Monday, December 17, 2012

The End of the World.

Apparently, the world's supposed to end on Solstice. So much for worrying about my student loans.

While at the New Place this weekend, after discovering that this is a bit worse than we thought (i.e., the foundation needs a lot of work, and we really need a general contractor to tell us how much), a Helpful Friend asked me, "How long are you and the Husband planning on staying here, anyway?"

I realized I had no answer.

The Husband and I have agreed that this is a short-term solution until we can actually buy a little place with a little acreage, but whether this means five years, ten years, or eight months, we really have no idea. I may get an office gig offer that's just too good to pass up and teach only on weekends. He may get a better-paying job elsewhere thanks to another Helpful Friend who was at the New Place this weekend. One of us may be hurt or killed on the way to work/on our jobs/at the mall by some mentally ill person with weapons.

A lot of people's worlds ended last week on December 14th.

I don't know how you parents stand it; how do you send your children out to school after something like this without liberal doses of Valium? For you, I mean, though the kids might need some, too. I cannot imagine the horror of just-another-school-day turning into the knowledge that you will never see your beloved child alive again in this incarnation. We expect to bury our parents, but I don't think anyone expects to bury their children. Especially not like this.

But then, horse-loving children die while riding. School buses crash, children are on planes that fall from the skies, there are drunk drivers bloody everywhere at this time of year. Kids get cancer or meningitis. Hell, a girl I went to high school with had a brain aneurysm at eighteen and died while driving home from a volleyball game. So I suppose you do it the way we all go out into the world each day - having faith that, in all likelihood, everyone will return home relatively intact.

We make plans for the future because most of us need to, I think. I don't personally know anyone who just wakes up and says, "Well, let's see what happens today." So the Husband and I are planning to fix the New Place and be there for a while, but we have no idea how long that is, because life is uncertain.

The world ends every day.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


So I will, contingent on passing my drug screen (no problem there), soon be a part-time employee of a certain Big Orange Sign Hardware Store. It'll be close to the New Place, and doesn't interfere with my job at the Good Barn.

I'm doing more Seven Spheres rites again, and getting new and different things this time. Tonight's Rite was to Jupiter, who's about building your own Kingdom on earth. While I was meditating on his seal (the astrological sign), I started imagining living in the New Place - where we'll put our bed, what it'll look like in the kitchen, all that. And as I was chastising myself for daydreaming when I should be meditating, I heard a Voice:

You are not daydreaming. You are imagining. Do you think the ruler of a Kingdom doesn't have to imagine their Kingdom?Without imagining the future Kingdom, all you're doing is reacting, not acting.

Duly noted. I'll be thinking of that this weekend during the final tearing-down. And being grateful for this new job and the financial relief it will bring.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

...And The Thunder Sounded, And The Lightning Flashed.

This is going to be a lot more poetic and a lot less linear than usual (to say nothing of NR 17 graphic). Make of it what you will.

Tonight, in bed with the Husband. Something more than just sex, my Beloved, and I hope you won't mind me letting the whole world into our Sacred Chamber, the Bridal Bed. The incense and "Wake Wood" and the strain and the sweat and the joy. The thunder sounded with us, the lightning flashed when I opened my eyes.

I christened us both, after. And brought you water. And came out here, in the sudden cool and the damp, knowing. Knowing this was one of the instructions I'd left myself as to how to come back. It was just really good sex, some would say. I'm uncomfortable with reading this, others are thinking. That doesn't matter. What matters is that I've started to dig myself out of the grave, started to climb the cold stone stairs out of Ereshkigal's abattoir. And if I leave glowing footsteps painted in love, so much the better.

A friend of mine left a comment on that last entry, about how things now made sense that hadn't before. And I heard April, at least eight years ago, telling me things I didn't want to hear about Things I'm Supposed To Be Doing. The Gods help me and you, my friends and readers, because now I see. I've long joked about not being a good example, but a cautionary tale, but I think the time for that bit of levity has passed.

I have heard The Voice. I have spoken with The Dead. I have risen from my own ashes, blessed in love. It isn't egotism when I say that I know, now, that there are people waiting to hear what I have to say, that what I have to say is meaningful in ways I can't even begin to imagine. I have no idea what words of mine reach someone, what instructions were left with me for someone else to hear.

These are only the first steps; I don't kid myself by thinking that now everything will be ecstasy and moonlight. But I am reborn, resurrected, returned. And I will whisper to you in the dark until you're off your own hook and climb the last of those stairs to meet me in the light again, the two of us blinking in the light of the Divine.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nothing's Normal When You're Dead, Part 2.

Obviously, I am not dead in the literal sense. I do not plan to eat foxglove or smear myself with a ton of mandrake or fast for a really long time or anything that could actually cause death. Driving on I-45 is bad enough, thanks.

The fine line between the literal and the figurative/poetic in magic is just that - fine. Am I literally dead? Of course not. But figuratively? Well, four months or so ago, I was married to someone I thought I knew and thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. I thought I had a home. I thought I had some sense of security.

I have none of that, now.

I was willing to do things I am no longer willing to do. I was willing to tolerate things I will no longer tolerate. I was someone who I am not, now. So am I figuratively dead? Yes. But it's a little deeper than that.

I've been drawn to the story of Inanna's descent into the Underworld and her time there with her sister, Ereshkigal, for years. So when I say I'm dead, I mean that you can't go through life changes like the ones I've been experiencing for the past year or so and think you'll ever come out as the same person as you were before. I mean that my old self, the person I've been for years, is hanging on a meathook, divested of her jewels and powers, waiting for the things that will bring her back to life.

I don't mean that I'm going to hang here until someone rescues me. Inanna gave instructions about what should be done to bring her back, and I trust that I told myself how to come back. I also trust that, as with Inanna, some of these instructions won't be carried out, but other things will happen to take me off the meathook.

In keeping with the recent trend of my receiving messages from people who didn't intend to speak to me directly, some of you may be Father Enki, and have some message that's important for me now. Don't be afraid to share.

Nothing's Normal When You're Dead.

It's been a rough four-and-a-half months or so. And things just got rougher.

The Husband is rebuilding an old workshop on his grandmother's land into a home for us, though we've run into a major snag - our friend, J, just broke up with his wife in a fairly spectacular manner, and so will be leaving the state and taking his wealth of rebuilding knowledge with him.

This led to another round of "WHY IS THE UNIVERSE RAINING FIERY DIARRHEA ON MY HEAD" on my part,  which in turn led to me shooting a message to a friend who's a professional psychic about things going Wrong for a while now, and what I'm doing/not doing that may be causing this. Psychic friend's answer was that, off-the-cuff, his opinion is that the Wrong is due to a "deep blow to your self-esteem causing an almost self-induced self-punishment".

I talked to a newly-witchy friend about Psychic Friend's quick answer. "Is he saying you're doing this to yourself?" she asked. Yes and no, I told her. It's not that NewAge thing of "you're poor and suffering from AIDS in some impoverished nation because you didn't think hard enough about being the next Nobel Prize winner" crap. It's more like I'm attracting Icky Stuff the same way a person with chronic low self-esteem attracts partners who aren't generally very good for them, or how if you already have a cold, it's a bad idea to hang out with people who are sicker than you are, and -

I realized that I may not have taken proper steps to get the Bad Woo of my previous situation off of me. I also realized that I am an idiot for not realizing this sooner.

Whilst brooding over this, I went and read R.O.'s blog. He talked about a message he got about being reborn from the bones up, how "you have died, and are being remade". I thought about how I've been telling the Husband that Samhain wasn't "normal" this year, how Faire wasn't "normal" this year, and how I need something to be "normal" pretty damn soon. I thought about how I spent a good chunk of Saturday night relaying messages from a dear friend's dead mother, something I've never done before. I thought about the whole lot of it together, thought maybe I ought to celebrate Saturnalia this year, then pondered R.O.'s cautionary bits about Saturn energy being very, very dark and how Saturnalia looks like a comparatively lighthearted holiday.

As I was about to pester R.O. with this apparent paradox, Something or Someone said, "Nothing's normal when you're dead, girl."

I'm dead. This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable explanation. Nothing's been normal, I haven't been at the top of my game, it's been one-step-forward-two-steps-back for months because I'm dead. People have been saying things that have been really meaningful to me even though they didn't have me in mind at all when they said them because I am being called back, called forth.

I've been looking for answers. I got them. So now it's time to put the pennies over my own eyes, to wind myself in my own shroud, to say goodbye to myself. To send myself off with the proper rites.

Then it'll be time to rise, new as the sun at dawn.

