Death of a father : Speakeasy # 165

alienorajt:

This is my entry for this week’s Speakeasy competition. I am reblogging it because, having written it on Sunday, it had become lost in the plethora of newer posts. It is a true story (as many of you will be aware) told from a slightly different viewpoint than normal.

Originally posted on ALIEN AURA'S BLOG: IT'LL BLOW YOUR MIND!:

Speakeasy # 165

He had become fragile, unstable.

The comas were accelerating.

Mealtimes and night-times had been enclaves of fear, for years, decades even.

Not his fault. He did not ask for the trauma and privation which, way back in 1957, spelled the end of his Military career and the start of an insulin habit, allied with strict Diabetic control.

Hypos were frequent in those early days before we knew him as anything other than the larger, and deeper-voiced, of our parents. We carry those memories locked tight in the sea-shell of our minds. If we hold it to our ears, harsh rasping sounds emerge – and we see, instantly, the flailing upon the ground, the rigid facial muscles; we feel, once again, the helpless terror that, THIS TIME, he will not come back.

Blood sugar, a potent phrase in our home, was responsible for the wobbles, the frantic…

View original 610 more words

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The Punch: Speakeasy #161

The clouds shifted, casting an ominous shadow on the ground. Rain bristled, an angry sky-goose ready to peck the skin with harsh drops. Darkness pooled, arterial spray from sunset’s livid murder of the day.

She walked, hands in pockets,  Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ spreading its lilt and hints of fire and broken crockery sword-dancing through the white screen of her mind.

Houses leaned together like gossips twitching out malice behind net curtains.

Publicans wiped down tables, yeasty smells soaking into greyish cloths, a jaunt of drunkenness adding clumsy obsession to the task.

The girl, isolated in the deadly habitat of the human tiger, drifted on, a dandelion clock blowing spoors of safety away with each heedless step.

Did she assume that the singer would protect her? That the pumping thrum of music would make the world celluloid and the video reality?

Did she…think?

She saw him, a taut pipe-cleaner figure, shards of ancient rage scattered in the tomb of his personality.

Swaying, he wove the world into a blackened tapestry.

He loomed, an iceberg intent upon sinking the great liner of her complacence.

His fist caught her jaw with such malevolent force that the left ear bud, ripped viciously out, brought skeins of blood with it.

Scream stilled in panicked throat, she fell backwards, tumbling like a string-cut marionette to the craze of uneven pavement. The luscious jungle of his intent formed around them, an enclave of rough bark, deepest greens and the frantic fight of doomed prey.

Her ear, ringing a carillon of pain, caught only muffled thunks of sound.

Hand splayed, a triumphal arch of sadism, he squeezed her white throat just this side of unconsciousness and death – then stopped, a little hyena of laughter thrilling to the spoil before him.

She bucked, muscles undulating in that most primeval of all dances, as he tore the flimsy layers from her body, as he stroked a knife in a teasing parody of tenderness over her breast, down her stomach and towards her vulva, as the ghastly rasp of a zip and the punch of unwanted flesh through the delicate membrane and into her body brought the lunar moths of whimpering into the dulled lamp of her terror.

Adele’s voice, a screeching of sharp tin through her punctured ear drum, grated on.

Love, she had imagined, in all its fairy tale wonder, as childhood gave way to adolescence; the songs she listened to had given her the adult world of longing and lust  – or so she had imagined, in the moments of dreaming hours and years before the cold thump of reality caught up with her.

Teachers, at her private girls’ boarding school, had preached the maiden gospel of nuptial beds, old Roman rituals, orange flowers caught, by torchlight, in young girls’ hair; they had advised against indiscriminate coupling – and had linked love and sex in a bracelet so tightly forged that she wore it still.

As the forked tail of her devil plunged and plundered, as gathering rain stippled her skin,  Blake’s poetry flashed and sparkled in the skies above:

‘Tyger Tyger, burning bright

In the forests of the night…’

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Beautiful, had that tyger been in her mind’s eye. With all the brightness of her tender dreams and illusions, its vibrant colours and fiery perfection had opened a sacred cavern in her soul.

Roaring in the bitter triumph of orgasm stolen at knife’s behest, the man grabbed great hunks of her flowing orange hair. One weapon stilled, the other flickered silver in neon light as it snick-snacked through soft strands and left a sad nest of curls in the road.

Shorn and shamed, she shuddered and wept.

Crouched above her hunched and rocking form, he spat.

Bitch,’ he whispered. ‘That’s what happens to sluts.’

The knife touched her breast, slipped, through skillful hand, slitting a tiny eye.

Branding her. Damaged goods.

Tiger padded off.

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Love in the snow

Lovers_Walking_by_VFrance

Image created by vfrance.deviantart.com – and found on Google Images.

Snow was falling – lightly, it is true, but still trying to keep its word for Christmas. The ground was thickly spread, palest butter on a vast slab of crinkly toast. The houses, with their jaunty white caps, stood at odd angles, as if subsiding into the Snow Queen’s pallor.

The festive energy had been fizzing for days, random blue sparks of electricity surging in sudden brilliance.

I had bright red gloves, the colour of blood, and a scarf of gold, crimson and blue – the latter the Aberystwyth scarf I wore with such pride.

I was restless, full of the sap’s odd Winter rising. I usually get like this when the Sun enters my birth-sign in late December. These days, I think this has a connection with the return of the Sun after the Solstice, the lengthening of the days and the sense of renewed hope and light; at the time, I just knew I felt sexy at Christmas!

‘Let’s go for a walk!’ my then partner suggested.

His gloves, bigger and rougher, reached out for mine, and we clasped hands, and giggled like naughty children, then ran-skid down the silent road, beneath the pale gold, etched with paler rose, of a December sky.

The trees, bent by burden towards us, seemed to be listening in and clucking, a line of tutting gossips.

His cheeks, the end of his nose, his throat, were all mottled with turkey shades of purplish-pink; his bobble hat was frosted and his breath clouded, like a halo, with each exhalation, each icy word spoken.

We came to the forest, followed the much-loved, bouncy, tree-tonsured path round the thinly-patterned glassy surface of the lake.

In Summer, the thick gorse was full of dragonflies – green, turquoise and brightest red – and the grass squeaked, as if laughing at our clumsy humanity.

In Spring, the pine aroma began to rise, filling the darkly wooded avenues, the Forestry Commission’s Fire Breaks, leaving sticky and aromatic patches upon our clothes.

Now, the frozen water gained depth from the mirror image of white-etched trees.

We took our usual route, stopping briefly to admire our strange reflections in the lake’s cold webbing: Distorted we were, like creatures glimpsed in the funfair Hall of Mirrors.

We walked on, our path two feet above the water, our laughter echoing strangely, arms around one another’s waists.

The wooden bridge lay to one side, slippery and lethal. My man stretched out his hand, clasped mine and helped me to leap across the mini gorge.

Then we plunged down the bank, deeper and deeper, snow flying up in our faces, released pine rich and Christmassy in our noses, glistening logs to our right.

And the deeper we went, the greener the scene until, at the heart of the forest, we found a little enclave, a gift of trees, low and knotted together, a piny cave away from the snow and cold.

We crawled in. It was just big enough for the two of us, like a little nest for two large squawking birds!

The gloves came off, and the hats, and we reached for one another with speedily warming hands…

I shall allow the camera of memory to withdraw from the scene at this point – and leave those two young things wrapped in one another’s arms. Suffice it to say that the combination of intense cold and entwined bodies was powerfully erotic.

But later, and gloves back on, I danced and twirled by the side of the lake, and laughed in delight at such crazy wildness!

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Electrical Storm

I wrote this nine months ago, the day before I first came onto WordPress as a blogger. The bruises were a result of over-enthusiastic dancing in badly-fitting undergarments!

Many thanks to M19.com for the image below:

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Shocked into intense and fizzling whiteness, the room reverberated around my bed. The terrified barking of the dog, alone in storm’s checker-board kitchen land, twitched me from sleep to bolt upright in seconds. Black, white, black, white, went the elements outside the waving window. Lights flickered and failed; clocks all over the house bled briefly in scarlet pulsing light haemorrhage, and then died. Car alarms, a ruin of raging ravens cawing the apparent end of the world, shrieked and gave gutteral tongue amidst the flapping silver foil of the lightning and the Apocalyptic bodhran of the thunder.

Nothing was. And everything wasn’t. The Horsemen were, it seemed, directly overhead, their steeds’ gigantic hoofs pawing at roof slates, gouging great chunks from road surfaces, dismantling trees with a toss of forest-sized manes.

And yet, the Moon earlier, born, a jagged nibbled peach, from a pelvis of dark cloud, had given no hint of this midnight and malevolent maelstrom. Though bruised and birth-deformed, the Lunar Being, gold as both hope and false promise, had ascended regally into the higher levels, clouds bowing and fawning, retreating in mannerly ranks like courtiers from Ancient China.

The dog, trembling and panting in terror, raced up the stairs and huddled, distressed beyond measure, at the end of the bed.

The WeirdMoon of Wildness, now hidden but hurling her elemental heart-and-groin-beat out into the cosy ordered world we think we know, screamed and wailed – borrowing, briefly, the brutish guise of the Morrigan, riding the DoomMares, the Psychopomps of the subconscious, over the Styx and into the deep caves and tunnels of Hades.

Agitated, stroking the dog’s soft fur for the reassurance of both, I floated in a lurching boat of Death’s making along the red streams and ghostly silver rivers of the Underworld; passing icy waterfalls and vast black carrion crows; hearing the sickening rhythmic clicking of skeletal slaves scythe-cutting the blackened cords of souls gone horribly wrong.

Foetid smoky winds and insistent rain called me back. The sky’s ears, drained by violence, lay flat and fearful against the skull of the Universe.

The bruises on my breasts, large and lurid as mouldy blood-oranges, ached from the tight swaddling of abject fear.

The world crouched.

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Birthday surprise for my beau…

http://viewsplash.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/birthday-prompt/

(This is fiction/fantasy – and bears little resemblance to my real life! It came about when the word ‘negligee’ came into conversation – and I had to admit that I had no idea what one looked like. But I had a vague feeling that they were in the lingerie rather than the common-or-garden clothing ‘box’. Intrigued, I went on line. OMG, what an eye-opener! I tell you, my ghast was utterly flabbered – and I was particularly taken with the example below. Not, you understand, that I’d have a cat in Hell’s chance of getting into one – not without a Trebuchet anyway! – but, emboldened by the fantasy, and inspired by a prompt provided by another blogger just at the right moment, I set to! This is me as I’d love to be – and the beau doesn’t exist, in this sense, at all!)

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Hmmm, well, my little ol’ birthday surprise for my handsome beau would be – ME!

Let me take you into my boudoir:

I’d tell him to present himself, at the appointed hour – and there I’d be, lying seductively across the satin-sheeted bed, wearing the sexyemerald-green piece shown above and a come-hitherish smile.

I’d tease him and taunt him – just enough to have him panting putty in my skilful hands – and then, with a new position for each year of his age, I would bring that Kama Sutra to life just for him!

I’d be Tantric and utterly wanton all mixed up in one green-clad, red-headed body. I’d take him through the mirrors of noisy, acrobatic, balletic, sacred and totally down-to-earth love-making until, hours  – Or is it minutes? And who cares anyway? – later, we’d reach the peak of ecstasy never before experienced. Loudly, and with such fiery passion and screaming life that the very walls would rattle to our animal cries, we would subside in juddering tandem!

I’d toast his advancing years in finest Champagne and feed him oysters and asparagus and strawberries and crystalised ginger and all manner of other finger-foods of an aphrodisiac nature and gorgeous taste.

After all, he’d need to be ready for the second course later on in the evening…

 

Image courtesy of twenga.com, with many thanks…

 

 

howlerawardv1

The Howler Award

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The rules of this award are:

  1. Display the award on your blog. This can be in your sidebar or on a special award page.
  2. Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.
  3. Give 3 examples of things you would like to see changed in the world.
  4. Nominate (in your own time) at least 5 bloggers that deserve the award.
  5. (Optional, hey you know me by now right??) Donate the equivalent of $10 to a charity of your choice (optional because I cannot check it, however it would be HIGHLY appreciated.

Wolves are faithful, loyal, social and honest. Please keep that in mind when awarding this to someone. Members of the WordPress Wolfpack can hand out the award at their own discretion, non-members can hand out the award after they have gotten it themselves or they can suggest the person they want to nominate to one of the wolfpack members.

Many thanks to the lovely Afsheen Anjum (http://afsheenanjum.wordpress.com/) of Dreams to Reality for this award. It is a wonderful one for me because I love wolves and certainly feel that I blog with a bite!

With regard to number five, I donate goods to a local Hospice Shop on a regular basis. I also make cakes for worthy causes, and the money raised always goes to that particular charity.

Changes to the world:

1) An acknowledgement that we all contain part of the Divine Spark (however you see this), that we are all connected: an end to Us and Them, and a new era of We.

2) An end to abuse, whether it be physical, sexual or emotional. A strong, and global, ‘NO!’ to Domestic violence, Narcissistic Manipulation, Child Abuse – and all other ways in which humans prey upon, and destroy, one another.

3) An awareness that WE are the Guardians of this beautiful world; that we are, in a sense, in loco parentis – and that, as parent figures, our job is to love and nurture, not rape, pillage and destroy.

Here are my five nominees. All five are faithful, loyal, social and honest:

1) Francine of Dragon Droppings, a new and lovely friend (http://frncnseal585.wordpress.com/)

2) Teela Hart, who is doing so much to fight against domestic violence and abuse (http://teelahart.com/)

3) Karin, like-minded soul and fabulous poet, of theeclecticpoet (http://theeclecticpoet.com/)

4) Samir Mishra of Views Splash (http://viewsplash.wordpress.com/)

5) Liana S (http://advocacyautismspecialneeds.wordpress.com/) whose posts on Special Needs children are so moving and informative

As ever, I could easily have nominated another five, ten, twenty – but, these are my choices for this particular award.

And thanks again to Afsheen: she brightened up a difficult and crotchety day!

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Llwyd Llwynog – What does the fox say?

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Cader Idris

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Cunning, is it, Cariad? Trickster, yes? Oh, that old grey fox curled up so silky-smooth, moulded from the Earth’s energies, troubling image, isn’t it? He could be Hemp, the big working collie on your Taid’s farm – until you study that triangle of a mask, that is, and peer into shifting amber eyes.

John James Audubon – the painter, Gwawr, very important personage! – captured the dual spirit of the Llwyd Llwynog: oh yes, indeed, he did. For he’s ready, see, always alert. For prey, to trip up the big old egos of the puffed-up and pompous – and to guide.

Did you know that, my lovely? Many don’t. Stories, right back to the earliest times, tell of the Psychopomp*. Sacred role, bach. Anubis is one. Jackal-headed. Not that big a leap when imagination is wide as the world. Dogs too – and foxes, both red and grey.

They lead, bach, they take the souls of the dead to the Underworld.

I saw him, just the once, girl, the leader of the Llwyd Llwynog

Padding through purple, gorse-gate to Cader’s Peak, dun smoky line of sea and horizon crimped in early light far below, the fox, look-out in the liminal lands, pointed, the way dogs do.

What was there to see? Why, nothing! Other than the ruched russet folds of Cader Idris, and the great gulp in the earth filled, now, with froths of choppy lake water.

And I, scrambling up the side, basket of food banging against bruised side, flattened, with an instinct older than time itself, against the rawness of rock, letting its shadow hide me.

He was big, love, big as a German Shepherd, and black, none of the tawny-grey for this Majesty. He wasn’t a half-way point between the red of blood and the grey of death; oh, no; this one was sent straight out of the mountains for one purpose only: to liberate, and lead, the lost one – and, if skeins of silvery cord still snag the soul, to sever with a sharp snap.

I’d felt – I think we all had – the dull thunk of bells, felted for deference’s sake, tolling down the steep slopes of the valley. The early hours, it was, when the Morrigan rides most lustyful and luring through our dreams, and the life force hovers between this world and the next; one. maybe, or two, when Prydderch Davies, tended these long, flesh-stealing, pain-flaying months, so lovingly by his wife, shuddered out his last breath – and, in crimson torrent of blood from decayed lungs, lay, red-cloaked and still, in the bells’ hallow.

Those of us with the Sight had seen. Fourteen, I was, a maid still – and innocent in the ways of the world – but Prydderch’s passing was painted in colours almost too bright for my eyes.

But, Gwawr, we cannot choose, Cariad: we Wise Women, witness to the worst and the best, can only watch and weep as agonised bodies are eased.

Remember, though, I was young, and the sap was rising in my body: despite the grim sights of the night, my restless limbs ached for release.

Prydderch. Before me.

Was he still caped in his own lost life-fluid, this toiling figure winding his way up the hill?

No. No, he wasn’t. And for that I am, selfishly, thankful – both for him and for me. Bad enough seeing it the once.

He was – ‘insubstantial’, is the English word I come up with, out of the cosy cawl of Cymraeg. Greyish-silver in colour, he let the colours of the hillside show through his bright bones: tiny snatches of orange and brown and softest purple, and the woolly white of Dai Evans’ sheep, released from wintery pens, grass-cropping and calling, calling to their spindly lambs.

And his face? Oh, yes, he passed close by my hidey-hole – and I saw, in that moment, the other side of Death – for the man who wended his way past jagged rocks and out into the growing glory of May sun, was youth personified, as brilliant with broken life-into-death as ever he had been when ready for a maiden at the Beltane Fires.

There was a song in his steps.

Stretching behind him, gelatinously grey and gloomy, though, was his life-line.

Leaping of Llwyd Llwynog, light as true-love, shivered the air.

Teeth curled and curved into cord’s crevices. Crunch!

It fluttered for a moment, magnificent in its struggle, then wilted and lay still.

Grey Fox led the way.

 

* a being who leads souls to the afterlife

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Blacksmith: Daily Prompt

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/hammer/

Given a choice, I would train to be a Blacksmith, to work in the open-sided forge within that liminal area between the Dark and the Light, for Wayland’s Smithy traditionally lies outside the rivalry of sorcerers, and obeys only the laws of the ancient wild magic.

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I love the idea of a trade which works with all four elements: the metals hacked from deep in the Earth, the fire itself, fanned and ‘fertilised’ by Air – and the water so necessary for cooling purposes.

But, the forge, and Wayland Smith himself, or Hephaestus come to that, stand as the perfect metaphor for the writer – and for the creative process in a more general sense.

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Ah! It is so brilliant to be on this site! So terrifying too! It is sparking my imagination – and plunging me into the cold, grey porridge of profound insecurity.

Do we need the crinkling and colourful festive paper of applause, of adulation? Do we wrap ourselves in the fine cashmere shawl of rarefied words and literary appreciation? Do we hold out our ice-purpled hands to the fires of inspiration?

Yes, yes, yes! We do – and we must. For we do not write, or paint, or compose in a vacuum. We enter our own Hephaestus’ Forge alone, it is true. We pump up the bellows, rasp tinder to create golden-orange flame, shape and pound, hammer and sweat in our own furnaced world of the Muse.

But, we welcome the caparisoned warhorse and its rider stopping by; we shoe the dusted, bloodied stallion, exchange news with the knight; we reforge his sword, beat out the nicks and dents of the battlefield.

We stop for the gently-bred lady, side-saddle upon a dainty mare, and share her tales of life in the Castle, of the lovers and plump children and dogs running hither and yon; we delight in her honeyed triumphs, her sweet puffs of love, her underwater sensuality.

We are Wayland Smith. A portal. A stopping place of the mind and soul. We are sanctuary and solace. We are the rough dwelling on high grey moors, sagging amidst sheep-bitten grass, echoing to the raucous cry of raven.

But, we are alone. I, Hephaesta, am as solitary and isolated as I once was in my mother’s womb. It is a day-long chore, back-breaking and, at times, devastating, to keep the forge fires flaming; to keep that fiery and feisty spirit leaping, in tall playful shadows, upon rough-hewn walls.

And the law of the Smith, drawn in blood and fire-gold down through the ages, is strict: We have a duty to attend to those who come calling, no matter what their rank or business. We cannot refuse.

But, we are hidden, in out of the way shacks near deep, afanc-haunted pools, in hovels by grey-stoned cairns and mysterious tarns – and those seeking our skills must come to us. We cannot go out and look for them.

Other smithies dot the landscape of the world. We compete in this hidden and secretive world of the lightning spark, the transmuting of Earth’s elements into something wonderful – and the inevitable sputterings of neglected fires, the desolation of ashes’ grey penance.

Word can get round. Our thin plumes of smoke are seen by others. People begin to go out of their way, to hear our stories and watch us at work.

But it takes time, and courage.

I am lonely. The child self longs for gifts and reassurance and the excitement of unwrapping. The adult self wants to be warm and safe, loved and read. But, the Higher Self knows the Higher Law, recognises the ancient call of the Sun within – and knows that the rays of creation, once sent out into the world, alight where they will and cannot be stopped.

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Radiators and Drains

Some people can see auras. Clear and bright colours, they tell me, or, on occasions, dull and rotten-looking ones. Sometimes the variations are linked to the state of the person’s health, physical or mental; at other times, something of the soul seeps in.

I cannot ‘see’ auras myself – but I can sense inner darkness and light. Of course, it is not an exact science – for people are rarely wholly good or completely evil – but it can show the true Radiators, and the unconscious Drains.

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Being a Radiator is not, as some people might think, about being relentlessly ‘nice’ and polite; nor is it to do with physical beauty, sex appeal, liveliness or charm. It certainly does not mean that the person has to be sunny-natured and cheerful at all times.

My view is that both types arise from a source much deeper than conscious behaviour choices. I have chosen ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ in an attempt to capture the essentially ephemeral nature.

What I will say is that both types reveal themselves by the effect they have upon others – and that can be very subtle indeed. To put it simply – though it is anything but – Drains are like emotional vampires: they suck all the life out of the room, leaving others feeling…yes, drained! This does not mean that they necessarily sit in a depressed heap, an angry seethe or deadly silence. Some appear to be the life and soul of every party – and yet, you can sense their predatory fangs even as they sparkle and jive and laugh loudly and seduce all and sundry with their wit and sex appeal. Beneath the effervescence of such people, you can feel a yawning darkness, an emptiness; their gaudiness looks forever in the direction of the mirror, and hands held out in apparent friendliness are often a greedy snatch of self, self, self inhibited by societal mores.some-cause-happiness-wherever-they-go...-e1389169873480

Time spent with them is exhausting – and often depressing. The saying ‘All that glitters is not gold’ suits Drains perfectly – because much of it is an act. They are theatre personified. They are roles painstakingly learned. They are the beautiful Dorian Gray and his ghastly portrait mouldering away in the attic. They are, in a very real sense, shape-shifters – though typically they scorn such things as arrant nonsense and illogical superstition.

Drains sneer at the soul. They do not want one. Many are also Narcissists, I suspect – and what they are draining is the essence of you which forms their supply.

Radiators, by contrast, have an inner core of Light, often coupled with an innate generosity of heart. The world seems brighter, more carefree, fizzy as best Champagne, exciting and vibrant when they are around. They illuminate a room and its denizens, leaving others subtly transfigured when they leave.

They pour energy into other people and can alter the whole mood of the gathering for the better.

But, I think they can also radiate love and giving and compassion. Radiators tend to be Empaths – and find it easy to walk in another being’s shoes.

I am not here trying to pretend that we are all either Drains or Radiators. As I intimated earlier, it is far more complex than that. I suspect that most people are capable of being both. That it is not Black and White.

But, I do think that an inner sense of unease about another human being, a sense of things being slightly out of kilter – of the inner person not matching the outer – can be our survival instinct alerting us to the presence of a prowling Drain. Very often, we notice that we feel oddly constrained, inhibited, cowed when in this person’s orbit. We feel that we cannot be our true selves – often because we sense, at a fundamental level, that those bits of us which cannot be ‘consumed’ as supply are at best not wanted, at worst, despised and hated.

Unfortunately, many of us have been taught – wrongly, in my opinion- to view instinct with suspicion, to see it as an organ as vestigial as the appendix in humans. We have been brought up to bow down before the great ungods of science and reason, and to see psychic feelings, intuitions and fetches as pointless survivors from a more primitive age.

We have also been encouraged to take the view that it is all our own perception, that no one else is doing it to us – and I think this, taken to extremes, can be dangerous. I say this because there are Drains out there, male and female, and one of the things they suck from us is any sense of safety and confidence in our own thoughts. They persuade us that our instincts are wrong, that there is no danger. They drain our certainty. For example, the Drain might drive too fast, or aggressively – yet when you share your unease, you get told, ‘I am driving perfectly safely. YOU just have neurotic fears about cars!’

Drains operate like Hoovers gone critical: they start, metaphorically, by cleaning up what they perceive as the dirt, and end up devouring the carpet, the furniture, the bricks and mortar of the house – and, of course, any humans unlucky enough to be standing in their path.

Then, they trundle down the mangled path, trailing flex and chunks of masonry, and look for another dwelling…

With Radiators, you come away feeling that you are loved, precious; often, you emerge from their company dancing with happiness because something in their souls confers this great gift. With them, you can burst from your chrysalis and become the beautiful butterfly you were always meant to be.

They give light because they know it is infinite, that it belongs to all – and that, in the temporal sense, it is just borrowed briefly in the short May Fly ‘day’ of our lives.

