Leaving Eden

As I sit here, on a beautiful, sunny Pacific Northwest afternoon waiting for a ferry to take me from my Paramour’s island to the mainland, I think about how lucky I am. Sure, the first 30 years of my life were fraught with drama and strife, but in the last 10 or 15 years things have finally started coming together. I attribute some if this to having a deeper understanding of both myself and my spirituality. Sometimes I think people believe that prayer is like a karmic pez dispenser: insert prayer, out pops your hearts desire. When they don’t get what they want or something negative happens, they throw up their hands and decide the entire system is a sham.

I am a huge fan fan if Doctor Who. There was recently and episode where the Doctor meets his Tardis in human form. He complains to her that she was faulty in performing her duties. “You never took me where I wanted to go!”, he cried. “But I always took you where you needed to go.”, she replied. Whether or not you see the gods as being interventionists, or if you believe it is all just dumb luck, life has a way of handing you things as you need them, not as you want them. Sometimes, if you are very lucky, those moments happen at the same time.

So, as I sit here in the sun, waiting for a ship to take me from my Paramour’s island to the mainland, where I will take another ship from the mainland back to my husband, I think how very lucky I am at this moment to have both what I want and what I need. I can only hope to do right by both of these wonderful men in my life.

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Anthesteria n’ Stuff

Tomorrow we kick off Anthesteria. My Paramour also arrives with a case of sake and is staying the weekend in a cabin here on the island, so between his presence and the Festival of Flowers at the wine shop this Saturday, this should be quite the debauched bender. I plan on being drunk and in congress for as much of the weekend as I am physically capable of squeezing out of my middle aged body.

But first off, I have much more G related obligations to WMFH today. It’s International Night at the college and we have to sing songs about drinking and cuckoos. Of course, these are cuckoos that are killed and come back to life each Spring… clever boy, WMFH, well played.

Long story short, I won’t be around much the next few days… at least not if I can help it.

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.

(Wo)Man in Love, or When Gods Collide

Last night, I had a lovely conversation with WMFH about how in love he is with his girlfriend. It was amazing how his face lit up in this expression of pure bliss as he spoke of her. Love can make anyone beautiful, and every time he mentions her he becomes positively beatific. I know that look, because since my weekend of passion with my Paramour, I have been beamish and blissful myself. There is something so transcendent in loving and being loved. I used to think that my modus operandi with men was unhealthy, that my my propensity for hypersexuality and tendency to fall in love with them as easily and completely as I do was a sign of some emotional instability on my part. As I have gotten older and my spiritual quest has become more focused, I have realized that this is why I am here. This is what I do. My affections can serve a purpose. I have always felt that I failed at being nurturing, because I tended to only feel nurturing toward men I was in love with. Now I see that this can be beautiful. Sometimes giving love without asking for it in return can be the most fulfilling love of all. Rather than seeing my affections as being something I inflict upon someone in a desperate attempt to win their love in return, I can see now that I am giving them something, something that every person on earth could always use more of. The pain comes when you expect something in return. Adjusting your expectations is necessary to avoid this pain. Of course, it helps immensely that I have my husband now to ground me. There is little risk to loving someone if you know that at the end of the day you have someone to recharge your batteries and love you in return.
Me at college
Me, feeling a little blissed out, at college at 42, married, dating, and kinda loving middle age. It was test day, and test day means 2 things: cookies and cleavage. The cookies were apple almond cinnamon bars and the cleavage is front and center.

I feel that my relationship with the gods has been a critical part of recognizing love for what it is and what it isn’t. Love can transform you, but it shouldn’t be relied on to change you. Love can rescue you, but you can’t expect it to save you. Love is like gravity; the strongest force known and the weakest (is a physics reference too obscure? Meh, you all seem like a PBS kind of crowd). During music appreciation class, WMFH played some Gregorian chants while discussing the importance of monophony in conveying the sacred nature of the chant. My Little Inner Voice said to me, “music is how the god within us speaks to the god outside of us”. The conversation with him after class made me realize that love and sex are how the god within us speaks to the god within others. This is why the experience is so unique to each situation. Every relationship is a different conversation, a different interaction. I have learned that love, any love, is what it is and cannot be defined by anyone. It cannot be molded into something it doesn’t want to be. Because it isn’t about us, it is manifestation of the divine seeking the divine in the physical world.

