Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dead and Gone-Impressions

So, I have read the latest offering from Charlaine Harris, Dead and Gone. First of all I would like to say that Harris is not a strong writer. What I do like are the characters and the scenarios and world she has created, but in my estimation, I think she could do better as a writer.

Having said that, I will tell you something about the new book.

The new book takes place during the faery wars. Sookie's great grandfather, the faery prince Niall, is in a family feud with Dermott, his grandson, who is Sookie's great uncle.

At the same time, she is being pulled ever closer to Eric, the Sheriff of Area Five and the owner of the Vampire Bar Fangtasia. After much time has elapsed with the take over of the territory which once belonged to Sophie Anne, now definitely deceased, Eric has sent for Sookie and asked her to present a mysterious gift to him in front of the King of Nevada's representative. And Sookie doesn't even take the time to look at it, she simply appears at Fangtasia and with some cerimony, hands Eric the gift. He then unwraps it and reveals it is a cerimonial knife used in Vampire wedding cerimonies (between Vampires, that is, humans and Vampires are still restricted legally in what they can do.). He takes the knife in his hands and kisses it and the representative makes a statement of Eric and Sookie's vow to one another. Aparently they are now bonded together in a love match and that is a bond that cannot be broken by the King. And apparently, Quinn the were-tiger and Sookie's one time (and I mean that literally) lover has been banned from entering Eric's domain.

Sookie resents this high handed act by the Viking Vampire and lets him know about it. But she has bigger fish to fry. Sam and the other shifters have made the great reveal. Figuring that they have the advantage of being human with a quirk, as opposed to being dead bloodsuckers, the shifters have revealed themselves to the world. As a result, Sam's step dad shot his mom when she changed into her animal self and he has been called away and Sookie is put in charge of the bar. Under her watch, Jason's faithless wife has been found crucified behind Merlotte's and the FBI are sniffing around in connection with her work at the Pyramid in Rhodes with Barry Bellboy.

But the FBI and the Crystal story are just side stories that Harris resolves rather abruptly. The meat of the story is the faery war. Everyone is warning her about the impending battle. Dermott is ruthless and very anti human. He knows that Niall loves his great granddaughter and he figures that if he kills Sookie, this will lure Niall into an all out war. Claudine and Claude, Sookie's faery cousins visit with her and tell her to be careful of a man who looks like Jason but isn't.

Meanwhile, Sookie, being burdened by the stresses of the murder of Crystal and the other things in her life, she goes to Fangtasia just for the consolation of Eric's company. She forgoes the opportunity to give Eric a real reaming out for his use of her in the love match thing in favor of listening to Eric's back story.

Eric was the son of a chieftain and he married his dead brother's wife, Aude. Aude was older than he and I think he was very fond of her, even loved her. Eric had six children with Aude and she died with a post-parum infection, she and the baby. One night as he was returning from his courtship of another woman he was waylaid by a man who turned out to be a Vampire. He was made Vampire by a Roman soldier and he was subservient to his maker's whims, which included sex with the endlessly virile Viking Vampire. He explained that he eventually accustomed himself to that aspect as he learned how to be a Vampire. This is very intimate for the Vampire Eric to tell Sookie about how he was made and I think on some levels he was telling her the story to show her that he has some little commonality with her as he himslef was forced into a sexual subservience much like she was when she was being mad handled by her uncle Bartlett.

Sookie comes home with lots to think about but like Scarlett, she always puts it off. Things seem to simmer down for a while until she has to kill a faery in her garden who was sent to kill her. She contacts her Great Grandfather who comes with Sookie's great uncle to clean up the faerie remains.

That evening, Sookie is visted by none other than Quinn, the weretiger. Bill shows up and gets into a physical altercation with Sookie ending up in the middle of it. Knocked briefly unconscious, she awakes to Eric mopping off her face with a very wet wash rag, her mouth full of Eric's blood and no clothes on. Eric figures there is no time like the present to restake(heh, heh) his claim on Sookie. Whatever it is that Sookie has, it makes Eric shout something positively exclamatory in foreign language.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I don't know how to love him


I was speaking with my sister witch today on IM and I could tell that she seemed troubled, so I asked her what was wrong. She said that she had written a post on her own blog and she suggested I take a look at it.


In it she wrote of the Sacred Male, the God, and how she felt his robust and passionate energy. She likened him Wolverine in the X-Men movies and she expressed a longing for the sexual and passionate and sometimes violent masculinity of the God.


Now, I am not a Pagan, I have only one notion of God, but I respect the images of him conjured up by all people and creeds and trads. But I do see God in a way that is different from most all Christians. And I will try to explain here how I see him.


Early Christian thinkers were very interested in how to mold God's personal image so we could create an unique and special bond with him. They could not see God as the randy, lusty gods of the Romans and Greeks, nor could they see him as the other Pagans saw the sacred Male. So they did the unconscienable, they neutered God. Terrible thing to do.


And when folks go searching for some sprirtual other and they encounter Wicca, every third word is goddess. And I understand that. After being force fed this male centered religious dogma designed to strangle women from the rights to their own bodies and their sexual identities and from their material goods, any religion that praises the sacred feminine is a welcome change.


Unfortunately an imbalance occurs and when thoughts and hearts and yes, desires turn to the notion of the sacred masculine, there is a confusion and maybe even a sense of shame or embarrassment when desire and passion and need come to the surface and burn the body and the mind with that desire.


This is confusing especially to the Christian witch. God was always some one who was beyond our reach, who we could not understand as a sexual being. But, think about the Song of Solomon:


Song of Solomon



The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.
Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.



Chapter 2



I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.



Chapter 3



By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.
They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.
King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.



Chapter 4



Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.



Chapter 5



I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?
My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.



Chapter 6



Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.
My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.
Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.
As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.
Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.



Chapter 7



How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.



Chapter 8



O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.
Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.



Did you see all those sacred sexual images. While we know the writer is praising an earthly lover, couldn't this also be an indication of God's sexuality? His romatic and passionate view as a Male God for the women who follow and trust in him. Think about the visitation to Mary. The Angel makes its announcement and God overshadows Mary and I believe, in his own metaphysical way he made love to her while he was putting Jesus in her belly.


So sexual love and desire is part of the God, whether he is the God of the Pagans or he is the God of the Cross, the Christian God, and deny that part of ourselves, the part that desires God and the intimacy he designed for us to share with our lovers and with him, it to deny the act of God's love for us.


Love ye one another

And Brightest Blessing Be

Aslinn

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Dead and Gone

So I lay here, all curled up, reading Dead and Gone and feeling a mixture of pleasure and pain for my poor beleagured Bill. I won't get into it yet, not until there are a few more days between the intital readings and rereadings of the book.

Let's just say there is nothing really settled for my favorite Vampire. :'(

Monday, May 04, 2009

Why I love the True Blood/ Charlaine Harris Stories


I wrote this post for the True Blood forum I belong to in response to a thread entitled: Why do we love Vampire stories?

I have only fallen in love twice in my life. The first was a man who I loved but could not love me back. The second was my husband and he died of NonHodgkin's Lymphoma about 13 years ago.

I have always loved the story of the Vampire, the scary/ sexy creature who desires you more than any other creature on earth. But I never really understood the character of Vampires like Dracula and Louie and Lestat until I read those stories after the death of my husband.

