I’m teaching! And it’s free! Wait, what?

Yes, that’s right, I’ve–I was going to say ‘gone into the teaching business’ but since I’m already a teacher and I’m not doing this course (at least yet) as a business, that’s a bit misleading to say.

What is true is that I’ve setup an online practical magick school:  TerraArcanum.org.  And the first course offering is up, and it’s free to anyone and everyone who registers into it by March 15, 2017.  It’s a 12 month course on the Qabala, more specifically on the Practical Qabala.  It’s a basic, introductory course, focusing on experiencing the Qabala through meditation, energy work and discussion.  The discussions are strongly encouraged, either online through a group devoted to it or in person.  I’ll be hosting in person teas to accompany the course (okay, to be completely honest, I’m doing the course to accompany the teas!) and encourage anyone else who is inclined to do the same.  What better reason to get together with like minded folk than to sit down over a hot (or cold) beverage to discuss mysticism and magick?

Seriously, this is a limited time opportunity.  Go on over to the course page and sign up now, before it’s too late.  Or at least before I make you pay for it (that would be on March 15, 2017).  Go now.

Go here.

Are you still on this page?  Silly person!  Go to Terra Arcanum now and avoid FOMO.

In all honesty, and sincerely, I hope that anyone who will find this useful and of interest will join in on the process.  It’s an offering I can make to the world. Happy New Year!

Healing is like cleaning house…woot?

It always needs to get done.  Rarely get a break.  Always need to do more.

I used to hate cleaning.  I still often have days of less appreciation, but I’ve improved my relationship with it.  I’ve come to feel the connection between the act of cleaning and the magic of cleaning.  When every act of cleaning becomes a magical act, it has, for me, greater purpose, and thus a greater appeal for getting it done.  Plus, I really love living in a clean home.

It’s actually a bit of a treat now rather than a relentless torture.

Even though I will need to do it again later today and tomorrow and next weekend.  There are always more dishes.  More dirty clothes.  The floors get dirty.  Dust falls on everything.  Then there are the pets.  Since they don’t have the wherewithal to eliminate into the toilet, there’s all that associated cleaning, too.  And closets!  Wow, closets are a dangerous zone.  They get organized a time or two throughout the year, and if that organization is maintained, everything is good.  But it’s sooooo tempting to just put that one thing back quickly rather than properly and before you know it, the whole closet has gone to shit and you’re looking at a major overhaul before it will be fully useful again.

But when I put the effort in to putting things away properly, in the closets, in the teeny, teeny kitchen.  In my office area.  When I use things and then complete their usage by putting them away, all becomes beautiful in the living.  But the cleaning will always be there, behind everything I do, and an ongoing work on its own behalf.

That’s what healing is like.  I’m thinking of emotional trauma and old physical trauma and habits healing.  Things that have become embedded into us.

When I first started down my ‘oh shit, I have sexual trauma in my background, I’m going to need to do some work on this’ road, my original viewpoint was ‘let’s get this done and over with so we can go back to living a fun and worry free life’.  (Yes, apparently I am referring to myself in the 3rd person.)  And yes, I had this cheerful delusion that I could face it, deal with it, and have it all be over with in a year.  Maybe two.

That was over 15 years ago.

Today I know that healing is an every day thing.  Today I will do some healing for my nervous system.  Some.  And tomorrow will come some more.  There will be big days, where I clear through a lot in one go; those epic healing days, like the epic cleaning days, that are intensely satisfying and make you feel like you’ve really accomplished something.

But just as with cleaning, it takes less effort, and life is generally easier to live, when the healing is done in small doses on a regular basis.  Slipped on a rock and fell?  Take that extra minute and let the nervous system work it out now instead of having more troubles later.  Delivery company pissing you off?  Have a healthy response of useful aggression (non-violent) instead of bottling up everything inside to eat at you later.  As the day-to-day cleaning, ah, healing, settles in, then when there’s time for a deeper clean, we can actually go a bit deeper instead of just catching up on the little things.  If the dishes are already done, things put away, then that extra time goes to washing floors or wiping down cabinets, instead of just catching up on the little things.  (Called titration, btw.)

