Something Sacred - Prologue

metafiction, working title: Something Sacred.

I am thinking about publishing this.  Any suggestions about appropriate publishers would be appreciated.

For Peggy Chestnutt ~ may your spirit dance in eternal bliss

Something Sacred - Prologue

In the time of antiquity, back before our written records, we are told that humans and gods freely played together and created a beautiful city in the heart of an exquisite landscape where all were free yet happy to cooperate so all might share a common bounty and all might know the joy of engaging each in their true work, respecting the best in all. It was a peaceful time, a happy time, with energy displayed in healthful work and joyous art. Every day was celebrated and every contribution honored.

But then the gods, who are immortal and powerful, grew away from their human playmates. The games they played became more sophisticated, less easily joined in. They developed concerns with a longer view and devised complicated scenarios, complex barriers which humans could rarely overcome to play in the fields of eternity. We became confused and frightened. Some of us would develop feelings of superiority believing we were the arbiters of rights and wrongs, that we deserved and needed power over others, to make our dictates law and punish those who did not properly honor and obey. Others developed feelings of inferiority and great fear of insecurity. We started to believe that there could not possibly be enough bounty for all, that we must hoard and fight off those who might take what we thought of as ours. Instead of happily joining our efforts to assure common good, to find equitable and practical solutions to problems, to enjoy and honor our individual abilities, we broke off into groups that underscored and denigrated our differences. We expended our energy inventing weapons, teaching and learning war. We praised our warriors, poisoned our lands and our minds with the detritus of hatred, passed on violence, discord, deep pain within our families and against our neighbors. We despoiled the gifts the gods had freely given us, repurposing them as game pieces against each other, even against our own best interests, even against the peace-loving, hopeful and ecstatic parts of ourselves. We dishonored the gods and all they had given us. We dishonored our own beautiful potential.

The gods were horrified and disgusted when they saw what we had done. Being ancient and wise, they did understand that they had a part in the blame. They tried to tell us where we had gone wrong, tried to enter our hearts and minds to lead us back to our true paths. But humans, for the most part, had gotten too caught up in our own dramas, feuds, thirst for vengeance or wealth, power, fame. The newer generations had been raised with these values rather than valuing themselves and their collective talents. They had never developed an interest in working and growing together at a high level of prosperity for all. They had learned, instead, to be bitter and angry and depressed, impatient for wealth that even when attained never provided the peace they unknowingly yearned for.

The gods held council and discussed the tragedy that the humans had made of their lives. Taking the long, immortal, view, they decided upon an experimental course of action. They would plant songs, ideas, legends, methods of discovering sacred knowledge. They would at whim walk among us and whisper or sing, act out, prophesize for any who were strong enough or weak enough or somehow developed the space in their minds to understand. They would plant the seeds of salvation in a variety of environments, then watch to see if any sprouts took hold. In this way they hoped to slowly encourage us to find our way back to our true nature as vibrant beings, to help us relearn, become the glorious people we were meant to be.

That is the story we tell. But, of course, we humans had become entrenched in our unhappy ways. A promise of something better was not sufficient motivation to change. The gods devised crises of various kinds and durations to shake up our misaligned order and give us new configurations to deal with, in the hope that in being forced to learn new ways we would eventually turn to the abandoned way that had given us so much. And, despite their horror, disgust and sadness, the gods found joy in their efforts made into games for their own amusement. Some of these games, their stories, are passed down as legends for celebrations or teaching, or told by our storytellers as spontaneous inspiration.

I am an old woman. I have lived a blessed life, with so many wonderful and terrible memories to keep me company. I have gone on a marvelous journey and won the greatest prize. Well, actually, there were several journeys. There were long, dangerous roads and dramatic adventures. There was love; there was loss. There was dedication to an underlying truth that carried me along even when all hope and reason strayed. I have grown and learned from experience, into a deeper wisdom, a luminous joy that is all I could ever be, till it flows out from me into all I perceive and into the hearts of my people to go on into those who will come.


I was born in the City, the only city on my world. It is a huge and sprawling center of culture, seat of government, depository of knowledge. There are marvelous tall buildings, street and underground transportation systems, concourses of commerce, magnificent museums, libraries, concert halls, theaters. There are public ceremonies of much pomp and circumstance. There are great universities, industrial complexes, sports arenas, and all manner of commercial enterprises. It is an efficiently run city where public servants take pride in their work and everything is kept clean and gleaming. I only have vague memories, but this is what I have been told, and have seen in elders’ memories. The military trains in camps on the outskirts of the City, not too far from the prison camps, from which many of the troops are recruited. Nothing is left to chance; little is wasted. There is freedom for the citizens in their private lives, but only insofar as they obey the public rules.

My name is Caela, and I am of the witchfolk. That is what we were called on our home world, Earth, centuries ago. Where shall I begin? There was that ancient era when a craze for genetic solutions came with advances in genetic research, as the histories tell us. Fashionable parents of that age reveled in their ability to choose special gifts for their offspring through the miracle of gene manipulation. It was thought by someone with the clout for the research dollars that there was a crying need in their society for people with enhanced empathy, minds that could probe the minds of others -- maybe as clinicians, maybe as spies, maybe as weapons. We were used for all of those purposes, and not to our benefit. We became vilified, feared and hated by those who did not share our gift. Naturally, we tended to band together, to marry and live within communities of our own, of those who neither feared nor revered us but simply knew us as we were, as people much like themselves. Bonding together in enclaves within which we felt accepted and protected, we left the others to develop their fears and resentments. We had natural advantages in myriad social situations, able to know what others felt, to enhance those feelings or divert them to our purpose. Of course, some of us had used those advantages unscrupulously -- although that very empathy in some ways puts a damper on the advantages of manipulation over time. Thus, there was actually much less abuse of our abilities than was expected by the general population.

Over time many of us learned to keep our abilities to ourselves and blend in more with the mainstream. By the time of the big wave of colonization, most of us were quietly assimilated, not particularly noteworthy. Still, many of us hoped for less constrained lives on a brand new world. Those who came to this planet, Eden, so named because of its bountiful natural resources, did so as common recruits like anyone else, looking for the possibility of paradise. Genetic engineering technologies did not ultimately solve Earth's problems of over-population, pollution, depletion of resources. The solution came from the science of space travel, the brave new adventure of colonization. As star travel and planetary exploration permeated the media and popular imagination, the idea of leaving the troubles of Earth behind to start over on other worlds became a common dream. People from all walks of life became enamored of their own fantasies of what they could become given such a new start. People from all walks of life ultimately made the journeys, took the chance, found themselves vastly far from home, and, perforce, created new homes which they were privileged to build from scratch, in league with the others who had made the journey with them.

Manifesting Destiny: Pages from Persephone’s Notebook

Manifesting Destiny: Pages from Persephone’s Notebook

Warm candleglow through the cold windowpane. I imagine gentle happy family life within. Out here, in the dark and vision blurring mist, I feel the sadness, in my throat, welling up in my eyes, softening my heartbeat into tiny bleats of pathos. I am walking without purpose, or with the purpose of walking, movement, letting the evening take me where it will. It is our sadness, more than anger, more than fear, more than love, that bonds us in that chain of humanity. Swimming through our tears, feeling the dense saltiness upon our skin, upon our differentiating shields, we are creatures more profound, more sensitively layered, than in other guises.

Sad songs surprising us on the radio, or played incessantly on the jukebox or cd or other technology, the strains grab us by our groins and vital organs. Sad movies make me tear up and want to hide, or hug someone very dearly, very closely, denying any space between. There is bravery in sadness truly engaged. Essential lessons unwind into wisdom through the loving eyes of sadness. Crying out the pain can reveal beneath a wild wind tunnel of new energy generation. I will sing my sadness to the wind and rain and mist; I will cry it onto dusty deserts and rocky plains. I will wash in mighty oceans of all the sadness of the world.

Tonight I will slowly walk the dark and misty streets, peering into warmly glowing households, dreaming so clearly all the faces of sadness I have ever seen or imagined. I will imagine the beauty of gentle happy people, unaware of my presence outside their sphere. I will take a moment to taste the salt of my tears, which barely increase the misty moisture upon my face. I will laugh, silently, with true mirth, at my sobriety, and continue walking, wherever this evening leads.

Of course I wound up walking home, as I knew I would. No mood can sustain me for long. Besides, the mist was gradually developing into rain; and I didn't want to deal with all the maudlin wetness. I didn't want to deal with the eternal roommate dramas either. Hard to avoid them since my bunk is the fold-out living room couch. Yeah, yeah, I need to get a better job and find a room of my own. Don't let them fool you, kiddies, writing is not a ticket to fame and fortune. (My musician roomies would tell you the same of their own folly; but they get to be louder.) Mostly I live in this notebook. No, not a computer, the old-fashioned bound paper variety, with a ballpoint pen stuck into the spiral binding.

They were watching some interminable awful movie with a lot of loud explosions and no discernable plot, so I went into the kitchen "to write." Actually, to drink watery cocoa and dream about my options.

"I particularly like the one about working as a foreign correspondent under incredibly sexy circumstances," poked in my nosy roommate Jeff, the sax player. "The gay sax-player who is apparently not sexy, not having been laid in months -- I'm telling them all about you, Jeff!" Reading over my shoulder instead of watching that obnoxious crap he'd left blaring on the tv in what passes for my bedroom; I get no respect.

My own favorite dream option is learning enough real magic to pull in real high-paying gigs that would allow me to express my inner passions with integrity while allowing a serious upgrade in my lifestyle. I mean, I've always been a witch, ask my old nemeses from high school. Why not use my embarrassing weirdness to my advantage? Writing for so-called movement rags may be romantic, but comes up oh so low on the pay-scale. It would take real magic to fit my talents to a wage I could really live on. I've tried all that acting as if and affirmation crap. All I got was some weirdo boyfriends (I'd rather not talk about it.) that I somehow convinced myself were manifestations or destiny or -- I'd really rather not talk about it!

What I do want to talk about, think about, find the key to, is that real, manifesting as bankable currency without sacrificing my soul, magical spell. Magic as in what I need is a miracle, Goddesses. I admit my total incompetence to run my life in any way that does not result in disaster. Please, prove to me that you ethereal powerful ones exist, and show me the friggin', frackin' expletive exalted way!

Maybe I need to concentrate on a specific Goddess. Juno was the Queen in the Roman pantheon, but she seems kind of forbidding and self-serving. Besides, I was born in early December, and she probably wouldn't want to bestow her largesse on one of Jupiter's daughters. Maybe Athena, such a daddy's girl, and well-disposed to the arts and wisdom. Then there's Brigid, the Celtic Goddess of creativity. Surely she would be sympathetic to my plight. Or why not send out a broadcast prayer to all the Goddesses who have an interest in promoting practitioners of communicative creativity? I like that image, a consortium of creativity Goddesses taking grant requests from supplicants such as I.

Oh good! The movie's over and everyone's gone to bed. Maybe I should work out a prayer, spell, grant proposal, the specific details of what I want bestowed? I could figure out a ceremony. I know I've got some candles, incense, tarot cards. What would be the card to concentrate on? There's no reason why this shouldn't work better than what I've been doing.

Moon in Scorpio

I did my private ritual secret ceremony just like the old sorcerers, and went promptly to sleep to find oracles in my dreams. My dreams were as dense and senseless as ever. Pretty images, some spectacular action scenes, but no obvious omens. Yet another example of how I never seem to be able to behave as expected.

A small indication of possible success, however, over these next few weeks I notice more invitations and opportunities opening to paying gigs. Low-paying for sure, but better than heretofore. I seem to be getting more popularity on the public reading circuit for a take of the door, and more articles accepted to paying publications. Certainly no great fame and fortune beating down my door, but I am beginning to feel a bit more like a respected professional. This is of course a wonderful antidote to despondent self-loathing.

Slowly, but steadily, my life seems to be going my way. I just found out that Jeff is moving in with his new bf (That was fast! I guess he doesn't want to give him a chance to get away.). Great timing for me, as I'm just getting to the point of bringing in enough to afford his, about to be my, own private room. So, why do I feel so pent-up frustrated, so angry? Grrr!

I need to get out and take a walk in the twilight, mix it up with the darkening sky, where I can watch my thoughts reverberate with the cosmic sphere.

