Thursday, January 29, 2015

Good Clergy, Part 6: Episcopal Diocese Asks for Resignation of Heather Elizabeth Cook

Well, that took longer than expected. The Episcopal Church figured out that Heather Elizabeth Cook "can no longer function effectively as the Bishop Suffragan" in light of her involvement in the drunk driving hit and run death of Thomas Palermo. They've asked for her resignation of that post

Am I the only one that feels that they haven't gone far enough? Maybe I'm a little too outraged, but perhaps the Episcopal Church isn't outraged enough

This woman's ass should be fired. And not just from the Bishop Suffragan position. Unless the Church thinks she's going to be ministering from a Maryland prison, they need to defrock her completely. For the act alone of killing another human being, even by accident, and then leaving him to die, she should be so done as a member of the clergy. 

As of this writing, she hasn't said whether or not she will resign her post. The fact is that she shouldn't have been asked; she should have been told she was out. 

I'm glad the Church is praying for her, but I hope they're praying even harder for Thomas Palermo. And they should also pray that his widow doesn't go after the Church. I don't know that she'd have a case against them, could be a continuing media feeding frenzy. 

Stay tuned. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Deck Review: The Quest Tarot

The Quest Tarot

I picked up this deck in Salem, MA, a few years back in the winter. Salem’s a great place to buy tarot cards—I think I came home with more than a couple of decks that day—but next time I’ll do it when it’s not snowing. BRRRRRRR! But I digress.

To get the most out of this deck, get the boxed set that has both the deck and the book. There are many correspondences across the top of each card that represent astrological signs, gemstones, planets, runes, the I Ching, and the Kabbalah. The book will help decode the symbols for you.

All of the suits retain their traditional names, except for Pentacles which is represented by “Stones”. The Court Card titles are not traditional; they are Father (King), Mother (Queen), Son (Knight), and Daughter (Page).

While the symbols are an excellent way to integrate your knowledge of the tarot with other related disciplines, it can get a little busy at the top of the card. Also, all of the cards, Major and Minor Arcana alike, have a Roman numeral at the top center, so without looking at the title of each card it’s not possible to know which Arcana is which.

The cards are really beautiful and bright, and have some traditional RWS tarot imagery. It takes liberties with the images but they come off more optimistically than in many other decks. For example, the Fool looks much happier, and a larger, gorgeous landscape can be shown around him, including a river, a rainbow, and a half circle of stars in the distance. The Five of Pentacles (Stones), whose traditional image shows two poor people outside a church, shows a simple picture of five stones in the Quest Tarot.

One of the factors that makes this a good deck for a beginner is that each card has a description underneath the card name in the bottom center of each card. For example, the Four of Wands’ description is “perfection. While this card certainly has other meanings, it’s nice to have a key word to use if you blank on the meaning of a card (and this happens even to those of us who have been reading for some time). As long as you don’t allow these meanings to be absolutes and only as a jumping off point for your own intuition you’ll be just fine.

My favorite card in this deck is The Tower. It shows flaming rocks heading toward the tower, and to me it expresses exactly what you would feel if you were sitting in that Tower just thinking that today was going to be ordinary and then looking outside. Even the word on the card, “demolition” is very appropriate; the word is rather neutral and describes the removal of something no longer useful to us.

I really enjoy this deck. It allows both beginners and advanced tarot students the opportunity to learn about many of the tarot’s correspondences in a bright, beautiful, artistic way. Remember: Buy the set.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Good Clergy, Part 5: Baltimore Sun Reader Calls Out Heather Elizabeth Cook

This letter to the Baltimore Sun sums up perfectly how I feel about this case. A huge kudos to Ms. MacCuaig for having the courage to write it. I've included it here in its entirety.

Episcopal Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook and the tragedy of bicyclist Tom Palermo's accidental death at her hands are the subject of daily news articles, yet the incident has been conspicuously absent from The Sun's letters column ("Bishop Cook posts $2.5M bond, to be released," Jan. 15).

Perhaps there has been a desire, albeit misguided, to protect Ms. Cook given the agony we must assume she is in.

