Not Everyone is Decking Their Halls

grieving-friendJust a loving reminder that the holidays are not always a “wonderful time of the year” for everyone.

Little Puppy

Not everyone will be sitting around a tree with their loved ones. Not everyone will be feasting on fruit cakes and fresh baked cookies. Not everyone will be surrounded by paper-wrapped boxes. Not everyone will be fighting over check-out lines or boarding passes. Not everyone finds this time as a reason to smile.

Every year brings blessings and adventures. But, to some, time can also bring loss and challenges.

The reason why “Peace” is the universal theme for this place in the cycle is because traditionally, it is a Pagan celebration shared by Christians during a Jewish sabbath because the Light from the sun returns for the entire Earth.

This time belongs to ALL of us; the meek, the strong, the sacred, the profane, the have, the have-nots, the humans and the non-humans.

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For those of you who have truly something to celebrate, may you hear many cheers and have much company in your rejoicing!

For those of you who do not feel the same, remember…the Light is coming. When it does, may you also have much company in your rejoicing, as well. I will begin with a toast of thanks that you are here.

Much love and blessings,
Ray )O( \m/

 

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So, Am I Supposed to Feel Different Now?

200551877-002I love men. I do!

Speaking extremely generally, I love how their bodies of all sizes are constructed for physical strength. I love their deeper voices. I love the way being with the right one can make you feel safe as well as swept. A beautiful man can cast a hundred spells, but an ugly one can curse the worst. I love men.

I’ve just been too busy for them. Writing, schooling, working, living, wake up, coffee, rinse, repeat, just way too busy. The occasional delightful or disastrous date and some chuckles on the online sites are more for distraction than anything else. Just too busy.

40855e90cc0f01bde380041e6a9b5a35But, then three weeks ago, I see this person and every cliché you can think of just dominoes through my chest, down my spine, into my brain, everything. I could not stop staring, in spite that I was horrified that I might be intrusive. My brain stopped. The world stopped. Cupid shot me with an Uzi.

She’s adorable…

…and sexy and strong and all woman. Not a man in drag. One hundred percent unmistakably woman, all estrogen, everywhere. “Look ma, no penis!” Woman.

I didn’t notice at first because the space around me imploded. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t even think to breathe. Everything was interrupted all at once and I puked a little as I found myself thinking in Hallmark cards – aw, how sweet, how disgusting. But, when I did notice, nothing changed; I wasn’t turned off, disappointed, or anything. Lightning struck and that storm just kept right on raging.

Okay, she’s a woman and I’m straight. This has to be a huge deal. According to sociological standards, my world is supposed to be completely rocked now, right? What does this mean?

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Where’s the little colored Reese’s for “Whatever”?

I deliberated very seriously for two whole seconds and came to the conclusion that I don’t care. My hair didn’t fall out, I didn’t grow horns, and I didn’t suddenly start bleeding acid out of my nose. My uterus and all my body parts are still in-tact. I am still a writer, a good friend, a loving conure mama, a good student, and a hard worker. What was important to me before is still important to me today.

Yes, my world has been rocked, but only because she’s in it now. Whatever lightning struck, it was from her own magic, not the wrath of some pissed off invisible man in the clouds.

In truth, I really don’t know what it means or what it’s supposed to mean, but I do know that I did not choose for this to happen. I did not look at her and go, “Oh, you know what would be great? How about I just purposely accelerate my heart rate, then risk losing my friends and not being serviced at restaurants because I want to hold hands with another woman? What fun!”

All I felt was energy. And it just so happens that the source of that energy was feminine divine, not masculine. Was it a surprise? Yes, yes it was. But, is it Armageddon? Of course not. I’m still here and my name is still the same.

Type = ArtScans RGB : Gamma = 1.882

If being attracted to her means I’m bi, then fine, I’m bi. If it means I’m slightly bent rather than outright straight, then okay. Whatever. If people don’t want to be part of my life anymore because of this then I will be sad — best of luck and love to them. All I can think about is the sound of her velvet voice, that amazing smile, and how I felt like my soul was kissed and made invincible when she told me her name.

She could be a Muppet from Mars for all I care.

What matters the most and is the most frightening to me right now, more than whether or not I’ll be accepted or what could happen if I show my affection in public, is getting up the guts to ask her out.

