Sunday, 30 August 2009

Anne, the Most Happy

No post for a while because I've been setting up "Pagan Britain" email community.

Also lots of Y Mabinogi reading: "Rhiannon" by Gruffydd arrived from the library, and "Celts and Aryans." Oh and a busy day getting Tal enrolled at college.


Thoroughly enjoying the Anne Boleyn Files - one of my greatest heroines together with her daughter Bess. I hate it that Anne is usually shown as a sexy vamp, ignoring her fine mind, especially her significant religious influence, and her acute political acumen.

I am surprised though that Claire on the Anne Boleyn Files doesn't explore the overriding issue of Anne's maternity. It deserves a blog section on its own Claire. I will outline the plot here, including the staggering effect this issue had on Britain's future! and the sexual politics that contributed to Anne's downfall.

I agree with Claire that Henry wanted the impossible. He wanted the independent intellectual Anne: he absolutely adored her ability to companion his mind and soul as well as his body. But, once they MARRIED she was his WIFE and QUEEN.

This was a relatively impersonal role to play. Anne herself was not bred to be a royal wife, and she failed to adapt from high hearted mistress, to dignified queen.

It is worth noting that Anne and Henry are by no means unusual. Through the ages men with a bit going for them have yearned after the independent woman. But once won, the story shifts abruptly especially if she submits to marriage. Suddenly she is a WIFE, and she is judged very differently. What is MINE should be reassuring, supportive, not unsettling and challenging.

Many an independent couple has fallen foul of this stereotype I think.

But more than any other reason, more than making an enmity of Cromwell, more than opening up a precedent for other ambitious women (or their families) was Anne's maternity. She did not bear a living son, any more than Katherine had before her. Both women were rejected for this, although both had been greatly loved and honoured for a time.

I believe that if Anne had borne a son she could pretty easily have seen Cromwell off and other aspirant women too. Henry would have adored her not anly as his fiery companion of heart and soul and mind, but as his Madonna, Mother of the Royal Prince. This was the crux of her power, her magic, more than any other source.

Anne DID conceive a son. By birthing Elizabeth she disappointed Henry but he rallied and "forgave" her. He still came to her bed and she conceived again, this time a son. Of course they did not know that for certain, but she would have strongly assured the King of it.

What went wrong was one of those strange, almost eerie turning points of history. Henry was a strong virile man of 44. On 24 January 1536 he had a fall during a joust. He was unconscious and carried into the palace. Seeing him as if dead, and told he would die, Anne reacted with deep shock. She miscarried their boy child.

Had Henry not fallen as he did, Anne was likely to have had a healthy boy, for she had borne a healthy child before.

The tragic incident also changed Henry forever. From being active and manly he was forced to live as a semi-invalid for the rest of his life. Any active older man finds this tough, but this was a man used to getting his own way, a powerful King. His body was broken, a failure – and so was hers.

He became increasingly tyrannical, partly to demonstrate his power still, but quite possibly because he had suffered a brain injury in the fall.

This was no longer the tender lover, the jovial friend, Anne and others had known. Henry became spiteful, a petty bully, and unlovable. A proud woman such as Anne would have found him hard to bear in his unpredictable rages and self pity.

Whether or not his brain was damaged, and this does seem likely, we do know that Henry lived with a wound in his leg that would not heal, and caused him frequent pain. A persistent hurt that will not improve drains energy and optimism; and this pampered prince had little experience of coping with lengthy or permanent physical limitation.

Anne had loss to bear, but a miscarriage for her was not the end of the world - for her on her own. She could look to try again. But the king was older, and he had gone through all this before with Catherine, dead baby after dead baby after dead baby over two decades.

For Henry his tragedy in 1536 was immense. He had lost his manhood in two huge ways.

His baby son gone, the hope of England reduced to a bloody flux. We know he was a tender father to all his children, so this was not only his fear and loss as a sovereign. No doubt he felt the death of the little boy too. But more than anything he had failed his dynasty, failed his colossal father, the shrewd conqueror Henry VII.

It was still part of being a sacred king that he should be "fit", whole, healthy and fertile. Henry was none of that now. In ancient times he would have been sacrificed, or forced into exile for a king must be a perfect specimen.

Possibly Henry was always at heart insecure. Brought up as the younger indulged brother to Arthur the serious Prince groomed to rule, Henry had not expected, nor been expected, to become a King. His childhood was to be treated as less important, a playboy.

