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12 Jan 14:48

“There are two important days in a woman’s life: the day...

“There are two important days in a woman’s life: the day she is born and the day she finds out why.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

12 Jan 14:44

Starcodes Jan 10, 2014 Heather Roan Robbins

by roanrobbins

“This book was written using 100% recycled words.”
― Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters

“Man is a complex being: he makes deserts bloom – and lakes die.”
― Gil Scott-Heron

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. “― Theodore Roosevelt

Let’s take a good look at the words conservative and conservation as Venus and the Sun conjunct in conservative Capricorn and sextile taciturn Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler. Dictionaries define conservation as the protection and careful use of animal, plants, and natural resources, and efforts to keep works of art or historical importance in good condition. Work with that image. Nothing in the definition requires the preservation of a specific individual over the preservation of the world as a whole.

We’re right in the middle of a three-year astrological period of radical societal change. Most of us have had to let go of old constructs and out of date dreams, and said goodbye to people off on their journey, and may be heart-sore thereby. But the planetary assignment this week is to look at look at what we need to save, preserve, strengthen, nurture, and defend. Venus, Sun, and Saturn want to know.

This does not mean we hold on tightly this week, this is an era of letting go. But we are asked to sort out what needs care, bring our focus there, and treasure it.

Whenever Saturn gets involved, we may feel a lingering sadness, a gentle melancholy, or an unusual awareness of the weight of years. Saturn wants us to be a grown-up, and a busy one at that. Our ambitions whisper to us and so to the chores. Organization becomes an art form, professional development furthers. If we don’t like our work, or don’t have access to sustaining work were ready to make a difference make change. Labor related issues work on employment questions minimum wage issues around minimum wage and unemployment are on the front burner.

Although we can be theoretically romantic with Venus snuggled up to the Sun, we may have little spare time to show it unless we find an excuse to work together. We have to add the warmth to care and protect affection.

Apart from work that pays us, it’s a good time to look at our habits and personal disciplines; how we eat, work out or practice our craft. But be wary around an over-active interior critical voice that can berate for not having done enough, become enough. Let’s take a moment to remember what we’ve done right so far so, and nurture that capacity instead; depression is so easy whenever Saturn’s in the picture, but not productive.

Friday begins steadily industrious. As Mercury enters Aquarius on Saturday we begin to remember our friends and make social plans. Social media buzzes as we reconnect. Mercury in Aquarius encourages open-minded exploration unless we’re directly opposed, but then our heels dig in. It will get us farther to explore ideas rather than debate them for the next few weeks.

Early next week is a good time to look farther ahead to plan and put our teams together. We grow moodier and more introverted, more self-protective midweek as the Moon waxes full in emotional Cancer and sets off the major aspects of this month; it conjuncts Jupiter, squares Uranus and Mars, and opposes Pluto just before it opposes the Sun. Whenever a faster moving planet set off this major configuration this year, the big issues of our life resonate and will need attention.

Under this emotional Full Moon in Cancer, we also may need to catch up with a backlog of emotions we just haven’t had time to process, or need to deal with some insecurity we’ve been avoiding. If so, we can let the feelings flush through us, teach us, but not define our reality. During this time, rather than challenge people’s defenses, ask what could help them feel safer. We can melt and mend the fences but will not breach them with a frontal assault.

Thursday our inner adolescent is activated by a Leo Moon, Venus-Mars square and Venus-Neptune semi-square and we get a quick tour of our usual emotional complications. The planets may infuse creativity, but we may run smack into our blind spots. We square off easily as Venus squares Mars. Tension can be seen as a form of flirting, just don’t push too much. We may need to take some emotional risk but need to stay responsible for our own happiness. Let’s forgive ourselves and do our best to make mature choices anyway.

On a more subtle level, as Neptune also forms supportive aspects to the Moon’s nodes, our attention is brought to our creative and spiritual communities. We’re asked to make sure we’re living out our spiritual values in our daily life, and are brought back to this week’s question: what do we need to release and what do we need to preserve.

Friday, January 10: Our work is clearly laid out, and the mood is competent and stubborn. We worry more about how to accomplish than what. Don’t bother discussing theory this practical day, we can get a lot done if we keep a steady rhythm, but when at rest we’ll tend to remain at rest under the steady-making but comfort-loving Taurus Moon. Familiarity, comfort foods and warmth help tonight, we need to be kind on ourselves as we review the week. Review and release expectations while the Moon opposes Saturn.

Saturday, January 11: This morning we want cuddly cozy and familiar but can be industrious once we pull ourselves out of our warm cocoon. A sense of reserve can make us less expressive, but more appreciative of safe and secure, tried-and-true experiences. Aesthetics, women’s rights, clothing, art supplies, all Venusian efforts need organization and support as Venus and the Sun conjunct and sextile Saturn. Love is expressed through practical action. We grow more versatile and collaborative this afternoon as the Moon enters verbal Gemini midday and Mercury enters sociable Aquarius late tonight, we’re up for spontaneous events and ready to open up the conversation.

Sunday, January 12: Ideas are bandied around this morning. Some discomfort strikes us as the Moon inconjuncts Pluto midday, and stimulates thoughts about what action to take as the Gemini Moon trines Mars. Don’t get busy just to avoid the issue; it’s a good time to consider what and why we do what we do.

Monday, January 13: Don’t count on luck this odd day, deal with the flotsam and loose ends, and scheduled in time to re-do minor mistakes as the Moon as the somewhat frazzled and easily distracted Gemini makes a series of minor but inconvenient aspects. Odd comments and PR mistakes abound, our nerves can frazzle. Consider postponing travel plans or technology purchases for a few days. Small things may go awry but our deeper, intuitive connections sing as Neptune aspects the nodes. Check in with spiritual community for support and connection.

