Saturday, December 24, 2011


I have been away, I guess you could call it, for a time lately. Well, not really away; but very much preoccupied with the little mundane things, which around here make little mewing noises; I'm nearly there with them. (At least I think that's a light at the end of the tunnel.) Three out of three feral mother-cats have been trapped, spayed, and released, four out of four new adopted nearly grown by now kittens have been neutered, two out of three little kittens have been captured and are socializing up quite nicely in the dining room (they purr and come running when they see me now). That just leaves one single kitten still outside, born to a feral mother who has since been spayed. This single feral kitten worries me a bit, though; it is solid grey and very very long-haired, especially given the wintry weather. It is also very shy, unlike its two brothers who are in the dining room now. And I suspect it is female. It is of such a color and fluffiness that I cannot tell; grey isn't sex-linked, like say calico, or even marmalade, and honestly, its butt is just too damned fluffy to see if there is anything there. So I worry. I did get to pat it a little today for the first time, by putting a plate of wet food just between my feet. I had been trying to seduce this one with toys but wasn't getting very far, and it is getting older and older day by day and further and further from being able to be properly socialized. It does not help that I don't know exactly how old it is.

The other thing that is going on is rather deeper, deep enough I'm not sure how much I want to get into here. Let's just say there are some, well, issues with my family, ones the holidays are not helping at all. I have also been exploring the past, and with that and the current not-so-fun shall we say present, I have been processing a lot of stuff. And I mean a lot. And it's only the beginning, probably.

I used to be really big on Tarot; that has gone into a bit of a lull for the past few years. But I still like to figure out my Tarot year, which you do by adding up the numbers of your birthday and month, plus those in the current year. And for me, 2011 was a Tower year.

I am not surprised, not at all. This past year has been exactly that, and it's not over yet. Though it does help, I think, to know this. Instead of lightning randomly striking my life, unexpectedly smashing apart this structure to fall down on top of me, I have managed, somewhat, to pull it down myself. I think that makes a world of difference, though I am not saying I am having an easy time, oh no, nor that I am in any kind of control, really. But at least I know what I am seeing.

So. Next year is the Star for me. I am very much looking forward to that little glimmer of light, as per the story in the last post, though that wasn't on purpose. I am also glad, very glad, that the darkness of the year has turned now, though I still feel like I can't see in the dark, which is disconcerting, because I usually can.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Oh, I wanted to ask:

Did anyone else experience that blinding brightness this summer? I had asked around, a little, to some Witchy sensitive sorts I know but they didn't know what I was talking about. I'm sure it's got a lot to do with where I was, but at the same time it really felt like a bigger phenomenon than just me, like a few years back when the Veil felt really thin.

Like I said it felt like this: like I was looking through a pane of dusty glass, upon which the sun was shining so brightly that everything was just this haze of brightness, and I couldn't see, See, much of anything.

Anyone know what I'm talking about?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


So I was wandering about the 'net today in between feeding/medicating kittens (I've brought all seven of them in the house as fosterlings, to eventually go to the no-kill shelter in of all places Salem, Massachusetts, to be adopted, where they will hopefully make very fine familiars to some lucky Witches. Ratty and Danny Lion and Aleister Meowley, of course, are staying here) when I found my way to this article by the Skeptical Historian:

Satanic Panic: an Incident from the Witchcraft Panics of the 1980s

Scroll down to the third picture. See that pasty dark-haired chick in the pale green gown? That's me.

Ah, what memories. That was my first taste of just how fucked-up and abusive police can be. I've never forgotten it. I'd say, in fact, that that incident was instrumental in making me the devout anti-authoritarian I am today.

Funny thing is, that though I'm pretty sure that I am the person referred to here,
Most recently, the wife of a local resident reported "a girl with a witch costume on" walking along the road. This was in reality one of Eagan's friends, who happened to be tall, thin, and wore a long dark cloak.
I didn't even identify as a Witch, or as a Pagan, at the time. Back then I would have said I was agnostic, or areligious, or even an atheist. (Also, last I knew five foot three wasn't exactly 'tall'. Ah, journalists).

