Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Darkest Night, Dark Moon, Shadows

Blessed Winter Solstice and Blessed Dark Moon!

Amazing Energy surrounds this Day in the Northern Hemisphere. The Night will be at it's Longest and the Moon has made Her journey to Rest. All is Dark. All is Dark.

And it is often in the Darkness when our Shadows come knocking on the Doorway to our Mind, Body and Soul. Oh our Beloved Shadows. We have such a love/hate relationship with them.

Yet, without our Shadows, the work of the Dark cannot be done. Without our Shadows, the Story we must Rewrite, Redefine and Reframe cannot come to Pen. Without our Shadows, we only Exist in a superficial world full of misshapened Dreams and False Selves created out of our Attempts to keep the Shadows in the Closet, in the Wells, in the Graves.

It took me awhile to answer the Door and not wait until the Shadows broke the Windows to my Soul and came in anyway. I was most often unprepared and thus unable to deal with what the Shadows had to teach me. I learned that opening the Door and inviting the Shadow in, sitting at the Table with a cup of tea and a scone, was the Wise Way to Journey with Shadow in the Dark Time.

Now, what I learned is that not all Shadows are Dark. If we remember, Shadows are merely our own Reflection caused by Sister Sun bouncing Her Light off of our Divine and Holy Bodies onto Mother Earth! Shadows are the Reflection caused by Brilliant Sun! Shadows are the Reflection of Us.

When Shadow comes to visit, I want to Remember this. Shadow is not the Reflection of the One who caused us Pain and Injury. Shadow is the Reflection of our Divine Wholeness during and after the Story that someone else wished to Pen for Us.

Most of the Time, we took on the Shadow of the Other and left our Real Shadow in the Drawer, just like what happened in Peter Pan! Shadow comes to Remind us and Help us Find the Shadow we chose not to wear.

Working with Shadow, at the Table, around tea and a scone, helps us unleash the Shadow of the Other and attach the Shadow of Our Real Self. The Shadow of Who we were before, during and now after what ever caused us to hide our Own Shadow and Take on the Other.

Sometimes we can do this Alone and sometimes we need Someone else to help us Find, Accept and Attach the Real Us Shadow. It is important for us to not give up this endeavor, but try to find that person, that Sister, who will take the Time to sew us back together!

Tonight we have more Dark to work with then we will the rest of this Year and into the next. Tonight with the Total Darkness that will prevail with Dark Grandmum Moon and the Solstice, is a good time to sit and Invite a Shadow or two to the Table around the Yule Log.

Is this your Real Self Shadow? Then spend time talking about what it was like to loose, find and reattach it.

Is this the Other Shadow? Then spend time saying Good-bye and thank you, but no thank you and begin cutting free that Shadow. Oh it won't be easy. That Shadow has probably been attached for quiet awhile (some of mine are years old!) and the surgery will be difficult at best (this is when that Sister who knows how to Sew on Shadows is right there waiting to be invited to the Table also).

But once the Shadow is unleashed and the Window is opened so it can fly back to it's original owner, the Refreshing and Magickal process begins. You may find yourself Shadowless for a bit of time as you search all the drawers and closets for your Real Self Shadow, but I promise you it is well worth the Seeking and Finding! She has been waiting so long for you to come and Reattach Her!

This is not easy work but it is necessary work. What a wonderful Time to begin, but tonight at the Darkest of Darkest!

And you know, Shadows don't wait until the Darkest of Times to show up! Nope, Shadow shows up when it is Time for us to Remove, and Reattach! Powerful work no matter when it happens!

Tonight I have she Shadow of "Guilt" to invite to the Table and say Good bye for the last time. I tend to not totally Remove Shadows and then wonder why the Real Shadow of Me does not fully Attach and then is once again lost to me. Well tonight, around the Sisterhood Altar, I will let it go back to those who Instilled the Shadow of Guilt onto my body!

What I know is that the Sisters I have around me have been the ones to help me realize this fact; that my Real Shadow reflected by Sister Sun to Mother Earth cannot fully Attached unless I totally Remove the Other Shadow. So tonight, this Solstice/Dark Moon Night, the instruments in my Traveling Cloak are my Drum, Flute, Candles and the Love and Energy of all my Sisters and the Goddess!

I wish you a Blessed Solstice, a Magickal Yule and many many Table Times with Shadows as you move to the Whole Divine You!

Love, Light, and Darkness!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rewriting our Story!

On this Yule Eve, I have been thinking about my past and the past of so many others, who graciously share Journey Stories with me. It is amazing how many have Stories that are not ones we would choose to be apart of. If only we could take a few chapters out of our Life Story and replace them with the Rockwell pictures we see of happy times and happy families.

But alas for a large majority of people, especially women, we have way too many Chapters that we not only wished we had never lived but that we wish others would never know about. And as such we choose to try to keep that old closet shut up and try to "put on the happy face."

At 62 years of age I have become aware of something that I want to blog about.

How do we Reframe or even Rewrite our Journey Stories?

Is it even possible?

When I say that to some women, they will say, "no, that means I have to 'get over it' and I am tired of people telling me that." Does it have to mean that? Because you see, I am not sure we ever "get over" those things that have left deep imbedded scars. I think this is when we rewrite the Story.

I have deep scars from being married to a sociopath narcissistic man for 30 years. Deep deep scars. For too many years after I walked out from this marriage, I would only remember those times that caused the scars. I tried so hard to heal them, but as we know, the very essence of a scar is the visual reminder of injury that does not go away; it may fade but does not go away.

At this time of year; Holidays; it seems these scars, these memories come a visitin' just like unwanted friends and relatives. They come as the Darkness invades our lives, the cold keeps us inside, and our dreams of different Chapters in our Story are confronted by all the happy, happy, joyful sounds and pictures of more than ideal relationships and lives.

I choose not to Replace but to Reframe! I choose not to Delete but to Define! I choose to Rewrite that which I had no control over Writing at the Time. But I can write my Story any way I want to, because it is MY Story and I have complete control over the Pen!

This was hard work and every now and again, I find that wadded up piece of paper from a Rewritten Chapter again in the Book. When this happens I have to tear it out again and say good bye and no thank you! It now is an unwanted Gift.  It has been awhile since those pages have shown up.

What would your story look like when you Rewrite It? Mine does not look like those Norman Rockwell pictures I can tell you! I don't want a life where there was only happy, easy peasy times. I am who I am because of the hard times, the hurtful times, and even the abusive times. And in that way, I totally Reframe the Story. It is what the Scars now look like for me! It is the Story I choose to tell around those Scars; not denial stories, but stories of what I learned, what I have taught others and how I am a braver, more empowered woman as a result! The Story is not "their" victory but mine! The Story is not "their power and control" but mine! The Story is not "their" anything! It is all mine!

So find time during these Dark Nights to begin writing a New Story for you! And then share it with others. I am! And I will be doing more of this in the coming years. At 62 I have less time to  Reframe, Rewrite, and I have to get busy! We are all in  this together.

Blessed be and much love!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Oh Facebook!

So when I was a little girl, oh like elementary school cause I had to know how to write, I had numerous Pen Pals from around the world. In those Ancient of Days, you could have your name and address put in the back of a comic book under Pen Pals and hopefully be in touch with people you would never meet in person! 

I loved my Pen Pals. My memory has lost names and where they were from, but I know I had great fun writing letters and sending a picture. But oh the Wait was so hard. It would take a month or so for a letter to come back. When it did, I would read it over and over again, imagining this person being my best friend and me living in their part of the world. I think my love of writing and sending cards and letters is left over from this very exciting part of my life.

If I remember correctly, and at 62 it gets harder, these contacts continued until my teen years and then slowly they came to an end. I don't know if they sent the last letter or I did, but I had my "real life" friends and high school activities keeping me too busy to continue this enjoyable practice.

In October as I was writing on Facebook, I got a message from the Almighty Powers that be (no not Hekate or Isis!) that I could no longer use Sunshine Fae as my facebook name. I had to use a legal one and if I didn't change it, I would loose my page. And so I did. I changed it to Deb Sunshine Hillman, much to my disappointment to loose my Pagan Name on Facebook. I was mad but finally settled in and went on with setting the Goddess Table, and conversing with my Sisters there.

