Life Lessons from Pus

There shall be no pictures with this post.  You’re welcome.

It can be entertaining (or interesting, or not, depending on your viewpoint) what inspires insight some days.  Life is a fetid ground of putrid lessons waiting to be realized.

Some lessons are shockingly new, some are deeper explorations of something previously realized, and some lessons are graphic reminders of things already known.

This was one of those last ones.

I have had this spot on my upper, outer left thigh for years.  Where spot = cyst.  (A cyst is “in the body, a membranous sac or cavity of abnormal character containing fluid”, so basically a zit turned inwards that has set up home and hollowed out its own zit-cave.)

It has resisted all attempts to drain it.  Okay, the efforts were grrr, stupid lump, apply squeezing pressure on either side and……nope, nothing came out.

Well, a week ago I got a tad testy and decided enough was enough.  WARNING:  upcoming content gets technically graphic.  DISCLAIMER:  this was not a wise way of handing it, but I am not always wise particularly when I am (failing at) dealing with emotional things and then allow those emotions to attack a weird problem such as this old damn cyst.

So I took a push pin to it to create a channel, shall we say, between the gunk inside and the world outside.

Tunnel created, I squeezed some more.




Okay, whatever.  Do I care?  No.  Heh.  I’ll show you cyst, I’ll show you by not caring.  Nahnahbllttthht.  (In case you haven’t realized yet, this is a story of emotions, told through the smelly weirdnesses of body mechanics.)

Days go by.  The spot reddens.  Great, infection?

Well, not seriously, no (though it would have served me right given how I went about things), but it did get a classic “white-head” style of zitness happening.

So I exorcised that demon.  The power of pressure compels you!  The power of pressure compels you!

And ick came out.  Old ick.  Ick that had turned into curled lumps of thick goo that smelled like the worst, most pungent cheese gone wrong.  (Yes, I smell the weird shit that comes out of my body, don’t you?)  Pressure was applied until the blood flowed clear and free.  Mwuhahahaha.  Ahem.

Now proper healing has started.  I may end up with a pockmark there (that tends to happen when the tissue becomes so used to a ‘foreign’ lump that its removal leaves behind a hole that does not fill) but the lump will be gone (I hope).  The lingering embedded ick is gone.

Emotionally I have had, and bet most of you have as well, these cyst-like lumps inside me.  Pockets of pain, misery, hatred, fear, that have balled up and walled themselves up inside of me.  They have become part of my psyche, so ingrained that I rarely notice their presence.  And when I do, and I try to do something about them, I am unsurprised when nothing changes.

Just this past week, I took one of those emotional cysts that I had previously lanced (the technical term for sticking the pokey thing into the ball of ick to release it into the world).  It had become more noticeable of late, stirred up, connected back more directly to the “outer” world of my consciousness.  So I applied pressure to it.  Release happened.

And just like the wound on my leg, I will need to care for that tender place inside, make sure it heals well and cleanly, that it doesn’t fill back up with ick but remains clear, empty of what had been there.  With emotional wounds it is helpful to pack them (i.e. put something healing into the empty space that was created with the lancing and draining) with something supportive and healing.

I am not recommending that everyone go out and lance their emotional cysts.  Instead, realize that it is an option that exists and there are ways and better ways of doing it to make sure you end up better off than you were before.  (I could have ended up with a serious infection given that I didn’t disinfect that pushpin; sometimes my foolishness knows no bounds.)

I have to say, getting that old crap out of me was intensely satisfying.

The Abysmal Witch

I know


I know that Venus is retrograde.  She tugs on my emotions, upon the depths of my heart within my soul and spirit.  The depths of old pains are risen up to the surface to demand their place in the moment, this moment, regardless of my wants or desires.

I know that I have had recent loss.  I miss my baby-girl (cat), eighteen and a half years was not enough and though she slept all day and I wouldn’t see her for hours, she was there, always present now gone.  Loss is in me, clear and supple in its freshness.

I know that August is an historically difficult month for me, for reasons even I don’t understand.  Depression caws and calls and laughs bitter jokes at my expense, irrespective of what I think or what I do.

I know my fears about the success of my new career.  Doubts abound, failure seemingly a looming danger growing with each week.


Knowing changes nothing on fear, knowing only allows a modicum of delusion, a dollop of superficial control over the emotion itself.  It is dancing ants across the nape of my neck, cavorting in style over my not-yet-dead-corpse.

Knowing changes nothing.  I sit and feel.  Pain, sorrow, loss, fear, ragged shards pushing out from my core and piercing me, inside to out.  I am jagged and fraught with danger even to myself, especially to myself.

