Erynu Integration

The story continues (part 2)

And now I’ll continue with the story. Check out the previous blog post for part 1.

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The woman stood quietly, her hands clasped loosely together. “In our culture, Adam was not jealous of Eve. Because our origin was so different, so too was what we grew up believing and seeing as normal. Sex was not something for ‘behind closed doors’ and children were never punished for being curious about what is natural. For your society, I see just the opposite. In truth, there is a great degree of discomfort around the notion the sexuality. One which makes talking about it at all very awkward. And talking about it with your kids, even more so. It then becomes a discomfort which is handed down. But this is not what the cultural story is. The cultural take is that by teaching children anything about this subject those kids will then be unable to control themselves and get into trouble or become ‘bad people’ as a result.”

She paused a moment, canting her head as Veronica continued to feel that soft feathery sensation she had come to interpret as her memories being reviewed. “It’s like drinking. Denying something, making it ‘forbidden’, is what makes it so appealing. So irresistible. At some point, the forbidden is indulged in. One of the problems with this approach is of excess without knowledge of reasonable limits. In this case, drinking until literally blind drunk is hardly uncommon and indeed is considered ‘part of the college experience’ and the process of growing up.” Her brow furrows as she speaks. “But in other countries where drinking is introduced early and children are taught to behave responsibly, blind drunk is not really appealing.”

Veronica felt herself tensing up in revulsion at her extrapolation of the words. “So you’re saying your culture introduced young children to sex?”

“No, dear. There are many ways to teach without imparting first hand experience. The very foundation is anatomy. It’s as simple as ‘this is your arm, your leg, your penis, your nose, your ear, …’ It’s just another body part.” She gave a little shrug. “Nothing particularly special or unspecial about it. It won’t take a genius child to notice that boys and girls are different, and that too is nothing special or worth remarking on any particular way. ‘No, she doesn’t have a penis; she has a vulva.’ And so the conversation goes. To a child, the discussion is as innocent as why the sky is blue. Treat the question with that degree of innocence in return, free from the shame based story, and the foundational attitude is completely different from there on out.”

As the woman explained, Veronica felt the tension leaving her body. She remembered her own childhood asking those questions and being treated harshly for daring to ask. While, as an adult, she understood that her parents meant well, she also remembered the confused fear she felt and she got a very clear ‘sex is bad’ message which plagued her adult life, preventing her from being comfortable in her own skin. How different would her life and outlook have been with a different initial message? “I see.”

“In our society, we had a very good education system for the time. Of course, with the advances in knowledge that I see you have access to that education system would be greatly enhanced. We ensured that every student walked into adulthood armed with self-knowledge as well as book knowledge.”

“Self knowledge?

“Yes. We taught kids how to examine their emotions and understand their own motivations. To recognize their limits and talents without judging them. This type of personal training is utterly absent in your memories. But I do love how very much you know about sexual anatomy. This is one area of study which would be greatly enhanced with today’s awareness.”

“Wait wait wait. You taught sexual anatomy in school? Hell, sexual anatomy was barely taught in my school in this ‘modern era’. Even then it was just a bunch of analogies or inference pictures, teaching by vaguely getting close to fact and hoping the students ‘got it’.” Memories of high school ‘sex ed’ surfaced, along with the outrage at the uselessness of it. “The education was so bad that when I started doing independent research, I was pissed because we had literally been taught the wrong things. For example, I was taught that ovulation and a period were the same. Wrong!” As she remembered learning the truth, the memory of how betrayed she felt by the education system she had trusted was as powerful in this moment as it had been then at 16.

“Exactly! How can you expect someone to make wise or even sound decisions when they really have no idea what is going on? But we never distinguished it as you do. There was ‘sexual education’, there was only ‘anatomy’. Remember, a penis and vulva were on par with arms and noses. Nothing special about them. Why segregate them into another category like that? Now, we did separate the classes. Young children were taught together until about the age of 8. Since every child is different and we didn’t have the burden of dealing with hundreds of students per single decision maker that you do, we had the luxury of making a case-by-case decision. Some children at 8 are definitely ready to be separated into an all boys or all girls class, while others are not.” The woman gave a soft laugh as she smiled and a memory flooded into Veronica’s awareness. A memory she knew darn well was not hers.

