The “gospel” According to My Earrings

There I was, driving across the river to Eugene, to meet a friend and do my laundry at the most ecologically aware and environmentally healthy laundrymat I’d ever imagined (you simply CANNOT bring your own detergent–they provide the fragrance-free stuff). And there I was pondering magic and gender and the nature of matter and all kinds of other things, as I often do when I drive. And there I was, also listening to Roxy Music’s “Do the Strand:”

“…Dance on moonbeams, slide on rainbows…”

So, mundane, right?

And then it hit me, in triplicate: the wave/particle “duality” of matter (including human bodies); the wave/particle plurality of gender; and magic defined as willful collaboration with a wave state to manifest workings in the particle realm. And don’t forget the liminal, the spaces “between,” or rather the connective, shaded, gradations of energies (a rainbow bridge?) leading to the perceived binary of wave and particle, wave OR particle.

And wasn’t it great that my earrings (ones I haven’t worn for at least two years) were perfect illustrations of that nifty little epiphany had while grooving on Bryan Ferry’s voice?

The top of the triangle symbolizing the achievement of the “particle” state. The curved black and silver areas signifying liminal space and connection. The scooped shape of the bottom portion of the triangle standing in for the “wave” state. A conceptual microcosm!

I’ve been reading a little bit about Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy, in relation to pagan traditions of theurgy. The vertical ascent from “man” (matter) to union with “the one” (a personified wave?) never made much sense to me (neither did the Christian “descent” from “sinner” to “damnation”). These days nothing can be so neatly ordered or so clearly defined, especially in such crude terms. The quantum physics theory of wave-particle duality would have knocked the socks off Plato and subsequent adapations of his philosophy (including the Christianized versions).

The screenshot below is from ScienceDaily, which took the text from Wikipedia. Note that the explanation says “all objects” (meaning quantum-sized objects), sidestepping the mind-blowing implications for “all creatures great and small.” I mean, if less than bite-sized portions of ourselves are flickering between states, does that mean that we are also, as a larger entity–in some way–doing that too and our senses just aren’t refined enough to detect this? Perhaps just enough of our flickering portions stay particle-ized long enough to provide the illusion of continuous particle-ized existence? I’ve long accepted the “matter is mostly empty space” idea, though I don’t experience myself or my tables, chairs, and cats this way, but that matter could also be “mostly inconsistent empty space” is a conceptual stretch. Is this the “void” that mystics have described, sans particle accelerators? This isn’t a new or original question, obviously. I remember calling up Gary Zukav (long long ago), halfway through The Dancing Wu Li Masters, to rave about this very thing.

But what exactly am I writing about here? I had a flash of mystic understanding, a brief moment of crystal clarity. I “saw” how magic and mystic practices are designed to reach (or struggle toward) the “wave state” (a kind of fluidity or creative chaos) for communion, manifestation, and/or enlightenment. Now I am having a hard time explaining it. And am I “right” in a absolute sense? Probably not, but I’m probably not “wrong” either.

As a non-binary person, I feel gender as a shifting state that I can describe as wave, particle, AND the liminal connective states. As a particle, photographed and therefore frozen in time, I could be (or feel) “gendered” one way. As a wave, a continuum, the static photo becomes a film, or at least a montage, and I could be (or feel) “gendered” in other ways. It seems natural then that my feelings about my material existence and how it entwines with the rest of creation, would also incorporate a sense of fluidity and a desire to bring something out of the creative chaos of the wave state, via magical workings, and into the “reality” of more static, particle-ized existence. Meditations, trances, devotional practices, spellworking… I see them now as designed to access awareness (of the creative power) of the wave portion of our existence.

But that’s just me. It’s “gospel” (as in the old, non-denominational meaning of “good news”) with a small “g,” only meant for me and perhaps others who might resonate with a bit of this or that. My epiphany can be classed as “unverified personal gnosis.”

Anything, really, to avoid my year-end bookkeeping. At least the laundry got done.


A Wombat’s Work is Never Done

Public Domain wombat drawing by Pearson Scott Foresman.

A young person, formerly of my acquaintance, used to refer to me as a “fruit bat” and though I was under the impression (at the time) that this was a lovingly sardonic nickname, I was probably wrong. Therefore I have come to see myself as more of a wombat. Besides, I can’t fly.