Knowing the reasons for the feelings gives an entryway to deeper feeling, not less.

Knowing conveys an illusion of management.

Feelings will not be managed.  They will not be kept or contained or bartered with no matter what parts of my soul I offer in return.

What wouldn’t we give to not feel pain?

I am submerged in the river of it and I would willingly drown if I knew that was the end of it.


But it isn’t.  For the next minute continues and into the next.  With all the attendant agonies crowding in for attention.  Hungry children in a household without enough food.  There is not enough of me left to feed them all and still be me at the end.  Yet to ignore them, to deny them, to reject from them nourishment, is that truly better?  They are, after all, me.

So I sit.

I hurt.

I fear.

I feel.

Hoping that the feeling will pass as a storm on the lake, leaving stillness, quiet, cleansing in its wake.  Hoping the storm will pass and I remain recognizable after.  Hoping the storm will pass.


~The Abysmal Witch

A Giddy Dream

I am the giddy dream of a giant gone mad

In the starry splendour of nothing I reach forth my hand

Grasping, petting, deluging my soul and the world around

With my needs swept tight and snug around me

‘Til my breath is nothingness in my chest

And the other world rings out:

Forthcome unto the Dreamer!  Forth come and be known.

Be seen.

Be touched and embraced and recognized

From within and without

As Spirits and Souls of the One

For the One and the One are One

And therein shall we find wholeness.

Be free of what Was.

Let the land of Because, the shadow of Maybe, the dream of Could Be

Go into the fading happenstance of yesteryear

For all is but occasion tossed upon our seas

The food for droughts, the water of the Divine

Into our own essence shall we forge

And forage the full becoming of our Selves

And therein know of madness and of Mystery

And all the Holy Places that lie Between.

Let us be so Blessed.

Let the Magick commence.


~The Abysmal Witch

Learning to Play: Cards

I’ve been very focused lately on what I “should” be doing, what “needs” to be done.  To accomplish this, to do what’s appropriate with that.  Not just with work things, but in my play as well.

In fact, I realized tonight that I haven’t been playing.  I’ve been approaching all of my ‘fun’ things with a work ‘must get done’ attitude.

It’s not hard to see where this came from.  During my two years of major transitions, I kept to my hobbies, my crafts, by determination and will alone it seemed somedays.  I was exhausted through much of those days and I would have these litanies in my head such as “okay, you can rest, but right after you get that mead racked”.  Taking care of my mead became another list on my list of things.  It needed to or it would have stopped.  And I was NOT going to be stopped from continuing to do something I love.


And let’s face another reality while I’m at it.  I’m inherently lazy.  I don’t want to do the things.  I want to lie on my couch with a book in my hands, tea to my side, cat on my legs and while away my afternoons.  Rain or shine doesn’t matter, they are both conducive to a lazy afternoon reading.  Doing anything beyond that requires a certain level of determination from me.  I feel like every hobby I pick up comes with the weight of fear and depression and childish whining of ‘it’s too hard’.  I don’t know when these things crept onto and started to leech at my joys, but it has happened.  Badly.

In a nutshell?  I’ve forgotten how to play.

So I’m going to try something new.  I hope.  I’m going to try and find the play in my interests.  Grins in my hobbies.  Laughter in my crafts.

Tonight I played with my three favourite card decks.  Joie de Vivre, Thoth and the Celtic Book of the Dead cards.  Check out the spreads, my friend!:


Each one with a tale.  Each one whispering of things to learn and to discover.  Life has changed.  My emotions will run strong and there will be storms and high seas.  And therein too lies the joy and the fun.  Living is going to feel good!  Or, well intense.  Intensity can be its own good sometimes.  Any way, though, I hope to embrace and live and try to find the fun and the bounce.  To do what I love because of love.

What is fed, grows.

the Abysmal Witch

Things can change in an instant…but mostly they stay the same

Or change really, really slowly.

I nearly died today.  One of those moments that happens periodically, when you feel the brush of death closer than usual.  Not the slow caress of death from bad habits or long-term illness, but the flirtatious goosing from a near miss.

I was out for a walk, headed to a favourite park that requires walking past some major intersections.  Please note that I was wearing a purple jacket, orange and black socks, and green laces on my shoes.  Really, I was a jokeresque symphony of colours.  Not exactly blending into the background.  I have proof, check the picture.  The pic is from after the rain (and thus my drowned cat impression) but at the time of this story, the rain had yet to start so visibility was perfect.


