Cptsd, Books, and Created Spirits

Today, I discovered something. Namely, that I do not particularly like living in other people’s worlds.

What do I mean? I mean reading. But not the usual kind of reading. I mean, there comes a point when the reading is too engrossing, that you start feeling the story live around you. I hope im not the only one to experience this, because it is unsettling. Even more unsettling is the fact I have no control over where the story or setting will go. So I try and read faster to rip off the bandage and get it over with. But that usually just engrossed me more, and I sink deeper into this world.

It almost feels like a mist around me, today. The feeling, the aura of this novel I’m reading. In an esoteric sense, I suppose one could say the created soul, the Grigori of the book has been summoned. But it bothers me.

It really, truly, bothers me because the only stories where I want to live and feel myself in and around me are ones I can control, at least to some degree. Where I can halt the pain. Where I can truly enjoy myself without too much fear. There is uncertainty in every writing or true artistic endeavor, I suppose. But I like to imagine that I, the author, am in control of the art.

But in the past few days I have sprained my wrist rather badly, and so have been reading others novels instead of immersing in my own. In fact, I’ve done more reading in the past 24 hours than I have in a month. It has been fun, but rather unsettling. I feel like if I push the envelope, I will be bridging two worlds, that one I live in and the one I am reading about.

Thinking of it in terms of a created spirit, a Grigori, makes sense to me now, but it is still unsettling. I sort of feel like the silver tongue in Inkheart, who could create things by reading them aloud (or so I recall of the story). Truly, I am sure, there are many spiritual ramifications to this, from the neopagan perspective as well as an authors perspective. But I dont want to go there too much.

I like reality, but I also enjoy my own fantasy worlds. Today, while being all cozy, I realized that I truly enjoy immersing in my fantasy worlds and half living in them. I say half living, because they are all I think and breathe for half a day, or a quarter. They fill my mind and obsess me. They bring this aura to me, this presence of joy. It makes me feel accompanied, loved, and surrounded by magic. But it saddens me to realize, as I did today, that the only tasks I am truly successful at are ones that involve sinking into these fantasy worlds. Tasks related to reality and observing it, like cleaning, I am terrible at.

Maybe I am looking too much into things, but maybe I am not. Cptsd makes me often want to escape, to run away, to forget. It has made me sensitive, I suppose, but also makes me… unreal at the same time. I feel, because of my memory loss, a disconnect from the past. Like it didn’t actually happen to me. At the same time I feel a void where my memories should be. In a sense, I feel forever young because I am not aging because I have so few memories and ties to reality.

Anyways, I am writing this purely because I wanted to share. If you are out there an have lived something similar, this bridging of worlds between books and reality, please let me know. I’d like not to be the only one. If you read this and find it curious, I’ll admit that it is! But please don’t just think “oh thats weird” and move on. Entertain me a little, and think on what ifs and ramifications with me. Discuss with me, I’d greatly enjoy it.

In any case, I wish you all the best. Have a lovely day 💗

Welcome to Circlet School ~ Chapter Two part Two

Sapphire. Did she always walk into places like a breath of cool, no-nonsense fresh air? Or more like a tornado? Or, would she some days bring a bit of laughter and cheer with herself?

Staring at the work on my laptop, I thought about these very important (not) questions. What sort of things did Sapphire like? What was her service dog called? What were her core beliefs, the things that fueled her life forward?

“Thunder!”

“Jesus!” I yelled, jumping up in my chair and nearly toppling the whole thing over.

Sapphire stepped up to my side, corgi in tow. Her arms were crossed over her chest and a smirk was on her lips. “The irony of that, in this place,” she said.

I shook my head, trying not to feel like an idiot. “I’m sorry, I was – focused.”

“At least you weren’t masturbating,” she said flatly. “Your door was open so I just came in. I’ll be sure to knock next time.”

I nodded some more, like a bobblehead. “Sure.” And then I couldn’t stop myself from adding. “And walk loudly too, just for safety.”

She smiled. Oh my gods, she actually smiled. It was a beautiful thing. And then it vanished.

“So,” she took a look at my computer screen, then back at me. “How goes the work? Are your course plans ready?”

“Yes, I uh- getting ready.”

She leveled me a serious look. “Getting?”

I held up a hand. “Very much nearly there. Don’t worry. I’ll be ready in a day.”

“Good. That’s what I want to hear. Have you gone over the students? Their names and faces?”

“Uh, yes.” Just a little, and it showed in my voice. Another ‘serious look’ from her.

“I’ll have a good grasp by the time they arrive,” I said. “I usually learn their names better in person.”

She nodded curtly. “Everyone does. Do you have any concerns or things you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Uh, no?”

Her eyebrows rose. “Really?”

I paused, looking from her to my computer. “Physics is pretty straight-forward. I’ve been teaching it for a while. I mean,” I held up my hands. “I’ve gone over the sample meditations for the beginning of classes. I can do that. Everything else seems pretty under control. So,”

“Oh,” she looked at the window. “Alright. Good.” Then, looking down at her corgi, she said “You’re the first one without questions today.”

“Oh,” was I supposed to have questions?

“Which is fine,” she added sharply to me. “As long as you’re sure? No worries? Some are particularly worried about the state of this building.”

I pressed my lips together. “Well, I uh, haven’t, uh,” I shrugged limply. “No. I,”

Sapphire smiled at me. My brain drew a complete blank.

“Well, don’t hesitate to let me know if there are any pressing issues.” She straightened even more and the smile vanished. “Have a good day. Lunch is soon, by the way.”

