Monday, January 19, 2009

Saging the White House: Thoughts On Cleansing and Dreaming

Why sage the White House? Because we need to. That and his evil friends are leaving behind some very bad mojo.

Picture the prince, such as most of them are today: a man ignorant of the law, well-nigh an enemy to his people's advantage, while intent on his personal convenience, a dedicated voluptuary, a hater of learning, freedom and truth, without a thought for the interests of his country, and measuring everything in terms of his own profit and desires.
Desiderius Erasmus

The clean-up starts today.

Like many others, I'll be doing my own little blessing and cleansing ceremony from here. I wish I could be with them in D.C. Thank you Kate Clinton, this is such a lovely idea. (1)

Other folks will be using their brooms to sweep the place clean, as t'were - also a good idea.

It is fitting that this work should begin on this particular day. For further inspiration, I recommend reading President Elect Obama's essay on Dr. Martin Luther King.

Do good work.

Hope and Faith on Inauguration Day: Let the Dream Continue.....

A number of people have weighed in on the issue of Rick Warren (AKA Obama's favorite fundamentalist) speaking at the Inauguration. The Wild Hunt has a collection of these essays that are worth reading. Speaking for myself, Mr. Warren's presence will not spoil an event which I plan to celebrate with joy and gusto. (2)

I look forward to hearing the remarks of Josephy Lowery, a noted civil rights leader and gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson. A woman, the Rev. Sharon Watkins, will lead the National Prayer Service, which is a first worthy of our attention. So, the Christian community is represented by a white Evangelical who is on the forefront of the aids issue and global warming but sadly far behind the times on gay rights, choice and respect for other traditions and faiths. But, we will also hear a noted black civil rights champion, a gay Bishop and a female leader of that faith, all speaking on the same day. It's not the diversity I dream of as a Pagan but it is more diversity than we have seen thus far. I will be interested to see who speaks to the heart of the nation in their remarks.

Update 11:00 am: Shame on HBO (and how sad for us listening to NPR which was relying on the HBO feed) for not airing Bishop Robinson's opening prayer for the President to the entire nation. Here is the link to his invocation. Here is an excerpt:

Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.

Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.

Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.

Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.

Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.

Meanwhile, the earthwise and those who celebrate interfaith efforts will do what we have always done, which is to celebrate our own traditions and join with others of like mind without official sanction or support.

We must be the change we wish to see

This is a good time to remember as Gandhi said, that the "We must be the change we wish to see". Expectations are high for Mr. Obama, it's true, and I also ask, "What are we going to do to support him and our country?" As one student writer recently wrote for The Nation

If we as a nation are to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges we face, it is essential that our definition of what it means to be an American be expanded and enriched.
Today is about service. Let us not forget those who serve overseas, and let us offer some form of community service, ourselves.

Tomorrow we party.

Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Create the Future


Smudging and Saging

A special pair of days for America's war veterans


(1) You can read more about this at the link above which takes you to Ms. Clinton's website. Also, the Bay Area Reporter states that a lesbian couple joined the Obama train ride and notes that:
Lesbian comedian Kate Clinton has organized a "saging" at a popular gay spot in Washington, D.C., to "lift out the bad spirits out of Washington, D.C. and, symbolically, out of the country," prior to Obama's inauguration on Tuesday. While Clinton and a shaman will be carrying out the ceremony in D.C., Clinton is urging others to do their own "saging" wherever they are – at 6:15 p.m. on Monday. Clinton will serve as one of two emcees for the "Inaugural Peace Ball:" at the National Postal Museum on Tuesday night, along with author Alice Walker, singers Holly Near, Toshi Reagon, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte and others.

(2) Those who wish to protest his presence - including actress Anne Hathaway - are wearing ribbons in the shape of a white knot. For more on this protest, I recommend a visit to the White Knot campaign at

Art: George Bush as the Joker by Drew Friedman - found here

Thanks to Fyrehawk for sending me the quote.

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