Why is this a blogue?

  • Why is this a blogue, not a blog? It’s just an old-fashioned touch that harkens back to less-hurried (and harried) times, when a letter took a while to get delivered, and a reply took a while longer. When books were savored for their precious rarity. When news came in slowly for the most part and could be thoughtfully considered. A rapid-fire flow of constant info-junk tends to make me twitchy. When you visit my blogue, I invite you to take a nice deep breath, absorb things a little at a time, wander in a serendipitous fashion, and generally remember that even in the ultra-speedy world of the Internet, you control the pace of your life.

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January 17, 2009



It's a double edged sword. I am hearing from people on Facebook that I am so happy to have heard from. But its like becoming a Friend Collector. We collect them and then what happens? Do we just spy in on them to see their moves online or do we interact? I am extremely phone resistant but I am learning that I need to take that step backward. =)


The phone resistant thing is a good point, Dawn! It can be very handy to use email for information exchanges and greetings that might take up a lot more time using the phone, but when we start actually feeling weird about using the phone, we might have retreated just a bit too far into our shells! :-)

Dan Hallock

I never became comfortable with picking up the phone and calling people; I always feel like I'm intruding, and the whole process of starting a conversation that way makes me really nervous, even with family. Once we're talking, it goes away, but it's led me to rely probably more than I should on e-contact.

I agree with you about the problem -- we have more ways than ever to communicate impersonally with each other, but there's a raw and aching loneliness that is absolutely epidemic in our society right now. I do think that sites like Facebook can be part of the solution or part of the problem. But I would also like to see more people actually having conversations with their next-door neighbors in addition to their Facebook friends...

Lee Seaman

I've been rereading the Brother Cadfael mysteries, set in 12th-Century England. The author, Ellis Peters, does a beautiful job of backgrounding a time when a horse was fast, most people walked everywhere, and going more than 10 miles made you a a traveler.

Peters details the speed of gossip through the town (fast) and the extent to which people knew each other's history (much more than most of us would be comfortable with). Claustrophobic in a way ... reminded me of why I'm happy to no longer live in the rural Eastern Oregon community where I grew up. And yet I rarely talk to our neighbors here, partly because we are almost never outdoors at the same time and partly because I have more in common with my online friends.

Since we don't have to interact with neighbors these days, its easy to get too busy to do it. In a way, we can afford the luxury of not knowing each other. But that's one of those luxuries which has a pretty high cost in terms of community and self.

If we don't want to pay the price of so much isolation anymore, places where it is easy to meet casually are a help: local community gardens, small community events, neighborhood parties, farmer's markets, children's playgroups, local recycling days, or cleaning up the local park.

I suspect any such events will need to be fairly carefully crafted, though. There are lots of places where we can feel connected online with not much effort at all.


I'm torn on this topic -- you know me, I am always harping on the handwritten letter. However, a friend finally talked me into getting onto Facebook and I'm finding that I'm getting closer to some people on a daily basis that is so comfortable and sweet. I log in and see their status updates and know they are "there" (is there a there there?).

On the other hand, I'm the type of person who is completely comfortable with very little in-person relationships, so talking to someone online feels to me like they are right there in person. Maybe it's because I got online when I was 20 or so -- it's almost like growing up online.

My son thinks all TV can be paused and rewound. He thinks anything in the world can be found online (very close to true) so there's no telling what kind of strange ideas he'll have about "the world". Pretty scary.


Facebook feels like a big neverending party to me. I drift here and there, having superficial but pleasant conversations with some people and deeper, more intimate conversations with others - often continued off FB. Because of FB I'm now in daily touch with longlost friends, distant family members, friends I see only once or twice a year in person. I'm meeting new, interesting people. I'm glad to see baby photos, to hear whispers of what so-and-so is doing, to say Happy Birthday. Most of my FB friends are people I know "in person." And - as we have talked about before - I so value my local community and mermaid sisters that I can't imagine moving anywhere else. Bonds that go back 15 or 20 years can't be duplicated, and no online community can replace a real living, breathing in-person community. IMO. I guess I'm just grateful to have both in my life. And remember - Twitter and FB are tools, that's all. It's all in how you use them.


I can understand the points made in this post; and I personally hate facebook; although I have one to keep in touch because some people DO refuse to meet up in person - and I don't want to lose all connection with them.

Of all the people I consider my circle of best friends, I think I met every single one of them via the internet, and therefore keep in contact with them this way. We do soemtimes meet up in person, but I'm not a people person.
I don't like crowds, I don't do parties or clubbing, I don't like having meals out. I just generally don't like public places or people.
But I know that my disposition isn't common; so I wonder if other people have different reasons to me.
I choose to use the internet because I prefer it. I've never had face to face contact regularly with most of these people so I don't miss it. When I am invited to meet up, people want to go DO something. They can't just sit and chat in their living room; we have to buy a meal out or see a museum or something; so for me, the internet is ideal in most cases.

Oops, total rant there; Sorry.
Anyway; I can see your point and I still send a couple of handwritten letters a year for the sake of it; and go clubbing even though i dislike it, btu i agree that it appears to be a rarity.

I'm going to stop before I bore you all to death ^_^

Stars Above,
Celestial Rose.


Very well said, Lunaea. Yes, yes, yes, I totally agree. Even if I do rely too much on email and blogging... :-/
I am yet to get involved with Facebook. From the outside it looks to me like a game of one-upmanship: collecting 'friends' like points.


I have met some wonderful people on the internet, including yourself ;) and I have found amazing educational and spiritual resources that I probably would not have found before. But I think like anything in life, there should be balance, do much of anything can cause an imbalance.


PS - I meant to say to much of anything, not do much of anything.
Also I agree with the above comment on Facebook, I am on it to see pics and stay in touch with some long distance family and friends but It is starting to make me feel like I am in high school again with the popularity and collecting friends thing..


