Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Random Meanderings, March 2015

It's been a while since I chimed in, folks. So here I am with some random meanderings:

1) No one gives a fuck about the speed limits on I-95. 

It doesn't really matter where you are. I was driving back to MA last week and let me tell you that while it may say "55", I was doing 70 just to keep up with people. There were plenty of police out there but no one batted an eyelash. 

Pretty much as long as you're under 80, they'll leave you alone. 

2) My beloved is back on the writing trail!

The lovely and talented Jennifer Wells is back and will be re-releasing her first book, Magick Charm, with a novella and two sequels coming. 

Follow her blog to stay on top of the details. If you're on Facebook, check out her new, improved author page

3) Congratulations to my nephew! 

A warm congratulations to Evo Fearnley on his recent confirmation. If you like video game blogs, please check his out here. You can also follow him on Twitter (@Nerd_Mash). He and I like many of the same games. 

4) My web site is down for now, so come here! 

If you were looking for hierophanttarot.com and were directed here, good! I'm debating on whether or not to keep it or do a full re-design of it. If you go to that site, you will be re-directed here automatically. 

Not to worry, though! All the information you need is on the right hand side of the first page (tarot reading dates, code of ethics, etc.). Write to me at hierophant@cox.net should you need anything else. 

5) The Boston accent is alive and well!

WICKED AWESOME NEWS! I had been concerned for some time that the accent was dying out. Thankfully, I was wrong. I recently spent some time up that way only to find out that it is very much still there.

When I had to tell a lady that I didn't live in the area anymore, she said, "And you dared to come back?" I couldn't help my response: "Well, I have to come back and give my parents a hard time about their accents." 

6) Don't travel with ice cream and expect it to stay frozen, even when in a cooler with ice in the wintertime. 

This may seem obvious but I had to learn this one the hard way. I was looking forward to those damn Hoodsie cups! 

7) Congratulations to the recent graduates of ToWC 501!

Last night, Samantha and I were proud to preside over the graduation ceremony of two new Advanced Priests and six new Advanced Priestesses. It's a long road but you made it! We couldn't be more proud of all of you May the Lord and Lady guide your steps! 

8) My upcoming presentation at SOTA

I've been asked to speak at the State of the Art (SOTA) Astrology Conference in Buffalo, NY, this October. I'll be discussing the role of the four Queens of the tarot. 

I highly encourage attending this small, friendly conference. I learned a ton last year and can't wait for October. For more information, check out the Web site of the organizer, Donna van Toen, and follow @SOTAAstrology on Twitter or here for Facebook.

9) This winter can end any time now...

It's been particularly cold here in the DC metro area, with more snow forecast for tomorrow. It's nothing compared to the Boston area, where I had to drive so slowly at times because the snow banks are so big you have to look around them in residential areas. Just insane. Go home, winter...you're drunk. :)

10) Tradition of the Witches Circle High Priest/ess (HP) Program

Our program in the past has been by invitation only, but we're going to be opening it up for people to apply. You must be an Advanced Priest/ess to qualify, and will undergo an interview and application process. If you're accepted, you can look forward to several more years of training. 

Keep your eyes peeled for more details, which should be forthcoming shortly. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How's Your First Mercury Retrograde of 2015?

We're a few weeks into Mercury retrograde. How's it going for you so far?

For me, it hasn't been too bad. Of course, we've still got another two weeks or so before it ends, but while I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch, I'm more cautiously optimistic about how it's going to go. 

At work today I did have to send the same email several times due to communication glitches from others. That was somewhat frustrating but resolved pretty easily. But the main difficulty I'm having is not with technology, but with people just not paying attention. This includes myself. 

I'm usually good at finding things, but at least twice in the past few weeks I've walked right past things I'm looking for. I also completely misunderstood an email that should have been totally an uncomplicated, routine piece of correspondence. 

