Good Lords and Ladies (does that sound too pretentious? I feel like that might be too pretentious) it’s been a long time since I actually blogged for Sage and Starshine instead of just reblogging content I’d written elsewhere. Let’s recap what I’ve been up to in the past few months.
I’m in my final calendar year of my MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science) and will be graduating next December/January with my expensive piece of paper that says I’m a real live library adult and can be paid real live adult money. I’m both excited and terrified at the same time.
This semester I’m in Multimedia Production, which builds on an earlier class on web design. Our final project will be a website that functions as our online business card of sorts. Fun fact: Holly Black (yes, the Holly Black, and if you don’t know who she is drop everything in your life and go to your local public library’s YA section and check out all her books) took this exact class in my exact university in 2002 and her final project is still used as an example of building a cool website. That practically makes me royalty, right? Here’s the first project I turned in this week, which is just a basic site to house my analysis of another website. I’m so ridiculously proud you have no idea.
My other class is Social Informatics which is, among other things, the field that studies how society and technology interact. It’s mostly a fun class, though I am frustrated by the number of older students and sources that are technophobic and complain about what the Milleannials and Homelanders are doing with their Googles and their YouTubes. One interview we listened to put technology at the opposite end of the spectrum from spirituality, which is of course bullshit. My religious life is plenty technological and vice versa. I like to stir up trouble in class.
Also, I’ve applied for a full-time position at a local(ish) library! I’m crossing fingers and toes.
Last month, Clann Bhride started its own Flamekeeping Cill. I’m really excited about this and the growing Clann Bhride community on Facebook. I tend to go through cycles with my Brigidine practice; it’s been on the quiet side recently, but I’ve come to realize the embers never really go out. I often think of myself as a “Brighid kid,” not so much in that I’ve been chosen to be Her child, but in that Our relationship is always open and I’m welcome to come home whenever I want. It’s a comforting position to be in.
On Imbolc I gave the sermon at my local Unitarian Universalist congregation on Brighid and St. Brigit. It was pretty anxiety-inducing for me and I feel like I flubbed it, but the folks who talked with me after the service said I did well and no one could tell I was nervous. It’s so difficult to condense Who This Goddess Is in a twenty-minute slideshow presentation with Q&A afterward. It did have me think about how to communicate my ideas to a non-Pagan or non-polytheist audience. The UUA is a liberal religious organization but one that also has a strong intellectual, sometimes humanist or theologically secular bent. I actually find it easier to talk with my Baptist mother about my deity beliefs than I do folks who are largely nontheistic. (Not that talking with Mom is always easy; this past Christmas she told me she wished I’d reconsider Christianity. My insistence that I was a polytheist and couldn’t/didn’t want to make Christianity work for me didn’t really make a dent.)
It also reminds me of a conversation I had with a close friend of mine who’s a secular humanist. She’s known I’ve been Pagan for years, and we both actually met when we were evangelical teenagers who were Totally Christian and Totally Straight. (That didn’t last.) I realized that she didn’t realize that many Pagans and polytheists literally believe in the gods. It was… awkward. Not that she was disrespectful – she’s always been very supportive of me, which is why we’re friends 13 years later – but it was disquieting to explain my thoughts about Brighid.
It’s easy to be outwardly religious because I do go to a church (just not a Christian one) and we have things like sermons and hymns and meet on Sunday mornings at 11 AM. Oftentimes I can pass as Christian without overtly lying about it, which is a boon in this part of the state. I just also get frustrated at lacking my awesome online community in the physical world. What I wouldn’t give for Wednesday night prayer circle and spaghetti dinners for Brighid, you know?
I’ve really enjoyed the past few months getting to know the Otherfaith community. Recently I started blogging on a mostly weekly basis on Of the Other People. What I love most about the Otherfaith is the emphasis on values like consent and personal autonomy, and the fact we value stories and modern folklore as a way to understand a pantheon of gods and spirits. Being part of a modern religious tradition is freeing, in many ways; there’s no Lore to creep around, no ancient traditions to care about resurrected, no cultural appropriation to avoid. Aine, the founder of the Otherfaith, has also made it explicitly clear that those of us without mystic bents have just as much ability to understand the gods and contribute to the faith. She’s been wonderful about answering questions and letting me bounce ideas off her at all hours of the day. Being able to write mythology and meet the gods that way is freeing and empowering.
Right now I have two half-finished myths. The first is about Epiphany, a spirit of books, knowledge, and chance, and her relationship with the Clarene, founder of the West. The second is about the Ophelene, a goddess of retributive justice, and the holiday of Reunion.
Speaking of Reunion – which is held from Dec 25 to December 31 – I had a really good time celebrating it with the Otherfaith community this past December. I’ve got a small project in the works of collecting the Reunion essays and poetry we all created and publishing a free, spiffy-looking PDF to showcase our work.