Prof. Ronald Hutton | Neolithic British Religion
Prof. Ronald Hutton | Neolithic British Religion
Oh wait. Yes I can.
So, I’m turning 55 this coming Friday and it’s been on my mind. It feels like a massive turning point, way more than 50 did. Don’t know why, but it’s interesting to let the thoughts and feelings about it flit in and out. I notice but don’t dwell. My spirit doesn’t feel 55. My body feels like Methuselah but with love, care, and attention I’m moving backwards to a younger me. Feeling blessed. Feeling tired. Loving the long summer we’re having and so far all of it before my birthday which almost never happens. Summer doesn’t usually start in the Pacific Northwest until July 5th. It is our corny joke.
Feeling grateful and yet still releasing some grief stuff. It hits me Sunday afternoons, probably because I’m rested up after a week of working hard and finally have had enough down time that I let down my defenses… And have a good cry and a nap and then burn wood or sew or do some more nothing. And I can read books again. Challenging books! I haven’t been able to really read in over a year thanks to chemo. I’m serious. My ability to read, to know the date, to put something on my calendar, to track just about anything disappeared for over a year. Ah. Beloved books.
Looking forward to 4 days off in a row, I really need it. Casey and I are going to see a Talking Heads tribute band on my birthday at the Tractor, dinner with mum the next day. You know you’ve found the man for you when you say you want a canning set for your birthday and he asks if you want water canning or pressure canning. I’m so in love….
I’m very addicted to bluebirds of any type. Bluebirds of happiness. On my tattoo, in my artwork, my earrings, now my curtains. After 8 months (!) in my new home I’m finally making it a home. I was so exhausted when I moved in I didn’t do much to make my house a home. I discovered what a lame ass my landlady is. She should have replaced the carpet and had the bathroom cleaned but she was so greedy to get someone in for her own plans she took advantage of me. A fellow BTW (British Traditional Witch) took advantage of a friend and cancer patient. Yup. Harm none. Whatever witch.
Nothing much got done because I started packing when my third degree radiation burns were in full swing and I was exhausted and in pain and I knew I had to rest because I was starting work 3 weeks later. I got stuff unpacked and the basics made available but no nesting. I’ve been dating Casey now just over 6 months (!) and working 7(!) and am finally nesting. The photos above are the curtains I bought for my 55 birthday present for my bedroom. Expensive? Yes. And on sale too. Cheap eating this week for sure. But they will last the rest of my life. Hand embroidered wool on cotton, they are my dream curtains and I can’t wait for them to arrive. Little by little. A rug is next on the agenda. A nice rug for the bedroom.
Getting ready to purge a few things, add a few things, need to frame a few things.
Going to be teaching some wood burning demos and classes this fall and that’s exciting.
Hoping to get first or second place in a contest at work because it has a generous cash prize, plus making my bonus this month, back full time instead of part time, and the money I’ll get paid for the classes are going to help me pay off some medical bills, nest some more, and provide 4 days at a cabin at Mt. Rainier at the end of September. Plod plod plod as fast as I can, it’s no wonder we sleep most of the weekend.
Work is going well and I’m not breaking down every hour any more. Maybe once a week and that’s HUGE progress. When I get a little down Casey reminds me that I’m really moving forward. He’s such a good soul, such a good heart, good man. He’s so good to me and he can COOK! I know he’s in my life because while I battled cancer I finally discovered my own value, in my own heart, in my own soul. I finally realized I deserved a man like him. And the Universe responded.
So I look at my life right now and I see that I have a lot of love from many directions, a good CAREER, not just a job, a real MAN, a lovely home, and I know that this is my third chance at a good life, the second deadly disease I’ve recovered from, and to many people in other parts of the world I am rich and fortunate and wow, to be a free, white, 55 year old woman with her needs met, well, it’s rare and it’s appreciated and I worked fucking hard for all of it. And I thank my lucky stars every day.
The following quotes are from an article published this week by Martha Beck: you can read it all here: The Willingness Factor by Martha Beck
Martha Beck is currently one of my favorite writers about life journeys. I’m still struggling with reading large chunks of text and content, like books and tomes and paragraphs and words and stuff so I’m wading very slowly through “Finding Your Way In A Wild New World.” Her blog posts are juuuuust right. That, Facebook, and smart thrillers by John Sandford.
