Archive for the ‘defining moments’ Category

What Witches Know

June 6, 2009

Photo and Story © 2009 http://www.psychscribe.com

 

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WHAT WITCHES KNOW 

by

Psychscribe

 

     My grandmother, just before they burned her, said this to my mother: the only difference between them and us is they don’t know they have it.  She gestured with her chin at  the bonneted, jostling women, who far out numbered the men in the seething crowd around the stake. Her own unbound hair snapped in the wind as they lit her.

     Afterwards my mother fled to this secret, wooded place that welcomes our kind.  The curse they call a power spills like gentle sunlight upon the bears  and other wild things that feed from our hands. The beasts of the forest are kin to us.

     I had no father.  She grew me, all on her own she liked to say. I never asked her for the truth.  I knew he’d met the same terrible fate as all the others, the ones who came after. 

     We never knew how they found her here.  They would just appear between the trees, squinting and searching, as if sucked from the great open spaces by a hungry wind.  Raking her fingers through that thick, viney hair, she would sigh so deeply you could feel the cottage tremble.  I trembled too.  For them and for her.  Go away, she would whisper.  Not again, I would pray. 

     The gods did not answer. The men did not hear.

     She tried to warn them.  I’ll hurt you, she’d cry.  Leave while you can.  They never believed her.  Princes and farmers, hunters and noblemen, even the friar thought he could save her.  They never said from what.

     Save yourself! she would shriek.  They only chased her more.

     She looked safe enough. Layers of violet gauze robes hung from a tall, fragile frame, concealing tiny breasts and skin so pale it seemed as if she might vanish at any moment.  They must have thought they were chasing a fairy.  How could they know what she was?

     What they hunted, hell-bent, was their own annihilation.   They would forget to eat and drink, or wash, or even sleep, and laugh in delight when she called it to their attention.  See what you do to me, crooned the hunter to his prey.   See what you do. 

     And each would whisper his dream of wholeness and nothingness, the dream we’ve been hearing since time began, the one that sends them from their churches and wives’ beds and into our damnation.

     Did she love them?  Almost, always almost, she once said.  But as soon as I can smell the fear in them the feeling is replaced by something else, something I can’t name. 

     Sooner or later she would grow tired from the hunt.  How long can you run from water when your throat is parched?  But she never succumbed, not at once anyway.  Breathless and laughing, she would toss the suitor her robes and the promise of tomorrow, disappearing into the cottage and bolting the door.

     Witch! they would shout at her naked, fleeing form, angry yet smiling in a way I did not understand.  Burn her! Burn her! the wives left behind cried out in their dreams. 

     In the morning, still naked, she would unbolt the door and open it wide, her dark hair coiling and writhing, lifting toward the sun.  I could feel her heat from where I lay in my small bed.  She would not close her eyes when she made what they called love . They liked that at first ( ah… spirit! ) arched triumphantly over her like bows and staring into the depths of what they fancied to be their souls.  They always got to the point, of course, where they needed to close their eyes on what they saw. But by then it was too late.

 

     We keep a little piece of them.  Not because we are evil but because it is our nature.  What we take are their shadows, their dark, howling secrets.  If you’ve ever seen a squirrel skinned alive then you know what it is like.   

     They live through it.  They go home to their wives, their hearths and their children.  But a man without his shadow is never sure he’s really there.  He looks at the ground and sees nothing beneath his feet.

 

     The witch hunts come cyclically, just like the seasons.  We know it is time long before we hear the pounding of hooves, the blood-thirsty cries.

     The man who led the hunt for my mother was probably the most enamored of all her lovers.  And the most tormented.  He brought his wife, a small, plain  woman with flat brown eyes.  She’d known, of course.  They always know.  He’d offered her first torch when they found the witch.

     There must have been forty men.  You could smell the lust in the air when they stripped her.  I sure would like a taste of this one before we cook her, one of them said as he grabbed at her breast.

     Don’t touch her! I’ll kill the lot of you! screamed my mother’s lover, aiming his musket at all of them. The wife paled at his outburst.  She swayed on her feet like a sapling in a winter wind. My mother reached out a hand to steady her.

     A look passed between witch and wife that can hardly be described.. It flickered brighter than the torchlight in the air between them, a fusion of forces human shaped and witch radiant, so brilliant, so strong, that the men had to turn their faces from it. 

     She passed her torch to my mother, then gently wrapped her cloak around my mother’s bare shoulders.  Piece by piece she flung the rest of her garments at the men, laughing and spinning herself into the frenzy that is older than time.

     The men dared not say a word.  The husband could not.

     Embracing the stake like a lover, she wrapped her naked arms and legs around it as my mother lit the pyre.  Not a hand was lifted to stop it. 

     Afterwards he carried my mother home, belly down on his horse.  He married her and got his shadow back.  It was said, for a time, that he’d never looked better.  My mother, of course, died the death the wife had chosen for her.  It was slow, and a terrible thing to see.  First they bound her hair, then they put bonnets on her, and in time when he looked into her eyes he saw nothing.  Nothing at all.

     A witch without her magic is like a man without his shadow: useless both of them, and damned anyway.

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Psychscribe Quote #57

March 27, 2009

©www.clipart.com 2008

 

“If you watch how nature deals with adversity, continually renewing itself, you can’t help but learn”  Bernie Siegel

A Comforting Ancient Story

March 25, 2009

My dear friend SanityFound sent me this ancient story to comfort and fortify me about my upcoming visit to my dying uncle. It did indeed comfort me, and it resonated with truth. I hope it helps some other reader here:

In ancient times it was believed that when someone gets an illness, someone who doesn’t die suddenly, it is God giving those that passed on a chance to be with those who visit the the ones soon to pass.  In ancient times those who loved the one who was ill would visit them, staying a while at their bedside with their eyes closed, just breathing and feeling. They said it comforted them feeling those gone already surrounding their loved one.

 God brings the angels who know the one soon passing so that they do not fear, and to give comfort to those visiting.

The Life Cycle

March 23, 2009

Even as I celebrate my daughter’s pregnancy and my son’s imminent marriage, I got terrible news last night. My  favorite uncle, brother to the father I’ve been grieving on this blog, has pancreatic cancer. The very same cancer that took my father’s life. Lethal and fast moving. And, even though I wasn’t present when my father died, I now know it was a very painful death. A death my uncle witnessed.   I feel sick at heart over what he has in store for him. What he knows he has in store for him. I always imagine, no matter where my illness takes me, that the doctors would give me enough painkillers that there wouldn’t be much pain. Apparently that’s not always the case.

This is the uncle who taught me to ice skate with my  beloved twin cousins, Lenny and Joe, both already dead before their time.. He took us on wild sledding rides, the three of us screeching in terrified glee.  He taught us  to dive into our pool head first, hands properly pointed above our heads. To make a game of raking autumn  leaves and watching him set fire to them…then toasting marshmallows, carefully, his hand on our wrists to be sure we were safe. He taught the twins, already raucous,  to make practical jokes at my expense. He was the one who made noise on the roof for Santa on Christmas Eve, complete with bells for sound effects. Who truly enjoyed the company of us three little rug rats. And most importantly, who took us off the hands of our stressed out parents and provided a safety haven whenever we needed it most. 

I want to run to him and see him, its been years. I will go with my aunt, his sister,when she is over the shock and ready to plan our flight. I confess I am terrified.  It already feels so like what we went through with my father. I want to be strong and supportive but I’m afraid the similarities will curl me into a useless emotional fetal position..I keep telling myself that he’s not my father. He’s my uncle. I keep telling myself that he is 75. My father was 53.  I tell myself that we all have to die of something. As he has said, he’s had a good run.

It doesn’t help.  It doesn’t help at all. My roots are dying one by one, as nature intended. Thank God a new one is sprouting in my daughter’s womb.

Baby V

March 19, 2009

(12 week sonogram found on youtube- NOT OUR BABY!)

I cannot even begin to describe what an experience it was to see the baby on the sonogram. I stood next to my son-in-law, my daughter of course on the examining table, holding her husband’s hand, as we watched in awe. That was no flat, lifeless screen as shown in the photo on my previous post. It was like an in utero video. At twelve weeks  he was moving around, very active, and even sucking his thumb! There we were, three adults, dumbstruck.  “Oh wow!” was pretty much the extent of the conversation from all three of us while the tech did her thing. My daughter’s “oh how cute!!!!!” periodically punctuated the conversation. She, as we all did, really melted when we saw the thumb sucking. That and our repeated question “is it a boy or a girl????”   The tech kept demurring that she couldn’t be certain at twelve weeks, but finally, having found the penis, she announced “Its a boy!”

We all exclaimed in joy! My daughter was no longer carrying an “it” but a male baby. From the moment I heard it, I no longer felt merely the excitement of the pregnancy. Now he had an identity.  I felt love for him . For that tiny little guy so active inside his mom. For  Baby V, already named before his mom even got pregnant.

At twelve weeks, this baby was no future unknown. This baby was now.

And I feel so very honored that they invited me to participate in this intimate, joyous stage of their journey.  I love all three of them with all my heart.

My Future Grandchild

March 17, 2009

(An Embryo at 12 weeks- not ours)

I am so excited. I’m going with my daughter and son-in-law for the 12 week sonogram tonight. What a way to meet my grandchild! I don’t remember them back in my day… Apparently this tech has a 100% success rate reading these things for gender, but of course the 20 week one will be definitive.   I have many deep thoughts about this baby’s soon to be arrival into our family, but that will be another post for another time.  Just had to share the present thrill.  Even my own Drama Mama (thanks for that one, Amber!) is excited. She will be a great grandma, and we even have a great great grandma waiting in the wings.  More tomorrow, friends.

Economy Crashing Home – AGAIN

March 15, 2009

Gloria Steinem once said that the personal is political. And I fully experienced what she meant. Now, in my life, the political is becoming personal. 

At least my husband’s job is intact…for now. Maybe it was a rumor that the business would fold, but the scare certainly got our attention regarding our vulnerability in this economy . Now, two other family members are definitely being hit.  These are not rumors. Both of them had their own businesses which in another economy would have made it. Now, they’ve lost everything.  Oh I know, I know, material things are not the most important things. We all  write about our values and all the wonderful abstractions that fill our souls and are what count. We talk about the value of suffering and what we learn from it. 

But it hurts like hell to watch your loved ones go through something like this. First, their grief over their lost businesses. I know. I’ve been there.  You put your all  into it and still you have to close the doors. And then the fear. Their fear and yours. What will they do next? What is there to do next in this economy? They’re qualified for jobs… just like  the millions of other equally qualified people  who are waiting on line for interviews.

I know, health comes first. Believe me I know. But right after that comes a sense of safety and security in the world as we’ve known it.  And that, for now, is gone.

First it was physical terrorism. Now our economy crumbling.  It sure feels like another type of terrorism, doesn’t it?

Psychscribe Quote # 56

March 10, 2009

For my friend VanessaLeigh, who organized a vigil acknowledging the eve of the beginning of testimony regarding Prop 8 in California:

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”  Margaret Chase Smith

We’re Pregnant!

February 9, 2009

Ok, I know its customary for the mom and dad these days to say “we’re pregnant”, but I just have to tell you that my daughter is pregnant with my first grandchild, and it sure feels like WE’RE pregnant..(.actually just like her wedding felt like “our wedding”.)  We are just so close. She wants me in the delivery room and everything. I am just so honored about that. And even more honored that her husband wants me there.

No, he really does.

 She just got back from the doctor’s. We knew it of course from the home pregnancy test and other obvious signs, but it was nice to have him confirm that she’s healthy and they got to hear the heartbeat. She’s two months, due September 25th. 

Woohoowoohoowoohoo!!!!!!  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

She thinks she already looks pregnant, especially in her stomach. I don’t want to rain on her parade, she’s so excited, but truthfully, shhhh…here is what she still looks like:

Coming to America

February 8, 2009

For my friend Sanityfound,  because she really is coming to america!

 

COMING TO AMERICA

Far
We’ve been travelling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Free
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

On the boats and on the planes
They’re coming to America
Never looking back again
They’re coming to America

Home, don’t it seem so far away
Oh, we’re travelling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm

Home, to a new and a shiny place
Make our bed, and we’ll say our grace
Freedom’s light burning warm
Freedom’s light burning warm

Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Every time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America

Got a dream to take them there
They’re coming to America
Got a dream they’ve come to share
They’re coming to America

They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
They’re coming to America
Today, today, today, today, today

My country ’tis of thee
(Today)
Sweet land of liberty
(today)
Of thee I sing
(today)
Of thee I sing
(today)

(today)

(today)

(today

Black History Month

February 6, 2009

For anyone who lives in a cave and doesn’t know it, this is Black History Month. I thought I would offer a nice link to historical milestones in black history:

http://www.history.com/minisites/blackhistory

There were many heroes in this long journey, but my favorite has always been Rosa Parks, who damned well refused to sit in the back of the bus!

To My Everlasting Shame

February 6, 2009

I did not stay at my father’s bedside, to be with  him until he passed. There he was, right upstairs in the bedroom, while I hid like a coward downstairs and out of sight. We knew it would be that night. The doctors had called the family in and said so. 

All his brothers and sisters, the aunts and uncles I grew up with,  had been pretty much staying at my parents’ house for those last weeks.  The pasta pots were always boiling. They brought Italian bread and provolone cheese and sweet salami with big green olives. Most importantly,  they brought the black humor which is our family trademark , especially during our darkest hours.  It sustained us and carried us.

And yet, there was an age regression that took place for me. At age 32, they were still the grown ups and I was like a child again. That’s just how the dynamics morphed. When it was soon to be time, my favorite aunt had a talk with me and asked me if I really wanted to watch my father die. She explained to me, 32 going on 8, that dying was not like in the movies. It was quite a frightening thing to see.  She encouraged me to have my quiet time alone with him, now in a coma, and say my good-bye. I did so. Then I walked out of the room and all his siblings and my mother went in and the door was firmly closed.

And so he died with his wife, brothers and sisters all around and me nowhere in sight. They later said it was an awful thing. Blood and God knows what everywhere. Even his brothers were shaken by it. It was not something I should have had to see, they told me. As if they had protected me from something.

But not long after, I realized it was my own father’s awful thing. I should have been there. I allowed myself to be shielded by my beloved and well meaning aunt with childlike trust.  I should have been there. I was not a child. I was not, in truth, protected or shielded. I was written out of the last line of the last page of his life.  No, we wrote me out. 

And I am so ashamed, sorry, and regretful… What if my father knew or sensed I wasn’t there, right through the invisible walls of his coma? My shame is this: that I, his oldest and most responsible child, should have  accompanied him on the final stage of his journey. I should have been there. 

No tidy ending to this post. I should have been there.  

(This post was inspired by a poem by Cordie entitled:  If I had it to do all again)

The Measure of Grief

February 5, 2009

 

 

THE MEASURE OF GRIEF

 

Twenty-five years ago today my father died.  

Even in my dreamless sleep I knew it.

 

I stumble out of bed  

where is my husband?

 

I want to hug him    

hug him so tightly

but he is gone

gone to work  

to work his ass off.

 

Gone.

 

I worry about his heart.

 

I want to hug my father  

(who worked his ass off).

I want to hug him  

hug him so tightly

 

but he is gone  

 

gone to rest    

to rest in peace.

 

I’d rather he were here, God forgive  me.

Yes.  I would rip him right out of paradise  if I could

to have him back here with the whole family

loving    living   YES , even suffering

but right alongside us where   think he belongs.

 

A quarter of a century.

One-fourth of a whole.

A quarter coin is so small really.  

 

A hole the size of a quarter 

is still in my heart  

big enough to kill me.

 

by Psychscribe ©2009

God in Action

January 31, 2009

fork-in-the-roadIn addition to the blues I’ve been experiencing lately, I also am feeling physically worse as I’ve been tapering down my prednisone. So though I did go to work yesterday, I had cancelled my attendance at bible study at my sister’s because I knew that by the time I got home at around 8 pm all I’d want to do is crawl into bed. There was no way I was up to going.

But Got had other plans for me. I was almost home after sitting for an extra hour in traffic, when I heard something in a novel I was listening to in the car.  I identified with the character, who was having a badly needed spiritual experience, and suddenly felt a powerful longing to feel the presence of God.

My sister and I live very close to each other.  There is a fork in the road in which her house is in one direction and mine in the other. As soon as I felt that longing for God, I no longer noticed my aches and pains and  without hesitation called my husband to tell him I was going to bible study after all, and called my sister to say I would be there any minute. I was right at that fork.

When I arrived my sister was radiant. She had been praying, literally, “Lord, when my sister reaches that fork in the road, please help her to feel better, and make her turn left toward my house  tonight.”

I don’t know why God wanted me there so much, but I do know that the chances of this being a coincidence were statistically ridiculous.  And  I did get to feel the presence of God and the Holy Spirit last night, we all did.  It happened when a tormented client I have suddenly came to mind, and we prayed with all our hearts for a psychological and spiritual healing for her.

God works in strange ways.

Protected: Final Words

January 24, 2009

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Words on Women & Strength

January 9, 2009

Psychscribe New Year’s Quote 2009

January 1, 2009

heros-journey3

 

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you have imagined.”  Henry David Thoreau

Obama: the first “black” president

December 12, 2008

barack-obama-mother

OBAMA AND HIS MOTHER

 

There has been so much joy in this country to see a black man finally elected to the presidency. And I share that joy…I never thought I would see such progress in our society in my  lifetime… all the talk about unity and one people in this country as represented by Obama. The only thing is, the fact that he’s half white is pretty much ignored, as I see it. Why???? Wouldn’t it be even MORE unifying to acknowledge the mix of BOTH races in our president elect???

I know from my studies that people of mixed race tend to identify with the minority half. I don’t know why. I just know its so. And I don’t get that.  It seems like a disowning of half of who you are. Kind of a reverse racism of your own identity. 

Talk to me somebody…Help me understand this….

So WHERE was the nearest mall…?

November 30, 2008


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by Franz von Rohden

German artist 
born 1817 – died 1903

Cross

November 25, 2008

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Psychscribe Quote #45

November 8, 2008

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C. FreeFoto.com 2008    


“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.” Buckminster Fuller

 

When A Spouse Comes Out

November 5, 2008

logo

 

I found an interesting column by Garry Cooper  in this month’s Psychotherapy Networker.  

He reports that  Amity Pierce Buxton, founder of The Straight Spouse Network, estimates that as many as two million straight spouses will, often suddenly, traumatically,  and by accident, find themselves discovering that they have a gay or bi spouse. The article also reports that Joe Kort, an Imago therapist specializing in gay issues, has seen couples negotiate arrangements other than splitting.  Some agreed upon solutions have been allowing one or both parters to have relationships outside the marriage, allowing the bi/ gay partner to use porn and webcams but not meet sexual partners face to face, or the bi/gay partner agrees not to indulge in outside sexual behaviors or porn.

What a tough and painful situation for everyone involved…particularly where there are children…or the spouses still love each other…  What would you do?

Organ Donor? Not Me…

November 3, 2008

I just read an article about a California surgeon facing trial in an organ donation case. He is accused of hastening the death of a very ill man in order to harvest his organs. The man’s mother sued the hospital and got a $250,000. settlement, though the hospital admitted no wrongdoing…hmmm…

It seems so morally admirable to be an organ donor, at least in theory. Like giving blood. But I confess that its exactly for this reason that I said no when asked recently if I wished to be an organ donor. I would not want to live on life support, but I frankly don’t trust anyone except my loved ones to make the decision to pull the plug. At that point, I would be more than glad to help someone else live a longer or better life as I leave this one. (Not that anyone could even use my diseaed organs, I don’t think. Maybe my eyes..)

But I don’t want medical staff, or anyone else who doesn’t love me, speeding me along on my journey for purposes of expedience. 

How about you? Are you a donor? Or not?

To Be or Not to Be a Hero

October 24, 2008

Someone recently brought up what I thought was an interesting perspective on being a hero. We all wonder what we would do to save a stranger. Would we jump in front of a Mack truck to push a child out of harm’s way? Would we step into a vicious group attack on a single person in a rescue effort? I think we all hope our finest instinct would propel us toward risking our lives for the sake of another human being. Our highest selves. There is no thought in such a situation. One acts. 

But here’s the thing that was called to my attention. If you save the life of another human being by losing your own, then that person’s  family is spared the trauma and loss of the death of their loved one, but the hero’s family suffers it instead. The hero trades his/her life for the life of the original victim…Is that fair to the hero’s family?

I don’t know where I’m going with this… Any thoughts, anyone?

The Present for You

October 17, 2008

 

Here is a present for you:

Focus solely on the present below, thinking of nothing else but the image of that present…the colors….the shapes…focus for as long as you can…and then, when you’re ready, open the present and see what you find…

 

 

In  doing this exercise you are already practicing being present…experiencing peace and release from worries about tomorrow.

What did you find when you opened your present?