Nevertheless, the news that Judge Nicole Pastore Klein will not reduce her $2.5 million bail at least feels something like justice. The fact that Ms. Cook put herself in treatment at Father Martin's Ashley after the accident is unimpressive.

Ask anyone who has ever had a DUI or other drug offense and you'll find that such a ploy for clemency after the fact is just that — a ploy.

Ms. Cook should have put herself back into rehab years ago.

Instead, she has led what could be called a double, even duplicitous, life: On the one hand preaching and leading within the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, and on the other indulging alcohol abuse that resulted in extraordinary recklessness and the death of a man who, by all rights, should be alive today.

The carelessness and hypocrisy is overwhelming, and overwhelmingly discouraging. Jail is the appropriate place for her.

Myra MacCuaig, Towson

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tolerance vs. Acceptance: Duke University Caves to Pressure

Duke University, one of the most well-known institutions of higher learning in the world, did an amazing thing, striking a blow for acceptance: They planned to have Muslim students chant the "adhan", or call to prayer service, every Friday morning from the University's bell tower. 

In a stunning reversal, however, they didn't even do it one time before it was cancelled, a victim of a boycott started by what sounds like angry Christian donors. They interpreted the move as "anti-Christian", citing the most recent terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo. 

Also, Duke University cites "serious and credible" threats they have received, but did not give further details. 

This is exactly the kind of shit we don't need. Let's make a few things clear:

1) The attack on Charlie Hebdo was not an attack on Christianity. It was an attack on humanity. 
2) Choosing to accept another spiritual path in a public way is NOT an offense to any other religion.
3) Muslims are already harmed regularly by the assumption that they are terrorists. But acts of terrorism by members of Christian groups against abortion clinics and medical professionals who perform abortions do NOT label Christians as terrorists. That's a pretty serious double standard. 

I'm disappointed in Duke University. They're covering their own asses by choosing to cancel the call to prayer. I understand that no one wants violence, but people KNOW that if they make a threat that authorities think are credible, institutions will cave in. And Duke did just that, even though they have had a history of supporting Muslim students.

Omid Safi, director of Duke's Islamic Studies Center, said, "We had hoped for a symbolic action that would shine a light on how a leading international university of the American south can be a place where the symbol of Christian heritage of the university is demonstrating hospitality to its Muslim community members." 

Duke University says they remain "committed to fostering an inclusive, tolerant, and welcoming campus for all its students." If the University was really committed, it would have the call to prayer and address the threats as they occur. For now, they remain hostages to public opinion. 

The article goes on to say that Muslim students are scared and disappointed. If I was one of them I'd consider leaving over it.

Sorry, Duke. You get an "F" for letting terrorists win, because this is exactly what they want. It's as simple as that. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Good Clergy, Part 4: Heather Elizabeth Cook Posts Bail; Episcopal Church Considers Punishment and Election Process

I'm disappointed to report that Ms. Cook was released from jail on Thursday the 15th. Somehow she actually posted the $2.5 million bond and is on her way to a treatment facility. Luckily for all of us, part of the court's order was that she not drive while she is free, assuming she choose to abide by it. She'll be at a treatment facility and hopefully won't need to drive anywhere.

I disagree with the judge's decision...if it had been her 1st DUI maybe I could see letting her post bail. But for a second involving a fatality? She was also in a position of trust, and to me that merits a stronger punishment.

The Baltimore Sun also reports that the Episcopal Church is considering what punishment to hand down to Ms. Cook. To me this is a no-brainer: She should be defrocked. She killed an innocent person, for fuck's sake. She gave up her right to perform her duties as a member of clergy when she ran into a cyclist and left him at the scene to die. 

To me there's no "deliberation" required. I don't care if she was somehow found innocent of this crime in court, which isn't going to happen anyway; she's done enough damage to her own reputation and that of the Episcopal Church that she can no longer carry out her duties. She's unfit for the clergy. At least 7 people, half of them priests or deacons, will make a recommendation to a board of review, who will hand down the punishment. But honestly, any punishment less than "get the fuck out" is a slap on the wrist for me.

