What is normal, anyway?

When I was a kid, normal was a dirty word. Something that was flung around by the adult male in the house to cause grief within my mom.

There is no “normal”. There is typical, societal standard. But even that is bullshit.

The typical child falls into a range of 85-115 on an IQ scale, with 100 being a perfect average.

Says fucking who?

A child of middle to upper socioeconomic living without food or housing insecurities and with full access to medical science who also has parents of the same ilk who have helped develop the child’s brain from day one with consistent linguistic input will fall into the typical/average range. Those below will struggle to keep up with the average. Chasing the “dream” and always trying to keep up with the proverbial Jones family.

To what end? To sacrifice oneself to the business cycle. To have more of what we don’t need. And then to need more of what we don’t have.

September 10, 2001 was normal. September 11, 2001 was anything but. As a 16 year old from Central Jersey, I somehow understood that there was a break in reality. There was the pre-9/11 world and the post-9/11 world. There was no return to normal. There never would be. Normal, the normal I understood as normalcy, was dead.

This was on a large scale, especially in the Northeast.

But my life has been peppered with small moments too. Moments that were defining and changed normal as I knew it.

Life before the divorce, and after.

Life before my sister was born, and after.

Life before that same sister died, and after.

But these life-altering moments are not all sad and negative. In fact, I have far more happy life moments than not.

Life before marriage, and after.

Life before Witchlette, and after.

Life before Witchling, and after.

Life before Frigg as my patroness, and after.

The pandemic is another life-altering moment, but this time on a global scale.

For everyone in every corner of the globe, we have life before CoVid, and after.

Things will not go back to normal. There are no more typical days.

We will have a new normal. We, humans, always do.

The only true constant in life is change.

Disablot

This year is my first time really performing a Disablot.

Disablot, in the States, happens at the same calendar point as Imbolc. Rather than hailing Brigid specifically, we hail all of our female ancestors and goddesses.

In addition to whatever you typically use for ritual, you will need four candles, a bowl of snow/shaved ice, and hot milk (or hot cocoa).

Here is the ritual we will be using tomorrow:

Ritual Space Glamor

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Fire melts the ice. The water mixes with the heat to make steam. The ice cools the steam to make mist. The mist fills the gap between fire and ice, where there was nothing. Mist of the world from where all life springs.

I am shrouded now in the mist, no longer in this world yet not wholly in the otherworld. I walk the space between, in the mist, blessed by fire and ice.

Opening ritual space

Spirits of North, Bless me with your nurturing presence. Ground me in this time and place, give me the stability to focus on the here and now. I am present. Hail and Welcome Earth.

Spirits of East, Bless me with your message sent on the wind. Allow me to hear the knowledge you share, whether by rustle of leaf or flap of wing, whether by sweet breeze or roaring gale. I am listening. Hail and welcome Air.

Spirits of South, Bless me with your purifying flame. Creator and destroyer, inspire me to illuminate that which serves me and unregretfully burn away that which does not. I am renewed. Hail and Welcome Fire.

Spirits of West, Bless me with your emotional wisdom. As rivers run through the earth, so too does blood flow through my veins. Whether gentle mist or rushing waves, I am awash in my emotions wholly and fully. I am cleansed. Hail and Welcome Water.

Spark of life essence on all entities, all made of star stuff, all made divine, all interconnected, all returning to stardust in the end. Unite these four Elements and make my Circle complete

As above, so below, Around me now my Circle’s glow,

As within, so without, Protection from dread and doubt

Around me now my Circle cast, This time and place does it last

Ritual

Frigg, goddess of the hearth and home,
Goddess who foresees the fate of all things,
You who are queen of Asgard
Who looks over all her people as ruler,
I ask of you to help protect and guide my family
And those within my household
So that all within the shelter of this house
May live to the best of their abilities
Whether through wisdom, hospitality, or caring,
Bless this house and all those who dwell within,
Hail, Frigg!

https://www.urban-druid.com/2019/01/13/prayer-to-frigg/#:~:text=Whether%20through%20wisdom%2C%20hospitality%2C%20or,Hail%2C%20Frigg!%E2%80%9D

Hail to thee Land-churner,
Happiness-bright.
May your blessings lay
tilled in the fields.