My Paramour and I have been like lovesick teenagers for the last week, texting and Skyping and calling each other for hours on end every day, all giggling and pillow talk and future plans. There was a time in my life where all I would have seen was the inevitable entropy of our relationship, the gradual decay of our orbit ending in a crash landing back to earth. Now I feel that I am able to embrace my emotions as well as accept his affection for me without question. I don’t worry about if he thinks I am too fat, or that my breasts aren’t as perky as they once were (although they are still quite remarkable for a woman my age thankyouverymuch). The fact that he is as insanely hypersexual as I am, combined with our decade long history and friendship makes us uniquely suited for each other. He is everything I ever dreamed of having in a “lover”, as if he were custom made for me. I tease him that he is my male maenad, our encounters fueled by an animal abandon and savage ecstatic debauchery.

The love that I get from my husband is so lovely and unconditional, almost maternal at times. Ours is a relationship of deep and serious affection and respect, and a protectiveness that I had never known before I met him. He is the man I want to walk through life with, swords raised and battle-cry howling.

My love for my best friend is timeless, we have been together for so long and through so much that it is seamless and effortless, as much a part of myself as my right hand.

I consider myself so very blessed to be surrounded by men who love me and accept my love in return. Each man in my life is a different conversation, a different song, a different kind of love. It truly feels like I am talking to gods and the joy at being so fortunate to be able to participate in the conversation is exquisite.

At our wedding, we asked Co-Priest to read the story of the origin of love from Plato’s Symposium, but ultimately Hedwig said it best:

Pagan Blog Project Week 4- Books: Transmundane, Lascivious, and Macabre

BOOKS.

My world is filled with them. As an ADF dedicant, you read. A lot. Not only that, but due to my lack of formal higher education, I am having to read a great deal of crap to fill the gaps in my knowledge in order to fully understand the material I am working with. I used to be a much faster reader, but the MS has caused a deficit in my short term memory. Still, my entire life has been centered on my prodigious reading skills.

I learned how to read before kindergarten, and by the time I was in the 1st grade the teachers began to recognize that I was far beyond the abilities of my peers. I was in my own reading group throughout most of elementary school, even when they held me back in the 4th grade because of my complete lack of math skills (my school district had some purely evil policies about how your math and language skills had to be on par with each other, which meant you were held at whichever skill was the lowest. They destroyed so many lives this way.) I was reading at a college level before junior high and could read 1,000 words per minute with a 90% comprehension rate. Consequently, I ended up reading many books at an age where I wasn’t socially or emotionally able to understand them. I read “The Hobbit” when I was 7, “The Exorcist” at 9, and many of the classics such as Dickens, Shakespeare, and Dostoevsky before I was old enough to menstruate. Of course I remember very little of these books today. After all, who can comprehend Nihilism when you are still looking forward to Sesame Street each afternoon?

I have always had a large collection of books, and tragically I have no place to put them all. I still have books from my childhood, books that belonged to my mother, antique books, and self-published books from friends. I collect all the supernatural and ancient history themed Time-Life series* for fun, and I used to have a huge collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes that has been picked clean by scavengers and the sands of time. At least a good 85% of my books are non-fiction. I really don’t enjoy fiction, it has to be something pretty exceptional for me to want to read it. I have books on the social history of crying, books about prostitution in the Weimar Republic, books about the correlations of death and eroticism in art, books about people who claim to have been brainwashed by the CIA to be Boxcar Willie’s sex slave (this is a real book. I am not kidding). The majority of my books cover the following subjects: sex, religion, history, anthropology, death, and mayhem. I have spent decades scouring used bookstores, Powell’s, yard sales, and researching catalogs like Loompanics, Amok, and Feral House to flesh out my library of the transmundane, lascivious, and macabre. And I want more.

