Pagan Blog Project Week 5: Craft Name, or H is for Harlot

Craft names. I don’t use one. Generally, I think they tend to be a bit silly and pompous (naming yourself “Lady Circe Stonehenge-Faery” seems a little self-aggrandizing), the absolute hypocrisy of that being that I legally changed my name years ago to conceal my identity, and my legal name is about as ridiculous and attention-getting as they come. It wasn’t intentional. I compiled a list of first names and a list of last names and gave one to each of my best friends and asked them to pick. I then took my my niece’s middle name (which is also an old family name), and with this Mad Lib moniker I walked down to the county courthouse with the man who is now my Paramour in tow. In this way, my rebirth had new “parents”. Male Friend acted a symbolic father, Female Friend acted as a symbolic mother, and my Paramour was my midwife, guiding me into my new identity. I chose this method deliberately, as the naming of a thing is a sacred act and calls for a certain amount of care. The fact that the end results sounds like an Alan Moore superheroine was not important, it was the act of renaming that mattered to me.

My reasons for changing my name were primarily to disassociate myself from my past. Having been a former adult entertainer in the age of the internet means your past is never more than a few clicks away (granted, when I went into the business, the internet was new and more a novelty that the ubiquitous presence it is now). Simply googling your name will turn up a wealth of things you do not want an employer finding once you try to go legit. Due to what I can only assume was a “clerical error”, much of my work was released under my real name. I have had male coworkers approach me for sexual favors in exchange for “keeping my secret”. I have had female coworkers cattily state thinly veiled allusions to what they had discovered about me in front of the entire staff. I have even had people bring in copies of magazines I was in and ask me for my autograph at work. Eventually, I had to change my name if I ever wanted to be able to function in society without the stigma of being the town whore. This angered me, since I did not and still do not see anything wrong with what I have done. However, I was never particularly attached to my name, having always felt it didn’t suit me.

Of course, this has made my life awkward in many ways. In the Pagan community, people often mistake my name for a craft name. In public life I frequently get comments on the strange nature of my name, which of course means I have to pretend it is my name by birth or risk the myriad of questions that will follow. There is a weird embarrassment to confessing you have legally changed your name, like I need to justify my decision. Half my family forgets to call me by my new name, the other half refuses and will announce this in front of people who don’t know that I changed my name. My friends have all adapted, but new friends will eventually have to be told if they become more than acquaintances.

In some ways, my original name is my magical name; it is the secret name known only to me and a few close relations. I have had so many different names over the years, I can literally get confused in a crowd if I hear someone calling out anything phonetically close to any one of them. I have 2 different names from the various S&M clubs I used to work at, the names that I modeled under, names I used for film work, nicknames I have had, online monikers. These are all names that I have responded to, identities I have had that sit on top of my original self like layers of experience. My name now seems to bring them all together so I feel a little less like Sybil Green, but I still have this weird sense of the different chapters in my life having happened to someone else.

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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.

Pagan Blog Project Week 2

A is for Archetype

Archetypes are a huge part of my world view and self-perception. The categories for this blog are all various archetypes I inhabit, depending on my mood and the company I keep. My husband loves the Valkyrie, my ex loved the Maenad, my best friend seems to prefer the Mystic, his husband (my co-priest) gets the Priestess, and so on. I view my friends and acquaintances through the gauze of their own archetypes; the Poet, the Scholar, the Warrior, the Storyteller, the Hero. For me, the archetype is not just a symbolic construct. It is the scaffolding of the soul, the manifestation of the god or goddess within us all. You do not become an archetype because you seek it out, it is already within you, waiting for actualization. If you feel the Artist within you, fantasize about creating art, that is an archetype waiting to be born. Whether you chose to activate that archetype is entirely up to you.

While I do not view the gods as being limited to archetypes, I do view them as being archetypes. Pagans and polytheists are in a fairly unique position, in that we are able to chose our gods rather than being told who our god is and forced to conform to that particular archetype. Even if you are raised within a certain tradition (which we are fortunate enough to actually see happening more and more these days), there are choices within that tradition as to which god you are personally affiliated with. If you are Hellenic, you have at least a dozen different fundamental gods covering a wide spectrum of human experience to chose from. Even in a more sparsely populated pantheon like the Germanic, you have gods that are complex an multifaceted. Odin is the Warrior, the Mystic, the Father, and many, many more. If you have the good fortune to be Hindu or Vedic you have thousands upon thousands of deities at your fingertips. Even Catholicism, with its over 10,000 saints, has found a place for the consecration of the archetype, only nstead of Brighid they venerate St. Brigit as the Poet and Mother of Lost Children. Whether this tendency on our part to combine the sacred and the archetype is something we foist on the divine or emanates from it is not something I am in the position to postulate. Clearly, I favor the latter, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing a Pagan blog now, would I?

When We Were Trees

The Transpersonal Experience in Indo-European Mythology, Folklore, and Music

Northern Heim, Southern Clime

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

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

The House of Vines

where words grow like leaves

The Flaming Thyrsos

Memoirs of a Hekatean Wino

Syncretic Mystic

Exactly correct. You inhabit two worlds. So far, I see nothing strange.

Root Craft

Making magic in the dirt.

Eternal Bacchus

Dionysos from the end of antiquity to the present

eklogai

polytheist extractions

Black Witch

Life from a Black Pagan's Perspective

Aspis of Ares

A Devotional Exploration of Ares, the God of War

4 of Wands

A celebration of me and my interests. Unapologetically.

Down the Withywindle

All paths lead that way, down to Withywindle.

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Folk Magic, Druidism, Heathenry, & Pagan Parenting

beingaleaf

learning, growing, reaching, being :-)

The Druid in the Swamp

Druidic Musings from the Texas Gulf Coast

The Druid's Cosmos

An ADF Druid's trials, tribulations, musings, and victories

A Forest Door

Spirit-Work & Devotional Polytheism

The Wild Hunt

On Maenads and Valkyries

Pagan Reveries

"Everything is full of gods." - Thales

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