May our industry
in the days ahead
reap the harvest of them.

So do I ask;
so do I hail thee:
GEFJON!

https://wyrddesigns.wordpress.com/2016/02/01/a-prayer-to-gefjon/

Holding the hot milk/cocoa in your hands, breathe in the steam and feel the warmth through your fingers. Think about Frigg and her connections with milk. Think about Genjon and her connections to the land and farming. Feel the warmth spread from your fingers across your body.

From soil to grass, from grass to cud, from cud to milk- deep from the soil I drink, so that the Earth fills me

Diana Rajchel, Taken from Llewellyn Witch’s Daily Planner Imbolc ritual (It is written for Brigid, but I have repurposed it for Frigg and Gefjon)

Lower the hot mug into the snow/ice. Watch as the heat melts the snow into water. Remember we are at the middle of winter. The sun is returning and the spring is coming. Push any of your negative emotions into the melting water.

We invite our Disa ancestors to join our circle.

Light the first candle:

Grandmothers, aunts, Disa we knew in this life, we invite you to our circle. We thank you for giving us life, for caring for us when we were young and helpless, and for teaching us to stand on our own. We remember you at your best.

Pour some hot milk as an offering for those Disa in the bowl. Ring bell.

Light the second candle

Great-great-great-grandmothers, Disa so old your names are lost to us, we invite you to our circle. We live in times very different from yours, but we are not so very different, and a part of you lives on in us. Though we may not know your names, you first came to America, you brought your culture from your country and imbued these values passed down to use. You survived war, plague and famine, first learned the skills that would create civilization.

Pour offering for those Disa in the bowl. Ring bell

Light the third candle

Disa of spirit, mighty dead, we invite you to our circle. We do not carry your blood, but we carry your spirit, your thoughts, your ideas, your dreams. We thank you for inspiring us and enlightening us and for founding and creating traditions and institutions that mean so much to us. (Name specific spiritual ancestor(s) now.)

Pour offering for those Disa in the bowl. Ring bell

Light the fourth candle

Disa most ancient, you who share few of our genes, you who lived on a very different Earth so long ago we can barely conceive it, we invite you to our circle. We thank you for surviving under most difficult circumstances. Homo erectus, Homo habilis and Australopithecus, long extinct mammals and even older vertebrates, smaller and simpler creatures back to the first life, sometimes we struggle to see ourselves in you, but without you we would not be.

Pour offering for those Disa in the bowl.

Disa we knew in life, Disa whose names we know not, Disa of spirit and Disa most ancient, we thank you for attending our circle and blessing us with your presence. May there be peace and love between us now and forever.

Adopted from John Beckett’s Communion with the Ancestors from p110 of his book on The Path of Paganism. 

Ring bell

Closing

Thank you, Spirit, for your unifying presence. Return to the stars. Hail and farewell.

Thank you, Water, for your cleansing presence. Return to the spring. Hail and farewell.

Thank you, Fire, for your purifying presence. Return to the hearth. Hail and farewell.

Thank you, Air, for your enlightening presence. Return to the clouds. Hail and farewell.

Thank you, Earth, for your grounding presence. Return to the land. Hail and farewell.

This time and place is at an end, Well met until we meet again

Stay if you will, leave if you must

The Circle is open, but unbroken

As the mist condenses, we see the land from flesh, the mountains from bone, the rivers from blood, and the stones from teeth. As the mist recedes, we are hearkened back to the garden in the middle of Yggdrasil. When the mist evaporates, we are once again fully in our world and no longer between worlds.

The fire returns to Muspelheim 

The ice returns to Niflheim 

1/20/21

Inauguration Day.

Relief from abuse emotional, psychological, and for many physical abuse.

Tonight we honored those before us to guide those with us.

Tonight we bound those in power to their words.

Dragon’s Blood incense for protection. An offering to spirits called.

With liberty and justice for all.

The Fire Paradox

Tis the season for fireplaces, extra candles, space heaters, and indoor trees strung with lights. Real trees, when not properly cared for, can dry out and become kindling for hot light bulbs. It doesn’t take much to cause a Christmas tree fire.

