Category Archives: Texas

The Land of Two Rivers, and Beyond

Blood and rain.  Fish and rivers, and the sea.  Bobcats and javelinas.   Nereids and hamadryads.  Mesquite wood and fire ants.  Feral cats and grackles.  Sunshine and sea winds.  Peaches and figs, and cicadas. Dead soldiers and Spanish missions.  Sand dollars and jellyfish.  Live oaks and palm trees.  Foxes and road runners, and rattlesnakes.

These are the jewels of my path, local to South Texas.  This is my home, and these are my allies.

My path is a local one, where I concentrate on the needs of the lives lived around me.  When I offer to the sea, it is on behalf of the humans here who know not the price for the bounty they take.  It is to give thanks, and to celebrate the creatures and spirits who dwell here, those who make it possible for us to make a living here.

When I raise my arms to the Theoi it is in acknowledgment of the great tapestry They have woven around me; to celebrate Them and to honor Them, and to remind myself of all They hold dear.  This place is alive.  I am alive.  And we are paired to live our lives together.

When I pour wine and blood onto the Earth, it is so the grain and corn will thrive.  When I go to pick cotton out of its rugged husk, it is to feel what my ancestors felt, and to leave bits of myself in the field so they are not alone, and not forgotten.  When I pick flowers for offerings, it is to remind myself of the beautiful things which were plucked, in their ripeness and in their prime, all for the sake of a world gone by.

Those times that I stood upon the widow’s walk of the white mansion, it was to tell the spirits of my people, “I see you.  I remember you.  The masters are gone, and I am here.”

And when I give milk, now even the milk of my own body, it is to assure the Land that I will nourish it, as it nourishes me and mine.  Because I am the Land.  I am the Rivers.  I am the Sea and the Wind.

When I leave seed for the grackles, I know they are my brothers.  When I leave meat for the night creatures, I know they are my sisters.  When I fill the hummingbird feeders, and see the shrimp plants bloom, I know that my family is welcomed.  We are the spirits of the Land, and we rely on one another.

When I wade in the salt water, I know that I am purified.  And when I call to the Gods, I know that They are listening.  Poseidon.  Amphitrite.  Apollon.  Ares.  Zeus.  And Others still.  They hear me.  They know me.  They favor me and mine.

And when I take my children to greet Them upon the sparkling sea water, I feel Their many blessings, and Their encouragement, as surely as I feel the wind blow.  As long as we do our part to honor the Gods, the spirits, the Land, the Rivers, the Sea and the Wind, They will do Their part to keep us safe and fed.  Together, we are the reciprocal bond.  We are kharis.  We are life.  We are this world.

We are the Land of Two Rivers, and beyond.

The Allies

Originally written and published October 20, 2013.  Reposting because the Land told me to.  Howdy, Pagan Cowboy.

Pagan Cowboy, who are you?
I’ve been dreaming of you, you know.
Why are you hiding?
This land was made for you, me, and all the others.
For this is the Land of Allies.

Pagan Cowboy, you are needed.
Friendship is a stern Mother.
You know it’s true.
Yet, must we be diplomatic.
For we are the children of the Allies.

Pagan Cowboy, don’t forget your pact with the Land.
Working, and driving the herds.
A deep-rooted life, and all you ever dreamed.
But, the expectation of Friendship stands, so…
Stop hiding, Pagan Cowboy, and join your Allies.

Walking In the Shoes of the Dead

History is a growling beast lurking in the haze of collective memory and forgotten secrets, which were never secrets, at all.  It (mostly) exists out in the open, if you know where to look.

I’ve been familiarizing myself with the history of my local area, and it certainly comes with some revelations, and also a lot of parallels to today’s state of affairs.  The more things change, the more they stay the same describes it pretty accurately.  But you can not assume it was any particular way based upon what I’ve written here.  You’d have to have been here, or be here now to see what we see, in order to understand.  Many of these revelations are disheartening, though I suspect they are some of the reasons we were brought back here so abruptly.

History is a tapestry of rainbows, dazzling the eye with gleaming color, while dark and spotted in some places, and worn down and frayed in others.  The frayed parts can be mended, and the stains can be washed clean– to a point.  There will always be those visible reminders of the worst of times, yet we must let those reminders be our memorial to the washers and the menders.

Reading these accounts, connecting with the Land which bore witness to these triumphs and atrocities, leaves me with a changed outlook and a renewed sense of purpose.  When I put myself into their shoes, the shoes of the Dead who walked this Land before me, I know that it was mere luck of the draw that had me born into this era rather than that era (or any other era), and I imagine the type of changes that could have been affected by one of the indomitable (if not physically, at least in spirit) persons from that era being born in this one.  It motivates me to affect a comparable change, so that our descendants may focus on the great injustices of their own time, leaving ours to the debate halls and history texts.

History must be put into its proper context.  I’ve found that I can not have one side without hearing another, and the broader truth paints an image more awesome and complex than anything I’ve read on the subjects which interest me.  I’ve also found that those who have gone before desire to be remembered, and to have their stories told.  There are lessons in the lives of the downtrodden and dispossessed, with much hard-won knowledge to be found.

