Sunrise Ceremony

Something unseen prodded me awake at 4:11 this morning. I wasn’t going to argue. So off I went after feeding the cats, to a ceremony of forgiveness, honoring the Pomo women, children, and elders who’d been massacred at Badon-napoti (“Old Island’), later known as “Bloody Island.” This was the 20th year of this event, organized and hosted by the descendents of a six year old girl who had survived the slaughter by hiding in the reeds around the island. Her name was Ni’ka (Lucy Moore).

The promised storm had not yet arrived here in Lake County, CA so the curving road north was blessedly dry. I hoped the ceremony would be as well–I had no raincoat, no umbrella. I felt sleepy and solemn and spoke to my deities and ancestors as I drove, stating my intentions for participation: “be quiet, be reverent, stay in sacredness, honor the local people.” I asked my ancestors to attend the ceremony with me.

The gathering was on Reclamation Road. Once I turned off Highway 20, I felt like I was driving in Hawai’i again, on one of those rough country roads that require about ten miles an hour, fifteen at most. I arrived in the last darkness before dawn. I parked the car and took out my flashlight. I needn’t have bothered. It wasn’t long before sunrise.

I stood on the cracked asphalt road. Mr. Clayton Duncan, Lucy Moore’s great grandson, was speaking on the microphone.  I knew this because I’d heard him on KPFZ FM. We had never met. When I wasn’t looking at the speakers or singers, I was looking at the oaks on the hillsides and at the small California poppies at my feet. I wondered if I’d see them open.

There were beautiful songs, stories, and a visiting Tibetan woman conducted a healing ritual. I closed my eyes. I wanted so much to sit down, but I stood and probably swayed a bit as I listened. I had a stupid busy mind though and I had to struggle with my tendency to veer off into all sorts of needless trivia. It was better after I closed my eyes. I eventually felt entranced and a little more grounded. There was a moment when I felt my cat, Meowington, around me.

There’s a deep generosity in this ceremony. I think that’s all I can say about it right now. I need to give what happened time to work its way in. However I will also say there was deep generosity in the nourishing breakast provided to us at the gymnasium down the road, and the heart-felt circle of introductions and prayer which preceeded our meal. People had been cooking since long before dawn…

I will go again next year. I feel a lot of gratitude for this experience.

SunriseCeremonyMay18

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Meowington, The Temple Cat, Is Dying

60088448_10217637063025595_997261981310255104_n-1On Tuesday, I pulled a weed in my yard, and found this–a baby rattlesnake curled in the warm earth. I placed a flowerpot (no hole in the bottom) over it and tried to find someone to come get it, for relocation. Of course, where there is one baby rattlesnake, there may be others. When the wonderful snake rescue woman arrived that evening, we found that the snake had somehow escaped from beneath the pot which I’d thought was far too heavy for such a little thing to move. We looked around, carefully, but did not find it under any nearby shrubbery or weeds. I hoped it had gone for good.

On Wednesday, as usual, I let Meowington out of Lokabrenna Tiny Temple, where he sleeps during the nights. Days, he wanders the neighborhood and guards my yard against other cats. But he can’t guard it against wildlife. My property backs up against a ridge of oaks and pines and wildness. (We’ve had a mama bear and two cubs wandering the neighborhood this week as well.) Yes, I was worried about rattlesnakes, but he made it through last summer unscathed and so I hoped for the best. I wish now I’d just kept him inside the temple that day.

By early evening I was calling for him, as usual, to come get his dinner. I called and called.

Meanwhile, I fed Grey Girl, the far more feral cat that–along with Meowington and one other–had been left behind on my property last year by a troubled couple who up and moved to Tennessee on short notice. I recall this with some resentment. I already have four indoor cats, and these folks basically dumped three of theirs on me, saying they couldn’t take them and would I feed them and yes they’d send money every month for food. I didn’t count on that money of course. I knew better. But perhaps I should have made them take these three “spare cats” elsewhere? But if I had, I wouldn’t have had the great pleasure of getting to know Meowington.

