For those who thought I spoke too harshly, or was just making up stories about how those newer to shamanic services like divination are actually harming people, this post is proof that I’m not just some old fogie shaking my cane at the youngins’. Although I do believe one has to get practice doing these things *somewhere*, and trading reading for reading can be a useful tool, it doesn’t divorce itself from two old adages: caveat emptor, and you get what you pay for. If you’re just starting out with divination, be honest about it and tell your clients/friends that you’re still figuring out how all this stuff works.

And in case it needs to be said, just because you’ve memorized the little book that came with your tarot cards, or can recite all the Younger Futhork, does *not* mean you understand divination. Divination is a skill; the cards/runes are the tools used in applying that skill. The Nine of Swords might mean physical illness, but in a specific placement in a reading, or in the story of the person you’re reading for, it might also mean a time of mental turmoil, a time where physical needs are more important than spiritual ones, or that a person’s insight is being influenced by a medical reason (like an undiagnosed diabetic suffering from chronic high blood sugar might be having hallucinations due to their physical issue that are clouding their point of view of the situation at hand). Fehu means wealth, but not always monetary or material richness. I’ll write a post about divination at some point in the future (or I may force you to buy my upcoming book by only publishing it there! Insert maniacal laughter here!)

Read this if you think I’m full of it, when I talk about the dangers of moving too fast, of not being able to recognize your own filters; but also read it because it remind us old fogies that the freshman have important things to teach us too.

I’ve been doing some writing about something very similar to this post: the idea that the way we approach our sexuality, in addition to our spirituality, also colors the way we approach everything else in life. So consider this wonderful post by Anne Marie Clulow about how spending some time really considering how we approach orgasm in relationship to sex, can open up doors of realization as to how we approach pleasure in general. For example, if you are the kind of person who forgoes your own orgasm for the pleasure of your partner on a regular basis, are you also then the kind of person who does things for others without ever getting what you need or want out of the exchange? Of course, orgasm is not the be-all, end-all of sexual experience, but continually denying yourself pleasure and release can not only directly affect the rest of your life, but could also point towards an unhealthy pattern of fear and shame around asking for and receiving things that you want and need in your life. Read this post, and then take some meditative time (in the shower, while you drive, sitting in meditation, during yoga, etc) to think on how your sexual habits inform or mirror your habits outside of the bedroom.

annemarieclulow

ImageIn a talk recently on conscious sexuality, I shared with the group that I personally have identified 12 separate, identifiable orgasmic experiences in my body.

My orgasmic background until the age of 38 was incredibly limited. As I have shared my story with many woman that walk through our doors at Tantra Evolution, I have noticed the parallels that have emerged, patterns that run throughout our lives, not just sexually, in every arena from relationships to parenting to career choices.

A teacher once said to me that the way we are in bed is the way we are in all areas of our lives

At the time I disagreed vehemently.

Until I really, really thought about it.

And the pieces fitted. I had faked orgasm with everyone until I was 38 years old, keeping other people’s egos and pride happy, suppressing my own real pleasure response. I had only experienced…

View original post 473 more words

I think this essay by Dver dovetails nicely with many things I’ve written about spirit work, and some of the questions I get regarding “Am I a shaman? A godspouse? A Spirit Worker?” Please not only read this wonderful piece, but really meditate on the question it poses at the end – “Would your spiritual practices and relationships change if you never read anything on the Internet again?”

A Forest Door

A conversation I’ve been having with Galina Krasskova in the comments section of my “Choice” post inspired me to expand on some of these thoughts here (well, that and waking up at 3am to write down a bunch of notes that suddenly came pouring into my head – it’s rare for me to have this happen over a blog post, so I figured I couldn’t avoid writing and posting this).

Those of us called to mysticism and spirit-work are in a strange sort of situation these days, very different from anything before in history. Many if not most of us lack any sort of continuous tradition or formal teachers, and often don’t even know other people with similar vocations near to us, and yet we all have exposure to a wide variety of other polytheistic mystics and spirit-workers via the internet. There are some important potential hazards to this exposure…

View original post 1,143 more words

The author of this blog is a personal acquaintence and a respected colleague. If I’m not the right person for you, in regards to any of the services she provides (and I do not make ritual items, jewelry or otherwise), she is someone I would happily refer people to.

