Tag Archives: Relationships

Flirting with Tyranny


It is easy for me to imagine them having dinner together on their anniversary.

The scene is dark and romantic, one of those undiscovered hole-in-the-wall restaurants that only the locals know, rugged brick walls and old wooden rafters, and the kind of food that men have quite literally died for.

They always come here.

Every year, the same restaurant, the same table even.

A happy tradition.

She’s wearing her favorite copper number.  

She wondered, earlier, as she pulled it out of her closet, if she shouldn’t start looking for something a little more fashionable, but sitting here now, basking in his smile, she knows she looks good by candlelight.

Mister top hat and tails, across the table, is looking pretty good himself.

Oh sure, he’s a little heavier and a little grayer around the temples, but he’s still the same sweet guy she’s carried a torch for these two-hundred and forty-two years.

Such a long time ago, and so much has changed.

Why, they were just children when they first met.

She was an entirely new idea, unrealized and untested in social situations.

And he was a brash bit of a country bumpkin, eager to get out from under daddy’s shadow, and prove his worth in the wide world.

The families were scandalized, she smiles to herself, enjoying the memory, but here we are, almost half way through a third century, and going strong.

He’s been talking to her, throughout her musing, chatting about work, or the neighbors or something, but now she notices that he’s stopped.

She’d been looking, not at him so much, as through him, and into memories of days bygone.

Now, she’s back, and along with the sudden silence, she notices that his eyes are no longer meeting her own, but are instead, glancing toward something just over her shoulder.

Something, or someone, behind her, at the bar.

And then, as if it had never happened, his gaze is back and he’s amiably chatting again, as if he’d never stopped.

But now she is studying him more closely, and listening more intently to the other voices in the restaurant.  She becomes aware of a group of male voices behind her, murmuring among themselves, and then the clear, bright laugh of a woman in their midst.

And his eyes move again, with the laughter, and she knows exactly what he’s looking at.

And his eyes come back, and she smiles and he keeps on with the small talk.

But they dart back again soon enough, as the noise behind her rises a bit.

She takes a sip of her wine, and then, while pretending to gauge its consistency by candlelight, she raises the glass to observe in reflection, the scene at the bar.

Half a dozen nation states, bumbling fools the lot of them, all fawning over a women she knows all too well.

Tyranny, in a little black dress, just soaking up the attention.

And not, mind you, from her little ‘admiration society’ at the bar.


Putting her glass down, carefully, she glances back to her husband, who seems lost in thought, his eyes averted.  And a moment later he snaps back into focus, guiltily, realizing he must have been caught.

“Yes Sam,” she says, using the old pet name, “you were saying?”

“Oh, well only that…,” he continues, with just the briefest look of relief.

And then just as quickly he is gone again, and this time his eyes narrow with the kind of obvious hunger she would have sworn, before tonight, that he’d kept for her alone.

“I wonder what that was,” she thinks to herself, “did she smile at him and toss her hair?”

“Or maybe she flashed him a little leg.”

“Or a military parade.”

She closes her eyes.

For just this moment she can’t bare to look at him, looking at Her.

She remembers him for a moment, as he was those many years ago, when he dropped to one knee in this very restaurant, and proposed.

“We hold these truths to be self evident…,” he’d said then.  She’d nearly swooned.

They’d had their share of troubles of course.

Early on, there was the slavery addiction that had nearly driven them apart.

Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, McCarthyism…, just bumps in the road she’d thought.

Smiling, she remembers how he’d taken her hand, all those years ago, and suddenly she feels his touch again now.

She opens her eyes to find a look of concern on his face.

“Are you all right love?” he asks, tenderly.

“Yes,” she answers back, holding his hand tightly for a moment before releasing it.

What had he been saying a moment ago about work?  Something about detention camps along the border?  What else had she missed?

“The wine may have given me a headache is all.”

“Would you like to leave then, call it an early night?”

“Oh, no dear, we haven’t even had dinner yet.  I’ll be fine.”

“I’m glad,” he says, and seems to mean it.

Then he glances over her shoulder again and smiles, like the brash young nation he used to be.  The one who had told her that she was all he ever wanted…,

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

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Filed under Culture, Holidays, Modern Life, Politics, Uncategorized

Love Potion #9

I was strolling through the parking lot on my way home from work, when I noticed the business cards tucked into the drivers side windows of the cars I was passing.

This sort of thing happens at least once every few months in this parking lot.

Advertisements of one sort or another appear, wedged under the windshield wipers or stuck in our car doors, usually advertising drink specials at some local bar or redemption specials at some local church.  I snatch them off my car and toss them into the passenger seat, just more fodder for the recycling bin once I make it home.