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Why I Could Never Be A Cougar

Cougar-hanging-from-a-tree

(May or may not be taken from an actual conversation…You figure it out).

19-year old Redhead:
Hey, beautiful. Looking for a good time?

Me:
Oh my Goddess, are you serious? You’re barely legal! How about you give me a call when the ink on your birth certificate dries…

19 YOR:
Haha. You’re funny. I like mature women with spunk. Why don’t you just talk to me and see what happens? What’s the worst thing that can happen?

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Me:
First of all, save the “mature” for 60+, not for women in their prime, thank you.

The worst? Hmmm, gee, let’s think:

1 – Premature ejaculation…the odds are not in your favor.
2 – Not be able to keep up and hurt yourself because I have been having sex longer than you’ve been breathing.
3 – You could turn out to be a prostitute – and boy, would you end up disappointed!
4 – Or you could actually be 17 instead of 19.

Not seeing an upside here. Thanks for playing, but no thanks. Have a good night.

19 YOR:
Well, I can assure you I can please you all night long and I am not a prostitute. And I am not 17 either. And you’re so beautiful. You’re exactly what I’m looking for.

Me:
Your mother??

19YOR:
LOL! Come on. You know you want to.

Me:
You know what I want? I want a man. Do you know why I see you as a boy and not a man?

19YOR:
Why?

Me:
Because a man will respect a woman when she says, “No.”

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Don’t Tell Me “No.”

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Dear College Career Counselor,

I’d like to thank you again for your time. I called for help and you answered. That, in itself, is more generous than I can express. I believe you have a good heart with good intentions. I also believe that you helped me tremendously in a way you did not intend. Because of you, I got the best advice from the worst advice.

I came to you as someone who found her place, excited about her future, and full of promise but ready to resign to taking a huge step backwards in order to relieve a temporary situation. I came to you as someone who is well on the path to success, dedicated to manifesting a career, and you suggested that I be mechanically assessed for another one. You told me it was time to start over. I was so weak at the moment, I almost believed you.

It wasn’t until I spoke with a very different kind of counselor right after our session, got some food in my stomach, and a took a little downtime to process that I realized, whether or not you intended to, you invalidated me. I needed CPR and you suggested I go on life support.

aabf23b77ba75eda461f8b5483fbba43Why didn’t you look at what I had already achieved and base your recommendations on them? Does one size really fit all? Were you trying to spare me from something? You may be okay with selling out with selling your soul, but I’m not! I’ve done the “cubicide” gig for over 20 years, getting coffee, making and taking phone calls, and balancing books. I’ve scrubbed toilets, pulled medical records, watched other people’s kids, and served cappuccino and today I have nothing tangible to show for it. The biggest difference with then and now is that what I’m doing today makes me feel alive. It taps into my passion and I feel at home. I feel I’m making a difference. So, no, I’m sorry, I respectfully disagree; I don’t need to start over, especially at my age. I need to take what I’ve got and make it work for me.

And you know what else? I am a writer. No algorithm is going to tell me anything that my heart, and the people who have known me my entire life, doesn’t already know. I’m an author, I’m a journalist, a wordsmith, a blogger, and a playwright. I am a writer and a badass.

So, I have made an appointment to speak with someone who is going to push me forward, not drag me back.

If-the-pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword-Why-do-actions-speak-louder-than-wordsYou’re a very smart, nice guy who may have done the wrong thing for the right reasons. I hold you in no contempt and wish you nothing but goodness in your world. I am grateful to you. But, please, the next time someone comes into your office, in any state of mind, listen. When they say they have found something that’s made them happy, hone in on that. Craft your guidance with that light. Life’s too short to fuck around.

College is a place to encourage possibilities, isn’t it? As I write this, I am wearing the jeans I never thought I would fit into and the concert t-shirt from the show I never thought I’d see. I am the last person to say, “You can’t,” to. (Man, you have no idea…!) I hope no one ever says that to you.

Again, thank you. But, please understand that I am cancelling our next appointment.

Most sincerely,
T. Ray Verteramo

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Are You Ready For Love? (No, really).

