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Way back in 2007 or so I had quite an interesting little conversation on LiveJournal. I wanted to capture and save it all in one place. As each "speaker" adds their tidbit, their name/ID is shown.

The whole thing was spawned by Xot: But why can't I get this image of a Disney alter out of my head? Disney doesn't qualify as a pantheon does it?! Please tell me it doesn't... In spite of what archaeologists in the far future will discover... large temple complexes and personal shrines to the mouse god...

SongCoyote: The true Lord of the Pantheon is Walt, the Creator, whose Vision Enacted the Universe. Chief of His children is The Mouse, whose name shall be Mickey among mortals, and who shall show us the way with good cheer tempered with a sense of playful mischief.

The Duck, who among Mortals shall be called Donald, is a vessel of learning in spite of His outward appearance of Anger. He shall show us the ineffectiveness of Rage as an approach to life.

The Consort of The Mouse shall be Minnie, whose essence is femininity, though She shall not always bow to Mickey's wishes.

The Consort of The Duck shall be Daisy, whose patience with Donald shall be an example to us all.

The Walker on the Path, the Fortunate One, O yea, the Fool, shall be named by mortals Goofy, and he shall show all that Walt the Creator loves His children, and though he may drop heavy things upon them, their good natures and faith in their Path will not be harmed.

EmberLeo: A great deal of evidence has come through in the temples of the Mouse King that suggests usurpation by the Cult of Princesses. This resurgence of old germanic folklore bears surprisingly little resemblance to the movement known as "Asatru", focusing instead on the variety of colored dresses an adolescent female may wear, and how they reflect as a symbol on her personality.

First the bright, primary colors of childhood reflecting a pure heart and hopeful mind overshadowed at times by fear.
Pink reflecting a contemplative nature, and innocence.
Pale blue reflecting a desire to please, and help others.
Aquamarine, reflecting curiosity and a sense of adventure.
Gold, reflecting intelligence, and patience.
Purple, reflecting creativity and independance.
Cream, reflecting strength, and intuition.
And Green, reflecting courage and determination.

The colors seem to vary somewhat by season and location, however. This was the most complete set we have been able to find. It should be noted that the last three are only available in some instances, and do not appear to derive from Germanic folklore at all. This may be connected to a phenomenon from the late 20th century known as "Political Correctness".

SongCoyote: What an interesting interpretation; I've always held that the so-called "Cult" was an accepted denomination of the primary Church - perhaps with occasional differences of opinion, but overall moving in the same direction. Most of the anecdotal evidence, as well as the few original documents we've unearthed, seem to support this.

Though I have nothing solid, my gut has always told me that the Princesses were more akin to Seraphim, in that they were extensions of the will of the High Lord Walt, and not entirely separate entities (though certainly their worship seems to have taken a life of its own at times).

If only we could see more clearly....

EmberLeo: I believe it depends on the perspective from which one studies. The evidence available from messages passed within the cult suggests that while the overall church officially allowed for the existence of such subset practices, the formal practice within the cult rarely if ever acknowledged a direct connection with the Mouse King.

Progressive evidence shows that the primary symbol of the cult - a fairy-tale castle - later became the dominant symbol of the church, though the familiar tri-circle of the Mouse King remained relevant in all other areas of worship.

SongCoyote: This cycle of separation and reconnection seems parallel to a smiliar cycle seen in classiscal story archetypes. One wonders if it was all planned - the apparent schism based on essential dogma (or mousema, if you will) could actually have been a cover planned by the very hierarchy of the Mouse Church. It made - or was the result of making - a lot of important figures in the pantheon less significant as time passed, yet those figures were never really gone - they just faded into the very fabric of the Church's being. This is very similiar to many of the Catholic and Christian sects that sprang up around specific saints or manifestations of the Great Mother Mary. No one was ever able to figure out whether that was a plan of their hierarchy, either.

In the end, planned or not, what began as a schism actually appears to have strengthened The Mouse. As we continue to piece together evidence we'll get a better picture of what happened in the Great War with Pixar.

EmberLeo: It does appear to have been an allowance of the Church for greater feminine empowerment. Such a movement would require at least nominal detachment from the patriarchal images of the original church. Many have pointed out the prominent roles of the Minnie and Daisy as embodiments of female power, but the argument seems to have focused on how their roles are essentially supportive to the dominant male figures of the Mouse and Duck. It should be noted that The Mouse never refers to Minnie, nor does The Duck ever refer to Daisy.

