Category Archives: religion

What about Pastafarianism, then?

[thoughts from a bottle of wine, by Sha’Tara]

Well, all that writing and comments on religion, one side being those who ardently support the existence of God, one side being those who equally, ardently do not support the existence of God, was a lot of fun. It would be more fun if all of it wasn’t taken so darn seriously, but this is Earth, so I guess the proper expression here is: deal with it and get over it.

So… I think I have. I can’t be sure, but you will notice that at the very least, I’m thinking and that, again this being Earth, is no small feet… I mean feat. (I must have joined my earthworm at the glass of wine a bit soon, and stayed a bit too long, time will tell.) If that aside doesn’t make sense, either you did not read some of the comments, or, bless you, you had better things to do and then, yes, of course it does not make sense, it will not make sense and probably I can’t explain it either so it could make sense. Shall we move on, then?

Having thus overcome the terrible desire to engage, engage, engage, as if I were the captain of the Enterprise, and use up all my demagoguerite vocabulary on smoke and mirrors, I did some research about alternatives to, you know, Absolutely Certainty, and came up with the following. First, to avoid all errors, let’s start with a link. Links, as we all know, are the 21st Century’s Word of God. Links are The Truth. Without Links, no one is going anywhere and there is no salvation.

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pastafarianism

What is Pastafarianism?

It’s the great and almighty atheist religion which teaches how the world was created by the flying spaghetti monster who happened to be drunk which thus explains why bad things happen. Pastafarians follow the church of the flying spaghetti monster and when they go to heaven they will enjoy a beer volcano and a stripper factory (which makes me wonder what’s in it for the ladies but let’s not quibble about small matters, it’s only eternity after all), however in hell the beer is stale and the strippers have VD! In pastafarian terms agnostics are known as spagnostics and all prayers must end with RAmen. September 19th is the national “talk like a pirate” day and the religions founder Bobby Henderson has published a “Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”.

What attracted me to Pastafarianism – not saying I’m going to join, I don’t own a colander to wear at special functions and a veil or burka (or burqa or burqah) would definitely be frowned upon – were the very words of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Itself, specifically the eight “I’d really rather you didn’t” non-commandments, as brought to us by Its Prophet, Bobby Henderson (No, not that Bobby Henderson, the other one!)

The Sacred Eight I’d Really Rather you Didn’ts:

1)I’d really rather you didn’t act like a sanctimonious holier-than-thou ass when describing my noodly goodness. If some people don’t believe in me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject.

2)I’d really rather you didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate, and/or, you know, be mean to others. I don’t require sacrifices, and purity is for drinking water, not people.

3)I’d really rather you didn’t judge people for the way they look, or how they dress, or the way they talk, or, well, just play nice, Okay? Oh, and get this into your thick heads: woman = person. man = person. Samey = Samey. One is not better than the other, unless we’re talking about fashion and I’m sorry, but I gave that to women and some guys who know the difference between teal and fuchsia.

4)I’d really rather you didn’t indulge in conduct that offends yourself, or your willing, consenting partner of legal age AND mental maturity. As for anyone who might object, I think the expression is go f*** yourself, unless they find that offensive in which case they can turn off the TV for once and go for a walk for a change.

5)I’d really rather you didn’t challenge the bigoted, misogynistic, hateful ideas of others on an empty stomach. Eat, then go after the b******s.

6)I’d really rather you didn’t build multi million-dollar churches/temples/mosques/shrines to my noodly goodness when the money could be better spent (take your pick):
Ending poverty
Curing diseases
Living in peace, loving with passion, and lowering the cost of cable. I might be a complex-carbohydrate omniscient being, but I enjoy the simple things in life. I ought to know. I AM the creator.

7)I’d really rather you didn’t go around telling people I talk to you. You’re not that interesting. Get over yourself. And I told you to love your fellow man, can’t you take a hint?

8)I’d really rather you didn’t do unto others as you would have them do unto you if you are into, um, stuff that uses a lot of leather/lubricant/Las Vegas. If the other person is into it, however (pursuant to #4), then have at it, take pictures, and for the love of Mike, wear a CONDOM! Honestly, it’s a piece of rubber. If I didn’t want it to feel good when you did it I would have added spikes, or something.

In the words of the flying spaghetti monster himself, (and written by Bobby Henderson, the creator of Pastafarianism)

There you have it. The best news of all is, you don’t have to be Italian to be a pastafarian. Or at least I don’t think so, I’m deducing, à la Sherlock Holmes (Yes, that Sherlock Holmes)

What did you expect, it’s Canada Day here, or so I’m told, and we all take that very, very seriously here, or so I’m told. I might hang out some laundry today. I hope it isn’t mistaken for a foreign flag and someone sends the RCMP to investigate. Nah, this is Canada. What flag? We keep changing our minds about that, and the national anthem also… Not to worry, some day we’ll get it right, or left, or leave it and join a Word Federation or something so that we can have social justice, equality and happiness when meeting a stranger.  I’d like that, even better than Pastafarianism.