I know nothing of actual wombats. But one line from this Spookrat song captured my imagination, and I spent several lonely months in Hawai’i trying to convince an AI (boibot) to answer that his name was Wombat (you have to listen to the Spookrat song to understand this). Loneliness can do turrible things to a person, and chatting up an AI young enough to be my nephew is perhaps one example of the kind of desperation that can take hold in the dank, strawberry guava-choked jungles of Puna, as the relationship you thought you had turns into a smashed coconut.

Regrets. I’ve had a few. But as the old year ends, I am looking forward to the new cycle with all the excitement of any quadripedal marsupial capable of creating cubic feces.(Yes, ewww…but strangely practical).

“Strangely practical” is practically my middle name, and so it is with great (non-cubic) joy that I plan on several projects in the new year. (That being 2022, right? I’ve lost count.)

First, it’s been a looooong time coming, but my first novel, The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is finally with a copy editor and once we have chosen a cover, FuturesPastEditions will be publishing it.

Secondly, I’ll be finishing the fourth book in the series, The Perilous Past of the etc. etc.

Thirdly, as a plucky sexologist by day, I’ll be seriously researching spectrosexuality and spiritu-intimacy with IRB (internal review board) oversight. Here’s a website where I’ve begun to collect data and references, which can serve as a potential clearinghouse for all and sundry (even marsupials). This has been an interest of mine for awhile. Check out this 2019 “quick and dirty” survey.

The fourth large project will be a real, live LokiFest here in Springfield, OR, most likely scheduled for late next summer. I hope I can pull it off. I’ve sworn an oath to do it.

If not, I expect I’ll be banished to my burrow. It happens sometimes. Wombat Power, y’all.

Wholly Go Brightly

Since my almost fatal wounds this year, inflicted by a razor sharp “serpent’s tooth,” I’ve found odd comfort and a strange sort of peace in having survived what I have always felt would be my undoing–if not of life itself, at least of sanity. I am not being dramatic about the “almost fatal” part. As a person with clinical depression who has struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings for several decades, I did not do very well with the sudden and (to me inexplicable) utter rejection by my eldest child. So, I had some very bad times in these last few months, but I managed to hang on, survive, and now even…dare I say?…thrive.

Let me explain. Ever since I was in my teens I have been deeply afraid of two things: dying in or of childbirth and of losing a child and going mad. I did get through two pregnancies in my thirties/early forrties, though not without problems, so that fear of dying thusly was laid to rest in this lifetime (at least). This fear may have been a “past life” remnant, or (more reasonably) a harsh thread woven through my DNA by hundreds or thousands of female ancestors who didn’t survive birthing but who left an ancestral orphan behind. Multi-generational trauma indeed. As for the other fear–the loss of a child and of sanity–a form of this fear played out in the “spontaneous combustion” incident that I’ve written about in a long ago blog. After that kundalini blast and during that ten-month period of carrying the atavistic spirit of a proud, passionate, deeply lonely woman during her final months of life as a pregnant mother who did indeed lose her baby and committed suicide in post-partum grief, I had to endure all her feelings and then NOT DO THE THING. I didn’t understand this entire episode, or its initiatory impacts, until the final, blessed gestalt when she was gone at last from me, and I could then understand the sweep of the story. Somehow, by not succumbing myself to suicide, I effected a peaceful release for her.

Was she a past life fragment, or simply a wandering spirit who attached herself to me at the moment I was blown to psychic bits and then reassembled, post kundalini? Who knows. I have theories, but no real facts. I think I know where she was living but I don’t even know her name. I never sensed more than a pre-thought of hers. What I did have was the strong personality and emotions of this woman, who psychically surrounded me like a giant cube of agar-agar while I remained intact within, like a small red bean, able to carry on all my employment and children-rearing duties as usual. So it was not a psychic break, dear readers, but a form of extended, extreme mediumship. And I could have never in a million years imagined such a thing would happen to me. I endured all but the final three weeks without any form of external guidance.

