Sunday, January 15, 2017

Reflections on the Witch (yet again)

I commented that I've really been rather unwell. Fortunately I had annual leave this week and it's only been towards the end of the week my 'mojo' has come back with a bump. It's made me think again about how nobody gets the witch...
- We often live by a whole set of rules which nobody else even knows exist...and our lives are an indictment of other peoples' rules.
- Because our world view is different, definitions such as losing and winning can be completely different for us.
- We don't believe in our religion, magic or whatever. We damn well know.
- We don't make mistakes and don't have time to regret. If you don't make mistakes, you're not even trying and there's nothing we can't turn round to our advantage.
- It is impossible to be alone as a witch. We exercise personal responsibility but when push comes shove, the help will always be there.
- Because we observe the 'tides' of nature, we know how to align things so they happen inevitably, and that times and seasons change one thing into another.
- We are unstoppable: as a force of nature if you try to contain us we come back stronger.
- Finally, as the world's most unorganised grouping of chronic non-joiners, we know that many of us who look different from us. Our greatest strength is our refusal to make our own witchcraft everybody's.
As you can see, my mojo has returned stronger than ever :-)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Spirit of Place: By Tram to Wednesbury

Trams aren't a very Birmingham thing. Apart from the obvious implication that the Motor City with its urban motorways would lean towards road transport there is a historic reason for Birmingham's paucity of trams. In the early years of the twentieth century, bus services were run, by law, as private enterprises. Hence the plethora of competing firms. The only exception to this was where a tram route was planned, and then the council cut run a bus service until the tram was up and running. The City of Birmingham Corporation responded to this by producing the most extravagant and complex plan of proposed tram routes possible, thus leaving the road open for them to run the buses themselves.
It therefore seems rather strange that trams are up and running again. The project was plagued by logistic and planning problems from the start and ironically the route literally revives a previous tram route for much of the line (more at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midland_Metro)
Today I felt the need to go to Wednesbury near Walsall. It was in connection with a spell, so obviously the reasons must remain top secret for the present, but suffice to say that the tram was the way to go. To the person of Pagan leanings, Wednesbury is of itself an interesting proposition:
'The substantial remains of a large ditch excavated in St Mary's Road in 2008, following the contours of the hill and predating the Early Medieval period, has been interpreted as part of a hilltop enclosure and possibly the Iron age hillfort long suspected on the site. The first authenticated spelling of the name was Wodensbyri, written in an endorsement on the back of the copy of the will of Wulfric Spot, dated 1004. Wednesbury is one of the few places in England to be named after a pre-Christian deity.
'Wednesbury is one of the oldest parts of the Black Country. The ending "-bury" comes from the old English word "burgh" meaning a hill orbarrow. So "Wednesbury" may mean "Woden's Hill" or "Woden's barrow". It could also mean Woden's fortification, although the former description is often accepted.' (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wednesbury)
To the witch, of course, a trip to Woden's hill means at least a cock of the hat to Woden himself, and I made my little sacrifice as part of my spell. In my limited experience of him Woden presides over the initiatory defending of honour, certainly a theme which has been running through my life!

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Future

The universe's new year gift to me has been a major lergy which has had me in bed for several days, so since I'm even more dizzy than usual, don't expect too much.
Funny time of year, this. There is a pull both backwards and forwards in time. Notwithstanding that this year has been a bit tricky, the Hound's tendency is ever onward. I don't need to brood, I know that if you screw me over you will get it come back to you! But it seems to come back when I let it go or even forget about it, so let's create a vision of what I want the next couple of years to be like.
In my work life, I am going to seek a promotion. Not just any promotion but one I really fancy. In fact there's one advertised at the moment and the instant my head stops spinning from my cold I will apply for it.
In my home life I need to get a handle on my finances, since I don't want to be working when I'm 75!
There are some outings I have in mind. I particularly want to stay at the hotel at Burgh Island, the inspiration for Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. If you're fabulously wealthy you can hire the whole island, presumably to lure your targets there.
I would like to go to Carlisle, where my father came from, again.
Finally I have a sort of field trip in mind, to the Witchcraft Museum at Boscastle, notebook in hand, as befits a studious witch.
Learning-wise, I want to get more into the Hebrew Letters and the Major Arcana. I think I have found out why Lévi placed the Fool at 21, so will doubtless have to return to that post at some point.
Of course I reserve the right to change these things at whim, but I still wish a new year as you Will to all my readers.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Porn

Physique Pictorial: a classic
(You wouldn't believe the trouble this post has given me in the writing, so here is redaction 34.3.7 of this post and don't be surprised if it lacks a certain finesse).
Rather than introduce you to my aunt, one of the more psychopathic members of my dysfunctional family, I am instead going to come clean and write about my use of porn.
This post was inspired by a comment on Inexplicable Device's blog which referred to buying a wank mag (Here). This chimed with the way I have been reflecting recently that in reality the 'respectable' face of controlled sexuality in our society is undergirded by a burgeoning sex industry which suggests that the respectable face of sex is not all there is to it. The fact that the police found an 'incredible' 999 men visiting the Libra brothel in a week (Source) in their sting operation suggests that actually the less respectable face of the world of sex may be very common.
And so it is with porn. I was brought up in a milieu which disapproved of porn. Of course orthodox Catholic teaching still disapproves of both porn and masturbation - of course they also disapprove of contraception but they are fighting a losing battle on all these fronts even among their own followers.
Because you see the thing is I love masturbating with porn.
There, said it. It's out there in the real world. The fact that that is also true of loads of other men is neither here nor there, because it's not really ever talked of publicly. It is one of those things which tends to be kept for when you get a lot of men together without women or is talked about anonymously.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Toxic Mothers Again