“Oh, yeah, thanks,” I said, sounding every bit absent-minded and weird. I watched her reflection in the window leave. Within a few seconds, she knocked on Crystal’s door.

“Shoes!” was heard, predictably.

I chuckled to myself. Then, with a sigh, I returned to my classwork. Yep, it was going to go well.

I remember, very distinctly, wondering what could possibly go wrong.

Hah. Hahahaha.

////

Lunch was a grueling affair. Amethyst raved on about how we needed more time! More time!

“I spent all morning writing this ritual- and I just feel so compelled to, like, cleanse this place inside and outside and-”

I speared my fried eggs, and raised my eyebrows at Bjorn. He smiled back cheekily. I silently wondered how many times Amethyst would say the word ‘feel’ in a conversation.

As it turned out, a lot. A frickin’ lot. Even Crystal’s eyes seemed to be getting glazed over by the time that Amethyst dabbed her eyes with a corner of her shawl and announced “I’m getting emotional.”

I couldn’t be the only one who wanted to roll my eyes at that.

“Must be the energy,” said Crystal gently.

“This place is SO unstable!” sobbed Amethyst, tears running down her cheeks.

“It has been cleansed, you know,” said the principal under her breath from the other end of the table.

“By who?” wailed Amethyst. “I still feel so much residual -”

“A shaman,” said Sapphire tartly to her plate. “A Mohawk.”

There was a silence. Bjorn nodded wisely, leaning back in his chair to say to her around Crystal. “That sounds like good.”

Like good?

“Very good,” said Sapphire stiffly. “They did a nice job.” she leaned forward conspiratorially, eyes flashing above a smirk. “You should have felt the place before they came by.”

“Why did you ever take this place?” wailed Amethyst. “It’s going to cause us nothing but trouble!”

Sapphire set her utensils down with her napkin on her plate. “It was a decision with the investors.”

Well, yep. True. I nodded. Investors were a thing. She probably didn’t have all that much say in everything some times-

“But this place, can’t you just feel -”

“Well, it’s what we have,” said Sapphire as she rose, collecting her tray. “I expect you to still perform your best, and to keep the theatrics away from the students.” She leveled a glare around the table. “We don’t need them to start making up ghost stories as excuses.”

“But what if- oh no no No!” Amethyst threw her napkin down like it was the proverbial medieval glove. “We have to do this ritual before the children arrive! We can’t have them here like this!”

“Suit yourself,” said the principal in a calm tone. She turned to walk away, and I faintly wished I was doing the same.

“We’ll do it tonight!” Amethyst called out to her. Sapphire nodded, dumping her tray in its allocated spot. She was walking away when Amethyst jumped up and shouted out “You’ll have to be there!”

Sapphire froze, even her back looking unhappy. She turned around, face neutral.

“Pardon?” she asked as if this was a bad joke.

“We need to be thirteen!” pleaded Amethyst. “You can’t not be there! Or the whole energy will be off!”

Sapphire paused. “We are thirteen?”

“Yes!” Amethyst burst. The table nodded.

Sapphire paused. Then, with a shrug she said “If you insist on doing it tonight. But the second security guard will be arriving tomorrow in the evening, as will our social worker and psychologist. So,” she held up her hands. “You could wait until then.”

“Oh no!” Amethyst looked around the table desperately. “Then we won’t be thirteen!”

If telepathy was a thing, we all heard the ‘so what?’ and a few curse words that went through the principal’s mind.

But Sapphire was collected, she was cool, and she was a professional. She would not swear in front of us, I was sure of it. Instead she folded her hands before herself and tilted her head to the side in an understanding sort of way. “Is it that important to you?”

Amethyst looked ready to choke. I half expected her to start seizing or something. “We need to be thirteen! Haven’t you -”

“There are many covens that aren’t specifically thirteen members,” interrupted Aurora.

“Exactly,” said Sapphire calmly. “But if it will put your mind at rest, I will participate.”

“Oh, thank you!” crowed Amethyst. Holding out her arms, she rushed towards Sapphire for a hug. Sapphire turned to walk away – and got hugged from behind. Amethyst squeezed the very stiff figure, sniffling through tears. “We’ll all get through this together!”

Oh, Goddess.

 

That afternoon, Amethyst supposedly went to the nearest supply shop to get all the necessaries for the ritual.

“I think she’s a bit high strung,” said Crystal, standing on one foot by my desk.

“A little,” I said testily. Crystal smiled at me.

“She runs her own coven,” said Crystal. “She’s very qualified.”

I had already guessed the coven part. High priestesses were – just a breed of their own I supposed. Not that high priests were any better (hah!).

“I just hope the ritual will go well,” I said flatly. I didn’t want to have a headache argument over who was more ‘spiritually qualified’ than who. I didn’t want to hear about why one ritual might work better than another. For all I cared, this place ought to be plenty clean enough. I mean, my nightmares were probably just normal teaching anxiety.

Crystal hummed, fidgeting with a dreadlock. Then, looking intently at a bead in her haid, she asked too casually “You’ve got weird vibes about this place, don’t you?”

I nodded half heartedly. “Yeah. But-”

“Oh, me too!” she gasped as if this was such a relief. “Aurora thinks I’m exaggerating and I know that it’s already been cleansed but-” she plopped down onto the edge of my bed. “Don’t you think it feels weird around here?”

I nodded, wondering how I was going to get her out of my room now, without being rude.