Friday, November 16, 2012


In the midst of trying to get a lesson scheduled today (she turned out to be a sweet grandmotherly lady who loves horses), the Good Barn Owner told me she's already bumping up my pay per lesson to only $5 less than I was making at the Bad Barn.

It's still not enough to keep me from having to take a day job, but it's something. It's something, the Gods be praised and thanked.

Wherein The Dropout Dilettante Hits A Little Close To Home With Her Last Post.

As you may well know, I love Deb, the Dropout Dilettante, at Charmed, I'm Sure. In her most recent post, her Muse says the following: 

"How could you possibly think that you would be okay dropping dead in your cubicle with nothing accomplished, nothing finished? How could you ever think that you would be okay living your life in a cubicle again? And still you try. You apply to jobs promising safety, promising health, promising security...Security is the whore in you that never lets you fly. You're so close. You're so close. Don't give up on me yet. Don't give up on us yet."

This hits a little closer to home than I'd like. It's what I've been thinking about most of the time.

I lost my marriage, my pets, my home, and any sense of security. I lost a great set of in-laws. I lost the future I thought I'd have with the man I thought I knew. But in the wreckage of all, that, I got the job at the Good Barn.

For strictly financial reasons, I may have to give that up.

When I told the Husband that I was going to a staffing agency, he made a face and said, I wish you wouldn't go looking for a day job just yet. Can you work forty hours a week and then teach until seven or eight at night?

Watch me. Watch me do it because I need this. When I worked forty hours a week and then went to the barn and rode almost every night, I was happy - and, given the amount of time I've had to think about things since The Disaster, I've realized that I haven't been happy since.

Twelve years is a long time to be unhappy.

When I got the job at the Good Barn, I thought it was a sign that things were turning around. Now, while I know that most of us whose talents are a bit off the beaten path usually have to have day jobs, I do not for the life of me understand why the Universe would grant me my heart's desire - teaching at the Good Barn - and then make me give it up. 

This has been a trend since The Disaster; if I want something, I'm almost assured that it'll look like I'm going to get it, only to have it pulled away at the last second. It's made me afraid to want. It's made me afraid to dream. At the same time, I'm afraid not to, because the things that make me who and what I am aren't going to go away. Insurance and a 401K aren't going to make my heart sing; guaranteed hours and paid holidays don't make me feel like I'm doing what I was meant to do. At the same time, Uncle Aleister never said that doing your True Will would pay the bills, did he?

So I burn candles, I sprinkle incense, I wear a charm in my sports bra. And every day, I pray - please, let me have this.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Status Update.

So after deliberation and a chat with his grandma, who assured him that she will not insist we find Jesus (why these people think I lost him somewhere is beyond me, but whatever), the Husband and I will probably be moving to his grandmother's land and renovating an outbuilding into a home for us. I'll have my furchildren again, some room to garden, and maybe Grandma and I can stick to safe topics like sewing and crocheting. She'd like to keep goats for wool and milk, but I think perhaps she has not considered the trouble with the milk aspect, i.e., the keeping-them-lactating thing.

My car's "SERVICE ENGINE" light is still on, and after an estimate to replace the thermostat (which is what's likely wrong with it), Husband declared "Fuck that", and decided he'd just do it ourselves.

Lessons at the Good Barn continue to be good. The owner brooks very little client nonsense, and it's easy to hide behind her when tomfuckery is afoot, which is not often.

I finished Phase II of Frater R.O.'s Gates Rites. I have yet to experience enlightenment, but then again, the house didn't burn to the ground due to my miscalculations of the planetary hours. I'm thinking of what a real daily practice would look like for me. I've been greeting the Ancestors each day, and taking a moment to give thanks for the rising of the sun, but I feel like there's something else I should be doing. Time to sit at the altar and ask what that might be, I think.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dreams, Part II.

Last night featured the following dreams:

I was driving through an intersection with a red-light camera. It had just turned red but there was no-one else driving, so I went through the intersection anyway, running over the camera in the process. I mean, I plowed that thing. Interpretation: people in Texas hate red-light cameras.

I was lost in a dormitory, when one of my friends who is in college finally appeared. She was explaining that on her floor (which was set up like one giant room), she seemed to be in charge (she's a dominant in real life). I said, "Some people naturally lead, and some naturally follow". Interpretation: I use cliches far more in dreams than in waking life.

I was driving through a part of town that had been fairly rough, but had started to gentrify. Except the gentrification didn't take, and everything was dark, store windows papered over, everything closed, hardly any working streetlights. Interpretation: I really have no flippant remark about this one. I'd say it's about how I'll probably have to go back to an office job, with the riding lessons as a sideline, but somehow, that just doesn't sit right.

And the red-light camera is probably actually about accidentally breaking my housemates' marble rolling pin last night. I hate it when I break other peoples' things, especially when I was trying to be very, very careful.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Dreams and Work.

There was circle on Saturday with the wonderful Trothwy and crew, and then back to the Seven Spheres Rites on Sunday. Frater RO has advised paying attention to our dreams.

I don't recall more than one, and an odd one at that. I was in front of a room, but instead of a door, it had a split, translucent plastic curtain. It also had windows made out of the same material. As I approached the door, a girl child took my hand and pulled me away, saying, "No, don't go near it, that's how the Hag sucks you in."

As I am no more cautious in dreams than in waking life, I snuck a hand around the corner of the wall to where the door was, and gave the plastic a push. I was immediately sucked around the corner and forward, and the flaps of the door started to blow up and apart. I remember thinking, "Here we go," and while I was initially afraid, I wasn't terrified, especially when I got pulled in and the roaring wind stopped and all went silent.

That, of course, is when I woke up. So I don't know what the Hag looks like, or why she gave up that cute little chicken-footed hut for a room within a room with plastic doors and windows. I'm really hoping to find out tonight.

Friday, November 2, 2012

New Year, Same Stuff.

I consider the day after Samhain to be the New Year and Summer's End.

I was hoping that between radical life changes and doing the Rites last week, that I'd start off on a good note, feeling all hopeful and chipper and having things even out and crap like that.

Not so much.

There was the sudden firing by the Bad Barn. The Good Barn just lost 2 clients, one of whom was one of my students who rode twice a week. This Sinus Crud will not leave. Husband has been on overtime for two or three weeks now, which is good, but may also have to work all Thanksgiving weekend, which means no going to Renfaire this year.

I am Over It. I am peeved at the Universe, which seems to be on a "give her something/take two things away" kick. I got the job at the Good Barn - but I won't even be able to cover this month's groceries unless I get two new students in, and if they can't give me enough lessons, I'm going to have to quit and begin another desperate search for a desk job anyway. We need to move out by the end of March, which is a lot sooner than I'd thought.

Yes, life has it's ups and downs. Light at the end of the tunnel and whatnot. But I'm bone-weary and the temptation to shout "THAT'S IT. I QUIT" and just lay down where I am and refuse to move is great. I need at least a year where maybe only one major appliance breaks down or I have a sudden huge vet bill or there is some other unpleasantness, as opposed to the past year where all of the frigging above have happened, usually in rapid succession.

I am sick of chaos and disaster and having almost no options. I am tired of trying my damnedest at whatever-it-is and still not succeeding. I am worn thin from having things I want dangled in front of me, just out of reach, only to be snatched back at the last moment.

And it's making me exceptionally boring to talk to in real time and blog posts, I'm sure.

Speaking of which (and witch - LOL SEE WHAT I DID THERE), I do recognize that it could be worse. We could have gone to stay with friends in New Jersey and lost everything we had (theoretically - I don't actually know anyone in New Jersey, really). We could be losing time from work that we won't get paid for, like the wonderful Deb at Charmed, I'm Sure. So I'm pimping her shop here (click me!) in the hopes that maybe some of you wonderful folk might go forth and buy stuff or make some kind of donation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Samhain To All.

And, because I cannot help myself...

'Twas The Night Of Samhain

'Twas the night of Samhain, and back at the house
The cats were all stirring like they'd seen a mouse.
The pumpkin was set on the counter with care
In the hopes our Beloved Dead soon would be there.

I'd taken off my breeches and my riding cap
And made a to-do list; no time to nap!
A salmon to cook for it's the fish of the wise
But then what should appear to my wondering eyes?

A great horned figure, and his retinue,
So many creatures, it looked like a zoo.
Here in the subdivison? Racing at that speed?
But to the stop sign they all paid no heed.