Brother Arthur’s death as a young man thrust Henry unprepared into the direct royal lineage. Significantly he was the one who insisted on being Your Majesty, to reinforce on his grandeur. His great father had never needed that. But now His Majesty was failing – yet again – at this most sensitive and intimate task: to provide a son for his realm. What the meanest peasant or potboy could do, he could not. (He had had illegitimate sons, but that meant little.)

Secondly his own personal strength had gone too. His world had closed down, shrunk to an indoor, limited, observer life, seeing other men hunting and jousting and dancing - the things he had so loved and so excelled. To sit about, to hobble with a stick, when once he leaped ran and rode - this was bitterly cruel. He did not help himself by overeating for comfort, becoming bulky, putting yet more strain on his leg. Henry did not face old age gracefully.

His double loss, with the horror and frustration of long years behind him with Catherine's many dead babies, the prospect of yet more of the same misery with Anne, plus the agony of his unhealed leg wound, pain in his head, and raging emotions out of control; Henry was in a bad way. Certainly he was in no state to rise up smiling, comfort his Lady Anne, bounce into bed and try again. Her comparative youth and health would also be hard to bear as a contrast to his weakness.

In the grip of great loss, depression and fear, many people even today consider whether they are “cursed”, jinxed, dogged with “bad luck.” It is so much easier to think that some outside target for our pain and anger is to blame, instead of a huge daunting complex of events we cannot control.

If we are cursed then we can get the curse lifted, and regain control. But to solve a complex situation of misfortune requires long gruelling effort and courage to work through. Even then there is no guarantee of success.

No wonder the market for protection magic, removing curses, is as brisk as it ever was. Henry did not live in an age of science with technology all about him as its result. That age was just beginning, still on a shaky basis. He was surrounded by priests, prayers – and he lived with suppressed fear that his great rebellion against the Pope had set off divine retribution. The God of the Bible had after all always targeted sons: Abraham's Isaac, the Egyptians' first born, and his own Jesus. Henry had good reason to fear the hand of God.

But in his extremity there was a way out. The priesthood was clear that the cause of sin was always female. Had he not been tempted just as Adam had been tempted? By a beautiful women who had spoken to him of freedom, and offered it to him with her body?

Hurt, grieving, afraid, desperate for escape, the King had a sweet young girl placed upon his knee. Quiet Jane, who did not argue, who was so young, so gently healthy, so suited to motherhood.

Once a lover turns against his love, his hatred can be as intense, as deep as his love once was. It can be aggravated by the haunting of former times. Henry knew he was still vulnerable to Anne so he refused to see her, in case she reached his heart again. She had to die to cleanse him of his curse.

If Henry had not fallen, if Anne had borne her boy and he lived, there would have been no Bloody Mary, and no Elizabeth. There would have been a glorious Edwardian Age perhaps, and a very different history with no Stuart kings, no German Georges.
Perhaps there would have been no witch craze for one thing. The fear of a powerful woman might not have been invoked by a king's pained nightmare about Anne, his determined Queen and Great Whore. Nor would her mighty daughter have killed Mary Stuart, and left her son the Stuart king motherless, in terror of strong women. A world without the Malleus Maleficarum would nave been better off.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Trading eggs

From the Daily Mail today:
Egg donation can mean "ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome as a result. She is now in early menopause and infertile herself. Not only that, she is unable to walk and in a wheelchair."

Since the medical risks to the donor are so high, she should be compensated for taking the risk.
£10 - £12,000 sounds quite low to me.

Perhaps the prejudice here is that women are buying and selling motherhood, that great sacred cow. Don't get me wrong, I venerate mothering too! But our strong feelings block us thinking sensibly about it.

Also there is a cruelly sentimental idea that WOMEN should do helpful things for nothing, or offer their bodies for nothing.

Unless we abolish the rich and the poor, then richer people will buy physical services from poorer people. That can be cooking, cleaning, massage, prostitution, wet-nursing, organ donation and egg donation.
[Ignore Read more link - this is the full post.]

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Welfare scroungers

The indignation of those who want welfare mothers' money cut off, or their unnecessary children aborted, are understandable. They are also deeply ignorant of what social welfare is for. I say that without disrespect: few do know this.

Welfare is certainly in part idealistic, to ensure people and particularly children, do not starve, and do not die for lack of warmth and shelter. That is what would happen to these children if we did not pay welfare for them. It's not the feckless mother who matters, but the innocent child.