Tuesday, January 14: We may want to hide under the covers and get touchy about criticism as the Moon enters more emotional and self-protective Cancer. Work therapy helps. Let’s care of ourselves and stick in there. Even though we’d like to stay private, we need to follow through on inconvenient but important communication; share information, carpool, stay connected even if it feels exposed. Stay warmhearted and connected with beloveds even though everyone’s defenses are prickly and our issues are up.

Wednesday, January 15: Sensitive, creative but not objective, we can easily get lost in our daydreams or read inappropriate things into our experience with Venus semi-square Neptune. The day takes us on an emotional roller coaster as the Moon opposes Pluto and conjuncts Jupiter. Ponder personal priorities; ask what truly makes one feel at home. Back off defensive people. If loss or fear of loss mobilizes us, let’s make it constructive action. Although most of us will be fine, if a little moody, for some and emotional crisis reaches a boiling point in the next few days.

Thursday, January 16: All too easily we can square off with one another; tension arises easily but so do interesting sparks as Venus and Mars square. A little preemptive attention to beloveds can prevent acting out. The Moon in the Leo brings us out of our show but can exacerbate our inner adolescent, it hurts to be ignored or underestimated. At the same time we’ll tend to see things in a more adversarial light or wrestle internally with conflicted feelings. Let the tension be more flirtatious, keep it respectful and humorous if possible, and look for root causes of the problem before taking someone down.

Filed under: Uncategorized
31 Dec 22:04

“He had the kind of mustache a college roommate of hers used to...

“He had the kind of mustache a college roommate of hers used to say looked like it had crawled up to find a warm spot to die.”

–Lorrie Moore, Like Life

30 Dec 16:10

Client 545

by tjw
"When someone says their worst day sober is better than their best day stoned I immediately blurt out "Bullshit". - @AddictDude
28 Dec 16:30

2014 overview- Starcodes, Dec 27 2014

by roanrobbins

“The bottom line is, 2014 needs to be a year of action.” -President Obama.

Hang on to your hats, 2014 has a wild birth chart, and looks to be a wild ride. We’re right in heart of metamorphosis now.

Our new year’s resolutions will be particularly important this year. As 2014 dawns, Pluto, Mercury, Sun and Moon conjunct in determined Capricorn, and all four oppose bountiful Jupiter and square both change-master Uranus and assertive Mars to form four corners of a grand square. Together they begin a new if unsettling cycle, remind us that we’re smack in the transition stage of societal transformation. 2012-2015 Uranus in Aries calls us to innovate and revolt, and wrestles with Pluto in Capricorn as it pulls us to reorganize structure and government while remembering the old ways.

It won’t help to fight the changes. It will help to honor the sadness for what’s leaving, let the ache flow through, and then look for what’s being born in its place.

These planets encourage us to confront uncomfortable problems squarely, but can also help us make unusually wonderful progress. All year long we can expect action in many cultural hot-spots, like women’s rights, gay rights, racial equality, indigenous rights, and sustainable economies. A surge of freedom-seeking politics (Uranus in Aries) can trigger opposing efforts to crack down (Pluto in Capricorn). A gap between generations widens with political, cultural and technological advances, but can be breached wherever we work together.

This change is not just political. Saturn, the planet of structure and training, in profound Scorpio until next December, challenges us to take this work deep within our souls and develop a lodestar composed of our deepest goals and brightest guiding lights, then use that lodestar to navigate the changing, sometimes storm-tossed landscape.
Our ability to adjust, to find our balance will be our most essential tool to stay healthy. We need to be kind, but we’ll feel drained if we get stuck in self-pity or in enabling relationships. Saturn now in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces can blur our boundaries while waking up our sense of empathy and connection.

Instead, let’s work towards a sustainable ecology on all levels. Balance the needs of all involved so we can move forward in healthy interdependence. Expect this lesson to be hammered in; the more stressful the times, the more important balance will become.

Expansive, abundant, freedom-loving Jupiter in Cancer opposes Pluto and squares Uranus this January through June, amping up the speed and depth of change, altering water levels, bringing storms, and singing an intense need for personal freedom. Let’s start at home, with family dynamics; walk the talk and encourage everyone’s evolution, even if it’s inconvenient. A booming crop of babies can carry this quality forward. Relationships will need breathing room; we need to know we can grow with our beloveds, or the urge for freedom can pull us away.

Mars spends an unusually long time in Venus-ruled Libra (12/9/13-7/28/14) dancing back (retrograde 3/2-5/20) and forth in that grand square with Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter. It invites us to dance this revolution, to take a creative Venusian, heart-centered, egalitarian approach.

Spring stays unsettled and blustery, so find balance between the wind gusts. That grand square perfects again in April; it’ll be a rocky month, but we can accomplish great shifts if we ride its waves.

Late spring a helpful grand trine between Jupiter, Saturn and Chiron allows us to make headway through unusual alliances and encourages healthier architecture and economic structure. Jupiter enters Leo mid-July and waltzes with Venus, our hearts will long for more love, compassion, and time with our muse, but can flare melodramatically when conflicted.

Jupiter trines Uranus in the fall and supports all that go back to school or turn their work towards their bliss. Technological inventiveness can leap forward and leave us and our equipment feeling out of date, but may provide solutions to key problems.

Tend to relationships of all kind in the fall, make sure all is on track, equal, and that dreams are shared, because the Sun squares Pluto and opposes Uranus Oct. 3- 9 and dances on our interpersonal tender spots. Let’s work together next fall rather than let it wedge us apart.