I heard them calling, "Hail Cernnuons! Hail Pan!
Hail Odin and Herne and come if you can!"
So I followed along as fast as I could
As the whole company headed into the wood

I saw dancing and revelry, wild and fast
We partied for hours and I had a blast.
When I came back, the fish wasn't done
And no-one believed the tale of my fun.

As I was scolded, what rose 'gainst the moon?
The Wild Hunt again, not a moment too soon!
As the Horned One rode past our place again,
They had to admit that I wasn't insane.

We stood unmoving, as though frozen there,
As the Horned One and his Hunt took to the air.
We heard him call as they flew out of sight,
"Happy Samhain to all, and to all a good fright!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ceremonial Magic Afoot.

I'm doing Frater R.O.'s Seven Spheres In Seven Days. So far, it's...interesting.

I started last Thursday, just as I got hit with the double whammy of the Sinus Crud and a sudden firing from the Bad Barn*. By Saturday, I was asking the good Frater if this stuff ought to be left alone by a newbie like me if she was pretty damn sick.  Based on his response, I soldiered through. I'm still sick, but I really have to wonder if I wouldn't be bedridden by now if I weren't doing this; I'm better for a while after each Rite, and have at least been able to go to work at the Good Barn.

I also joined the FB group he's set up to discuss results, though with my normal tendency not to discuss Work until it's done, I'm probably not contributing much. But I'm doing it - maybe not perfectly, maybe reading from cue cards, maybe in a way that would give any real magician fits, but sticking with this nonetheless.

Now it's off to feed the horse, get some groceries, and buy a piece of wood for a proper Table Of Practice.

*Via email, no less. The Bad Barn has apparently done this kind of thing before, or so goes horse community scuttlebutt. Considering that they apparently wanted the remaining trainer to use a horse with blood-spurting wounds in her lessons, I think this was a straight-up blessing, no disguise needed. And I think a call to the ASPCA may be in order. A little "heads-up" to Epona will happen at the very least.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Samhain Wonderland.

Granted, we haven't gotten the festivities on the way I would've liked. But there was dinner last night with the Housemates and some friends, and a plate for the Ancestors.

And now, from my own warped brain, I give you...

Walkin' in a Samhain Wonderland
Bones rattling, are you listnin'?
In the lane, offerin's glistnin',
What a beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight,
Walkin' in a Samhain wonderland.
Sidhe-folk troop out of their mounds
Here's the Hunt and all of its' hounds
Extra turnips to carve,
Hurrah! We won't starve!
Walkin' in a Samhain wonderland.
Maybe later we can read the Tarot,
And play some funny tricks on Parson Brown,
He'll say, "Did you do this?", we'll say, "no man,
'Twas the Man in Black who knocked your outhouse down"
Later on, we'll perspire
As we dance by the fire
We're happy to say
It's the New Year today
Walkin' in a Samhain wonderland.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Weather Report.

Temperature: chilly. Hooray!

Time: 8:32am.

Six-hour forecast: continuation of Rufus Opus's Seven Gates in Seven Days Rites, with today's being Venus. Riding lesson after the Rite. Pumpkin-picking and Samhain dinner with Housemates, Husband, and friends.

Advisory: go take the stew meat out of the fridge before you forget.

Monday, October 22, 2012

When Life Gets In The Way.

Despite my best intentions to Demand Some Answers this Sunday, life got in the way.

First, a lesson at the New Barn, which was fabulous. My students were adorable and pretty darn talented. Next was meeting The Ex to get my dog for a walk in the state forest. Then home and chatting with Housemate #1. After that, off to the store for foodstuffs. Cooking of the foodstuffs followed. Husband was in bed and dead to the world by 9pm after a grueling day spent disposing of The Jeep That Would Not Run, (aka Remind Me To Curse Hell Out Of The Asshole Who Sold Us This Thing).

And then I went to bed, as Husband has overtime this week. Despite it being "overtime", this actually means that he has to be at work at 4am. Which meant we had to be up by 2:10am at the latest in order to feed him and pack his lunch and whatnot. Ugh. Money good. Schedule bad.

I've got five hours before I have to be at the New Barn again for more lessons, and I fully intend to get some time in front of the altar before then.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Land, Redux.

Husband and I will be looking for our own place in a few months - say, around March. We will probably not get a place with land.

The idea of moving into some just-off-the-highway rent-a-box with no woods around or near it makes me grieve. For years, now, I've lived in actual houses, mostly suburbs with a decent amount of flora and fauna. But I suspect that wherever we end up, there will be no raccoons in the yard, no owls in the trees, no Land. No more watching the stars fade out after sending the Husband off to work.

I keep praying for a trailer on some land where I can keep the horse and my dog; a little patch that we can rent from decent landlords where I can garden and engage in the kind of outdoor witchery that I'm accustomed to, i.e., the kind that isn't well-suited to a little patio in full view of the neighbors. Maybe a rent-to-own.

I keep telling myself that the Husband said, just a few days ago, that I have proven myself to be very resourceful. If I am, then surely the Gods are even moreso, and They see what I do not.


Time to spend some of this weekend at the altar, I think. There are answers, and I need to find out what they are.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wherein The Ocelot Discovers Her Husband Is Pretty Good At Witchery.

Setting: Renfaire. Time: Yesterday. Place: Prince of Wales Pub at TRF. Husband is buying beer, bantering with the bartender (a straight woman) and a performer (a young gay man). Our Heroine (me) comes up behind Husband, banters along with bartender and young man for a moment, and then -

HUSBAND: We need to leave now.
ME: What? (figuring either Young Man or Bartender has freaked him out somehow, which is pretty odd as he is not homophobic, not skeeved by older women, and a flirt to boot)
HUSBAND: (takes off out of Pub at a brisk pace)
ME: (plaintively, trying to drink raspberry mead while following) Why are we running?

Finally, we find an opportune stopping point.

H: The Ex-Husband and Ex-Co Wife were right behind us.
ME: (indifferent) Really? (thinks, gets puzzled) But I didn't see anybody. (Ex-Husband is a big man and not easily missed)
H: Yeah, well, I might have...done something so you didn't see him.
ME: WAIT, WHAT?! Since when can you make other people invisible to me?
H: Well, I thought you wouldn't want to see him and have it ruin your day, so...
ME: (brain bending at uncomfortable angles) SO YOU MADE HIM INVISIBLE SINCE WHEN CAN YOU DO THIS.
H: (a bit smugly) Didn't you think I was a good enough witch to do something like that?
ME: (sternly) That is not the point. HOW DID YOU DO THIS IT'S NOT LIKE YOU CAN MISS HIM.
H: (again with slight smug) All things are energy. So I just pushed him one way and you the other.
ME: (headbench) So now there's going to be weirdness about "Why did you two run off" and crap. It would have been better to just do the, "Oh hai seeya bye" thing. And by the way, again, HOW DID YOU DO THIS.
H: I told you. It isn't hard, and -
ME: (suspicious) Have you done this to me before?
H: (serious) No. I just thought it might ruin your day.
ME: No, it would not have ruined my day. It's a big Faire, and it is a beautiful cool day and I am here with the man I love who loves me. Seeing him doesn't do anything to change that. But you have to understand something.
H: What?
H: (snickers)
ME: (despairs)

A stern "we do not make decisions for other people like that and this may be why you now have a hell of a headache" general lecture was issued. Another lecture on "let's use our witchery to create a computer glitch that makes the ocelot's student loan payments considerably smaller so she can actually pay them" will follow.*

*I'm kidding.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Weather Report.

Time: Very early or very late. Otherwise known as 6:30am.

Conditions: Cool, humid. Expect passing bugs and occasional Samahin preparation-frenzy.

Music: The daytime birds woke and sang just as Orion faded away in the creeping daylight, while a barred owl hooted its goodnight/goodmorning.

Forecast: Riding lesson, cleaning, horse tending, Samhain preparations, employer-enspelling*, vegan chili-making.

In other news, the wren seems to have gone elsewhere. I've checked its roost on the front porch, and it hasn't been there for several days. I do miss seeing that little ball of feathers. I wish it well, and am pondering whether it gave me something or came to take away something I didn't need. Maybe it did both. Maybe it was just a bird.

Yeah, right.

*One of my employers isn't really treating one of its horses terribly well. While I can't afford to lose my job over it by saying too much directly, I sure as hell can bring it to the attention of those who are In Charge Of Such Things and toss some heavy witchery at the situation.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Land.

"...'Traditional Pagans' will often feel connected to a place on the land through which they experience the sacred, become attached to that place and assume the roles of guardians of it. They try to stay warm and close to it. This is a common tendency, and an ancient one." - Robin Artisson, Becoming A Traditional Witch

I miss The Land.

