Blood Moon: We don’t want a heat pillow. We need sex!

 

“Bleeding is normal. We women are normal. Blood is who and what we are. Love a woman, then you must learn to love the bleeding too.”

Women bleed.

It sucks. You can dress it up however you like, and call it our “special sacred time”, and do ritual, and preach on about what a gift our bodies are.

But for me, and for many others, bleeding sucks.

I hate the way our periods are something shameful that we don’t talk about, and I hate the way I feel so godamn awful – sick and bloated and crampy.

Now I’m getting older, I also hate the way my cycle is becoming increasingly unpredictable. At present, my current thing seems to be that I bleed for a morning, then nothing for a few days, then it’s full on heavy heavy let’s turn the bathroom into a scene from “Criminal Minds” time for more than a week.

It’s tiring, it’s stressful, and I’m forever struggling to keep my iron levels up with copious amounts of vitamins and floradix. My doctor, to add insult to injury, has the indecency to call my cycle “normal…for a woman of my age.”

The worst thing of all, though, is the impact it’s having on my sex life. And how men just don’t understand.

Goddess_Venus____by_Villenueve

Yes, I’ve got a partner who thoughtfully gets me heat pillows for my aching back. He’ll even give me back rubs, when I ask for them. But sex during this thing that is rapidly turning into half my life?

No. Never.

I shouldn’t complain. I’ve been raised to never complain of course, because I’m female and god forbid we should ever complain about the lack of satisfaction in our relationships. We don’t complain: we just let it get worse, until we leave.

The rejection was even worse with my previous partner. I remember once when I bled on the sheets at night. He was horrified when he saw it: It was like I’d committed the most heinous crime. He wasn’t content until the sheets had been sterilised and I’d been given a top to toe shower. At 3 am in the morning.

Even then, when I returned to bed (feeling pretty bloody awful) he looked at me sideways. He didn’t want to touch me. He rolled over to the other side of the bed, as far away from me as he could get.

Hug me? Hell no. I was on my own.

That was probably the beginning of the end of our relationship: when I realised that my body and its normal functioning was abhorrent to him.

My current partner, as I said, is a bit better. A bit. He even went down on me – once – when I was bleeding. I was amazed by that.

But now that I seem to be bleeding more days than not, the sex is dwindling, and once again, I feel like a monster. An untouchable monster.

A female untouchable. Just like it’s always been.

What I want to say here, amongst all these reminiscences and all this very personal pain, is that bleeding is normal. We women are normal. Blood is who and what we are. Love a woman, then you must learn to love the bleeding too.

Our bodies are messy and wonderful and painful and we hurt. We feel pain and we suffer through this Goddess-given mess that is our femininity. It’s horrible, and lonely, and it is at this time of the month, above all other times, that we need to be told by those that profess to love us that we are beautiful.

It is at this time of the month, when we’re bleeding, that we need to know that we’re desirable, and sexy, and wanted. Because it’s at this point that we feel vulnerable, and weak, and sore, and in need of love and support.

Yet so often it is when we bleed that our men turn away. This is the time that we need them most, only to find they’re not there.

We don’t need a heat pillow. We need sex.

Men wax lyrical about our loveliness, but we need to know we’re desirable when we feel our ugliest. We need to know we’re wanted right at that point that society has deemed us most undesirable and untouchable.

This is something that I don’t think men, as a whole, will ever quite understand. But we women understand it very, very well.

When my partner gives me a heat pillow but refuses sex with me, he’s saying a lot about what he thinks of my body. He might not realise it, but he’s saying that I’m acceptable to him only when I’m neat and tidy in masculine, not feminine, terms.

He’s saying that he loves me only when he can have neat, porn-quality sex with me. But when I have my period, I’m dirty and unwanted and so it’s out with the heat pillow and on with his right hand instead.

I’ve told him I don’t feel like sex the first day I bleed heavily. And I don’t, mainly because it’s crime-scene central (I bleed really heavily). It’s so bad I don’t think he’d cope, and I wouldn’t enjoy it as a result.

But the rest of my period I get very horny. Yet by taking what I say about my first day and applying it to the rest of my bleed as an excuse not to have sex with me, he’s telling me that I’m not desirable when I bleed. At all. And that affects how I feel about our relationship the rest of the time, whether he realises it or not.

I don’t know what my body will do as I move into menopause. But it’s common for women at my age to bleed more days than not. Does this mean that I’ll be relegated to a “cuddle-only” partner?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this: women bleed. That is what we are, what we do, what we will always do. Bleeding is the definition of what women are: it is our experience of life.