I called and called some more. And Meowington still didn’t come. I began to worry. And then finally I saw him tottering around the corner of the temple, a cobweb and a leaf stuck to his face. I brushed the leaf away and picked him up. He was shaking, breathing raggedly and hard. He kept trying to meow but couldn’t make a sound. Normally Meowington is an extremely chatty cat. He follows me around when I’m working in the yard. He’s also great at head-butting and adores tummy rubs. He’s also usually anxious for his meal, pushing his nose and mouth into the bowl as I dole out the food. But not on Wednesday evening. He was an entirely different cat, shocky, sick, unable to eat, though he was thirsty. I was worried he’d been bit, but I saw no blood. I set him down on a clean towel and left the temple to get a cat crate. I wasn’t sure who would be open for emergency care, but I was going to get him some.

Had he been bitten? Or had he been bullied by the big black and white cat who occasionally has it in for him? The only other time I’d seen him in something like this condition was after a fight with that cat.

When I returned, Meowington had somehow climbed up to the small storage loft in the rafters where I could not reach him. I tried to coax him down. He wouldn’t come. So I kept the food and water out, and left the temple with forboding, locking him in for the night. I half expected him to be dead in the morning. If was rattlesnake venom, I assumed his death would be quick.

Wrong.

The next morning (yesterday), Meowington was down on the floor again, waiting by the door as he usually does. I was touched that he made this immense effort, though he was still obviously in bad shape. He has always trusted to our routine, to his knowledge that I will always show up in the morning to feed him and let him out. I immediately put him in the cat crate, meaning to whisk him off to the vet at the earliest possible time. Unfortunately, the vet couldn’t see him until 3 PM that afternoon. That was yesterday. I kept him in the crate all day, with food and water, but he only ate a little. I showed up an hour early for our appointment, hoping we could be seen earlier.

When the vet assistant helped him out of the crate. there was a little blood. And when the vet examined him, there was evidence of a bite on his belly, with tissue already going necrotic. The vet explained that a bite on the belly was worrisome–that internal organs may be quickly damaged by the snake’s venom. Still, she gave me reason to hope. Some animals do recover, she said, and she laid out a course of treatment. She did not recommend the antivenin as she said some cats have bad reactions to it. We went for something more conservative (and less expensive): pain medications, antibiotics, laser treatment to improve healing.

I brought Meowington into the house and set him up with towels, food, water, and a litter box, in the shower stall since it was the only small, quiet area away from the other cats. They’ve only interacted with him through the screen door. I didn’t bring him into the household as he is very territorial and I was afraid he’d terrorize the other male cat, Niblet, who has been freaked out for a whole year about the two “extra” cats who joined our post-Hawai’i household. A month or two ago, I had Meowington neutered and got him his shots, in the hopes of finding him a new home–a one cat household where he could be adored and adoring to his fullest potential.

I wish I’d done things differently now. I wish I’d been more aggressive about finding him a new home. I wish I hadn’t let him out of the temple on Wednesday. And I wish yesterday that I’d had the courage to ask the doctor to just put him to sleep.

Because this morning he hasn’t eaten, drunk, eliminated, and he’s clearly suffering. He is lethargic, his breathing is ragged. I’ve been checking on him off and on, ever since I woke up. He wants to stay in the (unused) litter box, not the towel. (He used to love to roll around in the dirt!). I gave him more pain medicine. He vomited it up shortly after. I’ve pet him, stroked him, sang to him, and told him that it was okay to let go–that we’ve loved each other but that now it’s okay… he can go.

60624866_10217650655565400_1623162845187276800_n
Meowington, May 15th, in a final upright and seemingly perky moment. I am sorry, dear friend, we are going to have to part. I love you.

Dammit.

Sometimes I think we give our best love to animals, because they love us so unconditionally. We can give to them (if we give at all), without our stupid human complications getting in the way.

I love Meowington. I procrastinated about giving him up to another home even though I knew I should. I hoped yesterday that he could rally, could beat the venom. It was a selfish hope.

Later this morning, I’ll take him to the vet again–he was supposed to get another laser treatment–and then I’ll let him go.

I’ve asked Freya, Bastet, and Loki for the best possible outcome. I ask them now to ease his passage.

Rest in peace, cat.

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Meowington in his glory. Died at the vet’s office in Clearlake, CA shortly before 11 AM, PST. He was an awfully good cat.

 

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Loki and Spam

Okay, I really don’t have a godphone to Loki, like some folks do. Every now and then I get “pings” or even more definite gut-level tugs. I often feel a presence. Once in a while I’ve “heard” a strong message, like “no!” accompanied by unmistakable emotion (like when I mistakenly licked the spoon from His jar of Nutella after vowing never to eat from it). Mostly, though, I use the pendulum and other divination methods to communicate with my deities and guides, including Loki.