I always knew that my husband was going to die of his cancer, he'd been living with it for 2 or 3 years when we met. I suppose he reminds me something of Bill. He doesn't look at all like Bill, though they are about the same height and build and they have that same deliberate way of speaking. And my husband was very courtly, like Bill, even though he was an old hippy.

I remember, after he died, that I reread Dracula for a Victorian Literature course and I had of course read it before. But I cried like a baby over the Count. He was so sad and lonley in his Vampiric existance. And then of course the film by Francis Ford Coppola, I was miserable for Gary Oldman and the way he played the Count.

I think the thing that I really related to with the Dracula character were the passages you mentioned, crossing seas of time and love that never dies and the way Mina Murray says "take me away from all this dead," when Dracula blood bonds with her.

My husband and I did not want to get involved with each other. He was a dead man walking, twenty years my senior and I was a young woman barely 21. A lot of what happens between Sookie and Bill is the way mine and Jimmy's life began: an older man, a veteran (Vietnam) and a young girl with a lot of social stigma on us because of our age difference, and a sort of doomed romance thing going on that made it appealing (Believe me, the doomed romance thing was not appealing at the time). We worked together as Bill and Sookie do in the second book and Jimmy's illness and the fact that he was dealing with his war time memories, like poor Terry Bellefleur, (and Bill).

I hadn't really realized just how much alike this whole experience of loving a "dead" man is like the books.

I have to go away for a bit and think about this.

Whew ???

And he was very needy, like Bill. Even for blood. No, he didn't bite me, but when he needed blood for surgery, since I'm O-, the universal blood type, I donated blood to him when he had surgery so, we had something like a blood bond.

It's funny how you read something and the story seems one way to you and then as you have experiences your point of view changes when you read it again, because of the experiences in your life. I'm glad I put this post up and you responded to it. It makes perfect sense to me now why I am so hyped up over Bill and Sookie's romance. It's the true love that will never die.

Friday, May 01, 2009

What I have Learned from Cancer

What I have learned from cancer is pretty simple. The human touch is necessary. Not just the touch of nurses and doctors and chemo techs and radiation techs. But the touch of people who are not there to do a proceedure on you, who are not there to perform a chore or provide a service or any of the things associated with the disease.

My doctor, the one who sort of sounds like Stephen Moyer when I close my eyes, is a very proper Brit. I like him, though he is a funny doctor, and ordinarily,I am impatient with funny doctors, but today when he visited my room, he seemed down. I haven't any of my magikal energies back to any sort of level, but his aura was static-like and troubling.

He's had a "spot of bad news" as he said, in his very proper Queen's English. Apparently his brother was involved in a very serious car accident and will likely be paralyzed from the waist down. He is my doctor's twin brother. And my doctor is making the trip home soon to see him. I reached out and touched his hand. He has slender, delicate hands, the hands of a surgeon. They were very warm to me and though I think he felt uncomfortable with me touching him (I think this had more to do with his Britishness than with my being sick), he seemed to relax as I squeezed the hand that opened me up and birthed my little stranger. That seems so intimate, but I tell you, there was nothing more intimate than that moment, touching his hand.

And when he left, I thought how amazing it felt to hold another person's hand. How much energy I felt in the warmth and pressure of his hand. Then I thought about all the times that I was alone and afraid and I wished there was someone there to hold my hand. My mom did it for a while, and after a while she just couldn't bear to touch me anymore. And my dad was the same, though he chickened out sooner. And then there was my sister, who touched me like a nurse, perfunctory, like a professional.

Jaime and I used to hold hands when we were at club chemo. He had leukemia and he had even more pain than I did and sometimes I think he held my hand because he was in pain and he felt braver because he didn't want be scared in front of me. I was holding his hand when he died.

But to have a living person hold your hand, a healthy, well nourished, warm skinned person hold your hand is like lying in a warm bath, feeling the support and gentle pressure of the water holding you securely and holding you up at the same time. It is that cone of peace and normality that says there are still living creatures out there who will not shrink from your touch.

So, if you find yourslef in a situation where you are with the sick and you can't find anything to say, simply hold their hand, stroke their fingers and let them feel your living heat. It will be the touch of life for them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Alchemy Lessons I have Learned

So, here I am, getting better now, after so long in the hospital and so long sick. I have many miles to go before I am well and I still have challenges to face. But I am alive and I am hopeful.

Owlthena asked me if the Craft helped me in anyway and I have to say that it did. Understanding the history of modern medicine through the Craft and understanding not only the physical changes but the metaphysical changes in my body have opened me up in a lot of ways to the notion of healing through magik. And all magik really is the act of nature and the super nature coming together to cause change. Since I know how many of the chemicals they used on me in their basic form works on a chemical and alchemical basis, I internalized and ritualized my process of healing or letting go. It really could have gone both ways and it still can, there are no promises to me from my doctors or from the medical community that I will live to celebrate a single post-cancer year.

What it has done is shown me how to redirect my energies and be even more determined to teach others the Way of the Wise, regardless of creed. Anyone who wishes to dedicate themselves to the ancient and noble art can learn witchcraft and embrace it as a part of their lives. But I reiterate, the Craft is not for everyone and it does not solve all your problems. What it can do is strengthen you to face those problems and use the energy that might otherwise be a source of anxiety and channel it into the world as pure magik.

Even now I am preparing by meditation and contemplation and renewed efforts at study, now I am getting stronger. I am depleted but I know that energy can come back to me in the form of simply working the Craft, pulling its chi into me and replenishing the reservior of magikal energies that once flowed through me. I will create energies by being creative in my Craft life and my personal life.

And I will try to temper my outspokeness with gentleness. I will continue to speak my piece and speak it bravely with no apologies for who or what I am, but I will temper it with compassion. And I will not tolerate hatred around me, I will shun it and keep it out of my life.

So I wait. A little over a month I will be set free from this world into the world of the living and I will embrace my possibilities and I thank all of you who have written me and been my friends on this blog and in the world. I hope you will always teach me about compassion and empathy.

Te Dia Agus Anam
Aslinn

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My Book of Shadows


For those of you who may be interested, I have posted my Book of Shadows online through 4shared. Feel free to download it. It is free and I offer it as a gift to anyone who has been reading my blog and has been interested in the workings of a Christian walking the path of Witchcraft.

It is an Adobe document, so is you don't already have it, download one. It too is free.

Thanks to all who have been so supportive to me and Brightest Blessings Be.

http://www.4shared.com/file/100683406/d968be88/Aslinn_Dhans_Christian_Witches_Book_of_Shadows.html

Aslinn

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bully

Sometime in my blog I talked about being a substitute teacher and how I was leaving the teaching profession, at least as a sub, and looking for other work. Of course I came down with cancer and haven't seen much in the way of a new job since I got sick.

But then I was watching the news and in the past couple of weeks two young kids, one of them eleven years old, killed themselves because they were being bullied in school. And the comments were primarily about how the school was responsible.

Let me tell you something. I want you to listen really close. For every one kid who is marginally interested in school, who sits quietly, who is polite, who does the best they can, who is a joy to have in the classroom, there are five who are absolute monsters. They talk to everyone like they are animals. Their every other word is either Fuck or Bitch and sometimes they are used together. They fear no one. They hate everyone and if you interfere in their activities, you can be guaranteed to be hit, slapped, punched or otherwise abused.