Gods and Mirrors

This is another post inspired by the insanity of 2012. It occurred to me months ago that I’m not as open as I could be about what services I can provide, both to the general Pagan community, and to my fellow clergy and spiritworkers. During the past few months, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I can reasonably offer, and what I will need in exchange. I decided not to post this until I’d caught up on some overdue projects, and thus could reasonably handle new requests. In the meanwhile, I took time to fine tune my list of rules and services, and the result is what you will read here.

So first off, a little bit about me and Who I work for. I suppose you could say I practice three different types of Paganism. I am a Hellenic Priestess of Artemis, and I honor Her and…

View original post 983 more words

These words resonate with me very deeply: the concept of two ways that Magick flows. Sometimes it feels like you’re pushing a rock uphill, that the struggle is inherent to making it work; other times it’s about letting go, opening one’s self up to the awesome power of the Universe (or, at times, an archetypical force, such as Death, Madness, Change, etc) or the Will/presence of a God.

I haven’t read the series that inspired this post (one of my dark secrets is that I am not a fantasy fan), but the concept and the commentary make a great deal of sense to me. (And like the blogger, I reject that it is somehow tied to binary gender.)

Blue Flame Magick

wot“The One Power comes from the True Source, the driving force of creation, the force the Creator made to turn the Wheel of Time. Saidin, the male half of the True Source, and saidar, the female half, work against each other, and at the same time together to provide that force…The True Source cannot be used up, any more than the river can be used up by the wheel of the mill.” – Moiraine Damodred

If you’ve ever read The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, this quote will be familiar to you. If you haven’t read the series, go do so now, I’ll wait…it’s only 14+ novels, it’s awesome. It’s a fantasy novel with a lot of magic (but it’s not magic, they never call it that) but one of the interesting aspects of the magic is there are two ways of using it. (Okay, technically there…

View original post 587 more words

(Sorry for email subscribers: I reblogged the wrong post!)
I highly enjoyed this entry on the vision of polyamory the mainstream media is presenting as “normal” – the concept that it starts with a monogamous couple who decide to include other relationships of lesser importance (secondaries) which are regulated by many rules the secondary did not help create, and for which the “primary” partner holds veto. The author makes it clear that although it *is* one version of polyamory, it is by far not the only, or even the most common one. For example, these “polynormative” images assumes heterosexuality, whereas most of us queerdoes have been involved in some form of non-heirarchal poly at one point or another, and yet the media *never* portrays poly as a queer thing (my partner Winter would point out this would have to do with trying to legalize same sex marriage, making all media visages of lesbian and gay relationships identical to heterosexual monogamy). Also, it is rare to see POC represented in these portrayals of polyamory, unless their race is used to show their “exotic beauty”.

Anyway, I don’t want to give away the entire post, but it is incredibly on-point and wittily written in regards to the real depth and breadth of poly relationships and how they are homogenized for television. Kudos to the author for speaking out instead of toeing the line on this one.

Sex Geek

Polyamory is getting a lot of airtime in the media these days. It’s quite remarkable, really, and it represents a major shift over the last five to ten years.

The problem—and it’s hardly surprising—is that the form of poly that’s getting by far the most airtime is the one that’s as similar to traditional monogamy as possible, because that’s the least threatening to the dominant social order.

Ten years ago, I think my position was a lot more live-and-let-live. You know, different strokes for different folks. I do poly my way, you do it your way, and we’re all doing something non-monogamous so we can consider ourselves to have something in common that’s different from the norm. We share a certain kind of oppression, in that the world doesn’t appreciate or value non-monogamy. We share relationship concerns, like logistics challenges and time management and jealousy. So we’re all in this…

View original post 6,142 more words

A New Beginning: Asking for Help

Friends, family (of blood and of choice), colleagues and clients, fans and stalkers:

Rave and I find ourselves in the position of the Tarot’s Fool; on the edge of a cliff about to start out on a new chapter of life’s adventure. In August, I separated from my spouse and ended our ten year relationship due mostly to his repeated infidelity. Rave found herself struggling with the longest stretch of unemployment since she entered the workforce. Together, we happened to be in a place where strengthening our four-year relationship and uniting forces made it easier to face the dark uncertainties ahead.

