erynn: Gaelic merman image (tree of life)
Today was a mostly migraney mess, though I managed to get through it by late afternoon. [ profile] mael_brigde did a little massage work on my neck and shoulders that helped a fair bit but I ended up taking a bunch of tramadol to try and kick it. This afternoon a couple of women from a Japanese Shinto-based group called Mahikari-no-waza came over to do energy work on her, and did some on me as well.

I had a rather interesting experience during that, where a couple of the spirits that I work with fairly regularly showed up and started pulling things out of my head. One stuck its paw in and pulled out stringey, sinewey things from near my eye and the other pulled out black lumps from the back of my head. I was doing considerably better within about an hour of that. I don't usually see them showing up while other people work on me, so that was definitely different.

Shortly after they left, Slippery Elm came by and visited with us for about three hours. He actually had a little time after class today and so we called out for Ethiopian and he and I walked over to pick it up so that we could have dinner with [ profile] mael_brigde here at her place. We had a really wonderful conversation and I was delighted to finally get them together face to face. They traded books (and [ profile] mael_brigde gave me a copy of an anthology that she has a short story in) and we hung out and drank tea until both of them were starting to fade.

I'll be heading back home when she leaves tomorrow morning for an appointment at about 10am. I don't expect any significant traffic on my way home, and I usually don't have any real trouble from the US side of the border these days. I'm hoping it'll be a painless trip back. [ profile] gra_is_stor said she'd hang out another day to spend Thursday night with me. Friday I have my appointment with the travel consultant in Edmonds, at 4 in the afternoon. I need to get my finalized list of questions together tomorrow when I get home so that I won't forget anything while I'm there talking with them.

And now, it's probably about time for this one to curl up in a little ball and get some sleep.

erynn: Gaelic merman image (Ganesha)
I had a really mixed day today. My VA appointment went quickly, but the travel office wasn't moving at all. We sat for half an hour and hardly got more than six numbers called, and then nobody was at the windows at all. I was at least 30 numbers back and had to meet [ profile] bearfairie and one of her covensisters who had been up from the Bay (and down from Alberta). I ditched the line and will get my travel funds another day.

[ profile] gra_is_stor and I then headed over to Travelers, where we met them, and also saw [ profile] nathan_fhtagn, who was meeting a friend for chai. I got to talk with him for about ten minutes before we had to leave to go to Araya's, but he'll be back at Travelers on Thursday to catch up with [ profile] fullcontactmuse before her burlesque show, so I will probably see both of them on Thursday after my group.

Dinner was lovely and [ profile] joyful_storm was able to join us for dinner, as was [ profile] sebastian_lvx, who came along with [ profile] alfrecht We spent a couple of hours at dinner, having a wonderful time talking and catching up, then I gave [ profile] joyful_storm a ride home and brought [ profile] alfrecht and [ profile] gra_is_stor up here. He will need to catch a bus back up to Anacortes about 7:30 tomorrow morning, but [ profile] gra_is_stor will be here with me for several days.

When I got home, I had email from [ profile] mael_brigde, who said that she was diagnosed with a sarcoma of some sort today. I emailed her back asking for more details, and she called me up. We talked for a while and I told her that if she needed somebody up there for support to let me know. She hasn't got much for support there right now, as one of her people is out of town for two months, and her ex-girlfriend, who often helps out with a lot of things, is having some severe problems with vertigo that are keeping her from being able to do much of anything right now. Anyway, I may need to go up to Vancouver without much notice for a few days to help her out or give her rides or something. She would welcome prayers or healing work from friends and acquaintances, so please keep her in your thoughts. She has been a dear friend for many years, and is the founder of the Daughters of the Flame, so prayers to Brigid are particularly appreciated.

