to figure out the Will of God, that the church demonizes nearly all sexual practices, that atheists and all people of logic and reason are considered the least trusted people in this country, that people of all ages anguish and fear the concept of hell, and that all ridiculous stories that make no sense in the holy books are treated as absolute fact or real history.


I’m disgusted with the entire vile concept of Biblical Parenting, that believers are encouraged to discount, cherry pick, or misrepresent the words of their holy books yet those same books are treated as sacrosanct, that perfectly well-meaning, truly good people are encouraged to stick with faith over their own decision-making reasoning abilities, and that this country would never elect an openly atheist into positions of power.

I’m ridiculously angry that a woman’s right to personal autonomy has become a favorite witching call of the religious right.
I am angry that, were I to die at this moment, some of my family members would believe that I was burning in hell for all eternity... and this is the religion that they choose!

I'm livid and the more fundamental the religion, the fewer rights women have.

I am angry that the powerful religions on this planet that still exist do so by having exterminated the other religions and acolytes of those religions that existed before them, by torturing people into fearful belief, and by every other violent and forced method of spreading a belief system.

I’m genuinely angry that truly GOOD people honestly have been convinced that it is their religion that prevents them from committing horrific acts of murder, rape, or other rapaciousness.
I’m angry that the best fricking thing we have to offer people attempting to recovery from addictions of all sorts is a treacly religious 12-Step program.

I’m disgusted that religious families are tragically encouraged to abandon family members who have differing beliefs or understandings of the world.

I’m angry that adults all over the planet are satisfied with not knowing things, and that the churches systematically install so many of the feelings inside of a believer that confuse them so very much.

I am livid that CHILDREN are taught to fear, reject, revile, hate people different from themselves. Every form of racism and white supremacy supported by the Christian religion shocks and outrages me.

I’m angry that my children and all children of reason often have felt like they wanted or needed to go into hiding due to the pressures or disdain from the believers around them and that those same children have been told that they are going to hell.

I’m angry that most third world countries are so mired in evangelized missionary doctrine that they are stripped of their own powers and of their own belief systems.

I am truly disgusted with the entire concept of sin and how the church teaches and controls and tortures the emotions of adherents with it.


I’m angry that the majority of people in this country are religious and that any effort to secularize the government or the culture is treated as UNFAIR or as a THREAT to religion.

I’m angry with the smarmy well he believes in you response to atheism.

I am angry with the teaching that we are all inherently evil people and that the only way to salvation is through the church.
I’m angry as heck that so many truly good people anguish over the possibility of losing a freaking afterlife rather than finding ways to make this life a truly good, just, loving, and meaningful one.

I’m angry that autonomy and personal power are not important tenets of the religions of the world.

Am I angry with a god?
Not at all.

It turns out that what I am angry at is the power-hungry narcissist human beings who control the hearts and minds of so many people on this planet using religion as their walking stick.


Are you angry?



 Thank you Karen Garst for your atheist activism
and for your blog Faithless Feminist.
 

You might also enjoy:
For Someone Who Doesn't  Believe in God, You Sure Talk About Him Alot
My Atheist Memes and Late Night Angst
That Hideous Dance Between Faith and Critical Thinking
I'm a Lover not a Fighter

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Feb 12: Darwin Day


In a day where the Christian religion is setting itself in competition with science, secularism, and critical thinking, it behooves all Humanists, science-minded people, freethinkers, atheists, and all secular peoples on the planet to celebrate those humans in history who have made it possible to be outwardly skeptical. 
Today, February 12th is now celebrated as 
Darwin Day, in honor of Charles Darwin.

This man, Charles Darwin, struggled for most of his adult life with that which his senses could detect again and again and with the belief system that so shackled his mind, and the mind of the western world of that time. 
Charles Darwin endeavored to satisfy his voracious curiosity and questioning within the bounds of the religion of his upbringing, but found no satisfaction there. Concluding that species change, evolve, over time was something he could not ignore, despite the strong, stranglehold that the Christian churches had built in his mind. We have his amazing bravery and his intellectual integrity to thank for his theory of species evolution.


Along with other transformational thinkers of his time, Charles Darwin brought undeniable empirical proof of species change, making it clear that the understood, unquestionable cosmology of the time was incorrect. 
A supreme being had not created life complete, perfect, immutable. Rather, life is 
a dynamic, changing thing subject to natural selection. This incredibly significant change in our understanding of life on this planet opened the door for other freethinkers and scientists to ultimately disconnect from the dogma of the time, to adhere to the scientific method, and to endure whatever battles would be necessary to continue to question and quest and become more informed. We celebrate Darwin’s strength of character, great courage, wisdom, integrity, and the honesty required to explore and publish findings supporting natural selection.

Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary biology, is one of my true intellectual heroes. I can relate to his voracious appetite for books, with his incredible hunger and thirst for knowledge, and with his noble and eventual journey away from the religion of his childhood because of these loves.


From the Darwinday.org website:

So much of what we know about our place in the universe rests on Charles Darwin’s questions and his courage in publishing answers. The importance of questioning cannot be understated. In fact, every new league travelled on the moral arc of justice rests on the contributions of questioners equally brave.


On Darwin’s birthday, let us find ourselves inspired to stretch our minds with questions that test our limits.


Let us champion the values of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, and hunger for truth.


Let us honor scientific thinkers like Darwin not just in our laboratories, but in the practice of nurturing compassionate, egalitarian communities that value free inquiry.


Let us work to grow our understanding of the interconnectedness of all life, and expand our empathy and the reach of our compassion.


And, like Darwin himself, let us take daring risks for a freer, fairer, more joyful world.
By: SerΓ‘h Blain
In Memory of Harry Lonsdale


 Join me for just this moment as we celebrate 
on of the giants of critical thought!


You might also enjoy:
Books for Your Skeptical Children
The Eyes Have It
Anti-Intellectualism, Racism, and Complacency

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dear Abby


One of my favorite things is to have lunch at Panera, here in St. Louis it is called St. Louis Bread Co because they are based here in town.I'll get my favorite delicious salad with extra wontons and an iced tea, sit down alone, and read the Everyday section of the paper. 
No, I don't read the news section of the newspaper because I get plenty of news everywhere else! But I love the comics, the word games, the crossword puzzles, and I really used to love Dear Abby. When it was Abby. But now I find myself snorting and shaking my head with disgust nearly every time I read it.

Why am I disgusted?
Because her advice is ridiculously shaming and personally disempowering to so many of the people who write to her. For example, here's one of the letters from this week:


DEAR ABBY: My husband is very outgoing. He loves chatting on the phone for hours, and talks with all the neighbors up and down the street. He's retired, so it's fine -- up to a point.
We have a set time for dinner, which is 6:30, and he knows it. Invariably he'll be on the phone or up the street when it's close to dinner. I always remind him 10 to 15 minutes ahead, which gives him time to be here to eat, but he'll keep chatting until he's anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour late to dinner.
I put time and effort into preparing my meals. I grow my own vegetables and think of creative things to fix. He always comments how great the meals are, so it's not that he doesn't like my food.
If it's not eaten promptly, it's overcooked/mushy/wilted, etc., so I go ahead and eat if he's not here. I'd like him to be with me when I sit down at the table.

I feel it's incredibly rude for him to be late. When I tell him that, he laughs like it's a big joke. Short of treating him like a 2-year-old and throwing his food away if he doesn't show up on time, I'm not sure what to do. Can you help?
-- FED UP IN NAPA, CALIF.


DEAR FED UP: I can't force your husband to the dinner table and neither can you. To toss his dinner into the garbage would be too overtly hostile and a waste of food. Try this: Tell him dinner time is 6:30, but prepare the food as if it's for 6:45 or 7.
It just seems disappointing to me to not address Fed Up's feelings and her frustration, her hurt feelings, her anger. No, instead Fed Up is advised to simply delay dinner. This woman is feeling disrespected by her husband! It's a big deal for her or else she wouldn't have written in for advice. How lame is that advice?

But the reason I'm even bothering to write about how much I dislike Dear Abby is this letter, also from this week:

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 72-year-old married woman. My husband has atypical Parkinson's and can no longer talk or walk.
I exercise six days a week, but I need someone to talk to, to share life with. I tell my husband what I do each day, but of course, there is no feedback. He's at home, and we have 24-hour care.
Can I date? If I explained to him how I need companionship, he might agree. But am I being selfish? This has been going on for six years. I figure I have only 10 productive years left -- maybe fewer.
I feel like my life is over. Please help me. I feel like I'm dying.
-- REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP

DEAR REQUIRES COMPANIONSHIP: I think it would be not only selfish but cruel to tell your husband you need companionship and want to seek another relationship. How would you feel if you were in his position, unable to walk or talk, and he said that to you?
If ever I heard of a person who needs to join a support group, it is you. The American Parkinson Disease Association (apdaparkinson.org) can help you locate one. The toll-free phone number is (800) 223-2732.
As to my giving you permission to date, that's something that should be between you and your conscience or higher power, not Dear Abby.
P.S. Couples who face this kind of diagnosis should have this conversation in advance.