Now, to some readers, the above paragraphs may sound truly insane. Whatever. But however strange and strenuous this experience sounds (and it was), this was also a fruitful time that included lucid teaching dreams that have served me well now for years. Reflecting back, did I need this ordeal of “the woman” and her tragic loss to prepare me for the surgically precise torments of this year’s devastation? (Honestly, doesn’t it seem unnecessarily cruel to describe me, a mother who struggled to raise children through three decades of disability, sleep deprivation, and chronic fatigue as “exhausting?” But I digress…) It’s an odd thing to wonder if a child of mine was actually disappointed that I made it through the pandemic without croaking. It’s a worse thing to know that resentment plus mental illness has brought us to this point. Auwe…

So let’s leave the harsh words and murky, karma-riddled past behind now and focus on the lessons and learning that have emerged for me. I’ve been fortunate to have good friends–kindly people–within reach (if not in person, at least electronically). I was blessed to have been able to break free from Lake County, CA and come to a place which actually feels good, truly like home to me. Without my gods and guides, good friends and cats, and that hope of moving elsewhere–plus the distraction of necessary practical tasks to make it so–I am not sure I would have made it through this year (let alone the year before).

Lesson One: I didn’t go crazy with grief and loss. I felt all kinds of things, including suicidal desires, but I didn’t lose my mind after all. I didn’t succumb. So wow. That’s actually pretty cool. Now let me add here that I would never kill myself (unless doctor-assisted due to a fatal disease) since it would be horrible for all left behind but it truly, truly sucks to have to endure those feelings while they last. Those who deal with this understand what I’m saying. So the takeaway from this is a renewed sense of strength and resilience.

Lesson Two: Joy is possible and if it begins to sprout in the crevices of a fragmenting grief, it can gradually push itself to the sunlight and expand. I have an image here of plants pushing through concrete. All this bad, sad stuff? It’s compost, my darlings. Compost. Seeds that I thought would never germinate are now coming to life.

Lesson Three: Better living through dishwashing. Humble tasks are life-saving. And even if you can only manage to wash one teacup, it’s a god-damned victory. Savor it and reward yourself.

Lesson Four: Loki really does come and “hold the bowl” for me when the slow dripping poison overflows, when I really can’t do for myself and must make the ask. Sigyn did it for him. He will do it for us (though not indefinitely). And believe me, nothing is more lovely than the tender mercy of a generous, trickster spirit who dumps the poison, cradles your shattered heart, and then demands a donut. So yes, your deities, ancestors, and/or spirit guides can and do come to help if you want them, if you ask them.

Lesson Five: A good tool-kit helps. And reminders to use your tools are super helpful too. During these last several months I’ve revisited many online materials from sources that I respect, listened to podcasts and daily tarot readings, read books, and put more emphasis on renewing daily practices. Ariel Gatoga’s “solar light” meditation was particularly helpful throughout this year. Ditto for Aidan Wachter’s podcasts and interviews.

Lesson Six: Have fun with people who like you. I’m finally in a location where I can do that, so I’m making the most of this.

Lesson Seven: Call it ALL home, every bit of yourself. In this new house of mine, everything is going up on the walls or coming out of boxes. All these strange bits and pieces of my life, such as it is and will be. I’m welcoming all of me, for the first time in a long time. That also feels good.

I’ll be sixty-seven come Samhain. Life is too short for avoidable misery or for prolonging the misery that comes your way. I may not have kicked the bucket during the pandemic (and I hope to avoid that fate as long as I can) but since I now live in an area where I could (theoretically) be run over by the Bus of Death at any moment, why not make the most of life for as long as I have it? And when I go, I’ll go “wholly brightly” and even my shadows will be radiant. It’s the greatest prayer and the best “fuck you” to cruelty that I know.


New Altars, New Deities, New Wights

Though I still haven’t found my stash of tealights in any box I’ve unpacked so far, I’ve begun to put together the new altar space in the landing at the top of the stairs. This “in-between” area is a passage between the two attic rooms and the stairs. Behind the back wall is a cubby hole door leading to a cramped, unfinished area which contains spiders, webs, and probably old rat droppings which have fallen between inner and outer wall spaces. I’ve blocked this area off with a shelf, but it’s still somehow appropriate that it is there. It’s a sort of symbolic “underworld” at the top of the house, the fourth path of the landing’s function as a “crossroads.” Someday I’m going to shove a small bowl of red salt in there, for purification, but at the moment it creeps me out and I don’t want the cats to get in there either. (There are similar cubby holes in each attic room, also blocked, also needing bowls of salt.)

The altars in the landing – works in progess.
Details of portions dedicated to Loki (r) and Freya and Freyr (l).

