Yule

I went to the ritual at my local witchy shop.  It was the standard ritual. It was, sadly, not particularly moving as rituals go.  It was full of cheer, and there are now so many people that I know.  Even if the ritual didn’t connect, it still feels like community.  

I avoid looking for signs and symbols in events… Of course this must be followed by a but… But… After the ritual my pentacle pendent broke.  I’ve worn it to every ritual I’ve attended or been part of for 23 years. 23!  It was a pewter piece, and one that I expected to break years ago.  It didn’t, until Saturday. It broke and the pieces fell, hitting my shoe. I felt it.  That section of the shop, for the first time all night was largely empty.  I found both pieces.  

I don’t like the idea of signs or omens. It seems to easy to attribute meaning to anything and everything.  That said, I’m viewing this as an opportunity to move forward. To really look at my current practice and see where it is going.  

Fears

I have a disability.  I don’t talk about it often. Most people who know me don’t even know I have one. As I age, it gets worse. I thought I was making real progress with yoga. I love it. But even as I thought I was getting stronger, my body betrayed me. My wrist just started giving out every time I tried to practice. I can still do standing or sitting poses, but everything else is out.

So I’ve found a gym that has a pool and finding an indoor pool in Southern California is tough.  I’m going to check it out tomorrow.  I’m nervous about it.  Everyone I’ve ever known who joined a gym gets sucked into such toxic body shaming spirals.  It’s a culture I cannot stand to around.  I’m hoping I can avoid that.

Poly Updates

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I’ve had so much going on.  

I’m still involved with my Sailor.  It’s currently long distance, but he’ll back soon.  The time apart had also given me a chance to get closer to my metamour.  I find I really like her, even removed from the poly connection. 
Having another married poly friend is nice.  We’ve both found difficulties as married women in the local poly scene.  

I’m still seeing the Professor as well. I’m so glad he’s low maintenance – we manage to get together about every month, sometimes twice a month. I find our conversations alone are sexy. I often say that I’m sapiosexual – intelligence, real intellegence, is a major turn on for me.  The older I get, the less interest I have in men with no intellectual lives.  So the Professor fulfills that desire and then some.  

And as always there is my amazing husband.  He continues to support my relationships and my witchcraft. He and I have been upping our shared events too.  More museums and theaters for us.  The one element of poly that continues to surprise me is realizing how much more I love him, even as I explore my feelings for others.

Vision Quest

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This month’s vision quest was not the most intense, but it was the clearest.  I am going to use part of my existing novel to answer a call for submissions.  I have 2 other calls I’m considering.

I hadn’t expected anything about writing to come from a Morrigan vision quest.  But that’s what I got.  So I’m going to write.

Image of The Morrigan in the form of a woman wearing a red dress standing against a grey stormy background.  A raven is behind her.

I find I look forward to the work of the vision quests.  I find peace afterward.  I feel more and more at home with a variety of people at the shop, but even if I complete all the classes, I am not joining their grove.  I am considering joining another group… I’m going to look into it overt winter.
I set up my Samhain altar today.  I think it’s lovely.  I don’t use pictures as remembrances rather I use bits of poetry, fiction, or song.  I read them all aloud as I placed each on the altar.  I burned some Samhain incense (that I won in the raffle at Pagan Pride Day two years ago).  I placed my offerings.  

Samhain altar. Consisting of skulls, marigolds, a black mirror, candles, and a ouija board

The weather has started to cool off.  It’s been the low 70s most of the week.  Tonight it is raining.  

The cost of disclosure 

In the course of victim blaming, people always want to know why victims don’t just leave their abusers.  They have no idea what it costs to “just leave.”

The abused, in many cases, must disclose the abuse.  This is harder than most people realize.  There is so much shame in admitting it. There is fear of not being believed.  There is the actuality of not being believed.  There is the real chance of retribution.

When I finally admitted that I had been in an abusive relationship, I had an idea of what it would cost me.  I’d already experienced the emotional cost in my past.  I like to think I’m better equipped now than I was at 20.

The other cost I assumed was the clubs, and likely the people that I had befriended there.  There are acquaintances that are based on convienence and proximity.  I go to a place regularly, so I see people there. We talk and become closer.  However, there has to be a willingness, interest, and ability to continue that connection.  