Yesterday, Facebook decided to Lock me out of my page. I had to send them visual proof that this was my legal name. I can't tell you how upset I became. I called Autumn Earthsong and vented all over the place trying to decide what to do. I could not be without my facebook friends! So I sent the Powers that Be (no not Demeter or Athena) a copy of my Voter Registration Card ( the least dangerous I figured). Now I had to wait! But how long? How would I get word out that I was not gone forever!

Ah ha.....I set up a new page and sent out invites to all the Sisters explaining how I had been bullied, victimized, and probably would have irreparable psychological damage from all of this. It was an evening I don't want to remember, but today I have begun laughing a bit about it.


1.  This was not personal. The Powers that Be do not even know me. Their computer program just happened to pick me (and many others) to verify I am who I am. Wasn't about was about the rules Facebook is now trying to enforce for some reason that I may never be privy to!

2.  Facebook is my Pen Pal! Facebook is my name and others in the back of a comic book saying, "I am looking for friends around the world"! What is wonderful is for the most part the response is almost immediate to any post which is a whole lot better than waiting a month or more for another letter to come back. No wonder I am so in love with this social medium! Instant Gratification is like very cool!

3. This is the most important! I have women here on Facebook that have mentored me, supported me, loved me, cared about me, and set me straight like no one I have ever had in my life (save maybe my youngest bio-sister!). I have been able to walk with women on journeys that no on should ever have to walk and felt I actually was important to their journey as they are important to mine. I get to have relationships...real and pure and spiritual relationships with women I would never have met any other way!

And so last night when I was locked away from my Facebook Sisters I totally freaked. Not because I am addicted to Facebook, because I don't see this as an addiction. I see this as Coming Home every day. But to a Home I have never known before. A Home where family speak different languages but the same language. A Home where differences are embraced and not judged. A Home where I can go to put up my feet and share a chuckle or a tear and know that tomorrow this person will still be there!

I have made life long friends on social media! How absolutely cool is that.

So yes, Oh Facebook! I do have a love/hate relationship with you! But heck, I had that with my ex and with the Christian Church and I survived! But unlike those....I won't be leaving Facebook!

Blessed be and much love!

See you on Facebook!

Friday, November 7, 2014

We Thirst!

It seems that I am taking Journeys during my massages and yesterday was no different!

I found myself in the Cave where I often set the Goddess Table; where we Gathered around the Cherry Crystal Table; where the Ancestors joined us in the thousands and there was a Place for Everyone.

Yes, we were Gathered there and from the depths of the Cave, Ancestors arrived and took each of us by Hand and led us down a Moistened Path to a wide open Room.

Our Guides stood along side of us~~hundreds of us~~and Encouraged us to stand and look around us. You see as Women, we tend to not Drink in our Surroundings.

Along the Wall were small Waterfalls. Each with a name:

The Water of Voice!
The Water of Peace!
The Water of Freedom!
The Water of Healthy Boundaries!
The Water of Kindness!
The Water of Understanding!
The Water of Compassion!
The Water of Love!
The Water of Respect!
The Water of No Pain!
The Water of No Dis-ease!
The Water of Joy and Happiness!
The Water of Healing!
The Water of Clarity!
The Water of Being Heard!
The Water of Strength, Bravery and Fortitude! 
The Water of Truth!
The Water of Intimacy!
The Water of Protection!
The Water of Abundance!
The Water of Safety!
The Water of Vulnerability!
The Water of Creativity!
The Water of Acceptance!
The Water of Being Seen!
The Water of Sisterhood!
The Water of .............
And Many many others Waters, each which were Needed to Quench our Thirst!

As we Looked all around us; our Eyes went Skyward and above us were the Ancestors and all the Goddesses. And from them Poured the Waters from their Eyes and their Hearts!

Faeries arrived in all their Glory; each of us having our own Faery to Tend to us.

She first removed our old Clothing; Some of us Willing gave the Clothing up, Some Fought to keep their Clothing, Some reluctantly gave up parts but fought to keep other pieces. But eventually Each Sister stood Naked in the Womb of the Cave. No one was Forced, and Time Stood Still as Each Sister was Given the Time and Space to Let the Process happen!

The Faeries then took Buckets and filled them with the Flowing Waters, now Washing our Bodies. Again, some of us were Open and Ready while others were embarrassed and tried to cover themselves and stop the washing. Each of us responded in a Different and Unique way to this Caretaking.

Some of us Withdrew, hiding in the Corners that did not exist as this was a totally Round Room, but Search they did for a Place where they could become Invisible. Their Faery followed them and in that Dark and Hidden place they Continued to Wash them. Never Forcing, always Patient, always Kind!

What I realized was that this Washing was NOT because we were Dirty, but it was to begin Opening our very Pores to Receive that which we Thirst for.

Soon, the Faeries left and we were there in the Room with the Water Falling from the Eyes and Hearts of the Ancestors and Goddesses.

From another Path, Elves began to arrive. Tall and stately with long hair glistening with Sparkles, they walked slowly up to each of us carrying Beautiful Gowns of Gold and Silver threads. They placed a Gown on each of us. Again, some of us almost grabbed the Gowns wanting to Wrap ourSelves in the Delicious material; others continued to look for their own Clothing, and still others did not want to come out of the Shadows. But each of us were finally clothed in the Beautiful Gown chosen just for us! Never being Forced or Hurried.

The Faeries arrived, each carrying a Crown of Jewels. As mine was placed on my head I realized that it was not heavy, but was light and airy. Some of us received the Crowns graciously, others tried their best to take theirs off and still others claimed that they did not Deserve all of this. And still others continued to hide in the Shadows but their Crowns still adorned their heads. Not being Forced or Hurried!

Light People arrived and placed in each of our hands a Crystal Goblet. We were then Invited to Drink of the Waters. In time we each filled our Goblets, over and over again, as we were so Thirsty! We drank and drank until we thought we could Drink no More and yet, we continued to Drink.

There in the Womb of the Mother Earth; we Drank from the Waters provided by the Ancestors and the Goddesses! We Drank in Sisterhood! We Filled our Goblets with all that has been Lacking and for which we Thirst for!

Soon, the Ancestors and the Goddesses stopped their Tears and Smiled upon us and Joined us in the Womb of Mom! The Elves and Faery, each in turned stood before us and kissed us on the Forehead!

With the Ancestors and the Goddess we Walked back to the Opening of the Cave where the Cherry Crystal Table awaited us with other nourishment for the Journey Ahead. For you see, we are now Forever Changed. We will Never be the Same. When we leave the Womb of Mom, we can Never Go back to the Way Life was.

Or so we Thought.

There at the Opening back into the World were the Clothes we arrived in.

Some of us Walked Past our Clothing, intentionally leaving Behind that which no Longer Served us; that Which was Increasingly smothering us, chocking us and locking us into the Shame, the Voicelessness, the Abuse, the Pain, the Dis-ease!

Others stopped and gazed upon the Clothing, sensing that leaving it there meant leaving What had been the only Truth we knew.

Others picked through their pile and chose Pieces they were not Ready to leave behind; but they carried them out and did not put them on.

Other Sisters removed the Glistening Robes and the Crown of Jewels and put on all the Clothes they had arrived with.

And it was all OK.

There was no Judgment, there were no Questioning Looks at each other, there was no "Us and Them"~~~~

There was only Sisterhood. Each of us Walking out into the World Changed in Ways Unique to Us.

And our Thirst was Quenched.

And yet there was this Knowing that the closer we got to Returning to our Thirsty Life the harder it would be to Embrace the Waters that Filled us to Overflowing. We have the Awareness that in Order to Live, we must Journey to the Place of Falling Waters. We must Return there Often and with our Sisters. And if we Journey to the Place of the Waters Alone, the Ancestors and the Goddesses, and the Faery and the Elves will be there with us.

For you see Sisters, as much as we think and feel we are Alone~~~~~~

We are Never Alone!

Blessed be!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rescuing OurSelves!

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel. Just a few of the Stories we Women grew up with.

Common theme: Girl/Woman is abused, poisoned, lost and/or trapped. Thus needing a Knight in Shining Armor to RESCUE her from the evils that have been placed upon her. She was too Weak to Rescue HerSelf!

A very dear and close Sister friend of mine is on a Finding My Voice Quest this week. On Monday, she had Enough, packed her bags to head 4 hours to a hotel for the week. She called her husband one hour into the trip to tell him she was doing this. Needless to say he was not a happy camper. The only other two people she told were me and her mother.

