Monday, January 02, 2006

What I would do if I were President
Theresa Chaze
If suddenly I were elected President of the United States by some strange quirk of fate, I would immediately triple the Secret Service, while doubling their pay, and would stay far away from grassy nodes. However before the election, I would arrange to have Bill O’Reilly as my Vice President, however the two of us will never be in the same place at the same time. He is traditional enough to offend the left, while being free willed and independent enough to piss off the right. By his sitting in the second chair waiting to take over, assassins would have to pause and think before they pulled the trigger. Why, you would ask would I take such drastic measures right away? To survive more than six months, I would answer. My broad changes in domestic and international policy are guaranteed to annoy the fanatics of this country as well as around the world.
Domestically I would make sweeping changes on every level. Policies dealing with the economy, environment, security, and the government’s role in individuals lives would be changed to not only protect all the citizens of the US but to keep the government out of personal decisions. The government’s role should be limited to the issues that impact the whole of society but not include peeping in people’s bedrooms.
The days of complicated taxes would be over. Instead there would be a flat personal income tax. Twenty per cent of every dollar over thirty thousand would go to the federal government. There would be no deductions, no loopholes to squirm through. Just a simple form with name, amount that was made, subtracting thirty thousand, leaving the taxable amount and the tax owed. Each person would be taxed individually, which would be a bonus for married persons. A household could earn up to sixty thousand with both people working and still not owe any taxes. This would drastically cut the need for the Internal Revenue Service. But never fear they wouldn’t be unemployed. Instead I would move them over to Homeland Security. Unlike the current bureaucrats in charge of the national security, the agents in the Internal Revenue know how to track down individuals and make them pay. In addition, companies would have several opportunities for tax rebates. Companies, that provide good health care, would be rewarded with tax incentives. But the key word is “good”. Many companies provide health care, which is very expensive and provides limited coverage. This is unacceptable. Health care needs to be not only available, but also inexpensive enough to be useable. A fifteen hundred dollar deductible for an individual leaves them not only paying for the insurance, but all of their medical costs as well. Businesses, who use at least fifty per cent of their energy from alternative energy sources, would receive a rebate on their taxes, while companies who insist on sticking to the old fossil fuels would be forced to pay the full amount. In addition, if a company provides scholarships or grants to their employees to update their skills and increase their marketability all moneys used would be fully deductible.
Energy alternatives would not only be supported but activity encouraged by the tax incentives and grants to help switch over to alternative fuel sources. The technology is available, however the use has been actively discouraged in the favor of petroleum products. This policy would also include homeowners. New homes would be expected to meet standards of insulation, which would lower heating and cooling costs. Those with existing homes would be given the opportunity to update their home to become more energy efficient. In addition, those who wished to work partially or fully off the grid would be helped to set up both solar and wind powered systems in their home. New cars would again be forced to meet mileage requirements, which would increase every year. It wouldn’t be legal to ban the gas hogs, however the government could set standards forcing the car manufacturers to produce more energy efficient vehicles. The standard would start at thirty miles per gallon. Vehicles, whose mileage was over, would receive a sales tax break of whatever the overage was. However, vehicles that didn’t meet the standard would have the same amount of tax added onto the price. For example, a car whose mileage was thirty-five miles per gallon would receive a five per cent tax break. A SUV, which only got twenty miles per gallon, would pay an extra ten per cent in sales tax. Every year the baseline mileage would go up five miles per gallon. The government would activity support research into more efficient and environmentally responsible energy sources with grants and tax incentives. No longer would the oil companies be given elite status to hold the country hostage with unreasonable gas prices, which give them record breaking profits.
Environment standards again would be restored. In the long run it is good business to be environmentally responsible. Whether done accidentally or deliberately, polluters would be held responsible for the full clean up. No longer would the public be force to pay for environmental pollution caused by bad decisions made by companies. In additional, all people involved from the CEO down would be criminal liable. Our environment is a national treasure, which need to be protected and preserved. Our forests are just one target, which have been continually threatened by unethical business practices. Clear cut harvesting and indiscriminate cutting has cost this country most of its old growth forests. There are other methods including tree farming, which can provide the lumber this country needs. With other energy sources being developed and promoted, the need to search for and develop oil sites would be eliminated. In addition, the wind and solar power is totally renewable and environmentally responsible. The level of pollution from manufacturing would drop.
