For years now, I have considered writing a book about my teen years, when I got swept up in a fundamentalist, almost cult-like religious environment for several years. Boy, was I a mixed up kid back then! I’m using my actual diary entries from that time to illustrate what I went through psychologically trying to be this perfect “Christian” that the church I was going to at the time said I had to be. Here is a sneak peak at the introduction to the book:
“This book is one I’ve thought about writing for a while now and finally decided to just do it. As the title suggests, this is indeed one of my own diaries from when I was a teenager and was being influenced by a fundamentalist Christian mentality that sought to isolate me from everyone around me, put fear and anxiety into my heart concerning every choice I had to make, and weighed down my conscience with constant guilt over every little real or imagined transgression.
I am using the first journal I happen to have, started when I was 14 and about to enter high school. The journal covers the time I was most influenced by fundamentalist, almost cult-like ideas.
This religion told me it was wrong to wear pants as a woman. They told me it was wrong to cut my hair or wear jewelry and makeup. They told me it was wrong to listen to secular music, go to the movies, or watch tv. The internet was evil as well. They told me it was wrong to have friends that weren’t “holy” believers. They tried to make me feel like women were simply made to be complements to men, not to have dreams, goals, or lives of their own.
This religion had me constantly fearing the presence and “possession” of demons and thinking that my future didn’t matter because Jesus was coming back soon anyway, so I wouldn’t live long enough to have much of an earthly life. They even discouraged use of “man-made” medicine because it supposedly showed a lack of faith in God’s healing powers.
I have lightly edited the journal entries to make them easier to read, but have otherwise left the content as is. I have inserted italic comments in parentheses when I felt I needed to clarify something. I did leave out parts I felt were uninteresting or just don’t matter overall. I hope you enjoy reading it and can see how fundamentalist religious environments can be extremely damaging to children and teens.”
I meant to share this poem around Easter, but forgot. Guess I had too much going on. This poem just sort of wrote itself, with the images of both the commercial and sacred aspects of the holiday mixing together in my mind. It is not meant to be offensive to religion, but instead, to compare and contrast the cheerful, innocent brightness of welcoming spring with the actual gruesome reality of a crucifixion and resurrection:
poor Jewish carpenter
whipped, beaten, and scrambled
I took the above picture at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum we visited a couple weeks ago. Anubis has always been one of my favorite mythological Gods. Him and Bastet are definitely my favorite Egyptian gods/goddesses, although Thoth is up there on my list as well.
In case you are unfamiliar with Anubis, he is the one often shown with the black dog head. He was the God of embalming and the dead, and the lord of the underworld until later replaced by Osiris. It is believed that he was shown with a black jackal head because jackals were often seen in cemeteries at the time.
Anubis also attended the “weighing of the heart” after someone died, to see if that person was pure enough to enter the underworld (Duat as it was called back then). Each person’s heart was weighed against Ma’at (truth) represented by a feather. If the person’s heart was light and pure, they would go on to a heavenly afterlife, but if their heart was heavy and evil, they would be devoured by Ammit (the demonic devourer of the dead).
As much of Greek mythology was inspired by Egyptian mythology, I always see the figure of Hades as an outgrowth of the figure of Anubis (with some Osiris thrown in too, but after all, Anubis WAS lord of the underworld first!)
I’ve started livestreaming on my YouTube channel just for something to do and another way to connect with people. I’m doing most of the streams on my personal channel, rather than my toys and books channel. My personal channel has a lot less subs (around 200 compared to over 3,000), so if you are a YouTube watcher, please consider subbing to my channel! Here are a couple recent livestreams if you are interested:
The YouTube playback for the livestreams is a bit blurrier than normal vids, but I’m working on that! You probably want to watch them in the highest quality available to minimize blurriness.
This month I decided to try a different pagan-themed subscription box through Cratejoy. This is the Magickal Folk Meditation Kit subscription box that is only $7 + S&H. One thing I love about the Magickal Folk series is that they have a wide selection of boxes to choose from at different prices, so if you simply want Ritual Teas, Crystals, Meditation Rituals, or bigger combo boxes, you can get exactly what you want without paying for more.
The kit I chose is a small kit that comes with a specific meditation and ritual to perform each month, with a few little magickal tools to perform the ritual. This month’s theme was Brigid’s Blessing and came with a winter-themed meditation card, two beautiful tumbled milk quartz stones in a pretty little maroon pouch, a white satin spell ribbon that says “As it is” and “So it will be” at opposite ends, and a large packet of Goddess Blessing Salts made with dandelion root powder & cut leaf, blessed thistle herb, and sea salt.
The ritual suggests you take the ribbon out to a natural place and tie it to a tree, but right now I can’t bring myself to part from it, so I am using it as a decoration on my altar:
One thing I especially love about the meditation card is that it comes with a few journaling prompts for further reflection. So far I love this subscription box and will stay subscribed. It is a good price for a small monthly reminder to take the time to meditate and celebrate my connection to the earth and nature.
Yesterday I logged into my Kindle Direct Publishing account on Amazon and while looking at the reports, noticed there is a new “beta” reporting program they are working on that I could test (the picture above shows the new graphing, with part of the book breakdown below). I checked it out and it is WAY better than their old reporting program! It uses color coded graphs to plainly show which books you are selling, when you are selling them, and also easily separates books sold from “free” promotions vs. paid sales.
I am thrilled they are updating their system, because what they have had the last few years sucks in my opinion. It was hard to even tell which books sold! In other good news, while checking out the new system, I looked at my overall numbers from the last quarter and was pleasantly surprised to see that all together I’ve sold more than 230 ebooks (including promotions) during the last 90 days! Not bad for an indie author!!! It makes my heart happy to know that many people are reading my books!
If you use KDP publishing, I would recommend checking out the new program if you are able to under your own reports! By the way, if you want to check out my Amazon Author Page and maybe give it a follow, that would be awesome! I also have a FREE ebook promotion running today through Monday for my art ebook, “Stories Behind My Art” (if you like it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon!)
Lastly, a few years back, I published a little short story/spiritual ebook called “Jesus, Mohammed, and Abraham – A Parable about Love and Peace” under the name M.N. Russell ($0.99, FREE for Kindle Unlimited) . I decided to add that to my Amazon author bibliography, so you can check that out if you think it sounds interesting!
It is late at night here, but I wanted to share this on the winter solstice!
A Pagan Prayer for Yule
By: Maranda Russell
As the days grow deep
and spring as ever
draws near –
please make my hopes
and my magick strong
with no fear.
By: Maranda Russell
formed from drops
of Christ’s blood,
the martyr’s gem
from legends of old –
stained with red flecks,
from the foot of the cross.
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!