Cosby Verdict and my Reaction

I don’t watch TV, and generally only listen to the radio in the car, so I only get news from the occasional post on facebook. Today I saw that Bill Cosby is going to jail for molesting women. I had heard, but not paid attention; I don’t pay attention to celebrity focused news. I read it anyway.
I did watch the Cosby show, at least the first few seasons, and way back when, I watched I Spy. But what Cosby was to me was the comedian. I think we had all his albums, Why is there Air? Is a very Funny Fellow, Right!, To Russell My Brother, whom I slept With.

Cosby was the guy who taught white America that we are all pretty much the same. We all get toothaches and somehow miss that Midol will relieve pain whether we’re male or female, we all lie to our wives about whether the water is too cold, our kids confuse us, thinking about Biblical stories as if the people were real makes them much more interesting… People are people, and I think that it’s a pity, but coming from an era of segregation, we didn’t know that.
Now he’s teaching us once again that color doesn’t matter. What matters is privilege. Not white privilege, obviously. But male privilege and especially privilege of money. He has money, and had a reputation as a “nice guy”. But apparently this nice guy didn’t seem to think that drugging women so he could use them sexually was wrong, and it angers him that many other people do.

My friends don’t expect him to go to jail. They figure he’s got the money to keep on with appeals until he dies. Or maybe he’ll go to one of those rich offenders “prisons” like Martha Stewart where he has restricted options, but certainly not the conditions of a kid put away for holding pot and “resisting arrest”. Money. Right. His lawyer claimed the women were making up the charges to get the attention. Other women are left traumatized- probably for the rest of their lives because PTSD is like that. I didn’t realize there was a statute of limitations on sexual assault.

But clearly when you are rich and famous you figure it’s OK to “grab ’em by the pussy”. I can think of someone else who’s going to be very offended when he comes to trial for his offenses. They don’t think they are doing anything wrong- and yet they know they are. They wouldn’t be offended if they didn’t. At the same time this is happening the Incel movement is making women aware that men feel violence is justified if they aren’t getting sex. We have horribly let our children down if they can grow up feeling that this sort of attitude is in any way normal or acceptable. We may be breaking down the male female barriers. But the privilege of money is going to be a LOT harder.



Money and government

I was thinking about how people make “big” money these days. They make products- by finding places so economically strapped that they can pay slave wages. They find places where they can get resources for free, or nearly so, generally by taking them away from the people who live on the land with the permission of the government.They dump waste products without taking responsibility for cleaning up what hurts others, simply so they don’t have to pay for it.
Is there a way for people to make money on a large scale without exploiting people? Without making their profit by making sure that other people are working for almost no return under horrible conditions, by raping the land and fouling it?
If it is not the role of world governments to prevent these abuses, by making and enforcing laws stopping the people who are creating this (not just the ones who are caught up in the process), then what is a government for?

Maryalyce Merrit how to Manifest Abundance

If you missed the live show, it’s archived here:

Please join Tchipakkan and Maryalyce on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, May 4th, 8-9 p.m. est. as we talk about how to get what we want (not what we fear).
Everything in the world has an energy or vibration, and by using the inherant properties of everything from crystals to herbs to times of day or season, we can work with the flow, not against it.Akasha's Journey shelves
Let’s discuss abundance! For some of us, this is the beginning of vending season, we’ll talk about how to tap into the energy of abundance and not get stuck in the scarcity mindset out of fear. We will discuss essential oils, deities, stones, herbs, and runes that you can work with to bless your cash box, cash, and vending set up. How to use “self talk” to avoid sabotaging ourselves. Do you have your own business? For those in less seasonal, or more “mundane” jobs, we can cover things we can do to make check books, atm cards, & pay stubs into magickal charms to power your move toward positive goals.
Do you need help with your techniques? Do you have experiences to share, something that’s worked for you?
Please call in with any stories or questions: 619-639-4606

“She changes everything she touches and everything she touches changes”

Cody-and-MaryAlyce_face0Maryalyce (aka Akasha’s Heart) has been practicing witchcraft and the magickal arts since 1994. She is an ordained minister, priestess, ritualist, writer, teacher, and healer. She is a member of the Hands On Trade Association, is a Reiki Master Instructor and Practitioner, Advanced Level IET Practitioner, Run Valdr Instructor and Practitioner, and teacher of such things like reading Tarot and Medicine Cards, Introduction to Wicca, Introduction to Witchcraft, Witch-Crafting (making magickal tools), How to Organize/Construct/Lead Rituals, and others. With her passion for just about all things esoteric, metaphysical, astrological, and deeply spiritual, she decided to follow her soul’s journey to feed, educate, and empower the world community. This may be in the form of oracle readings for seekers, healing sessions, healing circles, or Reiki instruction among others. As a dog lover, she extends this healing to not only dogs, but other animals and familiars as well. Maryalyce is an ABCDT Certified Dog Trainer, and she and her rescued dog, Cody, are a registered Delta Society Pet Partner therapy team. Akasha’s Journey has evolved from the same passion for magickal living and crafting tools and items for people and their pets to assist them on their own journeys. Part of Maryalyce’s dream is to make healing & learning how to heal accessible to the community and the people who truly desire it, and of course, the beautiful animals who cannot ask for it themselves.
Come visit me and begin your transformation. The joy is in the journey.