I had already started to walk across the street, cheerfully following the instructions of the little glowing white man on the pole across from me.  That’s when a truck decided to run the now ended left turn advance signal. Thankfully, the person he cut off honked.  I say thankfully because that’s why I looked up and paused and waited for the idiot to pass me by with a couple of feet to spare.

If I hadn’t paused, at minimum he would have clipped me but most likely I would have been perfectly aligned under his right wheel as he hit me.

He noticed me about ten feet past where he would have run over me.

I shared a bewildered head shake and shoulder shrug with the woman in the car beside the crosswalk.  Idiots.  What can you do?

Life can change like that, one instant to the next.  Boom.  Crash.  Bang.  (Anyone else remember that Roxette song?  Well, Crash Boom Bang technically.)  And all of our life can be gone, all those unique memories disappeared into shmutz on a road.  We are ephemeral by definition of our lives.  It pays to remember this, at least now and again.

Naturally I kept on walking.  Because what else do we do?  My life hadn’t actually changed.  No broken bones, no death, might as well keep to my purpose.  My thoughts churned around the importance of life and all of those typical things and then, as we tend to do, the moment passed and I was back in the musings I’d started with.

About a week before I’d done the same walk with friends.  On that walk I came across some banana peels that demanded I take their pictures.  Hey, it was my birthday weekend, I didn’t say I was sober during this walk! lol.  Here are those banana peel portraits:  Banana in Puddle and Banana with Bag.

RIMG1442 RIMG1443

So here I am a week later, on essentially the same walk, and what do I see?


Oh, banana, poor poor banana.  Slowly fading into the past.  As most of us do.  Most of life doesn’t change in that quick instant, that lightening strike of a car.  Most change is slow, changes coming in small bits, microbes eating away at who and what we are until we oh so slowly decay from living until death unto dirt.

Thankfully, it is slow!  Meaning there is so much time to enjoy the moments, large and small, crazy and plain, thunderous and whisper soft.

Those goosings from death are a chance to take the appreciation for everything else a little deeper into ourselves.  I know this in my head but it’s my heart that needed the reminder.

Time to go live some life.  Because what is fed, grows.

Blessings of the deep and wild to you all.

The Abysmal Witch.



What is fed, grows.

What is fed, grows.

What we practice, we become skilled at.

What we think about becomes present.

When we pay attention, we demonstrate caring and then caring grows, love grows.

This phrase has been knocking on my inner doorways.  It has been bouncing like an exuberant child on a bed telling me to pay attention.

What is fed, grows.

My life narrowed these past two years down into its most important parts:  work, school, new business, coven.  Adding in where I could some fun, the occasional flirt, community events, a movie.  But there was very little time for things beyond the necessities of make money to live, study hard to change where I am making the necessary money for living.  My life was stripped down to primarily necessities.

When the shift came, even though I knew it would arrive, it was a surprise.  It still feels like it is creeping up on me.  The shift from working full-time and in school to working for myself, not yet 20 hours per week (though spending time working on changing that so it’s not that little of a time investment).  And no commuting.  This should mean that I have oodles upon oodles of more time, right?

Well, I used to say that I never carried a large purse because the crap I carried would breed to fill the empty spaces.  And it is a certainty that distractions and desires will fill all of the crannies of our daily lives if given the opportunity.

But that was just it.  I had this crazy opportunity to rebuild life as I wanted to.  I’d already stripped everything down to primarily basics.  I’d already cleaned out the closet, so to speak.  So what should go back in?

Stage one:  healing.  I needed (and still do) to rest.  To get ridiculous amounts of sleep.  To forgive myself for all the things that are (still) not getting done.  To give myself the gift of time.

Stage two:  notice what I’m adding back into living.  Please note that this was not an immediate conscious choice, that the doing happened before the thinking.  This is so easy to do!  But also very telling on what I am emotionally drawn to at this time in life.

Stage three:  consciously decide what I’m going to keep doing and what will go.

What is fed, grows.  But not everything can be fed, and not everything needs the same food.  And there isn’t enough hours in the day to feed it all.

It’s all about making choices.  If I feed my Facebook addiction, that will grow.  If I practice making fimo sculptures, that skill will grow.  If I date, my relationship skills will grow as will my heart.  As will my heart.  My heart grows when I do what I love.  In relationships, in crafting, even on FB, when I read about what my best friend got to have for dinner, made by her sweetie who is an absolutely awesome cook, I celebrate with her (with mutterings and cursings, ahem, jk, love you!) and so as odd as it may seem, our connection grows.

