pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“[W]e can always immunize a theory against refutation. There are many such immunizing tactics; and if nothing better occurs to us, we can always deny the objectivity—or even the existence—of the refuting observation. Those intellectuals who are more interested in being right than in learning something interesting but unexpected are by no means rare exceptions.”

—Karl Popper, The Philosophy of Karl Popper, ed. Paul Schlipp

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Repent

Mar. 29th, 2017 10:09 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“People don’t do what they believe in, they just do what’s most convenient, then repent.”

—Bob Dylan, “Brownsville Girl”

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (The Siren)

In April 2008, around the anniversary of the death of my Aunt Maxine, I started seeing 11:11 every day when I looked up at the clock. Not every time I looked at the clock because 11:11 only comes twice a day for those of us on a 12-hour clock, but often I’d feel compelled to look at the clock at this precise time. It went on for over two weeks and became rather unsettling.

What was the Universe trying to tell me? Something significant, or just that random chance sometimes gets stuck, throwing “heads” 85 times in a row?

Then I remembered my Aunt Maxine’s birthday was November 11 and wondered if it was her saying, “Hey, I’m still around. Don’t worry so much.” This was a comforting thought and the creepiness factor went away, although the 11:11’s didn’t. I kept seeing them for weeks after.

So I did what any semi-rational human being would do in such circumstances. I googled it.

Golly. There are a universe of beliefs around the coincidence of seeing 11:11. Yeah, I still (mostly) call it a coincidence, even though my personal anecdote seems to convey meaning, because post hoc theorizing and confirmation bias and because of all the fuzzy and convoluted theorizing I read online.

For instance, there’s this guy:

Um. I did scurry to my tarot to see what card was 11. It’s Justice. I thought, “If it’s the Hanged Man I’m going to mess myself.” Because for me that relates to 9/11 and I just didn’t know if I could stand that. The Hanged Man was 12.

Mr. Fuller is right about it being more important for me to find my own answers, but I looked online for more data points.

Uri Geller has a lot to say on 11:11 but I can’t tell you all of it. I fell asleep about halfway through his article. In all fairness to Mr. Geller, this strange phenomenon happened to me on more than one article on 11:11, which doesn’t always coincide with clear and concise theorizing.

Of course, no consideration of 11:11 would be complete without this:

However, some of the folklore surrounding 11:11 is charming, like the idea that if you look up to see it your wish will come true. Or when you see it repeatedly it means that you are beginning to “awaken” spiritually, and 11:11 is the indicator that you’re on the right path. Some believe it’s a sign that your angels are listening and you should ask for their guidance.

Other beliefs are darker, like the theory that 11:11 is a portend of great earth changes or history on the brink of something momentous…Actually, I don’t want to think on that one too hard, given recent seismic events in politics. I much prefer the belief that when you see 11:11, you should stop and consider the significance and importance of the moment in which you live. Of the moment, in the moment.

But Maxie, if that was you, I love ya, babe.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (TheSiren)

In April 2008, around the anniversary of the death of my Aunt Maxine, I started seeing 11:11 every day when I looked up at the clock. Not every time I looked at the clock because 11:11 only comes twice a day for those of us on a 12-hour clock, but often I’d feel compelled to look at the clock at this precise time. It went on for over two weeks and became rather unsettling.

What was the Universe trying to tell me? Something significant, or just that random chance sometimes gets stuck, throwing “heads” 85 times in a row?

Then I remembered my Aunt Maxine’s birthday was November 11 and wondered if it was her saying, “Hey, I’m still around. Don’t worry so much.” This was a comforting thought and the creepiness factor went away, although the 11:11’s didn’t. I kept seeing them for weeks after.

So I did what any semi-rational human being would do in such circumstances. I googled it.

Golly. There are a universe of beliefs around the coincidence of seeing 11:11. Yeah, I still (mostly) call it a coincidence, even though my personal anecdote seems to convey meaning, because post hoc theorizing and confirmation bias and because of all the fuzzy and convoluted theorizing I read online.

For instance, there’s this guy:

Um. I did scurry to my tarot to see what card was 11. It’s Justice. I thought, “If it’s the Hanged Man I’m going to mess myself.” Because for me that relates to 9/11 and I just didn’t know if I could stand that. The Hanged Man was 12.

Mr. Fuller is right about it being more important for me to find my own answers, but I looked online for more data points.