In the Northern tradition, fire is a contentious subject. It was a life necessity; one cannot cook without fire. A family home without a hearth fire would become a frozen tomb during the long, cold winters. And yet, fire was the cause of much death and destruction. One jumping ember could ravage a whole village, as there was no fire company to call and quickly extinguish.

Fire is something that was respected and feared by most people until very modern times. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1901 are two big ones that come to mind for me.

Below is some UPG mediation responses I have received, which may contradict some others’ views of these gods. This is a sharing of my own relationship and perspective of them.

One of the many places where I see Frigg is in the sun. Frigg is the sun disk. She is the yellow circle which rises and sets each day. The sun births the sunlight. Balder is that light, the sun’s fire, providing light and warmth and life.

Loki is the earth’s fire- helpful when contained, dangerous when not. Used carefully, provides heat but not light. The jealousy of being too small to provide light and the anger of needing to be contained led to Balder’s death by Loki’s guidance of Hod’s hand.

This balance of fire, and the necessity of both but praise routinely offered to the former while the latter was often taken for granted, is reflected in the lore. The hearth fire is always there, until it’s not and then it’s a scramble to get going again. But it is within the power of man to get it going again. The hearth fire is always needed, until it jumps out of control and then it takes over with chaotic destruction.

The fear of the loss of the sun, and therefore the loss of all life, is the end of days. The sun makes the crops grow which in turn feed both the villagers and livestock. The sun is life force.

This is the imbalance between Baldr and Loki. It is this struggle which we attend to every year with each of our recognitions of Baldr’s dreams and then death. The light is killed by the dark, but ultimately dies because the light shone brighter and was more loved than the fire.

Who I needed, Who she needs, Who I am

I’ve seen this written before, and it seems to come up more as I dive deeper into my shadow work and heal.

Source: http://barefootpagan.blogspot.com/2016/10/?m=1

Be the one you needed when you were younger.

I carry around everyone’s expectations. Everyone’s feelings. How I should behave and what is expected of me. And when I don’t meet these expectations, real or perceived, I crash in on myself hard.

Witchlette is carrying some really big feelings. I am able to arm her with tools to not carry these same big feelings. To not hold these feelings on her own. To not carry the expectations of others. To not keep these big feelings to herself.

To, hopefully, not have to heal.

Mindful parenting is huge.

I would not have these tools if I wasn’t walking on the Pagan path. I will always be grateful to be where I am.

The mediation:

Feel your feelings. Name them and assign them a color. Visualize an orb of light in that color. Push all your feelings into that orb. And then let it go. Push it away.

Feeling anger towards someone or a situation only hurts the one feeling anger. Sadness is the same. All of these feelings weigh us down and hurt us.

It is healthy to feel them. It is not healthy to hold onto them.

Friday the 13th is for Frigg

2020 has two Friday the 13ths to claim. The first was March 13th. I had every intention, from the first of March when I realized the 13th was a Friday, to spend the evening honoring Frigg.

That didn’t happen, as the world as I knew it ground to a halt and effectively ended. There was too much unknowns- too much uncertainty and fear and exhaustion- mental and emotional- to properly lead a ritual.

Towards the end of October, I found my redemption in November’s calendar- Friday the 13th came back!

This afternoon, as the sun set through my bedroom window, I did a ritual honoring Frigg in the three forms she has made herself known to me and her handmaids.

I used a ritual I have done twice already, once in public and once in private, adapting it to my own personal growth and making it work for me as I evolve.

I started with the candles and my usual world origin glamor.

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Ice, Cold from the North

Fire, Heat from the South

Fire melts the ice. The water mixes with the heat to make steam. The ice cools the steam to make mist. The mist fills the gap between fire and ice, where there was nothing. Mist of the world from where all life springs.

I am shrouded now in the mist, no longer in this world yet not wholly in the otherworld. I walk the space between, in the mist, blessed by fire and ice.

I then moved my attention to the three candles closest to me:

Holda to the left, Frija to the right, and Frigg in the center.

Hail, Frigg, wife of Odin, queen of the Aesir and Allfather’s one true equal.

