It’s funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most, not where you live or what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes. There’s no dollar sign on a piece of mind:
this I’ve come to know.
“Chicken Fried,” Home Grown. Zac Brown Band
“Feels like…..home, old school home when forgiveness, swift kicks, & love were all given, appreciated & reciprocated.” Liz
“That moment when the sun is setting on a sweltering day in the summer and you’re on the back porch sipping tea so sweet it can be used on pancakes and the honeysuckle sweetness is slowly moving across the yard and you see that first star peek out at ya and you feel hope. Its all good. That’s what Pagan family feels like.” Jason
“In choosing one’s family, there is a bond that may as well be blood. It is the thickness, the gooey-ness that binds, both by the family one is born to and the family one chooses. By choosing one’s blood to be born into, one also chooses those that shall become family years away from birth, because we’ve all done this before and are fortunate to do so again. It is these people who help make a home, somewhere to plant one’s feet and grow.” Cam
“Rich, thick chocolate with just a little wine.” Alex on the subject of our Pagan family.
“Acceptance, truth, strength, faith, and love in all shapes and sizes.” Gralyn
“Peace, happiness, belonging, support no matter how flighty your last thought was!” Dana
“Like freedom. My only place I don’t have to hide. Where I can shout, virtually, the words that constantly swirl between my heart and my head: Goddess, Hecate, Mabon, Divine, Altar, Freya, Sacred, Circle….I can breathe. :)” Carrie
“Family don’t get no thicker than when you’re fightin.’ When it’s all over, everyone still loves each other. It’s always, always gonna’ be okay.” Trillium
“Baby-honey-britches, can you turn that fan toward Momma ‘fer she passes out. We’ve got work to do if we are gonna fix this here thing.” Seba (To Hazey on the front porch.)
“Look, she’s floating!” (Cynthia lifting Seba off the ground, bad foot and all) and “May we all float among the tree tops, having souls filled with the lightness of love and laughter!”
“The more you hang around, the more love you feel.” Miss Nancy
“Ain’t nothing but a thing. We’ve got each other.” Terrin
“Our love feels like the warm crackle of an Autumn fire; feeding the soul, warming the heart, and keeping the chill of the world at our backs… but F up & you might lose an eyebrow.” Madolyn
“A community rooted in love propagates all things positive – connection on all levels, trust, support, peaceful and productive conflict resolution, creativity, acceptance of diversity. We each bring our own gifts to the greater circle, no matter where we are at in our individual spiritual understanding and evolution. We feed our souls and each others through living as our truest selves, interacting with love and genuine compassion toward one another, living well and laughing often.” Cynthia (again.)
“Giving and receiving gifts of loving energy in support of each other, without asking for the gory details because its enough that someone needs it.” Joy
(All of the above are courtesy of Pagans of the Deep South. We do love.)
This post was going to be about something academic, or something edible, or something Southern. And then . . .
Momma Seba woke up ornery. The chicken coop plan (scrawled on a piece of rain-drenched cardboard) went missing and the Southern Fried husband hadn’t had enough coffee. My Hazey Bear aligned her ‘moon phase’ with her Momma (dear, sweet lawd, help us), the Youngest was hankering for town, girls and skateboards and accidentally carved down half a fig tree in the weekend clearing and the Second Degree Initiate took about all she could sweltering under three foot of hair and chicken wire in the back forty. Somewhere in the midst of all this, two separate fingers got smashed (damn hammers) and blood got spilt on the front step.
BOOM. Yup. ‘For anyone could holler “heads up,” we had us a down-home hoe-down–complete with cussin’ and slammin’ doors and confused dogs. For a minute.
Let’s get real here. Family, the kind that breaks bread together, cries together, heals together and builds chicken coops together with hangovers will, upon occasion, go BOOM. What matters, contrary to popular opinion, is not the BOOM, but the sounds that follow. Here’s a run down of those sounds:
Imma’ gonna shake my boobs at you. Imma’ doing it. Oh. Not funny yet? Well, then watch this . . . .
I started my period. (Nuff said. Leave this one alone. Get the ibuprofen.)
I didn’t mean it like that.
I love you, you asshole.
Don’t we have that root magic stuff? Put it on the fig branch . . . .
It’s okay. You didn’t know . . .
