Genderbendery

Sir has been throwing ideas at me since I earned my collar.

You should take up bellydancing. Or burlesque. Try packing. Or hunting.

I’m still working on Raven’s Own, even expanding its show schedule a little this year and planning/doing a few more ambitious projects. Tafat n Kahina goes right along with it. I’m not allowed to give those up, and we can’t afford for me to give up my day job. And I can’t tell you how many projects I have to do around the house – fixing the septic lid, fixing the toilet, digging and planting the bee garden, building the food gardens, building the patio wall in the front. (Don’t misunderstand: Kitten does help and is really really good at what he knows, but he’s got a black thumb and isn’t really the handyman in this relationship. He is, however, the better cook.)

Oh, and mowing the lawn. Although I enjoy mowing, too.

You should teach a class. Maybe teach two classes. Hey, those clothes look good. Maybe you should mix music.

My dysthymia and social spoons have been in havoc for at least a year. But Sir keeps throwing ideas at me.

Go back to yoga. Pegging could be cool. Or kickboxing.

Throw enough ideas, Kitten says, and something is bound to stick.

Maybe drag kinging.

SPLAT.

Cue a 24-hour frenzy of research, YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, articles, supply resources, and even lip-sync playlists.

This is certainly not the first time it’s crossed my mind. I’ve considered packing for years. I have occasionally peeked at the DC Kings‘ website, and am now a bit pissed that I missed seeing them perform (the troupe retired in 2015 and left their website/social media up as resources and history, bless them). I’m rather content to be biologically female, but there is a part of me that craves a bit of genderfuckery. And Sir, for His part, has no objection to me doing so – in fact, would encourage it, especially as it would fit beautifully into my requirement of representing Him. He might even let me cut my hair for more than maintenance, for the first time in six years, if it’s for kinging purposes.

Oh, and spending several hours turned on at the thought of having a packer in place is no indicator at all. Because I need more projects/ideas/things to do/holes in my head. </sarcasm>

Featured image is of Landon Cider.

Early Riser.

Ain’t this your time of need?
You’re turning to the light
You have just begun to explore the dark
In the urban night

It’s been a long road. I have constantly, consistently allowed mundane things to interrupt spiritual things, including and especially my Service. A few Voices are making their way back into my life, pushing against the numbness. Raven is one, clacking His beak in my left ear since Twilight Covening. Mother Danu is another. Yesterday I think it was, I heard baby babbling on the side of my mind most occupied by Her and was confused.

The world is on fire
And you are here to stay and burn with me
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forevermore

She explained. The side of my mind most occupied by my Lover and Sir has been numb. I’m having a hard time Hearing because I’ve allowed life to close me down.

This morning that changed.

You’re so goddamn frail
Failing for a change
You just had to know all about the world
But you will never know
‘Cause no one ever told you how

The past few years, Sir has gone through the entire growth process. Dying at Samhain, reborn at Yule, a child at Imbolc, and so forth. This year, this morning, He burst through in a massive shiver, a whisper of Explore your darkness with Me, along with the song I was listening to on my commute.

The world is on fire
And you are here to stay and burn with me
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forever

The world is on fire
And we are tied as one eternally
A funeral pyre
And we are here to revel forevermore

Not only does He like Ghost, apparently, but He decided He would come back to adulthood NOW. I have been numb for much too long.

*the video is fan-made.

“Rest.”

“Rest,” she says, and licks my nose.

Neighborhood Bear

At Twilight Covening, for the first time, I worked with Mama Bear.

She watched me start my first Journey, trying to find the biggest hurt I carried, watched as I went over every “what if” and “should have” and “why am I not better at this?” It took longer than it felt – apparently everyone in my clan went deeper than we thought. “What if” and “should have,” apparently, are my biggest hurts, the things my brain weasels bring up every time I have a down.

She supervised as Raven brought in His unkindness, His conspiracy, and took me apart, piece by piece, removing the masks and the layers and the identities and the skin and meat and sinew while the trees reached up with their roots to hold me there. She grunted and roared and told Him to hurry up as He claimed my very core, claiming me as one of His own while Sir nodded in agreement.

She walked with me in the last Journey, helping me navigate as I shifted into something part-bear, part-stag, part-raven, and napped on the rock in the sunshine. She licked my nose in good humor and patience, waking me from that last Journey.

She will not walk with me much further; I am Claimed by too many others, after all, and my path is not hers. But her lessons ring still, even as my Sir and Lover dies, even as Mother Danu grows quiet and thoughtful, even as Cousin Ganesha retreats. Her lessons are repeated by the soft “awk” in my ear, the gentle clacking against my hair.

“Rest,” she said. “Learn to do less. Learn to expect less of yourself. Wick has named you West Virginia Mountain Mama. Mountains may move slowly, but their movement changes the world.”

“Slow down,” she said.

“Rest,” she said.

Reintegration by force

I came home from Twilight Covening last night, late. Around 4:00, as my passengers and I were finally hitting signal off the mountain, my Kit called. He had left messages that I could not get until I got off the mountain.

His sister died Saturday morning.

It’s complicated. We don’t yet know the circumstances for certain. She was not an easy person to deal with, not because of an unpleasant personality, but because – in a nutshell- she was an addict with bipolar disorder who left behind three children who had been removed from her care, as well as parents she used up whenever it suited her and a brother and nephews who were exasperated by 25 years of bad behavior.

