ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls but follows on prompts from [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron, [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah, and [personal profile] nsfwords. It also fills the "healthy touch" square in my 7-31-17 card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. This poem belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series. It relates to events in "An Atmosphere of Shame" and "Everything That Is Real About Us," so read those first or this won't make much sense.

Warning: This poem contains some intense material. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes anxiety, forboding, fear of communication, many references to Shiv's awful past, because the inside of Shiv's head is always a warning, feeling trapped, boundary issues, impaired consent, talking about scars, extreme body modesty, touch aversion, references to past malpractice in mental care, touching which is unwanted but permitted, graphic description of past abuse, poor self-assessment skills regarding physical and mental complaints, defensive lying which has become a reflex to the point that Shiv often can't tell the truth even when it would benefit him more than a lie, vulgar language, resistance to help, minor violence (not directed at a person), emotional flashbacks, overload, desperation, scary basement memories, and other challenges. This poem may be extra-stressful for people with a history of therapeutic abuse, toilet abuse, and/or child molestation. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )

And A piece about tea

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:22 pm[personal profile] aldersprig
aldersprig: picture of tea pouring (tea1)
@DialMforMara prompted me
Write about the sensory experience of drinking your favorite tea or coffee.


If it’s my mug, it’s the best. I tested every mug in the craft festival until I found one that my hands wrapped around perfectly.

The pain in my joints fades. Any chill - there is often chill - is banished. I put the mug against my sternum and breath in the steam and my breathing is easier, my chest hurts less. Everything is calm.

The taste, when it cools enough to drink, is slightly bitter, a tannic brew that clears my throat and wakes my brain. The smell is lighter than the taste - it smells mostly of the steam, most days. Even with the cool enough to drink, the mug is comfortable, nice against my hands. Thick ceramic, it holds the heat for a long time.

Coffee is a drug and a calorie delivery system. Tea is slower, clearer, feeling more like clearing out, cleaning out. My lungs feel more open. My brain feels more open. I take another sip. I take another moment to hold the mug.


Pixel Dragon ficlet

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:09 pm[personal profile] aldersprig
aldersprig: (Dragon Orange)
I was tired and needed some words.
This is Penny.

Penny liked working with the hatchlings.

It wasn’t a particularly true-to-type thing for him, he supposed. Breed nor flight were inclined for such soft pursuits, yet when Sernade had assigned him to the hatchling cave, he’d found himself exactly where he needed to be.

Right now, he was up to his haunches in fur, three brand-new tundra babies curled up against him as if longing to be back in the egg. A youngling fae perched on his shoulder, his mother already having gone to serve the Gladekeeper.

Hatchlings left the nest. Penny understood that. He’d left his own nest, his own flight, his own life, long ago, and come here, never looking back.

But sometimes Penny hated the times when they’d be preparing for some big gift to the Glade. Not that they hadn’t done the same thing back home, more times a year than Serenade’s lair did now.

Watching the juvenile dragons, barely past hatching and already bearing battle scars from their hurried lessons in the arena, Penny wanted to bring them all back into the hatchling cage. He worked the little Gladekeeper puppet as he told the story, yet again, of the history of their lair.

Take this story to the Glade, he told them, for we all go there in the end. Remember for the end of your days - and they will stretch on for a very long time, little ones, by the Glade-keeper’s side or here in your mother’s lair - how we came to be.

He petted soft sapphire fur with a claw and wondered, somehow, if there was a way to keep them all.

Saturday Yardening

Oct. 21st, 2017 03:52 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is partly sunny, breezy, and warm. 

We went out and looked at yardwork projects together.  We picked out a place to plant the big bag of bulbs, and Doug mowed that along with the paths in the prairie garden.  Since we're supposed to get some rain tonight and tomorrow, I'm waiting on that before planting them, so the ground will be softer.

I also picked up sticks around the house, since that yard will need to be mowed later.

Late monarchs are fluttering around the prairie garden.

EDIT 10/21/17: I went back out and dug up some toadstools so the south lot can be mowed.

Posted by Heathen Chinese

Some say the world will end in fire
Some say in ice
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire
— Robert Frost

At the time of writing, 22 different wildfires in Northern California have burned 217,566 acres, killed at least 40 people, and destroyed over 5,700 buildings, including entire neighborhoods in the city of Santa Rosa; an alarming departure from past wildfires, which have mostly affected rural areas. Over 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate and the smoke caused “the worst air quality ever recorded for smoke in many parts of the Bay Area.”


