emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (jackalope)
2013-09-21 05:27 pm

Do you hear EmberVoices?

Gods help me, I've started a public-facing blog: http://embervoices.wordpress.com/

I'll still keep this one for more personal musings, to the degree that I've kept it thus far.

[Edit] I have a request to CC my WordPress posts to this journal as well. If I do, they'll be locked to the access list, as I gather it's considered poor form to fully duplicate the public content. It's just apparently some folks can't access WordPress outside of the US, for some reason...

-E-
emberleo: A circular knotwork phoenix (phoenix)
2013-07-17 02:39 pm
Entry tags:

Politics: Misery Poker and Women in Texas

I have heard an argument that goes something like this:

"Stop complaining that women are under attack just because a bunch of clinics are being shut down in Texas. The women in Texas still have CHOICES to get their care elsewhere, or even out of state. I have been through hell and have made lots of excruciatingly hard CHOICES, you have nothing to complain about!"

There are SO many problems with the argument above, and especially in this context, that it actually woke my brain up 2 hours early this morning because I couldn't just let it go, so y'all get me ranting on (hopefully artfully) for many paragraphs just to shut my damned brain up about it. Lucky you!

First of all, Misery Poker is a problem in its own right )

Now a few notes about the problems in this context:

The context being reproductive rights and healthcare for women, especially poor women, in Texas and elsewhere )

I could go on for pages about this, but other people have already done so in far better detail than I ever could, so I'll stop there. The real point of this particular rant was all up in the first section: The fact that one person's life has been very hard does not excuse other people's lives being made unnecessarily harder, it does not render their arguments invalid, and it definitely doesn't make silencing their protests appropriate.

Whew! Now maybe my brain can shut up for a while!

-E-
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
2013-04-26 08:46 pm
Entry tags:

Cooking!

The Rabbits have me cooking on Fridays with [personal profile] purplerabbit.

This is both nerve-wracking and very good for me. If I'm alone in the kitchen I start to panic, but all I need to avoid that is company if I'm reasonably sure of what it is I'm trying to do, or else that nobody else knows any better than I do. If I am wary I wait until [personal profile] uncledark comes home, so he can instruct me.

So far I usually make pasta, because that's what I'm confident at. When we've made other things, PurpleRabbit has taken the lead.

Tonight I made it up as I went, trying to make something similar to the polenta they serve at Pomodoro:

I cut sun-dried tomato and garlic polenta into slices and then cut out the middles with a little cookie cutter. I wrapped pieces of fontina and sage leaves in prosciutto and stuffed them in the middles.

But then I had a bunch of extra polenta, fontina, and prosciutto, so I filled the rest of the dish with the spare, and poured roasted garlic alfredo sauce on top. I baked it all at 350 for half an hour, and then took off the foil and baked it a bit longer so the cheese would melt.

To put on top, I chopped up roma tomatoes, and mixed it with a bit of chopped onion, dried basil, and salt, with extra virgin olive oil, and as an afterthought added feta cheese. It needed more salt than I expected.

Finally I tried crisping the remaining sage leaves in olive oil and butter. That worked perfectly, and they're sooo goood. I want to take a whole sage bush and crisp them for snacks.

All put together it was quite yummy.

Next time I think I should put the sauce down first, and not try to make stuffed rounds, but just crumble all the polenta and shred the cheese to make a more ordinary casserole. Same flavors, better presentation. I wish the tomatoes were more flavorful, but overall it worked really well.

I'm very proud of myself. I made dinner and it wasn't pasta.

-E-
emberleo: A dark-haired woman weaving strands of light (dreaming)
2013-03-26 01:05 pm

A Dream Pataki

I dreamt this yesterday (Monday) morning:

I had to ford a slow-moving but very cold river that was about 4 feet deep, in my car. It was the kind of river that is near the sea, because the waves would periodically flood the car, so I couldn't stay dry. Finally I had to turn my car into a little boat and get out and kick-paddle to push us to the other shore.

On the other shore was a strange house full of wanderers, where I could rest for a bit. Once I was well-rested, I found myself in a bazaar, talking to an older woman with dark hair and caramel skin. I picked up a gorgeously-illustrated picture book, and looked at a picture of a beautiful older African man. The style of the painting was a sort of splotchy watercolor. I grinned and turned the picture around to show the woman. "This reminds me of Obatala!" I said, pleased, but not expecting her to know what I meant. She replied that it was Orunla.

She started to tell me the story, which was indeed about an Orixa. I wasn't quite sure of the name.
"Wait, you mean Oxala?" I asked.
"You're not LISTENING!" she replied sharply.
I was abashed, and apologized, explaining that I WAS listening, but I knew different names for the Orixa and wanted to make sure I understood her story correctly. She grumbled and told me to read the book myself, then.
----------------------------------------------

The book told the story of the first two Orixa, with Oludumare: a Man and a Woman, made to be immortal, to keep Oludumare company, and guard the world. Oludumare had created a world full of wondrous things that moved in cycles of life, creation, and death. The Man and Woman at first were occupied learning about all of the many things in Oludumare's world. They loved each other as husband and wife do.

One day, Oludumare came to the Man and said "She wants to die."

The Woman had made her case, that if she could not create, she had no reason for existence. She wanted very much to create children, as all the plants and animals do. Everything else in all of Oludumare's creation was part of the beautiful cycle, why not her?