Such a cool, calm, clear evening it appears out here. Perhaps it is clear enough to find that omen I've been searching for. I'm feeling change is imminent, not just these piddling cosmetic ripples moving through my life. Why am I so angry? What am I supposed to do with this building roar of energy demanding expression?

Maybe it's a defense against sadness, the sadness of being alone? Why should I feel sad about that when I have the marvelous adaptability and imagination of me? Then, why am I angry? It's an angry world. I am angry to be forced into being a part of it when all I want is beautiful fantasy. I am angry with the stupidity that responds with derision to my cries for peace, reason, compassion, even joy. I am angry that I am a fool who doesn't know what do say, how to say it, how to make something real and beautiful and well understood fall magically into place.

I look into the eyes of my anger and see my failure to communicate. I don't know what to say to capture that energy and turn it into practical creativity moving at the pace of challenge and change. Or maybe I am just lonely, turning my face from the cruelty of the world back on to my own.

My Mom named me Persephone. I guess it was some romantic notion. Mom's a bit of a dreamer. She had a classical education and lofty ideals; but now she makes her living at a secure middle-management job, tending the government's bureaucracy.

Dad's a dreamer, too. He dreamed himself into another family in another state. We haven't heard from him in years. We're just a typical American broken nucleus family, unconnected. I like the stories in my head about when I was little. They aren't me.

I like to discover myself by surprise, when I'm writing or in conversation. I am delighted by my own spontaneity, then go over it very carefully for clues about myself. I understand this may be significant of insanity. Yet, I'm so damned harmless it really doesn't matter if I think I'm cool, deep, mysterious.

Tonight, after the reading, I got that tired complaint about my "pretentious witch name." If I did give myself a witch name, it would be much more provocative. Maybe Phoenixfire. Everyone admires the reborn bird, but what about the purifying flame that gives birth to the resurrection?

Who was Persephone anyway? She was defined by her relationships. Her mother's daughter, her husband's wife, the original victim, what was she thinking? Not me! I certainly hope I'm not defined by anyone but me. Relationships have been huge disasters mostly. Curled up on my bed with the soft down quilt, pouring my confusion onto the writing page, the steady flow of words makes it seem so much safer, saner, bearable.

I've been thinking about it again, that whole sad, sick story. The events that torpedoed life as I knew it, no matter how far I think I've gotten, haunt me. It's like a horror show I can't turn away from. I don't want to talk about it, write about it, think about it. Years should make it hazy, pastelled.

Of course he was married. Of course his wife didn't understand him, was mean and vindictive, kept him away from his kids. Of course I was his marvelous creative, sexy, wise beyond my years muse, the only one who could truly understand him. He was a crazy, loud, moody, brilliant artist. I was so lucky to have found this beautiful creature to love. I was so lucky that for some impossible reason he loved me. I was way out of my league, a silly love-struck romantic teen. Obviously I deserved it when I got to be too much and he turned on me, beat me, threw my belongings to break against the walls and floor, threw me onto the bed for raw sadistically painful "unconventional" sex. It was because he loved me, but was so tortured in his artist's soul. He was so sorry, so painfully sad, when he saw that he had hurt me, and swore: "Never again!" I believed him every time. I believed in our true destined love. I was loyal. I was his totally. I would do anything he needed, be anything he needed, for his art, for his divine transformation, for his love. All so very dramatic, what I needed to feed my rebellious fantasies about the wonderment of my life and love and exceptional place in this crazy world.

Then there was the baby thing. His evil wife would not allow him access to his children, his greatest creations. I must have his child, his son, his heir, to replace them, to be better than they ever had a chance at being with such a shrewish convention-bound mother. Our child would be a perfect reflection of our specialness, our love, our grand romance. It never occurred to me that it could be any other way.

The baby didn't live. The doctors said something about a genetic disorder. He had a bad heart. He didn't stay around long enough for them to even try to save him. My perfect, special lover wouldn't even look at me. He did rant a good long list of curses and let me know my grave short-comings in excruciating detail before hightailing it back to try to work things out with his wife. When she wouldn't have him back, he eventually kidnapped their kids. Then he had them watch him blow out his brains in his Mom's kitchen while the house was surrounded by cops.

I found out about most of that third-hand from the papers. I wasn't seeing visitors, but my Mom wanted to be sure that I knew what I was lucky to have escaped.

My next boyfriend was a drug addict. He wasn't addicted to any particular drug, but to the necessity of staying as high as possible at all times on whatever was going around. He would make these grandiose plans, map out fabulous strategies for jumping onto the road to easy street. I was no blushing bystander in all this. Staying loaded was just fine to me; and getting caught up in his fantasies beat facing what I had done with mine. Fortunately, he rarely had the coordination necessary to get beyond wild-eyed, logorrheic planning. When he did, fortunately I was otherwise engaged and didn't end up with a long prison stretch.

It didn't take long for the prison visits to pall as entertainment. My drug intake had gone way down, and I no longer understood his charm. I did understand that it would probably be better for me to get far away from all the damage my exes had done, and especially from those in this fairly small community that they had done it to. I had never been very popular, but what good will I had had taken a severe nosedive. Thus did I discover the joys and easy anonymity of urban life.

Barely 24
I found myself out the door
riding a bus into another state
hoping to keep that date with destiny
wondering just what that might be

Moon in Sagittarius

Zip Zoom My life's been going at warp speed, and I'm so jazzed. I've been getting together with this group of local artists, "underground artists" as we call ourselves, to brainstorm events for promoting our own stuff, yeah, but also to promote a community consciousness. My people are those with whom I share my passions and join to interact our roles. It's all about networking, weaving in and out of proposals and projects, learning who can be counted on for what. Integrity, being as proclaimed, may be the true coin of the realm of collegial artists.

A strong core of us are self-identified pagan women, Goddess worshippers, who have come together because of the Goddess Center, a kind of gathering hub storefront for worship, community, and collaborative projects. There’s a library, a kitchen for witchery and sharing food, some smaller rooms for workshops and crafts, and a wonderful performance space and art gallery for public and private celebrations through art. Our Goddess is a co-creative deity. She revels in our beauty as we make not sacrifice but a joyous sharing of her glory.

Magic means moving my reality into congruence with the reality I am intending to effect, reprogramming my operating system to interface with infinite probability between will and destiny. Who I have been is prologue to the story I am creating as my life.

It feels weird to think about my old memory tapes from this wider perspective. I look back on someone who was alot like me, what she did, how she coped or didn't. When I was a snotty pagan-goth rebellious high school brat my mom was constantly harping on my great career as a creative writer/literature professor. She insisted that a liberal modern college would not be like what I thought of as evil soul-murdering school. I wanted my life straight up, no chaser, to feel the burn. What I thought I owed to my literary career were intense, vibrant real life experiences. I found or founded my own school of hard knocks. Mostly what I learned was that I didn't have a clue about basic life management.

After I had seemed to recover from the aftermath of my real life experiences with Mark, my psycho lover-artist mentor, my mom, with whom I was gratefully staying, suggested I at least check out some community college courses. Getting out of the house, away from my explosive self-dramatizations, into some kind of structured environment, began to seem like a good idea. I even managed to get some credits, and maybe a bit of education, before falling into the dream of nonstop drugging with Brent, my drug queen real life experience mentor. Thus I explored a new lifestyle, devoid of all creative or productive behavior more strenuous than giving my mind over to those lovely visions or even lovelier stupor, to forget about reality and think myself free. When the intolerability of it all sent me again from mom's safe haven, not into another disastrous fling, but on my own into the big, bad world, I was not highly career enabled.

Now that I am finally nurturing a fledgling career, perhaps I would be better spending my energy and time on actual assigned work. I can enjoy these forays down my lore of memories anytime now, can't I?

I ran into Dave tonight on the street after my evening meeting at the Goddess Center. He was an old friend from when I was on the streets in a new (to me) city. These days he's talking full of himself. He has found his talent as a gay hustler, bringing himself into a wanton segment of high society, on the arm of, so to speak. He had no time for anything I might bring to the conversation. After praising himself and primping he was off, no doubt to greater conquests. I did manage to raise myself above street poverty, no matter how meagerly, through my own talents. Who am I to complain, or judge his methods?

Moon in Aquarius

He's a beautiful man, my father. Tall, long red hair with highlights of glinting gold, smiling turquoise-blue eyes, impish grin, large and jovial in manner, the light of the party, lovable waif to women and children, fine fellow to his fellow man. His leaving marked and defined our lives, my mom's and mine. His absence was always there, between us.

I still love my dad, though I feel abandoned. I remember him always singing bits of silliness, though sometimes his songs were long lovely tales of romance and sorrow and adventure. He taught my imagination. He made me feel very special for being marvelous me. Sometimes I think he gave me all his gifts, all he had, then moved on to become someone new. I've never met my half-brother and half-sister. I don't know what he found to give to them. They are only a few thousands of miles away. I have never thought about it as a real possibility to travel that distance. He gave me what he had to give. What I knew of him is here, in me.

I can love him, even imagine who he might now be. My mom can only cling to what he was. He was her shining star, her hope and salvation, her one true love. Though she does qualify that last truth by embracing me, her secondary hope and salvation. I was always what she had left of him. It made me important, special, precious.

It's not that I'm spoiled, certainly not in any material sense. I have a lot of confidence, pride in my own originality. But emotionally, relationships? It gets complicated. I expect to be treasured, abandoned, ill-used. I tell everyone I like to be free, and I do. I wonder, though, if loneliness can kill in some personal sense. Is art enough to keep the fires burning, the juices flowing, the consciousness curiously seeking and alive?

I read somewhere that Sigmund Freud believed a well-lived life was based on love and work. Love who you're with and what you're doing, and it all makes sense, I guess. If god is love and Goddess is a sexy bitch, and the band plays on and on behind the dance of eternity, have I got an equation I can count on, like random jumping sheep?

Meanwhile, I've got plans to make, promises to keep, and rent to earn. Not so special, after all. Mom always understood responsibility. She wanted more for me, because I was Danny's spawn. But together, they made a whole responsible, playful, loving, learning, curious, fearful, happy, sad, angry, hopeful, messy self-organizing human being. And here I am, indulging in being me.

Lovely, aren't I, Mirror, Mirror? I've got actual paying work to write; and I'm indulging in this drivel. Oh yes, Danny and Celia, welcome to what your synthesis has thus far become. Okay, I'm ready to clear the mental deck and get to work on that article and ceremony -- the renewal of Spring.

Moon in Pisces

I know she loved him. He loved her above all his loves. Star-crossed lovers? Certainly destiny-crossed. He was gorgeous, charming, smart, clever, talented, creative, fun. He had not a lick of ambition nor any of that drive it takes to do or say other than what naturally occurs. Yeah, I come by that embarrassing outspokenness by heredity.

In the end, she couldn't break her programming to be the responsible adult, so unlike his beloved loony Mama. He loved Celia for who she was, but he couldn't live with that person she was becoming. She loved him more than she felt she had any right to. She didn't want to nag or bristle or feel the resentment she knew he did not deserve. How is it that we are made to want a life that isn't one we are made for? We love so overwhelmingly people to whom we are so fundamentally unsuited. Or is it that deep philosophical cop-out about relationships being mirrors to show us our disfigurements and rough edges? What have I learned, or was I meant to learn, from my battle scars on the field of romance?

I love Celia and Danny, Mom and Dad, though in different ways. Love was never enough to keep us together forever. Though, I suppose in a way it has. Here I am feeling that love, despite distance. They had years together. Years! Time enough to fill the years apart with memories and that familiar feeling of "yes, that person." Or is that feeling embedded at meeting the person who means all that to you?

It must be the impending Spring. Yet we know the young heart always fancies love. Most likely the old heart as well. Love and work and some sense of being special. The rest is just ephemeral whims of fashion. Look at me, pontificating.

I, Pope Persephone, declare humanity to be hopelessly entangled in romance and pride. I must be special! How else reconcile the accident of my birth? And, being special, I must have special eyes in which to witness mine, shining in reflection. I do so love to shine in reflection. To dance out onto the floor, seeing the light of love in his eyes for me.