I am a 5'3" woman. I was a chubby woman when I was diagnosed but I was never a bruiser. There were kids who would stand over me and tell me what I was and was not going to do. They routinely told me to get my fucking eyes off their face and keep their name out of my mouth as I picked up the phone to call an administrator or the on campus police officer. I intervened on an obvious case of bullying and got got my right eye blacked, the socket broken and my nose busted. I was reprimanded for physical contact with a student. (I was pulling the bully off another child). The child got morning detention.

I had one young man stand over me and called me everything but a white woman and threaten to hurt me. When I complained that he did this not only to bully me but one of my students, the Principal said there was nothing that could be done, that he was diagnosed as antisocial and having a personality disorder and I should learn to put up with it because he was in my last class of the day and his meds were wearing off.

And let me tell you something else about your little cherubs. They cuss, they handle the foulest language, they have sex in school bathrooms, they smoke cigarettes, dope, and drink. They hate you, they hate school, they hate their class mates. They know too much about nothing and not enough of anything. They don't have feelings. They don't have empathy. They don't care about anything that does not effect them personally.

And the schools didn't make them this way. You did. You don't pay attention to your kids, either because you can't afford to take time off and be with them because you are too silly to use the seventy-five cent condom and you are working two menial jobs to support them or you are well to do and you don't have the desire. Your children are accessories, like those silly fucking dogs you carry around in your purses. Or you may be some mom who took dope during her pregnancy and you don't want to accept responsibility that you gave birth to a monster without the chemicals necessary for self control, behavior modification, even fear. Perhaps you are one of those parents who want to preserve little Susie's sense of self worth so you never say no, don't, stop it. You redirect, use positive emphasis, rationalize. Get a grip lady, life is not fucking fair.

I long for the days of special schools and paddling. I long for the days of parents being able to punish their children. If I were a parent today, and my child threatened to call CPS over the fact that they'd been give corporal punishment, I'd say go ahead, but first let me give you a reason to call them.

Not everyone should be in a school setting. It creates an unsafe learning environment for everyone, students and teachers. It becomes so unsafe that teachers, yes, teachers are afraid of your fucking kids. So don't blame the schools entirely. Our hands are tired much of the time. And parents, you were the ones who tied them.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Passion of the Christ

I can't attend good Friday services at my church while I am still in isolation. I am doing well, considering. I have a long road for recovery but each day seems to be a little bit better. But I miss the little things, a nuzzle from my dopey cat. To listen to the rain tapping on the roof of the house (at home, I live in my attic). A sip of cool wine and the sounds of the wind coming through my open windows.

So, since I could not be at home for the Easter services I got a copy of The Passion of the Christ.

Please don't write to me and tell me how bloody and violent and gruesome the movie was. Don't write to me and tell me Mel Gibson is a Nazi. If you don't want to read my blog, move along. Those of you who do, please stay, and listen to what I have to say about this amazing movie.

I was raised watching all those technicolor Cecil B. DeMille movies that came out of Hollywood. Jesus was so perfect, with his beautiful skin and his long hair and usually cool blue eyes, those beautiful Anglo-Saxon Jesus who were so handsome but looked nothing like the Jesus of the times or the race that saw him in the flesh.

I still love those sanitized movies with scenes plucked right out of a Michelangelo painting where the image of Christ is super glorified even in his suffering. Maybe the painter was too afraid to paint the way Jesus would really have looked on the cross.

For one thing, Jesus was brutally beaten. Isaiah wrote in prophecy that the mob tore his beard from his face. I had a husband who had a beard and I could never imagine tearing out a patch of his beard. They brutalized him, forced him to carry his own cross and then stripped Jesus naked. No, Jesus did not have that modesty cloth around him when he died. Jesus was naked. Jesus was naked because the Romans knew that the most shameful thing that could happen to a person who considered himself a rabbi would be to appear nude in public, in front of both men and women.

Interspersed with the brutal and violent scenes of Jesus arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion, we see Christ as he was, a carpenter, making a table for a wealthy customer. We see Christ as the rescuer, rescuing the fallen woman from her persecutors. We see Christ as a little boy being rocked in his mother's arms. We see Christ as the teacher, the servant, the preacher, the forgiver of sins.

We also see Christ making affirmations: "Mother, behold, I make all things new," he says thickly, his face misshapen and bloody. We see Christ as the suffering and condemned prisoner being comforted by a woman who removes her veil and wipes his face with it. A primitive Kodak moment.

We see the Devil, mocking Jesus "No man can take on the sins of the whole world. No, No one, it is too much," We see the Devil mocking Mary, the Devil mocking her virginal birth and her holy infant by being the Infernal Mother and her Imp child.

And then Jesus does something amazing. He gives us his mother. John is standing there with Mary, his mother and Mary the Magdalene and he tells John that Mary is his mother now and we are told that he took her into his house from that moment on.

Christ dies, bloody and beaten and torn. A giant tear (or is it just a drop of rain, like so many that have fallen upon the earth) falls at the moment of Jesus death. The temple shakes and the curtain that separated the people from the Holiest of Holies is rent in two and the ark is depicted as gone.

And then the scene changes to a dark tomb being opened up and as the light of dawn rolls over the walls it washes over my super hero, an unblemished Christ, perfect in his wholeness, perfect in his resurrection, showing only the holes where his hands have been pierced and he rises naked from the tomb.

We look for the face of Christ in the imprint of the Shroud and on the veil we call Veronica's. These smudgy pre-technology Polaroids are the sign of faith, even if they are not real. They are expressions of our willingness to believe in the King of the Most High. We are looking for His face everywhere, from drawings and art on cave walls, church walls and statuary, on humble pieces of cloth, even on the trunks of trees and in pieces of bread.

Shall I tell you where the face of Christ can be seen? The face of a tired nurse who bent over me and wiped my brow when I had pneumonia, the face of my doctor who held my hand and gave me bad news and good news. The face of a lover who slept peacefully in the night beside me.

He is the faces of children, "Suffer the little children to come unto me for such is the kingdom of heaven." He is in the faces of old people you pass on the street. He is in the face of your fellow man. He is in the face of even your enemy "For I say unto thee that thou shall love your enemy and pray for those who do evil for they are poor in spirit."

For those of you who do not believe in some form of God, no explanation will suffice. For those who believe, no explanation is necessary.

God Bless you on this Good Friday.
And remember, God is in the rain.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Miss March


My Lilies


March is fickle, so they say.

I think of March as an elder woman, going through menopause, hot one minute, cold the next, who pees when she sneezes. Don't be offended, I mean no disrespect to the last month of true winter and into the first month of earliest spring.

March, as they say, comes in like a lion. She huffs and puffs and brings the sudden, unexpected snow shower, the damp rain, the first fogs and the first warm days. March is when you prepare the earth and get it ready to grow flowers and herbs and vegetables. It is the mucky month, as liable to be muddy and soppy as dry and frozen. Mom called and said that she saw a big black cricket, the fiddler of the field, hopping about in the leaves she was raking, leaves that had fallen down behind the huge saw blade I painted last spring just before I went to Virginia. She planted my multi floral lilies on each side of it. I wish I could see it. I wished I could put my hands in dear old mother earth and smell her richness and feel the dampness of her on my hands as I prepare her for the fertility of the season.

I long for the early morning symphony of the mockingbirds that nest in our holly tree, the repeating call of the south fat robins and watch the cocking of their heads as they listen to the minute traffic of the earthworms below the ground. I want to watch the swallows shopping the several bird houses trying to pick the right one where their young can be hatched and raised and finally fly away. I want to sit still in the evening and watch the starlings squabble over the bird bath. They come in a large group and I imagined them, like little vacationers. I could see them with little beach towels around their necks, one of those tiny inflatable float rings, little ray bands on their heads. Now I'm getting silly. But I wouldn't be surprised to see a tiny beach ball floating on the tiny ripples of the bird bath.