But she was still family. There was someone there I never got to meet – someone they knew from long ago, someone funny and kind and smart, someone buried by illness and addiction and bad choices and “it’s all good no matter what happens” denial – and so they mourn her.

I have never returned from a retreat with such a cold, abrupt, forceful shift back into reality. Processing hasn’t happened yet. My reintegration day is a shattered mess. My desire to be strong for my Kit, for my family and clan-by-marriage, is warring with my inability to resume immediate control, since my whole amazing incredible weekend was spent surrendering that control.

There was no good way for it to happen; the outcome is unavoidable, and I blame no one. I’m not sure I even blame her. I was angry in ways and for reasons I won’t dwell on here. After a hard cry this afternoon, a fight with the instincts of wanting to be the caretaker and wanting time to come back from the Mountain, I have found a place of calm.

I cannot hold up my Kit or my clan right now, not the way I would normally. I am still caught between Mountain and Mundane. But right now I can be there. It is a start.

Twilight Covening comes again.

I have missed it for the past two years. Now that things are stabilizing financially (thanks to Kit’s new job), I am going back to Twilight Covening.

Of late, I have been utterly overwhelmed by Life. This, if you’ve been around for a while, is not unusual. We’re still in the midst of the House Saga (very close to actually buying it now, thanks to family help). There’s still stuff to unpack, because my nerves about being able to stay kept me from unpacking much more. We’ve had a plumbing problem in the kitchen that we might (might) have finally solved. And add to that doctor stuff, anxiety stuff, day-to-day responsibilities, and business stuff, and BOOM. There goes the spiritual life again.

I feel like one of the weirdest godslaves ever, really.

I did manage Ganeshotsav this year, good and proper, including the nose piercing I still owed Him. And we finally got the main altars set up. That all helped immensely.

But going back to Twilight Covening is a relief… and utterly nerve-wracking.

The selection process was shockingly easy for me. And I got my first choice – Kodiak, which is built to help us learn to nourish our Work and our Selves. This is part of why I’m relieved, because yet again, I’m restless and exhausted and way too often on the edge of burnout.

No, I didn’t keep up with yoga. No, I didn’t keep imced or the Fool in balance. No, I didn’t keep any of the lessons I learned at my last Twilight in 2013. I’ve let Life overwhelm me again, and over and over again let me berate myself for being a lazy Pagan and a bad godslave and everything else, which is a cycle that is really terrible, honestly, and you shouldn’t do that and neither should I, but welcome to my brain.

So I need this. I need this badly, and Kit’s insistence that I go, that I use part of his hard-earned first paycheck to register, is a relief.

But I’ve missed two years of the mountain. And going back after being away from anything so long makes me nervous as hell. I’m back to being that, “Oh no, trying new things, help?” person, at least for the moment.

Sir is quiet. Danu my Mother is quiet. Ganesha my Cousin is quiet. The Folk and Redwing and Raven (who has more say in my life these days), and Tamalut… they wait. Not to see what I’ll do, not to see if I’ll fail. They wait for me to learn and to grow and to find my way out of the hole I keep putting myself in. They set the path. I need to turn my feet to walk it more often, and more consistently. For my own health; for my own heart; for my own healing.

So back I go. Back to the cold stone, the warm leaves, the high mountain, the low sky. Back I go.

The Season of Darkness

Spring may be coming, but I received a distinct reminder last week that it isn’t here yet.

I drive about an hour each way to work these days, and living in the boonies, I see a lot more variety in road kill these days. Near the day job, I see mostly skunks, deer, and skunks.

So. Many. Skunks.

"I am adorable and will kill you with smell if you hit me."

“I am adorable and will kill you with smell if you hit me.”

Anyway, there’s more variety when you live out towards the country. Still lots of deer, still a few skunks, but also foxes, possums, raccoons, the occasional cat, even an owl. But surprisingly, it wasn’t in the country where I got this reminder.

Not five minutes from my office, on the main highway, I saw a distinctly canid form. I couldn’t stop that day, intended to stop the next. And of course, the next day, I blew right by and had a short debate with myself.

You can always stop tomorrow, said Mother, who has been very talkative of late.

No. No, I couldn’t. I turned around, got back to where I needed to go to safely pull off the road, and got out of the car.

That’s My girl, Mother said to me.

It was definitely not a domestic canine. She almost She almost didn't look real.didn’t look real. I’d never been so close to a wild one, and she was definitely long gone. I took one picture so that I could identify her later, placed a hand near her paw, said a few words, and walked back to my car.

I showed the picture to Kitten later. She was a coyote, although not apparently a healthy one. She did not appear to have been hit and thrown, but had perhaps simply died near the road, and while coyotes aren’t afraid of people in the first place, they’re normally far too clever to simply get hit. One way or another, this winter was hard on her, and she didn’t survive it.

Spring is coming. But the winter’s darkness isn’t over yet.

Just bought a Thing.

I’ve been meaning to buy this Thing for quite a while. First, I demurred. We had enough books; we have books in storage; I don’t read any of my books anyway.

Then it was finances. We couldn’t spare it; we were already living with a friend and socking away everything we could in order to find a place of our own.

Today, I read a very nice little article on beginning a devotional practice. In it was a link to the Thing.

I bought the Thing today.

This may be a very interesting year.