So, I walk in their shoes, tracing their steps, feeling their aches and pains. Soothing, easing, learning to mend and to wash.  This is what they tell me I’m here for, and that it is necessary for our community.  We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes, or be swept up in the same kind of hysteria.  We must overcome our past, and refuse to be enslaved by it.

Who Remembers the Forgotten Dead?

Taking the question at face value, it would seem that no one remembers the forgotten ones.  They pass into obscurity after their loved-ones die off themselves, or move on to other communities.  If they were members of a marginalized group, they may even be discarded, while in the grave, by whatever community remains around them.

I bring this to your attention, because I’ve recently been made aware of a little-known old slave and freedmen’s cemetery near to my city.  It’s closed off, and the buildings are sealed, however, an historical marker has been placed there, and the grounds are kept mowed.  But, no one visits the many, many (estimated 2000) unmarked graves.  Only six of the graves have markers, and two of those are of unknown individuals.

How terribly sad.  All those people, those families, generations of families, buried there without even their names.  And, of course, there are condos built over a section of the original site.  It just makes my heart quake with grief and anger.  So, I’m going to pay a visit to the cemetery, spend some time there just remembering those who have no one left to remember, and making offerings.

I wish I could have found an account from one of the people in the local cemetery, however, I could not, so instead I share with you an excerpt from the narrative of Mr. William Adams, of Texas, aged ninety-three years, born into slavery:

“Yous want to know and talk about de power de people tells you I has. Well, sit down here, right there in dat chair, befo’ we’uns starts. I gits some ice water and den we’uns can discuss de subject. I wants to ‘splain it clearly, so yous can understand.

“I’s born a slave, 93 years ago, so of course I ‘members de war period. Like all de other slaves I has no chance for edumacation. Three months am de total time I’s spent going to school. I teached myself to read and write. I’s anxious to larn to read so I could study and find out about many things. Dat, I has done.

“There am lots of folks, and edumacated ones, too, what says we’uns believes in superstition. Well, its ’cause dey don’t understand. ‘Member de Lawd, in some of His ways, can be mysterious. De Bible says so. There am some things de Lawd wants all folks to know, some things jus’ de chosen few to know, and some things no one should know. Now, jus’ ’cause yous don’t know ’bout some of de Lawd’s laws, ‘taint superstition if some other person understands and believes in sich.

“There is some born to sing, some born to preach, and some born to know de signs. There is some born under de power of de devil and have de power to put injury and misery on people, and some born under de power of de Lawd for to do good and overcome de evil power. Now, dat produces two forces, like fire and water. De evil forces starts de fire and I has de water force to put de fire out…”

Read Mr. Adams’ full narrative.

I think it is important that we remember our Dead.  All of our Dead. Especially those who are often left out of the official history.

58 Adorations to Columbia

These Adorations were put together using various poems honoring the goddess, as well as my own UPG concerning Her.  Numerical significance: 5+8=13… the number of Her original Colonies.  Hail Columbia!  [Also, to give credit where credit is due…  This post by Sannion started it all.]

I adore You, Liberty
I adore You, Freedom
I adore You, Manifest Destiny
I adore You, Delighting in Battles
I adore You, Calm-fronted

I adore You, Dove-like
I adore You, Mistress of Rattlesnakes
I adore You, Lion-faced
I adore You, Bee-like
I adore You, Buffalo-Maiden

I adore You, Protectress of the Continent
I adore You, World-wandering
I adore You, Feet of Doom
I adore You, Native of the Skies
I adore You, Enlightener of the World

I adore You, of Modest Fury
I adore You, Orphan
I adore You, Handmaid
I adore You, Patroness
I adore You, Compassionate Defender

I adore You, Daughter of Heaven
I adore You, Star-girdled
I adore You, Radiant
I adore You, Divinely Fair
I adore You, Inextinguishable Star

I adore You, Truth-speaker
I adore You, Law-giver
I adore You, Peace-bringer
I adore You, Sword-bearer
I adore You, Kindler of Deed and Thought

I adore You, Battle Maiden of San Jacinto
I adore You, Victory-snatching
I adore You, Crafter of Eighteen Minute Victories
I adore You, Mistress of Washington
I adore You, Continental Queen

I adore You, Sylvan Huntress
I adore You, Mother of America
I adore You, Softener of men
I adore You, Strengthener of men
I adore You, Mistress of All

I adore You, Seven-horned
I adore You, Hair Bound with Laurel
I adore You, Olive-crowned
I adore You, With Brazen Arrows
I adore You, With Fair Feet High-arched

I adore You, Our Delight
I adore You, Our Desire
I adore You, Our Maker
I adore You, Our Victim
I adore You, Man’s Hope

I adore You, Triumphant in War and Peace
I adore You, Bringer of Life
I adore You, Fairest of All
I adore You, Voice of a Mighty Wind
I adore You, Strategist in Battle
I adore You, Mother of Presidents
I adore You, Star of Texas
I adore You, Who Mingles Her Life With Our Dust