Oludumare admonished that they had been created to be immortal and thus did not need children to carry on their traditions in their absence.
"Then let me die," she replied.

But the Man did not want her to die, and did not himself want to die. He loved the Woman and wanted her to stay with him. Oludumare was firm.

"You must help her die."
"You can't want me to kill her?!"
"Go out into the world and learn all there is to know of death."

Reluctantly, the Man did as he was told. At first he was angry with Oludumare, then resigned. Finally he began to see the beauty of the cycle that the Woman had perceived. As it moved before him and swirled around him in its mysterious glory, the Man understood the value of death in the cycle.

He returned to the hall where the Woman and Oludumare were waiting, his garments stained with blood, with mud, with salt water and sweat, with all the substances of creation and death marking his garments.

"I understand," he said.
Oludumare smiled. The Woman was relieved.
"Then I may die now?" She asked. And it was so.

That the Man would not be lonely, Oludumare made another Woman. She was able to die, and able to create, both these things built into her being from the first. The Man, too, was given the possibility to die. He, too, could create now, his journey having initiated him into the mysteries of the cycle.

They soon had children, who became part of the cycle themselves. They multiplied, and spread across the world, and each in time took up guardianship of different aspects of Oludumare's creation.

Oludumare was never lonely again.
----------------------------------------------

I closed the book, and brought it back to the woman. I told her I MUST own the book, and asked its price. She was reluctant, as though she was obliged to let me have the story, but didn't believe I deserved it, and thus didn't want to sell me the book. I was in tears - it was the most beautiful story I had ever heard, and I could see myself the mysteries of the cycle moving through the artwork, the beauty of Death moving through the cycle. She relented, selling me the book for some strange fee I no longer remember. Not coins, certainly, but perhaps bites of bread, and a snippet of my hair, or somesuch.

I woke up not being sure if the story was about Obatala or Orunla, and knowing no name for the first Woman.

I thought the story was about Obatala until just now, when I looked up Orunla and saw that Orunla (Orunmila) was the first Orixa, who got to watch Oludumare create all things, and that's how He knows all fates. So I think yes, this story IS about Orunla, and I was given a gift of it, that the one sent to give it to me didn't really feel I deserved, but she was under orders of some kind.

Edit Note:
Although I must admit what I looked up after the story contradicts all the stories I knew before, where Obatala was the first Orixa under Oludumare, and Orunla was Obatala's youngest son, who spent most of his time growing up buried to the neck under the tree Iroko.... Have I got wires crossed, or is this just a place where mythology has multiple answers?

-E-
emberleo: A forked crossroads symbol with the letters A M U H (umbanda)
2012-04-13 03:08 pm

AMUH: After the Fire - Rebuilding the Lubisha

The American Magic Umbanda House currently holds most of our ceremonies in the back yard at House Kaleidacopia in North Oakland.

Some background on House Kaleidacopia and AMUH )

Last May the large stand-alone shed we used to contain all of the regalia and supplies that are used in our ceremonies - our Lubisha - burned out from the inside. It never became clear how the fire started. There were no candles or cigars lit inside or anything. The lubisha was quiet and locked that evening. Mama wasn't even home at the time - almost nobody was, which is part of why the fire had a chance to really get going in the first place. But of course between all of the devotional crafts, veils, candles, and rum in the wooden shed, once a spark flew there was plenty to feed it. The resulting fire was hot enough to melt glass and destroy metal, so of course it turned the multi-layered plywood shed to charcoal.

AMUH lost almost everything in the fire, but no one was injured. )

The most painful, though, is that we lost all our house-owned drums! Blessedly, many of our house members and friends filled in the gap with their own djembes, which is why this year's PombaGira devotional rocked every bit as hard as ever. But it's not the same as having our very own barrel drum and properly blessed djembe. Those can never be recovered, although in time we will likely acquire new House drums again as we are able.
--------------------------------------------------------
Why am I processing all this now, almost a year later? Well, it's finally time for us to replace the Lubisha!

We've been making do, but that's not enough. )

We have set up a WePay fund to replace the Lubisha. It is first and foremost for House members to more easily gather those funds in order to repay our Sister. However, we realize there are many friends of AMUH in the extended community who might be interested in helping us with this project, and we are grateful for any assistance that comes our way. After the Lubisha has been rebuilt, we will need to once again replace the pavilion covers which have been damaged by the winter winds. There is still cleanup to do and pay for. And of course, we are still slowly rebuilding our regalia collection and supplies. Eventually we may even begin to replace the precious, blessed drums on which all our ceremonies depend.

If you want to contribute, go here:

Donate to Lubisha for AMUH


Regardless, thank you for your time, and blessings upon you for your support!

--Ember--
Little Mother
American Magic Umbanda House
emberleo: A rabbit with antlers eating blackberries (Default)
2011-11-30 03:05 am
Entry tags:

Whose Poetry?

I hate it when I can't remember if I wrote something or not. Especially with poetry!

Does anybody recognize this? It sounds just enough like something Seanan might have written that I can't be sure it's actually mine, but I usually save attribution when it's somebody else.

I can't find any references to it online via Google, and frankly it sounds like the *kinds* of things I'd write (and I suspect it's simply not as good as Seanan's usual work, but that's a separate issue)

The original file with the first two stanzas was created in 2008, as far as I can tell, and then I do believe the third stanza, at least, was written by me, possibly last August, possibly earlier.

You may give me any name... )

-E-