You see I Know her Story well. It is the Story of so many of us! Sexually abused as a child, bullied as a teen, verbally, mentally and emotionally abused by her husband and kids. She had lost her Voice, her Control, even her Will to Live. She packed her Bags and left for her Quest this week!

This morning she was telling me what happened yesterday. She was amazed that "all of a sudden" her Women Friends were calling just to check in. "Haven't talked in awhile, so thought I would call and see how you are." None of these women knew she had left on this Quest or even having problems.

You see, the Web of Sisterhood is this Connected! A Sister in Distress sends out into the Sisterhood Web vibrations that Alerts other Sisters on a level that is as deep as our DNA. She shared with each of them what was going on and she received the Love and Support that only Sisters can give one another.

Each one of them asked where she was staying, telling her they would be right there to open a bottle of wine and to help her. She would not tell any of them as she knew they would come. She told these wonderful Sisters that she had to do this on her Own.

And this is what I told her:

Yes, this is about YOU RESCUING YOU!  That is the most Empowering and Sustaining Rescue there is.  Only YOU can Rescue that Little Girl that needed Rescuing but no one came. Only YOU can Rescue that Teenager who found herself in a situation that no woman wants to find herself in as a high school teen. Only YOU can Rescue the Mother and the Wife!

When we Rescue OurSelves we are finally and totally in Charge and can never go back to way things were. For you see, at the end of the Day the Knight will always fall off the horse. The Knight will tell lies, will take credit and will place you in bondage just simply because he/she came to the Rescue.

This is the Ultimate Rescue. When we Finally let the Voice come forth that says I will no longer be told to "not tell", "to be silent", "to help at all costs", "to put the Oxygen Mask in the Airplane on everyone else before I put it on My Self" (remember that is one of the first things they tell you in the airplane: if there is an emergency, you always put your own oxygen mask on first, before you put it on anyone else including your child!)

It is that Voice that has been Silenced by even the Fairy Tales we are told over and over again as children. Don't complain about being a servant, Cinderella; don't be the prettiest, Sleeping Beauty; don't go into the woods, Gretel, or you will get us lost; I own you, Rapunzel, so you must stay locked up forever as you are mine and belong to no one else because I love you.

We are told the lie that we must put that Oxygen mask on everyone else....the entire plane in fact.... and if We die, well that is just too bad; we should have worked harder to get back to our own mask.

My dear Sister Friend is on her Rescue Quest and I am so happy and proud of her. She is taking time to Listen, to Play and to See what a new Story looks like for her.

So many of us still need to be Rescued. We are trapped in pasts still controlling us. We are trapped in marriages/relationships that seem impossible to get released from. We are trapped in the lies that we now believe are true. We have lost our Voice. BUT like Gretel, we know on the deepest level how to Rescue ourSelves! We know How to get Free. For some of us, like me it meant after 30 years, saying Enough is Enough and leaving for good. For some it means getting counseling, taking medications, going to Yoga, or even a week Quest and then returning and setting the Boundaries that needed to be set so long ago.

And all the while the Sisterhood Web vibrates alerting us all, that another Sister is Trapped and trying to get Released! We KNOW! We sense it! We pray, we send energy, we rejoice and we cry!

But Ultimately We are the Only One Who can Rescue our Self! And that my SiStars is Magickal, Empowering and Changes not only Us but every other Sister who breathes the same air in the Forest! 

Blessed be!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stories come through the Veil

Samhain! October seems to be the month for Witches and Pagans.

Yes, there is Halloween, but Samhain is the Pagan High Festival! It is our New Year! It is our Time to see through the Veil; to have visits with Ancestors; to welcome experiencing "the other side."

I have been visited a lot this month by Stories from the Past. My Past.

I have been visited by Women and Children I worked with during my tenure as Social Worker.

Thirty-three years I was invited into the lives of Families who would rather that I not have been in their lives, but most of whom ended up realizing that it was not so bad after all.

These families left huge imprints on my heart and on my life. In fact, my kids were all too often the recipients of this impact as I came home from investigating a neglect call reporting filthy conditions and yelled at them to go right in and clean up their "nasty" rooms. Thank goodness my kids rooms were never nasty, but coming home to very messy rooms was just about as bad!

Well, I am remembering a call my partner and I went to investigate where we found 5 children, 6 and under, outside in the late fall with only their underwear or diapers on and very dirty. But they were all giggling and playing in the front yard that had no grass; only dirt. We knocked on the broken screen door, but no one came to the door. As it was standing wide open, we walked in.

Now in those days (the 80's) Social Workers did not have to have police with them to walk into people's houses. In fact, we didn't want them with us as it just caused too many issues as we were there to help and they were there to....well, we know why they were there.

Anyway, I won't go into detail as to the condition of the home, just let it be said that as I walked in first my partner said, "Ummm Deb, I can't see your feet!" Yep, there was that much trash all over the house. We could still hear the kids outside giggling and playing.

We finally found their Mom. She was sitting in the Kitchen amongst dirty dishes, moldy food, and a broken back door and window. She was there with bruises on her face and had a far away look in her eyes. Needless to say, we had many issues to deal with immediately.

Mom had been beaten; Mom was overwhelmed; Mom was done and done! And the kids were giggling outside playing in the dirt in the late fall right on the street in a dangerous neighborhood.

Now, I will make a long story short: Mom was not initially happy we were in her home, understood that we had the power to remove all 5 of her children; and on some level I knew she was hoping that is what would happen.

The first excuse for the condition of the home was "the kids messed it up. It was clean last night, I swear." She and I both knew this was not true. But I learned very early not to argue at this point. The point was none of them, do you see....NONE of them could live here. The problem was NONE of the local shelters would take a Mom and 5 kids. We had a problem; we had NEED!

Now, I could have taken all 5 kids and found foster homes for them; having to separate them due to the numbers. What then for Mom? A dream I had during my career: Foster Homes for Mom and Kids; not just Kids. But alas, that never happened.

So, finally Mom told us her story. Deadbeat Dad, abusive, and controlling. Wouldn't allow her to work and he spent all his money on prostitutes, gambling and drugs. She use to keep a good house, but then she kept getting pregnant as she couldn't afford birth control or keep this man from having sex with her whenever he wanted. She had no family to speak of and few friends, most in the same situation she found herself in.

These are the Stories coming back to me as the Veil thins. In 33 years, this was a very common scenario. It wasn't that people WANTED to abuse and neglect. No, they truly wanted to be good parents, to have a good job, to limit their number of children; but bottom line...the families I worked with were in desperate need of resources that the community could not or would not provide. Laws limited the choices women had; men were in control and the results were similar if not many times much worse.

Now back to this story. The children were happy. When Mom went outside, they all ran up to her, giving her hugs and kisses and she cried as she thought we would place them in foster care. Instead, I called one of our Case Aides (women who were employed at social services who would go into homes and help them with parenting, food preparation, cleaning ideas, etc.) to meet us. Meet Leva, a large buxom black woman with a smile that shone like the sun, but had a demeanor that said, "I mean business and I mean it now!"

The plan? Get the house cleaned up! Now I wasn't sure Mom even had the energy to do so, but all of a sudden when she realized we were there to help her she found that reserve that women have! That we all have. She even walked next door and asked if the woman there would watch the kids while she and Leva began on the house.

Now, it did not happen that day. No, in fact, it took about a week to get the house totally together and clean. And I left the kids there because I learned early on that removing kids is really the last resort and no kid died from playing in the dirt or sleeping on a mattress without sheets.

The rest of the story? A Prevention Social Worker was assigned to this family. After getting the house cleaned up, the door with a new lock fixed, and a restraining order against the man; we made sure Mom began receiving assistance which included food stamps and a monthly check so she could have medicaid and get the kids for regular check ups and her on birth control. Due to the age of her children, it was beyond reason to expect her to get a job until they were in school as she would not have been able to afford day care.

But what she did have offered to her were parenting classes, food preparation classes, and job skills training (she had dropped out of school when she was 13 when she had her first child). You see, this woman was only 18 years old.

Her time with Social Services finally came to an end and the last I heard she was doing fine and the kids were still giggling outside in the front yard with no grass. And the mattresses were still on the floor and sometimes I am sure there weren't sheets on them as she only had one set and when one was in the laundry she didn't have any to replace it with. But you know kid died from not having sheets on the bed. They had food, enough clothing, medical care and the oldest was in school (Dad wouldn't let her go to school either and I think he probably sexually abused her but we could never prove it).