A sense of excited anticipation filled the air. At the end of every quarter, some children Rose. (Veronica’s nearest analogy was moving from grammar school into middle school). Today was the day of the announcements. While every child wanted to be moved up, they also knew it meant more work, longer hours and being in with only other boys or girls during actual classes. Before and after classes as well as recesses and lunches were always mixed.

A few parents were there, and some clever children had already figured out that if the parent was there than odds were very good that the child would be called up. Not-Veronica scanned the small sea of attentive faces, hope shining on some while others looked to the side clearly wishing to be overlooked and yet others were just plain not sure what to think. Names were called, and after each name everyone celebrated. This was one of the three landmark Rites of Passage that all children went through on their way to becoming a full member of the tribe. The first was the Welcome, which happened as an infant and so they didn’t have personal memories of it. This one was the Rising, where they go from being children in the eyes of the tribe to being young adults. The final one was the Induction, where the child walked in and an adult walked out to the fanfare of all.

The memory cleared and Veronica found herself blurting out “The Rising!”

The woman nodded. “See? The integration is already starting. The memories I guarded for so long are now starting to merge into your awareness. Did you notice how it felt? The ‘feel’ of that memory which was not actually your memory?”

Veronica thought a moment. “Yes, now that you point it out. The kinds of details noticed, the colors, the thought pattern, none of those were native to me. Like watching a movie I directed versus a movie directed by someone else. Both are movies, but the style is very different.”

“Yes!” She smiled happily. “Exactly. Remember that feeling, that way of distinguishing. As more of the memories start to integrate, it could be easy to get lost and forget what is your personal memory and what is another’s. Each memory will have the ‘fingerprint’ of a the person whose it is. Fortunately for you, there are only 3 people’s lives you have inherited. That memory was from Shaila, the most recent of our queens.”

“Queens. That’s not the word I want to use.”

Her smile grew large. “Indeed. It is not the word we use. Our word for the female leader of our people is Namenka.”

“Nah-men-ka.” Veronica repeated it, testing the sound on her tongue. It rolled off easily.

“Yes. And the male leader is called the Namenma.”

“Namenma? I would expect her’s to end with the ma.”

“That is your linguistic training. In our language, the -ma suffix is the masculine one. See? MAsculine begins with MA, so you can use that to help remember.”

Veronica nodded. Sure, why not? She was being downloaded with the memories of 3 generations which spanned several thousand years. Not much was overly shocking at this point. Let it roll and move on.

The guide smiled, as if she understood Veronica’s point. “Together, the ruling male and female are simply the Namen. Drop the gender specific suffix and the word is now plural. You are the Namenka, Cole is the Namenma, and together you are the Namen.”

“Could I just use Queen and King instead? I’m more familiar with that.”

“You could, but your words carry with them their own backgrounds and stories. These words are free of that, able to be defined anew for you. For instance, the Namen are chosen by the previous Namen. No one is born into the role, and there is no concept of divine right to rule. The future leaders are selected very carefully from the entire population and trained for centuries, and sometimes a latecomer to the scene will be chosen over someone who’s been assumed the heir apparent for decades. In this case, while Cole just happens to be the son of the last Namenma, the previous Namenka was unrelated, instead merely a gifted individual chosen for the honor.”

“Wait a second. Cole was the son of the last king, but not the queen?”

“See, another notion which gets in the way. To you, the queen and king are a couple. But to me, the Namen may or may not be a couple. While the previous Namen loved each other greatly, they were not ‘together’ in the way you mean.”

“Huh. Ok.”

“So the memory that surfaced was Shaila’s. Eventually, you’ll know their memories so well that you’ll feel as if you know them. In a way, you will know them better than anyone in their time could have because you’ll have every detail of their life. Fortunately for you, the human mind is an amazing thing and you’ll generally only access those memories which are relevant to what you are searching for. At least, when this process is complete, that’s the way it will be. Until then, there may be some … integration issues. Just keep your ‘roll with it’ attitude and we’ll get through this fine.”

“Got it. Now get back to the Rising please. Once a child has Risen, what do you teach them?”

