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Mark: Welcome back to paganism based on amazing science. I am your master, Mark,
Yuka: I'm Yuka.
Mark: Today we're talking about talismans and touchstones and things we do throughout the day to remind ourselves that we're on a naturalistic, pagan, pagan path and to remind ourselves of our practice.
Yucca: Yes. These may be things we can help you with. Reminding ourselves, as well as reminding us of the time of day or the activity we're doing, we can use that as a metaphorical litmus test, right?
Mark: Yes, yes. I mean, we talked about day-to-day practice earlier. Those are the tendencies. At the beginning and end of the day, not in the hustle and bustle of the day. So what we're really focusing on in this podcast is it's more what we're doing just reminding us that we're on this path and these are our values and things like that and we're from all the different things that we to deal with during the day.
Yucca: Yes. So, really, why don't we start with one? You just tell me about it. This was one of the suggestions Michael made on the podcast before joining the committee. You say it's 1pm.
Mark: Thirteen hours.
Yucca: Okay, yes. So what is that 13 o'clock thing?
Mark: One o'clock in the afternoon, of course. Michael is Irish, and apparently Ireland has something on public television every day at noon called Angelus, and there used to be one. Catholic things, you know, pictures of the Virgin Mary and all that stuff.
The idea is that you should stop and pray or meditate or just remember that this is your religious path. Well, it's getting more worldly now. They have images of the Irish countryside and. That's like that. But it's still a nice idea.
So Michael suggests, because we have 13 principles, we have 13 lunar cycles, and we like that
Yucca: Thirteen. It is interesting. Yes.
Mark: Yeah, that's a cool prime number. We celebrate something like this every day at 13 o'clock. Take your time. It's all, you know, 60 seconds, and that's all it takes.
What should I do, I put it in my phone as an alarm to remind me
Yucca: buzzing at one o'clock,
Mark: Well, I actually got a 10 minute warning so I could finish what I was doing and had 1 minute, but in, in, in a minute. All I do is grab the Suntry pendant I've been wearing, given to me at a Suntry retreat last year, and imagine myself floating in space, looking down at the Earth.
Mark: Watching it slowly spin under me and then realizing, as Carl Sagan said, this is everyone you know. Everything that has ever happened in the history of mankind, everything that you will experience
Yucca: The king, every baker, every, yes, every conflict we've ever had. correct. Each.
Mark: Events, every birth, every celebration, every catastrophe, all this takes place on this little planet floating in space.
So I just meditate for about a minute, and then I drop my pendant and go about my day. But I've found it to be a really nice addition to my practice, and it's nice to have a little intercession throughout the day. That's about my spirituality.
Yucca: Yes. That is amazing. I like the idea. That's where the word noom originally comes from, isn't it? not there
Mark: I think so, since it was originally Noce
Mark: No, this is one of them. Catholic masses are celebrated throughout the day.
Mark: I don't know what I am, I know the first is morning prayer and the last is evening prayer. Lesson is in the middle.
Yucca: Yes. So I think that's where the term comes from, but I don't know enough about it. I only remember once hearing that this was the origin. So this is one, but I like that one a lot. I. Islam has a similar structure, different during the day, just a little ritual, just to remind us.
correct. And I think there's a lot of power in that. Wait a while and then reset. correct.
Mark: Yes. Yes. Because what I mean is it's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of all the things we have to do to keep our lives going. But a minute has passed. When I focus on the big picture again, I think it really made sense to me and contributed to my happiness in some way.
So, here's what I'm doing, and I'd really appreciate Michael's advice.
Yucca: Yeah, it's interesting.
Mark: So what are some of the other things that we practice or do? You know, carrying things or putting them in one, one, one bag or handbag, or putting them in our car. What, you know, other things we could do to remind ourselves that we're on our way.
Yucca: Well, I have one on my adopted side of the house and my step mom has one by the door.
Yucca: It's like other versions, maybe it's like the Honda Fatima, or it's for protection against the evil eye, but it's this beautiful stylized hand. The traditional belief behind it is, you know, that it protects against the evil eye.
But you know, growing up, we used to see it by the door and touch it when we went out.