Though some heretics have argued that The Duck could, in fact, be Daffy, a symbol appropriated from a more mature, archaic pantheon by the dominant, reconstructionist culture, this theory is generally discarded. Nevertheless, images of a rabbit called "Roger" later appear to compete with the provincial images of "Bugs", though with little success. This holds no significance within the Cult of Princesses at all, but seems far more significant relative to the more benevolent Sects of Anthropomorphism centered on the Lion King and those talking Side Kicks considered to be more accessible to the common man, or main character.

SongCoyote: One of the fascinating side effects of the rise of the Sect of Anthropomporphism is its manifestation in the shamanistic and animistic worship of idealized animal traits, such as manifested in the Society for Creative Anthropomorphism, or SCA as it was called. Their habitual dressing in ritualized garb that "transformed" them into human-animal hybrids seemed both a celebration of the sort of symbolism that The Mouse Church idealized and a return to some well-documented conceptualization of "our animal brothers" practiced in ancient American aboriginal tribes.

Archival evidence suggests that The Mouse Church used these images to bring their holy Spirits to life at their Meccas in what was once Anaheim (now merely part of the State of Los Angeles) and in what is now the Sunken State of the Southeast. By allowing their clergy to invest themselves with "the spirit of the Mouse" or other holy beings they sought to offer (or at the very least, portray) a bridge between the Divine and the Seeker. It was effective, as well, and I believe it made the believers of the time even more fervent, especially as such images appeal so well to young hearts and minds.

EmberLeo: Let us not forget the more dedicated monastic orders of "Furries", who formed entire communities living together in intimate brotherhood. Their methods were not, of course, for everyone, but the depth of understanding they brought to the Anthropomorphic Sex Sects was indispensible once it's nature was understood.

It is truely unfortunate that so many of those orders were later excommunicated during the Dark Times.

SongCoyote: Indeed, let us not forget them! I had meant to get to them in my example, but one only has much time.

The Furries' struggles to be understood were very hard on them, especially (as so often happens in any subculture) it was the more extremist factions among them that got the most attention - such as those subsects whose rites looked more like bacchanalia than shamanistic journeys. Our findings of personal records have done a lot to dispel some of the myths surrounding the Furries (for example, tales of actual transformation appear to be rarer than believed, or at least hoped for) but they still remain one of the more misundertsood members of the Great Church.

There were a few among the Furries who did not seem to mind their excommunication - perhaps even welcomed it - but that was before they learned what it mean to be cut from the Church.

EmberLeo: It sounds like you have done more research in this area than I. I would love to compare notes between the practices of the orders of Furries - especially the Order of the Lion King, the Order of the Lady and Tramp, and the Order of Companions.

I have often seen elements of their practices within the Princess Cult - especially amongst those dedicated to Ariel of the Water, but I have not had the research materials necessary to form a true thesis on the subject.

Returning to the topic of the Great War, EmberLeo said: Ahh, Pixar. Their structuralistic tendancies never quite suited the Church, did they? But their popularity was undeniable.

I believe "war" is a misnomer, however, preferring "schism". The true jihads were with PDI/Dreamworks and the Brothers Warner. I am at times amazed at the lack of insight on the part of these other factions that it did not occur the elder to pair with the younger, but instead they fought in all directions at once for dominance that they could not hope to seize.

SongCoyote: Now I consider it I must concur: schism is a much more appropriate term. A true alliance between Dreamworks and Warner might have prevented the Scourge that Mickey's Inquisitors brought about during the Dark Times of Disney. To imagine those once beloved characters becoming so dark! ...but they didn't believe they were doing wrong, only that their vision was the best for all. Sometimes I think the only reason Pixar remained alive is the fanatical ground troops they appeared with after their separation from the church. Truly it seems as if they were suddenly inspired by something far greater than themselves, and though they tried The Church never did rein them back in once they cut their ties.

So much got better once The Dark One was routed out of the Mouse Church's hallowed halls. Things started to look better, even as more secular events got worse.

EmberLeo: Now that you mention it, there are those who theorize, though with little proof, that the underlying support for Pixar came from sources not unrelated to the supporters of Warner. They cite such ambiguous connections as the similarity in humors, and moral standing.

While it is true that neither group has ever been as puritanistic as The Mouse even at his most liberated, such conspiracy theories are not to be considered as more than idle chatter.