We have been blessed with the assistance of friends and family as we struggled to get on our feet. At first, our friends Spark and Fuego gave me a place to stay so I could move out of my spouse’s house immediately, and were supportive when my health situation intensified, requiring Rave to spend more and more time with me. Rave and I decided to move forward together, and now we live in our friend Shane’s house temporarily while it is on the market.

Rave has secured a job in Frederick that while not optimal, covers her expenses. I’ve reached a spousal support agreement that keeps me from being hungry and homeless, but doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. It’s worth noting that neither of us were prepared for this radical shift in our lives, so we’re making due with what little we have and the kindness of friends.

This has all been complicated by a quick deterioration in my health. In August, a CT scan showed two fairly large, infected abscesses in my abdomen along with a lot of infected and necrotic tissue. I have had two stays in Johns Hopkins Hospital to treat the emergent effects of this, including having to have one of the abscesses drained twice after the empty void left from the first effort refilled with pus. The infection is wreaking havoc on my entire body, and if left untreated would eventually kill me. This is not an exaggeration.

So we’re left in a place where we’re both juggling more balls than we can handle. We have to locate a more permanent place to live that meets our fairly specific needs, find the funds to afford a deposit (first/last/security is pretty standard), move all of our belongings from our old abodes into storage (which our friend Karl has been gracious to provide) or into our temporary home. At the same time, my doctor’s appointments have doubled (all the ones I struggled with before with the addition of the ones related to the current infectious issues). I have to undergo a risky surgery where I will be an inpatient for a month or longer, and Rave has been my medical proxy and “assistant” in helping to schedule appointments, help me find transportation, filling my never-ending prescription needs, and in general taking over as my primary caregiver. Don’t even get us started on all the mental and emotional roller coasters we’ve been dealing with, on top of our everyday struggles.

We have plans to move out by January or February, but things have proven a little difficult.

I am now on a fixed income, and Rave has a job but it just barely pays the bills. We recognize that we are not destitute, but we do have some looming financial challenges ahead, and we are asking for your help.

This fundraiser is for two things:

1. I am having a potentially dangerous surgery at the end of December. I have lovers and friends who deeply want to be present before, during, and after my surgery. Most of them are also living hand-to-mouth, which makes finding money for travel and lodging difficult. I don’t want anyone who feels a need to be physically present and supportive of me to feel like money is an obstacle in their quest. I will also have some expenses related to the surgery that I will have to struggle to fulfill. My health insurance, although pretty damn good, does not cover things like wound care supplies and other necessities in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

In that vein, we would like to raise a little bit of money so those who wish to see me or be there for me during this time can do so without having to go broke in the process. In specific, we’d like to be able to make a contribution towards their travel expenses (gas, plane tickets, etc) as well as have a hotel room near Johns Hopkins for the day of, and a few days after, my surgery, so they can have a real bed to sleep in but be close by should their presence be needed.

Also, as I mentioned, I may need a little extra money to cover some expenses that insurance won’t. Parking at JH is expensive, and Rave would appreciate some help so she doesn’t have to weigh how much it costs with her desire or need to be there for me as often as she’d like. Also, being in the hospital can be trying/depressing, and although I’ll have wifi, I may want to purchase some books for my Nook or get a little outside food when I’m allowed. Finally, I will have follow up appointments for months afterward, and I pay someone to drive me to and from these appointments, so having a little cushion to cover some of that expense will make it easier for me to get the care I need.