I am my own destiny. I don't need to follow any script. I'm certainly not Celia or Danny. I have cleverness, talent, and ambition to spare. I have no expectation of being caretaker or cared for. I like it out on the edge but am willing to do my bit for happiness and love. Hey, I've got nothing to prove. At least not to me. Done that one to death. Burned it out with Phoenix Fire. In this stage, I will learn to merge with love, not a star-crossed square, but a Goddess blessed conjunction. The energies of two burning as one. I do so love the flame.

Candles, for concentrating a spell of incantation and full-heart intent, I open my heart into flame. Goddess, I know you know exactly what I need and when. I feel my own turning into your flame, consumed yet made more real, glorified. I feel the love you express into me, abiding flame. I feel my freedom and my need to entwine, to express my love, my life, my outreaching to that very one who calls to my heart. I am burning my answer into the candle flame. I am yours, Goddess. Unite us, my true love and me, to dance within your flame.

Moon in Cancer

We were picking flowers. "Oh, I'm sure you'll want some narcissus." "Of course, you'll be wanting black roses." "No, it's a festive occasion. Just make sure to have red roses, white orchids and blue irises so no one can doubt our pagan patriotism."

A casual planning committee for the Equinox/Full Moon celebration to kick off the Goddess Center’s New Year, we partied as we planned. The Cave, our coffeehouse/night club planning center, of course does not belong to us. We just appropriate our usual corner table for the price of a girls night out worth of drinks and bar food. It helps our illusion, however, that several of our friends are on the wait staff, and some of us occasionally get to perform and keep the proceeds of our tip bowl.

I had noticed him from afar from time to time here. He was some kind of music promoter, I had heard. He was sex appeal personified, so why not stare and dream a lovely naughty scenario? He stood at fairly medium height, but seemed taller. His blonde hair and anglo complexion did not take a bit from his dark mysterious vibe. His brilliant blue eyes were bound to hypnotize any who dared to hold their gaze. Like me, now, as he clearly walks directly to my side. Not a fantasy, here he is standing beside our table, making sweeping, smoothly smiling introduction to me.

My heart has orgasms looking into those piercing blue eyes. “Thomas James River,” reaching to take my undrink laden hand, “requests the pleasure of a dance with Lady Persephone.” Lifting me to my feet and swirling us onto the dance floor in front of the band, kind of alternative fusion world jazz, just right for a dream come true, he dances into my heart. The night opens to us, closes us in to a private magic, goes on eternally. I never have to leave this night, this man, this exquisite ecstatic awakening.

Moon in Scorpio

Tom's off on schmooze business. We are enjoying each other, not enmeshed. I have my own business and pursuits to attend to. Later. Now I can ensconce myself in my private little space, cozied up in my pillows and bedclothes -- I always like that image. I've been scifi fantasizing on this race, I guess it would be, of bio-engineered empaths, weapons of a future war, released to assimilate with the common (wo)man. Of course, assimilation doesn't go all that well. I mean, they've got scary advantages. Who could trust them? Who knows when they look at us what they see, how they mock us, or take us unaware or plot against us? The empaths, being empaths, sadly understand. They don't want to be enemies. They fought a gruesome war in which they were given no choice or will. They fought, then, for their freedom. They don't want to fight anymore. They want to live in peace and enjoy their families, raise their kids, work at their professions, have brunches, make love, relax when they get a chance. They are sensitive to their neighbors' fears. They do their best to be pleasant, kind, unassuming. Of course, as in any group, there are obnoxious individuals. Results are uneven. Friendships sometimes are forged. But it's mostly pretty grim, stressful, eroding. Fortunately, we are in the grand space-faring future. Colonizing ships go out on some basis of regularity. Okay, I'll have to figure out all that logistic stuff, what kind of business would this colonizing be? What would be needed to equip these ships, to find appropriate planets, to organize these journeys and the new societies on the other end? Think Mayflower 1600s? It would be much simpler if there were no natives to destroy. Colonize planets human friendly but at a lower evolutionary level. Better make that pre-large ambulatory predators. And what about microbial infectors? We can bring seeds and embryos on the ship to give the new planet that old Earth flavor. I guess the passenger list will need to be balanced in specific skill sets determined to be necessary to start the new civilization. Maybe people who plan on being colonists will have skill schools available to improve their chances of getting a ticket on a ship. I guess the mainstream Earth folks would be happy to move their problematic neighbors off planet. They would probably encourage the empaths to explore space, not make it difficult for them to emigrate. How would that work out shipboard, with the mixed passenger components? Or would they be in suspended animation for the voyage? How long a voyage? These questions must have been addressed if not in scientific speculation in science fiction. I could do some preliminary research. The idea of it seems like fun, building up my own world.

See why I like being a writer, even if the pay and perks are lousy. It's like that computer ad asking where I want to go today, to be anyone, anywhere to the limits of my imagination. Even better than acting, because I get total artistic control -- at least until I get to the point of considering a market. Thus capitalism does make cowards of us all. Or, maybe for truly magical visionaries finding our sacred path aligns with the public's fickle enthusiasms will manifest. Why not? If I agree that reality is what I agree to, why not align it with my own best interests?

This moving on the energy of romance is quite a high, so fine! Can't wait to sleep and enjoy my brilliant dreams, of Tom and me and sweet surreal adventure. Don't you just love Spring ... Persephone in the sunlight, even at this late hour. Sweet dreaming.

Moon in Aquarius

I'm not one of those neurotic women who turn off on sex because of bad relationships. I don't blame the sex, but the situations, stupid expectations, as if mere humans could become fairytale princes or any more than just what they are. Casual sex is cool, as long as everyone knows what they are agreeing to. I never got that thing about lying to get her into bed. I mean, don't you expect there to be a morning after, and all the time after that, to deal with repercussions that never need be set in motion?

People make too big a deal about sex -- I know, you have to be careful of deadly STDs and starting new lives you are unprepared to deal with, but those are issues we clever humans have found effective ways to cover. The problem isn't the physical intimacy, but the lying and consequent bad karma. What's the point of subverting a natural desire because some twisted social code calls it ugly or unmentionable? Then, we mention it all the time, in crude language and cruder physical offenses. Like violently stealing food because it's impolite to ask.

Don't ask me. I'm just figuring this stuff out as it comes to me. With Tom, it seems like, for the first time in my experience of relationships, we really get each other, communicate. We're not each involved in a personal fantasy, but actively honest, aware, in the moment. It takes all the stress out, lets us be about mutual enjoyment of our differences. We are constantly new to each other, and ourselves. What a treat! I like being me, unencumbered. I like feeling part of a partnership. Maybe we humans are wired for that. Is it all about children having such a long period of dependency? Or is it because we need to see a mirror to become ourselves? There is the mirror of my art, but a human one is satisfying in more visceral ways.

Oh dear, I could feel the implied smiley face there, and I hate emoticons. Yeah, just an old-fashioned girl.

Dawn is finding me much too soon, considering I am still awake. I like the quiet of the transition time, between last night and today. It's magical. But then, isn't everything, really? Claim the magic! Breathe it in. Breathe it out infused with all I desire. Breathe, with each breath more and more fulfillment. Blow out the candle and dream.

Moon in Taurus

I'm not my mother's daughter, nor my father's for that matter. Growing up I was closest to my free-spirit Aunt Marie, who encouraged my wild ways and love of fantasy. Her dying, when I was 12, ended my idyllic childhood. Celia and I were thrust upon each other without a buffer, while grieving over losing Danny all over again.

He popped in for his sister's funeral, leaving wife and kids in California. New kid #2 had just popped out, and Gwen was in no position or desire to travel cross country, despite her long friendship with Marie and Helen, Marie's wife of decades. Dead is dead, after all. Marie and Gwen wouldn't be doing any catching up. Helen was pouring her grief into packing up, selling the farm, getting ready to start her new life as a widow abroad. Gwen also had reason not to want to tangle with Celia or me.

Dad was here, but overwrought dealing directly with Marie's passing. She was the only part of his natal family that he still adhered to. She had been his best friend and savior through good and bad parts of his life. He had been still in contact by telephone and occasional long, rambling drunken letter, even the occasional get together on neutral ground. Marie, though she did not think of Celia as a friend did think of her as family. I was practically a daughter to her. Though she and Gwen had been friendly, Marie never approved of her taking Danny from us. Gwen had insisted when she and Danny married that he have no further contact with Celia, though she knew better than to include contact with me in that edict. I, like Marie, got the occasional letter and telephone conversation, but only at Marie's farm. As I spent most of my time there after school while Celia was at work and on school breaks, that was not difficult to manage.

While Danny was here, he was genuinely happy to see us. Celia was somehow wise enough to enjoy his company for this brief time rather than poison it with spite and remorse. I hoped beyond any rationality that he would stay, or take me with him when he left. Gwen would never have gone for it. Though she prided herself on her open mind in most cases, she was frankly intolerant of Celia and, by extension, me. With the law, lush lifestyle, and two youngsters, one a newborn son, on her side, I didn't stand a chance. That didn't stop me from hoping, being bitterly disappointed, blaming Celia most viciously, brooding for years. Well, maybe I am my mom's daughter a bit. She was my most prevalent role model. It was a stormy life, and I became well practiced at asserting my independence.

The first time Danny left, when I was five, almost six, Celia gave me a notebook and a box of colored pens. She said it would help me to write my feelings when I couldn't speak them. A writer was born and made from that childhood trauma. Storms and silver linings.

I like my little room. My space, reflecting my taste and lifestyle, where I can land and recharge. I like that I know I can land on my feet wherever I find myself, in the absurd twists and turns. I like being able to see it all as stories, mythical breadcrumbs along a path from there to here and onward, along some Yellow Brick Road. Where are my brave, wise and caring companions? Don't get me wrong -- I love my friends and am totally blown away by the many wonders of my lover. Still, ultimately, I always seem to be traveling this road on my own. I guess that means I get to make my own terms. Brave, wise, caring, sounds like me. Maybe we get to be the people we hope to find, if we're open to finding us within. No, that's not schizophrenia. It's brave, wise, caring, reflective. Dad was a troubadour. Mom was a melancholy yet practical romantic. Threads weaving into stories decorate my inner room that I carry with me.

Moon in Leo

Marie and Danny were sibling outcasts, she would explain, not complaining, more like bragging. Colonel Robert Aidan "Sir," their soldier dad would taunt them as "Louella's girls." He was probably surprised that Danny didn't end up gay. He never paid enough attention to realize that Marie was. "I don't think he knew that girls could be other than Mothers or Whores, dutiful wives or dependent daughters, defined by the men who commanded them." She would say it with a look of reverie, not bitterness. She never cared enough about Old Robert to resent his dismissal of her. By the time he came back from the War, she was an opinionated, intellectually pampered 5 year old, already sure of her self-determination. She refused to go, a year or so later, when Colonel Aidan was deployed to a base in another state. Her doting maternal grandparents agreed that she was happy at the private school they paid for near their home, that she would be best for now staying with them while Bobby and Louella settled in to their new home.

With Bobby, Jr. already baking in Louella's oven, Bob, Sr. was glad enough not to be embroiled with a recalcitrant 6 year old. It wasn't until 3 years later, with Bobby, Jr. and little Stevie underfoot that Bob, Sr. insisted his daughter join the family to help her mother with the boys.

Marie felt nothing but resentment toward her father and younger brothers. They were all obnoxious brats as far as she could tell, not because they were boys but because they were not much classier than classic rednecks. But then, a year or so later when Danny was born, she immediately felt an intense connection with him. She was instantly, totally, irrevocably in love with this youngest brother who embodied all the best qualities of their wild, crazy, by now desperately unhappily trapped mom, plus even more endearing qualities of his own. He was a beautiful, imaginative dream of a child, she would say so fondly. I knew what she meant. When I knew him, though ostensibly I was the child, he was right there with me. Everybody loves Danny. Except, of course, his dad and brothers, because to them he did not embody the proper archetype of man, or boy. Men aren't gentle. They don't care passionately about ideals or art or beauty. Men are strong and fierce, tricky against opponents, which includes everyone. Men don't trust, certainly not women, rarely other men. Maybe, if they've gone through combat together. "Louella would swear her Bobby had been different when they were young and so in love." Marie would try to explain what she could not understand. It was all unreal to me, stories I loved to be told. I loved feeling safe and adored, being schooled in my heritage by my marvelous, mystical aunt who had done so much, been so many places, known so many kinds of living unheard of by my schoolmates and their families, those I thought of as the real world.

