Month: April 2010

Walpurgis Night

It’s Walpurgis night
see the fires burn bright
hear the crackle and calling of skin.
The drumbeats will thrum
and your pelvises hum
while that calling, it reaches within.
A dozen hearts pound
coming up from the ground
while the forest sways in the wind.
The season has warmed
now that you have performed
roll aside to let the summer in.

– by Diana Rajchel, 4-30-2010

Snippets from my life

Scene 1: a smallish bar in the North Loop of Minneapolis, just before sunset

“Hey! I’ve never seen you wear makeup before.”

“Yes you have.”

“Really? When?”

“Every time you’ve seen me.”

“Has it always been darker when I’ve seen you before?”

Scene 2: Como Zoo, out by the sea lions. I am sitting on a bench fiddling with my phone and talking to Joel. We hear loud music invade the entire space. It is obviously not a ring tone.

Joel: Right, make sure everyone hears your music.

Me: (calling out in general) So how small is your dick?

Joel: That was a woman.

Me: See what I mean?

Scene 3: In my kitchen/entryway with Mike. He is kissing me hello, and we are having one of those cutesie conversations.

“I like most of what you bring.”

“Really?”

“Well, sometimes there’s a reason for a qualifier. How was your day?”

“At lunch I kept hoping a baby at the table behind us would bite a lady in the jugular.”

“See, there’s an example of why I use that qualifier.”

More progress on Divorcing a Real Witch

I’m only now taking baby steps into writing the proposal, and I started with a rewrite of my chapter outline. This will definitely not be the final draft, but I thought I’d give you all a peek at the chapter titles so you can get the jist of the book:

Foreword: Why I wrote this book

Chapter 1: Why divorce when marriage is optional?

Chapter 2: The impact of divorce on family and friends

Chapter 3: Untangling the entanglement: the magical benefits of handparting

Chapter 4: Spells and magic to assist handparting rituals

Chapter 5: A year and a day, the end

Chapter 6: Oathbreakers and Warlocks

Chapter 7: Divorced witches under 30

Chapter 8: What to expect when you’re divorcing (and a witch)

Chapter 9: Rebounds, retrogrades and Saturn returns

Chapter 10: Life after handparting

Chapter 11: Between divorce and dating

Chapter 12: I’m single and Wiccan. Now what do I do with me?

Appendix – this will list resources helpful to divorcing pagans. Right now it’s just a book list including the works of Julia Cameron and Z. Budapest’s Summoning the Fates.

Looking at it here, it needs some re-ordering in the middle, but I can work with it.

Writer’s freakout

Today is the First Day back at the keyboard after finishing the rough draft of the book on divorce and Wicca. I’m going to change the title to something catchy and borderline offensive, like “Divorcing a Real Witch.” I need to give this work the best chance that I can give it, after all, and if that means a less-than-appealing appeal, so be it. Titles are tough for me. Although I’ve noticed that the titles that draw the most attention actually are cliche’ driven.

I knew the mini-crisis I’m sitting in is brought on by the whole momentousness of finishing a first draft and thinking, “OK…now what?” I also realize that completing an entire first draft is not what a publisher or agent might want me to do. I fully expect to rewrite all of the book in any case, so having that draft on hand makes life just a little easier for me.

Now I’m attempting to gather my wits for creating a book proposal. I’ve written outlines before, sure, and in the 90s I sent out a few book proposals. All but one got some genuine interest, and then I promptly chickened out. At that time I needed someone who had been there to talk me through it, but at the time those people just weren’t around. Those that were qualified to offer such advice wrote for academic fields and were usually just as uncomfortable with my writing for the commercial market as they were with me writing about witchcraft. Because of the obvious discomfort, I chose not to go to them with these project success/failure points. I guess I wasn’t a great mentee.

As it is, I suspected myself of stalling work this morning when I suddenly felt the need to cook myself up a huge breakfast, linger over my morning pages, and then I did what I never do… I checked my phone before 3 pm.

Lo and behold, some friends needed a babysitter now. So I opted for a day that ended with me bribing a three year old to pull a wagon while I carried his easily motion-sick brother the rest of the way home. ((Child handled motion sickness by gradually tipping over in the wagon until he rested on his head. I am so not cut out to be a mother. His brother recognized the situation and took advantage of it, with an actual “I won’t pull the wagon unless there’s something in it for me.” Little bastard.)) So my morning time went, and I’m blogging now. While I am looking up how to do book proposals, mostly I’m just getting some panic noises in the front of my brain.

What is and is not Wiccan

What is and is not Wiccan is not entirely mine to say. But I do want to share this observation:

Wicca as an overall religion does not have a central authority. This means that no one really gets to say what is and isn’t Wiccan, although people do try, and sometimes even I wish we could go “Uh, …. NO.” For instance, Klingon Wicca is just hard on my brain, especially since Klingons are much more in line with Asatru. Although Asatruar would likely not handle such a thing with… good humor.

Gardnerian Wicca has the most evidence supporting it as the first Wiccan tradition. OK, I’m fine with that. ((It seems like a solid faith practice, although among the Gardnerians I know in Minneapolis there’s not one I would ever stand circle with. There’s too much of an undercurrent of somebody making decisions for me, and I don’t know what that is, but I know it’s human and not divine and I don’t like it.))

