Bear versus the armchair viking association

Where to start? LOL Anyone who’s investigated Heathenism or Asatru is probably aware that there are small pockets of white supremacists using Asatru and Odinism and Heathen as cover for their retrograde attitudes. It’s a real problem in Australia, they seem to control all the mailing lists.*

A while ago I was joining up and sussing them out. Left most of them because I don’t enjoy constantly engaging homophobic he-man armchair vikings. I want to join a Heathen or Asatru discussion list to hear opinions about Heathen spirituality. In Australia you get some nutter quoting conservative christians or muslims to support homophobia. Great.

Last night I was having another wee tantrum and mentally composing a “fuck you all, see you in Hel” email that I was going to retire on, and return to my Solitary practice.

“That’s it! I’m now officially Agnostic!” I bawled as I stamped my widdle tooties and pouted. “To Hel with these white supremacist neanderthals!”

I could almost feel Thor huffing at me. “Oh really? After all this time needing my help and protection, now you don’t believe in me?” Freya for her part was somehow giving me a big warm hug. I’m a bit bi so a warm hug from a wonderful Goddess like Freya is all the more welcome for the innuendo. The night before I’d felt something similar. An encouragement to trust in the Universe, trust in the Aesir and Vanir. They’ve led me well so far…

This morning it occurred to me that the Aesir and Vanir probably don’t want their followers stuck in the past recreating and repeating the same old mistakes. Why should there not be room for us to grow, learn and evolve? It’s not as if there’s enough info to comprehensively recreated ancient Saxon or Norse culture anyway, the christians did too much damage when they forcibly converted the North. And that’s a whole ‘nother post in itself, the internal incongruity of christianism.

It pisses me off when people act as if we should be as true as possible to bronze age society, as a cover for being homophobic and conservative. When they quote brutal religions to support their ideas it seems simply ridiculous. Why would you leave christendom for something you think is better, only to bring along so much harmful cultural baggage? Surely if you’re going to go to the trouble of redefining your spiritual perspective, you’d go the last few steps of reviewing the effects such religious pathology has had on your understanding and values? Why use ancient Greco-Roman purity codes and household codes if you’ve swapped to Heathen or Paganism? Jordsvin has a fantastic article discussing all this, btw.

Another problem is that with these throwback ideas is that the same post-christian anglo social construct, which rejects homosexuals and defines masculinity as violent and militaristic, subverts women. He-men are often defined in contrast to sex class women who serve only as disposable incubators for the next generation of “warriors”. Any trait or expression culturally defined as feminine or effeminate is rejected as being unworthy.

Considering there’s quite a bit of evidence for cross-dressing and other “effeminate” behaviour in cultic worship of deities like Odin and Ingvi-Freyr, and stories of Loki and Thor cross-dressing, not to mention the sense of humour the ancient Saxons and Norse seem to have had, it’s a wonder anyone who’s seriously homophobic or misogynist would even consider Heathenism.

Well anyways. There are plenty of others out there who want to deepen their experience and understanding of Heathen spirituality without resorting to retrograde neo-nazi bullshit. You can’t always walk away from discussion groups that are dominated by such lunatics, where would you end up?

*Possibly because Australian culture is still so androcentric. You know, home of “Damned whores and God’s police”.

Rape culture alive and well in Australia

This one has been stewing in the back of my mind for a few days now. The other night I was up late and happened to be watching the ABC late news. Karen Middleton, their erstwhile political reporter, came on screen and told us about the Parliamentary Midwinter ball, at which one Tony Scrinis had wandered around sexually harrassing women. Karen looked quite non-plussed, the first time I’ve seen such a thing from her. Since then, I haven’t seen her at all… Instead there’s some other bloke who hasn’t been on before… No doubt there’s a reasonable explanation for that.

But I digress. What really gave my obstreperal lobe a case of acute feminitis was the fact that the boss of this staffer, Sophie Mirabella, immediately denied that he would have done it.

Now this, girls and boys, is one of the primary problems with rape culture. Denial of the abuse of women by men. The idea that men have a right to help themselves to women’s bodies and if women don’t like it, they’re called liars or beaten up for their trouble.

Note also the article’s focus on whether Sophie Mirabella is suitable for her portfolio and criticisms by Tania Plibersek that she isn’t… Omission of any criticism of the activities of the man in question.

Opposition frontbencher Tony Smith has told Channel Ten says that is ridiculous.

“Yesterday I saw you calling for action on the staffer, the staffer is no longer employed,” he said.

