strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

life as the hanged man August 22, 2007

Filed under: holistic medicine,life,the body electric,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 2:46 pm


I’ve been focusing on my breath lately: inhaling slowly, fully, from the stomach. Most of us breathe shallowly, from the chest, which keeps your body in sympathetic mode, the flight-or-fight stress response. Listening to my breath, feeling how it flows through my body, feeling how it affects my mind and spirit.

This whole desert experience is, I’m realizing, about me learning to be embodied fully. Airy-fairy cerebral me has to learn to move, to listen, to ground myself. To breathe, rather than let my mind always spin its wheels endlessly. To keep my feet on the earth even if my head is in the clouds. It’s hard. Being in your body, really knowing it, means dealing with a lot of stuff you thought you’d forgot about, stuff you just want to ignore (the examined life ain’t a walk in the park, that’s for sure). Emotions and memories don’t just evaporate if you ignore them. They hang out in your body, because your body is your mind. You can comprehend intellectually the idea that the body/mind/spirit are all one, that your body is so very much more than a sophisticated biological machine designed to carry around your consciousness. The intellect can grasp that, but knowing it, experiencing it, is something else altogther. Gnosis. It’s intense. It’s supposed to be. The desert is a crucible, in my life.

Having the moon in Scorpio in my natal chart can be a real bitch. I’m learning to accept that as a Libra, balance is the focus of my life. I’m learning that balance is a dance, a dynamic relationship, not stagnation. I’m learning to have emotions, rather than letting emotions have me. I’m taking flower essences and St. John’s Wort to help me out; not to mute or numb emotions, but to give me the ability to see and understand them instead of drown in them. It’s the difference between, “Huh, I’m feeling kind of down today” and “OMIGOD EVERYTHING’S AWFUL WAAAAAAHHH!!!”

 Yoga is a big part of this, and tai chi as well. It’s incredibly freeing to find myself focused on nothing but my body, my breath, and movement. I’m learning to see opportunity instead of obstacles. Yeah, I’m unemployed, and flat broke, what a stroke of luck! Now I can meditate for 30 minutes a day if I want. I can build strength and stamina at the same time that I calm my mind and balance my energies. I’ve learned simplicity. I’m learning gratitude. I’m eliminating the words “ought” and “should” from my vocabulary, as well as their synonyms. I’m trying to practice patience, as I wait for my circumstances to adjust. I’m learning trust, and confidence, and the maturity to distinguish needs from wants. So when I do finish my schooling, and get a job, and start doing all the things I think I need to be doing, that I don’t have the money for at the moment, I’ll be stronger, centered. I feel capable. I’ve never felt capable before.  It’s nice.

Image from The Gaian Tarot


The Sunday Smooch July 22, 2007

Filed under: books,dyke,movies,Sunday Smooch,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 9:56 am

Special Harry Potter Tribute Edition!

First up: Lesbo Vampire Smooching — Catharine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in The Hunger


Shockingly enough, I have not seen this movie all the way through. I didn’t even get to the kissing! I rented it ages ago, during a college summer break, when I was still closeted to my family, so watching it involved alot of strategic planning and surreptitious viewing–we only have one TV in our house–so I’d watch a bit and switch it over to a sitcom whenever someone walked in. So, for various reasons, I never got to finish it. I will have to rectify that immediately.

And, because there is an appalling lack of crunchy dykes in the Potterverse, we’ll do Tara and Willow once more, with feeling:


This episode always turns me into a puddle of mush.

Okay, that’s all for now, I gotta get back to the book, shit is seriously going down in Diagon Alley…!


The Sunday Smooch July 15, 2007

Filed under: dyke,life,Sunday Smooch,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 9:15 am

Okay, so everybody “knows” now. (did I mention that my mother has 10 siblings? And that I have 38 cousins, all of whom I know relatively well?) It’s been a long weekend.

I think this calls for some Willow and Tara.


It’s kind of ironic that I owe the only depiction of witchy lesbians to a Straight White Male (not even the L Word, as far as I know, has decided to incorporate some cruncy Goddess-worshippers).


musings July 11, 2007

Filed under: life,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 5:50 pm

My necklace broke the other day; the simple wooden crescent moon strung on a piece of twine. I’m feeling bereft without it around my neck. My pentacle has long since absconded (in a long, not very interesting story involving a 19-year-old baby dyke who hasn’t realized she has a ginormous crush on me).