It is common sense that California’s prolonged drought exacerbated many wildfires, but last winter’s pouring rains were no relief, for they too abetted the intensity of the current fires by encouraging the proliferation of annual grasses, which have already died and turned into a fuel source. The fires have also burned the primary wine and marijuana-producing region of California, a region indisputably ruled by the god Dionysos, blackening the skies and bloodying the sun with the ashes of grapevine and cannabis. But Frost’s poem and the current fires bring a different set of powers to mind as well.


In the old Norse poem Vǫluspá, the vǫlva prophecies to Óðinn that at Ragnarök, the forces of Múspellheimr, the world of fire, will attack the Aesir and Vanir:

51. O’er the sea from the east | there sails a ship
With the people of Múspell, | at the helm stands Loki
After the devourer | do the clown’s sons [fíflmegir] follow
And with them | the brother of Byleist goes

52. Surt fares from the south | with the scourge of branches
The sun of the battle-gods | shone from his sword

In Gylfaginning, the fire giant Surt is the guardian of Múspellheim and fights in the vanguard of the “sons of Múspell” as they cross the rainbow bridge Bifröst, causing it to shatter beneath them. While there is considerable contention about potential Christian influence in Vǫluspá and other accounts of Ragnarök, it is undeniable that the sons of Múspell and the “scourge of branches” are loose upon California right now.

Gylfaginning also contains a strange story in which Thorr and Loki travel to the castle of the giant Útgarða-Loki (“Outyard-Loki”), who challenges the travelers to a series of contests. Loki claims that no one is faster at eating than him, and his boast is contested by a being named “Logi:”

Then a trough was taken and borne in upon the hall-floor and filled with flesh; Loki sat down at the one end and Logi at the other, and each ate as fast as he could, and they met in the middle of the trough. By that time Loki had eaten all the meat from the bones, but Logi likewise had eaten all the meat, and the bones with it, and the trough too; and now it seemed to all as if Loki had lost the game.

In the morning, however, Útgarða-Loki reveals that “he who was called Logi was ‘wild-fire,’ and he burned the trough no less swiftly than the meat.” Dagulf Loptson analyzes this story as an illustration of the difference between Loki as sacred cremation fire and Logi as uncontrolled wildfire (150-151). Both are fire, but one preserves the bones for burial, and the other consumes them entirely. One is directed (though never truly tamed), the other is completely unchecked.

When Loki captains Naglfar, the ship made of dead men’s nails, against the Aesir and Vanir at Ragnarök, the distinction between Loki and Logi is effectively incinerated. All the world is cremated, all the world is consumed. Though some modern Heathens see Surt as “king” of Múspellheimr, Gylfaginning portrays him as a guardian, and Loptson theorizes that Loki may instead be seen as ruler of that land, thus explaining his blood-brotherhood with Óðinn as a pact between two kings. Furthermore, by parallel to Freyr and Njörðr, Loptson suggests that “identifying Loki as a hostage king of Múspellheimr may explain his presence in Asgard, as the Muspilli demonstrate no threat to Ásgarðr until after Loki and his children have been imprisoned, thus breaking the truce between the two nations” (139-140). According to this theory, the broken pact is the dissolution of the world.

Apocalyptic Polytheism

[California Office of Emergency Services.]

In Miðgarðr, it is clear that “mankind has broken the covenant with nature,” as Peter Grey writes in Apocalyptic Witchcraft (4). In California, indigenous tribes used to do controlled burns every year, and historian Mike Davis points out that in addition to climate change, relentless capitalist development of wilderness area makes it inevitable that houses will continue to burn:

This is the deadly conceit behind mainstream environmental politics in California: you say fire, I say climate change, and we both ignore the financial and real-estate juggernaut that drives the suburbanisation of our increasingly inflammable wildlands.

It is too late to restore balance between civilized mankind and nature, but that does not mean that we should not respond to the imbalance:

Apocalypse is not escapism as some suggest. It is being held in the jaws at the threshold of life and death. It is sacred confrontation and revelation. It is utopia and dystopia in eternal exchange. It sees through. In Christianity apocalypse is used by the world haters who argue for war, in the New Age as a panacea for those who long for ascension, I use it to awaken us from dream.

