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If you have five mins:
A blog for her friends to check that she's still alive, when she's been missing for a while, and what she's whinging about now.
Monday, January 31, 2005
Ok, material things are the least important things in the world to me, compared to friendship; companionship; understanding; taking something off me when I'm overwhelmed; listening when I'm ready to erupt etc. For example, Andrea Wakely allowing me to whinge in her direction last night, safe in the knowledge that I can just vent and that'll be it, that to me is worth trillions of diamonds. I wouldn't know what to do with a diamond anyway. While Anna really has started to develop a sixth sense with me, knowing when to suddenly e-mail me with a description of a brighter day in Portland, just when I'm about to go one of two ways - take it in or spit it out. These things are priceless and fortunately I'm so rich in friends like them.
So back to the material things. I was looking around me the other night, after posting that about the artwork and photography, and realized just how spoiled rotten I am! My entire altar has been made up of things gifted to me, including the altar cloth and altar set. There are statues, pentagrams and all sorts on there. The stang beside it was a present too. Candles; jewellery; a beach-in-a-bag; a lightsabre and a Yoda who speaks to me, in the minutes before Anna sniffs the ether and decides she really ought to go on damage limitation with my fucked up mind, and tells me that I should trust the Force. Even what I'm drinking, the cafe latte has come from Cerr.
I'm literally surrounded by gifts from people, which can come at any time, regardless of birthdays, Christmas or deserving it. I never know when something is going to arrive and when it does, I'm so delighted and touched beyond telling. :-D People really don't have to, but they occasionally do, and I've only just taken stock of all of that. I'm a bit slow, aren't I? And spoiled rotten.
One day... one day... one day... I'll have the lack of debts and money to be able to just surprise folk like that. I can't wait!
Of Foxes, Ravens and a Wulfrunian Witch
I've already had one person, who's met me in life, tell me that they can see my eyes in this fox's! I'm just stunned by it. I keep looking and thinking, 'Right, it's a picture of a fox... so why does it's face look like mine...' I can't work out how she's done it. For more of TygerCub's art, click here.
This is the third time something like this has happened. First time it was Draig Athar, whose art can be found at Third Roar, who drew me as the Morrighan:
Then also on the Grove is Hilde Bakering, the photographer responsible for Life Thru a Lens, whom I met last year, and so ended up with my photo taken by a professional as well:
I am so bloody lucky! When these three appeared on Witchgrove, several months apart, I was touched each time to the point of tears and showing everyone I know. But it's bigger than that, all of these ladies are very talented artists and they've drawn/photographed ME!?!
I don't underestimate for a moment just how lucky I am in all of this.
Friday, January 28, 2005
The Hope of Foxes
'She had found a tiny fox kit that had somehow wandered too far from mother and den and had frozen to death in the night. Its small cries must have been too weak for the vixen to hear - or perhaps the proximity of humans had frightened her away.
Now, Maeve held the tiny body in her two hands, cradling it against her breast as if to give it back some of its vanished warmth. And she was crying...'
'On Ravens's Wing' by Morgan Llywelyn
I remember last summer, when Georgia entered my room for the first time. She had a quick glance into the room, then I saw her gaze drawn to the fish tank and, around it, the foxes. She looked up at me, with that fondly quizzical look I've come to know and love in her, and just said, 'Foxes?' I nodded and replied, 'Yes'. I could have explained more, but I didn't know where to start, and it wasn't needful. She just nodded and that was that. I felt as though she knew something instinctively that she hadn't known before and it saved me the words. A little part of me had never loved Georgia more than at that moment. I've never asked her on it. She might have just been distracted then; or she might have 'got' it.
So I'll start there and I have no idea where this blog is going or if it's even worth the reading. But I'll start there, with a passage from a book about the Morrighan where she, in her aspect as Maeve (Mab), shows that she too is capable of human emotion and caring; and with Georgia spotting the foxes and knowing enough to both ask and not ask. Of course, I was already a priestess of Morrighan when I first read 'On Raven's Wing', and the thing with the foxes had already been going on for years.
