Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hadewijch in the Castle

We believe that we have plugged into a sacred, healing energy stream that is flowing thickly around the planet.  Like reaching up and pulling on a cord of a moving train or tram, we reached up and connected to a higher calling, a pulse of holistic healing, a pulse of returning to ancient ways, that is a comforting drum-beat, growing bigger and louder and more significant to our lives with every passing day.

What we are doing with our new age order of Sisters is not something we created.   It is something we plugged into.  Everything about us is cultural appropriation.  We appropriate everything good that our ancestral mothers learned and practiced. 

We believe in the family values of the stoner culture.  Stoners have had to hang together and protect their own culture for one hundred years of persecution.  Stoners have had to make sacrifices to get along with people and society, a society where conventional wisdom says that cannabis is bad and cannabis smokers are bad.  Stoners have always tolerated this baloney, because they look kindly and patiently upon the ignorant and think, ‘yes, it was once conventional wisdom that the earth is flat.  It was once conventional wisdom that women have smaller brains then men.  It was once conventional wisdom that if you masturbated you would go blind.  But we live in an age of science and your old-paradigm views are adorable in a na├»ve, throw-back kind of way, but untrue none-the-less.’

Stoner values respect and revere the ability to protect boundaries and familial privacy.  Stoner values hold transparency in high regard and secrecy in suspicion.  Stoners respect knowledge and science.  Stoners are generally compassionate, to people and to the planet.  

We also hold fast to the belief that those who attempt to grow weed and attempt commerce in the cannabis space will be foiled if they go against compassionate principles applied to people and the planet.  Those who are ok with fracking, will not be rewarded by their efforts with the plant.  Those who are ok with caging children, those who protect and defend Trump and others of his ilk in other countries (Doug Ford, Therese May), those people can’t grow cannabis and be successful in the healing space.  Those who want to be billionaires just because they want to brag and be like Trump, you will fail.  The plant will not serve you, I promise.  She will choose who she serves and who she doesn’t, and you will fail if you try to cultivate her with false or shallow intentions. 

Those who judge others without trying to understand them, they will not be rewarded by this industry.  And those who are mean to women, they will – especially - be locked out of reaping any rewards on the backs of the magnificent female cannabis plant.

It was springtime in the castle and those whose lives centered around the Beguine sisters, those who farmed, made plant medicine, those who worked day in and day out to alleviate suffering among the town-folk, farm-folk, land-owners and serfs – were busy putting away their tools and chores.  It was hours before their normal quitting time, but if was a special feast-day. 

It was the feast of young Beguine sister and her man, in their mid-twenties, and expecting twin babies.  It is the custom of the Beguines to prepare the first-time parents with gifts and supplies from the tribe.  Dignitaries had gathered.  Some of the Sisters were nervous.  It was an ominous sign that the feast was to be of mixed people.  It wasn’t normal.  It wasn’t custom.  Yet, the abbess had her head turned by the tax collector who wanted to be part of the celebrations and especially, wanted to bring the business of the feast to his relative.  The tax collector had insisted on helping arrange the feast, inside the castle, at the Bear and Steer, a local tavern and eatery owned by his brother-in-law. 

“It is not customary for us to have a public celebration in the castle.  It is custom to have them privately, on the farm,” explained the Abbess that day in the foyer of the house on the farm – that day the tax collector had unexpectedly stopped in.

“You know, it hasn’t escaped my attention,” said the tax collector to Sister Hadewijch, “That the castle governors don’t know you are growing cannabis to put in your potions.  If they knew, they would put a special tax on you or, even, they could shut you down.” He threatened.  Sister Hadewijch sighed and agreed to have the baby shower in the castle, in a public place, in a place where ‘others’ might be.  “And I’m going to invited everyone from my office” said the tax collector on his way out the door.

Hadewijch sighed.  Somehow, she knew there would be trouble.  She didn’t know what form, she just knew there would be. 

It turned out to be the fact that the very-pregnant mother smoked cannabis at the baby shower that brought the town to buzzing.  It brought out all the righteous indignation of those who know so little.  The Sisters and Brothers weren’t back on the farm a fortnight before word came that the town was buzzing about the cannabis consumption that happened inside castle walls (gasp!) and by the mother with the babies in her belly, no less!  Right in the alley behind the Bear and Steer, right before Goddess Mother and the world!  Double gasp!!

The Beguine elders who paid for the celebration, the elders who agreed to make this celebration open to non-tribal members, hadn’t considered the mother-to-be’s eating disorder.  They hadn't considered that the town-folk had no reason to know that the young mother requires a small amount of THC before each meal to stimulate her appetite. 

“Do you think our taxes will be raised because of this?” asked Sister Sierra.

“Do you think those wankers are going to get vengeful?” asked Sister Alice.