I of course was outraged at the time, though at nineteen years old I could not articulate even a tenth of what was so fucked up about it all. Now reading that article I see so much more of it. For example, I hadn't at the time cottoned on to the fact that only us girls got frisked; but now that they mention it why yes, come to think of it, that is true. Lovely.

Now I know that compared to some of the fruits of the Satanic Panic of the 80s what happened to myself and my friends is hardly a blip on the radar. No one did jail time; no one was even 'officially' arrested, though if you don't feel you are free to leave while the police question you is there a difference?

It is still, however, outrageous. And looking up some of the key players, the police officer who led the whole 'raid', and the 'reporter' who pretty much just made shit up, it does appear that they both still have jobs. Assuming that the policeman of the same name who works in a town not too far from the original incident is the same man; the 'reporter' now works in PR, where, fair enough, I suppose the job requirement in large part is the ability to lie. I am not surprised, I suppose, but I do like the idea of justice. No one ever got an apology, after all, even when they finally got it through their heads that none of what they were accusing us of, or 'reporting' on, was in the least bit true.

I suppose there is a lot more I could say about all this, and maybe someday I will go into it in more depth, but right now I will say that what happened at Wompatuck State Park is one of the big reasons I am so out about my religion now. Because I've seen what deliberate ignorance can do.

Also, it still pisses me off.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Mother

I have never wanted to be a mother; that is just how I am. I have enough to do in attempting to see to my own needs, never mind those of a dependent child. I am furthermore so introverted that the mere presence of an ordinary dog will drive me up the wall because of its constant expectation of attention.

So when I think about the Maiden-Mother-Crone archetype that middle bit, for me, is just sort of a blank. Even as a little girl I was uninterested in baby dolls. Dolls that looked like little girls, like friends, like me, sure, but ones that were like babies? I just didn't see the point.

So I've never much understood the Mother archetype. Oh I've been able to sublimate it when say thinking about my artwork, or the way I have nurtured aspects of my life. But the direct, hands-on experience of having actual children? No, and no thank you.

Now. You may have heard there is a kitten 'situation' in my yard at present. Without going into too many details (as it's all a long convoluted story) let me just say there are already some Plans in the works involving the local trap-neuter-release people. Because the phrase 'spiralling out of control' does come to mind.

As part of that long story (and if you would like more details I have also written about it at Tetanus Burger), one of the feral kittens out there looked to have been wounded. So I took her to the vet, where it turned out it wasn't a wound after all (which is good, because in my state the rabies laws will kick in if you don't know where a wound came from); instead it was these horrible things called cuterebra.

I know. The Goddess cares for all Her children. All of them. That includes both kittens and parasites. That in fact even includes parasites that squick me right the fuck out. You can google that word above if you're brave, but ai yi watch out for the pictures.

But the vet cleared it all up and got rid of the nasty things; and he gave me some antibiotics and instructions to keep her wounds clean. Said wounds are however rather deep and will take some time to heal, most likely.

So here's the thing. This kitten is just over three weeks old. She is still suckling, and is not weaned. But I'm pretty close to positive that if I just put the kitten back with her mother that one, she'll move them some place I can't find them, and two, that place will inevitably be down in the dirt and rust, which means the wound will never stay clean. And given what that kitten's been through already it seemed counter-productive to just put her back outside.

So I decided to bottle feed her. At three weeks old it's not nearly as much work as it could be; newborn kittens require feeding at three-hour intervals. Still, at three weeks she needs feeding something like five or six times a day.

Any of you who are mothers, does this sound familiar?

Now I know it's not like a human baby, not really. For one thing this stage will not last very long at all and in two weeks or less the little thing will be on solid food.

But still. It's amazing, and crazy. I have to get up at six to feed it, and so there I am measuring formula into a bottle, taking the chill off it by putting the bottle in a bowl of warm water, then measuring the temperature by putting a drop on my wrist. My mother laughed when she saw the bottle standing in the bowl; just like a baby, she said. Well, how else are you going to do it?

I've also started going through towels very quickly. There seems to be an awful lot of laundry all of a sudden. How does that work? It's a kitten, for crying out loud; she's not soiling any nappies, or drooling on her onesies!