I just wish that experience could be a better one.

Lunar_eclipse_April_15_2014_Minneapolis_Tomruen2

Cinderella shoes: Why I, in my oversized body, said FUCK IT to the world

I’m a big woman. Not fat, not wobbly (which would be an entirely different sin of its own).

Just big.

I’m nearly six feet tall. I’m broad-shouldered, big-boned, and long-limbed.

There was absolutely no point in my life that I was not going to be large. Genetics decided that for me.

I take up space, which apparently in our society is a crime worthy of punishment if you’re a woman.

Because, in case you hadn’t noticed, we women are supposed to be small. Underweight, taking up no space, not making any noise or having any opinions. We’re supposed to be pretty, according to a very narrow definition of pretty.

Women are not supposed to eat.
Women are not supposed to eat.

The first time I was told I was too tall I was about 12. A guy I liked said I would be pretty if I wasn’t so huge. I was about an inch taller than him. We got on well as friends but he told me he couldn’t be seen with a girl who was taller than him.

Two years later my father started calling me “buffalo butt” and laughing at the “joke” because he thought he was a wit. I was medically underweight at the time. I started my first diet about then.

When you’re meant to be big, and your frame and your bones are big, and your feet are fast getting up to size 11, there is no diet in the world that will make you smaller.

My best friend said she was embarrassed when we went shoe shopping and the shop had nothing to fit me. My mother kept saying I should be more ladylike – whatever that meant.

I think it meant “less like me”. I think it meant less everything to do with me. Less of me.

I started to realise that’s what the world wants. It wasn’t just me either, with all my size. It wasn’t personal, even though it hurt like hell.

Women were supposed to be less than men. Not just less in our achievements and our abilities, but in our size, our space that we control, our earnings, our ideas, our voices. Everything.

We were supposed to be “assistants”, not the person being assisted.
We were nurses, not doctors.
We were teachers, not Principals – unless of a primary school or kindergarten.
We were secretaries, not the boss.
We were the scenery – the eye candy – in the movies.

Not the hero.

Nothing seems to have changed. We're still the "eye candy" and the "romatic interest".
Nothing seems to have changed. We’re still the “eye candy” and the “romatic interest”.

At school I remember asking about being an engineer, and being told, “Oh, you don’t want to do that! and being steered towards a career as a nurse or a teacher. I didn’t fancy cleaning, so I opted for teaching.

There weren’t many “acceptable” options for girls to choose from, after all.

Women live in a smaller world, and we’re supposed to be smaller to fit into it. But as I grew older, something clicked. I guess I started wondering what happens when a person demands a bigger world? What happens when we’re too big for the boundaries others set for us?

I sometimes wonder if I would be the same person today if I hadn’t been born too big to fit the role society wanted me to fit?

If I’d been born the “right” size, looked the “right” way, would I have challenged the role that I couldn’t fill?

Those Cinderella shoes were never going to fit me. So I created a new fairytale with myself as its champion. Would I have done so had the glass slipper fit?

cinderella

I don’t know. I don’t have answers. But I know one thing: I, in my oversized body, said Fuck It to the world.

The world as it was didn’t fit me, so I created a new world that suits me better. That I liked better.

And, as I look around, the Ugly Sisters – all of us who never, ever could fit the shoes we were told to wear – we are all creating our own worlds, side by side.

    They told me I was too big, so I used my height and strength as an asset and began to think of myself as an amazon, proud and strong, with a heritage that goes back thousands of years.

    They told me boys were smarter than girls, so I got myself a few degrees at University.

    They told me computers were for boys (I wasn’t allowed to touch my brother’s computer when it was bought for him, in case I – less than two years his junior and a teen at the time – “broke it”). So I created the largest online community for Pagans in Australia at the time of its creation, became a WebMistress, ran webpages and online forums, and learned my way around the internet, before taking on a Software Engineering degree.

    They told me I couldn’t fight because I was a girl, so I joined the Army.

    They told me sport was for boys and that I sucked at it, so I went to the State Championships in rowing.

    They told me girls were weak, so I became a bodybuilder and weightlifter.

    They told me girls couldn’t be Leaders, so I became a Leader of several communities, transforming them and removing previous corrupt leaderships.

    They told me I couldn’t write music, so I became a choral composer whose works have been performed worldwide.

    They told me girls couldn’t change the world, so I wrote stories with new worlds in them.

Be the change you want to see in the world

I’m just an ordinary woman, with no special abilities. Except I don’t believe in boundaries and rules, and I don’t believe in Impossible.

