Ladies! Listen up! Detecting breast cancer early is the key to surviving it! Breast Self Exams (BSEs) can help you to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages. So, on the first of every month, give yourself a breast self-exam. It's easy to do. Here's how. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular time in your cycle, calendar it now. But, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And, once a year, get yourself a mammogram. Mammograms cost between $150 and $300. If you have to take a temp job one weekend a year, if you have to sell something on e-Bay, if you have to go cash in all the change in various jars all over the house, if you have to work the holiday season wrapping gifts at Macy's, for the love of the Goddess, please go get a mammogram once a year.
Or: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pays all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Send me an email after you get your mammogram and I will do an annual free tarot reading for you. Just, please, examine your own breasts once a month and get your sweet, round ass to a mammogram once a year.
In comments below, the incomparable Anne asks for a harvest poem. The best one in the whole world, and a perfect one for Lughnasadah, is, of course, by Mary Oliver:
Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith
Every summer I listen and look under the sun's brass and even into the moonlight, but I can't hear
anything, I can't see anything - not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up, nor the leaves deepening their damp pleats,
nor the tassels making, nor the shucks, nor the cobs. And still, every day,
the leafy fields grow taller and thicker - green gowns lofting up in the night, showered with silk.
And so, every summer, I fail as a witness, seeing nothing - I am deaf too to the tick of the leaves,
the tapping of downwardness from the banyan feet - all of it happening beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.
And, therefore, let the immeasurable come. Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine. Let the wind turn in the trees, and the mystery hidden in the dirt
swing through the air. How could I look at anything in this world and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart? What should I fear?
One morning in the leafy green ocean the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there.
Goddess, I love that. Let the immeasurable come. Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine . . . How could I look at anything in this world and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart? What should I fear? One morning, in the leafy green ocean, the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there. With apologies to Rumi, the buckle of my spine is running after the unknowable, calling, "Hey! Over here! Come touch!"
Tomorrow is Lughnasadah and a Dark Moon. How can you look at anything in this world and tremble and grip your hands over your heart? What should you fear? Once again, once again, once again, as it has for thousands and thousands of years, as it has ever since Native Americans bred teosinte into maize, once again, tomorrow morning, in the leafy green ocean, the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body is sure to be there.
Eight days. Eight days out of the entire year. For Wiccans, those are the Sabbats. Eight days. And even then, we can't set them apart, take the days before them off to prepare and the days after them off to recover. Eight. Eight times every year. Eight sabbats. Eight days, just a bit more than one week, out of every year.
I swear in the days still left, we'll walk in fields of gold.
There was three men came out of the west, Their fortunes for to try, And these three men made a solemn vow, John Barleycorn should die. They ploughed, they sowed, they harrowed him in, Throwed clods upon his head, And these three man made a solemn vow, John Barleycorn was dead.
Then they let him lie for a very long time Till the rain from heaven did fall, Then little Sir John sprung up his head, And soon amazed them all. They let him stand till midsummer Till he looked both pale and wan, And little Sir John he growed a long beard And so became a man.
They hired men with the scythes so sharp To cut him off at the knee, They rolled him and tied him by the waist, And served him most barbarously. They hired men with the sharp pitchforks Who pricked him to the heart, And the loader he served him worse than that, For he bound him to the cart.
They wheeled him round and round the field Till they came unto a barn, And there they made a solemn mow of poor John Barleycorn. They hired men with the crab-tree sticks To cut him skin from bone, And the miller he served him worse than that, For he ground him between two stones.
Here's little Sir John in a nut-brown bowl, And brandy in a glass; And little Sir John in the nut-brown bowl Proved the stronger man at last. And the huntsman he can't hunt the fox, Nor so loudly blow his horn, And the tinker he can't mend kettles or pots Without a little of Barleycorn.
AP: Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a homeless man with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.
I'm not sure about why the adjective "homeless" is required in this story. What if it said this ...
Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck an unemployed man with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.
What if it said this ...
Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a United States Senator with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.
What if it said ...
Last week, Novak was given a $50 citation after he struck a returning Iraq War veteran with his black Corvette in downtown Washington. Novak kept going until he was stopped by a bicyclist, who said the man was splayed on Novak's windshield.
The appellation "homeless" is added to assure us that even if the guy died, nothing would be lost.
One of the primary ways that I define myself is as a reader. And while I know that one can read with fingertips as well as with eyes, for me, my eyes are, I think, more crucial than any other sense. I spend most of the day, every day, seeing, reading, looking. My sense of sight is crucial to my comfort with my moon in Taurus; my Younger Self needs to see my surroundings: the wallpaper on my walls, the flowers and trees, and the dance between sunlight and shade in my garden. And so many acts of love and pleasure, which, for me, are rituals of the Goddess, involve sight: Son's strong back, DiL's swingy new haircut, reading a book to G/Son, both of us commenting upon what's happening in the pictures as well as in the written story.