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I love everything that I do because everything I do is based on Love. It’s a divine place of existence. I write because I love to write, I go to school because I love to learn, and I serve and love my clients. And as it happens, the crux of my living is made by those in love or looking for love.

self loveLove, itself, is everywhere. It’s not just in a kiss, a sweet word, or a domestic arrangement. It is in creation, itself. It is the compound that binds everything together and animates the mortal being. It is in humans, non-humans, and the ability to heal. So, those looking for divine Love, the answer is, “It’s here! It’s everywhere! Embrace it! Start with you.”

But, of course, that’s not the kind of love they usually mean.

“I am SOOOO ready for love! When am I going to meet my (ugh) ‘soul mate’?”

Ah. Yes. That’s a little different.

First, you know how I feel about that “soul mate” and “twin flame” Disney stuff, so let’s just move that aside and discuss real, genuine connection that leads to healthy partnerships. That is not Disney stuff. That’s Nature. That’s real. That’s obtainable and entitled to everyone because it is the function of the communal animal. Therefore, as with all obtainable goals, steps can be taken to reach them.

The first question is: “Are you truly ready?” And, of course, 9 times out of 10, I get the “Absolutely!” “So ready!” “I was born ready!” only to find — no. No, they were not.

Life 101: If you are not ready, it is not going to happen.

There is a difference between “ready” and “wanting.” Wanting comes from a place of desire, need, or feeling. Readiness comes from being prepared, having what you need for a specific circumstance. Wanting is a state of mind, ready is a state of being. Just having your hand out isn’t enough. So, let’s take a look at what “ready for love” looks like. Here’s a checklist:

"Come on in! Just have a seat...somewhere..."

“Come on in! Just have a seat…somewhere…”

1 – Your living space is welcoming to company and comfortable to be in. If a strange person was to knock on your door right now, would you be embarrassed to open it and let them in? A part of a loving relationship is sharing your space. Ask yourself if you were a stranger that didn’t know you, how would you feel about walking into your room right now? If it is too full of clutter, dirt, or indiscriminate objects carelessly thrown about – like vibrators left in the plug or laundry piled up in the corner of your unmade bed – then, this would be a sign that you might not be as ready as you think.

2 – You have enough time to share. If you’re too busy with activities, work, schedules, meetings, and tasks, then how can you give someone the attention that they deserve? Have you adjusted your schedule to make time for someone to fit in or would you expect that person to tagalong, stand by, or interrupt while you live your life? (Would you do that to someone else?) How would you properly bond? On the other hand, if all you have is work and Netflix, then what common ground would you have to share with another person? If you are not willing to expend some energy on yourself, how can you expect to have the energy for another? Are you expecting the other person to give you love or a life? If you have too much or too little time for mate, then this would be a sign that you might not be as ready as you think.

4759535950_3da0ea181e_o3 – You can take a compliment. I’m not talking about harassment. “Hey baby, nice ass!” is not friendly. That is not positive attention. I’m talking about the polite, well-meaning “Hello” and start up of a conversation or extending an observation that makes you smile. Now, if your first response to a compliment is, “You’re just saying that” or “Please, you don’t mean that!” then what would you do if someone said, “I love you?” Would you tell them they didn’t mean that, either? How can you receive something you don’t feel you deserve? If you cannot take a compliment without suspicion or a sense of deserving, you might not be as ready as you think.

4 – You can listen, speak, and look someone in the eye when you do so. The eyes are the windows to the soul. Are you afraid when someone tries to look into yours? Do you feel vulnerable? When someone is telling you a story, do you listen to what they are saying or panic because you’re too busy thinking about how you should respond? Are you too afraid to share because you’re afraid they won’t listen or say something mean? Or do you share too much? Do you get too excited and anxious to talk talk talk so much that the other person doesn’t have a chance to give their side of the conversation? Everyone has a voice and everyone wants to be understood and heard. The foundation of a healthy relationship is communication. If you have a difficult time communicating, you might not be as ready as you think.

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5 – You don’t worry about tomorrow. So what if being with a person doesn’t turn out to be “the one!” You’re okay and just simply feel grateful that you met someone interesting enough to spend some time with. It’s a start! It’s an experience, a message to show you what you’re really looking for in a mate. You know where you have met one person, there will be another, so you’re okay if it doesn’t work out the way you hope. Are you too worried about “wasting your time”? Do you feel pressure into finding a mate? Does it make you feel extraordinarily sad or less of a person by not having a boyfriend or girlfriend? If you are depending on someone else to make you feel complete, or you’re looking for a hero, or a diversion, to get you past a heartache that won’t go away, then you are definitely not ready for a relationship.

cups10Remember, when you are ready, to walk the talk! Love begins with a “familiar stranger.” Yes, prayers, meditations, opening the chakras, and manifesting is great, helpful, and effective. But, what good does all that do if you don’t step out and say, “Hi”?