I calculated that for the ADF Dedicant/Clergy program plus the Bardic studies program I will probably have to read between 75-200 books, depending on how in depth I want to be. My memory deficit is making this difficult, and so reading has become more of a chore than it once was (I have a tendency to forget what I have read a few pages back and have to do a great deal of re-reading in order to retain the information). Still, I love the process and I love my books.

Oh, and PS, fuck Kindle. I know people love those things, but when the apocalypse comes and you can’t recharge that soulless slice of fuck-all I will still have knowledge, beeyotches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Striking a Blow for Iseult

As mentioned previously, this weekend was the resolution of a decade-long star-crossed love affair of Shakespearean proportions (if Shakespeare had included porn, divorce, and dot coms). So here is a little modern fairy tale for you.

Once upon a time, there was a Princess. Of course this Princess happened to be a project manager at a dot com in her early thirties, but this is the 21st century and we have to adapt. The Princess was quite lonely, eligible princes being in short supply at her age. One day, a handsome Troubadour wandered into the Princess’ kingdom (also known as rented office space over a dive bar in the city). This Troubadour was married to a cruel and venomous Witch who shunned and spurned the Troubadour in favor of the attentions of her Sapphic sisters, which wouldn’t be so bad except she neglected to mention this proclivity to her husband and instead made him feel inadequate and lonely for years on end. The Troubadour and the Princess soon discovered they had much in common, including a love of music, horror movies, and German internet pornography (I did warn you this was a tale of modern romance). Soon, a great friendship grew, and that friendship in turn began to grow into something else. However, the Troubadour, although unhappy and neglected in his marriage, was steadfast in his fidelity to the Witch. The duo spent many a maenadic evening over the years, drunk on hot sake and sexually frustrated, yearning for each other but limited to few abbreviated gropings and subscription to “Das Haus von Spanking und Naughty Schulmädchen”.

One day, the Witch finally up and left the Troubadour. He was devastated, but the Princess was filled with hope. Now, at last, they could be together! She decided to wait it out, give him time, after all, he had just been through a horrible divorce after 18 years in a dysfunctional marriage. She held his hand, dried his tears, and tried to be the supportive friend he needed. After a while, things seemed to be heading in the right direction. Then one dark and stormy night, the Troubadour told the Princess he had a date… with another woman. The Princess was heartbroken, but understood that it was probably best if he saw other women. He had been in a floundering relationship for close to 20 years, and he should play the field, as it were. Still, it made her sad. In tears, she called one of her best friends, the Villain of Our Story. She told the Villain that the Troubadour had a date with another woman. The Villain told her in no uncertain terms to cut the guy loose, that their relationship was unhealthy and that the Princess was better off without him. That night was the last time she spoke to the Troubadour for 7 years. He never called her back. A piece of the Princess died that day, a warm little corner of her heart that she had held for him for almost 3 years. Shortly after that, she met the fearless Knight that would become her beloved husband, but she never forgot the Troubadour who had so cruelly cast her aside.

Seven years passed, and a mutual friend came to the Princess with a report. He had spent time with her Troubadour, and the picture was not pretty. The Troubadour had gotten drunk and tearfully told the friend that letting the Princess go was the biggest mistake of his life. That the only reason he had agreed to go out with another woman was at the insistence of his dying German mother (one does not ignore a German mother, dying or otherwise). Now he was deeply entrenched in a mid-life crisis, shallowly dating multiple women he didn’t care about, sinking into alcoholism, and regretting the loss of his Princess.

The Princess decided to let bygones be bygones and see him again. The moment she laid eyes on him, she realized that nothing between them had changed. The attraction was still there, and it was even more potent than before. They talked about the past, about mistakes that were made. He told her that he hadn’t called her back after that day because of all those emails the Princess had asked her friends to send to him telling him how much she hated him.

“Wait, what??”, said the Princess. “What emails?”

It turned out that after their phone conversation, the Villain (in the guise of the Princess) had churned out a series of hateful emails to the Troubadour. This made him believe that the Princess wished no further contact with him. This was not the first time the Villain had used such tactics, nor was it the last. The Villain’s motives for these actions can be speculated, but remain mysterious and baffling. It is assumed that the Villain’s hatred for seeing anyone happy while her own marriage was failing may have been part of it.

The Troubadour and the Princess looked at each other with a wistful heartache. Seven years had passed, she was now a 40-something rural housewife slowly being claimed by a tragic neurological disease, he was staring down 50 in a cold, empty house with a bottle in his hand. They would always be the road not traveled. They would never know what could have been between them if only one of them had had the nerve to pick up a phone and call the other to find out what was actually going on. They had allowed someone else to keep them apart, and had lost 7 years.

Eventually the temptation to be together was too great, and the Princess traveled a great distance from her island to his. Almost immediately, they fell into each others’ arms, making passionate, clumsy, joyful love for hours on end. The bliss of finally being together was great as they fell asleep in each others’ arms. The next morning, they were pleased to find their friendship still intact and their desire for each other still blossoming.

Neither one knows what the future holds, even if they never made love again they would be content with finally having their dear friend back. Nothing can bring back the 7 years they had lost in the prime of their lives, no one can say what would have happened had they followed their hearts rather than let others interfere. There are lessons to be learned here, lessons about trust, about faith, about forgiveness, about not being afraid to tell the people you love how you feel. This Princess has never been so grateful to have the chance to learn those lessons in her life.

Uncrossing the Stars

Tonight, after nearly a decade, I finally got to uncross the stars with my star-crossed lover, and it was every bit as lovely as it should have been 10 years ago. We often talk about the weft of the wyrd, but sometimes the path of our threads is so amazing and intricate you really have to sit back marvel at the beauty of it. I am ever grateful for the people who I have been blessed with in my life, whom I never seem to truly lose for long. I am especially blessed with a supportive husband who knows he will forever be the love of my life, but understands my need to express my love for others.

Now if you will excuse me, a warm bed and a handsome man await…

Love and the Art of the Open Relationship

One of the writers of one of the blogs I read mentioned something about having an open relationship and how a surprising amount of the drama comes from outside of the relationship. The judgement of others when you choose, like my husband and I have, to allow each other the freedom to date while maintaining a committed relationship can be more destructive than anything else. People make assumptions about the state of your marriage, about your moral fiber, about your trustworthiness. I know most people in the Pagan community are not new or unfamiliar with poly or open relationships, but I felt the need to assert my opinions on the subject (it is my blog after all).

1. There is a difference between “open” and “poly”. Poly tends to imply that a couple is actively seeking partners, usually for something more long term. Open tends to imply that hey, if it happens, it happens. My husband and I are the latter. We aren’t actively “cruising” for partners, just open to the possibility if we happen to meet someone we are attracted to. If that relationship turns into something more long term, then we cross that bridge when we come to it.

2. There need to be ground rules in order for it to work. Our rule is that the spouse comes first, and we don’t spend the night without prior agreement.

3. This isn’t about being promiscuous. This is about being open to love, affection, and/or sex with someone we care about if the opportunity arises. Both my husband and I were big ol’ sluts in our youth, we got that out of our system early.

4. This has nothing to do with the health of my marriage or my love for my husband. I give the big guy a hard time, but he is my love, and I don’t ever want to be married to anyone else. There are parts of my heart that I may want to give to others, they may even be others out there that I could love in a major and epic way, but none of them could take his specific place in my life. I made that man a promise on our wedding day, and I intend on keeping it. Our marriage is actually quite healthy and we are still very much in love.

What it all boils down to in my book is this; love is rare. Love is magic. Love is everything. Love is the most powerful and important thing on earth. When you have the chance at love, be it physical, emotional, passionate, romantic, visceral, frivolous, platonic, or otherwise, you should seize it and explore it. Life is short, and the idea that we only have enough love in our lives for one person at a time baffles me. If monogamy works for you, do it. But if it doesn’t…

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