Author Archives: Hecate Demeter

Pre-Move Potpourri

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In just a few days, the movers will be here to pack everything up and move me to my new home in the mountains.  I’m excited, and scared, and a little bit in denial.  I was up there earlier this week for the pre-settlement walk-through and to get an orientation on all the new appliances (whoo, boy, have those babies gotten complicated; no simple on/off switches left on anything!).  There was the most magical mist hovering over the mountains and the wildflowers were blooming like mad in every nook, crannie, and roadside strip.  I honestly can’t wait.

But please spare a good thought for my cats, Merlin and Nimue, who will be at the “cat spa” for a few days while the movers are packing things up, loading the truck, and then unloading.  Lovely as the cat spa is, you know how cats dislike disruption and Merlin, in particular, doesn’t like being caged, which he’ll have to be for the 40 minute drive to our new home.

A note to my readers:  Many of you have been here for years and I am continually grateful for your participation!  I am moving to the first new home, on a new street, in a newer community and it may take several weeks before I have wifi installed.  (Yes, I’m irritated.  Somehow, every other utility — from Washington Gas, to the little electrical cooperative, to the water company, to the trash service — can manage to start service to a new home, but Verizon and Comcast act clueless (and don’t think I haven’t spent hours on the phone and computer trying to sort this out) and really aren’t concerned at all about how that looks.)  I hope you’ll be patient with me as I work to fix this.  I’ll do my best to get to the local Starbucks and post as often as I can.  Meanwhile, have you ever wanted to guest post?  If so, send me a proposal; this might just be your chance!  And Mrs. Whatsit will continue to hold down the fort on Fridays.

I recently watched a version of King Lear  with Anthony Hopkins as Lear and the divine Emma Thompson as his eldest daughter, Goneril.  It reminded me of a post   I wrote shortly after Trump’s election, right down to Trump holding “cabinet meetings” that are nothing more  than Secretaries going around the table and praising Trump.  We like to say that nothing about Trump is normal, but, in reality, we’ve long been conditioned to accept, tolerate, enable, and regularly forgive horrible behavior from men, especially older white men.  Lear, Archie Bunker, Ralph Kramden, Fred Flinstone, your boss, that obnoxious professor, that gross client, your brother-in-law — you can probably add your own examples.  What we’re taught is to not only accept this behavior but to believe, contrary to all evidence, that, in their hearts, these men must be truly “good.”  Just watch Cordelia forgiving Lear at the end or, better yet, the people insisting that Joe Biden isn’t “really” a sexist despite  all the evidence to the contrary.  Patriarchy is one hell of a drug.  Quit taking the blue pill.

Thanks to Rhyd for pointing me to this lovely  documentary about Druids.

Today is the anniversary of the birth of poet, occultist, and politician William Butler Yeats.  He wrote many wonderful poems, but I especially love The Lake Isle at Innisfree:

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
Maybe it’s my upcoming move to a lake, but this poem speaks more loudly to me
than ever.  Of course, he also wrote the beautiful and haunting   The Stolen Child ,
which I’ve often quoted at the end of a difficult day at work and said, “Today, I’d go.”

 

It’s time for the Democrats to begin the impeachment inquiry.  I’m calling my Congressional rep several times a week.  It takes about 3 minutes.  You do it, too.   Do it especially if your rep is a Republican.  No reason for us to keep letting them off the hook.

You may have heard that AOC called for birth control to be available over the counter and that the odious Ted Cruz agreed.  OK.  What happens when your doctor writes you a prescription?  Insurance pays for it.  What happens when buy an over-the-counter medication?  You pay for it.  Ask yourself  why Ted Cruz wants birth control to be available over the counter?  Sure, the rule is stupid; insurance should cover all medications that we need.  But let’s not fall for obvious ruses.

I’ve mostly quit cooking as I’ve cleaned out the freezer and fridge ahead of the move.  What I miss most eating delivery and restaurant meals is veggies.  What are you cooking here, just before Litha?

Portrait of the author’s garden by the author.  If you copy, please link back.

 

Words for Wednesday

I believe that all acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess.  People keep shooting those performing this act of devotion.  I want people to be free to adore the Goddess, even when they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

 