When I quit going, I expected I’d lose those people.  I tried. I called, I offered alternative things we could do – I even made a point of not asking to set up meetings that conflicted with clubs.  

Because of history with partner, I have an issue with rejection.  I’m ok with strangers or people i don’t know rejecting me, but when people I care about do it – I fall into an anxiety spiral.  There’s only a small amount that I can take of it.  So eventually, I stopped asking.  I understand that life is complicated.  Scheduling is always a challenge, but at some point, I accepted that our acquaintance was only one of convenience, but not a deeper relationship.  
I did not expect that it would cost me my best friend.  It wasn’t that she doubted me, at least I don’t think do.  She did ask some questions that made me wonder… I don’t know if it is because her sister is now dating my abusers.  I’m working on not attributing motivation or emotion to people’s actions.  So I won’t speculate further.  In fact, I only include these things out of a desire to be honest.  

Regardless of the reasons, after I stopped clubbing, she quickly stopped seeing me. 

So when people blame victims, when they say it’s a victim’s fault for staying, those people have never had to weigh the cost of leaving.

I don’t regret disclosing – well I do sometimes.  If my friend’s sister hadn’t started a relationship with him, I would not have made my accusations public.  I’d have told my partner and friend, eventually.  

I don’t know what else I would have done. Probably gone clubbing less.  Probably try to warn his next victim.

 I wonder if I’d said nothing if it would have let me keep my best friend?

Mabon

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I wasn’t able to make my regular circle’s Mabon event.  I am fortunate enough to have a wealth of options.  So I went to my first reclaiming circle.  It was exactly like I’d imagined, when I was thoroughly immersed in 70s feminist SFF, a ritual to be. 

It is a circle primarily of women.  There is spontaneous singing of Starhawk and T Thorn Coyle.  They are soothing and accepting and open smiled.  They use the language of people like Leo Buscaglia honestly, without derision, sarcasm, or shame.  They wear scarves and flowing skirts and capes and shawls.   They are deep and filled with love and dreams of empowerment. 

Friends

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​One of my favorite pagan podcasters, Scarlet of Lakefront Pagan Voice, recently wrote about her own social anxiety.  This has led me to think a lot about the nature of friendship.  Some people seen to find it an easy concept, but maybe that’s just the way it appears. 

Part of my intention with this blog is to be honest.  Of course, I find honesty difficult because I know that my honesty can be used to hurt me. 

I have always struggled with friendship.  To say that I grew up in a dysfunctional home is an understatement.  Around age 13, I believed that no one actually wanted to be my friend, or anyone else’s friend. All relationships were at best transactional – what did they offer in exchange for what I had to offer. Of course, I also didn’t believe that I had much to offer. 

My mother and older sister both spent most of my tween years telling me that men would only like me because of my breasts.  My mom doubled down on that also constantly telling me women (ok likely she said girls) would never really be my friends because of said breasts.  She never missed a chance to reinforce that any time I had a disagreement with a girl friend.  

Considering this, it makes sense that I’m still surprised and even suspicious of people who seem interested in being my friend.  Yet hope, foolish and cruel bitch, springs eternal and so I keep trying.
After too many abusive relationships, and I am including non-romantic ones, I find that I am slow to trust people. Once I do, I trust and I’m loyal, but that is often not reciprocated.  

All of this makes me hyper sensitive to distance. The friend that stops calling, or consistently turns down invitations hang out.  That person who is always too busy to see me, but not too busy to do other things and see other people.  
I admit, that when I see these behaviours, or think I see them, I pull away.  I stop trying. I stop communicating because after all, no one could actually want to be my friend in the first place.  Whatever it was that I had – the thing the other person wanted – is gone or no longer what he/she wants/needs.  

I am not very good friendship.  

I am grateful for the people who make the effort.

Lammas

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It was upon a Lammas night,
When corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,
I held awa to Annie;
The time flew by, wi’ tentless heed, 5
Till, ’tween the late and early,
Wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreed
To see me thro’ the barley.

Robert Burns

I went to a Lammas ritual put on by the local Druid group.  I like this group.  I love that they really live up to their “educate” the public stance.  They explain their philosophies, the purpose of the ritual, and the significance of the parts of the ritual.  Also they start on time.  One day maybe I’ll post about “pagan standard time” or what I think of as “we are flaky and self-centered time.”

