Big Bad Words

The Bad Witch uses Bad Words.

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Seems logical. If you want to see some of my bad words, go look here.

http://thebigbadwordsblog.wordpress.com/

 It’s secular and has almost nothing to do with what you read here, but it’s my word-doctor-voice.

Strange and Change

This is really odd.

I’ve seen an overwhelming spike in traffic on my web-presences in the last few months without doing anything. Literally—without even posting a single status. If you read this blog regularly (or even if you’re one of my new acquaintances and just take a peek at the posting dates), you know that I have been comparitively silent for about six months. Life has been a roller-coaster and I’ve been holding on, white-knuckled, during the loopty-loops.

I admit, it does make me a little paranoid to see that I have 403 new views in any given week. And it’s not just here—it’s on my Academia.com profile, my LinkedIn profile, Facebook—both witchy pages and homesteading pages. Like I said, it’s odd.

So, for anyone stalking me, investigating me, or simply interested in me and my daily totterings about, here’s what’s what over by here.

  • I’ve (almost completely) decided to leave the academy permanently and am looking at re-entering the corporate world. The pay is—no exaggeration—300% better, the people suck less, and there are tons of perks (like potentially working from home). So, having spent the last six months filling out teaching applications for jobs starting in August 2015, I’ve started looking at jobs that will make way for a “real” summer vacation. In Italy.
  • Speaking of applications, it’s college application deadline season and I’m pulling teeth to get transcripts and test scores together for my son, the professional procrastinator. But one perk is a foreseeable campus visit to Savannah.
  • I received encouraging legal information and it looks like I’m about to dive in to get some sort of settlement on the past year’s BS.
  • My love-life has been tumultuous but rewarding. My social-life has taken a profound shift for the better. My interior-life is—well, sort of in limbo if I’m being entirely honest. But as soon as the weather breaks, I look forward to getting out of my own head, redecorating a few rooms, and changing things visibly for the better. Other than that, the chickens are chickens, the bees are bees, the dogs are dogs, and the cats are cats.
  • But my artistic life—even if it’s not publicly evident —is blossoming. I’ve been writing poetry again and am submitting poems for publication. I’m painting again—mostly experimental techniques, so it’s hit or miss.
  • And I’m taking an extended break in teaching and tribal leadership to finish all of the writing projects I’ve started over the past two years.
  • Aaaand—I cut off all my hair again. I do this from time to time—seems to coincide with the urge to redecorate. Anyone of you who’s been here knows what this is all about.
  • Another thing that’s about to be revampped is my writing habits. I’ve taken a very necessary hiatus from blogging and am now ready to start putting my thoughts into words again. A great many things have substantially changed for me over the past six months, so you can expect to hear a change in my theological perspective as well as the rest of my worldview. Along with the loss of ten inches of hair and nearly three stone of body, I’m a different person than I was six months ago. Trauma will do that. Ironically, these changes are because I have reclaimed the person I was before all the trauma. I’m sure I’ll explore that in writing soon enough.

With that, I leave you for the porch and a girlfriend who brings me Diet Coke, cigarettes, and smoked bacon because it’s Tuesday.

And I leave you with the quote that has gotten me through the last leg of this wild ride:

HairBeingPulled

 

 

Samhain and Winternights

Looks like I’ve been at this Community Building thing for six years and this blogging thing for four. I’m always amazed when I go back and read posts from years past. Enjoy.

Witchcraft From Scratch

Samhain-Altar-2007-small

I found the article I referenced in my last post and was reminded that it was for the newsletter for The United Pagan Federation (October 2012). If you are interested, here it is:

Most Pagans recognize the term Samhain (pronounced: sow-an), meaning “summer’s end,” as the “Celtic” origins of Halloween. There are plenty of mythologies surrounding that particular night (or nights), but we aren’t exactly sure what the pre-Christian Celts, Gaels (Picts), and Manx did to celebrate—if the celebrated at all—because their custom was to pass knowledge down in secret, without writing much down at all. But we do know that Samhain was relatde to the nights that separated the warm seasons from the cold seasons (either the beginning or the end of summer). Unlike the equinox, when the light half of the day could be measured against the dark half of the day with great accuracy, many scholars believe that Samhain…

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Irony, Theater, and Even More George Bailey

Yes. As you can likely guess, a lot has been going on in life that has kept me from writing. Many, many wonderful new things have entered my life and they require nurturing and careful attention. (There is, of course, a smattering of SSDD at several WTFs an hour, but that doesn’t even bear discussion–also I know when to keep my mouth shut.) One of the emotional-whiplash inducing effects of being a proper magical-type is that we get what we want, but it doesn’t always arrive in the vehicle we imagined.