But for this week, on Friday, a Scorpio Moon asks us to take some time inside and review our years, catch up with our work as Mercury semi-squares industrious Saturn. Communication maybe a bit off, as people can be distracted or internal, or worried, but is probably not a problem in the relationship, unless we poke and prod. Saturday afternoon and evening the mood is still subdued or internal, but our vision expands as the Sun and Mercury conjuncts; it is a good time to ponder and wax philosophical.

Sunday morning the Moon enters Sagittarius and the winter calls us; get outside if possible, or find a way to work off the holiday cookies and laugh together. Watch for interruptions or communications snafus as Mercury squares Uranus, and drive with care. The conversation can unearth fresh clues about our next steps, though we may need to deal with uncomfortable information in the process. Notice some free-floating anxiety, and let it go; it is probably more ambient than personal, so don’t try to look for logical reasons.

This is a relatively cheerful, cross-pollinating, interactive time; stay active through Monday. We may be building up for some interesting world events as described at the beginning of the article, but our personal lives may be more humble, though just as thought-provoking. Tuesday morning starts out rocky as Mercury conjuncts Pluto and squares Mars; watch where the thoughts go, and don’t let them run into scary or belligerent places. Old problematic though-forms rise up, so does the potential for strange power wrestles, but we don’t have to take the bait. We grow contemplative and serious as we review the past and thing about the future while the Moon wanes in Capricorn. NYE is more subdued or serious than usual; many triggers resonate from the past, though some people will party seriously and with almost a grim approach, as it takes a whole lot of medicine to not be thoughtful with these transits.

We can find rituals and traditions helpful on New Year’s Day, after the New Moon at 4:14 AM MST. Think about those resolutions and plans, think how to steer the New Year ahead. Then share ideas on Thursday as a Moon in Aquarius asks us to return to our communities and put those plans into action. The New Year leaps forward quickly in the weeks ahead.

Filed under: Uncategorized
25 Dec 18:53

Christmas Eve: Working the streets

image(Diane: Christmas eve 11)

Two years ago today Diane was sitting against the sign of the Hunts Point 7-11. We spoke for over an hour. Her story, now all too familiar to me, was of early trauma, addiction, and then street prostitution. She started at 19.

As we spoke a police car pulled up. They asked why I was talking to her. I explained and asked if they wanted to see the pictures on my camera.

They laughed, “Why would I want to look at pictures of that ugly bitch.”

I thought of being nasty back, but an Xmas eve in the Bronx Criminal Court didn’t seem all that appealing. In retrospect I should have done it.

Diana and I went into the 7-11 to buy food. The man behind the counter tried to kick her out. I told him, “Fuck off, she is with me.”

I didn’t see Diane again until exactly one year later, on the last Christmas Eve. She remember me and apologized about the police.
image(Diane: Christmas eve 12)

I went today. I did not find her. I am both disappointed and relieved.  I hope she is doing well. I hope she is with her three children in Arizona. I hope she found “What any girl wants, a decent man. I don’t care what he looks like. I just want someone to help me rest. To end my life in peace.”

I hope she is having a Christmas Eve spent in a home, not on the streets. I hope she is in a place where others don’t judge her. That would be a nice Christmas gift.

More on addiction here: Faces of Addiction

20 Dec 22:20

Starcodes Dec, 20 2013 Heather Roan Robbins

by roanrobbins

Now begins winter and the winter holiday season, the worst of times and the best of times. Please bring heart to any celebration of the return of the light, the winter’s still point that promises warmth again on the other side.

Friday resonates with a sociable, active, activist buzz with Sun and Moon both in energized fire signs, with the Sun is in the last degree of cheerful Sagittarius, and the Moon in outgoing, opinionated Leo. It’s a good time to make the connections and for social life over the next few weeks, though let’s give ourselves an out if we want to dial it back later.

The Sun enters more introspective, traditions-oriented, foundations-building Capricorn on Saturday, and thoughtful Mercury follows on Christmas Eve; these two will bring our thoughts home to more serious things, like family, traditional rituals and the conditions of the world as a whole. Venus also begins her retrograde time (12/21/13-2/1/14) and brings our attention to the past, to what we have loved, hated, felt any sort of strongly about in the past. The memories pour out along with the personal history of each seasonal decoration or solstice letter. But we can make it a creative and healing review.

Two strong aspect color the rest of the holiday week. Both the Sun and Mercury form a lovely, softening and magical sextile with Neptune; here they support our intuitive connection and feed the romance of the season. They add bring spirit to our season rituals, glitter to the tinsel and a twinkle to an elf’s eye.

This can help deal with more turbulent aspects, as Mars, though now in a gentle Libra, opposes Uranus and begins to square Pluto, intensifying the great era-changing aspects of our time, setting off a grand square between Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto, all in action-oriented cardinal signs, an aspect that affects us now and throughout the spring, peaking in mid-April. We’ll be talking about this ongoing grand aspect a lot more in the months ahead, and for a long time to come.

As Mars perfects its opposition to Uranus, it lowers impulse control (watch out for last minute spending and unexpectedly rude comments), sharpens our temper and adds an accident prone and technologically-challenging edge. Big events may unfold that give us a symbol of our changes. But this aspect can also energize us for anything we want to do, and give us the courage to be gently but radically honest with one another.

Be aware of issues raised, of decisions made, of memories created. We are in the pivot of a turning point, and even subtle moments can give us hints to the changes to come.