 

 

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On Atheism, Religion and the Human Being

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Very recently I ‘accidentally’ stepped into a burgeoning discussion on WordPress. The question was simple and innocuous enough: is a child born with an innate sense of God, or in a broader sense, the numinous?

To a philosopher, such a question is a very personal one. You think about it and you answer it according to your own remembrances, memories, and experiences. Sadly the question was going to be caught, handcuffed and dragged through the streets to be tortured by one particularly strident and defensive ‘ism’.

I suppose the question was custom-made to being hijacked mostly by atheists, and I should have been a bit more wary to even try to wade on the shore of that stream. The water was acid on my bare feet.

I’ve never liked atheism. I tried it for a few years and I found it to be a dead religion, devoid of awe, beyond short-lived awareness of pretty sunsets, flowers and waterfalls, perhaps the enjoyment of sex; devoid of joy, since true joy can only be known on that spiritual plane atheists abhor and denigrate every chance they get.

Essentially, you are born to die. You can be no more than a superior intelligent animal and all accomplishments are but the results of a pointless evolution which cannot lead anywhere since there is no continuity beyond a mindless material level. There is no purpose to life beyond propagating itself, again, for no purpose. Though atheism denies “luck”, that being a spooky goddess we do not speak of in fear of losing our atheist badge, in its philosophy everything is happen-chance.

Self-professed atheism is a recent phenomenon, at least in the Western White Christian World, stemming mostly from deliberately mis-interpreted works of Charles Darwin and his speculations on species adaptation which he called natural evolution.

Here’s the contradiction. While life is pointless, evolution is of foremost importance and it is everything. Everything we can conceive of today has evolved… from? Well, we can’t say ‘from nothing’ that being too uncomforably close to ‘creation’ so we’ll just invent some beginning. But it can’t be anything that could remotely be connected to the effects of “divine” intervention. The perfect atheist world has a walled border; a zero tolerance policy to infiltration or refuge seeking from any sort of spirit, or spirit thought.

Though it is absolutely pointless, nevertheless atheism allows conditions such as love, caring, compassion, even empathy. Somehow, as curious as that seems to me, such unnatural conditions evolved from the same “Big Bang” and resultant muck and mire soup everything came from. Why such conditions settled on mankind, along with their too obvious opposites such as hate, racism, misogyny, egregious violence and spreading bigotry, evolution explains it. How? Dare I say by faith? Indeed, my own discovery is that it takes more faith to believe in atheism than in deism! That naturally explains why atheists have to propagate their belief by force of demagoguery, just like their opposites, in Christian “fuddlementalism”.

If everything stems from evolution, then religion is a natural product of evolution, therefore anything “happening” within those sacred halls of mostly nonsense is also a natural product of evolution. Can’t be any other explanation. So, why are atheists so vehemently anti-religious since everything is a product of their belief system? Could it be because atheism is not “science based” but a religion in its own right, its tenets subject to change without notice? And they have changed, for example on the subject of eugenics, for which we have Hitler to thank.

I’ve always known that atheism is a counter-religion, a reaction to the extremes of primarily Catholicism and Evangelicalism. Countering means engaging on the battle field and the battle field requires missionaries.

In that regard, Atheism lost one of its most strident mouth-pieces and missionary: Christopher Hitchens, who died of cancer in 2011. In my opinion, if that’s the best Atheism can come up with to prove its point, it may as well throw down its sword and yield to its opponents. You lost the Cup, go home quietly, don’t break any hearts or any stained glass windows on the way, and thank you very much for a century of dubious entertainment.

“The vocal fervour of today’s missionary atheism conceals a panic that religion is not only refusing to decline – but in fact flourishing.” (John Gray, The Guardian)

Indeed, despite “the obvious” the world’s religious population is currently 85% of total population and that number is not only not declining, it is projected to rise in the next 40 years.

See also: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/10/how-religious-will-the-world-be-in-2050/

Now I need to make a point here: religion(s) are not what matters in all of this. What matters is that we allow ourselves, and our children, the innate “right” to be spiritual beings. In that respect both, organized religions and atheism, are enemies of mankind as a full-fledged spirit-mind-body human construct. Both kill spirit, hence both deny mankind access to its ultimate claim to being a member of humanity.

Looking for, Searching, Seeking, Questing

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

When we go looking for something, either it’s something we want, need, or it could be something we misplaced, or lost. Either we find it, or we find a replacement and life goes on. Soon enough we forget we ever even went looking.

When we engage a search, whatever it is we may be searching for, there is the certainty that we will find something. Sometimes, that something will so surprise us it will eclipse whatever caused us to begin our search in the first place. Such a serendipitous happening we will tend to remember as some kind of magical intervention in our life.

Seeking is a deeper engagement, with the staunch and upholding hope, and faith, that whatever we are seeking for, we will find if we are diligent and do not get sidetracked to the point where we lose interest in the dream, for seeking must involve dreaming.

Questing is entirely different. Unlike looking for, searching, or seeking, questing does not entail fulfilment. A quest, by its very nature, can never be attained for it is a path; a way of life, not a goal to be reached. If it is completed; if the object of the quest is found, or reached, it wasn’t a quest but a seeking.