Uri Geller has a lot to say on 11:11 but I can’t tell you all of it. I fell asleep about halfway through his article. In all fairness to Mr. Geller, this strange phenomenon happened to me on more than one article on 11:11, which doesn’t always coincide with clear and concise theorizing.

Of course, no consideration of 11:11 would be complete without this:

However, some of the folklore surrounding 11:11 is charming, like the idea that if you look up to see it your wish will come true. Or when you see it repeatedly it means that you are beginning to “awaken” spiritually, and 11:11 is the indicator that you’re on the right path. Some believe it’s a sign that your angels are listening and you should ask for their guidance.

Other beliefs are darker, like the theory that 11:11 is a portend of great earth changes or history on the brink of something momentous…Actually, I don’t want to think on that one too hard, given recent seismic events in politics. I much prefer the belief that when you see 11:11, you should stop and consider the significance and importance of the moment in which you live. Of the moment, in the moment.

But Maxie, if that was you, I love ya, babe.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Attraction

Jan. 11th, 2017 09:53 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

—Blaise Pascal, The Art of Persuasion

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Attraction

Jan. 11th, 2017 09:53 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

—Blaise Pascal, The Art of Persuasion

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (The Siren)

trail-984198_960_720

There’s a fascinating book that I would half-recommend: Running With the Fairies: Towards a Transpersonal Anthropology of Religion by Dennis Gaffin. The first half of the book worked quite well for me, but I didn’t think the latter half of personal testimonies from people who believe they are reincarnated fairies or actual fairies in human bodies quite jelled. I support people believing whatever they like—and it harm none—but I had a problem with their adamant insistence that there is no such thing as a dark side to the fairies. All is sweetness and light in their Universe. Which flies in the face of millennia of human folklore and experience which sees the fairies as a tricksy lot, often inimical to humanity. The believers in this book put that down to superstition and ignorance, but I’m not so certain. People in past centuries may have been superstitious and ignorant, but in general were no more clever or no more stupid then we are. And they had a much vaster experience of the dark side of nature than most of us do these days. It’s easier to discount that chthonic world when you have electric lights and indoor plumbing. If there are such things as fairies, there may indeed be good ones, but I suspect most are at best ambivalent towards humans, and some may actually be malevolent.

But anyway, Dennis Gaffin. He’s an academic (a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Buffalo) who has done something quite rare: a serious study of contemporary Irish fairy belief. Academics are big on doing serious studies of the folk traditions of Buddhists or South Seas Islanders or Native Americans, et al., but there’s a prejudice against turning that same eye towards Western folk beliefs. It’s an inherently racist stand, I think, that Those People and their Quaint Beliefs are okay to study, but somehow Western belief structures must be dismissed as silly trash. It’s as if the people who are doing the studies have decided that First Worlders are “too good” to have such ideas, that they must be ruthlessly derided and suppressed by Western academia so we can preserve our collective First World reputation.

So Professor Gaffin runs an academic risk here. True, he’s an anthropologist who’s gone native, so to speak, and now perceives fairies his own self. Which further risks his academic reputation, I suppose, but his point of view straddling both worlds is fascinating to me. I feel a kinship to him.
Have I ever seen a fairy? No. Nor heard none, neither. Do I believe in fairies? That’s a thorny question. I believe in another world that cozies up to this one and sometimes leaks through. I suspect that Whatever takes many forms and some people—otherwise rational and solid citizens—see It as fairies. Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, devas, dakinis, djinn, angels, name your poison. It’s all part of the same bag: That Which Leaks Through.

It’s okay. I know you think I’m crazy. When I say I don’t care, I don’t mean it in a snotty or rebellious way. I mean that I made a conscious decision some time ago to share the things of the spirit as they come to me, in case someone else is having similar experiences and wondering if they’re nuts. I can’t answer the question of sanity, but I do know that I am a rational person who occasionally has trans-rational experiences.

When it comes to belief, experience is the core of it, an emotional heart-to-heart with something beyond the narrow confines of personal ego. It’s not a received wisdom, which is why religion often fails to convince. “Belief cannot be transferred,” says Professor Gaffin, “for it is a function of experience.” These things often seem to go hand-in-hand with a closeness to nature. As we move more and more away from the natural world and more into a mechanized, urbanized environment those experiences become more rare.