That's the idealistic part. The cold hard cash part, the much stronger reason for welfare is to consider what happens without it? Crime and riots.
You think crime is bad now? Look at history where no one could walk anywhere alone.
The middle and upper classes carried swordsticks as a matter of course; the lower clawss carried knives.
Trees had to be cut back 10ft from a road by law so robbers could not hide in them. Think of that when you pop over to visit the parents on Sundays. Travellers always went in groups for safety.
Dead bodies had to be removed daily from the gutters which had frozen to death in the night, or starved. Death by starvation is long drawn out and painful by the way.
To survive such harsh conditions the poor put their children to work at 5 or 7 years. Little kids doing dangerous dirty work. One big option was prostitution naturally.

But a lot of that didn't matter because the rich, the bankers of those days, still made their money. What really annoyed them was the damage to property if the poor rioted. Unfortunately that could mean warehouses, offices, even wealthy homes being burned down.

Another thing that made welfare attractive ws that dirty starving people get diseased, and many infectious diseases are stupidly unaware of clss differences. The beggar on the street could infect the respectable who came near them. Oh dear.

So welfare was developed to keep the poorest in moderate comfort so they wouldn't in desperation riot, burn, and otherwise damage the all important property. That welfare gradually led to a reduction in violent crime was also a positive as knifing did affect the middles and uppers, sadly. But it did work because ordinary people were able to stop carrying weapons everywhere.
If the recipients of welfare lie about stoned or drunk, so much the better. Addled heads don't organise riots and are ineffective at serious crime. There's burglary and mugging yes bit that really only affects the less well off who can't afford gated estates, chauffeurs and bodyguards. Poor things life is tough.

Given this kind of rational agenda, kieeping the very poor in a state of uneducated stupidity, drunk, drugged, messy, incapable, is all much better than having them out and about, starving and desperate causing trouble for their betters.

Baby P still might have survived this benevolent welfare state. Only the Social Workers were too busy tapping keyboards updating their reports for ContactPoint. This is a project which is now admitted to be a colossal failure. 80% of Social Workers' time was spent on feeding its machines. Not much time for looking after little boys.

Of course Social Workers are a dim lot, the dregs of the professions. Anyone who can get a real professional job wouldn't apply. But for badly educated products of state schools with few qualifications it's a well paid niche.

Once it was a not bad profession but it has gone down so badly the good older staff left years ago leaving young inexperienced (mostly) women who haven't had children and have no idea what good parenting is.

But oh how exciting to be able to bustle into people's lives, ask them lots of personal questions and write grown up reports about it! That this is done on the idea of "helping" is positively orgasmic though there is little understanding that helping = interference.

Most genuine families in need would benefit from a sensible home help to do some housework, get shopping, and teach how to do these things together with basic child discipline. Clipboards, meetings and reports are not what is required. But rolled up sleeves and washing up is a bit, well, shabby compared to toting a briefcase to meetings.

ContactPoint which drained what little intelligence and energy Social Workers had, was established following the Laming Report (after Victoria Climbie died of hunger and abuse in the bath). It's now being discontinued I believe hacving cost us billions of public money.
The word was at the time that Victoria really died because the SWs didn't want to visit her as her auhnt was scary and aggressive. So much nicer to visit nice families, who were cowed and polite, for a nice cup of tea. While Victoria died.
No doubt something similar happened to Peter, SWs eagerly investigating nice pleasant healthy families wrecking their lives with the spectre of the child stealers. While Peter died.

All right, if you still want to stop the Underclass from breeding because welfare is admittedly getting a bit expensive - about the same as spend on the military both are to protect us from violence. So let's look at how to stop ladies like Peter's mother from breeding.

Some suggest cutting benefits on the 3rd child. But that would still create a brood of 3 useless mouths and a useless mother.
So why not stop benefits after the first child?
That would cut the numbers of the Underclass in half in a generation. Neat.
All right what do we do when she has the 2nd child? Let her manage on the same money? Of course the children (both) would suffer but then they do anyway fed on junk food, TV and violence.
So perhaps we take away the second child so a deserving family can adopt it. Pretty soon we'd have shortage of adopting parents.
Never mind, China shows the way. Pregnant women are not difficult to control and can be easily taken to hospital and aborted. A little upsetting yes but so much better for everyone. Might as sterilise at the same time, so much more efficient.

