A fond farewell

July 10, 2020

if you are reading this, i’ve gone shining/am dead by my own hand. in the movie captain fantastic when the mom commits suicide one of the characters responds, “she finally did it.” some of you who’ve known me for a long time may have a similar response. initially. 

knowing the anguish suicide can leave behind, i’ve written this (extensive) note to try to explain the “why” so that if you are affected by this passing you will find peace more quickly. i apologize for the all-lower-case letters—it’s easier on my hands.

my story begins with mental illness. it’s entwined with mental illness. i have a variety of serious disorders that few people have seen because i have an almost otherworldly ability to present myself as in command at all times. depression started at age 14, anxiety at 15. it’s had its ups and downs over the decades but it wasn’t until 2003 in a mental hospital that i was first diagnosed properly and put on meds. it took years to get to a more precise set of diagnoses (see below). the meds sometimes provided a safety net but there were countless mornings when i thrashed around in bed screaming and then went catatonic for hours. countless weekday mornings where i would start screaming in my office and then would run out of the room, unable to gain control of my brain for the rest of the day. and sometimes the kaiasistahs were witnesses to my convulsions and screaming psychotic episodes. bless them for taking care of me. a lot of this seemed manageable at first because i had my own business and my time was my own. i thought that if left my desk at 9am i could always go back at 3 once my turmoil had subsided. but i became less and less capable of returning and my work suffered as my mind deteriorated.

the various diagnoses:

generalized anxiety disorder 

major depression 


obsessive compulsive disorder 

post-traumatic stress disorder 

dissociative identity disorder 

developmental trauma disorder 


it’s always been a race against the clock for me: will i get well first or will it be suicide? i’ve been wrestling with this illness since i was 14 years old. and now we know: i could not get well in time. 

i am a mentally ill person. i have a brain disease. it is inherited, chronic, and life-threatening, just like diabetes or other physical illnesses. i am the strongest person you’ll ever meet, and i am terribly, terribly fragile. i am ill. please understand this: no matter how capable i’ve seemed all this time, there has been one long scream behind it. i am mentally ill. 

i had a very successful business for almost a decade but i got hit hard by the recession. by the time the recovery hit, the whole design industry had changed and bloomington was positively crawling with low-priced competition. i spent years freaking out at the shame of pending bankruptcy as i watched all my IRAs and rainy day funds and savings disappear. like so many others in the new economy, i felt like a complete, utter failure. i had no worth. i was despondent with the burden of shame and blame. for YEARS. my mental state, always precarious, deteriorated as i frantically tried to find a way to stay afloat.

starting in the recession, i had terrifying nightmares every weekday morning. constant paralyzing flashbacks. a lot of blackouts. i couldn’t keep a train of thought. i got anorexia (which business colleagues congratulated me on, since the skinnier you are, the more successful you must be). i started cutting after a 25-year hiatus. i would freeze when presented with simple things, like when a truck blocked the sidewalk and I just stood there paralyzed, quivering and whimpering, not knowing what to do. i was institutionalized again. i was obsessed with thoughts of suicide every day. i was plagued by panic and that most awful of words: “failure.” i got worse and worse, all the time trying trying trying new things to turn my career path around and staunch the financial outflow. but eventually it was clear that i was no longer capable of work. my therapist and psychiatrist and GP concurred that i needed to be on disability. it took a long time for me to see that this was an ongoing problem and i indeed was no longer able to work.

i applied for disability and was rejected three times (which is typical). a friend who advised me said the government hopes you’ll die waiting. i ran out of money before i got my day for an appeal. but even then i doubt if i’d win, based on the skepticism i met with in my dealings with the social security administration. beyond that i highly doubt that i’d have enough money to live on, based on the stories i’ve heard from people who were successful in their disability claims. a monthly check would’ve covered my mortgage, nothing more. so it would have been a great deal of suffering and psychotic episodes for nothing. 

what underlies my decision to kill myself is a deep commitment i made to myself when i was psychotic and getting ready to go into a mental hospital. i swore that “i am in this only as long as i want to be in this. as soon as i don’t want to be in this, i’m done.” that is a deep promise and i have held it sacred. and i no longer want to be in this. the financial struggle which leads to mental anguish is just too much.

what i need you to understand is if i went backwards, if i gave up my house and moved into a small apartment, if i went to work for The Man in a company i didn’t fully support, i would risk that sanity i have struggled so hard to achieve. right now if i get distressed i can merely step outside and ground myself in my Land. just the feel of my house soothes me. i have had fewer depressive and psychotic episodes since i’ve moved into my house. it has made living possible. why in the world would i give that up? why would i go backwards, knowing for a fact that i would lose my sanity again and again? no. i will never do that. i would literally rather be dead. i go to my grave gladly, knowing i have saved myself from a soul-killing fate. by dying, i save my life. i keep myself safe. and i make good on that vow. there is deep honor in that. 

I’ve had a good life, sometimes a wonderful life, but it was also an extremely difficult struggle. almost all the good things that enriched my life were possible because i had money. i wasn’t willing to live on less money because then i would lose all that made life worth living. it’s never been enough for me just to keep breathing—i have always wanted more. i’m not interested in surviving: simply placing one foot in front of the other. the only life that makes sense to me is thriving, truly engaging with all the things life has to offer. i have lived my life on my own terms and for the most part answered to no one. i fought hard for that privilege—gave every scrap of skin—and i have zero interest in going backwards. there is a difference of light years in quality of life between my life since i got my house in 2006 and the previous 20 years in cramped, concrete, soulless, madness-inducing apartments. to go backwards would destroy my sanity.

there have really only been three options for me: have a thriving business to support myself in health, live in poverty or at a job i hate in serious mental degradation, or be dead. since i can’t have the first and refuse the second, that leaves me with the last. some of you have gotten glimpses of the madness i experience, but no one but my therapists really knows the extent of my disability. trust me on this: it’s not something anyone should have to live with. 

it’s suicide now or suicide later. later it would be at absolute rock bottom, impoverished, frantic, psychotic, full of despair and crazed suffering with a soul full of rage and terror. suicide now means going out on a high note, living my life to the fullest. which would you choose?

i had a million ideas for ways to get out of this morass. i first tried pursuing journalism at the university of massachusetts–amherst and later information science at IU. i had to drop out of iu because my illnesses exploded. as much as i loved the idea of school, it was no longer mentally possible. that was a huge blow. i tried two new businesses. i tried part-time work. one of my jobs was supposed to lead to a client pipeline but after a while the boss replaced me with someone who’d be available “24/7”— for a part-time job (this was when i still had cairril.com work). so i lost the job and i lost the pipeline. i applied for full-time work. i tried selling plasma but i was on too many meds to be accepted. i underwent career counseling. i tried freelance writing. i tried subcontracting. using lynda.com, i learned 7 software programs in 6 months to help me get ahead but then had no use for them. i seriously considered going back to school to become a translator/interpreter but realized i was simply too old to get going. the small business development center, staffed by fantastic people who champion me, made referrals to me and set up a meeting with a contact who could’ve changed the whole direction of my business—nothing came of it. i met with five long-time colleagues who are movers and shakers in the bloomington and indianapolis business communities. they gave me kickass advice, i followed it—but nothing happened. 

i longed for a reference librarianship job at the monroe county public library but was told by everyone on the planet that i would never get the job because positions rarely open up and, when they do, competition is freakishly fierce. i worked out a whole exciting plan for how i could become a history professor before i learned from working professors that the process would kill my love of history. i tried working with a yoruban priest to approach my problems from a tribal spirituality angle and just as i was ready to really dig in she backed out. i was finally making progress with an excellent therapist when she moved away. 

i finally invested in a top-to-bottom website redesign for my business only to have a high-profile prospect tell me it had been a close call but they’d decided they liked my competitor’s website better. kaia had grand plans for touring that would’ve allowed us to keep some money for ourselves, but after i spent a whole summer researching, emailing, and talking on the phone we only got two gigs. i considered becoming an event planner, but besides having face blindness, i realized event planning actually triggers massive anxiety. i looked into getting a marketing degree to work at a specific bloomington company but found out their pay is low and they don’t give raises. i applied for scores of jobs on guru.com, a worldwide freelancing site, but i was constantly underbid by people in asia. the one gig i did get disappeared as soon as i produced a contract. i went through the arduous process of being certified to sell to the government only to find that buyers didn’t even HAVE a category for web design. i looked into substitute teaching but it only paid $8/hr. i looked into becoming a grant writer but it’s a blue ton of boring work for not much pay. i considered becoming a chain store franchisee but, apart from its being totally opposed to my values, i would be risking a very large chunk of someone else’s money. no way.

i planned a singing class for kids but couldn’t find a place to rent that wouldn’t wipe out all my profit.  i thought about going back to school to become a university choral director but it was impossible for me to work. i asked my best clients for referrals but no referrals came through. one of my friends needed design work done and even they went to one of my competitors. it was just one more sign: “this is the end of the road.”

i tried to get a home equity loan, but even with a credit score of 843, i got turned down. (this was the part of the recession when banks took government bailouts and converted them to big bonuses for the C-suite instead of making small loans.) i swallowed my pride and asked well-off people for subsidies but they couldn’t help. i have done innumerable money spells but was blocked at every turn. i considered getting a roommate but the house is just too small. i considered letting the house and moving into a small apartment, but rents are so high plus storage and a handyman would all actually cost me more. late in the game, i considered going back to school to learn how to direct music videos but i just was so ill i couldn’t do it. 

i did not lose my money for lack of trying. to the contrary, i tried every single thing i could think of. and i thought of a lot. but i was no longer mentally capable of either going to school or holding down a job. how could i possibly survive? all the evidence screamed, “the world is not your friend” and “i am fortune’s fool!” (romeo and juliet). i seemed destined to fail no matter what. everywhere i went i felt a door slamming shut in my face.

the american dream is a lie. you hear it from politicians and others constantly: “if you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll get ahead.” i did work hard and i did play by the rules, but globalization and the great recession were bigger than i was. americans are so obsessed with the individual, as if one’s destiny rises or falls according to one’s own industry. but race and class and gender and ability and geographic location and so much more—even luck!—play into how much money you make. i had a lot of privilege on my side and a lot of help in my career. it wasn’t enough to save me.

