Month: February 2014

Supplies: Twitches, Flus, Disease

Hiving on my Face

Me, on the downswing after a rather nasty round of hiving. (I have had trouble with chronic urticaria since 2002. In theory I’m supposed to start shots soon.)

I wish this chapter had more of something to write on overtly because I swear this happens to everyone I know who is about to make a great difference:

you are about to start that big project, or you JUST start that big project. Suddenly you get the flu, or a toothache, or the head cold from hell. Not only does the timing suck – that timing happens all the time.

According to Cameron, it is your fear finding a way to manifest in your body. She suggests writing the fears and dumping them in the God Jar. She also suggests affirmation.

Of course, as an official magical thinker, here’s what I suggest:

The night before you start your project, perform an uncrossing and a road opening spell. In the morning, after you do your morning pages, perform some type of protection spell. (I have yet to come up with a protection spell that fully satisfies me – but one already printed, in Janine Renee’s Tarot Spells, works well.)

Keep a notebook with you during the day. Jot down every panicked, disruptive, critical thought you can. This way they’re acknowledged – and scooted out of your way. Eventually you will just be focused on the work at hand.

So… that’s my suggestion.

Filed under: Supplies

Seriously, you don’t like that my opinion is different from yours?

Everything has taken on the illusion of high stakes lately. It really was high stakes when the Patriot Act got passed – 2001-2005 was a motherfucking mess, a youth and 90s-optimism destroying disaster that shoved my ass into adulthood. The butthurt pangs echo still. Right after 9/11 ((yes, I invoked 9/11 … as a historical reference. One that I lived through, even, while surrounded quite literally but the immediately Most Unpopular People in America at that time.)) there was a need for as much of the country as possible to be on one page as possible. Of course, we were never before in history less on one page and thanks to the conscious divisive propaganda of a certain major political party that has lost touch with its own values, most of the country isn’t even on the same Webpage anymore, let alone working from the same rulebook for which that metaphor was intended.

In my late teens and early twenties I had been outspoken on the page and in person – although an introverted sort of outspoken. Even now I actually have to have a level of trust to engage in small talk. Along with that outspoken tendency came another factor: know what matters. I grew silent on a lot of stuff I used to be noisy about because careless words really did get people I held dear dragged in for questioning and on one occasion almost detained.

I gag on mushrooms. I have friends who love them. This is not something that matters. I do not find the prose of JRR Tolkien readable; the Peter Jackson movies are even worse. This is not something that matters.

I am a recovered homophobe who believed even in the height of my homophobia that gays should be allowed to marry their partners. I was able to recognize that their differences didn’t harm me and denying them rights did not make any difference whatsoever to my safety. This is something that matters. I have a personal understanding of Islam that can only come from being surrounded by Muslims in America during 9/11. There are aspects that I cherish – they have instilled means of caring for the poor that the world could learn from – and ones that are troubling, like the reality that their embedded attitude towards women is just as inexcusable as the one assumed by the “official” Catholic Church ((In both cases there are people who buck the dictates of their faith and treat women with respect as an act of individual conscience or as an extension of their own expression of that faith)) .

A little discernment, please. If my taste or distaste troubles you, remember this: I was not put on this Earth to please you.

The stakes are only high in certain places.  My heretical thoughts about the Great White Dudes of literature are not of grave cultural or personal importance.

Chill. No matter how I feel, ~the Dude abides ~.

Supplies: Montagues and Capulets

This is a note to self. #nofilter
This is the crazymaker that shrieks: “You can’t work with them! They break their eggs on the wrong end!”

Since the last full collaboration I recall happened more than ten years ago on a fanfic, I can’t say that I can think of situations where I’ve had this. The closest is when my now longtime friend Aldous reached out to me to form our friendship and the now gone-from-my-life Lionboy called me in the middle of the workday to have a fit about how “dangerous” Aldous was.

Of course, Aldous was not trying to tell me who I could and could not talk to. It seems to me that the dangerous person is usually the one telling you not to make new friends. In Lionboy’s case, I might have been perhaps a bit more cautious than I might have been with my new friend, but by then I had realized he was really very controlling… and doing it without any legitimate claim. It’s not like Lionboy and I were in a relationship.

I also see that now as throwback energy – as long as I had the family connection, their controlling and invasive energy would find ways to follow me through other relationships. In the case of Lionboy I had no trouble telling him where to stuff it and that was that.

I will say that there is a divide between Pagan-land and sci-fi fanland and artist land: sci fir and artist land tends to look at new projects as things to try with the hope they will succeed. Most of the time, when I have tried to start any new project among Pagans, where the other Pagans do become member-collaborators, I am first told by whoever will find me that it’s all “doomed to massive failure” and if I proceed anyway, how I am somehow corrupt for daring ask people to contribute to such projects.