And the absolute, inescapable truth is that the healing is going to go on for the rest of our lives.  We’ll get so good at it that the effort will go down.  Then we’ll get so caught up on it that the effort will go down.  (Or alternatively, we’ll just let it all pile up and ignore it – but I’m assuming we’re all in the ‘want to deal’ group.)

Some days we won’t bother with healing.  And things will pile up a bit, and we’ll need to catch up on another day.  And that’s okay.  Because it will be waiting for us tomorrow.

When the healing is big and scary and overwhelming, the idea that it won’t end can seem like we’ve been sentenced to some level of hell.  That we are doomed to suffer until the end of our days.  Except not.  Healing isn’t hell.  It just needs to take us through things that can feel hellish in our systems until we’ve worked things out.  Have you ever done physiotherapy?  Not always fun.  Sometimes downright torturous.  But afterwards?  If done well, afterwards is a veritable treat.

Healing our selves and our souls and our spirits is just what we do.  So that we can live life to the fullest, in all our corners, bright and dark.

Legacy

Went by my old work place today.  Was smart and paid for the all-day parking, because once I get talking with old friends, there’s just no stopping.

It’s been two years and things have progressed along the way they do in a large organization.  Some things changed.  Many things haven’t.

I saw my successor: smart, strong, confident in my old office chair, catching me up on the recent changes.

We met years ago at an HR workshop.  I sat down beside her and discovered I knew her mother (technically she introduced herself and I cried out “oh my god, you’re Judy’s daughter!).  In the workshop they asked what we were trying to figure out in our lives at the time, what chances we wanted to take.  She wanted to take a chance on a new job.  Turned out I was looking to hire an HR Manager for a medical leave coverage.  Two years later she’d moved from our HR Manager, through special projects, into my job.  She was nervous and worried she couldn’t manage the financial aspects.  I had complete faith.

My faith has been rewarded.  More than rewarded.  She is flourishing, as is the Department I left in her care.

For the second year in a row, I stopped by on front office holiday decoration day.  (I have a gift for showing up when there’s treats?)  They set up the tree, put up lights, ate some goodies, decorated with bows and boxes and greenery.

The tree is an old, fake tree.  It was actually mine.  When I moved into my current home I made a personal vow that if I couldn’t fit an item into my apartment, it had to go, no storage room pileups for me!  So one early morning I took my old, fake Christmas tree to the office (when I still worked at one) and snuck it into the storage room with the rest of the holiday gear.  It was accompanied in that trip by a bunch of old ornaments that didn’t make the dear-to-me cut and an old tree skirt my mother made for me when I moved into the basement.

As I walked past the closed front office on my way out of the building today, there was that tree, standing small and kind of proud, with lights and garland, decorations I recognized from my years setting up the tree there and from my old personal collection and beneath it was the tree skirt from my mother.

(Side note:  it turns out you can’t anonymously donate a tree to a department without causing incredible kerfuffle, because apparently people don’t believe in magic tree faeries and start wondering if someone stole the neighbouring Department’s tree when they weren’t looking.  In the end I had to confess to my donation.  Sadness.)

There were a number of other little reminders, little moments when I could smile and point my internal, mental finger at it and go ‘hey, I helped bring that into being!’  You know, reminders of basic operational practices that I helped create and that are still useful and going strong, things like that.

I have left a gift of legacy.  I wasn’t perfect, and by the end I was far from perfect, but still.  I see my successor and hold deep pride that I helped bring her to that place, for her and for the Department.  I see my tree and skirt and can literally see that in odd, small ways I have left behind parts of my self that still serve.

I am honoured to be proud.

I didn’t plan it.  It just happened.  Legacy.

Violet
~The Abysmal Witch

Because He Knows I Love Him

During the month of October in 2016, my dear beloved Mason (I also have the usually a pleasure of residing with Bastion, his black tabby brother), went through a rather terrifying series of events resulting from an error in medication that essentially poisoned him and nearly killed him. (So far, he’s still with us!)

There have been many new experiences and some new thoughts through all this.  I had a few realizations, and at least a few I would like to share, from when Mason was staying at the kitty hospital:

When he passes from me, when my heart breaks, tomorrow or years from now, it doesn’t matter, I will be at some base level okay with it.  Because he knows that I love him.  I may get angry or frustrated and I’m not always a great companion but I love him and them, so completely.