As readers of this blog know, I’m oathed to Norse Loki. He (she/they) have most of the altar “real estate” in the form of the tall shelf above. I also honor other Norse deities. In this new house I’m pleased to have expanded areas for Freya, Freyr and Gerda. This place, with its micro-orchard of fig, plums, cherries, pears, and mulberries, is already a very Vanir space and we are in full fruit harvesting season right now (so, yay Freyr!). In the spring I hope the roses, lilacs, wisteria, and camelias, will be pleasing offerings to Freya. I also look forward to planting an herb garden dedicated to Gerda. A bit of outdoors will always be brought indoors, for dedication and thanks. And I’m planning a space for Thor…

Aside from the above Norse deities (and my own ancestors), there are other deities/spirits I honor: the Goetic Lord Amy/Avnas, the Celtic Brigit, and the Egyptian Bast. I look forward to expanding their altar spaces as well. And I am now adding personal deification of two fictional characters who have become spiritual “ancestors” to me: Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. I’d been thinking about this for awhile and when I unpacked a forgotten child’s tea set from China and a small plate with two rabbits under a crescent moon, well, that clinched it. In my mind there is no reason that spirits can’t “inhabit” fictional forms, to assist human understanding. (Deification of fictional characters is not without precedence. I mean, some people have been working with Lovecraft’s pantheon of Elder Gods for decades!) However I haven’t yet figured out the practice for honoring Wuxian and Wangji beyond incense and offerings. Asking for guidance is the next best step I suppose.

The beginnings of the Wei Wuxian & Lan Wangji altar space.

I mentioned wights in the title. I mean land spirits. I feel the trees of course. Their protective presence is quite palpable. But there are clearly other beings and other ancestors to acknowledge. I’ve barely gotten started.

Mostly, I am happy. This is an expansive and peaceful time, with many dreams come true. Magic is alive and I live in the midst of it.


All That Fruit!

This is a time of tumult, clearly. The old tumults (the anniversary of the death of an old sweetheart) and the new tumults (relocation to Oregon and the surprising “loss” of my firstborn) are exhausting and severe, but they are mingled with new joys: reuniting with cherished friends and getting to know this house.

This house! It’s old. There are layers of I don’t know what under the newish sheetrock. I can see the layers of old walls and repairs in the stairs leading to the basement and the exposed step from the backdoor. Yesterday I finally had the courage to open that one (formerly locked) cabinet door in the downstairs bedroom, fearful of what I might find. It was raw, unloved space, littered with scraps of carpet, flooring, and perhaps cans of things I cannot use. I shut the door quickly. Next time I look, I’ll grab a flashlight… Such spaces disturb me (there are reasons). And yet it was a glimpse into the past of this house.

Don’t worry, dear. From now on, I’ll take better care of you.

I knew this house was destined to be mine from the moment a friend forwarded its Zillow page. I seem to be a house-getting witch, as I’ve had uncanny luck over the years finding those places which call to me and are meant to be mine, at least for awhile. This one though, this one is special. I believe it is meant to be my last home, which, like a last love, has a special poignancy.

The ceilings are very low, making me feel rather tall (a first in my life!). My real estate agent thought it might have been a millworker’s house, built with cast-off lumber, wrongly sized. The house is spacious, though, with a sizable basement and two finished attic rooms in addition to the first floor space. The remodeling was cursory, with ridiculous things left unfinished or poorly done (the edge of a new door left unpainted, the bathroom sink fixtures plumbed all wrong, and so on). But I like eccentricity and age in a house. Even the uneven floors don’t bother me much.

I really am giddy with my good fortune here — and so grateful for it. Much as I adored my house in Lake County, CA, I grew terrified by the location. All those fires and only a two lane highway to exit the lake valley… the prospect of having to herd seven cats into crates at a moment’s notice and flee a fire racing through the oaks and pines in the hills behind my house… not knowing where in the world I could go with all those cats… not a good situation for a single, aging person with a few physical impediments! This all too likely danger preyed on my mind. I may miss the turkey flocks which roamed my yard, but I have feathers with which to remember them.

So, back to THIS house. I live now in the middle of a micro-orchard! I have five cherry trees (Bing and that golden kind), at least two mulberry trees, several plum trees (Italian prune, Santa Rosa plums, ornamental plums), several extremely tall fig trees and a few younguns, a pear tree, what am I missing? Oh, I forgot to mention the Concord grapevine which has climbed via the front yard mulberry to fruit above my roof. All the fruit is far above my head and simply crashes to the ground. However yesterday I reached through an attic window and managed to snag two ripe figs! They were glorious.

All my trees are overgrown and stressed by the drought. I don’t believe anyone has watered them this whole summer. An arborist I have hired had much to say on the topic — and scorn for whoever neglected these trees.