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Poetry Is Crap

Vict11

And now for something a little different before we resume our regularly scheduled program.

 

Poetry is crap.
It’s a process, it’s processed
It’s crap.

It clogs the mind
Stops up the speech
It limits and rivets and shortens its reach.
Jazzin’ and jivin’
“Look at this piece I’m drivin’!”

Poetry is crap.

Snap snap, “Yeah yeah yeah, baby I’m so deep
My monotone drone could put you —
to think!

Ha, that’s right, man.
Wet dreams of falling asleep in the river!
OH my words paint a thousand pictures!
My heart dies — ” blah blah blugh
Oh my nerve
What crap.

It’s the pick up line
The woo and the ooo
It’s that hunter that knows for certain
While saying, “Pay no attention to that penis behind the curtain.”
It’s crap.

It’s the frantic vagina!
VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA!!
Relax! It’s cool
No need to go old skool…
We’re walkin’, we’re talking
We’re coming clean

Mean what you say.
Say what you mean.
Poetry is crap.

What is 1000 pictures
Paint just one
And be done.
Why read between the lines if there are none?
It’s crap.

Say what you mean.
Mean what you say.
It’s going to come out and bite you, anyway!

It’s crap.

Let’s have some truth…yeah?
Let’s have some succulent, juicy, bloody truth.
The one, ugly, beautiful truth
The sickening, saddening, painful, glorifying, horrifying truth
Look into my eyes
If you’ve got the guts…

Trapped Screaming Face
Say what you mean.
Mean what you say.
And say it like there’s no other way —
Not this crap!

NOT this crap.

Whisper, scream, soft, violent
Say it with words
It’s death to be silent
It’s crap — this is crap
Just say it, say it, Say It — JUST SAY IT!

But, oh…oh you can’t?
You won’t?
Aw…you too scared?
Oh.

Then excuse me while I lift up this lid
Pull down my pants and push
…and push

and squeeeeze

oooouuut

thiiiiiiisssss

poem.

– T. Ray Verteramo
2014

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What To Expect For 2015

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2014, a “7” year, definitely delivered.

college-photo_2178._445x280-zmm7, the number of Higher Learning and Elevated Understanding, laid the foundation for promoting universal awareness in socio-political platforms, as well as interpersonal issues. In my country, alone, we saw its influence in civil rights and environmental issues; in science, such as automatronic A.I. developments, landing a spacecraft on a comet; and in health issues, such as depression and addiction. We have even seen an increase in college enrollment in the United States, particularly with non-traditional students – including myself, in fact! http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98

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Jesse Jackson visits as protests continueWe also learned that we do make a difference when we speak out. Learning begins with communication. Oklahoma’s Norman high school students that spoke out against bullying and sexual harassment with their highly successful, #yesalldaughters campaign was just one of many public efforts to raise feminism awareness among young people. People took to the streets, for good or ill, to speak out against racial injustice in the infamous Ferguson, Missouri case of Michael Brown, sparking a nationwide, open-wide discussion on race and injustice. We learned the consequences when we don’t exercise our right to vote, as America suffered the worst voter turnout since WWII. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/12/opinion/the-worst-voter-turnout-in-72-years.html?_r=0

yesalldaughtersIn the private sector, I noticed people around the world become more aware of their own personal roles in life, learned how to be their own hero, break away from toxicity, set boundaries, and embrace their truth. In 2014, we got the “clue-by-four” from the Universe and each other. And now, all that new knowledge we have acquired will transpose itself into wisdom that we can carry and bring forward.

The-number-numerology-22189701-1732-1732So, with this, we have 2015 to look forward to, which sums up to a nice, big, fat 8 – the number of Fame, Fortune, Commerce, and Perfected Energetic Exchange. There is a lot to be excited about!