“People who’ve been through hell are often forced to learn this, which is why activist, cancer patient, and poet Audre Lorde wrote, “When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
I’ve been through hell and cancer (this autocorrected as Dancer and I’m taking that as a message from the universe) was, believe it or not, NOT my first trip. I haven’t had much time to be afraid, only in the dead of night.
My first visit to hell was a summer of utter drug debauchery that nearly killed me and did kill, for 2 minutes, one of my suppliers. I didn’t understand at the time that I was actually IN hell until his overdose and suddenly the clock and time zoomed forward into a pinpoint of a nightmare worthy of Hunter S. Thompson. I fled. I was 19.
The second visit to hell began when I married, for better or worse, that same almost dead supplier. I was so young. I didn’t realize that he was still dying. His body didn’t die until 2000 but his spirit gave up the ghost long before. I forgive him for the hell because I understand now where he was and that, unlike me, he pitched his tent and sat down and lit a fire and started cooking rocks to eat. My motto is: NEVER pitch your tent in hell. Just keeeeep on walking, sometimes crawling on hands and knees grabbing dirt and rocks and dust to pull yourself forward. But forward is forward, no footprints on MY back. I gave up a son in hell because I wanted him to be here, on Earth, happy, healthy, and alive. And someone else had the ability to do that as I did not. But eventually I had to leave my husband with his tent and hoard of boxes full of self loathing and keeeep on walking.
Some might think that the end of my drinking (FINALLY) was because I’d been through hell. If I had been THROUGH, however, I’d still be drinking. Unfortunately, for a couple years I did pitch my tent (autocorrected repent! Wow) there. What surprises me the most is that the people who were in my life at the time were on the other side waiting for me when I finally put my boots back on and started walking out. Again.
This past year of cancer has been Hell. Hell because it was CANCER, hello. Double radical mastectomy chemo radiation Hell. I’m STILL trying to grasp the magnitude of it all, it’s so vast and blackholey. Not only is it big but my brain got a bit scrambled in the toxic chemical lunch process.
It was Hell because I couldn’t visit my Dad and cry on his shoulder like I used to do. His mind is going and the risk of infection from his adult home was too great for me with no immune system so I went through that whole year without my Daddy. I still can’t write or talk about that without sobbing.
It was Hell because I had to decide to put my aging kitty Miss Mitty to sleep. Between cancer, Mitty, and my Dad I was struggling greatly with the value of life and knowing when to end it. It took me a few months longer than usual to decide for her. And then my beloved, most loved, Uncle Will passed away. Oh Lord.
But wait, there’s more. Blow of all blows, Mr. Furnace decided to move without consulting me. It was during this time that I really grasped the significance and magnitude of the TBI (traumatic brain injury) he’d suffered 20 years ago. When I showed up with the truck that he couldn’t organize or pay for, I discovered he’d been hoarding, or rather allowing, a very, and I do mean VERY, psychotic homeless women hoard his home. She was his project. He was going to help her get on her feet and live a good life. I’ve never been so shocked in my life. It was unimaginable and it was the deepest depth of hell for me. I was still going through chemo every week. No one was there to move his crap out to a storage unit but him and I. And her, drunk at 8am in her socks in the alley, flashing her tits to the neighbors.
I’m sorry to those who think I should keep this to myself but our secrets keep us sick, he shall remain anonymous, and those who knew him will forget his name. You are getting very sleepy. We all deserve love and forgiveness and I forgive him with all my heart but that’s the end of THAT. You need to understand this to understand where I end up and I need to tell you. That day woke me up to the fact that the relationship was literally killing me and had, in some part, helped to create cancer inside me. Worrying about not eating wheat products to prevent inflammation and therefore cancer was the least of my worries. I had visible cancer right there in front of me. And it walked and talked and and and
He was at that moment homeless and good woman that I am, I said he could stay with me for a week. It turned into almost 3 months. While I finished chemo, started recovering from chemo, began radiation, and badly sprained my ankle we were there in my small basement haven turned flophouse trying to be amiable, knowing it was over but trying to do it with grace and dignity. He got me through surgery and chemo and while we had irreconcilable differences, I’ll be forever grateful that he was THERE for me when I needed it most.
