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My Mood Tonight


There’s a tiny voice inside of me that keeps saying:  “It’s not really going to happen.  Of course, it’ not.  The experienced woman who’s spent a lifetime doing the work isn’t going to get rewarded.  We all know that’s not how the stories end.  It will look that way right up until the last moment when they give the job to the unprepared man. ”

I’ve seen it dozens of time:  in education, in the law, in business, in politics, in religion. in the theatre, in literature, in life.

And, yet, and yet, and yet, I keep remembering what Holly Near said:

And I won’t dishonor those who’ve gone before me.

And so here I am, Charlie Brown charging as fast as I can at that football, hoping that this time I can run faster than Lucy can pull it away.  I’m going to bake muffins for the local campaign office and charge them with all the magic I have got.

Words for Wednesday

Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå

~ Ed Ochester
Crows, crows, crows, crows
then the slow flapaway over the hill
and the dead oak is naked.
Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

Over the Long Haul


One of the things that I’ve been thinking about this election season is what I’m going to call “the long haul” approach to life.  One of the things that surprises people about Hillary Clinton is that, despite being continually attacked, she somehow seems to bounce back, be willing to work even with the people who attacked her, get things done, and keep moving forward.  I can’t imagine that many of the attacks haven’t hurt her; they would likely have hurt almost anyone.  But, somehow, she doesn’t let them change who she really is.  (I know some say that the attacks have made her “more secretive,” because that’s what we call women who want to control their own message.  But that woman is a Scorpio, Pisces, Scorpio.  She was born “secretive,” feeling things deeply, and controlling the face she presents to the world.  So I don’t believe that the constant attacks have changed who she is.)  I really admire her for this trait and am trying to emulate it, myself.

And, now, here she is, the first woman to be nominated for president by a major political party.  I think it’s a recommendation for taking the long haul approach to life and figuring out how to be who you are, regardless of the slings and arrows that life and our critics manage to fling in our direction.

On the weekend before Secretary Clinton’s  first debate with Republican Donald Trump, Mr. Trump announced that he’d be inviting Gennifer Flowers, one of President Bill Clinton’s former mistresses, to sit in the front row of the debate.  Apparently, that was supposed to unnerve Secretary Clinton, illogically shame her for her husband’s indiscretions, and allow Mr. Trump to win the debate.  Ms. Flowers, always happy for any publicity and a chance to hurt the woman whose apparent crime is to have an enduring marriage with the object of Ms. Flowers’ desire, quickly tweeted her acceptance.  The public reaction was, as it should have been, overwhelmingly negative and, by Sunday morning, Mr. Trump’s spokespersons, KellyAnne Conway and Governor Pence, were busily asserting that, no, Mr. Trump had not really invited Ms. Flowers to the debate.

Ms. Flowers represents, to me, the short haul approach.  I’ll say first that I prefer to treat other people’s sex lives and marriages as just that:  other people’s.  I honestly don’t care what people do in their private lives, as long as we’re talking consenting adults.  And life, as we all know, is complicated.  (And when men cheat on their wives, I’m always sad to see the lion’s share of the blame get placed on “the other woman.”  It takes (at least) two to tango.  But if you sleep with someone else’s husband, you don’t get to complain if his wife doesn’t like you or says mean things about you.  You don’t get to act surprised that (no matter what he said) he doesn’t leave her for you because, well, because all of human history.  And it’s as silly for you to blame the fact that he wont leave her for you on “the wife” as it is for the wife to blame you for the entire affair.)  Ms. Flowers slept with a married man, took money from a tabloid to talk about it once he ran for national office, got as much Larry King time as she could get for it, and earned more money

for a more sexually explicit Penthouse version of her story, accompanied by a pictorial layout. “I dare Hillary to bare her butt in any magazine,” Flowers taunted. “They don’t have a page that broad.”

Classy.  You may as well just wear a sign that says “I feel inferior to Hillary and think that maybe if I can hurt her it will make me feel better.”

She has long allowed her hatred for Secretary Clinton to define who she is.  She can’t let anything go past her, can’t control how she reacts.  And, now, here she is, humiliated again, looking like the publicity-hound that she is, used and scorned by yet another man.  She has allowed her life to be defined by other people; what lasting, long-term accomplishments does she have?

I bring this all up because I lately see some of my favorite Pagans (on many sides of some current issues) slipping into the trap of living in the short haul, endlessly responding to endless social media wars, allowing others to define them and control, to some extent at least, their message.  And, because we’re human, it’s difficult, for any of us — certainly it’s difficult for me — to keep our focus on our own mission and to ignore and move past the drama that other people try to create for us.

But it’s fairly easy to look at Secretary Clinton and Ms. Flowers and see which approach works better — over the long haul.

Photo (many years after the Flowers/Clinton affair) of the married Clintons with their first grandchild found here.

Sunday Ballet Blogging

Today, I Did Something No Other Woman in My Line Has Ever Done, Nor Ever Will Again


I want to capture today for my descendants, and, as well, to acknowledge the role that my ancestors played.

The first full day of Autumn was still sunny and warm.  The Moon was waning.  I overslept and didn’t wake up until 8:00, which is when I normally walk out the door and drive to work.  I made iced coffee, two poached eggs, and cheese-and-jalapeno toast.  While poaching the eggs, I did, as I do every morning, two study sessions of French on DuoLingo.

After breakfast, I sat for a while, enjoying morning in the early-Autumn garden, and decided that I’d work from home today instead of driving into my office.  As I do every morning, I pulled some Tarot cards.  The Gain Tarot card for today was the Ace of Air and the Lemorland card was the Dog.  I did my daily spiritual practice and threw in some magic for the election, as well.