Scientific education is a great thing and a fundamentally good way of looking at the world. I highly recommend it. But even scientists (well, the rational ones) will admit they don’t have all the answers. There was a time when I was about ninety percent of the way towards atheist. I called myself agnostic, but I’d come to view the Universe as fairly mechanistic. At one point, I finally said, “Okay, I don’t believe there’s anything else.” The Universe decided to call my bet. Almost as soon as I’d uttered that sentence It sent me an extraordinary experience. Followed by another and another until I capitulated, swept up in what to me was irrefutable evidence of there being something else. Generally, I’ve been a great deal happier in my “defeat” than I was in my “victorious” skepticism.

Why me? Why was I sent experiential data? I haven’t a clue. That’s the thing about the Universe. It’s a big freaking mystery with big freaking mysterious ways. We wander down half-formed pathways with thick fog on either side and every once in a while the mists lift to reveal a dazzling view of sheer cliffs and the dramatic crashing of waves far below. Then the clouds return and we proceed on the path—but once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see that amazing sight. You’ve glimpsed the beauty and the peril lying just beyond the verge. You step carefully from that point on.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (TheSiren)

trail-984198_960_720

There’s a fascinating book that I would half-recommend: Running With the Fairies: Towards a Transpersonal Anthropology of Religion by Dennis Gaffin. The first half of the book worked quite well for me, but I didn’t think the latter half of personal testimonies from people who believe they are reincarnated fairies or actual fairies in human bodies quite jelled. I support people believing whatever they like—and it harm none—but I had a problem with their adamant insistence that there is no such thing as a dark side to the fairies. All is sweetness and light in their Universe. Which flies in the face of millennia of human folklore and experience which sees the fairies as a tricksy lot, often inimical to humanity. The believers in this book put that down to superstition and ignorance, but I’m not so certain. People in past centuries may have been superstitious and ignorant, but in general were no more clever or no more stupid then we are. And they had a much vaster experience of the dark side of nature than most of us do these days. It’s easier to discount that chthonic world when you have electric lights and indoor plumbing. If there are such things as fairies, there may indeed be good ones, but I suspect most are at best ambivalent towards humans, and some may actually be malevolent.

But anyway, Dennis Gaffin. He’s an academic (a Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Buffalo) who has done something quite rare: a serious study of contemporary Irish fairy belief. Academics are big on doing serious studies of the folk traditions of Buddhists or South Seas Islanders or Native Americans, et al., but there’s a prejudice against turning that same eye towards Western folk beliefs. It’s an inherently racist stand, I think, that Those People and their Quaint Beliefs are okay to study, but somehow Western belief structures must be dismissed as silly trash. It’s as if the people who are doing the studies have decided that First Worlders are “too good” to have such ideas, that they must be ruthlessly derided and suppressed by Western academia so we can preserve our collective First World reputation.

So Professor Gaffin runs an academic risk here. True, he’s an anthropologist who’s gone native, so to speak, and now perceives fairies his own self. Which further risks his academic reputation, I suppose, but his point of view straddling both worlds is fascinating to me. I feel a kinship to him.
Have I ever seen a fairy? No. Nor heard none, neither. Do I believe in fairies? That’s a thorny question. I believe in another world that cozies up to this one and sometimes leaks through. I suspect that Whatever takes many forms and some people—otherwise rational and solid citizens—see It as fairies. Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, devas, dakinis, djinn, angels, name your poison. It’s all part of the same bag: That Which Leaks Through.

It’s okay. I know you think I’m crazy. When I say I don’t care, I don’t mean it in a snotty or rebellious way. I mean that I made a conscious decision some time ago to share the things of the spirit as they come to me, in case someone else is having similar experiences and wondering if they’re nuts. I can’t answer the question of sanity, but I do know that I am a rational person who occasionally has trans-rational experiences.

When it comes to belief, experience is the core of it, an emotional heart-to-heart with something beyond the narrow confines of personal ego. It’s not a received wisdom, which is why religion often fails to convince. “Belief cannot be transferred,” says Professor Gaffin, “for it is a function of experience.” These things often seem to go hand-in-hand with a closeness to nature. As we move more and more away from the natural world and more into a mechanized, urbanized environment those experiences become more rare.

Scientific education is a great thing and a fundamentally good way of looking at the world. I highly recommend it. But even scientists (well, the rational ones) will admit they don’t have all the answers. There was a time when I was about ninety percent of the way towards atheist. I called myself agnostic, but I’d come to view the Universe as fairly mechanistic. At one point, I finally said, “Okay, I don’t believe there’s anything else.” The Universe decided to call my bet. Almost as soon as I’d uttered that sentence It sent me an extraordinary experience. Followed by another and another until I capitulated, swept up in what to me was irrefutable evidence of there being something else. Generally, I’ve been a great deal happier in my “defeat” than I was in my “victorious” skepticism.