Deep down inside me, no matter where I’ve stood in my long years of turmoil trying to put “closed” to determining whether life is terminal or eternal, I worked out a philosophy that allowed me to know the answer to that vexing problem. It was quite simple, actually. All I had to do was find a life purpose that required eternity in order to make sense of it. To engage this purpose I had to completely switch my thinking regarding life. I needed to find that elusive “something” that even death could not put an end to. I didn’t want to cheat death, or conquer it, or end it, as in the John Donne’s cry, “Death, thou shalt die!”

I stopped asking “What is life?” and began asking, “What is my purpose within that which I call life?” I knew the first question could not be answered honestly though any number of guesses would fit the bill yet remain non-answers. But the second question brought it home to me. I made myself “life” and from that awareness I could but ask, “What is my purpose here?” I didn’t have to ask “Who am I” anymore because from here on I would be a different person moment after moment. What I believed today I might very well laugh at tomorrow. It no longer mattered “who” I was; it mattered what I was and what I would become as I travelled the omniverse and the cosmos.

I had passed the religious stage where some saviour divinity would determine my worth, or check my credentials at death’s door and give me a fail or pass. Childish and definitely superstitious. I had also passed the stage I describe as “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” – a common enough belief in today’s post-Christian world that would never keep my questing mind satisfied.

If I could find and define a purpose for myself that required an eternity to make sense of then I would have found the key to eternal life through self empowerment. That, however, had to remain securely beyond any fit accusation of hubris. Thus I had to reject the New Agey belief that “I am God” or that we are all gods. This is so obviously false, it’s laughable. Can I produce a miracle on demand? By miracle, I mean something that clearly defies all the laws and rules of nature as we understand them. Could I give an amputee a new arm, or leg? Could I bring someone who’d been in a coma for years back into the land of the normal living? Could I raise the dead? Make a blind person see? No. But neither can those who believe in Christ, for example, even though they have a scriptural promise that they would be able to do such things. I had to know that it was not a matter of being divine, or having faith in some divinity. It would have to be more!

This quest, or purpose as I call it, had to be totally reasonable, totally doable by absolutely anyone. It would have to be seen as relatively normal in an everyday kind of world. It would be a way of life that could be observed, even experienced by those “others” it touched yet would never call for hero worship, desire to be followed (as a guru or teacher for example) or freak anybody out by outlandish words or performance. It would remain non-threatening; it’s effectiveness hidden in simple self-effacing outworking. It wouldn’t ask, wouldn’t preach, wouldn’t proselytize and if some impressionable person became attracted to the one living this purpose, they would be told to seek their own way.

This purpose would not be the making of a path for others to follow upon. If, for some it had a way-shower quality, they would be reminded that it was based on self empowerment, never on believing or following. ‘If it seems good to you, emulate certainly, but do it of your own desires; of your own power; for your own reasons.’

No one could ever follow, buy or believe their way here. There is no path given to anyone that requires abdicating one’s own selfhood. Anything that makes such a claim is a deadly error, hence, in conclusion, all organized religions and their imitators, are deadly impositions upon this mind-darkened world.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou thinkst thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow
And soonest our best men with thee do go
Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppies or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke. Why swellst thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die!
(John Donne)

There is a Book

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

With so many comments either set aside or poorly answered; with the fantasy novel (finished, by the way) waiting to be posted on the blog and my job appointment book filling up, the last thing I need is another post stirring up more controversy.

Still, I must live up to my reputation. I’ve been called a lot of things over the years, few complimentary, recently an anarchist (which I consider a compliment) and a contrarian (which is akin to a trouble maker for no good reason and that’s not a compliment, not even with green eggs and ham, Sam I Am) while all I’m doing is questioning everything. Why do I do that? Because everything should be questioned and it’s the task of any intelligent individual to do so.

Nothing should ever be taken for granted, accepted without proof, or dismissed as of no consequence even when its track record screams: “I’m going to destroy your civilization, with yourself and yours in it!” We’re so used to seeing the writing on the wall these days, we just call it graffiti and turn away shrugging, smiling or laughing.

There’s a book that is titled: “Solutions to all Problems” and it’s the only book you can find in any library. It’s the only book you get when you enter grade one, the only book you will receive subsequently until you finish your stint in high school, college or university. The only book you will ever read. It’s the book all institutions use, including the United Nations. It might even surprise you to discover that it’s the only book Donald Trump has ever attempted to read… in pop-up format.

That book has millions of titles, one of the best known is the Bible, of course. It has millions of introductions and millions of ways wherein the contents are filled in. It’s a wonderful book. I see it here, or at least excerpts of it, on Word Press all the time.

The reason this book is so popular and acceptable is simple: it doesn’t actually contain any real solution to anything at all. That’s its purpose: to propose solutions that are based on ideas hatched by dead smart guys, or interpreters of dead smart guys, or people who figgered out a way to cash in on dead smart guys ideas. It rehashes failed “solutions” to any and every problem without an iota of shame for doing this. It’s like watching an ever-running soap opera, you know, the “people with no lives watching people with fake lives” sort of book.

