Vishnu-with-Poseidon, or: the struggle is real.

Am I invested in this feeling of discord? Have I allowed this to move in, to define my relationships? I light the incense, I stand before the shrine. It’s pleasing to look at, this space that was once mine yet now feels cut off from me. I feel like a visitor, venturing to a place that is familiar, and yet not. The fabric draping the surface is soft, the colors cheerful, if on the dark side. The icons familiar – well, one, and the other one is sweet-faced and approachable.

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I don’t find Poseidon in the idol. Oh, sometimes it feels like He’s shared some of Himself with the physical representation, but it’s more like this is a thing that we both touch and care for and share with one another, and less that it’s an extension of Him. The whole shrine space, previously, was an extension of Him, of U/us, of the history of my devotion, the history of His devotion. The spirit of the shrine itself feels like a child we’ve made together, and if I follow that particular story, it feels like the child has maybe grown up, gone to college, and has returned as an adult I barely recognize.

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The Vishnu idol is sweet-faced, as I’ve said, and has a genial feel to Him. Vishnu Himself has been approachable and kind. I find, as I search through images for inspiration, and as I read through stories (though in-depth, academic-minded study is not allowed at the moment, because I get lost in that, and these formative interactions are to be based in the experiential, not in the intellectual, knowledge) I see time and again that I am drawn to kindness, to warmth, to benevolent acceptance. I want the kind-faced Narasingha embracing the child, rather than the fierce lion avatar tearing apart the demon. I remember, when I was first getting to know Odin, how I felt like a young child in His care, and how much I needed that experience – the experience of a father willing to do anything to protect His daughter, the feeling of the uber alpha male, King and God and Patriarch, laying claim and showing loyalty and love. Maybe that was silly, me being a grown woman by the time He adopted me, but whatever. It healed things within that needed healing, and it has earned Pops my undying devotion.

I don’t find Vishnu unapproachable. I don’t. I find Him kind, and patient. I find Him willing to untangle the knots I catch myself up in when I try to worship Him just-so. “Include Me,” He says. “Maybe someday there will be guidelines. Preferences. Things to not do. Things to do. For now, simply include Me.” That was the goal for this year’s holy days with Poseidon, and Vishnu had a place of honor during the two holy days we’ve had since this began. I light the incense, and I give the offerings, but the shrine itself is still off-putting.

20160925_194907For my birthday, Beth made me a Poseidon figure. She’s making a Vishnu figure for me, too. They’re not the least bit human looking. I mean, somewhat. They’re juvenile, and I’ll be making clothing and costumes for them. For now, the icons will stay on the shrine, but these are hands on ones, and they’re introducing play to the shrine space, and I kinda really want that. Do I feel a bit like a child before Vishnu? Maybe. Maybe. But these are adorable, and I’ll never get around to making my own, and I just . . . like them. A lot. So. So.

The shrine space needs to be O/ours, not some neutral feeling space that is none of ours. So, for a while, the shrine will take on the feel of a doll-house, a play area, a give them things, dress them up, make it a home of their own. We’ll see how hat goes.

WOOOOOHOOOOO CORBIE!!

So, I suppose this week was his Annual Flirt with Death, maybe? He does seem to do *something* on a yearly basis to get us both super-worried about him.

The cough meds he was given made him a thousand times worse, and so yesterday and the day before were bad. Really, really bad. Last night was okay — a couple of coughing fits in the middle of the night, and more of them tending toward weak coughing fits rather than all out coughing — and a few more mild coughs this morning into the afternoon.

Tonight I was greeted at the door by a whirling, twirling dog, who  shoved me with his nose all  the way across the house, “helping” me find my way to where my stuff needed to be put away. He tolerated me draping myself around him and snuggling the stuffing out of  him. He started playing the hard-to-get game that he plays with Beth when she’s trying to take him out. (Just Beth; it’s their special game). He’s super engaged, the twinkle is back in his eye, and he’s shamelessly gobbling up all the extra food we’re giving him to put weight back on him.

I love this dog. I love this dog so fucking much. He is amazing. He is wonderful. He is stubborn as all get out — and you all fucking rock, too, because I know his devoted fanbase is a hugeh part of why he’s recovering so fast.

WOOOOOHOOOOO

I leave you with the song we’ve been signing for him for the last few days. It truly is his theme song.

