Pagan Blog Project Week 3: Blood

**NOTE: This was in my queue as a work in progress, but somehow ended up posting. It is unedited, rambling, and off-topic, but I decided to let stand since people have already seen it and commented. I apologize for the premature and “raw” nature of the post.**

Blood. What an odd choice to write about, eh? I’mma gonna warn you right here an now, if you squick easily, especially about chick things, skip this post. I’m not going to go into graphic detail, but I know the very subject disturbs some people. I’m also going to talk about my experiences with childhood bullying and sexual assault, so trigger alert as well. While these topics aren’t specifically Pagan, I am currently contemplating the concept of Fertility for my ADF essays, so it actually helps to write some of this out. Bear with me.

Let’s talk about menstruating, shall we? I don’t anymore, not since that nasty tumor pulled a Jack Ruby on my uterus 8 years ago. On the one hand, this was a blessing: the tumor caused me excruciating pain and made me bleed like a damn flume ride, but on the other hand… you would be surprised to learn that you can actually miss having a period. I forget that women menstruate sometimes. I still ovulate and have a regular cycle (I can tell I am doing so right now, as my breasts feel like sauna rocks and I have an insatiable desire for sex, salt, and chocolate. WMFH had best watch out, his earlobes were looking mighty nibble-able the other day) but since I don’t bleed anymore I have this sense of being on the outside of womanhood. I don’t regret my inability to have children, I never wanted them. However, as I have gotten older my great regret is the fact that I never wanted kids. People seem to like them. I don’t know why I don’t. I look at a baby and I feel about as much emotion as I feel looking at a sack of potatoes. The presence of children fills me with distaste and annoyance. Once they hit puberty, the age when most people start to lose interest in them, THEN I start finding them tolerable. As my husband likes to put it in his Old South Foghorn Leghorn drawl, “I don’ like ’em until they unnerstand the concept a’ death.” (note: don’t let the accent fool you, my husband is actually a very educated man)

I think part of my issue with children is the obscene amount of bullying I was subjected to as a child. This was back in an age before people cared about such things and developed PSAs, support groups, hotlines, and Very Special Episodes dedicated to it, and the level of abuse I experienced was truly horrific. It ranged from verbal taunting to beatings to outright sexual assault. I was overweight, I was smart (but a poor student), I was weird, and I was raised in a home where no one paid attention to whether or not I did my homework, bathed, brushed my teeth, slept, ate, or had clean clothes for school. I developed enormous breasts by the time I was in 4th grade and my mother didn’t see a reason to buy me a bra. I dreaded recess every day, because I knew at best I would be able to hide by myself in the secluded forest behind the field, but at worst… at worst, the girls would tease me, tell me I was fat and ugly, throw rocks at me, and the boys would gather in a circle around me to take turns punching and jabbing my breasts in sadistic curiosity. And it didn’t end there. I can recall specific days in vivid detail where I was convinced I would be murdered or gang raped before recess was through, and the adults turned a blind eye to it all. We were just being kids, kids tease each other, it builds character. And it was constant. Every day, on the way to school, between classes, on the playground, after school, and around the neighborhood. It took me several years of this treatment before I finally had had enough and wailed the tar out of one girl in what could only be described as a berserker rage. After that, I realized I was not just fat, I was BIG, the tallest kid in school at that point. And strong. And over the preceding years of constant physical torment I had developed a very high tolerance for pain. Once word got out I was not only not playing the game anymore I was, in fact, a juggernaut of irrational violence when pushed too far, the kids found someone else to torment. Junior high and high school were far more kind to me socially. So, when I see children, I do not see the innocent little angels others see, I see the leering, hateful tormentors and cruel mob mentality of a soulless legion that did everything it could to deny me my humanity, dignity, and self-respect.

People have often said “you’ll feel different when it’s your own”. To them I say, “and what if I don’t?? Do you really want to gamble with the future of a CHILD that way??” Cuz let me tell you right now, brother, I have come *this close* to punching a child in the face on numerous occasions, and these were kids I could walk away from. Why would I roll the dice that I might not hate my own child? That, to me, illustrates the problem with the way our society looks at women. There is something so “unnatural” about a woman who does want children that we are willing to pressure her into breeding NO MATTER THE CONSEQUENCES TO HER OR THE CHILD. I chose not to have children because I did not want a child growing up in a house without all the love and support possible.

But I do miss having my period sometimes. I feel sometimes like I have given up part of my femininity, forced myself into a sort of early “cronehood”. There is something so incredibly potent and mysterious in that blood we both exalt and revile. Men tend to react strangely when you tell them you aren’t fertile, like you are a eunuch. Guess what, just because the kitchen is closed doesn’t mean there isn’t still a party at the bar. Everything that counts works just fine, even better thanks for asking. As I have approached my 40s, my already prodigious sex drive has kicked on the turbo boost in a major way, only there is still this strange sense of something missing, of being not quite right.