Why? Because I drift towards projects that are events and activities people have never seen in Pagandom before.

The attitude is really quite tired, as is the willful spread of apathy like a nasty case of free-thought ebola. Any chance of thinking for yourself drips out your eyeballs.

In Paganland, the Capulets  are the Pagans, the Montagues are the people that competently handle money and believe in it as a way of sustaining a group. There really does need to be a marriage – but sure enough, when somebody makes it happen, that Montague gets banished to a southwestern trailer park.

If I gain anything by this opposition it’s an excuse not to do it. I’ve already realized that martyr is a terrible color on me, as is my usually vain hope that someone will step up who is just as capable. I am realizing the more I write these entries that all these complaints are why I want to teach the Artist’s Way to Pagans.

Until I do the ultimate of Road Openers, stuff around here is just going to suffocate.

Filed under: Supplies

Supplies: Gatekeepers: Jumping the Fence

Wrought Iron fence

Wrought iron fence by the Baptist church on Polk NE in Minneapolis

In a way, I’m born to jump the fence. It’s just my natural instinct borne of a curiosity about the world. Also, my key drive is my sense of mischief. While I never want to harm anyone, I do like to mess with people a little – especially stuffy, controlling people who control for no good reason. It’s really why journalism appealed to me. Most of it is fence jumping 1o1, via the Freedom of Information Act.

It’s why, whenever someone brings up an injustice – a judge who issues a sentence that is mind-bogglingly misogynistic, thousands starving because of warlords, an oil spill that screws up penguins – I always want to know if there’s another way. I hear all the dolorous things about how there never is. I just ignore that person and ask someone else if there’s another way. Petitioning judges or governors for overturns, putting penguins in sweaters, hiring some modernday Xena types… the solutions are out there. You just have to cheerfully ignore the subject matter experts that say that there aren’t.

I believe solutions exist. No one has called me a Pollyanna to my face – and no one would think I’m the type if they saw the circles on my 750Words.com ratings, that nearly always insist I’m “Introverted, Negative, Certain…” although feeling seems to have replaced thinking as part of my mood de jour when I use that program.

Really, to me, the greatest Gatekeeper is simply the “Impossible! That’s impossible!” one. That’s the one I ignore. Makes me wish I’d tried poll vaulting. It would be funnier that way.

Filed under: Supplies

Supplies: Gatekeepers

Bare Branches and Fence

Bare branches and fence, I do not remember what winter I shot this in.

Gatekeepers are the middlemen, those that stand between you and moving upward in your career just because that’s how it’s done.

Perhaps this lesson is why my first post-secondary institution is on my mind. Perhaps this is why a particular dinner table conversation in childhood popped into my mind.

My mother managed to run the gamut of all creative monsters. Her own blockages and disorders made her into a person who could not stand to see her children more creative or successful than herself. No, better to have us both languish in mediocrity or perform at something we didn’t enjoy than have us pursue the wild and hopping interests that most children have.

I can’t remember how we got on it but she had just launched her program of “you’ll have to accept your place in life.” It was the late 1980s.

I remember the when more than the conversation, because in a hilarious disruption from my sister, she interrupted the conversation with the Adam Ant song: “There is always room at the top/Don’t let them tell you that there is not.”

It cracked me up, my mother threw a hissy fit and that was the end of her royal mislead that day. It was so out of character for my sister to actually have a sense of humor, let alone for her to be supportive of me/run interference that her mischief still sticks in my mind. At the time she was in the middle of some ongoing war with my mother, and in this single moment I was a beneficiary rather than collateral damage.

Sadly I had been brainwashed through high school into believing that the Gatekeepers had some higher wisdom. That they really knew something about me that I just didn’t yet recognize myself. Only as an adult do I realize I was the victim of narrow minded blindness, that I was denied opportunity not because I wasn’t enough- but because they actively refused to see that I was more than enough, that I was quite stellar when given any room to be so.

Then I came across my first amateur Gatekeeper. My first year of college the school decided to introduce a residence hall council. I raised my hand to volunteer to run. An older girl, seeing my hand, turned to the resident advisor and insisted that freshman not be allowed to run.

I thought that sucked, but it was my first semester on campus so I let it slide. It’s a long story, but the next year, even though I hadn’t run again and had not even volunteered for the ballot, I got called into a big meeting about the election results.  This same girl, trying to justify this blatant abusive behavior on the part of the entire board, informed myself and the friend that got dragged in with me, “Well, you are only sophomores…”

I then realized that this woman was absolutely, 100% full of shit – and that whatever agenda was in her crazyass head involved keeping me from taking my rightful place in absolutely anything.