They do not give because they expect anything in return. They give because it comes naturally to them.

Drains, by contrast, often give with unspoken expectations that they are, actually, buying a service from you.

Is it possible to mistake the two types? Unfortunately, yes, it is. Drains, as I said earlier, are often highly-skilled performers – and, since their main aim in life is to suck from others, it is in their interest to appear as attractive, interesting, sexy and fascinated by YOU as they can.

Often the warning signs are there from an early stage – but, since seduction in its various forms is an integral part of the game, you will have become so hooked that you either won’t notice or YOU’LL BLAME YOURSELF FOR BEING SO UNCHARITABLE.

I had a habit, when I was younger, of falling in love with Drains. One, in particular, cost me dear. Beautiful, talented, bright and persuasive, he drew me in with effortless ease. And yet, one night I had a vivid and disturbing dream. I saw this man walking down a path, beneath a tumultuous sky, and I could see a huge dark sack attached, like a growth, to his back. He was weighed down by it. I was granted the ability to peer within – and it was filled with nasty-smelling gloopy gunk, black and evil-looking. In the dream, I knew that he was being poisoned from within – and, when he turned round, I saw that his face, beneath the Greek God handsomeness, was bitter and twisted and ugly. I knew, in that instant, that I, too, would get sucked into that sack of horror.

Did I heed this dream?

Do we ever listen to the urgent music of the subconscious when we are in love or lust?

No – and no.

Yesterday, and during the wonderful Silent Eye weekend, I was surrounded by Radiators. These are the people I want in my life. These are the human beings, men and women, who are good for me, who cast a glow of inner Light, whose visions I want to follow and breathe fresh life into – and who patiently hold the space for me to grow.

These are my friends of the spirit.

Thanks to Google Images for the yellow warning sign and to Incredible Zen for the Oscar Wilde quote image.

 

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April Moon 2014, Day 11: Reflections

Today has been the happiest day I have experienced for YEARS. I would give it ten out of ten and an A*.I wear a lovely Indian print maxi dress I bought, ten days ago, in a charity shop in Glastonbury – and I know that the mediaeval style, with my red hair, suits me.  My reflection, as seen through the webcam, shows the joy I feel and radiates the special quality of this Thursday in April. Unusually, I am not going to tell the story; I shall simply show the image – and thank those who gave me such pleasure, excitement and validation.

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Teen Idol: Daily Prompt

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/teen-age-idol/

Ooh, now you’re asking!

In my pre-pubertal years, my main crush was Mike Nesmith of the Monkees. Most of my friends went for Davy Jones – and,yes, he was kinda smooth and cuddly and cute…

But, even as an eight/nine year old, I went for a long body, a tall guy – and, for some reason I’ve never been able to work out satisfactorily, that green bobble-hat was a proto-erotic symbol for me! Why, I even made sure I had my own version rammed down upon my unruly curls whenever I went out to play.

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The dark hair! The slightly sardonic smile! The quietness! What’s not to like?!

I didn’t want to possess Mike Nesmith in those early days; I wanted to BE him!

My next sister down and I used to play The Monkees – both our 45 singles of their music, and role playing the blighters themselves. It was incredibly competitive, this game, and Fizz definitely had the upper hand when it came to Bambi-reading and manipulative techniques. We both wanted to play Mike, you see – or at least, I did passionately, and she wanted to see what she could get out of me before allowing me to slip into that role. No malice, just normal little girl one-up-manship!

Her weapon was fluency of speech; mine was a sudden grab, a push onto the floor and then a thump round the ear!

Needless to say, she won every round – since the brutal option inevitably ended in a great wail of, ‘I’m telling Mummy!’ from Fizz! Fair enough: I was much bigger than she was, and a lot stronger physically!

I would usually get to play Mike in the end, and Fizz would be Davy (whom she actually preferred anyway) – but there’d always be a slight after-taste of hollow victory!

Time rolled on, and we reached our teens – and, suddenly, my passionate nature found an idol of such wonder that I near swooned away on several occasions just looking at him. Richard Thomas, who played John-Boy in ‘The Waltons’, was exactly what I wanted in a man, I decided at the tender age of thirteen!

Immensely good-looking, a writer (irresistible then, as now!), a gentle, dreamy sort of soul – OMG, I’d have married him on the spot had he known of my existence! Of course, I mixed up actor and part thoroughly, and fell in love with a weird amalgam of the two!

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Did I fancy him? Is the Pope a Catholic? Do bears crap in the woods?

Put it this way, I used to imagine that we were kissing (about as far as my imagination went sexually when I was thirteen!) and the feelings thus evoked sent me into raptures.

Now, both have aged (as have I!) – and I am no longer the innocent little girl playing at Monkees, nor am I the idealistic and passionate teen who dreamed of handsome young writers.

I wouldn’t wish to be Mike now, nor would I want to marry the still-gorgeous Mr.Thomas – though I suspect I wouldn’t kick either one of them out from under the duvet, as long as they understood that they’d have to wait for me to finish with Johnny Depp!

But, the memories are fresh, and something of that intensity of emotion still remains in my heart.

 

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VIZ: Roger’s Profanisaurus – antidote to feeling blah!

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/make-me-smile/

If I am feeling as rough as a badger’s arse, the tome above can always be relied upon to bring a smile to my heart and a bloody great bellow of laughter to the world at large!

Fellow Bloggers, I have a confession to make: I ADORE Viz, and am particularly partial to ‘Roger’s Profanisaurus’. Now, in some people’s minds, this probably renders me immediately beyond the pale of civilised society – and many would, no doubt, chase me out of town and force me to live far enough away not to corrupt minors (or, indeed, miners), but not so far that I wasn’t available for a light to moderate stoning from time to time.

Now, for those not abreast, Viz is a lightsome and vulgar publication full of, to me, hilarious characters and unadulterated double, treble, even quadruple entendres. We are not talking award winning literature here – more like linguistic romp through our sexual hang-ups, stiffness (if you’ll pardon the hard-on!) and inhibitions.

If you are looking for politically correct, subtle or euphemistic, Viz ain’t yer man! Put it this way, this is NOT a magazine you’d want to leave about when entertaining vicars, in-laws or curious children…

In Opinion Polls, it proves divisive, to say the least, causing hysterical laughter from people like me, and prissy, pursed-mouth disgust from other, more righteous (and possibly RIGHT - who is to say?!) souls.

The two characters who immediately caught my eye and reduced me to a spluttering heap of weeping laughter were The Two Fat Slags. No subtlety there: these two are exactly as advertised: humongously fat (why, their outlying areas would cover most of Wales!) and exceedingly loose in the morals department. Love ‘em!

Another character, Roger Mellie Who’s On The Telly, became the Roger responsible for the now-infamous Profanisaurus. Brief, history: at the end of each edition of Viz, there would be a page of vocabulary (educational or what?!) – and, after a few years, these words were gathered together, in the very best tradition of the English language, into a below-the-belt version of the Thesaurus.

All kinds of sexual references can be culled from the above (says Ali, drifting into Academic Mode!): ‘Roger’, as you know, is one of many words for the sex act, as in to roger someone; ‘profanisaurus’, I am sure, speaks for itself. I do love the play on words here, you know that little twist from Roget to Roger – just the one letter changed, but, boy, what a difference!

As soon as the Profanisaurus hit the shelves, I was out a’grabbing! I didn’t actually shoplift my copy (nay, nay: haven’t stolen a book since I half-inched all four of the Carlos Castanedas then published, in 1977!), but I was certainly in like Flynn as the saying goes…

Trembling with excitement, I opened the first page – and. amidst guffaws so energetic I actually fell off the sofa, realised I’d found my level.

As I read such classics as ‘Abnormal load: an arse so large it necessitates a motorcycle outrider’, as I cackled and chortled my way from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, I was just like one converted to a completely off-the-wall religion.

Since that day of revelation, my copy of the book has pride of place – next to the downstairs bog*, for those who really wish to know.

*’bog’ quaint English euphemism for ‘toilet'; I don’t wish any of you to think I live a kind of shadowy, gluggy dinosaur existence in a real midden or large body of marshy watery stuff.

Like all sudden converts, I was filled with unholy zeal to spread the word far and wide – and, the following Monday, proudly hoicked the book up to the Staffroom at school in order to share it with my table.

Teachers, as you may well be aware, lead very stressful lives – and often, at break, one would find the whole staffroom filled with gibbering, weeping, twitching wrecks after yet another dire hour with year eleven bottom set Rural Science (don’t ask!).

As I surveyed the seeping sea of flaccid individuals, I started to read aloud – ‘access time’, as I recall – and, by God, it was like a mass bolt of lightning. Titters became belly laughs; even Disgusted from the Shires woke up sufficiently to curse me thrice and make his displeasure absolutely plain.

My friend, Marie, and I then started the Word a Day routine (which lasted until I buggered off from teaching) – and many’s the laugh we had as we read out such classics as ‘touching cloth’, ‘wizard’s sleeve’ and ‘let Percy in the playpen’…

Oh, happy days! We became a circle of unashamed raucousness – and would emerge energised and cheered up, able, then, to face bottom set year nine last thing on a Friday afternoon without recourse to gin, weed or horse tranquillizers.

When I left the school, I presented Marie with a spanking brand new copy of another Viz classic: ‘Das Krapital’ – toilet humour at its best!

So, here for the benefit of those of you who are wondering (or, perhaps, those of you who haven’t yet deleted this post in a fit of zealous disgust!), is the definition of ‘access time':

‘n…the time taken for a woman to produce enough moip to allow smooth penetration without feeling like one is scraping one’s giggling stick on the Great Barrier Reef…’

Irresistible to a coarse wench like me!

So, if you know me in real life, next time you come round, look on the shelf adjacent to the downstairs karzi, grab the book and have a read!

You will never again even wish to say something as mundane as ‘large penis’ when such expressions as ‘girthsome choad’ are there for the taking!

Right, I’m off to revisit the hysterical howlers contained in the ‘S’ section…

 

 

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Sacred humour: April Moon 14

I am, as you know, a student of the Western Mystical Tradition and I celebrate the ancient festivals with ritual This, to me, is sacred and, often, both moving and life-changing. However, as anyone who is involved in the Mysteries will be aware, the sacred is often mixed with both the scared (!) and the downright hilarious. Anyone who goes down the Ritual Magic path needs to have a strong sense of sacred ground, respect/love for the earth and its denizens and a damn good sense of humour. Things will, inevitably, go awry during ritual – and the ability to laugh afterwards is very helpful.

As it happens, the Lodge I am a member of was due to meet, in Glastonbury, for the Winter Solstice Ritual, on End of The World day (December 21st 2012) – and there was, I have to say, an adrenaline blend of the high sacred and the utterly craven scared, nay terrified, in this member’s heart as she set off along the familiar roads to the Isle of Avalon. Read on…

Thanks to Google Images for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse below:

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Whilst the Media got its underwear in a doom-ridden twist, and people all over the globe panic-bought, or ran in frantic fear to the most remote spot they could find, a group of us decided to convene in Glastonbury for an afternoon of mystical re-enactment, followed by a feast in a local hostelry. Ritual and food! What, I ask you, could be better? Yes, I know: Hours of the most noisy and inventive sex ever, followed by a bath in Lindt chocolate – mmmmm! – but, let’s get real here!

The road to Glastonbury was slippery and shiny looking as fountains bubbled out of inadequate drains, cascading down the gutters like a severe, and county-wide, attack of incontinence; mist curled and wove and hid behind bare trees, slithering out sinisterly when least expected. The rivers, swollen as a pregnancy gone past its due date, surged and boiled ominously; the fields were already mulched and patch-worked with diamonds of water.

I had written instructions with me. They availed me not! I thought the enticingly twisty looking lane was heading for the Tor (and it may well have been, in its own serpentine way) – but, the further up I drove, the narrower the road got until I realised that a three point turn was verging on the bloody dangerous, screeched to a stop and got out.

All I wanted was a relatively compos mentis human being to tell me where the road I sought was. What I got, emerging like Worzel Gummidge from the bowels of a van which should have been put down years ago, was a dazed looking creature, all staring eyes and straw-like stooks of black hair. Vacant doesn’t begin to describe this apparition – though my father’s wonderful, ‘Thumb in bum and mind in neutral!’ definitely does.

I wasn’t sure he spoke human. Frankly, I wasn’t altogether certain that he was human. Or, if he was, how many bodies had contributed to his overall make-up!

Perkily, I asked him if he knew where let’s call it Raw Stoat Gobbler Road was.

He waved the broom he was clutching in a slightly menacing manner and intoned (or should that be ‘sepulchered’?) a, ‘No!’ so full of tombstones and crypts that I instinctively stepped backwards lest he let me have it across the cranium with the business end of a meat cleaver or similar.

Watched by this Young Frankenstein’s Monster, I attempted the Three Pointer from Hell: It took me about ten minutes and I stopped counting after thirty turns.

Fortunately for the narrative, I happened upon a cheery postman soon afterwards and he was far more forthcoming.

We based our drama upon one of my all time favourites, ‘Sir Gawain and The Green Knight’, and the whole thing was utter pleasure from start to finish – and bang on the nail seasonally because, for the benefit of those of you who don’t already know, the Green Knight appeared, with his challenge, at this time of year, and Sir Gawain had to undergo his part of the Beheading Game a year and a day later.

It always inspires me to think that this poem, written by an anonymous writer back in the fourteenth century, has survived the many tests of time, has been on the GCSE syllabus (I know this because I taught it!) and has been translated by many. I LOVE it – and would thoroughly recommend it. It is sexy, funny, scary, symbolic, highly alliterative and so vividly described that you can almost see the gargantuan and verdant Gringolet.

From thespian wonder to the trough was but a short drive!

We got stuck in, with many a laugh and a jolly (in my case, raucous and vulgar) quip. Of Death, War, Famine and Pestilence (and their steeds), there was no sign: Not so much as a note of apology. Damned rude, I call it! You can’t get the staff, can you?! Perhaps their Sat Nav was buggered or something.

Anyway, as I munched my way through the succulent salmon mousse, the ravishing risotto and the orgasmic chocolate fudge cake, I did occasionally peer out of the window to see if there might be a cavalcade of large quadrupeds, each bearing its own personal dread horseman! Nope! And the Valkyrie didn’t turn up either!

I was very relieved: Would have been really hacked off if forced to abandon my pudding for the End of the World!

So, here we all are still. But things have changed, shifted. As I drove back, abloat with good food and still sniggering from the general bawdiness of the conversation, I reflected upon the fact the each one of us is the world, and that it is up to us to sort things out. It is not the responsibility of the deities, mythological fright monsters and other denizens of the Collective Mysticism to save us. Or destroy us. We are more than capable of either of those options ourselves.

Let us go for the, ‘Sort it all out!’ option, shall we?

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Junk Food Junkie: Daily Prompt

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/junk-food-junkie-2/

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To the tune of ‘Pick a Pocket or Two’ (‘Oliver’ tune sung by the infamous Fagin):

 

Verse 1

Why should we break a fart,

Eating wholesome rhubarb tart?

Better get some

McDonald’s fun:

Better eat a burger or two.

You gotta eat a burger or two, boys;

You gotta eat a burger or two!

 

Chorus:

Why should we all break a fart?

Better eat a burger or two!

 

Verse 2

Robin Hood, what a crook!

Used Maid Marian as his cook:

Veggies are nice

If you are mice:

Better nosh a burger or two!

You gotta nosh a burger or two, girls;

You gotta nosh a burger or two!

 

Chorus

Marian’s a well bad cook

We’ve gotta nosh a burger or two!

 

Verse 3

Take a tip from Farmer Giles,

Fibre clogs and gives you piles;

Better go swing

By Burger King;

Better chew a burger or two!

You gotta chew a burger or two, guys;

You gotta chew a burger or two!

 

Chorus

Fibre tastes like Hell on Earth

We gotta chew a burger or two!

 

Ghosts

April Moon 14, Day 3. Home: earliest memory…

Ghosts

Home for me spelled, and smelled of, fear. There were many reasons: my father’s diabetes; the fragility of my parents’ marriage; the anger between them…

But I do wonder if the fear started when I was sent to stay with people I did not know whilst my next sister down was born. I was one year and three weeks old. This is my earliest memory.

Mummy and Daddy are not there any more; they have abandoned me. I am in a carriage. With horses. One is grey and soft; I stroke its nose and laugh at the warm air on my hand. The vehicle bumps over cobbled streets, and I feel scared. But the big tomato-faced people in there with me have given me a white-papered triangular packet. I open it. The lady has to help me because my fingers are very small. There are foam shrimps in there. They are sweet and yummy. I take my finger out of my mouth and eat a shrimp. The I put my finger back and suck it because I do not like this at all.

We are in a long corridor. The ceiling is really high. Miles away. There is a long, long crimson carpet; it stretches for miles; it may even go into another country. I feel very small.

The adults take me into an enormous room. The bed is too high for me to climb on to. I try. I stumble. I cry a bit, tears leaking upon my curled up finger.

The sheets are very stiff and cold. I feel as if I have been stitched in forever. I want my mummy, but she is lost somewhere.

I stand under the bright turquoise roof of a gigantic swimming pool. The water is greeny and swirling, and deep. I am frozen to the spot, too frightened to move in case I fall in and am sucked down and lose myself.

The woman towers above me. Her mouth is wide open and her face is the colour of a brick. Her eyes are all squinty and nasty. She is yelling at me, calling me a horrible little girl.

I am holding a piece of soft material, and I smooth it over my upper lip for comfort. It catches the crook of my wet finger. I try to swallow down my tears, but they come out anyway.

My bottom hurts through the thick nappy. The terrifying female has smacked me. I don’t know why. Don’t know what I’ve done.

I call, ‘Mummy!’ but no one comes.

I have been abandoned. Forgotten.

 

 

 

 

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Ritual and me! April Moon 14, Day 2: juicy

 

 

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‘Juicy’ led me to fruit; this in turn suggested fruit of knowledge – and allowed me to travel the path to the Western Mystery Tradition. From here, I was able to nip across to ritual magic. In this circuitous way, I moved from the physical to the spiritual, Here is the story of my training.

I have hinted. I have called myself a Pagan. I have spoken of Ritual Drama. Now this shamed scurrying is coming to an end. My esoteric studies are an important part of who I am, and, sadly, I have met prejudice close to home. This has made me feel very fragile – but, oddly enough, more determined.

It is a sad indictment of our society that if I were ‘confessing’ to being a Catholic, or a Jehovah’s Witness, a Mormon or a Born Again Christian, people reading might tut a bit – but there would be a secret kind of, ‘Oh well, at least they are reputable RELIGIONS!’ type of relief-sigh.

Are they? No, I am not going to travel down that path. Partly because of my conviction that we are all one, all connected; partly because I think any post which seeks to discredit the beliefs of others is unhelpful, to put it mildly – but mainly because I do not belong to a religious body.

I shall state it very baldly: I study the Western Mystery Tradition and practise Ritual Magic. Many of you will, I suspect, have guessed.

My training started in the early nineties when I was introduced, by my friend D, to Paddy Slade, a Village Witch living nearby in the South West. She had the traditional Witch’s Cottage at the top end of the village – and was a fiery, feisty and formidable character.

Most rituals were conducted outside – and tended to be organic affairs, to say the least!  She had the four Quarter Lights set up in her garden – and we, along with others from nearby towns and cities, would travel over there for the big festivals.

There was an atmosphere of slightly fraught creative chaos about the whole thing – but Paddy, then in her sixties and a real live-wire, presided over us all with a will of iron, an irascible tongue and, under it all, a kind heart.

After the rituals, we would have a wonderful feast, each person – in theory, at least! – bringing some food or drink as a contribution.

We were even filmed, in 1993/4, enacting a Samhaine Rite in the Village Hall – though I am not sure the programme was ever shown on television. If it was, I never saw it.

Paddy was very much a Hedge Witch: close to nature, the seasons, an advocate of ‘Low’ Craft Magic, I suppose you might say – though one or two of those attending her rites were more formal and ‘High’ in their attitude, and this occasionally caused tension.

It was at one of Paddy’s rituals that I first met Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Director of SOL ( Servants of the Light ), though at the time she was just another cloaked figure.

D and I, as previously stated in these annals, bought Arthurian Tarot decks and The Hallowquest books in 1993 – and set out on our journey of discovery through the year long course (which I am now re-doing as a solo practitioner).

I learned a great deal about magic and ritual from D, and he was my Magus right from the start. We performed rituals in my flat; we visited Glastonbury and other places of mystical significance – and we talked, often long into the night, about the Western Mystery Tradition: about the Arthurian Tales, Atlantis, the various gods (Egyptian, Norse, Greek), the mythical beings, the legends of the British Isles, the Mabinogion and so forth.

I was enthralled and inspired. These talks and adventures met a spiritual thirst I had barely been aware of before, a thirst which my Christian background had never managed to slake.

Years went by, years in which I married and became a mother, years in which magic settled to the bottom of my mind – fermenting, I now suspect, since the interest never went away entirely; I was just busy following the Hearth Path, and teaching full time.

2007 was a transitional year in so many ways. I was broken, by degrees, into bereft pieces. It was one of those years in which I was given a hefty tap on the shoulder and shown a door opening. Times before then, I had failed to heed the ‘voice’, had ignored the opportunity.

Between June and September of that year, my father died, the family fell apart in bitter wrangling, my car was driven into and written off, I was bitten so badly by a dog that I was hospitalised for twenty-four hours and needed five stitches, I met two people who have since become part of my inner circle – and I was invited to join D’s Lodge.

D’s Lodge is an SOL Lodge – and,when I joined, there were seven of us. Initially, since I had had very little training, I was there as an Upholding Priestess. But,as the years wore on, I became the Priestess of the Western Quarter.

We tried, where possible, to meet once a month – and we marked all the ancient festivals with ritual. Many were held in D’s flat – but we have also worked outdoors: on a beach, at a place with strong Fey presence and at the home of one of the other Lodge members. This member,S, is a member of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) and used to own a beautiful Grove near her home.

The rituals we did in the Grove were delightful and very moving. Other Druids came along and, since Druids and ritual magicians have a fair amount in common in terms of practices, we were able to create some wonderful rituals.

Because our Lodge came under the general umbrella of SOL, I began to attend SOL weekends twice a year, travelling up to the North in May for Ritual with Purpose, and in November for the Gathering of Light (GOL). The latter is always a lovely event: most of the Lodges in the United Kingdom, the American Lodges and others from around the world, send two representatives and the Lodge Banner. These banners are hung on the walls in the Temple and always look absolutely beautiful.

In 2009, D gave me Dolores’ ‘Your Unseen Power’ course for my birthday. It was utterly fascinating, absorbing, moving and life-changing. It centred around The Tree of Life, and Qabalistic terms; I learnt much about the Hebrew letters associated with each path, about the Sephiroth, about walking the Inner landscapes – and about myselves, both Lower and Higher.

In January 2012, I gained my First Degree Initiation, and red cord in an incredibly moving ceremony.

I finished ‘Your Unseen Power’ at the end of last year – and am now doing the Sword part of the Hallowquest. It is challenging and is bringing all manner of buried nasties to the surface. This is as it should be, but it is incredibly difficult and painful to face.

SOL is an Occult school – and there is a SOL course which many people do.

Last year, Steve Tanham and Sue Vincent (both of whom have been SOL members, and many other things, in the past) set up their own School of Consciousness, The Silent Eye.

I felt drawn to it right from the start – and was one of twenty-two people present at its Birth last April. My post yesterday was my emotional response to this year’s weekend of ritual and bonding.

The Silent Eye teaches through the medium of the Enneagram, and, this year, we enacted the five rituals in the characters of Egyptian gods. I was Sekhmet – and the role was astonishingly accurate in terms of my personal life and sense of being chained and gagged.

Ritual is immensely powerful as a tool for the greater good of group, landscape, country, planet. It is not a game, however, nor something which should be entertained by those who seek personal power or the wounding and destruction of others – though, sad to relate, there are occultists who are drawn into ritual work for very dark purposes indeed. But there is a saying, which I absolutely hold to, that what you send out into the universe in the malign sense will return to you threefold.

Ritual connects us to the land, the seasons, the creatures we share this planet with; it is a way of celebrating the turning points of the year – and, if done properly, of raising the consciousness to a new level.

Ritual magicians come from all the religious groups. It is an interfaith movement. Some people come from Catholic backgrounds, others Rosicrucian. It does not matter what your core religious beliefs are. The important thing is that we all serve the Light – and that stretches across the artificial divides between religions.

Some of us are Craft based: there are Wiccan Lodges, for example; others are more ceremonial, for want of a better word. There are solo practitioners and large lodges with many members. There are those who come from a Druid background, those who are Shamans (and work in the Native American tradition) and many more.

It is, I think, very sad that much of the prejudice directed at occultists comes from media stories of Satanists and sinister cults. These DO exist – and I am not going to pretend they don’t – but judging all ritual magicians by the dark minority is unintelligent and only serves to spread more darkness into our world.

Magic is change. It is an acknowledgement that what we call reality is largely perception, and can shift vastly. Ironically, many of the magical precepts which have been around since the Ancient Egyptians, or even earlier, are now being taken up, and proved to be true, by Quantum Physics! Many people who have an empirical turn of mind pour scorn upon the so-called credulous nature of ritual (and, indeed, religion), and call us gullible and superstitious – whilst at the same time thrilling to the latest scientific discovery in the field of Quantum Theory.

