Friday, September 30, 2011

The 1 in 3 Campaign Deb from Advocates for Youth on Vimeo.

Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the US has had an abortion?

Think of nine of your female friends, especially if you're a woman.  How likely are you to know which three among them has had an abortion?  Perhaps not very, because of how we've stigmatized abortion in the US.

The 1 in 3 Campaign ( is working to counteract that stigmatization, bring women together, and ensure access to basic health care. 

"I had an abortion..."

The 1 in 3 campaign is a grassroots movement to start a new conversation about abortion — telling our stories, on our own terms. Together, we can end the stigma women face each and every day and assure access to basic health care. As we tell our stories and support our family and friends as they come forward with theirs, we begin build a culture of compassion, empathy, and support. No one should be made to feel ashamed or alone. It's time for us to come out in support of each other and in support of access to legal and safe abortion care in our communities.

Share the 1 in 3 Campaign videos — or your own story — with three other people. And click here to find out how you can bring the campaign to your campus or your community. 

It's time to start the conversation.

I think a lot of women who've grown up post-Roe v. Wade -- which is a great number of us in our reproductive years -- have forgotten the stories some of us grew up on of what it was like pre-Roe.  This is one of them, one which has stayed with the teller for more than 40 years, and is a potent reminder of why we need access to safe and legal abortion. 

Restricting access to safe, legal abortions doesn't stop abortions; it just increases abortions like this one, which involved ingesting turpentine: Deborah from Advocates for Youth on Vimeo.

Making abortion illegal does not make abortion go away.  It just makes it more dangerous. 

What's in season at my local farmers' market

I was thinking about one of the queries in my recent post about Fall Equinox, What local foods are coming into season now where I live?

And so I found myself taking notes as I walked around my local farmers' market on Saturday.

I do realize there's some difference between "what's available" and "what's in season." :)   Here's what was available:

  • raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
  • tomatoes (greenhouse-grown)
  • damson plums
  • cucumbers
  • neeps (turnips)
  • greens (including curly purple kale!)
  • beetroot (beets)
  • apples
  • pears
  • pumpkins and other squash
  • other root vegetables
  • leeks
  • potatoes

  • chicken, duck, turkey
  • beef, including local beef burgers hot off the grill
  • buffalo
  • pork, including local barbecue sandwiches
  • fish (salmon smoked and fresh, haddock, cod, and more) (including smoked salmon sandwiches)
  • eggs
  • cheeses
  • soup
  • baked goods
  • hot oatmeal, ready-to-eat; oatmeal bars, oats, oatmeal, oatmeal ready-mix
  • chocolate
  • chocolate gelato (!)
  • flowers
  • potted herbs
  • bread
  • jams and chutneys
  • soaps
  • hummus 
  • other spreads
  • border tablet (think butter and brown sugar, the consistency of solid fudge you get down the ocean (MD), down the shore (NJ), or in St. Ignace (MI)

I'm realizing that when I think "in season," I think mostly about produce, because that's the rhythm I'm most familiar with -- from vegetable gardening as a kid in the Mid-Atlantic, from farms and orchards in Michigan when I lived there, from family friends with farms when I was growing up and farm stands most of my life.

I have some head-knowledge about that rhythm when it comes to meat, but I don't have it in my body the same way I do with fruits and veg.  I know a little about the rhythm of salmon from our time in the Pacific NW of the US, a little about the rhythm of chicken from the farm where we used to buy chickens in NJ; I'm just starting to learn about fish here.

(And from my childhood, I'm still very confused when people eat crabs any time other than high summer.  Or when uncooked crabs are any color but blue.  *grin*)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Equinox

We go down as She goes down
We follow Her underground
Hail to Inanna
Who dies to become whole

And deep calls to deep
Deep calls to deep
And deep calls to deep
Deep calls to deep

The veils drop by on our way
As we pass through the gates
With Inanna as our guide
We find truth in deepest night

And deep calls to deep
Deep calls to deep
And deep calls to deep
Deep calls to deep

We go down as She goes down
We follow Her underground
Hail to Inanna
Who dies to become whole

And deep calls to deep (deep calls to deep)
Deep calls to deep (deep calls to deep)
And deep calls to deep (deep calls to deep)
Deep calls to deep

-- "Inanna," Suzanne Sterling; 
recorded on Reclaiming's "Second Chants"

Fall Equinox

Fall Equinox.  Mabon.  The second harvest and the Witches' Thanksgiving.  Inanna's descent.  Day and night in balance.  The beginning of the darker half of the year. 


Ground and center, or settle into worship.

Breathe, and ask yourself:
  • As I look around me, what changes have I noticed in nature since the beginning of August?  (Take a moment before going on the next query.)
  • What local foods are coming into season now where I live?  (Take a moment before going on the next query.)
  • As I take stock in my life right now, what do I find I am thankful for, in this moment?
A blessed Fall Equinox to you.

    Thursday, September 22, 2011

    Looking for Pagan groups for participant observation project for Cherry Hill Seminary

    I am trying to help two colleagues of mine at Cherry Hill Seminary find Pagan groups for a project of theirs in their graduate-level Contemporary Global Paganisms class. 