“The closest equivalent would be the Greek school system. We emphasized what you today would probably call critical thinking. This whole color-in-a-dot system does not teach young minds to think; it teaches them to memorize and regurgitate. But again, we didn’t have the problems of scale that you do.” She gave a little shrug again, a gesture Veronica was beginning to recognize as a sort of ‘there you have it’ or ‘what can you do?’ motion. “And anatomy was definitely something learned. Remember, in those days we didn’t have electricity or grocery stores. Almost every kid worked to some degree or other with animals. If that kid didn’t know the difference between a penis and a leg or the brain and the intestines, then there were bigger issues.” She chuckled a little, but stopped quickly at seeing Veronica’s serious expression. “Essentially, by the time a girl has her first period she is very well versed in exactly what is going on, what to expect, and where to go if she has any questions or concerns. Likewise, the very first time a boy ejaculates will also not be a surprise, even if he wakes up to wet sheets. It’s all perfectly normal and natural. Life is messy. You deal, and move on. None of this crap I can see in your memories! How perfectly traumatizing. I grieve for the millions of fledgling adults who are left to think such negative things about something so … common to the entirety of the human experience.”

At that one, Veronica had to just nod. “Bathroom talk isn’t particularly helpful. The blind lead the blind in that case.”

“Exactly! For example, if neither a boy nor a girl has any idea what effects all those different hormones have on a girl’s brain throughout her cycle…” She made a face which would be perfectly appropriate if she were just about to see someone horrifically crash their bike. “And turning it into the butt of a joke?!” Now the guide bristled.

“Goodness, you’re actually getting animated here. So far you’ve been all Zen serene.”

The guide calmed down, taking a deep breath before resuming the ‘zen serene’ pose Veronica had come to expect. “So much needless pain makes me angry.” She looked at Veronica again, smiling. “Remember, I am you. Needless pain makes you angry as well.”

At that, Veronica could only nod. “True.”

“After being Risen, when a girl has her first period the girl classes have a celebratory ceremony marking her as now a Child-Woman, which essentially translated to now having access to a type of garment worn by adult women. For the boys, the line of demarcation between Child and Child-Man is having his first actual ejaculation. While in your culture, these biological events are what mark one as being a woman or man, not so in ours. All children are by our definition ‘innocent’, so the label of child remains until after Induction.”

“Wait a second. You said the Induction was when the child became a fully recognized adult in the eyes of the tribe.”

The guide nodded.

“But children are, ‘by our definition innocent’.” She quoted the last back. “That means that no adult, no Woman or Man, is ‘innocent’ And it has nothing to do with periods or hard-ons.” The guide nodded again. “My brain is short-circuiting on this.”

“Here is the idea that you with your shame based origination Story will likely find the most offputing. Children are innocent, that is to say they have not had sex.  No child can be fully Inducted into the tribe, only adults; which means every single young adult has sex before they are recognized as a full adult in our tribe. Your culture’s notion of marrying a virgin is just as rudely shocking to me. You would marry a child? How barbaric. Leave the induction of a child into adulthood in the hands of just anyone becase they happened to show up with a ring or be dragged to the brothel by a brother? Doubly barbaric. When a child is ready to become an adult, then the Induction starts. It can take a week, a month, even a year, and it all depends on the child. It’s a Rite of Passage, and like all such ceremonies is vitally important that it be treated with honor and respect. Because it was such a big deal, very few children wanted to rob themselves of the experience. Let me give you another analogy here. I see in your mind the temptation to sneak down at Christmas and see what you got before the official unveiling. Why didn’t you? No one would have known.”

The response was immediate. “I would have known. I could imagine all the wonder and excitement of seeing this or that toy under the tree with my name on it, but having no one there to share my joy with. I could imagine sneaking back up, and then coming down again with the family having to fake my surprise. I didn’t want to do that.”

“Exactly. Our culture made a huge deal about the importance of a child being a child, and the sacredness of the process of a child becoming an adult. And at the end of that journey, they were celebrated for making it. With so much taught to them, there really wasn’t much to be ‘curious’ about because little was a secret. But the mystery of having sex for the first time, that can only be experienced once. In the right setting, it will make a strong and confident adult who has much to offer the society they call theirs.”

“Mystery versus secret.”