The Land here at the new place is very welcoming. The Front Meadow, the backyard, the star jasmine and the gardenia hedge up the walk, the azalea and the heirloom ivy all welcome me. I don't think I've felt such oneness with a piece of land in years. When I introduced myself to it more formally a weekend or so ago, a feeling of familial love came from it.  I/we know you, and you know me/us. We will care for one another. And thanks for leaving those salmon skins out for the raccoons, it said. 

I still miss the land I was forced to leave. I miss my willow tree (I rescued & replanted it from an inappropriately dry patch of the front yard, and it rewarded me by turning from a foot-high sapling to a 20-foot giant in four years), my turk's-cap, my lemon bush (which was actually bearing fruit this year), my tiny rosemary (who will water you now?), and my clematis. I miss the spirits of the Land that I didn't even have time to say goodbye to.

I know this Land and I will be together for at least a year, and that I will be back here to visit and cat-sit after the Husband and I move out. I will grow new plants and give offerings to the animals and spirits. I love it, and it loves me. The more I spend time with it, the sooner I'll heal from the loss of the other Land.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Equinox.

I spent the equinox at home, having a memorial dinner for Housemate #2's mom, who passed away in August. There was lasagna, garlic bread, salad, queso and chips, wine, root beer, fudge, and companionship.

Family was, as might be expected, a big theme. Friends #1 & #2 have been spending a lot of time on, and told us all the stuff they've found about their families so far. Family legends that proved to be just that, famous folk they're related to, and all of it terribly interesting.

Friend #1 also brought us a wonderful gift - a squat, corpse-green pumpkin. It's creepy and otherworldly and beautiful, and when viewed from above, the sections make heart shapes. It's the blue-green of decay; it's a healthy fruit waiting to nourish us. A perfect gift for the balance of light and dark before the days grow longer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wren and Toad

Last night, after dinner was made and the kitchen cleaned, I started gathering up my things to go cleanse my and the Husband's room. Well, cleanse and make mine/ours, since Big Brother Housemate has this place so spiritually sparkly that it's like a magical fallout shelter.

I couldn't find my cauldron. I realized I had no charcoal. I was rooting through boxes like a crazed squirrel and getting more frustrated by the moment. Husband suggested that I put it off until the next day. But I was driven to do what I'd set out to, and nothing short of having all the damn boxes fall out of the closet on top of me was going to stop me. So I found Big Brother and got the necessary supplies, then stepped out on the front porch to smoke, listen to the rain, and get in the right headspace.

The wren was there again.

See, the front porch has these square, slender columns, and this wren has been sleeping up at the top of one of them, on a ledge just big enough for it, for a few weeks now. When we go out to smoke, it doesn't wake and fly away. I was worried at first that it was a stranded fledgling, but it leaves during the day and then comes back. It is clearly able to fly. And it keeps coming back, making a little puffball of feathers up there until morning.

That little bird makes me happy, roosting up there, obviously feeling safe enough to sleep through us coming in and out. I sat down in the chair I've dragged outside, and leaned over to sit my drink down next to me. I startled hell out of a Gulf Coast Toad, but he didn't hop off. So I moved my drink a little, and shared space peacefully with bird and toad.

When the five minutes before ritual is full of soft rain and wild creatures, you know it's going to be good. Maybe not special-effects-like-in-"The Craft" good, definitely not can't-get-grounded-for-hours good, but a deep, soul-restoring kind of good that hums along in the background.

I slept like a baby. Or maybe like a wren.

Friday, August 31, 2012

A Change in Perspective.

I don't really believe that people change, or at least, not very often. Do we get more set in our ways as time goes on? Sure. But by and large, I believe that leopards don't change their spots.

On the other hand, when is it useful to make a concerted effort to change? After a wonderful meeting with Trothwy today, I started considering something she said today in conjunction with something the Husband had said before The Disaster (as I've come to think of it).

About two weeks before The Disaster, I was saying to the Husband that I'd love to be one of these people who gets up at the crack of dawn, goes for a run (OK, probably a walk in my case), and then gets stuff done all day. "So why don't you become that person?" he asked.

Then Trothwy said today that she tries not to entertain negative thoughts (I'm paraphrasing). I'd like to do that, too - to be able, finally, to just let go of things.

I have a million excuses. I'm tired at 5am. I get wicked shin splints. I need to get groceries. I'll need to go to work too early. I was going to take my dog, who isn't with me yet. Not being able to let go of things is just part of who I am. I'm justified in being righteously pissed off and in neither forgiving or forgetting. They're all lame, really. 

I don't have to forgive or forget, but I don't have to dwell on my resentments, either. I was talking to Trothwy today, and while a great deal of it was a Rant-A-Rama, there were some good things, too. Cooking is a lot less stressful. Pet management is a lot less stressful. Hell, the general atmosphere is a lot less stressful. Is the money a constant worry? Sure. But if I get a great opportunity to move out-of-state for a job I really want, that's possible now. While I love and care for my housemates and strive not to be a pain in their asses, they generally tend to their own emotional health. So why not start looking at things differently? Why not start trying to react to things differently? I don't have to be perfect. I shouldn't expect 100% consistency.

All I can do is try, and I think it may well be worth it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Month.

On this date last month, Former First Husband revealed that he was no longer in love with me and no longer wanted to be married to me.

A month already. A month and a day ago, I had two husbands, and, despite storms in the relationship, I was happy. Now I'm learning to be happy again - or I'm remembering.

Yesterday, the now Husband and I ran out to get some necessary things at Lowe's. We needed one of the big, flat carts, and when it was emptied into Husband's little hatchback, I rode it like a skateboard to one of the cart corrals just to see if I could. While Husband threatened to drive off (all in good fun), I ignored him and kept skateboarding along, while thinking two things: 1. this parking lot lacks a certain something for this new sport I've created and 2. hey, I'm me again.

I'm getting there. Some days are better than others. I'm looking forward to Full Moon with the wonderful Seekers' Circle. I'm thinking my altar needs to go back up, that I need an offering bowl for the kitchen, that I need to formally introduce myself to the Land here (even if it's been incredibly welcoming with not much effort from me).

While I get back to being me, I need to get back to Them. I can hear Them while I sit here, outside, looking up at the big pines - yes, you're in pain. Yes, the life you knew and loved is gone. But We are here, We always will be, and We are waiting for you.

I will heed Their call; tonight, I will go out into the front meadow and raise my chalice to Them with a heart that is both heavy and filled with light.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Cure For What Ails You.

First, thanks to everyone for their sympathies about the divorce. It's one of the hardest things I've ever gone through, and that's saying something.

Now - the cure for what ails me.

I spoke to the owner at the Lesson Barn today (where I ride, but don't teach...yet). She asked a couple of really polite questions that added up to "Can you handle this and not blubber all over the clients?" I told her that I've been teaching while this has been going on, and that I don't talk about it to the kids or their parents, because I simply don't want to. Everything gets put on the back burner when I'm with the horses; for one thing, distraction is dangerous around horses, and for another, horses drive everything else out of my mind when I'm with them.

The saddle. The bit and reins. The horse under me or beside me, and nothing else matters, and I have only known the same peace in circle. Things may get intense or scary or funny or what-have-you, but there's a tranquility at the root of it that I don't seem to get except with horses and the Craft.

Gardening, hiking and camping come close. I'd love to combine Craft, riding, and camping, and take an overnight trail ride with a bunch of other witches and see what happens.

Besides my big grey loon tossing me ass-over-teakettle and everyone spending all day finding him, I mean.

Friday, August 10, 2012


I know I've gone quiet. First there was Horse Camp. Now, as of two weeks ago yesterday, the Former First Husband and I are divorcing.

I'm scrambling to find a decent used car (having already gotten screwed on one) and trying to move the rest of my and Second Husband's things from Former First Husband and Former Co-Wife's house.

If you have a moment, good thoughts and good energy are greatly appreciated. I'll be back when I can.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I'm now officially a Gardnerian Seeker, accepted for training by the wonderful Trothwy and Evn, and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Maybe you wouldn't think an Alexandrian second-degree would be this excited, but I think it's a good sign; I'm excited about learning something new, about growing and changing, and for someone who frequently quotes Garth's* "We fear change", this is saying something.

My horse is still getting over pigeon fever. I need to move him to a new barn as soon as he's well. There are bills to pay and laundry to do and schedules to juggle and all the other day-to-day things that sometimes make me think that the main benefit of adulthood is that I can have cereal for dinner if I want to; but now, I also have this wonderful new world opening up in front of me.