The whole point is this: what we do in ritual goes far beyond our temporal and flawed selves, though we can grow as individuals if we allow that to happen; it connects us to the Global Village, and is an assertion of connection rather than division: it is the WE of humanity rather than the US and THEM.

 

 

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Alienora and make-up: an acrimonious divorce…

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A rare sight: The Greater Spotted Alienora Polyfillad, Plastered, Painted and Bewigged in order to play Anne Robinson (part of the Belladonna role: long story!) in the village production of ‘Snow White’ in January 2012. The wig looked, smelled and felt like a dead civet cat. Several village Toms showed a decidedly unhealthy interest in my head during the proceedings!

Make-up and I have a decidedly edgy relationship; in fact, we have lived apart for most of the past twenty years, only meeting briefly and unsatisfactorily during the Panto Season! Like an affair that never quite gets off the ground – or in the gusset, as the case might be! – the accoutrements of feminine beauty and Alienora eye one another up with a curious mixture of longing and fear (on my part) and, to personify to the nth degree, acquisitive irritation (‘Come on, woman! Get slathering! You know you want to!’) on the wholly inanimate part of the consumer durables themselves.

Every now and then, I am tempted by the astonishing range of colours, shapes and sizes on display! Many of them, to continue a theme implied by the above, exceedingly phallic in shape – and, let’s face it (ha!), designed to provide uplift, shall we say, in the average male’s cod piece. At least that, as I understand it, is the general idea. Girls, we paint our lips an enticing shade of genital pink (which, allegedly, looks like the other end in a state of readiness!) and, wham bam, thank you, ma’am, men are ascending immediately into a high state of erethism all over the country!

Mothers rarely come out and say it that directly – though, knowing me, if I had a daughter, I probably would! – but the implication is very clear, if only in the tuttings and secretive murmerings overheard (via a well-placed glass held at the door, naturally!) between older female relatives, that make-up is both essential as a means of snagging, and snogging, the chaps, and highly reprehensible at one and the same time! Talk about having your lipstick and eating it – make of that what you will, those of a symbolic bent or a down-to-earth nature!

My mother was typically ambivalent about the whole matter – and, from the maelstrom of hints, dire warnings, arcane nostrums and covert blasts of religious disapproval, I, to this day, don’t know whether I’m coming or going!

So, that is part of the unease. The other, far larger, part is this: I am not very good at the fine art of self-adornment; in fact, I am bloody awful at it! My approach is neither Pre-Raphaelite (which I would LOVE!) nor Impressionist (which I could cope with because it hides a multitude of sins); it is, sad to relate, more clown than princess!

A major drawback is my poor sight. Any excuse, I know! Fact of the matter is that I am very short sighted and, as you may have noticed, possessed of a not-inconsiderable nose. The two, my friends, do not go together well when attempting to apply the old War Paint.

Off come the glasses. The room immediately swims into murky depths of vague shapes. Pots and penis-shaped tubes and vials at the ready, I peer into the mirror. Crash! Bang! Ouch! Nosebleed! Or, in avoiding the proboscis trauma, I turn sideways so that my eye, enormously magnified, looks like that of a Cyclops and I quail under the illusion that I’ll need ginormous quantities of the stuff to cover just the one eyelid.

On these days of May Madness, I generally grit my teeth, grab the trowel and start ladling the unguent on with what can only be described as gay abandon. Within seconds, my eyes look as if I have been repeatedly punched by a fractious kangaroo – and my mouth, far from being the erotic centre of the face, is more reminiscent of the lady sleeve immediately after childbirth.

Mascara is, to me, the work of the Devil – or at least Torquemada on an off day. My eyes are of the variety that water for a past time. You only have to look at the damned things and they start to seep copiously. Trying to get contact lenses anywhere near them was a nightmare I do not wish to repeat in the near future!

So, any attempt to draw lines underneath them, or indeed to make my stubby little lashes appear curvaceous and curly, is doomed to a fairly speedy dissolution into bad language, weeping and very sore eyes.

But, having said all this, I have just about enough female vanity, or stupid hope, to venture out into these dizzyingly female realms bi-annually. This year, it was the ‘Everything for a quid!’ that got my Inner Siren. And so, looking around to make sure no knowing teenagers were watching, I hurriedly scooped up twelve items, paid for them and dashed off.

A month on, they sit on a bookshelf in my study, glaring at me. Have I opened them? No! Don’t be silly! They look wonderful – all pinks and golds, turquoises and pale greens – but I feel too intimidated to take the cellophane wrappers off them! And, I am quite sure that the one thing I really need is the only thing I have not got. Foundation rings a bell, as does Polyfilla! That stuff you slap on before all the rest.

Anyway, I haven’t got any of it, and I really don’t think I can face the thought of acquiring any!

I’ll probably end up doing what I always do under these circumstances: I’ll look wistfully at the make-up for six months or so, and then will give the whole lot away to one of my nieces!

So, we keep meeting up, reconciliation in mind – but, as the years go by, I suspect that divorce is the more likely outcome!

blood_moon_03_05_151

Lunar-Seer

The post below was actually written last June – but not on this blog. Something of the same feeling is washing through the world as the Blood Moon approaches…

blood_moon_03_05_151Three of the Oldest Ones have been recalled in the past twenty four hours. They are needed elsewhere, or their shoes are to be filled with Celestial feet. Summer cannot get through, nor Spring – other than in jerky, jolting fits and starts. The Moon’s rays pull and tug throughout the month. Priestess of Tides, I have become (to borrow, briefly, from Pat Conroy’s beautiful novel) – and I am not alone in this.

In gloomy mode this morning, and upon reading that the oldest Lay Chorister had joined the recently departed, at the comparatively youthful age of 105, I thought, ‘Mass Exodus: they are beating the rush!’

Because there is a sense of something powerful rising. Whether of the Dark or the Light, I am not sure. I do not sense any malign intent – but there is a rushing and a howling, as if a vast storm were on its way, stirring up the metaphorical leaves, making the animals sick and uneasy, gathering the very old and the pitifully young.

We are being put through our paces. Our mettle is being tested, and our metal too. This Long Night of the Moon is aligning us with the blood, the water, the liquids within our own bodies – and those in the wider world.

Emotions rise fast and furious, or slow and sorrowful. We cry and scream, shout and fight – without really knowing why, or what it is that causes such anguish and anger. The pressure causes noses to spurt blood. Children fall easily and graze knees and elbows. Adolescents, suddenly clumsy, burn themselves, trip over, cut fingers on sharp knives.

Sleep surges are billowing and brutish, borne aloft upon a vessel of spears, captained by harsh and forbidding ruffians. The Morrigan holds dark and sinister sway over our dreams, driving the mares ever more wildly.

‘If only the Sun would shine,’ we wail. ‘If only it were hot!’

It seems we are living in the Snow Queen’s realm, as if fairy tale/myth and reality have converged; as if we cannot distinguish between reality and story any longer.

But my feeling is this: we rush towards, and are very good at, all that is summery in our world. We jostle to embrace warmth, colour, wide smiles, happiness, holidays abroad, tanned skin – and many people whistle through the other seasons, especially the cold ones, in order to get to that Seasonal Holy Grail. Like bears, we hibernate through the dark times, the icy periods, the snowy wastes; we mourn the loss of the Sun, the short days and long nights; we cry and shiver in the cold and curse the parlous slippery roads; we reject all that is wintery – in our world and, more crucially, in ourselves.

We adore the Sun, its bright fiery strength, its wondrous heat and power; we feast upon its splendour and grow strong and tall; we ripen like wheat under its blasting rays.

Do we treat the Moon with like reverence? Not always, no. For there is a tendency amongst some to equate emotions with the female, and to dismiss them as irrational, somehow inferior to the world of empirical thought. When tears spell weakness rather than release, humanity, compassion and empathy, we know that the balance is skewed.

When boys are taught, ‘Only girls cry,’ we sense a gaping wound in the male psyche.

But, water and fire are both essential for mankind, for our planet. Each season has its part to play in the cycle of life and death.

Spring is blooming and bountiful, at last, but under a funereally grey sky, plumed hearse-horses walking sedately through the heavens, black feathers nodding rhythmically.

I do not know the answer.

I do not even know the question.

IMG00108-20140409-1101

Straight red hair!

I have just returned from a visit to the hairdresser. My plan was to re-dye my locks ( which had faded somewhat since January!) ready for this much-anticipated Silent Eye weekend. But, enthralled by the idea of really long hair – and unwilling to go through the time-consuming and expensive torment of hair extensions (pu-lease: I am fifty-six, not sixteen! Not that this has ever held me back!) – I asked Sue (who has done my hair for the past fifteen years) to get the straighteners out and set to!

I watched, without glasses, as the curly fronds of my hair were tamed and straightened – and lengthened! Ye gods, I have seriously LONG hair! Okay, it has not yet reached my Equatorial Region (or waist, as you slimmer fillies are wont to call it!), but it ain’t far off!

Thrilled, I am!IMG00107-20140409-1100 IMG00108-20140409-1101

I think the Pre-Raphaelite curls are more ME, if you get my drift, but this straight-haired look (for only the second time in my life!) is a new and interesting variation.

What do you think?

And, irrespective of the To Straighten or Not To Straighten debate, don’t you just LOVE the colour? I DO!

1-the-happy-lovers-jean-honore-fragonard

First Bite at the Cherry: Weekly Writing Challenge

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/ 1-the-happy-lovers-jean-honore-fragonard

Berries oozing upon crimped white linen:

Lust’s first blood.

Sweat-mingled orchestral climax against shattered window panes.

Wild Moon riding Tempest’s mares through black and starless plains.

Weight of sated white flesh plaited drowsily with brown.

Tang and sweet creaminess of new bodies revisiting ancient patterns.

Discarded cheesecake, tart cherry, sulking.

  1. The Hedge | Resident Alien — Being Dutch in America
  2. Spirit – Spiritless – Spiritual | Learning From Life
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  4. Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty « MARGARET ROSE STRINGER
  5. Countdown | zaphnathpaaneah
  6. Fifty | smoothcreminal
  7. The meeting. | chey4412
  8. Weekly Writing Challenge: 50 words of Chagrin | Making Life an Art
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  12. My First Fifty | BeLofty
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  17. Salad from my garden | Mermaid’s tresses
  18. Diagnosis: In Fifty Words | My Own Champion
  19. Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty | KiwiBee’s Chaos
  20. “His Hands” | Odyssey of a Novice Writer
  21. 5ifty | Photos by Emilio
  22. Moving | HK’s Huck le Berry
  23. Pills (TRIGGER WARNING) | Feel Good
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  28. Chipped Plates | Nonlinear Compilations
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  32. Unfinished | eddyfy
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  34. Two Offerings – Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty | Windchimes and Dreamcatchers
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  39. Ludic Memories: Short | risingrave28
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  44. Jack, The Athlete: Dp Challenge | Abysmal Heights
  45. A few minutes outside… | PRIORHOUSE blog
  46. of jealousy | Anawnimiss
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  50. Story Of My Life | Views Splash!
  51. Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty – Robbed « cognitive reflection
  52. The Yellow Bird | Shawn’s Open Journal
  53. Little Cry-Heart (50-Word Story Challenge) | Aphotic Atrocities Inc
  54. Weekly Writing challenge: Fifty – an age | Deb’s world
  55. Healer | Another Red Letter Day
  56. Fifty N°1 : A tout jamais | La duchesse d’Erat
  57. In My Head With Spring | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  58. Reading for Beginners | Be Less Amazing
  59. Almost perfect job | Life is great
  60. My Best Friend | Starting Write Now
  61. Fifty word challenge: Paris | thoughts with a side of coffee
  62. My life in 50 words: Social justice breathing in the belly of my son every sunrise « psychologistmimi
  63. Fifty Thoughts, all at the Same Time | Le Journal d’un Introverti
  64. Hating Life | the intrinsickness
  65. Amor | Perceptive Pot Clueless Kettle
  66. Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty | Bob’s Blog-O-Rama
  67. Weekly Writing Challenge | Transitions
  68. Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty | Fingerlike
  69. Longing | A picture is worth 1000 words
  70. The Test | the intrinsickness
  71. My First Fifty Of Fear | Fickle Feelings
  72. Fifty Words | Grit & Satin
  73. Shall We Dance? Moments in Caregiving. | The Imperfect Caregiver
  74. The Beautiful Lie | An Upturned Soul
  75. 50 | summer prescott books
  76. Feeling Fifty in Fifty | twenty thirteen
  77. FIFTY – Weekly Writing Challenge | Stockholm Serendipity
  78. Fifty words – The questions that make you go hmmm … | Purplesus’ Blog
  79. More Than Brevity | Ever Upward
  80. Sheep over the motorway (DPchallenge) | write way up
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  83. 50 Things | Turn That Radio Up
  84. Bradley | Claud’s Ramblings
  85. [Weekly Writing Challenge: Fifty] Third-wave | A Small Press Life
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  87. Weekly writing challenge: Fifty | TWENTY FOURTEEN
  88. Midnight Moon | lemon lime follies
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  90. The promise of the rainbow | 2crazylittleboys
  91. Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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Thanks to Google Images for the picture.

when_autumn_leaves_start_to_fall_by_luizalazar-d5egmsd

‘Spring and Fall’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Goldengrove Unleaving

when_autumn_leaves_start_to_fall_by_luizalazar-d5egmsd

Beautiful picture taken from Google Images

 

This is one of my favourite poems. I know it off by heart. Tonight, it expresses the way I feel very well. ‘Sorrow’s Springs’ – perfect.

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89).  Poems.  1918.
31. Spring and Fall
to a young child
MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves, líke the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Áh! ás the heart grows older         5
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:         10
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Words of love from a child

This, written years ago – when the child concerned was eight – hangs upon one of my walls. Yellowing now, and creased at the edges, with greasy BluTac splodges in each corner, it nevertheless holds part of my heart – and can still reduce me to tears.

MY MUM

Mum you are as yellow as the sunshine

You taste as delicious as sweet chocolate

You smell of sweet-smelling perfume

You look like a snuggly teddy bear

You sound like a singing bird

You feel like a big bundle of hugs in the air

Granny: Marion Zimmer-Bradley

the-mists-of-avalon

Twenty-plus years ago, it must be, since I first came across the magical works of Marion Zimmer Bradley. Around the time I began my journey into the Western Mystery Tradition.

I read ‘The Mists of Avalon‘ first – and lost myself completely in the world created by Bradley.

A year later, and to my great surprise, my mother sent me the other three novels in the series – and, once again, I immersed myself in this world which seemed, even then, so mysteriously familiar.

What is mythology but the dreams, visions, allegories and memories of all our peoples? To call it falsehood, or exaggeration, is, I feel, to miss the point entirely.

Those of us who travel the paths of the Inner on a regular basis know that there are well-travelled routes, open to anyone who takes the time – and that many of them conform to the oft-questioned and ridiculed worlds of myth.

In a sense, it does not matter whether King Arthur existed as a historical figure or not. Let us remember that History does not tell the tales of the common man, of the ordinary woman, of the unnoticed child. And if, as has been suggested, Arthur was little more than a War Lord, his deeds would largely have been forgotten – other than in the Collective Unconscious, that is.

The enduring popularity of the mythology surrounding him points to a much deeper reality and commonality of experience, for he is one of the Once and Future Kings (as, in another way, is Jesus Christ), a Solar Being, a mortally-wounded hero who has withdrawn to the Lands of Annwn. He is our hope. He is a Guardian. He IS the Land. And, if truth be known, he guards the Hallows of Logres – whether you conceive of these as being actual physical artefacts or aspects of our shared humanity.

I cannot tell you how many times I have read Bradley’s Avalon series – many, many, though!

They are more than a read. They are a journey, a Quest, a path to follow – and they open us up to a stream of Light which flows through all of us.

Granny: A rock warm in the sun…

We sit upon these rocks, don’t we, my dearies? Warm and safe, or so we think, our bottoms planted securely upon the ancient and weathered stone, our heads tilted slightly so we can catch the last of the sun’s rays.

And we think, if thought passes the placid blue of our mind’s ocean, that this is serendipity, that the rock is there for our convenience.

It isn’t, of course. It pre-dated us, and it will outlive us too.

Some of us, filled with curiosity or dread, delve under rocks and find a very different, much darker, landscape: a world inhabited by slime and scurrying creatures; a world far messier and more loamy; a world untouched by the solar, with a distinctive smell all its own.

We are, in a sense, very like these chairs of nature.

We can appear so comfortable, like elderly furniture worn into the shape of centuries of human use; people can sit upon us, stretching their parched white souls into the life-giving nutrients of our inner grails. They can sup upon our surface as if it were the richest, and most satisfying of meals. They can assume that we are there for their security and nurturing.

And so we are, my lovelies, so we are…

Often-times, that is.

But, if we lift the heavy rock, we sometimes find scary dark crevices, nasty smells and death ‘neath the beaming sun of a smile.

Sometimes, all unwary, we rest ourselves upon the dun hide of a crocodile sunning itself  – and we only know what we have done when the great teeth close in upon leg’s fragile bones, ligaments, flesh, and, with a great wail, we are sucked underneath to thrash our bloody way into Death’s great hungry maw.

We think we know.

We think the patterns on the skin, the fine painting upon the face, match the heart’s engravings.

Or, lust-struck and Moon-calved, we do not think at all.

Beware, my children, the scorpion poised beneath your stone sanctuary.

Do not be lulled by sunbeams and seductive smiles.

Lift. Look. Learn.

Granny: Post-natal depression

Not much was known about it in my mother’s day. You just got on with it, didn’t you? And, if you suffered from a touch of the Baby Blues – as it was known back then – you kept it to yourself.

I tell you frankly, though, my dears, that it can be very serious indeed – and can even, in extreme cases, cause deaths.

The most frightening aspect of the whole thing is the touch of psychosis which sometimes – though by no means always – accompanies the depression.

I can tell you now that I felt a little bit down, a tad under the weather, with all five of my babies. I was, to coin a phrase, not quite myself. Cranky and weepy, scared and clingy, I retreated from the world for a few months – until the intensity of the feelings passed and I was, once again, able to laugh and socialise and dandle my babe in comfort.

For some reason, my fourth pregnancy was the hardest. The unborn baby’s heart gave cause for concern when I was eight months gone, and I spent the morning of one dreadful day in hospital hooked up to a monitor.

The midwife feared that the little one was going to be under-size and there was talk of transferring me to a specialist maternity unit, in a city twenty miles away, when I went into labour.

I was, I can now see, in a state of considerable stress and anxiety, far more so than with the other four.

As it happened, my labour, though long, was perfectly normal – and my daughter, when she arrived, was a decent weight and in excellent condition.

Felled perhaps by the ‘What if?’ s which had run round my head for so many days, I descended into the dark world of paranoia and terror with terrifying speed.

This was not the slightly withdrawn weepiness I had experienced before. No. It was far more scary than that.

I became convinced that I was going to hurt, or even kill, my vulnerable little baby. I imagined hitting her fragile skull against the stone fireplace; I saw, with vivid horror, myself holding a pillow over her sweet face and smothering her. Violent acts and their bloody consequences seemed to run through my mind in a constant stream.

And yet I felt the most profound love, and protectiveness, for this tiny being. I was terrified that she would get hurt – and yet, at the same time, I could imagine only too readily killing her myself.

I told no one of these dreadful scenes. Felt too ashamed, I suppose; felt I was the most unnatural and potentially abusive mother ever.

Fortunately, this dark phase passed as quickly as it had begun – and I did not need to take any medication.

But, having been through this myself, I would urge any new mother who has baby-harming thoughts to seek medical help IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait, as I did, in the hope that this too shall pass.

The incidents of matricide which occasionally hit the news are all too poignant testimony to the fact that the Baby Blues can be fatal.

Granny: Seer – and blind too…

I am wise-woman – and very stupid too. Cannot always see the beach for the pebbles.

I am Seer. But I am also blind, though not in the strictest sense of that word.

Let me say that I can read the cards clear as clear can be; I can See the colours of your life in limpid pool and turbulent river; I am in tune with the beating heart of our Earth Goddess, Gaia.

Yet, my eyes did not see past the beauty of Dorian Gray.

We see, they say, what we want to see – and this is not the preserve of youth either. We older ones are just as prone to willingly don the spectacles of lust, or love, and read a shining spirit into darksome eyes and the sort of smile that curls round the erotic centre.

Age does not protect us, nor do the bodily privations caused by donning the black cloak of the Crone.

At any age, we can be told, warned vehemently,’ This one is NOT for you,’  and do we listen?

No. We don’t because we are under a spell. We are entranced. And we do not imagine that the dire prognostications will happen to US.

Our loved ones tell us, ‘Look at the way he treats other women. Look at the way he sneaks around, all furtive like, in order to see you. Look ahead – and that is how he will deal with you too. He shuffles the pack called Woman identically each time – and deals the same pattern.’

But we think we will be the exception to that deep-grooved rule, don’t we? In our careless youth, or liberated age, we assume we know better.

Until we find we don’t, that is – and then the crying starts, or the held-in screams. Then we gather about us the cape of fear. We walk on thinnest shells day in day out.

No hand needs to be raised in anger. That is not always the way of the world – though God know too many women in our world bear the fading spectrum of a fist’s domination.

Maiden I have been – and blossomed in the white.

Mother, too, my scarlet robe held proud against my swelling belly.

And now, in the dark shadow of the black – and in the knowledge that my life is over half done – I reflect upon mankind’s mad hope and sad self-delusion. I think of womankind falling, like dominoes, at the feet of the swarthy villains of literature – and thinking they are demigods in disguise.

Ah, women! Ah me! For I am no better. Just older. I too am trapped by the oldest illusion of all, one shared by men and women alike.

The illusion that love, if strong enough, must needs be reciprocated. That open heart attracts open heart. And that the heroes we create in our minds will take flesh and become real.

It is not the heart you need to listen to, young things – and older things!

It is the gut.

That speaks the deepest truth – and gives the clearest bell of warning.

Granny Spins a Yarn: Childbirth

A while back, I started another blog under the guise of one of my alter egos, Granny. It did not work: For reasons of technological ineptitude, it did not provide the privacy I needed, and I did not/do not have the energy to maintain two sites.

Waste not, want not, however – so, in this fallow period on the main blog, I am going to transfer the Granny material over here and then close her down.

No obligation to read any of this, of course, especially as I shall be posting several in a short space of time.

I am hoping to get a handle on my current state of pain and anxiety without needing to see a doctor. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience and kindness.

In the dim and distant past, when I was a maiden, before I grew a babe in my own womb, I used to find images of child-bed curiously erotic.

‘How strange!’ you may say – and maybe you would be right.

But, think about it: Most babes are conceived under the sexiest stars you could think of. Their cells start dividing post orgasm!

The news reports women give about their own experiences can be so distorted, exaggerated or pared down that the mother-to-be doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going!

Some ladies love to embellish the slightest twinge into full-blown agony. These ones tell their stories as one long medical emergency, involving gallons of blood (some not their own!), forceps the size of cattle castrators, cords wrapped five times round the wean’s neck and near-death experiences by the score.

Others, who claim that their cervixes open as easily and quickly as peeling an egg, sing their sisterly sagas of ten minute labours, minimal pain and a little’un entering the world peaceful as a Buddha.

The reality?

T’ain’t pretty, let me tell you that! Nor dignified. Doesn’t always go to plan, either.

I was all of a doodah when I found I was expecting for the first time – and, being both young and naive, sought the opinion of the Merewife from Hell. This lady, a near neighbour, had had ten children – and, though I didn’t know it at the time, was just the sort of expert the primigravida (whether elderly or otherwise) least needs.

She seemed the motherly sort, you know? Built like a Cottage Loaf, warm and comforting in her demeanour, all smiles and offers of home -made scones.

After admiring the many photographs of her brood, I got down to brass tacks.

‘So, what is labour actually like?’ I asked.

‘Graphic’ doesn’t begin to describe her horrific journey through, as far as I could see, ALL known complications.

It was a real case of, ‘Been there. Done that. Got the (stuck) Afterbirth!’

Worse than life in an Abattoir, the way she told it. Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, extra-large offspring, foetal distress, positive Nile Inundations of haemorrhage, it was a wonder she’s survived ONE, let alone TEN.

I tottered out, some three hours later, absolutely terrified.

Her unfeeling cackle, as I fainted for the third time, did nothing for my self-esteem either!

Come the day, though, what’s gone in has got to come out – not to put too fine a point upon it – and, though full of images involving quarts and pint pots, not to mention real trains forcing their way through toy tunnels, I knew that, with babe nearing Exit Door, I’d just have to get on with it.

Can’t be doing with those women who give you all that guff about, ‘Oh, you soon forget the pain of contractions…’

You don’t – and it is BLOODY painful. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

As for the bit when you get the overwhelming urge to push, don’t be mislead by those who claim that all it takes it one minor squeeze and your babe lands neatly on your chest.

It is damn hard word. ‘Labour’ is not an euphemism. It can take two hours, or more, to birth just the head – and that bit hurts like hell, take it from me!

When the little love comes out, he or she is not all pretty postcard clean and tidy, looking up at you with speechless devotion. Wizened, purple and blood-stained is more like it. As, indeed, are you!