the best thing about giving up trying trying trying is my mental health is the best it’s been since the late ‘90s. i still deal with anxiety and depression and psychosis but that was much worse when i was trying to work. seeing that i was going to die, i passed my clients on to other providers and have spent the last few months just livin’ the life. i’m relaxed for the most part and singing and praying and just doing my thing. for the first time in 20 years i feel like i’m really living my life instead of constantly being gripped in the jaws of hell. 

the worst part, the absolute worst part of all this was the lying about work and suicide (i told the truth about everything else). i had to lie to people because if they knew the truth they’d ring the cops to stop me. so i’ve been living with this black, oily poison of lies and misdirections and keeping my mouth shut when all i wanted to do was tell everyone everything. i don’t have secrets. i live my life very much in the open. and honor is one of my most prized values. it has tortured me to lie. and i think it will make it harder for you left behind to forgive me. i’m sorry. i am so, so sorry. i’m crying as i type this. if there were any other way, i would’ve told you everything. i just couldn’t take the risk. i’m desperately sorry. 

i’m also deeply sorry for the obvious stuff—the pain i will continue to cause as my kith and kin feel the hole in their lives which i should be occupying. i’m sorry i couldn’t get well. many, many people have helped me over my lifetime but i’m just too damaged. i’m sorry for all the love and support i’ll never be able to give. i’m sorry that some of you will never forgive me. if it helps, think of me as having a severely debilitating terminal illness. which, in fact, i have. 

i have made the decision to end this endless suffering. And i got out in relief and peace. there are plenty of people who choose to end their lives while they still have all their faculties and go out on a high note. that’s what i’m doing. i end my life to save my life. i choose quality over quantity. 

i have thought about and researched suicide for most of my life. this is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. this is a conscious choice. and it is not a product of depression or something that could’ve been avoided if i’d just had someone to talk to. frankly, it comes down to money. i did not have the money to maintain a lifestyle worth living and designed to maintain my mental stability, and if i narrowed my lifestyle i would have experienced far more intense symptoms of my brain diseases and would certainly have lost my mind. again and again. by the Gods, i will not let that happen. if i could solve my money problems, i would still be alive. it’s as simple as that. 

to those who say suicide is “selfish,” i say a resounding “screw you.” i should have to live with the blackest despair and cutting and hallucinations and the complete overthrow of reason so that you don’t have to feel bad for a while? who’s the selfish one?

my grave plot is in the green burial section (yay!) of white oak cemetery, which is my favorite graveyard in bloomington. when my eldest goddessdaughter was three i began taking her there to teach her how to climb trees, learn letters and dates from gravestones, and be at peace among the beloved dead and not fear them. she called it the “grave garden,” a name which has stuck to this day. i can’t express the comfort i have felt just knowing where i’m going to be planted. my headstone is already there so when i wanted to know where i’ll be in a hundred years or just wanted to feel my roots, i went and curled up on my grave and communed with the lovely tree over it and generally felt great. 

i know that my Land at home is where i’m planted in life, and plot number 13 in the grave garden is where i’ll be buried in death. i feel so good about that. i know non-Pagans may find it macabre, but Pagans don’t fear death — we see it as part of the natural life cycle. i am thrilled that my body will return to the Mother quickly and sustain new life. this is peace. 

a lot of people think that life is a line with a start at birth and an end at death. but before birth come the natural processes that convert energy into matter. and death is not the end. no, i’m going home to Mother Earth, planted deep, and i will fuel the lives of hundreds of creatures. no immortal soul, no heaven, no Summerlands where my personality lives on, but a sacred dance of lifeanddeath for my energy until the Sun goes nova. then i return to starstuff. this brings me comfort. this brings me delight. i’m glad to go into my next iteration. 

i don’t believe in an afterlife, so for me my death is the end of my personality. i have no qualms about that—it is a comfort. at the same time, i know from my genealogy research that the more we learn about the dead, the more they come back to life for us. and i have personally felt the presence of “ghosts” and have also facilitated the transition of beings from one realm to another. one of my four cornerstone beliefs is that there are more things going on in this sphere than our five senses can explain, so who knows? feel free to call upon my spirit. 

i have so enjoyed my semi-retirement since october 2016 and my full retirement since Spring. once i released all feelings of grasping after money, i focused on quality of life. and what quality! the books i’ve read, the songs i’ve created and sung, the traveling i’ve done, the volunteering, the watching of documentaries, the learning, the fun!, the shakespeare i’ve done, the increasing political activism, the deepening of my spirituality, the deepening of my relationships, the expansion of my self! this is what i’ve wanted my life to be. and it’s this i’ve chosen for myself—a life fully lived before i die. going out on a high note. no suffering, no fear, just juicy living. it took the ending of all my ambitions for me to have a shot at a full, enriching life. it is exactly what i wanted my whole life to be. and even though it’s only been a few years instead of decades, it’s been a glorious retirement. i have no regrets about this choice. there are many things i love about the life i’ve created for myself, but i surrender them to the Goddess willingly and gratefully. i go to the grave in peace and in joy that i can finally, finally lay my burden down. i have always been a fighter; this is my last fight. it is a fight to end my life as i have lived it: on my own terms. 

if you would remember me, sing. sing LOUD with a big smile on your face. enjoy the thrill of singing and being alive. take part in democracy. build community. speak truth to power. never give up. 

i thank all those who have loved me and given me so much help. i thank all my kith and kin who have contributed to making my life so interesting and full of fun. i thank the Goddess for this peace at the end of a long, difficult road. i thank myself for having the courage to end my life before i lose it. 

i love you. 

resting in peace. resting in power.


Me, me, me, and a little bit of me

June 5, 2017

sometimes i feel like i’m disappearing. so over the last 9 months or so i’ve been writing this on my phone (please excuse the lack of caps). it’s completely self-indulgent, probably boring, and just an attempt to state who i am to the universe. i will update it with more fascinating details as i think of them!


i was born and raised in a white, middle class suburb of chicago. in “chicagoland.” which, if you’ve grown up near that glorious city, you know sounds a lot better than it actually is. while there were latinos in my class, there was only one african american, and he was deaf. i didn’t know any jews and certainly no muslims or any other minority faiths. i was raised catholic and everyone i knew was christian or (a few) “no religion.” i was not raised for a diverse world.

i am white. being privileged, i often don’t think about it. then i see a POC and i’m unthinkingly thinking, “a black person!” and then i’m tearing my carefully coiffed hair out in despair that i will never be able to root out my inherited racism. since black lives matter came on the scene, i’ve been reading books regularly on race, class, and gender to try to change my consciousness. it’s slow going. institutionalized isms suck.

i am either 5’5” or 5’6”. no one seems to know. perhaps it’s the hair. i have an eating disorder which makes my weight swing by 50 pounds depending on whether i’m starving or bingeing. my lowest weight was 109, but i’ve been bingeing over the last six months. it’s a big challenge.

i am a singer. i am a Witch. you can strip all else away and find these two things at my core, two strands of DNA. i didn’t know about the Craft until 1989 but it was a homecoming. i have never doubted my path. i have sung since i was born. went professional at 11. got into IU’s music school when it was number one in the country. it tore up all love of music i had and i stopped singing for five years. getting my voice back is entwined with my spirituality and now it’s in its rightful place.

i am pansexual, though i usually just say bisexual because it’s easier. i used to be hetero but when i was in england on my internship when i was 23 i started falling for the glorious liz, goth grrrl of my dreams. i sat in my room one night and investigated these feelings, feeling the old arguments against same-sex relations come up and then…i saw clearly that those were all based in a religion i no longer believed in and they just floated away. my darling liz leaned towards me but fell for a boy before i could gather the nerve to ask her out.

these are some of my heroines.

my mom wanted to name me amy but her mother (grandma mclaughlin) lobbied hard for “carol.” i was born on 23 december, so i became a “christmas carol.” a remarkably appropriate name. “to carol” means to sing and dance in a circle. very me. then i had a nervous breakdown at 18 (a real one; psychosis) and in the midst of it the spelling “cairril” came to me. i would say it was given to me by the Goddess but i didn’t know about Her then. i just knew i had a new name. i legally changed it the following year. it’s very close to an irish spelling so i just tell people it’s irish, but it’s actually unique. as far as i can tell, there’s no other person on Earth with that spelling.

i was an empath until 2000. it wasn’t just that i felt intense sympathy. it was more the sci-fi meaning, where i could actually feel what other people were feeling, usually people i had a close relationship with. i would get hit with something out of the blue and have to start making phone calls to friends to see who’d just gotten bad or good news. since a trauma in january of 2000, i don’t feel much of anything anymore.

following on that, i do still have what i call physical empathy. when i look at someone, i involuntarily feel what their body feels like. or i guess, what my brain imagines they feel like. so i hate watching westerns. everyone is so filthy and sweaty i end up feeling skanktastic. i don’t know of a name for this condition and i’ve never seen it described anywhere else.

i experience multiple realities at once. one of my least favorite questions is, “what’s real?” i call your reality “consensual reality.” we agree that a table is a table, a door is a door. but color? sound? intent? i experience these things in multiple ways and consensual reality often comes up short.

following on that, i have synesthesia, which is a condition where more than one sense gets triggered by a single phenomenon. so i hear what i see and i see what i hear. that makes for a very noisy head. i am super-sensitive to noise but the type of noise determines whether i go into complete meltdown or dance like a loon. a live auction sent me running from the room once.

i am of primarily german stock from the great 19th century migration, with a healthy dose of irish from the famine and lots of english and some polish thrown in. and i somehow ended up with 2% north african ancestry from the 18th century! i love surprises. i have four ancestors who came over on the mayflower so i feel “ethnically” “american” too. i am way into genealogy and have traced several lines back to the 15th century. one ancestor, nicholas wylder, was a german mercenary who fought with henry tudor against richard iii. no, nicholas! we needed you on the other side! i have slaveholders among my ancestors (i want to do more research there) as well as heretics and an accused witch. we are a rambunctious lot with a LOT of strong women.