There is no other way to talk about apocalypse. I do not choke the inspiration in my throat. I will not simply watch the last dance or describe the dancers without losing myself amongst them. We must be brought to an awareness of the moment. (6)

The eternal exchange between utopia and dystopia is exemplified in the twin prophecies of Badb (here identified with the Morrígan, who in other texts is described as her sister along with Macha) at the end of the Second Battle of Maige Tuired, one full of blessings—”Strength in each/A cup very full/Full of honey”—and the other much bleaker: “False judgements of old men/False precedents of lawyers/Every man a betrayer/Every son a reaver.”

Like Badb Catha, the battle crow dancing on the points of spears, we must lose ourselves in the last dance, which is also the final battle. Our awareness of the moment demands action, even — especially — in the greatest moment of despair. As Grey writes in “A Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft:”

13. The War is upon us.

14. Choose then to become a Mask.

15. Those with nothing left to lose will dare all.


Constant disaster (from the Latin roots dis + aster, “an unfavorable star”) is the new normal in these times of violent climate change, but it is the old normal as well. As was written on the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief page on so-called Columbus Day, “we must remember that for some communities, disasters have been unfolding for centuries, depriving people of life and liberty every single day.” In the wake of disaster, the state prioritizes maintaining its control above all else. Officials of the city of Santa Rosa imposed a curfew within evacuation zones to prevent looting. In Puerto Rico, police and military personnel stay “in luxury hotels with power, clean water, dedicated catered buffets, air conditioning and internet service while elderly residents with cardiac conditions lie sweltering in structurally damaged homes without access to any of the above.” And on October 16th, SWAT teams tellingly decided to spend their resources raiding Mutual Aid Disaster Relief’s base of operations in Puerto Rico.

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a network founded on the principles of solidarity, mutual aid, and autonomous direct action. Their mission statement frames their project as “solidarity not charity,” explaining that they believe that “disaster survivors themselves are the first responders to crisis; the role of outside aid is to support survivors to support each other.”

They write in their guiding principles that they understand their relationships to be reciprocal: “We seek as much as possible to break down the barriers between givers and receivers of aid. Everyone has something to teach and something to share. And we all need assistance at times.” The ancient Greek word ξένος (xenos) meant both “host” and “guest,” for there was an understanding that the hospitality of the host would be reciprocated if they ever traveled to the home of their guest, a relationship divinely protected by Zeus under his epithet Xenios. In the Bay Area, mutual aid for wildfire survivors has already begun, both organized by people in the North Bay and with people driving up from other parts of the Bay Area to distribute supplies and volunteer medical skills.

Disasters also bring social tensions to the fore: “We recognize that disasters are times of localized upheaval and suffering, but are also opportunities for the rich and powerful to consolidate power.” In California, as elsewhere, one of the major tensions and consolidations of power is prison.

Prisoner firefighters. [CalFire].

The wildfires are being fought by prisoners: “The inmates, who roughly equal the state’s civilian firefighting forces . . . . receive $2 per day for their time spent in any of the state’s 43 inmate firefighter camps, and an extra dollar per hour while on a fire line.” The state has proven extremely unwilling to relinquish any part of its slave labor force. In 2016, when the state of California was considering reducing its prison population of 115,000 prisoners, “lawyers in the office of then-Attorney General Kamala Harris said that releasing too many prisoners ‘at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought.’” The state is literally keeping people in prison longer in order to be able to send them to fight fires. In North Carolina, however, fire provided an opportunity for liberation, the latest in a wave of prison revolts across the country. On Oct. 12 at the Pasquotank Correctional Institution, “inmates started a fire around 3 p.m. at the prison’s specialty sewing plant, where about 30 inmates work. After the fire was started, several inmates tried unsuccessfully to escape.” Dionysos, destroyer of the dungeons and palace of Pentheus, inciter of slave revolts, possesses the epithet Eleutherios: Liberator. Even as his vineyards and marijuana grows burn, a chthonic sacrifice by fire, the use of prisoner firefighters does not escape his notice. Nor should it escape ours.

When I was still a little child, I admired the hardened convict on whom the prison door will always close; I used to visit the bars and the rented rooms his presence had consecrated; I saw with his eyes the blue sky and the flower-filled work of the fields; I followed his fatal scent through city streets. He had more strength than the saints, more sense than any explorer – and he, he alone! was witness to his glory and his rightness.