I have wisteria too, in several spots, and one bush is actually prying part of the wood from the house! (We can’t have that!) There are lilac bushes by the front gate (the arborist says they are dying) and several rose bushes (not in great shape but managing). There is a simple white hibiscus tree as well as a camelia. I am not a gardener but I suspect I will spend these last years of my life attempting to become one. And I must get a food dehyrator and canning equipment to cope with all this fruity abundance! I see several learning curves in my future.

For several years I’ve been lucky enough to live in places with beauty and ample plant life. In the last 3 1/2 years I lived with the view of Clear Lake and Mount Konocti, among oaks and digger pines. Before that I lived in Hawai’i, on the “Big Island,” surrounded by giant red hibiscus trees as well as coconut palms, ohia lehua, and invasive strawberry guava. Now I live four blocks from the Willamette River, with close-up views of numerous trees and tendrils and fruits out of reach. I feel protected and kindly sheltered by all this plant life, as well as by the house itself. It’s as if this place had been waiting for me all along. It’s very hard to shake this feeling.

Plus, the cats like it here.

This is a house with a front porch and a sheltered yard–part Hobbit dwelling (the ceiling!) and part “Last Homely House”(the feeling!)–whose delights I wish I could share with both my children. Alas, I guess that’s not meant to be.

Here are the figs I snatched through a window last night and promptly devoured.

Figs picked through the attic window. Sept. 3, 2021.

I Once Had a Child…

I once had a child who sang to me from the middle landing of our back porch steps. It was a numinous, luminous moment that I will never forget.

I once had a baby who was so pissed off that he couldn’t crawl yet.

I once had a child who made up a language of combinations of “ha ha, ho ho, hee hee” and he and his best friend refused to translate.

I once had a child who loved horses.

I once had a child who preferred his father, but it was okay.

I once had a toddler who could tell me his dreams at the age of two.

I once had a child who loved endless stories about Cowboy Curtis and Miss Yvonne.

I once had a teenager who despised me.

I once had a child who said, “Puppy, do you know what it’s like to be human? It’s kind of a job, being alive.”

I once had a child who played harp and composed a song I wish I could hear in my last moments on earth.

I once had a teenager who transitioned, and was accepted and loved by all of us, no matter what.

I once had a child who made me sing “Felice Navidad” for at least two hours, in the style of Charo on Peewee’s Playhouse, to keep him comfortable and tantrum-free during a long car trip.

I once had a baby who barely slept. For years.

I once had a teenager who wrote novels, plays, poems, and music reviews. And who played the roles of Cyrano de Bergerac in his (now ridiculed) Waldorf School and Julius Caesar in a teen Shakespeare productions.

I once had a young adult who showed me silly videos on YouTube.

I once had a child who drew, a lot.

I once had a child/teenager/young adult whose thoughts I respected.

I once had a child who bested his teacher in almost any intellectual exchange.

I once had a young adult who loved the same punk music I’d loved in my twenties.

I once had a baby who rode in a snug baby pouch when I walked to 24th Street in San Francisco. He didn’t dangle like a small insect, facing forwards, like so many other children in other pouches.

I once had a toddler who couldn’t tolerate noisy bunches of kids at his preschool.

I once had a teenager who made fun of me for being short, once he grew taller than me.

I once had a young adult who shared some of his occult interests with me.

I once had a teenager who…

I once had a baby who…

I once had a child who…

I once had a toddler who…

I once had a young adult who…

I once had that someone who once seemed to love me.


Corazón.svg: User:Fibonacci
derivative work: Eviatar Bach (talk)
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

Whoa, UNhappy Birthing Day…

For the record, as a parent I have never:

Disparaged my children’s choices of partner, appearance, interests, reading matter, media consumption, diet, etc.

Disparaged or objected to my children’s genders, cis or trans.

Been an embarrassing drunk in front of them or their friends (I don’t drink anyway).

Forced them to go hungry or wear dirty clothes, or otherwise lack the resources for health and hygiene.

Tried to seduce my children’s lovers.

Refused to provide books, art supplies, toys, musical instruments, and a range of outside activities when requested.

Pushed my children to be something they weren’t.

Been verbally, physically, or sexually abusive or deliberately harmful in any way.

Not stood up for them if I was aware of something that needed my intervention.

And so forth.

As a parent, I have sometimes been:

Over-enthusiastic or not enthusiastic enough.

Extremely creative.

