Posts I enjoyed this week.
We have always been here
The lovely River Crow has an excellent post about an exhibition of LGBTQIA art and artefacts at the Fitzwilliam Museum, which demonstrates that queer people of all sorts have existed in every culture and era.
It both gladdened my heart to learn about the constant presence of queer people around the world and across history, and saddened me to learn how, in most of the situations our guide discussed, these same queer people had to hide themselves and their loves, with coded details in art or poetry, with sham marriages to other (most likely also queer) people of the socially accepted (i.e. “opposite”) gender, and with a veil of shame and secrecy.
Nimue Brown has an excellent post about why telling other people to relax is a pretty terrible idea.
What if I, and people like me aren’t hurting because we’re doing it wrong. What if we have bodies that hurt, and cannot magically be fixed with that really easy thing you think we should be trying. What if that really easy thing, when tried, inflicts more pain? What if, living in our bodies as we do, we might be considered to have some tiny notion about what helps and what doesn’t? What if we are allowed to say no to quick fixes that don’t fix anything?
In my experience, people tell me to relax when I have just called out an injustice or a micro- or macro- aggression. As you can imagine, this has the opposite effect.
I think people tell others to relax when they don’t want to really hear or understand. It’s yet another way of pretending your needs aren’t valid.
I’ve found the best way of avoiding unsolicited advice of the “if only you did this…” variety was leaving Facebook. Such advice is no longer part of my life since I left Facebook. It’s bliss. I feel strangely relaxed…
Gods and spirits of the land and waters
Fascinating post at Divine Multiplicity on direct experiences of land and river deities.
The Gods of Water have many sacred places throughout Europe, which are still recognized. The Severn of the U.K. is named for an old British Goddess. The Rivers Boyne and Shannon in Ireland are named for the Gods Boann and Sinann respectively. The healing springs at Bath, England is the sacred place of Sulis, the Celtic Goddess of Healing. The Romans revered the Tiber River as Tiberinus. Each of these Gods received offerings from local peoples.
Yes indeed, there are many river deities in the British Isles (Tatha of the River Tay, Belisama of the River Ribble, Hafren of the River Severn, Cunetio of the River Kennet, Old Father Thames, Avona of the River Avon) and other cultures have river deities too: the goddess of the River Ganges for example.
The history of knitting
Fascinating post on the history of knitting.
The earliest surviving knitted artefacts that were made in Europe date from the 13th century and were created for Spanish royal families by highly skilled Muslim knitters, who produced items such as cushion covers, garments and gloves made in patterned colourwork. Archaeological evidence shows that from the 14th century CE knitted items had become more common and were now in everyday use by the wider population.
A Bardic Sigil Technique
Dana at Druid’s Garden has a great post on sigils in the context of Druidry.
One of the ways I like to think about sigils within the framework of Druidry is that they are a synthesis of all three of the druidic expressions: we use the bardic arts to bring them to life, but use druid and ovate wisdom in order to help create the spaces and intentions for their work. It is through this synthesis that the sigil itself can emerge–born of our bodies, minds, and spirits. I think there is a lot of potential for sigil work, both within the bardic arts (integrating specific sigils into your visual arts) and also as part of a larger nature spiritual practice.