Aunt Marie's stories, like my mom's, were about other worlds, far from what I could expect here and now. They told me stories so fantastic, to them merely history, and I felt my world expand into unknown possibilities. Now I tell my stories -- real, fantasized, some combination, and feel in touch with my matriarchal core, my lifeline, maybe a call from destiny. Yeah, typical psychotic megalomania. Hey, if paranoids can have enemies, megalomaniacs can have great destinies, or at least great fantasies. I am loved, lovable, in love, so fantasies can be true.

My dad, Danny, for all his faults, is so much better a man than his dad, Robert, for all his self-absorbed glory. Aunt Marie, sparkling gem among the living when she was with us, if I ever attain honor as an artist, that honor belongs to you.

Morning birds are singing. Sunday morning. I've nowhere I need to be. Or, maybe I need to be walking in the Spring dawn, sharing my secrets with the birds.

Moon in Libra

I may not have a lot, talking about material things, and more concretely, the symbol behind all that stuff, money, and the fantasy of all that stuff money can be exchanged for. When I say I don't have a lot, that is only in comparison to some American dream, or even many people I know and interact with. But, I could as easily compare my store of possessions to the truly poor, and see myself quite wealthy. That's the point. I am. Quite wealthy on my own terms -- with everything I value. I know I complain horribly because I can't afford some terribly important toy. But, hey, they say Danes love to complain, yet keep testing out as the happiest people on Earth. And why are the Danes so happy? Because they like what they get. They don't need wealth in terms of breakable toys and up to date impressing accoutrements of ostentation. They are happy to have fulfilling jobs and lots of time to play and enjoy with loved ones. Me too. I could be Danish! Well, a Dane of Irish/Italian extraction born in the USA. But my point is that I don't even have time to be buying the latest gadget and fashion or keeping up with high consumption rates (and wasn't consumption some romantic disease a couple of centuries back?). I'm way too busy having fun, expressing my lovely creativity, and lovelier sexuality (hee hee). If sex sells second-degree products, I'm obviously ahead of the game, going directly to the first degree real experience. Is that what the "make love, not war" people were about?

Walking my hero's journey
to the music of my soul
Dancing, in tune with my Universe
Millions of sparkling diamonds
light my cotillion

Moon in Aquarius

With Celia it was mostly "Persephone" with the occasional "Seph" when truly informal. Danny and Marie tended to go with "Peri" softly sweet. I was 5 when he left. Marie carried forward the tradition. I was 12 when she left, more permanently. He still called me Peri when we talked by phone, on his very occasional letters, when he came back for that short time to bury his sister, though I was less innocently sweet by then. I was turning bitter. Why not? My world seemed to be in a steady state of crumbling. But I loved for him to call me Peri, when I was his little girl. All I wanted was to be his Peri whom he loved enough to take back with him to his real family in California. I was even willing to be big sister to precious Maya and baby Osiris (Sy). Gwen was eclectic in her deities, in her lifestyle, in all her ways, but staunchly firm against Danny's previous life intertwining with the life they shared. She was adamant that he cut his ties with Celia, apparently some big loyalty test he had to continually pass. His trip back East for Marie's funeral must not renew ties to us.

He was not cruel. Far from it, he was completely loving, even apologetic. How could I feel anything but love, and misery in knowing that he would soon be gone again? And contempt for Celia, how could I feel anything but? What is it about kids? We would do anything for a loving glance from the rejecting parent, while spitting in the face of the parent who is always there. Such contrary creatures.

I love it when Tom calls me "Purr" "Purrsephone" though I am way too clumsy to be catlike. With him, I do purr with contentment.

I won't abide "Percy." Friends will generally put up with the whole mouthful, but will often fall into the easier "Seph" as Celia did, or even “Peri.” I am not exclusive about these names. They are only attention-getting sounds. I was (secretly) bothered back in school when the popular kids and hangers-on dubbed me "Phoney." I think they thought they were clever. Names. Symbols that attach to us, as if some kind of definition. Mostly we are so accustomed to this designation of sound and letters by the time we have any coherent awareness, we simply accept that this is who we are. At least I didn't have the cognitive dissonance of responding to my name in the midst of other children designated by the same vowels and consonants. At least as a child, I got to feel that my unique name might be tied to a marvelous destiny. I had only a vague idea of the myth, then, that I had been named for. I didn't think about my ancient namesake, torn between two worlds. All I knew was that I was named for a goddess. I wonder what her friends called her. Did her husband, God of the Underworld, call her "Purr"? Did she feel content in his realm? This is what we writers do. We wonder about things that never were, and spin out tales from our wondering. I mean, why should what is called "reality" be seen as more truthful than fiction? So much of our reality is made up, stories we tell ourselves or everybody knows. Names that are imposed when we are too young to understand that it is only a name, a word, a metaphor for who we really are. Still, our names are certainly more colorful and meaningful than some random alphanumeric designation.

Moon in Gemini

I've been thinking about that theory of human life being some kind of ultimate point of the Universe. Divine Design, I guess. God’s will with the "scientific" twist about all these highly improbable coincidences that had to be just right or life wouldn't have made it. But then, self-evidently, we are here, as well as a plethora of other things and beings. I mean, there's no logical reason for it to have been other than accidental, the vagaries of eternity and random chance. Not that I believe it all accidental. I have a multi-layered view of reality. On some level an event could well be an accidental meeting of forces. On some level it could be eternally meaningful, part of a work of art or grand legend. On some level it could be imagination, maya, a random thought soon forgotten, a dream, a metaphor. On some level it could be a cosmic joke or a cosmic unraveling of all that is which includes all that could be, all existing at once, but seen spread out, like taking in a panorama.

Sometimes I think I awaken into a subtly changed Universe, maybe a very close parallel dimension, where all those little differences appear like memory glitches or strange miscommunications. Reality is definitely not what it's made out to be in school and mass media. No, it's not the drugs. I really don't do that hardly anymore. When I did, I was way too involved in self-pity to have any conceptualizations of this nature. It is difficult, though, to speak of these concepts in prose. The word/referent link is slippery. Maybe that's why scientists use math. Is math a kind of poetry, symbolic language to describe concepts not easily manipulated into common parlance?

I never thought about math like that before. The way it was pigeon-holed in school didn't make sense. Of course numbers are often combined with words as adjectives and functions, often act as metaphors. I think I'm digressing.

Okay, music is based on math, intervals, rhythms, resonances. But is the music I hear in my head mathematical, or pure experience based on intuitive emotive reaction to sound? The language is the map, the human-made interpretation and communicative symbology. The experience is the territory, the reality. I think art is meant to bridge the gap, to be a language of more direct experiencing.

Who else could I talk to like this without sounding so totally out there? Good to have you to converse with, Persephone's journal. No, that's not fair. I do have friends who get these conversations about, well I guess metaphysics. Tom and I definitely connect on that level. There is something very basic, a pull, a cord (chord?) between us. Something meant to be? I can say we get each other on a fundamental level, but that is map, not territory. On many levels we complete each other. We can experience other lovers without jealousy or even concern, because what we share, even sexually, is about essence and mutual need for that deep expression, again poetry, music, knowing beyond words.

Maybe it's just me, too hung up on words, my writer's world. But then, I do directly experience all the time. Experience, that's the element of writing, of any art, you can't fake. You can learn all the tricks, but experience is what provides something meaningful to say. Without that, all you've got is language. What use is a map without territory to refer to?

Moon in Libra

I was an adored child. The grown-ups in my life may have been totally screwed up, but they always loved me unconditionally. Somewhere I always knew that. I mean, I was a total pariah in my neighborhood, but the people who counted knew I was amazing. Imagine my guilt when I kept screwing up, big time. Yes, out of my large-scale self-expressive hubris, I, an inexperienced young woman with big chips on my shoulders, managed to keep showing myself to be a fool. Probably no one was even watching but me. My mom still tells me I'm great whenever we speak.

In a real way, all that bratty messed up behavior is behind me now. I have become someone I created out of the ashes. I have become a woman I can be proud to present to the people who believed in me. They never expected wealth or fame, just that I would do them proud as a strong-minded, independent force upon the Earth. I'm getting there, bit by bit, in my own idiom. I feel the late Spring wind, with hints of Summer's heat. I keep getting flashes of scenes from my childhood, like trailers from a movie. Maybe I'm working toward some revelation that will put my whole life in perspective. Maybe my stupid, childish belief in my special mission is true, and there is a great piece of art incubating inside me. Maybe I'm psychotic, having delusions of grandeur, incubated in my psyche by too being given too much adulation in my formative years.

I think Celia was sexually abused by her dad. She's never said anything. All the stories I hear, though, the women I know who have gone through that hellish childhood, the way she is so reserved, secretive, brash in that forced way, gives me that idea. Marie told me about some of the tortures her dad and his older sons laid out for Danny, to toughen him up. The suffering of little children that no one seems to see in this world of Disneyland and video cartoons, it breaks my heart.

Yeah, what happened to my parents was, obviously, a generation ago. It's still happening today, right now. Parents raise powerless kids unable to connect with the blessings all around us, insisting they put on a happy or appropriately miserable face to fit in and keep the family secrets. I do hear the stories all the time in the women's groups I attend. Pagan artists are far from immune. Even if I myself wasn't molested by my nearest and dearest, there were always those pathetic men, young and old, looking at me in that sadly dangerous way wherever I went. These days I discount their presence as a matter of course. There's a lot to be said for a Darwinian theory of a predator society. There's a lot more to be said for a magick theory of alternative realities within which we can craft a world in which we can best live. It is important to craft the spell carefully, mindful of the power of the words of incantation. Not too limiting; not too open to evil; not too micro-managed at the expense of spontaneity; it has to be carefully thought through and made just right. In this cosmic sense, I am not working on a deadline. You might say it's more of a lifeline. I was a damn mystical little kid, and I've still got it -- that magical world where I am quite at home.

Moon in Scorpio

It's like I'm consolidating. I feel myself moving into a deeper version of me. I'm drawn to examine where I've come from, who I've been, roles I've tried out, tried on for fit -- consolidating data to make the leap into a more fully informed identity.

I have this body I inherited not from one person or another, but an amalgamation of DNA. Thick, long, abundant red-gold hair that I sensuously enjoy flinging against my skin, a gift from my father and, as Marie told me, gifted to him from sainted mama Louella. She died before my mom and dad ever got together. Had she lived longer and I still been born, no doubt I would have known and loved her as did those of her children I did know and love. Thank you, Grandma Louella, for your luscious red hair and your vivid, creative imagination, your manic energy, your loving gentleness, your brilliant spirit. Then there's my clear sun-kissed skin from Celia's Southern Italian ancestors of whom she never speaks. My moss green eyes must be nature's synthesis of Celia's green-flecked brown and Danny's turquoise blue -- his compromise of Louella's green and Robert's blue. I have the womanly version of Danny's strong-boned soldier's build, though not his height. Still, I am taller, generally larger, than small-boned, petite Celia, who undermines the expectations of her small size with her fierce determination. So, I've got this hodge-podge of inherited traits to work from. ("From which to work"? Who comes up with these stilted forms, or lesser forms, and their distinction? I am wandering ...)

I've always been so independently self-defined. But then, I've often been doubting my own definitions as against those who disrespect me. There's a thing about being an artist, or so it seems to me, of constantly being confronted with oneself, doubting and refining values and interpretations. Maybe it is an unhealthy self-obsession. But those stories, songs, poetry, have to come from somewhere. Or not. There does seem to be a glut on the artistic market. Everybody has their creative spark to play with. I certainly don't want to court the wages of hubris. Yet, to even bother to bring to market my scribblings, my strangely main marketable skill, I have to spend a lot of time in that place in which I know I am brilliant and well worth listening to.

Okay, it's the muse, the Goddess of Artistic Visions. She tells me what to say. I am but a vessel.

I am a vessel of my ancestors and my muse. I am also a fully functioning human, being and becoming. I’ve got to be expressing my love of adventure, growth, assimilation of experiences, experiences that become me. Looking through the experiences I have come out of, feeling this new to me drive to consolidation. It feels good to touch my core and know I am someone I can count on.

The days are so long now. There's so much to celebrate.