Still, I can’t help being amused by the kind of spam this blog gets–and by imagining Loki’s responses. Today, I cleared out “Sex Gals” and a cheap viagra post from the spam cache, and I could imagine Loki looking over my shoulder inquisitively. The rest of this blog is going to read like one of those (often annoying) conversation memes that are spread around social media like cheap mayonnaise.

Loki: “‘Sex Gals?‘ Sounds interesting!”

Me: “To you, maybe. Not to me.” (Proceeds to bulk edit spam cache.)

Loki: “How do you know those spam messages aren’t actually highly significant, divinatory messages from me? Or (snort) from Freyr?”

Me: “Are you really going to make me drag out Freyr’s pendulum too? I can, you know.”

Loki (grins): “Wouldn’t think of putting you through all that trouble!”

Me: (Sigh.)

Loki: “Hey, I saved your life yesterday! Without me making you feel suddenly dizzy and sick, thereby causing you to delay your departure for five minutes while you took out my pendulum to ask if you should drive all the way to the Bay Area to see your youngest son, you might have been the spam in a can in that upturned car three blocks from your house!”

Me: “You’re saying I owe you?”

Loki: (Grins and says nothing.)

Me: “But I already deleted the spam!”

Loki: “Check your other blogs. Check that sexologist one!”

So I dutifully switch to the other blog and take a look at the spam cache.

Me: “Damn. There’s thirteen of these suckers already! You really want me to swing the pendulum for each one of these things?”

Loki: “Yep. Mine first. Then Freyr’s.”

Me: (Exasperated.) “Oh for heaven’s sake!”

Loki: “Asgard. You mean Asgard.”

Me: “I dunno. That really super long twumpian/Christian prophecy spam might beg to differ. It says that the end is nigh.”

Loki: “It’s always ‘nigh.’ Look at Ragnarok for heaven’s sake!”

Me: “LOL! Now you’re doing it!”

Loki: (Sputters.)

Me: (Snickers.)

Loki: “So what else is in your spam cache?”

Me: “The usual. An ad for 500 mg. of amoxicillian is attached to my ‘Men with Smaller Penises’ post. Someone else offers licentious portraits of college girls…”

Loki: “That’s not from me!”

Me: (Dryly.) “I’m relieved.”

Me: “To continue with our spam inventory…CBD oil, something about ‘my nephew’ and ‘my pet’ but it honestly makes no sense, ‘amoxicillin for cats’…say, who makes amoxicillin anyway? Is it Bayer? Because they just bought Monsanto and the stock is DOWN!…(gleeful laughter with an tinge of ‘fuck the world is ending’ hysteria…).

Loki: (Dryly.) “Try to focus, won’t you?”

Me: “Ahem. Sorry. Okay…tech…fleece…RSS feed… There’s not much here except the apocalyptic Christian thing about bitcoin and the sign of the beast. One of yours?”

Loki: (Dryly.) “Use the pendulum to test each one.”

And then I get a bright idea.

Me: “I don’t have to! I just did a bulk pendulum query to ask if any of the spam posts are actually secret messages from either of my two fave gods! And the answer was ‘no!'”

Loki: “Smart ass.”

Me: (Smirking.) “Let’s go play with InspiroBot instead.”

Loki. “Okay.”

So, we play with InspiroBot and this happens:

nqPk5X9QeL

Me: “Are you sure that’s not a licentious portrait of a college girl?”

Loki: “Busted…”

Happy Mother’s Day. The end is nigh.

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Grateful For My Readers, Happy With My Blog

I am so happy with this witchy and Lokean LadyoftheLake.blog!

Since last July I think I have written over 100 blog posts.

And wow! I have an international readership! Just since March 1st this year, I have readers from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong SAR China, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Phillipines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uganda, and Uruguay.

2018 gave me 4,533 visitors. The “Group Lokean Letter Sent to the Wild Hunt” blog post garnered 2,313 views and “Dude, I Call Lokiphobia” garnered 1,027.

So far 2019 has given me 2,588 visitors. And it’s not even June yet!

So thank you, dear readers! I appreciate your time and attention and I love knowing you are there! May there be peace between us, always, until the end of our days.

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Public Domain. NASA.

 

Witchery & Modern Paganism: Decolonization, Racism, and More

Resource list. No commentary from me.