And they had Love!

It was hard and I am not saying this story had a totally happy ending. Mom still chose dead beat guys, but she didn't get pregnant again, well as long as we were working with her. But what I know is that the woman suffered at the hands of a society that still sees women as breeders, weak, worthless and not deserving of a decent life.

I am very glad the Veil is thinning. I need to Re-Member these Stories so I stay humble; I stay connected; I stay Passionate about being that Voice for Women and Children.

You know what is sad tho'....I don't remember her name! But I sure can still hear those children giggling in the front yard playing in the dirt and the way they smiled and hugged their mom when she came outside. You see it's all about Love anyway! No one died playing in the Dirt, but plenty die from no Love!

Blessed be! 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

My Abortion Experience

I am terrified that we are headed back to the Dark Ages of Back Alley and Self-abort options.

I am terrified that once again women will find themselves facing the reality of no resources available for an unintended or unplanned pregancy.

I am terrified that women will once again have to face the Underground of untrained and money hungry abortionists just waiting to abuse women who are there to claim their rights to make a decision about when and if they bring a child in the world.

I am terrified and am still that Voice in the War Against Women.

I was almost 19 and became sexually active in college. It was 1970 and it was still difficult for a single woman (and most married women) to get birth control pills. I was still in the "care" of my parents as they were paying for college and they had made it clear to me that I was NOT to have sex until marriage and they would never support my getting on birth control. My sex training was my Dad giving me the V encyclopedia with Venereal Disease ear marked, the day I stared  my period at age 13. I was then told: "if you ever get pregnant before you get married, don't come home!"

So when I Chose to become sexually active, I used the ovulation method and the guy used condoms a couple of times and I was lucky. It was then, I decided to find a doctor who would prescribe the Pill for me, as I could not tell my family doctor. A girlfriend gave me a name; I made an appointment; I went and a nurse with a scowl on her face took me to this very little dark room with just enough space for a table with stirrups.

The male doctor came in, told me to put my feet in the stirrups (now, you see....I had never had a vaginal examination, so I didn't even know what stirrups were used for or what would happen). What I remember clearly is how bad it hurt as he jammed the speculum inside me (I had only had sex 3 times); then his hand up my vagina; and then him saying, "here is your prescription for pills." There was no medical history taken, nothing at all and I was told to leave. I am sure it cost money and I am not sure how I paid; all that is erased from my memory, but the pain and humiliation is clearly implanted in my brain.

In 1973, I began volunteering at Planned Parenthood while I was in college working on my Social Work degree. I had also been married one year. I was totally outspoken about Women's Rights at that time and with Roe vs Wade, I was caught up in the age of women now being able to access safe abortions. Yea, right! We were still seeing women who had had botched abortions and came in for birth control and STD info. I was one of the counselors at that time.

The Planned Parenthood in Chesapeake where I was going to school, did not do abortions, but there were now other clinics and doctors who were ready to accept patients. I counseled them and went with many of these women to the procedures. The most terrifying for me were the two 24 week saline abortions I attended. Both of these women had tried to get an abortion since they were 6 weeks, but it took this long to find someone to do an abortion and also get together the money for the procedure. I was there as they delivered the "babies" and counseled them afterwards regarding emotional changes and birth control. Both women had been raped; one by her husband who had abandoned her when she found out she was pregnant after the repeated rapes by him.

I am terrified we will be returning to more of these Second Trimester Abortions as First Trimester Clinics are closed due to the Republican agenda of taking away the Woman's right to choose.

My husband and I wait...he decided that it was time to have children. So when I was 26, I stopped using the Diaphragm (the pill had made me terrible sick) and he stopped condoms and we became pregnant almost immediately. Thrilled, we told everyone!!! At 10 weeks, I started spotting and was told by my OBGYN that there was no heartbeat and I was miscarrying. I was sent home and told that in 2 weeks I would have a D&C.

Here is my personal abortion story: That evening the bleeding became so heavy that I was on the floor. My husband took me to the ER where they called my OBGYN service and one of the doctors met me there (I worked with him at Planned Parenthood). He explained that since I had eaten dinner I could not have a D&C nor could I have anesthesia. He told me he would be doing an abortion procedure. He also told me that my husband could not be in there with me.

I was placed on the table; still cramping and bleeding profusely; and told to put my feet in the stirrups. The vacuum suction machine that I had heard with so many other women began and the tube was inserted in my vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus. I SCREAMED OUT IN PAIN. (My husband was on the pay phone with my mom and he could hear me.) I didn't want to scream, but I did.

Now, let me tell you. I had been with numerous women during this procedure and not one screamed. They were true Warriors. Probably afraid to scream with the pain. But then it was told to me that because I was already in the throws of a miscarriage that the pain would be unbearable at best.

When it was over, the doctor, who I liked, but just didn't realize he was still part of the Patriarchal Culture; told me to wait a few months, that this was common to miscarry the first child, and I would be fine. The nurse gave me one of those very thick pads, a script for an antibiotic, and the bill to pay at that front desk. And home I went, crying the entire way.

And that was it! My Mom came over, but no one else said a word to me. Not even my husband. I was left alone with my own grief and loss.

And I became more of a Voice for Women's Choices and safe and painless abortions and full access to birth control!

My second pregnancy also ended in a miscarriage, but this time I didn't tell the hospital that I had eaten and the same doctor was on call, and did the D&C...I was put out so had no pain! And eating dinner didn't make any damn difference. And once again, I was sent home and no one said anything to me at all except my Mom. It was like had the plague. In fact, I was on call for child abuse reports and my supervisor thought I should be able to get right to work that night and I had to beg other social workers to take my shift. And now my husband blamed me.

My doctor's were going to make me try a third time, but I demanded tests and ultimately found out I had a Luteal Phase Defect and thus would have continued to miscarry without hormonal assistance. Ahh....more affirmation that this was ALL my fault and thus deserving of what happened!

Now, I know that I didn't have an unintended pregnancy. No mine were much planned for and wanted, BUT....even with my own experience I faced what most women face. Painful options, little support and the idea that indeed I could have these two procedures and two children because I had insurance. I was working with toooo many women who were not so lucky.

As a Social Worker, I was "known" to be the Jane at the office. I was the one who "knew" where women could get abortions and I even had two very wealthy women who were willing to pay for the abortions for Women without money or resources. I would negotiate abortion rates with the doctors I volunteered with through Planned Parenthood, would go with girls (lots were teens), and provided counseling for them afterwards so they didn't feel alone.

Let me assure you there is Grief and Loss even for those Women who definitely don't want to be pregnant or have a child. Most of this Grief and Loss is caused by a Culture that continues to demand that zygote/embryo is more important than a Woman! I have worked with hundreds of women, from all walks of life, who are more upset about what their families, their church, their friends will think if any of them ever find out, then upset about exercising their right to have a safe and LEGAL abortion!

I will continue to be a VOICE for the War Against Women! And let me assure you we are in the midst of it now! The backwards movement is Here and the Patriarchal Rape Culture run by the Christian Right want to make sure that Women continue to be second class citizens with no rights especially regarding their own bodies!

A most excellent book was published in 2013: Perilous Times. An Inside Look at Abortion Before-And After-Roe vs Wade by Fran Moreland Johns. This is a must read for all!

Fran says on page 12: "Over and over again, while collecting stories and comments for this book I have heard from physicians, activists and thoughtful, often extraordinary women, 'It's going to happen again. It's already happening.' Denial of access, restrictive and punitive state laws and the lack of physicians willing or able to perform abortions have brought about situations in many states not unlike the days before 1973. Progress in education and contraception, seen by many as key to reducing the need for abortion, is uneven. And sadly, unwanted pregnancy still happens."

When the Catholic church can spearhead a movement to not have birth control insurance coverage and thus now other businesses are following suit such as Hobby Lobby, we are on the way Backwards. When Women Health Clinics around the country are being closed as a result of State anti-abortion laws masked as "safer havens", we are headed Backwards!

And it makes me Angry! It makes me Sad! It makes me Yell Louder much to the chagrin of those who want Women to Shut the Hell up!

Not me and I hope not You!

Blessed be!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why I don't like Day Light Saving Time!

Oh how wonderful it is to welcome October! It is by far my most favorite month and time of the year! I love Autumn! Everything about it! I love the cool temperatures returning, the frost on the ground, the leaves falling from the trees, the smell of new fires, the oranges and reds, pumpkins, witches, goblins, apple cider and apples, etc etc etc!

