Sunday, December 10, 2017

Blogging Difficult Stuff

A couple of posts ago I commented on how some blogs are very much the public face of the blogger and cut out anything which may detract from the relentless middle class bliss of the life portrayed there. On the other hand I have just now been reading a blog (I won't reference it for the simple reason that the purpose of this post is about blogging difficult stuff rather than that man's own blog). The writer alternates poetry and his efforts to learn cookery in his fifties with some extraordinarily painful stuff about his own alcoholism, and the circumstances of his divorce and accompanying estrangement from his adult children. In true former-alcoholic style he blames himself and his drinking for this - my own impression is that his relationship with his ex-wife was fucked and the poison messed up his relationship with his children. Additionally his ex-wife is actively blocking his attempts to see his adult children who are therefore not even being given the option to make up their own mind whether they want to see their dad at some time in the future.
You can readily see that this blog is the exact opposite of the 'public image' type of blog. THe author of the blog has made the decision to reveal all sorts of things about himself in some rather painful detail. That said, since it is published appparently under his real name, of course it is possible that if his daughters look for him in the future they could find him that way. While I'm sure this blog reveals all sorts of things about me to the dedicated reeader, I have made my own decision to try to avoid posting too much painful stuff in too much detail. It is the blog of my witchcraft, which incorporates aspects of my life, but there are things I don't want to go into in too much detail. I was very pleased when I got a comment a while back from someone saying that my post about the difficulties in my relationship with my mother had been really helpful to him. That was actually what I wanted to happen - it wasn't about me, but I know that when your family is fucked it is impossible to talk about it in the face of the families faking unity and happiness around you.
I have even more screwy stuff which I have tended not to post about here because it doesn't have a name. In fact I'm rather jealous that that guy can talk about being alcoholic (although I don't think he does actually use that word) because it has a name. As a fellow addict (although mine is to smoking) I can recognise when someone is getting to terms with their own substance and the way they talk about it.
I was thinking about that last night because I went to my work's Christmas dinner. I haven't been to one of those for years - this is one of the few workplaces I've had when I haven't cordially loathed everyone, and in fact the one person I can't stand threw a hissy fit and didn't turn up. At the end of the evening one person (who doesn't smoke) asked another person (who also doesn't smoke) if she had a fag he could cadge and I was so jealous. Simply for the reason that I can't smoke like that, I have a proper addiction going and can't have an odd one.
Now on the other hand I can have a drink. I have a little drink in the evening, which I consider part of civilised living. Actually the real reason is that that is part of my rebellion against my mother, who would think that that is alcoholism. I'm not an alcoholic - I recognise an addict's relationship with the substance and I just don't have it with alcohol - I can take it or leave it and am also watchful that the amount I drink doesn't increase. The fact that quite a lot of my life is actually dominated by doing things in a way that would give my mother the screaming abjabs would suggest that she still has a huge hold over me, but these various things are now my own way of life and I'm not ever going back to, say, eating my evening meal at 5pm.
As usual I've drifted off the subject of this post, but my point remains, that if I wanted to expose my own 'stuff' to the world I could, but I don't want to. I suppose the subject of this blog is neither about presenting an ideal life or humiliating myself by revealing my own neuroses in public. It's more about what I have learned from making peace with my own inner demons and how other people can do that if they have the will to. That bloke has just chosen to do it radically differently - although like vegans who feel compelled to tell you at length about it, it seems people who've screwed up their lives while drinking them stopped also feel compelled to tell people about it. My concern with how much I reveal would be more that I want to avoid an impression of falseness while also not publicly revealing things which I don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry knowing. Perhaps it's a balance I will never get completely right - perhaps nobody who blogs ever gets it right...

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Abbot Soper Convicted

I've been waiting for a moment to post this wonderful news. Regular readers will know that the former abbot of Ealing who went on the run from the police has been one of my pet projects. I will celebrate with the news as published this week in the Guardian:

A former abbot who fled to Kosovo to escape justice has been convicted of abusing 10 boys at a Catholic-run school in London during the 1970s and 80s.