My stand on social issues is one of mind your own business. Same sex marriage, abortion, religious affinity is none of the government’s business. Marriage licenses would be totally abolished in favor a marriage contract. The contract would include who is involved and what is expected of each person. It would be legal in every state and give the participates legal status. The religious ceremony would be totally optional. With the number of religions and churches now present in this country, there is enough diversity available to include everyone. Medical decisions are to be decided by the individual and their doctor, not a third party who has no rights or responsibilities in the matter. However I would create a National Right to Life list. Those who insist that every fetus have the right to life will be added to the list. As each right to lifer name comes to the top of the list, they will be given the next unwanted child. No matter their age, their financial ability, plans for the future or personal health or the health of the child, they are now responsible for the care and maintenance of it for the next eighteen years; failing to provide will constitute neglect or abuse and will be followed by the appropriate jail term. The right to lifer’s name will then be placed at the bottom of the list, when it again comes to the top they will again go through the process. Religion and life style are personal decisions. Those, who through violence or harassment, try to force their beliefs on others will be treated as domestic terrorists. To fire a person or deny housing based on their belief or life style is contrary to the constitution. This country is based on diversity. It is where we get our strength.
My international policy would be just as controversial. The new energy policies would change our definition of national security. With the alternative sources we wouldn’t need the oil producing countries. We could pull out and leave them to their own devices. Not only would it give many of them what they want, but it would also cut the financial resources they could use against us. It is not this county’s job to be the watchdog of the world, nor do many of the other countries want us involved. It is one of the reasons Americans are disliked so much; there are a variety of others, but this is one we can do something about. By no means am I saying that we can make everyone like us; we can’t. But we can lessen their impact on our country while reinforcing and stabilizing other national relationships. With the economic and technological connections we must learn to get along with others without giving up our right to protect ourselves or forcing our will on them.
I believe the best offense is a good defense. There is no way to completely lock down the borders. It’s a physical impossibility. But there are ways to make them more secure. On the physical borders between Mexico and Canada, there would be two fold defense, which would include both stationary outposts and mobile patrols. Stationary outposts would be very much like most fire stations with live in alternating crews. The posts themselves would be mini forts with the most advanced protective and observation equipment. They would be in two layers; each outpost would be twenty miles apart with the second layer being ten miles further within the borders and staggered between the first layer. Each outpost would have independent energy and communication capability. The mobile patrols would commute between the outposts and be responsibly for first contact. The National Guard would be responsible for the borders, while the coast guard would protect the coasts with the help of satellite surveillance. Again there is too much coast to simply have ships sailing back and forth. However satellites could cover the territory and spot prospective targets, while the coast guard evaluated the actual threat. Airport and shipping ports would also have more security both as a physical presence and electronic surveillance.
Money is a major motivator. By using our economic clout we could promote behavior which is more peaceful and cooperative. What we buy and whom we buy it from can hurt another country’s economy. However, the same can be used against us. Boycotts need to be used with much fore thought and consideration. It should not be used to force another country to bend to our will. Countries can agree or agree to disagree on issues, but each must be self-determinating. It is the only way that respect can be maintained.
There has been much controversy over the preemptive strike on Iraq. I would not have attacked. It was unnecessary and unwarranted. Instead of cursing the darkness, I would light a candle. Afghanistan was entirely different matter. It was both their official and unofficial government, which attacked us. We had the legal and moral right to defend ourselves. If we had stopped there, much of the hatred that is now directed at our country wouldn’t exist. However instead of attacking Iraq, if we had focused our attention and resources on creating a government in Afghanistan that not only was a democracy but also supported their culture it would be more powerful than ten thousand bombs. To prove to the Muslims people that they can be self-determining while keeping their culture and religion would dispel the most of the false notions. Their government needn’t be exactly like ours. It can be their own brand with their own rules. Once the new Afghanistan became stable, prosperous and self-supporting it would nearly eliminate the possibility of fanatics taking over. In addition it would be a shining example to the other Middle Eastern countries what could be accomplished. It would be a positive, non-threatening way to promote change. As for Iraq, I’d watch it with satellites and more traditional methods, making decisions as they became necessary.
The United States started out as an experiment--a search for a better way of life, which ended tyranny and promoted individual freedoms. It has had some shining moments, but it has also been responsible for some inexcusable cruelties. Over all the citizens are generous, creative and independent with the adventurous souls who reached for the stars and found the moon, but there are also some that have been a source of bigotry and intolerance. If we continually reach for our highest good, by respecting our differences and rejoicing in our similarities, we could be a more effective peace makers and leaders in the twenty first century.