Of course there will be quite a few cases of error where mothers making serious attempts to work are aborted and sterilised forcibly. But sacrifices have to be made for a sane society to exist.

After a while it becomes much tidier to collect up such mothers/ families, and put them in big compounds. Give them labout to keep them out of mischief. Dormitory accommodation is a LOT cheaper than flats and houses and catering on a mass basis much cheaper too.
In fact they don't really need money, and clothes can be issued in a plain type. As they will begin to look quite grey and different to ordinary people their guards will be rather prone to bullying them but that'll act as a deterrent for others to stay out of the Underclass.

It's a problem that their cheap labour, and their older children doing "work experience" undercuts other slightly less poor people trying to earn a living. More people end up faqlling in to the compound way of life but hey they'll be in out of the way places where WE don't have to think about them.

As for their disabled children probably best to painlessly end their sad little lives. Why prolong their useless existences? Tidy them up for heravens sake.

Now the rest of us can get on with our respectable tidy lives. We'd earn quite low wages with free State labour being used alongside us.
We'd live in terror of losing that badly paid work because that would mean ending up in the Compounds, or as some call them, camps. With forced labour, disabled kids killed off neatly, our other children candidates for adoption by the rich. Some of the camp children could be sent to war which would mop up some of their numbers.

But hey sacrifices have to be made. It would at least be a sane, rational society. The banks would make their huge profits. MPs and company directors would make their money too.

Wonderful. Hitler would be delighted.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Canu Gwyl Lleuad / Lughnasa singing

Went to the woods and sat by the big pools brushing out my long hair and making many triple plaitings.

Water was brown like darkened bronze, smooth silky reflecting birch, ash trees with golden highlights where afternoon sun sprinkled the trunks of the trees sinking deep down to Annwvn under the waters.
So deep so clearly mirrored the underworld under but around, through, in.
A woodpigeon spoke of Goddess peace.

Walked through the lush green choked woods along by the stream up past the Two Trees who rest my back gently moving yet stillness as I lean back eyes flying up into spattered leaves against deep sky blue like a picturebook.
The waterfall is dark but busy in the shadows, voices of falling water busy busy, rushing over the knotty roots.
The Oak in the Water stands quiet over her pool as the waters slush the overflow at her feet.
Up the bridleway a soft mulch of mud lies sculpted across the gate stroking the side of my feet with cool.

In the top meadow many perfumes of flowers fighting for attention are almost dizzying but a sharp note beneath the sweetness saves the atmosphere from overkill.
Small wasps work the white valerian clusters peaceably beside me; there is cool shadowed grass around my bare feet while fuzzy warm sun lies on my neck.

Sitting on my mighty log throne with soft skirts spread I was surrounded by soaring trees flinging a mass of dense green multicoloured green pride of green in millions of tiny pieces of green way up high in an amphitheatre of green.
The Ash singing delicate so I sang her too.
Horse Chestnut insisting on his say even outspeaking the Oaks today.
Above and around the brilliant blue of halcyon summer sky reaching limitless where was this moment who was I so very me.
I sang them all and they gifted me with sweet voice but also answered by cynical crows lest I become proud and forget the dark beneath the golden day.
Alone without humans yet so embraced I was, sitting in the high meadow beside the sloping hill above the waterdeeps.

Returning, things happened normally hard to do but they were nothing to me today.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Destroyed masculinity?

A new book claims that women are destroying men's masculinity which is why so many men have sunk into passivity and failure. Groan!

I love it when my husband cooks, it’s very sexy. Why on earth should I be irritated when he fusses in the kitchen? as the book suggests I should! Providing food is very masculine.
Nor do either of us find it unattractive for me to fill up the car – what am I supposed to do when out driving for heaven’s sake? Run it dry?
I’m certainly grateful that he and my son heave the heavy bins out as I CAN do it but it’s so much easier for them.
The examples given are limited and odd.

But there certainly is a problem. The “lazy teenager” husband in the article I read definitely rings a bell.

My own analysis after 20 years of marriage is that men are not programmed for equality much and we don't train boys to handle it where it counts. They are creatures of extremes: either dominance or passivity with nothing in between.
If men feel they are in charge, the boss, they will often do well – though not always as no one is perfect.
But if someone else is in charge, they don’t cope well at all. They become sulky teenagers complete with passive resistance, sabotage, irrational tempers and rages, refusal to get help or advice, parasitism about money etc.
I try to deal with it by making sure my husband has certain things like the car that are “his.” That works OK but the trouble is you can’t split everything up like that.