 

 

Spare some thoughts for the Corbmeister, if you please.

As usually happens here at the Nunnery, once things look like they’re going to stabllze (thanks ONLY to the generosity and kindness of friends) a creature (usually Corbie, often Luna) decides we must see the doctor noaw!

Okay, we knew this was likely to happen. Flea treatment has helped with the itching, but he’s coughing a decent amount again, after a few days of not, and so he’s got an appt. tomorrow to be checked out. We’re hoping for a ‘lungs sound clear’ outcome. Really, the only thing that can happen is two of his meds getting adjusted. Last time this happened, we gained two years, so this could be good. So, keep him in your thoughts, if you can. Wish happy and good things for him! Tomorrow will be a good day, at the very least. He loves the vets, and he loves going in their van, and he loves the treats they give him.

Reiki sessions, Tarot readings, books for sale, Patreon Campaigns, and oh, hey, check out MyPolytheism.com

So, yesterday’s post was a bit of a freak out. Today is both not as panicky and just as desperate — because seeing that we are just going to squeak by with the rent helpfully takes everything else off the table. September is going to be “Let’s get caught up on all the things we couldn’t afford to cover in August! Like power, and trash collection!”

I’m offering distance Reiki sessions: $20 for an hour-long session. We can figure out the time, if you want to sync it up.

Don’t forget that Beth is offering readings over in her Etsy shop: a five card reading for $20. Want both?  $30, via paypal at bluedolfyn@yahoo.com.

We have books for sale! I’ve got my books available in multiple ebook formats on my Etsy shop (buying from Etsy gets the money in our bank account faster), and her PDFs are available at her shop. We’re also sealing books we own. Check out this post for a list of what’s currently available.

Beth and I both have Patreon accounts, where you can pledge anything you’d like, to receive access to material and other various rewards. Opt into my Story Subscription, either via Patreon or Paypal, and receive all of the back-issues of the When Worlds Collide installments to get you caught up to date!

And yeah, I’ll plug my new pet project: My Polytheism. This baby is taking 3-5 hours of my time regularly, and I love doing it. I’m not trying to cash in on this, but if you like what I’m doing and want to help out, consider donating. I’m going to keep at it regardless, because I’m having too much fun with it, but I’d like to not be spread quite so thing. We’re trying to keep our heads above water, and could surely use the help.

Thank you!

 

Please Help

Beth found an awesome dentist that will help deal with her broken teeth for under $200.

Corbie’s coughing a lot more than normal, and needs to see the vet. We’re hoping that this is “just” a case of his heart failure triggering trachea coughing, rather than fluid-in-lungs coughing. The vet will cost $100 just to come out and take a listen.

We need flea medicine, and Luna, who is overly sensitive, is having a case a dermatitis. Hopefully the flea medicine alone will help  and she won’t need to see the vet. The medicine is $ 75.

I still owe my doctor $125.

Beth had lab work done today, and a dr visit, and we don’t know what  that’ll cost.

Right now we’re deciding who gets the ‘extra’ $160 that we’re not using to pay our utilities. Does it go to the utilities? Does it go to the human dentist for Beth? The vet for Corbie? For flea meds?

If you can help, please do so. Support either myself or Beth on Patreon and get things for it. Donate to my paypal. Visit our GoFundMe and make a donation. Contact me for a Reiki session. ($20 for an hour long distance session, to be scheduled). Want me to look at your writing and offer feedback or editing or proofreading? Contact me and we’ll work something out! Have a book you need formatting for e-pub? Contact me, and we’ll work something out. I’m cheap; I’m desperate.

I’ve picked up some extra  hours at my job this week, and in the next couple of weeks. We’re in the process of trying to get Beth on OHP instead of my crappy insurance. Boost the signal. Help if you can. Pray for us, and especially for the Corbster. And thank you.

 

 

Isolation Won’t Help

This is an important post.

We *are* social animals. Where you happen to fall on that spectrum will range, but we are social creatures. Isolation is damaging. Erecting, learning about, and honoring your boundaries is useful. The two are not the same thing.