I love how Autumn moves into Winter and that is my 2nd favorite time of the year. For me there is something about hibernation, darkness, cold and rest that has always called my name.

Oh, sorry, the title of this blog is Why I don't like Day Light Saving Time!

Ok, so on November 2nd in the US of A we "fall back" an hour. It means resetting clocks, both external and internal. It means getting an "extra" hour of sleep; getting to Sunday activities early and it means an hour earlier of darkness at night. Yep....we "fall back" in the Autumn and "spring forward" in the Spring. Gotta love semantics!

It takes me months to set my internal clock. When I am walking at 5:30am, I begin thinking how it is really 6:30am or is it 4:30am. No, it's 6:30am, or at least it was the day before. But now, "someone" told me that now it would be 5:30 am for 6 months and then it would be back to 6:30am.

Reminds me of the Chicago song: "Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?"

What it is is Power and Control! Now before you say, "Again? Come on Deb, not every thing is about Power and Control! It's just DLST!" Before you say that hear me out.

Someone, well really a man named George Hudson from New Zealand, proposed the idea in 1895. Yep...some guy was just sitting around and thought, "Damn, what else can we men control? Hmmm....we can't control the weather or how the earth turns on it's axis or when the sun comes up and when it sets so let's see....Hey, we can decided what time it is! And then yes indeed we actually decide what time the sun comes up and sets."

WE WILL DECIDE WHAT TIME IT IS! Now, yes, man created "time" as we know it. There have been ways to "know" the time and dates for ever so long; our current calendar being created by good ol' Julius Caesar. Did you know that the one of the oldest inventions by man is the clock? Instruments trying to capture this natural phenomenon called Time!

Now, I love love love calendars and clocks. But darn it, just leave the Time as it is. Don't keep trying to control how much sunlight or darkness we have to endure. Don't make me try to set an internal clock that is so in touch with nature that it does respond to the changes in a profound way; messed up sleep, a biggie.

You see, it's all about Power and Control! Someone tells us that we HAVE to turn our clocks to the "new" time. But if you live in Arizona for example you don't even have DLST and so your time is  different from anther place in the same Time Zone who do in fact have to change their clocks. Sorry but that is just too weird and too confusing.

Yep...Power and Control over that which we have no Power and Control. We cannot determine the time that the Sun Rises; She rises in Her Time. I don't care if "they" say it is 6am or 7am! It just messes with my head!

And as we all is ALL about me!

I am going to begin a petition saying we need to leave a day off the calendar every once in awhile. Oh wait...we already do that too; it's called Leap Year. Yep, that stinks too! But that will be another blog for another time!

All this being said, I am going to bed at 11pm for a month and then all of sudden I will be going to bed at 10pm. But it will feel like 11pm for for many months. And I will be mad that my head can't seem to get it together and convince the rest of my body that what it thought was one time for 6 months is now another time. And just when my body gets it.......

It is time to Spring Forward!

PS: And help me understand....If this isn't power and control I don't know what is!!!! Who in fact is Saving all the Daylight and where is it when Iceland is in it's 4 hours of sunshine? They could use it!

Later Gators!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grieving the Harvest

Mabon; the 3rd Pagan Harvest; Autumn Equinox; Falling Leaves, campfires and sweet apples from the tree.

Preparations to make all ready to hunker down for the Winter; tomatoes canned, green beans jarred; herbs hanging to dry.

The sun rises later and sets earlier. We can feel Hibernation time upon us.

We see images painted of Farmers rejoicing as their summer labors come to an end. It is time for all to Lay Fallow for a season with hopes that what was seeded, planted and now harvested will last for the Dark Times ahead.

But this morning I saw something most don't talk about, and that is the Sadness that this time brings. I am not referring to SADD or even how hard the upcoming holidays are for some people.

No, I am talking about the Sadness of Barrenness.

The obvious is to think of women who find out they are unable to carry a child within their Wombs. We call them Barren. Space meant for seed planting, growth and then harvest lies Barren due to no fault of the woman.

But Barren comes in unexpected places. It comes after an Idea has been Seeded, Watered, Fed and Harvested. You know, that time when even tho' there is great joy in the Idea taking form, there is this sense of Barrenness, we wonder what will now fill this space.

We know this when a loved one dies. The Emptiness that is so overwhelming that nothing will take the Barrenness away. We find ourselves looking back at the Spring and Summer of our Time with this person or animal and then realize that we now have to prepare for the Winter Darkness of Barrenness.

It is evident when our child leaves home and we walk by their bedroom and see how Barren it is. How do we rejoice in the Harvest of a child grown enough to leave the Field we call Home? How do we survive with just phone calls, texts and emails (often just from time to time); what do we do with that feeling of Emptiness when what we think we should be doing is Being glad the hard work is over and we can sit back and rest for awhile? How do we do Barrenness? 

No, Harvest does not always bring happy, settled, comfortable times. Sometimes the Winter is harsher than we expected; the food supplies run out; the Wood for warmth stays too wet to burn from the heavier than expected Snow that sits and never melts.

We are cold, hungry, lost and worried that we will not see the next Spring, the next time to Plant, Care for, and Harvest. The Barrenness is too much to take and we get depressed and long for when the Sun Rises early and Sets late. But then we know, the work will again be long and hard.

The Journey is finding that Balance where During the Growing Season we find those times to Rest and Enjoy and During the Hibernation Season we find new ideas, new seeds, new planting strategies and new recipes for the overabundance of tomatoes that we now tire of.

Ahhh.....Autumn! It is a wonderful Season and the Sabbat of Mabon lets us rejoice in the Harvest! We make corn dolls, eat caramelized apples, set next to the bonfire gathering the warmth as we watch the yellow and red leaves fall from the trees around us.

And yes, for most there is this nagging deep down inside that we are sad that the Harvest is over. We are sad to see the Barren Fields so devoid of life out our own back door. All that work and now it is gone.

But you see, we are never ever totally Barren. We just Lay Fallow for a Season, be it a day, a month or longer. It is allowing our Selves to be comfortable in Grief as that is what prepares us for the Next Growing Season. We begin to get restless and open up those seed catalogs; we put in that new job or school application; we accept that offer from a friend to meet her for lunch; or we join the circle of women who are also grieving the Harvest!

We are Never Barren! We are made of Rich Soil that awaits the next Seed to be planted.

This is a natural cycle; just another Turning of the Wheel. And the way we choose to move with the Wheel will show us the next Awakening Time in our Lives. So sit and rest; enjoy the Harvest, but Listen and Watch for that Restlessness that Signals the Turning of the Wheel. And when you do....get out those Seeds and Plant like crazy! Another Planting and Harvesting Season is just around the corner!

Blessed be!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why I stayed

A lot has been on my mind with the whole Ray Rice thing going on. You know, the NFL, Ravens star player, domestic abuse issue? You know, the video, well the two videos that finally got the NFL commissioner to take a stand with punishments for this behavior, which at first were pretty lenient, but now are stronger? You know, the story that poor Ray Rice not only got cut from his multimillion dollar a year job with the Ravens, but also got suspended indefinitely from ever playing football again?

You know, the story that now has his wife (then girlfriend when he beat the shit out of her on video) speaking out to the press about how unfair this is and how he is a good man and that she does not fault him? You know.....THAT story.

Well, it got me to thinking about my own 30 year marriage and I had to ask the question: So why did I stay?

You see the Signs were there from the very beginning. Even his mom who adored me tried to warn me, saying over lunch, "you may want to rethink marrying my son. You are in love with love and he is in love with sex." Well, darn...ya think? He was a 21 year old man...aren't all men in love with sex and all women in love with love? What I didn't know was how prophetic she was being as within a matter of months the sexual demands and then abuse and sexual addictions raised their ugly horrific heads. So why did I stay?

And then there was his boss who took me to lunch (we hung out with him and his wife) one day and told me that if I was smart I would move out and cut my losses and leave my husband. He said, "He isn't who he portrays himself to be and my wife and I are really scared for you." So why did I stay?

That is the question being asked by so many now of Ray Rice's why did she marry him, if what he did was so horrific? And why is she staying?

And why did I?

You see I stayed for 30...count them 30 fucking years! And that is not a pun for sure!

So not to go into the gory details as most of you can find them other places on my blog, but suffice it to say that this man I decided to marry never once physically hit me; drag me; or physically abuse me. Nope....he just sexually abused me and emotionally and spiritually and psychologically abused me to the max. But you see, don't you, that him not hitting me made me think he was not abusing me.