Maybe that’s what has made my world so amazing? Because only by believing in the impossible can we make it happen.

Women can do anything.
Too long we’ve been told to keep our horizons near, and our world small.
Too often we’ve believed it when we’ve been told what we supposedly can’t do.
The combination of being told to keep ourselves small and being told to appease others is deadly.

It’s time we all said Fuck It to the world, and made some noise. Because, by doing so, we might just discover who we truly are.

Strange weather…and a worried Priestess…

I’m going to talk about climate change. I guess if you’re one of those who thinks climate change is a phony stunt put on by scientists for a reason nobody can quite explain, then this post isn’t for you.


I’ve been worried about the weather.

This year is the same as last year. We had a very early warm Spring. The bulbs were up and out ridiculously early – almost a month and a half ahead of time – and apparently birds were about that much ahead of time in their nesting behaviour.

It’s not just here in New Zealand that this strange stuff was going on. Over in England, on the other side of the world from us, frogs have been spawning months ahead of time, and garden plants are budding, tricked by the unseasonal weather into thinking Spring is here.

But it isn’t. Over there it’s autumn right now.

Frogs are spawning in the UK's late autumn. Photo from the Daily Mail.
Frogs are spawning in the UK’s late autumn. Photo from the Daily Mail.

What happened next after our incredibly warm early Spring, in which we were wearing t-shirts and shorts and everything began blooming, was even stranger. The weather turned bad abruptly. For the last two months we’ve been back in very cold weather again, with fierce storms, virtually non-stop rain, and hail storms on more days than I care to count (every day this week except Tuesday, and most days last week).

The storms have blown the blossom off the trees, and the young leaves are struggling to gain a hold. We’ve lost trees, and power lines have gone down all around.

Farmers are at their wits end, wondering when to cut hay for the winter – with so much rain practically every day, the grass is too wet, and if it is cut and bailed up it will rot. So it continues to grow.

Things may be very difficult next winter if the grass isn’t dry enough to cut. The animals rely on it to get through winter when nothing grows. If there isn’t enough food in storage, they’ll starve or have to be culled.

Seeing the visible effects of climate uncertainty

As someone who lives on a farm, and as a Pagan, I feel very connected to all this.

When I see the daffodil bulbs coming up before midwinter, I don’t have to guess that something is wrong: I can see it is.

I live in Dunedin, in the south island of New Zealand, where it is cold. Some people here laugh and say if it is going to get warmer, well, bring it on!

But what is happening is chaotic; unpredictable. We get ridiculously warm early Springs and late Autumns that convince the animals and plants it’s time to breed and grow. Then things turn back to ice and hail, and everything dies in the frost.

This isn’t healthy warmth. This is a challenge that nature is not equipped to deal with, brought on by us.

I know I can’t do anything significant about all of this, and you might say if one person can’t make a difference what’s the point of worrying? But what I can do is talk about the changes I’m seeing, and express the genuine fear I’m feeling inside.

This isn’t something that we should be debating and laughing about. This is something real, and we need to make widespread changes to the way we all live in order to deal with it. Changing a light globe or two won’t cut it. I’m convinced that downsizing and simplifying our lives, and moving altogether away from consumer culture is the only way forward.

To what? Something better, I think. Because – let’s face it – consumer culture, working 50 hours a week, being in lifelong debt, buying cheap plastic crap made by people in slave conditions and envying the Joneses aren’t all great cultural wonders I particularly want to keep for eternity anyway. Do you?

Thanks for reading and, if you can, spare a thought for those poor little English frogs. I think they’ll be in for a rough time when the weather turns.

2_6_2010_frozenrose

Paganism and simplicity

When a lot of Pagans start out, they get a bit of the “gear witch” vibe about them.

They buy stuff. Lots and lots and lots of stuff.

In the Pagan community, there’s so much stuff to be had, so many fabulous tools and toys. It can all be a bit overwhelming. And if you like to spend and possess and have lovely things, it can be real easy to start collecting a lot of stuff.

I went through this, and a lot of my friends did too. Tarot sounds interesting, so you collect a few tarot decks plus some books on the subject. Runes sound great too, so before you know it you have a few sets of rune stones and some books about them too.

You figure you must have a Wand (everyone knows a you’re not a Real Pagan[TM] unless you have a Wand!!!) and you must have a Blade (because they’re cool too, and a Blade has different energy).

Before you know it, you’re eyeing off those fancy swords online and wondering which you can afford. Or how many. Maybe a collection. Yeah…a collection would be great.