So try to imagine somebody (like me for example) saying that the book is fake; that it should be burned, not banned, good Lord no, never banned, that would only make it more popular! Burned. Discarded. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. An end to it.

Then, lo and behold, we would be free to write an entirely new book and none of the contents would be based on the old “Solutions to all Problems” fantasy.

Having said that, I’ve been having thoughts about fascism and Nazism, including Zionism, lately. My thoughts ran on the question: why have these horrible anti-life, anti-human ideologies become so powerful and popular in the last century and increasingly so in this one?

There was a simple answer: Darwinism. Of course. Darwinism denies the humanity of man. It claims that man is just another evolved critter that crawled out of the much and mire some million years ago and joined in the race to dominate. It brushes off any attempt at dialogue regarding human behaviour such as morals, virtues and vices, the sense of what is right and what is wrong.

That sort of religion was custom made for fascists, Nazis and Zionists. It claims we live in a world strictly ruled by the survival of the fittest. How that fittest becomes fittest is irrelevant, all that matters is, the fittest must make it to the top of the pyramid of power and control. It’s nature, you see? If you question that you’re insane, of course.

If that means cruelly exploiting, oppressing, or murdering millions, so be it. There is nothing wrong in exercising one’s supremacy any way it works. It’s nature’s food chain. None of what you do to change that has any meaning, nor can it succeed.

That’s the essence of Darwinism.

Now, ask me why I would hate even the mention of such a religion, and make no mistake, it is a religion. It is designed to fool to numbties into thinking that when they switch from worshiping the infamous Jehovah to worshiping Superiority through race, misogyny, imperial subjugation or financial shenanigans, they are “atheists” and are cleansed from the curse of religiosity!

Just another title to The Book. The contents are always the same.

Your call!

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff

[Time for another chapter of the novel. Enjoy!]

Part I    –   The Calling

Chapter 19   –   Meeting the priest; all is set for the wedding

To Lo and Nal, it wasn’t much of a ‘town’ but to Deanna it was unbelievable. Not only the large kirk that sat imposingly in the centre of the main town but the shops, so many shops, and people walking everywhere. There were even people on horseback, and horse-drawn carts hauling various merchandise. At an open air butcher shop several women were haggling with a portly butcher over the cut meat and the hanging geese and chicken. After each left with a purchase, she was replaced by another just as eager to haggle over the prices.

Children ran wildly through the filthy streets, yelled at by the adults they splattered when their bare feet slapped into puddles of stagnant and stinking water.

As Ian and his group walked on deeper into the town, most people stopped doing whatever they were doing and stared. The men were particularly attracted to the three young women, the two tall imposing light-haired ones and the short, small dark one. On the faces you could read the question: who are these well-armed people and what do they want here?

Then some recognized MacGruder and greetings were exchanged. Women came forth to greet lady Jen MacGruder and their daughter they did not recognized so grown up she was. They were introduced to Lo whom they openly admired, and the two other young women, Genti and Deanna. Ian ventured the news that they intended to have a wedding here in Glowmere between the two travellers who were friends of the MacGruders from the south. He announced that Nal and Lo, whom he singled out, were to be united in holy matrimony at the kirk if the priest was in agreement.

The news was greeted with a loud cheer that spread up and down the main street and brought the curious street urchins forth. Soon items went missing here and there from the shops and stalls as the cries of “Thief, stop him!” or “That miserable scoundrel, stop her!” followed by some useless chase that only left a shop or stall open to more pilfering.

“An where does one find the priest?” ask Ian. An urchin offered to lead them to the priest, for a price. Contrary to his usual parsimonious nature, Ian good-naturally accepted and paid the rascal. They intercepted the priest as he was stepping out of the kirk and getting ready to bar, bolt and lock the door.

“Wouldn’t want yer God er his saints t’ run off come night eh Father? Keep ‘em locked up, that’s the sure way.” said Ian with a large smile.

The priest, a tall, stringy sort of creature in a fading black cassock eyed MacGruder with a frown and asked, “An what do ye be wantin’ fro’ me, mon?”

“Well Father, ‘tis not what I want, ‘tis what these young un’s here be needin’ – an’ that’d be a proper weddin’ t’would be, if ye be amenable to it?”

The priest cast a haughty look over the group trying to figure out which of them were to be the victims. Unable to decide, he turned to MacGruder and said, “They be proper Church people then? Baptized and knowing their catechism?”

“Aye of that I’m sure Father. Might not hurt ‘em just the same to have a confession afore the ceremony?”

“That is mandatory mon, and may I know whom I be addressin’ and whom the intended’s be?”

“I be Ian MacGruder, perhaps ye’ve heard of us from up t’ cottage? An’ here are the two ‘intendeds’ as ye put it: Lo ‘n Nal. Don’t know if there be any family names attached to ‘em, I reckon not.”