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A Poem for Pulse

Last night, I went to a gay bar
with a man I love a little.
After dinner, we had a drink.
We sat in the far-back of the big backyard
and he asked, What will we do when this place closes?
I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon, I said,
though the crowd was slow for a Saturday,
and he said—Yes, but one day. Where will we go?
He walked me the half-block home
and kissed me goodnight on my stoop—
properly: not too quick, close enough
our stomachs pressed together
in a second sort of kiss.
I live next to a bar that’s not a gay bar
—we just call those bars, I guess—
and because it is popular
and because I live on a busy street,
there are always people who aren’t queer people
on the sidewalk on weekend nights.
Just people, I guess.
They were there last night.
As I kissed this man I was aware of them watching
and of myself wondering whether or not they were just.
But I didn’t let myself feel scared, I kissed him
exactly as I wanted to, as I would have without an audience,
because I decided many years ago to refuse this fear—
an act of resistance. I left
the idea of hate out on the stoop and went inside,
to sleep, early and drunk and happy.
While I slept, a man went to a gay club
with two guns and killed forty-nine people.
Today in an interview, his father said he had been disturbed
recently by the sight of two men kissing.
What a strange power to be cursed with:
for the proof of men’s desire to move men to violence.
What’s a single kiss? I’ve had kisses
no one has ever known about, so many
kisses without consequence—
but there is a place you can’t outrun,
whoever you are.
There will be a time when.
It might be a bullet, suddenly.
The sound of it. Many.
One man, two guns, fifty dead—
Two men kissing. Last night
I can’t get away from, imagining it, them,
the people there to dance and laugh and drink,
who didn’t believe they’d die, who couldn’t have.
How else can you have a good time?
How else can you live?
There must have been two men kissing
for the first time last night, and for the last,
and two women, too, and two people who were neither.
Brown people, which cannot be a coincidence in this country
which is a racist country, which is gun country.
Today I’m thinking of the Bernie Boston photograph
Flower Power, of the Vietnam protestor placing carnations
in the rifles of the National Guard,
and wishing for a gesture as queer and simple.
The protester in the photo was gay, you know,
he went by Hibiscus and died of AIDS,
which I am also thinking about today because
(the government’s response to) AIDS was a hate crime.
Now we have a president who names us,
the big and imperfectly lettered us, and here we are
getting kissed on stoops, getting married some of us,
some of us getting killed.
We must love one another whether or not we die.
Love can’t block a bullet
but neither can it be shot down,
and love is, for the most part, what makes us—
in Orlando and in Brooklyn and in Kabul.
We will be everywhere, always;
there’s nowhere else for us, or you, to go.
Anywhere you run in this world, love will be there to greet you.
Around any corner, there might be two men. Kissing.
Picture found here.

(Belated) Monday at the Movies

The trailer really isn’t anywhere as good as the movie.  This movie is one of only a handful I can watch over and over

The Magical Battle for America 6.9.19

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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.  (No, really.  You really need to do this.)  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.  Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak and grasp an herb, 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.  Does your landbase have anything to tell you today?  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.  What’s become familiar to you?  A tuft of prairie grass?  Buffalo off in the distance?  The scent of sand carried on the wind?  You’ve been involved in a months-long magical working here, joined with magic workers from across the globe.  Feel your connection to this place on the astral plane. It is always here for you, always a source of strength.

As you look to the Lady Liberty banner, it begins to grow larger and larger, filling up the entire sky.  You watch as it becomes three-dimensional and you are able to step onto the island and look up at Liberty’s torch.  Liberty lifts her torch even higher so that it lights the way for a nation that seems to be lost, wandering in the darkness.  Can you direct energy and strength to that light?  Can you focus it where it is needed most?  Do this for as long as you can, sending as much energy as you can expend.  Perhaps you can repeat this work as part of your daily practice.

Slowly, come down from your hillock and begin to walk back to your own landbase.

Open your eyes.  Rub your arms and face.  Notice the detail that you selected to call yourself back.  Drink something, maybe water with mint in it or an icy glass of lemonade.  Have something to eat, maybe some sautéed squash or a few strawberries.  Maybe you can set up a small altar dedicated to Lady Liberty.  (If so, please post a picture!!)  You may want to repeat this working several times this week.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art? If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

Picture found here.

Words for Wednesday

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What Is June Anyway?

After three weeks of hot weather and drought,
           we’ve had a week of cold and rain,
just the way it ought to be here in the north,
            in June, a fire going in the woodstove
all day long, so you can go outside in the cold
            and rain anytime and smell
the wood smoke in the air.
This is the way I love it. This is why
           I came here almost
fifty years ago. What is June anyway
          without cold and rain
and a fire going in the stove all day?
   *
Picture found here.

A Witch Without a Place — Chapter One

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It was sill three ungodly o’clock in the morning on Interstate 66 when Gemmy pulled over into the cracked parking lot of an abandoned Esso station.  Her PhD work kept her going at odd hours — consultations with farmers in India in the middle of the night, conference calls with her European advisors at dinner time.  And, then, of course, trying to fit in meals with Paris and the kids, teacher conferences, bedtime stories, a pap smear once a year, a dinner now and then with a friend.

She’d found a little pie store, between her industrial park office and the Eastern hives, a pie store that made OK coffee.

Not good coffee, and not great coffee, but OK coffee.  Coffee that did what a drug was supposed to do:  it went warm down your throat and into your stomach.  It gave you a reliable kick three minutes later and, by the time that you were pulling down your next gulp, your veins would begin to hum and your body would respond faithfully, as it had morning after morning for years, to the great Goddess Cafina.

The coffee — well, the coffee and the tapioca-studded blueberry pie — worked their magic and kept Gemmy coming back, early morning after late night, after dark sky, after just a hum on the northeast horizon.  If she wedged the go cup between her backpack and the passenger seat and drove for three minutes to the abandoned station, she could count on a few minutes of absolute peace and quiet, often the only ones in her long and busy day.  “Just a few minutes to myself,” she’d say as she turned off the engine, rolled down the window, and took a gulp of the pre-dawn air.

A few minutes to think of nothing at all, to just be.  Not be Paris’ wife, or Chessy or Herne’s mom, or Professor Mele’s star pupil, or the member of the coven who could always call Water, or even the woman in the spacesuit who came and moved the hives to new farms.  To just be her, Gemmy — the person she sometimes worried had been lost forever.

A swallow of the coffee and two bites of blueberry pie.  The darkness and the silence were dear old friends.  She’d manage the exhaustion.  She’d give herself just a few minutes and then she’d listen to voicemail between here and the office.  She’d wake them up halfway across the globe and get things going.  She’d remember to call Herne’s dentist.

And, then, starting slowly and building, she heard it.  A nightingale singing in the dark, here in the parking lot of the abandoned Esso station, in between weeds and concrete, next to the almost silent I 66.

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

And the good guys win, in the end.