Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.

JoniRae.com is also the home of the Gentle Parenting Colouring Book and Goddess Dolls, and original artwork by Joni Rae Latham, so remember to check out the Gallery and Shop while you're here.

Category Archives: Paganism

Surprise! We are Happy in the Bible Belt!

Its funny, for all my worrying when we moved here, I have only ever been snubbed once (in public, by a stranger) for being pagan…  And that was in New England!  A few years ago we went to the local park on a week day morning and found that there were a whole bunch of kids running around the playground.  Which made me automatically think “homeschoolers”.

Hannah asked one of the little girls around her age and confirmed that they were indeed a homeschool group.

I went over to talk to the other moms and discovered that they all lived in our town and they met at the park every week! Then one mom mentioned that they were a christian homeschooling group.

I smiled when she told me, but inside I was already a little worried.  What would they say if they knew I was a witch?  I hoped that they would be cool, or at least tolerant since we had to share the same playground, but you never know how people are going to react.  So I didn’t say anything and we kept on chatting about curriculum choices, baby carriers and favorite healthy snacks.  It was quite pleasant until the head mom happened to glance down at my hand and saw my (tiny, silver wire) pentacle ring.  She made a face and looked at the other ladies as she said, “I think I am going to go get some sun.”  Then they ALL, as a group, walked quickly away from me without saying a word and formed a tight knot on the other side of the playground.  They stood (In the shade, mind you) and whispered, looking covertly at me over their shoulders.  They pulled their kids to the side one by one, and soon enough Hannah was playing alone.  Not one of them said another word to us while we were there  Not even a polite “goodbye” as we passed them on our way to the parking lot.

I felt so bad that day. I just didn’t understand why it is considered acceptable to shun and mock another person because they happen to believe differently than you do.  It has stuck with me ever since, and once we had decided to move to a state in the “bible belt” I started to worry that this sort of thing would start to happen to us more frequently.

I was so nervous about moving to Missouri.  I remember wondering what it would be like to be a pagan in the bible belt.   My apprehension increased when I saw the giant crosses visible from the highway and the multitude of billboards dedicated to Jesus.  Missouri IS very different than Rhode Island.  And there are lots of things I wish I could have back.  I miss my family and my friends.  I miss the ocean and Portuguese food and visiting my dad’s grave.  I miss the abundance of good seafood and the forests and Trader Joe’s.  But I am happier here than I have been anywhere else in a long time.

The reality is that despite my fears, Springfield is a pretty open-minded place.  In fact, I have felt more welcomed and accepted here than I ever did up North.  I have found a secular homeschool tribe.  My kids have friends so close they are more like siblings.  We are having another baby and *I* have friends that have offered to help me in the first weeks after the baby is born so this time I won’t have such a terrible struggle to do everything while I heal.  My husband has found a job he loves and we get to see him every day.  I get to sing with a band.  We have a big house and car that runs.

This town is a good place for us to be.

Pagans Are Scared of Boobies Too

I know I talk about this a lot.  Chalk it up to the fact that I am still in the “birthy, boobies, babies” stage of my life which makes me passionate about my baby’s right to eat whenever he is hungry, no matter where we are.  And every time I think I’ve made my point, some close-minded, puritanical idiot craps all over it.  And then I can’t stifle the urge to get out my soapbox and start all over again.  I don’t know how much more I can say “it’s just a boob, get over it.”  It isn’t going to hurt you.  It isn’t obscene, or dirty, or wrong to feed my baby.  It isn’t intimate or sexual.  It isn’t the same thing as removing waste from my body because it is a FOOD.  I promise I won’t chase you down and slap you with it.

You know, some of the easiest places for me to nurse in public have always been at pagan functions. RI Pagan Pride 2006 was the first place I ever nursed in public without fear. After that we started attending meetings and potlucks and I got braver and braver. I felt safe because most of the pagans I’ve met have been comfortable with bodies and nudity in general. I could probably walk around topless and no one would bat a freakin eye!  I mean when your belief system has an entire subsection on going “skyclad” you assume showing two inches of boob while feeding a baby is no big deal, right?

 

Last night, a woman in the pagan UU group I’ve been attending posted my cartoon…

And another member responded:

 

Of course I couldn’t stop myself from responding… And yes I could have been a little, um, gentler but between my aunt unfriending me and dealing with some other shit it’s been a rough week.


 

Really?  Your response is that boobies make you want to “barf” –I didn’t even know what to say to that.  I kind of can’t wait to pop out another baby and “whip out” (because that’s what we do, right?) my boob at a meeting, smack-dab  across the table from her. Too bad Cooper is only nursing in the morning/ at nap time.  Maybe I can borrow a baby from someone, just to make my point.

Honestly, I am so disgusted with people this week that I just want to withdraw from everything and cement myself inside the house.

Pagan Blogs Are Faith Blogs Too

I never join contests. I never even promote my blog beyond tweeting and slapping my updates on facebook (because I want people to read the posts.) I am not a reviewer or a giveaway blogger, unless I am promoting a friend or want to have a little fun and make someone happy.

When I first heard about the “25 Top Faith Blogs by Moms” contest I thought it was so neat that there were pagan blogs in the mix. I was excited to support my fellow pagan mamas and asked my readers to vote for them.  I wasn’t planning on entering because that’s not my thing. (See above.) But after reading a few of the christian mamas subtly and NOT so subtly bashing the pagan mommies I became upset. It hurts me that this is still such a problem. I would never bash someone of another faith. I wouldn’t ever tell someone that what they believe is evil, or wrong, or not worthy of being a part of such a list.

Pagan blogs are faith blogs too.

Whether or not some of the christian mamas like it, we are on that list. And we are garnering quite a lot of votes from people of all kinds of faiths, because no one likes hate and bigotry. It leaves a bad taste in our mouthes. There are a lot of people that believe in tolerance, kindness, and acceptance. I grew up christian, and I distinctly remember that was a big part of the teachings of my church. Even if you do not agree with someone, you treat them as you wish to be treated.

I would ask my readers to vote for me because now that I am in the competition I’d like to do well. I really don’t want to languish at the bottom.  It would be like being picked last for dodgeball.  The fact is, I am now in the competition and I have to tell you something…  I can be kind of territorial (and by that I mean very much, like, extremely so) and competitive…  For example, I stabbed the huz with a fork on our first date because he stole a potato off my plate.  I have no sympathy for him. He has known since then what he was getting into and he still married me!

The contest runs until June 8th, and you can vote every twenty-four hours.I’m sure I’ll post reminders at least twice a day! I hope you don’t get sick of me. Seriously, I’ll try to limit myself to twice a day.

I could respond in kind with hatespeak and gather up a ton of votes and blog hits because of the attention, but I won’t do that. Because I know it is not ok to be hurtful and spiteful. And because I strongly believe in harming no one. I choose to be respectful of those who are different, regardless of how they view me.  I’d like to gain support by sending out a positive message about my beliefs, instead of being negative about the other moms in the contest.

So vote for me?

Ostara 2010

March 21st is known as the Spring Equinox, and it is one of the two days a year where there are equal amounts of hours of day and night. Ancient cultures made this day a special holiday. The goddess Eostre was a Germanic goddess of spring. For early Pagans in the Germanic countries, this was a time to celebrate fertility and the planting of seeds.

We made pancakes, planted seeds, and made popovers.Continue Reading