The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.
It might make for uncomfortable reading.
Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women. What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance. While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.
There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.
Asking a practicing witch what seems magical should be an easy question. It’s not so easy after what… 15 years or so? What seems ordinary to me is probably more remarkable – especially since I’ve tried to diversify the people in my life so that it’s not All Pagan, All the Time. Things that are normal to me that are strange, titillating, awful and bewildering to other people:
- Being gay
- Transgender life
- Sex positive
- Fat positivity
- Occultism (None of it is the stuff that gets gone ON about by those preachers that don’t understand the meaning of “thou shalt not bear false witness.”)
I do not necessarily belong in all the classifications above – BDSM is a tourist destination, and not a country I want to live in, for example, and it’s been agreed by people that genuinely know me that if anyone is a Kinsey 0 or 1, it’s probably me. (I’ve met some really lovely and willing same-sex potential partners, and the body just won’t.) Which is a shame since Mike has been quite vocal in that the only extraneous relationships he would allow are with women.
I already live in a parallel universe.
So magic? Hard to say anymore.
Moments that probably do feel like magic to me:
- I have to admit, the waterfall text sound on my phone going off just after two different members of the poetry workshop I attend had finished poems that happened to be about water was a lovely synchronistic moment, even though it embarrassed me at the time.
- The guy I knew whose high school was torn down the same year my old high school was torn down. Sadly, he was way too self-absorbed to appreciate the parallels, and was otherwise intent on sucking the joy out of life or at least out of me. But there’s a LOT of stuff that happened at the same time for us, including our fathers dying the same year. I wish he was not an asshole, because I think his not-so-subvert bigotry kept what friendship we had from becoming something really good. At least, it was never that good a friendship for me, and that was not my fault.
- Scary magic: I will see strange animal activity at volatile times in my life, and often when I look into the behavior and lore of that animal, it does offer insight into what’s going on on the other players’ stage.
- Sometimes, for no reason, I will smell my father’s cologne, or roses, or some other very specific, pure scent when no one is around and no one has opened a door or window. It’s usually a message or reassurance when that happens (and not synesthesia.)
- The moments when music comes over loudspeakers where I am, and it’s a song somehow relevant to some scene that just played out, or sometimes to something going on within me. I don’t think security guards monitor me closely enough to adjust the soundtrack.
- Every time I see karma land, and I get the additional schaudenfreude bonus of knowing it didn’t land on me.
- Travel. I love to travel, passionately. And cool stuff happens when I do. Like when Mike and I got invited to a jazz dungeon our first night in Paris, just because I asked a guy behind me on the street if I was in his way.
- The willingness of strangers to help me out at moments I might otherwise be ignored. Like the multiple people in Como who offer to take pictures of me. (I don’t usually look that interesting.)
- There are very few people who have left my life who would be welcome back in it, quite simply because most people expect my forgiveness but want it without making the effort to change and don’t want to promise they will not repeat the behavior – which is pretty much the core of an abusive relationship. The people that are welcome back, however, all seem to find me sooner or later. Sometimes it’s for a moment, and sometimes it’s for longer – but they are there.
- Personal, strictly social emails to me are rare. I consider every single one a magical gift.