If you’ve hatched the sprog through the Tunnel of Love, you’ll struggle to sit down for a few days, your, er, natural functions will feel like passing an Ocean Going Liner and you’ll be afraid, with every visit to the toilet, that all your internal organs are about to leap out.

Sex? Forget it!

Believe you me, it’ll be the very last thing on your mind in those early days – and, if Hubby so much as sidles up to you, you’ll deck him with the chamber pot, like as not!

Breast feeding?

Looks a doddle, doesn’t it?

It isn’t. Can take days to get the little darling clamped on securely – and it hurts like hell initially.

But we do it again and again, don’t we?

Irrespective of horrible stories, gruesome true-life videos and our own experiences, we continue to love and labour and love again.

And I still think there something erotic about it!

‘The Six Wives of Henry V111′ by Living Spit – play review…

Review of ‘The Six Wives of Henry V111’ – Living Spit Company

Written and Performed by Stu Mcloughlin  and Howard Coggins

From Catherine of Aragon to Catherine Parr; from divorce through beheading to natural death, this gloriously Rabelaisian and irreverent trawl through the amours of England’s most infamous jouster at the lists of lust, was an utter delight.

Ever thought of History as boring? Ever considered, even privately, that the plethora of princes, the hegemony of Henrys and the wash of wimpish women were just a little yawn-worthy? Think again, for this show will drag you, by the privy parts, kicking, screaming and roaring with raucous laughter, into its surprisingly soft under belly.

In we trickled, a tatterdemalion collection of Bristol’s finest, into the apt darkness of the Basement – and settled, at stiffly British intervals, upon the chairs, high stools and benches provided. The set, bordered on three sides by audience, was simple: a sofa, covered by a purple throw (denoting majesty perhaps) and occupied by a portly, bearded man of indeterminate years, bearing a strong resemblance to the eponymous star of the Tudor Rogering for England contest. A leather armchair; a crown hanging symbolically upon the wall; a gallimaufry of guitar-like instruments posing upon a post – these completed the picture.

The play wove ribbons, bright and colourful –past and present, Henry’s Harem and the two actors down on their luck or quarrelling like a long-married couple – round the central Maypole of the dramatic conceit:  Howard Coggins and Stu Mcloughlin, incensed by a poisonous review of a previous play by one of the local papers – which featured, amongst other hilarious phrases, the wonderful, ‘…like a giant praying mantis trying to put out several fires…’ – deciding upon, and performing, their new idea: Henry’s wives.

Stu Mcloughlin, in cadaverously sinister public school twit mode as Henry 7th, was alternately avuncular and utterly withering to his beloved Arthur and barely tolerated Henry – both played by Howard Coggins. His words of wisdom were enhanced by the wonderful acronym, DRIBBLE, which meandered down his abdomen, the ‘E’, for exercise tucked neatly in the marital foliage – and we all know which variety of exercise was on offer there!

Howard made a richly coloured tapestry of Henry V111’s character: nasty at times, vulgar, insecure, libidinous, yet tender and vulnerable too, especially at the end. Who could possibly forget the moment when he nipped behind the sofa for a protracted, and clearly audible, draining of the infamous leg ulcer into a bucket? You do not get many moments like that to the thespian pound!

Stu Mcloughlin, who brought cross-dressing to ribald new heights by enacting the entire sextet, was a revelation.  All six were brilliantly portrayed, but I have to confess a particular weakness for the fur-coated, Jazzercise -and -sport –instructor- loving Catherine Howard (from County Durham and thus sounding like Gazza on helium) ,who chose her moment of execution so that she could get in a last session of Pilates. Second favourite would have to be the garrulously proletarian Jane Seymour, with her Wiltshire accent and penchant for embroidery: her musings upon her Battersea Power Station design and the imperfect fourth chimney had the audience rocking with mirth.

Quirky takes upon modern television programmes were cleverly woven into the structure: a version of ‘Britain’s got Talent’ to find a suitable Archbishop of Canterbury, and the superb ‘Blind Date’ as Henry looked for wife number four – and, it has to be said, bit off rather more than he could chew with the marvellously Teutonic, political dominatrix, Anne of Cleves.

The splendidly skanky Barbies, used to play Mary and Anne Boleyn – and operated by a lusciously moustachioed Catherine A – caused one of the biggest ripples of laughter of the entire show, and were a great idea.

Supported by regular in- house sniping, excellent songs and a spectacular hissy fit, this was first class entertainment.  We clapped, and cat-called, with great enthusiasm, and were thrilled when Howard and Stu came on for a second bow. I am sure I am not alone in wishing there could have been several more of those.

I have now seen the play five times – nearly as many viewings as Henry had wives – and I still laugh like a drain, nay an entire sewerage system, every time! The Dynamic Duo have other irons in the proverbial fire: They tour pubs with shows; they are coming back this Autumn with their own take on Elizabeth 1( Elizabeth 1 – Virgin on the Ridiculous) and, if we are all very lucky, they will be reprising old Henry at some point – PLEASE!

Here is a hilarious trailer, featuring the lads, of  Henry and his bevy of beauties!

From Ruth to Belladonna: My Amateur Dramatic Experiences

I am, I would be the first one to admit, a total Drama Queen – and yet, until comparatively recently, I was convinced that I had no aptitude for board-treading whatsoever.

When I was at university, I was fascinated by the Drama Department students and would – secretly and not so secretly – have loved to join their edgy and Bohemian throng.

But I did not dare.

In 2001, I auditioned for ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ with the local Drama club. I did it because I love singing, was regularly in a choir as a child and wanted to sing once more.

I thought, at the time, that I’d be lucky if I got a chorus part – but, to my amazement, I was one of two people picked to play Ruth. Mabel would have been wonderful – but, let’s be honest, I was past forty, enormous and, as it turned out, both taller and heavier (far, far heavier) than the chap who eventually played Frederic. Link below to my first solo (not, I hasten to add, sung by me in this version):

Playing Ruth suited me down to the ground, however, and released a vulgar and hilarious earthiness I thought I had lost in reality and had never suspected I possessed in front of strangers. As I hoicked my mammaries up night after night, as I warbled my middle-aged heart out, I knew I was well and truly hooked.

And, even more astonishingly, people said I had stage presence, that I was very good, very funny.

Since then, I have played a variety of roles – but seem to fit most naturally into the large pink fairy mode. Though I did branch out on my second foray into thespiandom and played a drunken old bag. As part of that one, I had to lurch to the piano, in a state of total inebriation, and, flashing my cami-knickers at all and sundry, attempt to play a tune. Hmm! The part could have been written for me actually!*

Two years ago, I finally got to be the evil villainness of the piece, playing Belladonna in ‘Snow White’.
What a relief that was! No more Mrs Nice Pink Fluffy Bunny for a while. No, I lept straight into Cruella De’Vil mode and embraced my inner fiend with relish.

I love the eccentric and the off beat when it comes to productions – the loonier the better, actually. And I still vividly recall the production of ‘Ubu‘ performed by the Drama Department at Aberystwyth, and the stonking portrayal of the two main characters by Damien. and Hilary.

Things shifted in an odd way and I become, for a year or more, a Community Reviewer. This was fantastic and I loved the whole process. I worked with the brilliant Theatre Orchard Project, an organisation which promotes local, often al fresco, theatre.

In the spring of 2012, I reviewed a play by a two-man theatre company called Living Spit. Their play, which I have mentioned before, was so original and funny that I saw it twice – and laughed just as much the second time around!

To my delight, they did Edinburgh last summer.

I think it is great that, in these days of recession, we have such variety in dramatic terms, and that we have people, and groups, with the vision and courage to support and promote that which is not mainstream.

Long may it last. Hats off to the Theatre Orchard Project! Please support such life-enhancing initiatives wherever you are in the world. For they can, and do, make a huge difference to the quality of our lives. And, if you are ever able to catch Stu McLoughlin and Howard Coggins in  ‘The Six Wives of Henry V111‘ (which I have now seen five times) or anything else they have written, do go- and be prepared, be very prepared, to jettison a lung laughing!

*not, you understand, that I ever allow a drop of intoxicating liquor to pass my lips. A cauldron, yes, or a drip plus canula, definitely, but not a drop…

 

Farewell for now. I shall be back in a few days.

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The rising of the Sap Nymph: an erotic poem

alienorajt:

Reblogging this sexy nature poem because I need its heat and hope at present.

Originally posted on ALIEN AURA'S BLOG: IT'LL BLOW YOUR MIND!:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/prompt-our-house/

When the world was new, and the little-big square boxes we call homes had yet to enter our forebears’ forebrains, nature was our home. It protected us, and fed us; we reproduced, cried, fought, loved, laughed and died to its rhythms. The seasons were our friends, our guides, our inner almanacs; the trees, flowers and creatures were our teachers and helpers. From them. we learnt to run, to avoid, to be watchful and careful.

Our fingers no longer trace the Braille of the day; our feet can no longer feel the life pulsing through the forest, or the mighty murmur of the sea’s poetry – and we are, I feel, the poorer for it, even though most people now shelter within their bricks and mortar dens, and call that living.

In this poem, I imagine a nymph and Pan celebrating Spring in the vast home that we have spent…

View original 747 more words

Let me explain…

I have, for the moment, winched up the drawbridge, slammed down the port cullis – and retreated to the Solar in my castle. Sue and Noah both could see clearly that there was a deep need for this: bless you, empaths both.

It would be inappropriate – and, in some senses, disloyal – to give you chapter and verse, but I AM going to summarise. This is NOT because I want sympathy, pity or attention; it is simply because it will give ME peace, and some measure of calm, if people are able to understand why I am reading and commenting on so little at present.

I have been dealing with an on-goingly difficult and stressful family-related situation since last October. I have, for the moment, put it on hold, for reasons which will become clear, but it is unresolved.

A month or so back, a close family member was diagnosed with a serious illness, has subsequently had an operation and faces more treatment in the near future.

I made the decision to go away for two days, mid August, because I needed some relaxation and chill time with friends. Twenty minutes after I arrived at my destination, I received a phone call to say that my husband had been rushed into hospital with chest pains and the first day of my mini break was a very fraught and panic-ridden affair – until I got the good news that he was suffering from Acid Reflux and not a heart-related problem.

I have allowed other stresses into my life – and, two nights ago, pulled many of the muscles in my back and torso lifting furniture.

I am, as a result of all of this, feeling extremely vulnerable, tense, weepy – and in physical pain, with all the panic that brings in its wake.

It hurts to type; it hurts to do most things – and I have stopped running for the moment.

Part of my problem is that I feel I am a failure if I don’t meet other people’s needs, if I don’t respond when others write to me.

But I can only do so much in this life – and I am damaging myself at present.

I HAVE now protected myself as best I can – but I also know that I am going to have to get tough with other people in the future, and I absolutely dread this; it goes against every grain in my nature.

For too long, I have allowed certain others to remonstrate with me, even tell me off, when I express my feelings openly, or cry.

For too long, I have put myself and MY needs last – with disastrous results.

For too long, I have allowed others to write the novel of MY life for me: To interpret my feelings and experiences through their eyes; to assume that my instincts are little more than over-reaction and hysteria.

For too long, I have allowed others to tell me that they have suffered/are suffering FAR worse, and that I am, in effect, making a fuss about nothing – and have then APOLOGISED for being so presumptuous as to think my little stories and wounds matter at all.

I do not need to be shocked into shame, or shouted at, or bullied into realising that my plaints are trivial.

I need compassion, care, warmth, love and hugs.

I NEED TO BE PROTECTED.

And only I can do it.

Give me healing and peace, Grail…

chwllid

Oh, Grail, come to me -

I am hurting and sad;

Let me ask that question -

And be answered

By the cooling flow

Of chaliced water,

Upheld by mystic maiden,

Trickled into aching body.

 

Please, dear Lady,

Protect me,

For I am in need.

Give me your warm arms

And comforting voice;

Let me feel less alone

And fearful

In this thorny wilderness…

 

I cannot rock

Upon that wooden horse,

Any faster or longer;

I cannot take on

The ghosts of

Ancient parental sobs,

Their screaming

Fear of scarcity.

 

I cannot

Be abandoned

To deal with

Thrashing aftermath

Of my mother’s denial

Of deepest terror;

I am a child, eight;

I need looking after too.

 

I cannot lie awake,

Muscles agony-knotted,

Night after night,

To ward off

Bogeymen

And illness’ spectres;

I am too little

To drag my family to safety.

 

Let me cup hands

Around the warming draught,

Oh Goddess;

Let trembling lips

Receive love and care;

Let hyper-alertness’

Sore and scary damage

Be healed now.

 

Alienorajt – of the inadequate todger fame!

Ye gods, this I MUST share!

The more smutty Spammers have clearly decided that Alienorajt is a bloke’s name – though God alone knows how they came to THAT conclusion!  – and I have been overwhelmed by kind and thoughtful offers to increase that which nature clearly held back on.

Well it would, wouldn’t it? What with me being a girl and all that, and thus destined, from birth onwards, to be a tad lacking on the penile front.

For some days/weeks now, I have been lured in – NOT! – by the promise of Penis Enlargement, one assumes via pills, potions and unpleasant suction devices, all of which, no doubt, plunge the Member for Bedfordshire into the torment and embarrassment of acute Priapism and a testing trip down to A&E.

I have been consistently underwhelmed by this genital generosity – and have, in fact, put all such communications through the cyber shredder as quickly as I could – though, in the more absurd cases, with a wry laugh or twenty.

To put it crudely (and when do I NOT?) these buggers are going to have one hell of a job trying to get ME a girthsome choad!

The funniest one arrived just before this post. Having failed on the salesman techniques, these egregious sons and daughters of leprous camels went for the ‘ Appeal to his Vanity‘ approach – by stating that I would give immense pleasure to countless women, presumably if I took their parlous preparations and ended up with a dick the size of a Giant Redwood tree.

Put it this way, if I end up with a Sequoia in MY National Park, it will not be my own – if you catch my drift…

Panic and the Sun God

Another one transcribed from the journal, originally written in June. Sorry for old one, and sparse response: Real life needs my attention at present.

BLACKMOOR-Reserve-ponda

Oh, I had such plans for today’s post! Some of the phrases had arrived, sparkling at my finger-tips, ready to use. Saturday was so lovely, you see. But yesterday – having, I suspect, had too much Sun – I was torpid, listless, pain-trembling and panicky. I even took to my bed for several hours because I did not want to face the world.

So, perhaps, last night’s dream sequence should not have come as a surprise. One was violent and scary, the other erotic but very disturbing. I won’t bore you with the details because there’s nothing particularly note-worthy in the imagery. What is sad is the residue in my mind. Basically, both dreams left me with a deep feeling of failure and dread.

It is hot again today, drainingly so. But, I did not want to spend another day cowering and frightened, so, grabbing a couple of bananas to eat, I drove, with Jumble, up to Blackmoor Reserve.

Everything looked very beautiful, if dry and slightly hazed from the heat; the road was empty, for it was only 8.30; I could hear the harsh scream of a peacock somewhere, and imagined its strutting magnificence, its vulnerable arrogance and its feathered perfection. My favourite colours, always, since a child, turquoise and gold and green.

As I drove down the little hill to the rough parking area, yesterday’s pain (probably a pulled muscle, but attaining life-threatening proportions in my stupid mind) struck again. I was miles from home and out of mobile phone signal range. Pressing terrified fingers to the delicate skin on my inner wrist, I could feel, at first, no pulse, just a wild fluttering as if hordes of tiny butterflies were beating their wings in unison.

Then, getting out of the car, I thought, ‘If I die here, someone will find me eventually – and I have identification both in my wallet and on my phone…’ and off I set.

My legs were wobbly and each bite of the banana was a struggle. And I felt so sad because this is one of my favourite places, a healing and lovely walk, and yet I was allowing panic to tarnish its soft and gentle glow.

I had to keep saying to myself, ‘If I were having a heart attack, I would not be able to breathe, let alone walk,’ – and, when that failed to quell the rising terror, I started putting numbers up to ten at the end of each breath, the way I have been taught in my Mindfulness tape.

Jumble pottered about, loving the smells and the long scratchy grass against his hot fur; his tail was wag-wag-wagging with pleasure.

‘Please, lovely dragonflies, be by the little lake…’ I was saying to myself. Like a Mantra, I suppose. Getting to those delightful iridescent creatures seemed like sanctuary, a place where I would be safe.

As anyone who has ever had a panic attack will be aware, trying to get to a safe spot becomes overwhelmingly important. I used to crawl into very small spaces to feel safe.

I walked to the water’s edge, craning my neck, eyes alert. But there were no dragonflies. The lake’s surface was still, though birds dipped and hovered close on the far bank. Jumble leapt and dove and worried a patch of the highest grass; perhaps he had found, or imagined, a kill.

As he jumped into the water, I became aware of the butterflies, tawny coloured, several of them, skimming low across the grass, lighting upon bright flowers.

I lay, once more, upon the stone slab. Knees up. Left arm shading my eyes. I was tense, very. Afraid.

But, through the imperfections of the body, I sensed him: this time, a humanoid form, a tall glowing golden haired man, naked, both in his prime and curiously ageless. He rode upon a magnificent white stallion; its hooves were shod with pure gold and it made no noise.

The vibration in my knees became intense, and my legs fell apart like two halves of a peach. The golden creature flowed, the essence of sun, from his steed.

‘I am Mabon,’ he said – and then I had the sensation of giant warm loving arms encircling me, of  a stream of buttery yellow – which, in an odd way, was both a male being and a constant solar ripple of sun rays – loving me.

It was both deeply erotic and far beyond the level of human sexuality.

I felt as if I lay there for a few seconds only – but it must have been longer than that because the walk, which normally takes twenty five minutes, took nearly an hour.

Mabon was gone – and I felt such a longing, an inner coldness and loss; it is very difficult to tell this bit because I went from ecstatic warmth to the pits of fear in a twinge of the right breast.

That, in my world, is all it takes.

As I rose, a breast nerve screamed. Before I could even think, the toxic chemicals were already flooding my body, doing their dirty damnedest to provoke fighting or fleeing.

I all but ran into the woods, trying to outpace the pain, trying to moderate my breathing to a less jerky sound.

Numbers, started in frantic haste, began to soothe slowly – and, as I turned towards the bench area (where I met the lovely Lake Children a while back), I slipped into what I can only describe as a form of trance. It felt as if I were walking very tall, as if I were more than myself, an ancient being.

And, in that altered state, I felt the deep need to connect with the earth through the medium of a tree to my left. I put my arms around its trunk and hugged it. Solid, it felt, and reassuring, and loving. Affectionate rather than sexual. I wanted to cry.

I cannot remember walking along the widest path, though I suppose I must have done so; but, suddenly, I was surrounded, on both sides, by the wonderful, and deeply moving, scent of honeysuckle. Its lovely pink, white and golden flowers have sprung up in profusion since last I walked these paths. I inhaled greedily, would have sucked the honey if I could have found its secret entrance.

Oh! I had such music at my soul’s edge for today! Such a tale to tell of Pan and an angel or two!

One day, I so hope that I will crack this thick-shelled egg of panic which encloses me, and break out – a small and fragile chick, but free to fly.

Gwalchmai: Hawk of May

Originally written, in the journal, in May…

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

It is the month of the Gwalchmai: the Hawk of May…

And, this morning, one came a-calling, a-swooping and a-menacing. Like an omen, it dropped out of the sky onto our bird table – where, at the time, a throng of guileless young sparrows were at work upon the seeds and worms, fat balls and other titbits we leave out for them.

I knew nothing until I heard a terrible high-pitched screaming; it went on and on, unstoppably. Something similar happened two years ago and, that time, when I went out to look, I found a baby badger which had obviously expired in dreadful agony, having, we think, been poisoned.

I feared for the guinea pigs, though I did not think anything could find its way into their cage.

I rushed to the Conservatory, and looked out at the Patio.

At first, I thought two big birds were fighting, that it was some kind of territorial or mating battle; all I could see, initially, were huge wings and a flurry of movement which, contained, at its centre, the awful agonising noise.

But the set of the beak, the mad tawny eye of the thing, the sideways predatory glance told its own tale of raptor need and raptor precision.

It was a hawk. I knew that. A May Hawk.

And, between its vicious, efficient talons was a sparrow, still screaming.

Puffs of grey feather flew as the great bird rose low over the slabs of Patio and thundered down the garden, fetching up to the right of our raspberry canes.

It dispatched the little bird quickly – and I could see its head, twitching round like a mechanical toy, making sure it was undisturbed.

Then it dug in, scattering feathers in a wide semi-circle.

It crouched warily in its chosen spot for ages, trimming and tenderising its feast, a feast, I assume, for its hungry young ones.

A roofer, working on a house nearby, called out to me as I stood there.

‘What’d that sparrowhawk take?’

And that is how I knew it was a sparrowhawk.

I hope its babies like their treat – and I reflect that at least one nest of fragile young won’t go hungry today.

But, it made me cry, the suffering of the little sparrow.

Afterwards, the bird table was empty and all the small birds were crying out in fear and trauma. I could hear them, scared and hungry.

I hope they come back soon: I miss their merry chatter, their clumsiness and their crazy hope.

Lateral Action

Sometimes, you have to leap out of that box and think in Full Moon mode, think laterally, act in ways you never thought possible, in order to move the heavy stone doors of rutted thought into the realms of miracle…

Sometimes, the only way is to forget rational thought, and all the myriad reasons why not, and go with the Light shower of the instinct…

And, just sometimes, travelling that way can bring you to a magical kingdom you never knew existed.

Or were too afraid to approach.

Be bold! Let your wings lead, or your heart, or spirit!

Do not let the dodgy exhaust of the brain lead the way every time.

It does not ALWAYS know what it is doing!

Learning from pain…

I think it is often true that our most painful, difficult and stressful times teach us the most necessary and valuable lessons – and that, in fact, the placement of such problems is no coincidence: That the classes we have truanted from the most, as it were, are the ones we get the most rigorous detentions for.

We find we have to re-evaluate our lives, our friends, our families – and our responses.

I have had to face several unpleasant, and hurtful, truths since the end of July.

One is that family relationships, and precious people, cannot be left on hold indefinitely, or for a more propitious moment; that lives are chancy, and can be cut off without any warning – and that, therefore, making the most of those we hold dear matters far more than our pride, our notions of distance, or convenience or a notional tomorrow which may never come.

We waste so much of our lives stuck in positions from which we will not budge – even when we sense that such stances are destructive and alienating. As a species, we often choose to be right rather than have an important relationship work. We dig our heels in, whilst condemning mules for that very practice, and refuse to move, even when we can SEE, quite clearly, that our stubbornness is hurting others – and then, unable to face what we are and what we do, we BLAME the wounded others for being too sensitive, or unable to take criticism.

I KNOW whereof I speak: I have a tough streak of sheer immovability in my own character – and do not always back down at times when it would be far better if I did so.

Another thing I have learned – the hard way – is that I have GOT to protect myself first; that I cannot hope to help others if I am vulnerable and hurt and open to every single sling and arrow of outrageous fortune.

Last night, I did exactly as I said I would: invoked the Higher Powers and armed myself, in the psychic sense, against assault of any kind. Having done that, I asked for remote-control protection for others.

I had a huge sense of darkness lifting and light beginning to seep in through the misty, cob-webby, damaged rooms of the soul – and of the real places I was ‘targeting’.

But I have also had to face the fact that I place ridiculously high demands upon myself – and this can be very dangerous. The ‘I must try harder’ part of me is very hard to silence, to soothe, to reassure. Even when I remind myself of the tragic death of little Paul in D.H.Lawrence’s short story ‘The Rocking-Horse Winner‘,  I still leap upon that metaphorical wooden steed and ride desperately to a finishing post only I can see.

I matter. I am deserving of loveliness and relaxation and kindness and consideration and warmth. I do not, in the symbolic sense, have to take responsibility for the financial situation of my parents; that is for them to sort out. As a child, I need protection and support and care too.

I was ready, from an early age, to rescue others: Had it all mapped out in my mind, all the exit points from the house, the frying pan under bed, so that I could defend my parents and younger siblings against attack, illness, fire, even death.

I did not expect anyone to save me – mainly because I would be the one riding in on a white charger and picking everyone else up.

It makes me want to cry when I think of that smaller me – lying awake, night after night, listening out for danger, ready, at the slightest sign, to go in and drag all the others out through my bedroom window onto the roof which sloped down towards the back garden.

Where did I get such a ridiculous sense of responsibility for others?

I am not Super Woman now – and most certainly was not Super Bambi back then; in fact, I was a timid, shy, asthmatic little girl, not at all the super-hero type.

I know what it was, or think I do: My mother was, understandably, frightened of facing my father’s low blood sugar, shading into hypo times of the day – basically every meal time – and she often chose (consciously or not) to be away, or late back, at such times. This left me, as oldest child, in charge from a very early age – of a big man whose moods, when driven by lack of sugar, were unpredictable and very scary, and who exhibited terrifying physical symptoms when we did not get food into him in time.

I grew up, therefore, with the unconscious notion that, if I did not act immediately, my father would go into a coma and die – and this, of course, became extended to the rest of the world, and is still with me.

If I do not respond quickly, someone else will suffer and die – and it will all be my fault.