Along the open road on winter nights, homeless, cold, and hungry, one voice gripped my frozen heart: “Weakness or strength: you exist, that is strength.” You don’t know where you are going or why you are going, go in everywhere, answer everyone. No one will kill you, any more than if you were a corpse.” In the morning my eyes were so vacant and my face so dead, that the people I met may not even have seen me.

In cities, mud went suddenly red and black, like a mirror when a lamp in the next room moves, like treasure in the forest! Good luck, I cried, and I saw a sea of flames and smoke rise to heaven; and left and right, all wealth exploded like a billion thunderbolts.

-Arthur Rimbaud, A Season in Hell

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.


Oct. 21st, 2017 05:24 am[personal profile] dglenn
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)

"Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
 Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
 I know you hate the 'Russkies,' and wish they'd go away,
 But dodging falling A-bombs would just ruin our whole day!
 Don't push that button! Jesus, Ron!
 Don't push that button! Or we're gone.
 A war would be the worst thing our world had yet endured.
 Destruction would be mutu'lly assured."

  -- from "H
e Asked
a Question" by Roger Clendening II (to the tune of Duane Elms' "Don't Push That Button")

ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by the "teamfamily" square in my 5-29-17 card for the Pride Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem deals with some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features bald women, messy medical details, references to past cases of cancer, infertility, distracting visions of Amazon life, historic references to dubious consent and inane attitudes, fostering, failed conversions, frank talk about death, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
Risk Everything for Family
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 5 of 14
word count (story only): 1507

:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, the Mercedes story set, and picks up immediately after “Popping In,” continuing from Graham's viewpoint. ::

Aidan shrugged. “She's a foster child right now. That means that the psychologist at the relevant office will want to observe her several more times before the adoption is fully approved and legal. I know that she will need more therapy than they have time for in a dozen years, let alone one, but… I'm hoping that the two of you will be a good match, since I doubt that she'll be ready for preschool at four without a great many hours of effort from all of us.”

Graham nodded. “Okay, got it.” He pointed at Aidan. “Just so you know, I'm a lot harder to scare off than the feeble effort you're putting in here.”

“Feeble effort?” Aidan's eyes widened. Slowly, he began to snicker. “You're even braver than I suspected.”

“Brave, perhaps reckless, but definitely focused and determined,” Graham agreed, sticking out his hand. “I am also firmly on your side and Saraphina's. Truce?”

“It wasn't a conflict, or even a full-scale test,” Aidan admitted, clasping forearms with the blond. “Friends,” he offered.
Read more... )

Today's Adventures

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:12 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today we saw the Ikebana exhibit at Krannert.  It was small, but very pretty.  It's worth going if you're in Champaign-Urbana or very close, but not worth a longer drive.  Only the demonstration is listed on the website, but the free exhibit is open Friday-Sunday.  They had many things in styles I recognized, and a few plants I'd never seen before.  Also a style I'd never seen before: bark, metal, and flowers all glued to a flat board.  That was pretty cool.  There were several of the classic spiral vases with two openings.  My favorite, however, was an arrangement which used a big silver dryer hose curled into the same spiral -- simultaneously referencing the very old spiral vase and modern Japan's tech base and love of all things robotic.  It was just SO JAPANESE.  But I bet it's like the Hokusai wave, nobody will get it for a few decades and then suddenly it will be the most Japanese thing EVAR.

I couldn't help think of Terramagne.  People there often weave their hobbies into work.  If you go into a business, you may see the owner's collection of china plates over the door.  Things like flower arranging are often done by clubs, where you can pay a higher fee to take it home to display in your house or business, but a lower fee if you just want to make something fun and then it goes to a library or hospital or women's shelter where lots of people can enjoy it.  And all that stuff gives folks something to talk about as they go through their day.  "Did you see the new painting in Burger Bash?  Carrie's son did a giraffe this time." "Yeah, he's getting really good."

We visited with my parents and dropped off a batch of poetry, already sponsored.  I don't know whether I'll have time to post this tonight or wait until tomorrow.  You can look forward to "Death Whispers at the Tip," "Capable of Stretching," and "A Moment of Atonement."

