Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fake News - A Rant

Over the last 24 hours the onslaught of fake news that I have been presented with is just astounding. Gone are the days of the obvious separation between what is real and what is satirical.  Tabloid journalism has crossed over into this grey slush that is now the internet news. I really believe in free press.  I believe that everyone should have equal access to educational materials and have the ability to read and learn as much as the can. I also believe that we should be presented with factual information in news and world events.  Satire is fine.  But it must be clearly marked as satire.  It must be labeled fake news or something in order to stop the rampant ignorance that is our society today.

We used to have news casters that we turned on every night.  Being an anchor was a respected position and held an assumption of dignity and honesty.  Below we see compassion and obvious distress in an emotional situation in delivering the news.

What we have now is not journalism.What we offer now is news that is slanted in one direction or another.  We have FOX News that reports with a conservative slant and MSNBC that leans left.  We have sites that try to expose this bias that are labeled as trouble makers.  Below is a clip from Young Turks.

We have so many flat out lying news sites that we have pages dedicated to listing them!  The news is no longer about informing the people.  It is now about selling ad space and pandering a biased message to those who site and stare blankly at the screen.  I really don't want to see the government get involved in the internet.  I think the internet should be a free source of information.  I also, however don't think that we should allow snake oil salesmen to run a muck on the world wide web.

I don't have a solution.  This is just me venting about how we are allowing stupid news sources, fake news and slanted media to turn our culture into the dumbest ever.  It just makes me want to scream!!!

Now I'm going to just watch a happy video.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tart Warmers, Spirit Jars and Incense Burners-Off the Wheel

So I ended up losing 2 of the pots that I made yesterday.  Here they are cut off the bats and drying. Once they are bone dry we'll get started on the bisque fire.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Sunday

Every year around this time people start posting about the War on Christmas.(SOURCE)  Someone posts something about an Atheist making people use X instead of Christ in Christmas. Someone starts a discussion about being forced to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.

Let's start with Xmas.  You see X is actually the Greek letter CHI which when translated becomes CHRIST.  (SOURCE)  So the use of the X in place of Christ in Christmas actually can be traced back to the 1700's.  It isn't some new way to declare some sort of war on baby Jesus or those who believe that it is Jesus' birthday.  It is a literal translation and was even used in advertising as seen below.

Photo Credit - Wikipedia
Advertisement from December 1922 issue of the Ladies Home Journal, showing use of abbreviation "Xmas". Artwork by Coles Phillips.

Now let's talk about the nativity scene.  The first nativity is credited to Saint Francis of the Assisi in 1223 in an effort to encourage people to follow Christianity.  (SOURCE)  In the United States in 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that placing a religious icon on government property placed an unfair emphasis on that particular religion which violates the separate of church and state clause in the US Constitution.  In 1985 in a separate case the court ruled that unless equal access was granted to non-religious icons of the holidays they too violated the Constitution - This was known as the Reindeer Rule.  (SOURCE)  There's a story on Huffington Post (I know some call this a biased source) that offers info on the case from Santa Monica CA - (SOURCE)  In this case a group simply wanted the same access to an area of Palisades Park where nativity scenes were placed for years.

Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Basilique Assise, Legend of St Francis, Institution of the Crib at Greccio

My take on this is simply this.  Why is it necessary for courthouses, public buildings or lands to host religious displays?  Why is it that when we say, you have the freedom to put your nativity in your yard, but don't put it in the court house all of a sudden there is some sort of war on nativities?  I've also noticed a ton of  "_______ is the reason for the season."   Insert everything from Jesus, to Baphoment to pond scum.  The "reason" we have seasons is because of the earth's axis.  That's it.

Photo Credit - NASA

As far as being forced to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas or have a Holiday Party instead of a Christmas Party, Ummm, who is forcing you to do this?  Who is showing up at your house and changing the words on your invitations?  Who is telling you you cannot have a Christmas Party?  I'd love to see any evidence of this at all.  Show one single place where someone said, "You cannot have a Christmas Party any more."  Please.  Just one.  I want to see it.

Artist Unknown
There are dozens of groups celebrating during December including Christians.  (SOURCE)  In the business world some companies use the term "Happy Holidays" to extend a welcoming hand to those shoppers who may be of a different religious doctrine.  It isn't some sort of organized way to "De-Christianize" shopping for presents at Christmas.  It should be noted that the original idea behind the nativity was to encourage worship of Christ rather than upon secular materialism and gift giving.

Photo Credit -

That being said, do I really care if the lady behind the counter says Happy Holidays?  Not really, no. The reason I don't care is honestly because she doesn't either.  She's here working her ass off at some minimum wage job in hopes that she can pay her bills.  Her boss told her to "greet the customer" and she did.  No one sits around plotting the overthrow of Christmas or Christianity by means of substituting Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas.

A few years ago I posted a photo of some holiday gifts that had been sent to me from friends and one of my friends on Facebook decided to come on to my photos and post "Merry CHRISTmas" on my photos.  Now my friend (well, she was my friend, I removed her after that) made it a point to come to my wall, and post that comment on my photos.  While I do see some of my Pagan friends sharing the whole "Christians stole my holidays" memes I see so much more ugliness from those professing to be Christians than I do of any other group.  I have friends who are Atheist, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and everything in between.  I think it is possible to coexist on this planet without the need to always be right.