Thank you, Lunaea, for saying so well what I have been feeling.. about electronics, let alone facebook. I live in a big city.. the buses, subways, restaurants etc. are full of people talking on their cell phones while pressed up against each other.. and in several different languages! 'Tis ridiculous!
People surrounded by people and yet, totally oblivious of them.. because they're 'connecting' with the world. You're holding out on facebook... I'm holding out on a cell phone. There is a kind of joy in connecting to the person in front of you. And, like yourself, I'm deeply concerned about a future where that isn't experienced, let alone cherished.
I value the safety of a cellphone and the wonder of us meeting on the internet.. if we could only just keep it all in perspective, eh?!(I'm Canadian) Here's to the Temperence/Balance card, Judy


I agree Lunaea. As we get further entangled with technology we lose something too. Thank you.


Well, this is certainly spurring some interesting discussion -- and again with the irony, as we wouldn't be HAVING this discussion if not for the online opportunity to have this discussion about online opportunities... [/mobius-strip]. I too have friends, real friends, whom I would not have met if not for this medium, and we stay in touch mostly through it. And I completely cherish all the connections made on a daily basis with the sisters of the Sisterhood of the Silver Branch, who are all over the world, connected by this shining Web. Joanna, you are my role model for balance and connection, as always. Keep the conversations going, everyone, in EVERY medium you can.


I'm a cellphone holdout too, probably because I'm old enough to clearly remember a time when people just weren't reachable for small periods of time and it was perfectly fine, the world did not come to an end. And of course, after so many years of griping about cells, I will be teased mercilessly by my friends when I give in. Like when I join Facebook. :-)


You know . . . as I am having this "lull" time here during a family emergency, I can't help but give deep, deep thanks for the web of friends & acquaintances immediately available to me here online. There are people all over the world supporting me and my family and believe me, I can feel it. Here I am far away from home and yet I am in immediate touch wiht so many. I have to say it again: it's not the tool, it's how you use it.


This is all good food for thought, everyone, and Joanna, I do know exactly what you mean about feeling the strong, very real support of a great number of people both near and far. I am thoughtfully considering my own fears about losing myself in technology and where I need to watch out for imbalance. As in all things!


I have to agree, it does seem that internet and email can be something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand there are wonderful opportunities to keep in touch with friends and family, know what is happening in other parts of the world and of course, being able to participate in programs like Ninth Wave. On the other hand there is a loss of human connection and I see it alot when I read comments on discussion boards. People express the most unkind, uncompassionate thoughts towards others and I can't help but think that it is due to the loss of human connection which leads to a loss of empathy for others. I do agree there needs to be balance and that is question isn't it, how to keep things balanced? I think it is a somewhat rhetorical question because the solution will be different for each person. Thanks for bringing up this topic, definitely food for thought.

Megan G.

I couldn't agree with you more, Lunaea, and also with Joanna's comment about it's not the tool, but how you use it. Sadly, as with TV in decades past, I see people using those tools just a little too often, in my opinion, and it depresses me. At least the TV couldn't be carried around with you. One thing I notice is that people on the street, on the bus, in a restaurant, wherever, just don't talk to each other anymore. Instead, they're texting someone else. It's creepy. That said, I'm happy to be able to find information quickly, and to connect with others who're at long distances that I'd have no other way of meeting. Because I want to be more in touch with my family, local friends, neighbors, and Mother Gaia, however, I now limit myself to only three days a week where I spend time online, and I demand that friends call me first, email me second (I have text messages blocked on my cell phone). I have a five-year-old son, and I don't want him growing up thinking that life exists on a computer screen, no more than I'd want him thinking it exists on TV. So, like many of you, I guess I'm always attempting to achieve a balance, too. Oh, and I've started a "drop by" club in my neighborhood -- I encourage friends and acquaintances to drop by, as I miss the culture of people visiting other people just to say "hi."


So here's what I've discovered so far in my first few days trying Facebook to see what it's all about. Unlike email, where messages are pretty straightforward and are meant for just me (even if they are mailing list messages, they come to my personal mailbox), and unlike Twitter, which is also very straightforward, just short messages in one format, Facebook is more like a big loud party with a gazillion things going on at once. Many people having many conversations, sharing links and "gifts" and photos and whatnot, all in a great big jumble. On the plus side, it does sort of have the feeling that everyone you know are all gathered together under one roof. It's a bit overwhelming to this old brain, and I'm slowly sorting it out. I'm also limiting my Facebook friends to a manageable number right now, so please don't be offended if I haven't replied to your friendly invitations. I'm still keeping my eye on the exit. :-)

Deborah Lee

I can relate to so much that has been said so far. I work in retail and I abhor the customer who cannot get off their phone to answer questions or simply say "Hello." It is the newest type of rudeness. I also don't understand having to be plugged into an IPOD while simply walking down the street. It's a way to isolate yourself, discourage any type of interaction with another human being.
Because I sell books the topic of the Kindle has come up more and more at work. Recently a friend who loves his Kindle left it on a plane. It certainly would have been a great deal less expensive if he had left the book or newspaper on the plane.
Thanks for letting me rant.

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Tarot Card of the Week

  • Moon

    When the planet turns its face toward the dark, our nocturnal nature draws us out into the realm of Moon. This is a dominion of dreams that we explore with our senses fully awake. The subconscious spills into consciousness, allowing us to see what is not revealed by sight alone. Strange sounds come to our ears, intoxicating perfumes reach our noses, things appear that only emerge in darkness. We creep softly, following our moonshadows over the colorless world.
    This card is Moon, from my Mystical Cats Tarot, illustrated by Mickie Mueller. Click the image for a larger version.