To listen live: open a window on your computer to, sign in, and click on Shows, and the New Normal to listen. To listen later at your convenience, shows are archived by date on here, and they’re organized by date, topic and guest on .

The tyranny of numbers

We have allowed ourselves as a culture to become sidetracked by the appeal of numbers. I know how hard it is to make decisions. Perhaps one of the reasons I have such a hard time making choices is because I refuse to be distracted by simple solutions.

It would be an unusual parent who could choose which child they love more. But how much simpler it is to say which child is older, is taller, weighs more; you could even figure out, if you wanted to waste your time, which child consumes more resources. But most of us realize how foolish it would be to make decisions based on the measurable criteria.

Yet so often we are urged to make decisions, when some criteria are immeasurable, to proceed as if the measurable, the record-able, the replicable criteria are superior to those which cannot be put down in numbers.

We see this daily in the way we judge value by price, or monetary cost- while ignoring social and emotional costs. If some people will work for less money, we don’t look at the attitudes that lead to why they are paid less, we assume that if one person is paid more, he must have more value than those paid less. Artists create, mothers create nurturing environments for family life, others do work simply because it’s all that’s available where they are or it needs doing. This doesn’t diminish the importance of what they are doing, but it seriously diminishes the appearance of the importance of what they are doing. We mustn’t fall into this trap.

This is the logic of using a screwdriver for a hammer because you have a screwdriver in your pocket, and the hammer is in the box out of reach. Admittedly, if you are unable to go get the correct tool, you make do with what you have. Sometimes we put our finger in the dyke and wait, because it woAnsel Adamsuld be disaster to remove it. But most times the disaster comes from using the wrong tool because it was more convenient at the moment.

We need to stop using numbers as the convenient tool, and use the RIGHT tool for making important decisions. Stop counting how many days one can add to life expectancy, but count how many good experiences a therapy can add. Stop asking how much someone has in the bank and ask how much he enjoys his or her life. Numbers are easy to record and compare, but they aren’t the right way to make important decisions.

Green Food Coloring

DSC00061Yes, it’s that time of year again, and last night we had green corned beef with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and onions. My mother used to make that for St. Patrick’s Day, and I continued the tradition (although my new husband suggested when we got married that perhaps the Taylor tradition might be to eat out on St. Patrick’s Day if the Richards tradition included that much green food coloring.

I grew up with green scrambled eggs, and green orange juice, and also with shamrocks and leprechauns and stories of green beer and parades in mid-March. But among the many jokes and posts about the day that filled the internet yesterday one gave me pause. Many had argued about whether the snakes Patrick was said to have driven from Ireland represented the Druids, and if this made him complicit in genocide. Others complained about using the image of a drunken man in green represent the whole nationality. This post pointed out that Americans were simply turning what had started as a religious holiday into an excuse to party.

This kind of hit me where I lived.  I’ve said that I never met a holiday I didn’t like. My kids said that living in our house was like living in a gift shop. We had special table cloths and dishes, often even special curtains running from colored leaves, through bats, pumpkins, candy canes, snowflakes, hearts, jelly beans, colored eggs, to “stars and stripes” (which stayed up Memorial Day through Labor Day). I love the way holiday traditions connect us to our past- to our culture, and I liked to look on the good side of everything.

But suddenly I can see that to enjoy the food and decorations, and use the rest simply as a “party theme” is worse than ignoring it. This is an ongoing discussion; it pops up at Halloween and at Christmas. Each year the First Nations people point out the problems with celebrating Columbus Day, because the Columbian Exchange that offered resources to Europeans, destroyed their cultures, even before most Europeans got here (and when they did, many of the interactions were nearly as callus as the bacteria). Valentine’s Day is not even considered a holy day any more, but in this over-populated world, only individuals are concerned with fertility. It occurred to me that if this pattern continues, in another generation Martin Luther King Day will have no references to civil rights, but might be celebrated with comical images of pickaninnies, and other superficial and diminishing symbols. I am suddenly wondering if what I’ve always thought of as an exploration of the many wonderful cultures of the world hasn’t been terribly misguided.