But March is the promise of spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March

Well, you know the old saying "When it rains it fucking pours" (or something like that). Well, my doctors came in and closed the Pella blinds. The cute doctor that sounds like Stephen Moyer came and sat on the end of the bed to let me know it looks like the bone marrow is dying. I've been placed on the bone marrow list as a top priority.

I sat there and I just couldn't believe it. I had slept late today and drank most of my ensure milkshake and watched Empathy on line and wrote some on the forum about Alex Skarsgard maybe getting the nod to play Thor (he plays Eric on TB) and wrote for a while in my journal when the doctors came in. Dr. McWilliams, my oncologist and Dr. Havers (the Brit) held my hands (something they have never done) and told me that I had the fight of my life ahead of me.

They say it is fairly rare and I am going to be sick for a long while or until my blood marrow can be rematched. So, because I have no immune system to speak of, I will be kept in even stricter isolation, put on broad spectrum anitbiotics and be placed on the stem cell research list in case there is a chance stem cell theraphy can be of any use. God Bless Barack Obama.

Okay God, can I quit now?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mythos


So, I am on this forum, True-Blood.net, and I have never met a greater group of folks. We spend a lot of time talking about the books and the show and just talking to each other. They know that I am sick and they are really supportive and they get a kick out the stuff I write and post on the forum.


One of the threads that I have posted on the forum is about the mythology connected to the Vampire and Werewolf and shifters in the world of Bon Temps. I have a gotten a few comments, but I think most people are afraid to post because they don't want to cite their sources, which is something that I asked everyone to do with this thread so folks can look things up on their own. Mostly I wanted to see what other things I might learn about werewolves so I can add it to what I have already learned about werewolves and shapeshifters.


Though they don't contribute, there are a lot of hits on the thread so I know someone is reading the thread. So there is some interest there. I like teaching, I miss it very much, so this is a real outlet for me.


One thing that is interesting is that I get to see just how much I actually know about the whole topic of the supernatural myself. And I must seem freakish because I know an awful lot about the creatures of the night. And this was long before I became Witch. I have always felt an affinity with the world of Other. Ghosts, Faery folk, Vampire, Werewolf, Witch, they are joined in my world view.


And I know that the monsters of old are mythology or primitive attempts at understanding mental illness. But I do know that there are real Vampires, not the allergic to sunlight/garlic sucking your blood animated dead guy Vampires, but there are psychic Vampires. And there are no real Werewolves who turn into wolves on the full moon and howl and slobber over poor girl on the moors, but I know there are people who are very in touch with their animal side, their totemic animal of protection or affinity.


I think it is strange that I didn't get a degree in folklore and anthropology. I guess I don't like the notion of science and history being melded together but I enjoy the stories and how societies and civilizations tweaked the elements of the tales as they evolved with man's view of the monsters that lurked in the night.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isolation

So here I am in isolation. It is so weird. I am in a self contained room with it's own foyer where I am protected from other people's germs. They have to get suited up to visit me. They all look like advertisements for really safe sex.

My room is in the ICU. I have these glass walls in the front of my room that are made private by these blinds, like the Pella blinds that are enclosed in two panes of glass. When they do medical procedures on me, they close those blinds and do whatever it is they are going to do me, whether it is check my catheter or give me a bed bath or draw blood. I like the blinds open during the day. I sit and watch the doctors and nurses and aides talking to each other. I can't hear them so I make up dialogue for them. My sister and I used to do it when we sat in the restaurants at home when we watched passers by walk on the street by the windows.

I have assigned special names for the ones I don't know intimately. There's Dr. Needle Nose, Nurse Piggy (she isn't fat but she does have a snout and when she laughs, which I can hear through my bloody double glazing, she does sort of snort and grunt), The Goth Nurse (she's pierced on her face and has black nail polish and black hair. How does she get away with that? She must know some evil dirt on the administrator), and Elvis, the orderly (who does look something like the King and tends to lead with the hips when he walks, like he has a terminal boner).

See, I'm a people watcher, always have been. I like to sit in crowded bars and restaurants and watch people. I see you do everything. Girls, I see you pull the panties out of your butt, scratch your itches, pick your noses and fondle your boyfriends under the table. Boys, I see you pull your balls away from your body, pick your nose, spit, pick your teeth, and cop a feel of your girlfriend's tits. But you never see me. It's because I don't stare. That's essential for the people watcher. Your eyes flick from person to person like a hummingbird, stopping only long enough to look but not to stare. I also listen to your conversations. Especially when you are on the phone. I listen to you giving your address out, your phone number, even your social security number on the phone. Stop it, someone less honest than me will someday hear you.

One of the things I notice is that people are inarticulate. They barely speak English. They don't have enough vocabulary to speak to someone else unless it is littered with obscenities. I'm no prude, I like to use good strong words from time to time, especially four letter words. But to salt and pepper your language with those words doesn't make you sound tough, it just makes you sound stupid. Stop it and buy a word-a-day calendar and brush up on your vocabulary.

One of the things I have done is downloaded the Sookie books from a file sharing place and I read them as a PDF. It is better than a book and passes the sanitary test. I still have my calendar but it is enclosed in a plastic sleeve. It's that picture from Fangtasia of George Bush as Vampire biting the neck of Lady Liberty. Bill is April. I love April.

I get out the last of May.

I watch the VCR, watching True Blood. I know there is a website that you can use to watch the show as a bootleg but it has Japanese captions running underneath it and it gets on my nerves. I notice that the nurses on the late shift like to watch it through my window at night. If I am awake, they write things on the dry erase board and ask me questions about the show. I write them back on my dry erase board or use my call button.

I actually got eat something. It was orange jello. It tasted bizarre and tangy on my tongue. I kept it down too. I miss my cat. Ishee is not a friendly cat, but he loved me above all my family. He sleeps with me and lets me pet him from time to time, mostly he just bites me. I wonder if he remembers me? Mom said that when I first went in the hospital that he went upstairs to look for me for a long time.

I have insomnia. I think it is because I'm bored. I'm ready to be out of the hospital. I hate it here.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fewer Believers in Fox Holes

Are there fewer believers in the world today? You better believe it. There are many reasons for this, but I suspect that the biggest reason for this trend is the fact that church services tend to be an hour long infomercial explaining to believers why they need to cough up their money and give it to the church.

Jesus tells us that we are to go out into the world and tell people the good news that all men are redeemed through his sacrifice and heaven awaits those who believe in this salvation. He also says that in the end of days, there would be no physical place called the church, that not one stone would rest upon the other. We are told that those who are left behind will have to find the church in their heart because there will be no physical building, that the kingdom of God will be the people of God, not the churches.

In the film Jeremiah Johnson, this crazy man Jeremiah encounters tells him that the hills and the forests are the cathedrals of God, that the mountains bear witness to his glory, that the prairies are the great gathering places of the angels. This is the cathedral I believe in too. Not some ugly square building. The magnificence of the sunrise, the solitude of a starry night, the choir of the winds and the thunder of God's sermon and the baptism of the rain. No sacrament is greater than the sacrament of one's own presence in the face of such beauty and power. No virgin so sweet than the unsullied stand of great cedars, no child so wondrous as a new born fawn rising up to take suck from it's mother, no saint as holy as the solitary mountain raising itself up to the glory of heaven.

