Monday, November 19, 2012

International Humanitarian Law and the Rules of War

With the Israeli bombardment of Gaza right now, I have been seeing a lot of misinformation in social networking media and the news, and hearing a lot of misinformation in conversation, about humanitarian law and ethics in such situations.

Here are some resources.  It can be very helpful to familiarize yourself with some of these, especially the first two, rather than simply repeating what "everyone knows" about the ethics or legality of the current situation. 

War & Law: Conduct of Hostilities

International Humanitarian Law and Terrorism: Questions and Answers

The Rules of War: What Do We Really Know?

Red Cross Survey on the Rules of War
80% of Young Americans Believe More Education Is Needed on Rules of War

Exploring Humanitarian Law: A Guide for Teachers

War and International Humanitarian Law, International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent

Some additional resources, if you'd like to do something positive:

afghans for Afghans
a humanitarian project in partnership with the American Friends Service Committee (, and in the Red Cross Knitting Tradition (

Christian Peacemaker Teams
"Getting in the way of violence"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

More about Patricia Monaghan's death, and memorial arrangements

Via Aline O'Brien / M. Macha NightMare:

At Michael's request, I post the following:

I am devastated by the loss of my beloved wife and partner in all things, Patricia. I am also filled with gratitude and love for all the wonderful things said about Patricia. She has left our lives and yet she will live long. There is a huge hollow in me and in the life and all the things that Patricia and I did and will do.

She traveled a journey with cancer these last 2 years. It was a journey of hope and disappointment. It was a journey that included her work, whether it was finishing the paperback version of Goddesses and Heroines, how to strengthen the Black Earth Institute, the decorating scheme for the Wisconsin house after we moved from Chicago, or how to control the temperature in the new root cellar. She was concerned that we had not yet put the dried beans from the garden. On Friday evening we were working on editing a manuscript until 11:30 at night. She died at home in my arms on Sunday morning at 3:45AM.

She didn't like to be called brave though she was. She didn't at all like being called a force of nature but she was. She didn't like it when people said, "How can you do so much?", but she "did" from morn 'till night. W would work hard all day on many things and then say, "Well at least we got a little but done."

Patricia was a scholar, artist, spiritual practitioner and leader and political activist. She was a gardener and literally a path creator. One of my favorite memories is of her pulling our large honey suckle bushes in the wet spring soil to create a path in our woods. This creation she carried into all things, whether leading us to the goddess, to a land ethic or to the struggle for a more just society.

There will be an informal get together at Brigit Rest this Saturday from 2PM to 7PM. More like a potluck where in addition to covered dishes bring memories or mementos of Patricia. (Bring the covered dish, deserts and libations as well.

A formal ceremony will be held on Saturday December 1 at Brigit Rest as well. There will be a service at the Madison meeting hall of the Society of Friends (Quakers) likely the same day.

Let us all honor Patricia for all the things she was and will be.

Michael McDermott

Monday, November 12, 2012

The death of Patricia (Pat) Monaghan

Many are mourning the death of Patricia (Pat) Monaghan.  Pat's death has been confirmed by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, and by Pat's nephew Brandon. 

Selena writes: 

In Memoriam: Patricia Monaghan, February 15, 1946 - November 11, 2012. Goddess scholar, women's spirituality pioneer, poet, author, longtime friend & neighbor Patricia Monaghan died early this morning at home near Black Earth, Wisconsin with her husband Michael McDermott with her. Brigit guide her passage to the Otherworld. Brigit aid us in our mourning. Brigit Blessings.
Pat had been ill recently and was very quiet about it during her treatment.   
Pat was a deeply-appreciated and much-loved mentor and friend to a number of people, among them Pagans, Friends, those who are both, those who are involved with feminist spirituality, and those involved with eco-spirituality and social justice.  
We will miss you, Pat.

Resources from the singing workshop

I facilitated a Singing the Goddess workshop this weekend in Edinburgh.  Thank you to everyone who came and sang!  I had a really good time, and I hope other folks did, too.

Here are some resources to follow up:


Reclaiming Chantbooks -- both the original and an update. The original includes a number of pieces we did Saturday; the update includes "Children of the Earth Tribe" and lots of others.


Recordings of Reclaiming Chants -- again, includes a number of pieces we did Saturday (especially "Chants" and "Second Chants"):


A Winter Solstice Singing Ritual book and CD (also includes a number of pieces we did Saturday). The CD has teaching tracks as well as sheet music.


bread and roses spiritual nurture's Edinburgh Winter Solstice Celebration 2012. This is a presentation of A Winter Solstice Singing Ritual, with lots of singing (no singing's required, though), and people who were at Saturday's workshop will already be familiar with a number of the songs: