Thursday, October 30, 2008

a christian corruption of a Celtic belief?

Halloween was a topic for conversation at work today... not something we really celebrate here in Australia... with good reason!!!!

"Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celts practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids, who were priests, poets, scientists and scholars all at once. As religious leaders, ritual specialists, and bearers of learning, the Druids were not unlike the very missionaries and monks who were to Christianize their people and brand them evil devil worshippers.

As a result of their efforts to wipe out "pagan" holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John's Day was set on the summer solstice..."
read the article here

and not only is it a christian corruption, it's an american commercialization of a christian corruption!!!!

"The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely an amalgamation of the Halloween season itself, nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include... witches, owls, crows, vultures, pumpkin-men, black cats, spiders...

Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films, which contain fictional figures like Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween..." Wikipedia

I hate this graphic depiction of wise women (aka witches)...

the old decrepit hag,

or the mysterious woman

(I have to put this in here - from an earlier post - THE WITCH / WISE WOMAN

“Women have always been healers. They were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists of western history. They were abortionists, nurses and counselors. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were mid-wives, traveling from home to home and village to village. For centuries women were doctors without degrees, barred from books and lectures, learning from each other, and passing on experience from neighbour to neighbour and mother to daughter. They were called “wise women” by the people, witches or charlatans but the authorities.” .. Witches, midwives & nurses: a history of women healers

they were ALL of these - healers, midwives - oooooh, dare I say doctors - AND sensual beings, sexual beings - they were WOMEN / WOMYN / WOMIN!!!!!

Unfortunately this was the reality of the 'witch-hunts' - women slaughtered!!!!

This is Bridget Bishop's hanging - check out some shit about her... she was a strong woman, and oooooh, apparently sensual and sexual - a no-no in a patriarchal misogynistic world!!!!!

today she'd be called slut, whore, (another older post - the politics of language).....

or read about Eunice "Goody" Cole - the "Witch Of Hampton" ....
.... i'm a tad bewildered by the acceptance of this crap and the depiction and acceptance of women as ugly, evil - those fucking frightening creatures - witches, (midwives and nurses) -- the slaughter of our sisters - and sympathetic brothers... guess I'm sick of patriarchal shit, american garbage... if you 'play' along with it, you never change it, you just accept it!!!!

.... I'm pretty sure I'll be coming back to this post soon....

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Does jargon do your head in like it does mine? Ever felt like this?

I've been doing some research this morning (ooooh, it's afternoon already!!!! where did the time go???) - been trying to get my head around virtual private networks (very exciting hey!!!).

I came across this graphic... made me laugh (and I certainly needed a laugh after the geek-speak I've been wading through!!!)

And a laugh was good before I tackled researching dialysis because it appears that when my mother had keyhole surgery to remove her gall bladder 12 months ago apparently her "kidney function was affected" - sounds like another way of saying they fucked up!!! Far out - she's 79 going on 80 - she's at the "having to be informed about it" stage - functioning isn't quite bad enough for 'action' yet - but they're getting her thinking about it just in case... hence a lot of 'surfing' to find out more information and what, if any, alternatives exist.

at the moment it's all just tooooo much.... I'm going to have a few bongs...


(now this would make an interesting storytime!!!)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

a (very) quick snapshot of my 1963

Check this out...

I look like a fucking child bride - obviously a christian form of barbaric, ritualistic (paedophilic?!) sacrifice (being given over to christ - to be submissive and subservient??) I would have been 7 going on 8 years old here, and having had no choice in being christened a catholic, it appears I also had no choice in making my 'first communion' - huh, the brainwashing didn't succeed as I got older though!!!!

the religious landscape was changing - vatican ii was bringing (supposed) radical change within the church, it's hierarchy, and women's place within the church structure was becoming less regimented - now they were going to be able to get out of their cloisters and into the world - some were going to cope, some weren't - even their 'habit' was going to change -

From this... to this... to this...

(and then of course they were able to throw off the 'shackles' of the habit and wear 'civilian' clothes). Now that could be freaky to some who had spent most of their lives totally covered from head to toe (not unlike the Arabic hijab, or the Iranian / Pakistani chador and all the other variations in between, hey??!) - they hadn't had to make 'life' decisions since entering the convents and their days (and very loooong days they were spent in menial labour - cooking, cleaning, tending the sick, teaching - you know how it goes - same old same old where women were concerned!!!) were totally structured, and some hadn't had to deal with the outside world in decades!!!

If you've never seen the ABC mini-series "Brides of christ" it's well worth watching... it's a 'glimpse' of what it was like going to a catholic girls school in the 60s & early 70s - it's just like I remember - although some of the nuns could be a lot more violent!!!! Some of them loved their corporal punishment!!! (and let's not forget the christian brothers and priests here - or their paediphilia and child abuse that finally came out into the open - sorry, is still being 'uncovered'!!!)

