Bibliomancy: or, how the evidence is piling up
This is getting to the point where I'm thinking that the spirits are full-on helping me.
I have an assignment for one of my classes where we must do a painting that has something to do with the topics of Environmental Justice, Global Warming, or Climate Change. At the beginning of this -- about two weeks ago -- I had so many ideas that I needed to filter some out...
After a little bit of work, I've settled on a topic. I'm not sure...whether it is reasonable or desirable to get into the meat of this here, because...there are some drawbacks to that. What has been interesting is the trip I've taken in refining the ideas, and finding materials at my job (I work in a Library) which wholly supports me on a Social Justice, Environmental Justice, spiritual, activist, queer, gender-variant, anti-racist -- even vegetarian -- level.
The thing that struck me less than ten minutes ago was opening a book by Al Gore, on my second random chance event, to a chapter called "The Waste Land." I'm filing this under "Magic" because technically, what just happened was a successful hit where it comes to Bibliomancy.
The Waste Land is a poem by T.S. Eliot. I just got through reading it, today, and then realized that it wasn't the poem I remembered. Then I Googled "slouching towards Bethlehem to be born," (what I thought was in The Waste Land) and came up with The Second Coming by W.B. Yeats. The full text of that is posted online, and it wasn't what I remembered, either. But I've been doing research into the Bible, particularly around Gehenna, or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. This is a valley which was, reportedly, used as a site of child sacrifice to the God of Fire, or Demon (depending on one's viewpoint), Moloch. At a different time, it was used as a landfill where garbage was continually burned. Later it is seen as a type of Hell or destination of "the wicked".
It's hard to find reference to Gehenna in the Indexes of Bibles, but Moloch was in most of my sources, so I was able to find the relevant section. I'd thought that The Second Coming was the poem which mentioned the Waste Land, but apparently, no: I was looking for Howl by Allen Ginsberg. There is an entire section (Section II) which addresses Moloch as the personification of industrialized society.
So anyway...anyway. There is a striking parallel here, with the sacrifice of children to fire, to what is happening today with the potential sacrifice of future generations through the course of fire -- that is, through the use of fossil fuels and other burning for energy, which is heavily contributing to global warming.
I'm saying this because it's becoming really apparent to me that what is happening...is that I'm being given a path to walk. After the comment by Terro in the Religion subforum, I realized that my Deity was not evil; at least, not to me; that the essence of my service to Them is through love and creation. Whatever it is that I am -- and I am aware that it has been quiet here, maybe, because everyone suspects themselves of getting too deep into fantasy -- whatever it is that I am, my nature and my purpose, is to create. My method requires channeling the messages that come to me through my experiences (which I'm seeing now to be guided), into works of art or works of language. My reason for existence is to give voice to the spirits...and I'm becoming very aware that my spirits are good spirits.
I was led to a book, when I was searching in the Religion section of my library, on Buddhist views on vegetarianism. It spoke to the interconnectedness of all life. It is not a book that would have been allowed to be published in the U.S. because of special interest groups (particularly the meat industry). It was published out of the U.K., and exposes a lot of inhumane conditions which animals raised for meat or wool or milk go through. At the same time as I was reading this, I also met with two insects literally in front of me. One was an ant who was really happy she'd found the cupcakes; another was a fruit fly who literally dropped down in front of my face, as though they'd been crawling in my hair.
They're both dead, now. It doesn't seem right, but I can't let extremism keep me from doing the right thing where I can see that there is a right thing to do. Insects and spiders have been a sticking point with me and Buddhism -- how can I live and not kill ants? Just let them invade the pantry? I have arachnophobia -- I'd be terrified all the time if we didn't control our spider population (and I know this because it was horrible when we first moved in and the previous tenant did not kill any spiders, ever, so we had spiders who were 4" across, just randomly on the walls. Not to mention spider bites).
But nothing's going to overrun my home if I stop eating meat. It's better for me, it's better for my wallet, it's better for the water supply, it's better for the greenhouse gas levels, it's much better for the cows and chickens and lambs, it's better for the rainforest, if we just stop eating so much meat. If the rest of the world ate meat like people in the U.S. do, the environment would collapse in a few years -- this is what I've heard.
But, love and creation. On one level, I realize that creation is a very human thing to do. Everything reproduces itself, but humans are equipped to bring things into the world which have never existed before. Because, as I was growing up, I saw little chance to be with a male person who I'd be able to stand (this has changed, now), I did not ever really think of becoming a parent...so my creative drive was directed elsewhere. Particularly, then, it was directed into writing, and this is how I released what was inside me. Now, I'm into art...which has the potential both to reach a wider audience and to be more immediately impactful and available.