I also have group lessons to go teach, so I'm off to go slather myself with a gallon of sunblock.

*From "Wayne's World". Yes, my taste in film is generally less-than-sophisticated.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Headed Home, or Get What You Need Part 2.

I'm going to be a Gardnerian Seeker asking for training in about 30 hours or so.

I have no logical reason - except that I like the folks I'm talking to and will be getting said training from - to feel like this, but I feel like I'm going home. I finally got what the elders on the Amber and Jet list kept telling seekers; when you find the right bunch of people, the ones you're supposed to be working with, you'll know it, and you won't care overmuch about trad or lineage. When I realized that even if these folks weren't BTW, I still wanted to work with them, celebrate the holidays and esbats with them, share funny stories and good food and all that with them, I knew: we're family.

Granted, we're like long-lost family who are still getting to know each other - nobody's finishing each other's sentences quite yet. Sure, I still need to meet with and be found acceptable to the rest of the coven. But I'm not worried, just wildly exultant and tranquilly happy all at the same time.

Even if I can't make it to their full moon tomorrow (family transportation logistics - ugh), I'll be observing the esbat with as much joy in my heart as any witch ever had.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Rough Spring.

It's been a rough spring. A spring filled not with growth and increase, as one might expect, but with illness and death.

A friend lost a four-month-old grandson. We saw our dear little cat sent to the Otherworld. A friend's grandmother passed. Second Husband's great-grandmother died. Another dear friend's beloved dog suddenly took ill and died. First Husband had diverticulitis for a month. Another pair of close friends lost a grandmother and lost a friend killed in a carjacking (he was 22). My horse (along with half the horses in the county) has pigeon fever, which has no real cure, causes gross abcesses that can lead to secondary infections, and can last for two months.

Hence, an Open Letter To The Universe:

Dear Universe,
This really needs to stop. It's getting ridiculous. Don't make me reconsider my "everything happens as it's supposed to, so it's best to interfere as little as possible" stance. I am seriously ready to start lobbing some major mojo around if things don't even out and start resembling something like normalcy.

Behave yourself.

The ocelot

Monday, May 14, 2012

Goodbye to a dear companion.

Last Wednesday, First Husband and I had to take our eldest cat, out sweet little Pyewacket, to be put to sleep.

She'd lost some weight, but we hadn't thought much of it - she was, after all, sixteen. Then she lost a lot more, and over the course of only a few days. Then she couldn't walk, and it was time to see the vet and confirm what we both knew; it was Time.

We brought her shell home, and First and Second Husband buried her in the backyard (in what's becoming our own little pet cemetery, now that I think of it - no wonder that part of the yard seems to resist domestication).

Goodbye, Picky. We miss you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Beltaine and "The Wicker Tree".

Last night, while searching for a copy of "The DaVinci Code" for poor sickly First Husband, Second Husband and I found a copy of "The Wicker Tree", a sequel of sorts to "The Wicker Man". Did I mention this was at WalMart?

WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.

We liked it for many of the same reasons we like "The Wicker Man"; it's a morbidly funny*, sensationalized version of what the world might be like if there were entire communities of pagans tucked here and there. We sacrifice Christians! We have sex/orgies outdoors! Christians are all hypocrites who deserve to be sacrificed! Witches are hot young chicks who all want big Christian di-

OK. I'll keep this PG-13. You can fill in the last two letters on your own.

There's some good stuff in "The Wicker Tree" (hereafter TWT), but Second Husband and I didn't like it as much as we do "The Wicker Man" (TWM). There aren't the great matter-of-fact arguments between the Christian characters and the pagans that there were in TWM (like when Christopher Lee responds that of course some women jumping a fire are naked, because it would be far too dangerous if they were wearing clothes). The great re-created folk music from TWM has been replaced with fairly standard incidentals. The people's costumes, at the big sacrificial finish, look like modern-pagan-festival-wear. One woman tries to save one of the victims. A company whose power plant is making the people infertile is called Nuada - the hell?

On the other hand, the scene where Steve (the Christian guy) gets it is actually creepy in a Greek-myth way; I was reminded of stories of the Maenads. The reference to TWM when Beth (the Christian girl) looks like she might just escape is a nice touch. The hunt scene is great stuff. I'm sure I'll find more things I like when I watch it again.

But in the final analysis, TWT tells a lot more than it shows, and it loses something for it. It also would have done well to copy the feeling of a community that's behind the modern world, like Summerisle in TWM. It's fun for what it is - give it a look.

And a Happy Beltaine to all; may you have fertility in the form that suits you best.

* Before anyone jumps on my ass, I don't find it funny because they sacrifice Christians. I find it funny because in TWM, the cheerful singing and whatnot that accompanies the sacrifice is just not what I'd expect from a desperate attempt to restore fertility to the land, and in TWT because you can see what's coming from so far away that you can't help yell at the nice little Christians like you're watching "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" or something.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I'm not loving the changes to Blogger, and I'm seriously thinking of going to WordPress.

Any thoughts?

Friday, April 20, 2012


I don't necessarily think that all the parts of my life have to be integrated.

Example: No-one at either barn, the Work Barn or Riding Barn, needs to know that I'm a kinky, poly Wiccan. It has nothing to do with how well I ride or teach. Likewise, at kinky get-togethers, people are more apt to want to know what I did to Second Husband with those rose canes that one time, and witchy folk are more likely to want to know what powders I might be sprinkling on Work Barn's surfaces to help things along. Not that I have. Yet. Ahem.

As a young queer pagan person, I thought that not bombarding a potential new friend with ALL THE DETAILS was being dishonest. Now I think that it's just that I've gotten better at compartmentalization. You friends are for riding, and you're over here. You friends are for kink and poly, and you're there. You witchy lot...well, you folk are all over the place (grins).

Does my Co-instructor want to know about my Husbands? Probably not. If I tell my Work Barn bosses, will Second Husband pick up a second job there? Probably not. If I tell my kink/poly buds about Work Barn's summer camp, will they send their kids? Possibly. Some of them are pretty sadistic.

Some of this was spurred (no pun intended) by Work Barn's intent to have a "social night" with low pay for us instructing types and two-and-a-half hours out of our Friday evenings, complete with a potluck.

This got me to thinking about how work cultures differ in the amount of your free time they expect you to give up, and how some people don't seem to understand that you might want to go home, do whatever, and leave work where it is. I put it far more tactfully than this, but at the pay they're offering for this, I'd be paying to come, run after kids, and bring "potluck food". I will not do this, nor do I think the other instructor will. I also don't think it will suddenly draw new students or more lessons from existing ones.

I give 110% in lessons. I love the work, if not the job, as it were. But at the end of the day, when kids and horses are safely off to their respective pastures for the evening, I want to go home and see my non-horse-insane family so that I have the energy to do it all again the next day (or two).

So, what do you think? Do you keep certain aspects of your life separate from other aspects? Why or why not? What factors influence your decision to do so or not?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"...this is what you get", or, "you get what you need".

So after bitching about the riding instructor gig, despite winds so ridiculous on Saturday that I thought the kids might blow right off the horses, I had this great moment with one of the kids.

Little T is one of my two-front-teethless seven-years olds. She doesn't say much to me except "yes, Ma'am", "no, Ma'am", or just a plain yes or no. She tries her best every single week, and she's doing pretty damn well if I do say so myself. Her parents are nice - her dad reminds me of mine - and understand that this isn't a "show up, get on, ride, get off, go home" kinda barn.

We'd gone a little long in her lesson, and though her mom always wants Little T to help groom whoever she's been on, I thought Mom might have somewhere else to go when we were done. Walking the Reliable Horse back to the pasture he lives in adds about five minutes. No problem, says Mom, she can put him up.

So Little T and I walked up to the pasture, gave Reliable Horse a pat and sent him off to well-deserved grass. We walked back along the dusty trail without exchanging a word, and I thought, I would totally go on a two-hour trail ride with this kid. She doesn't engage in a lot of chatter, and I suspect that it's because she just doesn't talk if she has nothing to say. I felt like an older arktoi teaching a younger girl and having the satisfaction of having passed on knowledge and taught competence.

Scheduling nonsense and only two really trustworthy horses be damned. I'm hooked, because until the girls leave the barnyard, I'm happy.

Friday, April 13, 2012

This is what you want....Part 2.

As many of you know, I got a gig teaching riding lessons back in March. The first few weeks went pretty well. Now, not so much.

