Communicating in Gold…with a little Lead Doping up the works

[I tend to ruminate about foibles and let downs.It is perhaps reflective of the Sun square Uranus in my birth chart which I also credit with keeping me outraged at issues and injustices that I could instead ignore. I don’t want to maintain recurring, problematic patterns of communication. In this Missive I share a view through one lens that helps me look within. Please, if I go on too long there, check out the few brief items later on, including looks at:
*Media consolidation and influence, especially Fox News and Sinclair Broadcast Group
*Trump’s boastful ignorance
*Compelling stories from Afghanistan and Hebron
*A spot-on comment from my friend Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Thanks for orbiting the sun with me,
Laughing Jim
]

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

caduceus with colors (2)I have been using alchemical associations and correspondences to reflect on how I walk and change in the world. I was with my fire tribe in Nevada over my birthday weekend attending the annual Mayfire campout organized by the Vegas Vortex. Our process involves transmitting mysteries and sharing our stories and heartsongs during nighttime, alchemical fire circles. The Vortex is a magical community I joined while I was living in Las Vegas from 2008 to 2013. If my Bay Area Reclaiming Community is foundationally Wiccan and Faerie (and political), the Vortex is foundationally alchemical (and less political) in how we create ritual spaces and frame the work of transformation. Alchemically, we start at Saturn (or lead) and move into the light, represented by the Sun (or gold) as we evolve and grow. As we proceed inward, our light tends to brighten and our pace often quickens.

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

In chemistry, “to dope” something means to introduce a small measure of impurities into it on purpose. This can generate great reactivity and surprising effects. Semi-conductors in electronics rely heavily on this process. I am mixing metaphors, and no metaphor is perfect to begin with, so I ask you to bear with me. My lead usually comes out impulsively, quickly and surprisingly, but not on purpose. I’m probably just excited, not angry. Maybe I’m outraged, but also confused and shocked, questioning my sense and senses. Nonetheless, I sometimes scare people with my sudden volume, and I regret this/am working on this.

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

As I walk my life, I feel like a golden nugget (or at least a bit of gold dust) in a vein of gold. I am constantly touched by the amazing communities of people I am part of and the powerful folk who see me as friend and peer. The various tribes I am part of uplift me, and I am most happy when I am seen to be uplifting others. I think I bring a lot more golden light to the world than darkness and hopefully more levity than leaden weight as well. I feel welcome in amazing company even if I feel a bit unworthy, second rate, or just not quite top-shelf. Nothing quite feels good like being thanked for inspiring someone you admire.

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

high-speed-bullet-appleI fall short sometimes. (Don’t we all.) I may have to pass through a leaden roadblock of reaction before my golden heart illuminates a matter more fully. But my golden heart is there, and…here’s the rub: I want my preponderance of gold to make my lead less harmful and more forgivable, but that isn’t really up to me. When I make a mistake, I’m pretty hard on myself. I try to understand what made me err so I won’t repeat it. I seek reconciliation to foster my internal forgiveness. Sometimes this inquiry can make things worse, even less tractable. Then, I can be harder on myself than ever, and perhaps more alienating to others.

I communicate with lead-doped gold.bullet bouncing off

Lead may be a shot fired before thinking or a lead barrier that hinders movement or something that blocks the light from illuminating a path. Lead shot can be bb’s, bullets or cannon balls. They can be tossed or fired. They can hit squarely in the heart or miss wildly and have unintended consequences. They can be barbed or leave shards, or pass through or be easily removed. Lead can kill, but wounds can heal. Painfully, hurt may precede clarity, and mending is often incomplete or leaves scars or is just too little too late, even if it follows in an instant. I try to make amends for emotional projectiles I may put off, and often that moves me forward, but it isn’t a sure bet. Most broken hearts are reparable, but not necessarily to their previous state. (Click here to listen to a delightfully apropos Kate Wolf Musical Interjection.)

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

collided bullets from GallipoliA tough thought or emotion expressed well and received as intended is golden.  Leaden communication may cause confusion or unintended pain and may be generated by one’s own confusion, fear or anger. Two War CrimesBoth elements are dense and can be heavy, but with gold, light can illuminate and be reflective whereas lead blocks radiance (and radioactivity) and makes understanding hazy or dull. I speak with lead when I clam up when I should speak out. Silence can surely be golden, and God knows I still sometimes speak when I shouldn’t, much to my chagrin. Being slow to speak can provide others a golden opportunity to step up so being quick witted or quick to the punch isn’t always very bright indeed. Lead can literally poison and dull our minds, but it can also shield us from toxic radiation. Lead has its place and use. It is a double edged sword. First steps are special!

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

Jim_Gaza_Shroud 1As I’ve said, I’m more of a political activist than others in the Vegas Vortex. Even so, its leadership has encouraged me consistently, inviting my offerings and helping me figure out the best way to bring specific global or societal issues into sacred space when people are used to a more personal magical intent. I need help because my heart is all over the map! I’m the guy who leads childlike Laughter Yoga exercises during a “magic moment” and who also brings prayerful, visual, fiery consciousness about the Israeli massacres in Gaza to the magical fire. I want to laugh with people but I also want to feel and share my heartbreak. Otherwise I feel inauthentic. Outrage about injustice needs to be loud and visible, or it won’t do much. I look at my political art, and I have to admit, it all ain’t gold. It can’t be.

We need community and spirit to help us through societal pain. Laughing-Jim-web-bannerWe are all suffering from what my friend and amazing mandala-maker, Dennis Rivers calls “multiple simultaneous broken-heartedness.”

I communicate with lead-doped gold.