So the mood may be lovely, but expect the unexpected, and take a few extra safely precautions. Choose not to spike a temper, think about the consequences of a comment (even if it’s true) over. If we get a sudden urge, take an hour off for the moment, and make decisions for only a day at a time until the holidays are over. Let’s also keep eyes open for a sudden call to service, a friend in need, a neighbor stuck in a ditch. And know that generosity of support is the best present money can’t buy.
Friday, Dec 20: The Moon in outgoing, expressive Leo adds generosity to our plans and life to any party, but can also add a lazy streak, and a longing to live in Technicolor. People need attention and may exaggerate their situation to get it, but can give that attention just as generously. Confusion or sleepiness can leave us fuzzy first thing this morning as the Moon challenges Neptune. Our thinking clears up midday for a positive, productive spell, although we may have differing priorities as to what needs doing. Look for a stubborn but open-minded, funny, positive, restless spell around dinnertime as the Moon trines Uranus; be open to last-minute plans. But consider retiring early, the mood gets crankier later on and we may need a moment in the deep quiet of the longest night of the year.

Saturday, Dec 21: Happy Solstice! The Sun enters Capricorn at 10:10 AM MST on this shortest day of the year. Venus retrogrades, both helping us turn back towards our traditions, back towards our family and friends. Moring has a magical quality, midday we can get a bit stiff-necked or pompous, and have to have things a certain way as the Moon squares Saturn, but can produce something beautiful in response. Evening is alive, festive, gracious but with low attention span and an accident prone quality as the Moon semi-squares Mars. Plates may be spilled. Be careful tonight, but enjoy the buzz.

Sunday, Dec 22: Morning may be both heartwarming and self-indulgent, though there may be tricky news to deal with. Reel in a tendency to see other people’s actions as a testimony to their affection; it’s probably more a need to listen to themselves. Check to make sure they want breakfast in bed before bringing it in. The Moon enters Virgo midday, tines electrical Uranus and everyone has different ideas on what needs doing. Make sure this time is not just about preparation, but is joyful in and of itself.

Monday, Dec 23: How did we get so busy? We can feel like we don’t have enough, a stuff, time, food, money, friends as the Moon trines Pluto this morning, but instead of speeding up, let’s take a minute to quiet down and plan carefully. People tend to get critical or pointed under stress. Breathe. Organize. Reconnect with the heart. And proceed. Tonight glimmers warmly.

Tuesday, Dec 24: We’re getting serious now as Mercury enters thoughtful Capricorn. Honor the traditions of the season but do not get rule-bound and put the details of ritual above heart to heart connection. Let in odd moments of healing. Morning is serious and efficient as the Moon sextiles Saturn. Later, as the Sun sextiles intuitive Neptune, seasonal magic it close at hand, but so is our willfulness; it’s hard to let go of what we want. Our feelings may be easily scraped if we hang too much on any one scenario. Rein in expectations and enjoy one another presence instead. Be a careful driver tonight, and don’t give too much schnapps to difficult relatives.

Wednesday, Dec 25: The Moon enters lyrical Libra and encourages kindness and camaraderie, lubricates our interactions with good will. Which we’ll need as Mars opposes Uranus, amping up our willfulness and our resistance to restraint. Kids who eat too much candy from their stockings bounce off the walls. Mechanical difficulties can make it hard to assemble the toy train set. Everyone may need a moment to throw a tantrum or leave for a brisk walk and return, or find some healthier outlet for impulsiveness. A snowball fight can clear the air. Find the humor in it all. Let people find neutral corners late afternoon, and reconvene in the evening.

Thursday, Dec 26: A magical Mercury/Neptune sextile can help children apply their imagination to the presents they receive, and open up lines of intuition between the rest of us, but it can be hard to feel so permeable around invasive relatives. Hold boundaries firmly and with love. Feel the strange quivers of insecurity underneath any misbehavior, and address that directly. Stay here in the present with one another, talk about the future, but leave decisions alone for now.

Filed under: Uncategorized
18 Dec 02:27


by 12StepWitch

This Sunday I attended my fourth holiday ritual with my local Witchcraft community. My fourth ritual with them since Samhain. Not so long ago, but so much has happened since then—I’ve taken their introductory core class, spent time socially with members of the community, and started to feel a “part of.” Still, I was surprised when they asked me to play one of the four central roles in this Vernal Equinox ritual.

Was I nervous? Yes. And ironically enough, I was invoking the emotion “fear” and leading the group in a journey about that emotion. You can write what you think you are going to say, and say it aloud in the car, but when you are in front of 20 people, and drums are rat-a-tatting and boom-booming behind you, and suddenly you need to make your voice fill the room, it is a lot different. I also went last, after three priestesses who really brought down the house. I mean, seriously. Not easy acts to follow. They knew how to work with the drums, they knew how to let the energy in a room build naturally without feeling anxious about trying to push it to a specific place. Whereas I was like the nervous girl on a date rushing to fill every silence in the conversation with inane nattering.

Priestessing is not easy. I do not know why this did not occur to me before but of course it isn’t! It is performance and a spiritual act all in one. You need to let yourself be spoken through but also hold your presence. You have to be large enough to lead people but not so big that you crowd out their personal experience and expression. The challenge of trying to evoke a negative emotional state in a large group of people through words, chanting, sounds, and then leading then through an exploration of seeing that state as a possible ally… Quite the order for my first priestessing gig.

Things happened that surprised me. I did not expect to begin full-throated singing about halfway through my invocation. But that was my response to the moment, my response to the fear, my response to the flop sweat that was starting to bead on my forehead. I told people I was afraid, afraid of what I was doing right at this moment. And I asked—will you join me now? And they did, beginning their own singing. Fear we sang. You will not destroy me. Fear, please transform me. That was when I felt the energy of my invocation begin to shift.

