“Witch Hunts” and Normalizing trump

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The meme of Robert Mueller with the caption: “So many witches, so little time.”

A tweet I just read about witches locking children in cages.

Another tweet about “12 witches indicted.”

I know that someone reading this wants to tell me it’s just an expression and to get over it, but it’s not and I won’t.

I read The Spiral Dance when I was 12 or 13. After reading a lot of mythology, The Golden Bough, books published during the 1950s-1970s about the new religion, Wicca, and a buying some Llewellyn Books, I realized that I was a witch. By that time, I was 15. I wasn’t free to practice Wicca in my home back then, so I kind of floundered along into my late 20s. I had a crisis of faith when I developed uterine fibroids (benign tumors of the uterus) at age 25. I had surgery to remove the tumors. They came back in 11 months. I felt abandoned by “the” Goddess. I was sick, had no insurance despite working 40 hours a week for an attorney, and Wicca wasn’t helping me.

I got interested in Buddhism and met my ex-husband online on a Buddhist message board for newbies. After moving in with him, I realized that his version of Buddhism was not what I had read about. I also had become interested in a Buddhist nun’s podcast and experienced complete disillusionment with Buddhism when she said something rather horrifying about rape.

So I was 700 miles from home with a controlling and abusive man and his traditional Christian family. He despised Wicca, even though he knew I had considered myself Wiccan before I started exploring Buddhism. Again, I could not openly be a witch in my own home. I started to think about how safe I felt at Catholic school. I started school at Catholic school and stayed there until second grade. My now deceased father was a lapsed Catholic. I spent a lot of time reading in a grove of trees next to the convent, where there was a small shrine to the Virgin Mary.

sacred heart mary crop

I felt surrounded by a comforting female presence in that grove of trees. So, 30+ years later, I decided to return to what made me feel safe. I bought a rosary, a Miraculous Medal, and a holy candle. My husband hated it. His family accepted me, for a while. I felt that female presence protecting me. She got me through the worst parts and back home.

In 2015, I experienced another crisis of faith. I had gotten fascinated with Mary Magdalene and lost and confused in the mythology surrounding her. I had another very bad experience and again felt abandoned.

I walked away from anything to do with Christianity overnight. You may see me talking positively about Christianity sometimes on Twitter. That’s because I don’t hate Christianity. It’s just not for me. I was never a real Catholic, anyway. I was, well, a pagan Catholic, as I find the Church’s official stance on reproductive rights intolerable.

And then I was free to be openly a witch in my home and online. I got rather obsessed by creating altars, buying books by Moon Books, and buying prayer beads

2018 wood prayer beads

for my particular Goddesses. It’s been almost three years and now I actually understand what I am: a polytheistic pagan witch. And I love it. It’s wonderful. I understand now that I was mixing up Christian prayer with spells and Wiccan prayer and ritual. I understand now that being a witch is being in tune with the seasons, the moon, trees, plants, old traditions, new traditions, and that asking a Goddess to alter a situation (I am exclusively a Dianic Wiccan) doesn’t always get me what I want. I’m okay with that now. I’m grounded. (I also try again, in different ways, consult my Tarot and oracle cards, and use my prayer beads to ask for help or just calm myself, much like Buddhist mala beads.)

All of that leads to why I am so fucking sick of people absently parroting “witch hunt” and making jokes about arresting witches. Because of the people, women and men, who lost their lives in Salem, because of all the people who were tortured and burned to death in Europe, and because it still happens today. Women who anger men by testing the fragile patriarchy are still accused of witchcraft and beaten and murdered.

This is why I would like you to think twice before laughing along with witch hunt “jokes” during Robert Mueller’s investigation of trump. trump is an idiot. I expect asinine, uneducated remarks from him. I don’t expect them from you. You should know better. If anything, trump and his accomplices would have been the people lying about others being witches in the past.

Please understand that I respect your religion and respect mine in return.

2018 green candle holder

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Faux Outrage and The Black Woman Who Occupied the Statue of Liberty

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You’ve almost certainly seen her picture: a young black woman with a short Afro, wearing pink sneakers, sitting serenely at the back of the Statue of Liberty’s foot while an officer secured in a harness stares up at her in frustration.

Her name is Therese Patricia Okoumou. She’s an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She said that she would not come down “… until all of the migrant children being held in detention centers were set free and reunited with their parents.”* She was removed–not rescued–from the base of the Statue by two officers. There were no injuries to Ms. Okoumou or the officers.

I’ve read tweet after tweet by white people outraged by Ms. Okoumou endangered first responders with her “silly stunt.” As the daughter of a retired policewoman, I would like to tell you a couple of things about first responders.

Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders know when they take the job that they are putting their lives on the line, and that they will do that every time they go to work. Yes, it’s hard on their families. It was hard on me. It was hard on me when my aunt came to our house when I was 13 and told me that my mom had been injured during a call and taken to the hospital. My mom was attacked by a drunken grown woman who refused to leave her mother’s house, and they had a fairly long physical fight, during which the woman hit my mom in the head with a heavy beer mug. My mom was able finally able to subdue her by sitting on her until backup arrived. She had to have stitches and elbow surgery due to infection in the joint (osteomylitis.)

And she went back to work and continued to work for everyone in the community, regardless of why they needed her help.