Be warned, 2015 will be not be for the timid. The “8” time is the time to shine. Spotlight’s on you! 2015 will give you the chance to really show the world what you’re made of and what you can do. With this, it will help match you with the place and people where you belong, so it will be vital that whatever you do, it needs to be from a place of truth. Entrepreneurship could be on the rise. Exciting new innovations from private sectors and unexpected, unknown talents could go viral and set a course for a new age in developments. Those in the entertainment industry and the arts could get those breaks that they’ve been waiting for if they’ve done the work. They could also see their dreams smash to the ground, if they haven’t.

spotlight-chairPhonies and posers will be found and outted. This not only goes for career and communities, but also in social aspects, as well. If you’re a bat, don’t try to fly with the eagles – they’ll have you for a snack! However, if you know you’re a bat and embrace your “battiness,” you will find the perfect cave where you can thrive. Take off the mask and show the world your honest face. Whoever you are, whatever you are, you’re not alone.

Karmic and kismetic connections will be plentiful and powerful. Meeting people for the first time might feel unexpectedly familiar. This is no accident. The cycle of recycling is coming to an end, so we will see the “go arounds, come around.” This brings us to…

justiceJustice. We will see a lot more justice and a lot less revenge. If we don’t see it in the courtrooms, we’ll see it in the streets or in the computer servers. This can be a dangerous, yet thrilling time where healing may finally begin where we have been damaged as individuals and as a worldwide community, humans and non-humans alike. We could see dramatic changes in judicial systems and law. We can also see more vigilantism. (Incidentally, for you tarotologists out there, the original numeral assignment for “Justice” was 8. Arthur Waite switched it with “Strength.”)

And finally, in romance, we can see a lot more passion and an increase in fearless intimacy. We could see a surge in more open emotional and spiritual communication with each other as partners or potential partners. We could see more people opting to meet face-to-face, rather than online. We could see a reemergence of “old-fashioned” courtship as becoming the “new” thing, where it would be considered cooler to give flowers than a picture of your junk. However, we could also see more short-termed relationships as those fireworks that start off so high, so soon could fizzle out just as quickly. It will be important, and a challenge, to keep those embers burning.

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We will see more drama on and off-stage. However, we will also see our potentials coming to fruition. We will see Karma in action, and best of all, we’re going to see life everywhere living to its fullest, especially our own.

I wish you an exciting, wonderful, and most fulfilling 2015!
All the best, many blessings,
Ray

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INCREDIBLE GNOTHOLOGY FOR 11/11/2014

As a gift, I provide free daily numerology (gnothology) updates on my Psychic Episodes FB page. I did not expect to see this coming, so I wanted to share, as a gift, to my WP followers.

It’s gonna be one hell of a day. This is cool!

numerology-01

As shared from Psychic Episodes – FB Page
TUESDAY NOVEMBER 11, 2014 NUMEROLOGY: *11 EMV (from 29)

** This is a very heavy, intense, and unusual numerological sum. It is essentially a triple-EMV (Earth Mastery Vibration), but not quite. It is extremely rare for the month, the day, and a ROOTED sum to match. That means that the sum had to be added together to get a number between 1 – 9 or an EMV, 11, 22, 33, etc. What this means in English, is the power of 1, which is the Self, Mastery, and Leadership is purified, augmented, and amplified in body, mind, and spirit and present in all planes.**

Pay very special attention to dreams, omens, and divination findings. Pay very special attention to your words and the thoughts that provoke them. Own what you do. You are going to “know thyself” in ways you’ve probably never thought, never believed. You’re probably going to be called on your shit and given praise where you didn’t think. You are probably going to be challenged…and meet it. The past may come back, but it’s up to you as to whether or not is stays. The old wounds may get open, but it’s up to you as to whether or not they bleed. You may be called to rise to an occasion that you would otherwise decline, but you may not have that option. How strong do you think you are? You’ll find out. And you may still surprise yourself, anyway.

Today, you just might find out just how f***ing AMAZING you are!!

Now go get ’em…!

Accusatory-Finger

 

 

 

 

 

*For further Gnothology / Numerology exploration, also see:

11/11/11 — Cool, But Why? https://msrayspsychicepisodes.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/111111-cool-but-why/

Gnothology for Jenny 867-5309 https://msrayspsychicepisodes.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/gnothology-for-jenny-867-5309/

Gnothology of 666 (https://msrayspsychicepisodes.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-gnothology-of-666-one-hell-of-a-number/)

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Life as a Metalhead Priestess

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“How can you believe in the peace and light of the Goddess and listen to that loud, angry stuff?”