SongCoyote: The Secret Alliance? I agree - I think it was little more than a rumor. The fascinating thing is when the Church actually seemed to reflect the mores and imagery of some of its fallen sects. Their success was mixed, but for all their apparent desire for dissociation with those who once stood within their hallowed halls they certainly seem to have embraced some... interesting ideas, no doubt quite out of keeping with some of the older Church members' ideals.

Still, better that they play at being good animists than burn them, eh?

EmberLeo: I believe that, like the Princess Cult, the church merely came to understandings that their hold on the spirit of the people would not last if they could not find ways to meet the needs of more of the people. Such jihads and schisms may initially have served to establish their power, but in the long run only proved their limitations.

Ultimately, I think it was a healthy thing for the church to embrace some moderation of the ideals that they previously rejected, if their intent was truly to bring mirth to all.

SongCoyote: It got bad when there were bands of roving youth dressed in shorts and Polo shirts with Mouse-ears over their hearts, wearing Mouse-ear hats and brandishing Mouse-ear-engraved baseball bats, chanting...

"Hail, hail, fire and snow!
Only through the Mouse you'll know
Peace and joy, love and play
From all others turn away!"

...and dragging the heretics from their homes, breaking their heirloom Magic Mountain and Great America keepsakes. Anyone found with a Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk item is "snowed" to death - killed with thrown snowglobes - and their house burned.

Thus did the Great Mouse Church fall to the dark times....

And the first Mouse Pope, who had been immaculately conceived, then later born, on the It's A Small World ride, hung his head in shame....
songcoyote: (Default)
I was in one of Those Moods recently, and I told an online friend in whom I have a certain degree of trust that they could ask me anything they wanted. The first question wasn't much, but the follow up turned rather interesting. I gave them a choice from three topics: The Turning Point, The Power of Lies, and Edgy Sexual Fantasies.

They chose The Power of Lies, and what follows is a proofread and slightly expanded version of what I told them.

I was fairly young when I first experimented with falsehood. I watched others do it, and some of what they attempted seemed... amateurish. So I decided to be a bit more careful, a bit more canny... and I discovered that I had a talent for it. Note that while it wasn't as conscious a choice as that might make it sound, I am describing it through the wisdom of hindsight and the conceit of the storyteller. But it captures the flavor of it.

As time passed and I both improved my skill and realized some of its potential I started to rely on it, though I was careful about how and when. At least, that's what I told myself when I got that... twinge you get when you know you're doing something wrong, but you do it anyway. I started enjoying that twinge, and became more selective - but more crafty - in how and when I chose to employ my abilities.

I found out much later that this often happens to people who are becoming, or will become, Bards. The ones that don't manage to get control over themselves - who self-destruct, or turn to crime, or whatever - never get to the creative side, the service approach, of the true Bard.

More time passed, and along with my glib tongue came a nascent ability to discern the lies of others. I fostered that faculty, as it made my deceptions easier to craft. There were times when being able to come up with a tale constructed whole cloth from my imagination saved me from considerable trouble that I had, admittedly, got myself into. It also made me a more creative person in good ways: I play roleplaying games avidly, and constructing a world for people and interactive storytelling are greatly enhanced by having +3 Improvisational Bullshit. Theater games, too, became easier, as did my stage presence and ability to take on a character. For in a way, are these not all lies we tell to the audience? I *am* the Ghost! I *truly feel* the pain of the loss of my daughter / kingdom / horse!

More than once, though, my steps on this path brought me pain - and worse, brought pain to those around me. I lied to my friends, to my loved ones, to my family, and ultimately (as I'm sure some of you saw coming) a great deal to myself. And of course, from time to time I got caught, and the consequences were in some cases quite emotionally dire.

At one point I almost fell far enough to lose what talent I had discovered by engaging in a long-term lie that nearly destroyed the group relationship I described above. It happened in part due to a horrendous and long-term depression I got caught in, but I do not accept that as any sort of excuse. It was my choice to make, however unbalanced my brain chemistry might have been, and I made a poor one. Basically, I cheated: I sneaked off to have sex with someone outside said group... and it wasn't the first time I had deceived them about such things (though the previous instance had been within the group, and if that sounds complicated, well, it was. But that’s another story.)

Some lessons don't get learned the first time you crack, eh? Especially ones as rooted in depression as mine was. It took a lot of therapy for me to feel human again, and counseling for all of us so we could figure out how to deal with ourselves and each other again. I cannot thank my family enough for giving me more than one chance to get my figurative head out of my figurative ass. That they did so is a sign of their great love for me, and I work hard at not taking it for granted nowadays.