“Well, I’ll need such particulars for the book ye understand. We keep decent records here, not like the old pagan days thankfully gone from here, praise God.”

“We’ll get ye the names Father.” MacGruder’s voice had grown somewhat harsher and definitely colder as he prepared to haggle prices with the priest.

Having heard their names mentioned, Nal and Lo came forward and introduced themselves to the priest. Again he gave his haughty look, equally met and brought down forcefully by both Nal and Lo who would not tolerate such from a pawn of the Church. For a moment the priest sensed something that scared him and was of a mind to refuse the ceremony, then thought of the money and held his tongue. On top of the incentive of good gold, there were those deadly looking swords, bows and staffs to reckon with. It might not do to upset these and seemed more prudent to let the moment have its way.

‘I can deal with any sorcery and paganism afterwards and I certainly will.’

All three, Nal, Deanna and Lo, had been mind-focusing on the priest and heard his thoughts. Here was another dangerous enemy, certainly for Genti and the MacGruders. This priest would have to be dealt with after they settled with the Betrayers and before they carried on to further adventures, such certain to come about as a result of Nal’s vows and Deanna’s need to return to Torglynn.

As there was overt thoughts of violence and murder in the priest’s heart, Lo felt no qualm about disposing of the creature come the right time. This work might well fall to wolf and his mate he reckoned. Both Nal and Deanna agreed though Nal who had some personal scores to settle with the Church insisted she’d be involved in the priest’s demise. They left it at the stage where the priest would be killed but not who would do the honours.

Meanwhile, let the hypocrisy reign supreme.

“Any o’ these others gettin’ married also, Ian?” Asked the priest, trying hard to sound innocent, caring, and friendly but inwardly licking his greedy lips thinking of the gold a double or triple wedding would bring, winter being financially remarkable only from the increase in burials.

“Hasn’t been mentioned Father. Must be waitin’ for spring, t’other ones eh? So then to business, time and cost? Ye’d be needin’ gold yea?”

“Gold, yea. Five ounces, weighed on the scale at the kirk. As to time, does next Saturday suit ye, Ian?”

Ian called his group together and after consulting with Jen asked them, “Does next Saturday suit ye all for the weddin’ t’ take place or ye havin’ second thoughts now? Last chance ‘fore I put down the money.”

Nal and Lo smiled broadly at one another then burst out laughing while a spark of hope flashed through young Giles’ heart only to be extinguished in the same moment when Nal said, “Saturday is perfect for us ‘n the sooner t’ better to get it done. Can’t wait! An’ Father if ye be wantin’ our clan names, I be a McBanish, n’ Lo here, he be a MacDunit.”

“Interestin’ names. Can’t say I ever heard o’ those clans, interestin’ indeed. Saturday then, ten o’ the mornin’?”

“Aye that’ll suit us fine, that will, Father,” quickly answered Ian.

They left the skeletal priest standing there like a patiently expectant vulture on his favourite dead tree perch and Ian declared they all deserved a drink at the Wild Horse Inn, a good place, he added.

Once out of the priest’s hearing they all burst out laughing until the tears were running down their faces. Ian had to lean on a hitching post to keep himself upright.

Only Deanna failed to join, finally asking what the sudden hilarity was all about.

“Dinae hear girl? McBanish, MacDunit? Who ever heard o’ such nonsense? That was good that, truly magnificent, gal, and he slapped Nal on the back, making her jump.

Ian didn’t give his charges too much time to develop introspective moroseness that would demand another round and declared it was getting late and they had a fair walk ahead of ‘em yet.

As they were crossing the small drawbridge, Lo stayed behind to speak to the guard detail. He gave them each enough coin for a couple of rounds at the inn and was rewarded with some slaps on the back and cheers. Then in a vibrant voice he wished them a wonderful end of the day and a safe, healthy, prosperous and long life. They received his words as if they had been gifts, realizing that there was more than words in the blessing. They waved sheepishly then, thinking this was no ordinary man. They all sensed that their entire lives ahead of them had been magically blessed and the words would prove true.

Entering his speed lope he soon caught up to the group and immediately noticed that Deanna was gone and Nal was carrying her clothes.

“So she’s gone back to her wolf then? How did she manage to take off her clothes without upsetting the group?”

“We slipped into the ‘by woods to do that. She’ll inner nudge me when she needs ‘em again.”

“Let me strap those to my pack then, Nal, so you keep your hands free. It may seem silly here but remember that ultimately we are always alone, working singly, and must always think thus. Never rely on anyone else to take the point, or protect. Let them if they want to but don’t ask it nor expect it and I repeat, never rely on it.

“Keep your hands, arms and legs free at all times and your weapons handy.”

“Truly sorry, I temporarily forgot. Too much on m’mind an’ don’t push me, MacDunit.”

“Indeed I’ll endeavour not to, Miss McBanish.”

They laughed, hugged fiercely and kissed again.