As it turned out, I wasn’t able to. Crystal talked and talked about these ‘just weird’ nightmares she’d had last night, and about how the principal was ‘way too strict’ and how ‘the children are going to pick up on this’ and how the sun didn’t even seem to shine around here.

“It’s just always so cloudy!” she was saying as someone knocked on my rooms’ doorframe.

“Hey,” said Aurora.

“Hey!” we said in unison. Crystal schooched over on the bed and patted it, inviting Aurora over in all her gothic glory.

Great, another person in here. Now how was I going to get my stuff done?

“So, does anyone else have a bad feeling about this ritual tonight?” Aurora asked as she sat down on the bed.

I wanted to slam my head on the desk. Crystal, however, lit into it like feelings were the new drug.

“I really don’t know!” she said.

And bam. Another hour or so gone. My eyes were dry and I was downright grouchy when the time came for supper.

I made the mistake of not outrunning anyone on the walk over there. Had I done that, I wouldn’t have been just picking up a bowl when Amethyst burst into the eating hall.

“Nobody eat!” she shrieked, running in with papers in one hand and a giant eco-friendly shopping bag under her other arm, bursting full of stuff.

The chef raised her eyebrows, just about to ladle chow mein into my bowl. I almost reached across the counter to pour it in. But Amethyst rushed up to us, panting.

“What are you all thinking?” She looked around the hall, but we were all in the one line at the counter. “We need to do the ritual! Have you forgotten?” And she shoved the papers at me, all crinkled and sweaty from her grip.

Sapphire’s cool voice rang out. “Yes, but it’s supper time. We can do ritual after-”

“Oh no! A beginner’s mistake! You see, the cakes and ale is for after the ritual -”

“I think she knows that,” I muttered, but Amethyst wasn’t listening, preaching as if our principal was an uneducated Baptist or something.

“You see, fasting is very potent,” said Amethyst, beaming at everyone. “Our magic will be pure and-”

“Your food’ll be cold,” said the chef, nonplussed with this whole idea.

Amethyst smiled in a way that said ‘elementary, dear Watson’. “There’s a microwave, I’m sure.”

We all looked around. There was, indeed, a lonely black microwave in the corner of the kitchen.

“I have all the essentials,” Amethyst was babbling, rifling in her eco-friendly shopping bag. I took a look at the papers in my hand. Namely, I noticed the thickness and the quantity of the print on the page.

Hopefully, I split the stack in two and tried to hand her half. “You’ll want your half,” I mumbled.

“Oh, no, that is your half!” she said cheerfully, waving a hand at me.

Aw, fuck. How long was this ritual going to be?

“So! I will go set up! Everyone, in ritual robes and makeup and-”

“Robes?” echoed Sapphire in a disbelieving tone.

Amethyst ignored her. “And bring your wands and whatever you want charged with protective energy!” Then she beamed again at everyone.

Cheryl took off her apron and fairly threw it onto the counter. Sapphire looked like she wanted to hit herself over the head with something brick-like. Aurora looked tense. Crystal, however, looked so thrilled.

“Okay,” I muttered. “I’ll uh, get my stuff.”

We walked like a very unhappy troupe to the staff’s quarters. No one said much on the way there, and less as we all split off into our own rooms.

I’ll admit, a bunch of silly thoughts went through my head as I began grabbing my stuff. It’s always exciting, preparing for a ritual. You get to see an aspect of people you don’t normally see. It’s an intimate glimpse into them. So, naturally, hormones raging, I wondered what Sapphire would be wearing. A flowing skirt? Horus eyes?

I was being an idiot, obviously. It didn’t matter what she wore, because it was none of my business. She was my boss.

So I grabbed my wand, drew out a crystal from my stash to have it charged with protective energy, and took a moment to leaf through the ritual. Holy fucks. It was full of long poetry, so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised if we were drawing down the moon and the sun and stars, just for the fucks of it all. What, did she copy out the full Wiccan Rede into here? The Charge of the Goddess as well? For fuck’s sake.

I left my room and was nearly attacked by Bjorn. In fact, the guy did pretend to attack me, bearing a sword and all.

“JESUS!” I yelled, shielding myself with the ritual papers from this viking that had just burst out of nowhere. Because, uh, yeah. Bjorn was wearing leather cuffs, a rugged one hundred percent natural fibers shirt that was beige, pants and a leather belt, and the giant sword. There was even a drinking horn at his belt.

Bjorn laughed, swinging his sword up onto his shoulder. Then, laughter done with, he chuckled at me. “You’re not getting dressed?” As if it was a capital crime.

“I don’t,” I shrugged and looked down at myself. “No robes.”

“Oh,” said Crystal, appearing behind me. She was dressed much the same, but had a shawl on, and was bearing even more necklaces and had a wand in hand.

One by one, everyone else appeared. It was a shocking revelation for each. The chef, Cheryl, came out in full viking gear, with a small spear with runes on it. Aurora looked like she’d taken a bath in her gothic makeup palette, and was wearing ripped stockings and a lolita skirt. The math teacher, Paulette, was wearing boho chic with a modern witch’s hat on. Maria, the phys ed teacher, was wearing a medieval dress that just so happened to look extremely witchy.

And then Sapphire stepped out of her room.

She may as well have come out with a cloud of smoke, bats flying and stars sparkling in her hair, for what it was worth. Everyone had obviously been waiting for her by the stares she received. And, just to set the record straight, she was wearing the exact same suit as before. Her hair hadn’t changed. Her makeup hadn’t changed. But what had changed –

“Aww!” crooned Crystal, crouching down. “She’s in ritual gear!”

