Last night, I had a horrible, horrible dream about my father.
I had a, to put it mildly, conflicted relationship with my father, but, in this dream, he was far crueler and far more hateful, on a v visceral level, than my waking father, who was, trust me, no prince, ever was. And all day, kind of the way that your tongue does with a loose tooth, my mind kept coming back to that dream.
I don't think that our dreams lie to us, but I also just don't believe that my father was, really, as hateful as he was in my dream. In the waking world, he was full of floating anger that would suddenly burst, like a hot, red, angry boil, exploding unexpectedly, all over everything, poisoning the entire world of our family, of my childhood, of his surroundings. Yet he believed that he loved me and he could, either when it didn't matter at all or when it mattered v, v much, be at the v least the sort of worthy sparring partner who does you the honor of recognizing your worth. A few times, he was even the guy who had my back.
And, yet, our dreams don't lie to us.
I learned two relevant things in Reclaiming classes. The first was how to go back into my dreams, even much later (and it will be a while before I go back into this one), and work out a different ending. I won't try to change what my father did or said or expressed. I will change what I did in response.
The second was that doing shadow work on ourselves is one of the best gifts that we can give to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. (All tied up with that ugly dream, I kept reflecting on ways that I'd failed Son, difficult situations that I'd put him in, things that I'd have done differently, had I been older, smarter, better off financially, more evolved.) Shadows live for generations and all the energy that we can suck out of them is that much less energy they have to suck the light out of our children's lives (and the lives of our children's children's children).
One of the overwhelming themes of my childhood was: not enough. Don't ask for anything because there's not enough, and even if there were more, there wouldn't be enough for so many children, you and all of your brothers and sisters. It's rude to ask for what you want because the person you're asking will have to say no and feel ashamed and you could avoid all of that by simply never asking for anything. It's your asking that causes the shame. It's wrong, rude, unkind of you to ask for what you want.
And, you know, fuck that shit.
Today, G/Son and I went to the park. We rode the train that G/Son adores. And then, we got off the train and we got directly back in line, and we rode the train again. And then, we rode the horse on the carousel with a blue blanket and a brown saddle. And then, we rode that horse again. I simply cannot tell you how v foreign, not to mention terrifying, such a practice would have been to my childhood. And then, we went to the nature center and we spent as long as we wanted looking at the turtles and snakes and bees and playing computer games sorting animals into classes. It's perhaps no random thing at all that I've always adored Auntie Mame's assertion that life's a banquet and some poor suckers are starving to death. And G/Son and I can ride that train all freaking day if that's what we want to do. And that's what we did and that's what we'll do again, any time we want.
The other thing we did this weekend was to "play trick or treat." We made a paper bag with a pumpkin on it and G/Son came to my porch door and said, "Trick or Treat!" and I put three M&Ms into the bag, making sure to include at least one blue M&M (the best kind) in each bunch. And then, we did it again. And again. And, well, you get the idea. G/Son definitely did. There's probably a thousand things I love about Halloween, but one of the things that I love about it is the idea that you ask, outright, for something and you get it. You hold out your empty bag and people fill it full of wonderful things. (Maybe I also love the safety that comes from the fact that it isn't really "you" asking; it's the butterfly or the princess or Malificent or, well, anyone but "you.")
This post rambles all over hell and gone, as my G/ma used to say, doesn't it? Is it self-indulgent? Maybe I'll delete it in the morning. But, for tonight, what shadow are you trying to purge before it goes any further in your line? What do you do with dreams that break your heart? What is it that you love about Halloween?
Real feminists are in it for the long term. The next presidential election will be 92 years from the time when women won the right to vote. Our time for a female president will come and, have I anything to do with it, it will come in 2012. But we're in this for the long term and for more than "just" seeing a woman in the WH. We're in it for reproductive freedom, something McCain/Palin will destroy. We're in it for real sex ed, something McCain/Palin will destroy. We're in it for Mamma Gaia, something McCain/Palin will destroy. We're in it for the memory of our grandmothers and the futures of our daughters, nieces, goddaughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, whom McCain/Palin will destroy.
Do I have problems with the Democrats and their approach to/determination to ignore women? You bet your sweet ass, I do. But those problems pale compared to the problems McCain/Palin will create for women.
Do the right thing. Act as if you were -- as you are -- the heiress of a long, continuing, ongoing tradition of feminism. Get out there and vote like you mean it. Vote for Obama/Biden. Real feminists, the kind of feminist that you are, real feminist are in for the long term.
Tonight, I was iChatting w/ G/Son about Halloween. He's only for the first time this year old enough to have an idea about it. This weekend, we're going to go buy some cheap drug store costumes and masks and talk about "pretending." Some bags and some M&Ms and practice "trick or treating."
I love Halloween.