As I enter this new stage of my life, with new career, new styles of life management, I get to choose what is put back into it.  My pagan tribe?  Absolutely.  But also my kinky tribe.  And the discoveries of polyamory.  And sewing, I’ve missed creating through cloth (and boy could my skills use improvement in this area).

The tricky part is that there is so much I want to do, but still not nearly enough time in the day.  Because first and foremost, I would like to manage my life well.  I would like to not stress about upcoming deadlines.  Or the piles of ignored paperwork.  Or those emails I didn’t get to.  There still some old shit I need to clear out from the-before-times.  And some bad habits from those days, too.  And I’d like to live in a clean home so that when I do get some spare time, it is easy to flow into something (and not be tripping over last week’s craft project, for example – clearly I’m still working on this part).

I will have to make some hard choices.  Or learn how to balance my various loves and interests better.  Okay, both.

Regardless, it is a conscious choosing (mostly) and a conscious reevaluation of what I am feeding in my life.

I have not fed this blog for a long time, nor my podcast, nor any of my more public pagan side.  Perhaps this rambling is a sign of things to change.  Or perhaps I will discover that this is not where my passions lie anymore and will put this down.  But I do think, one way or another, that it is time to find out.

What is fed, grows.

Have I lost my funny bone?

Lately I seem to find my sense of humour lacking.  Or perhaps it is that it switches off at the drop of a hat?  Or a pin?  Or some phrase that switches me from humour mode to serious mode?

I’ve become very good at serious mode.

Which are apparently actually things in the study of humour.  Many things have sparked this post, but in particular this article on humour done in analysis of appropriateness (or not) of rape jokes, which draws on a variety of studies regarding humour.

As I said, I’ve become most serious.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the past months studying (not intentionally, just following what has intrigued me) fat shaming, rape culture, sexism, racism, white privilege, thin privilege and essentially different facets of our society that aim towards disenfranchising one group for the benefit or amusement or some other unstated or stated reason of another group.

During this same time I was introduced to Cards Against Humanity, a game that is “as despicable and awkward as you and your friends” and very much enjoyed it.  Something of a contradiction to the rest of where I’ve been.  Mind you, I’m not sure I’d enjoy it if I played tomorrow.

I think I’ve become very aware of the humanity of the people on the other side.

Sure, people of walmart are shocking and head shaking and wtf, seriously? has to run through a person’s head as they look at those people.  Okay, doesn’t have to, but I bet it does for most of us ‘normal’ people.  Which just means the group of people who see those people as not-normal.  And maybe they’re okay with being laughed at.  Or maybe they don’t care.  Or maybe they seek the attention.

Or maybe they’re just another soul traveling on this planet.

I tend to figure that if you are dressed in a non-conformist way, ya gotta take your lumps.  I mean this for people who are clearly making a statement with their clothes.  If you are wearing fishnet stockings, a tutu and a hockey jersey, well, that’s a statement there and people will make comments on statements.  By making a statement you are in a sense inviting commentary.

But for those whose clothes don’t fit?  Or are ugly?  Or are a fabric/colour/style/cut/age/cleanliness/pattern that we find mocking worthy, these days I stop and wonder about it.  I wonder about the action I commit with mocking.  I wonder if it would be hurtful to do it to that person’s face.  The internet makes it so very easy to mock and to tease and to hurt others and to stay safely hidden on the other side of a screen and keyboard where the impact of that mocking and teasing and hurting doesn’t have to impact us.

Friends of mine this past week talked about humour and how it is always cruel at someone’s or something’s expense.  Let’s just accept that at face value.  Does it necessarily follow that all humour should be considered fair and equal?  Since it’s all cruel, does it matter who we are cruel against?

I think yes.

I think that when the humour goes after the weaker, the disenfranchised, the ones already struggling, the ones who are not privileged, that we may well be perpetuating imbalances, creating more pain, and saying through humour that it is okay to view these people as lesser.

I’ve told my share of racist jokes, less fat jokes (been fat, still see myself as fat), baby in a blender jokes.  I’m sitting here now and thinking of ‘your mama is so fat’ jokes and I think to myself ‘hmmm, you know, if that mama in question is thin, that probably wouldn’t bother me the same, but if the mama was fat then it would’.  Or perhaps it should all bother me. Or perhaps none of it.