Don’t look at me like that and I heard that snort. Look, I’m just writing it the way I see it. And remember, they’ve been apart for thousands of years, how do you think you would act if you suddenly found yourself back in the arms and love of a lover you knew was dead and you hadn’t seen for, say, twenty thousand years? Would you say,

“What? You again?” or

“I really wasn’t expecting you back this soon.” or

“I hadn’t planned on this; I have a life now.” or

“Things getting too boring for you, decided to come back?”

Right, I didn’t think so. More likely there would be sparks, maybe a flame, and hugging and kissing would just be the breeze that sets everything on fire. So put up with the hugging and kissing and let me go on with the story, which by the way is turning out pretty good, in my opinion, if I’m allowed to have one.

 

America: Diversity versus Disparity

Some time back there was a tempest in the social media teapot. It came after his royal pudgy-fingered PG 13 (which at the White House means “Minimum Pussy Grabbing Age 13) President of These United States, declared certain races persona-non-grata in His Kingdom. Such nationalities and races didn’t fit the new profile being advertised as proper for the Kingdom’s expanding white supremacist swamp.

That, of course, wasn’t the first time such a thing had happened in the Kingdom but that was before social media so all can be excused for not being aware of it. After all America, and much of the rest of the planet, emerged from the Dark Ages to populate Facebook and imitators, spewing and spawning its collective BS as if it were the most precious substance in the universe. Who cares what happened in the Dark Ages before 2005?

Having got that out of the way, let’s get a bit more serious before the wine runs out.

During that tempest, the old cant that America was founded on diversity was brought out of retirement, dusted off and vigorously waved about to counter the Trumper King’s signing of the new Magna Carta handing out more power and money to his nobility and racist supporters alike.

The problem here isn’t what the Trumper King was doing. After all a King has absolute power and His Royal Self was demonstrating that fact, never to be forgotten.

The problem is the subsequent claim to said Kingdom being founded on diversity. Key word: founded.

A nation is never founded on ideals, that being the mission statement. Ideals are fine on a piece of paper protected by inch-thick glass but not beyond. Beyond it just means trouble.

Think of it like being comfortably ensconced in your favourite pew some Sunday morning while working out your moves for the golf course in the afternoon and suddenly, out of the blue (literally speaking) Jesus appears, nudges the preacher gently out of the way and takes over the pulpit. General consternation and cries of “No! No, no, no! That’s not how it works. Whoa! You can’t be here, you’re supposed to be in heaven where you can’t cause trouble. You’re outta here, buddy! Somebody, shut the sound system down, throw him out!”

That’s the problem with idols such as divinities and belief systems and constitutions. They’re only good as long as they support the status quo and if they don’t, then they remain securely under glass or on stained glass. You can’t drag them out into the open and use them. That’s not allowed, not without properly authorized “interpreters.”

The idea that America is founded on diversity is false. America is entirely founded on disparity. For those who don’t have a dictionary of synonyms, diversity is not a synonym for disparity. You can take my word for that.

Certainly it cannot be disputed that America’s social landscape consists of much diversity. The history is there and descendants of diverse nationalities or races are the people who make up the population of America. But to go from “consists of” to “founded upon” is a leap off the proverbial cliff. It is totally misleading.

What controls and shapes America is not the diversity of the many races, or minorities representative of such races, but the disparity that exists between its social strata. That is what it is founded upon.

If we want to put a label on America’s foundation, disparity, we can safely call it greed. Greed of gargantuan and unapologetic proportions. Greed that is currently eating the nation alive.

Oh yes, before Jesus was unceremoniously dragged from the pulpit and ejected out the door on his face, he did manage to say this, “And I repeat again, the love of money is the root of all evil!” Then he mumbled under his breath as he picked himself up and brushed the small stones from his tunic, “I’ll be back!” and vanished.

The Sword, the Bow and the Staff

(Well, here goes another section of the fast growing novel. If you have been following and reading, then hopefully you will enjoy this next “installment”)

 

Part I The Calling

Start section 12 (twelve)

Lo said goodbye to Nal and Donna and refusing to eat any more of their remaining victuals, told them that he intended, by his “super” speed to gain the village before nightfall and conduct his business in the shortest of time. He’d be back, he said, in a couple of days, three at the most. If something went wrong he’d contact Nal and try to explain. And he added, only to be mocked, “If food runs out, you’ll have to do some hunting, Nal.”

“Oh really? O master, thank you, I would have never, being no more than a silly woman with a deadly bow, been able to think of such a brilliant solution to hunger! I abase myself before my lord.”

“Now that was a truly idiotic thing to say on my part wasn’t it. I apologize to you both for my patriarchal hubris.”

Like a ghost he disappeared down the side of the hill. They heard nothing more.

“Oh, Nal, what can I do now? I love Lo! I love him with all of my heart! What do I do when he returns? How can you even look at me and not hate me?”

“Donna, listen. I love Lo for eternity. I have eternity with him, you do not. You cannot hurt me by loving him. All women love Lo, Donna. It’s something in him that calls to them. All women want a Lo for a husband, and you, a nubile fourteen, how could you not? Of course you love him and desire him. I want you to love him. Give yourself to him while you can, be a gift to him to thank him for delivering you from Torglynn and other things you will some day realize. Come, let us hold each other and pretend we have him between us.”