Why me? Why was I sent experiential data? I haven’t a clue. That’s the thing about the Universe. It’s a big freaking mystery with big freaking mysterious ways. We wander down half-formed pathways with thick fog on either side and every once in a while the mists lift to reveal a dazzling view of sheer cliffs and the dramatic crashing of waves far below. Then the clouds return and we proceed on the path—but once you’ve seen it, you can’t un-see that amazing sight. You’ve glimpsed the beauty and the peril lying just beyond the verge. You step carefully from that point on.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Process

Apr. 15th, 2016 09:56 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“‘What I believe’ is a process rather than a finality. Finalities are for gods and governments, not for the human intellect.”

—Emma Goldman, “What I Believe,” New York World, July 19, 1908

 process4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Process

Apr. 15th, 2016 09:56 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“‘What I believe’ is a process rather than a finality. Finalities are for gods and governments, not for the human intellect.”

—Emma Goldman, “What I Believe,” New York World, July 19, 1908

 process4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Foma

Feb. 12th, 2016 10:03 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Live by the [harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

 happy4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Foma

Feb. 12th, 2016 10:03 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Live by the [harmless untruths] that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

 happy4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Certainty

Feb. 10th, 2016 10:30 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“To arrive at certainty, you need to start from a skeptical posture. The best scientists are impartial, not swayed by their own beliefs.”

—The Dalai Lama, Twitter, 25 May 2011

 certainty4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

Certainty

Feb. 10th, 2016 10:30 am
pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“To arrive at certainty, you need to start from a skeptical posture. The best scientists are impartial, not swayed by their own beliefs.”

—The Dalai Lama, Twitter, 25 May 2011

 certainty4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (The Siren)

El_Santuario_de_Chimayo_sm

El Santuario de Chimayo

I’ve long been fascinated by places of pilgrimage, about the spirit of a place that inspires ordinary people to leave the familiar and embark upon an arduous quest. One such place is El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico. I’ve wanted to visit it for a long time. I haven’t made it there yet, but a friend recently made the trip and brought me back some holy dirt.

You see, this tiny church, located between Taos and Santa Fe, has long had a reputation for its miraculous healing dirt. Its walls are lined with crutches, Lourdes-style, and letters from people who claim to have used the dirt dug out of its sacristy to cure their ailments. Most rub it on affected areas and say prayers, though some are said to ingest it. The church discourages this practice and remains neutral on the question of healing. Yet still the pilgrims come. Unlike many other places of pilgrimage, El Santuario hasn’t replaced its sweet, simple church with a grand cathedral, which is one of the reasons I’ve wanted to go there. Tens of thousands of people each year make the trek, some walking during Holy Week from Taos or Santa Fe or even Albuquerque as an act of penitence and devotion, payback for answered prayers, or seeking blessings. Some are said to make part of the walk on their knees in a more extreme act of devotion.

The dirt comes from a tiny well, call el pocito, and the thing is…it’s got to be refilled periodically from the nearby hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains because so many people come to scoop it out of the well: an estimated 25 to 30 tons a year. The pilgrims know this—the church doesn’t seek to hide it—and believe in the dirt’s power anyway.

chimayo_02

El pocito, Chimayo

My friend, knowing my interest, brought a plastic baggie of it to me. I mean no disrespect by calling it holy dirt—the church itself refers to it that way on its website, where you can buy folk art and receptacles to hold it. The dirt itself is very fine grain and reddish-brown, containing tiny pebbles, and resembles nothing so much as brownie mix with chopped walnuts. I had to resist the urge to dab my finger and take a taste. I love folk art, and I admit to buying some of their chachkies, some to hold my dirt, some just because I liked them.

chachkies_sm

Chachkies

I’ve never witnessed the pilgrimage to Chimayo, nor any of the acts of devotion associated with it. But I did witness such acts at the Basilica of La Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico City. I saw penitents crawl across the cobbled square in front of the church on their knees, heading towards the steps, up the aisle and to the altar. I saw a man and a woman. They were both older, maybe in their fifties or sixties. The woman wore a dress and kneeled on a cloth, pulling it forward with each “step” she took on her knees while family members hovered around with anxious faces. The man had only his pants between him and the cobbles. Both the man and the woman wore looks of pain—but determination. They would make this knee-walk of devotion.