It is remarkable how much of this Mother energy, this Mother archetype, is about the very basics. Yesterday I made a chart so I could keep track of how much she is taking in at each feeding, since she needs to eat a certain amount by weight. I bought myself a little food scale so I could see how much she weighed (ten ounces yesterday; eleven today). That chart of course also has a space for what comes out the other end, because that is very important too.

Young kittens can't eliminate waste on their own; in nature the mother will lick the kitten to stimulate it. This means that I've had to gently rub the kitten's butt with a warm damp paper towel until something comes out.

This morning when I looked in the carrier where I've been keeping her, I was happy, yes, actually happy to see a proper turd in there—that means that the kitten is able now to do that on her own. So I was all like, OMG milestone!

Holy cow.

Though I'm not sure I'll be winning any Mother of the Year awards. The poor thing is rather a hot mess, honestly, what with the gruesome-looking wounds on her neck and the fact that she's pretty much completely coated in sticky formula because there's just no neat way to do it. I've tried to clean it off as best I can but she does wiggle. Because despite the wounds she is very much alive: she's talkative, strong, fat, and gaining weight, which is good, very good.

And she has learned to purr. Yesterday it came in little fits and starts; today she's got a nice steady rumbling going. She's also started to play, a little, I think, though it's hard to tell; she's pretty uncoordinated yet.

And even though I have no desire to be a mother, here is this kitten on my lap, so small she fits into my curled hand, purring and looking up at me with those big dark eyes. She does, it is true, look a little confused: What's wrong with my ears? Why don't I have fur? Why am I so freakin' huge? But none of that really matters to her, I guess, because I am her mother now.

Here is a picture. It's rather blurry, but you can see how small she is:


Friday, June 10, 2011


It has occurred to me that after all that talk of the kitten 'round these parts it was a terrible oversight—nay, downright cruel of me—to not have posted a picture of the little guy. I do apologize.

Here he is today, hanging out in Celsiana the damask rose:

He has a name, too. Like Sir Isaac Mewton, he has been named for another great Englishman: Aleister Meowley.

Although, last night I thought of another great name, after yet another Englishman: Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Mewart. I imagine I'm the only one who'll get that reference, though.

It's either the Beast or the Brigadier. Hmmm.

Attention, Part Two

I don't have a lot to say lately, it's true; I am still feeling very blocked artistically, though there is a pressure behind it, I think. I wish I could figure out how to open it up, a little. I fear an explosion if left long enough.

There is a little kitten living in my downstairs garage now. His mother is feral, or semi-feral, and in her wisdom (or Bastet's) she has left the kitten in my care. I have been feeding him, and playing with him, and handling him, and he is as tame as any proper house-cat I've known. That is, in fact the plan; the two house-cats are both over ten years old now, and I like to overlap cats, so it's about the right time for me to get another.

He's met Maude already, several times; she will hiss at him if he gets too close, but otherwise she's content to just sit there with him a couple feet away. She's mellow, though, and has encountered a kitten before (Sir Isaac Mewton). Mewton himself is the one I'm worried about since he can get a little odd. So I'm taking the introductions slowly, and letting the kitten stay in the garage for now, with supervised forays into the cellar and kitchen to get his scent in the house a little, and no contact with Mewton just yet. I've introduced him to ham, vanilla ice cream, and the little plastic ring you pull off the gallon milk bottle-cap; I imagine he thinks it a very fine thing indeed to have me as a friend.

I've been out there playing with him, a lot. He will follow me around out into the back garden, though he definitely has a comfort zone of about fifteen feet from me, and if he gets spooked or uncomfortable he comes running back to sit between my feet.

So that means I've been spending a lot of time out in the back garden, just being there, sitting on the steps to the herb garden, watching the kitten weave in and out of the overflowing damask rose, jumping up on the stone wall, stalking the cricket hiding in the thyme who always stops chirping when he gets about six inches away. And I've seen the ruby-throated hummingbird attend to the kitchen sage in its unexpected bloom, and I've seen the tiger swallowtail on the malva, and the stone wall speckled with bright red spider mites; and it has become a meditation, of sorts, a way of paying attention to what is growing, blooming, changing in my back yard.