It all adds up, and builds up, and when you add the candles and bells and Tibetan singing bowls and God and Goddess figurines and chalices and cauldrons to the collection, no wonder so many Pagans are drowning in stuff! Plus the clothes – you feel like, as a newbie, the right ritual robes and capes will give you pagan “street cred”.

So you buy, buy, buy.

It’s all very addictive. And very, very easy to do.

And very, very wrong.

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Paganism comes from within

All the stuff in the world won’t make a person a Pagan. Which is a good thing. We’re a bit selective like that! Likewise, I’d argue that any path that encourages you to buy and own lots of stuff is a fool’s path.

You’ll find lots of Pagans with lots of fancy stuff all around the world…and they’re usually the silliest Pagans of the lot. They’ve forgotten that the Divine is immanent. Within us. It can’t be bought or sold.

The more stuff you collect, the harder it is to focus on the inner self, your connection with the Divine, and what really matters. Fancy stuff is just a temptation; a lure. A diversion from the truth.

A diversion from the truth.

prince

We all know that of course. It’s written clearly in one of the most valued early texts in modern Paganism, which is the Charge of the Goddess:

    “…If that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.

    For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

You won’t find Paganism in stuff, and you certainly won’t find Divinity. All the tools, and toys, and robes are just props.

You could even call them diversions for the weak-minded. They help set the scene for those who can’t focus without them. They hold no real power by themselves. Only living matter can do that: living energy.

That’s what we Pagans do: channel energy; create energy; focus energy. A wand in the end is just a stick. A blade in the end is just a hunk of metal. This is the real truth. Connection to the Divine comes from within, not from these lifeless things.

If you want to find the Divine, get rid of everything that isn’t essential. Then you will find what you truly seek.

aphrodite4

I’m not a partial human! Sidelined and disappeared…

I’ve always felt like a complete human. No matter whether you’re male or female, or what race or culture you’re from, I’m guessing you have too. Not a partial human.

So today I want to talk about this.

I'm sure there was *ANOTHER* Avenger...
I’m sure there was *ANOTHER* Avenger…

And this.

I seem to recall there being *FIVE* "Guardians"...
I seem to recall there being *FIVE* “Guardians”…

And this.

Something strange is going on here...ummm...do I remember an Avender in a black outfit called "Black" something...Black, black..it's clearly slipped everyone's mind...
Something strange is going on here…ummm…do I remember an Avenger in a black outfit called “Black” something…Black, black..it’s clearly slipped everyone’s mind…

And this.

Here's what to do. If you need to sideline or "disappear" a character, simply double over with more socially palatable characters.
Here’s what to do. If you need to sideline or “disappear” a character, simply double over with another white male character.

And this.

Looks like a bizarre racoon creature is more palatable than some genders of human...
Looks like a bizarre racoon creature is more palatable than some genders of human…

And I won’t even comment on this, which is so awful it just makes me furious.

The t-shirt in Disney girlswear on the left, and boyswear on the right.
The t-shirt in girlswear on the left, and boyswear on the right. This sucks.

Very occasionally, we won’t be “disappeared” but we’ll very definitely be sidelined…

Who is that character with the red hair in the far right? They couldn't possibly be a REAL Avenger! It's clear from their lack of space in the pic that they're a "helper", and "assistant" character, possibly only "eye candy" for the real stars, the males...
Who is that character with the red hair in the far right? They couldn’t possibly be a REAL Avenger! It’s clear from their lack of space in the pic that they’re a “helper”, and “assistant” character, possibly only “eye candy” for the real stars, the white males…(notice the other sidelined character on the extreme left)

Sidelined and disappeared…

I want to point out a few facts now.

We’re nearly 50% of the tickets. Women make up nearly 50% of movie sales at comic book movies (one recent survey suggested the figure of 44%). We’re a BIG market, not a tiny percentage of viewers and attendees and fans.

Women are attending ComicCons in large numbers. This year’s San Diego Comic-Con had 40% female attendance. These events aren’t all white male antisocial geeks from basements. The crowds have changed, if they ever were that stereotype to start with.

Women buy stuff. We want to buy merchandise, and we want that merchandise to feature our favourite characters. Not some of them. ALL of them.

We want fairness. Women are increasingly pissed at the way we’re being sidelined in comics. We want our female characters, and we’re pissed that they’re not appearing as the STARS of movies.

We want to be seen as real people. Women are also pissed at the way we’re being overly sexualized in comics and the movies that spring from them. We want accurate, diverse representation. We want to be seen as real, whole people, with real strengths and weaknesses, and real stories to tell. Because that is what we are.