“Exactly! That’s why secret societies will always fail, while mystery societies and schools persist. Secrets are learned, but they are just the mental side. There is no depth to a secret. Mysteries are lived, and once lived they will change your life forever. I can know all the secrets, but the mystery remains until I’ve experienced it for myself. For example, I know all about childbirth, all the nitty gritty details. All the ins and outs. About the cravings, the swellings, the pee breaks, the aches, the kicks, that my hair won’t fall out, the contractions, the breach, the afterbirth. All of it. But until I’ve been through it, until I’ve had a literal living child kick me from the inside, it’s still a mystery, even though there’s nothing secret about it. Understand?”

“Nice analogy.”

She smiled. “I thought so. You have a way with them.”

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Hope you’ve enjoyed the latest installment of this this background piece. As mentioned previously, this story is the unrevealed background for my Erynu people and their culture, and what the new queen learns as she absorbs her inheritance. All these concepts and words used here are mine, incorporated into my own fictional works. While history provides an excellent springboard (in early Babylon, it was illegal for a child aka virgin to marry) I’ve taken those and used them for my own purposes. It is fiction, afterall. 😉 In the next story, I describe the Induction.

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Erynu Integration

Let me tell you a story…

This is a work of fiction based on a series that I’m writing. These are the background pieces which never make into the works, but are the support mechanisms that I write from. A few posts ago I mentioned my idea of a school for sexuality. This is the set of stories that I was referring to.

Some background. The leaders of the society inherit the memories of their predecessors upon being chosen, providing an unbroken living memory spanning generations. Imagine suddenly being “downloaded” with the wisdom of hundreds of years. These stories all take place during the mental/emotional integration phase of that download process for the current generation.

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Veronica stood alone in the dark, aware she was within her own mind but at the time it felt as if she were standing on an unknown street corner with a busted light. Out of the darkness appeared a woman wearing what might be considered something like a Toga, but not. Veronica thought a moment, remembering the statues of non-naked Hellenistic Greek women. Yes, a gown like that which flowed freely but was belted with a thin cord around the waist. “Who are you?”

“Soon, I will be you. But for now, I am your guide.” There is a pause and Veronica literally felt the lightest of touches as if her memories were a file cabinet being rifled through. The lovely woman briefly made a face as she began speaking again. “This will be challenging for you, my dear. You have no foundation in anything I’m trying to share with you.”

For a moment, Veronica felt a little defensive. It wasn’t her fault she wasn’t raised among these people. She was still a little baffled as to exactly how everything came about, but here she was. The inheritor of several thousand years of memories. In that moment, Veronica’s defensiveness vanished. No, the lady was simply observing the facts. No judgment there.

The woman smiled, as if privy to all Veronica’s thoughts and feelings. She was about to ask but the woman said “I am already part of you. So let me start with a story. The Story is the very first thing we teach children. The story you learn is the story that guides your decisions, your sense of right and wrong. Indeed, the Story is the very foundation of everything.”

Veronica tilted her head as she thought about the words. “Like ‘Once Upon a Time’ stories?”

“In a way. The most important story of any society is the origination story. How did you get here? Who put you here? Why? In your society, the story is that God decided and made the world, filled it with plants and animals, and then man and from man made woman. And on it goes. In that story, human is above the animal. God made man special, and he made a woman to literally be man’s helpmeet — his assistant, his underling if you will. You know this story I speak of.”

Veronica blinked at the woman a bit, never really having thought about it before. “Yeah, I know the story, but…”

“It serves as the foundation for everything and is used to justify treatment of each other, among other things. While your modern society is slowly moving away from this story, I can assure you that it still strongly affects you and colors your world view. Whether rebelling against that story or supporting it, the decisions made are influenced by it. It doesn’t matter which one of the major monotheistic religions you have, this story is largely the same.”

She paused, as if waiting for Veronica to sift through her own memories to see this for herself. The wedding of a friend came to mind, in which the minister flat out said God intended woman to obediently and without question yield everything to her husband. The minister went on to justify that piece of idiocy with exactly the creation story. While Veronica was fit to be tied at the ideas, her friend accepted the story and worked hard to live within that context. And this was just one such personal experience. Everything from why it’s ok to experiment on animals but not humans on up the chain, the roots of the story could be seen.

