Today one of my kids’ from camp did a wonderfully brave thing. She had a party so we could support her shaving her head. She starts 6 months of chemo therapy tomorrow. I hope if I ever have cancer I’m half as brave. It turns out she has a beautiful bald head. I’m afraid I have a square head and a lipoma so that would not be my first choice.
She had asked me to do a tarot reading something I don’t normally do. Not because I’m bad at it but because something things I haven’t been able to control have happened but it was fine and I worried for nothing.
Sometimes when I read shit happens. I’ve read at a party where someone said, let’s have tarot readings and handed me a deck with no warning. It was a party where in the early 80’s when AIDS was ravaging the community and it wasn’t something I really wanted to do as a party piece. There was one gay couple that wanted to me to read and his lesbian ex-wife and son were there. I knew it was going to be a bad idea but I laid the cards out and saw clearly what was going to happen. He had AIDS and was probably going to die in the not too distant future and I had to figure out what to say that only he and his partner would understand and his kid wouldn’t not fun but I managed it but I was so angry about being forced into it.
Another time I was volunteered to read at a Girl Scout Halloween Faire and I figured if I took and used my Animal Medicine deck nothing would happen. Wrong! I was doing the one card and say something happy thing and the girls would leave thing when a troop came in late in the afternoon and I’d started to relax. And then disaster… I drew porcupine and it was porcupine upside down. I’d been making sure there were no upside down cards but the Goddess was going to make me have her say. Porcupine upside down is innocence violated and I had a very clear picture of what that meant. How do you tell a kid that you know her deepest darkest secret in front of her troop and leader. About all I could do was look at here eye to eye and ask her quietly if she had an adult she could trust no matter what. She looked at me with a look that told me she knew what I saw. I told her now was the time to find that person and talk to them. Meanwhile the rest of her troop and the leader were thankfully oblivious to what we were talking about. I have no idea if she did and what the outcome was but I have no doubt that that was the only reason I was there that day.
I’ve read at a Halloween party in an office where they were laying off people and seen who was about to be axed. That party gave me the worst headache. It turned out later we were actually in the room that they letting people go from. Yeah, that was fun. NOT!
But today was fine and she is doing fine and I’m so proud her and her courage.
My favourite camp song: Birthright
We, who are born in country places,
Far from the city and shifting faces,
We have a birthright no man can sell
And a secret joy no man can tell
For we are kindred to lordly things
The white owl’s cry and the wild duck’s wing
Pike and salmon, bull and horse
The curlew’s cry and the smell of gorse.
Pride of tree and swiftness of stream
The magic of frost has shaped our dreams
No greater vision the spirit fills
Who walk by right on the naked hills.
G is for Gaming, the Goddess and Feminism.
I should start by saying I’m a 2nd wave feminist. I had a charter subscription to MS magazine when it debuted in 1972. It was the 2nd magazine I ever subscribed to. The first was National Wildlife. My grandmother was a 1st wave feminist. And after some of the things said this week to me I’m inclined to think no progress has been made at all.
One of the ways a lot of my friends came to the Goddess was gaming. A group of us from Girl Scout camp used to play D&D every Friday night at the Last Grenadier in Pasadena and when the game was over we spent the rest of the evening at the pinball arcade a few doors down.
When we were first playing D&D it readily became apparent that the shop keeper who was also the main Dungeon Master (DM) was going to have to start a separate game for women and those who at least were open to playing with us. When we played with the boys they spent most of the game trying to kill us and not play the game because girls can’t game. We were older than most of them and I have to say a lot smarter and usually made a lot of progress in the game because the boys were more interested in trying to get us out of the game. It didn’t help that we were all lesbians and dressing like them. Not only were we girls but we weren’t pretty available girls. And when we were even paying attention to them could slice and dice them with a few words. Something we had to do regularly aided and abetted by the DM who loved having people who thought of unusual ways out of problems beside beating something to death.