Indeed, the little corgi, grinning in that way corgis do, had on a little costume cape and witch’s hat tied onto its head. It was so adorable and hilarious, I wanted to crack up laughing.

“Alright,” said the principal primly. Then, eyeing Crystal she said “Don’t pet her.” Crystal ‘awwed’ and straightened. Sapphire straightened her shoulders and looked around. “Let’s do this.”

Grieving the Deaths in Nova Scotia as a Pagan

I feel mentally bulldozed in a strange way. For those who haven’t heard the news, us Canadians have just had a major shooting. The last one of this magnitude was a shooting aimed just against women at the Polytechnique school.

It’s one thing to hear of atrocities happening all over the world, and its always stranger when it’s closer to home. Furthermore, I’d like to point out to any American reader that shootings barely ever happen in Canada. When they do, they’re a big fucking deal. We mourn them seriously.

Anyways, this news leaves me feeling strangely – distant? Dissociated? Upset without really knowing why? Part of me has a knee-jerk reaction of ‘Oh, just another shooting in the world’, while the rest of me is very shocked and upset that this happened in my country. That innocent people were killed.

I’m majorly left wondering what to do with myself. Is it appropriate to sit down and write and just ignore the fact that we’ve had a mass murder? Is it appropriate to let this take over my life, when there are so many other deaths in the world?

Balance is key, I suppose, but I am no expert. I’ve heard there is going  to be a national vigil online sometime this Friday (I think). But, again, what would be appropriate to do? What is sensible, in a way caring for yourself without letting the grief take over, as well as honoring the dead of these senseless acts?

I would like to suggest, as a pagan and a polytheist, some ideas for self care and to care for the dead of this massacre.

  • Write a letter to your favorite deity, or a deity who specializes in helping the dead pass on (a psychopomp such as Anubis or Saint Michael), asking them to care for the dead and help them find peace after such horrific ends. Burn the letter to transmit it to your deity/spirit of choice.
  • Pray to an appropriate deity (Sekhmet? Bast? Ma’at? I’m not quite sure who would be in charge of purifying a soul. Perhaps a Buddhist tradition would have more specific deities for such a purpose.) for the spirit of the attacker to be purified so as to cause no further trouble as a spirit. You can see this as fire burning away the evil in their heart or the anger that may have caused them to commit such actions.
  • Light a candle with the intent of it lighting a way/ opening a channel for the dead to find their way. Again, you may consult or ask the aid of a psychopomp for aid in this.
  • Write a letter to the deceased in this tragedy and burn it for it to reach them. Offer them your help (within your own limits) and maybe even invite them to a small ritual with candles and a dumb supper. This could be a nice chance to let them talk to you, pour their grief out, and basically process their own death with you.

Remember to take care of yourself! Cleanse and purify your space with incense that gives off a solemn vibe (but nothing too cheerful). Acknowledge your grief, but set the intent that you will carry on in honor of them, not despite them.

If you do have any specific mourning practices in your tradition that you will be performing  to honor these deceased, I’d love to hear them!

 

candlelight candles
Photo by Irina Anastasiu on Pexels.com

Anxiety tips for COVID 19, Spiritually Speaking

flowers on opened book
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

What with the sudden influx of people checking out my mental illness posts, I took a wild guess that people were reaching out for help. So, behold! I’ve decided to put together some self-help tips that try and take into consideration our limitations due to the pandemic. I mainly focused upon anxiety and worry, as it seems that’s what most people are dealing with in these trying times.

  • smudge/burn incense that is purifying and banishing of all negative energy. I am particularly prone to burning cinnamon (yes, the spice). Just pile it into a little pyramid (no bigger than an inch tall or wide, otherwise it might be too much heat for your holder), and light with a match.
  • Do a guided meditation (like this one) where you visualize yourself giving up all your worries to your favorite spirit.
    • Sit down comfortably. Close your eyes and relax. Or cry a little bit, that’s okay too. But whatever you do, relax and let your emotions come bubbling up to the surface. Feel them, hold them. Place your hands on your chest and try and, stretching your hands forward, visualize yourself taking these worries as tangible objects out of your chest and holding them out. Now, pray to a healing deity (my thoughts go to Bast or Sekhmet for this one). Ask them to take your worries away, to heal them and guide you through this pandemic safely.
      • The prayer can go something lie “I pray to you, O Great Sekhmet. Here are my worries, my inner plague. Please erase them from me, leaving me wiser and calmer. Let me, by your guiding grace, pass through this pandemic unharmed.”
    • After this, clap your hands and dust them off away from yourself. They are now empty and your worries are symbolically gone. Rest, focusing on feelings of rejuvenation and calmness.
  • Paint a Dagaz rune on your scarf/mask to help keep the virus out. You can use consecrated water to trace it invisibly as well.
  • Meditate on ice, Isa rune, to calm down and help you reach stillness. Visualize the rune in your chest, wherever you feel your worry the most. Breathe it in and feel it filling you, swelling and cooling down your worry. Exhale and feel it absorbing your worries and transforming them into cold calm.
  • Write down on a piece of paper a list of all things that are worrying you about this pandemic. Light a candle to Sekhmet or your favorite deity (simply say “I devote this candle to ___, to function as a channel of true speech between us” as you light it, or use your favorite invocation), and light the paper with the candle. Allow it to burn as you pray for her powers to destroy not only your worries but all harm that may come to you through this pandemic.
    • Prayer could go something like this. “O Great Sekhmet, here is a list of all that worries me, all that I fear. Please, with your burning powers, O Great Eye of Ra, destroy my worries and all harm that may come to me. Keep me and mine safe from this pandemic, this virus that engulfs the world.”
  • Offer up a prayer for all affected by the disease, such as This Brilliant One

 

I hope this was useful ❤  If you are suffering from something particular and want a prayer or ideas on how to cope with it spiritually, feel free to message me (I can send it to you privately) @ mdaoust245@gmail.com

flowers on opened book
Photo by Alina Vilchenko on Pexels.com

Step 8 ~ SMART Goal that sh*t

So now you’re at step 8. You’ve done your research, dedicated yourself to your path of healing. I.e., you know what to do and you’ve made a vow to actually do it. You’ve laid the groundwork, and now is the time for one final plotting step before action.