If you’ve come across blogs with similar critiques, content, and perspective that you think I should include in this list, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks! And big thanks to the writers below.

Barber, Shannon. Black Magic, Black Skin: Decolonizing White Witchcraft. Ravishly. Oct. 23, 2017.

Branner, Cyndi. Dismantling the Widespread White Advantage in Witchcraft. Patheos. (Mar. 27, 2019).

Ferguson, D.F. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Pagan: Some Observations on White Fragility in Esoteric Spiritual MovementsWhite feminist Paganism and the colonization of Heaven and Earth. Black Youth Project (Nov. 27, 2018).

Helrune, Seo. Whiteness is the Witchcraft Killer. Seohelrune.com. (July 21, 2018)

Magdalene, Misha. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Pagan: Some Observations on White Fragility in Esoteric Spiritual Movements. Patheos. (Mar. 29, 2019).

Smith, Ryan. Tearing Off the Mask: Revealing the Gulf Between Fascist Spirituality and Pagan PracticeOn Black Wings. May 8, 2019.

Washuta, Elissa. White Witchery. Guernica (Feb. 19, 2019).

Hopefully more to come.

Popoki
Popoki – My badass black cat on white rug. I justed wanted her to be in this blog post.

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Compersion for Lokeans

Wiktionary defines compersion as:


  1. The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy, such as in witnessing a toddler’s joy and feeling joy in response.
  2. The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.

There’s been a lot of talk lately, around the ol’ Lokean campfire, about jealousy and strife in our circles, particularly in social media posts. Tension occasionally erupts between so-called “Baby Lokeans” and the more experienced devotees, between those who are “serious” in their practices and those who seem to take Loki too lightly, and sometimes even between Loki’s godspouses (and/or godspouses and non-godspouses). Sometimes people bail from these online communities because they just can’t take it anymore.

I have a modest proposal (somewhat different from Jonathan Swift’s, though Swift is a family name…). And that proposal is that we consciously cultivate compersion as a community, personal, and spiritual value. This doesn’t mean that we throw our own discernment or feelings out the window and obligingly wallow in whatever might seem odd or nonsensical to us, but to at least feel happy FOR the other Lokean, if nothing else. The polyam and non-monogamy folks have been cultivating compersion for years (and yeah, it can be a struggle). Here’s a good article from Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., a person I respect.

So…

Annoyed by a Marvel fanperson posting their tale of a drunken dream orgy with a Hiddleston look-alike? Feel something like happiness for them (even as you restrain your snark and scroll quickly past the comment section). They’re just “longing to publish [their] prosperous love” (Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen).

782px-Yggdrasill,_the_mundane_tree_(26938965955)
Ygdrassill, the World Tree

Miffed by another godspouse’s account of hot vibratory tantric encounters with the patron deity of your polytheistic pantheon(s)? Get over it. Be glad for them. That person may have been working for years on a complex meditative practice with Loki as a cosmic daka, yielding revelations of Asgard and the other eight worlds as a sort of Vajra mandala. This person may simply want to share the numinous fruits of their labor for the good of all sentient beings (or they might want to sell you the best damn vibrator on the planet). Try to ignore your suspicions that they’re simply boasting.

Besides, Loki’s marvelous ability to be in many places (and shapes) at once benefit all of us, godspouse or not.

Right? (Let’s assume we can all agree to that…)

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Kongokai (vajra) mandala – Shingon tantric buddhist school. fromwww.bujinkan-france.net. Public domain.

Are you squicked because someone’s relentless oversharing reminds you too much of your own gushing newbie self, once upon a time? Focus instead on the wonder of your own passionate path and leave others to their own discoveries (and later embarrassments). Feel joy for them as a fellow traveler. Like most of us, they too will grow into a deeper understanding of their own wyrd, though they might not develop the classy restraint of Jane Austen (who is really very funny).

I’ll admit it. There are times when I want to stuff my eye sockets with cotton balls. Some things I cannot unsee. Some things I wish I’d never read. I have the same response in supermarkets, though, and if someone wants to fill their shopping cart with twelve cartons of Hostess Ding Dongs to dedicate to Loki (or feed to their children), it’s really none of my affair.

Yes, you can leave a group if it no longer serves you. No, you don’t have to read or respond to drivel. But try to allow for the possibility of other paths to joy and discovery, even as you rush to log out. After all, our own path beckons beyond the keyboard–whether silly or severe or all of the above. We can have gobs more fun with that.