Dear Abby, actually Jeanne Phillips, daughter of the original Abigail Van Buren, has no right to tell this desperate woman that she is not just selfish, but cruel. This woman who has been the caregiver of her husband is looking for someone to say Yes, of course you can and should locate support and companionship anywhere and everywhere you can find it. Every word of this response suggests to Requires Companionship that she has not continually thought of the needs of her husband for however long she's been caring for him during this lengthy and difficult experience with Parkinson's Disease. 
Requires Companionship actually wrote  
Please help me. I feel like I'm dying. 

Does that not require some response from Dear Freaking Abby? I'm disgusted with her column and I think she is incredibly dangerous writing on a nationally syndicated column like that when she is giving such potentially hurtful advice like this.

Don't you want to give Requires Companionship a freaking hug?
I do.


* Panera can send my free gift cards anytime for this endorsement.  😊

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Something YOU Can REALLY Do


You know how you listen to the problems all over the place and think, UGH, what can I really do to help, to really make a difference? I feel that way often whenever listening to the news. Huge, real problems and little old me wondering what I can do that is real and that will make a difference.

Well, I've got a small thing that you and I can do to make a difference for the Humanists in Milwaukee. Proceeds from all activism on the website will go to help
victims of rape and sexual assault. Really, RIGHT NOW.

If you and I simply donate a buck or two or ten we will be making grassroots differences in the greater Milwaukee area...and won't that feel great?!

The Brew City Benefit happens in Milwaukee, WI April 7th, 2018, benefiting RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), and helping to create a new Milwaukee Humanists group. DETAILS & DONATIONS: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-the-brew-city-benefit#/


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Likely Dance Partner


A couple of weeks before Mom died she and I were in her kitchen talking about her favorite music. We were cracking up, making fun of the dudes we were attracted to in our teens. 
She mentioned a couple of 50s singers who were dreamy in her teenage imagination, guys that I had always thought of as has beens.  I think I mentioned Andy Gibb.  πŸ™‚
That night I went home and sent her a couple of CDs from Amazon.com and she was delighted. Surprised and delighted. I noticed the discs being used regularly over the next week or two. And those CDs came in handy later.

A couple of weeks later Mom and I were, again, hanging out in her kitchen, feeling kind of maudlin and sad and wanting to connect. Now we knew there was cancer. Now we had a glimpse of serious days ahead. I selected a song from one of her CDs, one of the popular tunes of her dreamy guy, and we danced together. When the tune was over Mom said, Wait, there's another one I want to dance to, number 24 on disc 3. This was a real fan's fan song, mostly unknown to the general sockhoppers. 

We hugged and twirled in her country crafty dining room, darkened room, Mom's head laying on my shoulder.


Move forward a couple of weeks. The other day I was in the kitchen playing some of Mom's CDs that I'd brought home after she died. When track 24 from disc 3 came on I found myself staring out the window, thinking of that golden moment.

Elizabeth walked into the kitchen just then, noticed my silence, and asked me what was up. 

I explained to her how the song was affecting me and why. She stepped up, restarted the song, and opened her arms for a dance...a beatific smile on her face...changed the whole song for me. 
My head fit just right on her shoulder.


You might also enjoy:
Her Face
My Thirteen Tips for Parenting your Strong-Willed Child
24 Hours of my Daughter's Life

Monday, February 5, 2018

Being an Atheist isn't Enough


Sometimes it takes me awhile to figure out what is bugging me. I'm a bit slow on the uptake and I'm generally a happy person so putting my finger on a thing that is ruminating in the back of my mind can take me a bit longer than most...but I've finally put my finger on it. 
And not in a gross way.

It's this: being an atheist person does not guarantee that one is a skeptic. *

Maybe it is the pervasively anti-intellectual climate that we live in that is to blame. Or it is that popular and warm-fuzzy idea of being spiritual that is to blame; that one always annoys me more than it should. The entirety of that school of thought called New Age just screams ridiculous to me. I'm trying to hold my temper here, but my anger and frustration with the whole idea of spiritual rather than religious just annoys me. There is no skepticism present in this ...what...realm?

I have had more than my share of uncomfortable conversations where the other person insists that the constellations and stars, somehow, tell them important things about their life here on Earth. I'm sorry, but too many people I care about have relationships with their chakras. Lovely, LOVELY people that I know throw their time and money and energy into healing massage and touch, with a belief that there is light and energy emanating from their hands.  I hope that I will never, ever again have to be in the position where a very beloved person looks at me with their puppy dog eyes and says Well, our family truly believes in astrology.


