It’s that time of year again!

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That time when my focus on spiritual matter perks up. When I think about the dark time and how that affects me.

Over a decade ago, my interest in alternative spiritual views brought me to community of women. I was in my mid-twenties, and I’d been exploring these views on my own previously. But doing so in community? With like-minded people? It was a game changer.

I learned a great deal from these women. And I learned a great deal about myself. That will be a topic for another day.

As time progressed, my perspective changed. As it does. I found myself changing position on the pendulum of importance between feminine and masculine. My anatomy no longer ruled how I saw the divine. I participated in groups with women and men, met queer folk who saw their gods as such, attended a conference session on gender neutral language in paganism. These things all broadened my horizons.

This year, I have been walking beside my friend as they speak out about their gender identity and navigate how they want to express it. And how they wish others to acknowledge it.

With my past questions about the nature of divinity/deity, my friend’s experience is turning my mind toward the mythos of the wheel of the year, of our gods, etc. How would one rewrite the story of Maiden/Mother/Crone/Holly King/Oak King? Better folk than I have surely developed such things. I will try my own version. But I would like to explore where others have gone ahead of me.

I told my friend about these thoughts, and they asked ‘are you feeling more neutral-ish lately?’ It was a text conversation so not a good medium for weighty discussion. Hence this more thorough examination and excavation of the concepts lurking in my minds. (I’m always of two or more minds, I should just continue with the plural from now on. 🙂 )

The idea of genderless/gender neutral deity has been lurking in my minds for a while. It is how I have been thinking of them when not confronted by specific images or names (like Himself by Brian Froud) I have not called on the feminine exclusively for a while.

But in my daily life? I am unmistakably a woman on the outside. I mostly wear plain pants, only tending to wear skirts in warmer weather. However, on the inside, I have been having more ‘unwoman’ days. That is the word to describe it at the moment. I am just a person, neither my sex nor my gender being the primary defining characteristic of who I am.

I am not confused about my gender identity. But I think I am definitely entering a new, more fluid stage/state. As a child and young adult, I hated wearing pink and/or dresses and skirts. (In hindsight, I believe it was due more so to the requirement of panty hose. That clothing item is a torture tool and should be abolished. Also, it’s really only fun to wear when it fits properly and you have someone to flirt with. Not suitable for children!) I wore oversized shirts and sweaters, often ‘mens’ or unisex. Being one of the tallest kids/girls in elementary school, and then also being one of the first to develop breasts might have something to do with that. Then as I matured and tried new things, I liked dresses. I was able to enter into my feminine power.

But I think I am swinging on the pendulum again – I don’t need to make a show of my femininity. It’s what’s inside that matters. I think the current excavation is also about how to be a friend and ally. This work of making the world a more inclusive place has been going on for decades. But it is personal and relevant to me now. Because of my friend, and hopefully because of my ever-expanding world view.

 

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Note of Anguish

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I’m tired. Tired of trying to fit in, to find my place. To find my tribe and family. Yes, I have a loving birth family. But they live far away and have their own lives. Everyone has their own lives, and I don’t fit. I love my friends, and I know they love me. But my daily life is filled with loneliness and despair. I can’t seem to shake it or to let go of it.

I went to school, and met some amazing people. The illusion of my tribe was created. We all had similar views and plans for life. We got along, we spent everyday together. I met people that I invested significant emotion in. It seemed like my life had finally turned that corner, and my future would be brighter. But then school ended.

And betrayal, loss, and upset ensued. Betrayal is a strong word, but that’s how I feel. I had created a life for myself and this other person, inside my head for nearly 2 years. I then find out that what I thought was a potential return of such feelings was nothing more than friendly politeness. Will take 2 years to let go of that? I can’t wait around to find out. I can’t even think straight around him and it’s been a year. I can’t shake it. Every time I see him, things get shook up. Every time I hear from her, I question whether it is a real friendship or just her keep track of me.

Where does this depth of emotion come from? Why can’t it just stop? Why can’t I just turn it off and be like a robot? That’s not  any better kind of life. I want it all to end. Everything to stop.

now that this purge has started…..

not radiant

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the dark is not radiant tonight.

rather, it is that darkness that has edges, rough but sharp. pitfalls to trip up on. surprises down the path of my thoughts where i did not expect them to go. not good surprises either.

for some reason the anxiety I have been experiencing took me to a place where i thought about cutting myself. except that it wouldn’t be ‘across the tracks’ but ‘down the road’ in the way of ‘serious’ people. not directly in the living river. just beside it maybe.  or up higher where i can hide it better. cover it up with my short sleeves now that warm weather is here. and if I should come too close to the living river, and someone should try to fix it, they will call it the typical cry for help. but it’s not a cry for help. it’s an indication that an end is wanted. I just want this current state to end. i want to move on to the next bit. there is no room for me here. i don’t fit in anyone’s life anywhere. even my makers….they have their own life now.

i want to try it. i want to get up right now, put aside the computer, and find my good knife. i want to make the incision and feel the pain and watch the living river flow. then bind it up well, and hide it underneath my daily disguise. just another part of the inner court that no one knows.

and then i think…shouldn’t i be worried? shouldn’t I feel upset that I think these thoughts?

in the name of science & the pursuit of knowledge

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We began our dissection of the cat in vertebrate zoology today. It made me question what we do in the name of science, the pursuit of knowledge. If our society valued other beings more, would we still perform such dissections so routinely?
For one girl in my class, it is her third time. She is not bothered by it at all, despite having her own cats as pets. Thankfully she is also the one doing the actual dissection. But why do we assume it is okay to do such things? Just because the animal is dead? Does the body have no meaning/value after death? Is it related to how we view death as well? That in a mainstream, Christian dominated society, what’s left behind on earth after the soul gets to heaven doesn’t matter anymore?
If our society were different, would we still work on real animals, or would we have developed some sort of plastic anatomy models we could look at and learn from?
Yes, technically, learning about mammalian anatomy is interesting. But must we learn in such a casual and empty way? It seems as though there is a void of compassion, or a lack of respect for what the form used to be, if that makes sense. Since the animal is dead, shouldn’t it’s body be free to return to the Dark Mother, to be decomposed and recycled, as all energy is recycled in the universe?
It felt pretty horrible to watch people trim and cut, and some classmates took photos with their cell phones. Why you would want a picture of a preserved cat on your cell phone is beyond me. One boy was going to show it to his girlfriend, since it looked like her cat. If it were me, I don’t know if he would still be my boyfriend after that. The smell was terrible. Not only the preservative (they use formalin now, since formaldehyde is carcinogenic), but also the disinfectant spray that we have to clean the tables with. I hate Cavicide. It’s a horrible distasteful spray that smells and gets stuck at the back of the throat. But we have to use it in all the labs. Ick.
I am very grateful that I am choosing to work with soils, plants, and other forms of life. I could not be a veterinarian, or even a park warden. Of course, now that I am writing this, I remember killing bacteria earlier in the weak. Why is it okay for me to heat fix microbes, but I can’t dissect a cat? Talk about the value of Life in all its levels of magnitude. Perhaps that is a post for another day.