Working in a library...brings me into contact with people I would not have run across, otherwise. And I have been tried a bit there, you know? Like today, I found myself taking care of someone in a higher pay scale than myself, because it seemed that either she couldn't work well, or she wanted to be taken care of. I found myself doing what feels like the Asian male pattern of working that I've learned from my dad and Sensei: take care of them for now, and know that right now, you're more capable than them. You may be getting paid (much) less, but that doesn't mean that that reflects on your value as a person or worker.
And then there's my going back to Library School. I am hoping to get back in for Fall of next year, which leaves me three full years to complete the program. I started in 2012, but had such a horrible experience that I've withdrawn until now, when I realized I shouldn't let one bad teacher, or annoying coworkers, put me off of a field that I could be really competent in. Between now and then, I should be getting my Associate's in Art, and hopefully during the Summer, I can take a Computer class which should help prepare me for grad school.
If everything goes well, I should be set to be either a Librarian or a Digital Archivist, after Spring 2019. This should enable me to continue with my Art, and possibly work in an online environment.
Things are just knitting together in ways that I hadn't really imagined they would. The next four years will be tough, but I'll be set, after that -- if my parents are around long enough to support me through it. If not -- I have considered a different Library Science program in a place where family already has roots.
There is another book I found, called The Heart of the Revolution. I'm thinking that my Painting teacher would recommend this for me. It's a Buddhist basis to integrate spirituality and activism...I haven't started it yet, but the good thing is that I'm really learning how to separate Buddhist dogma (and there's a lot of it) from actual living and practical ways to deal with reality. That is, just because someone says they're a Buddhist, or because they're ordained, doesn't mean I have to listen to them (I might be considered Buddhist, but because Buddhism advocates getting rid of rigid ideas of Self, I find that having an identity as Buddhist is somewhat...against the teachings). It helps as well when I run across books like Why You Are Not a Buddhist to be able to laugh at the fact that someone thinks that being Buddhist is such an important thing that it has to be defended from people "appropriating the identity" (my words).
And then, there's My New Gender Workbook, by Kate Bornstein -- which addresses kyriarchy (intersecting spheres of oppression), which ties directly into antiracist and feminist -- and animal rights -- work. I am the very first person to check it out.
It doesn't get into ecology so much, but the state of things as regards mental health care, and medical care...some of that stuff really needs to be overhauled. But then, our economic system needs to be overhauled, too. When people have to be on drugs in order to function within society, and this is a lot of people? then it seems that perhaps it is society which is flawed, and not the people labeled as ill. Then there's politics, which is pretty much a cesspool.
But I won't get into that, right now.
I'm learning, though, that maybe the thing to do about the state of the world is not to isolate myself in a little bubble so that I don't confront anything which upsets me. It's impossible, for one thing -- I have to get to school, and I have to pass homeless and mentally ill people to get there, most days. But beyond that, if I don't confront what's wrong, I have no hope to help change what's wrong.
The point of my being alive is hope. Without hope, there is no reason to be creative, because one would believe their creativity to have no effect, or to be something which will eventually perish. Well -- all things perish. But the point is that I have a voice, and I can make a difference. If enough of us do this, then we do have hope.
So...I'm here speaking as a person whose sex drive has been reduced to almost nothing because of the medications I'm on to permit me to function in society. My deepest connections have been with family and with spirits, though recently there have been a number of wonderful people brought into my life. A little while ago, one of ...the people who may have been a kindred spirit, a mural painter, was senselessly killed. There was a memorial for him, last week -- which I didn't feel right, attending. I did not know him. But I know now that if that happened to me, people would care.
When something like that happens, and it's so close...it reminds one that 1) our time on the planet as we are now is limited, and 2) use it well. He used it well. He used it trying to make things better. How could you regret a life spent that way?
When one gets to the point I've reached, one's own life ceases to be...guaranteed, but it also ceases to be the end-all be-all of existence. If we as a species are going to survive, we've got to start caring about something bigger than ourselves. I doubt it matters to most of us whether we, individually, live or die. But taking out so much other life in the Sixth Extinction...it's something to cause pause. Do we want the beautiful planet we have to lose its biodiversity; do we want future generations to have little choice but to be roaches or horseshoe crabs? Do we want a runaway Greenhouse Effect which could render this planet as sterile as Venus?
Right now this Earth is what we have. It was beautiful, before we got here -- at least, in the forms we are in, now. The Universe will go on without us as humans -- at some time, it must, because we will change or we will die. Life adapts, or it dies. Life is change, dynamism; and in that dynamism, balance. But it's senseless to destroy what has been created for the sake of currency; some idea of wealth which exists separate from the real value of our biosphere. As I've heard spoken, "you can't eat money."
Let's not let our legacy be destruction.