Finally, it appears that the Episcopal Church is looking into the election process. According to the Baltimore Sun, "Church officials say Cook disclosed the charges to a search committee. But they say delegates who voted in the election knew nothing of the charges." The same group that is investigating Cook's case will also be undertaking the review of her election. They will be doing interviews with those who took part in the election, and establish what they knew, as well as with people who worked with Ms. Cook during her time as a priest.

There needs to be complete transparency for there to be healing in this case. I wouldn't be surprised to hear the Episcopal Church put new standards in place to ensure that elections are not only done fairly, but that everyone involved has full knowledge of the facts, especially about the candidates.

Positive thoughts and prayers to them. This is going to be ugly no matter how you slice it. As long as they're open about what they find, and as long as they don't allow Heather Elizabeth Cook to minister to anyone ever again, I think they can be successful.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Welcome Aquarius and Mercury Retrograde!

Welcome, friends, to the first full day of Aquarius sun, which started yesterday at 6:30am!

Mercury retrograde also begins tomorrow. If you're unfamiliar with what to watch out for during Mercury retrograde, here's the drill: 

Unless you have no choice...

1) Do not sign any important paperwork. 
2) Do not get married or divorced. 
3) Do not make any large purchases (home, etc.). 
4) Do not have any major conversations about anything with any important person (spouse, boss, etc.).
5) Do not purchase a new computer, upgrade a new computer, or do any significant computer work during Merc retro. (New apps on your phone are about as far as I would go, but you should be careful with those too!)

If you must do any of these things, take precautions...make backups, check frequently to ensure understanding, go over all paperwork with a fine-toothed comb, and cross your fingers!

Merc retro has already fucked me over once. I called for a takeout order from a national chain and I called the wrong location. When I got there the lady was very apologetic and asked if she could put my order in...D'OH! At least she was very nice! :)

I'll take your Merc retro stories if you're willing to share them. Good luck! :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

7 Things to do if a Tarot Reading Makes You Uncomfortable

This is a fantastic article on tarot and getting readings! It actually summarizes some of the points that I try to stress when I read for people. 

One of the few things I would add is that we DO indeed know when you are lying or trying to make us prove ourselves to you. Luckily that only happens very rarely in my tarot practice; I'm blessed to have clients who are up front and honest. That's the way to get the most out of your reading, anyway; instead of going away disappointed you can get the information you came for. 

There is one other policy I live by in my tarot practice that seems to have served me well. Those of you who read cards may want to consider adopting it, and it's rather simple: I never pressure anyone to have a reading. Ever. It's not just because I'm not a hard-sell person, from a business perspective; it's greater than that. If people aren't ready for the message, you trying to get them to spill isn't going to help, and then they may get angry for a message they weren't prepared for. I actually regularly discourage clients who pressure others in front of me, too, by just reminding people that if they're too scared or not ready for a reading, that it's totally normal and there's nothing wrong with it. 

Anyway, enjoy the article! :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Mercury Retrograde Alert: What's Good About Mercury Retrograde?

Once more into the breach, folks. Mercury's storm begins on the Sunday the 18th. The retrograde station is actually on the 21st, a day after the sun moves into Aquarius at 4:43am EST in my next of the woods. We're in the retrograde for about a month and then we're out of the storm on February 18, just in time for the sun to move into Pisces.

My beloved wife gave me a fantastic idea. I often talk about Mercury retrograde's potential negative effects, and if you want to see those and how to deal with them, I've done plenty of past blogs on that. But she asked me a critical question: "What is GOOD to do during Merc retro?" Yes, I know she's brilliant. Yes, I know you can't help being jealous of me because she's mine. You'll just have to deal with it. :)

With her question in mind, here are a few ideas to make Mercury retrograde work for you.