IF

Basilica of La Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico City

I was 18 at the time and remember thinking they were crazy, that I would never make such a pledge to a deity, certainly never carry out such an act of devotion. I’m older now, and although I still would not make such a pledge (my knees would never hold up, for one thing), I no longer view their devotion as an act of insanity. These were ordinary people, maybe long time devotees, maybe touched for the first time by the awful and wonderful hand of deity. They made a sincere promise to that holy being and were trying with all their hearts—and their knees—to be faithful to that promise. How can I mock such faithfulness, such sincerity? I’m old enough now to know that I can’t mock them without doing damage to my own soul, my own seeking after truth.

And so it is with all pilgrimages, whether I share the belief of the pilgrims or not. I must respect their sincerity and their peaceful attempts to fulfill their promises to something beyond themselves.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (TheSiren)

El_Santuario_de_Chimayo_sm

El Santuario de Chimayo

I’ve long been fascinated by places of pilgrimage, about the spirit of a place that inspires ordinary people to leave the familiar and embark upon an arduous quest. One such place is El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico. I’ve wanted to visit it for a long time. I haven’t made it there yet, but a friend recently made the trip and brought me back some holy dirt.

You see, this tiny church, located between Taos and Santa Fe, has long had a reputation for its miraculous healing dirt. Its walls are lined with crutches, Lourdes-style, and letters from people who claim to have used the dirt dug out of its sacristy to cure their ailments. Most rub it on affected areas and say prayers, though some are said to ingest it. The church discourages this practice and remains neutral on the question of healing. Yet still the pilgrims come. Unlike many other places of pilgrimage, El Santuario hasn’t replaced its sweet, simple church with a grand cathedral, which is one of the reasons I’ve wanted to go there. Tens of thousands of people each year make the trek, some walking during Holy Week from Taos or Santa Fe or even Albuquerque as an act of penitence and devotion, payback for answered prayers, or seeking blessings. Some are said to make part of the walk on their knees in a more extreme act of devotion.

The dirt comes from a tiny well, call el pocito, and the thing is…it’s got to be refilled periodically from the nearby hills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains because so many people come to scoop it out of the well: an estimated 25 to 30 tons a year. The pilgrims know this—the church doesn’t seek to hide it—and believe in the dirt’s power anyway.

chimayo_02

El pocito, Chimayo

My friend, knowing my interest, brought a plastic baggie of it to me. I mean no disrespect by calling it holy dirt—the church itself refers to it that way on its website, where you can buy folk art and receptacles to hold it. The dirt itself is very fine grain and reddish-brown, containing tiny pebbles, and resembles nothing so much as brownie mix with chopped walnuts. I had to resist the urge to dab my finger and take a taste. I love folk art, and I admit to buying some of their chachkies, some to hold my dirt, some just because I liked them.

chachkies_sm

Chachkies

I’ve never witnessed the pilgrimage to Chimayo, nor any of the acts of devotion associated with it. But I did witness such acts at the Basilica of La Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico City. I saw penitents crawl across the cobbled square in front of the church on their knees, heading towards the steps, up the aisle and to the altar. I saw a man and a woman. They were both older, maybe in their fifties or sixties. The woman wore a dress and kneeled on a cloth, pulling it forward with each “step” she took on her knees while family members hovered around with anxious faces. The man had only his pants between him and the cobbles. Both the man and the woman wore looks of pain—but determination. They would make this knee-walk of devotion.

IF

Basilica of La Virgen de Guadalupe in Mexico City

I was 18 at the time and remember thinking they were crazy, that I would never make such a pledge to a deity, certainly never carry out such an act of devotion. I’m older now, and although I still would not make such a pledge (my knees would never hold up, for one thing), I no longer view their devotion as an act of insanity. These were ordinary people, maybe long time devotees, maybe touched for the first time by the awful and wonderful hand of deity. They made a sincere promise to that holy being and were trying with all their hearts—and their knees—to be faithful to that promise. How can I mock such faithfulness, such sincerity? I’m old enough now to know that I can’t mock them without doing damage to my own soul, my own seeking after truth.