Then the religion evolved as a belief system that actually has the hallmarks of a strong spiritual path will. A lot of Gardnerians I’ve read seem very unhappy about this. One or two go so far as to try to classify other Wiccans as “neoWiccan” or just “not Wiccan” because it is not their style of Wiccan, and do not use their methods or standards of initiation, whatever those might be.

I just realized why I think this is shit behavior. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m Wiccan or not. That’s between me and God/ess, and since the divine and I are still talking there’s nothing another human being has got to say about my validity or lack thereof that I’d ever for a moment take seriously.

But I realized why it bothered me anyway. It’s a repeat of Christian history. It’s exactly what the Roman Catholic church does with any other style of Christianity. “Oh, that doesn’t exist.” ((If the Gardnerians try to adopt Alexandrians the way the Catholic church attempted to adopt the Lutheran church in 1991 I’m going to fall over laughing.))  It even has the same ring of authority to it. I’m not particularly a rebel, but my call to Wicca was just as legitimate as anyone else’s, and I don’t think God/ess actually gives a flying hobo about any religion. ((Religion is the up/down escalator to transport humans to the divine, and I’ve yet to hear Eros say, “But are you Gardnerian?”))  The we’re first entitlement is so… oldest sibling syndrome.

I’m not allowing comments on this one because a)like it or not, it’s a comparison that needs to be pointed out and b)I think we all need to think about it for awhile first because it’s bound to jerk a few knees and c)after the chest-pounding superiority that got peed on the True Blood post, I will no longer tolerate any self-aggrandizing shenanigans in my own house. I’m learning by observing rather than discussing at the moment. This is what I’ve observed and what I think about it. And unless I have reason to, I don’t really see myself discussing it further unless it becomes a problem to solve.

The first draft is done!

Como Garden and Conservatory June 8 2009

As of Thursday: The first draft on handparting and Wicca is done! Joy!

Now there’s a whole lot more work to do, of course, but this is the first time I have written a work that long, ever. I realize that it’s a long road ahead, but hopefully with careful care and a little help from my friends I can bring this puppy into print (or digital issue) once I get all the phases done.

As the next part of my work, I’m also going to be posting a very long survey online, and asking people who are Pagan and divorced in the Twin Cities area if they’re willing to sit down and do an interview with me. I would like to get as many of these interviews on camera as possible, because I plan to open a web page with a few of these videos. I may be able to string together an online documentary if the interviews are of sufficient quality.

Along with the survey I will post the outline and sample chapters (after much rewriting, I’m sure.) I am seeking an agent to represent me. I’m also wondering if I should start a Facebook fan page under my own name. While Facebook is the devil, it does have marketing clout.

I’m already feeling quite celebratory, and I had friends over last night as a sort of indirect celebration.

And now, more work ahead.

One small thing. It works.

Oy! Where’d the time go? Oh, and elemental mastery

Awhile back, I performed a ritual I created to better understand earth as an element. I intended to work through each element according to a program I designed for myself, one that I hoped (possibly still hope) to make a useful book from at some point. Today, after a year of nagging and setting aside due to distress, I finally wrote a ritual of air. I was referring to the earth ritual for format consistency and saw the date where I’d scribbled notes about the experience: 2005.

In other news…

032910 241The book on handparting in rough draft is just over 58,000 words right now. I have a ways to go yet, including collecting survey data and interviewing people for the book and to run on my website. I’m not refusing to show people the manuscript because I’m being coy or I’m concerned that my ideas will be stolen. ((It’s a law of the Internet that if you post it, someone will steal it, and while I’m wildly annoyed at people who steal my stuff – and more annoyed when they claim they have a right to it both for the entitlement and inaccuracy – I can’t let it end my world.)) I’m not sharing right now because it’s a rough draft, rough enough that  sneak peeks would probably lose me some business. When I write a rough draft I write it really badly, since it’s more important to get all the words out than it is to make sure each one is shined and polished. Writing badly actually ensures I finish a project, because cleanup does not strike me as unbearable.

Finally saw that Simpson’s episode

Lisa Simpson on Wiccapedia

The one with the teen Wiccans and the hooch? Yeah. To be honest, I don’t really have any opinion on it whatsoever. It was typical Simpson’s fare, and while it handled Wicca fairly with only a few exaggerations, everyone did get somewhat skewered. The ritual representation with the grape juice was just so boringly true it made me wonder who the writers spoke to, or if one of their staff is Wiccan.

I also decided to look for this “Wiccapedia” which at this point is nothing but parked domains. I would guess no one wants to attempt undertaking such a project because of the inevitable caterwauling and arguments over not just academic details but what the public should be “allowed” to know.  ((I’ve come to the conclusion that if the Divine wants a secret kept, it’ll get kept, and there’s not much I need to do about it. Which is different from maintaining confidentiality.))

I wound up finding this entry about Wicca on Uncyclopedia, that starts with the header “Wicca: a Cry for Help if Ever there Was One.” It seems that the site is mostly satirical, so I’m not particularly butt-hurt about it. As I’ve said before, I don’t care if coverage of my religion is nice, I care that it’s accurate, and the satire is at least moderately true to form – while the article is mean-spirited, it’s not resorting to the outright lies that certain church groups often do.

Really, there’s enough of a seed of truth in it that it merits backing up and taking pause. While I’m not going to apologize for my body (since I am evidently the stereotypical fat Wiccan) I can consider my behavior, and I think every human being ever needs the occasional check-point on “how am I driving my skin?” But it should be a self-checkpoint. When someone walks up to me or anyone with an uninvited evaluation, eventual punching is inevitable.