There once was a time when what happened to the fox happened to me too. Friends would distract me away from kills on the road, so that I wouldn't see them and freak out over my own mortality. But I'd forgotten my own name then. Before that still, at school, I was writing to government to try and get fox-hunting banned. It was always the fox above all other. Back in the early 90s, things got mixed up in my head - I thought it was me the hunters were after. A woman once told me that I'm not human to the soul, I'm half-fox, half-fey, and when people look in my eyes it's the fox they see, but don't get it. They expect human; the witchy types half-expect fey; but they see the fox and that's why I get so many comments. I still don't know precisely what she meant, or if it was the drugs, or real, or madness, or a dream. Mab'd know. She does dreams.
I have a story. Once upon a time, when the Celts were invading what is known now as Britain, the greatest of the Temenachs got together to oversee a Great Rite. It was supposed to produce a child to save the fey from the Celts, but mid-rite a vixen appeared and her essense got mixed into the energy too. The child was born, raised as priestess and warrior, but was killed too young. Too young to have actually stopped the occupation of the Celtic tribes and so the fey went underground and much was lost. Pulled from the ether instead of from the higher soul as ordinary people are, still this soul went on and on, from one incarnation to the next. And I'm it.
That's the short version anyway. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I've known that story for a decade now and it was told to me at just about precisely the wrong time in my life. I'm not sure I believe it. I'm not sure I don't. But there it is. I mainly don't even think about it. If it is true, then it's not a very good story - I didn't get to save the world whatever the fuss and palaver of my creation; plus it's a terrible idea. There's no-one more cursed that those who believe they are unlike all the rest.
So there's the madness, the activism and the mysticism covered. The collection? I can't remember how old I was when I bought the first one, but I was a child. There's not actually that many foxes here... I can see 18 from here, without moving to count them properly... but looking around the shops it's quite uncommon to come across a fox in anything. You tend to get cats, dragons, pigs and the such like, but only occasionally a fox. I seem to have been collecting them all my life. Oh! And my nickname at school was Foxy, because one of the teachers reckoned I look like Foxy from the 'Topper' comic. Thing is that was a complete coincidence, because he didn't know about all the foxes and I hadn't started with the fox-hunting petitions then.
Then there's the something else. Very, very occasionally you'll see a fox out on the streets here. VERY occasionally. If it happens once every two or three years, you're lucky, but they have always turned up at moments when I should be paying attention. There were was a fox one night in the grounds of the Vicarage; there was that time over in Kiddie, when the foxes in the Wyre Forest all suddenly starting calling, a ghostly, eerie sound filling the night and having the four of us just rooted to the ground staring at the forest and listening; there are the handful of times when one has run out over the road and I've emergency stopped.
But most of all there was the time that the vixen trusted me with her kit. The weirdest summer of my life and me up a tree, reading. I looked up to see how far the sun had got with its setting, when a shape darted out of the grass. It was a kit, with the fox right behind it. I watched, absolutely spellbound, as they played there for ages, then the vixen appeared. All three came towards me, still up my tree. The kit and fox running, the vixen just trotting along, and they all stopped, right below me. The vixen came to the foot of the tree, with her family totally oblivious to my presense, and she stared up at me. For the longest time, we were just there, looking into each other's eyes, with about ten foot separating us, and me willing the message with everything I'd got that her kit was safe from me. I wouldn't hurt any of them and I'd protect them. All the time the sun setting beyond us. It was magical, a time between the times. After a few minutes or a year, she turned and walked the other side of the clearing, the other side of her family, and for about five or ten minutes, they all carried on playing. Then she barked, looked up at me, and led her family into the trees.