Not long after that, I was able to have a chat with my brother in Baghdad. He says he will be leaving there Friday, spending four days in Kuwait, and then heading home to Italy. I'm glad he's nearly out of there. He did say that Aviano may be giving him some military time when he gets back (which will put him closer to getting that last 150 days for retirement), but he hasn't got any details for that as yet, so he's not sure what will be happening. I'll keep folks updated. He told me he'd text me when he got in so that I could mail him all the stuff that's been stacking up here for him.

A couple of days ago I mentioned that P. Sufenas Virius Lupus had finally published Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor's Notes, Volume One about the spiritual practices of the Ekklesía Antínoou. What I forgot to note is that I have two rituals published in the book, for the Festivals of the Lion and the Lotus. So this is yet another publication for me this year!

Devotio Antinoo: The Doctor's Notes

You can get it at Createspace.

Needless to say, no writing at all has been done today.

I just want everyone to be happy, healthy, and safe.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Navy seal)
Before I headed over to Bothell today, I forgot to put Nicole's number in my phone, so I ended up having to ask a couple of the admin types to help me figure out where the classroom was. That took about 20 minutes, but I had thankfully come considerably early and still arrived in the room 15 minutes or so before class was supposed to start. This, my children, is why we arrive at places early -- so that when we are stupid, we can save face and still show up on time. More nattering under here. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (gir explode)
I woke up today with a migraine, though that's eased up now. I'm doing much better and think I will probably be fine for my talk to the class tomorrow. I did dishes and some laundry and am still pretty tired, but I suspect that's as much migraine hangover as anything else. Unfortunately, by the time I was feeling well enough to do anything, I was just not going to make it to the party.

I want to plug a couple of friends here. First, it's [ profile] lupabitch's birthday, and she says this is how you can make her birthday awesome! Lots of pictures here, and some very silly things.

If you are a Seattle local and have been looking for a portrait photographer, [ profile] fullcontactmuse is having a half-off sale, and it's quite a deal! Check it out!

After I get out of the class tomorrow, I'm off to the AFK for the Tuesday steampunk social. The Wayward Cafe has re-opened, so the Monday Steamvents will, most likely, be reconsolidating there after having been dispersed to several locations since it shut down in Greenwood after the fires there. Capitol Hill will also be having a first and third Mondays steampunk meetup at Elliott Bay Books now, so if you're on the Hill and not into going out to Roosevelt for the Steamvent, you have an alternative much closer in.

I finished reading Disability and Religious Diversity today. Most of it was pretty interesting, though the assumptions in a few of the chapters made me want to smack my head on a desk. This isn't too unusual when dealing with mainstream religions. I was particularly struck by the way that people so often seem to assume that a chronic illness or disability is somehow the "fault" of the person suffering from that condition. I don't just see that in mainstream religions -- I run into it in Paganism as well. It most often manifests as "we all choose our incarnations and you must have chosen to manifest with these problems" or "if you were really spiritual enough, you could heal yourself," or some variant of "you could use herbs instead of western medicine and it would cure you" or "with enough positive thinking everything would be all right."

One of the things that has annoyed me immensely about the yoga group at the VA has been that every single yoga instructor there (I have interacted with three of them so far) said "I had fibromyalgia and yoga cured it," as though they are expecting me to miraculously get well if I just practice enough yoga. I'm sure they think they are giving me some "hope" regarding my situation, but they're not. Yes, yoga and Tai Chi have helped somewhat in the past, but I would by no means regard those occasional and temporary improvements as a "cure" of any sort. Of course, I'm sure that my anger and frustration with the whole thing would just be seen as "resistance to healing" and "hanging on to" my fibromyalgia for some idiotic reason. There are some people for whom fibro just goes away for some mysterious reason that no one can identify. Sometimes it stays away. Sometimes it comes back again later. I think I'm doing damned good to be able to function as well as I do on just a few tylenol a day instead of being on the methadone cocktail the VA wanted to put me on some years back.