I do try to understand the context and the reasons behind the traditions. My feeling is that all holidays are essentially local holidays, they mean to each person what they mean in that context to that person. So the same Sunday dinner can represent to one person the ability to show that she can afford the things she couldn’t have when she had less money, to another a trial during which he is forced to enduring constant criticism, while another sees the same meal as a chance to relax and joke with family. When I have put green food coloring in my boiled dinner it brings back the memories of many guests seeing the bizarre dish for the first time, memories of those I’ve loved, and happy times. But I remember in school many kids who looked on the day as an excuse to get free punches in under the “tradition” of “they’re not wearing green”. I remember Valentines as a day where we were forced to pretend to like people we didn’t, and to once again see the popular kids get more than the rest of us. Holiday parades have turned into a political battle over inclusion. Turning a river green now makes me wonder about ecological repercussions.

As I google various holidays, I discover holidays based on wonderful sentiments: days where brothers and sisters show their appreciation for each other, communities recognize their dependence on their local spring, the change of the seasons…. Looking at a culture’s holidays shows what they find important. If modern America treats every named day as an opportunity to eat more, put up more decorations, spend more money, and make fun of people, that does say a lot about us. Many holidays (like Cinqo de Mayo, or St. Patrick’s) are seen as a way to celebrate one’s connection to one’s roots. This is a good thing, but where is the culture when “everyone is Irish today!” Perhaps having worked so hard to become an homogenous culture we have lost the benefits people used to gain from their culture. Has community become so threatening a concept that we are trying to do away with it? “We” cannot be defined without there being a category of “not us”. If we are afraid of ANY exclusion, we have lost what makes us special.

A lot of modern so-called holidays are days some group has designated to promote or increase awareness of their product or cause. I try to find something good in these days of appreciation and awareness. It makes me grateful to be reminded of difficulties other people face, and to be reminded of the wonderful things I have- whether it’s “wow, I’ve never even heard of that disease!” or “yes, it’s good to remember how wonderful it is to fly a kite”  (eat an apple, play with bubbles). Gratitude is a good thing. I think in cultures closer to nature, it was easier to remember to be grateful for things like harvest, or spring returning. If you lived close to the edge of survival, those things were closer to your consciousness. We are insulated from a lot of that these days.

I am frequently surprised how many people don’t know a lot about earlier cultures, what holidays and rites of passage originally meant, or how long-forgotten religions worked. We don’t understand that feasts were often a way to distribute food (from those who’d been blessed with wealth) to the poor. Our culture has been monotheist so long we don’t understand how a society such as Rome worked with polytheism. Nearly every day was sacred to some god or other, but not everyone participated in all the holidays. I guess we carry over the “we’re all going to do the same thing together at the same time” idea over onto our holidays. Perhaps the idea that a certain day is supposed to be special, combined with the resistance to telling anyone how to celebrate leaves is what leaves us with nothing but “party” to share. But partying without respecting the reason for the celebration is the opposite of making a day “holy”.

It is appropriate for a country to establish certain national days of group celebration: This day we celebrate the founding of our country. This day we honor our dead soldiers, or our live ones, or our working people. It is natural to celebrate harvest, and our mothers and fathers. It’s not surprising that with such a huge majority of the country self-identifying as Christians, that we acknowledge that most people in the country will want to take the holidays of the shared faith off, and that we offer parity for those of other faiths. But I think we should try to look beyond the idea that time is divided between work days and non-working days; because this makes whether we’re producing income the defining quality of our time. If we define the socially acceptable aspect of a holiday as what we spend money on: decorations, food, gifts, etc., we also define value by money. This seems to me a very dangerous iconography.

Part of the reason I like to explore the special foods of holidays is because it’s not expensive- we have to eat anyway. Many of the traditional holiday foods are not expensive because they are what most people could afford. We can get sucked in by trying to “keep up with the Joneses” (or Rothchilds), and make ourselves feel as worthy as the rich by eating what they eat. I’ve seen commercials that suggest “If you don’t serve them – our product- how will you know that they care?”, and “-our product- … because you are worth it”. My goodness, don’t they know how to motivate us spend money! I am going to continue to think long and hard about holidays and what they mean, and how we change their meanings by how we celebrate them.

Meanwhile, you can go to my facebook or live journal pages to get my daily collection of holidays if you like. There’s a lot about what makes a holy day to think about, but at the moment, I still feel that people getting together to remember what’s good in the world is a holy activity- even if sometimes the holiday was created by a typo on the internet. Gratitude and awareness are good things. So, Happy Oatmeal Cookie Day!

Death and Children (Children first)

This week on the New Normal I’m going to be sharing experiences with another magical and pagan mother Alexis Doyle (who coincidentally also has a talk show, the Cauldron of Knowledge, on We’ll be talking about how to raise your kids so that they don’t lose their psychic abilities the way so many of us did when previous generations told us that “there is no such thing as magic”, “you’re just imagining it”, “That was just a coincidence”, and “there’s no such thing as… (fill in the blank)”.