To the shock of my friend I simply stood up, said “You have no authority over me,” and walked out.

He played the game. But he could. As an athlete, he had leverage on that campus that I never would.

In that case, the Gatekeeper technically one – but she knew it was only a technical win. I eventually took all her toys away until all she had left was harassing me with the occasional nasty phone call.

In one of my first Wiccan rituals, I symbolically sacrificed her to the gods of karma. I don’t believe she’ll ever be a genuinely decent human being – but if she stands between other people and greater opportunities, karma ideally will tear an artery out of a butt cheek. My success would have taken nothing from her – so what she was doing was out of the most base, selfish and sociopathic of motivations.

Since she was a hot blond, my male friend probably never stopped long enough to think about her behavior or even to ask questions. Nope, questions were just for us fat brunettes.

_________________________________________________________

I’ve learned to watch for the Gatekeepers since then. In face to face life I find they are relatively rare. But this is sometimes because I don’t try that hard.

Paganism is filled with these Gatekeeper types. “Are you initiated? Are you initiated enough?” I have spoken voluminously and often of the raging morons that look to the legitimacy of my initiations rather than the legitimacy of the projects I do. One of the initiators in my most recent lineage has started a line of almost rebel initiations just because of this behavior.

She saw the Gatekeepers, including ones she herself created by accident. So she found a way to let a few of us hop the gate.

The Gatekeeper types will never stop being the Gatekeepers. Sadly, because I live in this society I understand why a few think they are serving a higher purpose – but most are just protecting themselves in a manner childish, selfish, absurd.

Filed under: Supplies

Freelance Spiritual Advisors: My advice to mysellf

Priestess of Delphi by John Collier Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.

Priestess of Delphi by John Collier
Probably the one I have the most in common with of all the great ancient priestesses.

Spiritual advice I have for myself?

Look for the laugh. That’s it. Laughter feeds my creativity. I always do far more good, produce far more when I am relaxed and happy than when I am tense, focused on the misery of the world. Good comes from fun. You can work it into the fun.

Example: I run an 800+ member Doctor Who meetup. Frivolous fun once a month, right? This frivolous fun has:
1)helped sustain a local business still finding its feet, thus keeping jobs in the area
2)helps keep an old-style historic theater open
3)has helped people find friends (though there’s still the Minnesota gap to overcome.) Friends, by nature, tend to share resources and help each other out in small ways. As anyone who throws change in a jar knows, small stuff adds up.
4)has a monthly food drive attached to it – those who are in a position to donate, do so. So we also sustain other people in our city.

It’s all couched in frivolous fun. And it works.

Filed under: Supplies

Supplies: Free Spiritual Advice I was given

Beehive and Witches, Hieronymus Bosch. Does this look like good advice to you?

Beehive and Witches, Hieronymus Bosch.
Does this look like good advice to you?

It was actually in line with the majority of spiritual thinking. It was also a load of crap.

“You don’t make time for religion on your life. You make time for your life around religion, even if that means 18 hour days.”

That is unmitigated bullshit.

1)Religion is intended to help you deal with life. If it doesn’t you are either practicing the wrong religion or, equally probable, religion isn’t meant for you. The whole going to hell if you don’t believe thing – some human being just made that up. Jesus is quite clear that he did not sign on to that. Since I am more of a “hi, disembodied thought form of a dominant religion in my culture, nice to see you, want a seat next to my Goddess statue?” you may prefer to swallow some salt tablets with this one.

2)If religion is displacing your life – even as clergy – that’s called joining a cult in the connotative sense. Don’t join a cult. Watch TV instead. Maybe take up paper mache or do some crunches while you watch.

Yes, my religion is what shapes my lifestyle. But it is not what rules my life – it just gives it a shape, a means of catching the life stuff so I can handle it. It’s not the only way to handle it, it is just what works best for me.

There’s also the “it’s only spiritual if you feel bad/feel bad for someone (and thus smug about your own position)” game. Pagans do it too. Oh, this feast is wonderful – but the starving children!” (Why is no one ever concerned about the starving adults?) “Beautiful sunset … segue to climate change…” (I was guilty of this as a teenager. One of the rare times getting yelled at was totally valid.)

Writing anything non-serious about magick is derided by the Very Serious. I’m a daily practitioner. The confusion and outrage at the stuff I produce is so illogical as to be hilarious. There is a difference, after all, between magick being silly..and magick not working.

Filed under: Supplies

Supplies: Freelance Spiritual Advisors I have known

Priestess, painting by William Adolphe-Bouguereau

Priestess, painting by William Adolphe-Bouguereau

It’s hard not to laugh too hard to write this.