Other people's definitions and expectations are as much of an impediment sometimes as physical pain. Reading about the way some of the other authors in the anthology have had to deal with various religions' judgments of them for their disabilities just exacerbated that background hum of annoyance. Darla, one of the editors, recounts that she was told by an acupuncturist that Chinese religion says people with diseases and disabilities were, essentially, paying off karma for misdeeds in previous lives. She was told by an airline employee that if she just prayed to Jesus hard enough, her sins would be washed away and she wouldn't be blind anymore. I mean seriously, WTF? And Pagans play the same stupid bullshit blame the victim games with this sort of thing. I think it's ludicrous and disgusting and I wish to hell they'd just grow the fuck up and realize that human bodies FAIL sometimes and there's nothing that can be done to "cure" them. Sometimes you just have to live with it, even if it's painful or difficult or impairing. It's not because you need to learn a lesson (though learning something from it can be useful, regardless). It's not because you deserve to be punished for something in some other life. It's not because you are somehow evil or flawed. It just happens because, you know, sometimes things just do.

This rant was brought to you by the letters WTF.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Everything Hurts)
HOLD THE DATE! Veterans Day=Friday, November 11 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm.

Come to Seattle's legendary Pioneer Square to enjoy a night of blues benefiting SEATTLE ACUPUNCTURE FOR VETERANS o'Kelly McCluskey Military Stress Reduction Clinic*. Five or six local Blues Bars including The New Orleans Creole Restaurant, 88 Keys, The Central Saloon and others are going to give us door proceeds as a fundraiser for our free clinic. COME ON DOWN !

The o'Kelly McClusky Seattle Military Stress Recovery Project provides free acupuncture treatments for veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, but also welcomes all veterans from all other past conflicts or wars as well as veterans’ family members.

Treatments are based on the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) ear protocol, which has proven to be extremely powerful in alleviating symptoms of stress and trauma. During treatment, people sit fully clothed in a circle of chairs, and the licensed acupuncturist places 5 tiny needles on each ear. The recipients are invited to close their eyes and rest for 30-45 minutes, as the acupuncture does its work.

Veterans at these clinics are experiencing benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Acupuncture is currently being investigated by the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. as a viable treatment modality for PTSD in returning veterans and the military has started using acupuncture in the battlefield to help with pain.

The potential of this program is enormous. History has shown that the long-term impact of war takes a tremendous toll for decades. By providing free acupuncture treatments to veterans currently returning from war, we can play a part in preventing history from repeating itself, and by providing treatments to veterans from past wars and conflicts, we can take part in helping mend the psychological wounds of the past.

The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a simple, low-cost modality offering immediate, effective, and easily accessible treatment for large numbers of people. Acupuncture is a tool that can work harmoniously with other more conventional treatment modalities such as counseling and medication.

If you are interested in getting involved with the Military Stress Recovery Project please send an email to "SAV (Seattle Acupuncturists for Veterans)" <> . Our Clinic is held at SOLID GROUND, 1501 N. 45th st., Seattle WA 98103 (in the Wallingford Neighborhood). [Note: The building is closed on national holidays.] We look forward to working with you!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Sunny Day)
Today started with an email from mom, assuring us that she was okay, with only rain and a lot of wind last night. I was relieved. She said another storm was heading into the area today and tomorrow. I'll call in the afternoon to see how she is. She said the cell towers were out of commission but that we could reach her on the landline for the moment, and that email is still up and running.

I went down to Seattle today to talk to one of the writers in residence at Hugo House. It was a really fruitful conversation, and took rather less time than the hour allotted, but I needed some time to process and decompress a bit after our discussion. I'd started in early so I could make sure to get parking; there were a lot of places right across the street in the angle-in parking at Cal Anderson Park at quarter of three in the afternoon, so I walked over to Elliott Bay Books first to grab a cup of tea and a snack. They had "Hungarian shortbread" which was, I was informed by the gal behind the counter, made to one of Julia Child's recipes. It involved raspberries and goat cheese and it was completely and utterly decadent.