We are leaving the historic festival of darkness and approaching the festival of motherhood with which the Christians replaced it to entertain the plebs, and so the Hound has his usual jaundiced reflections on motherhood to offer.
A neighbour of ours from years ago (I haven't seen her or lived next to her for more than twenty-five years) took it upon herself to write to me (she got my address off a card I sent my mother) to interfere in the incredibly complicated train crash which is my relationship with my mother. I rang her and told her in no uncertain terms that she could butt out. You just don't get involved in other people's family arguments. This has caused me to reflect again about this whole thing, and to offer some more reflections for those who suffer from toxic parents.
You do not have to justify preserving your own sanity. This may seem very basic, but the thing is that people do expect you to justify it. To my mind, even to explain the decisions you make as self-preservation is a waste of time, since society's expectation is that you will play happy families with your parents, and no amount of rationalisation will make people understand that your relationship with your parents is permanently fucked.
You are an adult. Your life cannot be determined, beyond what you agree to, by the demands of your parents. You will come under pressure (or the emotional blackmail of sympathy, illness, sentiment, or old age) to let your parents take up a disproportionate portion of your life. This to me is actually the defining factor of a toxic family, that rational negotiation cannot happen or appears to happen and is then reneged on.
Your parents are adults. This may seem very basic, but some parents create a dynamic where their children are expected to act in a more parental role. You are under no obligation to do this.
Behaviour patterns set over decades are difficult or impossible to change. There is therefore no point hoping that anything is going to get better or even markedly different. Nor is there any hope in the philosophy that you may be helped by changing your own way of thinking, when you are dealing with a parent who does not respect your boundaries.
The ageing self-absorbed and manipulative parent will use their old age as a major tool to manipulate you. This is probably the most counter-cultural thing I have to say here, but the reality is that some old people behave incredibly badly and are perfect devils. The fact that the parent has illness or disability is of course a cause for concern, but the toxic parent will either use this to make you look bad, to draw you in, to emotionally blackmail you.
You will always 'lose' in some way with a toxic parent. Since the key defining feature of a toxic parent is that you cannot negotiate a mutually agreeable modus vivandi with them, it is therefore essential to understand that in your parent's eyes you have to lose. If anyone reading this thinks 'Surely not,' then consider yourself lucky not to have a toxic parent. Ignore them, or have them walk all over you, whatever you do for your parent, you will be the loser.
You will always look bad. Again, the odds are completely stacked against you, so that whatever you do the toxic parent will make damn sure everyone knows that you are a neglectful child, selfish, and so on.
You will be forced to take action to look after yourself, and that action in itself will cause further guilt and make you the 'loser'. At this point your actions will be in some way forced by your impossible parent and the need to preserve yourself, but whatever you do will still be 'wrong' in some way. Remember with a toxic parent there is no way you can ever come to a mutual agreement, and so whatever you do is wrong.
I am writing these things down, because I know that there are other people in the world in the same situation with their parents that I am in, and I also know that the people who will say these things are few and far between. In our world, your 'family' is expected to be your bedrock of security. There is now a greater recognition of unconventional families, but it remains unacceptable to be out of kilter with your birth family. I hope that anyone coming across this on the internet will know that they are not the only people who have these experiences and will feel validated.
My wish for all who read this is a willed and ecstatic new year, with adult relationships built on mutual respect and leaving the need to look backwards.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Spirit of Place: The Bull Ring in the 1960s


What a sense of sadness is brought to my mind by this film! I love the way the brand new 1960s Bull Ring is described so enthusiastically: it is a reminder that we can forget previous generations' aspirations at our peril. It is also a reminder that 1960s Birmingham was once brand new and squeaky clean.
Oh, I went into the pub shown on the film once. More than that I'm not saying.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Spirit of Place: A Brummy Ghost Story

My reduced posting here has been because of the amount of energy taken up by my new job. So in a seasonal spirit is a brief ghost story about the room which illustrates this post.
The room in question is in Birmingham Council House and is the office of the Lord Mayor. It is a naturally a frequent occurrence for Council House workers to enter the room and find the mayor sitting behind the desk. What makes this a ghost story is that there are repeated tales of them finding Joseph Chamberlain (died 1915) sitting in the mayoral desk chair!
In fact that is a busy corner of the city for ghosts. In addition to the workmen killed in an industrial accent and Charles Dickens, who haunt the Town Hall, visible through the mayor's window, there are rumours of a new ghost. It is that of a man in a 1960s-style suit, holding a plan, and looking around in a puzzled way for his library.
If I don't get to post again this week, a happy Winterval to all my readers!