I stood there today in the downstairs garage, holding him in my hands against me, while we watched the rain fall. Just quiet, watching, for more than half an hour. He is at his absolute pinnacle of playfulness right now, about six or seven weeks, but he just sat there, looking, unafraid of the lightning and thunder, though it was really quite intense for a time.

A movement caught my eye, down on the floor, though the kitten didn't see it. It was a little brown toad which had hopped out from behind something. I was still enough, and had been for long enough, that he didn't see me. I watched him a moment later as he hopped out into the rain. I imagine it felt good on his skin, and that an amphibian must always be called back to the water, even as an adult.

And I thought: Well I'm a Witch, aren't I? Here with a quiet little kitten and a toad, watching the rain fall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


In a recent post, Co-Creation with the Landbase Requires Deep Attention Hecate asked:

How deep is your attention to your landbase? How deep is your landbase's attention to you? Who's leading the dance?

I read her post and I thought, well, I've been known to pick up trash along the side of the road, down the street from me in that patch of woods; I've also climbed down into the local mill stream and uprooted a purple loosestrife or two, which is a horribly invasive species in these parts, and if left to its own would swath the entire little river in purple and crowd out every last one of the native plants. I've done that several times, actually; I don't know that I will ever eradicate it, but dammit I'm going to slow it down as much as I possibly can.

And I thought, well, that's something I guess. Not much, and not as much as I'd like to do, but something.

And then I realized:

Oh. This yard.

I have mentioned this before, but let me explain it again: my father was a compulsive hoarder. He was also a mechanic, and worked on old Volkswagens from a garage on the property. He was here, on this land, in this house, since 1960.

For forty-odd years he not only didn't throw much of anything away, he actively went out looking for junk and brought it home.

This yard was, and this is no exaggeration, a junkyard. In the 90s, when it was at its worst, there were, and I am not making this number up, seventy-eight junk cars on the property. An acre and a half sized piece of residential property.

Seriously, you won't believe it (unless you are unfortunate enough to be related to a hoarder yourself) unless you see it. So I'm going to direct you to a video my sister shot back in 1992 (I tried to post it here but got an error, so I have to send you there). It's a little shaky, be forewarned, but it's here, over at my other blog, Tetanus Burger.

We have been cleaning all that up.

We have been working on it for ten years now, the last five without my father, as he had a stroke in 2006 and has been in a nursing home since. And believe me, that fact has made it much easier. It was very difficult, if not impossible, to throw anything away with my father still here. This is how hoarders are, if you don't know.

Lately, beginning last spring, we've been making a real push to get it done. We are, as of last Friday, down to nineteen junk cars. Looking at the video, and the pictures my sister took from back then, I'd say we're about three quarters of the way through it all, if not further.

Now that blog, though I am of course still a Pagan while writing it, doesn't much mention that aspect of things. Mostly because I am leery of coming out to an audience that may not be so friendly; but also because it's not much to do with anything, really.

But here I can talk about my relationship with my landbase in spiritual terms. About this poor patch of abused ground, this land that I know has had oil, gas, parts cleaner, brake fluid, Godsknow what poisons spilled on it, that has been burdened with so much junk, so many piles of rotting lumber, an old rusted farm tractor, old oil tanks, lawnmowers, plastic tubs and refrigerator drawers of parts, bolts, nuts, screws—I wonder, completely seriously, if there were actually a million bolts and screws and nails here at one point—old doors, windows, salvaged boards with I'm quite sure lead paint on them, car seats, fenders, car doors, transmissions, engines sitting out in the rain, fifty-five gallon drums of broken glass, piles and piles and piles of tires, even an old giant rubber life raft; but above all iron, so much iron. We have, since we've been keeping track, removed thirteen tons of iron from this yard, and there was more before that that we don't have receipts for. We are planning on bringing some more to the scrapyard on Friday, in fact.

