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A fifteen year journey is over.

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Visiting with my brother and his wife in the last few days has been really cool. In so many ways, it has been a *tremendous* gift. In order to reach for something that's not tragic and overwhelmingly emotional, I'm not going to talk about that. Instead, I'm going to talk about something completely different.

My brother is doing his dissertation on Pagan music in the department of American Studies at the university in Lansing, MI. He knows an incredible amount about the history of Craft and Craft music, about theology, philosphy and about those intellectua tools that are good for analyzing and understanding the American Pagan scene. He knows about a million famous Pagans.

It's pretty amazing to me, and quite cool. I haven't read a Craft book in years. I don't *remember* when I last read one. I have few intellectual tools with which to think about it as a religion. Half the time, I have to probe a bit further when my brother and I talk to make sure I've understood him, since my grasp of critical theory outside of my own fields are pretty weak. That's OK, though---I'm pretty secure in my intellect so it doesn't bother me. But it does make me notice how I relate to Craft.

For years, now, it's only been about practice for me. Participating in, creating, leading and supporting others in monthly rituals, ROPs (rites of passage), and public rituals and teaching. There hasn't been much teaching in my regular circles, though---only magic and worship and energy work there---cause my diss sucked up the energy to do everything else. Workshops at festivals have become the central venues through which I teach (and also lead rituals). So it has all been practice, practice, practice. I have been almost completely free of new theory, of self-reflection about my practice---other than on an immediate spiritual, transformative level---for years.

I don't really know anybody outside of Blue Star except folks who are part of the Maryland FreeSpirit community. I have become somewhat insular. I may be becoming a bit stale.

I do what I do well, but other's people's inspirations and thoughts and influences are important if one is to keep growing, keep moving in new directions, and keep contributing to the community. Maybe I should read more Craft. My brother has already given me one book and Karen has lent me another. I should check them out and see what I think. What has the rest of the country been doing while I've been busy?
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1. I am on the short list of possible assistant professor candidates at the University of Arizona. I have been asked to come out, meet the department, teach an undergraduate class and give a public lecture.

2. Ken and I spoke this morning and agreed that we really are parting as partners forever, and intend to remain dear friends only, with no thought or possibility of reconciliation for the future. This is more important for me to fully accept and integrate than it is for him. In fact, I need to do it to speed up my healing and my growth. With this shift, my chest pain has diminished from a 9 to a 2-3, and I can feel the overall beneficial changes of it already. I will fully die to my old partnered self and be reborn to a new, open, full of potential single self through the coming year.

Although we made the decision to part on Nov. 6, I still felt ambiguity and I wondered if we could reconcile at some later time. Putting down this hope is an important, and scary, move. But what I need to do now is move towards fear, not away from it.

That means giving Tucson a chance, even though every part of me is screaming that I want to cling to New Jersey and the people that I love here. I will give it a chance amnd consider it as an option. I will not turn away from fear.

If I were offered the job and I took it, I'd need to be in Tucson in early September. That would give me 9 precious months with the community I love.

Or...they could offer it someone else, Or I could say no, and I would be here for another year and nine months at least. Or I could get the Princeton job and be here for three years.

I have to allow all the possibilities to form and as best I can and give them each careful consideration and a good chance.

Ken has pointed out that as a university professor, I could spend 3 months of the year traveling anywhere I choose...New Jersey, Minneapolis, Europe...anywhere. That would be real freedom.
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I've read each congratulatory entry with real joy---about ten times!
Thank you, friends, well-wishers and colleagues. Thank you for your good will, your support, your energy and your affection and love.

I deeply appreciate it and will *never* forget it.


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I have successfully defended my dissertation.

I am now Sabrina Chase, Ph.D.
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An email received about 10 minutes ago reminding me that I am fortunate, essentially happy and doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing:


Good afternoon Ms. Chase.

Do you recall teaching an Introduction to Anthropology class back in the summer of 1992? I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that it was a crucial turning point for me. I went on to study at Rutgers Newark and to major in Anthropology and History. Even though I am not working in the field I have been able to use anthropology in all of my relationships and especially in my career as a financial consultant. You'd be surprised! It helps me tremendously that I have been trained to analyze people and their needs from their perspectives without influencing the outcome with own ideas.