1) Anything that begins with "re-"

OK, so many of us aren't good at finishing things. Mercury retrograde is the perfect time to take stock of where you are and re-task yourself as necessary. Has your weight hit a plateau? Time to re-examine your diet and workout plan. Has your novel languished because you've hit a plot snag? Read over the whole thing again and see what needs to be changed. If you're in school, what concepts are you still struggling with? Mercury retrograde is the time to go over everything once again to reduce gaps in your understanding. Do you have a big decision coming up in the next few months? Get online and do the research you need. Tax time is not far off, and Merc retro is a great time to start getting organized for it as well.

Remember that Mercury also rules the conscious mind and facts. Students, this is a great time for you to ensure you are ready for the renewed winter/spring push. If cumulative finals scare you, then now's the time to start looking at the material that you might have forgotten or not retained.

ToWC 301 students, that also means you...your 401 final coming up in a few months is cumulative from 101. Just sayin'. :)

2) Journaling

It's a time for writing down your thoughts. While it's often said that you shouldn't act on new ideas received during the retrograde period--and I heartily agree--that doesn't mean you can't write down the ideas for consideration once the retrograde is over. It's not a time to IGNORE new ideas; you just shouldn't act on them now. You may discover that an idea that comes to you during the retrograde period may work well for a different task you're not even aware of yet.

If you're intuitive, you should be writing down what you see/hear/sense.

3) An Internet or communications fast

I often see posts on Facebook and other social media that people are taking breaks from the Internet and social media sites. There's no better time than during Mercury retrograde to do that, if you're feeling like it's that time for you.

If you're considering ending one or more social media accounts, taking the time during Merc retro away from it to see if it's really what you want is a good thing.

You can apply this same concept to people. If you're finding someone in your life annoying and you're considering ending a friendship or relationship, step back, stop talking, and start listening. Once the 18th of February rolls around, then you can decide if the relationship is worth saving or not.

4) Cleaning, cleansing and purifying

Cluttered space is something that's really important to avoid. Re-place objects in your home back where they belong. If your holiday decorations are still around, put them away.

Cleanse any altar/ritual space, any tool, and any magickal implement. I try to smudge all my decks of cards off once a year, for example. The same holds true for your personal space; if you haven't used sage or chimes to get rid of negativity recently, before Mercury retrograde is over. This is so you can push forward more clearly once Mercury resumes his normal direct motion.

5) Buy and burn a Mercury retrograde candle at 13 Magickal Moons

I've never seen candles as amazing as the ones at 13 Magickal Moons. The Merc retro candles will help you deal with Merc retro in your life, and they sell out fast so go get yours now! If you can't get there in person, go to :)

So there's a lot of good that can come out of this period if you choose to look at it more positively. Take your time, be patient and understanding, and really take stock of where you are. Then you can put the pedal to the metal on the 18th.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dick Ex-Cardinal Demoted; Women Blamed for 'Emanization' of Modern Church, Clergy

Photo from the Washington Post

Former Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis and until recently the most powerful American cardinal in Rome, was recently demoted to a ceremonial post in with the charity group Knights of Malta. Burke was the head of the Church's highest court of canon law, and he flourished under Pope Benedict. Since Pope Francis' arrival, he's publicly criticized the Pontiff for his policies toward homosexuality and other more liberal policies.

Cardinal Burke represents everything wrong with the Catholic Church of old, the Church that Pope Francis is trying to modernize. That modernization is way overdue; speaking as a former Catholic, it's kind of a shame that Francis wasn't around 20 years ago.

To blame women as a whole and "radical feminism" as the reason for all of the problems in today's Catholic Church is absolutely ridiculous. Normally, I'd write off such a blowhard and laugh at him. Actually, from the moment I've been finding out about him I've been laughing at him. But he deserves a mention here in the cultural and spiritual sense.

His recent demotion actually gave him some balls, which some in the Church predicted. In an interview, he came out in dramatic style with what the Washington Post called "a whopper of a manifesto", entitled "The Emangelization". Apparently, Burke wants a return to the days when men were more...manly, before "the goodness and importance of men became very obscured."