Let’s face it, considering how often we were told to ignore our personal experiences, it’s amazing that we have any ability to form a reasonable conclusion about anything.

I expect we’ll cover interacting with other kids, our kids interactions with other adults, and maybe some interacting with other kids who we see getting their psychic perceptions sat on. I’ve asked her to talk about Indigo Children, something I haven’t had a chance to get into much. Anyway, as usual, it’ll be Wednesday from 8-9 pm eastern time. [That’s the 26th, and you’ll be able to use that date to look the podcast up on itunes in a few days.]

On death, well, let’s just say that I’m thinking about it a bit because our family is getting ready for my father dying. Yeah, I actually said dying. Not passing, passing away, moving on, not any of the other myriad euphemisms our culture has for death. He’s going to die, pretty soon, and using other words isn’t going to change that. It’s not like we all aren’t going to die, and most of us know too many good people who’ve already done it. Why do we avoid saying it? Well, it could be the old “don’t speak of something if you don’t want to attract its attention” bit. {Money! Lots of Money, moneymoneymoney! Also health! happiness! Respect!} There’s also the fact that we can’t know until “it’s too late” whether the person we are talking to is going to freak out if we actually say die. Some people do, and I’m beginning to understand how avoiding watching them wince can be a good thing.

Last year, I think it was, I was asked to speak at Eastern Mass Pagan Pride Day on the death of Issac Bonewitts (I think I was the only one the organizers knew who’d actually spoken to him). Issac made huge and multiple impacts on the course of neo-paganism in America, and many more people who’d read his work, or joined the ADF felt his loss.

First of all, people are afraid of what they don’t know, so people are nervous about what happens after they die. Quite aside from the Christian concept of the afterlife being a place of reward or punishment, there’s the whole insecurity of not having “solid evidence” on which we can prepare for it. If you knew that everything that was going to happen to you in the future was based on the outcome of what you did during a brief test, that test would have you nervous, and not just because you might have the answers wrong, but how do you know you wont just make a dumb mistake? We do all the time in life. How do we know the criteria for testing? That requires faith that we’ve picked the right religion, and as there are so many, how secure can we be that ALL those others are wrong? It’s a matter of faith.

Many of us are more comfortable with the “spiritual recycling” system known as reincarnation. It makes sense given the way the rest of the world works. All matter recycles. Heck, the Big Bang is supposed to Re-bang eventually.

Some of us remember glimpses of our past lives (not many, thank goodness, can you imagine remembering ALL of them? That would be more distracting than trying to text and drive at the same time!). My best guess is that we do continue, but a lot of what we experience when we aren’t wearing bodies is projections of our expectations and desires. This explains why there are so many different images of the Afterlife that mystics have seen over the years.

Death seems like it’s not a bad deal- from everything we can tell through mediums, people who’ve had near-death experiences, and others who believe they have “pierced the veil”. There’s a lot of light, love, reunions with loved ones who’ve already died, you are released from pain and all the other inconveniences of a body that doesn’t work as you’d like. Let’s face it, mostly people die because there’s something seriously wrong with their body. (I figure that’s why murder is a crime, you’re stealing a perfectly good body from someone, and then, not even using it!) When you die you get to look back over what you’ve done, remember past lives to put this one in context, then do some planning for your next one. Also, some people seem to be able to take a bit of vacation between lives- even driving a car as I heard in one example recently. (“They have cars in heaven?” Well, yes, if that’s the thing you’ve been missing while you were ailing.) So Death is a really good thing, except- we don’t want it now, thank you very much.

Why not? Because, as I said at the P.P.D., suppose someone gave you an all expenses paid trip around the world, on which you could do all the things you’ve ever wanted, take as long as you like, cost is not an object. Great deal isn’t it? But the catch is- you have to go alone. Can’t take anyone with you. Well, gee, that’s a bummer. Worse, you can’t even phone home to tell everyone you’re doing OK. That kind of nixes the whole deal for most of us. No matter how good it is for us, and even if it’s cost free, we don’t want to be separated from our friends. Even if there’s someone else we love who we’ll see on the trip. No wonder most of us have to be forced to go. To die.

In cultures where people haven’t suppressed all psychic abilities, there is more of a chance to get in contact with the dead, but sadly,if you can’t do it yourself and need help making that connection, there’s always the possibility that the person who’s “helping” you may be taking unfair advantage. Sadly, our laws are now designed so that in order to prevent fraud, we’ve defined it all as fraud. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater!

So expect the topic of Death to come up a bit for the next few months. I don’t feel it’s morbid, but it is deeply fascinating, and very interwoven with life.  I’d be happy to read any thoughts you have on death.

Dance of the dead