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Remembering Laura Janesdaughter

Two years ago yesterday our Heiromum died. Laura Janesdaughter was an amazing woman and she led the Temple of Isis Los Angeles with strong heart and mind and I miss her so much. She was the one who ordained me. She was the one that got ordained as an Arch Druidess with the Druid Clan of Dana/FOI just so Mary, Denise and I could have a grove and now the Hazelwood Grove exists and before her memorial that year the three of us were created Arch Druidesses ourselves by Linda Iles and DeTraci Regula. It could not have been a more fitting time and thing to do to honour Laura and all her hard work for us. Laura was the face we showed at the Faire and at workshops and rituals. She was our heart when we needed a center.

Laura had a way of knowing when it was time to push you to the next step. When you had gotten stalled in your growth and needed to see the next place to leap and she showed you how to cushion the fall, when you did.

Laura, Callista, Denise and Inanna were the other cohorts at the first appearance of the goddess, BunniHoTep and she never doubted BunniHoTep was real or that she was a goddess. When others in the Temple didn’t understand about BunniHoTep she defended her and she defended me for writing her stories and scolded me more than once for saying she was a madeup goddess and not a rediscovered goddess.

I’m not generally one of the ritual priestesses or leading events. I’d rather be in the background and observe and record unless I get shoved into the light. Laura let me be our archivist and record ritual and when people complained about being filmed she pointed out we were in public and without documentation pagans don’t have a record of existing.

When I was laid off and unemployed for 5 ½ years, Laura more than once stepped in and kept us from being homeless or hungry and was offended when I told her I would pay her back. I never got the chance. She died in the small space of time between the temp job that lead to this job and the start of my permanent job. I’m so grateful I was off work because it allowed me to spend that week being part of the women that were holding space that week for her. It allowed me to sing to her, to say the Grove prayers with her that we had created. It allowed us to simply be, with her. It was a great gift to be able to do those things.

So Laura, where ever you are in journeying, may blessings be showered down upon you and may you were loved deeply and always will be. What is remembered lives.

“My heart, my mother, my heart, my mother, my way of understanding” Women with Cakes chant

Two years ago today

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Say my name that I may live
Laura Janesdaughter
Because we are missing her today.

For those gone too soon:

I give thanks for those who have gone beyond the veil.

Say my name that I may live!

I give thanks that they have touched my life

Say my name that I may live!

I remember the beauty of a face

Say my name that I may live!

I remember that they laughed

Say my name that I may live!

I remember that they cried

Say my name that I may live!

I remember that they were afraid

Say my name that I may live!

I remember that they were brave

Say my name that I may live!

I remember their smile

Say my name that I may live!

I remember the good about them

Say my name that I may live!

I remember their love

Say my name that I may live!

I remember them!

Say my name that I may live!

Kat Robb 2013

©Kat Robb

That thing last night

Last night we had a whopper of a thunderstorm that parked over our house. There was one boom directly overhead and I think it hit something by the way it kept booming. I hate thunderstorms with a passion. And before all the pagans start jumping on me about nature’s wonderful light show, just SHUT  UP! Why? Because I’ve been struck by lightning and I know what it does to the human body and it ain’t pretty.

LA didn’t used to have them before climate change, at least not very many on the lowlands but they are common in the mountains and I worked at camps in the local mountains from 1975 to 1985 all summer long and at church camps for a few weeks every year starting in 1969. We saw a lot of thunderstorms, some summers every day for a month at 4pm when the winds changed off the mountain. In case you didn’t know winds tend to change direction in our mountains, once in the morning and once in the afternoon due the elevation and heat exchange.

You learn pretty quickly not to stand under trees and not to carry umbrellas. I still won’t carry an umbrella. You learn not to be the tallest thing around because the tallest thing is what the lightning is attracted to hit. You learn to get out of the pool and the lake because electricity and water even “natural” electricity do not mix as some poor guy found out on the beach here last year.

In 1977 I was working up in Big Bear and a thunderstorm moved in and an idiot counselor had her kids dancing in the rain in the large open parking lot. I was up in the staff house with some friends on my two, (two hour break we got every day). The storm moved in right on top of us and it was striking trees and we were scared. I have a stupid urge to rescue people that are in danger so I ran out to the wrought iron flag pole on the cliff above the kids and yelled at Fern to get her kids in the Dining Hall with everyone else. I had my hand on that flag pole when it got struck.

I got thrown 10 feet away.

Do you know what your brain does with that much electricity running through it? It fries your circuits. The closest I can come to describing the feeling is when I was a kid sitting in my wagon and dragging my feet behind on the pavement when someone pulled the wagon very fast. It gives you a very strange warm buzzing feeling. And it’s fun on a wagon, and so not fun when it’s lightning. And that doesn’t count what it does to your hearing either.