Once fortified, I walked back over to Hugo House, which is about a block and a half away from the bookshop. I inquired after the writer with the receptionist, and she went off to let her know I was about. I finished snacking just as Karen came down the stairs. We trundled up and I told her about the basic concepts of the group and showed her the types of materials we were using.

She had some very clear and cogent suggestions for making it less difficult and challenging while still allowing for people to explore their traumas and issues without having to run headlong into the arms of the beast. She really liked the concept of the little quotes on stickies to put in a notebook for inspiration, and thought that we were doing several things quite well. She also asked about my own role in the group -- I noted that I'm just a group member and that it wasn't my place to try to run anything. My sole role beyond just a group member was volunteering to get suggestions for the next time we did the group, and my presence was both approved by the facilitators and within the bounds of confidentiality, since I didn't talk about the other group members beyond noting that we're all in the Women's Trauma and Recovery Center as a part of this group.

We talked for a few minutes after the discussion of possible improvements as well. She was fascinated by the idea of this work, and thought it was a wonderful healing opportunity, but I completely agree, which is why I'm on board with it as a poet and a writer to begin with.

After our chat, I went out into the bright sunlight. I wasn't in any mood to head home, and it was only about 3:30pm anyway, so traffic would have been starting to ramp up as people were getting off work. Sitting here in the living room would have been dim and not particularly exciting, so I sat in the park and wrote in my group notebook for a while, just soaking up the sun, watching dogs play, and being in the city's ambience. Eventually I decided I was having a craving for Ethiopian, so I walked over to Queen Sheba and had a vegetarian combo and a cup of spiced tea, redolent of clove and cardamom. I really needed that, and it was absolutely perfect.

Once I was done eating, I wandered over to Twice Sold Tales (it still smells vaguely of catbox), where I found a copy of The Power of Satire: Magic, Ritual, Art, by Robert C. Elliott, which has a section of about 25-ish pages entirely on Irish satirical traditions. Originally published in 1960, this was a somewhat later, mid-70s edition that I picked up for a whole four bucks. I took a quick dash through Half Price looking for something specific that they didn't have, and by that time it was nearly 7:30, so I headed home again, still wreathed in sunlight.

It was a thoroughly glorious day and I feel immensely better for having been out in the sun for a couple of hours, just sitting and putting pen to paper.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Insane: What's Your Excuse?)
I spent some time today dealing with the Brigid altar, as my flamekeeping shift is today. It's very bare-bones, but I put up the shelf and the new statue is on it, the flame lit on the table below. It already feels much better with the different statue; this one doesn't have a moon crown, for one thing, which always drove me crazy about the previous iteration.

Rambling about the talk. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Writy enochian keyboard)
Without violating any confidentiality stuff about the group, I can safely say it was a rough one today. Betrayal being a particularly difficult topic to deal with on any level, it really kicked us in the teeth to write about it. Further nattering below. )
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Airmed)
If you are Northwest local, you may need or be interested in this:


Tacoma Dome
2727 East D Street - Tacoma, WA 98421
Saturday, April 30, 2011
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
CALL 877-233-5159 TO REGISTER

Attendees will see a doctor or nurse practitioner and will receive information on additional medical resources. You must register for an appointment.

Walk-ins will be seen only on a limited, first-come first-serve basis. Sorry - no guarantee unless you have an appointment.

Please note:
• This event is for those WITHOUT insurance. Recipients of Medicare, Medicaid or Veterans Administration benefits are not eligible.
• If you are taking medications, please bring your medicine bottles.
• Parking will be free.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
Through Feministing:

Yesterday in the New York Times there was an article on women vets, PTSD, and coming home to a population that doesn't understand. The study cited in the article says that women and men experience roughly the same proportion of PTSD, which (why am I not surprised) seemed to surprise military brass. Wow, who knew women were just as emotionally strong as men? *headdesk*

Psychologically, it seems, they are emerging as equals. Officials with the Department of Defense said that initial studies of male and female veterans with similar time outside the relative security of bases in Iraq showed that mental health issues arose in roughly the same proportion for members of each sex, though research continues.