    (Click here for description of course.) 

    They would, of course, be willing to put any group(s) in touch with the professor supervising the research. 

    They are looking for groups in western Arkansas/eastern Oklahoma and in Portland, Oregon.

    To meet the criteria for the project, they need groups that are specifically Pagan, and probably not eclectic (because the project needs to be with a group in a Pagan tradition not the researcher's own, and both are part of eclectic traditions). 

    If you have any leads, please feel free to leave me a comment or to send me an email at the address listed on my "About" page. 

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    Recommended article: Respect - an antidote to violence

    I've written before about how the prevention of violence is rooted in recognizing and honoring the humanity in other people.  Lucy Duncan has a piece over at the American Friends Service Committee blog which very much resonates with my experience in peace witness and humanitarian work, the research I did as an undergrad, and further research in the field of both political violence and other forms of violence.

    Lucy Duncan, "Respect - an antidote to violence"

    Dr. Joy DeGruy did an extensive study a few years ago focused on the impact of experiences of respect or disrespect for which she developed the African American Male Youth Respect Scale...  She found that “the respect that African American youth feel promotes psychological wellness and social identity; conversely, a lack of respect compromises their identities and is viewed as a threat to safety” and that there was a strong correlation between experiences of being disrespected and later acts of violence.  Dr. DeGruy defines respect as ‘to regard twice, to give a second look.’

    Read more... 

    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    Recommended article: BBC News, A Point of View: Can Religion Tell Us More Than Science?

    BBC News, A Point of View: Can Religion Tell Us More Than Science? 
    Too many atheists miss the point of religion, it's about how we live and not what we believe, writes John Gray.

    I don't belong to any religion, but the idea that religion is a relic of primitive thinking strikes me as itself incredibly primitive.

    In most religions - polytheism, Hinduism and Buddhism, Daoism and Shinto, many strands of Judaism and some Christian and Muslim traditions - belief has never been particularly important. Practice - ritual, meditation, a way of life - is what counts. What practitioners believe is secondary, if it matters at all.

    The idea that religions are essentially creeds, lists of propositions that you have to accept, doesn't come from religion. It's an inheritance from Greek philosophy, which shaped much of western Christianity and led to practitioners trying to defend their way of life as an expression of what they believe.

    This is where Frazer and the new atheists today come in. When they attack religion they are assuming that religion is what this western tradition says it is - a body of beliefs that needs to be given a rational justification.

    ...Evangelical atheists who want to convert the world to unbelief are copying religion at its dogmatic worst. They think human life would be vastly improved if only everyone believed as they do, when a little history shows that trying to get everyone to believe the same thing is a recipe for unending conflict.

    We'd all be better off if we stopped believing in belief. Not everyone needs a religion. But if you do, you shouldn't be bothered about finding arguments for joining or practising one. Just go into the church, synagogue, mosque or temple and take it from there.

    What we believe doesn't in the end matter very much. What matters is how we live.

    Advices and Queries from Worship today

    At Central Edinburgh Meeting, where I now attend, at the end of Meeting for Worship, we have notices/announcements, a reading from Britain Yearly Meeting Advices and Queries, and then a few moments of worship before going downstairs for coffee/tea/fellowship and simple lunch. 

    Today's advice and query, #27, has particular resonance for our family, and I thought I would share it.  (Click here for a link to hear it read aloud.)

    Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God's guidance and offering counsel to one another?


    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Test post for subscription feeds

    As I wrote earlier, there have been some glitches with some of the subscription feeds since I updated the template.  Here's a test post to see if folks this post matches what folks are getting in their subscription feeds...

    Friday, September 9, 2011

    More on bedside and healing singing

    In a recent post, I had mentioned both Threshold Choirs and that there are other groups that do bedside singing and different kinds of healing music ministry and outreach.  Some of the ones I know are Unitarian Universalist groups, some are Quaker groups (such as Nightingales in Northern Yearly Meeting), and I'm sure there are plenty of others I don't know about yet.

    When I attended the Unitarian Universalist Musicians Network Conference in 2009, I went to a number of wonderful workshops.  One of them was facilitated by Kellie Walker, of Valley Unitarian Univeralist Congregation in Chandler, AZ, about HeartSongs, a music ministry program which focuses on healing.  I left with inspiration to take back to my vocal ensemble at home and to Quaker Meeting for Worship for Healing. 

    My notes from that workshop are currently on a boat somewhere between the US and the UK, but earlier this week, new developments in Walker's program were spotlighted on the UUMN blog:

    Heart-to-HeartSongs: Music Ministry Thrives in Chandler, AZ

    There are all sorts of neat things that have come about in the last two years in this work.  

    For more information about the program and about the Voices Lifted Singers -- including recommendations for how to start your own group -- see:
    Heart-to-HeartSongs: Voices Lifted Music Ministry

    Enjoy reading, and do make sure to check out some of the videos from the Voices Lifted Singers.  They're wonderful. 