Solstice next weekend. Thank Goddess, I have turned in my songs and stories. My time is my own for Solstice dreaming. Very soon Tom and I will be dancing and sending out wishes beneath the end of Spring Full Moon.

Moon in Aquarius

Summer Solstice. The Sun reaching its peak performance. We certainly gave a peak performance at the Goddess Center tonight. Despite all the nervous energy attacking our community lately, or maybe because of it, finally finding an outlet to feel good in release. I, of course, was brilliant, dazzling in my presentation, recitation, expressive movement to elegant improvisational music, as well as my bit parts in ritual incantations. It was a living dream, despite or because of all the sidebar drama.

I love this motley bunch we think of as our pagan artistic community. Creative types, lovable but totally crazy, loudly proclaiming our mutual lovefest when not loudly proclaiming our independent outrages. Everyone needs a special place to come first, to be more noticed, to be catered to and expect nothing but applause for whiny venting or sympathy for yet another crisis. Not to mention, though everyone does, loudly, personal traumas, romantic disconnections, family issues, how can I get my work done when they turned off my electricity or who can afford simple errands with gas going up practically every minute, and on and on. Personally, I haven't had a car in years and would happily laugh at fuel prices if they didn't drive up my groceries as well (and then there's the winter heating costs on par with burning large denomination currency). Don't let my pecuniary disdain fool you: my prima donna streak is as wide as any. But I am so cool. I've learned the fine art of taking advantage of confusion to subtly get my way. And, of course, my way is the best, isn't it? Never mind. The point being the result was marvelous and an excellent time was enjoyed by all. Nervous energy transformed to kinetic dancing, electric performing, what we humans call "fun."

Ritual wine and cannabis-laced cakes may have helped in taking the edge off, I'm sure. Ritual, to keep the community whole, healthy, in tune. Ultimately, everyday can be a celebration of being alive. We just seem to find some strange and nasty ways of celebrating a lot of those days. Is war a celebration, homage to the war gods? When we are totally horrid to each other, and ourselves, is that a celebration of the horrors within us? Do the wealthy celebrate their position with human sacrifice? Do people farther down the food-chain celebrate our pretentions to superiority in casting down and condemning those with any differences we can elevate to shame? Yeah, we arty types, we're selectively insane. Dancing on my inner stage, limbs and neck moving right along, to remembered music, I am in tune with my human contradictions. Dear Goddess, let me dance out all these questions for my dreams to ponder. I mean, without that annoying irritation, no pearl forms. I am a gypsy dancer, casting pearls before the swinish crowd. Dancing in firelight reflecting my visions, days of early dawns, late sunsets, sweaty heat and sudden storms bursting with lightning.

My lover returns from temporary slumber. Soon his hand will remove my pen from mine, taking my hand into his. We will dance together in Summer's early light.

Moon in Taurus

These preachy Christians give me a pain. All this warning about the homosexual scourge, I guess a subset of the general sexual scourge plaguing mankind. You'd think we somehow invented biology in defiance of the Lord.

Yeah, Lord, the metaphor that says we are a race of serfs, making our living at the pleasure of the owner of the land. So it's okay if you are a sorry excuse for a friend or lover or whatever so long as you make the right sacrifices to the protector to whom you owe allegiance. Doesn't sound like what I've heard of Jesus. To my understanding of the story he was a righteous, kewl dude. I don't remember him ever saying anything about the evil of gayness. He probably was pretty much gay himself, hanging with all those worshipping dudes he picked up along the way and told to forsake their families to come with him, sleeping rough, giving solace to the lonely and sore of heart. Think of the parties with him turning water into wine and blessing the whole occasion. Jesus wasn't about repression or exclusion. He was about life and love and peaceful coexistence.

You know, it makes sense that those admonitions against gay sex in the Old Testament were in a section about dietary laws. Apart from the obvious joke, those laws were really about health risks. God's people were being warned against eating creatures seen as unclean. What could be more unclean than sticking a part of your body into the part of another from which excrement flows? Seriously. God was warning his people to have safer sexual practices. So where do his people come off making such a big deal about condoms? I mean they are one of those clever human inventions, a way of compromising so we get to have fun and health. I guess some people are wound so tight that they have to have old, ancient, strictures to hold onto. Sounds like insanity to me. Which is fine. I mean, there's plenty of insanity of all flavors out there. Mostly we manage. I just prefer not to be ruled by the blatantly insane. I prefer to have the common moral code based in sanity. Even if I give credence to the worship of their God, he didn't write the Bible. It was guys of the day who I guess could be compared to our journalists, telling the stories as interpreted by their own culture and precepts. Yeah, God would want his people, his hands, his workers upon the Earth, to avoid blatantly unhealthy practices. He would want them to be fruitful and multiply in a time when there was such a high rate of early death, all those battles for the glory of God, and disease. But in those Ten Commandments, the holy law, there is nothing specifically about sex at all. Adultery? That about honoring your sacred bond, your oath of faithfulness taken in marriage. No sex. No drugs. No rock and roll. These are not proscribed in the Commandments. Maybe Christians wouldn't be so bad if they actually believed in their religion, the part given by their holy spirit, not the clergy politicians.

Part of having a minority faith, you have to really think about what you believe in the face of all those followers of the One True Church, culturally supported, even mandated in a lot of ways. Goddess, give me strength to see the truth, as much as I am able, despite the mass-hypnosis I strive to avoid. It helps to have friends, and lovers, who agree in alternative beliefs. I guess that's why we have religions rather than everyone practicing their own private, personal spirituality.

Moon in Virgo

My refuge, my sanctuary.

When Daddy Danny left us, Celia was inconsolable and resolute, the way she can be. In some ways she clung to me as all she had left of love and family. Still, she had, what I now realize, an acute awareness that I had my own issues of abandonment, anger, mixed with fear and loss. She wanted me to have my own space to work it out in, not entangled with her grief.

My mother is at heart a woman of the written word. Her safe haven and playland as a child was in books. In college she had concentrated on literature, with an ambition to teach as a college professor, something her public school teacher parents could view with pride. Even without the laudable career, she lived in a world of literature. To focus her mind and cope with emotional outrage she worked, reworked, never satisfied, on a poem she had started in college. I had been named for that obsession, a poem based on the myth of the Goddess Persephone. She is obviously a strong romantic archetype for Celia. Though, of course, her rational mind would never think of Goddess worship.

When I asked why she was always writing, sometimes sobbing or angry over the closely worded, scratched out and revised in margins, pages, she set her draft aside to answer. She pulled out of the desk drawer a fat spiral notebook and a plastic case of colored pens.

"I know it has become sad and confusing here since your daddy's been gone. Sometimes it's hard to talk about your feelings. It can help to write what you feel, even when there's no one else around you have some place safe to open up and let out what you need to say. Try it."

Even at 5 I had been reading and writing for as long as I could think about. These skills came naturally for me as walking and talking. Instinct from DNA? I liked fairytales and diverse myths from different cultures which I found in books laying about the house. I liked to write little doggerel verses, simple song lyrics, my mimicking of Danny's craft. I took the gift, very seriously, and sat among the cushions in a corner of the room, playing at making words with different colors as I saw them in my mind. That notebook and its descendants have been my sanctuary, sounding board, never failing friend and companion. I get to focus the whirling storm of thought and emotion in my mind onto a magical manifestation of words on paper. Look, here, thoughts, feelings, spun out into a metaphoric web into which I safely let go. I soothe, energize, inspire myself with ramblings emerging from subconscious grappling with all the daily influences input into my senses, revelations made visible. Who needs drugs? (I mean other than for socializing or specific biological ends.)

I'm not the practical one. It's Celia who has that Virgo critical breaking down of information skill to fall back on. I'm just a mass of Sagittarian fire, caught up in my enthusiasms of the moment. This notebook is my continuity, my exoskeletal structure, giving my bits and pieces a place to come together.

Thanks, mom, for this nightlight to watch over my dreams.

Moon in Capricorn

We stopped at some generic fast food place to get some take-out grease on our way to an afternoon concert in the park. The staff seemed pretty spiffy, alert, working as a well-oiled team, with cute smiles and calm speaking style to deal with the milling clientele. Hobbled old folks, snarling young folks, brawling children, drawn-eyed parents, an imbroglio like some surrealist comedy. Spending so much of my time safely ensconced in my little fringe community, I forget how sad and unempowering daily life in the city usually is. Thank Goddess I've never been mainstream or Main Street. Thank the whole blessed pantheon that I've been able to frame my lifestyle in my chosen direction, somehow getting the little breaks I need to keep my self-creation moving along in my own idiom. Apparently, most people don't get those breaks, or don't recognize them as breaks. They seem so tightly wound and scared, and bristlingly angry. Not everyone, but the general trend. Reading comments on blogs, or hearing bits of conversation on the street, there's so much blaming, sarcastic digs, caustic platitudes, pointing at the designated scapegoat or anyone daring to disagree. Was the voice of the people always so mean, so closely wrapped, so crab-like stealthily pinch/withdraw/pinch again? Yeah, Cancer (the sign of the Crab, not the ubiquitous disease) rules the commoner, the public or publick, those served by the publick house or politician.

Families like those of the kids at school, giving them the license to torture me for being different, foster these so-called conservative values. I never knew my grandparents, any of them, apart from stories. I didn't grow up in the wake of those emblematic American homes of the 50s. My dad ditched his military family history to be a ne'er do well songwriter, living pretty much on charisma. My mom rejected her Italian-American working class school teacher family traditions to follow a romantic dream. When she woke up, finding herself a single parent in a different working class neighborhood where she was figuratively spat on for being too much the intellectual elite, she closed off from the people of tradition yet again. The values I assimilated were not those of my grandparents, or even my parents or peers. I kind of made it up as I went along, mostly doing my real living in self-made fantasy. Perhaps that is how writers are formed, the creative sort that tell our visions, not the tell-all gossips or tech texters. Filmmakers, too, and other kinds of creators from the seeds of mental masturbation, are we all creating worlds in which we can feel welcome? What about those who work at those quirky idiosyncratic jobs, finding those precious niche markets in the hidden back alleys of commerce? Meanwhile mainstream commerce stamps out all the perky fast food servers and other barely above bound servant laborers willing to totally be the brand, mold themselves into appropriate hive-worker mentality. All the flag-waving "land of the free" and the patriotic hatred of those who "hate us for our freedom" while those so fervently defended freedoms are carelessly forgotten, even defiled, in the name of everyday practicality, in the name of some commercially designed prescription for survival. Or, in short, selling their souls to The Man for a promised share in the American nightmare. I assure you, me, this is no whine of bitterness from a certified loser. I'm not the loser. I'm the lost child that slipped through the veil into Neverland where life is a never-ending adventure. I never have to grow up into some semblance of tight-wrapped normalcy, however "normal" is being defined and by whom. That was never my role.

Maybe we who have slipped through the veil are like the tribal shamans. Maybe we have a sacred duty to live apart from the life of the norm that we may intervene with the deities, bringing back treasures beyond knowing, invisible to those who refuse to see. Or maybe we just get to ride off and enjoy our adventures, regardless of mainstream rules and desires. Maybe I was incarnated for some divine purpose. More likely, I get to define my mission for myself. Everyday I get to create my life, my art, my self and expression. I thought that was the purpose of freedom, the primal scream of the American dream.

Full-Moon tonight. Hear me howl!

Moon in Taurus

It's about the grounding, the safe and sacred place to release the charge. Feeling inadequate, out of focus. Yeah, the deadlines get tiring, their continual obligation, too tiring and I send in work not up to the standard I expect. No, no one is calling me on it. We all seem to have entered some summer space of lazy disregard or hyper-giddiness. Lots of our community energy is dissipated on far-flung festivals, self-finding excursions. We who are left behind far from forming a responsible core seem to be melting in the chain of sudden storms, wilting like the grass inundated in rain. I don't know if it's part of the global warming thing. It's sure not any warmer, just wetter than my mental collection of summer memories. I have to get a new pen. This one keeps leaking at critical moments. How am I going to market my angst if I can't read it?