And, in my experience, the universe lurves the heck out of some irony. Not that I don’t appreciate a good cosmic guffaw–I can laugh at myself as well as the next witch. Or at least as well as the next witch should–we know what we’ve signed up for. And I often get a hearty belly-laugh from the way the universe chooses to dole out “blessings” (typically with my fists raised, alternating between gratitude and utter confusion, and with “WHY” in the back of my throat). I love irony. We have to in our line, right? Remember always, “The Witches’ ‘Duh‘.”

Irony is the way of the aether.

That’s about what’s what up in here. Everything is truly good–but everything truly good requires a lot of fecking work. And appreciation for irony. And emotional-whiplash.

But, I thought I’d take a break from this magically delicious week and fill you in on a few things. If the ins-and-outs of my (rather humdrum at times) life amuses you–read on. Because that’s all this post is really about. No deep insights. No flowery language. Just me, shooting the breeze.

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If you’ve been reading this blog for very long at all, you know how I feel about George Bailey. (If not, here y’go.) And if you’ve read even this far in this post, you know how I feel about irony. I hate one and adore the other.

So, get this.

A couple of months ago a dear friend came to my door and said, “We need to do something just for us.” Of course, I agreed. This friend and I have spent years wrapped up in our childrens’ lives and never really bonded over anything other than child-rearing and kindred-building. “Just us” sounded splendorous. “How about instead of trucking the kids to theater practice all the time we try out for a play?” Dude. This friend and I have been buds since our grown boys were in grammar school together. She knows my sweet-spots.

Side Note: The play was changed at the last minute. Charles Dickens was scheduled but there was a copyright issue. So the play was changed to something that made me laugh so hard I cried.

I spent all of my high school and most of my undergraduate years on some sort of stage. I joked that I went into teaching for the “captive audience.” My theatrical resumé is both impressive and embarrassing–as most theatrical resumés are. I’ve played everything from Velma Kelly to Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace (with full-body fat-suit to make me look less apparently female). I’ve played boys. I’ve played girls. I’ve played mystical creatures. I’ve been the trollop. I’ve been the unkissed virgin. I’ve been the crone. I’ve been the vaporish-aunt. I’ve been the vindictive daughter. I’ve been the lead. I’ve been ensemble. Ain’t much I haven’t done. One thing I never played was an elderly man.

Well, ladies and gentalmen? It was thisclose.

Another side note: My daughter is playing the male lead in the high school Fall play currently running this weekend. She’s magnificent.

I went to audition for that play. And as I sat reading the monologues, I wondered just precisely what role I even cared to play. I mean, I kinda hate this particular story and fairly all of the characters involved. That’s when the director announced that she had licence to “gender-bend” the roles. And I had it. I knew. In my bones. Even before I introduced myself to a director who had heretofore only worked with my children. I knew I had the role.

By now, you may be wondering what play our little community theater is presenting this holiday season.

By now you may have guessed if you have payed attention to my thoughts about irony.

Wait for it.

This November, my community theater group is presenting It’s A Wonderful Life, adapted for stage by Anthony Palermo. And I will be playing the role of “Ms Potter”–who hates George Bailey.

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I won’t be cross-dressing for this role (much) nor be in a wheelchair (much) but will be taking a rather Cruella Deville in Prada tack on the anti-George Bailey–complete with a thick white streak in my hair (per the costume director’s suggestion–I squeed). The big problem has become that I adore the young man playing George. It’s kinda hard to hate him.

So. Irony. Yes. But where’s the magic?

In a life that’s often overwrought with (actual) doctors, (actual) lawyers, and (actual) Indian chiefs, I stole a moment for myself. In days that often leave me asking for divine affirmation–this. This is the highly ironic answer I was given: “A’right, you wanna venture back onto the small stage? Here ya go. You wanna know if your life is on the right track? Oohkaaay … but don’cha know all divine answers are like a slap upside the head? Quit asking.”

With all the fun of Mercury in Retrograde and upcoming Winternights/Samhain celebrations, I’ve felt pulled in more directions than C3PO on Bespin’s Cloud City. But the silly, ironic, time-consuming reward of being part of this little production is knowing that my gods can still laugh at me and yet allow me to laugh along with them (both at them and at myself).

Obviously, It’s a Wonderful Magical Life. Even when it feels like Pitfall! level 50. Some misguided angel may just show up and save your life by jumping off a bridge in front of you.

See? Told ya. Nothing profound to see here this time.

Hee-haw and Merry Christmas, Bedford Falls.

06

Migration and Housekeeping

If you’ve been reading with me long enough, you know that I have/had another blog called The Bad Witch Files. I’m in the process of migrating those posts here.