Raking up a section of newly-clean yard the other day over and over again we would rake away the leaves and find bits and pieces of junk, little car parts, bent rusty wire, just plain hunks of rust, and I know plenty more is buried in the dirt that has accumulated with the years. I have no idea how deep it goes down; forty years, I guess. I don't know that it will ever really be clean here.

I have not thought of all this, this huge undertaking, this burden I have inherited unwillingly, as a spiritual thing, as a way to make things right, to heal this land, well, not consciously, anyway. It has just been this horrible thing I have no choice about doing. I have not even, really, seen it as claiming space, claiming my own power, but both those things, healing and claiming power, are exactly what it is. In other words: it is a deep, deep magic that I am doing. It is Work, and a working, though I go into this with no conscious intent except to get it clean. I have not really even thought about what I want to do with this place when it is clean. Because I cannot even imagine it. It is just on the edge of overwhelming, though it hasn't claimed me yet, and so I have little space to do anything except simply act.

So I can't honestly say how much attention, never mind deep attention, I have been paying. I mean, it's true, I can tell you when the goldenrod will bloom in that patch behind the vegetable garden, around the disembodied front axle assembly from an old Citroen DS; and I can tell you that the locust and the catalpa are famously late to come into leaf, and since they are a good part of the trees in my yard it always looks bare when other places are out; and I can tell you, also, that I have three miraculous elm trees here, one quite large and thriving up by the road. I know that the snow crocus go absolutely nuts in the front yard come late winter and that there is always a family of chimney swifts in the huge old colonial chimney.

I guess that is attention after all.

I don't know what this patch of land thinks of me. I daren't even ask, yet; I need, I think, to unburden Her, this little piece of Earth, of Gaea, before I have the right to ask anything at all of Her, before I can enter into a real relationship, a free one. At least that is how it feels. That anything blooms or grows here at all is a miracle, is undeserved grace.

So I'm not sure at this point there is any dance. The priorities are different. I cannot dance with someone with a broken leg, can I? She must be healed, first.


I am here, still thinking, still, well, Musing, on all this; it goes deep. In the meantime, here is a recipe I am limerently in love with. It's another stupidly simple one, inspired by a sale at the local supermarket of overstocked Italian stuff in jars, including sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, which I had never had, and which have now made my life complete.

Zucchini with Sun-dried Tomatoes

What you do is open up the jar of tomatoes, then spoon off a teaspoon or two of the oil and put it in a good-sized frying pan on lowish medium to heat up.

Slice a zucchini up into rounds, probably a quarter to three-eighths inch thick (for those of you up in Canada, six to nine millimetres thick). Add them to the pan one layer deep (they should all fit if your zucchini isn't too big).

Pause for a moment and inhale the unbelievably gorgeous scent coming off the heated tomato-infused oil, but try not to swoon—your kitchen floor is very hard, perhaps even tile, and concussions are no fun.

You can drizzle a little more of the tomatoey oil over the top of the zucchini if you like. Flip them over somewhere in there; you'll want them browned a bit on both sides, even approaching caramelization. You kind of can't overcook these, unless they end up actually black and burnt. They ought to be quite soft all the way through.

Somewhere in there add a decent-sized spoonful of herbs. I like rosemary mortared and pestled to a powder (I'm not a fan of the little stick effect), but the more traditionally Italian tomato companions of oregano or basil would work too. Throw that in and mix a bit.

When they are getting towards done fish out about five of the tomatoes from the jar and slice them up finely. Add them to the zucchini for a bit to let it all warm up.

Then eat them, and see if you can prevent yourself from making another batch as soon as you've finished.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Okay, I've hit a block. I am still quite motivated, mind you (and thank you), just that I've gotten to a place where I don't know what's next.

You see I've undertaken the rather large task of reworking and renewing my various web endeavours whilst integrating what exists with even more web endeavours. Wait, did I say 'large'? Because really I meant hugely ginormously gargantuan holy fuck what am I doing GIGANTIC.

Ha. This particular project has had me cross-eyed ever since I decided well gosh I really probably ought to do something of the sort, which dates about to CafePress's move to cut shopkeepers' commission in the marketplace back in what 2009 now? So yeah, a while ago.