I am sure that this is where the hyper-anxiety started. Because, you see, as an eight year old girl, I was unprotected, and unsafe – and this feeling has never really left me; I feel it now, in my tummy, writing this post.

People have always tried to calm me down by insisting that I relax, by telling me that it will be all right and that the other will be fine if I do not immediately spring into action.

But I learned, from my first memories, that people you love are NOT always fine – and that no amount of verbal reassurance can stop a diabetic from crashing to the floor in a coma.

It is the most painfully difficult habit for me to break, this one – this obsessive need to save others is so ingrained in my psyche that I respond first and ask questions later.

Because, you see, every call for help, in my mind, could, potentially, lead to death, or at least serious injury/illness.

What I need to take on board is that I CANNOT save the world.

Ultimately, as I have said before, none of this hyper-alertness, on any of our parts, had the power to save my father – and nothing can bring him back.

I can love and support those who matter to me – but I cannot save them.

Perhaps once I truly take that wisdom on board, my shoulders will fall, my back with stop aching all the time and some of my huge anxiety will begin to ease.

I have to face the painful reality that, no matter how much I love people, some of them ARE going to become seriously ill, or have injuries, or die before I do.

And there may not be anything I can do to prevent this.

 

 

 

 

I need to LAUGH

Life since the end of July has been, almost without exception, incredibly stressful – and I have been left reeling, blinking back tears (of both grief and tension) and wondering how I can summons up the next bit of strength in order to deal with yet another traumatic event flung in my direction.

Even my lovely nude-bathing was tampered with – not, I hasten to add, by the delightful friends I was staying with, but by other forces.

This grey and sombre-looking afternoon, I desperately need Cretan heat on my aching back and shoulders; I need to be cradled and soothed and comforted and held up; I need intercession by the Light because I am not sure I can cope alone with all these different weather systems coming at me from all four quarters.

But above all, I NEED to laugh, to let the incredible, bone-aching hunched posture go for a few moments.

There has been precious little laughter in my life since that late July day – and I am longing for it just as much as I am yearning for the restorative action of the sun.

Sometimes, I just want to stand up and scream at the universe, ‘Oh, come ON: Give me a break, can’t you?’

I sometimes want to ask, ‘What the hell is the lesson I am meant to be learning from this incessant painful testing?’

But I know the answer, or at least part of it, already: Light Workers are being targeted all round the world. Things are accelerating globally, spiritually, and that which has been left unfinished is being forced into the limelight.

And it makes sense, I suppose: If fibres of light are being shot out into the world, they are going to attract the eyes of the dark forces – and sabotage is going to be set in motion.

Things are coming up so monstrously, so dramatically and unstoppably, because they have to come to a head and be cleared in order for the higher vibrations to come through.

At the priestess level, I know and accept this flaying of the soul.

But, the human being, the Ali, is crying out in pain and desperate for ease, for it to stop or at least to calm down a bit.

I KNOW I am not alone here. I know that many people are struggling to cope as a malign barrage of darkness is thrown at them. I know, for I see it every day, that situations are going critical for all too many, and that many are weeping, screaming, flailing mightily to keep heads above churning water.

This evening, I am going to invoke assistance from the higher beings because there are some things which cannot be handled by human power alone.

I should, perhaps, have done this sooner – but, at the time, I was busy creating a heartstone line on the inner for/with a relative in great need.

Now, it is my turn.

Now, it is time to turn these disparate situations over to the Goddess.

Letter to self, August 2015…

This, the second part of my response to #August Moon 14, represents a breakthrough…

In it, I had to write a letter, as if I were now living in August 2015, back to the summer 2014 self. It was very hard to do – but I got there in the end!

Ah! Dearest self -

We broke through in the end, didn’t we?

And now we lie upon the hot, and beautiful, beach of relaxation. We are naked, free of pain; we know that we are loved and wanted, admired and respected. We know that we can choose to go on quests, or ignore them altogether – and we will STILL be valued.

We have kept the Medea head, and the protective aura in place for nearly a year, and are all the better for its soft and reassuring presence.

It has not, as we so feared, made us seen as selfish or nasty, self-centred or uncaring; in fact, it has given others a true sense of our needful boundaries and has allowed THEM to step around us with loving care. It has improved our health, hugely, and our relationships with others significantly. People know how far they can go now – because WE are able to set limits on our own behaviour and attitude.

It is so liberating and lovely that we smile just writing the words.

The darkest centre of our previous universe has been neutralised. We have allowed it to seep out of our life. Not with any kind of hatred or revenge, or ill-feeling; on the contrary, we wish it well, we wish it to be happy, we wish it health and well-being. We just had to recognise that it was not right for us; that the chemistry and biology, the damaged intent, the lack of any desire to change, was running counter to our deepest needs. We have let it go with intention and love.

Our writing has gone from strength to strength. In fact, we are starting to get wider, and more serious, recognition, and are trembling on the edge of physical, printed publication of our words. We are seen, increasingly, as very talented – slightly to our surprise, but much to our relief. For, you see, as our self-esteem has grown, the blindfold of doubt has melted away – and we are able to see, clearly, that we are not just a writer, but an exceptional one!

Our son, now able to drive and still going out with his beloved young lady, is a delight, as he mostly has been; he has taken up fencing once more, as was his wish – and, following on from his brilliant GCSE results a year ago, is now thoroughly enjoying his A’level courses. He is loyal and loving to his parents, and his dry sense of humour is much appreciated by those who come into contact with him.

We have slimmed down considerably, haven’t we? Partly the running – which we still do, but not quite as guiltily! – and partly the vastly increased level of happiness. Our hair, now very long and still orange, is a statement in its own right, isn’t it? It is a statement that, despite everything, we refused to be cowed, to have our spirit trampled all over – that, ultimately, we did not care if others found us embarrassing, or felt ashamed at our outer expression of inner Light.

Ghost Weed, the band started two years ago, has given enormous pleasure and fellowship: We have performed at several different venues now, and are getting quite a name for ourselves as a truly original, quirky and eclectic bunch of like-minded souls. We have also been to many places just to watch other bands, and this has been wonderful.

Friendships have deepened – and, in some cases, taken off in entirely unexpected directions. Our ability to reach out has increased hugely – and in ways that we would never have thought possible a year ago.

But perhaps the most significant step has been in the area of others’ control. We are no longer willing to be bullied or emotionally blackmailed – and the act of making this clear, once and for all, has improved things so much that we can hardly believe we are the same person! We laugh so much more readily. We do not cower and quiver, panic and hyperventilate. We no longer feel we have to ask, ‘How high?’ when asked to jump – and the awful fear of not being good enough, never doing the right thing, has all but disappeared.

We know, finally, that it was NOT any kind of lack in us, but a genuine disorder in the other – a disorder which could only be worked upon with the willing participation of the other, and, since that co-operation was withheld, we knew, in the end, that there was nothing else we could do but sever the ropes and allow our little ship to sail away from that particular ravaged shore.

The other remains a part of our world, but it is under a very different, more remote, footing – and that is as it should be.

We have mended many fences with our beloved siblings – and all pulled together to support those in greatest need. It has not been easy, or pain free, and there are still areas of uncertainty, but our love for one another has never been stronger or more certain.

We have stopped trying so hard.

We have respected our own boundaries and needs far more than ever before.

We have thrilled to the excitement, peace and love of knowing that others actively seek, and delight in, our company; that they want to go on adventures with us just because of WHO we are! This has been such a revelation!

Intimate relationships with closest friends have blossomed, have become far more than we ever expected, have transformed us – and them!

We have, finally, finished our work on ‘Your Unseen Power’ and are just coming to the end of the Spear Realm of the Hallowquest, our Light work also having bloomed and increased in depth this year.

Our love for, and visits to, Crete have continued, though in significantly different mode – and we know that there are other lovely places just waiting for us to discover and visit!

We have, at last, faced, and hurdled, our fear of motorway driving – and now can run the gamut of the UK’s highways and byways without fear. How great is that?!

Last of all, we can see that we ARE endearing, and sweet, and kind, and generous and loving – and irritating at times, of course! – and we are attracting into our orbit those who bring light and warmth and love into our lives.

So happy and healthily tanned and relaxed and loved and free!

Ali

xxx

#August Moon 14, Day 16: Here’s to your future!

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Fast forward a year…

On our last day together and in the shadow of the new moon, I’d like you to write a little love note to yourself from yourself a year from now.

Dear Ali

Oh, self, this is the most challenging task of all. This is where we get stuck in great tearful ruts, and doubt every single aspect of our ability to cope, to make things better, to be loved. This is the fifty-six year old impermeable membrane which we have fought to break through and ended up bouncing off time after time.

This is the point at which we have to confront all our stories, and winnow out the falsehoods, the fear-flashing fight or flight instant reactions. This is where we have to wrap ourselves in loving arms and rock that scared little girl, and stop her from going off on yet another quest to prove that she is worth something.

This is the great divide, the place where the Washer at the Ford holds dark sovereignty – the excruciating and blasted heath of change; the place where we have to face, and join battle with, the demons of insecurity, of low self-esteem, of inability to protect ourselves from psychic draining.

We feel inadequate. We feel we have no strength, no weapons to bring to the fray, other, that is, than our Dark Wings – and the ritual knowledge we are too frightened to bring to bear lest it shuts out others.

The truth? We are so scared of rejecting others, of saying no, of admitting that we cannot cope, that we keep on and on, grinding ourselves down into the dust of pain and sadness and panic. We put up with borderline abuse because we do not think we deserve better – and then feel we need to apologise if our efforts are not good enough.

We are STUPID.

Ali, dearest self, if I do not love you, who else will?

If I do not protect your precious wings, loving heart and ancient soul, you will fall apart and die the death of no true life; you will be, in every sense, an undead – because the life you lead now is not, in many ways, fit for Light’s purpose.

You punish yourself when you should be standing up to, and shouting at, others. You accept the projections of the fiendishly clever, allowing them to penetrate the wounded centre of your being. You take on burdens as if you were a pack horse rather than a valuable woman.

You ache in every fibre of body and soul because you are so tensed for disaster, and so used to leaping into battles, that you cannot relax. EVER.

You have allowed Anxiety sway in your life. You have given covert permission for this tyrant to land upon the shores of your psyche.

Ali girl – the soft dark wings should be wrapped gently and lovingly around YOU first – and only used for others when you are strong enough. You get it the wrong way around far too often. You are NOT indispensable.

You, we, know that there are huge decisions, and painful actions, to be taken in the next few months. We also recognise that we are in danger, actual and emotional, because of our Empath status. It is very hard for us to detach, to sever with indifference, because the slightest wobble of another’s lips, the merest hint of tears welling in an eye, has us running right back to comfort and warm and protect.

We need to take on board real trust in our loved ones. We need to believe that WE can lean on others’ shoulders, be held, be supported. We need to ask for, and accept, back-up. We need to know that we will be heard, and helped, when we say, ‘I cannot take any more.’

We need, above all, to know that we are LOVED, that we matter to others above and beyond what we can do for them.

Because there are so many situations we cannot discuss on here – and because our dreams for a year hence are all to do with them – our letter of detail will have to be private, for the journal only.

We fully realise that change has to happen, that we simply cannot continue the way things are, that we are vastly over-stretched in every direction – and that, for perverse reasons, we are actively allowing the darkness to spread, that we are not aiding our own recovery.

Perhaps the real question is this:

Can Ali love Ali?

Because, if she cannot, there is very little point in planning for a better future which she constantly sabotages.

But the other thing is this: Ali has protected others to a ridiculous extent by NOT telling the full story on here – and, ultimately, she may have to just bite the proverbial bullet, accept the inevitable backlash – and tell it exactly the way it is , for her own sanity and future health, future self.

She may have to adopt a thick hide of selfishness in order to send the arrows of projection back from whence they came.

She may have to put herself first.

And, for this, she calls, once again, upon the Washer at the Ford for assistance:

w2m-washer

 

Alienora Judith Taylor

My favourite photo

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We were on Triopetra beach, in Crete, mid June this year – and Dill said she wanted to take a photo of the bright red hair.

It was very hot, and I adored that beach; there was something both soothing and inspiring about it. Had I been a bit bolder, I would have stripped off and posed naked.

I sat, cross-legged, on the sand, took my glasses off and smiled.

I love this photo because it is such a natural look. I do not look forced, tense or frightened (as is so often the case); I just look like ME!

I actually call myself orange-haired, partly because I really like the slightly anarchic idea of having orange hair, but mostly because the phrase is part of a longer name given to me by one of my close friends!

When I actually did go naked, on that beach in Devon, one of my friends took a couple of photos – and, do you know what? I  really LIKE them! Again, it is the sense of just being myself, not being embarrassed or trying to look more beautiful than I actually am, of being at ease with my body and not in a stiff self-conscious pose.

I was sitting upon an air bed at the time, and the image captures me from the lap up (though the lap is tastefully shot, so as not to shock the natives!). My head is thrown back and I am laughing in delight. My embonpoint is on proud display, as you might say – and, as I peeked through half-closed eyes at first glance, I thought, ‘Yup! Still got a damned fine pair, though I say it myself!’

Next time I go to Crete, I shall slather myself up all over, whip any clothes off and run naked into the warm sea – as long as I am on a designated nudist beach, you understand!

If the rest of the group disown me, frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn!

Go, Ali!

#August Moon, 14, Day 15: Do it now!

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What if what you are doing right now was actually your destination? What would that mean for your journey?

I think Kat and I are in synch on this phase of the journey: how lovely!

All my life I have waited to be perfectly formed – as Kat put it so brilliantly in her introduction; I suspect many of us do, don’t we?

On the physical side, when I realised that I had large breasts, I was embarrassed and ashamed, wanted them to be small and neat and pert like those of other, to my mind, more attractive girls. When I woke to the fact that my hair was curly, I wanted the straight, long hair of my sisters. You get the idea, I am sure; other specific examples are not necessary!

But, eventually, I realised that my body sense sprung, at least in part, from my mother’s view of what constituted beauty – and her resentment of my father’s side of the family.

Her side went in for petite, small-breasted, neatly-formed, slim girls; all three of my sisters took more genes from this look.

The women on my father’s side tended much more to the large, the loud and the full of figure – and I can remember my mother telling me, with a somewhat disparaging tone, ‘You don’t get that from MY side of the family…’

I think, from something she let slip years later, that she was envious of me and worried that I DID have sex appeal and WOULD be desired by men. She was, and still is, a complex and damaged woman – and struggled, I can see now, to balance love for us with the weight of her largely unacknowledged hang-ups.

It has taken me an awfully long time to see that the parts of my character, and looks, which she condemned did not constitute an absolute; in other words, that the whole thing was her opinion, her fear and jealousy and did not represent a universal truth, which everyone could agree to, about her ungainly, overly-shy eldest child.

It has taken me most of my life to see clearly that I, Alienora, am NOT my mother’s fearful description, and that her standards – of physical perfection, qualities, moral values and religious dogma – were not hair shirts I had to wear under my own garments, unless, of course, I chose to do so.

Silly me. Sad Mummy.

I do not need to wait until I am slimmer to be acceptable. I do not need to straighten my hair, or apply make-up, or squeeze myself into ultra-sexy clothes to be deemed attractive.  And I do not need to be anyone other than me to be loved.

I think we are all in a state of glorious imperfection, if truth be known – and so it should be, otherwise there would be no rough edge upon the path and our shoes would slip and we would fall constantly; otherwise, we would be mired in the syrup of complacency and self-denial, with no motivation to journey beyond the cosy nest of our own comfort zones; otherwise, looking in the mirror, we would see such exquisite loveliness that our life’s struggle would be fending off the hordes of admirers who flocked to our Narcissistic pool.

There is no ultimate arrival. I say this partly because there is no such thing as time, outside the rational need of mankind to invent such a concept – and, as beings of light, the space we create around us is infinite and thus outside our control.

We like to think that we have mapped the world, understood distance, controlled the elements. But it is our corporate consciousness which keeps the metaphorical balloon floating in the air, which describes its shape as balloon-like in the first place.

We shape this world from the tiniest fraction of our vast creative capacity – and our journeys, both inner and outer, tend to reflect this.

I have recently dipped back in to the Carlos Castaneda books. I am aware that he has been vilified by many, and that there may be some truth in some of the accusations – but Don Juan and don Genaro’s teachings have much that is instantly recognisable to those of us who study the Western Mystery Tradition and are ritual magicians.

I think, in particular, of Don Juan’s lessons on the Tonal and the Nagual – and Carlos’ attempts to describe the workings of the latter through the everyday reality and verbal restrictions of the former.

We tend to travel, as we do everything, in the realm of the Tonal – and, often, are scared, sometimes literally to death, by the sudden interjection of the Nagual in our lives. We do anything to tame it, to deny it, to call it something else, to sneer at it or put it down to something we ate, drank or smoked.

I have witnessed it on several occasions – and each time it was both terrifying and exhilarating because words and concepts failed me, and because it lifted me out of my predictable mode of travel and onto a radically different one.

Back in 1977, I was very taken with the sorcerer’s description of man as a luminous being, a creature made up of light fibres – and this idea is very much a part of the reality I now embrace, and fits in perfectly with such things as the aura.

We assume that we are simply flesh, that our bodies are weighted and earth-bound – and so we limit ourselves in terms of where we go and what we do.

I know, from tales of Damanhur, amongst many other sources, that we are far more than we realise – and that what we call magic is perfectly possible, that our journeys by car and plane are but a fraction of what is possible to us as light sources.

Let us, dear friends, travel with truly open minds and unfixed bodies; let us keep the astral paths clear and well-tended too!

Gift of Freesias

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Thanks to enfloria.ro for this lovely image of freesias.

I am so grateful to you ALL for your patience and loyalty during the past two very difficult, and painful, weeks.

Thank you for sticking by me despite my silence and non-response; thank you for continuing to read, and make such lovely comments upon, my posts; this has touched me greatly – and bolstered me too.

I want to give particular thanks to the people mentioned below. They are regular visitors, comment so generously – and, in several cases, have become friends:

Sue, Noah, Francine, Kat, Ranu, Cindi, Frankie, Z, Richard, Bob, Trent, Inchcock, Mike, Maggie, Anne-Marie, Monica, Mihrank, Deborah, Eilis, Andy, Carol, Jennifer, Daniel – and Marilyn, who also wrote so many great comments.

My favourite flowers are freesias – so the above bouquet is for all of you, in the virtual sense. But, as you look at it, do imagine the gorgeous scent of these delicate and lovely flowers and know that this comes from the heart.

I hope to be easing gently back into normal next week.

#August Moon, 14, Day 14: Gently Go

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How will you start the journey?

All too often in life, we feel we cannot start any journey unless the conditions are set fair: The weather is perfect, the motorways are relatively free of traffic and the outlook is favourable.

The same goes for inner and spiritual journeys: We are reluctant to start until all is perfect – we are happy, relaxed, secure and pain or disease free.

But, my friends, life isn’t that careful of us, is it? And, while we are waiting for those optimum conditions to arise, the impulse for adventure is draining away.

This morning, I was at a very low point – and I thought, ‘I cannot begin my journey like THIS.’

Yes, I CAN – and so can we all. If we start on the road EXACTLY how we are, without judging or rejecting, we are being true to the moment and allowing the full gamut of emotions free reign within our complex personalities.

The piece below is the initial walk down that path made by someone rendered almost wordless, in the logical sense, by a combination of factors. It is NOT how I always am, but I chose to plod off down the road anyway.

HOW WILL I START THE JOURNEY?

One tiny tearful step at a time, I suppose.

I am falling, tumbling through trembling lips and sad thoughts; I cannot seem to slip easily through the sun spots of life the way many do, seem mired in deep dark pools and the grip and grind of despair.

The why statements are just so much will o’ the wisp fractured light cracking bones over marshes and luring the unwary traveller into a world of flesh-sucking destruction.

The albatross of things I cannot say grows ever- more waterlogged, heavy and putrid round my neck; yet I cannot dislodge it, allow it to fall into the sloughing sigh of relief bestowed by decomposition, for it represents the action of my carefully-aimed crossbow; it is a mute and terrible symbol of my guilt  and grief.

I am hiding in whimsy and fancy’s flights because truth and reality are too painful today; I shudder and clutch parts of my spirit together at the very thought, hoping by this tattered tearing at rotten garments to keep myself safe and unwounded.

I have flayed myself raw over the past day, the flail of self-blame applied again and again to bleeding skin; my throat has become so honeycombed with useless tears that, at times, I have barely been able to articulate a single syllable – and yet, the colourful stole of external reassurance drapes itself over hunched and hurting shoulders whether I will or no: I have to keep the mask on for a little bit longer; I have to be that strong not-me, to tuck others into the warmth and safety of my pouch; I cannot give way yet – there is no room at that particular inn; it is already full to bloat with the genuine, the needy, the articulate, the sobbing multitude…

I wait in a queue which never gets any shorter. My heart is weary, and my legs sore. Muscles, stretched taut over the bodhran of tension, sound the womb-beat notes of anguish.

I graze the topmost grass of sleep, getting no restful nutriments from it, producing the thin acid of poisoned creative ‘milk'; blood wells from flimsy nasal passages and, swallowed back down, a fury in itself, produces clots of fear.

Childlike, I curl into myself, stroke the soft skin of tummy for comfort, stare, wide-eyed, into the long maw of dawn, wishing the colours would wrap me tight, transport me to peace.

The razor wire of the mind catches ravens, their dreadful cry bleeding out over the muddy battlefield of thoughts’ global conflict. Words, caught and transmuted by the ghastly passion of death, lie stunned and redundant in the stinking mire. The cannon of shocking realisation boom, blowing holes in hope, tearing bloody chunks from self-deception and smearing the face with the gore of fear.

I must try harder…

As a teacher, I was obsessively dutiful – and very anxious about getting tasks done immediately. Marking, for example. If a class of kids gave me homework, I would stay up until late at night in order to get it graded and given back to them the next day. I  worried constantly about failing, about letting people down, about being late, about being told off.

I have come to recognise that, far from leaving all that behind me, I am adopting exactly the same attitude to blogging as I did to teaching.

It is destructive and counter-productive; it is making me feel stressed, as if I am forever chasing my own tail.

I feel guilty if I do not read other people’s posts. I feel mean and ungrateful if I am late responding to a comment. I am frightened that such behaviour will lose me support, will show me up for the selfish person I have always secretly suspected that I am, will alienate others.

Because of life events in real time, I have made the difficult (for me) decision not to read anything this week – but, it is so confronting, so hard to keep to.

I feel enormous surges of anxiety when I deliberately turn my back on others – either by ignoring their written words or by delaying a response to them in any way.

I have a vast sense of responsibility in this way.

I do not want my writing life to be the way my teaching career was. I do not want time-fears, task-deadlines and the terror of letting the system down to prey on, and nearly destroy, me.

I know that this kind of blog post will offend, even anger, some – and I try to be prepared for that.

But, I have learned that those who are driven to fury by my need to assert myself are not, in any sense I care to recognise, true friends – and that those who are able to give me space to go through current tunnels of difficulty are the people I actively wish to associate with.

But, to put it bluntly, I only come through this way as me, Alienora, once – and I do not choose to waste any more of my life being duty-rich and pleasure/relaxation-poor.

I am choosing to luxuriate in a degree of selfishness.

Scary.

Liberating.

Necessary.

#August Moon 14: Dreaming the impossible

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Who would you be without that story?

This is both brilliant – and very distressing for me. The former because it catches my mood of the week; the latter because it hurts me to confront the negative effects of my own more intransigent stories.

I am a writer – and I am also an inveterate story-teller, fantasy-spinner. I have, in many ways, found it easier to adopt the red cloak of fairy tale than the up-to-date garb of ever-changing reality.

In my dream world, I can wander the forests of myth; I can be both heroine and victim; I can create a brave knight who rescues me, loves me and idolises me; I can be exquisitely beautiful and multi-talented.

But, as is true of most of Grimms’ tales, there is a dark, cruel and scary side to my inner world; there is a barren clearing of sheer inadequacy which draws me, despite my better self, time after time. I am obsessed by it. I cannot avoid it, pick at it like a stubborn spot. Most of all, I have been unable to throw down its heavy metallic words, and replace them with lighter, more positive, ones.

It rules me, this place; it drags me down, this black book of self-hatred and attitudes struck, by others – and then adopted,  without question,  by me – when I was tiny.

Let me take you by the hand and lead you into the dark and thickly-brambled place. Sit you down on that mossy rock and gaze into the pool of Ali’s most deeply-held secret stories!

I wove a fable, from the earliest age, of a child who wasn’t good enough to be a girl, who was some kind of hybrid. This little person was seen by boys as a great friend, a mate, someone to play with and laugh with; this small not-quite-girl was best friends with boys – but knew, in the deep sad cave of her growing body, that she could not compete with the effortlessly feminine ones, the beauties, the ones who caught the eye of every male – and, as she grew sexually aware, those sirens who triggered desire in all men.

This boy/girl came to see herself as the jester, the one who made all the boys laugh; she was the daring one, the one who climbed trees and made bows and arrows and swore and didn’t mind if her shorts got ripped by thorns or she had long scratches on limbs.

The story she told, month after long month, mostly in shame and fear and longing, was of a race apart, a female who was not girlfriend material.

Innocence began to give way to knowledge and intense sexual feelings, and fear and sadness, as friend after friend was lusted after, chased, caught – after a suitably exciting struggle – and carried off to the Tower of Sex and Experience.