It's only September, but I can feel the veil getting thin everywhere. It's thin, especially, along Spout Run, by the Potomac, where there's running water and lots of trees and large rocks and an unmistakable feeling of "otherness," magnified by every wet event. But the veils are thinning everywhere: in my office and around my bed and beside my morning glories and inside my bookcases and around my altar and . . . and inside the two-inch-hole the squirrels have dug in my Eastern lawn to pull out the v last acorns from last Autumn, the ones that will get them from now until true Autumn 2008.
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. I think it will be fun!
I fill you wIth Naming. Be! Be butterfly and behemoth, be galaxy and grasshopper, star and sparrow, you matter, you are, be! Be caterpillar and comet, be porcupine and planet, sea sand and solar system, sing with us, dance with us, rejoice with us, for the glory of creation, angle worms and angel host, chrysanthemum and cherubim (O cherubim) Be! Sing for the glory of the living and the loving the flaming of creation sing with us dance with us be with us Be!
They were not her words only. They were the words of Senex, of the Deepening Sporos, of all the singing farae, the laughter of the greening farandolae, Yadah itself, all the mitochondria, all the human hosts, the earth, the sun, the dance of the star whose birthing she had seen, the galaxies, the cherubim and seraphim, wind and fire, the words of the Glory.
Echtroi! You are Named! My arms surround you. You are no longer nothing. You are. You are filled You are me. You are Me.
Lately, I've been re-reading some of my childhood favorites and, duh, realizing how almost everything that I read throughout my entire childhood was about witchcraft, and magic, and mysticism. And I never knew; like the person who spoke prose all his life, I never knew. Anne has a great post; you have to read the comments about how people came to Paganism. And, although, for me, the aha moment came in a dry, dusty, political tome (ha!), all my life, every book that I took off a library shelf was preparing me for that moment, it seems to me.
I drove today, as I do every work day, past Spout Run, just by where it empties into the beautiful Potomac River. And I saw what I saw and have known there before. I live in a world more full of wonder and Naming (which, we all know, is the secret to magic and is, of course, what witches do) than I could ever have imagined.
(And, how could I have know, when I read A Wind In The Door the first dozen times that L'Engle was such a fan of de Chardin? And why would I have expected anything else? you matter you are be!) It's all a glass bead game. (Have I told you the poem about goblins and glass beads?)
Derrick Jensen talks a lot about toxic mimics. Rape, for example, is a toxic mimic of love and/or pleasurable, consensual sex. Identification with Diane Sawyer and Britney Spears is a toxic mimic of belonging to a community. You get the idea.
I've been thinking about the Republican Party's embrace of Sarah Palin, working mother, and I keep thinking "toxic mimic." The Democrats run Hillary Clinton, a woman, wife, mother, experienced lawyer and stateswoman. The Republicans show up at her speeches carrying banners that say: Iron My Shirts. They complain about everything from her "whine" to her "cackle" to her "cleavage" to her tearing up when emotional. They say she only won her Senate seat because Americans felt sorry that her husband cheated on her. (OK, Matthews said that. He's a Republican in my book.)
And then McCain gets a wild hair up his ass over being told "NO" by his staff when he wants to pick Joe Lieberman, a toxic mimic of a Democrat, and, all unvetted, selects Palin for his VP candidate. And all of a sudden, the Republicans scream sexism over and over and over again when legitimate questions are raised about Palin's experience, history, preparation.
One thing a toxic mimic can do, absent great care, is to cheapen and destroy the original archetype, concept, thing. It's a large part of their purpose. Thus, someone who's been raped may never again experience uninhibited love and/or sex. Sitting in your living room, watching tv, and feeling a connection with Diane Sawyer, brought to you by GE, keeps you from getting out into your real community and making bonds with real people. People for whom you'd stand up. Running Palin, who has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by feminism while deliberately trying to destroy it, may seriously undermine the progress of feminism.
Of course, we live in a culture soaked in patriarchy. So the "good" choice is to vote for Barack Obama, who thinks women shouldn't be "entitled" to abortions for "mere" mental health reasons, who picks Joe Biden, who shit all over Anita Hill, for his VP, even though a v large group of Democrats were obviously hungry for a female VP. The "good" choice is to vote for the Democrats, who picked Harry Pro-Coat-Hanger Reid for speaker, the same Reid who called Palin's speech "shrill."
But that doesn't change the toxic mimic nature of Palin's candidacy. She wanted to ban books in the library of her small Alaska town. She's pro-coat-hanger. She's anti-science. She's against teaching science in schools. She belongs to a church that wants to "convert" gays. She's a walking, talking, living, breathing, breeding toxic mimic of feminism.
What are you going to do between now and November to keep her from being one 75-year-old melanoma away from the White House? Do it for Hillary Clinton. Do it for your daughter, niece, friend. Do it for feminism. I love this movement too much to surrender it to its toxic mimic.
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 . . . ."