Some of the horses really just aren't suitable for my students, who are usually kids seven or under. They're just learning to walk, steer, and trot. You need incredibly docile, preferably older horses for this, and only one-and-a-half of the six horses available fit this description (there's a new one who seems less prone to have a hissy and buck, but he's still being a pain). This was less of a problem before they got another instructor and booked lessons side-by-side; now, who gets the good horse is a constant source of discussion.

Lessons are supposed to be booked in bunches of four, usually one a week, and there's supposed to be 24 hours' notice for cancellations/changes. This has not been happening. Cancellations happen up to an hour before they're supposed to be at the barn, and no-show/no-calls aren't really being penalized.

We're not supposed to take students under six years old. I now have two.

I wasn't told that I need to speak Spanish for this gig. Lucky for them that I do, somewhat, because three of them really don't speak much English. Sadly, "there's a fire in the kitchen", "do you like to play volleyball", and "I enjoy eating paella" are of no use in this particular case.

Scheduling lessons seems to involve at least three emails/text messages a day, on average, and the barn owners seem to have this odd idea that I am "on-call" to answer same constantly, including ones sent at seven o'clock at night. When I'm already at the barn, this doesn't bug me, but when I've been home for two hours? I'm not a doctor, vet, or computer tech, people.

I'm doing what I love, but this other stuff is driving me nuts. Once again - be careful what you ask for.

I've been trying to relax, roll with it, chalk things up to being there less than two months. I've been contemplating taking over my own scheduling, now that I have a decent number of regulars, and being stern about last-minute changes and cancellations - I just don't know if the owners will let me get away with it. On the other hand, if I do start enforcing the rules and people do bitch about it and I do get canned, how long can I really put up with how things have been going? I can always add this to my resume and cast the net again.

And a smart witch would toss a little magic at this situation, which I plan on doing this weekend. In the meantime, I've missed y'all, but have no fear, I'll be back soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reverence the Gods and Ride the Horse.

I'm playing the "Slinger's Theme" from the "Bastion" game and dreaming of riding.

I'm remembering being much younger and fearless and thinking that all feminists should not only ride, but teach other and especially younger women to ride. One of my little girl students trotted without me for the first time tonight, and she didn't turn a girl's face to me when she was done. She looked down at me with the face of a woman who's tasted power for the first time. Slainte and hail Epona, girl.

A woman who loves horses gets up and leaves the house like a wraith. A woman who loves horses doesn't care who might be looking for her when they get up - she left a note on the fridge or the coffeemaker (before there was texting, or texts, now). A woman who loves horses shivers in the cold dawn in the winter and sweats in the first rays of the sun in summer. Riding English or Western, a woman who loves horses is competent. She deals with a crisis, getting help when there is some and dealing as best she can when there isn't (walking through the pasture today, rope around one horse and my t-shirt through the halter of the other, hoping my little-girl student will learn something about women and horses by watching my trek back, wearing only a sports bra and breeches, mud up to the ankles, closing the fence back up).

I say my prayers to Epona every time my students mount. I say my prayers when I put my equine charges back in the pasture and give them their well-deserved dinners. I thank her for this time, for however long it lasts, in which I am teaching other women, no matter their age, to ride and love the horse.

Tomorrow. Up with the sun and out like a breath. I do not know how many more rides I get, but I intend to make them all count. Hail Epona, slainte Epona, go raibh maith agat Epona. Lady of the Horses, bless me and them, and let us all run safe in the pasture.

Friday, March 16, 2012

An Explanation of the Absence of the Ocelot.

A few months back, I decided that given the lack of office gig action, I'd go ahead and look for training/riding instructor gigs. I got a callback, but then heard nothing else...until about two weeks ago. And now, ladies, gents and others, I am a riding instructor.

A somewhat tired, stiff, and sore riding instructor, but a riding instructor nonetheless. And one who is damn grateful to have brought home a modest but much-needed paycheck doing something I love.

I'll get back to the witchery in a little bit when my schedule settles into something a bit more predictable.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This is what you want....

(the title's from PiL, for those of you not from the Paleolithic Era. Public Image Limited, for those still wondering what I'm on about now.)

Second Husband and I headed off to the woods for a few days. I needed some serious peace and quiet. We left on Monday, got to our destination around 2pm, hung out, ate, slept, got up, ate, he fished, ate some more, then sat around the fire until he got the Impending Doom sensation that drove us to suddenly break camp and stuff the damn huge tent that suddenly thought it was a frigging Macy's Thanksgiving parade float into the van and flee with decorous but hasty steps into the night.

I got a little over 24 hours of the peace and quiet I was after. It wasn't enough, and it's my own fault.

See, I got talked/talked myself into car camping. I fell prey to the lure of a fire ring, a nearby toilet with lights and whatnot, the van being only ten feet away and chock full o'conveniences, even if the price to pay was Other People. I told myself it was better than the Place By the Lake With Coytoes, which has no lights, no toilet, no parking near the tent, no fire ring and no Other People. It'd be better to camp less wildly this time, I told myself. Maybe next time.

Then Second Husband got the Doom and we came home early anyway. We came home to cats causing chaos (including barfing, shitting inappropriately, tossing litterboxes over, and various and other annoying behaviors, causing me to stare at the lot of them and intone, like Prachett's Death, ADULTS DON'T LIVE LIKE THIS Y'KNOW AND THERE ARE TOO MANY OF YOU SO I THINK YOUSE HAD BETTER FLY RIGHT LEST I MAKE GLOVES FOR FREYA OUT OF THE WORST OFFENDERS).

Oh, and I quit smoking. I hate it and I don't care, which is weird.

I've been tired and blah since we got back and I think it's because I didn't get what I really wanted - the coyotes singing me to sleep, the fear of the deer running through the tent in the pitch black, the half-mile hike to the site. The lack of potable water. The lack of any lights. The lack of any sanitary facilities. The lack of any human being I didn't bring with me.

Like Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, I didn't emphasize the importance of the kangaroo; hence, here I am getting twitchy again because three of us in one 10 x 12 room is just a little. TOO. CLOSE. This leads to thoughts like the following:

FIRST HUSBAND: It's the full moon tonight. We should do something.
ME: Uh-huh.
F.H.: Not, maybe, the full, high-church thing. But something.
ME: (Why, yes, what a lovely idea. I think I'll find some belladonna and an unbaptized baby or nibble the neighbor's datura and then I'll be butt-naked up the front tree except for my combat boots and a metal colander on my head, screaming at the moon and calling to the owls) Uh-huh.

I'm not sure why they put up with me, or why I haven't made a burrow in the pool cabana, really.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Unitarian Jihad Name Generator.

My Unitarian Jihad Name is:

Sister Claymore of Mild Reason.

Sounds about right, whether you consider "claymore" to refer to a sword or an explosive device.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wherein The Ocelot And Kenaz Filan Butt Heads And Depart From Reasoned Discourse.

So apparently, it's OK to call someone on transphobia, but not sexism. And thinking that just because feminists have made strides forward doesn't mean we're all comfy and can forget about that sexism thing makes one a "gender essentialist", even if one wasn't even assuming things about someone else's sex/gender identification. And if you don't say, "Why, yes, things are much better," then you'll get attacked.

Oh, and if you are one of two women who criticize someone who does, apparently, identify as a man for being sexist (as if women can't be sexist!), you can expect to get told that at least they weren't comparing Z Budapest to Hitler and if you can't explain why the patriarchy is still entrenched then you're a troll and told by their followers that women are trying to disempower men and need to shoulder responsibility.

Fine. The shoe doesn't fit, but I'll jam it on anyway.

If you won't tell people of color what their experience is or isn't when they call you on racist behavior, don't do it to women when they say you're being sexist.

If you won't tell gay/lesbian people what their experience is or isn't when they call you on homophobic behavior, don't do it to women when they say you're being sexist.

If you won't tell lower-income people what their experience is or isn't when they call you on classist behavior, don't do it to women when they say you're being sexist.

Asking a woman who says you're engaging in sexist behavior "why [do] you believe that 50+ years of efforts by several generations of feminists have been so fruitless and why the patriarchy remains so firmly entrenched despite all this work" and then use the phrase "wilfully obtuse" about her differing opinion is SEXISM. You're asking this woman (me, in this case) to educate you, and that's not my job. And I've even managed not to resort to insults. Or to point out that unless you're a lesbian separatist, you probably won't get the whole scoop on that movement today by quoting the New Yorker and New York Times.

Nor have I pointed out that when women try to gain equal rights with men, we're still accused of  "gender essentialism" or told  (by a commenter) that "women will have to step down several social notches and actually shoulder a little responsibility for society" - and all this is still acceptable. 