“He behaved appallingly, everyone acknowledges that, and within the day, he had ceased employment.”

In otherwords he lost his job for getting caught. Where’s the indictment? Where’s the police investigation? Where’s the judgment and rejection other than a piss-weak “it was appalling”?

It’s like something out of one of those hideous crime shows where any woman who claims rape and is still alive is portrayed as a liar, and the only genuine victims are those who show up dead and hideously mutilated. Imagine the subtle effect this would have on jurors, police and judges if they watched a couple of hours of this crap every week before having to be involved in a rape case.

“He wouldn’t have done that.” = “Those lying bitches deserve to be treated like meat.”

It also serves to keep other women quiet about abuses they’ve suffered at the hands of men. Not to mention the psychological damage it does to men, to preserve the destructive gender roles that support rape culture.

Such denial is commonplace in Australian culture as well as the global fungus we import from the US. Shortly after Ms Mirabella’s staff member decided to drunkenly grope a number of women at a Parliamentary ball, a woman in South Australia won a sexual harrassment case.

Ms Poniatowska was awarded $466,000 plus costs, which her lawyer believes is the highest awarded for such a case in Australia.

“I am very happy, not only for myself but for all people who are being harassed at workplaces,” Ms Poniatowska said outside court.

“I would strongly recommend not being afraid to stand up for their rights.

Is it my imagination or does the description of the compensation as “huge” imply that it is undeserved?

Notice the conclusion, however. The last word…

The company said in a statement it contested the claim because “to take any other course of action would have been wrong”.

It says it will lodge an appeal against the decision.

Ah huh. She should shut up like a good little cunt and put up with abuse at work by *four* men… Didn’t she get the memo that the sex class are expected to say nothing and look pretty?

How is it wrong to admit to something you’ve stuffed up over? How is it wrong to admit that you’ve been a complete misogynist pig and need counselling probably for fucking years? Someone should give these Hickinbotham creeps a memo of their own: It’s the 21st century and regardless of ten years of Howard’s conservative christian patriarchal abuses, women are in fact human.

Jesus tapdancing Christ, are we ever going to get out of this goddamned locker room?

Australia’s shame. Rudd’s neglect.

Further in my series of discontent. This morning I happened across an article in The Australian about a family in crisis. Well, not only is the family in crisis, the State’s child welfare system is an appalling mess.

…eight children living in a three-bedroom house with mice and rubbish in every room.

Four had disabilities: some couldn’t hear properly; some couldn’t walk properly; all were malnourished and had head lice. Several had broken bones, and none could use a knife and fork.

Their mother, a young Sunni Muslim woman, veiled from head to toe, found caring for the children impossible, especially as the older ones grew wilder, and then violent. Her husband, an Iraqi, is believed to have at least two other women he refers to as his “wives” and they, too, have children.

He moves between their different houses. None had paid work.

The NSW Department of Community Services has known of the situation for years; and has surely also known that it was a disaster waiting to happen.

And if you think it’s only the NSW system that’s a disaster, Victoria’s was found to be introducing pre-teen children to drugs and prostitution.

Let’s ignore for a moment the implicit criticism of the mother for being a veiled Muslim, particularly since the article goes on to comment on one foster mother who came to the rescue who took veils off the young girls… Who gives a rats what they wear on their heads if we’re talking about a situation of domestic disaster? Is it only Muslims who have trouble raising kids? It would be interesting to see the comparative stats on white, Christian families who are in crisis. Considering the Government is funding religious schools who train children in the psychopathology of conservative christianism, there’s probably shit loads.

The point is this. The Rudd Government actively discriminates against women and children seeking to leave situations like this. Kevin Rudd denies adequate support for women who are single mothers trying their hardest to provide for their children. He has maintained the bias against women of the Howard Liberal Government and is apparently in denial that he hates women.

Surely if you were in a position to do something about a situation like this, about many, many other people in similar circumstances in Australia right now, you would do something constructive. If you were in a situation to address terrible injustices that had been done previously and make things easier for people to keep their heads above water, you would do so. Yet our Prime Minister, who has been on occasion found drunk in a stripper bar and reprimanded for manhandling the dancers, is too busy criticising a celebrity chef over his abuse of a TV host, to bother addressing one of the worst, most hideous cases of discrimination against women and children in the developed world.