I think it took several days before I could structure sentences and not sound like Yoda, that is f I could come up with the word at all. And I almost got fired over it because “I scared the girls” really?

I scared me pretty good too. I still have problems with things like chargers for my phone or other equipment. You have no idea how many unbreakable lifetime warranteed chargers I have killed. I ‘m always replacing them. The ones that last the longest have gold tips and are by Chargz. All others die with in 6 months or less, I’ve had some cheap ones last a month. I can blow street lamps, often enough that once while leaving Harvest Moon celebration  big ritual one year I killed all of the street lights on Victory Blvd and I heard my lover in her truck yelling at me from behind to < “STOP IT!” Usually it’s only one at a time.

I can also get the power on when it’s been off to and fry a watch or a computer. You kind of learn that grounding is really important because if you forget? Someone is going to pay and it will probably be me. In 1981 I was on a plane over the Grand Canyon headed for Britain when lightning started hitting the plane. Terror in the skies for me for a few minutes until we got out of range. I had visions of it coming to get me in its home environment.

I was better after the year my partner and I drove all over the Southwest for three weeks staying in all kinds of National Parks. One night was in Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation in their campground. We were almost the only ones there because it had been raining and most people had left and it was like being captured in a John Ford movie. It’s one of the most beautiful austere places you can stay. A thunderstorm moved in after we went to bed in the camper shell. And it was hitting the thumb buttes all around us and for some reason it felt safe. I felt safe in that thunderstorm for the first time in years and after that the fear eased up but last night? Not so much.

The next morning we visited a place that made beautiful pots and they had one of Monument Valley in a thunderstorm. We got it and I still have it. It’s an amazing piece of work and a sort of safety talisman

So last night when it started in it was fine and faraway and then it wasn’t and it didn’t move for almost 45 minutes. I don’t know who was more scared, me or my sister’s kitten. So not fun!

I’ve never liked Easter

I have no good memories of Easter. Easter was torture from the outfits forced on me, to the egg hunts that were impossible for a blind kid to the hours long torture of never ending church services when I didn’t find anything useful to believe in.

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Don’t I look thrilled.

Little girls in the 50’s and 60’s were forced into hideous outfits bought new for the day. Socks with lace edges that doubled as buzzsaws when they hit the other legs. Petticoats that were so new and stiff and full they threatened to pop up if you didn’t forcibly hold them down and when you couldn’t always do it you heard a chorus of “I see London, I see France”. Hats always dorky and especially dorky if you had to carry a matching handbag that had el zippo inside except maybe a hanky your grandma gave you. A Lilt permanent given the day before that stunk to high heaven and was just gross for a kid with stick straight hair. And my mom hand embroidered my dresses which now would be worth tons of money but at the time all I wanted was to wear a store bought dress. And to the piece de resistance, patent leather shoes that Dad had to take out and sandpaper the bottoms so you didn’t slide and land on your butt.

One year, this lead to an incident at Sunday School. Mom always had to buy them too big because I would “grow” into them. They were too big and since my left foot is 2 sizes bigger than my right, the right one was way too big. Somehow there was a high kicking contest and my new right shoe landed on the roof of the Sunday School building. Can you say swift swat to the keester on the way home?

When I joined the kids choir and we had to get into robes, we had to take off our hated finery or we looked like Rose Parade floats with those petticoats on. And of course, put the flaming things on again after we sang. Church was normally 2 services and an overflow. Church held about 1500 people and on Easter would be full of Easter and Christmas Christians so they had to add a third service. If you were in the adult choir which I eventually graduated to that meant sitting through 3 sermons that were longer than normal that made you start thinking you were going to gnaw your leg off you were so hungry and when you finally got home a big meal with ham or lamb neither of which would I eat.

I only got taken to a public Easter Egg Hunt at the park once. Dad thought it was a fun thing to do but somehow he forgot I couldn’t see very well. Kids were running all over grabbing eggs and by the time I finally spotted one some kid would swoop in and take it. I remember standing there in the park crying because I hadn’t found a single egg and my dad telling me I hadn’t tried hard enough. Yeah, we didn’t do that again even after I had eye surgery. We had them at home where Dad knew where they were all hidden and could help point them out.

It didn’t help that for some reason the minute I saw my Easter basket full of candy I used to have to run and get sick. No idea why except that it happened every year. The only good thing I can remember was way back in the dark ages before backpacks girls carried their books in woven lined book baskets and after I got to Junior High my Easter basket was a new book basket since by this time in the year mine would be thrashed. We all had one hip and shoulder high than the other from carrying all our books around in them because everyone in my neighborhood walked to school.

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Kind of like this one but with raffia handles and lined with bright cotton fabric.

Anyway, Easter isn’t a holiday I remember fondly so as a pagan, I don’t miss it a bit.