Not every first responder shares the same opinion about situations like Ms. Okoumou’s protest on the Statue of Liberty. My mother’s opinion is that Ms. Okoumou is incredibly brave and athletically skilled. My mother also supports her reasons for her protest. So do I. I would feel the same way if my mother had been part of the highly trained team deployed to “rescue” Ms. Okoumou.

First responders and their families are as varied in their politics and opinions of situations they encounter on the job as every other American and their family. People online speaking for first responders usually aren’t first responders. They’re usually trolls with an agenda. Ms. Okoumou’s amazing climb (without climbing equipment!) will be remembered for a long time as one woman courageously showing the world how the majority of Americans feel about trump’s kidnapping and caging of immigrant children.

*https://hollywoodlife.com/2018/07/04/who-is-therese-patricia-okoumou-protestor-climbed-statue-of-liberty-immigration-policy/amp/

 

Creative Care

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If you’re on Twitter, you’re probably:

A) Burned out

B) Reading a lot of threads about self-care

There is a lot of self-care advice that does not work for those of us who are poor and sick, but there is more to self-care than jogging, yoga, creative retreats, and changing your diet.

This was my contribution to a “creative self-care” thread earlier:

Gardening (container gardening)

Less writing, more reading (less pressure, more inspiration)

Playing around with new stories when you’re in the mood to write.

So my advice is basically plant something and go out every day to take care of it, read (trashy) books, and distract yourself by inventing new characters and worlds.

We’ve been in a heat wave for weeks, so I’ve been drinking large glasses of ice water. It does make me feel physically better. I’ve been trying different meals because the same old, same old kills my appetite (yes, even us fat folks have to eat, imagine that.) I realized that my clothes are really old. I started watching for sales and bought a few new things, and new sandals, at Dollar General. Then I tossed out the worn out stuff from Goodwill.

Take your meds. Letting your asthma/diabetes/high blood pressure/depression/OCD get out of control helps no one, especially you!

If you absolutely can’t sleep, try to just rest in a cool, dark room.

If you have an ounce of empathy, you can’t help feeling depressed, angry, helpless, and hopeless by the freak show going on around us every day, by the evil living in the White House, across the street, or in your family. Opinions range from dire to believing in love will fix everything. Both are horseshit. You have to find a middle ground that makes sense to you. You already know what you need to do: vote. If you have the energy, try to get other folks to sign up to vote. If you don’t . . . that’s okay. You didn’t create the situation, so stop beating yourself up because you can’t fix it.

That last is probably the most important advice I can give you: don’t take on all the blame for the things happening right now, and don’t take on all the responsibility for fixing them. It’s a group effort and you can only do as much as you can do.

Help Needed

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My mom needs help to make home repairs, have her back steps replaced and back yard cleaned up. I have asthma. I can’t do the yard cleanup. Even if I could, I can’t replace stairs and storm doors or fix a hole in a roof left by severe storm. I am my mom’s sole caregiver. No one else in the family can or will help in any way.

While I was married and living in New York, my youngest sister wrecked two of my mom’s cars. My middle sister convinced her to take out a mortgage to buy a USED car. She also convinced my mom not to tell me. When I moved back, my youngest sister was still living here, and my mom had no savings. I threw my youngest sister out after she assaulted my mother. My other sister refuses to acknowledge that any of this nightmare is due to her horrific financial advice.

I have been trying to help my mother financially for seven years. I’ve given her all my savings. I’ve paid for plumbing repairs and food, but I can’t make enough money to pay off the auto loans she took out or buy a new stove for her (we are currently using a hotplate, microwave, and toaster oven to cook.)

My mom just received a notice for a balloon payment on a bill and notice from the town that our back yard must be completely cleaned up by July 10. This will require a lawn service because her lawn mower and weed eater were stolen while I was in New York. We also need the hole in the roof repaired, two new storm doors, and money to pay the balloon payment and summer electric bills.

And, we need some savings so that we can keep up the back yard when I’m not making anything freelancing. Our neighbor has been mowing our front yard.

My mother is 70. She retired from the police department after 26 years. She should be enjoying retirement. Instead, she’s worrying herself sick over things my sisters did. I came home with no idea any of this had happened. I’ve pawned everything pawnable. I’ve had two temp jobs, one that was supposed to go permanent but did not. I’ve been freelancing since 2011. I’ve applied for jobs at grocery stores, dollar stores, and fast food stores. I can’t get an interview. I can barely pay for my prescriptions. I’ve asked family members for help. They all have their own problems.

Please, if you can, help us. I would like for this to be a surprise for my mother. Thank you.

https://www.gofundme.com/household-repairs-amp-utility-bills

Help Needed

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My mom and I need your help.

I moved to NY with my fiance in January, 2004. I came back to a financial nightmare. Relatives had manipulated my mom into taking on huge amounts of debt. I’ve been trying to manage things own my own (we have no help, the people who caused the problem have, of course, disappeared) and finances have gotten out of control again.

*Never, ever, ever get involved with auto loan lenders*

We need help to hire someone who can deal with our back yard, replace the back stairs, repair a small hole in the roof, and we need to catch up on summer utility bills. It’s been over 95 here in NC for about a month.

I hate to ask for help, but I don’t know what to do (please don’t tell me to get a job, I have one, and I’m always looking for a second job.) Please take a look at my campaign. I haven’t told my mom about this. I’m hoping to give her a good surprise.

Thank you -Robin

https://www.gofundme.com/household-repairs-amp-utility-bills