Hail Holda, keeper of weavers, witches, and women.

Hair Frija, primordial mother, ancestor to my ancestors.

Hail, Beloved, keeper of women, wives, and mothers.

Hail Allmother, watcher of all children, Aesir, Vanir, and human, looking after each as if they were her own.

Hail silent one, all knowing Weaver of Fates, yet bearing the knowledge alone.

You, who keep the keys for all the halls in Asgard.

You, Weaver of the clouds drifting from the Eastern sky.

I invite you here, now, Beloved Holda, Frigg, Frija

Hail and welcome.

Rather than reading or reciting a story about Frigg, I decided to play some of my favorite songs and meditate on her presence.

After the songs, I turned my attention to a blot for the handmaids, starting in the middle by speaking to Frigg and then lighting each small candle, alternating each side.

Frigg, Beloved, Asgard’s Queen

Saga, ancient story-teller supreme

Eir, physician, healing maid

Gefion, giver, a land did make

Fulla, plenty all around

Sjofn, affection does abound

Lofn, permission granted thus

Sin, defender, warding us

Hlin, protectress, warrior friend

Var, hearing oaths until the end

Vor, does know all that we seek

Snotra, wise of what to speak

Gna, swift messenger of Frigg

Goddesses, much do you give.

Hail to you all, may you ever be strong,

May your days be joyful and your nights full of song.

May you grant us and ours love, peace and health,

Wisdom, kindness, good-luck and good wealth.

May it be that you are with my

Through my days and nights,

To grant me comfort and strength

Through the dark and the light.

Hail to you Goddesses for your blessings this day,

Hail to you Goddesses for the blessings on their way.

I then turned to my offerings of food and drink- oats, cranberries, and juice, and offered the ending of my ritual:

Lady of Asgard,

You who hears the secrets of the All-Father,

You who holds his heart in your hands,

In you I seek what I need,

And you provide, greatly,

Let me remember your gifts,

And honor you with well wrought work,

From my hands and hearts,

May I aid others in times of need,

Through you, Frigg I can learn much,

And in you are mysteries that I seek to understand,

Wind me in your distaff, dole me fair and just fate,

Through you, Frigg I ask, that this life,

Be full of love, light, and needed strength,

Great Mother, accept my offering

Of food and drink, life sustenance.

Great Mother, accept my offering,

Not of blood, but of my efforts and devotion,

Twists, knots, designs, and works

Done in love and honor to you

Hail Holda!

Hail Frija!

Hail Frigg!

I meditated on my offerings, and when I was ready, just as the sun had finished tucking behind the visible horizon and the room began to grow dark, I closed my Circle:

Frigg Allmother, Holda, Frija,

Beloved by those who adore you.

Your tame spirit is the counter to the wild of Odin, keeping him balanced and ever returning to the homestead.

Keeper of the hearth and home.

Keeper of married lovers and loving parents.

Thank you for blessing your sons and dottirs this night.

Thank you for walking with me as you dottir.

May I dutifully complete joyful woman’s work in your honor.

Skal

As the mist condenses, we see the land from flesh, the mountains from bone, the rivers from blood, and the stones from teeth. As the mist recedes, we are hearkened back to the garden in the middle of Yggdrasil. When the mist evaporates, we are once again fully in our world and no longer between worlds.

The fire returns to Muspelheim 

The ice returns to Niflheim 

Encounters With the Far Right

My first direct encounter with the Far Right movement was in 2018. A fellow Heathen blogger who I used to respect and had built a rapport with in the early 2010s began to re-blog and analyze some really awful hot takes.

For example, the Holocaust was real, but “highly exaggerated” and…deserved would even be too strong of a word for his writing at that point. But, they had it coming. The German people were simply taking back their country. The Jewish community had been in charge of banks and a multitude of businesses for so long, and the Germans couldn’t get ahead, especially after WWI, so they took their country back from the Jewish elite.

Holy shit, did it just read that?

Shortly before writing that, he wrote about how he was connecting deeper and deeper with his goddesses, and how he would always do everything for them. How he struggled to have a girlfriend and once he had one, then two, then none again, and it was hard being him. He was incredibly lonely and lost his job. He was struggling big time, and looking to find a new way to live.