A couple of days ago, I was trying to find the Goddess and cursing the world for being the scientific cardboard that some folk had always said it was, devoid of the Mysteries. I was driving down Streets Lane, when a vixen ran out in front of my car. I slammed the brakes on and missed her completely. She waited for a few seconds at the side of the road, staring at my car, but it was dark and by the time I'd turned around to see her properly, instead of through my mirror, she'd fled into the estate. Until then, the only thing connecting me with the Mysteries, Wicca, any of it was the list I was doing for the Witch Lessons - things which make me feel witchy. I was coming to the conclusion that I ought to hand my athame in, in exchange for a white coat and bunsen burner, but that vixen gave me pause. I went to Witchgrove instead. A couple of blogs back, you'll see that I couldn't find the priestess or the hope I was after. Last night, I did.
But that night after the vixen, scouring the Grove for any sign that the Goddess still existed, I whispered my, perhaps (in the circumstances), final question to the Goddess. It wouldn't make any sense if I repeated the question, for it needs all the things I can't tell, because I haven't the words to. But in a nutshell, is there any hope for the fox now?
I thought she'd responded. The Grove came through for me last night, and I woke this morning feeling like the world was back in its place.
Then tonight, Tarna posted that she has a new dog called Foxxie Seren. Foxxie Star... Foxxie Hope. Foxy hope.
I hope I got enough in here for those who need to know what I'm saying to have heard it. It's not something I've really tried to tell before and it sounds like madness or illusion at best; arrogance or hyperbole at worst. I'm just trying to tell things that I don't totally understand myself. But it's deep inside me, very deep.
In a Grove, far, far away...
I've learned some lessons. Most of them were lessons that I already knew, but had forgotten. Most importantly, I've learned that some really kick-ass priestesses live in the Grove and they are there for me too.
I'm not saying that it's all better now; just that it's going to be. I can see more clearly what it was I was so angry about and also the way back to the beautiful places. It's going to be a good year, soon as I can enter it again as a sentient human being.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
'And the house that Johnny built
Is just ashes and sand... ashes and sand... ashes and sand...'
Right now, I can't feel the Mysteries, can't see the Goddess, can't even touch that part of me inside where once it all was. I look at all the things left when I was so full of dissertation that I couldn't deal with them too; I'm struggling to find a single thing which didn't stop dead right then. That leaves questions - did I not build them strong enough to survive my no longer propping them up? Did I care too much for things which no-one else cared for? There's a lot of anger and bitterness inside me, as yet unfocused. Do I blame the dissertation? Do I blame the people in whose care they were left? Do I blame myself for listening to all of those who said that for my own sanity I should walk away? Do I blame those who dared me to let them go?
I don't know.
I went to the Grove last night looking for something. I don't know what... a priestess? Some evidence that the Goddess is alive and well and sending someone to tell me that there still are Mysteries in the world. But the Grove was full of people feeling much the same as I do right now. No comfort or solace. I even dared the Maidens and Sons to come and tell us that it's alright. None did.
I sat outside having a fag earlier and looked across at the trees and the sky beyond. Just so much wood and... well, Shakespeare said it better:
I have of late--but wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
I have this tremendous sense of loss, but so much bitterness and hatred overwashing it all. I want to scream out to the Goddess, if you are really there, come and get me! At least show yourself, prove that you exist.
So much to say.
But I reckon I've run out of credits now.
Monday, January 24, 2005
Dance of the Mad Bastards
Now that that great! We all regressed to our early 20s (but without the neurosis) and I became honourary Stourbridge for the night. We canted with one lad who'd come down from Manchester so not to miss it, so it wasn't just a Black Country people-of-a-certain-age reunion. We danced so much that it hurt the next day. My feet were killing me! I'd got new boots to replace the broken ones that morning, and they have an inch high heel on. I'm not used to heels... so I wore them to a Poppies gig and danced like a mad bastard in them. Sensible as always. ;-)
Poor Kate hurt the same day. We were on the train home when she started getting a headache. By the time of the taxi, it was a full-blown migraine, complete with flashing lights and vomitting. She was so embarrassed and saying to the driver, 'I'm not drunk! It's a migraine!' After sitting in the kitchen in darkness for a while, she pushed through the pain/light barrier to get upstairs and into bed. The poor thing appeared again at around 4am, and I heard her so came out.
