dreamer_easy: (moon)
Hatred in the Hallways: HRW responds to the bullying of gay American kids. Links to their 2001 report and suicide prevention resources.

One of the things that's struck me while doing my homework on Islam is its non-hierarchical structure, compared to more familiar religions such as the Catholic and Anglican churches. Rather than pronouncements handed down from the top which everyone's supposed to go along with, you can go to any alim or Islamic scholar and ask for a ruling. I think this one reason Westerners get confused; we expect a single "Islamic" view, and instead discover a plethora of denominations, schools, and individuals, all opining away. (That's what a fatwa is - the opinion of a religious scholar, nothing more.)

Now I don't want to overstate this comparison, as there are very profound differences, but my own religion of Neo-Paganism is also largely non-hierarchical. This was brought home to me when I tried to find out whether I could, tongue-in-cheek, call myself a mushrika. Google promptly produced several different definitions of the term and who it could be applied to. (It's clear I'm going to have to hit the books some more over this one!) There's a saying: "twelve witches, thirteen opinions", and I think the same may be true for the ulema. :)

This brings me back to Ms Moon:
"The same with other points of Islam that I find appalling (especially as a free woman) and totally against those basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution...I feel that I personally (and many others) lean over backwards to put up with these things, to let Muslims believe stuff that unfits them for citizenship, on the grounds of their personal freedom."
Again, it's hard to know exactly what Ms Moon has in mind here. But this idea that Islam is ultimately incompatible with freedom, especially for women, is paralleled in some Pagan thought, particularly in the Goddess movement. Some feminists are working hard to reform traditional religions such as Christianity and Judaism. Other have given up on the Abrahamic faiths as being inevitably, hopelessly oppressive, particularly for women, and have turned to Paganism as an alternative. (And quite a few people fall somewhere between the two camps.)

I thought of this when reading a Pagan response to the dreadful tragedy of gay kids taking their own lives, which several recent well-publicised examples have suddenly brought into the spotlight. That response draws in turn on a Baptist minister's call for theological change from an unspoken model where "God is at the top, (white, heterosexual) men come soon after and all those less valued by the culture (women, children, LGBT people, the poor, racial minorities, etc.) fall somewhere down below."

It's tempting to satirise some of Ms Moon's points by showing how well they apply to Christianity, her own religion, just as well as they do to Islam - to say, with some Pagans, that Christianity is incompatible with freedom, especially for women. Personally, though, I haven't given up on the Abrahamic faiths; even a glance at their histories shows how capable of innovation they are. Besides, they're not going away any time soon.

But I do want to say, with Jason at the Wild Hunt blog, that "... it is more important than ever for us to make it known that our alternatives exist. To be visible and to make common cause with those who are told to hate themselves by the dominant faith lens."

I can't speak for every Neo-Pagan or Wiccan; no-one can. I can tell you, though, that the goddess I worship, Inanna, is the patron of all sexuality. In the Mesopotamian hymns and tales she's a macho warrior and a new bride. Her clergy (as best we can tell) included gay men and cross-dressers. As the evening star, she's compared with a sex worker, hanging out of the tavern window looking for business! She's not a mother goddess; she's a goddess of sex, and without her, nobody can bothered with it. Starhawk says that the lovers taken from us by AIDS are her martyrs. She's the reason I've blogged so much about sex education, reproductive freedom, and freedom from sexual violence. If you are a slut, a fag, a queer, a whore, a tranny, a monogamous heterosexual, or a hopeful virgin, this goddess, who was worshipped for thousands of years and who has burst back to life, wants to gather you up in her huge multicoloured bouquet of life and love and joy. (Heck, if you're celibate or asexual, jump on in. It's a big bouquet.)

Jason blogs: "My 'something else' is the modern Pagan movement, but it isn't the only 'something else' out there." Hold on. Don't give in. You're part of nature too, and God loves you. You will find friends and a safe place to be yourself. Reach out for help. Don't give in. Hold on.
dreamer_easy: (sleep)
"Don't spread rumours. Leave that kind of thing to drama queens. If you didn't witness something yourself, don't spread gossip about it. Gossip's about as real as a dream. Forget it - or it'll come back and bite you on the ass."

(My paraphrase.)

The source )
dreamer_easy: (too tired)
Paul Davies. The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone In The Universe?
Christopher Isherwood. Mr Norris Changes Trains.
Joyce Tyldesley. Daughters of Isis.

Books borrowed )
dreamer_easy: (books)
Agatha Christie. Death Comes As The End.
Douglas Coupland. Generation X.
Hitomi Kanehara. Auto Fiction.
- Snakes and Earrings.

Books bought and borrowed )
dreamer_easy: (desert)
http://egyptology.blogspot.com/2010/02/video-petrie-museum-with-john-johnston.html

Short video for LGBT History Month stuff at the Petrie Museum in London. Interesting in and of itself, but my eye was caught by a more modern artifact at around 1:40. See if you can spot it. :D
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Re-watched "The Egyptian" (1954), which I first viewed in the early 90s as "research" for Set Piece. There are some good lines, including some fun comic relief provided by Peter Ustinov, but mostly it's pretty dreary. How'd they make ancient Egypt look so dull? Despite some intrigues, it's not even sexy. Plus the story gradually winds down from the moderate excitement of hunting lions, abusing tarts, inventing iron, etc, to characters standing around making looong speeches about God. I suppose it was expected in a sword-and-sandal epic. This movie's characterisation of Akhenaten as an epileptic peace-loving visionary is partly the reason I made him a cunning bastard in the novel.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Jean Rhys. Wide Sargasso Sea.
Neal H. Walls. The Goddess Anat in Ugaritic Myth.
Irvine Welsh. Trainspotting.
Tom Wolfe. The Mid-Atlantic Man and Other New Breeds in England and America.