i am the spinster aunt of eleven nieces and nephews, some of whom i’m close to. i am goddessmother to two incredible girls i’d be proud to call my own. friday afternoons are ours.

i am not a fan of fine art. art museums bore the hell out of me. the impressionists and modernists are the worst. i love ancient egyptian and celtic art because of the religious component. i am intrigued by a lot of early 20th century european art (vienna secessionists particularly) but the only “real” artist that gets me is kathe kollwitz. i like art that makes me FEEL. i want a reaction. i want intensity. landscapes just don’t cut it. speak to me, transform me!

the core of my spiritual belief is tiocfaidth an samhradh: “summer will come.”

i am a capricorn near the cusp with sagittarius with five planets in virgo, which basically means i will organize your ass off. i am very capricorny, focused on work and money and tenaciousness, yet i have the sagittarius streak of passion. i also think of this as my german and irish sides. mostly i think of myself as goaty grrrl.

i am proud to identify as a feminist. in the last few years i have worked on my understanding of intersectionality and believe that’s where the real juice is.

i love love LOVE to dance. back in the day when the drovers would come to second story i would be practically on the stage, thrashing all over the place, dancing with every part of my body. i used to be able to be really physical. you can see on the video for ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ‘round from an MLK Day performance kaia did. but then my psychiatrist put me on a new med to help untangle my thoughts in the morning so i could be more functional. now i can’t dance anymore the way i used to — i stay very confined and uncreative. i also have a harder time conducting. don’t get me wrong, i like being able to get out of bed in the morning, but i do so miss that utter abandonment unto the music.

i graduated from IU phi beta kappa. this has had zero practical impact on my life.

tarot me

these are from robin wood’s tarot deck. the High Priestess is an aspect of me i am always striving to grow. she has knowledge and vision. she is of the Moon, not harsh like the Sun, and she is halfway between light and dark. she easily draws on intuition and balances mind and spirit. she is confident, curious, powerful. Queen of Swords helps me with my social anxiety. she shows me how to extend the hand of friendship while having the sword there to protect me should i feel threatened or too scared. and Nine of Pentacles describes much of my life: me tending to my beautiful garden, with a falcon to send out and bring back news of the day.

i love being with women. at least in bloomington, and with my sister’s kith, there’s an automatic goodwill there that allows us to talk about real things in an authentic way. i’m generally leery of men because of the abuse and harassment i’ve survived. but once they prove themselves safe, i can bond with them. it’s just that they have so many grabby brothers…

i consider girls girls until they’re 16, when they become young women. around age 21 they are women. i deTEST calling women “girls.” it always makes me think of those black men on the picket lines in the civil rights movement with signs saying, “i am a man.” we are women. we are free to make sexual choices. we are free to make all kinds of choices. infantilizing women is patriarchy at its worst.

i have had three soulmates, but the most important of my handfastings was with my self.

i find the Pagan categorization system of “maiden, mother, crone” extremely tiresome. inspired by goddesses in older women i’m experimenting with the system “child, young woman, mature woman, wise woman.” though i hate fours so i’m exploring a fifth dimension, a sort of meta-female, but that may end up too binary. i was inspired by jailbreaking the goddess and believe it’s a watershed for the next generation of Paganism but why the hell did she have to use latin names for the Goddess, the most patriarchal language ever?? my concepts are a work in progress. stay tuned. i was inspired by a nietzsche quote i read recently about approaching existence with “ecstatic honesty” so that, at the end of your days, you will want to live all your days over and over throughout eternity. it ends up being similar to mindfulness but really, how excited can you get about “SEE the raisin, FEEL the raisin, TASTE the raisin”?? so i am experimenting with total honesty for now, with hints of ecstaticnaciousnous (more will come later) and have had some really good results. i love truth anyway, so it’s about being completely truthful about where i am in the moment. promising.

i am terribly self-conscious about my teeth. on the other hand, i love to tell the story about how i got hit in the mouth with a softball which permanently knocked one of my front teeth back. and i love that the unladylike gap between my front teeth comes from my paternal grandfather. when i look at that gap, i smell his pipe and see him doing crosswords and hear him yelling, “babe!” to my grandmother. that little gap says, “hi, granddaughter! i see you!”

when eating at home, i try to keep each meal’s cost under one dollar.

my earliest memory is pre-verbal. i was in an automatic swing chair in the kitchen of our house. my mom and another female relative (aunt dolores?) were moving around me, working and talking, not paying attention. i wanted out. i stretched my legs as far as they would go but my toes couldn’t reach the ground. i wrestled with the strappings. nothing worked. i wanted out, out, OUT! it is still a recurring theme in my life — “i don’t want to be here. take me anywhere but here.” it’s not healthy.

i blush easily.

i am a priestess of brighid and lifeanddeath. i was initiated by them during a deep healing ritual on may 15, 1997. brighid is the irish goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and healing. i also think of her as a professional woman, not defined as maiden-mother-crone. the lifeanddeath initiation was not one i wanted but it wasn’t up to me. it means facing death and all darkness and weaving it all into the shadow and light of the world. it has a lot of consequences.

my middle name comes from my maternal grandfather, a second-generation irish-american who was a prince among men, according to all the stories. he didn’t talk a lot but had a great sense of humor, worked very hard, and loved children dearly. he never had a lot of money, so he would take my cousin tom on a bus ride around hammond every now and again to be able to do something special together. grandpa mclaughlin died before i was born but i call on him all the time in my relationships with the ancestors. what i would give for a bus ride with him…. i was named after him (he was leo; my middle name is lee).

i am a Walker Between the Worlds. i shift states of consciousness very easily. this is not always helpful. like when i’m driving.

i have two secrets. i think. i don’t tell every single person every single thing about me, but i live my life OUT LOUD.

when i was in eighth grade my friends and i dressed up in blackface for halloween. i was kunta kinte and my bestie was kizzy. we laughed and laughed. oh, those hilarious black people with their crazy hair and outlandish names! to this day it infuriates me that no one in that soulless white middle class hateful town responded with anything other than laughter.

if i were in hogwarts, i would be in either ravenclaw or gryffindor. if i were reincarnated (i won’t be; i don’t believe in it), i want to be an otter because i’d get to swim all the time and be clever with tools and play all day and hold hands with my friends while i sleep. if i were in the hunger games, i would kill kill kill in order to survive.

i am the youngest of six children. so there were 8 of us in the family crammed into a 3-BR house (my dad fixed up space in the basement for my brothers), always making noise and getting into each other’s faces. now i live alone and work for myself, which means everything is quiet and in its place and no one gets in my space. it’s lonely. and other times not.

i would love to go to berlin, vienna, prague, anywhere having to do with ancient egypt, rome, crete, anatolia, more into wales, and all over ireland/eire. i would love to return to wiesbaden, germany, and i can of course never get enough of england and scotland. lacking independent wealth, i’ll never get to most of these places. sadness.

i am driven by incredible willpower. seriously, you’ve never met anyone with a greater sense of will than i have. somewhere inside of me is a toddler with her little hands balled up on her little hips yelling, “I AM!” when i was growing up people used to call me a mack truck and they should throw themselves out of the way. i go after what i want.

my guilty pleasure is majesty, “the quality royal magazine.”

sometimes when i’m just puttering about the house i’ll suddenly yell “LA!”

i think THE quote for the 21st century is from rodney king: “can we all get along?” i think the boomers had it all wrong when they said, “all you need is love.” we’re not all going to love each other. not gonna happen. but we can, if we try, just get along. be civil. that to me is a more realistic goal. and one, i fear, we will not reach.

i identify with salieri in the movie “amadeus.” i have a deep, deep, demanding desire to do Great Things yet i do not have the tools. i HATE it when people say, “you have so much potential!” it’s SO maddening. what good is potential when no one wants what you have to give???

i want to learn how to execute the perfect curtsey.

i have a variety of brain diseases: generalized anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, psychosis NOS, dissociative identity disorder, developmental trauma disorder. i have blogged about these things at length. i have 13 posts under “mental illness” in the right column of this page (see the link??). “shakespeare and depression” is on of my faves. my mental illness is inherited and a product of my upbringing and traumas, both developmental and acute. my brain diseases are a constant focus of my thinking. maybe because it’s my brain talking???

i am an intense person. i live in baz luhrman’s moulin rouge. that’s how intense life is to me.  i’d much rather scream my head off at a rally than set politely in a church listening to someone prettily preach about justice. i am uppity. i am rude. i interrupt. i listen intently. i work hard. i laugh hard. i trance hard. i dissociate hard. i drive fast or stop suddenly. i crank the jams. i love fiercely. i am prone to violence in the privacy of my home. i believe you’ve got to stand up and TAKE the power. MAKE it happen. i dream big. i plan intensely. I LIVE OUT LOUD.

on a ferry from rotterdam to england i pressed myself to the prow, wind skinning my head, grin splitting my face. in whitby, england (the setting for stoker’s dracula), i walked the one-mile pier into the north sea and screeched, “i’m here!!” into the screaming wilds of wind and sea. on a scottish mountain i reached the summit in the night and leaned into a wind so strong it blew my eyelids back upon themselves. i LIVE for this shit. it’s so completely luhrman, so huge, a stage big enough for my towering passions. it’s LIFE, in shrieking technicolor.

i hate wind chimes and drum solos.

my fave books are pride and prejudice by austen, kabuki: circle of blood by david mack, gone with the wind (so feminist though so, so racist) by margaret mitchell, peter the great by robert massie, gloriana by mary luke, barbarians by terry jones, the little house books (i’m related to almanzo wilder), mrs mike by benedict and nancy freedman, traitor by matthew stover, ordeal: the story of my life by queen marie of roumania, the highland clearances by john prebble, the house at pooh corner by a. a. milne, leaving mother lake by yang erche namu and christine mathieu, and on and on and on. i read at least one non-fiction, one fiction, and one Pagan book at once so i have a book for every mood.

i am a huge star wars fan. princess leia changed my life. the best extended universe books are the new jedi order series.

my parents taught me responsibility, thrift, hard work, excellent manners, and to think for myself. they have had reason to regret the last.

i want to be a Pagan nun: live in community where intense faith is put into transformative action by working with the less privileged. i want a constant, joyous, tangible celebration of faith.