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I don’t plan to delete TBW Files, so old links will still work. I just ask that you pardon the toodling that is bound to happen over the next week or so.

Goodness and Rebirth

The Forest of Rebirth by Narandel on DiviantArt

The Forest of Rebirth by Narandel on DiviantArt

I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. — Charles Bukowski

I have always had a strong affinity to the Phoenix. I have an uncanny knack for rising up out of my own ashes.

I also kinda like Bukowski. Some people read him as “dark” and “cynical” and even “misanthropic.” But I see in his poetry (more than in his prose, I admit) an insatiable longing for goodness. A knowing that goodness is out there and a death-drive to fecking find it. To find it and straddle it and slide next to it and kiss it full on the mouth with the greedy expectation of being enveloped by its swarming, blood-thick reality. I’m not talking about altruism, philanthropy, political-correctness, or politeness. I’m talking about goodness. And goodness–honest goodness–is often heavy, sticky, and oppressive with wonder and insight.

Maybe that’s not what you get from Bukowski. I can see that.

But let me tell you a short story. I introduced Bukowski to someone who was grasping at spider’s webs, trying to hang on to a reason to live. Words, man. “This,” she said, “this I can feel.” She had been pushing away every constructed regurgitation of others’ emotions because they struck her as “false,” so she refused them and started believing that there were no “true” feelings to be had. “This. This I can feel.” Sounds pretty damn hopeful to me. Sure, she was reading “The Crunch,” not a very uplifting piece; but his refrain that “people are not good to each other,” implies that we can be. There can be goodness. Heart-breakingly beautiful goodness. Goodness that, with its nasty weight, most people reject for “love and light.”

I’ve been stumbling all over that kind of goodness lately. I’ve been finding it stuck to my shoes and matted in my hair and running down my legs in thick rivulets of dumbfounding honesty. I’m a little overcome by it but I also have the breathtaking desire to find more of it–now that I know it’s out there.

Rather, in here. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, it’s been in me all along. Goodness, I mean. I had just forgotten it, or had devalued it, or had disguised it as something else.

Let me put all of this verbal meandering in some context. It’s been exactly a year since my husband hired a lawyer to pursue a defamation case on my behalf. It’s been a helluva year. Since then I have been in court (for myself and for others being similarly harassed) more than I ever wanted to be[1] and, as a proximate result, have lost my teaching job at the university.[2] Somewhere in that year, I lost a sense of who I am. I turned over the kindred leadership to my priest and his wife (also a blood-relative), put occult teaching on the back-burner, sent a child off to college, had a couple of traumatic personal “lashing-out” adventures, and watched my husband obsess over another woman (even if it is hatred-fueled, it’s a real thing to watch). All that, and the result is that now I don’t have the job that I sacrificed so much for. I don’t mean I sacrificed because I wanted it–but because my family needed me to stay put, I passed up other (tenured) positions in places that are not Alabama.[3]

So I feel like Bukowski on this. I honestly feel like the last 12 months have been equitable to binge drinking. Once this hangover clears, I think I’ll be allowed to resurrect my slaughtered self.

You see, just a few weeks before The Husband hired The Lawyer–Midsummer 2013–I wrote about an epiphany I’d had the previous spring (and put it in context of the year prior to that) in the aptly named “Midsummer.” I said:

… the crux of the vision was that I needed to …. reclaim a part of mySelf that had been lost and reintegrate it into my whole being. A week later I went to a celebration with a nearby coven. At their ritual, they performed a “rebirthing” ceremony. I thought, “Ah-ha! This is just what I need.” Nope. I had to bear that weight a little longer.

Little did I know how much gestation time I was in for.[4] And how much giving birth to oneself hurts.

I figured if I gave you Bukowski, I should give you Giger--just for giggles.

I figured if I gave you Bukowski, I should give you Giger–just for giggles.

In that year of breaking myself into uncompletable shards, I found that there were hidden treasures. Hidden goodness. Under all my own “false” emotions—the ones worn to pacify others’ needs for stability and appearances—I found “true” emotions. The sticky-thick unnerving kind. And I needed to be unnerved. I was dying under the weight of niceness[5] devoid of any anchor in goodness.

What happened was this. I became more intentional in my devotions[6] and I prayed. A lot. And you know what happens when witches pray. Shite gets real.

Suddenly, I had this fantastic aetherial partnership that went far and beyond anything I had experienced with KCHGA. The only way I can describe it is “entirely specific.” And this is a really good thing—else-wise I’d believe I was losing my ever-loving mind. But because I have seen evidence that this is not “all in my cracked head,” I know it’s real.