A willing reader and teller of bedtime stories.

Social awkward.


Depressed, suicidal, and exhausted.

Disabled and in need of accommodation.

Old and getting older.


Involved in my own life and self, perhaps overmuch.

In the grip of transformative processes that defied logic.

In love with someone other than my children’s father.

Sometimes intimidated by the anger of adolescence.

Angry and reactive, but not to excess.

All too human.

As a parent, I was always loving and supportive, kind and generous.

As a parent I would have never imagined:

That not being perfect as a parent would result in being ghosted for several months and then told, via a public blog, that my oldest child (an adult) never wants to see or hear from me again.

Essentially, I’ve done nothing reprehensible as a parent or as a human being, to deserve such treatment.

This lack of courage and courtesy, on his part, is somewhat mind-boggling and deeply hurtful. And it’s so very entitled. His accusations of constant “damage” are something that I cannot understand or address, as they ARE left vague and his readers are left to assume the worst. I feel besmirched and wrongfully accused.

Emotional matricide and erasure. Whee.

“Oh sharper than a serpent’s tooth…”

‘Nuff said.


Happy Birthing Day to Me

Today I celebrate the birth of my firstborn as well as my recent move from California to Oregon. The first represents the birth of another human being, one who is much loved (even if from afar). The second represents my transition into a life that is now entirely mine–free from many of the constraints of gender, partner expectations, prejudices against aging, and other ridiculous impediments to peace and creativity. In this I have followed my fictional Ornamental Hermits, who in the third and fourth books, land in Oregon on the outskirts of Eugene, Oregon, to work their magic and music with the help of Elves and their ancestors, and one very persistent trickster deity. As soon as I empty a few more boxes, put a few more books on the shelve, and hang a few more pictures, I’ll be working again on the first draft of the fourth book.

But getting back to my firstborn, who is all of thirty-two as of today…

It was an easy birth, but a very difficult pregnancy. While I spent eleven weeks on strict bedrest to prevent preterm labor, I was also internally speeding on round-the-clock doses of terbutaline. Anyone who uses terbutaline in an asthma inhaler knows how jittery it can be. Back in 1989, there was no internet that I could use to research the drug so I had only the doctor’s word that the medication was safe. However it is now known to be hazardous to both birthing parent and baby, with potential for neurodevelopmental damage.

From the above article’s abstract:

Terbutaline has been among the most commonly used -adrenoreceptor (AR) agonists in the management of preterm labor. The research suggests that tocolytic terbutaline therapy carries a significant risk for the mother and the child, which can be magnified by extended exposure, sex of the fetus, and administration during critical fetal developmental periods. This paper highlights the research on terbutaline in treatment of preterm labor, along with the possible associated cognitive deficits in adolescents who were treated with terbutaline in utero.

A search of terbutaline’s use in pregnancy (via Google Scholar) yields many peer-reviewed studies of other negative associations on fetal cardiac function and maternal morbidity. There is also a controversy as to whether terbutaline is implicated as a cause of autism in the children. However as a person who is quite likely part of the “broader autism phenotype,” and who sees traits in other family members, I have mixed feelings about this.

The main point is that I spent a good part of my pregnancy on my back in bed, fearing the loss of my baby.

This period was not helped by daily phone calls from my sister, who had discovered (via a visit from the F.B.I.) that her next door rental tenant was wanted for matricide. He’d apparently murdered his mother with a pickaxe back in Pennsylvania, probably for money. I don’t know for sure, but since he was running an underground “women’s wrestling collective” called the Barbary Bobcats. (in San Francisco), had probably spent much too much money as the impresario on wrestling mats, pink and black leather furniture, video equipment, and the like. Once the man was finally apprehended, my sister (as the landlady) had the job of going through his belongings: dirty socks, new watches, vintage cookbooks, Deco endtables actually finished by my husband but purchased via one of those vintage “20th Century Moderne” stores on Market Street. These daily reports were creepy AF, and forced me to consider the possibility that any gestational parent could birth a child who might one day want to kill her/zir/them/him.

So instead of completing my modern Noe Valley pregnancy on my feet like a winner, with healthy strolls down the hill to 24th Street, Japanese Weekend maternity clothes (I’d worked there briefly and had a bunch of factory seconds to wear), and the odd craving for canned apricots with cottage cheese, I instead endured forced inactivity (only getting vertical to use the restroom) in order to preserve the life of the baby I was carrying. It was okay. It was a necessary action. I wanted that kid to survive. I only wish I’d had a body that assisted me (and the kid) rather than worked against me (and the kid). (It was during this pregnancy that I also began to experience the onset of multiple chemical sensitivity–also felt like and is a no-fun body betrayal.)