Theresa Chaze

Censorship an ugly word, that everyone denies but so many practice in subtle ways. It could be as simple as telling another to shut up or going to the extreme of physically preventing the person from speaking. In either case and on every level in-between, one person or group has imposed their expectations and values on others. By silencing even one voice, not only do you limit the information and wisdom they could share, but also you hinder others’ ability to be comfortable sharing their experience.
The uniqueness of every individual gives them a perspective that is all their own. It is the old adage of the three blind men describing an elephant. The one at the head thinks it’s a long muscular hose that‘s attached to a mouth with a wet tongue. The one in the middle feels a flat, rough sometimes moving surface on large pedestals. The one at the tail claims it’s narrow, hard rope that smelly lumps drop out of. With the information they have, all are correct, yet none of them have all the facts. It’s only by bringing all the pieces together that you are given a more accurate description of the elephant.
A society, which reinforces its known traditions without leaving room for questioning or re-examination, becomes inbred and stagnant. By closing their society, the members are limited to what they are able to experience or learn about themselves and their environment. When the society as a whole sees change or new ideas as a threat, they will use fear and intimidation to prevent others from bringing it into their society. It is the mental equivalent of limiting the genre pool. Just as inbreeding leads to negative, recessive traits becoming the norm, ideas that are recycled without being reexamined, degenerate into fanaticism or blind subservience. Individualism becomes a menace to society and those who chose to walk their own path are labeled blasphemers or traitors. Instead of embracing their uniqueness, their society harasses, threatens or silences by death. But it affects more than the one individual; others, who see the brutality, become less likely to share themselves and their wisdom, choosing instead they hide in the shadows and pretend to conform, which further closes off the society. It is an unending cycle, which spirals downward until the members of the society no longer have free will or the ability to make decisions on a personal level. It is at this point the society begins to die as a whole.
It is the challenge of ideas that make a society strong and allows it to grow. Galileo was threatened with death when he proposed that the world was round and not the center of the universe. For many decades, disease was blamed on curses or the ill will of the Gods. Even as late as the early nineteenth century, when dinosaur bones and evidence of early civilization became uncovered, many still refused to believe the human race was older than six thousand years old. They believed it was all a hoax, created to attack their religious beliefs. But the bones were real. Planet Earth is one planet in our solar system, which lies in the boondocks of our galaxy. Viruses and bacteria are treated with antibiotics, many of which were created with a combination of new and old wisdom. If Columbus hadn’t set sail in 1492 across the ocean blue, the Americas wouldn’t have been found and many of the wonderful creations wouldn’t exist today. Many of the modern toys that we take for granted were born from our reaching for the stars. These are all indisputable facts. When old beliefs and knowledge are challenged, room is made to learn and grow beyond what they are at this moment. By questioning, we are more able to find new wisdom and knowledge. We are also more capable of understanding what we do unearth.
A healthy, strong society starts with one voice, one new idea and the ability to share it with others. No one person or group has all the information or wisdom; it’s only by combining what we all know, suspect, or theorize that we can expand our ability to understand and know more of the ultimate truths. Each of the blind men could stubbornly stick to their truth about the elephant, ignoring the others findings, and be correct, but they wouldn’t have the whole elephant--only a part. Just like every country and religion has only part of the universal truth; by combining all our wisdom and knowledge will we finally reach a clearer understanding of who we all are and why we are here.
Two Kittens Dead on the Road
Does Anyone Care?
Theresa Chaze
Two kittens killed on the road what a terrible shame.
But who is really to blame?
Was it the person who drove too fast
or the person who tossed them out like trash?
Three more kittens remain,
will their fate be the same?
Will the woman who tossed them in the ditch
be faced with a legal hitch?
Or will she get by
by telling a lie?
In her green car she did hide
as she tossed them aside.
Yet she was seen
being cruel and mean.
And there is one who is willing to tell all
to the officers of the law.
Abandoning animals at the side of the road is considered cruelty; it is just as punishable by law as starvation or physical abuse. There is no excuse for the behavior. Taking an animal into your life means you are responsible for its care. Yet there are some that find it acceptable behavior to arbitrarily dump animals by the side of the road, because someone will take them in. They believe no one cares enough to report it to the police. This is not true. Many people do care and they do report.