“Nonsense,” said Hadewijch to the gathered Sisters and Brothers.  “Do not fear these people and do not hold these people in contempt for their ignorance but look kindly on them as if they are mis-informed children.  You don’t get angry at a child for not understanding algebra, do you?  We are a complicated order.  We are not simple, as many would like us to be.  We are like a beautiful onion with many layers to be peeled off.  We are foremost, compassionate healers.  We were gathered to celebrate more than the coming of the twin babies.  We were gathered also to celebrate the healing of the mother-to-be and the father-to-be under our own tender care, using our own natural ways.  These townsfolk don’t know that the father, four years ago, admitted himself to a recovery clinic nearly dead from overdosing meth?  Or that his meth habit was actually a step better than his addiction to cutting himself?  These town-folk don’t know that the mother-to-be is severely anorexic due to family trauma and malnutrition experienced as a young child . . . nor that cannabis allowed her to keep eating what she must through-out her pregnancy to nourish those children and bear them to birth successfully.  The town-folk don’t know any of these important facts.”

“Will you tell them, Sister?” asked a young postulant.

“No, I will not.” Hadewijch answered quickly.  “They must learn these things on their own.” 

The Elder Beguine paused and took a sip of water from a pewter mug.  Setting the mug down, she continued, “They will not know our personal stories.  They will have to find their own way to the truth.  The town-folk will never know that those babies were scheduled to be aborted.  That the mother believed she would die in child-birth, something an old, white-man castle-doctor told her years earlier.  She believed her anorexia would overtake both of them, that she would be unable to eat, and that she and they would die (at best) or they would be born deformed (at worst) and that only the herb calmed those fears and gave her the certainty and strength she needed to go forward with the pregnancy.  Only the Sisters’ assurances that we would not judge her or fault her for continuing to use cannabis as her medicine through-out the pregnancy convinced her not to abort the babies she was sure would come deformed.  The Sisters all know first-hand how she relies on the THC to stimulate her appetite before each meal.  She smokes so that she can eat like normal folks do."  Hadewijch stood up from her place at the table.

“What about the tax collector?” asked an Elder Sister. 

“The tax collector has put us in jeopardy,” Sister Hadewijch said plainly.  “I will have a word with him, at some point.  If there are no further questions, I have much work to do and one of you should be checking up on our soon-to-be-mom.  It’s nearly 4:20 and we want her to eat a full dinner.”

When our young Sister arrived at the hospital eighteen days before the due date of the twins in her belly, she admitted naively and calmly to the check-in nurse that she had smoked a joint the day before.  I wasn’t with her.  I would have warned her that this is Merced.  This is a place that once, not long ago, a mother having weed in her system was reason for the health insurance to be cancelled and for Child Protective Services to be called in.  My millennial Sister knows the law and knows her rights as a medical patient.  She told the truth.  Her truth caused the hospital staff treat us all like trash until the babies’ toxicology report came back and showed there was no THC in their systems.  The mother smoked a high-THC joint the day before, but no THC was registered in the babies immediately after birth.  That fact made curiosity over-ride hostility with the medical staff in obstetrics.   

“Hadewijch, why are they being so mean?” asked the young man earnestly.  “Why do the castle-keepers not allow me to be with my wife, now, while they are poking and prodding at her?  Why can’t I be there to hold her hand when they give her the epidural?”

The old woman’s sympathy showed all over her face.  “I am so sorry, son,” she said.  “But we are but humble farmers and we do not have the sophisticated, fancy equipment these folks have.”  Hadewijch spoke with her hands, gesturing all the equipment surrounding them where they stood.  “Having twins is not something that should be done at home, with a mid-wife.  Those babies have taken all of the calcium, magnesium and iron out of her system.  She has preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and is at high risk of dying.  The babies are perfectly healthy, and all this we wouldn’t know if we didn’t have access to their hospital, their technology and their technicians.  You cannot expect people who are of science, who are of technology, who let those things define them completely, you cannot expect them to have compassion.  They are not un-compassionate, they just have strange, un-compassionate ways.  I see it like you do!  I see it, but I don’t care, and you mustn’t care either because #1, these are not our people and #2 right now, our people, our Sister, your wife, needs the tools and knowledge they have to spare her life and the lives of those twin babies in her belly.  We are using them, don’t forget, my son.  We are using them.  We do not have to like them or accept them, we must just use them.”

Hadewijch had noticed every slight.  When a nurse asked ‘where’s the papa’ and Hadewijch answered, ‘her husband is out making a phone call’, the other nurse corrected her, saying “they aren’t married, they just live together”.  As if she was on auto-pilot and couldn’t ever miss a chance of putting her two-Christian-cents out into the universe.  The only weddings that mattered were the ones of their culture.  She wished her young Sister had been more careful in answering.