At any rate, 14 years later I was having a conversation with a colleague about the Wicca priestess I met in an anthropology course at Rutgers...I remembered your name and thanks to Google here we are!

Talk about the power a teacher has! I hope that you are doing well and am sure you have inspired thousands of other students over the years.

Please don't hesitate to call me if I can be of service to you in any way.

Thank you very much.

(Ex-student's name here)
Financial Consultant - Investments
Portfolio Manager
(Ex-student's Company's Name Here)


Thank you, ex-student. You reminded me that today is a good day, and this is a good life, and I should avoid feeling sorry for myself because overall, this is a pretty good place to be.

Feeling good!

If any of you are thinking about whether or not teaching is a worthwhile career, please give it careful consideration. If you can live on the salary, it can be a wonderfully rewarding profession.
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Sabrina Chase will defend her dissertation, "Mujeres Ingeniosas [Resourceful Women]: HIV+ Puerto Rican Women and the Urban Health Care System" on Friday, October 29 at 10am in RAB 305. The dissertation defense is public and open to everyone who is interested in attending. A copy of her dissertation will be available for review in Penny’s office as of Friday, October 15.

Dorothy L. Hodgson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director
Department of Anthropology
Rutgers University
131 George St.
New Brunswick, NJ 087901-1414

Tel: 732/932-0633
Fax: 732/932-1564
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Following [ profile] gwisteria's advice, I went to [ profile] welshbard's journal, which contained a link to [ profile] koaloha's journal entry for September 17th. I bow before this person. [ profile] koaloha is a model for all who act on behalf of social justice everywhere---honorable, unstoppable, compassionate and non-violent. Ghandi would be so proud. I have re-posted the entry in question below. Thank you, [ profile] koaloha.


Crazy Train or Emotional Subway Attack [Sep. 17th, 2004|12:44 pm]

[ Current Mood | weird ]

This morning I had the most bizarre subway ride. I board the Number 3 train at Grand Army Plaza after 9 a.m. Find a seat, then settle into reading Henry James for class. I hear a woman’s voice gradually rising in volume. She is preaching the “Lord’s” word to the train car’s sleepy riders. Of course, I had forgotten the headphones for my subway evil sounds blocking device. The train stops and starts.

The words denigrating “gay devils” reach my ears. I stand up.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you mind keeping your voice down, I am trying to read.”

Preacher Lady: (screams) “I got to testify.”

Preacher lady hitches up her skirts and tells me that I am going to hell for interrupting you-know-who’s word. Two or three OTHER Christian ladies on the train start shouting at me and discussing my prospects as the Devil’s prison bitch. The last straw was a 50 something red faced man in a suit slamming his Bible towards my face.

There was only one thing I could do.

Me: “If you all don’t lower your voices and cease calling me Satan, I will have to sing show tunes.”

The other straphangers look at me with stony faces.

I begin to sing.

“Its very clear, our love is here to stay. Not for a year, but forever and a day…”

Preacher lady and the Jesus police start mumbling and beseeching G_d to strike me down and boil me in molten tar. (I look better in silver.)

The train reaches Wall Street. Confused subway riders check out the scene. I begin swaying and feeling the music.

The slamming Bible man looks like he is going to pop a blood vessel. “I cast ye out, Satan.”

I go into jazz dance crouch and then spring up to belt out, “THAAAAAAT OLD BLACK MAGIC, HAS ME IN A SPELL…”

Bible man has to get off the train as I wriggle and shimmy. “That same old witchcraft when your eyes meet mine!”


“So when you walk alone and forlorn, and hear that Cadillac horn remember, love isn’t born, its made…and that’s why every window has a window shade…bad a biddle be bop…”

I try to discuss freedom of religion with the ladies, but all attempts at reasonable discourse fail.

By 34th street, the last of the Christian word warriors has left the train. 3 subway riders shake my hand and say, “I have always wanted to tell those idiots to shut up! Bless you.”

I am shaking. I don’t know what comes over me at times like this. I only know that I cannot stay silent. I wish that I had my ukulele with me.