If I die, I want to go to the creator of the seas and the storm, the winds and the rain, the warming sun and the "dark, sacred night". I want to go to the God that makes personal covenants with each of us when we put seeds in the soil, causes the robins to break into song, and blessed me with the love of a man who covered me in the darkness and held me close to him afterwards, under the blankets, making me feel small, warm and cherished and contented.

And this is from a woman standing at the valley of the shadow, on the edge of the jumping off place. How can you, the whole and the living, doubt the glory of God? I understand about religion. Religion is a construct, faith is your inheritance. I never asked you to believe in a religion, kneel in no chapel, partake in any sacrament, but I ask you, when you behold the glory of creation, how can you deny the presence of the Creator?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hospital Haute Coutre

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know what I am talking about. The hospital gown. It is designed for easy access for nurses and is the (excuse the expression) butt of many a joke.

I haven't had a proper sit down bath in weeks. I can't submerge completely in water because of radiation burns and now my surgical incision. And I'm one of those people who shower in the morning and then at night, I enjoy being submerged in boiling hot water to my chin with a good book and when I was healthy, a glass of wine and soaking until I was done to a turn. I resembled a very done lobster when I emerged in a cloud of steam from the bathroom about an hour later.

But back to hospital fashion. So here I am in this hospital johnny. My sister who is a nurse, usually comes in of the evenings and gives me the ubiquitous bed bath, changes my sheets, and dresses me in a gown she constructed of two of the johnnys., snapping up the shoulders and tying the sides. The hospital would really prefer she just use one, I am the skinniest person in the world right now. But I suppose she wants to preserve as much of my dignity as she can. It is a running discussion she has with the nurses to make sure that if I am not fashionable, I am at least decently clad.

To pass the time, and believe me when you are a patient, you have plenty of that, I began to concoct a tale of the man who invented the hospital gown. Here it is for your perusal.

Hospital Haute Coutre
By Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk
In the late 1800's in Paris, a struggling fashion designer was trying to find his place in the annals of fashion design. He worked feverishly to create clothes that would set trends and cause a stir in the fickle and often vicious world of Paris haute coutre. He entered competitions, went to all the top design houses and begged anyone who was anyone to allow him to cut their clothes. No one was interested in his work. So he went to work for the French government designing uniforms and other apparel for the military, the gende d'arm, prisons and the like. It was a living, but he was uninspired. He knew this was just a way to make a living and he would simply be an anonymous government employee.
Then there was a post on the bulletin board that the Paris hospital needed a simple design for gowns for patients that would fit most any body shape and be simple to put on and take off and leave the patient easily accessible for any and all medical proceedures. It wasn't difficult but it would at least relieve some his boredom. He went to work and created his design and made a gown and had it shown at the hospital director's meeting. They praised it's simplicity and it's utility and before he knew it, most every hospital in the world would use it.
Of course the patients would never really appreciate it's design and helpfulness. They complained that it was too big or too small and it left your derriere hanging out in the breeze. All the easier for nurses to give you shots, enemas, birth your babies, or secure your diaper. But woe unto the absent minded ambulatory patient who forgot about the opening in the back as they took their stroll down the halls. Everyone had the chance to make you the butt of their joke.
So now, the decades have passed and we still use that wonderful, simple hospital gown today, but the name of the man who designed it is still a mystery til now. The name of the designer: Pierre Buttzout.
Thank you Pierre, you have made my humiliation complete.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Surgery Tomorrow

So, today, I have been going for tests, a final MRI and an intense discussion about my little stranger. The doctors have been giving me the blow by blow about that they may be doing to me during the surgery. They orginally wanted to do it laproscopically but they have decided to do it open, along the bikini line.

I have heard stories about the myths surrounding air reaching the tumor causing spread of cancer. I have been begging for a closed proceedure, but they felt that I would not be assured that all the tissue would be taken out that is effected by the cancer. They explained that the myth comes because most people ignore symptoms til it is too late and that adds to the notion that exposure to the atmosphere causes immediate spread. They promise me that this is not the case.

My dad has been donaing blood for the surgery and I have been doing a mix of synthetic blood and true blood to build up my count, and fight the anemia that I am experiencing. I will have two more rounds of radiation then they will do the bone marrow transpant and I will be in isolation.

I'm scared, I don't mind to say it. My priest is coming to anoint me and give me Communion and he will even do the ashes, on a little card to post on my window because I will be in a protected environment. I will be fully ready to go through whatever it is I will be going through, at least spiritually.

Mom and dad came to see me today. They still don't like to be around me and they are glad I'm about 30 minutes away and the weather has been on and off again so they have an excuse not to be around so much. I understand, though it does hurt.

My sister and her wife come to see me for a few minutes every day, which is nice. I like my sister in law. I can't see my little "niece" because she is seven and little kids are notorious little petri dishes, but she draws me pictures and writes me letter. I always email her a little note, just for her. She wants to know what the boo boo looks like. I told her it was a little man that was kind of ugly and the doctors were going to trick him out and grab him.

They give me about even odds, because the chemo and radiation didn't do everything they expected it to do, namely shrink the tumor. But it did stop growing and is in stasis. I hope they can get it out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Geronimo's Bones

As I lay here in my hospital bed, trawling the Internet, trying to keep my mind off what is happening to me, yet trying to decide how much further I am willing to go, I ran across this article about the descendants of Geronimo seeking the remains and funerary pieces of the great Apache warrior to give them an honest burial so his spirit will go on to the land of the dead.

Being Cherokee and Iroquois, I have a profound empathy for the Native people of America. I know that aboriginal ways are not always Christian ways but their belief structures are just as legitimate as Christian ways of dealing with the living and the dead. I would hate to think that here would be someone in the future that would dig up my ancestor's graves or even my grave, to study and keep in a cardboard box in the dark bowels of the Smithsonian or some college. I would rather think that my remains would remain in the earth to become a part of the Great Mother, who allowed us to spring up and walk on her great body and then cradles us in the arms of the soil to nurse us in our death sleep as we wait for the time of rebirth and reunion with the Creator.

To honor the dead, whether they share your world or religious view is a human responsibility. To treat with respect the most basic thing left of us, our earthly remains is the last request any of us could make of our brothers and sisters.

As one chief wrote: Deal kindly with my people for the dead have a power, too.

And for the sake of the great spirit, go to Mount Rushmore and blow those President's faces off the side of that mountain. The Black Hills Mountain range, of which Rushmore is a part is the home of Wakontanka, the Creator God of the Lakota Sioux. Those carvings are the equivalent of drawing a moustache on the Virgin Mary. It is a sign of dishonor and respect. Those mountains are the Sioux' cathedral. Give it back to them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Own Sheets and Blankets


See, no one really knows what is like to be in a hospital for a very long time. And as I am going to be in the hospital for a long time, I miss my old room in my mom and dad's house. My own bed and matresses with that familiar divit in the spot where you lay the most, the smell of your own pillows, that mix of clean skin and hair and your favorite cologne, the favorite flowered sheets and the old blanket that is warm in winter and somehow cool in summer that has the little hole in it that that you finger when you read or just before you fall asleep.


So, although I am in a rather sterile hospital room, with my little True Blood calendar the nurse Sherri made for me pinned up on my bulletin board. (I'm currently staring at Eric, sitting on his throne, looking sexy and bored. Obviously she doesn't know about my Bill fixation.) I was surprised by my mom bringing my pillows and and one of flowered flat sheets and my favorite blanket to put on my bed. Hospital pillows suck anyway.