My advice is not to do a giant jump. Just take one small thing. My social worker always tells me to break it down into small steps, and start with the smallest step possible and work it up from there.

I suggest beginning on a new or full moon and re-evaluating ourselves on the full or new moon, as is done in Buddhist monasteries in a practice known as ‘sojong’ where they constantly evaluate their progress. This creates a two-week cycle of practice and reevaluation.

Here’s an example. You have a hard time showering, shaving, and getting out of bed at a certain time daily. Break it down. These are actually three different challenges, and you’re going to want to fixate upon them one at a time, from easiest to hardest. So say, showering daily will be easiest for you. You pick that one to tackle first. What’s the smallest step you can do towards showering daily? Maybe it’s just getting into the shower and sitting in the tub for a few minutes. Maybe your next step will be to undress and sit in the shower daily. Then you can add in water and getting yourself wet and drying off daily.

So you’ve picked out your first task. It’s the smallest you can possibly make it while still building up towards your goal. Now, I’m going to reveal another trick a social worker gave me. It’s actually obligatory when they set down goals with their people to make their goals ‘SMART’.

So here’s how it goes:

‘S’ stands for ‘specific’

‘M’ stands for ‘measurable’

‘A’ stands for ‘achievable’

‘R’ stands for ‘realistic’

‘T’ stands for ‘time’

Now, I’m sure if you search ‘smart goals’, you’ll get plenty of great descriptions on how to use these. My main thing is that the ‘SMART’ goals acronym helps you set up a goal that is doable and identified clearly so that you know if you’ve succeeded or failed.

Now let’s take the shower thing and set a ‘SMART’ goal with it.

S: You’re going to get into the shower every day. M: you will be sitting in the shower, fully clothed, for 5 or more minutes with no water running. A: for the sake of this example, I’m going to say that yes, I can achieve this (right now, I do actually do full showers, so this is just an example peoples. The point is to sit down and ask yourself if you can actually do this, physically and mentally. If the answer is no, try a smaller goal.) ‘R’: in my case, it’s realistic to be able to get into a shower and sit for 5+ minutes. But say, if you’re physically handicapped, it may not be realistic. T: We’re going to do this for two weeks, 5-7 times a week.

So that’s how you do a ‘SMART’ goal.  My further advice is: do it with someone who is a positive influence in your mental health life. Don’t do it with someone stressful, or someone who doesn’t want to acknowledge your problems. Pick someone realistic and helpful, if you have one available. Call a hotline and ask for a social worker to help talk you through it, at worse (in Canada, there’s the 811 line, option 2, that’s a social worker).

Here’s some more examples. You’ve decided to go at you mental health healing alone. You’re beginning by tackling your anxiety, and you’ve decided to work on your social anxiety. You’ve picked out a reiki practitioner as well as a natural remedy advisor, as well as a yoga class to attend.

You’re going to pick the smallest one: say, the yoga class to attend. So you set yourself a ‘SMART’ goal in regards to this yoga class, like this: ‘S’: attend X yoga class ‘M’: for an hour session ‘A’: yes, you can mentally do it. ‘R’ Yes, you can physically do it in regards to getting there and doing the basic poses. ‘T’: you will do this for two weeks, then reevaluate.

Here’s another example: You’ve decided to try a mixture of western medicine and ayurvedic practices. You’ve researched an ayurvedic healer, the info for your family doctor, as well as a dog park to play your dog at for stress relief. You break it down into the smallest step: it could be either to make a doctor appointment or try the dog park. Let’s say it’s the doctor appointment. So you set a ‘SMART’ goal like this:

‘S’: call to make an appointment with family doctor ‘M’ make an appointment for as quickly as possible ‘A’: yes, you can do it mentally. ‘R’: yes, you can do it realistically. You have no large phone phobias or difficulty physically making phone calls. ‘T’: you will do this within two weeks.

Now, where’s the pagan side in all of this? Of course, there are many ways to use your spirituality to bolster your ‘SMART’ goals. You can try and set spiritual goals to do in tandem with more ‘physical’ goals, even doing them together so that your spiritual practice makes it easier to perform your healing steps.

Ideas include:

  • Lighting purifying incense daily (when you’re there to supervise it burning) to cleanse and purify your home/energy. Perform in preparation for more agitating chores/mentally disruptive tasks.
  • Meditate/sit in contemplation daily, at a specific time. Depending on the sort of meditation you do, it can either calm you down from a difficult activity, raise energy before a difficult activity, or take a breather in the middle of a difficult activity.
  • Draw a divination card or rune each day, either at the beginning of the day to suggest contemplative observation of one’s day, or at the end of the day to help ‘summarize’ the day and bring closure and reflection.
  • Perform an offering ritual. This can be as simple as laying a cookie with intent out on a windowsill for the fairies.
  • Do some breathing exercises.
  • Do some energy moving exercises. I recommend doing grounding ones for beginning your path, so as to not raise agitated energy that you aren’t ready to work with yet. If you do raise energy, remember to always ground it once you are done.
  • Recite a prayer. It can be a long formal recitation with prayer beads, or it can simply be a moment to talk to a preferred deity.
  • Sit in nature.