At 42nd street, a woman strides into the car and starts PREACHING. The entire car bursts into laughter. I interrupt this new preacher lady and note that she is wearing a flowered straw bonnet.

Me: “Excuse me, Ma’am…but I must warn you that there has been a 12 subway stop donnybrook regarding the unwanted intrusion of religious beliefs into our morning commutes.”

Preacher Lady 2: “I got freedom of speech! And GOD TELLS ME THAT THE GAY DEVILS ARE CONTROLLING NEW YORK.”

Me: (standing up) “If you do not cease and desist fouling the air with homophobia, I must sing…SHOW TUNES.”

There are now 3 or 4 gay men on the train. They start laughing.

Preacher Lady 2: “The Lawd says you are going to …” (litany of punishments that would be fun with the right person).

Me: (sings) “The Girl that I marry will have to be, as soft and as sweet as a nursery… the girl I call my own, will wear diamonds and laces and smell of cologne…”

One of the boys on the train starts to harmonize.

Preacher Lady 2 makes her way down the car, pointing and exclaiming, “I have met the devil right here!”

Me: (sings) “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets…”

Dancing around the subway poles and doing my best Gwen Verdon kicks, I feel the spirit in me.

I close with “Pennies from Heaven” and make sure to get the Jazz Hands in for good measure.

As Preacher Lady 2 runs to the next car at 72nd Street, the doors open, a perfect end of song button for my gay pointing gesture.

The subway riders break into applause and I bow. Rock on.

Several straphangers whisper, Happy New Year to me in Hebrew.

An Orthodox lady hands me an orange.

I don't know if I should laugh or cry.
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My committee members do not agree on what they want in dissertation. My advisor, P. (imagine him as, say, a Realist painter) urged me to utilize a structure and style reminiscent of clinical and health policy writing. My mentor and guide of some time, L. (imagine her as an Expressionist painter) just got to the chapter that most reflects this style. She hates it. She is a theory-driven, post-modern anthropologist who works from a very sophisticated self-reflexive perspective. For her, the structure of the chapter is wooden, list-like and lacking in ethnographic details and compelling theoretical material. P., however, urged me to refrain from setting up my whole argument early in the dissertation---limiting the complexity I could introduce---and in fact asked me to introduce my theory and my model in toto only in the conclusion.

To do what L. wants me to do, I must introduce my argument earlier, in contrast to what P. wants. I must also take an approach that up to now, P. has rejected at every opportunity in my earlier drafts.

My other two committee members, A. and C., are much more Expressionist than Realist and will likely support L.

When L. pointed out her concerns to P., P. did not say, "But this is what I asked her to do." He said, "Well, if you think it's important, it should be addressed." In other words, he is backing down from what he has pushed me to do all along and making the poor lack of fit my problem, instead of pointing out that this is a difference related to the styles and approached that characterize different subdisciplines.

This is further complicated by the fact that I am much more Expressionist than Realist and have been torturing my writing *all along* to make it fit P.'s more clinical model.

The uptake: I will not defend in September. I will probably defend in late October. I must split the Treatment Universe chapter into three smaller chapters, introduce my argument much earlier and add more ethnographic stories and more Expressionist interpretation to all three of them.

The good news: L. does not feel that this must be completed before the dissertation is defended, but thinks that it must be started and well underway by then. Additionally. these changes will be much more appropriate for inclusion in the future book than will P.'s original format.

Additionally, I discovered today that P. failed to mention several useful details to me: The defense date must be announced three weeks before the defense itself, and a copy of the dissertation must be put on reserve at the department two weeks before the date. Until this afternoon, P. thought we were still possibly looking at a Sept. 10 defense. However, since the date was not announced a week ago and I did not put a copy on reserve today, that would have been impossible anyway. I only know about this because L. told me about these requirements *this afternoon* and was very surprised that P. had not told me about them weeks ago.

Now, these are my options:

1. I can freak out, blaming P., blaming L., blaming whoever seems a likely candidate at the moment.

2. I can kick myself for not attempting to bring together P. and . on this issue earlier--I KNEW it was going to come up in some form.! I can beat myself up about why didn't addrss this sooner. I can kick myself about not doing research into the department's administrative requirements prior to the defense earlier this summer myself.