For supper, we went to a new Japanese restaurant in Danville called Fujiyama.  I am only somewhat a fan of Japanese cuisine -- I love sushi but can't each much of it -- and not at all a fan of flaming tables.  This place greatly exceeded my expectations.  First, the performance area is separate from the regular dining area, so that was a big relief.  People who want excitement can get it without bothering people who want to relax.  \o/  Second, the menu has lots of tasty things to choose from.  I picked out two different appetizers to fill up on (pork dumplings and coconut shrimp) and then had a piece of the sushi that other folks got (California Roll, Spicy Volcano Roll, and Bayridge Roll.  Where things really got interesting: they will make "reasonable substitutions" in the sushi constructions if there are things you can't eat; replacing avocado with cream cheese is a standard  substitution.  :D  I have never found a sushi place that would change anything, they all acted like their recipes were dipped in gold or something.  So if you are looking for a special-diet-friendly sushi place, check out Fujiyama.

My father sent home a bag of 30 bulbs, which at a quick glance seem to be a random mix of tulips and daffodils.  I think I will plant them in the prairie garden en masse.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 I love this episode, especially the fanservice in the final exchange.

Posted by Manny Tejeda-Moreno

I remember certain parts distinctly; or I should better say that the images are clear; some details less so. I was cooking something, but not in a house. It was a professional kitche; there were lots of pots and a few Dutch ovens. I also remember seeing a tin food mill hanging close by. I know I was preparing some kind of food, but it wasn’t a quick dish.  For some reason, I think it was a terrine of some sort. As I looked away from what I was cooking toward the entrance of the area, something happened. The pain was sharp and sudden. I think it was in the chest. I remember holding myself up with my left hand against the stove and a hat —my hat — flew  off to the side and on to a pilot flame. It burned, and I got burned trying to hold myself up, but pulling my hand away made me fall to the floor.


Then, when I hit the floor, I could see beneath the stove. It was black with charcoal dust, and I thought it needed cleaning. A moment later, someone was yelling — it was very muffled — and then I was flipped over. The rest I remember even less well. The yelling faded away. It got darker — at least as I remember it now it was a shimmering, odd sort of dark foam – almost like the edge of a fog made from soap suds, and it was sort of everywhere with no starting point. I stood up and waited around. Someone was there, but I don’t remember who.

The next thing I remember is sitting under a tamarind tree at home. It was the one in our backyard, my hands were covered in sticky pulp and I still had pieces of the husk attached to my skin from the goo. I remember more stuff later,  just as you’d expect.

The tamarind tree is my earliest memory. The earlier story is the one I told my parents as soon as I could talk. It didn’t go over well.

In a Christian-dominated society, toddlers talking of such things is neither entertainment nor encouraged. It’s an unappreciated and unwanted type of childhood storytelling that may require a physician, an exorcist or both. Such memories of survival are described by most Christian faiths as the workings of demons. Preexistence is heresy, And when I occasionally tell the story even now, I still creep people out, and it goes from discomfort to fear to anger.

Other faiths and cultures aren’t so sure about the demonic origins of memories crossing the death passage. The transmigration of souls is/was commonly accepted, not just among Hellenic Greeks but by Romans, Celts, Hindus, Jains as well as in the Yoruba faith. In the Yoruba tradition, reincarnation can happen and is often familial. The expectation of reincarnation is even embedded in names like Babatunde which means, “father returns.” While some souls may rest elsewhere, some come back.

I was fortunate. I was raised at the confluence of three religions, and what Catholics and Jews could not explain, the Yoruba could. My experiences were affirmed as normal, requiring spiritual rather than psychiatric attention.

When we approach the Samhain season, I end up reflecting on those childhood memories, and yeah, I really do get the creepy part about it. The transmigration of souls does imply that some of us are our own ancestors (whoops, eerie). I’ve seen the movies too, about the creepy kid doing weird things (someone cue Tubular Bells).

All of that doesn’t quite explain the emotionally-charged reactions around personal reincarnation stories. Reactions that range from simple disbelief to disturbing glances to calls for diagnosis, almost exclusively from parents. It’s not clear why, either. Parents may justifiably worry for their child’s welfare, but what I have come to learn is that these stories are troubling because they confront the illusion of control. The child becomes a vehicle for something that adults cannot explain nor command. Parents look for causes, altering the narrative from normalcy to pathology, from illness to demons; usually never considering that it might be part of the natural flow of the universe.