Until I was able to seek medical help for my depression, living more or less in a bubble of ignorance was necessary. I’m not going to knock people for knowing their limitations and honoring their needs by not picking up the battles I choose to pick up. Getting myself to a place where I could hold the suffering and needs of others in my awareness without being dragged back into apathy took a long time and a lot of work. I’m not going to sully that work by doubting myself. We all do the best that we can do at any given time, and that’s got to be enough. We’re not perfect. We can’t be. We fuck up. Whatever.

Self-imposed bubbles of willful ignorance are still, even at their most cushiony, must bubble-wrappy point, not isolation.

This is a very important, very needed post. Thank you, Ember.

EmberVoices: Listening for the Vanir

I keep running across a particular narrative online, and occasionally in person:

“There are bad things in the world. Isolate yourself to avoid harm!”

“Other people don’t agree with you. Isolate yourself to avoid being tainted by them!”

“Anything unapproved of is a waste of time. Isolate yourself to focus on what matters!”

“You’re too sensitive. Isolate yourself and get out of our way!”

“You lack social skills. Isolate yourself to avoid hurting people!”

“Something is wrong. Isolate yourself!”

STOP.

Isolation is toxic. It is literally maddening. We are social animals. Granted, not everyone is equally social, but even introverts aren’t better off being totally isolated. Avoiding perspectives other than our own undermines our empathy, which is a necessary component of compassion. Isolation certainly doesn’t help people become less sensitive or more socially skilled, but I would hope that’s obvious. Basically, isolation can transform even the kindest…

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Still avoiding the shrine

Ever since I revamped the Poseidon shrine in the main room, making a place on it to honor Vishnu-with-Poseidon, I’ve been avoiding it. Oh, I held my Vigil observances there with no problem, but I find I neglect the tea offerings in the morning, preferring to go without the tea rather than face this mind-fuckery that is “I am and also I am not” that He’s landed me with.

I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to give this before I decide to rearrange things again and maybe move the Vishnu icon into the bedroom shrine. Maybe I need to make that personal connection before I make it ‘official’? I don’t know.I don’t know.

Disgruntled about that this morning, but I’m also on the second day of a super fun period cycle, and maybe just maybe I need to cut myself some freaking slack.

How to fail at slurs

Hee!

Busy Nurse Research

This is sort of related to earlier posts on the use of the word “queer” and sort of not. Mostly not. In fact, it’s actually more like the complete opposite. But since my “mind palace”* looks a bit more like the inside of Hogwarts, what with the moving staircases and magically appearing and disappearing rooms, it feels connected enough to me to say a bit about it. In fact, I think one of those mental staircases can even tie this back to Queer Health.

A bit of background is in order, because unless you happen to be plugged into the Polytheist Discourse corners of the internet (or know someone who is) this will probably all sound Greek to you.  Well, more likely Old Norse.  That will eventually make sense.  There has been some gatekeeping going on among various sorts of Pagans, not so much about who does/doesn’t fit under the…

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Adventures in Animism; or: Adopted by a Spinning Wheel

I remember the first time I laid eyes upon her sitting in the shop. We’d just begun our hunting, and our budget was extremely limited. Beth wanted a spinning wheel to learn to spin on. She wanted something used, something simple, something that would be friendly to a first-time wheel spinner. We’re fortunate in that we live in a city with a textile center that often sells used wheels. Even the most basic of wheels can set you back a few hundred dollars new; we couldn’t even manage $200.

She was plain to look at. A single treadle, basic cotton drive band, a standard mother-of-all. Her spokes were plain, her wood slightly dull from disuse, but her wheel wasn’t warped, and she looked . . . approachable. The price tag and the reputable brand name didn’t hurt, either. We walked out of that shop with a vintage Ashford spinning wheel for under $150, and called it good.

I’m not a spinner. I knit, occassionally, and I’m enthusiastic about fiber crafts largely as an excuse to dork out over heritage breed sheep and their gorgeous wool. Knitting is an excuse to purchase minimally processed hanks of yarn, still smelling of the farm, and shoving my face into them.

Of the two of us, I am slightly more mechanically inclined, but then, I’ve had training. Not with spinning wheels, but I attended a vocational high school, and spent four years in our print shop. Spinning wheels and printing presses are not exactly the same, but they have enough in common on principle that my training served me well. Associating particular sounds with particular problems. Correct alignment of the moving parts. Together, we set the wheel up and began the process of learning how to listen to her. Beth had to work hard on the mechanics of working with the wheel to create the yarn; she had to train muscles to the dance of spinning. Me? I watched, and I listened.