The diagnosis and surgery and worst of chemo was almost over but from April through October, my life turned into five hundred and forty seven levels of Hell.
I wish God/dess didn’t trust my inner strength so much. I don’t know how I made it. More than once I wanted to end my life, the journey was no longer working for me. I wanted a Do Over. But I just couldn’t do it. Because I knew that this next quote is true. Always have, always will.
“Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests, and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes parts of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined. No one would call it easy, but the rhythm of emotional pain that we learn to tolerate is natural, constructive, and expansive. It’s different from unwilling suffering the way the sting of disinfectant is different from the sting of decay; the pain leaves you healthier than it found you.”
And right now, while I’m still grieving many, MANY, losses, some of which go back to my own actual adoption memory of being in the womb shrieking “Mommy don’t leave me!”, I’m ready to live again. I’m healthier. Reborn. A new life. I get a do over without having to die and the gift of remembering the past so it can guide me as I move forward, lessons learned.
I know now that my Mom is here, she always has been. She just didn’t give birth to me. But God/dess knows, she was THERE. She’s my best and closet friend. I tell her everything. We talk almost every day. We care for each other. We try to lighten the load for each other. We support each other and no topic is taboo.
I am surrounded and I do mean SURROUNDED, by the most awesome group of friends a gal could want. They’ve donated their time in many ways, from packing to driving me places to playing their music for my fundraiser to sending cards and love and energy and even regular old money, buying my art or just GIVING from every corner of the earth. For the first time in my life I let myself RECEIVE. My friends they are legion and the love flows.
My co-workers, team mates, beloved Sesameeps, have supported me in many ways as well. They kept my job intact, they kept my CUBICLE intact (that was a massive feat as we all know that office vultures descend on cubicles), paid my medical benefits the entire time I was sick and rejoiced and celebrated my return. They played with me on Facebook, had a fundraiser, sent me care packages, and never, ever forgot me and welcomed me back with delight and love and I don’t even know how that happens.
I can only, simply, RECEIVE. Sometimes I can’t help but cry for the Grace of it all. I can only stand and receive and I never knew it would feel like this.
Was Cancer a Gift? FUCK NO. The right question is, was the journey a gift? Oh yes. No mistake, I’m not who I was and I’m better, happier, more grateful. And cancer free. Healthier.
I took the months of November and December off from visits and contact. I cried for almost two solid months in the restful silence of my new home and with my new kitty mitty, Mimi. She was sick too and we both just rested. And cried. A LOT.
I’m back at work but had a bit of relapse after the company party this weekend. Done got my ass kicked but it was worth it in every way. I see my limits now. Overstimulation zapped me pretty hard and I was just starting to get my energy back. I’m sure in a day or two I’ll get it back again and the journey towards Thriving, not Surviving, will continue.
So many relationships have been so full of Drahma and Trauhma. So many ended this year. And many have begun. I *have* had one visitor in my life of late. Please don’t be sad if it wasn’t you. I love you all. I just needed fresh air, a new experience, a new friend. Something, someone, new, a friend from long ago who I’m getting to know better. Someone who is mellow and easy and kind of quiet in a smart, interesting, and chatty way, letting me be me, and by the fact of his calmness, calms me when he’s around. And maybe just a little uncalming too, but in a good way. In an Infinite Possibilities way.
These visits aren’t every day mind you. GAWD, I’d keel over for good, I’m lucky to get the coffee cups washed and the cat fed. He is someone who knows I didn’t only call to chat but perhaps to also dip my toe in the water and maybe, if the water’s fine, build something on shore if the winds blow favorably. Someone who already knows about the cancer and the pain and the chemo and the sick and the bloat and yet, he comes by and we laugh and talk about many things. Like walruses and strings.