After she and dad left, I snuggled down in my hospital bed and pulled my sheets and blanket up around me. I could smell the fabric softener she's washed them in. Lovely smells of home.


They take out my little stranger (I hate funny doctors, even though he is English and sounds a little like Stephen Moyer when I close my eyes) on the 24th. They say it roughly the size of an IHOP pancake and twice as thick and sort of kidney shaped. I asked them if I could look at the little bastard (that's what I call it) when it is "born". I don't think they have ever had anyone ask to look at the thing the thing that has been held in stasis for the last eight months. That's just a fancy way of saying they have managed to make it stop growing, though they hoped it would actually shrink.


I want to see the thing that would have loved to eat me alive, that may still kill me, that made me puke, undergo alchemy, undergo the burning times, made me cry and despair, made me ugly and bony and pale. Made me lonely. Made me Other. I want to look at and say "Well done you little fucker. Even if I don't make it, I know you didn't either."


But, I like being under my own sheets and blankets.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Simplicity

Some of you will have noticed that I have changed my blog some. I wanted to change it to reflect not so much a change of heart but a change for myself. To open up this blog to creativity and a change of spirit. I want this blog to be about me, not just the occult side of me, my dual naturedness, but my human side, my frail and failing side, my creative side.

I am tired of seeing myself as just one way, for like a jewel, I have many facets. If you are looking for my magik, it is still there, just look for it in the guise of other things, in the hidden nature of art and thoughts and commentary, of meanderings and of fantasy. The spells that come from poetry and prose, the praise of God in the desire for life. The exploration of life through fantasy and fiction, to find truth in simple thoughts.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All Things in the Night


I was perusing the internet, like you do when you are bored and I saw a video for the Northern Lights and had a sudden streak of inspiration:


The Viking Vampire stepped out into the night and looked up into the black sky. How long had it been since he'd seen the sun? He thought hard, trying to remember, something Eric did not like to do because it reminded him just how long it had been since he was human. Still there were some things he did remember. Like the way the Northern Lights would light up the midnight skies and make the snow covered mountains seem to be blooming in the thousands of shades of green that could only been seen in the light of day. But then, as the night began to melt away, the colors would fade and disappear and the mountains would become dark with the coming of the sun rise behind the mountains. But in that brief instant, the ancient dead man with his ice blue eyes could see the world in false daylight, not under the killing orb that he now avoided since being made Vampire.


These things of nature, of the night days he now lived, did not trouble him. He was leaving soon, to America, and he would not see the green fire that danced and showed him the Valhalla he would never know. The gods were dead to him now, as dead but not as eternal as he. Eric had lived too long in one place and new vistas called to him. He stood there in the cold he did not feel, he saw the symphony of green and blue light which would be the only day he knew. Would the American nights be as beautiful? Or would they simply look like the velvet blues and blacks of a thousand other human places. He once killed a jeweler in Germany and scooped up a piece of velvet with a small mound of diamonds on it as he left. In the privacy of his nest, he spread the cloth on a table and spread the diamonds across the soft silky pelt of the fabric, and though he was not given to metaphoric thought, the Vampire mused how the diamonds looked like stars in an inky black sky.


The female, his second in command, eternally young and beautiful with her long blonde hair on her shoulders stood next to him.


"Everything is ready," she said.

"We leave tonight," he said. But he stood there a moment longer to watch the lights.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Love and Betrayal


So, here is something I want to talk about as I have taken the time to read and reread the Charlaine Harris books. I'll warn you now there are BIG TIME SPOILERS here so if you don't want to know, back out now.


Being that I am in the hospital and likely to be here for at least another two months, I have read the Charlaine Harris books multiple times. I had really stopped reading them thoroughly after book three after she so uncerimoniously broke Bill and Sookie up. I just wasn't that interested in reading about Sookie or Bill sleeping with other people. It's because I loved the love story and the notion of true love, every bit as real as true blood.


So, in Dead to the world, Sookie goes to clean out her cousin Hadley's apartment. Cousin Hadley was murdered and, unbeknownest to Sookie, Hadley was Vampire. In the course of her activity, she is attacked by the same people who killed Hadley. This is what Sookie discovers.


Sookie discovers that Hadley had been the favorite of the Vampire Queen Sophie Ann. In the course of their relationship, Hadley tells the queen about Sookie being a telepath. The queen is intrigued. She then forms a plan to draw Sookie into the world of Vampire politics by sending someone to seduce her. You guessed it, Bill Compton.


It's terrible. It's an idea so loathesome, that even I, a Bill Compton devotee, feel my skin crawl. There are a lot of reasons for this. Bill is so courtly, so gentlemanly, so sincere and he did take Sookie's virginity. (Some of you might say "What difference does that make?" It makes a lot of difference if you cherished your virginity and wanted to give it to that special man as the gift you can only give once.)


But then I took some time and thought about it. What choice did Bill have? None, under Vampire custom, he has to follow the orders of his queen. If he hadn't, someone else would have been sent who perhaps would not have been as patient. Did Bill really love her? Absolutely. That was something the queen and Bill didn't bargain for. He was sent in to bring Sookie into the world of Vampire, and James Bond, Bill is not. He ended up falling in love with a mortal. Is Bill a victim in this, too? Sure. Maybe not on the same level as Sookie, but he is. He even suspects his descendant, the person he inherited his home from, was murdered to make room for him in the world of Bon Temps.


I still hold out hope for the romance. In Dead to Worse, he declared his love for Sookie and the declaration of his willingness to die (for good) for Sookie. I will know the entire story in March when the paperback comes out and I will know in May when the newest book comes out. I won't buy the hard back edition but I will sit down in the local book store and read it through right there so I will know if there is the hope of a Sookie/Bill reunion. I have to believe in the possibility of true love. There is so little of it out there.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Snow

I woke up this morning and eased out of bed to sit for a few minutes in chair and let the cna's change my bed. It felt so good to hobble about and stand at the window and look at the snow that had fallen during the night. I am pretty tired, but I actually feel less bad than before.

Snow is my favorite type of precipitation. I love the winter. While everyone is hopping about wishing for spring, I actually love the idea of snow on the ground til April. I loved snow even before I was sick. It never gets cold enough to suit me. I love the changes in weather.

But after a few minutes, I was ready to get back in bed. Dad hooked up the little VCR to my TV and I run TB almost constantly. I feel not so lonesome now that I can look up at the tv and see my favorite characters and hear their southern accents. I suppose they sound funny and contrived to those who actually live in the deep south, but I love to hear them talk. Especially Bill. And the actor portraying him isn't even American. Stephen Moyer is British, from Essex, just north of London and he has the most delightful Queen's English accent. I have been watching him on youtube in the British soap NY-LON and in the Brit-Flick Empathy. He's really a very good actor. He does well with both stories though I think the stories themselves are little under developed. I loved him in Restraint. After seeing him play Bill Compton, a sort of vicious Vampire with a heart of gold, it was tough to watch him play Andrew, an agorophobic art dealer with a dark and definitely insane side to him. In the beginning of the movie, he is so vulnerable, unable to defend himself, but in the end, you discover that he is filled with his own sort of evil, darkness. You feel less sympathetic towards him, but you are intrigued by him.