I tidied up a bit, did a load of laundry, and checked the news on the internet and emails from my job.  I took out the trash and noted how, despite Monday’s heavy rain, all the plants looked dry.  I read some documents from work and then dressed in black yoga pants, black flats, a green-striped shirt, and my Hermes Citrus scarf — mostly blacks, yellows, oranges, and greens.  I called an Uber and went to Georgetown for my monthly hair appointment.

R. has been doing my hair for over two decades.  He brought me cucumber water and some magazines.  We smiled wordlessly at each other in the mirror when another woman two chairs over went on and on about her boyfriend’s ex wife.  I read Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Garden & Gun.  While R. cut my hair, we both bemoaned the horrible campaign (this is Washington, DC; we are a company town, and that company is politics; R. and I almost always talk politics, the way women in other towns talk to their hairdressers about local business, gossip, news), how Donald Trump has hurt American politics, and how unfair the coverage of Hillary Clinton has been.  R. told me that he hasn’t had a single client who is voting for Trump and I told him that, the other weekend on our way to Monticello, a friend and I had seen dozens of Trump/Pence signs outside broken-down trailers and tiny cement shacks.

Ubering home, I messaged my friend and we met at my house.  Just before he got there, I ran downstairs to the stack of old photos that I AM going to get organized and into albums one of these days (probably when I retire) and pulled out pictures of my great-grandma, my grandma, and, despite our difficult relationship, my mom.  I talked to her before she went into my purse with the others:  “OK, Mom.  I’m taking you along, even though I’m not sure you deserve to go.  I’m calling on you to do the work on your side of the veil.  I mean it.  And don’t fuck with me when we get there.”

We drove to the county office, one town over.  As we walked in from the parking lot, we passed a couple wearing their “I Voted” stickers.  I said, “We must be in the right place; I see the stickers,” and the woman stopped and explained to us where to go inside the building.  Today was the first day of “in-person absentee” voting in my county in Virginia.

We walked inside and everything was incredibly well-organized and we voted and were done within ten minutes.  I stared at the ballot with a woman’s name on it, made my X in the appropriate box, and then voted for a number of down-ticket Dems and on several ballot initiatives.

I’ve written before about how emotional I get when voting.  I remember that so many people I’ll never know died (including a family cousin in the Batan Death March), and worked, and suffered so that I can vote.  And I’ve always walked in surrounded by the women in my lines — genetic, legal, intellectual, and spiritual — women who never got to vote and who crowd around, wanting their turn now:  “Let me do, it, me!  I want to vote!  He wouldn’t let me, so I should get to do it!  Me, I got beaten, fired, shunned, me!  Let me make the mark; can I see?  What’s that you’re doing; can I do it?  Let me hold that pen!”  And by the time I show the poll workers my driver’s license (something else women had to fight to get) I’m usually a soppy mess.  Oddly, this time, with my female line in my purse, I had almost no trouble at all.  I filled out the form explaining why I would be absent on election day, got my ballot, thought about my friend’s grandmother, filled out the ballot, put it through the scanner, took my “I Voted” sticker, and left the voting room, relatively, although not 100%, dry-eyed.

My friend and I went to a local, little Italian place and had dinner (wine, grilled salmon, vegetables, and linguini) and then I came home.

Most of the days of my life, I’m aware that everything I do is my own version of what the women of my line have always done:  waking up tired, fixing breakfast, heading off to work, coming home and fixing dinner, doing some gardening, laundry, housework, knitting.  Finding a few moments to read and to record my thoughts, which “we’ve” been able to do for at least six or seven generations.  When I bend down to cut herbs for dinner, I can feel them in my muscles and in the sensory cells of my nose.  When I pull wet clothes from the washer, I am back with them along the stream bed and, when I put soup in a bowl, they move in me.  I feel their presence and I am comforted to perform the ancient rituals with them.  Most days, most of the time,  I am with my mother’s mother’s mother and with my grand-daughter’s grand-daughter’s grand-daughters.

Today, I stood entirely alone.

Today, I did something that no woman of my line has ever done, nor ever will do again.

Today, I stood alone in my line, reaching backwards and forwards, and I did the needful thing:  I voted for the first woman who has a good chance to be the president of the United States.

It felt important to me to bring my ancestors with me and I wondered why it had never occurred to me to bring them before.  I also reached out, as I made the X in the box for the woman, to all of my descendants, the two who are here now and those who may yet come. For just that one moment, I could feel all of them, ancestors and descendents.  I felt all of them move between the worlds and I felt them move in me.  My own DNA will never be the same, nor will theirs, going forwards, going back.  I have changed everyone’s DNA by doing this one thing, this undone thing, this thing which is unique, the needed thing..  I couldn’t help but remember than an early Pagan publication was entitled  Lady Unique Inclination of the Night.

And then I had an idea.  I’m not sure when I’ll find time to do it, but I’d like to make a book.  I would like to make a book compiling the experiences of people on the day that they vote for a woman to be president.  I’d love for everyone to take their ancestors with them to the polls, either in the form of pictures, or mementos, or seeds, or clothing or jewelry, or books, or ghosts, or whatever.  So please write down your own experiences on the day when you go to vote (what did you eat, what did you wear, where did you go?) and then please record them in comments here.  Include pictures if you can. If there are enough, I’ll make a book and figure out how to make it available.

I am so grateful to have lived to see this day.  I carried three women in my purse who did not live to see this day, and they were preceded all the way back to Mitochondrial Eve, preceded by so many women (and men) who have waited for this day.  I hope that I did them proud.

Picture found here.


How to Be a Witch 101 (Mabon Edition)