Reincarnation doesn’t just complicate our views on death, it complicates our view of children. Some children may have memories that extend their experience beyond their age. The presence of a past life suggests that age and agency are not conjoined, and while that may raise questions about the child’s consent to all sorts of things from  adultism to imposed medical procedures to belief indoctrination and faith involvement, it also raises questions about the perceived — even desired — order of the universe. The challenge when children remember is accepting the inability to explain what has occurred. The dominant faiths of the West are ill-equipped to offer guidance, so the usual formulas for control, like invoking authority, become lame. Offering explanations like possession and witchcraft means adults can avoid an uncomfortable confrontation with the unknown.

The very idea that souls transmigrate deeply challenges priestly authority and the common expectations of a well-behaved monotheistic universe. To obviate the structure is to undermine a basic belief that whereby choice and free will cannot extend beyond death. It is like accessing “other memory” with no spiritual mechanism to explain how it happens other than heresy, anathema or abomination. Monotheism isn’t required either.  The dogmatic mechanics of scientism will also drive emotional stances. When there is no explanation for what is happening, there is no means to control what is happening. That lack of control produces only fear.

Most seriously, in order to maintain control and authority, we suppress the sense of the natural. In the case of a child remembering, adults will subordinate a child’s sense of the universe. We often demand the children align their spiritual sense with adult expectations: a path that leads to fearing the spiritual world instead of working in it.

Quelling our inborn spiritual sense is a poor choice, one that our community has routinely experienced, that our sense of the world is flawed. I would argue it’s even a form of violence, a type that many of us have experienced. We collectively feel the onslaught of reeducation to mis-align our spiritual experience of preexistence with foreboding, and even oppressive adult spiritual architecture. We are victimized when people in power insist that our spiritual experiences are not real, merely the product of delusion or indigestion. Through it all, that tactic tears away at our self-esteem and trust our own spiritual sense. We have each survived this kind of gas-lighting as adults and as children.

Access to that spiritual ancestry is much of what Samhain is about, and it is the one sabbat that survived oppression by recognizing our access to spirit, now and as children. Long before the modern Pagan revival movement, our ancestors used trick-or-treating to resuscitate what had become a minor, lost even dead (pun intended) holiday.  The modern rise of Halloween happened through children. In a way, ancestors called back the sabbat of Samhain through its secular counterpart, Halloween. For many Pagans and non-Pagans, Halloween became a spiritual gateway: some fear it, some do not. Halloween may not be a sabbat, but it is certainly an entryway. There is something universally — even intentionally — clear about this holiday; something more is happening than just candy and costumes.

Our ancestors can be crafty folk. Whether present as children or guiding our society from the far side of the veil, they had a remedy to restore their presence, heal our senses and break our indoctrination through Halloween, we reclaimed Samhain. That reclamation is now a powerful blessing. It’s as much an invitation to explore the veil that we may have crossed when we entered this life, as it is an opportunity to explore it with the agency we may have denied children, and been denied as children. That is ancestral magic at work and an ancestral gift for us to honor this season. Remembering, perhaps, that some of our ancestors may already be here, and asking for candy.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.


Oct. 20th, 2017 05:24 am[personal profile] dglenn
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (cyhmn)

"Oh, take your time don't live too fast.
 Troubles will come and they will pass.
 Go find a woman you'll find love
 And don't forget son there is someone up above.
 And be a simple kind of man
 Be something you love and understand [...]"

  -- from "Simple Man", written by Ronnie Van Zant (b. 1948
d. 1977-10-20)
and Gary Rossington (b. 1951-12-04)

ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
A library realized that homeless people were hiding books under cushions to finish later.  So the librarians designated a shelf for homeless readers to store their "in use" books.  This is a replicable solution that any library can use if they have a similar challenge.  Meanwhile over in Terramagne, this sort of thing is common.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
Risk Everything for Family
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 4 of 14
word count (story only): 1310

:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, the Mercedes story set, and picks up immediately after “Popping In,” continuing from Graham's viewpoint. ::

“Abioud,” Aidan began, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “would you please keep an eye on Saraphina and Edison while I offer the good doctor a brief magical mystery tour?”

Graham chortled. “That's a description I can get behind!” He held up a finger. “One thing. If Aida offers to spar with you in the salle, I insist that full padding be worn.”