You can’t tiptoe around the topic of fear when you are a member of a recovery program. Your sponsor will hit you with obnoxious sayings like “You can Fuck Everything And Run or you can Face Everything And Recover!” You will be writing a list of your fears and reading them to another human being. You will be facing your fears by making amends to people, by tackling situations sober that you previously could only handle while under the influence. Here’s what the AA Big Book has to say about Fear:

This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread: the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling. Sometimes we think fear ought to be classed with stealing. It seems to cause more trouble. Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 67

What happens when we look at the shadow of the shadow? When we look at fear not as an enemy, but extend our gaze beyond the obvious and ask “In what ways can you be my ally?” Yes, fear can paralyze us. Yes, fear can fill us with anxiety. Yes, fear is uncomfortable. But what actual function is fear playing in my body? Have I ever been about to take a shortcut down a dark alley, and fear has whispered in my ear, “No. Not this dark alley”? Have I ever been about to go somewhere with someone I just met and the hair has raised on the back of my neck and told me, “Not with this person.” If I was running for my life, would fear make me run just a little faster? Fast enough to make the difference between being caught and not? Has fear ever been a beacon? Has it shown me what I SHOULD do because I am so afraid of it? Have I ever been so afraid to die that I realized how very much I wanted to live? What is that knowledge worth?

Can fear drop down deep into our bodies and become instinct? Can it become intuition? Can it become one of the ways I hear the wisdom of my unconscious self?

We had planned that day to have other people do the elemental quarter callings, but in the end the four main ritual priestesses ended up doing it, with little notice. When I called North, I was unprepared, and I truly felt that space inside of me that is God Hirself turn hir head up and speak with me. What is deep in the caves of the Earth? We asked. What is deep within the mountain? What message is held there? What will we find there? Will we fear it, or will we claim it? Later, I entered the cave. I entered the mountain. I feared it. And then I claimed it.

18 Dec 02:26

On Having No Baggage

by 12StepWitch

I have no baggage.
Jesus was never thrust on me, unwilling. In fact, we had a great experience together, once, at a youth group skiing trip for over-privileged private school kids. He was totally buddy Christ, hippie Jesus, Socialist Jesus, Ragamuffin Gospel Jesus. I was there because my best friend was there; she was there because a guy she had a crush on was there. She ignored me the whole time, so I paid attention during the nightly sermon and singing. I had already begun to identify as a Witch by this time, but there was nothing about my claiming of this title that was about a rejection of anything else. It was simply an affirmation. And so getting swept up in the romance and energy of the story of Jesus’s sacrifice was very easy for me, that week at an isolated ski lodge. I felt something dawn inside of me that was natural and so I reached out and accepted it.

I think I identified as a Christian for a few months after that. I remember sitting in front of what had been my altar, making the sign of the cross in the air trying to banish the sign of the pentacle that a coven-sister had traced there with words indicating it would hang there forever. But slowly I returned to my Pagan ways, called by a deep connection to the land on which I lived, the many bays that surrounded me….Isle of Wight, Assawoman, Sinepuxent, and of course, the Great Chesapeake. Growing up in the Coastal Bays Watershed, what chance did I have to not be a witch? I grew up on 40 acres on the Bay. Nature’s glory at my doorstep. Of course this happened. Blame my parents.

Leaving Jesus behind (on friendly terms) was no struggle. My parents were not ardent Christians. I barely remember going to Church except for Easter and Christmas. My parents split when I was 9, so regular Sunday church-going where we met my paternal grandparents ceased after that. I have some fuzzy memories of Sunday School but not many. So, like I said, no baggage. When my mom found out I was practicing witchcraft, she wasn’t upset about me going to hell. She was more worried about me embarrassing her (because the snooty school I went to knew all about it and we were in trouble!) and getting involved with dangerous people. So I had to hide it, but not for long.

I tell all this to reveal that I am unprepared to understand the baggage that many Pagans bring with them when they step into Paganism. And furthermore, I am unprepared to understand the baggage that many Pagans bring with them when they step into 12 step recovery. I was about to be in ritual last night with several people, and I jokingly said something about being inspired by “the Holy Spirit”. Several people in the room recoiled visibly. They explicitly reject that language as it is so strongly tied to something they were forced to endure. Whereas for me, it is a concept that can be owned by a Witch just as much as it can be owned by a Christian.

The same disconnect exists for me in 12 Step Recovery. When I discovered that some Pagans used rewritten versions of the Twelve Steps, I was disconcerted. It really bothered me. “Just another example of an alcoholic thinking they are unique precious snowflakes who can’t do it the way everyone else did it,” I thought. But I have to look beyond that initial response and question where my blind spots are. I have no trouble in a meeting where people say “He” when referencing their higher power. Damn, I first joined 12 step recovery in Ohio where people said “Jesus” and I was ok with it. I guess I fundamentally took the whole “God as you understand it” part to heart. I’ve never felt like anyone judged me for speaking my truth about my own conception of a higher power, and no one has ever challenged me or told me mine was wrong. But other people are coming to these meetings with years of struggle, years of being treated as different, years of being told, “What you believe is wrong.” Does that fall firmly under the heading, ”Their shit”? Sure it does. But if it gets in the way of their recovery, then it is a problem. And maybe then, it makes sense for someone to have written alternative steps.

When I look at the “Spiral Steps”, the issues that Pagans seem to struggle with become clear. There is no admission of powerlessness. The reliance on a higher power to restore the addict to insanity is replaced by a vague belief in “hope for healing”. The decision to turn the will and life over to the care of God is supplanted by an honoring of the connection with the divine and an acceptance of the process of change. The sixth and seventh step, where traditionally the addict and alcoholic prepares and then asks their higher power to remove their character defects is replaced by a willingness to seek a higher good, and a letting go of dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors.