2.In order to move in Jan/Feb, Rave and I will need, at the very least, first and last month’s rent, with the possible addition of security deposit. We don’t have enough time or resources to save all of that up before the move is necessary. Although we’ve been told by our current host that we can stay as long as we like until the house sells, Rave and I want to reach a place of independence where we aren’t relying on someone else’s good will for something as fundamental as shelter. We have already started looking, and we know we can likely find somewhere that both fits our unique needs (my disabilities limit what places are suitable) within our means to pay rent. It’s just having that lump sum up front that we are struggling with.

That all being said, we are asking for your goodwill donations in order to assist us in these goals. People who know me, know that it is very hard for me to admit when I have a financial need; I have been blessed for most of my adult life to fend for myself, and I do not have the parental safety net that many of my peers do. (My mother is on SSDI and lives with my sister, so moving home and/or borrowing money from her is not an option.) I am always wary when someone on the Internet asks for financial assistance, and with that in mind, I can provide you with references to people who know me very well and will attest that the money will absolutely go to these things. If by any wild chance we end up with overage, it will be used to replace many of the things both Rave and I lost in our subsequent separations (she moved out of the place she shared with her ex as well, and with separation is the loss of shared property that the other party wants/needs more) or to cover other expenses related to the move, such as hiring piano movers to move my piano.

I have had offers from friends who, upon hearing of my husband’s indiscretion, to help in an financial way. I am officially cashing in (pun intended) on those offers now, but here’s what I really hope:

If I have given you a divination, facilitated a ritual, had a conversation, taught a class, or maybe just wrote a blog post that in some way benefited your life in some fashion, this is your chance to show me in a tangible way that you appreciate all the things I do for the community, often without any financial benefit on my behalf.

If you enjoy reading my blogs and want me to continue writing quality content that is both educational and insightful, this is my “tip jar”. I know I have many subscribers and readers, because I check the site stats often, and even if most of you could spare $10, it would add up to a healthy sum.

If you have experienced a partner who has cheated on you, or in some other way violated your trust, and you are now in a position to help someone else rebuild from that experience, I can promise you this will go to a good cause. You can be of assistance to someone else who has been forced to rebuild their life due to someone else’s choices.

If you have felt like you wanted to do something to help me or cheer me up due to my medical situation, this is obviously the best time to do so.

If you have ever found respite with me; been the recipient of crash space, emergency funds, food and/or clothing, or just a supportive friend who was there for you in your time of need, consider this a request so I can continue to do those things for people in the future.

How To Donate:

Our preferred method of donation is through WePay, because I am not a fan of some of Paypal’s practices.
You can donate directly at our WePay page here: Del and Rave’s New Beginning

However, if donating via Paypal is easier for you, you can send us a “gift” (please be sure to label it a “gift” and not a “donation”, as Paypal requires you to be a 501c3 in order to receive donations though their site) to delandrave@gmail.com.

I have also begun an Amazon wishlist that has many items that I think I will need post-surgery, as well as some items that would make life a lot easier (like a shower chair, or a new winter hoodie). I also added a few comfort items, like the shower cream Rave and I like. I figure this gives people the option of providing items directly instead of making a financial donation. The wishlist can be found here:
Del’s Post Surgery Wish List .

If for whatever reason, a financial donation is beyond your means, there are other ways you may be able to help:

1.You may come visit me while I’m in Johns Hopkins. I will be there for at least three weeks, if not a month, and that’s an eternity in “hospital time”. Even if we aren’t super close, just having someone to talk to and hear what’s happening in the outside world is useful to me.

2.We will need strong backs and large vehicles to help us move from our “squat” into our new apartment once we locate it. Rave will be doing this on her own, as I will be in the hospital or too weak to be of assistance. We have a fair amount of stuff, some of it in Hagerstown and some of it in Brunswick. We would also accept help in setting up the house and making sure we have all the necessities, from toilet paper to frying pans.

3.If you live in or very near Baltimore, you can offer crash space to people who are coming in from out of town to visit, or lend them a car so they can fly in and then drive to and from the hospital on their own.

4.Rave will be very stressed while I am in the hospital; it is difficult to work full time and then spend every single evening in the hospital/staying overnight. Offering to take her out to dinner, or do something else fun and relaxing while another person visits me, would go a long way to helping her stay sane.