Love Not Fear. It will get you through anything. Knowing the wheel will turn and sometimes you’ll be drowning under water and sometimes you’ll be basking in the sun. Spring is coming and I want this life, this new life I’m creating from the depths of Hell. I refused to pitch my tent even though at times the temptation was great, I was just so fucking tired and bruised and aching that I simply didn’t want to move any more, not one more inch.
I’ve got my boots on again but I’m not walking through Hell any more. I’m in the plain jane world of life and it feels great. I do still have great sobs burst from me and then a rain of tears but it passes like a summer storm and I’m cleansed some more. The grieving process will take awhile but who says I can’t put on my party clothes and dance at the same time?
These boots were made for DANCING. Was I afraid? Yes. Did I continue on in service to my vision? My vision that I will know a life where I feel loved by those around me but most importantly and finally, by my Self? Yes. Like a tsunami, my life last year got TOSSED and all the flotsam and jetsam rose to the surface, floating there, reminding me that I couldn’t store them carefully away in little organized and labeled boxes any more. The lids were off and they were there for all to see. But, also like a tsunami, each subsequent wave that hits me is lesser than the one before. Right now waves are gently lapping at my ankles, the trash has been cleared away, and pretty little fishes nibble at my ankles in the sparkling blue crystal clear water. Every once in awhile, the seventh wave hits, bigger than the others, and I cry, sometimes I even fall in, but it’s easier to get back up these days, so I stand, ankle deep, in heaven on earth and I have faith that I can weather ANYTHING this world throws at me. Love, faith, fear. They dance together and the dance wouldn’t be complete without each part of the circle. I’m doing everything I can to invite Joy to join us. Come dance with me… Kiss me… Allow me to show you my smiling shining light.
Some of you expressed an interest in what I meant when I said I had failed to ground last night before the party and I was very jangled and couldn’t sleep. And how does one do that? Didn’t know you could? Can it really make the difference? Oh yes.
I believe that all humans, all living beings, animals and plants included, are created with the ability to sense and react to the energy of all living and non living things, from mom to rocks. As we grow up we start to lose this ability. Use it or lose it I say. We don’t teach it in our homes or at school or on the playground. We actually deny it exists and that we can’t do it and deny those who say they can until we’ve become a society of folks who don’t know what is running them. But we do feel the effects whether we believe in them or not. And absorbing the energy of others either runs you ragged or brings you energy to restore you. Leave yourself wide open and unshielded and you will notice it the next day.
What I don’t know about me, runs me. And sometimes what’s running me is the entitled doctor on the phone with me at work, hitting me with his power to get his way. If I’m not grounded, centered, and shielded, I’m in trouble. And yes, he might not understand HOW it works but make no mistake he is INTENTIONALLY hitting me with his power. He knows that gets results in his sad little world.
I have lots to say on THAT subject but will stick to grounding today.
Many of you (and I know quite a few witchy folks are here and I KNOW you could probably say this better than I) might be familiar with the exercise of holding your palms face to face in front of you and bring them closer together and further apart to find that you can feel the heat, the energy flowing. There are many more advanced exercises you can do with just the palms of your hands and the palms of other people’s hands. Try it now. I like closing my eyes so I have to rely on my other senses to tell me how close or far they are from each other and to feel it.
I can actually feel energy stretching thin and thick like an accordion. I can send into your hands and I can make a ball with it. But not like Harry Potter. Just a fun little ball of energy. But I know if I worked on it long enough I COULD form and send a ball of energy to hit someone. I’ve done it by accident in extreme grief. But intentionally, that would go against all my beliefs about love and I would be a traitor to myself.
What does this have to do with grounding? A lot. We sense and are absorbing the energy around us whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Ever seen a mob? Gotten a contact high? Felt the energy pulsing and slamming into you at a Ramones concert? It’s always there, always accessible.
But because we deny it, we are at the whim of it. We are open receivers and transmitters just sending it out and taking it in and we wonder why, when we get home from work, that we have to lie on the couch for 20 minutes just to decompress. Or get drunk. Which leaves you open even more and the cycle continues. Those guys with tin foil hats probably really are more sensitive. I had a conversation with a guy in tin foil hat once and he actually made some sense except for our refusing to believe in energy.
