Sunday, June 28, 2009

40 Year Anniversary of Stonewall Riots

Today Mario and I have been together for twenty-nine years and married for twenty-eight of those years. We never had anyone harass us or try to keep us apart. Besides an old boyfriend, but he doesn't count. OK, my father was a bit concerned that Mario was an atheist. But those were all pretty normal things for a couple like us. We didn't have the law or much of the world condemning and judging us. On June 28th, 1969, a riot spontaneously erupted in New York city when police raided a gay bar.

Wiki quotes David Carter's book Stonewall where he quotes Michael Fader, "We all had a collective feeling like we'd had enough of this kind of shit. It wasn't anything tangible anybody said to anyone else, it was just kind of like everything over the years had come to a head on that one particular night in the one particular place, and it was not an organized demonstration.... Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us....

"All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break free. And we felt that we had freedom at last, or freedom to at least show that we demanded freedom. We weren't going to be walking meekly in the night and letting them shove us around—it's like standing your ground for the first time and in a really strong way, and that's what caught the police by surprise. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we're going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren't going to go away. And we didn't."

We don't always know what will change history.

Blessings on lovers everywhere!

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Summer Solstice!


Go here for Summer Solstice Blessing.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A friend of mine wrote from England today to say she was reading Church of the Old Mermaids and now she was besotted with mermaids. I read her letter as I sat on my stairs wondering briefly what I was doing with my life. Why was I writing? What was the purpose of this incessant wordmongering? I laughed when I read my friend’s letter. That was the answer. I write because I am besotted by stories. I am besotted by words.

Writing is magic. I string words together so that another person imagines some thing, some one, some world, some possibility. I put words together to enchant—to create a spell that will open the door to the imagination. Only it's not a door. It's a parallel world where every possibility is...possible. Every life. Every world. My words—every storyteller’s words—help us breathe in the fog and breathe out life. My stories are the kiss that awakens Sleeping Beauty. Truly awakens.

Listen: We are not separate.

We are a part of this world. We fit in. Don't you see? We are not aliens from another planet. We are not invaders. Sometimes we act like the bully on the corner, but at his core, the bully just wants to be a part of, doesn't he? We are a part of...a part of everything.

I write because every day is a story. I write to make sense.

Go with the flow...

But watch out for waterfalls.

Sometimes when I stop writing, I look around and I am lonely: I want human beings to play with. I forget that I am a part of this world. We humans are a part of the story of this world.

But I’ll tell you this: I am a storyteller and I know instantly the truth or lies of any story. I know we belong here.

I was reminded of this yesterday.

I miss my friend Linda. Sometimes I think if I had a friend like her again, I would never feel lonely. Then I remember being about eight years old on the backyard swing, my legs pumping as I tried to get up, up, up. I was singing "yesterday, all my troubles were so far away," and I felt so alone in the world.

When I think of that girl, I want to catch her up in my arms and say, "Darlin', you are never alone. Ever. I love, love, love you."

How early does this myth of disconnection and separation come into our lives?

I don't remember what happened after I was on the swing that day. I imagine I kicked off my shoes and ran barefoot into the woods. Because that was where I lived. I lived in the branches of trees. I lived on the moss that was like velvet against my skin. I lived in the shapes of the clouds above the old oaks and maples. I lived in the muddy marsh water.

I watched for foolish fire (ignis fatuus) above the marsh and left gifts for the hawks that circled above. I lived with my bare feet pressed against the Earth, against this place where I belong.

I was besotted with the natural world despite those times of loneliness.

Yesterday I walked in the woods with a friend of mine. She invited me over to collect wild herbs. She talks to the plants, too. She thanks them. She listens for their wants and needs. I drove to her house and then she took me to a patch of nettles. It was my destiny. Yes, I had a date with destiny and her name was Stinging Nettles.

For years, decades even, people have told me to eat nettles for my allergies. For six weeks once I drank a "tea" with nettles in it. I had a headache for the entire six weeks, and my allergies did not improve one whit.

Every spring when Linda was alive, she and Serena harvested tender nettle shoots. Linda said nothing tasted better. I wouldn't eat any even when she offered, much to my regret now. I was afraid of them. I had become afraid of everything. Every green thing. Too many doctors had told me I was allergic to the world.

