Category Archives: Uncategorized

My World and Welcome to It

So it’s been about six weeks since I moved up here to the Blue Ridge.  I thought some of you might like an update.

With my Moon in Taurus, I don’t like big changes and I especially don’t like big changes to my living arrangements.  (And if you think that I don’t like change, let me introduce you to my two cats.  And, of course, there’s a feedback loop.  The more that I’m worried and upset about change, the more upset the cats get.  And the more upset the cats get . . . you see where this is going.)

Almost all of the big mistakes I’ve made in my life have had to do with staying too long — in relationships, jobs, living arrangements, etc.  So this time, when my Bit of Earth told me it was time to move, I listened.

Selling my beloved cottage and garden, buying a new home under construction (in a development under construction), managing the finances, going through everything I owned, packing things up — all of it made me pretty crazy (although, as the First Ex-Mr. Hecate used to say:  “Too late.”)  In the end, as it often does, it all worked out for the good.  Two dear friends came up, on the day the movers moved me in, and helped get the vast majority of “stuff,”  — dishes, pots, pans, wine glasses, spices, cat supplies, shoes, pictures, etc. — into place.  And then I spent about a month shelving books, organizing closets,  figuring out where everything was, rearranging the furniture.

And, now, here I am, beginning to find my way around, getting to know people and the local politics, taking the long way to the grocery store and stopping to chat with the local deer.  I’m so happy that I made this move.

Here, in random order, are some pictures of my new place.

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Above is Nimue, about an hour after getting here from her several-day stay at the cat spa.  Although she looks worried in this picture, she’s adjusted pretty well to the move.

65311981_2654988894530916_5678501365848997888_nHere she is a few days later, offering to help me organize my desk.

66088767_2669825779713894_7472552223780634624_nHere are Merlin and Nimue with my new chandelier.  It’s a copy of the one in the Gamble House in California.  I’m still deciding whether I think it’s too bulky or not.

67376827_2709156745780797_2321344306394169344_n-1If you walk one block to the end of my street, the development dead-ends at a local farm.  Several of the cows like to cool off in the pond.

67403550_2703696149660190_7363760264086290432_nHere’s Merlin, resting in the afternoon sun.  He’s had a harder time adjusting to the move, but he’s going to get there.

67788304_2732892623407209_9193430810517045248_nThe nearest little town is White Post and you can see how it got its name.  The local legend is that, in a throwback to Pagan customs, George Washington buried a sixpence beneath the original post.

67796078_2732594626770342_1458203704082563072_nOn this morning’s walk, I saw Canada Geese feeding at the farm.  Autumn is coming.

67885847_2732879420075196_4199075549752066048_nThe local area is known for its orchards.  Yesterday, I drove past this lovely tree, weighed down with ripe apples.

67983660_2725457610817377_4262976416779337728_nEarlier this week, I took the long way to the grocery store.  Apparently, the deer don’t read the signs.

68457757_2732885690074569_6571762058411376640_nThis is the kind of amazing view that lifts my soul.  You’re looking at an old tree, a fertile corn field, fluffy white clouds, and those lovely blue mountains.

68479668_2732876496742155_4378063359715573760_nSpotted on my morning walk.  Wild datura growing in disturbed earth, I think.

68609851_2716262601736878_2975521035924799488_n-1I keep wanting to do a story about houses here from a gothic novel.

So that’s your tour of my Place.

I’d love to see or hear about yours.

 

As Ye Sow…

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It’s been another rough week with two mass shootings, hundreds of Latinx kids returning home from school in Mississippi yesterday to find their parents taken by ICE, hundreds of kids still in ICE cages and the border, and probably a million other awful things I’m trying to block out right now.

We’re also just past Lammas, deep into the harvest, and I can’t help but think that what we’re reaping now as a country is the bitter fruit of an overdue reckoning with our history we’ve been unwilling to face for four hundred years.

I had taken a break from heavy reading to catch up on a bunch of novels I’ve been wanting to get to.

[When I spot a novel that looks interesting, I pop it onto my Amazon wish list, which really functions as a “to read” list. Periodically, I open up my local public library’s Libby app and search to see if they have any of my “to read” picks available as ebooks. I put maybe 5-10 on hold – or check them out and download them immediately, if they’re available – and then get little presents from Past Me when I get that email notification that my ebook has become available and is waiting for me to download it. But maybe that’s just me…]

But eventually you have to get back to the work of reading Serious Shit That Will Make You Think, which I have, with:

  • Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race
  • Jonathan Metzl’s Dying of Whiteness
  • Robin D’Angelo’s White Fragility

All three have me thinking about the United States’ unexamined original sin of racism. The chickens, as they say, are coming home to roost, only because this is the US, the people who are suffering are mostly people of color.

One thing that Metzl’s book makes crystal clear, though, is that the policy choices white voters support because they’re afraid of black and brown people (unlimited gun purchases for everyone! open carry everywhere!), or because they’re resentful that black and brown people might possibly get a piece of a public good (well-funded public education, affordable health insurance) HURT WHITE PEOPLE, TOO.

Metzl looks at guns in Missouri, the ACA in Tennessee, and public education in Kansas, and clearly and persuasively documents the ways white people can be persuaded to die, literally TO DIE, to prop up white supremacy.