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Thinking again about inconsolable grief, and company along the way

    I have been thinking again about inconsolable grief.  About how some deaths make sense, some deaths we can eventually make sense out of, and some we don't necessarily ever make sense of.  We live with them as the edges wear to somewhat less sharpness.

    Beloved Wife and I are going through a death in our family that doesn't make sense.

    It has a narrative which either of us can tell you.  That narrative, in its own strange way, makes sense to me through the lens of my training, education, and experience.  I can explain any number of things to you about it.  But it doesn't make sense to my gut, nor, I think, to hers, or to anyone's in our family.  

    That's part of the difference between explanation and lived experience

    I'm reminded of how I feel tongue-tied when people want me to explain Paganism or Witchcraft or Quakerism to them in a way that makes these things make sense to them, that helps them understand them.  I can explain, but I can't give them the experience, and the experience is, after all, what is central in these experiential mystical traditions/religions/spiritualities.

    Or when people I work with one-on-one or in groups want me to explain trauma recovery, the process of grieving, the process of re-connecting with their sense of That-Which-Is-Sacred, or other kinds of healing.

    But in those situations, there's something different.  It's more personal.  And the person asking is usually also asking for hope: Tell me I can do thisTell me this is possible for me.

    (Yes.  Yes, it is.  No, you will not be alone.)  

    Life is like that.  The explanations, the words on paper or the screen, are reflections of the reality.  They can hint, but they can't convey the fullness, the reality, of experience.

    And as I wrote earlier, these aren't things we can fix for each other, or do for each other.  But these are things we can accompany each other during.  And that's important.  

    My gut refuses any sense of this death, at the same time my brain can't help seeing the patterns that are there, and the vast gaps where there are none.

    And so here I am, again, faced with an inconsolable grief, one that is both my own and where I have care for others affected by it. 

    I've written about inconsolable grief before, about what's helpful and what's not.  (I also very much appreciated the gentle and loving conversation in the comments on that piece from people about what they'd found helpful, and not helpful, and why, in their own grief.) 

    I very much appreciate your holding us, and our family, in the Light, or doing whatever your own personal practice is when you hold someone in your spiritual care.  I appreciate your being gentle with me while I'm still in shock.  I appreciate your not trying to fix the unfixable, and most of all, just being with, being present, being company during the process.

    Monday, September 5, 2011

    Northern Spirit Radio's Song of the Soul: Singing the Goddess

    At FGC Gathering this summer, Mark Helpsmeet of Northern Spirit Radio interviewed me for the program Song of the Soul.  Three members of my Gathering workshop, Singing the Goddess -- Denise Madland, Peggy Bright, and Sandy Moon -- joined me.

    Northern Spirit Radio

    Click here for more information and to listen to the interview:

    Singing the Goddess: Stasa Morgan-Appel 

    The whole interview, including singing, is about an hour. 

    Songs we performed:

    • This interview took place on Friday afternoon.  I had horrible voice strain by the end of the week, and you can definitely hear that, both in my speaking voice and in my singing voice.  
    • We had no rehearsal time, and we'd sung each song together once or twice during the course of the week.  I'm really grateful to Denise, Peggy, and Sandy for their courage and willingness to sing with me under these circumstances!  
    A Pagan or NeoPagan is someone who self-identifies as a Pagan, and whose spiritual or religious practice or belief fits into one or more of the following categories:
    • Honoring, revering, or worshipping a Deity or Deities found in pre-Christian, classical, aboriginal, or tribal mythology; and/or
    • Practicing religion or spirituality based upon shamanism, shamanic, or magickal practices; and/or
    • Creating new religion based on past Pagan religions and/or futuristic views of society, community, and/or ecology;
    • Focusing religious or spiritual attention primarily on the Divine Feminine; and/or
    • Practicing religion that focuses on earth based spirituality.

    Links to a lot of the different things we talked about (and some links I failed to mention, but add now): 

    Some of my favorite songbooks (more to be added!):

    Friends General Conference ("FGC is more than Gathering!"):

    FGC Gathering:

    Winter Solstice Celebrations and A Winter Solstice Singing Ritual book and CD:

    The Pagan Pride Project:

    Threshold Choirs:

    Melanie DeMore:

    Betsy Rose:

    Pagan festivals, get-togethers, gatherings, etc.  Please note that I do not endorse any of these, or have experience with any of these, except for local Pagan Pride Day celebrations, unless noted with an asterisk. 
    • Our Lady of the Earth and Sky (OLOTEAS)*, a non-denominational Pagan church in the Puget Sound area of Washington:

      Cherry Hill Seminary:

      Unitarian Universalist Musicans Network (UUMN):

      Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS):

      Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA):

      Quaker Pagan and Pagan Quaker resources:

      Quakers!!  Where?  

      I hope you enjoy!

       p.s.  Blogger allows only a certain amount of room for labels, and so I was unable to include labels for all the orgs I provided links for. 

      Thursday, September 1, 2011

      Updating my blog

      I am updating my blog's template, etc.  Please be patient while it's under construction.  Thanks!