“Wait a minute, I thought you said Wicca has nothing to do with the devil?”

“Fuck, I thought you were a Metalhead. What are you doing talking about that karmic and peace and vegetarian…shit, thing? I don’t get it.”

I get it from both sides. Happens all the time. But, just as one can belong to more than one club, be made up of more than just one race, I, as well as countless other Priestesses and Priests, can belong to more than one coven.

gaialaussel2I belong to the Goddess, all of Her 10,000 faces and the enigmatic presence of the creative force of the Grand Creator. I belong to a world of Nature and my temple is everywhere I go, because She is everywhere I go. I do as I will, with my best not to harm anyone. I feel connected, a part of a greater design and She, being the Ancient Mother, is in everything I am, everything I do, everything I touch, and everything connected to me. I am Her priestess, therefore, Her ambassador and instrument. And with this, She brings out the best in me.

I belong to the Goddess because She empowers me.

mosh-pit1And I am a Metalhead. I belong in the concert halls with the amps turned up to 11, making my ears bleed. I belong to a sister/brotherhood that makes no apologies for who or what we are, regardless of our sex, age, shape, size, beliefs, or hair length. I belong to a network of fighters, individualists, and rebels. I belong to a community of fearlessness and music that sears up your spine and rips open your soul and you let it because it feels sooooooo good!

I belong to the Metalheads because Metal empowers me.

But, I understand why I’m suspect to both sides. Both sides are misunderstood. Both sides are exclusionary from mainstream society and general acceptance. Both sides are strong, proud communities and so, both are feared. It’s not uncommon for Metalhead Clergy to be both single and solitary for this reason…

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watain01Yet, what I find that some members of the Wiccan/Pagan community forgets is that of Her 10,000 faces, more than half of them are warriors. Durga, Bendis, Freya, Sekhmet, Ashtoreth, Kali-Ma, and the list goes on and on — these are not sugar-sweet-fluffy-bunny patronesses full of love, light, “let’s click our heels and go home” goddesses. These are badasses that would think nothing of tearing your village and your people to shreds if the cause is justified. These are champions, cunning and powerful, mysterious and skilled.

What some Metalheads seem to forget is you don’t have to be necessarily evil to be a badass. Our music is primal and violent, just as Nature is. But, just as with Nature, it must be balanced to survive. In the pit, it’s the one who helps up a brother/sister who gets the respect.

2275223546_3ffee6f8eeThere are many different paths and traditions in my faith and all of them, so long as they are Nature-based and connected to the Mystery, are acceptable. There are many different genres of Metal and all of them, so long as they identify themselves as such, are acceptable. The point of living as a Pagan is to live your natural truth, without fear. The point of being a Metalhead is to live your natural truth, without fear.

And as a Priestess, I represent all of Her faces, in my natural truth, without fear.

Yes, I do my best to live in kindness, caring, sharing, friendship, and loyalty. But, I am also a defender and in touch with my raw animal. I am in touch with my passion and make no apologies for feeling life, as well as living it. I sing and I scream. I feel Earth through the hand-drums of the ancient tribes and I feel the Earth in a double-bass onslaught. She is part of everything, all things friendly, opposing, beautiful, and frightening. She is the wind through the trees and the erupting volcano. She is tenderness and rage so therefore, guess what? Sure, She knows her aria…but you bet your ass She bangs Her head, too.

YOU’VE GOT DESIRE
SO LET IT OUT
YOU’VE GOT THE POWER
STAND UP AND SHOUT!
Ronnie James Dio (RIP)

10622805_410002762487892_553173569782476329_nHorns up! \m/…and Blessed Be! )O(

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Why the Eagle is Silenced: The Strength Card

Eagle Overlooking the Sea

I don’t own a TV. I haven’t had one since I was 18 because I have an addictive personality and on top of the smoking (which I quit doing over 5 years ago) and the eating disorder (which I’ve taken by the horns, became a vegetarian, and lost over 95 lbs since July 2010), sitting in front of a TV for hours would have just been in the book of bad ideas. So, in consequence, I am sometimes behind on trivia. One little fact I learned recently, which may or may not be common knowledge, but really struck a chord…

When visual media feature eagles, they overdub their natural voices with hawk cries.

bald-eagle-douglas-brown-dpc

Have you ever heard an eagle’s true voice? Or do you just think you have?