That’s what I mean.  I’ve become quite serious.  Tell a joke and I can drop out of humour mode in an instant to react to it as a serious statement. ‘Do you really consider <x group> to be <y>?  Have you considered that…”

I don’t think I’m as much fun at parties.  I certainly put a damper from my little corner on my group’s demented humour rounds.  And I’ve always been a fan of demented humour.  I’m just seriously struggling with demented humour that comes at the expense of someone who can’t defend themselves.  Demented humour against things, against society, against corporations, against the Tea Party (let’s face it, they’re rather asking for it!), against the willfully stupid (when it’s a choice), that I think I still enjoy.  But when it’s against those who can’t stand up for themselves, those who are not in a position of power in the joke, in life, then it bothers me.  When it perpetuates stereotypes to the disadvantage of those stereotyped, it bothers me.  When it acknowledges the reality behind a stereotype, I can find that funny.

I’ve become very complicated and annoying in my humour.

Soon I shall be sitting along on my non-existent porch muttering about how rotten the world has become with a bunch of lemons puckering my face into nasty old lady face.  Did I just disenfranchise nasty old ladies?  But not all old ladies are nasty.  Oldness and ladyness neither separately nor together constitute nastiness.  But there is a particular Elvira Gulch stereotype out there.

See, and that’s why I fail at humour these days.  All analyzing, all the time.

But maybe it’s worth the hiatus from humour to find my way through it to where I understand where humour is fun and where humour hurts.  Because that’s what I want.  I want to enjoy a good joke that makes me laugh, makes me see the world clearer, differently, that challenges my beliefs.  I don’t want the easy laugh that comes at the price of someone’s pain.

Who needs a funny bone, anyway.

Old Lives

Today I visited someone I haven’t seen in years.  An old mentor, no pun intended.

I see now , my life changed, the branch in the road, and the freedom I have claimed.

In ten years she has spun into a dance with her antithesis, her nemesis in flesh.  A woman in opposition to all my old mentor holds dear.

The conflict has taken root in old losses, or so I believe, and it has flourished.  It nourishes in bitter twists of familiarity.  It is embraced for its definition of boundaries, its comfort in the emptiness.

It has become a core piece of her world, a focal point to be shared, the story of life to be told.

Is bitter comfort, not yet still comforting?  Does it matter what sees us through the night?

I believe it does.  Yet that belief is in degrees, to the best that we each can attain.  Always we can reach for more (and sometimes we need to sit on our heels and *reflect*).  We can be more, for always we are becoming.  Or we can settle into a pattern of predictability and certainty, an old pair of uncomfortable shoes that we have adjusted to as much as they adjust to us.

I am happier for the road I have taken.

Barefoot and dancing.  Sharp stones scrape my heels, my toes dug into soft earth.  Living.

Gregorian Resolution 2013

A year ago, possibly today, I posted about my view on New Year’s resolutions.  I like to focus on things I want to try out, something new to embrace as the new year (Gregorianly speaking) starts.

Last year, I vowed to attend one live event per month.  Some of which even were blogged about here.  It was a varied list, including:  bellydance, plays, opera (first time ever), laser show, beluga and otter shows at the aquarium, restaurant band, friends playing with Fimo, classic plays and modern ones, parade, air show, and the list actually goes on from there.

This year, I vow to cook something new each and every month.

This should balance nicely between my holy-fuck-how-am-I-going-to-ever-survive-the-psychotic-busy-of-2013 and determination to learn something new this year for pure fun.

I’ve been edging into the land of cooking more anyway so this isn’t precisely a stretch.


Did you notice it?  I just gave away the secret to New Year’s resolution successes.  I’m embracing something I already am interested and have already started working on.  It’s a bit of a stretch to succeed, but not much of one, and it’s something I honestly want to do and already am doing.  I’m just going to do more of it, and more consistently.  A little push in my already direction.

And January is taken care of already!  But as with last year’s resolution, the month only improves if I fulfill the resolution more than once.  Or as many times as I feel like.  It just doesn’t let me be so lazy that I let my desire drift off my awareness and the intention disappear into the void of the forgotten.

Oh, and what was it?  A simple quesadilla.  No recipe, just a simple adding of ingredients to make a nummy lunch.  One that I could have easily done years before and just never got up the gumption/intention/nerve to do it (I’m a shy cook sometimes and hesitant to ‘wing’ it).

Do you have a New Year’s resolution?  Is it going to be easy?  hard?

Or do you live the land of ‘resolution is to have no resolutions’?  A land I am familiar with and frequently enjoy.  Though I’m finding I like the challenge of this newer methodology of mine.

Regardless of plans, I wish you all a 2013 filled with satisfaction of needs, exploration of dreams, and a movement towards your greater Path.

Blessings of the deep and wild to you all.

Saturn, the Abysmal Witch