3. I can rage against the universe, the department, grad school, and my committee. I can allow bitterness about this new set of challenges to seep into every part of my life and I can keep my fury at this going and going.

4. I can go into complete denial, refusing to think about any of it.

These options are all part of what Pema Chodrow describes as being stuck in "Shenpa". Shenpa is what David Schnarch calls *regression*: getting so "hooked" into something emotionally that you are overwhelmed by negative feelings and you get stuck in a state of repetetive toxic thoughts and start acting out so that all the people around you are pulled into your anger and misery, and you perpetuate your own anger and misery.

When you are regressed, you can't think straight. You blame, you rage, and you get bitter. Mostly, you make your life a living hell and then point to those other people who did this to you---who put you in this hell.

Getting "really good at Shenpa"---or living in a state of almost constant regression---is called samasara in Tibetan Buddhist thought.

Buddhist meditation practice is designed to help you develop the ability to catch yourself as you are getting "hooked"---as you are regressing---and giving you a practice option that keeps you from getting swept up in the whole Shenpa thing. David Schnarch does not say that you need to meditate to stop your regression from continuing, but he does say that you need to learn to "self-sooth". This is just Buddhist thought stripped of its spiritual overtones.

Knowing all of this, I am going to skip the Shenpa and keep myself out of samasara.

I am going to relax into my new life and have a good weekend. Then, next week, I'll start gradually making the changes L. wants to the Treatment Universe chapter. Recognizing that rage and misery will not accomplish a damn thing, I am simply going to chill and do what I can, gradually, to revise this thing.

And remembering that P., L., A. and C. are all acting out of a desire to avoid pain themselves, I am not going to take any of this personally. They aren't questioning my worth; they are defending the paradigms that they hold dear.

So there it is. No defense till October, complex revisions, staying calm and centered and maintaining my spiritual practices---that's the new agenda.

And now, to a nice, snuggly bed.
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If being a graduate student has left you feeling like a broken down donkey pulling a cart up a hill, then to you the unseen cart must be ...

1. Your overzealous donkey whipping advisor 4

2. Your ever expanding but never completed research 16

3. Your cackling family members, all hitching a free ride 0

4. Your cackling committee members, all hitching a free ride 0

5. You pull no cart because you are in fact not a donkey 2

6. You pull a donkey, because although you are not a donkey, you know there is still one in your cart. 3

7. my underzealous (is that a word) advisor who keeps disappearing 3

8. the fear of what comes after you're phinished 9

9. The cackling egotistical academics in your field 4

10. filled with donkey droppings, because academia and the things I have to do within it are all you-know-what 2

11. filled with emotional baggage, mental furniture, and a rusty heap of shattered self-esteem 17

12. My JOB! 1

13. My whole department which never offers the courses I need 1

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I am bringing flan to our Mabon feasts.

I am doing so in honor of Armed Forces of National Liberation, the clandestine arm of the 1970s Puerto Rican Left (sister to the Black Power Movement), whose terrorist actions on behalf of Puerto Rican liberation and civil rights placed its operatives on the FBI's most wanted lists for over almost a decade.

And whose Spanish-derived acronym was : FALN, which will inevitably be pronounced......

Yes, the armed and extremely dangerous radical Puerto Rican movement had the same name as an egg custard.

P.S. Thank you, Patrick and Maggie, for the inspiration.
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(Written by Zayne)

Hey kids! Want to learn about the joys of pursuing a higher education? Then check out the newest toy from Mattel: Grad Student Barbie!

Graduate School Barbie comes in two forms: Delusional Master's Barbie (tm) and Ph.D. Masochist Barbie (tm). Every Graduate School Barbie comes with these fun filled features guaranteed to delight and entertain for hours:

- Grad School Barbie comes out of the box with a big grin on her face that turns into a frown after 2 weeks of research or her first advisor meeting (whichever comes first).

- Adorable black circles under her delightfully bloodshot eyes.

- Comes with two outfits: a grubby pair of blue jeans and 5 year old gap T-shirt, and a floppy pair of gray sweatpants with a matching "Go F*!k Yourself" T-shirt.