The woman smiled again. “I see you are following the logic. Now that’s a society wide story, and if you’re part of that culture the story is also yours. But we have our own stories, too. You see something someone does, and you decide why they did that. Based on the story you’ve just told yourself, you get mad or jealous or happy or whatever. Change the story, and change the emotional response. Imagine someone giving a gift for no reason. I might tell myself the gift was because the person cared for me, and this makes me happy. Or I could tell myself that the gift was actually just overstock and they needed to get rid of it and I was handy, and this makes me less happy. The fact is someone gave a gift, but the story is what governs how I respond to that fact. The story I choose is exactly that – a choice. Understand?”

Veronica nodded.

“Stories are immensely powerful. Change the story, change the response. Change the personal story, change the personal response. Change the societal story, change society. So let me retell your  culture’s origination story, as we know it, as we watched it transpire.”

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God made the world, and within it he put plants and animals. Among the animals was Man, an animal made in the likeness of God. But the first humans were naive children, not ready to leave the protection of their maker. Like any good parent, God knew that at some point his children would grow up and when that happened, they would need to leave to find their own way in the world. Children who remain with their parents never grow strong or independent. So God told his children they could play safely within the confines of the Garden he had set up, and they could do anything they wished, except one thing: they could not eat of the Tree of Knowledge.

Well God was far from stupid; he knew that making something forbidden was the surest way to guarantee that something happened. But in order to test the boundaries of the forbidden, the child had to become strong enough to take the risk. He knew that eventually when it was time for them to grow up, only then would they look to the forbidden and question. As is the way of humans, Eve matured first and reached the point where she was curious. The mandate didn’t make sense. Why not eat of this one fruit?

Being female, she took her curiosity to the group. In this case, her group pretty much consisted of Adam. Not a big group. As is the way of young men, her curiosity and interest sparked his own need to impress her. He took the lead and they both ate of the Fruit. In that moment, childhood innocence was lost – would that wisdom were gained so swiftly as well. They had tasted the forbidden, and now were adults, but still naive.

God appeared, and while sad he had to kick his grown children out of the nest, he was also proud of how they had grown. As they were leaving, God said “Eve, because you were the first to grow curious about the forbidden, I grant to you and all your daughters the ability to bring forth life. The process will be painful because all life is sacred, and it should never be done lightly. The pain will remind you of the seriousness and responsibility of this sacred gift.”

God turned to his son. “Adam, because you took the initiative to actually take that first bite, I give you and all your sons the gift of physical strength. The daughters of Eve will have their hands full and be vulnerable as they bring forth life. Your physical strength will be used to protect and provide.”

Adam and Eve held hands, pleased with their gifts. Then God told them “Now go out into the world. Be strong and bring forth life.”

What is not recorded is that there were many Adams and many Eves; but your Judeo/Christian culture descended but the following set of Adam and Eve.

Upon entering the world, they discovered it was not as easy as the Garden, and Adam was less than thrilled with this. He began to blame Eve for all the hardship he suffered and resentment burned in his heart because he didn’t want to need her for anything. He was the strong one! Eventually, his resentment took over and poisoned his heart. So he told her “God’s punished you, you know.”

She looked at him, her trusting eyes troubled. “No, he didn’t.”

“Yes, he did.” And Adam used his strength to convince Eve that her greatest, most sacred and profoundly beautiful gift from the Divine was actually dirty, vile, and a curse. That she herself was unclean, impure, and the root of all things bad. With his hate inspired words and his resentment fueled actions, he taught her the meaning of the word Shame. He convinced himself that what God really meant was that Eve would be his, to abuse or cherish as the whims of the moment dictated, because Eve had to rely on his strength for protection. She therefore owed him this.

He told himself it was her fault they were kicked out of the Garden, choosing to forget that all children must leave the safety of their parents house. His story told him that if not for her, then they’d still be there living in cushy comfort. He convinced himself that God made her weak and him strong. This was his version of the story, his take on the facts, what he chose to make of the events he’d lived through. And this is perverted story he taught his sons and daughters.

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“I tell you this version of the story not to make Adam out to be a jerk. He corrupted the story because he didn’t understand; he lacked the wisdom and maturity to see clearly and Eve lacked the maturity and wisdom to set him right. What they both failed to grasp is that God made his children so that they could depend on each other. One’s strengths are needed to give the other’s strengths meaning. But when one uses their strengths to destroy the self-worth of the other, all meaning is lost. Both lose. It doesn’t matter if Eve bullies Adam or Adam bullies Eve.” She paused a moment, her eyes sad.