Lately I've been diddling away at the edges of it, and, while I am certainly getting stuff done that needs to get done, it's come to me that I'm not, really, going to get too far on the details without understanding the whole. And that's where I just sit and blink, or, on bad days, when my head suddenly tilts to the side, smoke comes out my ear, and I hear myself say Norman—coordinate!

I mean I know in general, I guess. I know I want my gallery website to remain more or less the same as far as its function goes; I know I want the Obscure Goddess Online Directory to still do its thing; and I know I want my CafePress shop to continue (well, probably. I still don't trust the bastards there as far as I can throw them). And mostly I just want to add a couple other kinds of shops, from other companies, you know, the whole eggs in multiple baskets thing since they each have their strengths. Also probably it would be a good idea one of these days to offer a decent selection of proper prints, ya think? So I have all these ideas.

But I'm strangely stuck. I can't even seem to get a coherent outline in general terms down, never mind breaking it down into more detail. And thinking about it, I think there are some other issues here, bigger things than just the technical html/CSS/javascript sort of things. There are some fundamental tensions to this that I'm not sure how to resolve.

First is that this work of mine is primarily religious, and I have mixed feelings at best about selling it in the first place. Oh, I know, Paganism doesn't necessarily have all that celebration of poverty and focus on the spiritual at the expense of the material stuff; still, it's in the air around us just because of the general culture and I have to deal with it somehow. There is a seriousness to it that I must respect. And yes, I understand both that irreverence is in itself holy, and that further I am myself entitled to prosperity; also, that whatever the subject, I made the damned art and it is mine. Still I don't know how to come to terms with it; so far I've just been sort of studiously ignoring it, which can only last so long. In fact I'd say my time for ignoring it is definitely up.

Also, and this probably outs me as a cynical old misanthrope, but I don't do this to be of service. I'm not sure, actually, I believe in that at all. That people find my art useful and helpful is wonderful, and gives me great joy; however it is a side effect, not a conscious intention. I can only make my art for myself, ultimately. I simply don't have the personality to put 'service' on my to-do list. The world is an awful needy place, and I am only just learning how to attend to my own needs right now.

Which leads into the second tension: public versus private. My art has my name on it, my full name, which, though it is not my birth name and certainly sounds ridiculous enough to be some crackpot pseudonym, is really my real name now. That, right there, I have found, automatically mutes me to some extent. For example on Tetanus Burger, that (anti-)hoarding blog of mine, I only go by my first name; and though if you really poke around I imagine you could find your way back to here and my real name, still, I feel so much freer there, with the result I think, that I am more honest, open, and well, funnier. I mean of course there is a different focus there and I'm sure that helps, since a lot of it is just grousing and venting; still, it's different. Probably, also, I don't care so much; it's mostly just a bit of fun, if you can call Work like that fun, anyway. But this, my art, with my real name on it, I do care about. Very much so.

Part of it is that I am very introverted, and when I say very I mean for the past several years I have consistently pinned out at 98-100% introverted tendencies on any of the various Myers-Briggs tests out there (ISFP, too, by the way). So I'm uneasy being out as an artist in the first place. But add into it that my name is in some ways a brand, because that's how it works when you're an artist, and, well, that just squicks me right the fuck out.

So I don't know what to do, or how quite to get through or around this block about these things. Though I thought writing about it here would be a start. I am open to advice, accounts of similar experience, ideas, opinions, things I could focus on, that sort of thing; even a reading I could do or something along more Witchy lines, like perhaps, duh, a reading with the very cards/artwork I'm wondering about selling, hmmm.

Anyway thank you all.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mandala for Late Winter

Looking through some photos I took last week of the first sign of the snowdrops, I was inspired to make this photo mandala:

I am always drawn to the eight or four sided ones for some reason. Grounding and stability, perhaps.

The outer ring of blue is last year's leaves, through which the buds are poking. We usually see them earlier, but last week was the first time the snow cover had melted enough. But once that was gone, things filled in fast. The snowdrops are out now, and the snow crocus are starting up.

Spring is coming, isn't it.