5.We will be selling items, including furniture, that the person who owns the house we live in left behind and does not want. You can help spread the word, and help us find people who need the things we have to sell. In that vein, if you are a whiz at Ebay or Craiglist, we could use your help in figuring out how to make a little money from this stuff.

6.We have very specific needs in a place to live: We need to find a place within a 5-30 minute driving distance of Frederick, MD. We would highly prefer two (or more) bedrooms, but can compromise if the place has one bedroom and a den/living room. It either needs to be all on one floor, or at least have a master bedroom, full bath, and preferably also a kitchen on the same floor. We really don’t want to live in a complex or share walls with neighbors if we can help it; we prefer places that have character, and are willing to live in a “fixer upper” as long as we don’t have to do the “fixing”. Our dream place would be handicap accessible (a wheelchair ramp to the door, wide doorways without lips or jams, and grab bars in the bathroom), have a yard or other outdoor space to hang out in, allow dogs (we very much want to get one), and would be on the first floor or have a very small amount of stairs involved. It would be lovely if it had its own washer/dryer and some sort of storage space (attic, basement, spare room, etc).

The catch is, we most we could pay would be $1000 a month, and even that would be at the very tippy top of our limit, so we’d want it to be as close to perfect as it can be and include most, if not all, utilities. We’d be more comfortable at somewhere around $800.

7.When I come home from the hospital in mid to late January, having Del safe (mostly no carbs, no soy, no legumes, high on animal protein and vegetables) microwaveable or shelf-safe food will make my transition much easier. I will still be on large amounts of bedrest when I am released, and may be laid up for another month or longer.

8.If you wanted to help keep my expenses down, you can volunteer to take me to doctor’s appointments. They are always during workday hours, but I can be somewhat flexible on what day of the week they fall on.

Please spread the word about this fundraiser; I know there are many people whose lives Rave or I have touched over the years, as well as online friends who find our journey compelling. We also know the power of internet philanthropists, who can spare $5 for a stranger in need.

We will be keeping an accounting on how all the money is spent, and that accounting will be made available upon request. We want to make sure that you feel safe that your money is going for the things we have outlined, and not just an attempt to use our situation to splurge on items we don’t really need. As I stated before, Rave has opened a separate bank account for this so the money will be delineated for these needs and not accidentally spent on frivolous items.

If you have any questions, offers of help, or in any way need to contact us, you can email us at delandrave@gmail.com.

Thank you, from the bottom of not only my heart, but Rave’s heart as well, and my other lovers, family, and friends who will be able to be present for me during my trial due to your generosity. I also do hereby promise to pay this forward; when I have the financial means to assist someone you know, all you need to do is let me know about the opportunity and I will be happy to send or do what I can.

Gratefulness Project: Post IV

I’ve really been trying to keep up with this project, but this week was pretty damn craptastic for me. I could post about how I was grateful for AAA when my car broke down in a turn lane, or thankful that the doctors found two scary things on my tests, but to be brutally honest I’m not really grateful for them. I wrote some earlier in the week, so I’ll post those, but I’d rather just chalk the rest of the week up to “Crap” and try again next week.

August 23: I am so eternally grateful that Alex is as understanding a partner as he is. He shouldered the whole expense of coming to visit at a time where I very much needed it; our original arrangement was that I would help defray some of that cost since it is much harder for me to travel to MA than it is for him to come to MD. He came and visited with me while I was a guest in someone else’s home, and put up with sleeping on an air mattress and having to be up every morning at 8am (the room I’m staying in is someone’s home office, and they work from home every weekday, so I have to move out to the living room so they can work). He sat with me and watched streaming video because I physically and emotionally can’t handle much more than that. He is a blessing in my life, and I am very grateful for that.