The legal ramifications are no longer a quiet slap on the wrist but includes jail time and fines. It is no longer done in a private way but frequently makes the news as in the case of the local man who received jail time, fines and the loss of his horses because he refused to care for them properly or when a man and his friends tossed a seven-week-old kitten on a barbeque and watched it burn; the latter made national news. Dumping animals is no less cruel and is just as punishable. Every state has their own statues. In Michigan the punishment for animal cruelty is dependent on the specifics: it can be a misdemeanor or felony. The owner must provide adequate care, which is defined as the providing of sufficient food, water, shelter, sanitary conditions, exercise, and veterinary medical attention in order to maintain an animal in a state of good health. Chapter § 750.50 of the Michigan Penal Law section 2a defines abandonment as an act of cruelty: The statute further states the punishment is to be:
4) A person who violates subsection (2) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or community service for not more than 200 hours, or any combination of these penalties and the cost of prosecution. A person who violates subsection (2) on a second occasion is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or community service for not more than 300 hours, or any combination of these penalties and the cost of prosecution. A person who violates subsection (2) on a third or subsequent occasion is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00 or community service for not more than 500 hours, or any combination of these penalties and the cost of prosecution.

So why I am I wasting your time with this rant of legal information? I’m one of the loving people who care. I’m one of the few who feeds them and finds them good homes. Last week, at least five eleven-week-old kittens were dumped off in Ramblewood subdivision by a woman in a green car. There were two darker tigers, two yellow tigers and a dark calico. She didn’t care what happened to them. But I did. I adopted one; the other three are in the pet care system. The last tiger appeared on Sunday and is now living in my bathroom: he needs a home. Four weeks ago, someone else dumped off three six-eight month old kittens. They are long haired and terribly matted little souls who are cuddly and loving. Who did it? I don’t know. But I pray they receive the same care and consideration as they gave.
Spaying or neutering are very easily and medically sound ways of preventing unwanted litters. There is no reason for a female cat or dog to have an unwanted pregnancy. Allowing the cat or dog to have one litter so they are a better pet is an old wives tale and is totally false. Preventing the female from having her first menses or heat by spaying, it makes the procedure less complicated and aids in healing. Removing the uterus before it has been fully activated lessens the blood loss and prevents reproductive cancer. The animal is still a loving and good pet if they are treated with love and compassion. Dogs will still be protective if they don’t reproduce, because it’s their nature to be so. Male cats benefit from neutering by spraying less and being less aggressive. They are more likely to stay on their home turf, instead of wandering looking for potential mates.
There are animal organizations that are willing to help pet owners find homes for animals they can no longer care for. Traverse City has the Humane Society, Pet Safe, and AC Paws. However, currently the latter two have their limit of animals in their system. They are in despite need of foster care homes. A foster home cares for the animal, while the organization looks for a permanent home. The Humane Society sometimes will help owners spay or neuter to prevent unwanted litters. In addition, some vets in the area are willing to give discounts for their services. Unfortunately the local Humane Society isn’t a no kill. When they are full, they put to death the ones who have been there the longest. The best way to prevent unwanted litters is take responsibility for your animal.
If you have knowledge or see someone dumping animals, please get their license plate number and report them to the police. By forcing people to take responsibility for their actions we can cut down on the number of strays.
Death is but a Dream
Theresa Chaze
All things that come
will eventually pass
Each soul is born to learn and grow
Teachers and students they walk into our lives
To give us unconditional love and heal old pains
Messengers of the Goddess they guide us to the higher road
Yet as all who are born they must cross the bridge
Only their bodies have returned to the earth
The memories dwell within our hearts
But their true essence lives on to be born again.
As we have loved them in our own special way
So we are tied soul to soul and heart to heart
For when it is our time they shall be there
To greet and again guide across the bridge
Into another time and place.
Where love is alive
And death is a dream,
Furred, feathered or scaled, they come into our lives as blessings only to leave voids in our lives and our souls when they cross over. It is an inevitable truth we all have to face eventually. The joy is followed by loss, but is it forever--no. The beautiful, loving souls that come into our lives are never really gone. As with us all, their spirits rise up to rejoin with their own souls so the lessons they learned can become part of the whole. It is the way of things.
In my life I have lost four. Each of the reminded in their worn out bodies until I was ready; it was a great gift. In return, I allowed their crossing to be painless and peaceful, arranging for them to be met with unconditional love and protection as they reach the other side. Merlin was the first; his illness came on quick. I never thought I would have the strength, but it was his soul that held me together. Sasha followed a couple of years later; cancer claimed her body but could not touch her soul. Pooky, the beautiful soul who taught me unconditional love, crossed over the end of the same year. Ralphie, Sasha’s littermate, stayed with me as long as he could, but his kidneys failed March, 2005. All remain in my heart and connected to my soul. Helping them cross over was the hardest thing I ever had to do, yet their love and strength gave me the ability to let go. I couldn’t allow them to be in pain any longer; instead I took the sadness on myself and their spirits were freed.