Hadewijch noted how they refused to let anyone be with the young, frightened mother, only twenty-four years of age and fearful of dying.  Afraid of giving birth to monsters because she dabbed THC concentrates during the first three months of her pregnancy, not knowing she was pregnant.  Her eating disorder made her cycle irregular and she was accustomed to not having her period more than having it.  She didn’t learn of her pregnancy until she was half-way through and it was too late, then, to do anything about the concentrates she consumed months prior.

Now she lay frightened and scared and they make her more so by subjecting her to an interview by nazi nurses who don’t give a flip about making her more uncomfortable, by daughters-of-science who won’t allow her to have her loved ones by her side. 

Hadewijch saw it. She saw their bully tactics, which seemed brutal to all of them, to her, to Father/Brother Dwight, to the expecting young parents, in stark contrast to the gentle and respectful healing they practice in their tribe.  But she didn’t judge them for it.  She prayed for their enlightenment.  She thanked them for what they did know.  How to run a blood pressure machine.  How to check the urine for danger signs.  How to measure the baby’s heartbeats.  They have tools.  And they know things that will help our Sister through this, she reminded herself and the nervous father-to-be.  We are in their land, seeking their help.  We must respect their ways.  It is our way, she reminded them both.

After the healthy babies were born, doctors and nurses came by to chat more respectfully.  Someone finally asked the new mama why she had smoked cannabis and finally, my lovely young Sister/Daughter was allowed to explain about her eating disorder.  Those who were once hostile suddenly became compassionate.  I told my young Sister that perhaps, going forward, she should lead with that information. 

It was two weeks ago today that the babies were born and in two days, it will be two weeks since they left the hospital to live in a cocoon of love, tended by their parents, their Oma and Opa, their Tante and Ohm.  Kept secluded in a little apartment, far from noise and hustle.  They gain weight and color and their mother gains her health back.  And we are back, all of us, to working and mingling with people who respect cannabis as a medicine – one people, one tribe.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Taking on the Angry Vegans

Taking on the Angry Vegans

There are three ways the American people are polarized:  The first is in regard to the Word.  (Some believe, some do not.)  The second is in regard to spirituality.  (Some are, some are not.)  The third is in regard to being vegan.  (the Vegans are angry at all of us) 

The first polarity is ridiculous.  The second is necessary.  The third is tiresome.

Just as we exist to bridge the gap-between the non-believers and the believers, just as we exist to bring peace between those two groups, we also exist to bridge the gap between spiritual people and the non-believers, and to broker peace between vegans and the carnivores.   These are all highly polarized groups. 

Followers of the Word

There are those who believe the Word and those who don’t.

Oh, did you think I was talking about God?  Don’t be ridiculous. 

I am talking about the Word of the cannabis plant.  I’m talking about the knowledge that the cannabis plant is the secret to salvation. Salvation of the people, and salvation of the planet.  The medicinal compounds hold the secret to healing the people, and the industrial hemp holds the secret to replacing plastics and getting on with healing the planet.  It’s THAT word.  The Word that can end the hurtling journey toward extinction.  That Word. 

If you still want to talk about the Word of God, you have to realize that we see you as if you are standing on the railroad tracks, reading your Bible, while a high-speed train is bearing down on you.  We aren’t going to have that discussion with you, not now, not while the children of the planet are in great jeopardy, probably – not ever.  Not while sixty species go extinct per day.  Not while McDonalds and Taco Bell are still paying thousands of people to figure out new ways for you to eat meat. 

“It’s not enough” demands Ronald McDonald, pounding the table, “It’s not enough!  The buns must become meat!  The aprons must be made of meat!  The very plates we serve the meat on, must be made of meat!”  He is a truly diabolical task master.

If you want to talk about your relationship with Creator Goddess, then let’s start by talking about the one and only truly great gift she gave us, Planet Earth, and why we are trashing that gift.  Let’s talk about why we made it cultural (and we’re exporting that culture around the world, rapidly) to have extinction on our plate for every meal and every snack???

If I spend all the money in the world building my children the greatest, coolest, more exotic and exciting place to live and they spent all their time killing the plants to feed the pets to kill the pets to eat them, I  wouldn’t be happy.  Yet, this is what we are doing with the planet given us as a gift from our Creator.

The other day, as I was coming home from the gym, I had a Christian talk show on the radio and the minister was so compelling, that I was still sitting in the driveway listening to him, a full twenty minutes after pulling in.  He was systematically laying out the extinction of Christianity and how it came to be.  And everything he said was truth.  Until the end.  I thought the punch line should be, ‘So now, with Christianity on the brink of extinction, we have, the Weed Nuns!’  Wouldn’t that be remarkable.     No, his speech ended with the conclusion that Christianity is going extinct because we are at the eve of the rapture.  Click.  I turned it off and carried on with my day.