Yucca: Not literally believing that would somehow protect us. But as a reminder, hey, I'm getting out of the house. I'm going out into the world just to find out more.
correct. Just a little, you know, shielded, right? So it's almost a shield button, right? Go away, go away, the sanctuary of home. So with something like that, I basically have what I grew up in and is now in my house, right out front, and that's it.
It's just a good reminder every time you go in and out of a family room.
Mark: Does everyone in your family do this?
Yucca: Adults will, it's too long for these little hands right now, but as they get older I think they will.
Yucca: We have some that, if touched with enthusiasm, can fall and break, so
Marc: Oh okay.
Yucca: Getting older. Yes. This one is made of broken pottery.
Yucca: Made from crushing.
Yes. This is a mosaic made of broken pottery from Jerusalem. So it's really beautiful, and I'd prefer it not to be crushed, but maybe when they calm down a bit they'll understand and they'll do that special thing.
Yucca: So at the same time they have a lot of other things to do.
But that is a very nice object. And me, even though I don't drive in the rearview mirror that much anymore, I have a bead, and when I get in the car, it's just one, and I just boo it. As a reminder, hey, I get in the car and I have a huge responsibility for the lives of my passengers, my life, and the lives of everyone else on the road.
Take your time returning to center and ground, then move on before rushing. you know? Because we often really want to get in the car. You have the key, you know, you start the car before the seat belt is on, and it's just, no, wait a minute. to delay. To drive this, you know, very, very heavy equipment, very, very fast.
Let's pause for a moment. So those are the two that I have on a very practical level, but they have a special meaning, so,
Mark: Me, I like that. I mean, it shows that if you associate an exercise with something, you can give everything a very specific meaning. So, you know, just a little bead. It doesn't need anything special. It can be just a little thing so you know it becomes part of your pattern you know you put the key in you put on your seat belt you you touch the bead you start the car it's just a part of the routine.
Yucca: Yes. And you? Do you have any others?
Mark: You know what I do is I wear some amulets and I have there's a blog post or it could actually be a YouTube video because I think I did when I broke my arm and I didn't could type words.
Yucca: Think it's a YouTube video. I think I've had it for a long time. It's been years, but yes.
Mark: Yes. That should be 2017
Yucca: I'll see if I can find that link and put it in the show notes.
Mark: Great. Yes, it's all about amulets and the ones I carry and what they mean to me. And the true meaning of the talisman is nothing more than a point. A kind of little mark that reminds you of something. For example, I have an arrow that is one of the giveaways of.
A, The Earth Memorial ceremony we had at the Pantheon a few years ago. It reminds me of the pagan community more broadly, and also that Deep Time is a, you know, an arrow of discovery. This is a. There is another one, which is a smooth stone. I went to a firing circle party and it reminded me of that community and the people in my life who really loved me.
So I have fi and have a little bead that looks like a skull that is a keepsake. It reminds me that I am dying and that I must seize the day. So there are five or six of these little things. And the suntry pendant I wear around my neck. All this somehow gives a deeper meaning to my daily work.
You know, when I reach in my pocket for my comb and those amulets remind me again that I'm on this path and doing this, it's more satisfying than just wandering lifelessly.
Yucca: So you have one, don't you. Is this part of the morning ritual, just putting them in your pocket, or are they already in your jeans when you put them on in the morning? they are here.
Mark: They're already in my jeans, when I put them on in the morning, they're there. The only time they come out is when I wash my jeans and they put on another pair of jeans.
Yucca: They, they change pants. OK
Mark: Yes. But when I wear skirts, slacks to a job interview, for example, I wear them. I keep them because they're, you know, my emotional anchors, right?
They represent all the support, passion and community history I have as the foundation for my confidence and self-improvement. uh, yes. So of course I've been doing this for a long time now and then you lose one. It does not matter. These things happen.
And you know, me, when I first started wearing it, I did a little ritual to charge everybody,
Mark: Give it meaning. Associate it with a specific meaning. I found out, you know, it's a very old tradition. I mean, Roman soldiers used to rarely wear, you know, rolled up lead plates inscribed, you know, what they wanted to happen to them, or how they wanted to protect. We, as atheists and naturalistic pagans, can do the same.