Where my Twelve Step alarm bells start ringing is that the complete and total removal of a reliance on a higher power. This is Twelve Step Recovery 101. You tried to do it on your own, you failed. Now, do it God’s way. I understand why this is problematic with Witches, who have learned to do deep inner work, move energy, and be frankly powerful agents of change. To suddenly surrender so much agency, will, and sovereignty seems to go against everything they have been working towards. Why would they ask their Higher Power to remove their defects when they can do it themselves through ritual or kala? Why would they surrender their will when their will is holy?

I can sympathize with this because I am coming at it from the other direction. After not being active in Witchcraft for several years, and very active in Recovery, I have struggled with being more assertive, more willful, and more proud. I am currently working the Iron Pentacle through Thorn Coyle’s Fiat Lux program and each point seems to be a real struggle as I break down my initial, recovery oriented reaction to it. Pride? Power? Self? Oh my.

I know there is somewhere in between these things. I know, because I am finding it. I have found fulfillment in the Pride point on the Iron Pentacle and I am still working my third step. I am beginning to use words like claim, own, birthright and will and am understanding them in a way that is informed by my recovery and by my witchcraft. I am finding the alchemy that happens when these worlds are brought together in a place of love and curiosity. The authors of the Big Book spoke of a “Broad Highway” and I think this is where I am currently walking. In future posts I hope to explore some of these particular sticking points-like will- more closely.

I know there is somewhere in between these things.  I know, because I am finding it.  I have found fulfillment in the Pride point on the Iron Pentacle and I am still working my third step. I am beginning to use words like claim, own, birthright and will and am understanding them in a way that is informed by my recovery and by my witchcraft.  I am finding the alchemy that happens when these worlds are brought together in a place of love and curiosity.  The authors of the Big Book spoke of a “Broad Highway” and I think this is where I am currently walking. In future posts I hope to explore some of these particular sticking points-like will- more closely.

16 Dec 04:26

Fuck Me

I love it when you fuck me. I crave your fingers jammed inside me. We wrestle for control. I only win when you let me. I know this. You know I know this. And when you win, my breathing slows. I stare at you. You pin my shoulders down. You look up at me with your mouth sucking on my nipple. I grab a fistful of your hair, holding it out of the way so I can watch your lips curve around me. You grab my cunt through my jeans, pinching me. I wince. I need you to fuck me. I need to be fucked.

You like to talk. You tell me I can’t stop you. And I can’t. I can’t stop you. I won’t stop you. I arch my back off the mattress. I feel my face turn red. I get so hot. Burning. My cunt is still in your grip. I reach down and try to unbuckle my belt but you shove my hands away. You grab my belt and lift me, shake me a little, and drop me back down. You tug my jeans low and the denim scrapes my hip bones. “Fuck me,” I whine. You’ve made me whine. I’m panting. Gulping the air. Desperate to take you in. “Fuck me.” All I hear is your laugh. You taunt me. You throw my desire back in my face. You sneer and twist my nipples in your fingers before you roll me over onto my belly.

I clench my fists, grabbing the sheet. I know. I know this. You reach beneath me and unbuckle my belt. You whip the worn leather strap out of the belt loops and jerk my jeans down, exposing my ass. You wrap the belt back around me and pull it tight just below the curve of my ass. My thighs are smashed together. Everything stings. Quick stinging slaps on my ass. The leather of the belt stings as it cuts into me. You slap, sting, rub. You blow cool air on my hot skin. You tell me I’m so good. You tell me I’m growing so red. You tell me I’m glowing. You tug my jeans down further to expose more flesh. My upper thighs are yours. I’m yours. I tell you this, “I’m yours.” You answer, “Yes.”

I tell myself I won’t cry. I won’t ask you to stop. It’s not the stinging. It’s not the pain. It’s the submission. It’s giving this to you. It’s the letting go. It’s knowing that I love you. Knowing that I’ll let you give me this, take care of me, love me. That’s what breaks me. That’s why I cry when you fuck me. "I won’t cry this time. I won’t," I tell myself. But of course I will. I know that I will. You know that I will. You look for it. I will cry because it overwhelms me how you love me. How I let you love me. How I want it.

I try to get away when you pull the belt between my legs, against my clit. It hurts. The pain is almost too much. The leather feels like it’s cutting me. I can’t get away. You ask me if I want you to stop and the question only makes me angry. “Fuck you,” I yell. “Poor baby,” you coo. I feel the tears well up in my eyes. I spit the words softly into the sheets, “Fuck you.” I go limp. You feel it. Or maybe you see it. Roll me over. Do what you want.

What you want is to wake me up again. Your fingers shoot into my cunt and I double over, grabbing for your head. You move away from me quickly and shove me back against the mattress. You fuck me so hard it’s beyond pleasure. This is pain. It hurts. I’m fighting it. I grit my teeth. I’m yelling. You don’t relent. Pounding into me over and over again. Repeating the words you last said, “Poor baby.” Again, harder, you don’t let up. “My poor, poor baby. Don’t you want it? Yeah. I see you, baby. I see what you want.”

My whole body resists until the moment your spit hits my clit. I feel it drip. Then your finger or your thumb. Everything, everything, all of me, suddenly on fire. So warm. My head is fuzzy. I feel so good. I couldn’t possibly stand up steady. I’m crying now. Crying hard. I’m staring at your lips. They hang open above my bent knees. You look at me now and again. You shake your hair out of your eyes. We nod at each other. Whispered yeses. Uh huh. I don’t care about coming. This is everything. But I do come. I come and I scream and I shake. I pull you to my face and hold you. You press down on top of me. I cry into your neck.