It is always in my heart and sometimes I wonder if they do know it’s always there, if he wonders why I torture him so with this vet.  And then I truly see him, just as he is.  He knows I love him.  And that I take his love into me, deeply and completely.

And he forgives me when I fail to take his offering of love in the moment, preferring to do whatever it is before my eyes.

And I forgive him and them for when they want nothing to do with me.

None of us are perfect, but we love, deeply, wholly, completely.  And so I fear, and one day I will grieve, and I will still know myself blessed and without regret, because he knows I love him, just as deeply as I know he loves me.  (And I hope he forgives me the vet trip [naturally he does, all turns out fine].  I miss him and I want to hold him.  And hopefully get to bask in his love again {please forgive me for the indignities!}).  He lives, we continue, we love and will love.  I could really use a period of easy, calm day-to-day normalness though.

I am oddly proud of how I have handled it all.  I stayed with the moment, all the moments.  I have stayed with my feelings.  I did not anticipate the potential depth of problems (much), iotw I didn’t pre-worry about what might happen; I stayed with what was actually happening.  I was present, fully and completely, for him (and his brother).  I did what I needed to do to look after them first, our home second, me third (with the total exception to the above for the necessary basics to keep me going:  work, food, sleep).  And I stayed connected to them both, as much as possible, in each moment as they came.

Tonight precursors the future.  It is myself and one brother cat.  The other isn’t here.  One day this will happen.  Unless by some bizarre circumstance both of them go at the same time, there will be a day when this is the reality.  One cat.  Brother gone.  Just two of us (plus snakes shhhh).  We will go from 3 to 2.  (And then 1 but shhhh on that too, we really needn’t talk of it now, eh?).  My heart will break.  But only because it has been so completely filled.

O Nap

O Nap

Thou divine purveyor of the little death
Granter of restoration
And serenity most needed
Why are we kept apart?
What is this dogged and evil force
Driving itself between us
As the day rams itself
Between dusk and dawn

O Nap
It has been too long
Since thy loving embrace
Has taken me down
Light or deep
Short or long
O Nap thy arms I miss!
As the eagle misses the wind
And the gopher their hole

Without thee, O Nap
My life is fraught with living
With doing and necessity
And blurry-eyed and burning
Bone-dragging and flesh sagging
Weariness beyond hope
Beyond surcease

O Nap
Come once more unto me
I beg of you
And you come!
Dressed in your simpleness
Of pillow and blanket
Needing naught else
To offer me comfort
Yet by the world we are denied
I am torn from your loving hands
Almost before we could touch
Thrust into light
Bound by practical necessity
To my feet and my waking

O Nap
Will you wait for me?
If I come to you in three hours
Will you be there?
Waiting for me?
Or will you forsake me
For my unintended fickleness
I pray that this be not so
That your warmth
Your caress
The cocoon of revival you offer
Shall await my arrival.

As soon as the world allows
I come to you
In love and desperation
I come to you
In stumbling fuzzy headed exhaustion
I come to you

Wait for me.
Just wait.

~Violet, The Abysmal Witch

Elvira: my inspiration

Yes, I’m talking Elvira, Mistress of the Dark:

elvira

In 1988 the movie, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark came out.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.  It’s a fabulously fun, magical romp perfect for this time of year.

It was addictive for me back in its day.  I don’t know that I ever thought about why, but today I know it.  Re-watching it I felt what I had when I was younger.

She inspires me to personal empowerment.  (The timestamps below are but single examples easily pulled out, there are multiple examples of each of these throughout the movie.)

She’s fearless and generous (picking up the hitchhiker timestamp: 7:49, for example), protects herself (tosses said killer hitchhiker out of the car and tosses his axe after him timestamp 8:00).  Care for others balanced with looking out for her own needs.

She is embodied sexuality (no need to explain that one) and yet she doesn’t sell herself (timstamp 38:52 the real estate agent starts hitting on her-I appreciate her obvliousness- “Just because this house is up for grabs, doesn’t mean I am” to 39:20).

She has no problem saying no (17:15).  Even when dealing with assholes she often retains a sense of humour, rather than becoming embittered (18:00).