i’ve been to europe six times, three times by myself. on my first trip my best friend and i stumbled upon avebury, a then-unknown tiny village in the middle of an ancient stone circle. it’s part of a vast complex, from the wooden “sanctuary” circle that was built on a hill 4000 BCE to silbury hill, the largest human-made mound in europe, to the west kennet long barrow, a five-chambered burial mound, to “the avenue,” a mile of monoliths tracing a path back to the circle. i felt incredible power in the long barrow. i got “graveyard hands”: placing one hand on a stone in the “head” chamber, i saw all the flesh blow away till only bone remained. from that moment on the area in general and the barrow in particular have been the center of my spiritual universe, and my most important life commitments have been sealed there. i live for the day when i can return.

when i don’t like what’s happening around me i will often dissociate. i go into a detached state where i lose time and “come to” later having no idea what i was doing or how the time passed. this is DID. people on the extreme end of the spectrum have distinct personalities that don’t know of each others’ existences but i’m not that bad. i just go into this grey space. it used to be a lot worse – since my semi-retirement i’ve had so many things to enjoy that i’m not nearly in as much psycho-spiritual pain as i used to be. the grey is also a product of depression, which i’ve had since i was 14. but as i said, i’m doing much better these days and am making good progress in therapy.

i take 19 pills a day to maintain mental and (less so) physical health. i am a slave to my meds; if i forget to take them i am a complete basket case. i HATE feeling so vulnerable.

i wanted two daughters. i gave up living in england to come here and have them close to family. my best male friend and i promised we’d have kids if we were still single at 30 but he wasn’t. i tried to sell my eggs as a desperate last attempt but i missed the deadline by three weeks (i blogged about that (a little) here). now i have no daughters, unwanted eggs, and a really strict immigration policy in england. not all capricorns get to execute their plans. there are no words to describe the constant ache of childlessness. it is an ocean of grief i can never get across.

i hate to cook. i love to bake, especially while singing along to the smiths at the top of my lungs.

i don’t remember names and faces. if i’m being introduced to someone, the first letters of their name fly out of my head even before the rest if their name is said. i’ve even forgotten the names of people i’ve had to dinner at my house. mytherapistlynn attributed it to PTSD. it’s hardest with normal looking people. you all look alike. i eventually recognize faces after a LOT of exposure in close succession but names can escape me for years. so i live in this hell where people CONSTANTLY say hi to me and i have no idea who they are, if we’re casual acquaintances or have shared soul-bearing confidences. my default is to look Impressively Busy, give them a big smile and a “hey!” and sometimes a “how are you?” as i breeze past them. i HATE it. i feel like i am not respecting others. i feel so ashamed. and i’m so easily recognizable…. it’s hell.

my favorite disney villain is maleficent (the original). such a badass.

my favorite disney heroine is belle, because she’s smart and strong and brave and learns to love.

i love playing charades. i am really, really good at charades. i also love canasta, bullshit, spoons, cards against humanity, and any game where everyone can have a good time. highly competitive or strategy games are not for me.

i don’t eat any vegetables. any.

i have a number of invisible maladies that keep me in constant pain. bad knees, bad hips. i broke my lower back when i was 15. i have carpal tunnel syndrome (which is why i so frequently write lower case — fewer finger movements). several car accidents have ruined my lower and upper back and given me permanent whiplash. no one knows how much pain i’m in – i have a high pain tolerance and i think like an 8-year-old and believe i’m invincible. but beyond that, i have a deep-seated need to look completely competent and in control at all times. a lesson learned young and never forgotten.

my sense of humor and sarcasm are deeply indebted to bugs bunny. the later “sophistication” of my humor (if you can call it that) is pure python.

i am introspective and a terrible introvert. every night i write the day’s doings and my thoughts and feelings in my journal along with 1) a positive facet of myself on display that day, 2) the answer to the question “do i know who i am today?, 3) a positive memory, and 4) a prayer. takes me an hour but it calms me down, empties my mind, opens my psycho-spiritual self, and helps anchor me to my own life. spending so much time alone and dissociating means i can get lost in the blur of my days. at special anniversaries and holidays i go back and read chunks of my journal to see who i was in that snapshot of time. i try to see patterns and learn so i can grow.

in the 90s when i was a Very Important Pagan i was interviewed by the new york times for their religion section. the reporter was super easy to talk to, which made me relax. this is unfortunate, because when he asked me how many Pagans were in the US, i said something like, “my guess is around 100,00, though some of my comrades wish it were a lot more.” comrades! comrades! now everyone thinks we’re communists! brill move, cairril adaire.

i’m terrified of flying. i try to be the last one on and the first one off. i know you’re more likely to die in a car accident but at least it would be quick. you wouldn’t have 30,000 feet to think about it. turbulence terrifies me no matter how many xanax i pop. on the takeoff from phoenix there was so much turbulence i clutched andrew’s hand ’til his bones ground together and i was literally a hair’s breadth from screaming at the top of my lungs get me the hell off this plane!!!! traumatizing. trying to land during a thunderstorm over LAX there was this huge BANG and the whole plane dropped enough that i slammed into my safety belt. there was complete silence in the cabin for a Very Long Time (classic example of the mammalian freeze response) until the captain rather laconically said, “you may have noticed we had some static discharge.” uh, yeah. the truth which he neglected to tell us was we’d been hit by lightning. these things happen and i say never again and i looooong for bullet trains across the country but alas, alack, and alaska, i find myself getting frisked by the TSA once again.

i drink 3-4 gallons of milk/wk and 4-6 liters of water/day.

my two biggest character flaws are impatience and insensitivity to others’ feelings. i get enRAGED when i have to go at a slower pace. voice-prompt tech support lines leave me yelling into the phone. waiting to be picked up or for phone calls causes massive anxiety attacks. i am not about the journey; i am all about the destination. as for others, i am practical and painfully blunt. not surprisingly considering i spend literally 99% of my time with no one but my cat, i say things that hurt people’s feelings. it’s agony. i make the best apology i can, come up with a plan for how i can meet their needs better in future, and then wallow in the feeling of churning stomach and veins on fire and i am damaged goods and a horrible human being and i should never talk to anyone because all i do is hurt people. i hate myself.

possibly my best characteristics are i am brave, loyal, honest, compassionate, and deep. maybe.

we had five rules to follow before we could do anything when we were growing up: teeth brushed, hair combed, bed made, breakfast over with, and get dressed. on saturday mornings i got up before everyone else to watch bugs bunny and ate breakfast while i watched. i couldn’t POSSibly brush my teeth until after i finished breakfast, and i wouldn’t DARE wake my sister (with whom i shared a room) by getting dressed or making my bed, so i pretty much ignored the rules whenever i wanted to.

i have over 23 days worth of music in itunes of almost every variety. i move between maria callas, the cure, billie holliday, rasputina, ricky martin, little cow, alexander rybak, voco, everclear, patsy cline, the gap band, cake, javiera y los imposibles, the black keys, music of the baroque, karolina cicha, the clash, clarence gatemouth brown, cab calloway, trio mandila, flogging molly, portishead, and more easily.

when you tickle the inside of my arm, the side of my tongue itches.

i have the world’s most sweet-tempered cat: sasha. she is the perfect companion for me. she never tries to run outside, she’s patient and loving and CUTE and just the right amount of playful and never pees on the furniture. i love loving her.

when i want to remember something and i don’t have my phone, i “write” a keyword on my left palm with my right index finger, underline it three times and then punch in three exclamation points. works like a charm. grandpa mills taught that to mom and she passed it on to me.

i quick-tempered and tempestuous, possibly the same as my great-grandmother jenny mullane mclaughlin, who was know for her irish temper. i’m not afraid to yell when frustrated. working with technology is maddening. i get so angry and frustrated i can’t think straight. it doesn’t take much to set me off. usually comes down to my not being able to do what i want.

i will hold onto the oxford comma to my dying day.

i am single. that makes me a ms. not a miss. not ever a miss. and not ever a mrs. if in the highly unlikely event i got married, i would still be a ms. that’s the whole point of it. why should women have a prefix that denotes their marital status? it’s a holdover from women as property. i’m no one’s property. i belong to me. and the Goddess. i am ms.

i can flare my nostrils at will.

i am celibate. i blogged about that here.

i am a lover of shakespeare’s plays. not sonnets, only plays. i inhale them. the language! once i read so much i started dreaming in shakesperean english. i watched all the BBC versions from that series they did in the ‘80s and fell in love with the winter’s tale. my fave movies are the richard III with ian mckellan, branagh’s much ado about nothing and his breathtaking hamlet, david tennant’s hamlet except i hate the security cameras and patrick stewart’s shrug, and baz luhrman’s romeo + juliet, which makes me SOB every time i watch it even though the traditional play bores me to a coma. i want to play volumnia in coriolanus, gertrude in hamlet, rosalind in as you like it, the goth queen in titus andronicus, lady capulet and mercutio in romeo and juliet, paulina in the winter’s tale, and especially margaret of anjou in henry VI parts 1-3 and richard III!

even though i wear almost nothing but black (with a splash of white now and again), my favorite colors are actually jewel tones. they make beautiful sounds in my head.

apart from hello and thank you with store clerks, usually i spend just over 6.5 hours a week interacting with other humans face to face. the rest of the time i’m on my own.

i haven’t felt emotions besides things like loneliness and anguish since 3 jan 2000, when The Bad Thing happened. mostly i live in a grey zone. sometimes i feel the physical effects of a positive emotion such as increased energy and a lightness to my body, but the actual emotion isn’t there. i do sometimes feel love when it’s very strong but it’s like there’s a filter that keeps me from experiencing the fullness of the emotion. that’s dissociation and depression. i do laugh a lot. loudly.

i think leonard cohen’s hallelujah is one of the stupidest, most boring songs i’ve ever heard. i realize this is blasphemy.

i am an atheist. i don’t believe in an afterlife. i suspect there’s a part of our selves that for lack of a better term we call soul, but it transforms into different energy at death. we just decay at death — return to the Mother.

i detest alcohol. i have seen it destroy too many lives of people i’ve loved. i cringe at the sight of it. the smell makes me physically ill. if i had my way, all alcohol would disappear from the planet, never to be seen again.

