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4:16 p.m. - 2013-11-13
Girding Up

Did I ever tell you that back in my early 30s I wanted a tattoo? Now this is going back almost 20 years when tattoos were still edgy and nice PTO moms would never consider such a thing. I had a design and a location on my bod all picked out. My thinking was rather than wear my pentacle around my neck (see every and any pic of me ever posted) I'd have one inked onto my right hip. Up high enough that it wouldn't show even in a bathing suit. I'd drawn my tattoo design myself. A traditional five-pointed star encircled with a delicate leafy vine. Very fine lines done in black ink with the only color being the green in the leaves. Total circumference somewhere between the size of a quarter and a half-dollar.

I thought about it for a long time. Like for almost three years. I believe this is what finally decided me against it. If I was still considering this decision after thinking on it for such a long time then it meant I truly didn't want to make a lifetime time commitment. A body altering lifetime commitment. Like having a wisdom tooth taken out or giving birth to a baby, there's just some stuff you can't take back. And my pentacle tattoo felt like that.

Why would an atheist want a religious symbol inked into her body in the first place? And why do I wear one around my neck year in and year out especially when I own many other pendants- really cool ones with gem stones and lovely hand-worked craftsmanship?

It's complicated.

Even if I were water-boarded I would swear there is no God. No Big Sky Daddy up there moving us around like chess pieces and rewarding the virtuous and punishing the wicked. The whole concept is preposterous and self-serving in the extreme. Right, there's a supreme being capable of conjuring up the entire universe but He's going to be pissed off if one little critter out of seven billion critters living on a doinky mud ball in some backwater galaxy eats a BLT. Uh huh. Yeah, that makes a whole lotta sense. The CEO of the whole universe has a vested interest in the dietary choices of the inhabitants of a single world out of vast billions of worlds.

Nope, the God of that construct exists solely to be a comfort to the lonely and the confused and to soothe the outraged feelings of control freaks and busybodies who can't deal with the truth that Shit Happens and that, yes, they ARE going to die anyhow. Be you a butcher, a baker, or insurance actuary someday you'll be worm food and to stay sane most folks want some reassurance that their lives matter. So they have their God the big scorekeeper to make sure there's some kind of reward for the good and punishment for the evil. Problem there is hardly anyone can agree what exactly defines good and evil. So there's a lot of fights. Mostly about sex and book learning. And clothes. To most folk their God is a celestial Anna Wintour who has serious issues with the way people dress. I understand, truly. It keeps the chaos at bay if you focus on hemlines and hats. And bacon. There's a whole LOT of people with insider knowledge about how God feels about bacon.

Yeah, I'm mocking, but just a little. Atheist that I am I do understand about the need for living a meaningful life. And about having some rules that might ward off bad things and pay off with good things. Just because I don't think there's afterlife destinations based on one's choices in this life doesn't mean I think morals are useless and that personal decency isn't a worthy goal.

I do.

Hence the pentacle.

If pressed (and not even that hard) I'll tell you I admire and adhere to the principal teachings of Christ. That my daily practice is closest to that of Judaism (the liberal reformed kind, see above about bacon). That most of my political juice is spent on goals mostly aligned with Paganism and the Druids. I love trees and have spent many, many years working on things like clean water and air. My parenting style is teaching my sons to make their choices within the dictates of Buddhist karma. Throw in the animist beliefs of the Native Americans, the healing knowledge of my gypsy Oma, the "You can be anything you want to be" credo of my first generation American immigrant family...and you end up with me.

An atheist who wears a pentacle. The Wiccans coming out the winner in the symbolism race. The witches and their dedication to living lightly upon the Earth, loving all- even those who disagree and oppose me, being thoughtful in my choices, respecting Nature, honoring the Past yet embracing the Future, helping and healing where allowed, and trying like mad to cause as little pain as possible.

Something I am not often successful at. I am furious with my elder son's rejection and silence and say mean things about him in this blog...a lot. Hoping to inflict back a little of the pain he's given me. Pretty shitty but I can't seem to stop. I loved him so much and to have him tell me every single day with his silence and his scorn that my love and the best I could do wasn't good enough...oy. The daily whittling away at my heart is killing me. So I lash out.

Then a couple days ago I had a falling out with a friend of fourteen years. A miserable muddle of hurt feelings and protective fierceness on both sides. Our raw places simply too vulnerable to chance a direct hit. So we said things. Ugly things. And then retreated behind battlements erected not to keep the other out but to keep safe the wounded naked hurt little scared person within. In this matter I am a coward, simply too scarred and scared. Too fearful of more pain to risk trying to make peace.

I've been hurt too much and too often to not curl up like an armadillo at the first sign of danger and protect my tender places. Not proud of this but can't help it either. It is what it is.

This is where a God would be handy. To soothe myself with sniffy righteousness that the ones who did me dirty would get theirs. But I know in my heart no vengeful God is coming to settle the score. What I need to do is uncurl and stand up. Be my own hero and try to make things right. Even though I'll take some painful hits and probably lose anyhow because that's just the way it goes with me. But if I'm going to be faithful to the symbol around my neck and almost had permanently inked on my bod then I need to own my actions and deal with the consequences.

Into the valley rides a lonely and frightened ~ LA

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