When we are sick or “low energy” we are even more susceptible to the energy of others. Last night was loud and raucous and drunken and fun and silly and there was a TON of energy zapping all around that room. Some people even got a little cranky, like the women with the mic who couldn’t get everyone to shut up and listen which created confusion in the clusterfuck game.
Soooo. How do I protect myself from the energy of others? How do I ground?
I stand or sit or even lie down. I close my eyes. Whatever part of me is touching the surface, in this case my butt and legs and feet, I start to imagine tendrils of my energy (mine are neon pink in my mind’s eye and I don’t know why) extending down, into the cushion, through the sofa, done through the floor, the neighbors apartment (sorry guys), down through the concrete pad, down into the earth, down down down down until the soil becomes rocks becomes boulders and I start to see the glow of the earth’s core… I let my tendrils grow tendrils, and more tendrils and I let them wend their way amongst the rocks and bones of the earth and then imagine them becoming straws, like roots, sucking up water but instead sucking up the earth’s core energy, up up up through the molten energy, up through the boulders, up up up until I feel it enter my body. I let it fill me with a golden pink light and let some of it rest in my heart.
As I fill up and I keep drawing more and more energy up from Mama, I start to release it from my crown chakra and send it fountaining back into the earth, creating a circuit of energy flowing from me to mom and me and back. I believe that THIS is what Jesus was talking about when he talked about “my cup runneth over.” It was him right? I can really get it flowing, I visualize it being pretty freaking sparkly too because why not? Like a rainbow of water drops in the sun or sparks. Sometimes I let it be a cool calm smooth flow that feels like wind, that’s for today when I’m too low energy to even take a good zap from Mom. I do this usually before I enter a place that I know will have high energy or after a rotten phone call at work or before picking up the phone. Over the years I’ve become able to do this entire thing in about 10 seconds. It used to take about five minutes. But once I start I can actually feel my body lock down to the earth, battening the hatches. I’ve been holding hands with folks in a circle and they’ve felt me lock down and gasped. Not bragging, just illustrating that if you’re awake and aware and open, we exchange it together. It’s why sex is sooooo intense and can either make you feel marvelous or suicidal. It why sacred sex is so crucial to our well being. We are literally letting someone into our core.
Once I have the cycle flowing, I set the intention that it continue doing that for a certain amount of time without my having to maintain it so that I can function in this plane of reality and still receive and give the flow.
Think I’m cuckoo? Shrug. That’s cool. But I tell you it works and keeps me from using my own energy reserves, which are few more than ever these days, mama gives and I give back.
This next thing isn’t grounding but shielding. I envision myself surrounded, on the aural/astral plane, by a shiny somewhat flexible silver egg. I try to remember to sit and meditate on it, visualize it. I note where it’s been dented and scraped and stained and I visualize myself polishing and rubbing and washing it until it’s shiny as new sterling, glowing. This is my permanent shield and must be kept in good working order. I didn’t check my egg last night (or most of this year come to think of it, I’ve been cracked wide open, ugh) and I see this morning that not only is it not shiny but it’s only half inflated. Time for a tune up.
If I had done both of those exercises before the party last night, I probably wouldn’t have been so wired, jangled, when I got home. I might have slept better and I might not have felt hungover from absorbing the energy of some tipsy folks.
It takes practice but it’s a very cool thing. Everything, EVERYTHING, is energy and energy goes EVERYWHERE. And EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. There is NO separation, that is the illusion of being human, that we aren’t connected. But we are, for good or ill, and the more we know how to care for ourselves, the happier we will be. Through and around you, it’s what it does, for we ourselves are simply energy with a little carbon and water thrown in, also forms of energy. It’s why I believe science and God are very close to becoming ONE. We’re right at the crux of a huge realization and transition. If we don’t do ourselves in first.
The biggest energy wave in the universe is the energy wave of love. You can tap into it even faster than Mother Earth. Ride the wave. It’s energy, love. God is love, love is God, and it’s all energy waves. All connected, ebbing and flowing….
coming soon… Energy Vampires
This seems like as good a time as any to come out of the closet. Christmas. Yule. Solstice. My heart has been wandering around aimlessly looking for direction and it had a realization this foggy sunny morning. I’ve been asking the Great Navigator to point me this year with fervor. What a beautiful morning it was with the silhouettes of evergreen trees against fog and sun drenched mountains… And I suddenly knew that I had turned the corner. I was in a new meadow. I was now 51% sure instead of 49%. It was time to shift. I shifted. It’s a thousand mile journey from the head to the heart and in one moment I arrived.