Most of all, we don’t want to be seen as things. We want to be seen as people.

Speaking for myself and my daughter…and my daughter’s generation

It’s not hard to write real, strong women. Just write us as people, because that’s what we are. We screw up, we have frailties. We’re not governed by our relationships all the time. We are goal driven a lot of the time, especially if you’re writing a hero character.

Women can be heroes. Often we are.
Women can be leaders of men. Often we are.
Women can be strong, yet still completely feminine and powerful and amazing and uniquely beautiful. Often we are.

Even in real life, when I look at some of the strongest people I know, my mind often travels to the women I know rather than the men. We don’t typically hold higher career positions, because of the boundaries and limits that society has set us, but heck, we can be powerful.

So don’t sideline us. Don’t “disappear” us. It’s offensive and nasty and cheap and hurtful. It’s degrading and demeaning to some of the most incredible people I know.

Sure, these are superheroes I’m giving as examples, and you could claim it doesn’t matter. But it does. We all need our role models. We all need to believe we could be that hero on the screen. We all need to believe that we too can be the “chosen one”, the hero with a destiny greater than we thought possible.

We all need to dare to dream. Give us our dreams. We deserve them.

Autumn…

It’s starting to really feel like autumn here in southern New Zealand.

12_5_10_autumncolour

Yesterday morning we had the first frost of the year – not a bad one, but enough to remind me that winter is on its way. The heater has been on more and more. We’ve had two weeks of pretty much nonstop rain, and everything is sodden, including several bad storms that have felled several established trees in the district – things look stark and bare without them.

hazelnuts2

Autumn always makes me become contemplative – I think back on the year that has passed, and plan for the year to come.

This year, most of my free time has been taken up with various renovations we’ve been doing – we had nightmare builder who literally made everything worse that they touched, and now we’re still dealing with the fallout from the “work” they did.

Not happy – and I’m probably going to have to call them back, to fix more of the problems they’ve caused. I won’t be keen to ever call in a builder to my house ever again!

autumnleaves1

It has all been emotionally draining and financially devastating.

Regardless, things are ticking over and moving along, albeit slowly. I’ll be glad when everything is done.

This year has been one of great change for me, for the better. I’ve reached some big decisions that were hard to make, and feel like life has rounded a corner. Sometimes the hardest decisions are the best ones for us, but they hurt at the time.

In my case, I was stewing over a number of difficult choices I knew I had to make, but was avoiding making those choices for fear of hurting people I cared about.

Now I’ve taken the steps I needed to take I feel better – I’m still in limbo, before everything is done, but I know there is light ahead.

22_3_2010_hazelnuts

Kind of like autumn really. You know you have to pass through winter, and the cold and the dark, but there is promise of spring ahead.

autumnberries

50 Shades of DAFUQ?

I’ve been re-reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

50-shades-of-grey-cover_300x400

Before you go cringing at me reading it let alone re-reading it, let me explain.

I first read the book about a year and a half ago. I have a background in literature, and I generally try to keep up with what’s it the bestseller lists. Especially when a novel comes out of nowhere, the author is unheard of, and suddenly everyone is talking about the book.

Fifty Shades (soon to be a major motion picture – ohhh, aren’t we lucky!) matched all of the above criteria. Plus it was rumoured to be about BDSM, a topic of personal interest (to put it politely), so it piqued my curiosity.

I grabbed an e-copy, and started reading. And was appalled.

Fifty Shades of Stalking! Fifty Shades of Creepy! Fifty Shades of I’d Call The Cops!

The first thing that struck me was that the love interest, Christian Grey, was more of a stalker than a Dom.

What Christian Grey REALLY looks like!
What Christian Grey REALLY looks like!

He was downright creepy, and I’d have been more inclined to call the cops on him than take a roll in his “Red Room Of Pain” (major LOLs at that!).

But also, the whole thing was just wrong. It got everything wrong. (Except for the playing to Spem In Alium thing – that was kinda cool actually…)

Fifty Shades of So What Was Wrong With It?

It made kink out to be some sort of mental illness. Like people who do this sort of play have something wrong with us, and it takes a good vanilla girl to set things right. It supported the old, and completely wrong, assumption that kinky people have all been molested as children and suffer from mental illness.

Apparently in Books 2 and 3 of the series, Ana (the protagonist) “heals” Christian Grey from his kinky habits and they go on to live happy, vanilla lives. Presumably with 2.3 kids, a white picket fence, and a BMW in the driveway.

Major vom voms.