i am a survivor of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, in every decade of my life. men have not always been kind to me.

i am a politics junkie, mostly national, then state, then international, then local. i know very little about local affairs, which is ridiculous considering my belief in grassroots organizing. but Big Issues fascinate me and i like to understand those mass currents. i have always been more interested in fiction that includes politics (like the hunger games) than that which doesn’t. i suppose it goes to my favorite question for life: “why?” this is followed closely by: “how?” everything else falls far behind.

i have a violent past but am committed to nonviolent civil resistance.

i adore movies from the ‘30s and ‘40s. so many strong women. so much snappy dialogue. and towering passions that last through years of troubles rather than today’s romances which start at the very end of the movie or book. my faves are it happened one night, now voyager, gone with the wind, little women (june allyson), the thin man, to have and have not, the philadelphia story, the big sleep, random harvest, the adventures of robin hood, and oh, so many more.

i love british cuisine. fish-n-chips under a heat lamp for too long and chocolate hobnobs (one nibble and you’re nobbled) — yum!!

i began my business with a prayer in 2001: “let me put my talents and skills in the service of the greater good.” and i have done that. i have chosen to work with organizations and businesses that in some way make life better. i don’t do any work for the military. and my motto has always been, “if the world goes to hell, i want bloomington to be the last place standing.” in my small way, i help my clients make a little more money so they could help bloomington thrive. if i work with a client whose business i’m not completely in favor of (but not so much that i won’t work with them), i donate a percentage of my profits from their job to a charity in direct opposition to what they’re doing. so my work is still in the service of the greater good.

i love bed. i love being all toasty warm and comfortable, my back finally not hurting so much, curled up with a great book with a candle lit on my altar. and on sunday mornings reading the paper in bed. and every morning that i can wallow in pain-free comfort for half an hour or so before getting up. and lying down for a 40-minute cat nap in the afternoons. and writing in my journal. and spending such lovely time with my friends on facebook via my laptop. i love staring off into space vaguely centered around one of my altars, cocooned in warmth. there’s no other place i’m so pain-free except for when i’m on my land or in a hot tub. oh, and when i took lovers i adored spending hours in bed talking, laughing, and reading to each other. sigh. i love bed.

i believe judy garland was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. there were those who exceeded her in technical ability but she was not only a triple threat (dance, act, SING), she knew how to put on a GREAT show.

a regret from k-12 education: i never had a food fight.

i believe in agitating and protesting and speaking out because it is the right thing to do. i also believe it has the potential to bring about social change from the grassroots up. but i speak because i will not remain silent in the face of injustice. i have blogged about that here.

i reject the terms masculine and feminine. they are outmoded and heterosexist. i was constantly pressured to be more “ladylike” when i was growing up. that meant feminine. that means passive, receptive, nurturing. well, guess what, i’m a loud-mouthed, sarcastic, bull-in-a-china-shop full-on woman and i call that feminine. if we’re going to equate femininity with being female, here’s your new definition of feminine. i am all woman, all the time. don’t try to water me down.

kaia, kaia, kaia. world vocals and percussion from the raucous to the sublime. seven women taking you on a dizzying ride through life, death, politics, sex, seasonal rounds, and more more more. i started it in 2004. at times it has been the only thing keeping me alive. if the stars would align correctly, i would be singing this incredible music with these incredible women all. the. time.

i have four foundational beliefs:

  1. there is no immortal or supreme being of any kind. we have one life and when we die, we’re dead. there is no afterlife.
  2. humans are capable of profound change.
  3. there is more going on than our five senses comprehend and NO ONE has the bead on that reality.
  4. love is the best thing.

i am impassioned, completely impatient, angry, deeply spiritual, anxious, driven, depressed, curious, brave, dynamic, compassionate, sarcastic, funny, i have a big laugh and a sharp mind and tongue, i’m self-reliant, smart.

i love to learn. the sound of synapses firing is a total rush to me.

i green eyes and brown hair with red and gold highlights, dyed natural blue black since age 19, now streaked with grey.

i have thought about suicide every day for the last five years.

i inhale books on history, particularly those about powerful women in turbulent times and the relations between church and state. my heras are elizabeth i of england and pharaoh hatshepsut of egypt. i have read extensively on western europe 10,000 BCE-1604, 1890-1945, and early 20th century america.

in this life, i fear only rape and losing my mind, maybe because i’ve experienced both. after my death, i fear only being forgotten.

i get my news from PBS, BBC, CNN, al jazeera, the guardian, wtfjusthappenedtoday, facebook, the daily show, and last week tonight.

i have voted for every political party.

on my birthday i scream along and dance to everclear’s santa monica. it used to be directed at my ex-fiancé but now it’s just fun.

i still cry over princess diana’s death.

independence day is my favorite secular holiday. i read the declaration of independence, the bill of rights, FDR’s Four Freedoms speech, and other civic-minded inspirational works. i love the parade, which is this total cross-section of bloomington and a place to crush small children while fighting over tootsie rolls.

the lotus world music and arts festival is the high point of my year. all that fabulous new music! it lights me on fire. my delight is doubled because my sister and her daughters come down for it and we’ve developed all these traditions to make every moment fun. Goddess, how i love these women. kaia has also been mainstage performers there twice, which is a total honor and high. i am a rock stah!

i walk super fast. even when i was among the milling throngs on campus, no one ever passed me unless they were jogging. likewise, i love to drive fast. when i can get away with it, i drive 100 mph on I65. i rarely even notice speed limits. i drive fast because the longer i drive, the more pain i’m in, i love the feel of speed, and i’m so bloody impatient i hate the downtime between starting point and destination.

my largest audience for singing a cappella solo was over 22,000 people at comiskey park, home of the white sox. i was 17.

i left my parent’s house when i was 18 and never moved back. it pains me to visit that town, where my sisters still live. i hate hate hate it. flat, asphalt everywhere, chain stores, constant driving (in bloomington i walk almost everywhere and drive only two days a week). absolutely nothing to do but go shopping (ugh). all the worst of america. the opposite of my beloved bloomington, the home i moved to in 1986.

bernie sanders is the only politician i’ve ever believed in. i liked paul tsongas for a while until the stupid “pander bear” crap he pulled. i believe in bernie sanders. he fights for what i want.

i am lucy van pelt.

i wrote a book in the ‘90s called of death, the universe, and hanging men: suggestions for change but no one picked it up. then gloria steinem came out with a similar theme that was much better so i gave up. my focus was on change from the personal to the societal. i have long wanted to write history: the interesting bits, a book comparing the relationship between thomas beckett and henry I with thomas more and henry VIII, and another putting the scholarship and theories about richard III side by side so you could come to your own conclusions about whether he was a good guy or bad guy (i lean towards good).

proudest moments of my life:

  • don: in the late 1980s i worked at mcdonald’s as a crew chief. one day i saw a new man in the back, about 65 years old, being “trained” by some young huffy grrrl. she kept yelling and flouncing. i finally swapped places with her and just slooooowed everything down. every single step of the process is carefully thought out at mcdonald’s so it was just a question of helping him learn the individual steps and then seeing the gestalt. he learned right away. and he told me connee boswell was disabled, something i never would’ve known otherwise. it’s one of the few times in my life i can remember being patient and i patently improved his quality of life. i love that i was able to do that.
  • Pagan freedom: i founded the Pagan Educational Network in 1993 to “educate the public about Paganism and build community.” it kicked ass. i worked with national organizations (more on that later) but our members were all grassroots activists with triumphs great and small. i worked with the officials for state prisons to come up with the guide for Pagan religious practices in the system. one july 4th i went down to the post office box and found a letter from the head of a smalltown prison saying, “i wanted to let you know that Prisoner X now has the freedom to worship as he chooses.” one of the proudest moments of my life. religious freedom for my people. and on independence day, at that.
  • pallbearer: at the last minute my mom asked me if i wanted to be a pallbearer for my paternal grandmother. it was incredibly moving to undertake such a sacred task. and there have been so many funerals where i’ve been barred from this because i’m female. it was humbling and loving.
  • person X: i saved the life of someone close to me, someone i love very much. they were at a total low point, ready to kill themselves, and i offered them safe harbor and support until they could get back on their feet. the four most important days of my life.
  • the summit: in march 2001 i hosted the first-ever summit of the leaders of almost all the major national Pagan organizations in the united states. this is a HUGE deal. it had been attempted off and on since the 60s but no one had been successful. isaac bonewits broke the damn with a personal letter to the invitees telling them how he believed in this summit and was making the commitment to come. we were together from friday night to sunday night in a frenzy of activity and communion, focusing not on beliefs but on the structural problems facing our organizations and how to overcome them. it was an incredible success. it spawned regional summits across the country for at least ten years afterwards. i believe it would’ve changed the course of the Pagan movement if three planes filled with 19 hijackers hadn’t changed everyone’s focus to interfaith work in september of that year. it was incredibly significant and i am so proud of it.
  • my first political rebellion: in 1984 famine was sweeping africa and i was swept up by bob geldof. i felt the cause incredibly deeply (as only a teenager can) and proposed that we end our school christmas concert with feed the world. the older, fuddy-duddy choir director forbade it (“we always end with the same song, it’s TRADITION”), while my new fabulous choir director (aided and abetted by the auditorium director) gave it a go. so on the down-low we organized people from both choirs and at the end of the planned program swarmed the stage and sang along with feed the world blaring from the speakers. mr Old was apoplectic but i was on a huge high, victorious with a good cause. i had never rebelled against authority so openly before and am proud of my high school self for doing it. the only downside is we raised a paltry $250 for CARE. fucking highland, indiana. i hate that place.
  • my first priestessing gig: i was asked by a co-worker to priestess a stealth Pagan handfasting/wedding. no one in the couple’s families knew they were Pagan, so they were holding the ceremony in beck chapel on campus and had written the whole ritual themselves with little code words in it so it would just seem like a standard beautiful ceremony. i remember standing on the dais looking down the aisle to the bride as she began her entrance and i was just swept with power and pride that my spiritual ancestors would have been tortured and burned at the stake for daring what i was doing (standing in the place of a man and exercising spiritual power), and Here I Was. such a feeling of history and gratitude that our people had made it. and feeling so blessed that i had the opportunity.

