Monday, October 10, 2011

Choosing my religion and label

I've posted about religion before (here).  But today spurned my need to post about it again.  (First, I'd love to find a cute witchy picture that doesn't include nudity or unrealistic looking women, (including the green and warts ones))

A student asked me about my religion today.  (This might not have been what she was intending to ask, because she then told me she was German and Irish, but I had already answered her question).  It might be because I am wearing my pentacle again, it might be because these are a new group of kids getting to know me.

I told her that I was "Pagan".  I'll also tell people I am a Witch.  but that whole thing bugs me if we don't have time to discuss it.  because the witch is usually followed by them saying "oh, Wiccan"  or "a white witch?"

Lemme 'splain:  There are three lines of thought about Wiccanry.  They are 1.You have to be in a coven to be a Wiccan, and not a solitary, 2.  You have to be in only a lineaged coven, 3. You can be a solitary.

The #2ers claim this because apparently the Lord and lady have names and secret you only learn from a a lineaged coven.  the #1ers claim this because apparently only covens know secrets and you need to know secrets to be a true Wiccan.  The #3ers claim they can call themselves whatever they want as long as they follow the Wiccan rules which can be easily found online.

I am a solitary.  I might or might not follow the rede (I haven't read and digested it all). I don't know any secrets, so I don't even bother with the Wiccan label.

I don't believe in black/white magic.  That's labeling a color as good/bad, moral/immoral.  It also goes into some deep conversation about ethics and balance.  All I know is when I work with magic/energies, it's never directed at anyone without their knowledge, and it's intent is never for harm.  I don't even play with love spells and such because I feel they go against these two things.

But, some people also don't thing being a Witch is a religious thing, so they need me to label it Pagan to make them happy.  Okay.  I'm both, and I'll use both words, depending on the time and place and how much time and energy I have at the moment.  But if I were to pick the label, I'd choose Witch, and I'll capitalize the W to denote religion.

and let's not discuss pantheonism or hard and soft pantheonism, that's a whole 'nother post.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

healthy/ unhealthy- stop harshing my mellow

Today is grey and rainy and perfect for stew.  But, I am not eating meat, so I just made a veggie stew.  Looks good, huh?
It's made with a base broth of onion/mushroom soup mix (checked for no meat- golden mushroom soup has beef fat in it), burgundy wine, rosemary, and sage.  I browned garlic, onion, zucchini, and eggplant.  While simmering the barley in the broth.  I added lentils, turnip, sweet potatoes, and carrots to the barley and cooked until the carrots felt right.  I threw green beans in late, and spinach in last.  Then topped with the zucchini/eggplant/onion mixture.  Oh- and a bit of steamed butternut squash all mixed in.

Nope- this is not a cooking blog, but I can't cook really, I just kind of stew or casserole, and with luck, it tastes fine.  Since I don't have a discerning palate, if it doesn't taste wonderful, I add cheese and wahlah!

This post is actually about what went on about a thousand times in the last month.

One month ago, exactly, was the last time I ate meat.  I was watching a documentary called "Fat, sick, and nearly dead" with my brother; the documentary was about a guy who decided to get healthy by juicing (more thoughts on that another time).  This led me to thinking about when I felt healthiest, and I realized it was when I ate predominately veggies and grains.  I was pure veggie for 3 years, but I don't want to go all veggie (more thoughts on that in a minute)*.  The decision to eat healthier was solidified by reading both "The Body Sacred", and "Healthy at Every Size", which discuss treating our bodies with love and respect and feeding them well.  I had been eating bacon, and sausage often (my favorite meats, yum), and meat was a large part of my diet since moving into this house 3 years ago.  I decided to stop that.

* I decided to go meatless for a while.  I don't want to say vegetarian because if I choose to have a piece of bacon I don't need to hear about it from the world.  I don't think eating meat is a horrible thing, per se.  though there are times I have felt guilty about killing an animal(you know, I didn't kill it, but since I ate it, it was killed for me) to eat it (quail- quail made me feel sad because I love watching them hop around my mom's property and that's what I was reminded of while eating one).  We are made to be omnivores like hamsters are.  However, I think it is better for me and the world when we eat less meat.

So what's the issue?  Old Codger (who again argued with me about cold germs digging their way through your feet and into your bloodsteam because I was wearing no socks) keeps asking me why I decided not to eat meat.  I keep answering because meat doesn't sound good to me.
I can't say I am going vegetarian.  If I eat one piece of bacon in three months 2 things might happen: 1.  he will say something about me not following my diet, 2. he will think I've gone all meat again and start trying to feed me his predominately meat diet.
He made a comment that "I won't eat meat, but keep eating all those carbs"  I just said YEP.
I can't say I am eating healthier- because he will start harping on carbs, and because if I eat a chocolate he will say "That's not on your diet" to which I will reply "I am not on a diet".
I can't calmly explain what my decision is, and why.  I can't explain that the carbs I am eating are whole grains mostly and therefore extremely healthy, but even refined stuff like white rice isn't bad, because food is neither good nor bad- that's a moral/ethical thing and food is neither moral nor ethical within itself.  But food can be healthy and less healthy- and if I choose to eat less healthy, my choice.  however, for the most part I am choosing more healthy, and am happy with it.
Why can't I explain my decision?  this man needs all explanations in five words or less (because that's all he will listen to before getting frustrated).  This man won't believe what I am saying anyway, because he has his own ideas and they are always correct (like wearing socks keeps colds away because the germs get through your feet).  And- I shouldn't have to explain anyway- I just want to cook my food my way- I just don't want meat- today I am eating this way.
so there.

I am also a bit bothered because most of the decisions I make in life are not based on one person's recommendation, or society's recent whim..  I have tried some whims in the name of thinness- atkins, calorie counting, phentermine.  I have thought that thinness was healthy and the end justifies the means.  I have abused my body in the name of health.  But I was young and impressionable ;).....
When I was vegetarian, I studied why and how.  I know what cattle do to the environment.  I studied what I needed to eat to get all my protein and minerals, vitamins, etc...
and I have studied my decision now.  I am fairly lucky because I didn't need to go through the science to back up the info, someone else did that and published a book on it (Health at every Size).
I know one thing doesn't make you fat.  I know body size is affected by many variables.  I know body size doesn't show health.  I know I can drink wine and eat chocolate without it saying whether I am healthy or not.  I know health is a conglomeration of things (including stress- so stop harshing my mellow)
and I know that it has been scientifically proven that colds are not caught through the feet, just like cold viruses are not killed by amoxicillan, and overuse of antibacterial/antivirus gel by school children might be breeding worse germs for me to battle.