It was really good actually. It's not often you have unexpected middle of the night meetings like that, but she'd slept a little and awoken with the migraine gone and I was wide awake by then anyway. We sat and had a brew and a fag and put the world to rights for an hour or so. Thinking on, it must have been later, as I didn't go to bed until about 7am; then the alarm was set for 10.
Up we sprang, from our respective rooms, like little spring lambs on a bright Sunday morning... well, it was a bit like that... *grin* However, several coffees later and we were at least able to stand for whole seconds on end without needing to sit down. We met Ian in Birmingham and visited the 'This was Tomorrow' art exhibition. I'm really getting into this art malarkey. I was actually coming out with comments about the art that Kate and Ian were taking seriously, despite the fact that they've been the ones teaching me!
This was all art from the Sixties, including a huge gallery of David Bailey original photos. Several things stood out for me, but the thing I've come away very impressed that I saw was the Yoko Ono footage. It was originally live and involved her sitting impassively on the floor, while members of the audience came up one by one and used scissors to cut chucks of her clothes off. It really did make the point that women were seen as unfeeling, unthinking sex objects at that time, particularly when a bloke got up and instead of sedately taking a chunk (which by then was becoming uncomfortable watching), he cut the whole of her top off, then cut through the straps on her bra. All the time he was grinning at his mates in the crowd, seemingly totally oblivious to the fact that he'd just made her point for her! Yoko carried on looking impassive (occasionally slightly scared), but for one brief flash, you saw her smugness creep through, before she went back to impassive. Then she started to get annoyed, but still held her ground. It was so obvious that she was thinking, 'You tosser', even as she was smug that he'd walked straight into doing exactly what she'd wanted to make her point. It was a great piece of art and powerfully executed, though it was disturbing to watch it by the finish.
After that, Kate took me to see the Bridget Riley painting, 'Fall', that she'd fallen in love with. It was impressive and she was right, it had to be seen rather than described. A series of black and white wavy lines doesn't do it justice. I sat on the floor in front of it and before too long, all three of us were sitting there just staring for ages. It distorted our vision for a couple of minutes afterwards, so the world really did look like a different place.
After the art gallery, we were just 'phoning Jim to see where in the world he was, when he walked down the street towards us! :-o Ok, we were impressed. He didn't even know that we were going to be there! The four of us ended up on the Birmingham Eye, a huge ferris wheel from the top of which we could see the sun setting over the Black Country, whilst also having a very beautiful view of Brummagen.
By the time we'd been to the pub, then back to Ian and Jim's (where Ian and Kate wrote their own Bible), it was nearly 1am by the time we were back at Kate's and nearly 2am by the time we were abed.
'kin Hell, I'm knackered today!
Thursday, January 20, 2005
I keep going into google to search images and last night, lying abed, I was so totally reliving the journey from landing to arriving at the Gariepy's house, that I was too excited to sleep! I went abed around half midnight (after writing an article for Candace), but must have lay there for about an hour at least just picturing everything, what I saw, what I felt, what Stephane said, what I said. :-D
I've just been back and re-read that blog and the one for the day after. Love it! Love it! Love it!
I've already written a long, gushing e-mail to Stephane and Shonna, which possibly has them looking in horror at each other saying, 'We let this wench in our house?! We left her alone with the children!'
*bounce* *bounce* *bounce* Over-excited doesn't cover it!
Monday, January 17, 2005
But there have been so many different people and places, that it's felt like I've had a week's holiday in one weekend.
Friday evening: This was mainly Kate and I playing catch-up, then ending up in a deep discussion about belief systems. We put the whole world to rights.
Saturday: Up at 8am and Kate had to go to work, so I brought her computer back to my 'hood and put it in the shop to fix. I hadn't been in my inbox for a couple of days (usually I start with Witchgrove. If I'm particularly behind or it's very busy in there, I might not get to my inbox at all), and answered everything in there. Kate 'phoned and I met her in Wolverhampton. There was brilliant, because I got to be taken around the art gallery by someone who speaks art. There's so much more to it than I thought. I just figured that it was a good picture or a bad one, created by a good artist or a bad one; I didn't realize that there were all these tricks and symbolism etc, which explains why art critics can spend so long in front of a single picture.