If the world spent more time actually practicing the religions they claim to follow we would have less horrors in the world.

So no matter what you choose to celebrate, no matter what you call it remember that other people may celebrate the same month, the same day but not the same way.  Allowing someone else the same freedom that you have to worship and allowing people like me, the one's being called PC Liberals, Christmas Haters, and so on to look at someone who may not follow my path and say "Happy Holidays" isn't a war on Christmas.  It is understanding that everyone is equal and remembering that only one of those holidays is federally recognized.

Happy Sunday

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tart Warmers, Spirit Jars and Incense Burners

This week I decided to start working on a new item.  I love those little tart warmers that use the tea light to melt the wax tarts.  I wanted to see if I could make a few.  I ended up with a few of those, some spirit jars and two stick incense burners.

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Photo Credit - Renee Sosanna Olson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

And Her Hair is Like Snakes…

Hecate is a pre Greco-Roman goddess referred to in the Chaldean Oracles as the mother of souls or as the Cosmic World Soul.  In several references to her she is said to have “hair like snakes” or “hair of snakes”. 

“Hecate appears as a gigantic woman, bearing a torch and a sword. Her feet and hair are formed of snakes, and her passage is accompanied by voices of thunder, weird shrieks and yells, and the deep baying and howling of dogs. Her favour was propitiated by offerings and sacrifices, principally consisting of black lambs.”
From: Berens, E.M. The Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome. New York: Maynard, Merril, & Co., 1880. Text in the public domain.  (Source -

“You who wield terrible black torches in your hands, you who shake your head with hair made of fearsome snakes, you who cause the bellowing of the bulls, you whose belly is covered with reptilian scales and who carry over your shoulder a woven bag of venomous snakes" (IV, 2793-2806).

At first our thoughts might be about Gorgons.  The most famous of the Gorgon was Medusa.  Perseus removed her head and used it as a weapon to turn opponents to stone.
Romans referred to the Celts as having “hair like snakes”, however there is no actual source materials for this claim by Caesar.  There are coins that show dreadlock type hair on Celtic figures after the Roman expansion.  (Source )

Hair like snakes is not only referenced in Greek/Roman sources but also in the Christian tale of Samson and Delilah. 

“And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.”  Judges 16:19 KJV

James the Just, brother of Jesus, was said to have worn them to his ankles. 

The Hinu god Shiva, responsible for creation and destruction is said to have jataa, or dreadlocks that fall around him.  Sadhu and sadhiv holy men and women allow their hair to dread and follow a path of spiritual enlightenment.

Egyptians mummies are said to have been found with dreadlocks but there is no evidence to support this.  However the Islamic Mouride Brotherhood in West Africa embrace their strong hair or ndiange.(Source - ).  

Mummies in Peru have been found with dreadlocks and have been referenced in a book by William H. Prescott in 1843.  Prescott wrote,
"On the summit he was received by six priests, whose long and matted locks flowed disorderly over their sable robes, covered with hieroglyphic scrolls of mystic import."

One cannot have a discussion on dreadlocks (hair like snakes) without mentioning the Rastafarian movement.  This movement was embraced by or seen as a way to liberate native Caribbean and Ethiopian slaves from their European slave owners.  In the 1930’s Marcus Garvey led the Universal Negro Improvement Association in an effort to unify blacks against their oppressors back in their home lands.  In the late twentieth century awareness was brought to the movement by the legendary Bob Marley. Dreadlocks have played a role in many parts of our culture today.  In literature and mythology.  In religion and even in human rights.  

Instead of hair, writhing snakes fell down in curls around her (Hekate) neck  and some of them coiled over her shoulders.  Source - Drakon: Dragon Myth and Serpent Cult in the Greek and Roman Worlds, By Daniel Ogden.

Many people choose to wear dreadlocks for many different reasons.  Some for combined reasons.  I started my deadlock journey because first they are really cool.  I love the way the look and the different styles.  Then as in so many other aspects of my spirituality I learned more about Hecate and how she was referred to as having “hair like snakes”.  This made my transition from straight hair to dreaded hair a bit more spiritual. 

I have found that they are work.  I have to spend time taking care of the and sometimes it hurts. I've come a very long way with my hair and I get a lot of strange looks in the small town I live in.  I have read comments that I have no right to have dreaded hair and others that say, to each their own.  To mean, being able to personify the five virtues of Hecate are something I strive every day to do.   Doing it with “her hair like snakes” makes it even better.

Dreadlocks - 9 Mons Old

I think the biggest thing is to make sure that you're doing it the right and healthy way.  Take care of your hair.  Use natural products and don't wax up your head.  That stuff is bad for you.  Be respectful of others and when someone asks you why you want dreadlocks be strong enough to say exactly what you mean.  If you think that they rock and you like them that's a great reason to have them.  If it something more personal explain that to people.  I think that if we shared a bit more of ourselves with each other we would spend less time trying to kill each other.

My dreadlocks are still babies at only 9 months old, but you can see my full dreaded journey here. I'll be uploading new photos monthly.