Author Archives: Hecate Demeter

Don’t Be That Guy

Not-all-men

In response to the accusations that have come to light concerning Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of so many women, there has been a social media campaign for other women to tell their stories.  Identified by the hashtag #metoo , the point of the movement is to make clear how pervasive this problem is in the lives of most women.  And there’s a hope that when men see that this happens to their mothers, grandmothers, co-workers, wives, daughters, etc. — and not just to some actress who was “asking for it” by wanting to, you know, get a job — that they’ll take action to stop to it.  For many women, simply telling this truth about their lives has been empowering, if also, in some cases, a bit scary.

Yet, today, social media filled up with guys performing several variations of “not all men” and “all lives matter.”  I watched one interaction on Facebook where a guy showed up to lecture women to not allow themselves to slip too far into victimhood.  If they do that, then, he informed them, the abusers win.  And, he quickly noted, men are sometimes the victims of sexual harassment.  Maybe we could talk about that, too.  When a woman suggested that lecturing women on how they are allowed to react to sexual harassment was maybe not such a good idea, he became furious, angry that his “experience was being discounted.”

What happened here was that a man essentially told women to shut up.  All that wallowing in “victimhood” was boring him, although he tried to wrap it up in a nice bow:  don’t let the abusers win.  No manipulation, here, nosiree.  And, then he attempted to center the conversation back on men and men’s experience.  After all, that’s what’s really important.

On another Facebook page, a man indignantly proclaimed that he’s never harassed any woman, ever, and women should be careful not to tar all men with the same brush.  And, he knows some accounts are fake because his buddy’s ex-wife lied in order to . . . .  You get the picture.  Of course, women weren’t saying all men harass.  They were recounting the times men did harass them.  One wonders why he felt the need to proclaim his innocence.  Regardless, he managed to hijack the conversation and make it all about how women are allowed to discuss what’s happened to them in ways that won’t hurt men’s feelings.

A third interaction involved a man letting everyone know that he’d love it if women on the street told him to smile or paid him a “compliment” by telling him he had a nice ass.  And, of course he’d love it.  He’s not worried that it’s going to turn into something more sinister, that the woman’s going to follow him down a dark alley and rape him, or deny him a job, or single him out for attention on the street when he’s just trying to get home in time to start dinner.  Once again, a conversation about women’s experiences detoured and became about how men perceive the world.

So what IS a man to do?  Well, you could try listening.  You could practice the skill of listening without feeling the need to immediately insert yourself into the conversation, to tell women how to behave, to turn the conversation to men’s experiences.  You could try imagining how women feel when these things happen to them, given that men are bigger, stronger, and prone to violence when they don’t get their way.  You could, if you feel the need to say something, tell the women who are opening up about these experiences that you’re sorry they had to endure that, that you’ve learned something new, that you plan to speak up the next time you see something like this happening.  You can ask women what they need from their male allies.

We are long past the date when #notallmen or #alllivesmatter are acceptable responses.  So do yourself a favor.  Don’t be that guy.

Picture found here.

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Monday at the Movies

Water Wars.  Coming soon to a landbase near you.

The Magical Battle for America 10/15/17

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As @mrswhatsit9 noted, this has been a painful week.  In addition to many other problems, this week — after all of our phone calls (I called every single day, for months. and I know that many of you did the same) and other efforts convinced the Senate NOT to take away healthcare — Trump, as dictator, went ahead and took healthcare away from millions of Americans.  It hurt.  It was intended to hurt, to discourage, to make us feel powerless, to make us give up.  I’m a breast cancer survivor.  So any re-occurrence, even now, 20 years later (thank you very much), will be a “pre-existing condition” that insurance won’t cover.  I’ll simply have to choose palliative care (aka opioids) and hope to die before I run through all my assets and — full disclosure — I will retire with more assets than most Americans.  So if this is tragic for me, I can simply imagine what it means for most Americans.

There’s an old saying that, if you have your health, you have everything.  It’s a bit of an overstatement, but the obverse is certainly true.  When you’re ill, or when you’re worried about whether you’ll be able to get health care for yourself, your aged parents, your children, or the people who work for you, then you’re much more tractable.  Your boss, the dictator, some evangelical church with a clinic –  they’re all able to control you.  I remember a few years ago when G/Son was staying with me for the weekend and came down with strep.  Of course, his parents were able to get medical care for him.  But when he woke up crying because his throat hurt, I’d have done anything, anything to make him well again.  They know that.  Never forget that when Trump wanted to control his brother’s family and steal money from them, he cut off the insurance for his grand-nephew who suffered from seizures and developed cerebral palsy.  They know that taking away our access to health care gives them the whip-hand.  That’s why they’re so desperate to do so.