But what to do with the body that is now an empty shell. Most bury them. My father buried Ruffles, his favorite family dog, in the back yard and bought her a headstone with all her information to mark her grave. There are also pet cemeteries becoming available across the country, complete with caskets and religious ceremonies. Others release the bodies to discretion of the vet. All of mine were cremated and the remains are on one of my alters as tributes to the lives. Still others follow the Native American tradition of a ritual burning where the loved ones build a wooden structure on which the body is place; wood is piled high beneath the funeral pyre and set on fire. The wind fans the flames causing them to reach for the heavens and spread the ashes to the four winds. It is believed that the ashes so released become part of the earth and all upon it. Which ever way you deal with the remains should give you comfort and solace; funerals are for those that remain, not for those who have crossed over..
The body is gone, but their memory and souls remain. At first, there will only be sadness and tears. But then the special moments will creep back and a smile will return to your lips. Eventually only the good times will remain. The healing will take as long as you need to; there isn’t a schedule or set list to be checked off. Talking about you loved one will help the healing process. Keeping pictures and favorite belongings out will help you and others find a way to speak of them by remembering the good times. Many establish tributes and memorials. Some do it by setting up a memorial either online or by creating a special place. For mine, I planted special trees in their memory; it a living tribute to their lives and represents their souls, which have continued to live on. It can be done online by creating web sites with pictures and information. There are sites available such as Pets lost at, which gives grieving parents the opportunity to tell others about the beauty of their fur-kid. On my site there is a new board available for tributes and memorials to your loved ones. The address is; it is on the second page. Others become involved with local animal rescue groups, donating their time, energy and resources to help animals in need. By helping others, you can actively make a difference in those who need it the most.
So what next? You cried and grieved until the tears wash away the pain so that only the joy and love remain. No matter how painful the loss, think how empty your life would have been without them in it. You would haven’t felt the pain, but you would have missed out on all the joy, love and fun they bought into you life. When you are ready, think about adopting another. There are so many out there who need good, loving homes and you never know what miracles can happen. A year after Sasha crossed over, another calico appeared in my yard; I don’t know where she came from. I brought her in and put her in the cat enclosure. She stayed there one night. The next day she found her way out and immediately ran upstairs and curled up in Sasha favor spot in the linen closet. Her path was direct; she knew where she was going. Several months ago two kittens appeared on my back porch. Oliver is just as determined and pushy as Pooky. Timmie has the same need to cuddle and lick my nose as Ralphie. They look and act the same as before only their bodies are new and healthy. If I had not opened my heart to them, I would have again lost old friends. Blessings come in unexpected places and different packages. Being open means being blessed.
Preparing and Planting
Theresa Chaze

The sky was clear with a slight breeze blowing the scent of the awakening spring. I thought it was amazing that in the early part of May I could be standing in the main garden with my spade, turning the soil and clearing the early weeds. There is nothing like the feeling you get working the earth. But preparing the soil and planting the seeds are more than just farming, but a metaphor for much of life. How we preplan and nurture our goals directly affects how they will grow. It would have been very easy to walk across the street and borrow a mechanical tiller, which would have made the job easier and quicker, but I would have missed out on the magic of the energy exchange between the earth and myself.
Last years calluses are long gone. It was just the spade and me. Digging in and turning each shovel full did more than loosened the soil; it added oxygen to the dirt and made it simpler to get the weeds’ complete roots system so they could not grow back. Blessing them as I remove them, I toss them into the field I’ve tithed to the Goddess, giving them the opportunity to again set their roots. In addition, it also makes it easier for the seeds I will plant to grow stronger and faster. For me it is a time to slow down and to be part of something bigger than myself. As all those who went before me set their spade and bent to plant their seeds, so I find strength, courage and humility in the same activity. For them is was physical survival; for me it was more spiritual and emotional healing.
How we garden reflects how we prepare for life. If done properly our goals will grow and flourish, however when we cheat on the process, we only cheat ourselves. If my only goal was to plant and harvest without caring about the result, then I would take the easy route and save myself the blisters. But for me gardening is a labor of love. The vegetables and flowers are side benefits to the connection it gives me to the earth. Simply put, I do it because I love it. Working with the earth feeds my soul as well as my body. When I get my hands dirty, I am able to clear my mind and put life into perspective.