I was laughing until I saw how, in Burke's opinion, this rise of "radical feminism" is to blame for many things, including the sexual abuse scandal. That's where I was stopped cold. In this idiot's mind, somehow the change of the status of women culturally in the 1960's caused men to be more confused, leading them to molest children. This was due to the Church becoming "very feminized". Wait...what? Are you really suggesting that? This is like saying global warming caused priests to molest children. Burke also makes it sound like a "disordered few" priests engaged in this behavior. That may be true, but those in charge who might not have been so "disordered" protected them and kept the scandal from coming to light. This disgusting minimization of the overall conspiracy does a disservice to the victims.

And since when is the Church is "very feminized"? I guess that all depends on how you define the phrase. Are we talking about the same Church that allows women the opportunity to do the work of the Church, especially with the poor and sick, but never allowing them to really lead by denying them the opportunity to be priests, deacons, or even (in some parishes) altar servers? The same Church that enraged American nuns a few years ago by undermining the Church's authority with its unapproved dogma? Feminized my ass.

I don't know of any Catholic who could sit there with a straight face and try to tell me how much the role of women has increased since 1960. Hell, the Vatican II conference from 1952-54 made some changes involving women, the most notable of which was that females didn't have to wear hats to church anymore.

I was thrilled to see this asshole demoted. Pope Francis has a lot more compassion than I do; I'd have had his ass defrocked in about ten seconds. But I expect to see the Pontiff chucking more cardinals like Burke out into the cold as the culture of the Catholic Church evolves.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Good Clergy, Part 3: "...Reckless and Careless Indifference to Life."

More information surfaced yesterday about the case against Heather Elizabeth Cook. Judge Nicole Pastore Klein found a nice balance between the prosecution's request to deny Ms. Cook bail and the defense's request that it be lowered: She kept it at $2.5 million. Her reasoning: That the alleged crimes show a "reckless and careless indifference to life", and that Klein "cannot trust her [Cook's] judgment if released."

I am thrilled to see that Heather Elizabeth Cook will not be seeing the light of day before her trial. Her defense attorney wasn't pleased that his client will be staying in jail, but I'm sure that the family of Thomas Palermo and Maryland drivers are pleased with that at least.

Ms. Cook is most assuredly an addict. She spent six months in an alcohol abuse program after her 2010 arrest. The National Institutes of Health states that there is a high rate of relapse for those suffering from alcoholism. She went into another program after the accident, before her recent arrest. At least she sought treatment the first time.

Now I'm even more angry that Bishop Eugene Taylor Sutton, the head of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and Cook's boss, continues to defend not disclosing Ms. Cook's condition to the council that chose Ms. Cook as the suffragan bishop. I know people make mistakes, and I know that her treatment for alcoholism is medical information, which should be handled sensitively. But she was in line for a very high post, one that likely has a higher level of stress and public scrutiny. I think that was not the right call. Aware of the initial arrest, Bishop Sutton could have said to Ms. Cook, "I have some serious concerns about you for this position, and if you're interested, you can apply. But I want you to disclose your arrest and subsequent treatment to the council."

One other not-so-nice scenario comes to mind. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but my Scorpio Machiavellian brain went in this direction. Ms. Cook, as the suffragan bishop, would be working directly for Bishop Sutton. With the understanding that I have no idea how much influence, if any, Bishop Sutton had over the process of selecting Ms. Cook, it would be easy to throw out the "forgiveness" argument so the Bishop could rationalize not mentioning Ms. Cook's addiction. Think about it: If the Bishop wanted Cook working for him, he could have easily made this argument to ensure that his preferred candidate didn't have any black marks on her record for the rest of the voting members to consider. As I've stated earlier, if Cook's addiction had been disclosed and I was voting, I'd pick someone else without an addiction because this person would be under a lot more stress and in a public position in the church. What easier way to make sure that didn't happen than to convince himself, and others around him, that they were acting as the Lord says they should and doing this candidate a major favor at the same time.

I hope they'll consider all four other candidates for the job now; if I had been one, I'd be really pissed off. Why do I think the council picking the next suffragan will give some thought to asking more pointed about other candidates? I certainly hope so.