I want to remind us that — while we’re also fighting a long-term war — here, in these weekly workings, we’re focusing on battles for America.  It’s true that you can win a battle and lose a war, but it’s also true that if you keep winning battles, you’re much more likely to win the war.  Today, we’re going to focus on the battle for health care.

We’re going to win this war.

*********************

Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.  Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak or grasp a stone or talisman that matters to you.  Grow your roots, send them deep into the soil, let them intertwine and grow small hairs to attach to the mycelia in your own landbase.

Breathe.

Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.

Ground and center.  Cast a circle.

Breathe.

As you move to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky:  Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work?  Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

For a few moments, just sit on your hillock and allow yourself to become comfortable. This place should be feeling very real to you by now; we’ve been working together to create it for months and months.  As you sit upon your hillock, look due North and see the banner of the Statue of Liberty.  Watch as it grows larger, brighter, more three-dimensional, and fills the sky.  From where you sit, you can reach out and touch the base of the statue.  You can stand up and walk into the banner.  You are standing on the island, at the base of the American Libertas.  The base is a twelve-pointed star.

From each point on the star, you watch America’s nurses emerge.  You see the great nurses of American history:  Clara Barton and the women who helped her to heal Americans on both sides of the Civil War, Mary Breckenridge, Dorothea Dix, Margaret Sanger, Walt Whitman, and Mary Eliza Mahoney.  You can see the prejudice that each of them fought simply in order to be able to bring comfort and health to Americans.   You can see the nurse who helped you to deliver your children.  You can see your school nurse, handing out information and giving vaccines.  You can see visiting nurses going into America’s homes and showing mothers how to feed their babies, setting broken bones, changing bandages after surgery, providing information about birth control.  You see nurse practitioners giving breast exams, taking blood pressure readings, drawing blood.  You see nurses, employed by granges, weighing babies.  You see the nurses who used to be employed in American factories and offices, listening for pneumonia and watching for outbreaks of measles, mumps, rubella.  You see today’s nurses, checking information on their iPads, accessing NIH data from the field, providing basic health services from the sites of hurricanes, forest fires, and earthquakes.

As you watch, the light grows even brighter, and you see Hygeia emerge from the base of Libertas.  As health is the basis of liberty, you can see the Goddess of health come forth from the 12-pointed star upon which Libertas stands.  You see her join with America’s nurses.  She is full of light.  Clear, New England thinking follows her.  She carries health-giving plants from the American South.  She brings warm cowboy blankets and she brings strengthening stews made of salmon, cloudberry, and greens from the Pacific Northwest.  And she and her sister Libertas — health and liberty — hold hands and walk with America’s nurses, past and present.

Just now, when the veils are very thin, you see all of the nurses — mostly women, but, also, some men — who have given their lives to keep Americans healthy.  Stand up on your hillock.  Call to them, now, in our time of need.  Call to them, now, when our own government is trying to make us sick so that they can control us.  What can you offer to them?  Herbs from your garden?  A dance that tells the story of your quest for health?  A commitment to one practice that will strengthen your own health?  Going to get a flu shot?  (They tell me that they especially want to see us commit to stop smoking, to walk more, to eat more greens, to make fire cider, to get flu shots.)   Will you stand up for nurses to receive fair pay?  Will you help them to distribute information?  Will you read a biography of an American nurse?  Can you use the power of your menstrual blood or semen to fertilize the ground where you grow greens, elderberries, or garlic?  Will you pack a backpack full of needed food and medicine in case you must leave ahead of a hurricane, earthquake, flood?  Can you teach a child how to use an herb to heal mosquito bites or a nettle scrape?

You and America’s nurses stop Trump’s evil right in its tracks.  You freeze him out of his attempt to steal health care from Americans.

Remember that the archetype of American nurses is available to help you every time that you need to do magic for America.

Take a minute to catch your breath.  As you sit and rest, know that you are not working alone.  The Resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge.  Know that you are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you.  You are brave and growing braver.  Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference.

Breathe.