The one we took most time over, as there was a bench, it was a big picture and Kate was having to start from scratch with the explaining things, was 'A Portrait of the Lee Family' by Highmore. That link will take you to some official blarb, because I don't even count as an amateur after one lesson!
This is what I learned: You can fold the portrait into four. The more people in one quarter, the less important they individually are. You can see who the most important person in the portrait is by seeing which quarter is less populated and also seeing who everyone else is looking at or framing. In here, it's the bloke on the right hand side. He's got clothes which stand out in colour; he has two sisters framing him; and there are only three people in his quarter, two of whom are looking at him. If you accidentally stop looking at him, your eyes naturally go to the sister who is holding his hand. Her hand draws you to the group, backed up by the lad behind looking in that direction. Then the line of the Mum's arm, plus the lad behind her, draws you away from the group again, via the little girl on the floor and back to the lad you should be looking at. Then there's the fact that the Dad has died, so he's in a portrait; and another child died, who's now a cherub up the top.
There was loads more, but those were the biggies, I think. This picture was massive and took over a whole wall of the art gallery. The picture I really wanted to see ('The Deluge') wasn't there, but one of the curators reckons it's in storage as they're doing some refurb.
Oh! This was another one, 'The Landing of Louis XVIII at Calais' by Edward Bird.
There was loads in this one. You look straight at Louis XVIII, but you keep being drawn away to a group of people canting on the left-hand side. Then you look at the crowd and find that half of them aren't best pleased at all.
I'm now cultured, can you tell? ;-)
Ian met us in there and we ended up having a meal in Sylvari's, down King Street, where Jim met us. Then we popped into the Moon Under Water for a drink. Wolves had just won 4-2, so Wolverhampton was in party mood. *happy dance* Before I dropped Jim off in the Lunt and, picked up Kate and Ian, now in Brierley Hill, and drove to Selly Oak. We then spent the night there, hours of deep conversations about beliefs and realities etc. They were great!
Back to Kate's on Sunday, watched a couple of History documentaries, then visited a dying lady in hospital, before having some tea and watching Derren Brown's programme 'Messiah'. Both Ian and Kate had individually said they'd like me to watch it, because they'd be interested in my take on it. It was perfect in context!
Then came to work today to find that this week's weekly discussion is by Ivy Wolfmoon and is entitled, 'Losing My Religion', about beliefs and leaving the Pagan path!
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Thine Eyes Have Seen the Glory...
On Sunday night, I cracked my contact lens. As it was a minute split, and not all the way through, I thought it would be ok. Note to everyone: It's not ok to put a split contact lens in your eye EVEN if the split is on the outside and it doesn't hurt when you initially put it in. That's the optical equivalent of standing on a wall watching the pretty tsunami coming in. Let's just say that I was very glad to get home from work on Monday evening to remove the said contact lens from a very sore, watering and scratched eye. Tuesday and Wednesday, I wore my glasses, which is all well and good, except I haven't seen the inside of an opticians for about four years, which means that the glasses weren't quite right prescription-wise. I was constantly leaning closer and closer to the computer in order to read it. So Tuesday evening, I raced up town and got into the opticians shortly before they closed, made an appointment for the next day and chose some frames. Wednesday evening, I raced up there again, having left work slightly earlier to do this thing, and bought a pair of gas permeable contact lenses and two pairs of glasses in the 2 for 1 deal. Even with 10% discount, this was a lot more than I could afford. I paid for it in overdraft (which is already more overdrawn than I was hoping), went outside for a fag while they made up one pair of the glasses (they luckily had one set of the lenses in stock) and looked in the travel agent's window next door. Special deals on flights - New York £282 Las Vegas £334... ie both less money than I'd just spent on the glasses and lenses...