I talked to Celia, Mom, today. She calls from time to time to check in, keep up to date. I call from time to time when I need to blubber or be cruelly sarcastic about childhood memories that erupt disquietingly, or just because once in a blue moon I feel like a daughter. Today she was the one who wanted to talk about memories. I was feeling squeezed by the deadline for my Lammas piece which was refusing to come together. We talked at cross purposes for a few minutes. Aunt Marie died 17 years ago next month, which means my as yet unmet half-brother is about to be 17 years old. Not an especially commemorative year. I guess he would be going into his senior year of high school, except, as I recall, they were being home-schooled so as not to miss any educational opportunities. Gwen liked to pick up and go en famille on a whim without having authorities or institutional calendars to consult. Danny's new family (though not so new by now) was only peripherally on Celia's mind. Mostly she talked about me, asking about what projects I was involved with and intimating that she would like to see me, get together, share some quality time, when it might be convenient. I know, I don't visit her enough. She really has always been there for me, despite our difficulties. I admit I am at least as difficult as she is. It's never been a question of love or loyalty. We have very different styles, ways of being, enthusiasms. I don't blame her anymore for my broken-home upbringing or the glaring differences between our family and those of my neighborhood peers that I suffered for. Yes, I did blame her, unfairly I now see, for a lot of my years. I know better now. I've told her so. Still, I manage to avoid spending much time together. It seems better that way. Perhaps, well more like definitely, there are issues we need to work out. Perhaps in the fullness of time we will.

I guess I could start thinking toward arrangements to visit for her birthday in September, Virgo on the cusp of Libra. Well and good, but this decision hasn't done a thing for this twisted feeling, just short of anxiety. My sure cure -- I can go talk to Tom about it and feel safely secured within his protective psychic and physical embrace. That's what this human thing is about -- sharing the little bumps and bruises and irrational moments with someone who gets it and gets me and is happy to be that place of safety and love. Why not be there when we can?

Moon in Cancer

Those narrow-minded pro-capital idiots. This must be why I rarely watch tv. Then I think I ought to be more aware of the wider political world, to inform my writing and probably my somewhat political opinions. So I have to be made aware yet again of the incredible stupidity that calls itself practicality. I mean, Mr. Smarty-Pants Business Man, you are not the Crown of Creation. Profit is not the be all/end all measure of worth. Some of us only minimally deal, out of necessity beyond our control, with money as a means to an end. The end is to pay our rent, have a space where we are allowed to operate our lives without being thrown out on the street with no place to keep our stuff or even shower off the muck. We deal peripherally with the world that believes so adamantly in the fiction of finance. Our real lives are about art and family, relationships, philosophy, finding deeper meanings, being absorbed in passions, following dreams to unexpected realities, being, believing, enjoying, getting involved, having lives we value, worth living. There is no need or sanity to hoarding greedy profit, gambling called investing, rating wealth in dollars, playing for the ownership of all the toys or golden parachutes or that other jargon. You somehow feel justified, entitled to rape the world of resources that we all might share, not because you have some marvelous plan to increase everybody's share and make us all happier, healthier, more empowered, but for your sacred bottom-line, for your profit-based greater glory. So you pay off politicians and wave your power over the people that the meek and hypnotized may fall into place, serving you and blindly buying what you sell, no matter that it takes more than their paltry pay, keeping them tied to your usury. Needless suffering, horrible tragedies squeezed out of what could have been happy lives. You preen and crow, so sure of your superiority. What twisted you so grotesquely? Obviously you have talents, drives, whatever got you to your reign of power. Why wasn't it enough for you to be happy, content, doing your part, making your mark, without trampling and faking your way to proudly display your place stamping above the heap you designed? I can be arrogant too. I don't need or believe in you. I have, in being me, all I need. What I value is so much greater, more life sustaining, pleasurable, even more powerful than any amount of currency or IOUs or numbers on an accounting sheet.

Why am I so incensed? Buttons pushed; response aroused. Equilibrium re-established. Lammas celebration this weekend. In community we are strengthened. And we have a whole lot of fun. Let's see what this Lammas Solar Eclipse brings. Leo rules rulership. Perhaps the emperor will discover he is naked. I am happy to dance under a moonless sky and call forth the light that is the other side of darkness. I like to play that game where there are no toys, only the limitless power of imagination. We all have the power to do what we are. To some extent we have the choice of how far we go, in what direction.

Moon in Libra

All this talk about "the economy" as if there's a war between capitalist free market and governmental programs, or as if any policy could be one size fits all. People get so caught up in ideologies and competition, putting down viciously any idea defensively seen as contrary to our preset mindset. Well, obviously, not everyone, but enough to be an enormous unnecessary obstacle to real world optimization.

What makes more sense to me is a kind of two-tier economy. You've got your basic tier in which everyone gets a piece of the pie covering whatever is deemed to be the basics. This sphere can also include basic infrastructure like public health facilities, public transportation including roads and such, public safety organizations like emergency and law enforcement, or more rationally peace enforcement. Then there's public education, libraries, art and culture centers and events. The second tier would be the free market capitalists to provide the goods and services they do best, consumer goods, luxuries, lifestyle and status markers, specialty niche fillers, fads and fancies and fantasies and innovations.

People will want to go beyond the basic and fulfill dreams or create profits because there is more to human satisfaction than basic comforts. We like to shine, be respected, show our stuff. We like to earn credits to win prizes. We like to build our personal empires or be part of exciting or valued projects. We like to work when that work is appreciated and not oppressive. We are not in a position, even in impoverished areas, where we need to live by the creed: If you don't work, you don't eat. We have plenty of potential labor to provide far more than enough for everybody without demanding full participation.

There are plenty of people who have no desire to be part of the quest for financial wealth, yet give full value to the social net. Raising children is valuable work. Caring for ill and infirm family and neighbors is valuable work. Organizing and participating in volunteer projects addressing community needs is valuable work. Providing education, art, cultural events is valuable work. Yet it is also legitimate to live, enjoy life as best one can, privately, without fanfare or public obligation. Humankind is so much better served by people pouring energy and intent into their passions than people grudgingly performing jobs out of obligation or desperation.

If there is concern about less appetizing but necessary work being done, there are certainly ways to address this:

1) What is unappetizing to some may be interesting or useful in some sense -- psychologically or other -- to others. This is another advantage of a diverse population, when properly celebrated.
2) Ways can be found to reward, show admiration for, or otherwise make more palatable such tasks.
3) Ways can be found to give over as much as possible of these tasks to technological aid.
4) We can figure out better ways to take care of the needs now served by such tasks.

The best incentive, result and means of moving toward this expanded economic model is the unleashing and uplifting of the great gift of human creativity, along with a generally increased zest for life. It doesn't have to happen all at once. If we consciously make efforts in this direction, eventually the tipping point will be reached, the more rational paradigm will take hold. As the benefits become evident, that which is best in us will continue to move forward.

Moon in Sagittarius

We are the stuff that dreams are made of. Every little fleeting thought, sensory input, synaptic connection is raw material for literal dreaming and the surreal expressionism of art (writ large or small). Something is impinging on my sense of equilibrium. I'm not sure what. Perhaps it will work its way into my dreams, or my art, unconsciously; perhaps that is its purpose. Maybe it's just the rain and celestial fireworks making me edgy. Maybe it's the impending Lunar Eclipse. The time between eclipses, solar and lunar, in the selected month is theoretically fraught with meaning, changes, revelations.

Tom's been out of town these past couple of days, overseeing a festival he's organizing. I've been working on my own projects. Busy lives. Isn't that what lives are for, to create those manifestations on the material plane, playing with all those art materials, making those markings upon the world, enjoying the use of the stage? Why am I here in the city in August while the world seems to be caught up in countrified festivals (the world, that is, not caught up in war, politics, Olympics, or business as usual) Couldn't tell you. It's an intuitive thing. Maybe basing my life on pushes and pulls from some mysterious inner realm is a cop-out or otherwise unsound, but, really, what else is there to go on? It seems to be working well enough to keep me alive so far, despite all the massive insanity I've lived through to tell about. I have no problem believing the craziness happens to give me a wider perspective, object lessons, growth experiences. What doesn't kill you makes you stranger, as I've heard here and there. Part of my job description, strange and road-tested, transfiguring all with my magic pen-shaped wand, inking out this hero's journey through lands of Oz and Wonder and Never and the ancient mysteries. My dreams have been less than clear lately. Lots of movement from one situation to another without segue or apparent connection. When I wake up, it's all a jumble in my inner eye. No clear images. I feel like there's been a scoop taken out of my psyche to make room for new images waiting to be assimilated.

I like the late night quiet. It's like another world from the day which belongs to consensual reality.

The bread in the fridge has gone stale, ready to turn into the comfort of bread pudding-like french toast. Lemons are too expensive to praise the virtues of lemonade; I prefer iced tea (with lemon) which I have assembled of herbs and water, intermingling and waiting in its refrigerated bottle. All part of this complete pre-dawn, pre-sleep breakfast.

This summer's been more cool and wet than I remember as usual. The paradoxical blessings of global warming? Some say we are born in a dream, all the buzzwords and hyped stories imaginative metaphors for our psychological concerns. Apart from being overly influenced by Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone," what might be the meta-analysis of my dreams? The stuff that I am made of?

Moon in Aquarius

I can hear Patty Smith in her intro to "Gloria" emphasizing "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine."

People talk about the troops -- and where did that designation come from, simplifying human lives into uniform units -- fighting, sacrificing, dying for my freedom. I am so very sorry for all this horrendously stupid suffering. I never wanted it. I never condoned it. My freedoms get stomped on all the time with or without anybody's sacrifice. It's up to me, every day, to make sure I am free. These folks, dying in some far off post-imperial war sure don't seem free. The folks they're killing for the existential crime of being the designated enemy sure aren't free. Freedom's got nothing to do with it. Or security. More officially sanctioned violence in the world makes nobody safe. Honor on the literal battlefield is neither a surefire way to make a career nor the mark of a real man (male or female) -- not in these days when there is so much real work, made even more imperative after all the wanton destruction, needing doing. Maybe people get so frustrated with discrepancies between what they're taught to want and what they get that blowing stuff up, people, livestock, antiquities, whatever you've got, feels more satisfying, like something decisive has happened. Or maybe that's just my silly girlish romantic idea of warfare. I've never been in armed conflict. Maybe it's all so regimented that no one gets to really feel much of it at all. Occasionally some lives or limbs or other body parts get lost. Occasionally buildings crumble, homes, families, neighborhoods, lost in the rubble. Whose freedom benefits? How do I benefit? Is this meant to be some Malthusian pruning back of population to serve up bigger pieces of pie to we who remain? The pie is ruined by inedible rubble. Careful, you'll break your teeth on that soldier's bones.

It we want freedom, and whatever safety is actually possible in this unreliable world, wouldn't strapping manpower be better used to build and grow, teach and heal, explore, improve communication skills, party and create? That thing about power coming from the barrel of a gun only works while you're the fastest or biggest gun. People who feel empowered to be free can get killed. We all die. It's part of the package. People who give their power and freedom to fear never live. They may as well be robotic troops.

There seems to be a common idea that if we can get the right toys, enough of them, it's as good as being free. Violence to get those toys and hold them is a wonderful game. Just because I don't get it doesn't make them wrong, if it works for them, I guess. It does make it wrong for me and the others who have our own games to play that are being obnoxiously and sometimes tragically interfered with by the violence and its consequences. Our rights must be at least as legitimate, as important, as theirs. Who is charged with the promotion of peaceful, cooperative, creative, life-affirming initiatives and maintenance? Billions of taxed dollars and huge military organizations get wasted while we are expected to gloriously applaud, then individually muster what energies we can in the service of paying bills and taxes to keep the war machine, the industries and their corporations they serve, marching along. Who made these rules anyway? The sinners that Jesus keeps dying for? It seems like a bad bargain to me, not just because I am on the ripped off end. The Goddesses are so much more sensible, gloriously enjoying as a sacred example, not horribly dying in martyrdom. Isn't that the way it goes: guys hopelessly posturing their foolish macho pride while the women get to not only do the real needful work, but also have to keep cleaning up all that needless mess. Well, not all guys, nor all women, but enough to prop up the metaphoric stereotypes. Men aren't from Mars, nor women from Venus. We're just variations of the biology of Mother Earth. Would it help if we made a point to remember that? Until the colonization of other planets, we're all stuck here together. When we do it right, we can have so much fun. So what's the stupid hang-up? A topic for eclipse meditation ...