This particular card was different from others I had seen.  Advertising neither public house nor house of god, it displayed instead the illustrated face of a sultry gypsy woman with the words, “Love Healer Mxxxxx” emblazoned across the top of the card.

No, it wasn’t really ‘Mxxxxx’.

I’m obfuscating a few of the details because I wouldn’t want anyone to mistake this mention as either advertisement or endorsement.  I assure you, it is neither.

Already shaking my head, I scanned the rest of her card and see exactly what services were being offered…,

Reconciles Love

Love and Relationship Specialist

Reveals Secrets

Locates Soulmate

Okay, not too bad so far, I guess.  I have my doubts on the whole ‘soulmate’ front, but it certainly could have been worse.  I took another moment to flip the card and read the back…,

Love Spells

Psychic Love Spells

Wait, what’s the difference between a love spell and a psychic love spell?

Relationship Spells

Breakup Spells

Oh, well it’s nice to see she has a little something for every occasion.

Return Lover Spells

Forgive Me Spells

Desperation: you’re soaking in it.


Yeah, I’m just not buying it.

And yes, I can already hear my more incredulous readers pointing out that, as someone who has himself studied and has even occasionally practiced a bit of magic, I have no place calling someone else a fraud.

And that, my friends, is a reasonable point.

I have made any number of claims within this blog, regarding the things I have seen or experienced, that I could never prove to you, beyond any kind of doubt.

And while I find it highly suspicious that she is charging $45 just to conduct a reading to see if she should charge you even more money to offer you romantic advice (as described on her website).  Charging fees for services rendered is not, in itself, proof of fraudulent behavior.  For all I know ‘Love Healer Mxxxxx’ really does possess the power to “reveal your lovers’ secrets” and “enhance your sex drive.”

She may be the “Master Psychic Spiritualist” she claims to be.

Or she may have come up with her job-description while playing Occult Mad Libs.

I just don’t know.

What I can say it that I have known many people who I believe are genuinely in touch with something outside that which most others are willing to experience.  And I’ve met a fair number of fakes as well.  Telling the difference between the two is not always an easy matter.

Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it just comes down to a feeling.

But whatever their powers, real or imagined, here’s one bit of advice I offer free of charge.

Love Spells, Relationship Spells, Return Your Lover Spells…, just ever so much NO!

Romantic Love, the ancient Greeks would tell you, is the child of Beauty and War, and is, by its very nature, already volatile enough without adding a chaotic element like magic into the mix.

These things never go well.

And if you don’t believe me, just look into the various mythologies…,

The arrows of love invariably prick the wrong target, leading us to a hoard of unfortunate physical transformations, wars inspired by romantic jealousy, and an entire flock of god-kings stepping out with a handy river-nymph, carpenters wife, or some poor young woman with a secret swan fetish.

If even the gods can’t handle this stuff, what chance do mere mortals have.

It’s a bad BAD scene and we’d all do well to just stay away from it.

Stay safe out there and good hunting!

Leda and the Swan


Filed under Magic, Modern Life, Mythology

And with the rain…,

Lughnasadh dawned cool and cloudy here in north Texas.  I didn’t feel any raindrops fall, but the leaves on the trees were wet and it smelled like rain nonetheless.

If you read my post from last week, then you know that it was exactly the sort of morning I had wished for.  And Lughnasadh, one of the four great festivals in the Celtic calendar, is a day for wishing.

We look forward to these days and we hope for good fortune.

We step out into the morning, look up at the glowering clouds, and sniff the air.

All the signs are there; the rain is coming.

And with the rain, as always, comes change.

Because that’s what these days are about, yes?

Holidays, Holy Days and Festivals of all description, we tell ourselves that we hold to them because they are things of tradition.  The regularity with which they come is a comfort to us.  We carry these rituals forward from those who came before us.  We pass them along to our children and grandchildren, hoping to preserve something of ourselves in the face of a world that changes around us every second.

And we get it wrong.

Because the purpose of these days is not to forestall change, but to highlight it, to mark its passing and celebrate each new beginning.  Our ancestors knew this, but we are sometimes very poor students.  So many of us become depressed as the holidays approach, and often these feelings are a reaction to change.  We want everything to be just as it was in years past, but that sameness was never the intent of these celebrations.

Change is the constant.

The world moves beneath us, rotating, revolving, cooling and warming.

Life evolves over millions of years and culture in the blink of an eye.

We change and grow as individuals, our needs and hopes shifting day by day.

And our relationships with each other are transformed along the way.

The sun rises and sets for all things.


We are not the same people we were yesterday.

And a year ago, or ten, who were we then?

They are ghosts now, those earlier versions of ourselves.

And although we still feel them out there, living their own lives in a time we can no longer touch, we do ourselves no favors by trying to live through them still.  We must focus instead on the hear and the now.