Anyway, if you have any stories to share, I'm all ears. Hang in until the storm is over on the 18th. :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Good Clergy, Part 7: "She Might Have Been Drunk When She Was Consecrated As a Bishop"

You ever wonder how deep the rabbit hole goes? That's what I'm wondering about the case on Heather Elizabeth Cook. 

I'm also wondering how many times I'll have to say "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" when blogging about this story for someone to say, "Yeah, John. We're just fucking with you. No religious organization worth their salt would allow a person with this kind of history to hold a high office."

I wish I was wrong. 


So NOW it comes out that after the DUI arrest in 2010, during which she did several different kinds of therapy, Ms. Cook was recommended "without hesitation" by the Episcopal Church in Easton to the post of Suffragan. 

Then there was the 2014 meeting in which council participants were "unaware" of Ms. Cook having a DUI or a drinking problem. 

According to the official timeline that came out Monday, Bishop Eugene Sutton now says that he suspected Ms. Cook might have been drunk at her installation festivities last September. This was the party to celebrate her becoming a bishop, and well...she was likely drunk at it. IMAGINE THAT. 

In many organizations, being drunk for a work function would have been an immediate termination, or at the very least a suspension, but not a promotion.

The Washington Post article says that Bishop Sutton conveyed his concerns to the presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, who in turn tells Sutton she's going to meet with Cook. A meeting did occur between them in October, but of course, the details are confidential. I don't have a problem with that; if I had a drinking problem I wouldn't want the world to know by googling it. Ms. Cook certainly has a right to her privacy.

But I'll be honest: I'm trying to wrap my head around this one, folks. I really am. And I'm not calling out the people involved because they're Episcopal, of course. This could and does happen to people of any faith or spiritual path. But it makes the Episcopal Church look pretty bad. 

The signs were ALL THERE, and people who could do something about the problem did NOTHING. You have TONS of evidence to work with, and despite the fact that she has a DUI and has been treated for alcoholism, and four years later is drunk at her installation festivities, Bishop Schori STILL decides it's a good idea to consecrate Heather Elizabeth Cook as a bishop.

Ms. Cook was likely very good at her job. Now I'm all for second chances and forgiveness, but she's no good to anyone as a drunk. The staggering lapses in judgment on the part of Ms. Cook may have been due to her alcoholism, but when all the "leaders" around her look out for themselves and their organization by assuming everything will be fine and not monitoring a recovering alcoholic, they're no longer fit leaders. 

I mean...did you just not SEE it? Or did you choose not to see it? 

Bishop Sutton's revelation--pun intended--pretty much destroys any credibility that the Episcopal Church of Maryland had left. None of Ms. Cook's empty promises in 2010 that her arrest was a major wake-up call or the hollow words of sorrow of Bishop Sutton can bring back Thomas Palermo.

Pray for them all, especially members of the Episcopal Church of Maryland, because they're being led by people who put the Church and their own convenience before the personal safety of others.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Clergy to North Miami Beach Police Department: All Lives Matter, So #usemeinstead

A friend posted a story up on his Facebook wall that I thought was totally disgusting, but had an amazing ending. 

Picture this: National Guard members show up to use a local firing range in North Miami Beach, FL. They notice that the people using the range before they did--a group of snipers from the North Miami Beach Police Department--didn't take down their targets, all of which are photos of African-American males. One of the Guard noticed that one of the photos is of her own brother. 

Needless to say, people got REALLY upset about this, and I'm right there with them. I certainly was outraged that a police department would do this. (This is likely the reason why many ranges won't even allow targets with heads or faces on them.)

But instead of getting angry, a group of priests decided to strike back in a very unique way: By submitting pictures on Twitter with the hashtag #usemeinstead

What I liked in particular was that the photos showcased in the article were of white ministers and priests. No matter who was on those targets, it's offensive, but to see one race or group singled out is totally and completely unacceptable. We expect more from those who enforce our laws. 

It's fantastic to see members of clergy stepping up and using social media to present a strong, positive message loudly and clearly: Black or white, clergy or layperson, all lives matter. 

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, but...it 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