Breath work and Reiki. Chakra energies. Transformational breathing. Various retreats. Energy coming from rocks and crystals. 
The goddess. Astrology. Flat Earthers. Satanism. Aromatherapy. Climate change deniers. Wiccan. Himalayan salt lamps. Vibrations. Essential oils. Numerology. Shamanistic healing. Cleansing scents. Putting your needs out to the universe.  
Colon or liver detoxifying. Sigil symbol magic. Energy healing. Spiritual alchemy. Soul groups. Grounding rituals. Feather magic.
Reflexology. Sacred Geometry. Acupuncture. Homeopathy. Qi gong. Scalar Energy. Naturopathic medicine. Transformational breath work.
Superstition of many kinds.


I find it lonely sometimes being a true skeptic. So many people find these spirituality practices meaningful to them and I truly find them unpalatable to the extreme. Even people who claim to be atheists cling to some of these spiritual practices with no irony or cognitive dissonance. I'm certain that some of these people find me very abrasive or intolerant IRL.

Yeah, it can be lonely being a true skeptic, but I am at a place where I absolutely couldn't be anyone else.

* I'm sure I've offended at least one of my regular readers.



...Feeling a little grumpy and intolerant lately. 
What do you think?

You might also enjoy:
Death, Grief, Loss: Atheist Style

Sunday, February 4, 2018

23 and Me


OK, so I'm a curious person. For years I've been thinking about those DNA testers and thinking I'd get to it sometime. This is the time. 
I gathered up my spit and sent it in to  
23 and Me a couple of weeks ago and now 
I'm waiting for the results. Only four to six more weeks to go before I get my results.

On my dad's side of the family we can only go so far back, back to my dad's grandfather. That man, according to the only family story that I know about him, was raised in an orphanage someplace in Bern, Switzerland...the place burned down. That's it. And I don't even know if that story is true.

One elderly and incredibly beloved relative of mine once told me that someone in our family was Italian and had invented the Gamma Ray, because their name was Gamma.  LOL. I'm thinking that some parts of that story aren't true; in fact, much of what little I know is questionable. For a number of reasons, family history is pretty sketchy on both sides of my family.


On Mom's side I'm pretty sure it's all German all of the way down.


I don't expect to find anything except for German and Swiss back to the beginning of time, but I'm still looking forward to the results. I'm not really interested in the health information. I figure I already know most of that. And I figure I'm genetically-related to some fairly basic people. 

Know what? It's just about the knowing. We can know these things now. This kind of information is available to us, we here in 2017, for the first time ever.  In all of humanity, we can know what our own ancestors couldn't have known and wouldn't have understood. 
I want to know just because I can know.


Because I also know that my great great grandfather was the center of a hot, hot star. The cauldron of the center of him cooked up the heavy elements that allowed stuff to be born from the most basic elements. My ancestors swarmed in the warm, early seas and, with the force of their breath, created the atmosphere that we take for granted. The atmosphere that protects us from the coldness of space. My ancestors then crawled from that sea to explore the shores of the great landforms of Pangaea and before. And after, carrying with them the essential building blocks of my heart, my mind, my blood.

They learned to climb and fly and dig and live in every habitat they found their way into. Their DNA collecting all of the information around them to hand down to me. Some took to the skies on gossamer wings, others on wings of bone and sinew, seeing the terra below them from heights that land-walking cousins could only imagine. Some of these cousins preferred the height and built their homes in the tallest of trees or in the highest corner. Some burrowed into black dirt and were warm. These ancestors diverged further from their below kin, making the unseen currents their new oceans. Their blood still singing the songs of our connection.

Many ancestors hung in the trees and talked with their cousins who preferred being down below. These cousins loved one another for aeons. Some of my cousins, those ancestors who can still be found in my DNA, and yours, stood taller and understood more. They fought and learned and discovered more and more. Their journeys across the ever-changing continents still play in our brains, in each and every cell of our bodies, silently telling their continuous stories.

When they could not know, they used their developing brain and created stories to explain things beyond their comprehension. They celebrated all of nature around them, held nature in awe, and created pieces of art in their wonder. Art that depicted their questions, those things that nurtured them, those things that they desired. This art and these stories filled a part of them that they didn't even know existed before this.

Some hid in homes constructed of stone, some in spit and wattle, some under logs, others within the very earth itself, warm and safe. I am a part of that chain. And now we are here, today, learning where the DNA will take me. Because we can.


..........


I wrote this post and then I found this beautiful piece!!!!!!!
More beautiful then I could ever create!




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