And before you knew it, we were listening to music, building a coop, finding Bandaids and giggling like toddlers with a new pot of Playdough. You see:
Conflict is inevitable.
Chaps my old ass to hear folks whine on, even in the face of serious distress and onslaught, “Love and light!” when some soul needs to have a bit of a hissy fit. Let’s try this in another way:
My twenty-year-old son is a Taurus. (Yup.) I’m an Aries. (Oh, yup. Y’all know where THIS is going.) When he was a wee bull, I sent him to his room on a regular schedule, as his bullness was also on a regular schedule. It went over something like this:
Me: You stay in there until you calm the Sam Hill down.
(Tight mouth, little balled fists. Closing of the door.)
Me: Ahem. (Opens door a crack.) What was that?
Him: Nothin,’ I just really hate this here CHAIR!
Me: Hokay. Give it hell, son.
I mean, couldn’t blame him. That chair had upped and pissed the boy off, apparently. (Chuckle.)
You see, we are human. That child needed a moment of Blood and Justice, not Love and Light, and I reckon if I had reined that in he might have had an aneurism. Practically speaking, it could have festered in there–caused all kinds of havoc–and his momma knew the feeling. What mattered was not his momentary BOOM, but the moment after. Went like this:
Him: Mommy. I feel pretty mad at you right now. I don’t think we are friends anymore.
Me: Well, I understand. Good thing we’re family. Now. Let’s make fudge. And let’s burn that belligerent chair.
See? I’ve studied on this a spell and have found that: iffin we ask each other to never express frustration, disappointment, fury, but especially pain . . . we are not being honest with them or ourselves. In our communities, I have witnessed such an agenda as it has played out, over and over, and the genre is tragedy.
I had a conversation with a (literally) beloved friend yesterday, sweatin’ and grinnin’ in the late afternoon sun. I respect this human (hard-earned thing, that) and trust her judgement like family. Somewhere along the convo, I suggested that, as a leader, it would be detrimental to a holistic sense of community to share with them when someone squat and shat in a circle (so to speak), hurt others within our circle or variously carried out vengeful and fellowship-damaging acts. She cleared me up, right quick. Made clear unto me that drama was one thing, but standing up for what was right was another. Well. Slap my face and call me Betty. Later that night, I sat under the stars after all my kin had driven off or hit the sack and thought about this concept. And then, it hit me.
I could yell and holler at a chair. Dumbpeanutbutterstupidmeanieliarbackstabbingcapitalisticblackmailingsawedoffsombitchdevious . . . dumbbuttCHAIR!!!!!!!!
Whew. That felt good. Toxins all out of me, free and clear. Y’all watch out for that belligerent chair, now. It’s a bugger.
But: let’s tie this heifer up and round her back to the stall, shall we?
Any vision of a healthy and sustained Pagan family that does not allow for the possibility of a bad day, a hormonal spell or a belligerent chair is not being pragmatic. Any family that is not being pragmatic is pumping fairy dust up each other’s arses–and, I know we are Southern, ya’ll, but I draw the line here. Fairy dust doesn’t do anything in an arse but look silly (rainbow toodles?) and causes spiritual constipation.
Now. Don’t that feel silly? Or, at the very least, uncomfortable? Kick that chair. Then go make dessert, laugh, float, fly over the anger and pain. But laws . . .
Let the poison out.
Then fry yourself some chicken, grab yor’ kin, pour that wine and revel in the part that comes after. That’s the good stuff, y’all. Makes your soul free. Leaves the rest in the dust and let me tell you:
Those chairs make mighty fine firewood. And I have marshmallows.
You see? The most important part of the process is honesty. Then healing. Then love. Holding that mess in only infects your bones–and let me tell you, that sickness is as contagious as the love that could kill it. I suppose, at the end of the day, the question will be:
You want your face to stick like that?
Or shall we boobie shake that nasty astral mess outa’ there? Mayhap sing a little after? Drum a spell? Plan some happy into the calendar?
As my son would say, to “heck” with that chair. Never did sit straight, anyhow. (But, just for good measure, I’ll kick it on the way out the door.)
Good thing we’re family. Now. Let’s go make fudge. 🙂
P.S. Remember to burn the chair. Not the person. I’m so grateful that my boy knew that one. Whew!
(Had to shorten the chair diatribe. Didn’t fit across the screen.)