Part of what you mentioned reminded me of something I own. But they are not objects. They are actually tattoos.
Yucca: So a few years ago we did an episode on CIL, but I didn't do it, and Imprint wasn't that important to me at the time, but I played it. Than. Well, we, we did it a little bit earlier and I kind of experimented with it so we could prepare for this episode.
After a few months I finally decided on one of these, and I went, you know? It really worked for me and I decided to get it tattooed on myself. So I did. Now I use my left hand because I am right handed. Well, there are several other reasons. Because my watch is on my right hand.
I want to see it on my wrist, but I have some white tattoos and it's barely noticeable because of me, my skin is very, very pale. So the white looks a bit like a scar. So I made some markings. So I have one on my wrist. It's for, remembering where my focus is during the day, right?
And pay attention to the things I can actually influence and control instead of constantly stressing over the things I can't control. correct. I can't control what happens with this weather, but I can control how I react.
correct. The other on the back of my hand is the Memento Mori memory. I am constantly exposed to this throughout the day. Remind yourself, remind yourself. It feels like pressing a button and it's like "oh, that's right". OK Remember, where is your focus, right? Or hey, this is, this is what you got, right?
Today is all you have. You have no obligations for tomorrow. You know, it's okay. correct? What are you going to do today, in real life? Since nothing is guaranteed every day, every new day is a bonus. It's a gift, right? So those are. Those are, those are things that I feel so intensely that I'm not going to change my mind if I'm talking about 20 years from now.
If I'm lucky enough to be here in 20 years, I'm still thinking about being lucky enough to be here in 20 years and where I'm going to focus my energy. But when I have something else specific to do, I like to use Henna.
So Hannah is really good with it, depending on where you apply it on the body, yes, there are areas where it immediately disappears.
For example, if you put Hannah on the palm of your hand, it won't take long. But the rest of your body, it could be, you know, either you're not touching things as much, or you're not producing as much oil. But you will literally have that symbol imprinted on your body, or literally have that memory imprinted on your body for a few days to a week.
Marc: That's a great idea. Me, I like that. I have no tattoos. I designed two tattoos that I wanted to do, one of which was the Sumtry symbol. But I never had the extra money to invest in letting someone else do it. But one day, I, I love the idea, I love you know, recognize that some of these are permanent patterns that you want to pursue in your life.
You always want to know more about your death and its impact, and you always want to be able to focus on the things you can influence and not worry about the rest. Yeah, so those guys are tall. I think. Because when we look at tsi, the ice, the so-called ice man, that,
Yucca: Yeah, they have a lot of tattoos in different places.
They are clearly some kind of magical symbol. They are not, they are not particularly decorative. But you know, that guy has tattoos, which clearly mean something.
Mark: We'll never know exactly what they were, but we can speculate they were protective, or for luck and fortune on the hunt, or, you know, something like that.
So I, I think the history of tattoos, you know, really fits into what you've described for you, Yucca. It's really great.
Yucca: I think there is, so I have, and I have other works made by artists. I have many responsibilities and they are also very meaningful and special. But for the really simple people there is also something about DIY. a little
Yucca: Yes, it's a pleasure to do that.
So just prick, old fashioned, you know, you just have yours and you can buy the right kit and get the right ink. You don't want to just do ink. You have to have the right ink to put in your body, you don't want to put lead ink or anything like that in there, do you? But this is a ritual in itself.
In fact, there are also artists who do it,
Yucca: You can really make something special out of it.
Mark: Of course. Well, you have all the endorphins you get from tattoo pain. This puts you in a state of change. I mean, people talk about how addictive tattoos are
Mark: I, you know, I get that. But that, that transgender state, that state changed by the tattooing is.
A very ceremonial occasion. This is, you know, a state where you can add a layer of meaning beyond simple decoration.
Mark: For, for, the symbol you put on yourself. Also, most tattooed people I know associate meetings with tattoos.
They, they, they're not just decoration, they, they, they're there for a reason.