And, per D’Angelo, when you look at all the ways we’re utterly unwilling to engage around race and racism, it’s not surprising. Every time we white people define racism as only deliberate, individual actions directed by particular evil white people who are motivated by personal animus at particular people of color, we decrease our chances of being able to understand white supremacy as a systemic problem that requires a systemic approach to rectify. Every time “progressive” white people claim to be color-blind, we invalidate the lived experiences of the people of color who are unlucky enough to be subject to our bullshit – experiences that are VASTLY different than ours, that are likely hidden to us in our daily lives, that we can only hope to begin to understand if those people of color are willing to risk trusting us enough to share them, that they will 100% NOT trust anyone who “doesn’t see color” with.

As Maya Angelou said: “When you know better, do better.”

So how can we white people begin to know better?

Oluo can help. To quote the National Book Review review: “[Oluo] explicitly raises questions and provides talking points and counter-arguments for both people of color and white people.”

She is firm, and unsparing, but speaks from a place of love. Ever thought, “But I don’t know what to do?”Oluo gets specific.

And no matter how long you’ve been doing this work – whether it’s decades or “this book is the first thing I’m picking up” – you will learn, and begin to know better, so you can start doing better, which is the first step toward healing the wound that’s been suppurating for generations.

Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

We Resist Every Day

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What have you been doing lately to resist?  It’s important to do something, no matter how small it may seem, to fight back against the Nazis.

You can go to Postcards4VA and help flip Virginia blue THIS YEAR.  Then we can pass the ERA.

You can demonstrate.  At an ICE facility, at your state capitol, at your representative’s local office.

And now, while legislators are home for the August recess, is a very good time to find out where they’ll be and go see them.  Tell them to pass gun safety laws, to impeach Trump, to protect the environment.

You can follow Byron Ballard’s advice and “pick three.”  Pick the three issues that matter most to you and work on them, knowing that others will pick other issues.

You can volunteer at your local school, library, clinic, or animal shelter.

You can plant a tree.

You can buy local food.

You can visualize the world you want and then do one thing each day to bring that world into being.

And, always, you can take care of yourself.  Sleep.  Hydrate.  Do your spiritual practice.  Go for a walk.  Have sex.

We need you.

Picture found here.

Everyday Historians

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The National Archives is looking for help transcribing documents related to the Suffragettes.  It’s important work.

The Library of Congress has already scanned the original documents into a digital library, but if you’ve ever tried to use a computer to search for a word in a scanned source, you know that it’s not easy to do—especially since decades-old documents often make for blurry scans that are difficult to decipher. So last year, the Library of Congress launched a crowdsourcing platform called By the People, asking the public to help type up written documents word for word, which will make it easier to find and read original sources.

The materials sound fascinating.

The Library of Congress’s collection includes letters, speeches, newspaper articles, personal diaries, and other materials from famed suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton as well as lesser-known activists. It includes accounts from Carrie Chapman Catt, who took over for Anthony as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, about her experiences at the Congress of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in Rome. It also includes letters from actor and mountain-climber Anna E. Dickinson illuminating the familial conflict that arose after her sister committed her to a Pennsylvania asylum. And there’s the diaries of Mary Church Terrell, a founder of the National Association of Colored Women, which shed light on minorities’ laborious suffrage struggles and her own dealings with Civil Rights figures like W.E.B. Du Bois.

This would be a great project for history classes, scout troops, a family history project, or even a way for a coven to honor ancestors as Samhein approaches.

Picture found here.

Monday at the Movies

This is deep — and fun.

The Magical Battle for America 8.4.19

Unknown

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.

This week we have seen several more “mass shootings,” — attacks by white supremacists.  Inflamed and radicalized by Trump’s racism and his fascist rallies and encouraged by Fox and sites on the internet, these men arm themselves with weapons of destruction and attack American citizens going about their business — shopping, worshipping, going out for dinner, watching a movie.

As you stand on your hillock, call to your favorite Trickster.  It might be Hermes, or Coyote, or Raven.  It might be Brother Fox, or Bugs Bunny, or Puck.  American Tricksters may be particularly appropriate for this working.  Watch as the Trickster becomes three-dimensional and you can see them in every detail.  You may want to do a trick of your own to catch Trickster’s attention.  Do you know a joke you can tell them, a card trick, a silly song?  Once you have Trickster’s attention, ask them to interfere in the plans of men who want to attack us.  Maybe their cars need to develop engine trouble, their computers fail when they go to post their “manifestos,” their guns jam when they try to use them.  Maybe they need to make a wrong turn, develop a bad summer cold, or get arrested for a broken headlight.  Maybe they need to be turned in at the last minute by one of their confederates.  Maybe they need to have their credit card rejected when they go to buy bullets.  However Trickster works, whatever intricate plan Trickster devises, the end result is that the fascist is unable to carry out his plan.

As you see Trickster’s magic working, thank them for their aid.  Although you may never hear about the plots that Trickster foils, let them know that you are grateful.

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 mango juice or coconut water.  Have something to eat, maybe some popcorn or watermelon.  Maybe you can set up a small altar dedicated to Trickster.  (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.

 

My World and Welcome to It