Return to your own body, your own landbase.  Open your eyes.  Rub your face, move your arms and legs.  Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral.  Open your circle.  Drink something, maybe hot coffee or pear cider, served icy cold.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe hard-boiled eggs or boiled peanuts, served warm from the pot.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral.  You may want to repeat this working.  You may want to place something on your altar to help you to remember America’s nurses.  You may want to visit your local health center or public clinic.  You could bring them a pumpkin or some extra blankets or towels, if you have some; you could  knit a cap for their patients.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art?  Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle?   What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance?  If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

Picture found here.

Saturday Ballet Blogging

Still one of my all-time favorites.

Words for Wednesday

BlackHillCairn4West

White Horse Hill

Martin Shaw

They carry her ashes

carefully,

deliberately,

inside a basket.

 

Wrapped in bear fur,

with flakes of charcoal

from the burning:

of oak and hazel,

and floating strands

from her shroud.

 

The blue winds of

 

White Horse Hill

numb the jaws of

these far walkers,

 

So distant we can

barley see them.

 

The bairn’s dust is

taken to the high hill,

haunt of bleak vastness.

 

A cairn is prepared,

the old sounds made.

 

Purple moor grass

stuffed about the bounty,

gathered in the

browning-hills-time.

Spindlewood ear studs,

from such trees that still grow

on the lower slopes, pelt,

a woven belt of nettles.

 

A necklace that behooves a sovereign,

with precious amber beads,

from snowy east.

 

A place so far away

over there they whisper

that each bead is a word

and a necklace a story.

 

Unfathomable wealth.

 

This crucible:

a basket wefted

from the inner bark

of a lime tree — the bast —

threaded with the

hair of cattle,

rendered and soaked

in Dartmoor water.

Innumerable hours

stitching your sorrow

to the Otherworld.

 

Picture found here.

 

What She Said

snow_white_evil_queen_disney_8

You need to read this. You need to read every word of this.

Picture found here.

The Magical Battle for America 10.8.17

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Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.  Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak or grasp a stone or talisman that matters to you.  Grow your roots, send them deep into the soil, let them intertwine and grow small hairs to attach to the mycelia in your own landbase.

Breathe.

Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.

Ground and center.  Cast a circle.

Breathe.

As you move to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky:  Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work?  Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

For a few moments, just sit on your hillock and allow yourself to become comfortable. This place should be feeling very real to you by now; we’ve been working together to create it for months and months.  As you look across America, you notice that the country is dotted with libraries.  Large, imposing libraries in big cities, with stone statues outside.  Small, clapboard libraries in rural communities, with notices about community events tacked to a bulletin board in the entryway.  Neat, brick buildings in the suburbs, full of children doing school reports.  Mobile vans bringing books to Americans in remote places.  Specialized libraries on university campuses and in court houses.  Modern libraries bringing internet courses and job training to anyone who is interested.  Ever since Ben Franklin set up his lending library, libraries have been a fixture of the American landscape.

In each of the libraries, you see librarians helping everyone, from small children to senior citizens, to learn, to access information, to broaden their lives.  You see librarians standing up for the free exchange of ideas, protecting banned books, fighting the funding cuts meant to keep Americans ignorant.  You see a long line of librarians, stretching back to America’s first days, and, especially now with the veils so thin, you can feel their dedication to democracy, to fostering the informed electorate upon which democracy depends.  Do any of them call out to you in particular?  Do they have a message for you, spoken or felt?  Do they point you to a particular book or author?

On your hillock, call to all the librarians of America’s past and ask them to protect Americans from the Right’s current attack on information, education, knowledge, learning.  See them forming a giant protective ring around the American Library, personified in the Library of Congress, directly under the shadow of the Goddess Columbia.  See that ring growing stronger and stronger.  See the librarians at the edge of the circle handing out books, magazines, videos.  See Americans turning towards wisdom and away from government by “reality” tv.  Take one of their offerings and share it with others.  What promise can you make to these ancestral librarians?  How will you assist their efforts?

Take a minute to catch your breath.  As you sit and rest, know that you are not working alone.  The Resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge.  Know that you are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you.  You are brave and growing braver.  Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference.

Breathe.

Return to your own body, your own landbase.  Open your eyes.  Rub your face, move your arms and legs.  Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral.  Open your circle.  Drink something, maybe ice water with a slice of cucumber or a mug of hot cider.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe a pumpkin scone or a bunch of grapes.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral.  You may want to repeat this working.  You may want to place something on your altar to help you to remember America’s libraries.  You may want to visit your local library, in person or on-line.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art?  Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle?   What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance?  If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

Picture found here.