And to make matters worse, not only does Kevin Rudd actively discriminate against women and children who’ve had to leave violent, dangerous, demeaning or otherwise unnaceptable domestic circumstances, he neglects to support families struggling to support children through high school. While having made apparently non-core promises about improving education and enabling children to further their education, support of families ends when a child turns 16, just when they hit the hardest, most expensive school years. He’s also planning to make further changes to welfare law to make it harder for children without jobs to claim any form of welfare. Why on earth, in times when jobs are supposed to be getting harder to come by, would you put pressure on children to leave school and look for work, to compete for jobs with other employees when they could be staying in school and improving their education? And why, if we’re having so much trouble looking after the children who are here, would you be paying a baby bonus to encourage people to have more? (Not to mention there’s already 6 billion people on the planet!)

The fact that the State Governments are responsible for foster care systems does not distract from the Federal Government’s discrimination against single parents. While the children referred to in that article have been living in such dreadful suffering, what has the State Government been doing? Pointing the finger at bikers in an attempt to get re-elected on a law and order platform. Scapegoating bastards.

These are only two of the current hypocrisies of the Rudd Government. And if you think the Liberals would be any better, consider that they created this disgusting, exploitative situation in which we now find ourselves. Why on earth can we not vote for someone who doesn’t hate the poor? Why do the two major parties continue to use people who’ve fallen on hard times and those who are struggling as political footballs to earn themselves points for re-election?

How did Australians become such bastards?

Kevin calling the kettle black

In a superb example of bad timing, just the day following my post about how legislation discriminates against single parents…

Kevin Rudd made a snide comment about the ABC’s Chaser team, telling them to “hang their heads in shame”. He was talking about a skit on the show about suffering kids asking for wishes.

How dare he criticise the Chaser guys for making fun of suffering children when he keeps thousands of children of single parents living in poverty. Two faced bastard.

It reminds me of the time not long after when Steve Bracks replaced Jeff Kennett as Premier of Victoria. We’d all hated Jeff for a long time, not only because he was a shady bloody crook, but he was so incredibly arrogant.

So it seemed we had a good deal getting rid of him for Bracks. Being a Labor Premier it was thought that he’d act more in the favour of people rather than corporate money. Sadly, that wasn’t to be the case. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. He wasn’t so openly self-congratulating, perhaps, but he was no more a friend of the community than Jeff’s toenails.

I do realise this is painfully obvious of course. My partner says “no matter who you vote for, you always get a politician.” At Federal level this is turning out to be just as true.

Because I’m an incurable romantic I’ve gone and joined the Greens again.

We’re winning

Australia now has over 400 cases of swine flu. More than 300 of these are in Victoria. Yay! We’re winning!

Censorship again.

Yes, the idiots are doing it again. Please consider viewing GetUp’s campaign to bring some much needed sense to this issue. There is no need for Australia to become China just because our Prime Minister fancies he can speak Mandarin.

http://www.getup.org.au/campaign/SaveTheNet/442

Very important.

The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.

Testing has already begun on systems that will slow our internet by up to 87%, make it more expensive, miss the vast majority of inappropriate content and accidentally block up to 1 in 12 legitimate sites. Our children deserve better protection – and that won’t be achieved by wasting millions on this deeply flawed system.

Friday rain on the garden

We haven’t had any rain out here for weeks. Maybe months. The whole place was looking so very, very dry. Then last night great gusting winds blew up and brought us a bit of a downpour. It had been so warm, Summer weather already, so there felt like that electric sensation of wild power in the wind.

The veggie patch looks like a disaster area at the moment. After last year went *so* well I had dreams of planting up the same salad veggies and putting in capsicum and eggplants and other mediterranean things… The available ground was enlarged by about 12 square metres, which was pretty back breaking, and now it’s all buried under self-sown parsley and coriander. It’s been so dry and carting water is *heavy* work! We had salad with dinner the last couple of nights and it seemed very odd to have to go to a shop and buy lettuce. Unnatural! The kids were reminiscing about last Summer’s big bowls of salad… Well, when you have teenagers impressed by green stuff, you’re doing something right.

Out the front of the house the flower garden is surviving. Things are slowly growing and flowering… most of the herbs are doing pretty well. The sage flowered, which was stunning.