i swear. a lot. and i like it.

this is my life’s purpose: to bring fire.

i used to have a deep, commanding speaking voice. now it’s higher, thinner, and impossible to hear at parties.

i have a green burial plot at white oak cemetery on 7th street with my headstone already made. in nice weather i love to go down there and lie on my grave. i find it so comforting to know that, even after all living memory of me has passed from this earth, there will be this curious gravestone in the “grave garden” (as goddessdaughter #1 calls it) that lasts for hundreds of years. i love lying down and imagining pulling the sod over me like a blanket and going to sleep forever. just lay all the burdens down and REST. return to the Mother in the physical sense. so, so comforting. what is remembered, lives [this phrase originated with my tribesister Angie Buchanan and has traveled far beyond the Pagan movement. thank you, love].

all my nicknames growing up were male (tarzan, rhett, james bond, etc)

i have the perfect house. it looks like a monopoly house only it’s blue-grey. it’s a little grandma and grandpa house with everything comfy, lots of big open spaces in 960 sf, lots and lots of light, incredible hardwood floors, a curve on top of the entry to the hallway, a big kitchen, whole-house sound, a wonderful paint kaleidoscope, and the world’s most kickass couch. everywhere i look in my house i see something Pagan – a figurine, an altar, a poster – everything fills me with connection to Spirit. AND! in addition to all this, i have an aMAZing temple set up in my bedroom with absolutely everything i need for absolutely every type of ritual. i love love luuuurve it!!! my house sets on the best-kept secret in downtown bloomington: The Land. 150’-deep lot with a high white PVC fence around it and all native plants inside — lots of trees and about twelve million virginia sweetspire shrubs because those are my favorites. there’s a big open spot close to the house perfect for a wading pool for the goddessdaughters and a firepit for my sister and nieces, and the back half is dedicated as a nature sanctuary. each tree was dedicated to a particular ancestor and i threw in a dead fish when it was planted in honor of squanto, the native american who helped save the lives of my pilgrim ancestors. my sister says my Land is like a park. it’s very restful. when i have any sort of emotional turmoil (pos, neg, in between), i throw myself down on sweet Mama Earth and she just takes it all away and gives me equilibrium. i love to feel the different trunks and leaves of all the different trees. i have cloth ribbons tied to my big ancestor ash and i leave incense offerings. Gods above and below, i have it good.

i’m self-conscious about eating in front of people i don’t know very well.

i love being a woman. i grew up contemptuous of women because of family dynamics but after reading my mother, my self and taking a women’s studies course i came to fall madly in love with my womanness. i love the community that can quickly be established by women. i love how we support each other. and in some ways, as a female Witch, i enjoy being largely invisible to the dominant culture because it gives me the greatest freedom to be myself. patriarchy sucks for women but at least we privileged ones can carve out little enclaves of cackling sisterhood. men under patriarchy – hoo! i feel sorry for them. so much pressure to conform. only one way to be. your only freedom is the color of your tie. i celebrate Pagan men, who so often examine and reject patriarchy and consciously create safe spaces for women and men alike. but i will always instinctively trust women at first glance over men. maybe if men would stop assaulting me that would change. but for now i am perfectly thrilled with my wimmin tribes.

i am an amateur genealogist and family historian. i can never get enough of learning about my ancestors. in ritual i feel them at my back, supporting me as i lean over some chasm. in therapy they are always present to lend a hand to wounded parts. i love my people.

i am a puppy when it comes to touch. while in reality touch is limited to hello-and-goodbye hugs, i thrive on holding hands, having my back petted, my feet massaged, spooning!, my legs stroked. i love piling up with people i love, putting my head in someone’s lap, holding someone’s feet in mine. i feel more real. more rooted in physical reality. but in consensual reality i live almost entirely in my head, my body too pained to bear.

when i first learned about christopher columbus i was disgusted. we call the indigenous people of this country “indians” because he was an idiot and thought he was in india?!?!? it was infuriating. this was what, fourth grade? and i’ve never gotten over it. i recognize some tribes embrace the term but i am just too angry and frustrated to respect that. what if some white guy stumbled upon me and called me argentinian? ridiculous!

princess leia changed my life. raised catholic, i was no virgin mary, meek and mild. princess leia showed me i could be fully myself and fully female instead of having to choose “whether she’s going to be a boy or a girl.” i wrote about that a little here. as an adult, xena exploded on my consciousness and her whole world is one i draw on frequently in therapy and spirituality. when i need courage i sing her theme song. when i need wisdom i watch “the debt” or “the bitter suite” or any of a number of other episodes. i identify with xena as a flawed fighter seeking to redeem herself and i set at the feet of gabrielle to train myself how to act from compassion. search on “xena” at irishsparks.com and you’ll see what i’m going on about.

i adore the olympics. not so much the sports (women’s gymnastics and figure skating are the only things i watch), but the opening and closing ceremonies, the background pieces on the host country’s culture, and seeing excellence. it is such a creative jolt for one thing but it’s also the closest we’ll ever see to “dancin’ in the street” — everyone coming together from around the world to celebrate diversity and unity. love it!

emma thompson is the best actor/actress alive, hands-down. she is absolutely brilliant and chooses great vehicles. you will never convince me otherwise. viva, emma!!!

i take up space. physically, psychically. there is no getting away from me.

i’ve picked up colloquialisms from everywhere i’ve lived. everyone makes fun of me for saying, “aboat” instead of “about” but i picked it up in england and never lost it. likewise “ring me” (“to call” means someone stopped by), come round, postbox, post, whinge, crisps instead of potato chips, icing sugar instead of powdered sugar, brolly instead of umbrella, etc. from southern indiana i have picked up “you all,” the dropping of “to be,” as in “she needs dropped off” rather than “she needs to be dropped off,” pitch-in instead of potluck, and setting instead of sitting. while i’ve lost most of my region rat extremes, i do occasionally cringe at the flat, piercing, obnoxious vowels that come out of my mouth. i can still pronounce like julie andrews when singing broadway songs but sadly lost my much-loved ability to do any accent when i started taking saphris. and half my lexicon comes from the georgia nicolson books by louise rennison. i luuurve them.

i love diversity. i was reading the first chapter of trans bodies, trans selves and got totally stoked at all the different terms that people use to define their sexual orientation and gender identity. what a complex, exciting world! and i love the darkening complexion of america. by 2044 whites will be a minority in the US. i get really excited about living in a truly multiethnic society. just think of how much we will learn! how we will grow as our prejudices get challenged! absolutely thrilling.

this is the post where i named the man who raped me when i was a child.

someone once loved me enough to want to marry me. i blogged about that here.

i could go on (believe me, there are enough people in my self that to describe all my facets would take the rest of my life), but this is already going to be a total bitch to scroll through. so enough. i leave you with a list of some of my most-played music. i am a singer. i am a Witch.

itunes - top plays

Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher, and me

January 9, 2017

I was on holiday in California when I got the news that Carrie Fisher had gone shining. I didn’t want to ruin my holiday groove so I buried my feelings until I got home.

I was 10 years old when Star Wars came out. Princess Leia just exploded off the screen. I’d never seen a strong woman onscreen before. Films during the ’60s and ’70s showed women as victims or men’s appendages if they showed up at all. I couldn’t identify with any of them. But when I saw Princess Leia, I saw courage and grit and power and sarcasm and resourcefulness and a clear, principled will. Here was something I could identify with! She had a huge impact on me. And Carrie Fisher was spot on, save for the occasional English accent wandering in (in books, they say she was mocking Tarkin, but I feel like that’s trying to cover up a bad directorial decision).

I have seen A New Hope probably 50 times and she is still a revelation to me. And when she reappeared in episode 7, I couldn’t take my eyes off her. In the expanded Star Wars universe, Leia is one of the only Jedi who is never even tempted by the Dark Side. She has a clear moral compass and is willing to do whatever it takes to bring peace and justice to the galaxy. She’s smart, she’s sassy, and she’s no one’s fool.

So that’s a little about Princess Leia. Many years later Carrie Fisher did a one-woman show that was translated into a book I read: Wishful Drinking. In it, she talks frankly—really frankly—about mental illness and her experiences with treatment. While she first entered my life playing a fictional heroine, now she was a heroine in the waking world. Instead of speaking in hushed tones about her challenges, she is sarcastic and funny and informative. She helped me see that I didn’t have to be ashamed of my own mental illnesses, and she gave me courage. And a new hope.

As I write this I realize how paltry the words are in comparison to the vastness of my thoughts and emotions. She burned brightly, fiercely, and I owe a part of my self to her. Thank you, Princess. Thank you, Carrie. Go shining.

A story from my father

January 9, 2017

Every summer until I was 15 our whole family went on a camping trip somewhere in the continental United States. There were long hours spent in the car, with everyone passing food around that Mom pulled out of the cooler in between her and Dad’s seats. We’d finally get to a destination and spend a torturous hour or so setting up camp. Then my Dad liked to walk the perimeter, getting his bearings. I get that from him.

My favorite part of any trip was after a long day of sight-seeing and dinner when my brothers would build a Boy Scout-sanctioned bonfire and we’d gather around in lawn chairs, mostly quiet. I would beg my dad to tell a story (he was so good!) and sometimes he’d oblige. This is the only story I can remember.

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived in a small cottage. Some nights he liked to travel the road down to the village pub and nurse an ale. There was one dark night where he’d stayed too late and he mentioned to the bartender that he planned to take a shortcut through the woods. “Oh, no!” cried everyone in the pub. “Don’t take that shortcut—it’s dangerous! There are monsters in the wood!” The man laughed and pushed his way out into the cool, dark night.

He headed out on the path that ran through the woods. It was a quiet night and dark, so he had to pay attention to where he was going. He’d been walking for some time when he suddenly came across a giant egg in his path. It seemed to glow. Well, he scratched his head and he tapped on it and he tried to imagine what it could be, but nothing obvious came to mind. Suddenly deciding, he rolled the egg down the path in front of him and pushed it inside his cottage. He made a few more attempts to figure out what it was but gave up, its being late and all.