I am glad I have True Blood to distract me. I feel as much a part of that world as any of the characters there. Kinda sad really, but as some of my mates on True Blood.net have said "Whatever it takes,"

I'm sleepy now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Will and Testimony

Everyone makes one of these, sometime or other, so here is what I call my Will and Testimony. It is not a declaration of what I will share in my death but what I have shared in my life. My possessions are so few and pitiful that this is all I really have.

To my Family:

I have tried to be the best person I can be. I always tried to be a good daughter and sister. I have tried not be an embarrassment or a burden. If I have been those things, I humbly apologize and beg your forgiveness. I have devoted myself to every family endeavor and cause and have tried to champion you in every public and private forum. I have tried to honor you and respect you and I have always loved you from the bottom of my heart. Do not look back on my life and pity me. My life has been an adventure and I cherished every moment of it.

To my friends, living and dead:

I have always tried to cultivate my friendships with a few people who deemed me important enough to call me a friend. I have appreciated your intimacy and trust. You have seen me at my very best and my very worst. I have tried to protect and serve you with all that is in me and though I sometimes failed, your acknowledgement of my endeavors have been reward enough. You accepted my eccentricities and embraced me when no one else would.

To my lovers, living and dead:

To my husband, who is dead now more than ten years, I tell you you were not my first heart love, but you were my first lover. You claimed the only prize I had to give you. I surrendered to you as well as I could and loved you to the best of my ability. You claimed me for only a short while, but I was yours completely. All men who came after could never claim the one part of me I could only give once.

To my heart's love, you loved me as well as you could but I have always and will always love you. I wished that you could have loved me as much as I loved you, but you couldn't. I hope that where ever you are, you are well and happy and healthy and loved.

To my God and my Church:

I am a sinner as you well know. I have many times failed you, but I have never fallen from the palm of your hand. You forgive my weaknesses and make your presence known to me by the people you have placed in my path.

I was accepted by my church when no other church would have me. I have not always agreed with you and sometimes I have disobeyed you, but I have never strayed from you. You are my mother and you nurture me and give me peace.

I found my spiritual path to magik not by the straightest of lines. I discovered the innermost heart of God by understanding the special energies flowing through all people and all things and I have always tried to respect all people and all creeds and all practices so that I may learn of all the world the will of God in my life.

To my Students:

I was not a great teacher, but I worked hard to try to be one. I hope you will forgive my failings, my shortcomings and celebrate the precious times we had together. I tried to reach those who others gave up on and tried to embrace the ones no one would embrace. I loved you all. You were my childen.

To my Idols:

U2: Thank you for your music and your poetry and your beauty. Thank you for helping me through heartbreaks and lonlinesses and my sicknesses. Thank you for being the soundtrack of my life, the rhyme in my heart, the passion of my soul.

Mel Gibson: Thank you for your beauty and your humanity. Thank you for Braveheart, The Patriot, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and Apocalypto and The Passion of the Christ. Thank you for your failings and your triumphs. Thank you for your Vision.

Dog the Bounty Hunter: Thank you for being street level, for your big heart, for your story, for your pain. Thank you for being foul mouthed but soft hearted. Thank you for your bravery and your justice. Thank you for your mistakes and your successes.

Stephen King: Thank you for scaring me, for creating characters I loved because they had a part of me. Thank you for your subtle wisdom. Thank you for your words. You made me think I too could be a writer and you inspired me to put pen to paper.

JK Rowling: Thank you for Harry Potter, thank you for magic in my life, thank you for vindicating Snape, though I had him pegged as the eternal villian.

Charlaine Harris and the cast and crew of True Blood: Thank you for being my refuge, for the chance to contemplate my humanity, my feelings of Other, and for helping me recognize my levels of tolerance and intolerance.

Thank you for the love story.

This ends my will and testimony. Brightest Blessings Be to all I mention here and may you all shime on in this world and the next.

Aslinn Dhan Dragonhawk

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Creepiest Places on Earth

Excuse the Vampire. He isn't pertinent to the discussion, but he has the cutest smile, don't you think?


Ever see that show? I liked that show. They pluck some suburban American family from their comfortable lives and drop them down in the most creepy old places in the world, usually somewhere in England, and attach those back and front cameras onto them so you you get this strange coming and going feeling when you watch them sneaking around in this dark old house.

But I can tell you what the creepiest place on earth is, hands down. A hospital at night. Yeah, pretty damned spooky. I think it is because it's not like a hotel room. You can't close the door and lock it. Anyone can come into your room. And there is nothing like waking up to someone taking your pulse in the middle of the night, or changing one of those IV bags. And they are creepy because they are very quiet. Like Vampires that way. One minute you are lying there, staring at the ensure milkshake they made up for you (Drink it all down Miss Dragonhawk, every last drop) and the next minute there is one of them and they want to check your sugar (Oh no, they are Vampires LOL) Which finger you want me to prick Miss D.? I always show them my middle finger. You know they have seen that gesture millions of times from millions of patients but they all laugh like they'd never seen it before. I bet they are taught to do that, to keep our spirits up so we don't get down in the dumps. Too late.

Pneumonia...that's what I am in for. Pnuemonia. Went my whole life without pnuemonia and now I have it. Bloody infections. And I still have to go for my nuke sessions. I thought "Oh goody, a week off from nukings, I work on my radiation burns and rest maybe break that fever" But no. Not only am I sick from the pnuemonia, I have more burning to deal with.

You know why I think hospitals are so costly? I'm not reaching here, I know. I was admitted for pnuemonia while I was here for a nuke session. I wear this bracelet with a bar code on it. Supposedly, they are supposed to be able to scan me and pull up my records. What I discovered is I am in another department and I have to fill out all my paperwork again. Here I am dying and they want me to sit my fucking SATS. I didn't do it. I called my oncologist to send photocopies of my records to ICU so I wouldn't have to do them again. I then sent my dad out to KINKOS and smuggle my records out so he could make a couple of copies so incase I have to go again or go to a strange hospital, I would have them. Let some RN fill them out. LPNS are the ones who do all the work anyway.

So, anyway, it's always funeral home quiet here. Depressing. They have TV but no HBO and no VCRS so I can't watch True Blood. More depressing. I have my laptop though and so I am writing in my blog, getting ready to watch Stephen Moyer in NY-LON on youtube. Checking in with my TB buds. I wonder if that VCR in the closet still works. I may be here for two weeks. I may have dad bring it and hook it up for me so I can watch TB. I could probably watch it online somewhere.

Depress, depressed, more depressed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dear Mr. President

Today is inauguration day and we are swearing in our 44th president. This is a momentous time in our history. You see, our president, Barack Obama is black.

Everyone wants to know what black people are feeling right now, and it's important, but I have to say it is important to me too. I am not free from the shackles of racism, I still fight with the seeds of intolerance and hate within my own self. But I voted for Obama, not assuage my guilt but because he is the best man for the job.

I will tell you a little story. Know the movie Deep Impact? The asteroid movie with Morgan Freeman and Robert Duvall in it? I loved that corn ball movie, it had a depth to it that I enjoyed with Tea Leoni and her conflicted feelings with her dad, the young kids who were just kids in the neighborhood who let us see the world through their eyes and the astronauts who were preparing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the world.

It's all there in this improbable plot, the plan to send the Messiah up to break up the asteroid, the Ark rescue plan, the moral dilemma for ordinary people over fifty excluded from the chance of rescue. But the most improbable plot line in a movie filled with them, was the notion of Morgan Freeman as president of the United States. I told my mom that that was the only thing that really stands out as improbable. "There will never be a black man in the White House in my lifetime."