Strike two: Sarah got off the train in Wolverhampton yesterday and the wind blew dust and grit into her face. By the time she walked into work, her eye was bulging, bright red and she was in some considerable pain. I had a firk in it and found an eye-lash, but its removal did nothing to lessen the pain. An eyebath dislodged a tiny piece of grit, but still nothing. It took me over an hour to convince her that she needed to go up Compton Eye Infirmary, but eventually we went. There was another piece of grit right up in the top/back of her eye-ball, which was attached to the inside of her lid. No wonder I couldn't find it!
So there's two down with eyes in our office, now resolved. I always distrust two similar things happening together; I hold my breath waiting for number three, then relax.
Money, money, money...
I think I need an accountant urgently. Both my current account and my Visa card have horrific debts on them, but another voice in my head says that it will all be ok with patience. I've had a lot of sending out without any coming in, but there are things to come in. I'm crap at maths and crap at getting my head around this stuff.
I am having such a great time at the moment! I'm getting used to the idea that I don't have to do anything (except go to work), so I can get home of an evening and think, 'what do I fancy doing?' I've added a load of names to my Tribal Pages, which is so brilliant! *happy dance* My genealogy was the first casualty of my having way too much to do, because it's something which only pleases me. If there's only me involved, then I'm more likely to drop it than if it's something benefitting one or more other people. It feels deliciously selfish to be working on my Tribal Pages. *grin* I've also transcribed a load of information for the Black Country Hartills group (and shown where me and Caroline are related), which I eventually had to stop because I'd done so much that it was doing my head in.
Other than that, I'm dipping into the Grove as and when; if someone mentions something on the telly, I might go and watch the telly for an hour; I'll sit and read a book for pleasure... all these things that folk take for granted which, to me, are precious pass-times to be savoured. I've spent over a year having to do things; now I'm spending time doing whatever I fancy. It's a beautiful gift.
How many Capricorns do I know?! There are millions of them, mostly on the Grove. It's Laura's birthday today; but in the past few weeks, there's been a plethora of birthdays going on. You all know who you are and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Friday, January 07, 2005
'He that dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose.'
I'VE FINISHED MY DISSERTATION! *happy dance* Best case scenario - Mike Cunningham reads it and says it's brilliant, submit it; worst case scenario - he says it's shit, and rewrite the whole thing. Right now, folk are reading it, but I'll not send it to Mike until Monday, to give people chance to tell me of any glaring errors to put right.
Other than that, the story of my life is the flu. I thought I'd had the flu in the past, but I was wrong. I know what flu is now; I understand how people die from this. I've had it since the day after Boxing Day, but it didn't develop fully until that night. Since then there have been times when I honestly did think that I was dying. I attempted to go to work yesterday morning and even my Mum raised her eyebrows at that. Mum's usually of the 'if you aren't dead, go to work' school of thought, but when I told her on Wednesday that I was going to work the next day, she just said, 'Are you?' with a dubious look on her face. That was justified. I ended up being sent home by noon. I could have been sent home earlier, but there were a few things that I wanted to get done first.
I do look pretty white. I'm constantly tired and I've slept more in the past two weeks than I have for the previous year, I swear. Last night I had over nine hours sleep, waking up about an hour ago, but I could put my head back down now. I'm on antibiotics, called Erythromycin, four times a day. When I was in the doctor's waiting room on Wednesday, there was a big poster - 'doctor does not give antibiotics for the flu' and a list of the remedies you could get over the counter at the chemists. She listened to my chest and immediately prescribed antibiotics. It took longer for her to find some antibiotics that wouldn't kill me than it did to decide to give me some. (I'm allergic to penecillin.) I can't remember the last time I had antibiotics. I don't know if I've ever had any, other than the penecillin that nearly killed me when I was about three.
But all of this is nothing compared to last week. Then I was being taken to hospital in the middle of the night with suspected meningitis, after a call to NHS Direct, and gripping a pillow as Pixie made me every time I had to cough. I'd pulled or torn all the muscles that allow you to cough and it was so bloody painful. I also had a big temperature and very vivid hallucinations. Hours of fun, it was!
And that's my life. :-D