It wasn’t long before her personality emerged, and she reminds me most of an elderly cat, set in her ways, generous with her affection, but on her terms, and you’d best pay attention to her boundaries. There are types of fiber she does not care for spinning. There are particular speeds she simply will not countenance. There is some adjusting that can be done, but the limits are there. She is herself.

Neither Beth nor I are gracious when it comes to steep learning curves, and of course Beth started out wanting to do art yarns. Not simple worsted spinning, not for Beth, no. She wanted to master the advance techniques first! (This is typical of her, really, and it’s admirable and hard to watch at times.) More than once, she’d begin a project, get frustrated that the drive band would slip off, or that the twist was off, or that she wouldn’t be able to get the pacing down. She’d shove away from the wheel and stomp off, swearing off spinning, and cursing the wheel. (Lest you think I’m pointing fingers, please know I’m not. I have years – years! – of getting frustrated with a story that will not do as I think it should, feeling utterly inadequate to the task, and shove away from the laptop, swearing I would never write again. “I’m not a writer! I’ll just read instead, it’ll be fine!”) I would sit with the wheel, and see what the issue was, and see about the troubleshooting solutions. The wheel would sit and wait for Beth to come back, and the process would begin again.

I felt, at times, like I was acting as a translator for the two of them. She didn’t speak in words, but that was okay, because my time with Poseidon has taught me the not-words language, and I trust these ways of communicating. She was calm, and she was patient, and she waited.

I still am not a spinner. We’ve gained three other wheels since this first wheel came into our lives, and they are all of them quirky. They all have the things they like, and they all have personality. They are tools Beth has worked with closely. They’ve changed our lives. We’ve said all along that we’re animists in our worldview, and I hold that that’s true. We’re not speciesests, that’s for sure, though I can’t say that we don’t, a little bit, anthropomorphize other beings to help us connect better – but then I also can’t say that they don’t also do this to help us connect better.

The wheels have a place in some of our religious observances. They are cleansed and polished and blessed and petitioned. This particular wheel, for all that Beth spins with her, is forever in my heart ‘my’ wheel. Or maybe I’m her human, in this household?

Is it the wheel? Is it some being attached to the wheel, like a dryad to her tree? Does the distinction matter? Is it all just me trying to understand and romanticize this dead tool made of wood, loved and neglected and passed from hands to hands?

Once, long ago, I asked Poseidon to define real. “Are You really here? Is this in my head? Are You a hallucination? Is this real? In what way is this real?”

His answer not only stayed with me, it shaped how I think about realness. “Does it matter? Do any of those answers change what you are experiencing? If I’m in your head, and not standing before you in the physical realm, is this solace lessened?” Something is real if it creates change in your life. I’ve heard this echoed, more recently, in a lecture I watched on Vedanta thought. The lecturer spoke of different realities – dreams, illusions, the waking world, etc. She spoke of dreams being real, not in the same way that the waking world is real, but also not not-real. It’s the first time I’d heard it spoken of that way, since meeting Poseidon two decades ago.

In the end, for my worldview, the trying to pin down exactly how things are and must be explaining can be a nice mental exercise, but ultimately does not matter. I’m not interested in arguing that I’m just anthropomorphizing an inanimate object, when I’m experiencing her mood brushing against my own, sharing with me her stories, her past, her preferences. She’s become a matriarch in our household, especially over the younger wheels, and she’s older than me. She’ll get my respect. I’ll leave the ‘how is this real?’ for someone else to worry about.

Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte on Etsy!

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My collection of short stories, A Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales, has been updated (woohoo working Table of Contents!), rereleased on Amazon.com, and released for the first time on my Etsy shop. The exciting thing (for me, anyway) about the release on Etsy is not just that the ToC works (which, mind you, is awesome. Yeah, basic formatting maybe, but I’ve only just gotten the hang of it, so I’m happy), but also: if you purchase this (or any of my books) via my Etsy shop, you are actually purchasing .pdf, .mobi,.and .epub files. (Is this the lazy route for me? Possibly, but I’m also excited at the idea of allowing people to buy my books direct from me, rather than going through a third party, should you choose to do so.)

As always, there are review copies available, so if you are interested, drop me a line!