Andrew Soper, 74, formerly known as Father Laurence Soper, was found guilty of 19 charges of rape and other sexual offences after a lengthy trial at the Old Bailey.

Soper sexually abused pupils while he was master in charge of discipline at St Benedict’s school in Ealing, west London. He would assault them after subjecting them to corporal punishment using a cane.

The first victim contacted police in 2004 after Soper left his role as abbot of Ealing Abbey and moved to the Benedictine order’s headquarters in Rome.
The former pupil was initially told by officers there was insufficient evidence.

Soper was later interviewed at Heathrow police station in 2010 and subsequently fled to Kosovo while on police bail the following year.

He was arrested at Luton airport in August 2016 after being deported by the Kosovan authorities and returned to the UK.

Tetteh Turkson, a senior Crown Prosecution Service lawyer involved in the case, said: “Soper used his position as a teacher and as a priest to abuse children for his own sexual gratification.

“He compounded this by trying to evade justice and fleeing to Kosovo in order to go into hiding. The victims’ bravery in coming forward and giving evidence has seen him convicted of these serious offences.”

A statement on behalf of the fee-paying independent school was issued by Alex Carlile QC after the conviction. He said: “St Benedict’s school is deeply concerned for, and distressed by, the ordeals faced by the victims of Laurence Soper, who have lived with the pain of his activities for so long.

“The school apologises unreservedly for the serious wrongs of the past. The school regrets that Soper did not have the courage to plead guilty.

“The result has been that innocent victims, whom he abused when they were boys in the school, were compelled to give evidence. They were subjected to cross-examination about matters in relation to which they were both helpless and innocent.

“The fact that these matters took place many years ago does not mitigate the pain and injustice endured by them.” The statement said the school was now “a completely different institution”.

Lord Carlile added: “The tough lessons of the past have been learned, and the errors and crimes of the past are in the daily consciousness and conscience of the school management … St Benedict’s cannot and will never forget Soper’s crimes. Nevertheless they are proud of the school as it now is, and as confident as ever they can be that everything is being done to ensure that such events cannot recur.”

The school, which charges fees of about £5,000 a term, counts the former Conservative chair Lord Patten and entertainer Julian Clary among its alumni.

Gillian Etherton QC, who led the prosecution, told the court victims were subjected to sadistic beatings by Soper for “fake reasons”.

They included kicking a football “in the wrong direction”, “failing to use double margins”, and “using the wrong staircase”, leading to a caning and a sexual assault, she said.

“It is the prosecution case that ‘punishments’ as described by the complainants in this case were carried out by Soper in entirely inappropriate ways and circumstances and, on many occasions, with what can only have been sexual motive,” Etherton added.

Many of his victims have experienced flashbacks and nightmares. During the trial Soper denied using the cane as a ruse to abuse boys.

The judge, Anthony Bate, remanded Soper in custody to be sentenced on 19 December. He was convicted of two counts of buggery, two counts of indecency with a child and 15 counts of indecent assault.

Soper was found guilty of buggery, contrary to section 12(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 1956, since the offence took place when that act was in force. The offence was changed from buggery to rape by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Other People's Blogs