“Female soldiers are actually handling and dealing with the stress of combat as well as male soldiers are,” said Col. Carl Castro, director of the Military Operational Research Program at the Department of Defense. “When I look at the data, I see nothing to counter that point.”

What happens when women with PTSD get home is different from what happens to men. Even now, men are the ones whose service people tend to acknowledge. They're usually surprised if a woman is a veteran, and a lot of women never talk about their service. Many women don't seek help for many years and may not even know help is available. This paragraph, I think, conveys the issue quite well.

Indeed, at home, after completing important jobs in war, women with the disorder often smack up against old-fashioned ignorance: male veterans and friends who do not recognize them as “real soldiers”; husbands who have little patience with their avoidance of intimacy; and a society that expects them to be feminine nurturers, not the nurtured.

Sexual harrasment continues to be an issue for women who often are fairly isolated in their units.

She also feels damaged from her time in Jordan, at the start of the Iraq war. One of only two women in her unit, she said, she was ostracized after asking to be shifted to nights because some of the men would not stop harassing her. Her superiors, she said, broke a promise to keep her complaint quiet and after that, the men in her unit lashed out. “This one guy said if I was on fire he wouldn’t even piss on me to put me out,” Mrs. Sherrod said.

And, of course, the VA is designed to deny claims, even if you have reasonable proof. This is why it took me twelve years to get through the process. I was never in combat, so people didn't want to believe there could be anything wrong with me. Even my father thinks I'm faking it. Non-combat PTSD is even harder to prove.

Though she received a diagnosis of stress disorder by a V.A. doctor, she had her first disability claim rejected in 2006. A second refusal came a year later, and the third arrived in 2008, despite a letter verifying what happened from a captain with her unit.

Her V.A. case worker, Julie Heese, said the rejections highlighted what made the benefits system so challenging. “The claims process is a tough one because you have to have really clear evidence,” Ms. Heese said. She added that it works best “with a well documented battle or attack,” not with experiences that may go unrecorded, like the death of a translator.

What does this mean on the ground? It means anybody with a VA diagnosis and a pension really does have something going on. There really are problems. We're getting our pensions for a reason. Anyone who thinks we're slackers or faking has never ever been through the process it takes to actually be awarded a pension.

I wish it were different, naturally. The system is changing, though slowly. Women are getting more recognition, but "I would never have thought you were military" is still the most common response I get when I tell people I'm a vet. Since I hated it so much, that response doesn't bother me, but I can definitely understand why it would gripe some women. We're invisible.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (poplar trees)
Garuda passed his smog test with flying colors and I went down and got new plates and tabs for him. I took the application for a disabled vet plate down there as well but that has to go to Olympia and can't be handled at local DoL offices. She wasn't sure how long that would take so I decided to register anyway, even though my tabs last until the end of the month. I figured $85 was going to be cheaper than getting cited for expired plates at the end of the month if the exempt plates hadn't yet arrived. Regardless, if they send me the disabled vet plates, I don't have to pay for tabs again.

After I dealt with that, I headed down to [ profile] agatheringgrove again for chai and to work on today's poem. It was a quiet day today and I met one of the resident psychics, Penny Protheroe, a very nice lady with good, clear energy. She was offering free chakra work today so I said sure. After the week I've had it was a nice idea to clear out what remained of the stress and frustrations. She seems to do good work and know what she's doing so if you need some work done and you're at GG on Fridays, do say hi and check in with her.

Next up, poetry!
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Insane Membrane!)
People have been saying for a long time that creative people tend to be depressive or bipolar. Here's another recent scientific study that discusses the connection. I suspect it's a big part of that whole "mad poet" paradigm that we meet in stories of the geilta and in other places. I think it's less likely that creative people become depressed and more that depressive people find an outlet in creativity, personally.