When the #metoo movement was commandeered by Alyssa Milano and became widespread, a family member shared a meme about how women shouldn’t be believed. So, I decided to respond both to the meme and share my own story. He decided to analyze an infographic I used by sharing how “the anon” broke it down in a more “realistic” way for everyone.

This blogger decided to take my writing and degrade both my story and my character. He shared empathy for the “beta” that my son was being raised as and felt bad for “Non-Playable Characters” like myself and my children who will never really live, and certainly won’t be in control of our lives. He “analyzed” an infographic I used by sharing how the anon broke it down in a more “realistic” way for everyone.

This was my only encounter for such a long time, I presumed I was in a pretty little bubble with all my loved ones and by extent their loved ones. I am now really and truly seeing the effects of “news” on people. I’ve been posting a lot of political stuff on social media, in large part because I am seeing in real time how politics isn’t “just politics.” Politics is life. People who I care for are having stark changes to their lives based on the decisions made my many and it shouldn’t be that way. If we actually want to be “free”, as everyone touts at every sporting event and any other time our national anthem is played, we shouldn’t be looking into laws which inhibit any living person’s personal freedoms. Be who your soul feels you to be. Love the other consenting adult whom your soul calls you to love. Have access to wellness no matter your employment or personal wealth.

Sorry, tangent. Politics is life, but it’s only one facet of life. The moments and the memories matter. The joyful work matters. I continue to post pictures happy moments with my children as well as my crochet work. All of these things matter. When I get political, people who oppose me crawl out of the woodwork to do so. Many of them don’t interact with the moments and memories or with the joyful work. They only come out to troll. People I’ve known since I was a pre-teen now interact as nothing more than trolls. There are some who also remark on the moments that make life, but they also turn to trolls who won’t have a conversation when they disagree. They just want to be right and have everyone else fall in line with them.

I know there isn’t one answer. I know it is a very complex issue. I want to start at least working towards a solution. There is struggle in all areas. There is also joy in all areas. Let’s talk about our shared joys. Lets talk about our struggles. Let’s talk about what we need from politics and then work together to get *all* of our problems solved.

We are all seeing effective propaganda at work. We are all susceptible to it and no one is immune. Maddows can be as bad as Ingram, but on a different team. We need to turn them all off, and instead listen to each other**. We need to have an actual dialogue. Otherwise, we are simply circling the drain, with each go round bringing each other further down.

**Anyone who wants to start out by saying some people are worth more than others, and some people’s rights don’t matter are not worth my time and will not be listened to.

Don’t like marriage that doesn’t fit your personal definition? Cool, stick with your personal definition. Live and let live.

Disagree with abortion? Cool, fund a full-fledged sex education curriculum which includes protection- not only from pregnancy, but also the multitude of STIs.

Believe Christianity is the best religion? Cool, have fun at your church.

Congrats if you made it this far. Thanks for sitting with me as I ramble though my thought process.

Dystopian twist

Yesterday I started in on my unabashedly pro-abortion stance.

There are two sides to this coin, and the other side is grossly more dystopian.

First coin side is the majority of procedures, which take place early in the pregnancy.

It’s no secret that I went through infertility treatment to conceive Witchlette. 4 months of infertility treatment, level 1, and we were blessed with our positive pregnancy.

We were lucky that when things went wrong, I was full term at three days before my due date and our medical risks were sub-marginally greater than typical c-secion risks. The greater risk was doing nothing at all.

My doctor, making sure I understood the risks laid out before me, said in no uncertain terms, that we had options. We could go home and see if the bleeding stopped on its own. If it didn’t, and if the baby was “still viable,” I could deliver. Or, I could just go have her now.

Yeah, the second one.

The reproductive medical team we sought for conception was amazing. They informed me that based on the information they have at the time of starting my treatment, I would likely never ovulate on my own. Anovulatory.

January 2015, I went in for my annual OB exam, showing off Witchlette’s amazing Yule pictures and the whole office fawned over her. It should have been the first day of my menstrual cycle, but it hadn’t come yet. But in my history, I have skipped whole months; that’s just part of being anovulatory. The doctor requested a pregnancy test just in case, and it came back negative.