It's a strange, self-referential world, the blogosphere. On the one hand it's given people like me an opportunity to put our opinions out in public, when previously we'd have had to get somebody to publish us. On the other hand, visit anyone's blog and you will notice they are still in their own world, visited by people of a similar demographic, and similar interests.
The real function of the blogosphere for somebody nosy like me, is the insight into other people's lives and minds. And you get this opportunity to be nosy without the need to meet the author - the internet was truly made for someone like me who is fascinated by people but tires very quickly of direct human contact.
There are therefore a number of blogs I visit regularly.
Of the witchy ones, that of Inexplicable Device is of course a good one. He's more of a people person than me obviously, and has been raised to our altar so must be a great sorcerer. Just like mine, his magic is all his own and thus more authentic than magic from an instruction book. As a rule the witchy blogs I follow tend to be on Tumblr - I keep meaning to do a post about pictures over and against words. She's stopped posting now, but I've learned a lot from Rowan Tarot.
Lucy Melford has recently made a decision to make her blog about her - resisting the blogger's temptation to make it about a position or to give an impression. Surely people spend too much time doing things for effect as it is,  and many a blog gives this impression.
The temptation to give an impression is withstood by From Moon to Moon, despite it being a 'lifestyle' blog.
Two blogs which are definitely not for the faint-hearted: the first is Bishop Pat Buckley's blog, which is rumoured to be read avidly by many a Catholic cleric for fear they will appear on it. The other is even more difficult if you're not expecting it. It's a 'sedevacantist' blog, which means they don't think the pope is a true pope and basically what calls itself the Catholic church isn't - it's the daily commentaries from the Traditio fathers. A less challenging blog by a Christian minister and interesting person is Kindred of the Quiet Way, where obviously yours truly may fit less well!
Sadly he seems to have migrated to Twitter but the lovely James Goss can't half write. And finally I believe Scarfolk Council is only one of its gifted author's wonderful creations.
While I have been writing this post I've been watching Saturday Night Fever, and am struck by how Tony was an early crush of mine. I see the film is an 18 so I'm not sure how I saw it, but the scenes of him in black briefs made a lasting impression...

Friday, December 1, 2017

Witches and Hospitals

For reasons which are utterly routine and no cause for grapes and Lucozade, I am sitting in a hospital waiting room, in the midst of innumerable tests which I have done on a yearly basis.
To the witch, hospitals are fascinating places revealing numerous aspects of human behaviour and the dispositions they reveal.
There's the whole thing of not turning up for appointments for a start. I see that last month this hospital (a busy city general hospital) had over 1,700 appointments not attended. Of course some will be for various good reasons but they sent me two letters and a text to remind me about my appointment. Why ever would you just not turn up?
Well it indicates you're not bothered about anyone else, obviously. It also indicates you're not bothered about yourself, because those people will have seen GPs to start with and then don't turn up for the appointment that's been made.
In my last post I expatiated on people who will not learn lessons, and here I am thinking about people who won't accept help when it's offered, even though they've asked for it themselves!
I suppose what I'm really talking about is a lack of sovereignty over what is happening to them. Those whose will is to maintain good health will perform the magical act of turning up to a hospital appointment. As we know, all acts are magical acts and thus primarily act on the magician.
Image credit: https://www.uhb.nhs.uk/qe-history-photos.htm

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Some People Never Learn

No, but, seriously. In one of her books Starhawk says that in witchcraft's philosophy you keep getting presented with the same lesson until you learn it. And so we see people going back to abusive spouses, not accepting the help offered for problems they themselves identify...and so on. Unfortunately these people present to the witch looking to be taught. They may not know we're witches, and they may not realise they're in school, but 'the witch is the change of definitions and relationships' (Margot Adler).
<Rubs hands with evil grin>