It was, as always with them, a good ritual.  I love their inclusion of stories (often acted out by members).  Of course, I do wish we had a larger space.  While I am ever grateful to the local witchy shop for hosting these events, sometimes the number of people crammed into the tiny backyard space is a bit much.

Lammas is my favorite sabbat.  I love the liminal moments.  Southern California, is at the peak of its hot season at this time.  Seriously, midsommer/summer solstice often requires a sweater at night – not by lammas.  While I am not a huge fan of the heat, especially this year, Lammas means that it is almost over.  The peak has been reached and we will start drifting into the cool days of autumn soon.

800px-Kamille_in_Weizenfeld

Kamille (mir unbekannter Art) in einem Weizenfeld (ebenfalls von mir nicht bestimmbar ist das fliegende Insekt in der rechten Bildschirmhälfte)

 

How to respond

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I was listening to an interview with a men’s right activist.  I admit that I was challenging my own bias just listen. 

He kept insisting that in cases of abuse, society needs to maintain “innocent until proven guilty” attitudes.  I wonder how does that work in a society where domestic violence is underreported, and more often never reported to law enforcement?   So if a friend comes to me and says, “hey my significant other is abusive” but declines to press charges, am I supposed to say, “well I guess I’ll never know if he/she is guilty?” Really of the same friend came to me and said “my significant other never does the dishes,” I’m not going to ask for dates/times and surveillance videos.  But with abuse, I guess this guy thinks should.  And sure, my comparison isn’t really fair.  But if the same friend comes to me and says this significant other stole from her, again in going to believe her. Why would she lie?
Yes, I know people lie. And yes, there are a ridiculously small number of false claims – but I am not talking about sending someone to jail. I’m taking about, at the most, cutting someone out of life.  I’ve done that for all kinds of reasons – even ones that don’t always make sense to me.

I wonder how the world looks this MRA.  How does he maintain this standard when it is a fact that the legal system is stacked against victims?  My family and friends have doubted my accusations, what chance did I, a 13 year old girl, have in a legal proceeding? Now as a 38 year old woman, I have zero expectation that I could have brought successful charges against my ex.  I, like many victims, only have my word – and the word of a woman is always doubted.  60+ woman accuse Bill Cosby, people still doubt. 

The MRA speaker went on.  his evidence for his view, an anecdote.  He cited an anecdote, the fallacy of that should be evident, if it’s not Google fallacy of anecdote.  The accused abuser used his text message to “prove” she lied. MRA did not say that she sent texts that said “I lied about you abusing me” – I don’t know what they said, and MRA didn’t say.  The implied content was that she came to the man’s home willingly and that they were in a relationship.  These are not “smoking gun” evidence.  Afterall, my ex has thousands messages from me.  Most of which would at least support his view that he did “nothing wrong.”but lest I fail into the trap of anecdotes, most abuse survivors are in relationships with their abusers. Survivors don’t start out hating their abusers.  I read an article on Bustle, I think, from a woman who didn’t hate her abuser.  She could still remember the man she fell in love with.  I understand that too.  Maybe the MRA doesn’t. Maybe he, like so many others, doesn’t understand the cycle of abuse – or how hard it is to admit it is happening. 

So how does it work? Do I assume innocence when a friend of acquaintance claims someone was abusive? Do I conclude, well it never went to court, so I guess he/she is innocent? 

I will always err on the side of the victim.

Tarot

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Mother of Wands: attractive, domestic, vibrant.
she’s a mother in command of her home and family.  She is fierce and strong.  She maintains her home even at great cost to herself.  “Often times she had overcome great pain and trauma”

This could easily be me. 

The Father of Wands: charismatic, creative
he is charismatic. People are drawn to him. He welcomes people with an open and loving heart. This is M.

Ace of Cups: “Love’s Beginning”
Beginning of exciting new phases. Expect to enter a blissful time of health, joy, and friendship. Allow these feelings to revitalize your spirit.

This is going to be challenging.

The Moon: Vivid Dreams & Fears
A place of dreams, fears, and mystery.  While the dark space can lead to greater exploration, but too much may lead to doubt & anxieties.

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