Freelance spiritual advisors are those individuals who are always, always on you about not being “spiritual enough,” or “not being true to art.”

This is hilarious to me because I am beset with these bastards like ants on a mound of honey. Paganism is filled with these asshats. They make up the core of our culture. It makes true friends and people that make true friends super easy to spot: they are the ones that aren’t throwing around how we should all be so worried about Mother Earth and how we are bad people if we take a mind off her pain or the pain of Sudan or of third world workers for a single second. All magic must be Serious Stuff and must be Done Right and while Wicca is not dogmatic it may only be spoken of in a Certain Way.

It’s the few that aren’t talking this way that are the ones taking meaningful, thoughtful action on these very issues. They are also doing something much more important than all that talking: they are building fellowship. You can’t sustain a faith without some element of having a good time. Protestants use cookies and movie group socials. Catholics have ethnic food traditions; the orthodox seems fond of renting Ferris wheels, Muslims have food and family, the Jewish have food, family and a lot of people that like making movies. The Hindus have Bollywoood, dancing, spices …

It’s the fun that keeps us together and gives us strength when life gets serious. Being serious is the antithesis of creativity; it is meant as an anchor when you go about solving a problem and you’re supposed to yank it when finished doing your bit.

This whole freelance spiritual advisor bit is why I delete the majority of emails I receive instead of responding to them. Most smell… fishy. Either it’s an FSA waiting to happen or it’s a chide for holding forth my own opinions instead of repeating the ones that fit “the spirit of Paganism.” Evidently to many free thought is no longer part of that spirit.

Filed under: Supplies

Bad News Fairy: Have I Ever Been One

from Mopsa the Fairy - Dorothy Lathrop, 1920

from Mopsa the Fairy – Dorothy Lathrop, 1920

In junior high school: a tough-looking girl informed me she wanted to beat up my neighbor.
Motivation: seemed like a safety threat at the time.
Neighbor’s response; “So?”

Said neighbor did turn into a truly horrible person by the end of high school. Even so, I still admire that particular response.

Eh, I still don’t consider reporting threats of bodily harm “bad fairy” behavior. More … moral responsibility.

High school… probably. Bad fairy messages were practically the only way people spoke to me at all.

College: Nope, didn’t do it. Sure as hell had it done to me. The weirdest was when one guy who had a girlfriend decided I was hot potatoes and proceeded to dump his girlfriend for me. He had not bothered to determine if I had any sexual interest in him at all. Since he had by and far one of the most repulsive personalities I had ever encountered … I did not. So suddenly the guy I started dating felt the need to report back everything the girl that got dumped said about me. Then my future ex-husband joined the group peripherally and felt the need to tell me everything my boyfriend at the time was saying about me.

Boy, people sure have wanted control over me all my life. I must be a freaking bombshell, in a very literal sense.

Post-college: had bad fairies. Did NOT act as one; the one work case where someone reported badmouthing … I genuinely believe sh was protecting me and helping me protect myself.

Post grad: Nope. Had it done to me though, but again as a professional warning system.

Post divorce: Yes and I fought hard not to do it even though the woman involved was herself the most gleeful and manipulative of bad fairies. It began because her boyfriend was unhappy and told me all about it, asking for help getting out. It was a shitty thing to do to me and to her, although overall she wasn’t as great a person as she painted herself to be. I eventually caved and told her, after 18 month later it seemed the relationship was headed to a horrific clusterfuck. I regret doing so and I ended the relationship, realizing that if I only found this person likable when depressed, I was as bad for her as she was for me.

Filed under: Supplies

Supplies: the Motivations of Bad News Fairies

probably from wackystuff on flickr

probably from wackystuff on flickr

There is a pool of possible motivations that a bad fairy may draw from – they don’t all have the exact same reasons but they do come from the same source.

1. Power-seeking
a fast way to get power over someone is to make that person feel bad. When you feel bad you are less likely to recognize manipulation. “I heard you were a total slut! …. you should totally do something about that!”

2. Jealousy
it’s Wet Blanket 202. “Oh, you accomplished something great. But these people still think you’re horrible.” (I sometimes think of this as Pagan culture, the common denominator. Everyone has something insightful to quote about how much someone else thinks you suck.)

3. Fear
It’s secondary manipulation; they still want control over you because they hate how you’re changing the status quo.

In the rarest of cases:
4. Venting
Someone just took in lot of poison on your behalf and now they just want the antidote. This is the absolute rarest of cases; before you even consider that that might be the situation, make sure you know this person is otherwise a consistently good person in all other aspects.

Filed under: Supplies