I definitely did not feel as though I belonged.

But even before I was told I was allergic, I was afraid: I was always looking toward the end of things. For the loss. I wanted to be prepared. And now, after years of loss, I was punch-drunk on it. Fear cut loose any moorings I had to the here and now.

A few months ago, my naturopath tried to get me to start drinking nettles. He explained from an anthroposophical view what nettles did. (I can’t remember it well enough to repeat it.) I was skeptical, but soon after a friend offered me dried nettles. I took them and put them up in the cupboard. When I went to look for them later, the cupboards were bare. So I let it go.

Last week, my naturopath urged me once again to use nettles. A few days later, I was walking out in the woods and having trouble breathing. I walked and walked. I looked to the sky for help. I looked to the Columbia River flowing toward the ocean. "Can you stop and help me?" The river flowed on. I looked to the blond marsh cane. I looked to the old oaks covered with blackberries.

Then I stepped onto a path into the woods. Mosquitoes flew all around me. My chest was heavy. I wondered again, again if I was going to have to suffer with this breathing problem for the rest of my life. Why did this particular illness plague me? I felt myself getting smaller and smaller. I couldn't connect with anything except my desperation to breathe.

Then something shifted in the woods. I can't explain exactly what. It was just a feeling. I looked ahead and a round circle of light fell through the dark forest like a spotlight. Beneath the light, a group of nettles swayed gently in an breeze I couldn't feel. I walked over to the nettles. I felt like they had called out to me. They were standing in compassion with me. I started to cry. I held out my hands to them.

We breathed together.

When I left, I said, “I’ll see you soon. It’s a date.”

Days later, I went to my friend’s house to pick nettles. We walked down the hill with her daughter whose pet rat walked back and forth on her shoulders. Their dog Biscuit came, too, followed by the cat Lily, who tried to attack every blade of grass and ankle she encountered. (Fat Boy, their big black cat, and the goat came later.) We stood on the edge of the nettle field. I had never walked amongst nettles because I knew I could get stung.

My friend said she doesn't get stung—not until the nettles have had enough of her harvesting. Then she knows it's time to stop.

I followed my friend and her daughter into the nettles. The nettles waved. They moved toward us. They moved away from us. They showed themselves. We asked. They consented. We harvested leaves and stalks. Cleavers clung to them so we harvested them, too. We were deliberate and conscious. We were aware of where we walked, what we said. It was a lovely dance.

We filled a sack and then we wandered. I made acquaintance with an elder tree. Her leafy branches reached up toward us and her trunk sunk deep into the darkest part of the woods. She felt ancient. Waiting.

Afterward we drank nettle tea and made nettle broth. My throat scratched a bit. I got a bit of a headache. It didn’t last and it didn’t matter. I was absolutely besotted with the entire day, with the green, with the humans, with the animals. I was in my element. I was elemental. Completely comfortable and happy.


I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this way. When I put my hands on someone for healing work, I feel present. I am completely besotted then. Completely in love. But that’s about them.

This was about me. Something was clearing.

When I drove home, I was awake.

When I walked through the door at home, I felt as though someone had whispered an enchantment. I was Sleeping Beauty. I had been pricked by stinging nettle and now it was time. I fell to sleep listening to Harlan Ellison talk about writing. I drifted.

At dusk, awake again, I walked down to the community garden. It felt strange to me, this manufactured garden, after being out in the woods. Still, it was beautiful. I was alone, human-wise. I looked out at the gorge cliffs. I felt their presence. Solid. Old. Waiting.

Waiting for us to wake up?

I began watering and talking to my wind-bedraggled plants, and the plovers began calling out noisily near the river. I looked over and saw a pickup truck parked near the river’s edge. The plovers kept crying out and diving. The pickup wasn’t supposed to be where it was. I watched. Eventually a man came up the bank and began putting fishing gear into the back of the truck. He looked over at me several times. I didn’t know if he was curious or if he was trouble. Maybe he wondered why I was watching him. I took my cue from the birds.

I turned so that I no longer had my back to him. Then I climbed up onto the bench near my garden and I held the sprayer over the bed. I made myself bigger.

