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Mark » Green Dragon

Mark

Your proprietor is a political progressive and a strategic pragmatist. When not bending the ear of those bending an elbow, he pursues a lively suite of interests including European and American history, historical costuming and living history, archaeology, physical cosmology, art, music from Palestrina to Portishead, and NBA basketball.

An Atheopagan Rosary

 Posted by at 11:11 am  Atheopaganism
Aug 282014
 
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I’ve been thinking about personal practices. They vary; for some, having a community of like-minded peers and going to a seasonal celebration of all or most of the 8 festivals around the year fulfills what they seek out of a religion. Others like to do something solitary now and then as well—or exclusively. Still others like a weekly sabbath, or even a daily practice that keeps them in touch with their values, gratitude and sense of wonder.

I find that—when I can make myself do it—a daily mindfulness meditation adds a great deal to my experience of living, and I’d like to find a way to do that on most days, if not all. So I’m stealing from true masters of ritual technology—the Catholic Church and the Tibetan Buddhiststo create this Atheopagan rosary.

The bead string itself is simple: 3 courses of 13 beads, with the 13th always being recognizable as the last of a series. I like beautiful things, so I went to a bead store and bought pretty beads mostly of fused glass and semi-precious stones; they feel solid and weighty in the hand. A larger one could certainly be made; I like prime numbers, so if I were going to make a bigger rosary I would probably go for 7 courses (91 beads). I place the rosary on my Focus (altar) when it isn’t in use.

To “say” the Atheopagan rosary, speak or think one line for each bead. I go through the meditation 3 times (3 repetitions of the 3 courses).

I drew the meditation for this rosary from Buddhist sources cited in a mindfulness class I took, as well as the 13 Principles of Atheopaganism as I practice it. You can write your own, of course, and I may write different ones for seasonal sabbaths or other uses. But the main point is the use of repetition to reprogram your brain to embrace the qualities in the meditation: to make a better world for you, for those around you, and for all of us.

NOTE: If you’re like me, be ready for a lot of internal chatter disputing these statements—that’s why they’re powerful. With time, that fades, and you start to experience the meditation’s statements as true.

First two courses of 13:

May my heart be happy

May my mind be at ease

May my body be healthy

May I know peace today

May those I touch know kindness

May the Cosmos be honored

May the good Earth be revered

May my heart be grateful

May I act with integrity

May I know that I am loved,

That I deserve love.

That all deserve love.

May all I am and do, be of love.

(repeat)

Last course of 13:

My heart is happy

My mind is at ease

My body is healthy

Peace is with me today

I am kind to those around me

The Cosmos fills me with wonder

The good Earth is generous

My heart is grateful

I act with integrity

I am loved,

I deserve love,

All deserve love.

All I am and do is of love.

Aug 212014
 
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Sebastopol’s unique and wonderful Elizabethan fair returns to Ives Park on Sept. 13 and 14. This event, which pays particular attention to historical accuracy and education as well as being cracking good fun, is is run by the Sebastopol Educational Foundation and its primary purpose is to raise much needed funds for enrichment programs at Park Side, Brook Haven and Analy High schools.

I will once again be an actor in the cast of this “Renfaire”, which features veteran performers with cumulative centuries of experience acting in Renaissance Faires all over California and the nation. You will enjoy spectacular 16th century clothing (including those of the court of Queen Elizabeth I), meet characters both common and noble, peruse period-accurate craft demonstrations and wares for sale, enjoy rollicking theatrical, dance and musical performances, and partake of food and drink ranking among Sonoma County’s finest.

Since the first Faire in 2010, MAAS has raised over $125,000, benefiting students in programs including band/music, Spanish language instruction, drama, cheer/dance, sober graduation, educational field trips and more! It is easily the most pleasurable way to support our local schools. 

For more details and to purchase advance tickets to Much Ado About Sebastopol, visit the event website here. I hope to see you at Ives Park, transformed into the village commons of the town of Fenford, Warwickshire, in the jolly old 1570s.

Aug 202014
 
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Lately, it kinda feels as though the wheels are coming off the bus, doesn’t it?

Psychopaths openly voicing deranged and bigoted nonsense are a growing voting constituency, have hijacked one of our political parties, and are fighting madly against such evils as equality and health care and contraception, fer chrissakes.

Maniacs are murdering their way across swathes of the Middle East…including one such entity which is a major beneficiary of US taxpayer support. Cops are out of control and killing people–especially black and brown people–on a whim. A man who millions knew as fundamentally decent and warm-hearted and generous kills himself, and voices from said aforementioned crowd of psychopaths stand up and cheer.

Oh, and one of the most lethal diseases ever known to humanity is loose in West Africa, where it doesn’t make the front page most of the time because…well, you know…Africa.

And then there’s the carbon thing. Enjoying the hottest summer on record, are we?

It’s all pretty dispiriting. Even though great progress has been made on some fronts in recent years–and overall violence in the world is down considerably from, say, a century ago–the past couple of months have made reading the news something you have to psych yourself up for. And then go take a shower, or wash your eyeballs with bleach, or something.

It’s outrageous. It’s all simply outrageous.

And I think that’s why outrage is exactly the wrong response right now. The bad actors in most of this mess are the ones who specialize in outrage. They’re the Anger Kids, and we have to be something else.

It’s hard, I know, to see the fear behind the awful behavior, and find empathy for it. Doesn’t mean we should be any less firm about opposing the behavior, but for pity’s sake let’s turn the heat down rather than up, shall we?

Somehow?

At publication, the Dragon was APPALLED

As from a long sleep…

 Posted by at 6:23 pm  Musing
Aug 192014
 
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Well, tipplers and taverners, it is many a long month since The Green Dragon last opened its doors: not since last October, in fact. The blog has gathered dust and you, I am sure, have found other venues for bending an elbow and an ear.

I was unwell, and I’m still in the final stages of recovering. Nothing life-threatening–or so I hope!–but enough to put me back on my heels and radically reduce my ability to write, create, and engage with many of my erstwhile interests. So the Dragon has been asleep.

But there is good news! Those lights you see on in here mean a new cask of summer ale is tapped and the stools are off the tables. I’ll be posting again–probably infrequently at first–and as the joint starts hopping again the old atmosphere will, I am certain, reassert itself.

There’s a new section now, “Atheopaganism”, which is about the godless religious tradition I’m building with many of my friends. Check it out if that sort of thing interests you; the concepts and conclusions of the tradition have arisen after nearly a decade of soul-searching and research on my part, and are of deep importance to me, for what it’s worth.

In the meantime, come for the beer and stay for the conversation. Knowing me, I’m certain to have some things to say about the hot-button topics of the day, which are likely to be entertaining if nothing else.

Welcome back!

At publication, the Dragon was WAKING UP