 

Again, these are just ideas. Whatever you feel is right, pick it and do the smallest step possible.

I wish you all the best. In our next step, we will look at the ‘how’ of doing these goals.

Chaos & Kuryo (novel 3) Chapter 10 part 2

Kuryo POV

The thing about being so short is that skirts and all that are horrible eye magnets. There were two people who came out onto the balcony, and oh my. The bird in me squawked and cocked my head, saying (in bird speak) ‘Are you serious?’.

It was a grizzly old man (it had to be) wearing no medieval tights to cover his stumpy and hairy legs or anything else up there. And that tunic! Too short, my friend. Too short.

Just as I was ogling this man who was definitely a human by his shortness, another being swept out onto the porch, barely dressed as well. But this one it was the top that wasn’t quite dressed. They had on a deep reddish brown robe that looked like a dress, and it was open down to the waist and draping off one shoulder. They had long blonde hair that swept down past their hips and bright eyes. He (it looked like a he) exhaled smoke and stepped to stand beside the man, offering a pipe.

I eyed their feet. Both wore about the foot size (did that matter?). They were speaking, though, and I paid attention, pecking aimlessly at the wood of the balcony to look like I was doing something.

“We will have the shipment ready soon,” said the human, puffing at the pipe. “Don’t worry about that.”

“I’m not worried about that,” said the other being. “I’m worried about this new dimension they’ve got their eyes on. It’s apparently quite the chaotic one.”

“Oh?” the man chortled. “I’m sure it won’t be a problem.”

I eyed the two of them with one eye. A dimension? Conquering?

The pipe was passed back to the alien or whatever they were. He puffed at it for a moment, then returned it to the human. “You know, it’s quite strange, this world,” and he sent smoke up into the air. “Very religious,” and he gestured to down below. “Like here, but worse.”

“Well good for you. Makes good slaves,” the man chuckled nastily.

Suzy, who had been slowly whimpering since their appearance, now began to cry in the back of my mind.

“What?” I asked within myself.

“I don’t like them,” she whispered. “They’re the conquerors. They’re the one fighting me, the Academy, for the gods.”

I squawked. “For the gods?”

The blond man looked down at me. He exhaled smoke. “Oh, look. It’s blue. A blue crow.”

The man snorted. “Filthy things. Kick it.”

“Hmm,” the blond man stooped, chuckling. He held out the pipe to me. “Want some?”

I eyed him, then the pipe. Okay, a magical-looking pipe? A perfect wizard-like thing? I wanted it.

Slowly, I nibbled the tip. It made the tall man laugh. “Look!” he said, turning slightly to say it to the other man. “It wants some!”

Then I yanked it from him and took off. Fuckers!

Wham! I hit an invisible wall just above the railing of the balcony. A shimmer of a spell let me know what happened.

“You idiot!” squealed Suzy in the back of my mind. “You stupid stupid-”

I flopped gracelessly down onto my back, the world whirling. A blond head poked above me, laughing. “The poor thing!”

The world careened some more as I was lifted. I was held up to eye height as the man stood. “Think it’s injured?”

“Who cares?” asked the other man. He picked up the pipe and wiped it off on a sleeve before eyeing it suspiciously. “Just chuck it over the edge. It’s dirty.”

This man hummed. A hand gripped me solidly and we turned. In the back of my mind Suzy was weeping.

We stepped into the building, and I couldn’t detect much of what was going on. I was badly concussed, I guessed. The world span and I was handled this way and that, flipped over.

“What are you doing?” asked the ugly man, now puffing inside on the pipe.

“Oh, you know, I like feathers,” said the blond man.

I heard a strange ‘snip-snip’ right next to me as my left wing was extended.

“He’s cutting your feathers!” Suzy shrieked, making the inside of my head rattle.

My feathers? I squawked, trying to peck at the hand – which made my head thud awfully. But my feathers! I scrambled, flapped – and was held quite solidly by the shoulder. A giant pair of shears appeared at my right side and snip! A huge chunk of my wing feathers fluttered away.

I shrieked. My feathers!

“There we go!” the shears were laid aside and I was cradled in two hands, held up to a strangely modern lamp in the ceiling.

“Fuck you!” I shrieked, jumping out of the hands. Flap flap- thud. I hit the floor right before the short mans hairy feet. Ugh.

The world spun and the short man was laughing. “It’s so stupid!”

Horror drenched through me. I shuffled along on the floor, flapping desperately. But there was no traction. No wing grabby power. Squawk!

I was scooped up from behind. “Come here, you thing,” and I was placed on a pillow on the table. “There. You just-” my head was patted and it was like an anvil striking me. “Stay here.”

I wanted to barf. My head was hurting so bad and now everything else was aching from all my falls – and Suzy was sobbing. “We’ve been caught!”

“Of course not,” I shushed her. “This is just a setback. The minute they turn their backs, I’m out of here.”

Because, really, if dimensions couldn’t hold me back, how could this building? The minute they looked the other way, I was going to hop my way out of here and that would be that. I’d pop onto another building and never go on a balcony again.

It took some time. The tall man fussed around me for a good few minutes, setting a bowl of water before me and a crust of bread. Ech. Go away!