“I'm not much of a fighter, but I know enough not to hurt a teenage girl,” Abioud protested.

“The padding is for you!” Graham countered, still smiling. “Aida is… relentless, even when she's trying to relax. It's just her nature, even when asking you to spar is a gesture of friendship to her. If you don't want to risk it, believe me, I understand. It's perfectly fine to say no If she asks, though, she's likely to be ready to socialize a little more.”

“You have an interesting family,” Aidan mused, laughing softly.

“The longer you associate with us, the more that word will drift toward 'terrifying' instead,” Graham offered, then licked his finger and pretended to check for breezes. “So far, the wind is holding steady at Interesting-by-Weird-Interesting.”
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ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem is spillover from the November 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron, and Anonymous on Dreamwidth. It also fills the "drunk girl / guy" square in my 11-1-16 card for the Fall Festival bingo. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Mallory thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes confusion, indecision, college party hijinks, Whitney sneaking alcohol into a non-alcoholic event, binge-watching television, Whitney passing out drunk on the couch, reference to past alcohol misuse, reference to past rape, Mallory having a panic attack with awful flashbacks and other intrusive images, Heron calling the Student Health Center for Whitney, Mallory crying on Heron, and other angst. But there's a lot of fluff too. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. However, this is a major plot point, so skipping it would leave a gap.

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Thursday Yardening

Oct. 19th, 2017 05:13 pm[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Today is sunny and warm.  Birds are fluttering around.

We went out and scraped ash out of the firepit, so we can build a fire for Samhain.  Then we picked up sticks out of a big pile of leaves that Doug raked up earlier. 
happydork: A graph-theoretic tree in the shape of a dog, with the caption "Tree (with bark)" (Default)
So, I have a (totally fine, not at all at all cancer-y) lump in my breast, and I’m going to talk about it here because:

1) Personalisation is a really important public health tool — it’s a good idea for those of us with breasts to check them regularly for lumps, and my talking about finding a lump will make many of you, the people who care about and relate to me, more likely to do so.

2) I think there’s a lot that’s scary and unknown about finding a lump, and I’d like to do a tiny bit to reduce that — I can’t make it not scary and not unknown, but I can tell you about my non-scary experience, and give you (especially those of you in the UK health system) an idea about what to expect from the process.

3) When I was thinking about writing something about this, I realised that when I speak/write publicly about my own health, it’s often (always?) with the aim of tackling stigma. So for me, it’s an interesting exercise to write about something that isn’t at all stigmatised, and I’m interested to see what I learn through doing so.

I also want to emphasise that not only is everything totally fine, not at all cancer-y, but also I’m fine. This can be a very difficult experience for people who have the exact same outcome as me, but for me, not so much.

All of which leads us to:

Cut for not-cancer )

Posted by Liz Williams

UNITED KINGDOM — A petition has been circulating around UK-based Pagan websites calling on Parliament to act in the wake of a proposed plan by the National Health Service (NHSE) England to stop prescriptions for herbal, homeopathic and other alternative forms of medicine.


Up until now, the NHSE has prescribed herbal and homeopathic remedies for patients. For example, it is used for those those patients who suffer from severe side effects caused by pharmaceutical medicines or for patients who have experienced no improvement in their health from those medicines.

In the UK, treatment is free at the point of delivery, although patients have to pay a basic fee (£8.60 per item) for each prescription. This chosen route has not been without controversy historically speaking. In 2010, Tom Dolphin, a leading member of the British Medical Association described homeopathy as ‘witchcraft.’

The NHS system is partly funded by a National Insurance scheme, which British citizens pay into through wages.

While it is of course possible to take out private health insurance, the NHS was founded in order to provide for everyone, including the poorest and most marginalized members of society. The system has been extended in recent years to include some alternative treatments. Over the last 5 years, the NHSE has spent over £600,000 on homeopathic treatments.

However, as noted, there has been dissent based on the assertion that homeopathic remedies are not evidence based. Now, the NHSE is saying that prescribing homeopathic and herbal remedies is a ‘misuse of scarce funds.’ NHSE chief Simon Stevens commented that “at best homeopathy is a placebo.”  He said that “NHSE funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work.”