Moon in Aries

I know I'm letting it get to me, but it hurts. In my gut, in my heart, in my mind I really do feel the pain of all the ugliness. People behaving viciously; there's no need. There's no reasonable reason. Yet it happens everyday, all the time, in all manner of horrid manifestations. People beat their small, defenseless children. People plot against supposed friends, stab them figuratively, sometimes literally, in vital places. People use the love others feel for them as tools of torture. We deceive to the point of creating insanity. We embarrass ourselves to mortify those who could have been allies. We deceive ourselves into thinking it's fine to destroy over petty differences. We are pretty damned evil. Not all the time, nor all of us, but way too much for comfort. This is what I get for listening to gossip. All the nasty little demons of everyday lives come tumbling out over glasses of wine. But it's always there, too, in the headlines, even if I resist reading the details, in the broken faces on the street, even if I resist hearing their stories, in the song lyrics and radio news breaks. Yeah, if it bleeds it leads. Sensationalism sells, and what's more sensational than brutality? Of course, I should move my mind toward counting my blessings. My life, these days, is relatively safe and sane. My lover is sweet, not bitter and deranged. My family life may have been imperfect, but never violent. My neighborhood runs to the bohemian, not the territorial warfare of the oppressed. What I suffered in my less enlightened times I survived, minimally scarred. (Just scarred enough to be intriguing, not hideous.) So, let it go. Think lovely thoughts. I shall clap my hands and save a fairy's life, shall I? I shall drink delicious magical potions and swoon into bliss, no harm, no foul. Or maybe I could get by meditating on my umbilical reminder. We are all one -- Ommmmmmmmmmmmmm. Because, what do I think I can do to combat the ugliness short of creating and surrounding myself with beauty? What would be wrong with that? There's always dark beauty, dark humor, the magic of darkness, the yin-yang shadow, the cup of refreshingly sour lemonade, the decadent delight of the bittersweet.

That is what we do with the ugliness, I guess. Paint a graffiti mural over it all, clouds and whales and galaxies. Make it just an incidental part of the picture, disease germs and bloody revolution, Malthusian balance, life eating life, the tragedy of survival in all its ugly methods of demise. Why can't we all die peacefully in our sleep? Is there a vital truth to be gained from pain, torment, cold vengeance, scary demands of conformity, inescapable agony because someone profits? Who said any of it has to make sense, be nice, or feel good? It's only tragedy if someone's watching, and labeling. Otherwise, it's just private pain, like could happen to anybody. Isn't that what pain receptors are for? Maybe it's just interpretation. I say pain. You say pressure or discomfort or neural activity. I say torture. You say enhanced interrogation techniques. I say I don't want to see it anymore. You say here are some lovely blinders, part of this complete costume. Enjoy the fantasy ball. Your pumpkin awaits. I say awake me from this nightmare. You say: you are awake. Start dreaming. If the world was mine to create, what would I do differently? How would I reorder the better angels and the spiteful demons? This world seems to be moving into ever more fateful times. Then, all times must be fateful, chock full of ugliness, armored in beauty, blessed, cursed, nurturing within a burning crucible.

If we could learn to program not in binary but in multiplicity, what answers could we compute? Would that mean anything to the battered child no longer able to survive? Or the battering parents killing themselves vicariously? Suicide bombers desperate for release from bondage, desperate to create their own context. Is there that possibility of escape with popular, market designated art? Is there a way to reconcile with human complexity writ large on canvas? None of it stems the pain, staunches the endless bleeding. Still, I have deadlines to keep and pages to type before I sleep. If I could just get rid of this queasiness so I could concentrate. I am so sorry, ghosts of the brutally defeated. Blessed be you all. May we all find peace, tranquility, pleasant dreams to erase the pain, reach transcendent beauty.

Moon in Gemini

"It's not that I don't want to be self-disclosing. I just think no one wants to see me disclosed." Celia told me. The last time I was living with her, after the whole adolescent rebellion thing that kept our conversations minimal, after my whole wrecking my life thing, yet again, stalwart Mama stepping in to take me home and care for me. After I got sufficiently bored with my self-pity, we had some good, deep conversation, now and then. I tried to let her know that what she disclosed I cherished, even while reserving my right to be a brat.

I have the typical Sagittarian foot in mouth disease, not reticent like Celia at all. More like Daddy Danny who never knew a party he couldn't be the life of. I'm not that flamboyant, but I do manage to get myself in quite a bit of trouble with my radical ideas outspoken. But then the more gentle-caring side of my nature will kick in. I'll start seeing everybody's point of view and go all soothingly good-humored. Mostly I get along pretty well socially. Yet I do so enjoy that quiet understanding, deep emotional sharing without need for explanation, like I have with Tom.

We do talk, so much, about everything, passionately. But there's that other layer where no words are needed for complete attunement. Yes, Goddess, I love him. I thank you fervently for the meeting of our paths. I'd had no idea it could be so easy, so beautiful, safe and magnetic, while exciting, energizing beyond any dream. Amazing how people affect each other, like elemental forces. I can be so very different in one relationship from another. These others, they pull out different aspects of ourselves, aspects even that we were never aware existed until there they are. There I am, in a way I wasn't before this other's influence showed me this way of being me.

I do like the me he shows me, the feeling of being we. More and more, too, I like the me I show me. The better I get to know me, through all the relationships, especially the one, or many, with myself, the better my respect, love, appreciation for this marvelous creature grows. That can't be bad. All this stupid talk about selfishness, the great sin. Wherever I go, whoever I'm with, I'm always here. Doesn't it make more sense to spend all my seconds and minutes and lifetime with someone I love and appreciate and enjoy? I haven't got Celia's self-deprecating hang-ups, or Danny's well-deserved guilt over spinelessness. They don't need those hang-ups, though they seem to think they do. I certainly neither need nor accept such self-imposed limitations. There's plenty enough limitations, just being on the material plane in a social network, bumping against everybody's rules, restrictions, expectations of conduct. It is so easy to lose yourself in all the cross-current. Anchoring to a secure inner voice can be essential with all those conflicting voices vying for attention. No wonder the world can seem so crazy, everyone a hair's breadth from total meltdown one way or another. People clinging to whatever voice tells them what they want to hear, or are used to hearing, no matter how miserable it keeps them. Yeah, well, I would have more compassion for these miserable folks if they didn't seem to want to make everyone else miserable too.

Yes, Persephone, everyone isn't as magnanimous as I. Named for a doomed goddess, I must be special, eh? Blessed be, each and all.

Moon in Libra

I want to take notes, record the world going by. Change can come so quickly. How can I know what I am learning, what has meaning? There have been times when I have looked back so clearly; I see the metaphor, the spiritual lesson, the brightly colored thread woven through my life. I didn't see it then. Then I was caught up in the moment's crisis, scared out of any possible wits that I would not find a way out. There's always a way out, if you can be calm enough to find it and resolute enough to take it. At least, I need to believe that.

I feel the call of Autumn, change, forward moving energy. Challenges in the air. Will I be ready? I'm barely holding together as it is. When I was a kid I wondered about the future, the new millennium, how special is that! The past would be behind, with this whole bright and shiny new future to do whatever was imaginable. When the millennium came around, of course, I was in no condition to make much of it. Just another day, another year in a pointless series of days and years as far as I was consciously concerned. The calendar doesn't matter. It was, no doubt, devised for political reasons at the time. Some philosopher, I should probably google, I think said we can't step in the same river twice; everything constantly changes. I especially see the change from summer into fall. So why put the New Year in the middle of winter? Whose idea was that? Yeah, we may need a ceremony to convince us that the Sun is returning, but it doesn't mean we have to change the year so abruptly mid-season. Winter doesn't start on December 21, even though that may be the longest night. We all know when it is winter, when it turns cold and snowy necessitating heavy clothing and lots of it. Or is that too regional? And what will Global Climate Change do to that regional experience?

At least in my culture, the school year starting after Labor Day has marked the change into another year. I am a grade older now, wiser, more in control. Yet this is when we are still in the servants' sign, the time of harvest, golden fields to be plucked of crops ready to be sent to market. They say new ways must be found to produce more food for a growing world, in these times of climatic change, in these times of economic uncertainty and the decline of vital resources. Still, people have long thrived through times of much less, probably still do in some societies. There seem to be the people who gossip and complain and catastrophize, and people who sit back, think, work it out, find solutions and creative outcomes. Of course there are other people as well. I know there are those who try and try and always get knocked down yet again, just a bit out of step with the main flow of acceptability. There are also those shallow hangers, smiling and flocking to the bright center of the parade, whatever it takes. I prefer to make it (or not) on my own terms, which have nothing to do with fame or fortune as popularly portrayed.

I enjoy living simply with occasional treats, especially unexpected treats. I like being true to the principles I have figured out for myself through the life I experience. I like knowing I can count on myself while acknowledging the great goodwill of my fellows which allows my actual dependencies to be easily reconciled with continued independence because it all goes around. What I really like is getting away with being a brat because I'm so cute and clever. Ah, truth. Then, I start to think I am getting too old to get away with being a cute, clever brat. It's probably getting to be time to buckle down and work on more marketable skills.

Just how long do I think I can get by on this low-level career mosaic of some art promotion here, selling my clever words to low-circulation publications, working events paid by distribution of door proceeds or tips, the occasional temp gig, whatever comes along and grabs me for a short term recompense? I know Tom could and would support me without a second thought, but I would end up feeling owned. Okay, this is something legitimate to be thinking about as the seasons change. Note that I never considered running to Daddy Danny now that I am no longer a package deal with Celia, obviating Gwen's objection. It did have to be said.

The Pisces Full Moon will be available for celebration in a couple of weeks. There is plenty of time to devise a ceremonial spell to supplicate the Goddess to bring me the awareness I will need to find the path She ordains for my next phase. Free will is free. It is what we use to make our own what destiny demands. Or not. It makes more sense than running on chance, in my experience. Then, my experience may be a game of my mind, placing what comes in according to my expectations. It's all so tenuous! What makes sense of it is to go with what works for me, whatever my rationale of personal insanity. Full Moon ritual it is. And dreams, paying attention to what they say in their slippery dream language.

Moon in Sagittarius

I really enjoy wandering bookstores, sampling the wares, finding hidden treasures to make note of. I don't buy retail, prices in books like prices in general getting ever more emblematic of the cultural rift between the economic classes. There are still libraries and secondhand outlets for we financially challenged. Wandering the store, though, is free and fun. Sometimes I run into those author events where you get the lecture, free coffee, and the Q & A, which can be quite edifying. Today there was this author who apparently had written about the tumultuous 60s, heyday of my father and the social revolutions we are still embroiled in sorting out. It wasn't all sex, drugs, rock n roll and flower children. I've heard the stories, at this point from a wide variety of sources who mostly lived it first-hand. It was about all kinds of people breaking out of their stereotyped roles. There was the Civil Right Movement at first. A hundred years after the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves, you could have fooled large segments of society who didn't seem to get the word that "equal rights" had legitimate meaning. I'm not sure what the eventual catalyst was, maybe all that post-WWII social flux slowly sliding down, shaking out. The mass communication of tv might have helped. There was all that idealism around the JFK presidency; imagine a liberal Irish Catholic able to be elected, exhorting us to ask what we could do for our country. Whatever the background, change was playing around our collective psyche. A whole lot of people started to feel a need to make this rights thing right. And it grew. African-Americans needed rights. Draftees needed rights. Women needed rights. Gays needed rights. All the oppressed groups saw the light, that they were Americans too and entitled to be taken seriously. It's amazing to think about how radically different the world was not all that long ago. My parents may be getting on in years, but this was all within their lives, within a generation. That vast worldwide storm of social upheaval is my direct history, living memory, available on tv archives and affecting our everyday lives in ways we no longer even think about.

When my mom was a kid, women were teachers, nurses, secretaries (or, of course, whores, but we don't speak of that), if they worked outside their home at all. Mostly they were housewife/mothers, and happy to be so. Or so the myth goes. Not that they didn't have plenty to keep them busy; and not that today there aren't plenty of women who opt for that lifestyle. During WWII, the one they thought would defeat the fascists and make the world right again, women patriotically did all the work left behind by the men going off to fight the good fight. Then, the guys came home victorious and it's the kitchen and bedroom for you, little lady. Well, no, not if you're too poor to have a kitchen and bedroom if you don't take some shit job not considered manly or worthy of decent pay; but proper women with good providing husbands get to spend their days cooking, cleaning, caring the for kids, and providing a safe hole for hubby's semen. I suppose guys got to feel the pressure to earn their perfect fiefdom. Then, there were all the closeted queers making life miserable for themselves and undesired wifey.