I still retain the silver tongue I developed during all this, and there are times when it serves me well in positive ways. It feeds my creativity, my courting, and my ability to be diplomatic; I have turned away from the unscrupulous path on which I once readily trod. At least, for the most part.

It's difficult to stay on the wagon, as it were - rather like an alcoholic, as there is an addictive quality to telling fibs and getting away with it. I'm still good at it, too, and in all ironic honesty, sometimes I give in to temptation. I typically confess afterward, though, and I have been training myself gradually not to indulge in those selfish moments. As well, I root out the lies I have told myself whenever I can, and seek help, whether through counseling or otherwise, when I cannot handle them on my own.

Because of all that, one of the things that really pisses me off (and very little does these days) is when I tell the absolute truth, as objectively as possible, and someone else's lie is believed instead. It happened a couple of years ago with a traffic accident.

But you know what? That's okay. Perhaps it's even penance or justice for what I have done in the past. Or perhaps it's just life; things don't always happen for a reason.

Besides, no long-term harm was done, and in the end, I know the truth, and I know that I told the truth. And at this point I live a life much more steeped in truth than I ever have.

And that's the Power of Lies.

Comments and questions are welcome <3

Light and laughter,
SongCoyote
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I found these thought-provoking questions on an artist's blog and liked them (and that artist's answers) enough that I wanted to post my own responses to them.

1. Would you rather be deaf or mute?

Mute, no question. I would still be able to effectively communicate via the written word (and eventually ASL). Not being able to hear music again would be devastating.

2. If you're a writer or an artist, which is more important to you: the purity of your expression or the impact it has on your readers or viewers?

I wish I could say that purity of expression was first for me, but while it is very important, I truly thrive on people's reactions to my creations. I'm also rather frightened to put myself at risk when delivering them, but I am fortunate enough to have received fairly good reviews of what little I have made public... and good golly I love that.

3. Under what circumstances, if any, is a group of people morally justified in taking an action that an individual would not be morally justified in taking?

Oof, a question of morality enforced by a majority? I definitely tend to have a distrust of the group-mind, at least as it exists today. The person whose blog I found this on had this to say, and I agree wholeheartedly: "Ideally major decisions would be reached by consensus... and yet I can't help but think of a quote from Men In Black, of all places - "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals." I have to agree with this - I can trust an individual. I will never trust people as a whole."

4. Are there any types of people that you really, truly hate? If so, what motivates them and how is it different from and how is it similar to what motivates you?

I am not a being of hate. Even the insane neocons that seem bent on destroying the world I don't hate, and there are certainly no individuals I feel that way about. Dislike? Mistrust? Sure, I've got that (though less now than when I was younger; I'm mellowing with age). But I just don't seem to generate hate... for which I am grateful.

5. War, huh, yeah, what is it good for?

I used to respond "absolutely nothing" with true conviction, but in spite of recent misuse of the idea of war I've softened my stance a little to "maybe once in a rare occasion it can be useful to use military might to conclude a situation". And I do really mean rare.

6. Do you think you could raise another person's child with as much love and devotion as you could for a child of your own blood?

Oooh, this is so damn touchy. I'd certainly like to think so, and am even considering it via adoption. In spite of this I can totally see myself thinking "It's not even my kid!" in anger or frustration... but I certainly wouldn't voice such a thought. I hope.

7. What are the fundamental differences between computer intelligence and human intelligence?

Right now, the difference is so vast as to be very difficult to discuss in a short response. Eventually I believe we might be able to create an AI that is indistinguishable from a human, but even then there will always be differences (unless you're talking a REALLY long time in the future - I'm talking WAY past Star Trek - and assuming we don't kill ourselves off).

But to the actual question: the fundamental difference is in intuitive leaps based on seemingly random concatenations of information. I just don't think the quasi-random nature of that kind of inspiration can readily be modeled, or at least not in the foreseeable future. I look forward to being proven wrong, though, provided there's no Singularity ;)=

8. If your significant other was transformed into a FIM-style pony, how would that change your feelings for and relationship with him/her/hir?

What fun that would be! Considering we've already done *ahem* intimate pony roleplaying, after we got over the initial shock I think we'd be just fine. Dealing with the consequences in the real world would be a challenge (especially if she were the only one to whom it happened) but my xenophilic nature and sapiosexual approach to life would almost certainly mean that our relationship would continue quite happily.