I probably shouldn’t digress on the tangent of housing development in the area, it will only make me angry. But this is what we get when we build, build, build with no thought whatsoever for the natural situation of the land we’re building on. It’s a dry place. We need water. Why are we packing in more and more people in a place where there’s so much problem with resources? This is terminal stupidity. At the very least all the new homes ought to have grey water systems and tanks… but while our utilities are privately owned the profit agenda gets in the way of sensible management. Like John Brumby wanting Melbourne Water to build a pipeline to take water from the Murray-Darling, a river that is virtually dead in the (lack of) water. At the same time he’s still allowing logging in old growth forest and catchment areas, a practise which is well known to reduce water catchment. And since 90% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the oceans, the next step of course is to begin messing up that whole eco-system for desalination. *sigh* The guy must be nuts, or so hamstrung by corporate interests that his two faces can’t bear to look at one another.

Anyways, enough of the politics. People will simply have to learn the hard way. What’s sad is that the land is harmed so badly in the process. Moreso since we’ve been aware of land management issues like these for more than forty years. Changing light bulbs is one thing, but when are we going to make some seriously constructive changes? And what’s with that baby bonus?! There’s six billion people on the planet, idiots!

Ahem. Yes. Where was I?

Back to my original tangent, what’s been happening around here lately. Well, yeah, the garden finally got some rain and I’m reconsidering now whether to make the effort and put in some more seedlings. Tell you what, it’s given me an awful lot more sympathy for subsistence farmers. Imagine having to grow everything you eat? Whew.

Other than a bit of garden maintenance, most of my time has been spent in discussion with my Shaman friend and exploring more runes and Heathen texts. Recently I’ve had a soul-retrieval and Reiki attunement… so I’m feeling a little beaten up in an odd way. Probably settling in to more balanced energy flow. This week in the tai chi class I was all over the place and couldn’t remember anything, which has never happened before. Still, it’s all building on the experience of connection I felt in plugging myself into this “new” ancient worldview.

Last Monday I went to see my psychologist, and was somewhat circumspect about describing all these new experiences, but she was very positive about it. The biggest hurdle I’ve faced in the last couple of years is the whole issue of meaning. Humans can’t live without meaning. And it needs to be personal. After a long battle with depression and everything else, things have clicked on that basic level and now everything else can shape itself constructively around that centre. Heh, and I am rather clinging to this in hope! ;-)

What were her words? A person needs to centre their lives on themselves and their own perception of meaning, not merely be subject to outside controls and influences… We’re talking about resolving the great psycho-spiritual crisis here. The “spiritual emergency” it’s also been termed. Heh, one other person who’s worked his way through it said “I don’t recommend it!” LOL Certainly it’s a tough thing to go through. A lot of people don’t survive.

It’s no wonder then that there’s a few symptoms of stress still floating around. At night I still can’t sleep, though any time I sit down in the day to meditate I drop off like a stone. And there’s a funny looking rash all over my hands. The usual apres stress stuff, like getting a cold after your exams…

On a more positve note, the runes work is simply stunning. I hadn’t been going to pick them up, since I already have magic, divination, symbolism etc. Then Odin said to me “You’d be good at it.” Anyways, simply reading about the things started something off. They do have a reputation for having a life of their own. I’m happy to agree with that now. Hmm. Let me try to decide how much detail to write here LOL. Let’s say I’ve had a few experiences with trance and rune magic and it’s pretty bloody impressive! The things take root in you somehow and it becomes something organic. Not to mention that they kind of intuit themselves when you’re meditating or um, what’s the word? I keep thinking casting like spell casting, but with runes people say casting when they mean divination. I think it’s runegaldr. Using the energy and symbolism of the runes to effect magic. With drumming :D I’ve never felt power like it. Wow!

Heh. Well, it has been a pretty busy week. I’m looking foward to the weekend to put my feet up a little and drift in the currents. We’ll see how long that lasts. : )

Edit: While reading a Reiki manual I came across the following that is something of a clarification. Often people talk about killing off the ego in an effort for self-development. A point was made some years back during Tarot studies, of all things, that annihalating the ego might be counter-productive, since, according to Jung, it is the seed of the self. If you kill off your self, who are you? Such destruction works well in a system like mainstream christendom, where people are supposed to submit to an overwhelming other… in general it fails to happen and people end up with all sorts of hang ups and emotional damage, but back to the subject. The author of the Reiki manual made the point that when Buddhists speak of “ego” they mean the “conditioning” you’ve been exposed to that is often not helpful and gets in the way of you living your own, more evolved life.

Now *this* seems like a much more intelligent way to look at spiritual growth. We examine our emotional attachments, our memories and the various ways in which we’ve been conditioned by parents, society, perhaps trauma… We learn where these things create or maintain “buttons” in us that are easily pushed, and we recalibrate in order to move forward. Sounds so simple!

Anyways, I was going to have the weekend off. Have a good one.