So many people live and work not because they find satisfaction in what they do, but for the material gains. They have chosen training and a profession not because they love the work but for the profits. They have taken the acceptable path only to find that it has not brought them satisfaction. They put off doing what gives them pleasure until the weekends or for when they retire. Instead of fighting for what fills their soul and gives them satisfaction, they take the quicker route only to find the promised rewards are not as fulfilling as they expected.
The question is how do you see your dreams? Are they weeds or crop?
Do you nurture them or try to kill them with things or drugs? As the tiller would have killed the existing weeds, the blades indiscriminately cutting and mangling only to leave the roots to grow back . So do the a person desires and dreams refuse to die. They can once again see them as a nuisance and pluck them from their lives or they can step out of society expectations to nurture that special part of themselves. That is not to say every person doesn’t have the responsibility to care for their lives and the decisions they make. Everyone have the mundane bills to pay and food to buy; yet how much does a person really need? Is your dream worth the too big house, the fancy car, or all the toys ever invented? Or can you pass up the newest gadget to be able not work as much so you would have the time to cultivate your dream? Each person must decide for themselves what is important to them. Is having stuff more important than believing in a dream or do they have the courage to see a weed as a flower?
Theresa Chaze
I lost my temper yesterday. Today, I am not ashamed nor do I regret the harsh words that followed as I verbally bloodied my claws on an old man. Why would I attack strange man in the middle of Meijer’s parking lot? Seagulls. The most unpretentious birds ever created, whose natural scavenger talents make the world a little cleaner. He attacked them for no reason with his car; he narrowly missed running over several and nearly hit a parked car.
I had just gotten out of my car and I stopped to watch a small flock clean up some french fries off the asphalt. That’s what they do; they clean up--parking lots, beaches, anywhere there is a free meal. Mother Nature created sea gulls to be her cleaning team. Like any carrion bird they clean up the remains after the life cycle has been completed. In addition, their acrobatic flying is secondary only to eagles. They can float on air currents for miles, effortless dipping to scoop up a snack from the water surface before returning to the lofty heights.
So why did he attack them? His excuse was they aren’t a protected species, so it was all right for him to run them over. I compared him to an anus. He was shocked when I accused him of animal abused and pointed out he hadn’t actually hit any of them. It wasn’t for lack of trying. He simply didn’t understand why I was making a big deal; they were only sea gulls. In his opinion they are loud, obnoxious pests that the world would be better off without.
What I don’t understand is why he felt he was entitled to do harm to another living creature. They weren’t attacking him, nor were they intruding in anyway on his life. They were simply having a lunch of discarded french fries. They weren’t even his french fries. Yet he thought nothing of trying to kill them. There are two reasons to kill--to have lunch and to keep from being lunch. Everything else is just ego driven garbage. When people fight and kill for land, mates or beliefs, they don’t actually win anything. When all is said and done, none of it can be taken with you. People are reclaimed by the land. Mates part. Beliefs are individual and change with perspective. The only things that are truly carried forward are the love we share, the wisdom we learn, and the results of our actions. Everything else is just a moment in time that quickly passes without notice.
So I lost my temper yesterday. Did I change anything? I don’t know. Mostly likely I will never know if my harsh language was enough to make him think about his actions and change his behavior. It said more about me, than it did about him. My anger got his attention, but did it really reach him? Was he capable of understanding my message? Or was it a simple exercise for me to prove I could draw a line in the sand and stand up for another living creature. I said enough to foolish blood shed. Alone I can’t stop wars, nor can I heal the hatred and fear, which creates them. But I can make a difference. Even if it’s only in the life in a flock of sea gulls.
My Own Political Party
Theresa Chaze
I’ve decided to start my own political party; it’s going to be called, “I have my own life and can mind my own business; you do the same.” In the past few years more and more people believe that it’s their duty to compel people to conform to the “flock’s” expectations. To them, anyone who is unique and different is considered a threat to society and must be converted, by force if necessary. Judge Bradford, Chief Judge of Marion Superior Court in Indiana is only the latest to impose his narrow views on others. Over stepping his authority he degreed that the parents, in the divorce case he was presiding over, could not expose their son to their Wiccan beliefs. Neither parent requested it, but Judge Bradford determined, without evidence, that their family religion was a threat to the child.
In the last election, the question of gay marriage was on many ballots. I fail to understand why so many people are threatened by the concept of loving people making a lasting, legal commitment to each other. More than the religious and romantic aspects, marriage is the connection that helps partners establish survivorship, child custody, and many other legal issues. So what’s the big deal? Who cares if it is a man and a woman, two men, two women or a commune? In Genesis, marriage is defined as a man and one or more women. In addition, the official marriage shall not interfere with the man having as many concubines as he can afford. It’s a little different than what the right wing religious fanatics are promoting. Instead of reinforcing and strengthening the sense of community, they are selectively isolating smaller groups in order to put them at a disadvantage legally and economically, so they can more efficiently coerce them into changing their religious path.