We have been living in the past, she and I, holding on to our particular traditions and routines in the hope that we could preserve something precious against a world of change.

But life doesn’t work that way.

Change must come and we must choose to either celebrate it, or fight against it and ultimately lose all that which we worked so hard to protect.

And so we will embrace the changes that have wrought us, changes which bring us to this time and and this place in our lives.  We will walk forward as friends, once lovers, always family, and we will never fear what comes with the rain.

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Filed under Culture, Family, Holidays, Modern Life, Spiritual Journey, Traditions

Of Love and Liberty

Independence Day is upon us here in the ol’ U.S. of A.  It’s that time of year when we Americans dress our yards up in red, white and blue streamers, host holiday cookouts, and (if you live in town) travel outside the city limits to purchase boxes of illegal fireworks to be set off in our backyards.  Here in Texas we’ll be doing all these things despite the oppressive heat, drought warnings and swarming mosquitos the size of low-flying aircraft.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing to me about the July 4th holiday is that while we may call it our nations birthday, it is actually nothing of the sort.  Rather, it’s the anniversary of the beginning of a bad breakup.  It marks the moment when we figuratively looked into Great Britain’s eyes and said, “Yeah, we need to talk”.

We are, after all, talking about the signing of the Declaration of Independence here: arguably the single most famous “Dear John” letter ever put to paper.  Our attention, I would say, was on getting out of a bad relationship and not on getting into another.

Admittedly, the phrase “United States of America” did appear in the Declaration; it could be argued that we already had our eye on someone else (and isn’t that why most relationships end).  However, we didn’t officially become the United States of America until the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in November
of 1777.

Even then, it wasn’t until 1781 that the British finally took the hint and stopped hounding us with Redcoats and badly edited mix-tapes.  There we were after years of war, single at last and free to pursue happiness with an exciting new Republic.

Is it strange that we do not celebrate those anniversaries?

Frankly, I think it says a lot about our current “relationship” that we are so focused on remembering our falling out with the English.  By reminding ourselves every year that we are free of the one who abused us, we are able to ignore certain inadequacies in our present situation.

Perhaps it’s because the U.S. was the rebound relationship.  We never really got out there and enjoyed our single life and liberty.  No sooner had the last of King George’s boxes been taped up and set out on the curb than we were picking out china patterns with someone else.

Maybe we moved too fast?

I dare say, we certainly had our problems right from the start.  There was the deplorable manner in which we treated the people who were living in the apartment when we moved in.  “Hi, folks, we’re the new roommates, hope you don’t mind moving into the cabinet under the stairs.”

Hell, we almost tore the whole thing apart in the 1860’s trying to decide if that whole “all men created equal” thing was heartfelt or just another cheesy pick-up line.

That was a pretty rough patch and we really wondered if we’d get through it together.  With some hard work and not a little pain and sacrifice we did make it.  And on the whole, things seemed to be getting better.  Or maybe that’s just what we told ourselves so we could sleep at night.

The truth is, we were pretty badly burned by our relationship with the British.  When we started things off with the U.S. we were feeling used and vulnerable.  It’s understandable that we would want to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Promises were made.  Assurances given.  A Bill of Rights passed.  Yet still over 200 years after the fact we are fighting tooth and nail just to get what we asked for.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

How hard is this?  Really!

We’ve agreed to keep church out of the business of government and government out of the business of church.  We are guaranteed the right to peaceably gather in protest and to express ourselves publicly and in full view of an unhindered press.  It’s not really that difficult a concept to grasp.

And what do we get instead?  How about “In God We Trust” stamped on our money and “One Nation Under God” wedged into the pledge that we ask our children to recite every morning.  Our tax dollars are funneled into Faith Based Initiatives and legislating the Defense of Marriage Act while our leaders gather at the National Prayer Breakfast complaining about a “war on religion”.  Soon enough I expect we will be paying for School Vouchers that will be used to send kids to private religious schools where they can learn about “Intelligent Design” without the ACLU bothering them.  All the while, our Public School system crumbles from lack of funding.

I’m an American and a Polytheist.  I’ve got the taxation.  Where is MY representation?

I love my country.  I really do.  We have made some wonderful memories together.  There are days however, when I wonder if we are truly made for each other.  I grow weary of the constant bickering and broken promises.  Is this what they call “Democracy in Action” or is it a sign that we are growing apart?

I guess we will just have to grill our hamburgers, set off our fireworks and put the big questions off for the moment.  Maybe things will look better in the morning after the smoke has cleared and all the plastic cups and plates have been cleared away.  Maybe we can put “the talk” off for a while yet.

Until then it would be wise to remember that…,

To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family.

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Filed under Culture, Modern Life, Politics, Religion