I criticized someone who identifies as a man, apparently, and basically got called a troll for my trouble. Hm. No wonder "I Blame The Patriarchy" still has those discussions about separatism. But I'm sure that isn't a good enough source for some.

Transwomen and The Ocelot.

Because I am indeed a pedantic person - law school will do that to you - I thought I'd make something incredibly, painfully clear:

I support the inclusion of transwomen in women's spaces/rituals/girls' nights out, because they are women.

I don't care what a transwoman does or doesn't have in her pants. I don't think biology is destiny. I don't think a uterus makes the woman. In fact, I'm not really sure that the category of "woman" is nothing more than a social construct, but if it has meaning for people (that isn't used to oppress large portions of the population), that's fine.

I recognize that my experience of being a "woman" differs from that of many other people who also identify as "woman", and that this makes neither my or their experience invalid.

Transwomen do not need me to validate their feelings that they should be allowed into a "women's" space. They are capable of determining when they are being discriminated against without my or anyone else's validation.

I would have no problem having a transwoman as a friend, partner, or coven member.

Z Budapest is being transphobic. She may change. Her trad may change with or without her. As I am not a Dianic Wiccan of her trad (there are those McFarland Dianics, after all), I have nothing further to say except that I feel her position on transwomen is wrong.

That's it. It's time to go give the cats some primo 'nip and watch something like "Super Troopers" on Netflix.

Wherein The Ocelot Thinks Some More.

OK. I thought a lot, and wrote a lot, and decided that it was devolving into a tl:dr thing. So I decided to sum up.

I don't think "open" rituals that exclude people should happen in public venues like PantheaCon. I think rituals that exclude people should be subject to critical thought. I think when people are excluded for demonstrably sexist, racist, homo/hetero/trans/biphobic, classist, or ableist reasons, such exclusions should be called out for what they are. But I don't think that criticizing something, or even rejecting it wholeheartedly, means we have to oppress the people involved in turn.

I read a blog called "I Blame The Patriarchy." I don't agree with a lot of it, but I do agree with Twisty Faster/Jill's idea that patriarchy is bad for everyone, that none of us escape it, that we all have to participate in it to some extent, that it gives all of us particular privileges. I also believe that patriarchy exists, and Kenaz Filan's blog post this morning, whose tone largely suggests that it doesn't, is the height of irony in a country where consent to sexual intercourse is being equated to consent to an invasive medical procedure if you want an abortion.

Filan took a particular Dianic lesbian to task on pir blog today; this same lesbian was told about her "privilege" for being "cis" somewhere else yesterday (again, I read it, but now can't find and quote it directly), and I thought, "Hey, wait - she never said she wasn't a butch, which would wipe that 'cis privilege' right the hell out, so *now* who's being unaware of their privilege?" There have been other comments in other places that have a similar sexist flavor. This disturbs me.

Can't we say that Z is transphobic without the near-gleeful observations about the death of lesbian separatism and/or a disabled woman's reliance on assistance that comes from the patriarchy that is our government? Can't we say that it's wrong to exclude someone for not being "enough" of something, without smugly pointing the Privilege Finger? Can't we say that perhaps some Dianics might not want anyone who even vaguely reminds them of a man in their circles without saying how dysfunctional they are and that therefore their beliefs aren't doing them much good?

Let's not get so busy rightfully taking Z to task for her transphobia that we forget not to be sexist, shall we?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Transfolk, Paganism - Wherein The Ocelot Thinks Very Hard.

Being a pervert makes some things very simple for me, but other things weirdly hard.

I don't understand what drives transfolk (who seek it, and I respect those who don't) to reassignment surgery, simply because I don't understand the common reason of "I felt like I was in the wrong body". I also don't understand non-trans folks who say they'd be horrified to wake up as the opposite sex one morning.

This is because I have no real attachment to my bits. The only thing waking up in a male body would do, I think, is cause me to have two thoughts: 1."Cool, more upper-body strength" and 2."SRSLY THIS COULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED LONG BEFORE NOW THUS SAVING ME THE WHOLE PERIODS-FROM-HELL THING?" Hell, Second Husband and I wish we could actually switch bodies at will, though I think he'd change his mind after being stuffed into my considerably older and more beat-up meatsack for a few days.

So there is a great deal about this that I don't get, but I don't have to discriminate against transfolk, either.

I get that Z Budapest wants a space for women. I support all-women's, all-men's, all-gay, all-straight, all-penguin spaces for the people who want them. I don't think anyone is arguing about anyone's right to space shared only with people they want to share it with. I do think having a public ritual at a big con that excludes, potentially, a lot of people is questionable to say the least.

I get that she's concerned - and she's not the only one - that if you are male-bodied in this culture, you will experience male privilege, and that maybe that can't just be dropped because you're sure that despite what you look like on the outside, you're a woman on the inside. However, radical queer theory as I understand it says that the reason the effeminate man is so despised is because he chooses to be a woman and not utilize that male privilege, so I'm not sure that's a valid argument for keeping transwomen out of a "women's-only" ritual.

At the heart of all this are the questions of who is a woman, and who gets to decide this? It seems to me that if your ritual is only for women who are bleeding, that's fine; say so. If it's for women of a certain age, excellent; say so. If it's for women who have had children, nice; say so. But if it's for the big category of "women", then why doesn't self-identification work? Despite all our talk about energy and spirit having no gender/being all genders/encompassing all genders, are we really willing to revert to that old "biology is destiny" crap?

Speaking of which, a commenter here, Kate LBT, says:

        "I somehow doubt that telling a group of vulnerable, disempowered and traumatized women that 
        their bodies are monstrous and don't deserve to be celebrated with other women's bodies is a part of  
        diversity that we should be celebrating."

Being a woman IS being a vulnerable, disempowered and traumatized person who's told her body is monstrous and doesn't deserve to be celebrated with other women's bodies on a daily basis. Yeah, I know. Things are better for us. But we're still told we can't be trusted to make our own medical decisions, half the contraceptive options available to us have side effects that are unacceptable, and if we don't look like whatever the patriarchal beauty norm is, we're punished for it, especially if we're unrepentant about it.

What is a "woman", anyway? If we no longer accept that being a woman, and therefore being feminine, means being weak, passive, gentle, and emotional, what then? Hell, does being a woman even mean being feminine? If we're more than just our naughty bits, and being one sex/gender doesn't condemn you to an existence that's nothing more than a conglomeration of stereotypes, do separate-sex/gender rituals still mean anything to us? If so, what? And why?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Things Afoot At The Circle K.

After a houseguest who brought - and left - some rather bad vibes in their wake, the Husbands and Co-Wife and I all cleansed and then blessed the house last night. I was determined that even if the house wasn't all organized and physically cleaned, IT WAS HAPPENING, and it did.

I got Stinky Dog washed, his crate moved, and new blankets washed for him.

The Cardboard Box City has been moved to the recycling bin where it belongs.

EVIL VOICE: See what you can get accomplished when you apply yourself?
ME: You sound like my mom.
E.V.: She's a smart lady.
ME: We don't need to tell her that.

Funny thing - after last night's cleanse-and-bless, the new cats (who have been largely hiding) were out and social. They're starting to take Eldest Girl's hissing in better stride. First Husband and Co-Wife provided invaluable assistance in the washing of Stinky Dog. I got another call from a barn about a riding instructor position. Everyone here seems to be feeling general goodwill and such. Coincidence? I think not.

In the spirit of sharing blessings, I offer our cleansing and blessing for your use. Some of it is very specific to our house, and one part is from "Our Troth" (attribution follows). I ask that you adjust it for your own concerns, and not republish it without full attribution. Remember, stealing is naughty, and there is nothing so mean as an unlicensed attorney. So play nice.

(Starts at household altar)

May this house be spared by the powers of air,
From high wind, from tornado, from hurricane;

May this house be spared by the powers of fire,
From lightning, from spark, from faulty electricity;

May this house be spared by the powers of water,
From flood, from hurricane, from failure of plumbing;

May this house be spared by the powers of earth,
From sinkhole, from landslide, from shift.

May this house be spared by the powers of spirit,
From hostility, from fear, from disharmony.

With water from the well of wyrd
All ill that has been
All ill that is becoming
All ill that shall be
Is banished away.*

(back to household altar)
May this house be blessed by the powers of air,
With enough cooling, with gentle breezes, with steady breath;

May this house be blessed by the powers of fire,
With enough heat, with a dependable hearth, with safe electricity;

May this house be blessed by the powers of water,
With enough rain, with drinking water, with efficient plumbing;

May this house be blessed by the powers of earth,
With strong walls, with healthy plants, with a steady foundation.