A week later, I still had no period, but had other things happening (I swear on Ullr’s ring I felt him implant turning left on my way to work). I took a pregnancy test in Target and went right to BabysRUs and bought a “big sister” shirt. That’s how I told Hubby we were expecting Witchling: read her shirt.

There was a week between the doctor’s appointment with a negative clinical test and my positive test in the Target bathroom.

In some states, if a women with a similar timeline needed to make a difficult decision, it would be too late.

Did you know that women are “pregnant” most of their lives?

The first week of pregnancy is counted by the first day of the mother’s last menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is counted from the day one of menstrual bleeding of one cycle to day one of menstrual bleeding of the next. Week one of pregnancy is during that menstrual period. Ovulation, the 24-48 hour window of time when a woman can conceive, is ~day 14 for a woman with a 28 day cycle.

If you’re following along, when someone discusses “40 weeks of pregnancy,” the first two weeks are pre-ovulation when it is impossible to be pregnant. The next two are too soon to detect.

My doctor’s clinical pregnancy test was not able to detect my pregnancy on the first day of my missed period. If my last period was week 1, and this was a month later, that puts me at “5 weeks”.

The laws are intentionally vague. Women can’t have an abortion after a certain week pregnant when actually they

In Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, for example, the law prevents abortions at around 6 weeks. Missouri is eight weeks.

Most women don’t know they’re pregnant until 8 weeks. By then, it’s too late to change the trajectory. Their lives, their paths, are now altered.

In that week timeframe between my missed period at the doctor and my Target test, I knew something was up. I said as much to Hubby, but anovulatory, so “impossible”. I said as much to a friend who asked, “What are you going to to?” Her implied question was: would I remain pregnant or choose not to be pregnant? My response, “We are in a place emotionally and financially where we don’t have to make that decision. If I am pregnant, I will be a mom of 2.”

I don’t have to make that decision about my life.

But it’s my life.

I don’t walk the path of other women who choose differently. It’s their lives and it’s none of mine, or anyone else’s, fucking business.

The other side of the coin: what happens for higher levels of infertility treatment?

When someone seeks infertility treatment, there are increasingly invasive stages. I, at stage one, took pills to increase my hormones to encourage ovulation and then Hubby gave me a hormone shot when ovulation was due.

Stage two involves the same steps, but sperm is clinically injected high into a woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation, increasing the chance of fertilization.

Step three involves taking a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm and creating embryos outside of the body to be implanted into the woman’s uterus.

Remember my awesome fertility specialists? They watched the number of twin births rise exponentially and realized this was a man-made fertility treatment rise. So they created the “One” program where they would make two embryos, but only implant one. If the first one didn’t work, the medical team would do the second one at no additional cost. If the first one did work, the second one would be frozen and saved until…

Well, that’s the question. What happens to unused embryos?

There are three options:

Storage: Pay storage fees annually, which typically range from $600-$800/year. This is not feasible for most people.

Donation to future parents: Not every woman has healthy eggs which can be harvested. Not every man has viable sperm. Not every person seeking fertility treatment have both biological components. The embryos can be donated to a woman/couple who for whatever reason cannot provide both egg and sperm. There are both open and closed donations, just like adoption.

Donating to medicine: This is where the stem cell research gets muddy. Aborted fetal tissue is not used to ethically research medical science. Unused embryos from fertility treatments can be.

Thawing: Once the embryo is thawed, it can no longer be used for pregnancy. Some people choose to let their storage expire and let the clinic handle the rest. Some people choose to do a ceremony honoring the embryo.

There are some political platforms which don’t seem to understand the nuance here and make blanket statements. Once an embryo is created, it obtains “Personhood” and by destroying it through the thawing process or using it for medical science, one has committed murder against that “Person”.

The dark road I foresee is “small government” who don’t want to interfere with anything except the most personal aspects of a person’s life putting very big stipulations on women.

Once an embryo is made, it must be implanted. Once it is implanted, it must come to term. Once it’s full term, it’s your choice to go through infertility treatment and you must now handle the consequences.

