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Made it through the longest night

Made it through the longest night

This morning, I flipped off the last few weeks as the cloud cover brightened with the sun coming up after the longest night. I tried to stay up all night, but between having a million things to do and my health being volatile, I took a 3-hour nap in the wee hours.

But I still got up before sunrise to make sure to see the night through.

Two candles lit atop a desk.

As I wrote in my last post, this is the time of year that’s hardest for me. And I doubt I’m out of the woods yet, but it feels like a burden has been lifted. From here on out, I’m hoping to have more energy to do the things that matter to me. Be with the people who are important to me. Figure out my Pagan path. Decide what my next steps are in life. Come end of February, it’s time for me to have concrete next steps about how I’m going to survive and thrive. I haven’t touched my Tarot cards in too long, but I’m definitely about to pick them up again. It’s time to wake up from my hibernation and start my life again.

Video: Something Wicked – Queer Witches

Video: Something Wicked – Queer Witches

I’m just about to plunge myself back into the world of coding a new theme, after spending most of the day trying to catch up with emails and phone calls. (Being an adult is way too much trying to catch up with people on the phone!) Before I start yelling at my computer, though, I wanted to share this excellent video with you about queer witches in the media.

(I wish there were a transcript, but at least there are some good visuals sprinkled throughout if you watch it!)

I’m only just discovering my queer identity, and having witches in the media presented as queer is a huge affirmation for me, a chance to say “oh wow, those witches are powerful and hot, that’s something I could be too.” Really important!

Standing in the eye of the storm

Standing in the eye of the storm

When I first started reading about Wicca when I was a wee young girl, all the books told you you absolutely had to have an altar, and it has to have these things on it: athame, salt, wand, pentacle, imagery of the God and Goddess. “If you don’t have these things, get creative and get something like it,” they said. They never said that an altar is something you do for yourself, that you do to connect with your Gods and Goddesses, your connection to magic. This is one of the reasons I could never quite get into Wicca, despite wanting, so badly, to be a witch.

Lately there is a resurgence of people taking back the word “witch” from Wiccans. Over the past twenty or thirty years, Wiccans have worked hard to de-stigmatize witchcraft by associating it with their peace-loving religion. That’s great, but witchcraft is not synonymous with Wicca. An altar does not have to look like the books told me. Altars come in all religions. Altars should look the way that you want them to look.

I’ve been reading about altars in different polytheists faiths lately, and I’m being inspired by this secular witch’s photos of her altars. Altars are places to put things that are sacred to you. Flowers, mementos from ancestors, feathers found on a walk, things that inspire you. While I’ve been mostly curious about bloggers who call themselves “devotional polytheists” lately, I’m thinking about altars in all senses. A place for my Tarot cards. A place for a pretty rock or two, some crystals, a candle. If ever I could get my garden going, then a flower or two. An altar should have meaning for the user, especially if it’s this user, especially if this user is trying to develop her spirituality and understand what she is called to.

It’s time for me to start a practice. My practice will be inspired by devotional polytheism and witchcraft. But, you know, starting is hard. Finding a place to live where I can be free to start a practice is hard. I want to work on my relationships with the spirits of my land and house, which is hard to do when I have such a hard time just keeping clean. I’m on the verge of big changes, I think, or still riding the waves of big changes that have been building for me, and these changes are going to uproot my life. How do I trust to what’s real and true while so many new things take place around me?

I’m not sure yet. But I have a lot of wonderful support while I figure all of this out.

Taking our selves back

Taking our selves back

Last night, a friend emailed me a wonderful article entitled Why Women Aren’t Crazy. It made me reflect on how I quiet down in a group, how I defer to others to make decisions, and how NONE of those things are the embodiment of witchyness.

Part of being a witch is embracing strength and our own individuality, not letting someone else dictate how we think or feel. So when I read this article and found myself nodding along in places, it broke my heart to realize that in some ways this meant I am not embracing witchyness as fully as I want to be. So here is my confession, and my promise to keep vigilant to making sure I am a whole person who isn’t afraid to speak.

Whether gaslighting is conscious or not, it produces the same result: it renders some women emotionally mute.

These women aren’t able to clearly express to their spouses that what is said or done to them is hurtful. They can’t tell their boss that his behavior is disrespectful and prevents them from doing their best work. They can’t tell their parents that, when they are being critical, they are doing more harm than good.

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, “Forget it, it’s okay.”

That “forget it” isn’t just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal. It’s heartbreaking.

(Emphasis mine.)

When we’re told we’re weak, frail, emotional creatures, we stop being emotional – because maybe that’s the only thing that’s true of that statement, and the only thing we can change so that we can be strong again. So we become “emotionally mute”, afraid to so much as hint at the possibility of having emotions of any kind, despite women supposedly being the Keepers of Emotions™. I’ve spent many years hiding my emotions because I thought I would be stronger; turns out that just fed my depression, because I was denying and dismissing parts of myself.

I can also absolutely relate to the “forget it” act of dismissing myself. “Forget it, [what I think doesn’t matter],” and going on to make someone else’s idea/emotions more important than my own. With gaslighting, I’m told that my feelings are contradictory and my fears are irrational, therefore I should shut up and let someone else dictate what I should feel. After a long time, this makes you feel small, then you stop letting yourself be who you are, emotions and all.

This is anathema to the point of Luminous Emporium, and it hurts that I can relate so much to it right now. But relating to it, realizing that it’s a problem, means I am on my way to a solution. Understanding the problem is the right first step. Taking back my Witchyness is the second. I am a full and complete being, and I am in control of I do and how I feel. It will take practice to own my emotions, but I’m on the path, and that’s exactly where I need to be.