I am not a Wiccan.
OMG. Did I just say that out loud?!
Something has flipped inside me, has been flipping for some time now, but I’ve been too preoccupied to focus on it. I’ve been a little busy this year including planning full moons with a Wiccan friend. A Wiccan was how I’d oriented myself since, well, since I was twelve. I didn’t know the word Wiccan that early on but I knew Witch. What on earth? 42 years in one direction and WHAM, the compass went south. But not really, I’ve been wandering this way for a few years now.
It’s not a simple or easy thing. It feels very weird and not a little uncomfortable. But it feels right too. I’m a little worried that people I love who have been a great part of my path will reject me as I turn left. That is where the discomfort lies, not with my new path but with the potential for yet more loss in a year of so much loss. 2013 is the year for all no longer needed, no longer integral, people places and things to fall away. Those that do move on I will miss but if their minds are closed to the great variety that is LIFE then we’ve already parted paths. Or perhaps they’re just simply busy with their own paths and that’s great. Love to you all.
I still feel quite Pagan in some ways, in the sense that churches don’t really speak to me, trees and groves do. Nature calls me. So does quiet. A single candle, a meditative walk, those things soothe my soul. Well the meditative walk WOULD soothe my soul as soon as my ankle gives me permission to walk more than a grocery trip but let’s not grumble now. Groups aren’t really my thing, never have been. Small groups, yes, large congregations, not so much, but you never know, probably depends on the congregation. I even still like a good circle with incense now and then. I love my solitary circles when I do them, which is extremely rare. There’s a bit of the Buddha in all this, quiet contemplation, but I’m not turning away from earthly things, not trying to find Nirvana or Enlightenment. I would, however, like to feel lighter. I feel the need to shed that which no longer serves or calls.
Several years ago now, an ex-boyfriend, a total Pagan, took me to a gathering where a woman channeled Jeshua Ben Joseph. Jesus. I was all, dude, you’ve got to be kidding me. Really?? Channeling? Jesus? WTF? But I thought I loved him so I went with him to check it out, to support him in something that was important to him. That night changed my life. Because I came away a believer. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind or heart that I met Jeshua ben Joseph that night and he’s been with me ever since. Jeshua and both Marys. I speak to him regularly and yeah, he speaks back. And it has really helped me get through this year. When I’ve been lost and wandering and in need of comfort I’ve called and he’s been there. That fast too. This has not been my experience with any other diety/ascended master/energy in the past.
I’m suddenly crying here. Very emotional stuff. Because I know without a shadow of a doubt that God? Is LOVE. And Jeshua is LOVE. He told me back then, I wasn’t ready to let go, that circles, incense, ritual is not important to connect. There is no separation. Everything is connected. Truth with a capital T. It was easy for me since I’ve believed that as a Wiccan forever. For some reason I needed to still call myself a Witch before today. And I’m not particularly proud of some of the reasons that was important to me.
I have a big cabinet full of accoutrement for the Wiccan path. I’ve been embroidering Pagan items for years now. Books up the wazoo. Tarot decks. Gawd, the tarot decks. What do I do with it all? Well, I still love Tarot because the Journey of the Fool, the story of my life, still resonates and works for me. I’ll still probably embroider bags and the like. Certain symbols still speak to me and still in a sacred way. The cross is still not one of them but the pentacle/pentagram isn’t really one of them either. My shield of protection is Love. Peace. I don’t need protection amulets and chants and raising power to connect with LOVE. All I need is LOVE. All. I. Need. Is. LOVE. And a quiet corner.
I don’t know what any of this is going to look like moving forward but I do know what it will feel like. It will feel like PEACE.
Merry Festivus from a Jeshua loving, nature worshipping, tree hugging, stitch witchy, something or other. Still cawing with crow, snikking with fox, communing with deer dear.