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Saturday, August 31, 2013

6 Days and Counting

6 days and counting before I leave for Sicily.

I'm starting to feel the pressure of the things that I want to get done before I leave.  :-)

We spent the day today with my Grandmother, (Auntie I) who we haven't seen in quite a while.  It was a wonderful day of reconnecting, telling stories, and eating. Especially the home peach shortbread with amaretto whipped cream.  Mmmmmm.

Since most of the day was spent either driving or catching up on family business, I don't really have much to post today so this will have to do.

Today's thought  in regards to spiritual and religious traditions is Reconstruction, Continuation/Perpetuation, Living, Re-membered? What's the difference and what purpose does each serve.  I think I may devote a whole chapter to that.

Ciao a tutti,

---Vincenzo

Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Days and Counting

7 days and counting until I leave for my trip.

Today, I was distracted by an article that T. Thorne Coye posted. The original link is here:
Bansheearts - Whose Ancestors?

It brings up some interesting conversations/ideas regarding Ancestors and cultural identity/spirituality. Almost the opposite side of the "cultural appropriation" and "purity" debate.

I was asked: "hat about Blacks' hatred (anger/jealousy) or Whites? Why is racism always accused of Caucasians?".

And responded with: "Because most of the loud and obnoxious racist groups are white? That's like asking why World of Warcraft players are always accused of being rude idiots compared to other gaming communities. There are more World of Warcraft players so of course there are going to be more idiots in that community - that's just simple math. Unfortunately, the idiots and bigots tend to be loudest and most distasteful That doesn't mean that other gamers aren't jerks, just that there aren't as many of them.".

RavenLyn more eloquently responded with: "I think it is about numbers, but it's also about power--racism by definition is the ability to determine, on a group level, which group has more access to resources--education, jobs, money, political power, religious resources--even social acceptance. Since in our part of the world the default group that gets those things and refuses them to other groups is white, we are the ones who are racist. Prejudice is different--it's a dislike or distrust of individuals by other individuals based on some demographic characteristic, such as skin color. So if this Asatru organization is controlling access to religious resources based on perceived race, the ones with the power compared to non-white people are the racists. Knowing this might tend to make me prejudiced about Asatru practitioners...except I know some non-racists Asatru practitioners who are just embarrassed by these people, so I know it's not all Asatru.".

To which, I added: "When we were located in Cambridge, we had a group of Asatru that would come in and they clearly used their Path as a way to have "power over". For them, it was about raising themselves up by lowering others. There was also another group of Asatru that would say, "We're so embarrassed. Asatru is about celebrating who we are, not about putting down others."

I guess that my point is that cultural identity and spiritual paths tied to cultural history should "lift up and celebrate" who the practitioners are without having to degenerate others in the process.

It's like the black, adopted Italian soccer star that was derided for "not being Italian: "http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/dec/13/italy-racism-football-mario-balotelli"

Balotelli was born – and immediately abandoned by his Ghanaian parents – in the Sicilian capital, Palermo. He is an Italian passport holder and was brought up by adopted parents in Brescia from the age of two. He speaks with the accent of his region, but has received far more racist abuse than other black stars in Italian football because his Italian identity is seen by some as a provocation.

"The difference [from other black players] is Balotelli is totally black and totally Italian, and that has provoked a short circuit among fans," said Sandro Modeo, a correspondent for Corriere della Sera.

In my opinion, he is as much if not more Italian than some folks who claim Italian ancestry. He's part of the *living & growing* culture of what it is to be Italian. Racism is unacceptable in any form - ESPECIALLY in spiritual traditions.

Ciao a tutti,

---Vincenzo


Thursday, August 29, 2013

8 Days and counting

8 days and counting before I leave.

I spent a good portion of today going over my travel Italian.  Today's words are words that I'm familiar with but can't seem to keep in my head.  They're aschiutto, bagnata, pulita, puzza, lenzuolo, cuscino, spazzola, spazzolino, sapore, cattivo, and my favorite asciugamano (ah-shuga-mano).  I like pronouncing asciugamano. :-)

I had better keep my phrase book handy!

Ciao e ci vediamo!

---Vincenzo

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

9 Days and Counting

9 day and counting until I leave for my trip.

While gone, I play on keeping a travel log of my journey and my thoughts. This seems like a really good place to keep.

As part of getting ready, I've been reviewing my social networking presence. The number of "groups" that I am part of is really very large - much larger than I thought.

Since I don't want to be bombarded with wading through groups messages while I'll be away with spotty internet connection, I'm going to be (at least temporarily) removing myself from groups on FB and other networking sites.  If you admin one of the groups that I drop out of, please don't take it personally!

Yesterday, I had to go to 3 banks just to get my "travelling cash" in Euros. I never though that getting foreign currency would be so difficult.  Also, my custom luggage tags arrived.  They're VERY visible and colorful so I'll be able to tell which bag is mine at a glance. :-)

This morning I spend about an hour researching descriptions that I plan on integrating into the book draft. It's amazing the more you understand about a culture, the more you understand the connotations (and root meaning) of a word and recognize how it's changed over time - especially when the word has crossed cultural boundaries over time. I was specifically looking into "Stregoneria, Magia, Sortilegio, Stregheria, Benedicaria, La Vecchia Religione, praticos (wise people), guaritori (healers), fattucchiere (fixers), donne che aiutano (women who help) and mago, maga or maghiardzha (sorcerers)".

That's all for today!

Benedizioni,

---Vincenzo

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Days and counting...

I had wanted to start posting more but getting ready for my trip has really taken all of my time!  10 days and counting until I fly off to Sicily for a month.

I have my Euro cash, my bills paid, lodging and other arrangements made.  I have to pack and get a phone when I arrive.  I am pretty sure that I've taken care of most everything.

Each day, I'm doing 1/2 - 1 hour of Rosetta Stone. It's really a great course. If you're thinking of learning a language, it's worth the money especially when you compare it to the price of more traditional courses for language.

Stregacrafts is up and running.  since I hand create most items that we carry,  but we're not going to be taking any new orders until I return. Note - I was just informed that I accidentally crashed the site. It's off line as of this writing my Mike is going to fix it as soon as he gets back from lunch.  Sorry!

OneStopOccultshop is up and running. We'll still be taking orders through the site. I've arranged it so our suppliers will drop ship orders directly to our customers and I'll be staying in touch with them while I'm gone.

Streghe.us is up and running and we've got some surprises planned. I'm working with a friend to convert the site to a WordPress UI including forums. The goal is to make it a real community site focused around resources and intelligent (and respectful) discussion regarding Pagan religious Witchcraft with origins in Italy/Sicily, Europe, & the USA.

http://www.vinnierusso.com/TarotReadings is up and running. Although I am still taking phone readings until I leave, I am not able to do any in-person readings at this time.  While gone in September, I will not be available for phone or in-person readings.  When I return in October, I will be available for both and will be sure to post a notice.

The Sheaves of Demeter Coven is busy as well. In addition to the Chthonioi-Alexandrian and Italic material, we're currently doing 4 - 6 weeks of elemental workings. Each week is devoted to meditations on a particular element and how that element appears and interacts in our daily lives. The goal is both become familiar with the more traditional associations with the elements as well as forge our own personal associations with them and recognize when and how they appear in our daily lives.  By recognizing their appearance and interaction, we can better use our knowledge of them to steer our course more positively.

If you're thinking of doing some of your own elemental work, I highly recommend The Way of Four by Deborah Lipp. It's an excellent book written by an amazing Witch.

OK, back to work.

Ciao a tutti,

Vincenzo