Sigrun Pallene- An Introduction

There is always that moment when you start a blog where the cursor flashes ominously from the little white rectangle… ENTER USER NAME… ENTER USER NAME… and you stare vacantly, waiting for a spark of inspiration that will summarize your identity, in 4-20 characters to give a clear picture of who you are and why you have decided to share your thoughts with anyone who wanders by.

Choosing mine was daunting, but eventually the names came to me:

Sigrun: Valkyrie who cursed her brother to wander the woods and live off carrion for the rest of his days after he killed her lover.

Pallene: “A Princess of Pallene (in Thrake, North of Greece) whose father had her wrestle those who sought her hand in marriage. All were defeated and slain until Dionysos came along and won the contest.” – theoi.com

These two mythical women seemed to encompass many aspects of who I am and why I am here. As a Pagan woman, I often find people expect me to be oriented to the Earth Mother. Many a conversation has turned sour for me when I inform other Pagan women that not only am I child-free by choice, I actually rather intensely dislike children and find childbearing rather… unseemly. I have actually be told before that my distaste for reproduction means I can’t possibly be a “real” Pagan, because, of course, all “real” Pagan women are enthralled with the idea of squeezing a fleshy bowling ball out of their blood-smeared nether regions.

Apparently, the tyranny of obligatory fecundity is not just the province of the Abrahamic religions.

I was not born to breed. It simply isn’t in my personal make up. Those of you who are parents and enjoy raising children, more power to you, you have more fortitude and grit than I can muster. I would think the world would commend a woman for choosing to remain childless when she knows her maternal instinct is AWOL, but sadly most people react as if you have told them you kick puppies for a hobby.

I was raised to be a warrior by a mother who probably would have been happier if she had been able to be one herself. She taught me to fight, to swing a bat, how to intimidate a man who threatens you, how to take stock of your surroundings and find the weapons and tools you might need in case of trouble. She taught me to voice my opinion, to fight my own battles, and to suck it up when things went wrong. When most people’s mothers read them “The Pokey Little Puppy” and “Goodnight, Moon” before bed, this is what my mother read me:

Invictus
by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I shit you not, gentle reader.

Needless to say, moving into adulthood created some serious “alpha female” moments in our single-parent household, and I left home as early and often as possible. Nowadays, my relationship with my mother is relatively healthy, but we have both changed and matured, and it was a long road to get here.

My dad is a very gentle and funny guy. He taught me to love nature, to respect it but not fear it, that a little science is every girl’s best friend.

Both my parents insisted I be able to read before kindergarten. I still can’t thank them enough for that.

As I grew, I had several spiritual revelations that have lead me down the path I am currently on. I will go into those in depth later, but for now it is enough to say that my whole life I have been one of “those” women. The woman who is too loud, too vulgar, too rough, and too pushy. The woman who doesn’t know that men hate it when you beat them at games, that you shouldn’t prattle on about Xhosa healing ceremonies or televised eye surgery when on a date, that guys hate it when you use big words they don’t know. The woman who is too blatant in her sexuality, too immodest in her dress, too casual in her relationships with men. The woman to whom people constantly say things like “Geez, tell us how you REALLY feel!” or “Stop yelling ‘vagina’! You’ll upset the neighbors!”. I have tried to fit in, to make myself more demure and “classy”. I often think that somewhere inside me is an inner Audrey Hepburn, but the big mean fat girl ate her… so here I am.

I am currently a dedicant for the ADF and a practicing priestess for a small grove here on the tiny island in the Northwest I call home. I am married to a Bad Ass Motherfucker, who was the only man I deemed could survive being married to me. He is my rock and my hero, even if he wishes I would stop yelling ‘vagina’ and scaring the neighbors. This blog is called ‘Ravens and Ivy’ because I identify with the ferocity of the Germanic Valkyries and the ecstatic abandon of the Greek Maenads. I consider myself a sort of Pan-Germanic semi-reconstructionist, which if it seems like a ridiculously over the top description, it is. I started this blog because I needed a place to talk about my spiritual journey with a certain level of anonymity and candor. If you read this, great, if not, oh well.

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On Maenads and Valkyries

Introspective Maenad

Thoughts of an Unlikely Dionysian

Pixiecraft: Adventures of Magick and Devotion

The Life of a Practicing Pagan and Traditional Witch

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Syncretic Mystic

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learning, growing, reaching, being :-)

The Druid in the Swamp

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The Wild Hunt

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"Everything is full of gods." - Thales

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