Because of this closely-written book of woe in her head, this younger me could not recognise anything other than friendship in a man’s eyes. She was unable to tell when she was desired, let alone loved; any signals coming from a man’s eyes, body language, even voice, were instantly rewritten, rewired, to fit in with her dread little book.

By the time she left home, and went to university, she believed completely that the opposite sex would only like her for her mind, or because she was non threatening, unattractive and a good listener.

She fell in lust, or love (who can really tell the difference at eighteen/nineteen?) over and over again – and, on each occasion, she faced the dismal tale of unrequited passion.

The one man who did show an interest was seen through the filter of her story – but she can see now that there were others; she just misinterpreted the signs and tried too hard and scared them off.

She believed, you see, that you had to be a pretty, helpless, imprisoned princess in order for men to even want to rescue you – and she could not separate out the fantasy from a real life in which men were every bit as needy as women – and sometimes needed the timely appearance of a girl on a white charger too!

The myth she believed implicitly was the one about having no sex appeal.

Back to the first person: This story has run my life for decades. It has blinded me to any kind of interaction with men. It has created fertile ground for abusive behaviour, neglect and cruelty – but the most hurtful and damaging part of it lies in the very centre of the novel:

The certainty that I am always inferior, that men will prefer any other woman in the vicinity to me – that, other than in the friend line, I am, in some way, at the bottom of the pile – and will only be chosen there is nothing else available, or if I prove that I can complete the three magical tasks so often used in fairy tales to test the obligatory three princes.

Who would I be without that story?

Oh, Goddess, I would be fully and phenomenally woman (to misquote the fabulous Maya Angelou poem); I would be able to see when men were interested in me; I would not be so uncertain, timid and fearful that I invited an endless supply of disguised wolves into the cottage of my life – and I would see that I DO have value, that I am worthy of proper relationships, that I do not always have to be the best friend figure who proves herself through actions more normally associated with the males of the species.

I would have felt free to make choices based upon my own sense of being a valuable commodity, a beautiful woman, worth fighting for; I would have known that I was sexy, a catch, that men should be proud to be seen with me, and not ashamed, embarrassed, casting eyes to find better others.

My story makes me unable to tell the difference between a man who just wants to be a friend and one who has sexual feelings for me – and, even worse, I do not know what my behaviour and body language is saying because I am so used to being the tomboyish Bambi.

I have, for example, been accused, in the past, of flirting outrageously – of having dilated pupils, of thrusting my breasts out, of adopting a little girlish voice and so on; at the time, I was aware of none of it, just thought I was being friendly – so I am scared of the signals I might be giving out without being conscious of so-doing.

This never-ending story has meant that, as a woman, I am caged in a permanent early adolescence, or even pre-puberty.

Without the story? I would, I suspect, have seen that I was attractive when in my teens; I would have had enough relationships with men to be able to tell friend from foe, and friend from lover – and I would NOT, at the age of fifty-six, be caught, to all intents and purposes, in the cage of late childhood.

Telling this has taken its toll. I feel shaken and miserable and shamed.

But, people reading this, It IS just a story. It is a myth I have created – and all stories can be redrafted, rewritten.

Now? I need to go back to that frightening place, take off my clothes and gaze into the pool – and I need to face reality: That I am all woman, and always was.

I am a writer; I am, as stated early on in this piece, an inveterate story-teller – and I have the creativity, and the female power, to tell that ancient tale in a new and startling form.

I am Maiden. I am Mother. I am Crone.

White, red, black.

I am earthy, full-breasted and sensual – and possessed of far greater appeal than I was ever willing to recognise.

Hail, Old Story – and Farewell. You have served me ill for far too long! Now I banish your negative strands to the fires of past beliefs, and, from the ashes, welcome the Phoenix of Renewal!

So mote it be!

#August Moon 14, Day 12: With Thanks…

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How do you surprise and delight other people? (Because you know the truth is that you do.)

The above prompt for today made me cry and feel incredibly desolate and afraid.

Why?

Because my mother regularly told me that my generosity was a sign that I was trying to buy love – and there is, I think, a little girl part of me which still believes this.

So, for much of my life, I have doubted my own giving motives – and have feared that open-hearted, loving gestures were little more than a form of manipulative bartering, a covert plea for love.

This makes it very hard for me to respond to the sentences above – partly because I am so fearful that others can, as it were, see through me (as my mother apparently could) and realise that I am, essentially, completely self-centred.

But, let’s tentatively, and for the sake of argument, say that my mother was wrong. Let us consider the possibility that I actually am generous and warm and open-hearted, that I do have the ability to love other people and to surprise and delight them…

Could it be true?

This whole thought is bringing lots of sad stuff up, and I type near tears from the sorrowful weight of it all.

Why do I find it so hard to credit myself with altruistic motives?

Why do I always suspect that my giving is, in some way, flawed and superficial and unreal?

I suppose because I AM very needy, horribly insecure and longing to feel that love is a safe option in this, at times, cold and callous world.

Let me break through this, Higher Self!

To a large extent, I can feel the pulse of another; I always have been able to, ever since I was a tiny child. If that ‘pulse’ is crying with pain, I try to soothe it; if it is frightened, or lonely, or angry, I reach out to comfort – and if it is rejoicing, I share its exultation.

These days, with the computer-based and Smart Phone technology we have, my reaching out tends to take the form of emails and texts – and, in a very real sense, the actual words do not matter: What I am communicating is this, ‘I love you, and I feel what you are going through, good or bad, and I am giving you a little kiss/hug through my words…’

Phoning is much more difficult for me, because I am a natural writer first, a speaker second – but I am always there to listen, either on the phone or in person.

I love giving, always have done – and for me, little spontaneous gifts, to friends and family, are very important. They are what I call ‘Just Because Presents’ – and they don’t have to commemorate any particular event; they are just an expression of my love for that person.

If I can help, I will – although I do, at times, push my own boundaries too far out of shape, and that is not always a good thing. Perhaps I am hindering. Perhaps I am trying too hard to heal others. Perhaps I am taking the responsibility away from them.

But, here’s the thing: I HATE seeing those I love in pain, in a state of fear or stress; I LOATHE witnessing any kind of bullying or tension. I cannot simply view such things objectively; I FEEL the distress as if it were seeping, by emotional osmosis, into my system.

On several occasions, with very close friends, I have gone round, or phoned, or texted, because I sensed something was seriously amiss – and, almost invariably, I have been right – my instinct has led me to their suffering. But I am not sure I could claim that this gave them any kind of delight. Comfort and support, yes – but, by the very nature of the incidents, I would think that delight was the very last thing they felt!

I do think I am pretty good at giving people confidence in themselves; I do think that I am kind and caring and patient (most of the time); I do think that I have the ability to put others first – and I do think that I have a generous soul, loving arms, that I am cuddly, reassuring and funny.

I think I have a very great capacity for cheering others up, making them laugh when they are down or in the midst of a scary situation – and I fervently HOPE that this characteristic gives delight to others; it is certainly offered in the spirit of love and healing.

I CAN finally see that others enjoy my company, seek me out, like being around me – and this touches me almost beyond words.

But I also recognise that I find it very hard to refuse anybody anything – and that this can be a bad thing because it drains me, and makes my value to others less. Why should people respect me if I show so little respect for myself?

I am flawed, very much so; I can see that I have LOADS of weaknesses, hang-ups, with-holds and nasty little corners which need planing – but I also know that my heart’s in the right place, and that my creative side is always planning new ways to delight and surprise my precious people.

Extended Nightmare (from last night’s dream world)

This morning, I woke terrified, the whole night – or so it seemed – one long roiling bad dream.

I was living in my old flat, in Cecil Road, Weston-super-Mare – and had several friends living within a five minute walk of my home.

I was facing an operation – though I cannot now remember what for – and was in a state of complete anxiety about being put to sleep, the loss of control (and, in my mind, possibly even life) brought on by anaesthesia.

For some reason, I had gone to the local surgery to have the pre-operation cannula put into a vein in my left hand – and, freaked, I ran away, sobbing and hyperventilating, through Weston Woods.

Even in the dream, I knew this was both cowardly and stupid – and selfish too, because I was being difficult and wasting an awful lot of precious time.

I ran to my friends’ house, to hide, I think – but then became consumed by guilt and complete fear because these friends were at work and my arrival would disturb the flow of that.

I found myself creeping silently through light-filled big rooms in their house, trying to be silent and stay out of the way of the occupants – and then, for some weird reason, I spotted a guitar and amp, belonging to one of my friends, and hid them behind my back.

I do not recall wanting to deprive my pals of their goods; I do not think it was a malicious act – I think I just felt I needed props when I left their abode, so that I would look normal on the streets of Weston, and not like an escaped patient.

One of my friends came into the vast sunny room at this point, and found me shaking in a corner. This person removed the cannula very gently, and was mopping up spilled blood when, racked once more by fear and guilt, I took to my heels and bolted.

As I scurried along, holding guitar and amp, still bleeding, a white van, with the nurse and doctor who had put in the cannula and were waiting to cart me off to hospital, drove past; both of them, clad in white, turned round and glared at me, but did not stop.

I walked, fast, along the top road towards Ashcombe Park and Milton Brow, trying to look casual, but aware that I was carrying items which were, in effect, stolen. My heart was racing and I was so scared I thought I was going to cry; it was horrible.

In that warped dream logic, I knew that my friends would reject me, and hate me, for taking their things, being such a coward and behaving in this melodramatic fashion – just because of a medical procedure.

I knew that I faced contempt, turned backs, fury – and probably assessment by Psychiatric Services.

I knew I would not be loved, by ANYONE, after what I’d done.

Later, I was picked up, screaming and crying, by the medics and hauled off to hospital, still carrying my friends’ possessions and, by now, hysterical with guilt, panic and loss.

 

As an aside, I do know where some of the strands in this nightmare have come from – but it has left me feeling very shaken, sad and vulnerable.

I have been much-touched by recent comments on here – and will be responding/back in the thick of things as soon as I can. At present, I need to write FOR ME – and, although I know this is, in a sense, selfish, I am going to go with it.

 

#August Moon 14, Day 11: Outer Space

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Ah! Let me fly above the lavender fields dotting the ancient Kernow fields with rich lilac; let me stand within Merlin’s Cave and hear the rasp of water riding roughshod over million year old rock; let me gaze at the milky-gold of the Full Moon – and let me bathe, naked, in starlit seas.

My space is wilderness and freedom; it is purply-green moors, and tree-bending winds; it is stark Cretan landscape and two thousand year old olive trees; it is watching a raspberry sunset in hot Mediterranean water; it is smelling wild thyme in midday sun, and hearing the clanking of goat bells from stunted bushes half way up a mountain.

My space is a Temple, with black and white checked tiles, the Pillars of Mercy and Severity at the back, representations of the Four Holy Creatures on each of the Quarter walls, and the shiny black stone of the altar centrally placed.

My space is a Grove for outside ritual, with enough room for many people – and a natural circle of our oldest and most symbolic trees.

My space is peopled by those I love most in the world, those who bring light into my life and not darkness; those to whom I am linked, deeply, by unseen filaments; those who hold out their hands and hearts to me, as I do to them; those, robed and un-robed, who journey with me and, in some cases, have done through many lives.

The magical dimensions of this space of mine hold a vast library, with many scrolls and papyri not seen since the loss of Atlantis – tomes which prove, if proof were needed, that the ancient civilisations were far in advance of us in terms of wisdom, knowledge and humanity.

A music room stands atop a gentle slope overlooking the sea – and is lined with hundreds, if not thousands, of instruments, and I can play them all! My beloved ones and I form bands and quartets, choirs and orchestras, flowing in and out of loose formations as we follow the aching beauty of the Music of the Spheres.

Love, romance, sexuality and sensuality reside in a fabulous castle – and, within its rose-gold walls, and erotic decorations, we play and dance and make love and learn the techniques of the Tantric Art; we find passion and warmth; we learn, through our bodies, the true meaning of Eros and Agape; our hearts open in trust to others – and we feel the true connections of body and spirit; we are children experimenting and centuries of instinctive wisdom all tied up in the same fleshly bundle; we reach outside our physical confinement and BECOME love.

My space is paradox: open, yet hidden; easy to view, yet hard to enter; full of the choicest dishes, and the finest wines – yet stale bread and brackish water to those who come with harm and control in their minds; it is full of love, yet defended by Guardians who repel all malicious incomers, who turn Narcissistic projection back on the sender.

In my space, I am SAFE.

There is room for me to grow, to be myself without having to apologise, be silent or be scared.

In my space, I laugh out loud and shake my fiery locks, and say strange things and am uninhibited, shameless and exultant.

Sadness, grief and sickness exist, of course, but they are faced with sorrow, not denial; mourning rituals, and those of healing, are central – and the troubles of another are cradled with compassion, eased with empathy.

In my space, the Kernow tides come in and drift out again, and the rich scent of the lavender permeates all; we sing and move to the rhythm of the earth and are not bound by the fiction of time; we love freely and wisely, choosing those whose fibres vibrate at the same wavelength; we are elemental beings cartwheeling through air and fire, water and earth!

The Return of the Native

Simon is back from Nepal. Oh, it was so wonderful to see him again!

We all saw the coach coming round the corner – and there were our precious young people, clad, for the most part, in purple Nepal tee-shirts, baggy Nepalese trousers and white scarves (given to them by their main tour guide/helper). I was swallowing back tears at this point.

Ah! That first hug, after three weeks; that first glimpse of sharp cheekbones (for he has lost weight) and a somehow far more adult face; the sight of him going up to thank and hug the Team Leader, and to say his farewells to the friends he has made; his delight in seeing his girlfriend (who came with us to pick him up) once more…all so lovely!

Last night, we had an impromptu party with family and close friends: white wine, red wine, mulberry wine and raki were imbibed; chicken, cheese and chocolate went down a treat – and, best of all, Si plugged his memory sticks into the television and shared the colourful images of his journey with us, with many a witty aside.

Rhinos, we saw, and elephants (one of which Si actually drove), monkeys, prayer flags and some of the most stunning landscape I have ever seen.

It was all fabulous to see. But, for me, one moment stood out. He had a video taken of him teaching the little Nepali children African songs – to be precise ‘Shosholoza‘, a piece he sings with the Gospel Choir at school.

Watching him interact with those sweet little ones made me feel so emotional, so proud.

I am not going to share the video because it is personal – but I will give you the link to a beautiful and rousing version of the song, sung by a South African Boys’ Choir:

Social inequality: The Haves and the Have-nots

It is not fair that the so-called societal rules are viewed through one glaucomic eye by the Polyphemus of Authority.  That bullying and crass insensitivity, or arse-licking and self-aggrandisement, are STILL more likely to slam open the doors to success than even the teeniest smidgen of talent.

It is NOT fair, just or right that our country is ruled by so deceitful, shallow, egregious and destructive a party. They have that childhood playtime terror feeling about them: a kind of extended Punch and Judy show, where the audience titters nervously, but the violence and abuse, though acted out, represent reality.

‘Party’ as a word tends to conjure up positive images, as often as not, if you think in terms of a social gathering. True, some people drink too much and end up under the host, sprawled in a bath, or throwing up all over the dahlias – but the bit before all that is usually good fun.

Not so our beloved Government. Their Party is the kind of nihilistic, Dante-esque affair which, like Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle’, goes on forever, is incomprehensible to most, loathed cordially by the vast majority and ‘sung’ in a ‘language’ half of us do not understand. Entertainment value, nil. Music, ghastly. Food, unspeakable and inedible. And with the sinister addition of Bouncers who watch your every move, listen to your smallest syllable and mete out truly creative – aka, demonic – punishments for the slightest infringement. Whilst, of course, slavering over their over-privileged, disgustingly wealthy, public-school-educated bosses.

Imagine them, these inbred examples of Elitism’s most corrupt Nadir. View their pasty faces and made-to-measure suits. Yes! That’s right – specially made because nothing THAT shape could possibly fit into normal raiments. Scales, fins or dinosaur plates, yes. Clothes, no! Zoom in under the revoltingly mis-shapen bones of the skull and peer, if you have a powerful enough microscope, at the brain. Or walnut, as it is also called…

But then, think! Remind your lowly and inadequate selves that these people do not need intelligence, or good looks, or charm, or any kind of developed personality. They have, instead, the Old School Tie, London Club, Debretts, families traced back to the dawn of Cave Time, to fall back on – oh! and lashings and lashings of filthy lucre.

Worked hard for it? Ha bloody ha! All soon mounts up, you know! A Bedroom Tax here, a Student Loan (only for the Hoi Polloi, of course!) there – and they’re soon raking in the sheckles by the bus load. And, in idle moments, voting themselves 100% pay rises while condemning the so-called Caring Professions to fuck all.

They are BLINKERED. Of course they are. What the HELL have they, and their vile ilk, ever had to do with reality? With their stately homes, hot and cold running ponies, Eton and Harrow type education, holidays abroad, nipping up to Scotland for the Grouse Season and hobnobbing with the rest of the Clan Chinless Wonder, how can they even see our drudgery, poverty, misery and barrel-scraping?

For them ‘drudgery’ means having to wipe a languid hand over the sink when the cleaner has ricked her back; misery is losing at a Gymkhana; poverty, not being able to afford a second home in Provence…

How is it that our world is still dominated by this kind of inequality?

And why are the overwhelming majority of those in Power from the Haves, and not the Have Nots?

Going back to the image of the party: the superficial allure of being entertained by such exalted people blinds some of us to the awful reality of what is going on in the garden of the great house in which they wile away their lives. Badgers are being ‘culled’ – what a great euphemism for pointless murder, eh? Schools and hospitals are being pushed, pulled, pummelled and poked into virtual privatisation. Chronically sick people are being penalised and punished for the heinous crime of being  seriously unwell by having their already meagre state allowances hacked back to sod-all.

And, of course, even in their wonderful eighty roomed mansion, these paranoid party-givers still fear what we, the outsiders, might be plotting, planning, discussing – so, our freedom of expression is ever more viciously curtailed by snoopers who, frankly, need to get out more and find a proper job.

Any dissenting voices? Any peasants who dare to cry, ‘It’s NOT fair!’ ?

The Tower of London is a frightfully bijou sort of residence, don’t you know? STEEPED in history, my dears. Why, you hardly feel a thing being beheaded these days. It is practically a pleasure!

Join the ravens. Settle in above Bran’s head. Consider your grievous sins!

To the Tower with me, for such heretical and UNFAIR words…

Aligning my naked selves

Many years ago, I stripped off once a week and, totally unashamed, leapt upon a bench in order to pose for a pottery class; it seemed such a natural, and lovely, thing to do – felt like rediscovering  the innocence of a child, but with the added knowledge that I was desirable.

Over the succeeding decades, apples and snakes interfered, their whispered seductive rhetoric and temptingly crisp fruit adding the fig leaf of shame to my previous Eden.

Because, you see, I suddenly understood that to be without clothes was to show ugliness and ageing, that only the perfect could bare their bodies in public.

But sometimes we have to acknowledge that perfection does not, actually, exist – and that the body stories we all believe so fervently are little more than fairy tales and folk myths perpetuated by our need to cover over a yawning gap in the Collective Psyche.

The Wound of Sin, a very useful human construct for controlling our bodies and sexuality, for giving us the concept of shame.

Last Friday, on the nudist part of a Devon beach, I removed my clothes – with all the ease I had once shown as a child – and, naked and without shame or inhibition, ran into, and embraced, the sea.

But it wasn’t just the sea which made me laugh and dance and call out wildly with joy.

It was the certainty that I was beautiful EXACTLY the way I am. That the natural effects of getting older on my body, the fact that I am no longer taut of bosom and buttock, that I have some of the physical effects of childbirth still upon my belly, that I am a fleshly woman do not matter a jot.

My body felt zingingly alive and happy; it rejoiced in the freedom just to be – without blame, censure or self-disgust.

I felt graceful and natural and Goddess-like. I was, as I said in an earlier post, in my element.

And I did not care what others thought!

Some, upon seeing me, may have thought, ‘Mad woman! How can anyone who is not size zero allow herself to be seen without several layers of material covering the worst of it?’

Instead of, ‘Wow! A woman in her fifties who has what it takes to jive and stretch, to fall over in waves and hoot with laughter completely naked!’

I am proud of myself!

But, in the interests of the large modern leaf of concealment which is public decency, I will NOT be sharing the photos!

Babies, and small children, are not ashamed of their naked bodies.

Why should we be?

#August Moon 14, Day 10: Time and inner space

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The problem with the nine to five rut is that it holds us to a concept in which I have little belief: that of time – and in a way which translates, with bitter immediacy, into the pain and paucity of overwork on the one hand, scarcity on the other.

Time constrains and imprisons us. Clock-watching damages our nerves, tightens our stomachs, causes muscles to go into spasm. Obsessive Time Consciousness is one of the best triggers of the Amygdala’s Fight and Flight chemical surge that I can think of.

And yet? Yet, despite the fact that time is now increasingly being cast into the forges of doubt – to be, one hopes, reshaped – we humans continue to put ourselves through the daily grind, the nonsensical second, minute and hour ‘bank’, in which we have to account for every measurement of time we spend.

We whip ourselves with the flail of punitive timeliness, don’t we? We don the hair shirt of time-related stress, worrying that we are going to be late, that there is not enough time to do all the chores, to do our jobs properly, to have time for ourselves.

And, even though it manifestly does not work, we continue to buy into the nonsensical slavery and drudgery of a system which centres around money rather than personal growth, which highlights an ambition which often segues into aggression – and which, all too often, does not serve the Light in any way I understand.

The world has become bound by economic considerations, by notions of material wealth, of having enough (and, let’s face it, few people ever DO have enough). Our lives are ordered by transactions revolving round pieces of metal, or rectangular slips of paper, which we have arbitrarily given value and, over the years, that random numbering had become reality.

We pour heart and soul into gathering as big a pile of these strange fruits of the earth’s bounty as we can – and zealously guard them against all comers – and, in so doing, we forget that they are just a part of the earth’s crust transmuted, by our greedy alchemy, into Fool’s Gold.

We work tirelessly at our jobs, or careers, giving ourselves ulcers, stress-related depression and worse, kidding ourselves that the pay we receive genuinely enhances our lives and is worth the worsening familial relationships, the neglect of partners and children, the long hours and short bursts of guilt-ridden pleasure.

We judge others on how much they earn, how successful they are, how high up the promotional ladder they have climbed, slithered or slaughtered.

For what? For coinage raped from the body of the earth, that’s what. For a work ethic so flawed that all too many people die within months of retirement. For a philosophy which benefits no one except the multi-millionaires at the top of the professional dung heap.

And in all this frantic, time-obsessed, scurrying, we worker ants lose our humanity, we lose all sense of what really matters; we slam the door upon our Higher Selves, barking at them that they will have to wait until a more convenient decade. We work through our precious children’s childhoods, snapping at them if they interrupt – and then we lament the moment when, all unnoticed, they have grown up and are ready to leave home.

Most tragically of all, we bank our creative fires, allow them to become embers and, in too many cases, extinguish altogether because this notion, this false Grail, of the Protestant Work Ethic is so ingrained in our very cells that we do not question its relevance in our lives.

But.

But.

But.

No God, or Goddess, handed us this crushing boulder of time’s human wastage; no deity showed us how to make the first coins. We humans have created our own prison, and are now reaping the sinister benefits.

We lie to ourselves.

‘There’ll be time enough for writing/painting/musical composition when I am retired…’ we say, as if we had an automatic right to good health and increased energy when we are elderly, as if our fine minds would remain intact forever, as if the enormous toll of our working years did not cripple us body and mind.

Yes, we may well reach a stage at which we are financially comfortable.

But at what cost to our spirits?

Inner space is timeless and does not depend upon money-based bartering techniques.

We ignore it, and put it on hold, at our peril.

The daft deftness of names!

Having been saddled with the polysyllabic monstrosity with which I am afflicted to this day, I have every sympathy with those similarly burdened by odd parental whim and, frankly, barking nomenclature!

Parents! Think, for the love of whichever god you bow down to, before you name your sprogs! Think of the combination of vowels and consonants! Think of the whole package, I urge you! No matter how much you adore the names Willliam, Alexander and Nicholas, do not – I repeat, do NOT – give them, in that order, to your son if you have a surname beginning with the letter ‘K’. The delightful surname ‘Kerr’ being a particular minefield on that front.

People often ask where my name came from – and my answer, usually relayed through gritted teeth and clenched posterior, is, ‘From a gravestone -where, in my opinion, they should have left it!’

I do not generally go into the whole Family Tree saga because a) life’s too short and b) people tend to assume I’m a snob.

In my thirty years as a teacher, I was privy to some truly outstandingly daft names – but, for reasons of basic decency (and its craven twin: fear of litigation!), I shall content myself with a dignified silence on that front!

However, I think I am probably safe with regard to the headmistresses at large (in some cases, bloody enormous!) in Oxford’s girls’ schools in the nineteen seventies. The girls’ school, as an institution, is pretty moribund these days (damn good thing too, in my humble opinion!), but, back in The Day, they flourished, like Lesbian-inducing triffids, in Headington and Oxford.

Now, I should at this point explain the lesbian reference above: I am about as far from homophobic as you could possibly get – but I do think that the intensely emotional, oestrogen-rich atmosphere of the all gels’ establishment breeds crushes like weeds, and one’s growing sexuality can easily be funnelled into same sex relationships.