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Banish Often, Invoke Often

'Banish often, invoke often,' that is one of the major magic(k)al principles of the modern world of sorcery. It may seem uncouth after Uncle Al kindly wrote a guest post here, but I'm afraid my main purpose in this post is to document my great discomfort with the maxim he coined.
For a start, I note that people talking about this practice tend to talk about it as part of a daily magical practice. My own opinion is that id I'm even going to aim for a daily magical pratice I might as well turn Christian and have done with it. You will not that I am talking about myself here only. It may be your will or useful for you to have a dsciplined daily practice which you stick to, but it's not for me: my own will is that my practice is much more freeform and based around the daily experiences of my life. My opinion is that the universe itself will place both the opportunities, needs, and resources to deal with them, in my way when I and the universe are ready.
Don't get me wrong, every day I have my little chat with the Goddess. It will come as no surprise that this is rather opposite from any other approach to praying. It amuses me no end to invoke (I knew I would end up talking about these twin practices the wrong way round) her to cause erectile dysfunction to any rapists around. It gives me no end of joy to invoke her power of death on those who hate the faggots. Even the fact that I can say this means that I have broken free from the societal and familial norms of my past and have entered the liberty and ecstasy of the children of the Goddess. This little chat with the Goddess is therefore as much about me as it is about her.
Of course I am talking about a different sort of invoking from Crowley, or may be I am not. I believe him to have meant the magician to invoke the Holy Guardian Angel (now there's a whole library of books in those three words there) often. I am invoking a divinity, however by that invocation my reality is changed and I come into my own. As we know the ultimate target of magic is virtually always the magician himself, and if the magiician by his invocation comes into his own, well maybe he actually is gaining the knowledge and conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel.
That's the trouble with the magic you will read about here: I havre skimmed the chapter headings so know the jargon, but rarely understand the detail, and certain don't follow the practice. I'm far more likely to throw the book away in boredom and just do my own thing. Come to think of it, this blog is mainly a documentation of my doing exactly that and I would frankly advise any reader to throw away the book and so their own magic.
My problem comes far more with the action of banishing. I will admit to having had at least a go at the conventional banishing rituals. You can find them on t'internet, and if you find yourself awed by the recounting of these rituals, it's possible Uncle Al is playing a joke on you, or else just that the writer you've found online is merely intent on telling you how good he is a magician. So good, in fact, that nobody else can even understand it.
In fact, my own opinion is that banishing as a ritual is of questionable use to the witch. I say to the witch, because what I mean is the use of these rituals to a magician of my sort. My own opinion as a hedgewitch, is that since we aim to find the magic in the hedge we suffer far more by banishing than we can ever hope to gain. If you want to stick to the trad magical system as whole you're going to have to go there, but I feel for the hedgewitch it clears way too much stuff away. I have actually read of people who banish very regularly finding that the rite tends to clear *everything* away, and they can end up with a sense of nothingness and emptiness if they are not empty.
My own experience is that I know when I need to banish, because I start carrying around too much psychic gunk. There are numerous very traditional ways of getting rid of this - having a bath is a traditional one for example. I only really banish when I find I'm carrying too much stuff, and try to avoid getting to that point by a magical act which didn't really have a name until I thought about this post and decided to call this act 'putting things where they should be'. It's rather in a the nature of an examination of self and what is going on energetically around one, and deciding where any 'stuff' belongs. I actually do this quite a lot of the time anyway, by sending any nasties either to a recipient who needs the accompanying lesson, or just back where they have come from. Like this I am literally putting any nasties where they should be, I am lightened myself and I am using the stuff that comes my way as part of the witch's work to give people the opportunity to rectify their lives. Yes, someone whom I've divined is a turd may get a spectacularly bad run of luck, but the nature of my magic is that this will very obviously be set up in a way that clearly points them to examine aspects of their lives.
I'm just hoping that if I ever see a psychiatrist I can either keep this to myself or phrase it as a 'dynamic'.
The act of sending back or rearranging dodgy energies was one that it took me ages to come upon but it revolutionised my life in so many ways. I don't have to carry other people's stuff around, and it is the perfect way for a lazy witch to do the daily work I have to do. No doubt this post will have the fluffies throwing up their hands in horror, but this blog is about real witchcraft which comes from blood and bone, and this post is from the heart.

Queer: Graffiti near the Gay Village

This graff is something I've been meaning to post about here for some time - I'm quite chuffed it hasn't been cleaned off from one of the underpasses under Bristol Street, where it appeared some time ago.
*How* a lot of the assimilationist rhetoric spouted by the most vocal section of the gay world does my head in. Do I even need to say that concepts such as marriage and children feature highly? Yes you've got it, they want to be just like the heterosexuals.
The fact that this is painted on a wall is very cheering to me. The fact the concepts of queer and thug are put together warms the cockles of my witchy heart no end. Not all the faggots out there are good little gays. Some of the faggots are different. So mote it be.