Then. Then I started obeying—executing instructions. And I’m a little blown away by the specificity of it all. There is nothing ambiguous about instructions, consequences for not following instructions, rewards for following instructions, grace-periods, etc.[7] It really got to the point where I started writing things down so that I could highlight them, check them off, cross them out as they happened.

A friend and I have a joke about life being a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. This is almost like reading ahead and knowing what’s on each page before choosing!

  • My first test was in January and an unexpected “adventure.” The experience itself was pleasurable but left a little aftershock, if not outright trauma. Maybe just in that it actually happened the way it was supposed to. Or at all.
  • Then there was Imbolc and our land-warden-planting and a visit to a very high energy location and yet another adventure—where I may have left someone else vaguely traumatized!
  • Then Ostara and no adventures aside from a rebirthing ritual of our own. That, I think, was just after I figured out the “rules” of this new relationship.
  • Walpurgisnacht was fascinating (and landed me sick for a month) and a complete reversal of Walpurgisnact 2013 which I spent intentionally with only female priestesses—this (liberating) ritual took place with just myself and three male[8]
  • Between the spokes in the year, there was a series of unfortunate events—floods and infestations—that, in turn, caused some of the other items to get ticked off my list.
  • Finally, just before Midsummer, some paradigm shift caused the whole convoluted picture to come into focus. By mid-June, I saw what was coming but I didn’t know the finer details.
This was from June 30. It's just ... so much.

This was from June 30. It’s just … so much.

Now, on the other side of the harvest, Lammas, things are starting to converge. And I’m terrified that I’m getting exactly what I bargained for. Exactly—but with fun surprises at the bottom of the box.[9] And a lot of hidden treasure among the shards of my broken soul. And all that goodness—true goodness—I thought I had irretrievably lost. I don’t think I’ve found rebirth or resurrection yet—I think these are the labor pains.

There is a bout with forgiveness that I’m going to have to fight. Actually, more than one. And if fighting *with* forgiveness doesn’t sound paradoxical to you? Welcome to the conundrum. I feel ya. And I think I’m up for the fight. Hope you are too. If not, drop me a line and we’ll hash it out together.

There’s a “struggle of the wills” that I’ll have to take part in. I think I know where this one is going to come from. My goal is to remain compassionate yet not a carpet to be walked on: balancing geburah and chesed.

In my secular life, mid-November is significant. It’s when the timeline for the EEOA investigation of my termination runs out and I will have an answer. And I’ll turn to that page in my adventure book. Until then, I plan to stay the course.

I hope to be able to keep the regular promise of letting you know how it turns out. But I simply can’t say what’s on that page just yet. Either way, waes thu hael.

~E

 

[1] Except when I was courting law school.

[2] You see, my supervisor has a relationship to the defendant and let me go in retaliation. Needless to say, I have another year of another suit–this time an EEOA violation.

[3] I did get what I needed out of that suit though–the truth has (mostly) come to the surface, maybe not the details but certainly the reality of the situation; I’m unharassed; and I know who my friends are and who I can trust better than ever. Plus, I’ve an even stronger sense of devotion and have reaped the harvest of such devotions. That can’t be all bad.

[4] Like whale and rhino long.

[5] Motivated solely by the determination not to be “bad.”

[6] There is still plenty of room for improvement.

[7] The only thing I am struggling with is the time line. I’m fecking impatient and may end up shooting myself in the foot with that shortcoming.

[8] We have two Walpurgisnacht rituals: the main one and a more private, chthonic one.

[9] Sometimes it’s just the spiritual equivalent of a press-on tattoo—but that’s better than nothing. Lagniappe is always welcome.

Hunter Gatherer: A Mabon Reflection (aka: I’m Getting Too Old For This)

I’m rounding out a tome on ritual and have taken to searching my old blogs for words of wisdom. Oh, so much has changed since this Mabon post, but with Midsummer (Litha) just around the wheel, I thought I’d reshare it with you.

The Bad Witch Files

Autumn is upon us. I can feel it in the air, the season is changing. The songs of the birds have changed, the bugly activity in the yard has a different hum about it. The crops are in their final throes, ripening more quickly than I can gather them. Daily, something new has taken on a different hue. The deep green lushness of two weeks ago has mellowed into softer shades of chartreuse and yellow; soon there will be orange and red. The air is lighter and moves more readily. Everything is a little more insistent: change.

Change insists itself in the Autumn because without it, we would be overrun. (See “The Bad Witch at the Watering Hole”.) We need a little of the death of winter to make way for the birth of spring. Makes sense in my head.

My body feels it differently. This insistence often feels like a push toward death…

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