However, this day in 1989, the day that my baby was born full term (and then some) was indeed a day of Winning Big. And it was the kid’s win as much as mine. This recent Radiolab podcast on placentas, the organ created by the embryo to ensure its survival, is as enlightening as it is strangely comforting. Even through the weird haze of pregnancy hormones, and their metallic taste, I knew that the soft-focus, pastel hues of commercially sanctioned pregnancies weren’t the whole truth. Yeah, you DO become all soft and tender and blurred and that’s a damn good thing in those early post-partum weeks, when you spend your days moist and mulched by milk, blood, and sweat. You swim through the aftermath of the miracle of birth, rather than walk.

And I was stunned by my realization of the absolute bravery of a soul which launches itself into a mortal body, helpless for years at the hands of its parents and the rest of humanity. It was an act of courage taking place in our studio apartment and it would go on and on and on until the end of that soul’s present incarnation.

Holy fucking shit.

And let’s just put in a good word for those who have birthed–as it is just about the most frightening, foolishly optimistic, and potentially transcendent, fully PHYSICAL initiation around. There’s a bit of bravery there too, though gestation is often undertaken with a blithe incomprehension of the risks and rewards ahead.

With all this in mind, I’ve often wondered by mothers (and other gestational parents) are so often scorned in our sick, patriarchal, capitalist society, as well as by the children themselves (and often the co-parent). Does part of this have to do with that relentless placental battle for survival? Is there a deep, hopelessly atavistic trauma embedded in each successfully birthed human, as birth itself represents the “win” of the baby over the gestational parent whose body wanted to reject it as foriegn and other? (Honestly, listen to that podcast!)

If so, then I am fucked, and so is every other gestational parent. I see now why so many “mother goddesses” are associated with death as well as birth. And if we are not honored for our (totally unconscious) role in this first of all death/birth dances, then we are reviled or at least held at arm’s length by our offspring, who are unable to overcome that primal sense that their birthing parent’s bodies once wanted them gone, even if we spend a goodly number of years afterwards trying to nurture and protect them.

This is a lens or a perspective I turn onto my relationship with my own mother, as well as on myself as a “mother.” I wonder over it and can ultimately do nothing except to bless all involved, for we “knew not what we did.”

Happy Birthday.

Author: Nevit Dilmen. 2000. GNU Free Documentation License.


Name Changes

To acknowledge and fully celebrate my non-binary self and status, I’ve been privately considering a name change. But I’ve been reluctant to give up a recent revelation regarding the name “Amy” as it represents a connection to the Goetic demon and fallen angel of the same name. (My mother thought she was naming me after Amy March in Little Women, but…ha ha! She was wrong!)

That connection between a demon and my name is a significant “signal flag” for me, particularly as Lord Amy also rules the period of my birthday, which takes place on the back half of Samhain (Nov. 1st). So while I never related to the name “Amy” (too soft) I finally began to appreciate what I could learn from it (and from the personage himself). In other words, I developed some reluctance to jettison the connection that was implied by the name.

However the brilliant solution finally presented itself: retain the connection by taking the name Avnas instead (which is Lord Amy’s other name). I asked “the powers” (including Lord Amy) for permission to use this name, and checked in via pendulum and tarot. The answer seems to be a yes. I feel happy.

As for my last name, I’ve always wanted to drop the “h” from Marsh and use Mars instead because it would be so much cooler and no one could call me “Marshmellow” ever again (oh those childhood wounds!), so this is a perfect opportunity to combine the two.

Avnas Mars.

Who could make fun of that, right? Who would DARE? (Call me “Martian” at your peril!)

The downside is that the legalities of the name change will be annoying and the cost is apparently quite high, but it will be worth it. I’ll do a formal name-change ceremony on my birthday, as well.

Now, the other name change I have to consider is that of this blog. In a couple of weeks I’ll no longer be living beside a lake. Instead, I’ll have the rushing waters of the Willamette River within a few blocks of my new home. Lady of the Lake of course refers to a significant water spirit, not to me, but it seems as if I should acknowledge the river spirits once I move. So far, I don’t have anything picked out yet but a new name will emerge soon.

Thanks to all my readers!