The one sentence the Baptist preacher said that stuck with me was this one: 

“We (the Christians) are sitting making daisy chains in the dark night of the globe, while the great masses of people are finding ways to cope without us.”  Hence, the sprouting of weed-nuns?
People have traded up arguing about invisible gods and invisible fetuses for real talk about highly visible and effective plant-medicine.  That’s an upgrade in the planet’s conversational IQ.

Spiritual vs. Non-Spiritual

In re-cap, the first bi-polar group is those who believe in Cannabis’ medical powers and those who have never tried it (the dis-believers). 

The second group is those who are spiritual and those who are not.  I let them be.  I think the planet needs our cynics and disbelievers when it comes to religion.  They are quite beautiful and quite necessary.  They are here to make sure no one drinks the cool-aid and every religion should welcome the non-believers as witnesses to the religion’s ‘do-no-harm’ ethics.  (They all have that ethos, few follow it.)

We only honor the disbelievers of spiritual and unseen things.  (Bill Maher disbelieves all spirituality and we love him.  That is his job.)  On the other hand, we do not honor people who disbelieve science, facts, and physical things happening right here, before our eyes, on the physical plane.  Climate change deniers, be gone from us.  Libertarians, be gone too.  We follow best example.  We want our children to have the same quality of life they would have if they were Dutch, German or Canadian.  We don’t want them to continue this system of being second-class-citizens of the developed nations. 

Vegans versus Not-Vegan-Enough

There’s no other way to address this issue but to say plainly that Angry Vegans are not helping the plant-based diet cause.  We know you are angry!  We get it!  Someone though it better to raise livestock for slaughter over something less slaughter-ish, like, say, eating beans.  We agree.  It was stupid.  It is stupid. And one day, we promise you that the Sisters here in Merced will get drunk enough to break into Foster Farms and free the chickens.  We will do that.  We’ve heard real nuns do shit like that and we want to emulate them.  It’s on our bucket list.  Promise.

After three years of failing at veganism, this past January, as new years’ resolutions swirled around us, we decided to take a much more practical approach to our dietary restrictions.  And a religious approach.  ‘Religious’ means ‘have fun with it for no apparent planetary reason, just imaginary reasons’. 

1.       New Moon to Full Moon – Strictly No Meat, with exceptions:  see #3, #4, #5, #6

2.       Full Moon to New Moon – Meat Is Permitted Daily, once per day only and not to be mixed with cheese, eggs or other animal by-product foods

3.       Holy Sacred Meat is Bacon*** is an exception to all rules, but in moderation / as a seasoning / never more than 2 slices of bacon in a 24-hour period

4.       All food rules are waived if you are sick or pregnant

5.       We are Activists and in Service Daily to the People, we cannot afford to go to bed hungry.  If your stomach is growling at bed-time, you are allowed to eat meat.

6.       You are allowed to eat meat that was prepared prior to the new moon and would be thrown away if not eaten (make no waste of sacrificial meat)

7.       Never mix meat with the milk or dairy or by-products from the same animal

8.       Meat is allowed at restaurants when traveling, but only once per trip (if in moon cycle)

Why is bacon the sacred exception?  Because Sister Kate’s Chinese astrology sign is the Pig.  This is just as reasonable as saying twenty million Catholics will eat meat on Friday.  Their reason was because the Catholic church invested in fisheries.  At least my reason has no economic motive.  

We are Beguine revivalists.  Our ancient mothers had to have eight children to see two of them turn eighteen years old.  That means they buried three of four children they gave birth do.  We think that had a lot to do with diet.  We don’t think ‘no meat’ is the way.  We certainly think WAY LESS MEAT is the way.  And we think every family and tribe should find its own path to a plant-based diet.  We think the more creative that path, the better.  Here’s the thing, though.  You can’t hate on people for not being vegan purists.  If you do, you lose the battle of moving more plant-based.

What happens when you go two full weeks without meat?  You can’t go back to eating meat once a day, you’ll get sick.  WE learned.  So even though it is allowed, most of us stay plant-based most of the time.      But if someone gets angry and ragey, we tell them to go eat meat.  It means, go satisfy your animal spirit needs in some other way.

We are angry activists, because happy activists are shitty activists.  There is a place for anger and for ferocious animal energies.  We think we need our meat.  We think the animal energy helps us be the ferocious women we need to be now, in this dark night of the globe.  But we recognize that meat-eating is ruining this planet and the trends have to go the other way.  We believe our way is a helping hand in sending the trend in a new direction.  We don’t mind that the vegans are angry with us.  They too, have their place and anyway, without angry vegans, we would have way fewer recipes.

                Corn and grain, meat and milk, on the table before us.
                Hands and hearts come together to nourish and restore us.
                Bless our food and bless our folk and keep us in your grace,
                Ensure this sacred walk we take respects this sacred place.

                                (women) In Goddess we trust.
                                (men) In Goddess we trust.