Now get this: I was a social worker in child and family abuse. Yep...right there in the midst of it working with abused women too. And I would go home every day and not once think I was being abused. I just knew I was continually being put down and expected to do things sexually that I hated! It wasn't until I was continuing therapy after I left this SOB that my therapist finally got me to realize that I had been an abused woman! Holy fucking shit! And to the social worker never figured that out? So why did I stay?

The same reason Mrs. Ray Rice is staying. We were both lied to by the patriarchal culture that has convinced us within a shadow of a doubt that it is our fault that everything happens to us and that on some level we deserve worthless pieces of  shit! And so we stay. Now that seems like an easy cop-out so let me count the other reasons I stayed (only realizing these after some time in therapy and reflection!)

1. I was 20 when I was married in a church and my vows said "Until Death Do you Part." I was told that these vows were make in front of God and that he would be one pissed off god if I ever left this man.
2. I wasn't willing to kill him to get out of the marriage although I will confess that the thought occurred to me many a nights after I laid in the bed next to this man who had just raped me anally as payback for an argument we had.
3. He had done such a great brainwashing on me that I really didn't believe I could survive on my own.
4. I had children with him and I so wanted my children to not be from a "broken home"; so let me assure you that our home was as "broken" as possible and we were all "intact"! Another duh...really  moment!
5. I truly believed that since I had made my bed, I had to lie in it forever. Even when going to my pastor for counseling (major mistake) I was told that it was my responsibility to understand my husband's need for sex and that I was to stay and help him at all costs. Even after revealing all the porn in the house, the pastor told me I was Hosea (from the Old Testament) and it was God's will for me to stand by this man.
6. I didn't want to FAIL! I come from a long line of no one gets divorced in our family and I didn't want to be that first born, practically perfect (haha!) woman who could not keep her family intact.
7. My husband was also a social worker and threatened to take my kids away from me as he had a degree in Parent Education and would win in court. And I believed him...he was that good at convincing me it was all my fault!
8. I was an Abused Woman....that is why I stayed.....we don't know how to get out! We don't have the confidence or the self esteem to look the devil in the eye and say "Go Fuck Yourself!" And so we stay!

But you see one day, it was Enough! One day all the 30 years of this Man telling me I was NOT Enough...was Enough. But what opened the door was finding out how much damage had been done to my kids as they were growing up and I could not have them watch me stay in this marriage. I owed it to my son to demonstrate what a Strong Confident Self-Assured Woman looked like and I owed it to my daughter to show here how not to repeat the pattern!

This is what People don't get: IT'S THE PATRIARCHAL CULTURE that causes women to Stay and people to get upset when the NFL comes down on a man, who beats the living hell out of his girlfriend, after she marries him and says he did no wrong!

Here's the clue:
In May, the couple spoke to reporters about the case in a press conference publicized by the team.
"I do deeply regret the role that I played in the incident that night," Janay Rice said.
"I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself to not only you all, but the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time," she said.
Ray Rice said he was sorry to the Ravens owner, general manager and head coach.
"I also want to apologize to my fans, to the kids, everyone who's affected by the situation me and my wife are in," he said.
One person he didn't apologize to that day? His wife.

Do you see why she won't leave? 


In a patriarchal culture the question will always be: Why did SHE stay, NEVER why did HE have the right to do this? 

I hope Mrs. Rice wakes up one day before this man kills her. And yes, I hope that the couples counseling they are attending will help him see how he too is caught up in a culture that has him apoligize to everyone BUT his wife. ex never apologized to me either! 

Blessed be! 


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Claiming Croneship once again!

I really am Convinced that one can never get enough Self-Affirmation! And I don't mean the "oh ain't I amazing" kind of Self-Affirmation; although as Women we have to do that every Minute of the day for sure, cause the World won't do it for us!

That being said:

Yesterday, August 30th, I turned the Wheel to age 62! Oh where has the Time gone I say so often. I Love getting Older as I am now able to look Back and View my Life through different Lenses; I get to actually see where my Ego was in Charge and where I let Goddess take over; I get to See where I was Offered a Crossroads and took the Path traveled by so Many and ended up Miserable from my own Choices; and I get to Witness the Times I actually took the Road Less Traveled and Saw and Experienced things and People who changed my very Soul! Ahhh.....looking back is Good.

But then there are Times; like Happened to Me yesterday, that we don't Think to do very often and yet we must find Time to do them. We need to Listen for the Call of the Divine to Self-Affirm and that was what happened on my Walk yesterday Morning.

It was Hot and Steamy at Dawn and yet I heard Gaia calling my Name, so off I went. I have a "forest" I walk in but only in the fall, winter and early spring. During the summer it is filled with Copperhead snakes, tics and mosquitoes. But yesterday, I knew I had to go and be Embraced; return to the Womb of Gaia, on the day I was pushed out from my Mother's Womb 62 years ago.

 I only went in enough so that I could feel Her embrace! Surrounded by the weighted Tree limbs; Soaking in the Green Colors; Smelling the Decay; Breathing in the sweet Smells of Gaia! I stood up on the fallen Tree trunk, held out my Hands and looking up spoke these Words, "I AM Goddess Deb! I am Lady of the Forest! I carry Earth Energy and thus Am connected to the Very Ground upon which I walk! I AM!"

As I walked from the Embrace of the Forest (with numerous mosquito bites I discovered later! arggg) I looked up at the Tres. The Wheel is Turning and my Gram taught me that the Leaves and other Vegetation will begin to look Tired before they Turn into Brilliant Colors. And I could Sense their Tiredness; their Readiness for Rest and I stood and said, "I AM Goddess Deb! I am getting Tired as the Wheel turns to 62 years of Walking in my Moccasins upon this Sacred Ground! But like You, My Colors are just now Beginning to Show Brightly and then it will be Time for Rest as Winter comes upon Us."

To the Lake I went as I Heard Grandmother Tree whispering: "Come sweet Goddess Deb!" And there She stood; Regal; Tall, Strong, Weathered, Beautiful....Just Like Me! And I embraced Her and She embraced me. And I kissed Her Hardened Bark and exchanged sacred DNA with Grandmother Tree. And we were One at that Moment.

The Altars I set when She claimed me as Her Own remain by Her strong roots. I placed my Hands on Grandmother Tree and said these words: "I AM Goddess Deb! I am Virgo Goddess! I Carry Earth Energy and yet have been Gifted with the Ability to See into the Cosmos; to Travel the Solar System! I Carry Brown Bear, Wolf and Mouse Energy. I am of the Turtle Clan. My Violet is buried here as I carry Violet Energy. I AM one with the Earth; with Gaia! I have been Chosen to Walk Heavily on this Earth, to Speak Loudly, but to meet Others at the very Base of their Trees of Life and Walk their Journey for a Time Designated by the Goddess."

I could feel The entire Universe Smile! I could Hear Goddess breathe in my Words and Breathe them back out into the World. I felt Whole and Replenished and Called!

As I stood there with my Hands on Grandmother Tree, I heard the Lady of the Lake Splashing my Name! I turned and all became very Silent. No longer did the boats Race by dragging water skiers; no longer did the Birds sing and the Crickets speak. No, at that Moment, I sensed the Lady of the Lake Rising up and Covering me with Her precious Water as a Crown Full of Stones worn smooth by the moving Water. And I knew at that Moment, that I had been Crowned once again Crone, the Wise One, the Messenger, the Compassionate One, the Holder of Stories of Old and New, the Witch of the Goddess Table!

I don't tell this story to brag or say how Special I am. I tell this Story as a Reminder that this isn't just for certain Women. We all must make Affirmations such as what happened here. We cannot wait for another to affirm for us! NO! And it may feel uncomfortable as we are trained to think we are not worthy of this. We feel that we are holding ourselves above others and that is a big no-no in the patriarchal world we live in....but WE KNOW that we are all Equal! We have been called for different Purposes, different Seasons and different Callings. Sometimes I need you to take care of me so I can rest and other times I need to care for you! But there is not Lesser than...there is Just You and Me and Us!

So find your time to Self-Affirm. You don't have to go on a walk, or go to the Forest, or anything dramatic; just go into the bathroom and look in the mirror and Listen and Speak! It is Your Turn! It is Our Turn! It is Our Time!