Finally, they did go back out onto the balcony. Good.

I focused. Felt my power through the throbbing pain and nausea. Then I sent myself forward – and lurched.

I opened my eyes, feeling a strange tingling all over myself. A certain lack of…

“They’ve cut your wings!” Suzy was wailing.

Yes, but – that can’t be the crux of my power. They’re just wings.

I tried again. And again. And finally, head pounding and retching from the pain of it all, I dropped down onto the pillow. The world span and I gave up for the time being. Maybe I was just too sick to do this properly.

It certainly couldn’t be because of my wings being cut.

Step 5 ~ Gather Your Resources

Now that you’ve chosen your path of healing, you’re going to do some research. Consider it like a nature walk. Do you just up and randomly drive up to the side of a forest and begin slugging away at it, trying to walk through the thick and thin of it? Of course not (or at least I hope you don’t- it could be private property!). No. As a good pagan, you will first check our where you’re allowed to go and find some nice nature parks. Then you’ll maybe get a copy of a local flora and fauna book to better understand what you’ll be seeing. Then you get proper walking boots and socks and a hat and maybe pick out a crystal to guide you. All this to say -> you get prepared. Pagans are really big on intuition and ‘winging it’, but there’s nothing wrong or un-spiritual about planning. For those of us with mental illness, it can really help and make sure we don’t miss something obvious.

So, first things first. Get a hold of your trusty list of treatment options that you made last step. Grab a new sheet of paper and write them down in the order you want to do them, leaving plenty of space all around to write in your research. I suggest sticking the worst/most stressful thing in the middle, that way you end on a less stressful note.

Now, going down your list, research each option one at a time. Truth be told, this could take a few hours, even a few days. You want to be exhaustive.

But how do you do this? It’s easy to say ‘research’, but for me, that’s overwhelming. So let’s break it down.

Suppose you have are willing to see a doctor. Research on the local doctors. Do you have options with your insurance, or are you tied to a family doctor? If you already have a doctor, and you just have to make an appointment with them, then congrats, you’re done! If not, keep researching on which doctor you feel would best suit your needs.

Suppose you want to try only alternative medicines. Research which ones you want to take. Research what accredited people are near you, such as ayurvedic healers, naturopaths, etc. Write down their coordinates, availabilities, and approximate costs.

If you want to try group talks or similar therapies, research if there is any happening in your area, and consider calling a mental health clinic in order to know more about them.

Here’s a thing: don’t be afraid to call to get more information. If that’s too terrifying, get a friend to do it for you, or try emailing them. Whichever way, get as much pertinent information as you can.

A phone call, or email, could go like this:

“Hi, my name is ___ and I have ___ problems (such as anxiety or obsessions). I am currently researching on treatment options such as ___ (aromatherapy, reiki, etc) that you currently provide. I am wondering if you could tell me more about your services and how you could help me heal.”

One thing to consider, especially for alternative therapies and ‘spiritual’ practices such as reiki, is to ask them if they have any previous experience healing people with your condition. A simple way to phrase this is to say/write something along the lines of “I was wondering if you have any previous experience healing people with my condition, and if you could tell me how those experiences went.”

Again, you don’t need the nitty gritty details. But you do need to know whether they’ve dealt with anxiety/schizophrenia before, or whether they have no clue what to do with you.

Once you’re done with one point, move on to the next. In order for a point to be ‘done’, you should have gathered extra information specifically in regards to your condition (i.e., does the local health clinic offer schizophrenic talk meetings, does the reiki healer accept patients with your condition, etc) (except for a doctor, whose treatment plan will largely depend upon your meeting), gotten their contact method, and know where they are located. Once you’ve done this for your whole list, congratulations, you’re done for this step!

Again, take a breather. This may have been very stressful for you, and acknowledge that. It may also be confusing to have all this information. Acknowledge that as well. For now, don’t try and begin picking out who you want to see first or anything of the sort. Set it aside and forget about it until the next step.

I suggest you change your mind, cleanse your energy, and do a joyful spiritual practice. Offer thanks for the resources you’ve found!

 

The TwoLoveBirds Project Lives Again!

Hey everyone! I’ve been a bit silent here lately (when am I not, haha? I seem to go through fits of silence pretty regularly) but I’ve got a happy reason for that!

The TwoLoveBirds project has found itself a new direction, and lives again!

What do I mean? What is the TwoLoveBirds project?

Well, originally, the TwoLoveBirds was a random bunch of comics meant to be avatars for me and my wife for our writings. Then that writing project fell apart, and they became just comics. Now however, I’ve decided to go into children’s writing, specifically pagan children’s writing! So behold, I am making TwoLoveBirds a children’s book series.

So, as this blog isn’t very children-friendly, I have decided to make another blog, a hub for all things TwoLoveBirds. I hope you will follow along there, and be as excited for the books as I myself am! These books, albeit meant for pagan families, can just as much be enjoyed by adults as by children alike. And really, if you want to color the pictures, please do! I’d love to see them colored in by someone other than myself!

So if you have children, want to support a pagan author, or just like picture books, then don’t worry! My ebook will be up for pre-order very soon, along with the hard copy!

Stay tuned for updates!

birdie apples .jpeg

 

Who Am I?

So I’ve gotten some new followers lately on social media! Always a great thing! And, as is customary, I’ve decided to do a ‘who am I’ post, just to introduce myself to all these lovely people who have decided to follow me. This post will be doubled up on my Instagram.

