• In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded. Terry Pratchett
    Lords and Ladies

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  • Just a quick note
    I’ve updated my bio page with a link to Les Cabinets Des Polytheistes, where my story “Spine of the World” is published (and in which people can play Spot The Netjer if they are so inclined), and my less-specific webspace Suns in Her Branches, which is broader than this space (which is specifically for reconstructionist-derived […]
  • Opet article is up
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  • The Art of Being A God
    It’s interesting having one foot in reconstructionist religion and one foot in religious witchcraft, for a lot of reasons. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about lately is the shape of how the gods appear within the context […]
  • Mythopoeia
    Continuing with rambling on the topic of my exploration of pagan movement history, another critical concept: mythopoeia. The word means, literally, “myth-making”, and it is one of the near inescapable traits of at least the origin points of pagan religions. […]
  • 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 […]

Bread and Roses

Let’s just stick to this image:

A tall woman comes up to the front of the chapel, pink hat over steel hair and freckled brown skin. When she begins to sing her voice is uneven, imperfect, strained:

“Put on your face….”

She makes it through the verse, takes a breath.

The congregation starts in, unevenly, with our part:

“But no one knows me, no one ever will…”

Slowly, people begin to stand. Harmonies start to emerge, from people who know them, more people stand, voices gain confidence.

The soloist tackles the next part, and her voice is stronger, without the crackling anxiousness of the opening verse.

The congregation backs her, supports her.

“There must be someone who understands….”

A few people stomp the beat, enough to sound a heavy thud in a plain white meetinghouse which was certainly not anticipating such shenanigans.

“Let it out now, let it out now, let it out now….”

Then the steady revival-meeting clap, the call and response, the uneven ending from people not sure how many iterations that unspoken repeat at the end of that measure signed us all up for.

“I got the feeling you understand….”

She is singing strong, free, without any of the hesitancies of her first verse, her arms swinging as she claps the beat, her shoulders loose. What might have been fear has been transformed into this power, a clean, clear voice, a one-woman riot.

This is what congregations are for. Communities. The village it takes.

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