My first male teacher – a rather gorgeous chap who taught Biology – arrived when I was in the fifth year. And, half the class promptly fell in lust with him. Picture the scene: thirty uniform-clad fifteen and sixteen year old lasses pausing, mid-rat-dissection,to look up adoringly into the godlike visage of Mr Smith.

Prior to that sex-defining moment, I had fallen head over heels, several times, with older girls, younger female teachers and so forth. We all did. There was no alternative!

Anyway, back to the point! Having passed the 11+ (though God only knows how, given my execrable mathematical ability!) I was sent, as you know, to a grammar school called Milham Ford (now part of Oxford Brooks Campus, I believe); next sister down went to Cheney Girls – and a friend of ours went to a private establishment called Wychwood.

All three schools had headmistresses of the Formidable Old Moo variety – and their names were a joy and a hoot.

Pause for effect…

Mine was called Miss Winifred Laws. Oh yes!

It gets better:

The other two?

Miss Mildred Sowerby and Miss Millicent Snodgrass.

Wonderful, eh? You couldn’t make it up!

If you are a headmistress, I do feel it behoves you to have a resonant name, a name which gives that all-important gravitas – and the above three certainly did that! I’m sorry, but surnames like Smith, Jones and Green just don’t do it for me, no matter how brilliant/scary/commanding the owner!

In fact, I think anyone intending to take over the helm of a school should, if necessary, adopt a new name in order to strike that essential fear of God into the pupils.

Take a line through the Vikings, why don’t you? Beowulf Canecracker? Eric the Expel First, Ask Questions Later?

So, if you are fresh from birthing pool, delivery stool or stirrups, please think very carefully before you give that oh so important name to your new baby!

After all, you wouldn’t want to end up with a neurotic, dysfunctional gibbering wreck like me on your hands, now would you?!

CallistoTitian

Throwing off the cloak of borrowed inhibition…

CallistoTitian

I have shared, apparently openly, on here for over a year.

But the picture has been more like a jigsaw with many pieces missing.

Easy to respond to the picture you think you see, isn’t it?

Easy to make inferences, to judge, even to condemn, based upon a blurred and Pointillist sketch…

Fortunately, most people are able to read between the lines – or at least to hazard a compassionate guess.

I am lucky: I am loved; I have delightful friends (on and off WordPress) –  but I will not lie: Life, since the end of July in particular, has been very painful and frightening.

The three main strands of this I will not be divulging on here – partly out of the need to protect others, and partly because two of the stories are still in their opening chapters.

However, in the midst of all this, I went away, for two days, to stay with friends in Devon – and I am very proud of the writing I have done on here since I returned.

Proud because it represents such a breakthrough. Proud because, emerging naked from the sea, I was able to see, clearly, my own worth. Proud because I have set clear boundaries for the first time in my emotional life – and have told others, in a firm voice, that I respect myself and will not accept any more careless, intimidating or undermining behaviour.

The post which represents all of this the best is one I wrote yesterday, ‘Venus, naked, arises from the waves,’ (http://alienorajt.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/respect-the-learning-kingdom-of-my-life/) – and I would urge you to read it, if you haven’t already…

…because it shows the true me, the one who has been muffled by fear, who has crouched under the blanket of other people’s inhibitions, prejudices and, in some cases, dislike; it shows the wild and fiery spirit I always knew I was underneath it all!

And it shows that, under the largely borrowed cloak of anxiety, there is a naked Venus ready to be reborn!

#August Moon 14, Days 9 and 10: ‘LLB’, money and reflection

From the age of eight, I yearned to be a writer – but knew that, as the eldest of five in a not-well-off family, that I would need to get a job in order to support myself.

Consequently, although I studied English Literature (and adored it) at university – and hoped to go on to do an M.A – reality stepped in when I was twenty-two, and I did a one year course in which I trained to become a teacher.

For the next thirty years, I taught – full time – at a school in Weston-super-Mare. Financially, I was secure; there were excellent moments during those decades – and I was, by and large, an inspirational English teacher.

But there was always a deep frustration, a longing, an increasing need for my creativity to come out, to flower fully. I wrote, but mainly journal.

Three novels were completed during those three decades – but I was unable to get any of them published the traditional way.

Did I ever give up the writing dream?

No, never. Not for one moment. I just put it to one side.

At the end of 2011, things went badly wrong at school – and, realising that I was losing my grip on the situation, I made the difficult decision to take early retirement.

On the positive side, this gave me time and space to manifest my writing vision in the realm of Malkuth; on the negative, it meant I was giving up a relatively well-paid job for the uncertainty of the writer’s life – in my mid-fifties!

I do get a teachers’ pension – but it is half what I earned as a teacher.

Although the passion for words is what drives me, I am aware that it would make things a lot easier if I could make money from my writing.

With this in mind, and with the help of my husband, I self-published ‘Long-Leggety Beasties’ (my humorous novel based upon my experiences as a teacher) in November 2012.

The drawbacks to this became clear almost immediately. To put it bluntly, I am a writer, not a self-publicist. I struggle to ‘sell’ myself – and, of course, the world is full of books by authors, both e and printed.

Yes, I have sold a few copies since then – but, if I were dependent upon moneys made through the novel, I would have starved long ago.

It is not that I lack writing ability. It is, quite simply, the overpowering number of books, and the Catch 22 nature of the publishing world: You attract attention if you are a known name; to become a known name, you have to have published and been noticed by those who matter in publishing!

It is both ironic and deeply discouraging.

I know I am not alone. Many of us try desperately hard to get the word out – but we are fighting an uphill battle against an enormously powerful establishment which, for financial reasons, is less and less willing to take a chance on an unknown writer.

I will never give up on my life-long dream – but I am a realist, and I have to acknowledge the very real possibility that I will never become famous, let alone wealthy, as a writer.

But this August Moon reflective opportunity is about far more. It has already allowed me to break through in significant ways – and, in many ways, this is more important than any amount of fame and fortune.

I say this because our life’s course is far more than career and remuneration. It is to do with the growth of our souls, the Light we can generate and serve, the impact we make upon others, the quality of our love and our capacity for forgiveness, change and rebirth.

I have been writing the blog since June 19th 2012 – and, in that time, have published nearly a thousand posts.

I make no money from blogging – but it is a great way of flexing my writing muscles and has introduced me to some lovely people.

Perhaps my intention with regard to success has never been strong enough. I say this because I do not rate being a success in and of itself particularly highly, nor am I driven hard by monetary considerations.

For me, it is the love affair with writing which really matters, and the sheer pleasure I get from expressing myself in this way.

The dream – to write full time – has been fulfilled.

Whether I take off, soar into the literary stratosphere, line my nest with blank cheques (!), remains to be seen.

But the love and the fire and the sleeting inspiration will ALWAYS come first!

On the shelf? Moi? Nay, nay! Books galore…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/off-the-shelf/

On the shelf above my laptop’s table lies my inner circle of books. You could, I suspect, read my character from them. Or, at least, most of it! Why this particular collection, though? Some, now yellowing and edge-fraying, go back to my school and university days, and have deep meaning for me; other, more recent, tomes reflect my love of humour, my abiding interest in the Western Mystery Tradition – and my down-to-earth nature, shall we say!

Let me give you a guided tour.

1) Half way along, we meet George Ferguson’s ‘Signs & Symbols in Christian Art‘ and Cirlot’s ‘A Dictionary of Symbols‘  I bought the latter in 1975, when I was seventeen; the former – patched and pitted with decades of Sellotape – has a label on the inside cover. It tells the world that Alienora Browning, of 6W (year thirteen we call it now), had won the Service to the school prize. These two precious volumes represent the beginning of my fascination with symbolism. I have, since then, used them for teaching purposes and also for my own research.

2) Several books relating either to Old English or to Middle English Romances, most notably ‘Sir Gawain and The Green Knight‘ are scattered along the shelf. I still have my fading yellow copy of ‘Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Reader,‘ bought in 1977 when I dropped Philosophy and Classical Studies and started my Single English degree. Old English was taught by the then Head of the English Department, Professor Desmond Slay (now, sadly, dead) – and, though entranced by the world of ‘Beowulf’, it was not something I was very good at, particularly the translation and understanding of this ancient variation of our language.

Middle English Romances, taught by the wonderfully charismatic Professor Maldwyn Mills, was my absolute favourite part of the whole course, and I don’t think I missed a single lecture. This was impressive because, at the time, we lived ten miles away from Aberystwyth, and I was a tad on the selective side when it came to which lectures I was willing to attend: gave Shakespeare and the Nineteenth Century Novel a miss, for example! I must have read the books and plays and written the essays, otherwise I would never have got a degree – but I know that I was a truant when it came to topics I found tedious! Oh dear!

‘Sir Gawain and The Green Knight’ became my passion and, had I been able to afford to do an M.A, I would have done it on symbolism and chivalry in ‘GGK’. It was this poem which kick-started my abiding love of the Arthurian Cycle.

3) Books on The Western Mystery Tradition come next. ‘Natural Magic’ by Paddy Slade sits close, appropriately enough, to Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki’s ‘The Shining Paths’. Two very different ladies, two very different approaches – but both have taught me a great deal. Inspired me too.

4) The Complete Shakespeare and the Complete Chaucer, both big chunky books, balance the frailer members of my little and much loved ‘family’! Although I rejected the Bard at university, I spent many a happy evening as a child, sitting in the gardens of various Oxford colleges, watching the plays – and, after a barren decade or so as a teacher (in which rebellion and loathing once more held sway), the Bard and I have  come to an understanding!

5) Tom Sharpe’s ‘Wilt‘ and ‘The Wilt Alternative‘ grab my eye, and force a chuckle, every time I look up there! That blow-up doll! The vile quads! Eva Wilt’s maternal mastodon march through the mud! I cannot tell you how many times I have read these books, for I have no idea, but the number is a high one!

6) Stashed between ‘GGK’ and ‘Natural Magic’, I have ‘The New Joy of Sex’ (having lost the original several house moves back!) and ‘The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra’ – though God only knows what that positioning says about me! That word ‘new’ always makes me laugh because, although I know full well that it means a new edition, there are sufficient grounds for ambiguity (in my mind anyway) for it to be read quite differently: a renaissance of joy, new discoveries in the Bonkosphere, that kind of thing! To my intense disappointment, though, they have dispensed with the bearded bloke who previously featured so prominently(!) and, now, the couple shown are possessed of completely perfect – and thus, to my mind, un-erotic – bodies, and look about twenty years of age. Not sure I like the implication, there, folks! Unlike a lot of sporting activities, this one is not just a young person’s game!

And in the ‘Kama Sutra‘, I just adore those words ‘Complete Illustrated‘; there is just something endearingly  loony about the whole thing. Mind you, having had a close look at some of the pictures (for academic purposes only, you understand!), I am struck by the thought, ‘Jeez, I’d need a hoist – and a Chiropractor/oxygen/stretcher on standby! – to even attempt the Congress Half Way Up The Wardrobe, let alone the Ecstasy By/On Large Watermelon position!’

So there you have it: Ali’s Books! What insight do we gain from this eclectic mix?

That I am, at heart, a Pagan Mediaeval wench with a lust for life (and possibly vice versa), a love of words and symbols, an academic frame of mind and a penchant for vulgar humour.

And which would I re-read?

Why ALL of them!

Rebirth at Weston Mouth Beach…

SONY DSC

On Friday, and just beyond the white rock in the picture, I frolicked, laughed and played in my element (sea water). Beneath a sullen sky, aided and encouraged by two close friends, I let out my wild side, was open to all the senses. I delighted in the sun on my body, loved flints of light sparking up the dullness of water and transmuting it into viridescence, heard the crunching suck of waves agitating tiny pebbles – and was completely natural, at ease with the world.

Exhilarating!

Teaching and Popularity: #August Moon 14, Day 8

I shall be writing a private letter in response to this prompt, Kat – but this one is putting the call out to ME, Alienora. It is a call to start using my formidable voice, my Sekhmet stance, my strength in order to convey the messages I need to get out there as a writer. And, above all, it is a timely reminder to myself that trying to be liked, trying to please, DOES NOT WORK. It is a stern note, reminding me of the creative pitfalls which lurk behind my desperate fear of incurring anger in others.

When I started teaching, way back in September 1981, I was told – as many of us were back in The Day – ‘Don’t smile at any of them for the first term!’

Like all probationers (as we were called then), I ignored this advice, thought I knew best, assumed – in some muddle-headed kind of way – that, because I was young and hip, I would be able to get through to the little (actually hulking great, and more than a bit threatening) darlings who filled my classes by day, and nightmares once in bed.

You see, Dear Readers, I was obsessed with Being Liked, with being popular – and, for YEARS, I confused this with the far more important Being Effective.

I thought that, if I told them off, or shouted at them, or got nasty, they wouldn’t like me any more.

Most teachers go through this phase; many, like me, had to learn the hard way. The way which involves total inability to control a class full of adolescents, terrifying lessons last thing on a Friday afternoon with bottom set year elevens and attempts to win their hearts by telling them that they have upset you.

FATAL.

Take it from me.

You cannot negotiate in that kind of emotional way with self-centred teenagers, though lots of teachers try it in a desperate attempt at keeping order in the Gaza that their classroom has become.

I spent so much energy on trying to prove that I was a kind and nice person, on attempting not to push their buttons, make them angry, that I left most lessons as limp as a well-used rag.

All for nought anyway: Most of them despised me, and could run rings round me, whatever I did, or did not do.

They knew a push-over when they saw one – and, sensing weakness, did what any self-respecting school kid will do, went in for the metaphorical kill.

A successful lesson, in those early days, was one in which I managed to keep most of them IN the room for the full hour, and managed to quell the incessant shouting sufficiently to read three lines of the set text.

Eventually, I realised that being nice was completely irrelevant, that winning a Most Popular Teacher of the Year award simply did not interest me any more.

I had toughened up.

And, ironically, in so doing, I became one of the most formidable, feared and respected female teachers in the school.

It stopped being about how many Brownie Points I got from them. I didn’t care what they thought of me as long as they did as they were told.

Draconian?

Undoubtedly.

Seating plans were used for ALL classes I taught – boy/girl usually, with the known trouble-makers near the front – and silence was enforced for most of the lesson. I made them line up outside before allowing the buggers in, and they had to stand up at the end of the lesson and wait to be dismissed.

I rarely shouted. I did not beg, or plead, or charm, or attempt to engage their sympathy.

I would still maintain, three years on, that, no matter how inspirational you are as a teacher (and I WAS!), the key to success lies in proper classroom management, and especially effective discipline.

You see, in my own way, I had a truth to tell when I was teaching English – and my truth was a passion for words, a love of writing, a belief that the magic of language was open to all, irrespective of ability.

But you cannot tell your truth when the class is in disarray, can you? You cannot open the magic box of images when thirty voices are raised in social chit-chat. You cannot educate if the room is an unsafe place.

I will not lie. Not all the children I taught DID like me. I was an acquired taste for the more conventional amongst them, and some fought hard to get out of my lessons!

But a surprising number of them thought I was great, and remember me still (with fondness, in most cases!) ten, twenty, thirty years on.

It was easy, in a sense, because I was absolutely clear in my own mind that discipline was the Open Sesame to the Aladdin’s Cave of word treasures.

My room was a creative, frequently humorous, environment, but it was, at heart, a strict one.

Many difficult children later confided in me that they felt safe in my room – and part of that feeling was the clear boundaries. For some, with chaotic and violent home backgrounds, a quiet learning environment was the closest to peace they were able to get during the day.

There is, of course, an analogy here.

Freed from teaching, I regressed emotionally – and, when I started blogging, went straight back into the old wanting to be liked, to be popular, not to hurt anyone’s feelings routine.

Now?

Just as I became cynical in education about the value of liking as a teaching tool, so, now, have I hardened my heart to its value to me as a writer.

Because, you see, the sad truth is that, by trying so desperately to please, I am actually hindering my own effectiveness as a writer every bit as much as I did, back in the early eighties, an an apprentice educator.

I do not want, or seek, to be disliked. I did not, with the children I taught, go all out to deliberately antagonise them, and was, in fact, very adept at calming the emotional temperature when things did become heated.

But, ultimately, my truth, my message, had to come first.

My main ‘job’ on here is to write. That is the inner integrity I have held to since I was eight.

I am, at present, wasting precious time trying so hard not to step on toes, ruffle feathers and generally piss people off.

Why? What’s the point?

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MY ABILITY AS A WRITER.

I cannot live the rest of my writing life in a state of tension and fear lest a word offends, a sentence causes inadvertent distress.

‘I can’t impose discipline, ‘ the younger Ali thought, ‘the kid’ll hate me…’

But I DID – and I gained RESPECT.

I do not ask any of you to like me  – but I DO ask you to respect my right, as a fellow word-smith, to express MY messages in a manner which stays true to who, and what, I am.

I have a voice – and, for the first time in my writing life, I AM NOT AFRAID TO USE IT!

Reading other blog posts

When I can, I do – often avidly.

In the last two weeks, my private life has taken over – and I chose to ignore the writing of others, rather than feel obliged to read (and possibly resentful) at a time of enormous stress and anxiety.

From now on, I am NOT going to drive myself so crazily on this front. If I don’t have time and energy to read other people’s words, I am not going to beat myself up about it, or feel guilty – and I hope any of you reading my blog will feel the same way. A writer’s health, whether mental or physical, and peace of mind, is worth far more than any kind of imagined obligation to other word-wielders out there.

I would just like to add a little comment about something which is beginning to really annoy me: The Premature Likers, as I have come to call them: Those who Like, without either thinking or, indeed, reading, and whom I do not know!

Look, if you do not wish to read my posts, that is fine; it is entirely up to you. Some will appeal far more than others, and I understand that. We have to discriminate in this WordPress world, otherwise we would spend all day every day trying desperately to catch up with every single post written by all the bloggers we follow. Therein lies madness!

But, if the piece is freshly-published and you press ‘Like’ without reading a word, this makes a nonsense of the whole thing. What are you trying to achieve? Is it the Like in Return notches upon the bedpost of your literary four-poster? Is it some kind of Spamming exercise?

Apart from any other consideration, some Likes can be downright insensitive: If, for example, you are sharing a recent bereavement, or medical diagnosis with others, the last thing you need is cheery Likes and no comments to back them up.

Some of these Likes seem, to ME, to be a form of attention-seeking: ‘Ooh, look, here I am! Notice ME! Read MY stuff! Vote for ME!’

It is absolutely obvious, because of the timing, that NO ONE (no matter how great a speed-reader that person may be) could possibly have read the post you have just sent out that quickly – but a Like is ejaculated instantaneously anyway.

I know who you are, or pretend to be – and, to be blunt, I would rather you unfollowed me than kept up this ridiculous pretence of reading every single post I write – and LIKING it!

I mean, bloody hell, some of my rants are furious, full of swearing, deliberately provocative, miserable and downright rude; even I don’t like them – and I wrote the fuckers!

Others are sexually explicit.

Still others speak quite openly about childbirth, abuse, being attacked, illness and death.

And still you Like them?

Well, I am very sorry – but I am not going to be following you back just because your hair-trigger finger hits the Like button whenever one of my titles appears on the horizon.

Why should I when it is as clear as clear could be that you have not read a single word I have ever written!

Let’s see if this one gets an immediate Like from certain quarters, shall we?!

Lateral thinking – and acting!

I am back…

But, in a very real sense, I am not – and perhaps never will be.

You see, I have started a new journey, by rediscovering an old way of being which actually worked.

My actions have been exultant at times over the past three days, so joyous and spontaneous that I felt years, and heavy worlds, falling away from me.

I am not here on this planet to ingratiate, to calm the egos of others, to provide supply for prowling Narcissists; I am not here to be the whipping post of those who have anger to discharge and lack the self-knowledge to see that fury often buries tears.

I was not put on this land to appease, explain or endlessly apologise – and I most certainly was not born in a protective caul with the words ‘ALWAYS NICE AND PATIENT’ written across it.

Bottom line?

All that really matters on here is that I WRITE to the best of my ability. I am not here to charm you, or make you feel better about yourselves, or reassure you by my words; if any of those things happen, that is a bonus.

I am here, at this time and upon our world, to be one of a growing band of humans who, in one form or another, serve the Light.

I am not talking religious faith here, though many Light Workers DO belong to one of the major religions; I am not talking about nice, kind, turn the other cheek people either (though many have some of these characteristics)…

I am talking about people who can see, and respond compassionately to, the endless media glut of maiming, death, disaster, bigotry, racial hatred and pandemics both physical and emotional without needing to either condemn the human race out of hand or put out the Welcome Mat for some form of bloody and terminal Apocalypse.

I am talking about people who continue to believe that they CAN do something, no matter how small, in the great fight against the Dark; those who are able to see that neither religious dogma nor science have ALL the answers – and that challenging the daily doom and gloom we are spoon-fed can be both challenge and enlightenment.

Yes, there is a HELL of a lot wrong in our beautiful world; we all know THAT – but there is a HEAVEN of a lot right and caring and lovely and hopeful too – and, all too often, this becomes little more than an aside, the final, almost sickly-sweet note in the Requiem of a News broadcast.

And I honestly do NOT think that lobbing the ball of hatred back, or passing it round like some diabolical game of Pass the Parcel is the right answer; if it were, the endless streams of revenge attacks, which leave so many dead and wounded, would have provided the ultimate victor, the Top Dog, by now; we would have been cowed into peace by snarling, growling and showing of vicious teeth.

We have tried hatred, in all its forms, for thousands upon thousands of years. It hasn’t worked. It never will.

Too many fighters and too few lovers; that’s the way it seems to me.

Perhaps what it takes is people who are willing to miss the ball of bitterness, hatred and revenge; who are prepared to stand up and say, ‘No! This endless vendetta has gone on long enough. Let’s play a different game!’

This is not about being a doormat, or allowing others to control, bully and intimidate; it is about recognising that our spite and malice is keeping the whole ball of darkness in constant motion: That WE are adding energy and impetus to the global nastiness whenever we put our own individual need for vengeance before forgiveness and resolution. That our frantic need to get our own back is adding speed and road rage to the whole mix.

I am not for a moment saying that we should not stand up for things we believe to be right – but there is a huge difference between justifiable assertiveness and malice-inspired revenge attack; between saying a clear, ‘No!’ to abuse – and plotting the destruction of whole generations right down to the end of time for one aggressive act.

Life’s too short for this Hades-inspired version of ‘It’s a Knock-Out,’ this depressing race to be RIGHT at all costs.

It’ll cost the Earth.

Literally.

Unless we are willing to GROW UP, get out of the Terrible Two stage and learn that spleen-venting is a CHOICE and not a human right.

Rights come with responsibilities – and, on too many occasions, we feel justified in waging war (at however small and local a level) without taking responsibility for the collateral damage which will ensue.

Rolling The Super Full Moon Ball…

This was originally written during the Super Full Moon, in June last year. I wrote it, as an email, to a close friend – and then adapted it for blog purposes. I am including it because there is much I need from that spontaneous adventure, from that dazzling moment of dancing joy.

In my experience, Full Moons always have a powerful effect, the Super variety even more so. The energies are unmistakable, the cathartic effect – both for good and for ill – an inevitable part of the process. Tempers are lost; violence breeds; delicate nasal tissues burst and bleed; passion erupts; tears become stormy; things come to a head.

All we can do is to work with what we are given at these sensitive times – and sometimes that task involves dipping the chalice deep into sorrow’s well; other times, it creates bubbling joy and laughter and beautiful bonding.

All I can do for the moment is to take the Goddess’ hand and trust to her protection in the days ahead.

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It is nearly eleven pm and there are still large patches of light in the sky. I cannot see the Moon yet, but I can feel its influence very strongly: at ten pm, I got into the car and drove up to Burrington and back, Moon watching. The sky was etched with sunset colours. Beautiful and heartening thing to do: took me back to midnight Moon drives to the lake at Cwm Symlog, near Aberystwyth.

Swooping back down from Burrington, listening to a Programme on World Music on Radio 3, a wonderful Cretan tune suddenly comes on. I crank up the sound system; this, these days, is very unlike me – but the road is deserted, the night is strange and I am alone; I can pull imaginary heat around me, like a cloak, and feel myself back in Vasili’s Taverna in Kastelos!

I cannot sleep! Far too awake and excited! A solitary walk down the road shows the light sky scales shading into an almost greenish tinge. No one else seems to be around; I had thought the world would be thronged with watchers. It is cold; I wear a jumper; the wind blows – but there is a beckoning of brighter light appearing and a sense of emergence, of anticipation. Ah! but I must be careful, for I am glancing up and up and up – and cars drive too fast through our village; the verges I walk along are narrow and there is no pavement at this point. I do not wish to be hit.

The tranced motion is strange; I feel as if I am bouncing along, going faster than I actually am.

My phone ba-dungs at eleven; it is a friend, telling me that the Moon is overhead. Oh! such an exciting moment. Perched on top of our gate, surrounded by the susurration of leaves, I watch as the big Moon pushes its way through a black cat’s face, which becomes a pelvis, of cloud, birthing itself above the darkness, a wavering lilac/silver form, quiescent, cradled in its bottom half – as if the lunar ‘foetus’ were growing its own ‘baby’.