I won’t fuck you tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Tonight I’ll just take and take. I’ll open my thighs for you. I’ll pet your head as you suck me off later when I’m sleepy and drunk. I’ll tell you over and over again how much I love you. How you have me. “Fuck me, baby,” I’ll plead and roll over on my belly. “Here, baby. Come here,” I’ll say and pray that you’ll take me again.

15 Dec 16:11

Starcodes Dec 13 2013 Heather Roan Robbins

by roanrobbins

This dark week before the solstice bustles, but has only minor astrological events. Because this whole year rings with major background aspects, no week will be quiet, but we may get the chance to get loose ends organized, packages mailed, let people know we love them, and love ourselves by getting as centered, prepared, and aware as we can.

The Sun and Mercury now in Sagittarius help us adapt and multitask, though they can call us away from our duties and sing of snow-cover slopes, begging us to play hooky, or play in any way possible. They also bring a usually cheerful impatience and an itching need to express ourselves with honesty and directness, which can make holiday parties so interesting.

So sneak away for a snowball fight. Sneak out to the fun party as well as the one for work. Bring a mischievous spirit to all season festivities. This season is all about connection to one another, the natural world, our global community, and to whatever path brings us spiritual joy.

Mars now in Libra increases our desire to socialize and whispers of holiday romance; it breathes extra life in all ongoing relationships, if we remember how precious they are and tend to their beauty.

Venus is a funny planet to keep us working, but Venus now in industrious Capricorn can help us work on ambitious projects and do what needs to be done. It can make it hard to relax into the holiday season for more than a few minutes, we can always think of one more thing that needs to be done, but it does helps us get back to work after the snowball fight. We can get irritated at people if they don’t seem to be pulling their share, but let’s stay humble about it and remember we don’t know their schedule. Venus here asks us to consider changes in the coming year that will help us love our work more.

There’s a lot to do this week, but we can trust our ability to multitask, to get the work done if we allow room for these spontaneous moments. If we try too hard to crack the whip, productivity will go downhill as our escapist streak acts up.

This Friday the 13th can feel relatively lucky if we make it a comfortable and cozy time under Taurus Moon and with a magical Mars-Neptune quincunx. We may need to face some internal resistance over the weekend or tend to the chores to back our plans as Mars semi-squares Saturn. Technological toys may be less reliable so have a backup plan if the smart phone fails as Mercury quincunx Jupiter.

Early next week a buzzing Full Moon in versatile, voluble Gemini can spark conversation and trigger our nerves. Enjoy the cross-pollination but remember to rest even if sleep is hard to come by. Some long term changes start to swirl but hit bumps on the road as Uranus turns retrograde, the changes are not stopping, as this year brims with transformation, but the process may go on hold for a while. We have some personal homework to do first.

Later in the week we want to go home, but that may be more a heart-space than a place, under a domestic Cancer Moon. If we suddenly feel needy, it’ll help to extent our hand to help another.

Next week is laced with tradition and rebellion, with obligations and connections. This week, play and weave the renewing fibers of community now, and follow through on threads of possibility to weave good work for the year ahead.

Friday, Dec 13: There may be a lot to do, but if we work with the stable Taurus Moon and get in a groove, we can get it all done. Midday, watch a feeling that we just don’t have enough, or are not enough; trust that what’s here is what’s needed, and make the best of it. Work around a communications snafu late afternoon and pad the schedule with time for delays. The evening waxes philosophical as the Moon approaches a trine sextiles expansive Jupiter.

Saturday, Dec 14: We may wake up tired or feel old and creaky this morning, or too aware of our chore list as the Moon opposes Saturn, but our flow returns once we get moving. Look for information that changes minds or changes plans midday as the Moon challenges Uranus. Some restraints may need to be applied to one’s temper, frankness, or gift-buying budget as Mars semi-squares Saturn, but we can solve this problem. Evening rest and acceptance will warm our hearts as the Moon trines Venus.

Sunday, Dec 15: The conversation speeds up, and many pots simmer on the stove; we can feel fractured or frayed if we overdo the multitasking as the Moon waxes in nervy Gemini, squares Neptune, and trines Mars. No matter how busy, take a few minute stop listen to the soul; find the beauty in the moment if stretched too thin. Information to make healthy decisions pour in, but we have to prioritize. Tend to health tonight.

Monday, Dec 16: Deadlines push; time needs juggling this morning as the Moon opposes Mercury. If there is too much on the plate, prioritize and sort: by time sensitivity and soul priority, but don’t take it out on others, humor eases the way. Look for what is falling through the cracks this afternoon. Listen for a spontaneous gathering tonight as the Moon waxes Full, but be kind to the nervous systems. Sleep may be fugitive tonight, try a nice cup of herb tea before bed and relax anyway.

Tuesday, Dec 17: Expect the unexpected today after an early Full Moon at 3:34 am MST and as Uranus turns retrograde. Later, we need to slow down and pick up some pieces as the Moon enters more domestic and personal Cancer. People can get defensive if they feel pressured to do more than they already are so keep the vibe positive, not corrective as the Moon trines Neptune. Encourage sweetness and karmic co-responsibility. Later, we may see some clash of international vs. domestic concerns and need to look for the common ground between.

Wednesday, Dec 18: Our morning routine helps on this unsettled morning, so meditate, stretch and enjoy the morning coffee. We may have to let something go, or accept some event will not happen, but this creates more room for fresh input as the Moon opposes Pluto then conjuncts Jupiter. Fill up on what is honorable, familiar, homey in a freeing sort of way, and stay steady through emotional ups and downs; if we provide emotional ballast rather than feed the winds, much of the problem melts away.