Bishop Sutton made the wrong call on this one. Did he cause this accident to happen? Of course not. But is it possible that his choice of Heather Cook made her relapse more likely due to the additional pressure of being the #2 bishop, which may have caused this accident. We'll never know the answer to that, and we don't know how long ago Cook's relapse began. It might have happened in any case, but that's not going to give any comfort to Thomas Palermo's widow and children who are looking for answers.

No one who shows a "reckless and careless indifference to life" should be a member of clergy.

What is sadly incredibly ironic is that the video on the Baltimore Sun story shows Ms. Cook presiding over a service where at least 10 carafes of liquid--presumably wine, but that's not confirmed--are sitting on the altar. Well done, Baltimore Sun. Oh vino veritas, right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Mercury Retrograde Alert: What's Your Wish?

Yes, it's that time again, folks. Mercury retrograde begins on January 21. The storm begins on January 18. Make sure all your stuff is backed up before then!

Most of the time people see this period as one of uncertainty and unsettling feelings. But I was inspired this year from a friend, who had this "positive" wish for Mercury retrograde:

Dear Mercury,

Please put our poor printer out of its misery. It was not designed for 80K copies per month. Let it rest in we can buy a new one. :)

If you have a Mercury affirmation you'd like to share, please comment below or send it to

I look forward to hearing from you! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Mercury Blessing for Those in Need

Dear Mercury,

I know I haven't always been a fan of yours, especially during your retrograde periods. I can remember one specific instance a few years ago when I lost all feeling in my legs during your retrograde and spent a few days in a hospital. That time you were a real sonofabitch! 

Oh wait...since I'm asking you for help I should probably try to be nice. You know what? Maybe I'll start again.

Dear Mercury,

I ask your blessing for four very special women that I'm very close to. They're going through a rather troubling time and will need your support, especially tomorrow. 

A Mercury Blessing

Lord Mercury, ruler of the spoken word and conscious mind,
Please give a voice to those in need. 
Let their thoughts flow freely and clearly, without hesitation. 
May the messages they convey be received, heard, and understood. 

Lord Mercury, I ask your blessing for four special women. 
Let your voice flow through them and invigorate them. 
Tonight, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. 
May all who listen to them be moved to act. 


Dear reader, 

Please send positive thoughts, Reiki, prayers, and other positive intentions tomorrow morning to these ladies in need. Thanks in advance! 



Good Clergy, Part 2

Ok, so there's been an update on the story involving Rev. Heather Elizabeth Cook, suffragan of the Episcopal Church in Maryland. She was allegedly involved in the hit and run death of cyclist Thomas Palermo on December 27th in Baltimore. It took quite some time, but the police have charged Cook with vehicular manslaughter, texting while driving, and…wait for it…driving under the influence of alcohol.  

You may recall from my earlier blog on this story that Rev. Cook was arrested in 2010 for driving while intoxicated. At that time, she was given a $300 fine and "probation before judgment". She never served any jail time, nor did she lose her driver's license.  

So we now have reports that confirm much of what was in newspaper accounts earlier, and more information, including:
  • Rev. Cook hit Mr. Palermo from behind, causing damage to her passenger side windshield. Her blood alcohol level at the time of the collision was .22, nearly three times Maryland's legal limit. (The Episcopal Church of MD knew that she had been drinking before this incident but police asked them to withhold that information.)
  • She left the scene and returned more than 30 minutes later. A cyclist did follow her until she arrived at a gated community. 
  • A NFL reporter, Jason La Canfora, called 911 when he found Palermo. He did not see the police administer any sort of breathalyzer to Cook at that time.
  • In addition to the charges listed above, Cook faces several others. They're listed at the end of the article linked above.  
All I have to say is, "Are you fucking kidding me?" You didn't think that God was trying to speak to you the first time when you got barely a wrist slap the last time you got caught for a DUI? That wasn't enough of a message?

I'm truly saddened by this revelation, but I shouldn't be surprised. We can't assume that Heather Cook is an alcoholic, nor do we know if she spent any time in treatment for alcohol addiction. It's exceptionally hard to break any addiction, and alcohol is, as I understand it, one of the most challenging to overcome. 