Kinky people are normal. Just kinky

I look at myself and my play partner, and we grew up in very typical, normal, healthy families. No broken homes. Not molested as children. Or ever. No horrible “Uncle Fester” types grabbing a grope the moment our parents’ backs were turned.

We’re just kinky because we like to play that way, just like people who are gay are born that way too. Or people who are straight are born that way too.

From my observation, we’re no more likely to have mental illness than the rest of the population, although there does seem to be a higher percentage of geeky / nerdy types among the kinky set than the general population.

Fifty Shades of She Didn’t Do Her Due Diligence!

How the author of Fifty Shades could have got it so completely wrong is beyond me. All I can think is that she’s not the slightest bit kinky herself, and did a minimum amount of research with Mr Google before deciding to write the novel.

fifty-shades-of-fucked-up

It’s a shame too, because had just a few things been changed (okay, well, quite a few things!) she could have used the novel to educate instead of denigrate.

Fifty Shades of OMG it’s a WHIP!! Run!!! Run for your life!!!

BDSM can look scary to the untrained eye. Yes, we do play with people’s comfort zones and boundaries. It’s a way of living life on the edge. Living a little bigger and brighter and darker. Seeing the world in all shades of the spectrum – not just shades of grey, you might say.

It’s not for everyone. Most people are happier without kink. It doesn’t suit them. That’s fine.

A lot of things that people do can look scary, or even crazy, to the untrained eye. Strapping a pair of planks to your feet and shooting fast down a snowy mountain (skiing), or taking a running jump off a cliff with only a few nylon pieces of fabric to hold you up (paragliding), or sitting in a metal tube thousands of feet above the earth with nothing but air between you and the ground (flying in a jet aircraft) – all these seem foolhardy to the uninitiated.

Some people like to live life safely while others like to experience everything life can offer. We all live life along a spectrum of what we want to experience or are willing to experience.

The choices are ours alone – it’s only when those choices are taken away from us, as portrayed in the Fifty Shades book, that experiences move from being consentual to being abusive. Ana is in an abusive relationship with Christian, not a healthy kinky one.

Fifty Shades of A Complete Disgrace

So what has all this to do with Aphrodite? Quite a bit actually. As you might remember from the Charge of the Goddess,

All acts of love and pleasure are Her rituals

Yet this book twisted something that is usually about pleasure, and often about love, into something that was more about mental illness and stalking and insecurity.

Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t portray a loving, kinky relationship. I should know – I’m in one. It portrays a relationship of mental abuse and stalking, of complete mental manipulation where the recipient is NOT consenting or enjoying what she is receiving. It’s abusive, plain and simple. Everyone I know in the kinky community would advise Ana to get the hell out! I sure would.

Kink is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be pleasurable – otherwise we wouldn’t do it. It’s supposed to be cathartic, and a way of finding release, and experiencing sensation, and moving towards a deeper experience of reality.

It is often about Dominance, but not in a petty, stalking sort of way. Fifty Shades might have done the world a service in the end, by encouraging lots of newbies to experiment. But I can’t help thinking the overall result will be negative, because the vanilla, majority world will believe that the kinky world is one of stalkers, abusers, and the mentally ill.

In closing, if you’re intrigued by BDSM, don’t believe a shred of what you read in Fifty Shades. Instead, go find your local kinky community leaders, and join a local group. You’ll find they’re a lot more normal than Christian Grey. Or join an online community like Fetlife if you find face-to-face too intimidating at first. Above all, though, go with your gut.

Play safe. And have fun. That’s what it’s all about 🙂

The simple Pagan

Paganism seems to be so full of stuff – have you noticed this?

And Paganism – and Wicca in particular – attracts the stuff collectors. You know the type. I call them Gear Witches. They have to have the right cape, the right robes, the right wand, the right blade.

Druids at Stonehenge. They look the part, don't they?
Druids at Stonehenge. They look the part, don’t they?

They look terrific, and have all the trappings, and every book ever published about new age anything sits proudly on their shelf at home.

But the heart of worship, and of dedication to a God or Goddess, isn’t about stuff. It’s nothing to do with what you have, or buy. It’s about intent and what you do.

In fact, I’d argue that the more stuff you have, the more you’re distracted from what you should be doing – which is honouring the Deity you have chosen to honour, in every single act of your life.

Simplify, simplify, simplify…

So I’m saying, throw it all away.

Give it all away. You don’t need it all.

You don’t need books to tell you what to do. You don’t need the right cape, or fancy robes. You don’t need a Hollywood-style setting to be an effective servant of the Divine.