While my work on the geilta focuses primarily on the insular Celtic material, it's also about my own experiences and how creative work is an intensely healing thing for me. I'm not going to pretend that what I do or write is going to help everyone -- or even all that many other people -- when it comes to the geilt paradigm. But I do think there's some insight in it that can be useful and that feeds into the model of filidecht as magic and as a spirituality based in mysticism. Part of the paradigm of the geilt, and of the mystic, is of isolation from the mainstream of society. The question is, whether this isolation is healing or hurting the individual who is practicing it. Does the isolation contribute to an opening of the spirit or a closing-down of the personality? It's an extremely important distinction and one that illuminates a trajectory of mental and spiritual experience.

Part of the issue, I think, is whether the individual takes harmful and disordering experiences as an opportunity for self-exploration and healing or whether one gets lost in them. There's a continuum here, so it's not an either/or situation and, like most things in life, it's possible to have progress, stagnation, or regression as a part of the process. Sometimes a retreat into the cave is a necessary break, other times it's just hiding from life, and then there are those moments where it becomes an alembic for transformation. There are also times when it's really all three at once.

I think some aspects of physical disability can fall into the geilt paradigm as well. If you're in physical pain all the time you can react to it in many of the same ways that you might react to depression -- and so often the two go hand in hand. Living within those constraints brings a different kind of awareness of the body and of the world than living in a pain-free, healthy body does. Someone who is in constant pain learns ways to navigate around it or they end up lying in bed all the time, unable to do anything at all. Pain is mind-deadening, breaking focus and sapping enthusiasm, just as depression does. And yet, under some circumstances and for some people, pain and depression can become tools for spiritual and self-exploration. Through that exploration, pain and depression can be turned to creativity through poetry, through prose writing, through music or painting or other creative endeavors. They may not make the pain or the depression "better" in any objective sense, but they can bring some peace and satisfaction, both of which are very important for any functional human being.

What you do with it is the real key.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (The Pupulator by Kym)
The DoDC +3 is doing better. I need to call the vet again and let him know. He said that there is a bad case of kennel cough that's near pneumonia intensity going around and that Chris needs his updated vaccination for that -- it's only $11, so I'll be taking him in probably Wednesday. I was going to call Monday and take him in today (Tuesday) but while I was down in Seattle at a medical appointment, I got a phone call.

The UW Hospital chaplain's office called me saying that they had someone inpatient who was asking for a Wiccan or Pagan priestess. So after my medical appointment (breast ultrasound followup to the fiasco six months ago -- all is well, fear not) and a haircut, I headed over to UW.

I ended up talking for a while to a very nice woman who's in from elsewhere in the state without any local contacts or support. In talking to her, I felt that I was a good person to actually be giving her support in her situation. Without going into too much detail, she and I have some similar history, and though she is Reclaiming and Dianic in orientation, I can support her in what she needs. I'll be going in tomorrow with a few supplies for her, and to do some ritual with her toward her healing. With luck she should be going home again mid-week and doing somewhat better. I'm just glad that I'm in a place where I can be useful to someone going through a difficult time. I'm thankful that my experiences as a priestess and as a person have prepared me to be able to help others in this way.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Yuki_Onna's Book of Dreams)
I finished the basic divination chapter today, leaving only the advanced divination chapter to write. There's some stuff to be added and shuffled around in the ogam and ritual chapter, and a few more necessary footnotes (there will no doubt be others, but there are a couple of big ones to go) in the working with the feda chapter.

[ profile] everlydawn is safely on her plane home.

My mom sent me a note for those of you who are sending healing-fu to my uncle:

My Dear Sam,
Any and all prayers are gratefully accepted and cherished. It doesn't matter where they come from, or who sends them. Thank you to all.
Many Hugs,

Thank you everyone. Your generosity and healing prayers are not going unnoticed.


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

September 2013



RSS Atom


Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags