Suicide Prevention During the Holidays

Sihathor:

(I’m still alive, am recovering from finals, but I wanted to pass this on to anybody still reading my blog –thanks to those who do!– or for that matter anybody stumbling on it or whatnot. )

Originally posted on Under the Owl's Wing:

As we get into the throes and heart of the holiday season, I would like to remind folks that a lot of people lose hope this time of year and choose to end their lives. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, remember that there are resources available to you. 1-800-273-8255 is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, their website is: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Reach out to someone, there are plenty of support groups online. There is even a whole sub-reddit on Reddit dedicated to folks helping you realize that suicide is not the answer: http://www.reddit.com/r/SuicideWatch/.

Here is a helpful website which gives tips and advice on how to detect and prevent suicide: http://www.suicideispreventable.org/ Remember that sometimes it makes all the difference for someone, anyone, to be there and reach out to the person and let them know that someone cares. 

I heartily encourage you to share this…

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Keep At It

Sihathor:

I needed this. I often need this. But I definitely needed this today.
(By the way, I’ll be back soon!)

Originally posted on Under Two Trees:

“If something is difficult for you to accomplish, do not then think it impossible for any human being; rather, if it is humanly possible and corresponds to human nature, know that it is attainable as well.”

— Words of our gracious Imperator, MARCVS AVRELIVS ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS via The Essential Marcus Aurelius (newly translated & introduced by Jacob Needleman & John P. Piazza)

Wisdom-of-marcus-aurelius

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DFW’s Pagan Pride Day: Thoughts, Reflections, Lessons

Sihathor:

My good friend Conor and his experiences at his local Pagan Pride Day, where he taught a workshop on Hellenismos. It’s great to see encouraging news like this. Thanks for the inspiration!

Originally posted on Under the Owl's Wing:

On Saturday I attended the DFW Pagan Pride Day. I wanted to offer just a few thoughts and lessons that I learned from it.

1) Tye-Die Pagans are vital to the well-being of the Pagan Community.

This is a self-evident truth pretty much. There weren’t oodles and oodles of them there as some folks like to stereotypically imagine but there were enough. See, I discovered that tye-dye Pagans serve as basically lighthouses, directing and attracting folks to the event. In fact, they are the only reason Josh and I were able to be certain we are at the right place. I would also like to especially note that most of the people who were providing childcare were tye-dye Pagans. Leading me to a sudden epiphany.

Don’t be a dick about whether or not someone ‘looks like a hippie’. I have heard accounts of Pagan Pride Day given to me…

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In Praise of Imperfection: Ramblings

For an excellent post in a similar vein (though not as amorphous), read “Perfection is Illusion” at Under the Owl’s Wing.Image

I had a conversation recently with a [mono-]theist disaffected with Christianity. One reason for their disaffection was the problem of evil, which has plagued monotheism since at least the beginning of Christianity (I imagine the ancient Jews held to the conclusion in Job that God brings both good and evil because “eff you, that’s why.” Okay, that’s a vast oversimplificiation, but it’s close!)

 

I brought up the idea of denying omnipotence, and found myself up against a common mentality. That the deity must be all-perfect and care about us, or else what’s the point? Everything in the world, everything in the human condition points to something other than this, yet people try to believe it, yet come to terms with the world in all its imperfections and limitations.

Why do people seek what is perfect yet cannot be? Why will they protest the suggestion that perfection might not exist in divinity (at least not at any level that humans can relate to directly in any meaningful way other than temporary mystical ecstasy or intellectual epiphany)? Perhaps this is a vice that, for once, is unique to humans? Unless, perhaps, we learn to talk to dolphins and find that even Flipper laments lacking legs or wings, or some other impossibility, rather than enjoying being a dolphin like any other sensible cetacean.

I’ve come to realize that perfection is impossible, and an illusion. It can be spoken of, like the notion of colorless green ideas sleeping furiously, but it cannot exist in reality any more than a self-contradictory omni-everything personal God can.

One thing cannot be all things and still be something that is comprehensible or makes any sense to us or have any direct interaction with the world as we experience it. I have a feeling there is no such thing as a trait that is always an advantage and never a disadvantage. It seems to always vary with context. Moist skin that can take in oxygen is an advantage in the Nile, but a fatal disadvantage in the desert.

More than perfection being an impossible illusion, though, imperfection is what makes everything possible! It’s such a beautiful fact. Think about it. If everything was perfect, nobody would want for anything, and nothing would happen. There would BE nothing. There can be no growth, there can be no change, that can be nothing. Only nothing. Perpetual eternal, featureless, colorless, tasteless, soundless, seasonless, timeless, nothingness. Neither sorrow nor hatred, to be sure, but neither joy nor love as well. Imperfection is limitation, limitation is boundary,boundary is structure, and this is what lets there be things to do things to make things happen.

One common lesson to writers is that a story must have conflict, that the protagonist must want something, that if you write about a character who wants nothing who does nothing, then you will not have a story, let alone one worth reading. It needn’t be outright violent physical conflict. It could be internal conflict between opposing values or needs in one person, or social conflict between two or more people, or the classic man vs. nature story where the protagonist struggles against a harsh natural environment, or any of the many variations our species has used since the beginning.

Or, to look at the visual arts (since I also like to draw): I start with a blank white piece of paper. It is perfect in its featureless whiteness. It is the same throughout. I then take my pencil to it, marking off boundaries, making areas of positive space and negative space, filling some areas with shading, others with stippling, yet others with patterns. At the end of it all, I have irrevocably broken the perfect featureless white symmetry of the paper— but I have made something far more beautiful. Or Michelangelo’s famous explanation of how he made his David: By carving out everything that was not David (thereby breaking the perfect symmetry of the marble block in the service of greater beauty).

 

Perfection is, at best, like the horizon. One can endlessly travel towards it forever and ever, and never reach it, because it is by definition away from us. Like the horizon, it’s an illusion, caused by our limited perspective. However, by existing, even as an illusion, perhaps it gives us something to travel towards, thereby spurring movement and action. Maybe this vice serves a useful purpose after all.

That said, more people should appreciate imperfection and limitation. It gives beauty to an otherwise featureless canvas. Without it, we and the gods would not be.

I was reading this article about the god Bes and thought…

Egypt.Dendera.Bes.01

I recently came across this BBC article about the Egyptian god Bes inspiring depictions of the Christian Devil (among other gods, of course–they never were picky about whose gods to slander and blaspheme against but that’s another subject) and  thought…

>dwarf

>sex, drinking

And then, tongue quite in cheek, I thought of:

The God of Tits and Wine
Though in all seriousness, isn’t it great to have gods that preside over the good things in life, as well and in addition to the necessary-but-unpleasant things?

Hail to you Julian the Blessed! May you never thirst.

Sihathor:

Ave Flavius Claudius Julianus Augustus!
Hail Emperor Julian the Blessed, the Pious, the Philosopher, called Apostate by the Galilaeans!

Originally posted on The House of Vines:

emperor-julian-the-blessed

Who and from where are you Dionysus?
Since by the true Bacchus,
I do not recognize you; I know only the son of Zeus.
While he smells like nectar, you smell like a goat.
Can it be then that the Celts because of lack of grapes
Made you from cereals? Therefore one should call you
Demetrius, not Dionysus, rather wheat born and Bromus,
Not Bromius.

– Emperor Julian in the Greek Anthology

The Greek religion does not yet prosper as I would wish, on account of those who profess it. But the gifts of the gods are great and splendid, better than any prayer or any hope … Indeed, a little while ago no one would have dared even to pray for a such change, and so complete a one in so short a space of time. Why then do we think that this is sufficient and do not observe…

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