So in areas that must be shared it simply comes down to who handles it best. If he does, fine. No problem.

But if not, inevitably, yes there has to be some of that feminine stuff because men are just not equipped to handle inferiority. Which really comes down to lies.

Pretending he did his part better than he did. Repairing what he messes up, but doing it discreetly so it doesn’t notice. Letting others think he does more than he does, and does it better. Feminine wiles like this are filth, but men aren’t ready to cope without them.

Doing this feminine filth is damaging to both. It infantilises the man that he does actually need it, and it damages the woman who must provide it to ensure the family works out.
It is most bitter to provide most of the money for a family, make sure bills are paid, things get fixed, events organised etc – and elaborately pretend you’re not doing it.
If anyone does realise what is going on a female provider is not seen as heroic, admirable, worthy of help and support, as a man would be. She is instead either a ballbreaker or a stupid exploited victim letting a man live off her.

Try not doing it though, give him “time” or “space” to do one of those things, and watch the mess appear if this isn't one of his skill areas.

With children at stake you can’t let that happen. Certain things just must get done right. Nor do I really see why my security financially, or my basic comforts at home, should be put at the mercy of someone who won't look after them properly all to save him a bit of accurate self assessment.
On some things there isn't much room for a man to mess up. Those things have to get done by the best person for the job and the other must either defer, or try to learn better skills.

Women are simply much better at recognising they aren't good at something and either supporting the person who is, or learning to do better, or both. It comes out very early on in children learning things which is why girls get ahead if they are not artificially held back. Boys give up and flop into failure if they don't zoom to the top straight away, where girls cry, then try again.

There is no good answer right now. Somehow though we HAVE to find a way for men to learn how to handle not being dominant, and not collapsing into useless lumps as a result.
It would help if there wasn’t this constant emphasis on masculinity meaning being in charge, being dominant, being deferred to. Masculinity is gorgeous in its distinctively male bodies, its capacity to father a child, its strength to carry heavy stuff, an ability to stay detached and nurturing when we women occasionally need to collapse.
It would so help if men could be shown what we really appreciate, instead of being fed a pretence. Every time a man carries something heavy I am delighted in his masculinity. To him it's a shrug, minor, just as many of my female sensitivities he finds so useful are nothing to me.
That kind of mutual respect is REAL.

Stop implying men should be exaggeratedly strong and dominant and they could have breathing space to get used to not being exaggeratedly strong and dominant. Stupid articles telling women to apply more feminine lies do NOT help.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Wildlife disturbed by human sex!

"A wildlife trust has ordered bird-watchers to stop having sex in bird hides."
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust refers to "... certain things going on at nature reserves that shouldn’t. ... certain noises coming from the bird hides ... could possibly disturb or cause harm to the animals that live there."

Er, does Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust realise that animals and birds actually have sex?

Animals and birds are not fluffy toys you know. They'll know exactly what "certain noises" mean and will know that the humans occupied with "certain things going on" won't be any threat to them at all.

Said humans will be rather taken up with what they're doing!

Quoted from Daily Mail report. Ignore 'read more' this is the full post.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Should a man pay out for almost 20 years after a quick fling?

A young woman is chasing a wealthy male star to try and make him pay for her choice to mother, because they had a quick fling.
I find this both demeaning to women's independence and dignity, and seriously unfair on men.

There is absolutely no reason why a man should be expected to "be a gentleman" after a quick fling. Why on earth should he pay out substantial money over almost two decades because of a quickie?

Women who enter into quick sex for fun should take responsibility for their own biology. We are not the same as men, so sex can have far greater consequences.
The female choice is either to refuse fast sex, and insist on commitment in order to cover the possibility of a child; or use birth control efficiently and accept the small risk of getting caught out after a fling.
If you do get caught, that comes out of your choice. No one forces you into having a fling so grow up and deal with how your body is made.

The old Celtic laws by the way covered different types of marriage, seven in fact. These ranged from the life commitment we supposedly honour today, to the serial commitments we actually have; to short term contracts either publicly known or private.

It would be far better for us to stop this quasi Christian pretence that there is only one kind of marriage. The Celts worked out a good syste. Read Hywel Dda or the Brehon Laws. All very sensible.

Sadly the forces of so-called 'family values' are fanatic about going the other way: back to bonded women, patriarchy, the sexual double standard etc.