And so it is with all pilgrimages, whether I share the belief of the pilgrims or not. I must respect their sincerity and their peaceful attempts to fulfill their promises to something beyond themselves.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (The Siren)

cottingley-fairies

Frances Griffiths and “fairies”

Is there anyone who is a fan of folklore that hasn’t heard of the Cottingley Fairies, for good or ill? There may be a few, I suppose. I’ll give a brief explanation, by way of introducing a very charming film taken from The BBC Roadshow, featuring Frances Griffiths’s daughter and granddaughter.

Basically, two girls named Frances Griffith and Elsie Wright came home one day in 1917 and told their parents Frances had seen fairies by the brook near their village of Cottingley in Yorkshire. Their parents mocked them, which made them mad, so they set about creating photographic proof. They were so determined to come up with this proof that they cut out pictures of fairies from Edwardian books, mounted them on cardboard, and artfully arranged them in the foliage near the brook so they could interact with them. Everyone was amazed. The local theosophists got ahold of the story and ran with it, then the spiritualists, then (and this is what really condemned the girls to a life of lying) the great spiritualist himself, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who went so far as to write a book on the subject.

Do I believe in fairies?

Certainly not in cardboard cut out ones. A modern eye isn’t as easily fooled, I don’t think, as Edwardians. (But that could just be early 21st century hubris talking.) We look at these photos and think, “How could anyone be fooled by them?” But people wanted to believe, and in that time when photography was new, many accepted that the camera could not lie—and believed.

Do I believe Frances saw fairies that first day and that childish righteous indignation at being mocked for the truth led her and Elsie to a twisted path of lies?

I believe anything is possible, especially lies hiding a truth, and truths hiding a lie. I believe in the will to believe and the will to persuade. I believe that things unseen are not so easily reproduced upon command and the temptation to give nature a helping hand is sometimes overwhelming. I believe that is almost as tricksy an answer as the Cottingley Fairies themselves, who are often obstreperous and contrary creatures.

And so, the film. I love the little girl in pink standing next to the “expert appraiser.” Her expressions and body language are priceless, swinging between boredom and interest. A child of a different time than Frances and Elsie, to be sure, but no less fascinated.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: (TheSiren)

cottingley-fairies

Frances Griffiths and “fairies”

Is there anyone who is a fan of folklore that hasn’t heard of the Cottingley Fairies, for good or ill? There may be a few, I suppose. I’ll give a brief explanation, by way of introducing a very charming film taken from The BBC Roadshow, featuring Frances Griffiths’s daughter and granddaughter.

Basically, two girls named Frances Griffith and Elsie Wright came home one day in 1917 and told their parents Frances had seen fairies by the brook near their village of Cottingley in Yorkshire. Their parents mocked them, which made them mad, so they set about creating photographic proof. They were so determined to come up with this proof that they cut out pictures of fairies from Edwardian books, mounted them on cardboard, and artfully arranged them in the foliage near the brook so they could interact with them. Everyone was amazed. The local theosophists got ahold of the story and ran with it, then the spiritualists, then (and this is what really condemned the girls to a life of lying) the great spiritualist himself, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who went so far as to write a book on the subject.

Do I believe in fairies?

Certainly not in cardboard cut out ones. A modern eye isn’t as easily fooled, I don’t think, as Edwardians. (But that could just be early 21st century hubris talking.) We look at these photos and think, “How could anyone be fooled by them?” But people wanted to believe, and in that time when photography was new, many accepted that the camera could not lie—and believed.

Do I believe Frances saw fairies that first day and that childish righteous indignation at being mocked for the truth led her and Elsie to a twisted path of lies?

I believe anything is possible, especially lies hiding a truth, and truths hiding a lie. I believe in the will to believe and the will to persuade. I believe that things unseen are not so easily reproduced upon command and the temptation to give nature a helping hand is sometimes overwhelming. I believe that is almost as tricksy an answer as the Cottingley Fairies themselves, who are often obstreperous and contrary creatures.

And so, the film. I love the little girl in pink standing next to the “expert appraiser.” Her expressions and body language are priceless, swinging between boredom and interest. A child of a different time than Frances and Elsie, to be sure, but no less fascinated.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Belief is not available to me. It is a stuffed bird, up on a shelf.”

—Harold Bloom, interview, The Paris Review, No. 118, Spring 1991

belief4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

pjthompson: quotes (quotei)

Random quote of the day:

“Belief is not available to me. It is a stuffed bird, up on a shelf.”

—Harold Bloom, interview, The Paris Review, No. 118, Spring 1991

belief4WP@@@

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Mirrored from Better Than Dead.

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