• First Sight means that you can see what really is there, and Second Thoughts mean thinking about what you are thinking. And in Tiffany’s case, there were sometimes Third Thoughts and Fourth Thoughts, although these were quite difficult to manage and sometimes led her to walk into doors. Terry Pratchett
    I Shall Wear Midnight

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Other Blogs

  • CowOfGold Moving
    An update on my previous post: Cow of Gold will have a new home here when the maintainer has a chance to put up the site again (with some revisions, apparently). Advertisements
  • Minor Call for Nerdy Action
    I know I’ve been profoundly absent for a while – my research stuff has gone a bit by the wayside – but I wanted to bring something to people’s attention: The Egyptian mythology/symbology resource “Cow of Gold is hosted on Wikispaces, which is Going Away. Not all of the pages of Cow of Gold are […]
  • Unsettled Time
    We are living in unsettled time. Wp Rnpt has ended the time between time, the Days Upon the Year in which time is upended and unordered, but time is still not aligned fully. We have space in which action exists, in which we can uphold the world, set ma’at in its place, the leverage to […]
  • On Falling in Love
    For a long time, whenever I wanted to talk about the experience of conversion when I found Kemeticism, I talked about falling in love. It wasn’t just “Oh, this religious concept works for me,” it was a passionate thing, an […]
  • Eclipse Magic
    I am eight. I have been given a subscription to the magazine Sky & Telescope as part of our preparation for Halley’s Comet, and I read through it, earnestly trying to make sense of the articles, studying the pictures. I […]
  • Hills of the Horizon: The Past is Another Country
    The problem with extrapolation from history is that nothing is testable. The evolution of a religion over time is not a predictable and easily comprehensible thing, where we can look at a point in time and say, "It was like this then, so it would be like that now." The process of deciding what needs […]

A Hope In Hell

[ This is another in a sequence of wolf-work posts and I have no idea how much sense it will make if you aren’t familiar with the rest of the tag. Be warned. Or read the tag. ]

I’ve been learning an awful lot about the techniques of the devil’s sorcerors.

It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to handle.

I mean, the actual sorcerors have an easy thing to understand: their desire to mound up riches in hell to protect themselves from a spiritual famine is comprehensible, if twisted entirely around a rather particular sort of wound.

(But I cannot help but tie it to the colonist’s self-inflicted soul wound, the displacement and genericization that is intrinsic to assimilation to whiteness, which is from nowhere, and has no traditions of its own, just an intrinsic vampirism that drains substance away from the rich and colorful and mounds it up in dead heaps.)

But after a week of complicated and exhausted despair, I saw someone (I think a rabbi; Jewish philosophies and theologies are quite robust about doing the fucking work) say that hope isn’t an emotion, it’s a discipline, a commitment, an obligation.

And I’ve realized something: to the Hounds of God, hope is the key to Hell.

And that’s why the sorcerors work so hard to take it away, to destroy any belief that the world can be changed, that anything can do better. If hope itself can be thieved, then no stolen property can be recovered. Nobody will venture out to fight, or sneak, or trick the system, so it will get to stash whatever it likes, and as always it will do that at the price of lives and livelihoods.

In the depths of despair, I recognized that hope is a spiritual discipline, and I said “I don’t see right now what it will move, but I will go and do the thing that I can do.” And so I went into the city on Saturday, and I do the things that I can.

Hope is the key to Hell.

Armed with hope, the Hounds of God can venture in and take back what has been stolen.

Without hope, there is no venturing forth on even the tiniest quest, let alone rescuing an entire child cast into Hell.

But here’s the thing that I keep thinking about: that a sorceror trying to steal hope is doomed to failure. Life is easier to take away than hope, because hope has the potential to emerge from a life – any life – at any time. The possibility of changing something for the better exists as long as change is possible, as long as will is possible.

I think about hope, and Pandora’s box, and I think about the moment the sun came back as the eclipse passed and how I realized I had not – quite – been breathing while it was absent.

The key to Hell is hope.

Storm the gates.

We Talk Shop

This weekend, I attended a talk by Judika Illes, author of, among other things, The Element Encyclopedia of 5,000 Spells. The thing that sticks in my mind about it was not the core topic – the history of African Diasporic spiritual and magical practice – but something that was almost a side point.

When practitioners […]

Awareness

Figured I’d write something for “autism awareness month”.

Content warning: Third Reich; murder of disabled children.

Putting in a cut out of kindness. I wish my brain had cut tags sometimes.

[…]

Two Are One, Life And Death

(I guess I’m still pondering Le Guin, as one does, given I’m quoting The Left Hand of Darkness in that title there.)

Someone had written us a new hymn, I discovered when I was scrambling into the balcony with the older kids, running later than usual for the service. I don’t recall what the hymn-name […]

On the Intrinsic Subjectivity of Religion

What the heck, a blog post, because Twitter is a pants medium for something this nuanced. (Don’t worry about the lack of meaningful context, I’m just not going to put these 2500 words on Twitter.) And I didn’t make it to church today so I might as well pontificate instead.

A starting-out note: I saw […]