I know a few women who went through IVF and who had numerous embryos made. Harvesting is very difficult on a woman and many eggs will be taken at once to make a number of embryos. The most ethical of practices will implant two-three at most at a time. If a dozen are made because a dozen eggs could be harvested, a woman could have 9-10 embryos in storage. If the woman is implanted with 2 embryos and both come to term, must she now go through that 4 more times, two at a time, to produce a total of 12 children?

That’s not how the practice of fertility medicine works. But if politicians who are not medically trained and are not specifically trained in fertility treatments- including ethical training- I fear this is where we could be heading. That women who want to be a mother will not seek treatment because of the repercussions relating to unused embryos. That women will be nothing more than baby factories- think Birthmothers in “The Giver”.

To those who are “pro-life”, I see your wager.

I raise you:

-Universal Child Care to allow those who have children and want/need to participate in the work force a safe, healthy way to have both parenthood and livelihood.

-Universal Health Care to allow all people the chance to live without sickness in a way that doesn’t tie medical care- preventative or reactive- to one’s capitol income.

-Fully funded, evidence-based, secular public schools to raise all children no matter their class, race, gender, religion which is fully funded without relying on educational professionals to choose whether their students get workbooks or they receive their own medical care and which teaches facts as facts and that these facts come from peer, reviewed instructional materials using researched-based methods and practices.

-A living wage so all people, no matter their socio-economic background can have the relief that their work in whatever industry they work in, will support their life. They no longer have to wonder if working full time in retail will be enough to feed their children and it will improve many mental health concerns.

Until you put your proverbial money where your mouth is on those platforms above, you’re not pro-life because you’re not supportive of the lives who are already here.

You’re anti-abortion.

And it’s none of your fucking business anyway. It’s not your life and it doesn’t impact you in any way. At. All.

P.S. Wearing your mask is truly pro-life because that choice impacts those around you.

Unabashedly Pro-Abortion in the Face of a Packed Court

When I get frustrated and angry, I write. It’s a skill I picked up from therapy. My pen is mightier than my sword, and I write it out. This one is gonna be long.

Right now, I’m scared. I’m partially scared for myself and my children, but I’m absolutely terrified for my neighbors- especially those who are BIPOC, queer, non-xten, and women.

This post specifically discusses people of childbearing body, whatever the identity. The focus is typically on cis-women, but rape can and does happen to trans-men who may still menstruate and who may still have child-bearing organs. I see you and I stand with you too.

In our recent history, Chrissy Teigen lost her son, Jack. He was named, wanted, and loved. She is a mother of 2. Her daughter was conceived through infertility treatments; she has not said the same about her sons.

In many states, what she went through would be considered a “late-term abortion.” There was a severe medical complication which her medical team was not able to solve. She had vaginal bleeding that would not stop. She had blood transfusions to try and save him while her body worked to stop bleeding. But it didn’t stop.

She had to give birth to him knowing he wouldn’t survive.

The talking heads that control our personal decisions want us to think this is an evil, callous act.

It was devastating.

But if it’s so horribly awful, why is she talking about it?

Because it’s taboo. Women’s bodies, unless they are being used for male gradification, are taboo. Women’s health is taboo. There’s a reason why breast cancer gets a lot of attention and there’s a reason why one of the main slogans is “save the tatas”. Not the woman. Just her boobs. The external part which males like to look at. Women’s health is objectified.

Chrissy using her life and her story to give a voice to others. She did it with her infertility journey with her daughter. She’s doing it again with the loss of her son. To show so many women that they are not alone.

Looking at what was described by Chrissy, and comparing it to my own experience, and knowing that I do not know her, have never spoken to her, and am not a medical professional: she had placental abrubption.

I experienced that too.

My outcome was grossly different because my placenta abrupted three days before my due date. I had a rushed c-section birth because suddenly Witchlette’s life was in jeopardy. Suddenly my life was in jeopardy.

I stared at the blue surgical curtain and shook with fear. What is happening? How is this happening? When will she be out? I need to hear her cry. I need to hear her cry.

Had my circumstances been different, everything would have changed. And I would have been left with a decision.