Top of the world, Ma!

The man got into his truck and drove away. He kept watching me as he went. I got bigger. The truck disappeared around a corner. The birds settled down. I grinned.

I was besotted with plovers.

Later, Mario and I worked in the kitchen together. He put away dishes. I cleaned the hummingbird feeder. (I am besotted with hummingbirds.) We talked about our day. I made a nettle infusion, watched the dried leaves and hot water mix into a luxurious brown liquid. I felt like I was home. Truly. I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

It seemed like it had been weeks, months, years since I had felt at home. Still. Settled.

I brought Mario a sip of nettles before we went to sleep. I drank some too. Now we were both nettle. And nettle was us.

In the dark, Mario rubbed my back and said sleepily, "Go to sleep. Go to sleep," a mantra of touch and words. I had gotten only a few hours sleep the night before, and he wanted to soothe me into my dreams. When I closed my eyes, I saw green. I was still besotted with all the plants I had seen during the day.

I lay on my husband's shoulder and we wrapped ourselves around one another. I listened his heartbeat. "Let's fall to sleep this way," he said. I closed my eyes and felt myself sinking, sinking, sinking into dreams and into him. For once I didn't think about what I would do if I lost him, didn't think about the end of everything, I just held him and drifted again. I was completely besotted.

I am besotted with my husband.

In the middle of the night, I went downstairs and poured a bit of the nettle broth into a cup. I curled up on the couch, and I sipped the nettle.

How can I explain how in love I was at that moment? In love with the nettles. My husband. The world.

Had the stinging nettle pricked me awake?

Around dawn, I went upstairs. I put my hand on Mario’s hip, closed my eyes, and went to sleep.

I didn’t have the word for the story of my day yesterday. Today it was given to me: besotted.

When I was a girl, I thought I was put on this Earth to love. That was my gift. That was who I was. I would reach out and touch someone and love flowed from me to them. I put my arms around trees and loved them. I pressed my face against the earth and loved the earth. Then I grew up and no longer believed that. That was too sentimental.

Now I know that girl knew who she was. She knew more than I know.

I don’t know why I fell asleep way back when. I may fall asleep again—and again.

I may forget again.

But today I know I am in love.

I am love.

I am drunk on love.


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Monday, June 15, 2009



As dreams are the healing songs
from the wilderness
of our unconscious—
So wild animals, wild plants, wild landscapes
are the healing dreams
from the deep singing mind of the earth."
Dale Pendell, Living with Barbarians

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Act of Terror Against Women

I agree with Starhawk: Dr. Tiller's murder was an act of terror. It is a continuation of the "terror" and misogyny that is a part of this culture and so many cultures around the world. (Case in point: The Taliban and conservative Christians: They want women covered and completely subservient to men.)

I have been appalled at the news coverage about Dr. Tiller. They call him an abortionist and talk about whether women have a right to abortion instead of talking about the MURDER of this man.

Starhawk writes: "On the day Dr. Tiller was murdered, Governer Schwarzenneger cut funding for the Healthy Families Act, a decision which will likely cost more children's lives than all the abortions Dr. Tiller ever performed. Yet no one is calling him a murderer.

"On the day Dr. Tiller was murdered, millions of refugees in Pakistan huddled in fear of American drone bombers. The graves of children in Iraq are still fresh: mothers in Gaza continue to weep over the hundreds of children murdered in the Israeli assault. Yet the 'right-to-life' movement is not agonizing over the blood that covers all our hands.

"On the day Dr. Tiller was murdered, uncounted children died from hunger, from lack of access to medical care, from contaminated water. Young boys were dragooned into service as child soldiers; young girls sold into sexual slavery. We could use a true right-to-life movement, one that would champion these children, one that would stand against the greed, the violence, the callousness, the cowardice that murders at a safe distance and kills by hoarding the means of life.

"Witches, Pagans, Goddess worshippers have no dogma, no central body that tells us what to believe or what decisions to make. But if there is one belief we all hold in common, it is this: that we are each our own moral and spiritual authority. From women's power to conceive, profound and sometimes painful choices arise, and we must be free to make those choice for ourselves. To deny women that right is to deny our most basic human agency."

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All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.