August 24: Today is one of the first days that I’ve been here without someone staying with me (the hosts have been here, but up until now Rave or Alex has been here as a companion), and I just curled up on the couch and watched a lot of video. (I did a little work, too, but mostly just vegged.) I realized how comforted I felt, having a sweet dog curled up next to me desperate for some pettins, and Odin the cat on my hip purring away. It’s as if they could tell that I was having a trying emotional day, and they just wanted to remind me that there is always someone, somewhere, who is willing to sit with me quietly and let me cope with my overwhelming emotions. I am grateful for all the living things in this house – the snake, the hedgehog, the cats, and the dogs, as well as the humans – for giving me a lot of emotional support.

Gratitude Project: Post III

I know I’m a little late publishing this, but things have been a little crazy over here in Del-land. But here it is.

August 15, redux: I know I posted a gratitude thing for today already, but this occurred to me as I was getting ready for bed and I wanted to document it. Also, we’ve established that I’m a rule breaker.

So after I made the post, I got a distressing phone call. A minor medical test has come up with some scary results, and I have to go get more scans ASAP. This test was something I didn’t put a lot of import behind, and considering everything else going on, I considered canceling it. We weren’t sure I could find somewhere local to where I was living to do it, and we didn’t feel like driving all the way back to Rockville to get it done. But something small but strong in my gut told me to keep moving forward, to get it done, and not let all this other life crap get in the way. And now I’m glad I did – it shows that I might need another surgery, possibly right away, and I wouldn’t have known that if I put it off.

Tonight, I’m also grateful for my intuition. For that small voice inside that always tells me the truth, and lets me make good decisions, and leads in the right direction. It’s taken me a long time to trust it, but when I do I always seem to end up doing the right thing.

August 16: Today I am grateful for Johns Hopkins. This doesn’t happen every day, as I’ve had some hellacious experiences with them, but today I can be a little grateful without forgetting the past. I needed a STAT test and they were able to fit me in, and the process was nice and swift. I showed up, I got processed, I got scanned, and I was out. It took longer to get there than it did to have the test!

August 17: I am so, so grateful for time alone. It’s going to be few and far between for a while, but tonight I was able to get a few hours of being in my temporary room all by myself. For all my gregariousness, I am actually an introvert, and I desperately need downtime all by myself to feel recharged. It’s much harder to get when you’re a guest in someone else’s home, and also since I’ve been having some scary health stuff people don’t want to leave me alone for long stretches of time. I totally understand that, but it was still nice to get some of that anyway. (Also, I’m grateful for 1000 pages – not here, but with my Threadspouses.)

August 18: Today I am grateful for “fun life”. After all the stress and work of the last week, Rave and I have decided that today is for fun. We’re going out and doing some fun things in hopes of helping bring my stress level down, and make me feel slightly more human.

August 19: The last few days have been very stressful, very fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kinda days, where we’re not sure what we’re doing until we wake up in the morning and sometimes not even then. Today’s thankfulness is to my gracious hosts, Spark and Fuego, for allowing me to have guests on their floors and couch, without even batting an eye. They have made this transition just a little bit easier.

August 20: There are these small, quiet moments between two people who are in love, when they are beyond the need to show it every single moment. When they can sit, side by side, in peace, sharing the same air and sometimes bobbing up with a comment or two. Real companionship, especially for two introverts. I’m grateful that Alex thinks sitting on the couch watching TV is as romantic as a four course meal.

August 21: Today I am grateful for having my own car back! The ability to go when and where one pleases is a powerful source of independence. Even though I choose not to drive, it’s good to know that I could, in an emergency. It feels so much more comfortable knowing that I have at least one thing I can count on as I go through this transitory phase, living in different places, having belongings all over the state, and not really knowing where I’m going to land, at least I know I’ll have the Duckbus with me.

August 22: I am looking inward for my gratefulness today. There’s so much going on around me, through me, inside of me and about me, and here I am. I’m getting up every morning, I’m doing what I have to get done (to the best of my ability), I’m moving forward. There are moments when I turn it all off and just allow the immensity of the emotional impact wash over me, but then I dry my eyes, square my shoulders, and get moving onto the next thing. I am so grateful for that inner strength, and the strength that others lend me when I feel weak.