Finding yourself is often more about casting off the trappings of consumerism than enveloping yourself in them.

For example, marking the elements can be as simple as filling four plain glasses:

Earth, Air, Fire and Water: capturing the four elements in simple glasses. Paganism doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. It doesn't have to be about *stuff*.
Earth, Air, Fire and Water: capturing the four elements in simple glasses. Paganism doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It doesn’t have to be about *stuff*.

And dedicating yourself to a powerful Goddess can require nothing more than an apple.

SONY DSC

Sometimes learning takes time

I speak from experience on this. Because I used to be the Queen of the Gear Witches. LOL.

I had everything you could name, and more. I spent a lot of money on having the right stuff. I think I somehow figured that if I looked more like someone else’s idea of what a Pagan should be, that would make me more Pagan-ish.

Or something.

Of course I was wrong.

And you’ll see Gear Witches at every event. They’re there, in their floaty robes, with their long, flowing hair. They look the part.

But looks can be deceiving.

Ask yourself: are they looking the part to convince you? Or perhaps to convince themselves?

Don’t get me wrong: if you choose to wear clothes of a certain style because that’s what you like to wear, then that’s absolutely fine.

But if you’re wearing a look in order to somehow fit a part, to become a role, or to attract attention, then you’re fooling nobody in the end, except yourself.

Return, return, return…

I think the time has come to bring Paganism back to its roots. If we’re about being in tune with nature, and in tune with ourselves, how can buying a truckload of stuff be the right thing to do?

Shouldn’t Pagans be living lightly and simply on the earth? Honouring the Gods with our deeds, spending our time and energy on doing what is their work, rather than time and energy on buying stuff that creates an image?

I think so.

So what I’m saying is, don’t buy the books. Don’t spend your dollars. Don’t collect the stuff.

Instead, spend your short time on this beautiful earth being what you will, not spending your money trying to be something others expect.

Men: Why women like flowers on Valentine’s Day

Flowers are useless. They don’t do anything.

Flowers are expensive. You can pay fifty bucks or more – perfectly good dollars that could be spent on something useful, like a dinner or a movie or some chocolates or some wine – for a bunch of flowers that will wilt and die in a few days.

Flowers are pointless. They don’t have any purpose. They just sit there looking pretty until they keel over in a wilted mess, and you pour the browned, icky water they were standing in down the drain.

Most guys don’t get it: why do women love flowers on Valentine’s Day?

I’ll tell you why: because you spent money that could have been spent on useful, important stuff on some flowers for the woman you love. And that tells her that you love her more than all of that “useful stuff”. She’s more important that any of it.

When you buy a woman flowers, you’re saying a lot of things.

You’re saying you love her more than the chocolates you could have bought.

Or the dinner.

Or the movie.

Or the wine.

And you’re not a money-grubbing cheapass that didn’t buy her anything, and couldn’t even be bothered springing her a few flowers.

Don't be this guy.
Don’t be this guy.

You were willing to buy something beautiful for her that doesn’t last, simply because it’s beautiful and she might enjoy it.

You were willing to take a leap of faith for her. You’re not a money-loving guy. You love her more than your money. Enough to spring for a few lousy roses. You’re not cheap.

roses

You were willing to buy something beautiful that she might appreciate, and think screw the money! because she meant more to you than those few dollars.

No excuses!

I spent my whole life making excuses for lousy guys who didn’t buy me flowers.

Oh, they had plenty of excuses: “I’d rather buy you some chocolates” or
“I’d rather take you to a movie” or
“I’d rather we went out to dinner” or
“I just don’t buy into that Valentine’s Day stuff – it’s too commercial for me. It’s just the shops making a fast buck.”

And I was weak. I’d nod my head, and agree, because I didn’t want to hurt their feelings, and come across as grasping and greedy and shallow – as someone who might be swayed by something as unimportant as a bunch of flowers.

Most women would do the same. They’ll say nothing, or they’ll make excuses for you. Because they love you and don’t want to hurt you.

But inside they’re disappointed, wondering if you really don’t think they’re worth even a few bucks for some flowers. They’re wondering why. Would you have bothered if they were prettier? Younger? Thinner? That’s what went on in my head, year after year, when I never got any flowers given to me on Valentine’s Day.

But you know what? The little things matter.

That guy who makes excuses for no flowers today will be making excuses for no attention tomorrow. He’ll be ignoring your needs in a whole stack of ways. If he can’t be bothered with flowers do you really think he’ll be that supportive when you really need him?

Give us the flowers we deserve!