Another example is the pharmacists for life. Across the country, pharmacists have started forcing their beliefs on others, specifically women, by refusing to fill their birth control or morning after pill prescriptions. They claim they have the religious authority and legal right to not to fill prescriptions they consider immoral. Many believe that they should have the right to do so, that the women can simply take their business elsewhere. But this is not always true. In smaller towns, there are frequently only one pharmacy. In the case of the morning after pill, there is a time factor to be considered; there is only a small window of opportunity for the medication to prevent pregnancy. In addition, using their logic, anyone who disagreed with a medication could refuse to supply it. Several religions believe that faith and prayer are the only way to deal with illness. They could just as easily claim religious exception when they are asked to fill heart medication or insulin, offering instead to pray for the person’s healing.
At Arlington National Cemetery, all other religions can have their symbols at the gravesites, however pentacles, representing the Wiccan and Pagan religions are forbidden. Both religions are legally recognized, yet those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country are denied the right to use their holy symbols. In Oregon Township in Michigan, a family moved into a new home. The neighbors learned they followed the Wiccan path and tried to force them out of the area. They claimed to be afraid the family would practice animal sacrifice. In Interlochen, Michigan a small occult bookstore opened only to have their storefront and cars damaged. Why? Because a local Christian Church felt threatened by the witches who owned it. A couple of years ago in Texas, a woman owning a new aged store was driven out of town by a fanatical Christian group. She moved to another town and they followed her, continuing their threats of violence. In Lancaster, CA, a small group was celebrating Beltane behind their new age store. It was private property, yet a group of Christians roared up in their pickups, blaring Christian music and physically threatened them. In all cases, the legal system either delayed acting or never acted at all.
So where does it end? Can doctors refused to treat someone whose life style they find objectionable? Can paramedics leave someone untreated for the same reason? Can one group bully others because they are afraid of what they believe or what they could possible do? Where is the line between enjoying the freedom religion or free speech and harassing others? It’s actually very simple. You may speak out and say whatever you wish, but the moment your actions affect others, you have crossed the line. Talking and sharing information, then listening to the other side brings communication and understanding. Violence and threats of violence create disrespect, fear, and dishonor. There is an old say, I don’t know who originally said it, but it’s true--you can force another to change their outward behavior, but you can never force another to change what’s in their heart. So believe what is true to you and live your life honorably, helping when asked--but beyond that mind your own business. One spiritual path does not discount the validity of another. Love can only be defined by those involved in the relationship. Medical decisions, whether traditional, natural or experimental, are to be made by the individual, not by a committee or by society. If we all follow these simple rules, then we can come together in peace.
What is Witch?
Theresa Chaze
In the media the image of a witch has been changed from the green, warted hag to that of a beautiful woman who has amazing powers. From The Charmed Ones to Buffy to Practical Magic, witches have become strong, beautiful women who use their gifts to help others. Although this is a positive movement, it is a great exaggeration of what the modern witch truly is. Whether a person identifies themselves as Wiccan, Witch or Pagan, their religion is based on traditions that reach back to a time when humans toiled the soil and hunted for food. Their survival depended on the kindness of the elements, the fertility of the soil, and the luck of the hunting. Through family traditions and experimentation, they learned how to use natural means to heal and to protect the family. It was this knowledge that made them targets of people who feared their “power”. Generally they are a positive, loving force in the universe, who only wish to live in peace and leave the earth a little better place. However there also remains the misconception of who or what they worship. Devils or Satan are a not part of their religion, nor are they an anti-force to other religions. Only by respecting all paths can we honor ourselves, each other and the Divine life force, no matter by what name it is called.
Most people today, do not grow their own food or hunt in the forest, instead they work jobs and forage in supermarkets. This doesn’t change the essential nature of their goals, which is to provide for their families and themselves. By working in harmony with the natural energy, which surrounds them, they can bring balance, peace and prosperity into their lives. This doesn’t mean their lives will be without challenges, but it does mean that with faith in themselves and the Divine they can weather the challenges to reach their best and highest goals. Through spells and rituals, they create what they need without harming anyone including themselves. By using the elements air, fire, water and earth they create barriers to protect their homes. They use things like sage, incense, holy water, and sea salt to purify and cleanse. They used illusion to hide both themselves and their homes when others wish them harm. The basic key is to take responsibility for their actions and for what they cause to happen. Whether you call it the Wiccan creed “Do what ye will, but harm none” or “what goes around or comes around“; they believe their actions have consequences. Therefore they do not wish harm on others, for they know the same harm will be done to them. Only exception is in self-defense and even then they are limited to equal force for equal protection. To go beyond is to open themselves to the justice and balancing of the universe.
