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(I’ve never shared this story publicly.)

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I’m spending Mabon literally in the middle of an orchard. I’m in Italy and all around me they are harvesting apples and pears (the peaches were last week, melons the week before). The house we are staying in is 100s of years old and has been in the same family all of that time. There is a pomegranate tree in the garden, and I’m delighted to see one ‘in the wild’ because it’s so entirely new for me. When we aren’t cooking for ourselves, my husband and I venture uot to one of many local places where we are often the only Americans, if not the only ones speaking something other than Italian. We do our best to expand our vocabulary and laugh when they switch to English because we just aren’t very good at it.

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Last night I had the pleasure of acting as a priestess-counselor for another priestess. (For the sake of narrative, I will call her M.) She was concerned that her speaking would involve the revelation of oath-bound information and that had prevented her from reaching out for quite some time. M, however, felt that there were current events occurring based on a former group she had been with, and that the oath-bound materials were a core of the issue. Not being able to speak to anyone from that group without risking (psychic) injury, she turned to me.

In the end, M. invoked the blessing of Isis to have compassion for her if she was going to transgress, and I took an oath not to reveal anything to another. . . and we talked.

And now I’m writing about it.

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A Statement of My World View

In my world:
Who you choose to be your sexual partner does not define you.
Who you choose to love does not define you.
Whether you choose to have sex, or not does not define you.
What you do to earn money does not define you.
Whether you earn money for your labor does not define you.
Whether you believe in ‘deity’ in any form, duality, presence, or religious framework does not define you.
What color your skin is does not define you.
What school you got a degree from does not define you.
What level of degree (grade, high, bachelor’s, etc.) you have been awarded does not define you.
What gender you are does not define you.
Whether you have suffered violence does not define you.

In my world:
You are shaped by your thoughts and feelings.
You influence others through your expression (whether verbal, visual, or written).
How you treat others defines you.
What you do with your life defines you.
What you choose to do in response to others defines you.
Everyone is ‘other’ which is wonderful and a constant opportunity to learn.
We are all in progress, not perfect, and the journey is the process.

I recognize that my world is not THE world. In no way does my worldview accept ‘color blindness’ or ‘erasure’ or any kind of dismissal as acceptable. In recognizing the disparity between my worldview and ‘reality’ I offer my space — at home, work, online, teaching — as safe for everyone as long as they agree that different is not threatening, lesser, or to be cast out.

Fear can be unlearned; but it’s not on those you fear to help you. (They’ve got enough to deal with already.)

Hate cannot be tolerated.

(I almost can’t write this, I still feel intense shame.)

There were two times in my my life when I was poor enough to feel actual physical hunger. The first was when my parents first separated and I was living with my mother in a commune in Berkeley (CA).* I’d been wrested from a typical middle-class (white) suburban lifestyle full of meat and bread in unlimited quantities and thrust willy-nilly into a hippie commune. No sugar. Homemade bread. No meat, except when we killed a chicken or rabbit. Nothing processed.

I hated it.

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Seven ago today I began a process of deliberately poisoning my body; in the medical profession this is called chemotherapy.

It was the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. Partly because it wasn’t a one time even, but a whole series of sessions. And it got worse as time went on.

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Last night’s class was on Deity, and I found myself talking about how Kali is the one Deity I have a hard time with. I spoke about how I’ve done dark god/dess work for years as part of the class cycle, and quite a bit of it touches on Her, but I still have trouble.

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It took almost 18 months, but I finally broke my write-a-blog-post-every-week streak. Ah well, guess I’m not perfect.*

To be fair, breaking the streak meant traveling to Paris, San Francisco, and then Georgia within a month, along with some personal things that I’m not ready to share here (yet), so it wasn’t anything small that broke the mold.

So, here I am, catching up a bit.

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I woke up this morning with some thoughts rumbling around.

Many of us are being called to step away from our boring lives and do something just a little bit more to make our worlds safe again. This is a call to change, one happening on a much larger and more obvious scale than previous occurrences. If you’ve ever wanted to participate in history, rather than reading about it, the time is now. We have LGBT rights to retain, systemic racism revealed that must be dismantled, a climate on the brink of devastation, and a huge number of people in danger of losing what little support they have for staying alive.

It’s overwhelming.

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I don’t often mention my Samhain ritual here . . . I’ve written about it elsewhere (notably, The Virtual Pagan), and it’s very different from the one I’m usually doing with the class & coven. This  year I was simply solitary, and so I share with you my evening.

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