This is the world the Christian Conservatives are so hot to restore, when men were real dicks and women were real tits and ass babymakers. Great! Backlash. But how does it make sense to lash out against freedom, rights, equality under the law and in the marketplace? Aren't those the grand old flag founding American values we get to go to war for? And I don't remember where Jesus said" "Oppress thy brothers and sisters as thee would want thyself oppressed." Wasn't Jesus about love and forgiveness? I am so confused. At least I'm not a Christian. How do they reconcile the teachings of their Lord and Savior with the preachings of their angry hellfire pastors? I guess that analogy about flocks of sheep is right on. Pardon me for being a bitter practitioner of an alternative faith. We pagans know about dark and light, and the necessity for giving full reverence to the whole. We are not so easily fooled by exhorters of light who lead into darkness. We like to celebrate life in all its intricacy, rather than insisting on some narrow path from life to a death-dependent reward.

So, what's the difference between the supposed Muslim call for martyrdom rewarded by virgins and paradise, and the Christian reward of Heaven after a righteous life of suffering? I guess that the Christian is not required to die in combat, and is not promised a sexual hereafter. After all, you know, sex is bad. Procreating is essential, but the means impure. So sad. Jesus, I am so sorry for what your so-called followers have wrought. I know you tried, gave your life to teach them better. I hope you are enjoying your paradisial reward. I think you would be happy conjugating with "sinners" rather than virgins. I mean, isn't that virgin thing about claiming ownership of the fruit of the womb? What should that matter in the afterlife? "Sinners" are so much more experienced, much more fun. I mean, we are talking reward. Sorry, Islamic martyrs. Though, I suppose, being intent on martyrdom, on dying for your people, you never get much chance to be very experienced yourself. Maybe it would be more fun for you to experience newly together with your afterlife harem. What about the Muslims who don’t die in battle? Do they get a segregated corner of Heaven, or a piece of paradise devoid of virgins? Someday I want to learn Arabic and see for myself what the Koran says.

Moon in Capricorn

Of course the Goddess Center women are all abuzz in heated political debate, or rather debate about the highly hyped issues and candidates. I'm generally more into meta-politics, the underlying philosophies, paradigms, ways and means in the developing of the structure within which to perform our interdependent social roles -- much more fascinating than the media memes. Happy little packages we can carry through the day to give us our unthinking preferences are useful if we want politics to be a binary system. They don't end up so happy, though, when you do throw in some thought. Of course, thinking just leads to confusion.

I am not happy about the sexist/racist political warring. I know, sisters, we want a woman in the Whitehouse (and I don't mean First Ladies and staff) because that would somehow give us, what? More power? A better shot at an executive position or fulfilling political ambition or respect? Because once we acknowledge we have these equalities of expectation, women will naturally elevate ourselves without it being worthy of comment. Until our culture respects its female half, a figurehead of gender is just another target for bad humor and rancor. To me the sensible course is to go with the candidate whose style of leadership is one I can respectfully get behind, if such a candidate presents, even from a so-called third party. Who makes these decisions about what political organizations are more legitimate than others? Is it just based on longevity? Doesn't that keep us stuck with the most entrenched in corruption? Or is it based on the size of the membership? It seems rather self-fulfilling that the groups who get the status will get most of the flocking crowds.

These elections become such a big deal -- a national orgy of angry rhetoric and divisiveness. People finally vote, then seem to think we are governing ourselves by proxy, their job is over. Then we get to bitterly complain that the jokers can't get it right because they are not all things to all citizens. Meanwhile, for the local elections, the level at which most of our everyday lives intersect with democracy, small enough for individual activity to really make a difference, no one shows much notice or interest. I guess we pretty much just like to complain, not do the work to fix the problem. So, great, we get to get up on our high horses in mock battle, make our symbolic gesture in the voting booth, and righteously complain that the bastards don't know their ass from the hole we want filled in in front of our house. Ah, America, home of the equal opportunity idiots, selling our birthright for a bit of entertainment and self-satisfaction. Didn't the Roman "bread and circuses" come before the fall? Or is that why it's become so important to throw out the invading hordes of Mexicans and Muslims? We are a nation of immigrants and religious freedom, as long as you all are our kind. See why I don't get into political arguments with my friends and colleagues? I mean, I'm all for political action, but that's a totally other realm of discourse.

Time seems to be moving faster lately. I have to get my brain in gear and work out the logistics of my visit to Celia for her birthday, less than a couple of weeks away. Tom had wanted to fly her in, put her up in a swank hotel, wine and dine and entertain her for a few days, including bringing her to the Mabon celebration, which would also allow me to participate. I ran this by her, and she would have none of it. She wants me to herself without distractions, she says. She always has been essentially very private. I can see that she might not be comfortable amongst a large gaggle of witches, mostly strangers to her. It's her birthday. She gets to make the rules. I'll have my work in in plenty of time for the holiday, so I may be missed a bit but not needed. Tom said he would rent me a car since I refuse to deal with airport security, and it's only a few hours' drive. Usually I take the bus. I want to go a couple of days early so it won't be a rush, so I'll have time to acclimate.

Celia moved out of our old neighborhood a couple of years ago, once she realized I wouldn't be returning. She found a smaller place, top floor of a two-family double-decker, a condo, closer to her work. I won't have to deal with old neighborhood memories. I haven't made any memories in this new neighborhood. I've only briefly visited, not often, and spent that time with Celia, not the neighbors. I know she has friends at work, but she likes to compartmentalize and doesn't bring them home much. There's just her and Pandora the cat, who replaced the now long dead Mao of my childhood. This will be good. We will be adult women talking about our lives, our relationship, working on that primal mother-daughter bond. Then I will come home, back to my life, renewed, enriched by this familial experience. It's all good. It's golden, like autumn leaves.

Moon in Pisces

Harvest Moon, too overcast to see your resplendent glory. We've been dancing to, if not exactly under you. The weather should be clearer tomorrow night for the full Full Moon effect. Or will another hurricane come up the coast to drown you? Unsettled weather. Unsettling times. Uranus conjunct the Full Moon at the time of harvest.

The Towers were struck by lightning, manmade lightning. Fire and brimstone. I wonder about the Christ and anti-Christ quoting scriptures, using prophecy to further causes of today. If Christians wonder why I mock them, or more likely take offense (turn that other cheek, guys), how would they feel about castigations of being Satan Worshippers, evil heathens, unbelievers in the One True Church (splintered as it may be). They leave no room for me. I, on the other (left?) hand honor them by taking their creed seriously. There's room enough for all of us. Why don't they want to see that? They've only been around for a couple thousand years. In the beginning was way before any of us can remember. At the end we all die, onward to whatever afterlife does or does not await us. The Bokononists, in Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" believed the world ended when they died. Their world did. Of course, their world was a fictional one created by a human author. So like a god, the artist, creator of worlds.

Don't worship me! I don't want the responsibility. Why would a god? Why would a President? Why do these politicians want to be President of The World Power? What kind of power does it really give them? Well, if we the people and our other representatives aren't looking, paying attention, expressing our minding, who knows? Maybe it's not some mythical anti-Christ and Beast we need to be concerned about. Maybe the threat is much more mundane and RealPolitik. Beware of politicians on a mission from God.

So, dear Goddess, tomorrow night belongs to you, under the Harvest Moon. My intention for supplication to your wisdom will be brought with holy honor. What is the nature of my harvest and my sacrifice? The Vestal Virgins were not physically intact, but free of the domination of any man. Perhaps I am in that sense a virgin as well. Though the bonds of love -- but are bonds of love a domination if it is a love between free equals with no expectations, no demands? What am I willing to sacrifice? It's not like I've got much. Maybe I can sacrifice my ignorance, my unfounded fears, my ill-advised temptations, self-imposed limitations. I sacrifice my weakness in the service of my strength. Sounds lovely. The thing with magick -- be oh so careful when wishing that you are ready for the consequent reality after tweaking to magick's demand. Be careful what you will for; it may become your destiny. I could be such a well-adjusted coward. Well, part of me would be. I am opening myself to destiny, not out of bravery, but necessity. What else have I got? It's far too late in the game to switch over to a "normal" lifestyle. I have the candles, the incense, the herbs, the wine, the spell. Wish me luck. I am a daughter of Jupiter. Luck is my Ace in the hole, my guardian talisman, my banner and armor.

Moon in Taurus

I don't get what these economy down the tubes explainers are talking about. There is no free market. At least not in the land of the free where everything costs. There are all kinds of regulations, petty and large, but mostly opportunities for people to be paid off. There are licensing fees and inspections and filing papers and setting up appropriate accounts for paying taxes, paperwork constantly prying into the time that you want to be spending on making the business happen.

Creating a small business, even before making it work, is made so difficult, as if we didn't really need and want all the local and specialty enterprises keeping our daily lives running with the manufacturing and distributing of goods, services, community glue, backbone of a thriving economy.

I took a bunch of courses at community college in small business management. After investigating my job options, doing some kind of art promotion seemed the way to go. I had picked up some idea of how art and making a living might intersect while I adhered to Mark. Not that he was very successful, but, amazingly (to me) he did make a living from selling his paintings. Of course I got to learn about blackmarket sales and distribution close up at Brent's side, though I may have been more focused on sampling the wares. Having had some basic marketing and business accounting classes, though, I'm sure my amalgamating brain cells did their multi-tasking and I did pick up salient lessons. I do seem able to come up with decent strategies and ideas, useful enough for various friends and cohorts to be happy to trade favors, ask my advice, invite my participation in their and mutual projects.

My point being that these big deal business as theft types at the top cry so hard about free market liberty, small government, social welfare is none of our concern, blah, blah, blah; but they don't play by those rules. They do all they can, like buying politicians and advertising hypnosis, to get their sweet, sweet deals, laws swerved to their favor, keeping the little guys swamped in paperwork and regulations that they have departments of experts to play for them, merrily screwing the workers and consumers, setting themselves up as too vital to fail so they get bailed out when they go too far, excused from every stupidity and vile act and liability with the best justice money can buy... Where is anything resembling a free market whose invisible hand chooses products, prices, promotes innovation and creative problem-solving (not just financing), gets the best to the most for the least? There is no free market. There probably never has been. Like the people's communism that is meant to form once the state has withered away, instead the state stands firm no matter the dire straits of the common people, those communism was meant to uplift into mutually benefitting community.

They're only theories. In the real marketplace corruption and strong-arming rules. The more you've got the more you can get by paying off the refs and cops and rule-makers. Meanwhile, the people with the great ideas who might be truly providing what the people, the customers, the market would so greatly desire have to get nickel and dimed, insulted and threatened and broken one way or several so that if they ever do manage to make a go of it they need to develop talents having nothing to do with their purported product but all about scrabbling and scheming, skimming and hoarding resources. At least admit the game is fixed. Admit that winners and losers are not about moral desert, but immoral leverage. Maybe if we finally let the corporations fail, too big or not, let the market happen, let the millions of little good ideas sprout up in communities everywhere, suited to their individual little markets, we really could have that diversity of ideas and cultures and small solutions that we ideally say we want. Even if profits were not the only motive, even if we were more concerned with people having the products and lives we each really want, it would still be a marketplace of freedom.

I know, the script says we are mere vassals in the service of our Lords. Isn’t it better to be vestal virgins in the service of our Goddess, no man's slave?

I've got to get my act together to get it on the road tomorrow. On my sacred mission to celebrate her birth with my mother, just at the changing of the seasons. It seems appropriately, what? Generational? I'll be leaving from here, Tom's place. We are spending our last few precious hours of Summer together, since by the time I'm back next week it will already be Fall. We got together shortly before Spring, kind of a half-versary. Bed and breakfast a la casa with Tom, dinner with Celia, a long drive's worth of transition between. Today we have unplanned plans to play like kids, in a totally other world from logic or economics or politics, just Tom and me and the we of our common becoming.