Poetry: Jasper

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Stone
formed from drops
of Christ’s blood,
the martyr’s gem
from legends of old –
jasper
stained with red flecks,
forever falling
from the foot of the cross.

(Written by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)

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Is Freemasonry Sexist?

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I’ve always been fascinated by secret societies and any organizations that tend to have “secret teachings”. The Freemasons specifically have always been an object of curiosity for me. I have always been tempted to join the Freemasons and work my way up the 33 degrees of their Scottish Rite path, because I would love to know what they actually teach for myself. However, because I am a woman and have a vagina instead of a penis, that isn’t allowed.

I knew that Freemasons have a history of excluding women, but wasn’t sure where they stood today, so I reached out to our local Freemason branch to see if they have any programs for women and received this in reply:

“We do not allow women to join our fraternity. We have always been a fraternity which, by definition, is for men only.

There are so-called “co-masonic” groups which you could research on the web. But we are not in any way related to those groups nor do we recognize them as Freemasons.”

How can a religious group with so much influence and power in our world entirely exclude women? This isn’t just some little college fraternity – look into the history of the Freemasons and see their influence and scope! This organization was enormously influential in the formation of our country and many of their symbols reside on our money and other government institutions to this day! They claim to possess important esoteric knowledge, and yet refuse to share any of that with half of the human species?

I hope this doesn’t seem petty or stupid to you guys, but it seriously annoys me. I know other religions are sexist. In the Catholic church, a woman still can’t be a priest (although they should rethink that, perhaps women priests wouldn’t molest all the altar boys), but at least they allow women to be Catholics in the first place!

October 2018 House of Rituals Pagan Subscription Box

I received my October Mini House of Rituals subscription box a few weeks ago and have already used the stuff from it, but I wanted to show you all what I got anyhow. Here is what came in the box:

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The theme this month was Samhain & Diving with Spirits. The package included a 3-card spread tarot reading cloth, 3 tarot cards chosen individually for each subscriber (I got The Lovers, The High Priestess, and the 3 of Wands cards), a tarot card reading guide, a book about various kinds of spirits and how to work with them, 2 silver candles, full moon incense, an old-fashioned pocketwatch, an antique photo, a sun/moon decorative tile, a chunk of rose quartz, and instructions.

When I do rituals I tend to kind of disregard the instructions and just do what feels right, so I used the materials to do a small altar spread honoring the spirit of Samhain and The Day of the Dead. I did keep the theme of past, present, and future and did feel that the 3 cards they sent me fit well! Here is an image of my finished altar spread:

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My personal interpretation of the 3 cards is as follows:

Past – The Lovers: Duality in my past spills over into my present.

Present – The High Priestess: A need for my subconscious to heal from the pain of the past so I can move on.

Future – 3 of Wands: Harmonious prosperity (hopefully a good result to my upcoming SSDI hearing?)

I mostly consider the Tarot a system that is fun and helps you get in touch with your own inner thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs through meditation, so I don’t necessarily try to use it to “predict the future”, but if it wants to tell me the future looks good, I will accept that!

Can Abusers Ever Be Reformed?

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This is a question I struggle with myself on a regular basis. Can abusers really ever change or is it just theater to try to pull you back in so they can mistreat you again? Should you ever let a prior abuser back into your life if they seem to have changed for the good?

None of these are easy questions and there are certainly many contributing factors that should be considered as well. Perhaps abusers who once had drug or alcohol addictions and have now gotten clean for a significant period of time will have changed enough to give them a second chance.

What about those who lived for years with undiagnosed, untreated mental illness and finally get the help they need? How much of the abuse was who they truly were and how much was the influence of the untreated mental illness? This scenario is one I personally have experienced to some extent with my own family. How much responsibility should they hold for the abuse, especially any times they may have actually dipped into psychosis?

I know many abusers find religion at some point in their lives and claim to have been completely changed. I must admit I am suspicious of this claim. Perhaps religion truly does change the hearts of some, but much of my personal experience has taught me that if someone is a bad person before they find religion, they will likely be a bad person after they find it. Superficialities may change, but does their behavior/attitude/actions?

Unfortunately, I have no real answers to the question of whether abusers can ever change, but I hope that they can. I would warn everyone to be cautious in extending an olive branch to anyone who has deliberately hurt you again and again, but I do understand the desire to believe in the power of change.

 

New Art that Took an Unexpected Turn

As I mentioned last week, I started a series of ACEO art trading card artworks based on various kinds of symbols. I created a couple of these artworks based on Native American symbols, but somewhere along the way of creation, they kind of took a turn of their own and didn’t end up looking quite like the symbols I started with. I figured I would still share them though.

The first one was based on the Native American Hano Clown Kachina Mask image. This one did turn out closer to the original image than the other one:

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The second image was based on the “Spirit of Evil” symbol, but turned out looking far more like a creepy ape lol:

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Both of these new artworks have already found a home with a fellow art lover, but if you like my art, feel free to check out my art currently for sale on my Ebay store!

New ACEO Artwork Series: Ancient Symbols

Recently I decided to combine my love for art and ancient symbology into a new series of ACEO art trading cards. I have several books about signs, symbols, and sigils and plan to make a variety of artworks celebrating my love for these mysterious and intriguing ancient forms of wisdom.

So far, I have made four of these cards, two of them inspired by Shinto symbols and two inspired by ancient Egyptian cartouches (a series of symbols that represents deities or royalty).

The first Shinto symbol is a version of the Good Luck Crane:

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I also did a version of the Shinto Tortoise of Longevity:

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As for the Egyptian cartouches, the first represents Thothmes III:

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And the 2nd represents Hatshepset:

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Please let me know what you guys think of this new series. I hope you like it. You can find these artworks and more for sale on my Ebay store, so check it out!

What I Believe, Do Not Believe, and Am Unsure About

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Like many others with Aspergers and OCD traits, I enjoy making lists and organizing my thoughts in a linear fashion on paper. While flipping through an old notebook, I found the following lists of “What I Believe”, “What I Do Not Believe”, and “What I Am Unsure Of”, and thought I would share it just for fun. Since I am not religious anymore, I made this list to try to figure out and pinpoint what I personally believe or no longer believe.

What I Believe

  • There is probably some kind of all-encompassing spirit or energy in the universe. Whether that energy is conscious and/or aware can be argued.
  • There is an inter-connectedness of all things.
  • I believe in the power and goodness of love, kindness, and forgiveness.
  • I believe in the power and strength of nature.

What I Do Not Believe

  • Any form of religious dogma. It is ALL man-made.
  • I do not believe that any human or religion has all the answers, no matter how much they think they do.
  • I do not believe in eternal punishment or “hell”.
  • I do not believe that everyone needs to or should follow the same path.

What I Am Unsure Of

  • Are there any Gods or Goddesses in any form?
  • Is there an afterlife? Are ghosts, hauntings, or reincarnation real?
  • Are there other “realms”? For example, do fairies, aliens, alternate realities, mythical monsters, etc. exist in this current reality or any other?
  • Is there such a thing as a personal soul? If so, do only humans have them, or all living beings? Can a non-organic being (like Artificial Intelligence) have or develop a “soul”?