The NHSE includes 16 other treatments in the ban and is encouraging patients to buy over-the-counter remedies for complaints, such as indigestion and sore throats with the aim of saving approximately £250 million a year. The ban covers some 17 items, including herbal medicines, Omega-3 fatty acids, liniments, and travel vaccines.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs (general practitioners), said that reducing prescription costs was desirable, but warned that the more vulnerable members of society could be significantly affected.

Stokes-Lampard said, “If patients are in a position that they can afford to buy over the counter medicines and products, then we would encourage them to do so rather than request a prescription – but imposing blanket policies on GPs, that don’t take into account demographic differences across the country, or that don’t allow for flexibility for a patient’s individual circumstances, risks alienating the most vulnerable in society.”

Michael Marshall is the President of the Good Thinking Society, which has threatened to put the Department of Health up for a judicial review if it failed to blacklist homeopathic and herbal preparations. Marshall states:

This is very welcome news…Every credible medical body certainly knows that homeopathic remedies are just not effective for any conditions at all and it is great to see this strong statement from NHS England officially acknowledging the fact.

However, Cristal Sumner, chief executive of the British Homeopathic Association and the creator of the recent petition, says the NHS plans were “bad for its already overstretched budget and for patients.”

She has criticized the report used to draw up the new guidelines, commenting that, “This recommendation is not cost effective as patients will be prescribed more expensive conventional drugs in place of homeopathy, which defeats the object of the exercise.”

Don Redding, policy director at National Voices, an umbrella organization which covers 140 health care charities, including the British Heart Foundation, suggests that this is bringing charges in through the back door.

He believes that that those who are unable to pay will now be unable to obtain treatment. This, he says, violates the ‘free at the point of use’ principle which underpins the foundation of the NHS.

Alternative medicine is a topic of considerable interest within the Pagan community. However, Pagans appear to be divided on the issue.

Those who practice alternative forms of medicine are skeptical about the ban and have been publicizing the petition, while others have reservations about the evidence-basis of some alternative practices.

Concerns have also been raised about making rash and unsupported equivalences between different types of practices.

Helen Compton says, “My initial reaction to the ban, as a herbalist, is that they are incorrectly lumping us in with homeopaths, nothing wrong with homeopathy but herbalism is a very different healing modality. ”

“The intent behind this incorrect conflation seems generally malign, to show herbal medicine as an ineffective waste of time,” Compton explains.

“Also, seems that it doesn’t make clear that herbal medicine largely isn’t available on the NHS, the ban concerns things like senna etc. It is limiting patient choice of generally safe and cheap medicines, not logical and I sense the hand of large pharmaceutical companies somewhere behind this.”

However, not all Pagans are critical of the ban, with some calling for tighter controls on alternative medicine and more extensive use of peer review.

Herbalist Helen Maria says, “unless they’ve been properly trained doctors are not qualified to prescribe herbs. It is not symptomatic prescribing like pharmaceutical drugs.”

Maria goes on to further explain, “[Herbalism] is individualistic and looking at the root cause. It is not really possible to go nettle = eczema because the cause of everyone’s eczema is different. Therefore I’m sort of happy they’re not doing it. On the other hand this smacks of further marginalising, and discrediting other healing modalities.”

There is a general consensus, however, that the ban is part of a move to induce patients to pay for a greater range of over-the-counter remedies, which is in turn an aspect of the funding crisis currently experienced by the British National Health Service.

The online petition, which has now reached over 16,000 signatures, will be open to signatures through March 13, 2018.

Finish It: Let Him Go

Oct. 19th, 2017 01:13 pm[personal profile] aldersprig
aldersprig: (Viddie)
The last Finish It! before NanoWrimo: Tilden, from This Story

It had been two weeks.

Tilden had repeated, calmly but insistently, “you should let me go.” Every night. Every time Laufeia ordered him to do something unpleasant – and Laufeia had a taste for rather unpleasant things. Every time she ordered him naked. “You should let me go.”

Eleri, whose own Kept had walked into the collar willingly and who had not nearly the taste for cruelty as her friend, found herself in a bit of a tight spot. She could advise Laufeia to release Tilden – but every time she did, Laufeia got a little nastier, a little angrier. She didn’t just take it out on Tilden, either, but on Eleri and on Caetano and on their third crew-mate, Manlius, who took it all in without seeming to notice or care. Then again, Manlius took in everything. Only at dawn did you get a sense for how stressed he’d been, as the “sun rose” in his room with intense heat or nothing at all.

read on…

April 2016

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