So who am I? Well I’m an author, vicious mental health advocate, and a self-dedicated pagan priest. And as it comes to writing this post, I’m stumped. I don’t know what to say, really. How can I summarize myself? It’s like describing a box that you’re stuck on the inside of. But I’m going to try and tell you what’s inside the box.

First things first -> I love writing. Writing once saved my life, keeping me from my suicidal ideations. So I don’t take my stories too lightly, let’s put it that way. I love them, I love writing them, and I really care about making them good and reaching people with them.

Second things second -> I’m pretty darn spiritual. I live my religion, Wicca, and can get really intense about it. Which is why getting called by various spirits can sometimes make life confusing, but hey. I do my best. I’m part of the monastic movement in polytheism, as well as the wave of self-dedicated priest/esses, as well as those who cover their heads.

Third things third -> I no longer cover my head full-time, but do cover and dress up and makeup for ritual occasions. Why? Because I feel called to. So I do. That simple. I kind of wish I had the inner strength and calling to cover full-time, because sometimes it really does feel good to cover. But hey, that’s not today.

Fourth things fourth -> I am a fierce mental health advocate and domestic abuse survivor and feminist. I try and tie all these together, but I mainly rail against nasty esoteric views that poison paganism in regards to mental health. As someone who survived mental illness and had an especially hard time due to these beliefs that were impressed upon me, I really really get up in arms about mental illness rights and poisonous outlooks.

Fifth things fifth -> I actually do have a sense of humor, and am really kind. It might not show, but I generally make people laugh IRL and do my best to make them happy and smiling whenever they’re with me. So as much as I might come off as a hardass online, it’s just because writing’s my best medium and the swiftest way for me to clearly lay out my thoughts. But when it comes to taking care of people? I’ve literally had a stranger come up to me during a street festival and ask for help in regards to their mental health, and I kept in contact for months trying to help them.

Sixth thing? Just in case none of you know – I am transgender! That means I am going from being a woman to being a man. So when you refer to me, it’s he/him. 🙂

Fun facts!

  • I like wearing fake piercings, doing makeup, and doing my nails on occasion.
  • I love gardening, but gardening does not always love me!
  • Similarly, I love drawing, but it doesn’t always turn out the way I want it to! Which leads me to the fact that…
  • I’m pretty harsh on myself when it comes to stuff I care about. I’m not really a perfectionist, but I want my stuff to be good.
  • I’m terrible with colors. I just have a really hard time coloring in a picture, understanding how colors work, and pairing up complementary colors together.
  • I love my puddy cat. We snuggle lots (as my instagram feed testifies).
  • I love baking. I’m generally pretty okay at it too!
  • I tend to break coffee machines. No joking, we used a french press for a few years because I broke three coffee machines in a row, no idea how. They just – broke.
  • I try and play guitar. Try being the key word here.
  • speaking of which, the first song I tried to learn was the ‘chocobo song’ from final fantasy, just to irritate my wife (she’s heard that song too much!).
  • When I was young and watching disney movies, I always wanted to be the villain. Especially Gaston. I never wanted him to die haha.

Why is Paganism full of Shitbags?

Here’s a rant. For all you solitaires out there, be prepared to be smug. All you coven people, prepare for a healthy bashing. And I say healthy because it’s like popping a pimple. Squeezing out the puss, you know. Hopefully this rant will bring to light certain things that are quite the fucking problem in our community and that we need to address ASAP and not just sit on our asses about.

Here’s my point: our community is full of shitbags. And I’m not exaggerating. Time and time again I approach ‘respected’ community leaders who act like absolute asshats to me. In my small span of a year, all the ‘mainstream’ pagan leaders are rude, obnoxious, and downright unwilling to address sexual predation and abuse within the community.

The saving grace is the polytheists. They seem to have their shit together and be more or less respectable. Surprisingly, they are the ones who are the most willing to build, organize, and get stuff done. The rest however? I will give an example.

I messaged a certain school on facebook messenger, hoping to perhaps form an alliance and at the very least have some aid towards the legalities of my project.

Well, no shit, they answered with the wrong name (I am not ‘Justin’, and neither is my facebook name, so how the hell they got that wrong is besides me. Or is it an American thing that they think we’re all named after Justin Trudeau now? It’s fucking dumb, and rude.) and not only that, but they basically said ‘just send your students to us’. Wow, a round of applause for being incompetent AND impolite all in one. And that’s an accredited school.

What the hell people? What gives? I knew we were a disorganized bunch, but there’s a difference between being basically disorganized and being disorganized due to bad leadership, poor social hygiene, and sexual predation.

Solitaires, y’all are NOT missing out. No fucking wonder covens are shriveling up and dying. Seeing the way most of us are acting, it honestly makes me want to throw my hat into the water and give up.

The saving grace is that, really, my local pagans, my ‘tribe’, are awesome people. So I’m doing it for them. Because the rest of you leaders are (majorly) not worth shit. And the ones that are good? Lead from the shadows, it would seem. They’re just not mainstream and not in the facebook groups. The best pagans are hiding, building stuff in their own corners and just not dealing with the giant shitstorm that is mainstream paganism. Can’t blame them.

I read a quote from the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy a few years ago that basically said that, inevitably, those who rise to power and attempt to get into power are usually those who are the least suitable for it. It rings especially true in the pagan community right now. All our mainstream ‘popular’ leaders are seemingly Full of Shit. I wish I wasn’t exaggerating.

Rant over. I’ll probably do another post on how to deal with shitty leaders and how to avoid them, but for now, Michael out.