Very few women will be forthright and admit that we love flowers. We’ll deny it with blank faces. You can tell the women whose partners are ignoring them, because they’re the women who are embarrassed to look at the flower displays when Valentine’s Day is near. They’re ashamed at how forgotten they are.

Being forgotten and ignored hurts.

Women will even agree with you when you say it’s a waste of money to spend your hard earned cash on something that will die so quickly.

But inside, the little girl in all of us wants flowers.

My father used to buy me daffodils when I was a little girl. No reason – he just did. And even now, as a grown woman, I still love daffodils, and love that bright colour yellow. When I moved into my house one of the first things I did was plant hundreds of daffodil bulbs. They make me smile every spring. They mean happiness to me.

My favourite flowers - daffodils :)
My favourite flowers – daffodils 🙂

Buy your girl flowers. Show her that she’s important enough to waste a few dollars that of course you could spend on something much more useful.

Show her that she’s more important to you than all the useful things in the world. That’s what love is about, after all.

But but but…Gods and Goddesses don’t exist!

    “I choose to worship a Goddess whose very essence embraces what I am, as a woman.”

So you’re an atheist. Good for you.

Or an agnostic. That’s a cool choice as well.

Or you just haven’t made up your mind, but one thing you’re not sure about is how these ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses could possibly fit in with today’s modern world. They don’t fit in with the scientific view. I mean, where the hell is Mount Olympus anyway?

In case you were wondering, by the way, Mount Olympus is a real place. It’s the tallest mountain in Greece, and you can read about it here. Here’s a picture of it:

800px-Mount_Olympus_from_Litochoro

The thing is, the Greek Gods and Goddesses fit in really well with modern society. You can view them – as a lot of people do – as a set of archetypes, or ideas. Or you can view them as real people. It’s up to you.

Making choices

One thing is, they’re very real to read about. Take the time to read the myths, and the characters of the Gods and Goddesses jump out at you. They make sense. You can imagine them bickering, and not getting along at times, just like human families do. They’re understandable. They’re something we can grasp. They make sense.

So you can either choose to view Aphrodite as a personification of a set of ideas – an ideology bundled up into the form of a Goddess. Or you can choose to accept the Goddess as a whole, real entity – a living, breathing being that actually exists.

It’s your decision, just as the decision to believe or not is yours.

For me, Aphrodite is very real. I found that once I started accepting her as real, and her influence upon my life as real, the magic started happening. Some of the ways she has changed my life are deeply personal, but all are powerful. She is a tranformative Goddess – when she enters your life, she will change it. Every aspect of your life will be transformed and renewed.

It’s all too much codswallop!

And if you simply accept her as an archetype, as a bundle of ideas?

She can be useful in that respect too. If you look at what she represents: feminine power, the acceptance of our sexuality, the belief that it is okay – more than okay – to be beautiful. That to be a woman is not a sin, but something that can be wonderful, and powerful, and dynamic.

These are powerful, useful ideas, and very pertinent to the here and now.

What Aphrodite is and does

Aphrodite shows us that women can be decision-makers, that we can control relationships, that we can control our own futures and our own bodies. We have these rights, they are ours. They always have been.

And that we have power over men. This is a BIG concept to grasp, and the power of Aphrodite resides right at its core.

The reason feminine sexuality has been hidden away is precisely because it gives us power over men. This is why female sexuality is denigrated in patriarchy. This is why Aphrodite and all that she stands for is so uncomfortable for so many.

Aphrodite teaches women to accept our power. Accept our power, and our bodies, and we accept ourselves.

Reveal our strength and our beauty, just as She revealed Hers when she stepped out of the sea at the beginning of time.

Aphrodite teaches us not to be afraid of our sexual and sensual selves, not to hide them or closet them away. She also teaches us not to deny that our physical and emotional and spiritual selves are one and the same. She throws away the break between physical and spiritual that the Christian churches emphasize, and shows that separation of physical and spiritual up for the cheap and shoddy misogynistic trick that it truly is.

Instead, and in opposition to the “physical world is sinful and broken” ideology, She revels in the sacredness of the body, and the sacredness of physical pleasure. And she gives us the power and the strength to do likewise.

Aphrodite’s gifts

Do the Gods and Goddesses exist? Perhaps. There is no proof either way. But I choose to worship a Goddess whose very essence embraces what I am, as a woman.

That choice makes me stronger, more beautiful, more powerful, more confident, happier and more joyful with every day that I live.

I think it is a good choice.

Botticelli. The Birth of Venus.
Botticelli. The Birth of Venus.