Now, history has made a fool of me. That's okay. It's time for Barack Obama to come into his own and change history, opening up the door to all hues, just as Kennedy broke the barrier for Catholics, Obama will break the barrier for people of color. God Bless Barack Obama.

Do your best Mr. President, work hard, you have been left a country in shambles and a world on the edge and white people did that. Sorry it is in such a mess. And Americans, be patient. It took eight years for America to be made a shambles of. It will take far longer than that for America to be put to rights.

I'm white, 42, a woman south of the Mason Dixon line, a Roman Catholic and a practicing witch, I am over educated and underemployed and uninsured and sicker than hell. I am fighting a system that would sooner see me in the grave than well and working. But I voted for you Barack Obama and I wish you well. Good luck, you are gonna need it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Acceptance

This chick named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the stages of death. Being that she was living at the time, I wonder if she had the neccesary qualifications to really write a book about what it was like to meet the notion of mortality. Now that she is dead, there is no way to know what she thought about her own death process and whether or not she felt she was correct in her assumptions.

So, now that I am facing the possibility of my own mortal coil, I want to see what she means by the stages of death.

Anger- Am I angry? I am. But I don't think I am as mad at my own human weakness and the possibility of my own emminent death as I am of other people around me. Everyone says "I'm praying for you" or giving me those little yellow bracelets or giving me cliches about how God doesn't put a burden on you that you can't handle. I wished God wouldn't trust me so much. This is one burden that is just too heavy. I know their reaction is just an inablity to cope or relate to what is happening to me. I feel sorry for them on some levels because I know they are afraid. I am living proof of everyone's eventual demise, their own human mortality. And they are afraid of what they see. I know they are saying "Damn, that poor bitch is wasting away, I hope I don't go like that," If you can't say anything besides those old worn out chestnuts, just don't say anything at all. Just come and sit with me and talk about all the gossip or bring me a magazine or a good book to read. You don't have to comfort me because you can't.

Denial- There's no denying that I might be dying. I don't deny it. I think the people around me are denying it. They don't want to believe that I and they will eventually die. I think it is more about them than me. It's like, if they don't believe that I might die, then they won't die. Which is such a load of shit.

Bargaining- "Let's Make a Deal" remember that show? I am not playing that game. I have nothing to bargain with. I'm God's to dispose of as He sees fit. But the doctors like to make deals "Hey, Aslinn, the hospital would really like to put you through this drug trial. If you do, they'll knock off that fee that the state says it won't pay," What is it doc? "Well, we'll have to take you off the morphine and put you on this new non-narcotic nsaid, sort of a super aspirin, thing is, once you start it, you have to stay on it, even if your pain increases and it may cause ulcers and bleeding." No thanks doc, I'll fight the system and keep my morphine.

Acceptance- I have no fucking choice but to accept that I may die from this. To not accept is to play a vicious game with myself of being high and low. That doesn't mean that I like it, I don't, but what can I do? I have already done more than I thought I would. I always swore that I would never do chemo, never do radiation, but here I am, I'm doing it. And I have to accept what it is doing to me, I have no choice.

So, is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross right? Maybe she is, but not for the person who may be dying, but for those around them. See, I have no choice but to be where I am. Those around me? They are the ones going through the stages.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Mirror

I haven't looked at myself in the mirror in a long time. Long before I had cancer I stopped looking in the mirror because I was a fat girl and I knew no one would want to look at me, not even myself. Now that I have cancer, I don't like looking at my reflection because I know no one will want to look at me, not even myself.

But I looked today as I dressed to go to the hospital on this desperately cold day to be nuked. I had stripped down of everything. I stood there in front of the long mirror. I look like Jack Skellington from that wonderfully gothic The Nightmare before Christmas. My breast are empty and shrunken, my ribs show, my hip bones are too sharp and I am white (Momma, she's so white. We're white baby, she's dead) except for the bruises that are evident on my arms and legs from the ports they keep trying to maintain for the drugs. The doctor says that if I don't start eating more I will have to have a feeding tube. Damn it, I said no and I fucking mean it.

I dress in clothes that a few weeks ago fit me. Now I have to cinch them around me. I put on my black tee shirt that reads "My giveadammer is broken" I could almost wear it as a dress whereas before it was almost too tight. I snug my silk cap over my head and then pull on my boggan with the skull and cross bones on my head. The silk cap protects my head from being irritated by the fibers of my boggan. I pull on my pleather black jacket and slide my feet into my tennis shoes. I have to wear two pairs of socks now so my feet don't just slide out.

Dressed I still look like a boneyard. I put make up on the other day. I thought I might look more human and all it did was make me look like a tarted up skeleton. Fuck it. I kinda like scaring little kids who stare at me like I'm a freak. Watch it kid, but for the grace of God goes you. Mothers stare at me too, as if I could help it. Fuck you and your little kid lady. What do they want me to do? Wear a canvas bag over my head with eye holes in them and mutter to myself "I am not an animal, I am a human being." If someone hands me another one of them live strong bracelets I'm gonna strangle them.

Yes, goddamn it I want to live. I don't need some over paid, over hyped steriodal bicyclist who dumped his wife the moment she came down with breast cancer to tell me anything about living with this disease and the things it is doing to me. Or the things it did to my husband as he died in my arms, screaming for me to stop the pain. I let him down, I couldn't put him out of his agony and I think he hated me in the end for it. And I wish folks from my church would stop bringing me St. Jude medals, pictures, statues. They all talk about how holy my suffering is. I don't feel holy.

What I am is mad as hell. I hate what is happening to me. I cry when I know it is time for my dad to carry me out to the truck because I know he finds me repulsive. I touched his hand the other day and he jerked away because I look like a skeleton and it creeps him out. My sister is a nurse and hates to come to bathe me in the evening in the bath chair while my mother changes my sheets and puts on fresh ones and lays down the chucks pad in case I wet the bed in the night. Even my sister is disgusted with what I have become and she washes the old, the infirm, the eternally lost in that long goodbye. Maybe it is because she pities me and she knows I can feel the pity rolling off her and it stinks like chemotherapy and radiation sickness.

So, I retreat into the world of the south. I go to Bon Temps and I am courted by a beautiful Vampire who sees me, not as I am but as Other. Sometimes he has dark hair, someimes he is blonde, somes he is not a man but a woman, but they know me because I am like them. Undead, Other, hated and feared.

I won't see myself in the mirror anymore.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Nagasaki/Hiroshima

I had my first visit to Nuclear Medicine today for my first radiation treatment. It took all of ten minutes and left me with a sunburn from the waist down (not much of one, but still)

As I lay under this massive bit of hardware that glowed with some sort of infrared light, I meditated so I would not move around much. I have to be careful about meditation or I put myself too deep and my BP drops. But as I meditated I kept seeing this miniature mushroom cloud where my uterus used to be. What was it in that U2 song Bullet the Blue Sky "Plant a Demon Seed/ Raise a Flower on Fire" Well I think that is what is happening to me. I think the bowing lilly that was my uterus (now a wierd globbulous mass I am hoping will shrink enough to be removed) is now the flower on fire.

I am still running a fever, though some of it may be from the radiation. They say my infection is clearing up but I can't tell, I never really feel good anymore, just some days I am less bad.

Meds are kicking in.
Goodnight