Moon drifts back into forests of thorny blackness, lighting the sky a dusky pink, a tingling gold, a strange milky aubergine – and then being pushed into the world once more, bigger and more defined each time.

And now, free and clear, she serene-sails higher and higher above the layers of snowy lunar scarf she has knitted from her trailing ray-skeins – and I, joyous and enchanted, twirl in the driveway until I am dizzy, and then bow to her in greeting.

In my mind, I am clad in white robe, red cord and purple cloak, and the dance is part of a sacred ritual – welcoming in the Goddess’ energy at this special Moon time, and bidding farewell to those who have elected to pass to the next level tonight.

There is a vast sense of energy, raw, primal and exciting, in the air outside. I am finding it difficult to stay indoors, keep popping out for another glimpse!

If it weren’t for the fear of disturbing others, I would drive up to Velvet Bottom and Moon Watch up there – or even, in my wild and wayward dreams, travel all the way back to that Mid Wales lake and stay there all night!

Next time, maybe!

STOP MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH, ALI

I’ve done it AGAIN.

What the HELL is wrong with me?

Faced with a prompt which made me want to cry, what do I do?

Yes, I try to be the Clown (albeit a broken one) and entertain the masses.

WHY?

Why don’t I just come out with the truth for once in my life?

Why don’t I just say, ‘I am struggling to cope at the moment. I am incredibly sad and frightened and, in between trying to be a jester, weeping. I don’t want to be up on stage doing the Comedy Circuit any more. I have had enough of trying to ameliorate any feelings of threat others may have faced with my angst by making them howl with laughter.’

So, here is the TRUTH: I cannot, at present, respond to anyone other than close friends and family. I am sorry. It is not lack of interest or lack of care for you guys; it is the fact that my real life needs my full attention now – and I NEED to write as therapy, as brief escape from grim reality.

People on line have been asking the question, about Robin Williams, ‘Why would a clown wish to kill him/herself?’

I understand only too well.

It is because many, if not most, Clowns ARE cracked vessels – and, behind the laughter, they have a breaking point. But, because they are seen as OUR entertainers, it is incredibly hard for them to admit to the truth seen in sad, sad, eyes.

The need to make others laugh becomes a trap. It becomes a definition of the clown’s whole character.

And, underneath it?

Clowns are dying of despair.

And often, in cheering others up, they are forcing their own grief further and further down into that dark hole from which no one escapes alive.

Everything is NOT all right in my world at the moment – and I am done pretending that it is.

No clown should ever have to apologise for not being funny all the time.

No clown should ever have to hide the down-turned mouth and weeping eyes with stupid pranks and pratfalls.

My heart goes out to Robin Williams, and to his family.

What a complete tragedy in every sense.

But there are many more clowns still out in the world, fooling and joking for acceptance.

I know.

I am a clown.

#August Moon 14, Day Four: Come out of the closet

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I open my wardrobe door, and a rainbow of colours and fabrics spill out.

I confess I have little interest in clothes per se; it is their sensual appeal which drives me – and what they represent to me emotionally.

Colours connect me with the Four Quarters in my soul, and I often wear the particular shade I need almost without thinking. To give you an example, during the Land of the Exiles weekend,  I wore a red velveteen robe in my role as Sekhmet – and this brought out my inner Lioness, and my fiery nature; it allowed me to ensoul the character far more easily than if I had worn a white robe.

Hanging outside my closet, on both sides, are my ritual robes: White, red and black – Maiden, Mother, Crone – how apt; my purple ritual cloak, and various cords, also hang in that outer space.

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The clothes hanging in my closet represent the everyday me – and my preferred colours are all shades of purple, green and blue. This is partly because they are good with my pale skin and red hair, but I think mainly because I find them calming and peaceful colours to wear against my often tense and fraught body.

I love long floaty seventies garments: full-length dresses, in bright colours; long skirts, gypsy blouses. If I could afford it, I would populate my wardrobe entirely with such creations, and would wear them all the time.

It is a look which was around during the early part of the twentieth century, amongst artists, Bohemians, writers – and perhaps black and white photographs of Vanessa Bell, for example, clad, in long skirt and headscarf, are part of what inspired my sartorial choices.

I am not good with clothes. My lack of confidence, and poor body image, have always made buying anything to wear a stressful, and upsetting, activity.

This is why, if I find a style that suits me, I will relax, with utter relief, into endless variations of the same thing. So, to give you an example, having fallen in love with Dr Marten boots (back in the early nineties), I collected them with total relish – and, at one time, had fifteen pairs, mostly bright and eccentric, even garish:

The proof is in the boot...

Let me be very honest: Things I buy do not always suit me. My choices are not often based on that which flatters, enhances or slims. I am not being deliberately ornery or insensitive to those who have to look at me; I genuinely have NO IDEA – and I find clothes shopping terribly tedious. It just doesn’t spark anything in my imagination – except for an intense wish for the whole ghastliness to be over…yesterday!

For me, the rootling in a closet, for hours, in order to find just the right combination of material with which to cover my curves, is akin to one of Dante’s circles of Hell.

The instruction, ‘Try something else on…’ has me foaming at the mouth, grinding my teeth in helpless rage and/or running for the hills.

Why can’t I just shove a garment on and be done with it?

Why all this pointless preening and puffing and turning round to see the damn thing from eighty nine angles, when you can just climb into it, hoick a careless brush through the hair and be done with it?

But that’s just me.

I think I was last in the queue when proper women were being chosen to step forth.

If you were to peer into my underwear drawers, you would find a mix of plain and slightly naughty on the posterial front – and four bras, two black and two white, chosen for their similarity to Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge (I am a 42EE) rather than their erotic potential.

After all, it is no good pouting and wriggling, and lowering the eyelids and suggesting all manner of delights, if your baps slip out at an inopportune moment…

Some women are natural human clothes horses. You could drape a hessian sack tied up with bind weed on their beautiful frames and they would look a million dollars.

I, my dears, am the opposite: A human clothes llama. You could cover every inch of my body with costly velvets and satins, gewgaws and folderols – and I’d STILL look like a bloody llama!

This summer, for the first time in decades, I have taken to wearing shorts. Probably NOT one of my better moves since everything is going South at an alarming rate – but, I love the feeling of air up my crannies, of warmth on my legs.

And, weird woman that I am, I adore running in the rain when scantily clad. There is something powerfully primal and erotic about it.

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Me in one of my long seventies numbers – bought, for £15, at a charity shop. Bargain!

I know that appearance is important in many ways – and I also understand the drive to look one’s best at all times. I understand it; I just don’t follow it…

Does my closet represent me?

Hmmm! I’ll leave that for you to decide…

My Ghost Twin

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been convinced that I once had a twin – a male twin, with curly hair and blue-grey eyes like mine – who died or dissolved or something. I am quite sure my parents would have told me if I had had a stillborn brother, so this is either a past life memory, or maybe a sibling who perished, and was re-absorbed, in utero. But, to this day, I stretch out an instinctive hand to my right to try and connect with my twin, and sometimes I can almost sense him, see him; sometimes in my dreams we meet up, as we did last night:

We were in Headington’s Bury Knowle Park, at night, my twin and I: aged nine or so, both wearing shorts and tee-shirts, my brother a little taller than I, bolder, more physically confident – but we were utterly in tune, instinctive, two halves of the same soul.

We played on the swings, pushing one another, soaring high into the dark sky, chains creaking ominously, laughing and laughing; we rocketed down the slide, terrified and exhilarated; we whirled around on the roundabout, screaming with delight and fear – and then, as a Full Moon rose above the trees, leaving a white-gold trail across the slopes of our playground, we joined hands and danced round and round in dizzying circles until we collapsed, laughing hysterically, upon the lunar ‘stream’.

And I awoke full of inchoate longing for this dream twin, this fifty-six year sensed being, this little ghost from a mysterious past.

I need him terribly at present, and just wish he were real. But the thought of him soothes me – and, in my imagination, I reach out my star-fish hand and clasp his for safety and security; this way, I don’t feel quite so alone and desolate.

I am sharing the track I listened to as I wrote the above. It was cathartic, necessary, blurred my words with tears.

The smile of a clown

alienorajt:

The perfect piece following Robin Williams’ death. Please read. Sue’s words are hugely moving.

Originally posted on Daily Echo:

Leonard Lowe: We’ve got to tell everybody. We’ve got to remind them. We’ve got to remind them how good it is.

Dr. Sayer: How good what is, Leonard?

Leonard Lowe: Read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It’s all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!

***

Robin Williams died today and the world mourns a clown… a Fool who sought to bring joy beyond a veil of personal pain and recurrent depression. My heart is with those who knew the man, not the image. Those who loved him and who will love him still.

The quote is from…

View original 820 more words

Moon-lit Badgers

I originally wrote this, in my journal, in March 2013 – four months before I started the WordPress blog.

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We stopped, Dean and I, on the road back from  Glastonbury, this cold and strange evening, pulled by the vision of a warm golden moon, slightly egg-shaped, overhead – and the memory, clear as the mountain ridges of cloud, liminals edged with silvery-gold, of a time twenty years ago when, much younger, we also halted the car, got out and watched.

That last time, the grass was frost-stiffened, the moon very large and silver, slightly distorted – and, as we looked over the pointed tussocks of fragile grass, badgers appeared and tumbled, played, trundled, their black and white pelts emerging and disappearing, striped by nature and the mirror of the moon.

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We were entranced, touched, amused, wanted to join them, went into their space and watched, a bit closer, their lunar cavorting, the strange snuffling of their snouts, the way their heavy paws left runnels in the icy perfection.

Their intimate connection with the landscape, noted then, if only subliminally, gave me pause for thought upon this equally cold evening – as, car pulled in to a handy lay-by, we opened doors and, coat-less and excited as children, rushed out into the frigidity of late March air and, resting elbows on the unyielding chilliness of a gate, we, once again, looked out over a field.

This time, the moon was welcoming, if slightly pixilated, a buttery ovoid lending its colour sparingly to the night sky.

There were no badgers on this occasion – but the Plough was clearly visible, and we spoke of the coming of Taurus, soon, and the Zodiac generally – because our reason for visiting Glastonbury was to hear an inspirational talk, about which I shall say more tomorrow.

But, we both felt that our energy had been raised by the company of pilgrims with whom we had spent the evening. And I certainly recognised that I have been in hibernation, in esoteric terms, over the past nine months or so.

It was necessary. I think I had to remain Earth-bound, for the most part, in order to set up the blog, publish the novel and ease my way out of teaching.

But, I have been reminded of the higher calling we all have, the wider landscape and our connections to it – and, indeed, to one another. And I do not, for a moment, consider it coincidence that we all met at this time and that particular place.

But the other thing is this: the celebration of a friendship, a deep connection which, in this manifestation, has lasted thirty one years – and which will, I am sure, last the rest of our lives.

Yes, we are a part of something far bigger – but that much larger canvas is made up of the smaller stories, the love affairs, close friendships, the links between human beings – and the net of light we all both surf and serve.

#August Moon 14: Right now

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Right now, at 9.20 am, I sit at my computer in the study, looking out at the powerfully undulating muscles of a vast sky-python lying ominously behind the moist indigo-green of woodland. Ready, I suspect, to sink storm-fangs into the soft flesh of our Bertha-battered world.

The three small trees in the garden stand, twiggy hope against the punch and rend of natural disaster.

I am fear this morning, fear and pain.

Drugged and heavy-limbed too, having decided, at 7pm last night, to go back on the antidepressants. The first few days always bring in their chemical wake profound weariness, dizziness and agitation at night. But I take them because, for the moment, I must: They do calm the amygdala down, eventually, and this, in turn, brings my taut muscles down from their high point of terror.

My dreams last night gave me a sorrowful answer to one of the things bothering me at present; I hope that, in this case, it IS just night mind unwinding and not the truth.

I edged into consciousness at an early hour, aware, almost subliminally, of my husband getting up – as he tends to, any time between 5 and 6am.

Initially, I felt little pain – and had a brief moment of relief. But then, the muscles, wakening, began, once again, to claw and contort and fight one another.

I got up, took my pills (one round white tablet to counteract Hypothyroidism, and two long yellow ones to help with the epigastric pain) and then came in here and switched on.

I looked at my statistics on the blog, viewed the Live Feed for a while, seeing which countries were visiting – then took an old post, seen only by those who read my previous blog, tweaked it and published it on here.

I do that some mornings, usually if my mood is too shaky, low and full of terror to actually compose anything fresh, sparkling and new.

I do know that part of the muscular problem lies in the hours, tensely unremitting hours, I spend locked into an uncomfortable position in front of the laptop.

If you think that most days I write three, or even more, posts, this is a disproportionate amount of time to be bent over a screen. Made worse by the fact that I type with two fingers – incredibly wearing on arms and back.

Usually, once I am up and have checked my Inbox, I don running shorts, a shirt, my pink running shoes and set out for a twenty to thirty minute jog. This I will do, later, but not quite yet: I want to get this post out of the way first.

The envelope of truth and fear has not yet landed upon my Inbox’s mat.

I have to wait half an hour after taking my pills before I can eat anything. Food has become a real centre of anxiety in recent months – and, as I ate my diet biscuits and a large plum, I was very tense, fearing the onset of stomach pain. I am also food-anxious because, once the antidepressants kick in, my increasingly relaxed mood usually means my appetite perks up – and, having lost about half a stone since I started running (and being very overweight anyway), I REALLY don’t want to pile it all back on again.

On returning from my run, I will then shower, clean my teeth, answer any emails, read and respond to other people’s blog posts and then write, either on here or in my journal.

I have, of late, started watching the most horrible clips on YouTube – and, looking back, can see this as a sign of my deteriorating emotional state. I found, for example, a load of images of Victorian Post Mortem photographs – many of children – and watched and watched and watched, horror, pity and grief bringing tears. The music was so creepy and sad too.

No wonder I am so tense.

Music I listen to as well – searching for tunes I loved as a child, listening to sad songs and crazy songs and tracks I associate with Ghost Weed, the band I am part of.

I do break for lunch – and hunch fearfully over a plate of food before rushing back up here to my sanctuary.

Last night, a close friend called briefly – and, as I greeted him, I was aware that I was stoned. That was very strange. I felt as if I were looking up at him from a very deep well and that my voice was very slow and booming, as if heard through water.

At some point during the day, I make myself leave this womb and birth myself elsewhere in the house in order to plug in to my MP3 and meditate. It DOES help, and I know I should be doing this every day.

Some days are brightened up by text contact, or email contact, with friends. I always find myself smiling and cheered up and laughing at such times. In fact, the very thought has brought the first proper smile of the day to my face.

If the anxiety is low, I will eat dinner with my husband (and, when he is here, son) – but, if it is very high, I often choose to eat alone, or not at all.

Most days, I take the dog round the village.

Nights, I struggle. Often, I am awake for HOURS, fretting.

Last night, the light-headed feeling drove me into bed well before 9pm – and I was actually asleep when my husband returned from a visit to his ex-wife and adult son and wanted to tell me about the evening. I listened, but wanted desperately to tell him to go away.

I try and read during the day – but, at the moment, I find it hard to concentrate.

I always check the Outposts’ blogsite – several times a day, if I am honest – to see if there is anything new from Nepal. For those who don’t  usually read my blog: Simon, my sixteen year old son, is currently in Nepal, on an expedition set up by a brilliant organisation named Outposts.

I am now watching the green rubbish lorry reversing into a street just down the road, and seeing stitched blue sinews pressing the grey serpent up, up, up; perhaps there will be sun, later.

Bluntness about bodies – and what they do!

I do not understand why so many of us are at such pains to crush a child’s natural curiosity about bodies.

When a relative of mine was two, he suddenly piped up, from the back of the car, ‘Ooh, look, Mummy, my willy’s peaking up!’ in tones of such excitement that I was quite entranced. His mother, fortunately, was a like-minded soul and immediately launched into an age-appropriate explanation of the erection.

This child is now a well-adjusted adult.

But, when I told friends about this little incident, many were absolutely HORRIFIED. Shocked, disapproving and prudish comments met me on every side – and I was left with the impression that they considered that the child in question was already far too sexually aware for his own good (What?! Many boy babies are born in a tumescent state! Fact!) and would, without a doubt, become a pervert before he reached school age.

It goes further, though, doesn’t it? This reticence, this inhibition, shame, call it what you will. It affects us in our most intimate relationships because, only too often, we feel we cannot/should not use the words, talk about ‘that sort of thing’.

And, even if you are, by nature, pretty blunt and gung ho yourself, having an inhibited partner can make things very very difficult. I suspect a lot of men find this with their perhaps more delicately nurtured ladies.

I am neither a lady nor was I delicately nurtured. Dragged up, I always say! And, as you will have noticed, I tend to be fairly frank. But even I have been stymied by a couple of bed-partners. Silenced. Shamed. Zippered. Because, underneath the surface sexual desire, they did not want my spirit. They wanted submissive. They got me. Poor buggers.

Obviously, in an ideal world, we would all be so intimately connected that we wouldn’t need to say a word; our bodies and spirits would combine perfectly in the dance of ecstasy.

Meanwhile, this is a scathing look at what is going on in many a woman’s head during a sexual encounter:

‘Who the HELL told you the ear was an erogenous zone, for God’s sake? What are you trying to do? Locate my brain?’

‘Are you tweaking a nipple or kneeding a particularly tough batch of dough? Ouch! That bloody hurt!’

‘Left a bit… I said “left“…remind me never to get into a car with you; lord knows where we’d end up!’

CRAMP! AAAAAH! STOP! I’ve got to slam my leg against the nearest wall pronto!’

‘Are you attempting to arouse or erase, matey? If you rub any harder, you are very likely to summons the Genie of the sodding Lamp!’

‘Have you come yet? Only you’re so damn quiet, it’s like bonking a corpse!‘ (applies, I am well aware, to both genders!)

What we actually say:

‘That was WONDERFUL! The entire Solar System moved for me! You are the best lover I have ever had – in any of my incarnations!’

Now, I am a fair woman – in my own weird way! – and I know that things are just as fraught and difficult for blokes*; I know this because boyf and I used to spend many a long hour discussing this sort of thing.

*and, indeed, that the average man’s list would be at least twice as long!

So why do so few couple actually communicate? Fear of damaging the other one’s fragile ego? The anger/revenge/anger cycle? No idea what the other one is talking about? Fear of rejection if we get it wrong?

No idea!

But what does strike me forcibly is this: we are far more alike than we might wish to think!

But the old excuses carry on, don’t they? The rancid old sexual chestnuts that too few people are willing to sample – and then boot out! Things like, ‘All women are slow-burners…’

We all appreciate a bit of consideration, a lick of inside knowledge, imagination and intuition; everyone – whether they are male, female or neither – needs a bit of genital cosseting at some point in the proceedings. But, I think you run the risk of losing that all-important spontaneity if you approach it as if you were preparing a ten course dinner for the cream of the county! All that beating, whisking, marinading, kneeding, basting, peeling (sorry, guys!) and coring is all very well; but, sometimes, less is more – and, if you are with the right person, beans on toast can be a banquet in itself!

And, to me the most important ingredient, the condiment forgotten more regularly than any other: SENSE OF HUMOUR!

If the two of you can laugh – both in and out of the sack! – you’re probably with THE ONE.

Jolly Rogering!

Men, men and more men: Booby Fellatio speaks…

In response to a long ago Daily Prompt question, ‘Which one luxury would you struggle to do without?’ another of my many alter egos, ‘Actress’ Booby Fellatio (actually born Rita Wobble, but who wants to live with THAT as a name?), has this to say:

Well, darlings, I am SO glad you asked.  Though just a teensy weensy bit miffed that it’s taken you so long. I mean, really! A femme fatale cannot be made to wait around indefinitely. Beauty is a full-time job, I’ll have you know!

Flowers? Chocolate? Champagne? They all have their place – usually upon my many Occasional Tables and bedside cabinets. Or, in the case of the chocolate…

Ah! Mustn’t let the Siamese out of the sack, now, must we? Reveal ALL later, my loves!

My absolute must-have luxury is a plentiful supply of toothsome young men. A melange, you might say, of mighty oaks to be grasped by this frail and dainty willow!

I like them just a little bit younger than me. Say, in their mid twenties!

What do you mean, how old am I? A lady NEVER gives her age away! Yes, I daresay it does seem as if I have been around forever – but that is simply the widening ripple of my stream of exquisite fame. Though I say it myself, I am a sight for sore eyes and certainly gave that trampy old tart, Marilyn Monroe, something to think about. Ahem. Or would have done had I actually been more than a ruby tadpole in my father’s jewel bag at that point. Which, of course I wasn’t.

Yes, I am the honey pot to end all honey pots! I am a Sex Goddess! They cannot keep away!

I like to think of it as providing a service. It is a kindness really. I could almost put myself up for charitable status!

You have all these GORGEOUS young things, with all that DELICIOUS testosterone just slurping around and going to waste through the wiles of Mrs Palm and Her Five Sisters or, worse, a plethora of gum-chewing and inexperienced tarts, all called Jazz or Kaz or Laz. And you do know, I am sure, what the Bible has to say about seed wastage: ‘And some fell on stony ground…’

I am, as you might say, a very specialised Finishing School. I teach the dear things how to serve a sixteen course dinner without the end result being a bun in the oven!

It takes it out of me, you know, this level of commitment to a worthy cause.

I have to spend much of the day slaving away in sauna and cold pool, under the pesky hairdryer, in the lap of the gods of unguents and scents, prey to the harsh tigresses of podiatry and pedicure, manicure and waxing.

I have the profound stress of sorting through my wardrobes for the exact little dress required, then the tiring business of accessorising.

I am often EXHAUSTED, a limp rag, by lunchtime – and need a refreshing and restorative G&T, and a brisk Swedish Massage (courtesy of a brisk German maiden, named Helga, who has fists like hams and reaches the parts no man has ever dared to broach) before I am ready to open the Thornton’s Assortment box of delicious men.

What do I look for in a man?

Eight inches minimum, dear! A girl’s got to have some standards, after all. The physique of a Greek God always helps, though without the snapped-off appendages, obviously. I do like a smooth torso, don’t you?

Oh, so sorry! I had assumed you were a girl! The name ‘Hilary‘ is so frightfully androgynous, isn’t it? And the long hair was a wee bit confusing. As was the frock. Not really your colour, love, if I may be so bold. You’d be better in crushed strawberry.

Good strong thighs are an absolute MUST. I like to be gripped as if by a marauding python.

A dense head of hair as I like something to grab hold of when in the throes.

Symmetrical face. Colour not important at all. I’m not the least bit fussy, as I am sure you can tell. My little luxuries have hailed from most countries. Why, I even have a rather sweet Papua New Guinean tribesman I whip out on special occasions.

Intelligence? Oh good heavens no. I am not a Blue Stocking, or an elitist academic snob who won’t blow anyone less than a full professor!

Au contraire! I consider the brain almost redundant! Who needs one’s favourite luxuries actually THINKING, after all?

You wouldn’t expect MENSA level of conversation from a bar of Plain Lindt chocolate, now would you? Would be a bit shocked if your Jereboam of Champers suddenly upped and started quoting bits of ‘Paradise Lost‘ at you, would you not?!

Why, some of my treats can barely string a sentence together in polite society!

Frankly, as long as they have sufficient savoir faire to point Percy at the requisite hole or holes, I am really not bothered!

The best one I ever had? Ooh, now let me see…

An absolute brute of a man – who, rather wittily I thought, called himself Frankenstein’s Monster! – broke in here one day. I was, I acknowledge, a tad taken aback initially. Well, you would be, wouldn’t you? He must have been seven foot tall, if he was an inch, and had obviously undergone recent and hideous surgery. Including, by the looks of it, a penis transplant (from a Rogue Elephant, I suspect!).

He wasn’t a great one for conversation and had an abrupt, nay coarse, approach to amour: grabbed me like a sack of potatoes and had me then and there, over the Chaise Longue, the Aspidistra, the sun dial….

I tell you, I have never experienced such rough, or enduring, treatment.

Wonderful! I dream of him still!

But all good things have to come to an end  – and, after our sixteenth coupling in an afternoon, he exited from my life – through the vegetable garden wall, as it happens.

Now, do forgive me if I turf you out. Time waits for no woman – and I am expecting a very tasty morsel in the next half hour. Hand delivered from Harrods no less! Sven, he’s called, and I have rarely seen buttocks so sculptured and fine!

Yes, delightful meeting you too.

And the chocolate? Come come, you are men of the world! Applied generously, allowed to harden slightly and then nibbled and licked off…need I say more?!

Negligee, here I come!

Greek Sexy Sunday #32 : Homage to Tom Lehrer song…

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Wondering about the apparent paucity, and scarcity, of Family Jewels in this image, I was taken back to childhood and a hilarious Tom Lehrer song, ‘I hold your hand in mine, Dear.’

Here’s the original Tom Lehrer version:

And here is Ali’s grisly adaptation!

Men, you may wish to give this one a miss!

 

I hold your balls in hand, dear

And press them to my lip;

And take a healthy bite

Of your dainty penis tip!

 

I’m sorry that I cut ‘em off;

I really don’t know why -

‘Cos every time I kiss ‘em,

I get blood stains in my eye.

 

I wish I hadn’t killed you:

Our love was something fine;

Until they come to get me -

I’ll hold your set in mine!