So they did. So they also professed an undying love for one-another as only some women can do with each other and also some too-few men. Or the kind of women who truly share a common lover. The kind of love that, it bears mentioning, the Christian God who recently entered these lands, ostensibly abhors. And no wonder, for in such love there grow fields of acceptance, understanding and peace. No God of lightning, thunder, bloodshed and fiery condemnation could tolerate such weakness, nor wimpy followers and disciples who allowed it to be and turned a blind eye. ‘Death to them! Death to their corruption! Death to their families too! Death, death, death! And then hell for eternity!’

O, do you hear the thunder play across the darkened skies? Tremble!

“Are you ready to start learning swordplay, Donna?”

“How can we, there’s only one short sword for us.”

“Sorry girl, but that sword is never used for training! That sword is alive; it has a spirit in it that guides it. It is a killer sword. If I used it you would die instantly, even if I tried to hold the blow, I couldn’t. When I handle that sword for a fight, I become the sword, quite mindless, not human at all. I become a killing machine. No one has ever been able to beat me when I’ve used my sword, even in the two-on-one events when I am the ‘one.’ I always win. The same as with the bow, I cannot miss. When I use my own weapon I become the weapon, even with the dagger if I use it in a fight.”

“How do you keep them so sharp? I saw you pull your sword and pass a piece of cloth over it and the cloth parted so cleanly of its own weight, just by passing over the blade.”

“I have a stone tucked away in another part of the scabbard. I was shown how to use it properly, sparingly. That blade is made of a steel no longer in use on this world. It hardly ever needs touching and does not get used up. That is important. Many people destroy good swords by running their stones too harshly or much too often on the cutting edges. Swords so treated die; they lose their temper and become useless. Never buy a used sword from a street vendor, Donna. They come mostly from returned or retired Guardsmen and they are dead swords. Now let’s go and cut ourselves some short sticks of green wood and do some serious sparring. There is no more time to waste. Oh look up there! See that wolf on the rise over there?”

“Oh yes. He’s so big! Shouldn’t you get your bow? Will he attack us?”

“No, he’s a friend of mine. Let’s go see him.”

Saying that, Nal put down her staff and tucked her dagger in her sleeve, then walked deliberately towards the big grey animal who stood stiff, waiting. She approached him to within a yard, then indicating to Donna to imitate her, she got down on her knees and once more opened her hands to the wolf, as did Donna. The animal realized that Donna was a part of Nal and he bowed to both of them, walked stiffly to Nal, went down and again laid his head in her lap, waiting for the pleasant healing touch and the ear massage. Donna very gingerly approached on her knees and having gained the attention of the wolf, offered to caress his pelt. He acquiesced by closing his eyes and letting out a loud breath through his nostrils. Then both healers went over the wolf’s body, pulling out thistles, burdocks and devil’s claws from the lustrous fur. When they had finished, they indicated to their new friend that they had to go by slowly standing up. The wolf stood up also and gave his head nod for thank you, turned around and proudly walked away.

“Oh, Nal, that was so wonderful, so amazing. How did you meet him?”

“Last night. At first I was just a convenient prey for him, but I taught him otherwise. He’s quite young, no more than three years I reckon, so he has much to learn yet. I do hope he’s not foolish enough to trust humans after this though. Now to work girl, we’ve wasted much time.”

She found a thicket of reasonably straight green shoots and slashed through four of them, cutting them sword length and limbing them as they walked back to the cave. Then began Donna’s training. After about an hour she had enough. Her hands were blistered as she used both hands or either hands in trying to parry Nal’s endless attacks. She was covered in sweat and her legs and arms were aching and shaking.

“I never thought using a sword was such hard work! How do you do it?”

“Years of training since I was a child. My mother insisted and our master agreed though she was his legal slave as he loved her in his twisted sort of way. He got me trainers to teach me, and my mother knew a thing or two about sword play also. The master enjoyed watching my mother and I sparring. He often made us do it naked and after, when she was covered in sweat he took her down to the floor and had sex with her. I had excellent training in more ways than can be imagined and after my mother died, I continued on my own or sometimes with another slave girl, doing much the same for him until finally I escaped.”

“Oh? Why would you leave him?”

“Well, he owned my mother and me and naturally after she died he declared I was now his servant and would become his number one concubine. His wife of course hated me with an unbridled hatred and beat me as often as she dared though he’d beat her severely if she bruised me. He liked undressing me and looking at me, feeling my skin, fondling my small breasts as they developed, testing their growth, pinching my nipples. Then his hand would move down slowly over my stomach and down, caressing my pubis. I wasn’t for that sort of thing and I’d get all stiff which made him angry and he would slap me. I knew what would soon come, I’d certainly learned as he did it with my mother. It excited me but I didn’t want it with him, he’d been with my own mother and there was evil in him. I had a temper and I knew for certain I would kill the wife and if he went beyond the touching, I would kill him. Then I’d be hanged, after being publicly whipped first. I knew the rules, but what could they do if I disappeared? How much of a search would he pay for?