Thursday, Dec 19: Morning is vibe is slow off the mark, but hopeful and thoughtful. We can put pieces together, balance disparate elements, and get some of our personal work done as the Moon conducts Jupiter then trines Saturn. If we offer respect to elders or teachers, give honest positive feedback to bosses or cohorts, it opens up a new understanding within. Keep track of a chunk of work that has almost come to fruition, tend that pot. Tonight is socially awkward, so share reassurances.

Filed under: Uncategorized
14 Dec 15:47

Dope Sick

by tjw
"Dope sick: ...It is a unique conundrum in that the only remedy for immediate relief also happens to be the only root cause. In short…The solution became the problem."  DOPESICKDIARIES
14 Dec 04:58

“Turn down the daily noise and at first there is the relief of...

“Turn down the daily noise and at first there is the relief of silence. And then, very quietly, as quiet as light, meaning returns. Words are the part of silence that can be spoken.”
― Jeanette Winterson, Lighthousekeeping

14 Dec 04:57


by tjw
"If you find yourself constantly praying for an answer, shut up." - G
14 Dec 04:56

“But maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe working on the...

“But maybe that’s the way it should be. Maybe working on the little things as dutifully and honestly as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart.”
― Haruki Murakami, “Samsa in Love”

14 Dec 04:55

“Suddenly, all at once, she knows, knows that he doesn’t...

“Suddenly, all at once, she knows, knows that he doesn’t understand her, that he never will, that he lacks the power to understand such perverseness. And that he can never move fast enough to catch her.”
― Marguerite Duras, The Lover

14 Dec 04:54

Hazelden Offers Companion to the “Big Book”

by Dirk Hanson

New guide attempts a modest AA update.

The founders of AA published their book, Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) back in 1939. The world has changed a great deal since then, so it’s not surprising that there have been periodic calls for an update. Barring an official revision, which is unlikely, Hazelden, the Minnesota treatment organization, has published an updated companion volume to the Big Book. (Narcotics Anonymous published their version of the basic text in 1962). “The core principles and practices offered in these basic texts hold strong today,” says Hazelden, “but addiction science and societal norms have changed dramatically since these books were first published decades ago.”

Hazelden’s book, Recovery Now, billed as an easy-to-follow guide to the teachings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, dispenses with the divisive question of medications for withdrawal straightaway. In a foreword by Dr. Marvin D. Seppala, chief medical officer at Hazelden, the doctor makes it clear: “I agree with the majority of treatment professionals who support using these meds to help with cravings when it is appropriate to do so. Addiction is a disease that calls for the best that science has to offer.” The unnamed authors of the “little green book” agree, stating that “for some mental health disorders, medications such as antidepressants are needed. These aren’t addictive chemicals and so professionals, as well as AA and NA, accept that we can take them and still be considered clean and sober (abstinent).” There are now, as well, specific Twelve Step groups for those with both addiction disorders and mental health disorders: Dual Diagnosis Anonymous and Dual Recovery Anonymous among them.

As Seppala points out in the foreword, when some alcoholics and other drug addicts hear about the research showing that addiction is similar to many other mental and physical disorders we call diseases, it reorients their thinking amid the shame, stigma, and negative emotional states associated with active addiction. For some, it opens the door to treatment.

Okay. Hazelden, Betty Ford, and many other major treatment providers are no longer fighting a rear-guard action against a host of medications, from buprenorphine to Zoloft. But two-thirds of the Big Book consists of stories of how people recognized and dealt with their sundry addictions. That’s really about it, which tracks well with AA’s core operating principle: one drunk helping another. AA believes that much of its success stems from the fact that the program is run by the members, without direct rule setting and intervention from organizations, including their own. (All statements hold for NA as well).

What else? Recovery Now takes on another sticking point for many: the fact that “the AA Big Book and other writings include traditional male-focused and religious language, like discussing God as a ‘he.’” And there is the matter of “the realities and stereotypes of the 1930s, which is why it contains a chapter titled ‘To the Wives.’” Hazelden continues the recent tradition of broadening acceptable interpretations of “higher power.” One example given is from Samantha, a young cocaine and alcohol addict: “My higher power is the energy of this group. I call her Zelda.”

The book presents some of the psychological aspects of the AA program as a sort of reverse cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT attempts to teach people how to unkink their thinking and turn harmful thoughts into helpful ones. AA attempts to convince people to first change their behavior—“fake it until you make it”—and helpful thoughts will follow.

Perhaps the genuine sea change lies in this passage, which can be contrasted with the faith and certainty with which the Big Book proclaims that AA will work for all but the most stubbornly self-centered. Even with the myriad of choices of AA groups now available, Hazelden acknowledges that “a group based on the Twelve Steps doesn’t work for all of us. Some of us have found help in recovery groups that offer alternatives to the Twelve Steps, such as SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, and Secular Organizations for Sobriety.”  This is a change of heart, given that groups like SMART Recovery don’t necessarily buy the idea of total abstinence, and often structure recovery as an exercise in controlled drinking. Hazelden also suggests that many of “us” have found the necessary ongoing support for recovery at churches, mental health centers, and nonreligious peer support groups.

As for anonymity, Recovery Now states: “While Twelve Step members do not reveal anything about another member of the group, any one of us may choose to go public with our own story.” Another promising development is the proliferation of Twelve Step meetings catering to specific populations—AA meetings for African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, women, seniors, gays, and drug-specific (Cocaine Anonymous).

In the end, one of the best arguments for attendance at the AA program (free of charge) is that many addicts have “worn out our welcome” with families and friends, “and they have a hard time putting all that behind them and supporting us completely. But at most Twelve Step recovery meetings we can find the support we need.”
18 Aug 18:04

"In despair there are the most intense enjoyments, especially...

"In despair there are the most intense enjoyments, especially when one is acutely conscious of the hopelessness of one’s position."

— Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground