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Bully for you

Samhuin - 30 April 2016pLess than. Greater than. Social hierarchy, and the need to boost oneself by putting others down. ‘Put downs’, ‘taking the piss’, and other forms of trying to make people feel worse, so as to feel some power and status – at least for a moment. Bullying. That is why I started writing. The end point is somewhere else.

I have just experienced a strongly public, strangely impersonal, social media assassination. I actually feel grateful for the moments I’ve encountered this diseased streak of humanity in the past. It would have been devastating had I not recognised them when they came.

As a child, at times I was bullied. At times I was the bully. Just like everybody else.
I was somewhat unguided. No moral compass. No idea what to tolerate or accept. No idea that those moments spent inflicting pain to make myself feel good were the ugly side of humanity.

I learned these things as an adult. Much too late for many of the people in my past to ever forgive me. So I need to suck that up and own it.

I have been writing in an attempt to capture the essence of this moment. In being on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse from a total stranger. Her work was deliberate and methodical. Her ability to stay composed and plausible while I fought her was flawless. I still retain friends who have retained her as a friend, despite what she did to me, and their pronouncements that they care about me.

This has been an experience that returned me to the world I left behind a lifetime ago. Where humans were not to be trusted. Everybody (including me) would point out your flaws behind your back and smile at your face. I lived for a long time in the ugly side of life. There was violence. There was rape. There was theft. And no-one was faithful in word or deed. People lived ugly.

When this finally killed me, I had to build a new way of living in the world. One based on faith, and hope, and trust in the human animal. A world based on giving in service, being ruthlessly honest, and understanding that we are all flawed and doing our best. The narcissistic sociopath was always the exception. Some folk do have fundamental damage that will be with them for life. They become hollow, and they feed on pain.

So now, many years into doing my best and experiencing those rewards – of investing in people, and knowing the little I have to give is of value, the narcissist enters in a form unrecognisable to me. She is half my age.

She sought me out. The signs were obvious straight away. So I managed what I could, then set a boundary. And her anger came down on my wee business.

My reputation isn’t the problem. I have been called worse in the past. I’m no longer invested too much in the criticism of others.

What threw me is how easily 40 other 20 year olds jumped on her hatred and threw it at me. That really shook my faith in what I was doing.

I limited my online profiles. For the first time ever, I was worried that these people might have access to photos of my children.

This lifetime has been a hard run. Much work. Little support. I have an online crew who love me, but I also have three children with complex needs, an income that is challenged because of this, and no partner support (my choice – I find the rewards of such partnerships lacking).

Here’s what this experience does do. It helps me teach my children. That everyone has had a bully (not just you) and everyone has been a bully, at at least one stage in their lives. I think they thought I was making this lesson up. But attacks are random. It’s like rape – it can happen to anyone at any time.

I can teach them, it’s NOT my fault if it happens, but it is my job to say get the fuck offa me. Just because you force it down my throat, doesn’t mean I won’t bite it off.
Cos I will.

What we learn is not to be a bully. What we learn is never to tolerate the bullying of others. What we learn is to be better people. We cannot change others. But we can learn these lessons about our own behaviour.

But there is a ‘real world’ factor in this. It’s not just about philosophy and educating our babies.

In reality, running my wee home business around three children is hard. I have driven to St Leonards at 10pm to see clients in major distress. I have given my time at all hours. I have kept my house as presentable as possible around raising 3 kids with respect for clients, and with an nod to being in an outlaw vocation where credibility is always at stake. I study. I work. I pay taxes, and advertising, and merchandising. I work through my ex-husband’s claims in family court that I must be ‘raking it in’ with strict honesty, while the world sees me as a bludger. I offer my services for charity and fundraising.

And I’m tired. This is hard work.

So when one vicious human sets me up in this way, and 40 strangers jump onboard without hesitation, I know its time to move on.

There has been significant time, and work, and financial input into creating my little business. And I could continue. Because none of this will matter in six months, or even in six minutes. I do know that. The emotional impact is far bigger than the real world cost.

But part of continuing would be to prove my bully wrong, when really, she doesn’t matter at all. Whether I fight her or not, she has her satisfaction. All I can really do is make sure that my decisions are not because of her. She may be the catalyst, but she has no control. This is not about her.

It’s about me, and my kids. Like every decision I make.

The next client I see could be one like her. Or one sent by her. She’s stolen a week of my life, and that is enough time.

I choose freedom. Time to move on to the next phase of my life.

I have never regretted leaving anything.

Rude!

ten-thingsMonday morning, 28 December, in holiday mode with three kids:

Phone rings: Do you do the tarot cards?

Sylvie: Yes I do

Her: Do you do anything else?

Sylvie: Yes. Runes, Palmistry, that sort of thing. *this segues into my usual intro…*

Her: So you’re not psychic…?

Sylvie: I’m empathic and intuitive, but where people want a psychic I refer on, cos that’s not my area.

Her: Cos I don’t do cards.

Sylvie: Okay.

Her: Cos you could go to one reader and they’d turn over one set of cards, then go to another, and they’d turn over something else… Do you know what I mean?

Sylvie: Okay.

Her: So do you have anyone else I should contact?

Sylvie: I suggest you phone a psychic.

This human actually phoned me to dis my profession, and my practise, in preference for finding someone who wouldn’t just tell her anything that comes into their fuzzy little heads.

Cheers for humans interrupting me on holiday to speculate on my legitimacy.

The business is called Tarot@Dunedin!

Maybe a psychic could find a clue in that name for you?

Time is of the Essence

tarot_card_time_carte_divinatoire_arcane_temps_by_equesada-d6osvfrMy time is precious. As I’m sure is yours.

If you purchase some of that time, you will pay $ 70 per hour. Flat rate. Non-negotiable.
Because that’s what its value is to me.
I too have friends and family and work commitments and home commitments, ad infinitum.

If I agree to make time to be in a certain place at a particular time for you, I am prioritising your time ahead of those other commitments.

Should you choose to waste my time by not showing up, you will never get any of my time again.

Ever.

I cannot resell that time to anybody else. I can’t get it back.

If you do not show up for your appointment, you are stealing my time. And my time is valuable.

Mamapriestess


I’ve been thinking some more about Mamapriestess (thanks to http://witchesandpagans.com/sagewoman-blogs/woodspriestess/mamapriestess.html#comment-7425 ), and about the spiral path…Morticia Wednesday
If the first half of the spiral is the outward movement, wherein the first half of life we move out into the world, gathering people and things,

and the second half of life is the inward spiral, where we introvert more and work on our spiritual and inner work,

surely as mothers we are right at the apex?

At the point of the turn where our spirituality is manifested in the physical?

We are here to experience Earth and tangible things in a spiritual and meaningful way. The necessary distraction from the inward journey IS spiritual. This is the path of the Goddess.
Obviously there are variables, as each journey is different. Some with children, some without. And for myself, as an older mother entering my Cronedom on a physical level, but still parenting on a physical and emotional level, I feel strongly the call on an intellectual and spiritual level to be working on the inward spiral.
I have three children – 8, 13, and 14, with varying high needs from anxiety disorder, OCD, through to Aspergers Syndrome. As a divorced Mother, this does narrow my ability to focus on my Spiritual journey. But I work as a tarot reader, I give my time in support of women and mothers, and as a family we follow and celebrate the Seasonal wheel. We are active in Green and Social Politics. And I attend a Pagan meetup.
All these things are Spiritual for us. It is a lived path, with little time for pomp and circumstance.
But this is my own path. This is my journey as this unit of being.

Love To Y’all – BUT it ain’t Free Love…

Two of Pentacles

Here’s what I need you to know. I DO do a lot of free work for my whanau and community. It’s the right thing to do. An energy exchange for people I love, and for my closer community. I also work for koha. For me it’s about giving back.

BUT as I work with about half a dozen people at a time, on top of paid clients, three kids, CAFS appointments, trying to run my house, see my partner, and not seeing close friends I love very often, my time is very precious. Just as precious as yours.

Therefore I charge for it.

I am happy to give a reading or some spellwork in the evening or any time I can loosen up for you, truly. But if you need me to clear a space in my diary for this work – which provides my families income – the rate is $70 an hour.

Let me be clear. A gift is a gift, on my terms. If you are booking my work time, that time needs to be paid for. $ 70 an hour.

If I make a space in my diary available to you, it is no longer available to my children, friends, my lover, or even paying clients. That space is valuable. You might not know, but if a paying client stands me up without contacting me, they never get another appointment with me. Ever.

This is my work, and it is time I’m giving up from other things that really do need my attention. I am the only captain of this ship. It’s all down to me. I’m currently getting about 6 people a week asking for services on top of my regular bookings. And I honestly can’t think of any other profession (except perhaps hairdressing) where people ask for free work with such frequency.

Yes, I am generous with my work. But I ask for some generosity of spirit and consideration in return.

This entry was posted on August 16, 2015, in Blog.

Academic Witchcraft and other idiocies

snowdropsI’m thinking about how much I value the academics who put the science into my spiritual path and craftwork. Archaeologists, Anthropologists, Religious Studies academics, Gender Politics professionals, Historians, all the information gatherers and decipherers. This is a good and valuable thing.

Fashions change of course. What was accepted knowledge in these areas changes over time and evidence. The work of Margaret Murray was lauded for a time, then questioned, then debunked. Personally, I’m very interested in the writings of Joseph Campbell, across time and space.

I’m also thinking about the artists, practitioners, and pathworkers who put experience, feeling, and emotion into my spiritual path and craftwork. They lead me and stretch me in directions I may never have experienced if left to my own devices.

However, I am none of these. I am a common old hedgewitch with my own experience, which is informed and valid, and useful in my life and in those of the women in my Circle.

I am not an expert in anything. And I don’t actually seek to be.

However, if I am part of a group of like-minded fellows, I expect to be able to share that experience without being shamed. Perhaps I am not the most brilliant singer. Does that mean I should not be able to express my self through singing in my own house? Especially if I love to sing?

Within a group of women living their lives, if one member starts to criticise our practical spirituality with their academia, that is a shaming experience, from someone with superiority issues, who would like everybody to know that he once read a book. I’m sorry, sir. You may indeed be correct about everything you are saying, but this is not the place for it. Now, off you go and start your own little group where spirituality is only for weird anal sanctimonious intellectuals. This path may lead you to knowledge, but no-one will ever come to you for your wisdom.

There is reason behind my exclusion of you. It’s not just that I want to live my path without imposed value systems or negativity. Because I do. It’s my path, not yours. It’s because if I am constantly bombarded by the uninvited standards of others, projected from within their own frameworks, I will always fall short. And I need to be able to practise my path regardless of your judgement calls.

Back in the day, a visitor to my house tried to call me out for using a rubbish brand of toilet paper. (True story).

Why did he feel the need to do this? I feel sure he knew more about toilet paper than me, but it was unnecessary, irrelevant, and seriously – I wasn’t buying brillo pads to use on my arse – so his criticism was unnecessary. He could however have used whatever toilet paper he wanted to in his own house. Good for him in contributing to improved toilet paper for us all. But he was not invited back to my house. Ever.

Paganism contains many and varied beliefs, faery traditions, animist traditions, cultural traditions, astral traditions, even Christian traditions. I could argue and devalue any of them if I chose too. But I prefer not to act like a dick. If you are in my house, you are invited to keep your criteria and value judgements to yourself. You will not open your mouth and make my friends uncomfortable by applying your lens to something that not only works for us, but works for millions of others worldwide.

I value faces of the Goddess and names for her across time and culture, each one a lens to view and experience her from a different angle. A lot of us old Witches do. We’re not academics, but we’re not uninformed, and we’re certainly not dumb. And this is how religion works. Experts know the expert things. I use these frames to experience in a meaningful way. I do not know all the expert things. That’s what experts are for.

Work Life Balance…

Just a wee bit crappy. Maybe a wee bit sicky. Certainly tired.

Court today2Just crappy enough to know that seeing a Suzuki Swift just irritates me. Nothing wrong with the car, but the people who choose to buy them seem to be the same people who just need a kick up the backside in general.

Temper is also short with the non-compliant minions…

It’s been a long season. Courts, and death, and funeral… and some of the women I treasure the most have been through hell, just this season.

I am exhausted, but attempting to restart my life in small ways now.

Physically, I’m attending to my Green Prescription, and quite shocked at how unfit I’ve become so quickly now I’m older. Mainly joints and ligaments… anything that stretches or clicks, and probably shouldn’t.

Energetically, I’m sleeping. A lot. I figure I should trust my body.

Emotionally, I’m shifting away from some of the causes I pursue, because they bring me low. Even on my wee political page, I’ve always tried to post not only about the problems, but also about potential and practical solutions. But Cecil nearly finished me. I gotta recharge.

Environmentally, I’m just concentrating on home and hearth. Still decluttering while I struggle to maintain Flylady cleaning in the face of daily (and unreasonable) opposition.

Politically, I’m looking further into Socialism, as the New Zealand movement seems as deeply environmentally focused as it is socially. Their main focus seems to be combating injustice on all levels. And that suits me just fine.

Creatively, I’m hoping that my tiny bit of blogging, maintenance of my pages, and my wee tarot business are taking care of that. I know I need to be writing and even drawing more. But hell, I’m finding I just cant do everything.

Academically, I’m still learning about tarot, Jung, and archetypes – and likely will be forever. I read across a wide range of material every day – political, social, and spiritual.

Spiritually, I’m more in contact with the Moon and the seasons than I ever have been. I run my life to that clock. And that keeps me in constant communion with my Gods. Just being of the Earth.

And sexually, I’m being treated just fine! Thanks for asking.

Socially – that’s the big one for an introvert like me – I got out last night for a couple of hours for a meetup with my local Pagan group. It was bloody hard to get out of this house of small wild dependants by 5pm, but do it I did. And I will do so again every month. I love socialising, but need time to recharge after interacting with people. So as a friend I can be problematic. “Come here, I like you. Now go away for a month.” Not everyone’s cup of companionship.

So, there it is. My recovery programme.

I have come to replace the word ‘balance’ with ‘inclusivity’. These areas of my life are never in balance – they can’t possibly be. There are to many of them. But I include a little of each in my schedule – more of some as the Moon waxes, less of some as the Moon wanes. It’s not a balanced diet, because I can’t eat that much. But my intention for living as busy and as well as I do is that, over time, no nutrient is completely left out.

 

Sit a Spell

The MagicianSeriously considering charging for Spellcraft.

It’s not about anyone I’m currently working with. (Don’t get paranoid.) But I do need to make this decision moving forward.

I have never charged for Spellwork – or Tarot for that matter. But I do charge for my TIME. Which is why my rates have gone up significantly in the past year. My time has become more and more constrained and precious.

There are supporting arguments for this, such as the imbalance of energy exchange, where I put my energy into work for a client, and they return that energy in the form of money, which in turn provides energy for my children in the form of food and electricity.

But more than this, I believe it’s due to the increasing popularity of Paganism in general, and any form of working with the energies of the Earth.

As it stands, I have happily given my work to those who need it – but find myself increasingly missing promised opportunities to work for friends, whanau, my own family and myself. I haven’t even made a poppet for my ex-husband yet – and he seriously deserves one.

Yes, I do Hex. I am not Wiccan. This is Craft. This is not about working with Spiritual energy – although I do deify where appropriate. Its about working with elemental energy to affect an outcome. And I am well aware that there are other paths I could have chosen if I’d wanted to be restricted in my Spirituality by other humans.

So, in looking at putting this on my web page (www.tarotdunedin.com) I am planning to charge the same rates for Spellcraft as for Tarot, in that I will charge for my time. Friends and whanau are still only to be charged koha, as that is where I stand on the issue.

Update

In a regretful surrender to family circumstance, I am now unable to offer appointments outside school hours, though email readings will still be available.rider-Waite_Judgement_large
This decision has not been made lightly, is against my will, and is an effort to keep my business open, while balancing a complicated home life.
Apologies for the short notice in cancellation of some appointments, and any inconvenience caused.
Email consultations can be booked through www.tarotdunedin.com/?page_id=13,
and I will continue to maintain www.facebook.com/pages/Tarot-Dunedin/609181705775947.
Thank you all for supporting Tarot Dunedin.
~SK

This entry was posted on November 30, 2014, in Blog.