This really stumped me. “Why?” I asked. “Why on earth would we do that?” One of my friends responded on a Facebook comment, “Well, have you ever heard an eagle? They sound really wimpy.” So, I went to YouTube to find out for myself. As it turned out, I didn’t think they sounded “wimpy” at all. Frankly, I thought it was beautiful, sweet. I’ll admit it was surprising to see this powerful god-totem have this sing-song voice – but, that’s when it hit me. Right then is when I understood why film and TV producers use the hawk’s shrill instead of letting this magnificent bird speak for herself.

We expect strength and power to be synonymous with aggression.

Bloody_BrookGee, now, where would we learn this lesson, do you think…? Perhaps we learned this through centuries of muscling each other over land and religion? Maybe because most of us can name more serial killers than their victims? Or perhaps we got that idea when we were kids that when the bigger kids knock us over in the sandbox and take our lunch money and there’s nothing we can do about it. We, in the western civilized world, have somehow been programmed that “might is right.” We still have Indian nations sitting on reservations from the 1700’s because they were “infesting” land that belonged to them but we believed was put aside for us by a patriarchal, superior god. We had the guns and the germs, so, naturally, we wiped them out and considered ourselves “stronger.” The entire Roman Empire was built on bullying and conquest, therefore, Rome considered itself “stronger” than the rest of the world. The same can be said for the boss that illegally sexually propositions an employee, the politician that buys their votes, unscrupulous pharmaceutical companies, pimps and human traffickers, and fashion moguls. But, though these characters certainly have power, does power necessarily denote “strength”?

Which begs the question: What exactly is “Strength”?

The Oxford dictionary defines the word as: “Physical power and energy.” However, it also states, “The emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with situations or events that are distressing or difficult.”

maj08In the Tarot, the traditional Strength card is depicted as an immortal woman – a figure of the goddess, for She has a lemniscates above Her head — standing precariously beside a threatening lion, in perfect poise and calm. She is given the number 8, the number of Fame, Fortune, Commerce, and Perfected Energetic Exchange. However, She was originally assigned the number 11, Mastery of the Self, but Arthur Waite felt that EMV (Earth Mastery Vibration) was better suited for “Justice,” so he switched. According to David LeMieux’s “The Ancient Tarot and its Symbolism” (© 1985, Cornwall Books. Rosemont Publishing. New York. pg 123), the Strength card is aligned with the sign of Cancer – not a hot-headed fiery warmonger, but a mushy, squishy, highly intuitive and emotionally sensitive water sign — and the Hebrew letter “cheth” which means, “fence.” She is not forcing the lion to do Her will. She is not asserting human dominion over the non-human with weapons or threats, but is simply not allowing the aggressor to maltreat Her, using nothing more than Her mere presence. The figure in the Strength card is energetically aligned with the divine, in perfect trust that no harm will come to her. She sets Her boundaries (the “fence”), to protect what is Hers.

gallery_11The lion was chosen as a foe because the historical significance of the cat is a tremendous one. Not only is he recognized as royalty by most traditions, LeMieux goes further, specifically into the time period in which the Tarot was originally derived, and states that the lion “was always a greatly feared animal; in fact, some occult authorities consider it one of the signs of the devil (diabolism). In some schools, it is symbolic of the anti-Christ, but the majority considers it more realistically as the symbol of strength, i.e., the lion of Judah.”

The image of the passive, yet divine, overpowering aggressive, mortal evil is poignant and beautiful. Not to mention it is also uncannily like the figure of the Hindu goddess, Durga. In fact, this divine woman sitting calmly upon a great cat “represents the power of the Supreme Being that preserves moral order and righteousness in the creation. The Sanskrit word Durga means a fort or a place that is protected and thus difficult to reach. Durga, also called Divine Mother, protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.” (http://www.koausa.org/Gods/God1.html) Of course, there is no such thing as coincidence…

Durga-Devi

The flower that dares to bloom in the snow is no more or less stronger than the fighter. Strength is universal. Not everyone possesses physical power, but everyone has the ability to be strong. That is what this card says. That is what Nature says. True strength comes from our own voice. It is time for a new perspective. It is time to rethink what strength means to us as individuals, as a nation, and as a world.

It is time to let the eagle sing.

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