The egg stayed quiescent for days. But one night he heard some tapping sounds and as he whipped his head around from the hearth where he was cooking his stew, he noticed that the egg had started to crack. Holding his breath (and the ladle in one hand), he slowly approached the egg. The whole thing quivered and suddenly the top split open. Before he could even comprehend what was going on, a small goblin popped out. Then another. Then another. Soon there were six small goblins in his cottage, and they were immediately completely out of control.

With screeching voices they bounced all over the cottage, upsetting his table and chair, pounding on pots and pans, smashing plates, and more. He alternated between ducking thrown objects and yelling at them to stop. Nothing worked! He watched in horror as his neat little cottage descended into chaos.

For days and nights his life was a nightmare. It seemed like it would never end. Even when he collapsed from exhaustion he was aware of the goblins bouncing on him, pulling at his hair and tweaking his toes. He was at his wit’s end.

Then one night while chaos reigned around him the hearthlight went out. He got a candle  and a flint and, with many interruptions and much frustration, he finally got the candle lit. Suddenly there was complete silence. The goblins stopped their screeching and smashing and tearing and slowly crept towards the flame. Astonished, the man set his table upright and placed the candle on it. The goblins, completely fascinated, drew close and stared at the flame. All was quiet. The sudden silence after so many days of bedlam sounded loud in the man’s ears. He stared at the goblins for a long time, but they only gazed quietly at the candle, mesmerized.

From then on, whenever he could he would light a candle and place it on the table for the goblins to gather around. And it was in this way that he began to reclaim his shattered nerves and bring some order back into his life!

+ + +

When my dad told this story, it was like magic. I could see it all so clearly in my mind. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I suddenly realized: there were six goblins. There were six of us kids. My dad was talking about us! He was talking about how we were so noisy and boisterous but would settle down and all stare quietly into a bonfire like goblins under a spell.

It still makes me laugh to think about that. He was absolutely right—he was a man who liked order and peace and here he was with six kids bouncing off the walls. I have no idea how he and my mom survived! Goddess knows I love my peace and order, too, and my goddessdaughters sometimes tried my patience mightily as they created chaos in my neat little house when they were young.

So there you have it. Any parent’s story. I love it!

Immanent Goddess ritual

November 4, 2016

This is the ritual I priestessed at Daun Fields’ wonderful and welcoming Sunrise Hive. It came out of my frustration with Pagans’ so frequently looking outside themselves for the sacred, and how many of us women still hate our bodies. Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon talked about the Church of All Worlds, where they greet each other with, “Thou art God” or “Thou art Goddess.” Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance was my third Pagan book and she talked about immanence at length. It’s an empowering practice and it unifies the self with all of Gaia.


Intros: Introduce yourself and your matron goddess, describing some of her main attributes.

Something that is “immanent” is “indwelling, inherent.” Something that is “transcendent” (which is the type of deity most of us were raised with) is “over, above, beyond grasp.”

Starhawk, in Dreaming the Dark, defines immanence as “the awareness of the world and everything in it as alive, dynamic, interdependent, interacting, and infused with moving energies: a living being, a weaving dance.”

The split between immanence and transcendence, and the split between body and mind, can be traced back to the ancient Greeks. Around 360 BCE Plato wrote Phaedo, a Socratic dialogue. In it we find such gems as:

  • The soul of the philosopher greatly despises the body, and avoids it. It thinks best alone by itself by avoiding so far as it can, all association or contact with the body.
  • So long as we have a body, and the soul is contaminated by such an evil, we shall never attain completely what we desire, that is, the truth.
  • Purification consists in separating, so far as possible, the soul from the body

Clement, Origen, and other early Christian church fathers saw the body as evil because of its needs for food and sex. The body became linked to Eve and Adam’s Fall. St Paul and other early Church writers link women with the body and disgusting sin. Gnostics saw the flesh as evil, animated only by a divine spark within. In the Middle Ages we see body-hatred manifested through fasting, flagellation, hairshirts, and sleep deprivation. Perhaps one of the greatest breakthroughs Goddess women make is when they reach radical acceptance of their woman bodies.

Even as Pagans, we tend to see the sacred “out there” (trees, sea, fire) or “in here” (trance, meditation, spark). What about everything in between?

Our Goddess is not a transcendent mountain god like the Abrahamic god. Our Goddess is immanent. She is all-pervasive. She is you.

The Goddess is you. You are Goddess. Your flesh. Your bones. Your voice. Your eyes. Your coughing fits. Your hayfever. Your pee. All that is natural is the Goddess. All that is natural is holy. The Goddess isn’t in these things, she is these things.

***Break for questions ***

Invite the Quarters:

East: Breathe loudly in and out

South: Rub palms together fast

West: Slide your hands over your arms like water

North: Stomp!

Cast the Circle:

Visualize a sphere of white light springing up from us and encompassing this whole floor of the building, the space above, the Earth below.

Close your eyes and travel to your matron Goddess. [My technique is to lie down on a cloud and descend gently and slowly over the edge of a cliff, changing colors from yellow to orange to red to green to blue to violet so you end up on the ground surrounded by violet light.] See your surroundings, look at your Goddess’ clothing, coloring, her aspects, etc. Make it as clear as you can by engaging sight, sound, smell, hearing, taste, touch.

See how your matron Goddess’ attributes are your attributes, too.

Then see her come nearer, facing you. She changes shape until she is exactly the same size as you. She turns her back to you so she’s standing right in front of you. You step forward as she steps back. You are one.

Feel suffused with her energy. Feel how her qualities resonate with your qualities. Then see how you embody those qualities, how they are as much your attributes as hers. You are one.

All rise and stand in a circle, holding hands. Taking turns, state your name and one of your Goddess attributes. The rest of us then respond, “[Name,] give us [attribute].” (For instance, I say, “I am Cairril, and I bring courage.” Everyone responds, “Cairril, give us courage.”)

Go around the Circle. It’s okay to duplicate attributes. Smile at each other and feel the power of our immanent Goddess selves. When you’re done, squeeze the hand of the person next to you. When everyone is finished, bring your held hands to the center of the Circle. Start toning on a low note and as you raise the pitch higher, raise your arms up until you are at the top of your range and stretching up. Then take a break! (Remember, your pee is sacred. Those feet that take you to the drinking fountain are sacred.)

Come back to the Circle and pick up a small food item. Ground yourself by sending shoots into the Earth from your root chakra. Feel your body weight against the floor and feel the Earth supporting you. Feel the holy energy exchanged between your sacred self and the sacred Earth.

I am going to say a five senses prayer. With each sense invoked, utilize it with your food item. If it’s “sight,” really look at your food and revel in how it’s sacred, but also how your sight itself is sacred. It is all Goddess. Thou art Goddess. I am Goddess.

Five Senses Prayer:

I praise the Gods who infused in my head
Soul and reason both
And who imbued me with my senses
Air and earth, water and fire.
One is for seeing.
Two is for touching.
Three is for hearing.
Four is for smelling.
Five is for tasting.

Eat mindfully, taking in all your sensory input. Let the food ground you. Then you can relax!

Sharing circle: what was your experience like? What messages did you receive? How have your perceptions changed?

Housel! Journal, chit-chat. Open the Circle.


It is my hope that women in particular will find this ritual helpful in coming to radical acceptance of their bodies as sacred. But for all who participate or adapt this ritual, I hope it opens you up to how sacred and powerful you are. Thou art God. Thou art Goddess.

Aunt Dolores

August 30, 2016

Dear Cairril,

My therapist, Marisa Tomei, has suggested I write this letter to you. She suggested it after you waxed nostalgic for Aunt Dolores. So let’s talk about her.

She was born in the 1920s to a dour German mother and a lively Irish father. Grandma didn’t like her, something which scarred Aunt Dolores for life. She was named Betty, which she later changed to Bettye in high school, I suspect to help her stand out a bit more. Like all the rest of her starving Depression-era family, she was a stick figure, but alas was not blessed with a very attractive face. But somehow she managed to rope a sailor man into asking her to marry him (he gave her that book Queens Die Proudly which you keep in the first bookcase). She turned him down. Because she heard a greater calling—God was calling her to be a nun.

She went into a Franciscan order in the 1940s when rules were very strict. She had virtually no contact with the family. I don’t know a lot about those early years, partly because Mom didn’t have any contact with her.

By the time you were born in 1967 she was called Aunt Sister. Why? No one knows. Her name, given to her by the bishop, was Sister Dolores Marie McLaughlin. I always wondered if the spelling (dolores instead of delores) was a curse of unhappiness on her because of its Spanish translation. She was stationed in Florida, in the heat and humidity she hated, teaching typing to high schoolers, which she hated. She had always wanted to be in office administration, something she got her Master’s for, but the stern Church forced her into the swamps.

Growing up, you hated her. She would visit for a couple weeks each summer. You and your sisters called her “Aunt Bitch.” She looked so much like her mother—the shape of her face, the thin set of her mouth, her limpid blue eyes—but she lacked any hint of kindness which Grandma had. She was a major control freak and very picky. An extremely unpleasant person. Once when you and your sisters were setting the table you were just tossing down plates, silverware, napkins, glasses—good enough. She walked right after you and straightened everything out so it was precisely correct. LOUDLY. Laura had enough and went back around the table, messing everything back up. Take that!

You didn’t give her much thought until you learned as an adult that she’d entered a therapy program run by the Church. She was in her 60s and deeply depressed. When she went to a priest for help, he told her to just try to get through the next minute. Just one minute. When that minute was over, get through the next one. That sounded familiar. The agony of existence.

Later in life you saw some of her art therapy projects from her time in therapy. She clearly adored her father and marked his death as the low point of her life. And she clearly loved the nuns she was surrounded by. She called out the names of those who were special to her.

During therapy she came to grips with the complicated relationship she had with Grandma McLaughlin. She had always felt disliked, never good enough, especially since Grandma fell all over pretty and bubbly Aunt Eileen. But Aunt Dolores came to grips with all of it, faced all her demons down, and came out of therapy a changed woman.