- Grad School Barbie talks! Just press the button on her left hand and hear her say such upbeat grad school phrases like, "Yes, Professor, It'll be done by tomorrow" "I'd love to write it all over again" and "Why the hell didn't I just get a job, I could have been making $35,000 a year by now if I had just started working with a Bachelor's. But noooooo, Mom and dad wanted a doctorate in the family. I wish somebody would drop a bomb on the school so that I'd have an excuse to stop working on my degree that's sucking every last drop of life force out of my withered and degraded excuse for a soul..." (9 V lithium batteries sold separately)

-Grad School Barbie is anatomically correct to teach kids about the exciting changes that come with pursuing a higher education. Removable panels on Barbie's head and torso allow you to watch as her cerebellum fries to a crispy brown, her heart race 150 beats per minute, and her stomach lining gradually dissolve into nothing. Barbie comes with specially designed eye ducts: just add a little water and watch Grad School Barbie burst into tears at random intervals. Delux Grad School Barbie comes with a "Snap" button, bendable arms and legs, and a small vibrating motor. Press the button to watch Barbie crumple into the fetal position and tremble uncontrollably. Fun for the whole family!

Other accessories include:

-Grad School Barbie's Fun Fridge (tm) Well stocked with microwave popcorn, Coca-Cola, Healthy Choice Bologna (99% fat free!), and small bottle of Mattel Brand Rum (tm)

-Grad School Barbie's Medicine Cabinet. Comes in Fabulous pink and contains Barbie sized bottles of Advil, St. Johns Wort, Zantac, and your choice of three fun anti-anxiety drugs! (Barbie Medicine Cabinet not available without a prescription)

-Grad School Barbie's Computer Workstation. Comes with miniature obsolete PC (pink of course), rickety desk, and over a dozen miniature Mountain Dew cans to decorate your workstation with (Mountain Dew deposit not included in price, tech support sold separately)

And Grad School Barbie is not alone! Order now and you'll get two of Barbie's great friends!

GRADUATE ADVISOR KEN: Barbie's mentor and advisor in her quest for increased education and decreased self esteem. Grad Advisor Ken (tm) comes with a supply of red pens and a permanent frown. Press the button to hear Grad Advisor Ken deliver such wisdom to Barbie as "I need an update on your progress" "I don't think you'll be ready to graduate yet" and "This is nowhere near ready for publication." Buy 3 or more dolls, and you can have Barbie's Defense Committee! (Palm Pilot and tenure sold separately.)

REAL JOB SKIPPER: When Barbie needs to talk, she knows that she can always count on her good friend Real Job Skipper (tm), who got a job after getting her bachelor degree. Press the button to hear Real Job Skipper say, "Sometimes wish I went for my masters degree" and "Work is so hard! I had to work a half an hour of overtime!" Real Job Skipper's Work Wardrobe and Savings account sold separately. WARNING: Do not place Grad Student Barbie and Real Job Skipper too close to each other, as there have been several mysterious cases of children leaving the room and coming back to find Barbie's hands mysteriously fused to Skipper's throat.

ABD Haiku

Jul. 31st, 2004 09:52 pm
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Written by PhDyke on Wednesday, 8 August 2001, at 2:27 p.m.

Type. Type. Type. Page One.
Three hundred pages to go.
When will I finish?
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Top 10 things to say when someone asks you when you will finish your dissertation:

10. "Damn! I knew that there was something that I forgot to do...."

9. "As soon as my pimp starts giving me Thursdays off so that I can go to the library."

8. "Whenever the little voices tell me to finish."

7. "When I've had as much fun as I can stand."

6. "Finish? And leave all of this glamorous stress and poverty behind? You must be mad."

5. "No one finishes her dissertation in my department. Our degree program is like the Bottomless Coffee Pot at International House of Pancakes."

4. "I used to want to finish -- but that was before I fell in love with my advisor. As long as those chapter review meetings are the only way for me to spend time with him/her, I'm not going anywhere, pal."

3. "Don't spread this around, but I'm just in it for the Student Loan checks."

2. "As soon as I find that quarter that I dropped in the library five years ago."

1. "When? Never. The grad student thing is my new identity: I'm in the Federal Witness Protection Program."


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June 2012

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