Yucca: Yes. This looks beautiful I mean I can't think of anyone I've asked about their tattoo and they haven't explained it in detail you know oh it's you know sewing scissors because my mom and grandma and I used to like, you know, there are often a lot of stories that go along with that, or, you know, like, you know, this is mine, this is my five years sober tattoo, or my, you know, planting something,
Mark: Or the semicolon for those who survived a suicide attempt, for example. correct. The story isn't over yet. There is more to this sentence.
Mark: Everything, you know, there are many different kinds of symbols that are very meaningful to people, and I think some of them are for communication. You know, they're supposed to be telling stories to other people, and to other people, when you see them on you, you're only telling stories to yourself.
Yucca: That's why I chose white. I want to have them somewhere I can see them all the time, but I don't want anything that will stand out to other people. correct. So that's why, I mean, I think most people don't even notice. correct. but it's about,
Mark: When we met at Century Retreat last year, I certainly wouldn't have noticed. Yes, I never noticed them.
Yucca: Well, I have, if we, and then I have that on my wrist, I don't have that on my hand. But again, I don't think it will show up in the
Mark: I can't zoom in and see it on the screen. No, I can't see it.
Yucca: I think it might act like you can barely see it, but I see it, and that's a big deal to me.
Marc: Of course, of course.
Yucca: Mine is more obvious, and I prefer the extended one.
I still have them, so I can cover them up if I want to, but the stigma around them really goes away, doesn't it? People don't worry about that anymore. It used to be a big thing, but now it's one. I don't know if the stats are true, but it should be like a third of American millennials have tattoos,
Yucca: Come on.
Doesn't surprise me at all.
Mark: Me neither. I mean, you see them everywhere, you know, me, in a professional office environment, you know, I work with a lot of people, you know, they have sleeves and everything. So yes, this is very common for me. I just never really felt a chance. Yeah that's not to say I'm morally against it in any way so yeah what we're really talking about here is about how you create symbolism that reverberates through you in the course of your daily activities not your daily practice , which could be, okay I do this formal thing in the morning and I do this formal thing at night.
That is amazing. But you know, I want to be reminded of my values on a regular basis, and I want to be reminded of the things I've learned that help me be wiser and kinder.
Mark: So, you know, I think doing these exercises is a great way to get the touchstone back. These principles are because, you know, the world wears you down,
Yucca: He can't. Yes.
Mark: You know, it really pulls you out of feeling centered.
Yucca: Like you said, it just occurred to me. There are other points during the day that I don't use, but if someone else does, that's their chance. If you put on makeup every morning,
Yucca: A good time. Right to include certain content. And the act of getting dressed, like you're talking about the things that put you in your jeans, but you know, when you dot your clothes, there's something that reminds yourself that you have those values such things.
Mark: Usually not, but especially when I'm wearing business attire, like a suit, I put on a suit of armor. And you know, I wear a suit to go to war, because the conditions that I have to dress like that are the conditions that I promote. Yes, I advocate some things.
I, you know, I, I'm trying to make a difference.
Mark: Either that, or I'm defending myself, you know, that's another possibility. So. You know, dress and dress is another whole conversation we can have. And, you know, maybe we will at some point
Yucca: Think we should, yes.
Mark: I think we should do the same. Since we decorate ourselves in different ways, we are very communicative with the people around us.
We make choices about what we want to say. You know, us, it's about what class we are, it's about what gender we are. It tells what kind of work we do. It, it, it says a lot. our level of education.
Yucca: Opinion, ours, you know, yes. different things.
Mark: Yes. So, let's stick a pin in and,
Yucca: Yeah, we'll come back to that topic.
Mark: Yes, we will definitely be back.
But you know, the whole self-decoration thing, you know, aside from the practical side of being warm enough or cool enough, I think it's an interesting thread to explore for people who are trying to bring meaning into their lives.
Mark: So it's, you know, something like that. Whirlwind controls all of these things but I, I think, the main point I want to get across is if there's a particular rock that you like that reminds you of a fun day at the beach or something, don't feel like it carrying around strangeness.
That said, it certainly makes sense to bring it along.
Yucca: It's very human. We've been doing this for quite some time.
Mark: Yes. Yes. We can do it consciously, it can become part of our practice.
Yucca: Yes. Well this is an interesting one. Thank you. A.
Mark: Yes. Thanks Yucca and see you next week.