9. Under what circumstances would you commit treason?

The moment it was the right thing to do. Laws, even the most stringent and harsh ones, are there as guides and guards. If it is my responsibility to do something because I am sure it is right, then I'll do it.

10. I don't care whether your posted answers are true or not, but did you lie to yourself when answering any of these questions?

Not in the least. I enjoy answering these sorts of things in part *because* I find myself able to do so honestly, sometimes even breaking down walls of which I had been unaware.

Besides, the few people who actually read this journal will not likely be too surprised by my answers, so even if I were inclined to be more circumspect this is a relatively safe forum for sharing bits of myself.

If you found these interesting enough to respond to yourself and are willing to share the results please let me know in a comment, as I am a curious creature ;)

Light and laughter,
SongCoyote
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Okay, time for a brief info dump on what's been occupying a lot of my mind and time the past couple of weeks: my father's health.
On Boxing Day my stepmom, Roz, told me he was in the hospital, so I drove down to see him. He had sepsis and a heart attack and almost died, but with great fortune recovered fairly well over the ensuing week. He went home New Year's Eve and while weak seemed to be getting better.
I drove down again yesterday at Roz's invite to attend their 21st anniversary party, on arrival discovered he was back in the hospital because he was getting weaker and short of breath. Current (and very probable) diagnosis: congestive heart failure. So... not a good long-term prognosis. He's now recovering (again) and getting medications to keep him going, and will got home (again) in a couple of days... but he's not going to live a lot longer.
As you might imagine this is taking up a fair amount of my mental bandwidth. If I'm busy or short or distracted or just not around for a while, I hope you'll forgive me as I face my father's mortality, and through his, my own.

I am still finding humor (he is, too) and making as much joy as I can in my life, and I will continue to do so; that's part of my Path. And so I close wishing you all a wonderful weekend and many smiles, as I will find as well.

Light and laughter,
SongCoyote
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A few thoughts on open relationships, as I said them to someone who asked for advice.

First off, open relationships are challenging, and definitely not for everyone. You are hopefully aware of how much communication a good relationship requires - especially a LDR as you currently have. Well, each additional person multiplies the complexity if you are truly being open about what you're doing. And that's what it comes down to: being open, honest, and compassionate with your choices, including compassionate to yourself. A little selfishness is okay, so long as that doesn't rule your choices or override how you treat others.

So what do you do about it? (Please note that I'm better at this in person where I can interact and ask questions, so please pardon me if I include stuff that you feel isn't directly relevant to your situation.) Well, there are two people involved in this decision: you and him. If you want an open relationship that still has him at its core, that's fine so long as you tell him that. Before you start such a conversation, though, you both need to consider all of the following (plus anything else that comes up; this is just a start): what happens when you develop an emotional attachment to someone else? What about sex with other people? Are you both permitted to behave in the same ways? (The answer to that one should ideally be "yes", though "I won't but you can" is acceptable if you can establish that it's truly heartfelt.) Are you interested in continuing to date others even after you're together full time? Are you actually seeking other lovers / life-mates / etc. or just getting some human contact while waiting to be with him?

Give each other time to come up with answers, then get together and compare them. Be open, honest, and direct; dancing around the subject will make it harder and will (not can, will) make it too easy to continue dancing until you can't tell what the truth of the matter really is. Find which answers you can compromise on and which are "it must be this way". If you can find sufficient common ground, make an agreement... but be prepared at any time, even immediately after making it, to re-negotiate if the situation changes. We're tricky critters, us humans, and even after careful consideration we don't always know our own minds and hearts. Be patient with yourselves and each other, be sure to listen as well as be willing to speak up, and keep on communicating. The discussions you'll have as a result of this have a good chance of enacting change in you, in him, and in your relationship - and generally, open communication only improves relationships, even if that "improvement" isn't what you expected or desired.

And above all, through the whole process, remember that he's likely as nervous and unsure about all this as you are. Be as kind as you can without compromising your core values, whatever they may end up being.

That's a start, and enough for now, I think. If you'd like to discuss it more or have more questions, please e-mail me at SongCoyote at yahoo. I am glad to help where I can.

....
Recorded here so I don't lose the threads of this thought :) Cross-posted to LiveJournal.

Light and laughter,
SongCoyote

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