When situations or needs are beyond their reach they ask for help. Some believe that there is only one Goddess or God, while others believe in a pantheon of deities who have specific talents and roles. Every culture has deities who they reach out to. Their names change but there is a great deal of similarity between cultures. Some believe that no matter what name they are called, there are only a single Goddess and God, which have different names for each aspects. There are many sun gods. Ra is Egyptian. Zeus is Greek. Freyr is Norse. Lugh is from the Celtic culture. Liza is known in West Africa. Whereas not all of the gods are connected to the sun, most goddesses have links to the moon. Selene, Athena, Isis, Oya, and Arianrhod are only a few examples of moon goddesses. Although they are all connected with the moon they also have their specific roles. To add to the diversity, there are those who call themselves Christian Witches. They follow the wisdom of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, yet they still work in harmony with the planetary energy. They do not see a conflict between the belief systems, but see one reinforcing the other.
Through generations of experimentation, they have learned how to heal with plants, healing touches and with other resources the planet provides. Through trial and error they learned which plants heal and which ones do harm. This knowledge has been passed down from generation to generation, each one adding a little more to the total information base. They also have discovered that some gemstones influence the over all physical and emotional health. By placing them in specific combinations on different parts of the body, they can strengthen the immune system and help release emotional or physical traumas. Many of those on the spiritual path have learned new alternative healing methods like Reiki and Shen. These are healing methods, which help the person direct the universal energy to not only cleanse but restore balance on the physical and spiritual levels. In addition, by taping into the planetary electrical system, which is typically called ley lines, they are able to increase their access to higher energy levels and older wisdom. It is where these lines cross that powerful wisdom and medicine can be found. Places like Stonehenge and Sedona are two of the more powerful and well known access points. At these cross roads, it is easier to reach to other dimensions or to reach out to other places on this planet.
Wiccans also respect other religions. We do not alter their rituals or prayers as an anti-religion. Although there are covens, who as part of their initiation require the Lord’s Prayer to be said backwards, it is not part of the Wiccan/Pagan faith. It just means that some groups have splintered away from the Christian path as a protest to the domination. The Pagan religion especially existed long before Jesus Christ walked the earth. They do not worship the devil. There are no devils in their religion; it is totally a Christian concept. This does not mean that they do not acknowledge there are negative forces in the universe. There are. Their job is to challenge and to help with spiritual growth. Without them, a person could not learn from previous mistakes. If a person has a history of stealing watermelons, but was placed in a situation where they did not have access to watermelons, how could they learn not to steal watermelons? Being challenged by past mistakes is how a person spiritually grows and becomes stronger. Free will is the highest law in the universe. No deity in any religion may interfere with the individual’s free choice. Evil things happen in this world because someone chose to make them happen. This is the basis of one of the major conflicts between Christians and Earth based religions. Many Christians try to force their beliefs and doctrines on none believers. By doing so, they upsurpe the “non believers‘” free will, thereby their actions are in direct conflict with the Free Will law. Their God will not break it, yet they feel it is their right and duty to force their beliefs on others which puts them in direct volition of the first commandment.
It is possible for all religions to live together peaceful as long as differences are respected and the similarities are rejoiced. No matter which language is used, all religions believe that it is wrong to lie, cheat, steal and deliberately harm others. No exceptions. If others do not follow your spiritual path, bless them then live your life in peace and love, and move on. Do not try to covert or harass them. It is not your job or your right to force anyone to follow your beliefs. Christians who threaten or do violence against another is in direct violation of the third, sixth, eight and ninth commandments. By doing violence against others you misuse the Lord’s vision of peace and love. Jesus found a comfy spot and allowed people to come to him; he did not break into their homes, threaten to take their children and get them fired from their jobs. He spoke and his wisdom attracted people. Wiccan and Pagans do not try to convert. They do not stand on street corners nor do they come knocking on front doors. They simply live their lives, work their jobs, raise their children, and do their best to be good people. If more people followed this example and their own doctrine there would be less conflict in the world.

Theresa Chaze 2005 Posted by Picasa