Blessed be and much love! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's been a Misognystic Kind week....oh wait that is every week!

Maybe it's because I am getting ready to turn 62 in a a week.

Maybe it's because I am reading more Feminist books.

Or Maybe, just maybe it's because Misogyny is just so much a part of who we are, that even enlightened women don't seem to see it any more, unless it is some politician spouting anti-contraceptive language on our TV, interrupting our entertainment that is also full of woman-hating, woman demeaning messages.

Definition of Misogyny: dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.

I have been a Feminist since my teens. This "rebellion" went against everything I was taught in my family and church. It went against the shows I watched on TV: Father Knows Best; and against the '50's family values that a woman's place was in the home, barefoot and pregnant.

This "rebellion" is still being classified by many in my family as, "hippie, 60's stuff" or as my mom told me: "you are just a product of your generation." (i.e. it is time for you to grow up and get over all of this silly stuff).

So this week it has been slammed in my face at work.

First, I was talking to a man who I have had many conversations with. I walked up on him with his hand in the copier and it looked stuck. My comment was, "Sean, is your hand stuck in the copier?" He said, "No!" I then said, "Oh I guess not or you would be screaming in pain." His reply?

"You would never catch me screaming and crying like a little girl!!!!!!!!!"

Now maybe it is because I am going to be 62 in a week, or I have read too many feminist books lately or because I am still a hippie rebellious person, but this comment went all over me!

And out of this beautiful mouth of mine came these words:

"Well, that was a very misogynistic comment." (I really didn't even think he would know the word, but he did.)

He got very defensive and took issue with me. I pointed out the obvious about this statement and what it said about girls and women and how that was misogynistic. He didn't agree with me, but that was ok, I got my point across and all the men in the room were listening and probably didn't join in the woman bashing as I AM the owner's sister!

Second and the most telling and disturbing:

I came upon one of the women I work with who was very upset. Her younger sister is getting married in a month and she is the Maid of Honor. Alecia has worked very hard on the shower, bachelorette party, etc. She had been receiving text messages from her sister telling her not to get overly dressed up for the wedding as the bride didn't want her sister to "out shine her". Alecia said her sister was very demeaning about how she over dresses and puts on too much makeup and is prettier than her anyway. Her sister told her that it was "her" day, "she" was the bride and "she" didn't want anyone looking at anyone but "her".

Now, I must say Alecia does not on any given day look "over made up." She is a beautiful woman and likes to dress nice. Needless to say, my friend had her heart broken but was very angry.

Do you see it? Do you see the competition that women have been taught to have by the patriarchal misogyny? Here is one sister literally calling out another sister about her appearance and especially how not to be more "attractive" than her so as not to "out shine her". Is this crazy or what?

Crazy? No! It is Misogyny at it's most potent. It is the part we miss. It is the part that says, "Two women can't live in the same household/can't be in the kitchen together/can't be best friends." It is the part that has women say "I am only friends with men! Women are too catty and bitchy and will knife you in the back in a heart beat."

Can you imagine this woman's husband saying to his best man, "Now dude, I don't want you to shave for the wedding 'cause I want to look better than you since it is "my" day and I want all eyes on "me".

Women are our own worst enemy! I keep saying it over and over. The War on Women will not be Won until Women refuse to join in the Misogyny! I have found that Women are the Worse Women Haters! We gossip about other women, we tear down other women, we demean other women. Men could just sit back and rest awhile because in my mind Women are doing the Work of Hating Women for them.

Yes, this is a big button for me as you can see.

These are only two of the daily examples of why women are still seen as "second class" and should be beat up, spit up, sexualized, paid less, etc.

And yes, I will be 62 in a week and I will NOT stop being Vocal about my passions. Just because I can now apply for Social Security does not mean I am done with my fight for Women to be Human Beings. We are not waiting for anyone to give us our rights! We have them and must claim them!

Blessed be!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A week of Aging!

This past week was interesting to say the least. My Sister and I drove my parents to Pennsylvania so our Mom could visit her Sister, Sister in law and her Nieces. She also wanted to stop by the House she lived in until she was 11, when they moved to Virginia. Her parents moved back to that house after I was born; thus it is the Home that I knew and loved as Gram's house. It was a week of Aging!

My parents are both 81 and Dad just can't and won't (thank goodness) make that long drive anymore (11 hours). My Sister and I are happy to do it and get to see our relatives also. We were all closer to my Mom's side of the Family.

It was a week of Aging and Dying.

My Mom is a Storyteller (much to our chagrin sometimes as she tells the same stories over and over); and so there was much telling of Stories of times Gone by. There was Talk of how the buildings had aged, the vegetation was overgrown and of the people who were now buried deep inside Hays/South Easton Cemetery! (Yes, there was a trip to visit my grand and great grandparents burial places.)

It was a week of Death, Dying and Aging!

And it was a picture of life as we move into that time of More Years behind us then in front of us! Story telling was the theme of the week.

Stories are important. These oral Traditions make sure we have a Container for what has made us who we are. It is a Container full of the Puzzle Pieces that we all struggle to fit together into a coherent picture of Life!

I have two maternal aunts left; one my mom's sister and one her sister-in-law. My mom's sister is in the last stages of Alzheimers. She no longer can tell Stories or even appreciate the ones my Mom tried to tell her. And so we sat around and told stories about her as if she too was buried in the ground along side my grandparents. Alzheimer is a Disease where you Grieve the person's death twice!

My mom's sister-in-law is in a nursing home at 92 years of age and has begged to Die for the last 11 years (since mom's brother died); and yet she is still hanging in there, playing Solitaire and Drinking Vodka...yep at the nursing home! She told lots of Stories although her Memory is getting weaker. Now unable to walk unassisted, she just waits at the nursing home for the "relief of death'.

My Dad had a few "heart episodes" while on the trip and on Friday he sees the cardiologist for the next step after tests before we left. He told my Sister and I that he had said Good Bye to both my Aunts knowing "one of us won't be here this time next year and it may be me."

It was a trip of Aging, Death and Dying!

But it was so much a Trip about Life! We laughed, we told stories, we ate lots of ice cream, we spent a lot of time in the car; we gossiped, we prayed, we bought 8 Shoofly pies at the bakery and we had a good time . We found out that my dad's sister-in-law in Virginia who has terminal cancer was put in the hospital and so there was the talk of what life would look like for his brother who is Aging and not well. They are both in their 90's.

And I was talking about applying for Social Security in the next few months and one of my sister's friends from high school died of brain cancer at age 52.

We got home fine; and while doing laundry and unpacking I began thinking that it is possible that we will be going to a few funerals this year. But isn't that what we all have in common? One day we will all face the whole Aging, Death and Dying time of our lives! 

Just like the Trees of the forest, the Animals, the fish and Mamma Earth Her very Self! And come Monday, even the Moon Goddess will begin to Disappear and Die in the Sky. BUT She teaches us that what ever happens there is fullness after every Death; whether that is physical, emotional, or spiritual.

So as I gaze at Grandmother Moon in all her fullness I will give thanks for the Light each of these people have brought into my life. I will cherish the Memories, the Stories, and all the times we will have together until the Quietness of Death calls each of us Home! And I will even appreciate Mom's Stories as it is the Container that holds the pieces for the Puzzle of my Life!

And it is all Good! So let's just celebrate when we can!

Love and Light!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Promise Land!

It was the summer of 2009. I had been in seminary for a year, had open heart surgery, and was now volunteering at a summer day camp held at one of the local Lutheran churches for Refuge children while waiting for the fall classes to begin.

The children at this day camp lived in the Columbia SC area and all were sponsored by one church or another. A lot of the children couldn't even speak English. Most of them lived in a very run down trailer park in a high crime area of the city. I rode in the van to pick the kids up and I was reminded of my Social Work days going into the Projects checking on abused and neglected kids. These children looked a lot like most of my clients. How could these families still be living like this if churches were helping them????

It was lunch time and I looked around and saw one little girl sitting all by herself. I took my tray over and asked if I could sit with her. She nodded her head and I sat down. We ate in silence. When she had finished eating, she picked up a crayon and began to draw. She was from Mexico and was 10 years old. As she drew she told me her story. I want to share it with you! (Her name was hard to say, so I have forgotten it, which I am very sorry for, but her face will never leave my heart!)