May this house be blessed by the powers of spirit,
With love, with courage, with peace.

All these things we ask for, or their equivalents or better.

We thank the spirits of land and hearth for watching over all here.
We thank our ancestors, both known and unknown, for watching over all here.
We thank the Gods for watching over all here. Blessed be.

*From "Our Troth - Living the Troth", Kveldulf Gundarsson

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Year, New You - Prompt, "Lessons".

I've learned that some people actually read what I'm writing, and are interested (or perhaps just so horrified that they can't stop reading) in what I think about things.

I've learned that magic and the everyday are not separate for me, and not just in the slackass, "everything is maaaagickul!" way, either.

I've learned that outside motivation is damn near critical for me, and I dislike this about myself. I'm trying to figure out how to change this.

I'm nowhere close to where I want to be with my goals, but at least I haven't thrown up my hands and just given up. I may be plodding forward and/or moving erratically towards goals, but at least I'm moving. As for where I would like to be - well. I'd like to be at the barn four days a week, gainfully employed somewhere that doesn't crush my soul and make me consider homicide, doing my stuff with my training circle again, actually observing all esbats and sabbats, and maybe pursuing BTW a bit more diligently (or at least hanging out with Evn and Trothwy more than every four months). It's a tall order, I know. On the one hand, having a long to-do list motivates me, but it can also make me look at it, sigh "fuck it", and retreat to the computer to see what interesting stuff I can find on the net.

I'll give myself this next week or so off - I have a houseguest in a few hours (who's staying at least a week), and I know I won't get as much done while they're here. But then, Shoulder To The Wheel, Part 2.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Year, New You - Prompt, "Asking For Help".

I've enlisted Second Husband's aid with The Stuff. Not that First Husband is disinterested, but after 12 hours at/getting to & from work, remembering to hound me about meditating or going to the barn or what-have-you is harder for him.

The barn's a wash today; it's cold and raining pretty hard and my legs are still killing me from Saturday's riding lesson (lots of trotting so as to help wear out the Pumpkin Pony for a younger, smaller rider who was on him next) and some ill-advised pole dancing later in the evening (don't ask).

The tapering-off of the smoking is frigging killing me, and while I'm not doing as well as I'd like, I'm doing something, at least.

I've also gotten help I didn't ask for. Co-Wife, seeing my struggles with the old laptop, surprised me with a new one on Thursday. It is tiny and beautiful and does no weird stuff and I love it. I also got an invite from our own Foundress of the Feast, Dropout Dilettante, to talk with her about glamour and what it means to me. Hopefully, I won't shock her too terribly or make her feel the need to call "Intervention".

But Co-Wife is out finding us a new fridge, so I'm off to sit by the phone in case I need to render assistance.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New Year, New You - Prompt, Shoulder to the Wheel.

I've been slackassing.

The diet/eating what I should be eating has been started and blown back out of the water repeatedly. I blame the holidays, numerous get-togethers, and my own annoying lack of discipline.

I haven't been out to the barn the three times a week I'd pledged at our family Yule sumbel.

Magic? Nope. Not a bit. Hell, I haven't even really been keeping up with the writing prompts - the one about glamour leaves me stymied anyway - I'm a barn girl who has to dig through all her jeans to find the one pair that isn't stained by various and sundry horsestuff.

So, of course, conversation with the Evil Voice has ensued.

ME: WTF is wrong with me? Why can't I get my ass out to the barn? The three times I've worked him since Yule, it's gone beautifully - hell, the summer off seems to have given him time to re-grasp certain concepts. I ought to be out there every day, singing a happy little song. Why can't I meditate every day? There's really nothing stopping me. And the diet? I mean, the not-fitting-in-half-my-clothes ought to be motivation.
EVIL VOICE: I don't know. But maybe it's harder than it needs to be because you aren't doing what you're supposed to be doing. Maybe you seriously need to get together with the Witches (aside from me: hi, Trothwy and Evn!) and talk about doing Crafting in the Craft once a week.
ME: (sighs) I know.
EVIL VOICE: Maybe you need to consider that giving your gods ten minutes after you've fed the cats every night is hardly a sacrifice or an unreachable goal.
ME: Dammnit, I know.
EVIL VOICE: So what's stopping you? Besides you, I mean.
ME: IknowIknowIknow.
EVIL VOICE: You still here? Because it seems like your ass should no longer be in this chair.
ME: (slouches off, muttering dire imprecations about the Evil Voice)

This goes up on the bathroom mirror today -
"Grab it like somebody's trying to take it away from you, which is true: time and age and death and your own limiting voices and all the many more important and less selfish things you have to do today. Fuck 'em."
- Marion Winik, "The Sick Jock Guide - Ten Steps to Late-Life Fitness"

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Year, New You - Prompt, "Maps"; an Update.

I went to the woods. Later than I'd have liked, and due to a hard hide on Saturday morning, not where I might have liked, exactly. But First Husband found me a good place, and he and Second Husband and I all went into the woods for my Silent Time.

There were wrens. Scolding and fluttering as the dusk came, flitting around the exposed roots of the trees over the little dry-now creek where I sat. One bat, high up, chasing bugs. I didn't sit long - I didn't need to. I got told exactly what I thought I would; come back to us more often. We miss you. You need this. 

I do. And despite dogs and cats and horse and broken plumbing/fridges and friends who need an awful lot of help awfully frequently (there's going to be some unpleasantness about how often I'm available to drive people 100+ miles round-trip for doctors' appointments in the near future, I suspect), I need to go out there every weekend and remind myself how and why I became a witch in the first place.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Year, New You - Prompt, "Maps"

"..the cities of the interior are vast and do not lie on any map." - J. Winterson, "The Passion"

It's time for the woods.

Never mind the fridge. Never mind the toilet. Never mind the laundry, the cooking and cleaning and all the other things that need to be done. I'm going off to the woods on Sunday to go sit and be quiet for a while. If anyone wants to come with me, they're welcome, but they'll be given to understand that there will be silence for a little while - phones off, no conversation, no explanations. I need to walk quietly, sit silently, hopefully up in a tree.

I grew up in the woods in upstate New York, and I have never really gotten used to living where I can't walk out the back door an be surrounded by trees. I wasn't made to be surrounded by all the unnatural sounds of modern life, at least not without frequent retreats to places where all I hear is birdsong, the wind in the trees, and wild animals doing what they do. And it's been far too long since I went back to one of the main things that sustains and renews my spirit.

"I can see night in the daytime/into the woods/I quietly go..." - The Call, "Into The Woods"

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year, New You - Status update.

So far, so good - though not as good as I'd like.

The diet (though it's really about me revamping my eating habits so I'm eating what I should and not what I shouldn't - carbs really are my enemy) has been attempted and nuked repeatedly. I blame the holidays and a virulent stomach flu, but am getting back on the horse today. More protein. Less pasta. No tortilla chips. No excuses.

The holidays and various illnesses also nuked the magical assault on the Fridge From Hell, which despite being a pricey, three-year-old LG, is trying to die. This Friday, though, it gets the whammy. (Thanks to Frater R.O., who was kind enough to give me a PDF of his angelic grimoire and much helpful advice. I've got that horseshoe for you whenever you'd like it, good sir.)

I'm spinning and knitting and crocheting like a madwoman, and making really quick hats for cancer patients/allopecia patients. Now all I have to do is whip up a few more and find out where to donate them.

Second Husband, in addition to being the Food Police, is also going to be the Smoking Police. What with being on the Pill and over 35, I really need to quit. So we're tapering me off, which is sort-of how I stopped for a year two years ago (though being in the hospital after a nasty bout of appendicitis was helpful - narcotics make me crave citrus fruit and not care if I ever smoke again, apparently). Whining, nagging, and some grumpiness are in the forecast. I'll be supplementing this with some serious grounding and centering, and possibly some spellwork.

Pray for my Husbands and Co-Wife. They may need it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Brief Word of Thanks.

Until I took up Dropout Dilettante's New Year, New You challenge, I was writing this thing like I was just talking to myself. I thought people might read it, but that wasn't really important. Then DD commented on my NY, NY posts, and it was like I'd been out in the garden, talking to myself and the birds and the dogs and the plants, and all of a sudden this other voice floated over the fence, and I was glad.

So thanks for your comments. I hope you're enjoying reading this stuff, and I hope you stick around.