We finally gave it up as a bad deal and let Kathy be our DM because we got tired of the constant of trying not to be stabbed by a party member just for being female. But there was a lot more to it. We got tired of trying to find female figures to paint and play that didn’t look like one of those boys wet dreams. Most of the lead figures at the time were something out of Hildebrand and none of could imagine going into battle in a brass bikini. I think one of the reasons a lot of us played elves were the figures were fairly androgynous and could be painted to look more like us. Good luck finding a human that wasn’t naked. I once played a female dwarf that was so totally ugly that I had to name her Butt Ugly. She looked like a feminized fireplug. The male dwarf figures didn’t look like that. And by the way, one night she saved our part of the party because when one of the boys cast a sleep spell so he could kill us in our sleep she was impervious to the spell because she was a dwarf as he found out to his detriment, aided and abetted by a pissed off DM.
From the article I just posted digital gaming hasn’t changed much since we were physically playing in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This was the group that lead to me discovering Z Budapest, thanks again to Kathy and the things she brought home from working at Page One women’s bookstore. So gaming led me to the Goddess along with Marion Zimmer Bradley and the Darkover novels that we were also reading at the time. We wanted nothing more than to live in Thendara House and be Renunciates. We were lesbian Girl Scouts and feminists and doing our best to grow young strong women to follow us.
But after this week and some of the comments I got I have to wonder if what we did made any difference all. Several comments said that veiling wasn’t anti-feminist but I still think it is. The societies that promote head covering are all with no exception patriarchal societies where women are stringently controlled. One women told be she did it to shield herself psychically from other’s energy. Well then she needs to learn better shielding techniques because that is what the problem is. We all have to learn to shield so we aren’t broadcasting ourselves and to protect and a piece of cloth isn’t doing that.
To be a witch practicing any kind of magic is to learn how to build wall and to build shields and to know how to take them down when in circle or at need. If you can’t do that you’ve had a piss poor teacher and need more practice. If you are doing it to hide yourself you need to do some meditation on why you are hiding. When you hide you are stealing from the community. We need everyone and withdrawing is selfish and rather narcissistic. What are you trying to hide that is good the rest of us aren’t allowed to see it?
I’m not attacking anyone for doing it although I’m sure a lot of people will think I am but I do want you to list 10 reasons to do it and not just, “my Goddess told me too”, because my answer to that is the same one your mother would have given you about jumping off the building. Do mothers still ask that?
If the 10 reasons are logical to you then it doesn’t matter what any old fart like me says. It only matters that you have clear reasons for yours and not someone else’s reasons.
So yes, I’m an old fart 2nd wave feminist who participated in Marches although the last one I did was in the March for Women’s Lives in 1986 in the pouring rain. http://www.feminist.org/research/chronicles/fc1986.html Which was a companion to the DC march and 30,000 women came out in the thunderstorm to get soaked to the skin. It was the largest march in LA since the one in 1968. We marched wearing white and I still remember being with friends and strangers and singing as we marched. Passing a group of all male protesters to us waving bloody baby dolls and yelling with their toxic faces that we were going to hell, and we just laughed at how impotent they were in the face of some many like minded women and men.
And it comes back to 2013 and women are still in the midst of the rape culture and women are still living in fear and not taking up the space that the Goddess gave them to inhabit and sometimes I wonder why we bothered to march for ERA and for Roe v Wade if women haven’t seized their own space in the world and still seek to hide themselves away. Are we empowering women to be all that the Goddess meant them to be?
If you are going to go off half cocked and leave me moe nastiness which reflects on you more than me, read this: https://elfkat.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/a-followup-on-g-is-for-gaming-the-goddess-and-feminism/
Love this poem
William Wordsworth. 1770–1850
Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone…
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I call to Robur, watcher in the wood,
great god whose oldest, truest name is lost to time,
lord of the foreland, the town above the river,
lord of the oak-tree, O mighty one who cleaves
to the land and its spirit. Robur of the firebolt,
who stands against the storm, unbending, unbowed;
who passes through the years, growing in wisdom,
growing in strength, rooted in the black earth,
settled on the solid stone below; long ago
your people dwelt within great walls, sheltered and safe;
long ago your name was called in prayer. To Robur,
soul of the enduring oak, I offer my praise.