Whether or not she was an addict, she should NOT have been driving. There's no way to know if things would have been different if she had received a stiffer penalty for her first DUI. But I'm of the opinion that she really got away with one there. She was lucky she didn't hurt or kill herself or someone else the last time. 

Yes, members of the clergy are human beings who struggle with things every other human does, like alcoholism or taking responsibility for his or her actions. Yes, she did everything she was required to do last time. And yes, Heather Cook has done a lot of good for a lot of people. But she is not above the law. If she knew she had a problem with alcohol, she should have done the best thing for everyone and not gotten behind the wheel of that 2001 Subaru. But because of her irresponsible actions, she has caused the death of an innocent person. 

Honestly, Ms. Cook is not worthy of any religious title anymore. She was looked upon with respect because of her titles, but in my opinion they should be stripped from her immediately upon conviction. She has no right to call herself a member of the clergy anymore. 

I pray for the family of Thomas Palermo, who is understandably grieving and angry that he was taken from them so senselessly. I send positive thoughts to the people of the Episcopal Church of Maryland, at having lost someone who was by all accounts a good leader. And despite my anger, I pray for Heather Cook, who will have to live with what she's done for her rest of her days, hopefully in prison as a guest of the state of Maryland.

Causing a preventable death due to your own negligence is probably one of worst things I can think of. Karmically, I'm very glad I'm not in Heather Cook's shoes. 

Good clergy starts with good people. While Heather Cook is likely a good person, she's shown through her poor judgment that she's not good enough to be clergy anymore. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Attack on Charlie Hebdo

At the moment, I have the most amazing view of the Smoky Mountains. But I have been exceptionally troubled since the terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris a few days ago.

I'm sure for many people it was the first time they had ever even heard of this magazine, but when I heard that they were attacked I wasn't surprised. They have been making waves for years with their incredibly satirical commentary on the world. They take no prisoners and spare no one: Christians, Jews, and Muslims are targets of their pens. I've often checked out their magazine of the benefits to being bilingual is the ability to read things in their native language. And if you go a lot further back than Charlie Hebdo, France has a long history of satire. 

Satirical or no, no one had any right to kill people over it, in the name of any religion. No one. 

I don't know when people will stop and realize that when they use any religion to take action, particularly when it's a violent action--bombing abortion clinics comes to mind, but there are plenty of other examples--they are using the religion to serve their own needs. The attackers may have tried to justify their actions by saying they were defending their religion, but they weren't. When you kill someone, you stand alone. 

I fervently hope that people will not use this attack as an excuse to persecute people of any religion. When you start defining a group of people based on the actions of a few, it's called racism. 

I pray for the families of the victims, and for the people of France. I hope this is not the start of something bigger. 

Finally, you are reading this blog because I can say what I want, and I can do that because of free speech. This is a right that needs to be cherished and appreciated. Very few expect to die for it, but 12 people did. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Tarot Reading for 2015

So I just took a little time today and did a tarot reading for myself for 2015. Here's what I drew and here's what I think it means. The question was, "What do I need to know for 2015?"

The first card is the Lovers. For me, the Lovers is very much about choices and focusing on what you personally believe. This is not only for spiritual matters, but I do see "belief systems" as a part of this card, so I take this to mean that I have some big choices, both spiritual and otherwise, coming in the next year. 

The second card is the 2 of Wands. The end of 2014 was particularly frustrating for me in a number of areas, and so I'm guessing this message is for me to try new techniques to keep me from being frustrated all the time. I've got to make different choices or the frustration will continue. 

The last card is the High Priestess, which tells me that I need to really listen to my intuition this year, because I may not know what's coming until I'm on top of it. Also, I may find that the Universe doesn't tell me about certain things coming because I'm supposed to react a certain way or have no warning. It also portends a year of tremendous potential!

Anyway, that's just a quick one. If you read cards, I highly encourage you to do a reading for yourself this year or start doing a daily card pull. :)