Books bought and borrowed )
dreamer_easy: (BRIC A BRAC)
Eine Schlange mit Füßen!



The actual significance of this picture is that I've been bloody looking for it for years - it illustrates chapter 164 of the Book of the Dead, and shows the goddess Mut in the triple-headed, hermaphroditic form of Sekhmet-Bast-Ra. I think. Never mind that: eine Schlange mit Füßen! Und auch zwei Udjat-Augen ebenfalls Füßen! You could not make this stuff up!
dreamer_easy: (BRIC A BRAC quotations)
"Die Verschmelzung von verschiedenen tierischen Elementen wurde gewissermßen als normwidrig oder sogar als monströs empfunden and daher des öfteren bei furchtbaren dämonischen Gestalten verwendet. So ist z.B. die Totenfresserin aus Krokodilskopf, Löwenkorper und Nilpferdhinterteil zusammengesetzt."
And here's a picture:



The Totenfresserin, aka the Devourer of the Dead. Note the Nilpferdarsch.

Right now I'm a strange combination of manic, chirpy, and fragile - simple tasks, like searching for something on ABE, keep popping my mind valves. You should all recognise this mental state for what it is, ie, post-regenerative trauma. I need a Zero Hat.
dreamer_easy: (X_X DED)
Currently missing the last Sumerian class due to utter exhaustion. (I'm so buggered I'm even having trouble making this posting.) Now I'll never find out what happened when Irra-malik divorced Estar-ummi! But I have enough to go back to the texts about Inanna with lots of fresh insight.

ETA: Holy cow, I just found out. ouch

al-nu-dug4

Jan. 12th, 2010 11:09 pm
dreamer_easy: (ZOMG)
I should probably cut the rest of the week's Sumerian classes. It's stinking hot, my vision is blurred, I'm knackered, I have PMS, and I'm sick of the sight of cuneiform. But this morning, while struggling with the latest building inscription, my eye hit a transliterated phrase, and I just read it. Didn't have to go through it syllable by syllable, grammatical component by component, I just read: "When the goddess Nanshe gave him kingship of the city of Lagash". ZOMFG!!11!!!

Saw the doc this afternoon. She reckons the Questran, or rather the lack of it, is not likely to be the culprit. Anywho, more meds, more blood tests, and if I'm still doing badly in a couple of weeks we'll bring my endocrinologist appointment forward. *tests* 15.7 ffs
dreamer_easy: (WORDS WORDS WORDS)
First day of two weeks' Sumerian yesterday. [livejournal.com profile] illudiumphosdex dropped in! Still easy to recognise. :) Then on to the realm of [livejournal.com profile] ashamel and [livejournal.com profile] kylaw via the wheels of [livejournal.com profile] motiveforce for games and stuff. Plus bumped into my awesome former boss Robin. It's like a whole year's socialising packed into one day!

Saltu-ed

Dec. 20th, 2009 01:52 pm
dreamer_easy: (do not fuck with me)
I must tell you, I laughed and laughed when I came across the story of Saltu:

Ishtar, the bratty, noisy, brawling, glorious goddess of sex and violence, has become so much of a pain in the arse that the cunning god Ea creates her mirror image: Saltu, whose name means "strife", a warrioress just as loud and scrappy as Ishtar. In fact, Saltu pesters Ishtar so much that the goddess sees what she's been acting like and gets Ea's message. Ishtar's not tamed; that can't be done. She just tones it down a little.

I laughed because I've been going through the same process myself with all this Internet hoo-hah in recent years. It's made me more aware of my own arguing style and helped me modify it a bit.
dreamer_easy: (BOOKS)
James Baldwin. The Fire Next Time.
Frances E. Kendall. Understanding White Privilege.
Brian Thacker. Rule No. 5: No Sex On The Bus.

Books bought and borrowed )
dreamer_easy: (ART)
Popped in a few weeks ago, on a break between fits of photocopying at the National Library.

Lotus Ceiling. Freakily, I have a pendant which looks very much like this, and happened to be wearing it the day I visited.

The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Twelve hands, no waiting.

The goddess Durga slaying the buffalo demon. Note her lion biting said buffalo on the bum.
dreamer_easy: (CURRENT AFFAIRS)
THE HITTITES INVENTED THE SANDWICH

THAT IS ALL
dreamer_easy: (podge)
The Goddess movement has been criticised within and without feminism as a distraction from more important issues for women, but the truth is, it intersects very much with political thought and action. Rummaging through old bookmarks, I rediscovered the essay The Goddess Ungirdled: How I learned to love my belly and found the Sacred Feminine within, in which Lisa Sarasohn describes how yoga and finally the image of the prehistoric Great Goddess helped her escape the trap of hating her body. (In this context, it doesn't matter whether there really was a Great Goddess - those luscious, sexy, weighty "Venus" figures are inspiring in their own right.)
dreamer_easy: (OPINION)
Do not utter libel, speak what is of good report.
Do not say evil things, speak well of people.
One who utters libel and speaks evil,
Men will waylay him with his debit account to Shamash.

[That is - I think - they'll point out all of his faults and crimes.)

- The Babylonian "Counsels of Wisdom", c. 1500 BCE. From W.G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature, Oxford University Press, 1960.
dreamer_easy: (we are as gods)


A couple of lioness-headed aspects of Sekhmet pour (blow? breathe?) fire onto damned souls in sandpits. (The guy on the far right is OK - he drowned, and so gets a free pass into heaven.)
dreamer_easy: (we are as gods)
You know you're onto something good when your gods look like this:



How cool is that?! (It's Atum, in the form of a snake, from the Brooklyn Papyrus.)

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