Compersion may be key to creating and nurturing frith in our online halls. Let’s see what happens when we are honestly happy for our Lokean kin, no matter how much we weary of godPhone™ text messages and runic bitch slaps.

Hail Loki! Have another donut!

P.S. The above is general observation and nothing that pertains to anyone in particular,  except that paragraph five (counting after the definition) is me making fun of myself. 

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Loki: Acceleration on a Curve

A learning curve, that is. Though I’ve been tempted lately to think of Loki as having a gentler approach to the “lifespan development issues” faced by us older folks, that’s an illusion. In reality, he’s tossing us about just as much as the twenty- and thirty- somethings. In many ways, our existence is as precarious as the millennials leaving their teens: poverty, lack of affordable housing, lack of employment, relationship and family issues, lack of respect…

However, I greatly appreciate his rapid-fire, “toss it all at the ceiling and see what sticks” approach. These days people show their qualities very quickly and as painful as that is in the moment, it’s actually great for a woman who has less and less time to waste on pointless drama and toxic relationships.

My biological clock is ticking–and it’s not a baby I’m expecting. Momento mori.

I’m in the process of jettisoning things right now: outmoded concepts of who I was; books and objects I’m not in love with anymore; acquaintances and colleagues who’ve been hanging around in my “Facebook friends” list but who never communicate (I just purged my list today); papers and crap I’ve been holding onto as “archives…” Who, really, will care? Except for my cats, and a few books, artwork, and family photos, I could actually travel lighter than I have in the past.

Only trouble is, there are far fewer safe (non-toxic) places I could land. But for now, I’m enjoying where I live, with clean indoor air and a degree of comfort not afforded to most of the world’s people. Do I know how lucky I am? Yes, I do.

Back to people and their qualities, though. And back to Loki.

He won’t let me stagnate. He won’t let me put my trust in people who are deceptive, competitive, dishonest, or otherwise toxic. It’s as if he’s an enzyme or a catalyst (“just add Loki!”). In his presence, the alchemies of personality and conflict boil, bubble, and froth. Perhaps what results will be palatable, perhaps not. Whatever happens will be the opposite of comfy or stale.

Understand, I give offerings to this god daily: cinnamon tea with honey in the morning (kind of like when I used to get up first in the morning and make coffee for my then-husband, bringing it to him while he stayed in bed), poems and prayers, conversation, and frequent sweets. I have a degree of trust in this patron deity that exceeds what I feel for almost everyone and everything (except my cats), but I also know that my trust cannot lead to complacency.

And so I ponder the latest fracas–an unexpectedly ugly outburst from another, and my own feelings of frustration, shame, anger, and the mental fluctuations of “what do I want to do about this, if anything?” My first impulse is always to simply leave–remove myself from the situation–but this time I think I’m being challenged to stay, and to also state my terms for doing so.

In the past I’ve fled abusive bosses and narcissistic lovers, and avoided personality disordered friends. I’ve left a hula halau (hula school) after an alaka’i (assistant teacher) yanked my arm without warning, while I was trying to learn some steps. She’d previously poked fun at my “duck feet” in class, in front of everyone. I walked off the dance floor and never returned. I’ve been “mean-girled” and “man-splained” and worse, and though I have a certain level of tolerance for human failings (even, sometimes, my own), I do draw the line at accepting insulting or abusive behavior. Or rather, my gut draws the line even if my mind wants to excuse or rationalize the person’s actions. There’s a very definite feeling from my enteric nervous system that says “no more.” It’s very final.

Armouring, warding… recuperating, reviving… these are important activities in my life. Sometimes they take all I’ve got. But with Loki’s help, I seem to cycle through my emotional reactions faster, arriving at whatever strategic measures I have to take to prevent a repeat occurence.

Loki can be a “pick your battles” kind of god, exits are okay but he can also urge a full-on confrontation, the scorched earth kind. Even “best served cold” can be fine with him. I am free to choose but it has to be a conscious choice. I have to confront my own feelings and failings, no matter what. It’s a liberating way to live even at this age. And yet there’s never a definitive answer to the existential question: “are we there yet?”

We Lokeans never arrive at a final destination. We are, in so many ways, forever in transit. We are always accelerating on the curve.

Hail Loki! We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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