Mayfire happened at the time the United States opened its offensive embassy in Jerusalem, and Israel was celebrating its creation seventy years ago in what Palestinians accurately call “The catastrophe” or “Nakba.” I agree with Palestinians that the Nakba, a catastrophe of dehumanizing dispossession, never ceased, and now it is accelerating and deepening. I am able to communicate about this in phenomenally touching ways, but I can also be thrown way off center. In June I attended a very sweet and juicy ritual honoring Pride month that centered on the sacred love poetry of the Song of Songs. While cleaning up afterward someone saw my kite-shaped “Palestinian Human Rights” pin and launched into blaming Palestinian deaths on Hamas, and challenging my views as inherently uninformed. I was knocked out of the beautiful frame of mind I was in. I walked away from her and started muttering and crying out, “It’s not Hamas! Don’t tell me about Hamas now!” She kept going a bit too. I must have seemed surprisingly disturbed to anyone else nearby who didn’t see the initial interaction. I went from gold to lead really suddenly. If I am going to don political garb, I need to deal better with the challenges that they invite. I can and will do better. I wrote this Missive to help me stay conscious of my golden light when I feel like I have lead weights on my chest.

Sinclair? Fox News isn’t bad enough? Holy shit!

Image result for sinclair broadcasting logoURGENT from the folks at the Courage Campaign which “fights for a more progressive California and country”: Justice Department approval of the Sinclair Broadcasting-Tribune Media mega-merger could come as soon as THIS WEEK.(1) If this merger goes through, the pro-Trump propaganda network would own stations in over 70 percent of U.S. households — enough to ram their right-wing propaganda into tens of millions of homes.(2) Courage has launched a full-court press on the Justice Department and FCC to stop this awful merger and prevent Trump TV from taking over the airwaves. It is devastatingly scary, the degree to which Sean Hannity and Fox News are influencing world affairs because Donald Trump likes them. On July 14 Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviewed Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman that included fascinating if disturbing backstory about Fox News and background on Trump’s new communications director, Bill Shine. Fox on cable and now Sinclair on the airwaves. Damn!

Ignorance isn’t bliss, dammit!

Meanwhile, Trump takes special joy in making a game of asserting things he doesn’t know and watching as other leaders and officials, out of fear or confusion, try to make sense of and respond to his bombast. He takes pride in his ability to be ignorant and make people relate to his absurdities. This was clearly seen with his comments to Justin Trudeau about the trade balance with Canada. But with Hannity talking with Trump on the order of an hour a day, I only see hope in people and nations of the world uniting, boycotting the United States if necessary.

Republicans are shockingly willing to hang their faith in a Trumpian noose as they hang their hat on his hook. They don’t see any way to dodge electoral ousters at the hands of Trumpian thralls at home. Hell, they should just become Democrats. They’ll feel right at home with lavish support from the upper echelons of the Democratic Party which only wants them, not the more progressive folk who have been stepping up and entering races across this country. God help us! The Democrats are damning us to a Republican hell.

It is obvious that the emperor has no clothes. I didn’t think the Republican party would so fall in line, lockstep behind Trump. I wish the latter (Republican leaders) were legitimately scared of repudiation from the left instead of from an extreme right that exhibits open hostility to women, people of color, the poor of any additional demographic, and actually, the entire rule of law. Hell, they ignore their own senses, witness climate chaos.

So much for war… (sad face)

20170424_Military_ExpenditureSo many weapons! The United States Makes and sells so many weapons, and tells the world to spend more on weapons. It is crazy. It is suicidal. And so much oil to fuel the war machine! The Pentagon is the number one purchaser of petroleum in the world. Weapons are being promoted above all else, blind and proud all the while. “Despots united” is what the global scene looks like to me.

My Heart is Always Turned towards Hebron and Afghanistan

One of the main Palestinian organizations that welcomed and led us on the Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegations I went on in 2016 and 2017 was Hebron’s Youth Against Settlements which is somewhat affiliated with the Hebron Freedom Fund. Their newsletter that I just received paints a fair and upsetting picture of Palestinian lives being uprooted by Israeli inhumanity and injustice. The widespread Palestinian repudiation of violence is amazing despite the crazed but effective airplay that kites with molotov cocktails get here compared with US made F16 fighter jets, helicopter gunships and snipers of the Israeli “Defense” Forces. For readable background  and info you probably haven’t found elsewhere, please read Joel Beinin’s connective piece just published on LobeLog, “From Gaza to Jerusalem to Iran.”

US airstrikes in Afghanistan

As if Obama wasn’t already wreaking enough havoc on Afghanistan.

I was in Afghanistan for a couple of weeks in 2011 with Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV). For moving, little observations and insights from where they are, check out the poems, photos and brief videos from the Afghan Peace Volunteers, the most inspiring peace makers I have ever met. This piece from Business Insider comes via my dear friend, VCNV’s Kathy Kelly who introduced me to them. I am still in touch with people there. When I see reports about how many more bombs the United States is dropping on that country, it strikes a personal cord. I cry at the manifest indifference to cruelty it displays. Who do they really think they’re bombing?

Let me sign off with another word from Voices, another longtime friend and comrade, VCNV co-coordinator Brian Terrell speaking on Press TV’s, We The People:

“If we really want to end this refugee crisis we need to stop bombing and robbing people around the globe. There simply isn’t any other solution. More important than any immigration reform, we need to end these wars, end these economic policies and allow the people of Central America, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Mexico to live and raise their families in peace.”

APV_No_War_Bastions_banner_2011

Banner made by the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers for their Spring 2011, new year (nowruz) campaign against all the armed actors and corrupt officials.

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