“So I packed as lightly as I could, taking only my bow and some arrows, sword and dagger, all having belonged to my mother. I also took enough food for a day, all of which of course being a slave would be considered stealing. If caught I would be subjected to even more terrible physical punishment than a whipping, involving cutting and burning, probably dismembering.

“I slipped into an ox cart filled with hay and thus began my life as an independent fourteen year old girl, alone in a violent man’s world, essentially an escaped slave, something I never allowed myself to forget. I was a runaway slave, a fugitive from justice. How I loath that word! Tricks of survival came quickly and easily to me. I learned how to steal purses while distracting men with my body. I learned how to enter archery contests, making sure always that I lost some shots if it meant the bets would rise and competitors didn’t suspect I was a sharp shooter. Eventually I found a man whom I stayed with as long as he could teach me staff work. He insisted on bedding me which didn’t matter, I wasn’t a virgin, I’d had that taken when I was only eleven summers.”

“Only eleven? Did you look older then?”

“No. A Lord Bishop came to the master’s house to transact some business for the Church, the master dealt in precious stones and very high priced jewellery, and part of the transaction included me.

“I know your reputation, that you like them pure, fresh and young. This one,” he said taking me and making me stand in front of the Bishop, “is from my personal stock and guaranteed to never having been with a man. You can have her for the night, per our agreement.”

My mother, horrified for me, tried to intervene. “She’s my daughter, master, please don’t…!” He hit her so hard she went flying and lost consciousness. I would have rushed to her but that bishop held me by the upper arm so hard I had a large black bruise for weeks thereafter.

“These female slaves tend to forget their place at times and need to be reminded of their status. Sorry about the fracas.”

He clapped his hands and two of our male slaves came and carried my mother away. She never really recovered completely from that blow.

The Bishop looked me over then ordered me to strip, which I did, trembling with fear and hatred. He fondled me then ordered me to walk him to the bedroom where the very painful rest followed. I swore if I ever found that priest, I would kill him. I still hold that vow. I know the city and which cathedral he’s from. I won’t forget to avenge my mother.

“When I’d learned all that Zachary, that being the man’s name, seemed able to teach me of staff work and he became more demanding and abusive I left him also, travelling to another town with a detachment of the guard by pretending I wanted to join up and seducing a couple of the other volunteers.

“I got bolder as I enjoyed my freedom and gained a reputation for being deadly with the sword. I entered two-on-one contests and won those. Contests to the death I already mentioned and obviously won those. Two years I was on the road, just surviving, then I met Lo in a situation where things could have gone very bad for me, but between the two of us we got out of it by doing some necessary culling of some very creepy nobility. Then, both of us disguised, he as an old man, and can he ever do that trick, and I as a little girl, or small boy depending, we left that place and I just went along with him, or maybe he enticed me, I still don’t know for sure, but we hit it off in a sort of strange off-hand way and had some fun for a short time. Then life got away on us, giving us a series of adventures and here we are! Let’s get those blisters healed and eat.”

“You’re only sixteen years old? I thought you were much older, not by the way you look ‘cause you look even younger than I, but by your ways and your understanding of the world. You sound like a very old person to me, so wise. I need to know, since you could not have been a slave around here, how do you know our tongue and ways so well?”

“Simple enough. I wandered up in these parts some eight months ago and made friends with many. I have the same ability as Lo to learn languages, and I made a fast reputation among the locals with my sword and bow skills. In four months I had learned enough to pass as a native but for my face and skin colour, but for that, I told my story that my father had been a faerie lord and my mother a slave from the lands beyond the great deserts. This explained many aspects of my nature and skills and satisfied most. I was never accused of being a sorceress or a witch and if the priests had tried anything the local swains would have hidden me. Before I returned with Lo from the southlands, I had many in love with me and many hopefuls among the older unmarried boys. This kind of life, Donna, is like living on a fast stream, it never stops. I learn and grow and discover but I’m always trying to catch up to myself, never quite succeeding. It’s wild and exciting but also tiresome. I must find a place where I can slow down or this earth body will wear out before it sees its fortieth summer!

“Anything else you want to know? I’m hungry and thirsty.”

Donna just smiled and shrugged to indicate that yes, there were many more things she wanted to know but they would wait. They ate and fed their fire, then tried the water in the boot and thought better of it after tasting it. ‘Eewwww, disgusting!’ they both exclaimed. They drained the boot and put it by the fire to dry.

Donna brightly said, “If you want a water container, I can easily make one out of bark you know. We do this all the time when we go berry hunting in the wilds. All the children of the village know how to made water tight baskets…”

“Well, thanks for that information, Donna. We could have used it yesterday you know.”

“But that’s what so funny. Yesterday I couldn’t remember that I could do this. Everything I remembered was so fuzzy, as if I’d gotten kicked in the head by a horse. I’m sorry but I really didn’t know you needed a container yesterday. I’ll make you one.”

End section 12 (twelve)