First things first: No more “Aunt Sister.” She’d always hated the name. It took a little getting used to, but then she was so different it seemed natural to call her by a new name. She smiled a lot now, sometimes in a slow way with a sideways glance, sometimes brightly in response to a joke. She finally got that administrative post in the convent mother house and loved it. She had a whole new life and she dove in.

She told me later that sometimes she would wake up at night, wrap herself in a shawl, then go down to the chapel and sing Canticle of the Sun while spinning around in a circle on her bare feet. How joyful she was. How close to God.

Now that you could stand her, you joined in the canasta games she played with Mom and Uncle Ralph and Aunt Barbara. And she was unbelievable. She was a true believer in picking up the discard pile rather than new cards. So she’d meld and meld with these crappy low-point cards and then suddenly lay down a wild card canasta. Where did that come from?? There were no wild cards in the discard pile!

She was the family historian and when she got to be too old to keep up with it she handed it off to you, knowing your interest. Remember how amazed you were at her circles of correspondence? She didn’t write long letters, but she did send notes to the most distant of cousins, sharing news and enjoying the contact of family.

The thing that turned her into your hera was her breaking the taboo around mental illness in the family. She spoke openly about great-Aunt Mary (institutionalized for 60 years) and great-Uncle Joe (suicide) and great-Grandpa Ruth (institutionalized for 13 years). Mom had never heard anything about her grandfather, but there Aunt Dolores was, blithely telling the story of how when the men in white came for great-Aunt Mary, he said, “You just watch, they’ll be coming for me next!” And he was right.

Aunt Dolores normalized mental illness. She made it possible to talk about as just any other illness you had to deal with. By bringing it out of the darkness, she made it possible for you to normalize it, and to research the biological inheritors of the Ruth genes, and see that much of your suffering was due to chemistry, not a character flaw. How you admired her for that. How grateful you were. How much you still owe her.

At one point, maybe in her 70s, she got sick with some illness, I don’t remember what. But she lost her mind. Remember going to see her? One of the most chilling experiences of your life. She would speak, almost forming words, but it was really just gibberish. She was gesturing in the air as if she were writing on a chalkboard. You took her for a ride in her wheelchair until she started yelling and hitting at things. It was shocking. You fled to the bathroom and sobbed.

But then you found out they’d put her on an anti-depressant. Thanks to her leads, you’d traced our problems with serotonin to the Ruth line and you demanded she be taken off whatever SSRI they’d put her on. And sure enough, she came back.

She got more frail as she aged but continued to look more and more like Grandma McLaughlin. And no matter what, Mom and Dad and Aunt Barbara and Uncle Ralph could brighten up her day by taking her out for ice cream and playing a little cards. She was in the retirement house by then and the other nuns all looked out for her. You wanted to have a closer relationship with her but it was hard, being so far away and poor. You exchanged letters, talking history and religion. She was true to her vocation, a beautiful thing.

Remember her Golden Jubilee? You went up with the fam to celebrate all the nuns’ anniversaries and were amazed at how liberal the lyrics were to the hymns. No wonder they didn’t wear habits after Vatican II—they were practically heretics!

When the end came, she was surrounded by her sisters and her family. And they prayed and they sang. Oh, how they sang. Mom and Dad were transported by the love and joy being expressed at this passage, seeing for the first time that a Christian should die happy in the hope of Heaven. You were down in Bloomington holding vigil of your own. Every day the news would come: not yet. And finally you remembered that in all the songs you’d sung for her, you’d never sung Poor Robin is Dead, a children’s song brought by Grandpa McLaughlin’s family from Ireland. You sang it and sang it, smiling and releasing her, and that night she died.

The wake was held at the retirement home. All the sisters were gathered in one corner and the family in the opposite. It made you realize how little you knew of her life among these women and you yearned to fill that deficit.

Once the nuns knew you were the family historian, they swarmed you with stories so thick you could hardly get your mp3 recorder out fast enough. They were so happy. It was a beautiful time.

You spoke at the wake, thanking her for breaking that taboo and for consequently saving your life, and the lives of all her great-neices and -nephews.

You stayed for the funeral, which was a very brief affair in a small chapel at the burial grounds. While everyone went ahead you searched out her grave, just one plot among a hundred, completely anonymous. You moved the board over the opening so you could see where she would be planted and bugs scurried away. But you weren’t startled—it all felt part of the great breathing biosphere that is Gaia.

Aunt Dolores, like you, was a spinster aunt. Hardly anyone in the family was interested in her as a person. This blog post you write may be the last story told of her. But she will always be a hera to you and you will always bless her name. You still talk to her sometimes, bringing her up to date on genealogy and whatnot. You miss her. She was someone to look up to.

But as a spinster she, like you, is just a short twig on the family tree. When you die, no one will sing her songs anymore. Just like your story will end when your nieces and goddessdaughters die. But let us seek to live courageously, as Aunt Dolores did, in the time we have left. Let us sing and dance in a circle and smile.




February 7, 2016

A repository of the dream summaries I post on Facebook.

dreamt that i helped an american-accented neil gaiman select a paper stock. he chose a milk finish (my fave, big surprise). no worries, i steered him away from all that garish gold foil.



i dreamt i was gloria steinem, traveling from the old world to the promises of the new, and there wasn’t enough rope. then i was james bond, planting concrete markers underground throughout florida. why? ask M.


dreamt i was mr rogers’ roadie camera operator as he went on a quest to win back an old flame who was now married with a son. mr rogers took us to gallifrey, which he said was his home. that part i believe.


dreamt i was in the military of a police state, very regimented, stationed in antarctica when a global warming catastrophe hit. everything was falling apart and going to hell and i was running around with a huge grin on my face. the world was lost. none of the rules applied anymore. no one could touch me. i was finally free.

the same dream featured matt smith’s doctor who, caprica 6 and baltar from battlestar galactica, and the penguin from fight club: “sliiiiiide.”


dreamt i was with the standing rock water protectors, singing with roger waters and eating twizzlers. i got my dad and Rob Palmer on a conference call to convince them to come join me. “a better world is possible,” i said.


i dreamt i stuffed Jeanne into a black knit sock with me so we could fly to new york and see “cats.”


last night i dreamt i was supposed to be helping Janiece find a house but i kept bouncing off to join the collins open house/orientation party, attracted by the enormous slip-n-slide. sorry i’m such a flake, janiece.


last night i  dreamt i was touring catal huyuk in britain (yes, britain, not turkey) with soldiers from the boer war as guides. sting and i were at the final stop in a grocery store, taking pictures of an elaborate grave and old-fashioned type presses with our digital cameras and eating jammy dodgers (whatever those are — but they were yummy).

last night i dreamt of planting grain, glaucoma, and the iliad. all to a beatles soundtrack.

this morning i fell back asleep after my alarm went off and entered this technicolor extravaganza where i was ice dancing accompanied by an orchestra featuring my high school sweetheart. then suddenly the music stopped, a spotlight hit the suddenly open rink, and Laurent Castellucci came sliding out on his knees across the ice and starting dancing like prince to some mad beats someone was throwing down. then he gestured to me, the beats stopped, and i opened my mouth to sing. all my inhibitions about improv fell away and this amazing tune came out of me (now unfortunately obscured by tangle eye) and it was in my old voice, full and rich, not this thin reed i have now. it was freaking amazing. i didn’t want to wake up.

last night i dreamt i was adding lucky charms marshmallows to a bunch of trail mix my family was making, all to the tune of “only you” by yaz.

i dreamt about economic development to the soundtrack of “the headmaster’s ritual” by the smiths. wth?

i dreamt Mike Price and i were swing dancing like crazy at Angela and Janis‘ housewarming party until i lost my purse made out of my grandma’s bridesmaid’s dress. joy found, joy lost?

i dreamt the bad guys had locked me up with olivier and anthony hopkins doing shakespeare. oh, would that it were so!!

i was dreaming of space travel when jar jar binks showed up. that killed THAT dream.

this morning i had a twilight dream. i had just become a vampire and was running all over the place and reveling in the speed of it. it was exhilarating. i noticed edward at work on a little house on dunn and changed my route so i could ogle him. cut to the narrator bringing us together and revealing that we’ve just been married. edward got that huge gorgeous smile on his face where his eyes crinkle up and my heart just melted. he loved me so much. we were so happy. he had an infant son (parthenogenesis??) that immediately became mine. he had a job in politics that really interested me and it turned out they were hiring me, too. so we’d have this fulfilling work and then be able to share our days on the drive home. it felt so incredibly good. life was so full of love and promise. but then i started to wake up a little and then went back in and all had changed. two years had passed and i had lost him long ago. i went up to his new house near our old apartments on 8th street and jane was there—his new wife. because she and i had been friends long ago, in horrible pain i made stilted small talk with her. she casually mentioned her son that called her “mom” and i realized with a sharp stab that she meant edward’s son, who had been my son. i had lost him completely and irrevocably. edward wasn’t even in the picture. it was all gone, so long ago. i woke up shattered.

last night i dreamt that someone hurt my feelings so i said, “well, i was going to design your logo for you but now you can use microsoft clip art with times new roman!” then i flounced out of the room in front of their stunned faces. so there!

i dreamt melissa etheridge had carved onyx and diamond studs in her eyes. then i realized this is not new — for years i have been dreaming of women rockers like joan jett and bonnie raitt with pierced eyeballs.

i dreamt i got a kite at the UU church. then my alarm went off. fell back asleep. dreamt i got a kite at first presbyterian. alarm went off. fell back asleep. dreamt i took both kites to main square in highland, indiana to fly them together but i couldn’t remember my username and password to get in. when the alarm went off i said screw this and got up.

i dreamt that donald trump hired kaia to perform at a fundraiser for the library. he was throwing a fit that Google maps showed the building address rather than Trump Towers when Susan Armstrong Lantzer stepped in. he fell in love with her and became putty in her hands.

susan, you have a duty to the nation. time to step up.

i dreamt bryan and i were competing in a figure skating competition to the death and our opponents were the new barbie dolls.

i dreamt johnny depp and i were together, singing and writings, outwitting vladimir putin.

i dreamt i was running for president so i was in a wheelchair to get more votes but then at the gas station my dad behind the counter wouldn’t give me an eclair so i wanted to nip around and get it myself but i was afraid someone would see me and not vote for me.