Earlier this month, G/Son spent a weekend w/ me -- and it was the kind of weekend that sends me home going, "OK, Goddess. Yes. Thank you for chemo. Thank you for whatever it took to get me to this point, to let me have this weekend, for the ability to dig my fingernails into the cliff and just HANG ON so that I could get to here, you crazy Bitch, You." G/Son was, his doctor assured Son and DiL, over his bout of pink eye and fine to be around other people. I didn't even have to give him the eye drops that made him cry.
We had the best time ever.
Three days later I got a bad summer cold and I figured that I'd caught it from G/Son and I figured: cheap at the cost. Rumi:
I would love to kiss you. The price of kissing is your life. Now my loving is running toward my life shouting, What a bargain, let's buy it.
Gradually, my sore throat got better and my runny nose got better and my cough got better and almost everything got better but my eyes kept getting worse. Sometimes, I am a dense, silly, old woman. Finally, about midnight last night (of course, it's ALWAYS midnight on a Saturday, isn't it?) I realized: I not only caught a cold, I caught pink eye.
I did reiki on my eyes and it was some of the best reiki I've ever done. I felt the same heat pouring out of my hands, into my eyes, that I felt the first time I ever had reiki, when my madcap friend R. did reiki on my broken ankle and I felt heat pouring out of her hands, through a thick plaster cast, into my broken bones.
And I couldn't begin to sleep.
I got up, got dressed, drove to the 24-hour pharmacy and begged the pharmacist to give me something. I admit, I considered going to the emergency room, but that's v. expensive and my experience from a few years ago, with an infected ear, is that nice old ladies in an emergency room on Saturday night tend to get to wait until, well, it's triage, and I understand it, and when I show up with a stroke or a heart attack I want to move to the front of the room, too, but, IMH experience, an old lady with pink eye isn't going to get taken care of at the emergency room until the inexperienced intern is v, v, v exhausted, the old lady is kicking herself for not staying in bed, and the sun is making mad love to the Eastern sky.
And, even then, in the middle of the night, exhausted, in misery with my eyes itching and watering and sore, there She was. A huge, just-short-of-half Moon, orange and low on the horizon, magic and, as always, My Mother, There for Me, hanging in the sky, invoking everything deep and delightful and making me glad that conjunctivitis kept me up all night and drove me from my bed to my car. And maybe that's, looking forward and looking back, eyes blue with spice, St. Alia of the Knife aware within her Mother's womb, maybe that's what it really means to be a witch. To see the Mystery and the Magic and the Meaning even in the very midst of pain and misery and physical deterioration. And to revel in it.
The pharmacist didn't do what I wish he'd done, which was to tell me, "Sorry, lady, you are SOL." He sold me some dumb drops that did fuckall nothing and that I am going to bury this week as a way of eliminating ineffective bullshit from my life. Creep.
Finally, the sun came up and I did something I almost never, never do; I called my doctor on a weekend. Here's how long it's been since I did this. I expected to get a number for an answering service. There's a job that's gone the way of the buggy whip manufacturer and the lady who laces the stays in your whalebone corset. Of course, now, you just leave a message and your doctor gets an email and she calls you back within, like, 20 seconds and calls a prescription into the pharmacy and, in less time than it takes to adjust to the 21st century, you go pick up eye drops.
Sweet Mother, thank you.
I imagine that dozens of my ancestresses must have had pink eye or its equivalent. They may have spent weeks in absolute misery. For me, one dose -- one dose -- of eye drops brought relief from one of the most maddening infections EVER. By the second dose, I felt well enough to begin knitting, reading, sitting at my altar. I'm still contagious, but won't be tomorrow. Am I grateful to the scientists and doctors who developed this drug? Does a witch dance in the woods?
Do you ever do magic that moves across time? I do. I started doing it when I was in law school, applying for jobs, and kept getting the sense that an older and "living in the future" Me had thrown magic back to me to use as a lifeline, was doing magic in the future that reached back to Me in the "present." And since then, I've done it "both ways." My "present" Self often throws magic back to my younger Self, to help her through, and to my "future" Self to help her, as well.
And, today, I can't shake the notion that, back in some cave, or hovel, or shack, or on some ancient, nomadic trail, or that off in some terraformed, cradle-to-cradle foundation, from some future time/place, from a distant star that still shines/will shine upon Earth's Moon, some ancestress of mine, finally healed of conjunctivitis or some other infection of the eye, threw some magic forward/back to me, here, now, in the 21st Century, in desperate need of healing. Or that, some future Self, looking back/forward, as I always try to do when I feel this kind of a-chronological healing, to me, here, Now, threw some serious science/magic/advanced-enough-there's-no-difference back to me, to me, depending upon my eyes.
What intrigues me is how non-hierarchical this is. Yeah, as the article notes, there's still a "decider." And we haven't, yet, reached the point where someone speaks for the trees, or the squirrels, or the bees in this process. But I can imagine crowdsourcing being used in The Fifth Sacred Thing to figure out what to do about the invaders.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."