My necklaces were the only outer sign of my pagan identity; aside from a handful of friends, I am, as they say, in the broom closet. Even in Hippietown, most people are vaguely New Age, of The Secret and Law of Attraction variety, which means they seem to believe in everything and nothing. Or they’re Buddhists. Now a crescent moon or a pentacle won’t scream “WICCAN” the way a cross or a star of David represent their respective affiliations. But they have deep significance to me, and that was the important thing. Even staying with my parents, four houses down from the Catholic church that three generations of my family have attended, I felt comforted knowing I had these personal symbols with me.

But losing them seems reflective of  where I’m at right now, spiritually speaking: I don’t know. I’m feeling at a loss, and have for some time now. I’ve been trying, and failing, to create a meaningful daily practice for myself, some little ritual or prayer, anything to help me integrate my spirituality with my every day life. Because it’s not separate, I can’t separate my spirituality from my sexuality (it’s not a coincidence that I discovered Goddess and came out at the same time), my current career path of holistic medicine, my politics. But I feel fragmented anyway. At the same time that Goddess and Wicca has led me to places literal and figurative that I’d never imagined, I feel like I haven’t progressed much at all from my early days of clandestine ritual-making in my dorm room.

I’m tired of Wicca–even my half-assed, wildly eclectic fiercely queer Goddess-centric version of it–being something I read about. As Chesterton put it, I want my religion to be less of a theory and more of a love affair.

I think I need to stop being a solitary. I don’t know how that’s feasible, given my circumstances, but dammit, I’m lonely. It’s fucking hard, crafting a religious practice out of whole cloth all by your lonesome. I want a coven, or a least a circle, of people to celebrate and explore and meditate and pray with. I need some elders and teachers and crones to help me out (ever try to guide yourself through trance? Good luck).

Which is a bit of risk. Being a solitary practioner can be a cover story for safety. Honestly, deity scares the holy shit out of me. That’s why I fought so long against the idea of being a pagan. And every single time Goddess grabbed me by my hair and dragged me, kicking and screaming, back into the circle. I long to have an ecstatic experience of Goddess and I’m terrified of it at the same time. So I want some friends to join me when I go exploring the crazy rave that is earth-based spirituality. So I’m putting it out there, officially: listen up, Universe. I don’t how, or where, or when, but send me a circle to study and dance and ritual and play with, or send me to them, or however it works. It’s kinda boring, all by myself. If I wanted a boring spirituality, I would have stayed Christian. 


fuck it’s hot June 21, 2007

Filed under: nature,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 11:40 am

but happy Solstice anyway.

In my ideal world, on the summer solstice I’d get up and watch the sunrise, preferably in a field full of wildflowers, on the edge of a forest. The day would be spent in every fun summer activity you can think up–rope swings and swimming holes, climbing trees, playing silly childhood games like freeze tag and hot box, making daisy chains, blowing bubbles. At high noon me and all my witchy friends (because I would have many, a big community of friends and lovers and poker buddies, a chosen family of like-minded pagans) would have a big, fun, crazy ritual culminating in a Spiral Dance and we’d all collapse in a big laughing heap. And then we’d pig out, on watermelon and blueberry cobbler and ice cream (home-made, of course) and lemonade and apple pie and all of our favorite foods. Maybe we’d have a food fight. Then I’d lie in the grass and watch the birds. Find a hammock and a good book of poems. At dusk we’d say good bye to the sun and greet the coming autumn, build a huge bonfire and party all night, drumming and boozing and dancing. The whole day would be like Gay Pride and Mardi Gras and the Fourth of July all rolled up and crossed with a block party.

Someday. As it is, it’s 105 degrees in the shade, here in the desert (oh, but it’s a dry heat!). I have homework to do and errands to run on what amounts to my day off; but it is nice, for once, to not have to work or go to class, like I usually have to do on my sacred holidays. So, if you get a chance, even if you’re not inclined to nature worship yourself, I still think everyone should use the solstice as an excuse to go to the park and have a picnic. If it’s not too hot out.