But in many places, the decision is being made for women by politicians. And the decision is going in favor of the life that has not begun over the life that is hanging in the balance.

“Mayor Pete” in response to what late term abortions actually look like.

Another woman named Kylie Grammar shared her story, and it mirrors Chrissy’s. She was pregnant with a child she wanted and loved before she arrived. Something went wrong and her medical team tried to save her pregnancy, but then her life was also in jeopardy. She had a limited window of time in which to act before any life-saving procedure for her would be deemed illegal. She had to go through all of the legal loopholes in order to delivery her baby early, knowing her baby would die in a few hours at most. She had to endure the pamphlets and sign off on record stating she chose to abort her baby.

Gary Peters, sitting senator, recently shared his story of his former wife’s 1980-era procedure. And all of the steps they had to take to wait for “nature to take it’s course.”

But I’m not just pro-abortion because of late-term abortions.

I am also pro-abortion for early abortions too.

When I was in college, I knew at least four women who shared with me they chose an abortion. I drove one of them to the clinic.

In two cases, the women’s then-boyfriend “used” protection and in each case she relied on him to use protection. Later she learned he lied to her. This lie caused her to get pregnant. She had to follow through with an abortion because of his lie.

In one instance, there was user error with the protection. This error caused her to get pregnant. She had to follow through with an abortion because of this error.

Or each could have tried to be an under-20 mom balancing college classes and raising an infant. When that doesn’t work, she could get a full time job and balance that with raising an infant. It’s doable. Women do it every day, but it takes a lot of sacrifice and is in no way easy.

The point is, they chose what was right for their lives. They chose what was right for them, with input from a medical team and sometimes family depending on family beliefs.

To those who are “pro-life”, I see your wager.

I raise you:

-Universal Child Care

-Universal Health Care

-Fully funded, evidence-based, secular public schools

-A living wage

Until you put your proverbial money where your mouth is on those platforms above, you’re not pro life.

You’re anti-abortion.

(I have more. Another post will be coming soon…I told you I write a lot when my feelings are big)

Harvest Moon

Tonight the Harvest Moon falls on a Thursday, so I decided to not only attend the amazing ritual put forth by CotE (virtually because global pandemic), but also hold my own ritual cleansing.

The CotE Circle this evening definitely influenced my private work tonight. Rather than focus on the toxic hyper-productivory culture, lets go inward and see where we are as we go through a global pandemic and be grateful for how we are. If that’s thriving, merely surviving, or fluctuating day-to-day, own it. If you have a need, ask. If you’re able to give, offer.

Experiencing this ritual changed my ritual from thinking of my outward metaphorical harvest to the inward work I’ve done and how far I’ve come since April when I really started.

The ritual:

I started with my Ginnungagap glamour and then my new standard Circle opening.

I lit my lone candle as I called in Spirit and then used this candle for the active parts of the ritual.

Before beginning, I wrote what I needed to release. In the moment, I shared my piece, and my peace, and released that which no longer serves me, allowing the ritual fire to cleanse me and the air to carry the message on the smoke.

This ritual burning and fire cleansing is the first harvest of my first round of Shadow work. It is amazing and beautiful and hard and enlightening. I am really proud of myself that I did it. And that I’m continuing to do it.

Then, since I am considering my own metaphorical harvest, and the Moon is on Thursday, I gave libations to Thor, in his fertility aspects, for this literal harvest time.

The following is taken from Prayer of Gratitude to Thor by K.A. Steinberg, posted at Northern Paganism.

Red bearded atheling, wielder of Mjolnir,
Guardian among the Aesir
Father of Thrudh, Modi, and Magni
Consort of Jarnsaxa, Husband of Sif
High born one ennobled of spirit
Keeper of Gnashtooth and Cracktooth
Who provide the poor with sustenance
Giving wholly of himself to humans,
Protecting the land so that we may flourish
Provider, giver, warder fearless and true to himself
He of unmatchable vitality
Both inside and out, Fearless one
I thank you for the endless gifts
And for the intensity of love that you give to us.
Hail Tor!

I then closed with my new standard closing and extinguished the candle before bringing down the Ginnungagap glamor.