(I am going to tell the story as if she was telling it; thus the "I" and "we" pronouns)

****I lived in Mexico with my mom, dad and two little sisters. My dad would leave for long times looking for work. My mom would do other people's laundry or try and clean houses, but there was no work. We lived in a wooden house without a door and dirt floors. It had two rooms and we went to the bathroom outside in the back yard in the dirt. My sister and I would have to cover it all up. It was one of our jobs. My mom couldn't pay all the bills and they would shut off our electricity and water.

My sister and I would take our clothes to the market and sell them so we could help her pay the bills. Sometimes we had to get into garbage cans to have something to eat.

We are Catholics and at night my mom would tell us about the Promise Land. She would tell us that one day we would all live in the Promise Land and have jobs, and get to go to school, and have plenty of food and not have to sell our clothes. She told us that one day we would be happy and never be sad again. She told us this Promise Land was America.

One night, my sister and I were asleep and our mom woke us up and told us to be very quiet. Outside was most of my family; uncles, aunts and lots of cousins. We couldn't take anything with us; not even my stuffed rabbit that I slept with all the time. Our relatives kept whispering that it was time to go to the Promise Land.

We made it to the water and I knew we had to swim to get there. The water was very rough and cold. I was trying to hold on to my uncle so my mom could hold on to my little sisters. My uncle could not swim and he finally let go of me and went under the water and drowned. Another uncle caught me and helped me in the water. When we got to land 2 aunts and some cousins had drowned.

We ran through lots of trees and bushes and got cut up a lot. But finally we were able to stop and rest. I was so hungry and wanted to go to sleep but they told me I couldn't. We kept going and going until we stopped at this house. We went inside and our family began to cry and thank God that he had brought us to the Promise Land where we would have money and food and clothes and a nice house to live in.******

At this point she stopped talking and I was doing all I could not to sob. I asked her if her life was different now? (remember I picked her up in the van from the run down trailer in the high crime area). She looked into my eyes and for the first time smiled. She said, "Oh yes! We live in a very nice house, and have food and water and I don't have to sell my clothes. My mom cleans "rich" people's houses and they will send her home with clothes for us and sometimes food. And the nice people at the church come and get us for Sunday School and we learn about how good God is to bring us to the Promise Land and tells us to be thankful for all that is being done for us."

THE PROMISE LAND! The United States of America....THE PROMISE LAND!!!!

So when you hear of those who want to ship the kids who are running to our country BACK...remember why they are coming here. It is NOT to deal drugs, steal jobs, or any other sundry of evil reasons (although I am not naive enough to think there is not that going on too)....they believe in their hearts what they hear and see....THIS IS THE PROMISE LAND! The Land of Milk and Honey! The Land where every one has a job, a house, food, clothing, education, and enough and more of everything you will need. AND everyone is HAPPY!

Yes, I am sure on any given day, this little girl feels she is in the Promise Land. Living in the run down trailer where there is a bathroom, running water and electricity is that Promise Land to her. Living where her mom can go to work (she never mentioned her father), and she and her sisters can go to school is the Promise Land. And yet, there are many who desperately want all the refuges/immigrants "to go back from where they came from." Too many of these people are the same ones who go to the churches that sponsor these families.Too many are followers of their Jesus.

Whenever I hear the debates over immigration, whenever I hear about the need to build huge fences around our country to keep all these blood suckers out of our country; I think of this little girl, drawing and tell her story to a white woman who does have more than enough, lives in a very nice place and has never been without what I needed to survive.

I thanked her for telling me her story and told her I was sorry about the relatives who had drowned that night trying to get here. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said nothing. Who wants to be somewhere bad enough that they will get in an ocean of water not knowing how to swim; trusting that god will get them there? Desperate people do that. Hungry, homeless, scared, desperate people do that.

The Goddess I know weeps!

Interesting enough; the next day this little girl did not get on the van and did not come back to the day camp. No one went to ask why or to check on her. I was told; "This is what Those People do." The Social Worker in me cringed. And I would ask over and over again: What would Jesus do? Don't you think he would go and check on her (remember I was in seminary)? I never got a clear cut answer and I was not allowed to go and follow up myself.

I think of this 10 year old child from Mexico and wonder if the Promise Land is all it was portrayed to be. And I reflect on the number of times the President and others in charge remind us that this is The Greatest Country on Earth. Yes, the Promise Land. And then I think about that great statue in the New Harbor. This is what she says:

 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

(Poem on the Statue of Liberty)

Blessed be!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Reflecting or Being the Light?

In my part of the Forest it is the First Day of Summer; Summer Solstice; Litha! We celebrate the Longest day of the Year, even if it only means 5 seconds of more Sun! Ah...the Sun! Huge, fiery, missed when we have had days of rain (which we have not); can cause burns on our skin and lead to cancer. Ah...the Sun!

I was thinking about a discussion I had in seminary with my Missiology (the area of practical theology that investigates the mandate, message, and mission of the Christian church, especially the nature of missionary work) Professor. I made the comment in a paper that we live in a Dark World. He totally disagreed and this carried into the classroom for discussion.

You see, for me, the World is Dark. I worked in social work for 33 years and saw the Darkness; I marched against an unnecessary War in the 60's as I was seeing the Darkness; I lived through an emotional and sexual abusive marriage for 30 years and watched as my children suffered the results of this man's actions, words and beliefs; yep...Dark World!

The Professor (whom I adored!) said that the world was not dark as Jesus was the world. It was just that we have forgotten how to reflect his light into the world.

My position was that the World is Dark and We are to Reflect Ourselves into the World; Us who carry the Light, the Love and the Understanding of how we are to Treat one another and all of Creation. Of course, this did not bode well in a Christian seminary that I was saying that "I" have the Light and Love that the World needs.

Today as the Sun Shines with all Her Might down upon the Northern Hemisphere, I am thinking about Light. I am thinking about the World that has so much Darkness in it. And I am Thinking about all the Light and Love that is in the World but gets Smothered over by all the Constant Oozing of Hatred, Bigotry, Misogyny, Corruption, Abuse, Lies, Betrayal, War, and Self-absorption. I still hold that this is a Dark World, but only because Human Beings have Decided that Living in the Darkness is the preferable Way to live.

But WE Know differently! We the Witches know this is not true! We the Goddesses know that the Light comes from Within! We Are the Light and the Love! Those before the onslaught of Patriarchal Religion and Thought, always Knew this to be Truth. But when the Male God came into being; the message was one that we were the Dark Ones and only through him could we even begin to get a glimpse of any Light and Love and most of that would be after we leave this planet. And only believing in him could we even have hopes of being Good enough to be anything but Dark.

What a shame! What a terrible Shame! We do not Reflect the Light of a Divine Being...WE are the Light of the Divine! We are the Divine! And as such we Shine as Bright as the Sun.

So then why is the world so full of Darkness, Terror, Nightmarish Actions of the most Intelligent Creatures here on Earth? Why? Because we have Forgotten. We have been Brainwashes by those who wish us to Believe that we are the Scum of the Earth, we are the Dark Sinful Creations, even tho' WE are the only ones actually made in the Creators image. Makes my head hurt!

The Sun is Shining Brightly here in my part of the Forest and I think about the Light and Love that is Each of Us. I See it every Day and yet, it Never makes the News and seldom is the Topic of Sermons.

I see it on facebook as we each hold and support one Another as we Travel this World that wants to Convince us that it is a Dark Place. I see it as my Kale and Rosemary grow and the birds come and Dine at my Feeder. I see it as a Card shows up just at the right Time, and as my Son and Daughter sat with Me as the Sun was going Down and Love Poured out from Everywhere! I see it All around me, but others don't see it.

We must make sure we Re-member that Light! We must not be brainwashed any longer in  believing that this Forest, this Garden is Dark. For you see, just like the pilot light under the gas water heater, the Light burns even when it seems the Light has gone out. Look UP! In the Darkest of Nights, the Stars are there as is Grandmother Moon. Even if the sky if covered with clouds we can be assured that the Light is behind those clouds! We KNOW it to be true.

Accept the call of the Goddess to Shine the Light...don't wait for "something" outside of you to be there so you can Reflect it! That is a Lie! That keeps us trapped in the Darkness. Light the Candle within you! And if you feel your Light has Gone out or the Oil is running Low; be Assure it has not, but Reach out to Someone you Know who will Relight your Light; Reach out to your Pet, your Loved one; reach out to Goddess for She is the One Who lit the Light inside of you in the First Place!

Blessed be on this day we celebrate the Sun!