It's not surprising that kids growing up in this era were the ones who walked away from the catholic church in droves in the 70s...

a nun tending the 'medicinal crop'???

I couldn't resist this because it (graphically) flowed perfectly from catholicism into another 1963 'happening' - the "Hunter Valley cannabis infestation" - ha, it took the New South Wales government 9 years to eradicate it.

"The cause of the infestation has never been positively identified. One theory suggests that the cause was the sluicing of waste products from chicken farms in the area which were using imported chicken feed containing a small proportion of cannabis seed which was then washed into the Hunter River and its tributaries. Another theory suggests that some seed was deliberately planted by United States military personnel who were stationed at the Singleton Australian army base."

Of course women were still fighting for their own identity, and 1963 was a perfect climate for Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" - in which she offers a critique of Freud's penis envy theory - to be published.

"The book became a bestseller, which some people suggest was the impetus for the second wave of feminism, and significantly spurred the women's movement".

1963 also saw John Kennedy (JFK to most) announce that America's commitment to Vietnam would be scaled down with the immediate withdrawal of 1,000 advisers. He was assassinated a week later - funny 'bout that - apparently it wasn't time to lessen involvement , but to ramp it up!! Australia had sent 30 army instructors in 1962 to assist in training the South Vietnamese Army but with Lyndon Johnston 'inheriting' the presidency, and calling on the allied nations to become more involved, the war was about to escalate - American involvement in the Vietnam War went from 16,000 American soldiers in 1963 to 550,000 in early 1968 - which of course led to mass demonstrations, the save our sons movement and an expanding consciousness of the horror of war - left-wing politics was on the rise - but that's in 1964 and 1965 so we'll get to that next time.

Unfortunately, this was also the year my parents split up - I went to live with me mum and me 11 year old brother went to live with me dad - with every weekend at me dad's for me, and Tuesday's with us for me brother.

What changes lay in store??? My life was changing dramatically.... whether I wanted it to or not!!!

Monday, October 13, 2008


it's no longer a crime to procure or provide an abortion!!!!! It's been a long time coming, and it's still not free - but at least it's been taken out of the Crimes Act!!!

BUT, it should always have been MY CHOICE because

now, all we have to do is make marijuana legal;

make being a carnivore illegal - by the way, October is VEGETARIAN AWARENESS MONTH - treat animals with respect and compassion;

bring about the downfall of patriarchy and capitalism (oooh - almost happening now!!!)

then my world (and everyone else's) will be a little bit happier to live in!!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

History DOES repeat...

here we are, 2008, and still no free, safe, legal abortion on demand... we've got an Abortion Law Reform Bill going to the Upper House today - and already there are government members trying to water it down!!!

Far out, way back in the 60s the fight was raging - backyard abortions were rife and women were dying... it was in 1967 that Bertram Wainer took up the battle against police corruption for protecting backyard abortionists and fought for the reproductive rights of women along with his partner Jo Wainer - eventually setting up the Fertility Control Clinic.

"Before 1969 and the Menhennit ruling abortion was completely illegal. It was conducted clandestinely. There were twelve doctors who provided reasonably safe, reasonably competent abortions, but at a very high price. You found them through an underground network - taxi drivers, pubs, mates (it was the usually the responsibility of the man involved to find the abortion provider and to pay for the abortion. The woman just risked her body, her life and her dignity).

In addition to that there were non-medically trained abortion providers, the most famous of whom was a butcher by trade who operated on kitchen tables around Footscray. Of course, not being a doctor he didn't have access to anaesthetics so he used to stuff a rag in the woman's mouth to stop her screaming and disturbing the neighbours.

If the providers got into trouble, they couldn't call an ambulance and have the woman admitted to hospital because they would have gone to jail for fifteen years or longer, whether a doctor or not. Women died. We will never know how many as they all had body disposal systems - dump them in Port Phillip Bay, bury them in Sherbrooke forest, arrange with the local undertaker to bury two bodies in one coffin.

It was a very dangerous and totally humiliating experience. It didn't stop women from having abortions, but it was very, very bad and a lot of women died. There was a whole ward at the Royal Women's Hospital devoted to women who were there as a result of damage from abortion - they had a thirty bed ward dedicated to it. 

There was a special room set aside for women who were dying. Septacaemia and gangrene were the major risks in the pre-antibiotic era."

Friday, October 3, 2008

It comes around so fast these days...

but, in case you didn't know... October is internationally known as Breast Cancer Month.

Check out these organisations if you want to learn more or read some very moving stories... or plan or join an event (just click on the pictures).

and if you haven't listened to this before... she has a wonderful voice - [Standing all the way] pink ribbon original Rachael Chatoor...