Despite her intense sexuality and forthrightness she listens to what the guy she’s attracted to wants in the moment, letting him redirect her advances to something he can deal with (he’s shy it seems) (55:16 to 56:46).

She gets angry, she gets even, she does the best she can while being far from perfect.

She does not apologize for who she is.

Ever.

And that’s why she’s a hero of mine.  All of it, but particularly that lack of apology.  And her complete comfort in her sexuality.  Both things I aspire to.

 

Self Care

I recently read a great article on self care.  As we discussed it briefly on FB, I summed up a friend’s commentary as “self care is setting yourself up for future success”.

Self care can be bunny slippers, hot baths, pedicures and long walks.

Yet more often these days I see self care as taking a nap when I realize I’m getting too tired.  Forcing myself to take care of at least one practical thing per day.  Eating healthy food as much as my energy levels can manage.  Trying to keep my place organized and cleaned as I can so that when I want to do something I don’t need to clean or find things in order to do it.

The more prepared I am.  The more organized things are.  The easier everything else gets.

I am told that I am efficient.

I am not efficient (well, I am, but that’s not how I define it).  I’m not, I’m lazy.  I want to make the least amount of effort possible to make things happen because (sometimes) I’m lazy or (sometimes) I’m just too tired to be able to do more than the bare minimum.

Self care ties into efficiency.  It says that since a lack of energy is typically part of the need for self care, the more efficient we can be, the less energy we will need.  Then the better we will feel.

Fear and helplessness and anxiety and depression are also often behind the need for self care.  If our lives, at a basic level, are being managed, then we will feel better.

This is not fun.  It is not easy.  It is not the joy of avoiding life in order to look after ourselves.  It is recognizing that dealing with life is a necessary part of looking after ourselves.

Adulting is often self care.

We do not need to do this to the point of making ourselves crazy again.  But making the effort to see ourselves fed?  Rested?  Rent and utilities paid?  That means something less to worry about later.

That’s a nice way to look at it sometimes.  To go, if I do this now, how much easier will it make life later?  Matched by, if we’re too tired in the moment to handle things, can this thing wait until later until I have the energy to handle it?

Self care is about taking care of what’s necessary and recognizing that part of what is necessary is that we feel rested and healthy at the end of it.  Which is why I say it is setting us up for future success.  It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole.  But with some good choices when we can, we can set ourselves up for the best future we are capable of making for ourselves:  tonight, tomorrow, and onwards.

~Violet
The Abysmal Witch

Chinook at rest

I am a delicate flower

Delicate Flower

I am raw.
My edges bruise at the faintest touch
Like a peach balanced at the edge of over ripe
Each difficulty
Each push back
Each slight murmur of error
And I am burnt with shame
Enfolded in fear
Lost in doubt
With just a soupçon of rage underlying it all

I seek bold
Fearless
UNSTOPPABLE (I’m looking at you t-rex)

These states run from me
Faster than I can chase
Or even see
And I am touched
By disquiet, disturbance, distrust
Failure looms not (not truly, not in this moment)
Yet is is my sword of Damocles
I am cursed by its weight
“I’m not touching you”
It says like an eight year old in the throes of being eight
And as unignorable
I can think of nothing else
I consider tossing away my Work
Easier to do that than live with fear
Easier to do nothing than be bound
By anxiety never-ending

I am a delicate flower
Without the luxury of living safe

I am a delicate flower and I am afraid.

 

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t know how to feel.  How to bring my emotions up to the level of my awareness and breathe them out.

I don’t know what I feel.  Am I anxious?  Stressed?  Hurt?  Angry?  There is a mishmash of emotions and all of them edged but not as much as in the recent past.  There are things gnawing at me, mild distress over choices made that apparently went wrong, feeling judged, feeling wrong.

I don’t know if I’m wrong or right.  Where do my actions sit on the appropriate line?  Does it even matter?  Probably not.  It isn’t a global catastrophe or even a localized one.  Just a sense of unsettled and unright.  Which is not the same as wrong.

I don’t know if there’s anything more to do.  Should I do more?  Should I care?  Should I do less?

Should I walk away?

How do I put down the little worries?  How do I put down the second guessing?  How do I walk away from the endless considerations of possibilities?

I don’t know.

And that, Dear Self, is living.

IMG_1961 (1)