“God entrusted Adam with the welfare and safety of the sacred lifebringer, and He untrusted Eve with the very future of humanity. Both Adam and Eve, in their empowered state, are required to make God’s vision even remotely possible. And this last bit is the heart of our story. It’s our guiding principle. We strive to teach our children to embrace their strengths, and embrace the strengths of others. Being threatened by the power of another is more a matter of not being sure of your own power. This is the heart of our education system: we teach our children to know and trust in themselves so that they have the strength to allow those around them to do the same. We as adults and teachers are their guides to their own becoming, but what they become is up to them.”

 

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Emotions, Hall of Mirrors, Random Musings, sexuality

Own Your Shit

The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.
– William Penn

Listening to the 4th (?) podcast from Life on the Swingset and the topic of today’s ruminations is Jealousy. That topic is in conjunction with Cunning Minx’s book “8 Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory” I think it was point number 3 – Own Your Shit.

I really don’t care if you’re into vanilla, BDSM, poly, swinging, monogamy or are entirely asexual, if you have a pulse and walk about in this world then I think the admonition to Own Your Shit is 100% spot on, and definitely belongs as one of the core tenants of Path of the Individual. (PotI, hehehehehe). In fact, that is the entire point of the Hall of Mirrors exercise.

First see your shit, then recognize “oh man, that’s MY shit”, then begin to own it. “Yeah, my bad, I’m (insert shit here).” I’ve said before, it’s not easy, and the mind is a tricky bitch sometimes. If I’m just simply not ready to own my shit, then it isn’t my shit and nothing you can say will make it mine. Until one day *bam* oooooh. That IS my shit. I’m sorry.

Case in point, sparked by today’s podcast de jour. I never thought I was a jealous person. Then something Dillon said, about exactly WHAT he was jealous of, suddenly had me recognizing that there are different KINDS of jealousy. My world view only had 1 kind of jealousy, and since what I was feeling did not fit those parameters then I was not feeling jealous. End of story and stop accusing me of it because it’s a lie.

*cringe*

Suddenly hearing someone else give an example of their jealousy and recognizing THAT is what I was feeling … and he labeled it … jealousy? *screeching brakes* Wait a minute. Then I was feeling jealous and just didn’t realize it. And because I failed to realize exactly what it was, what the source was, it went unaddressed. And festered.

No strong emotion is felt without some reaction. I think that’s what it’s E-MOTION. Outflowing motion. So I felt this thing and had to act on it. But because it was unrecognized, that shit wasn’t owned, and now having had the day to reflect on this I now realize just how very much damage I did to myself and those around me. I failed to own my shit, regardless of intention.

I went to a support group many moons ago and someone was talking about facing their jealousy issues and I really wanted to help them because the situation they were describing was exactly what I went through. Now I’m glad I kept my trap shut because I would not have been speaking honestly to him. Yes, I reconciled my jealousy. Not by solving it like a responsible adult, but by ripping the source out by the roots and killing it. That is the damage I caused to myself. Not seeing what it was and therefore being unable to address it because I couldn’t tell what it was, I killed it. I resigned myself to a half life and entered a sort of sleep walking mode in which I pretty much checked out of my own life. Solved that feeling problem! … Well, ALL of the feeling problems. But meh.

Not recommended. Seriously. Not recommended.

So how am I supposed to own this shit now, 2+ years later. Well, first up, explore exactly what was causing the jealousy. Precisely what was it. I was jealous that someone else was being given something he so desperately needed and wanted, and I was being denied. While I was THRILLED his needs were being met, I was jealous that mine were not.

Well now. Guess what I say to myself over that one? Own my shit. If my needs were not being met, guess who’s responsibility it was to ensure they are? Me. No one but me. Alas, I lacked the ability to even recognize what I was feeling, therefore couldn’t even articulate it. Without those two things, of COURSE it went unaddressed. Without being addressed, it was never resolved.

Like a child, I just expected that somehow my needs would be magically recognized and God would deliver unto me. Yeesh. The moment I gave away the power to satisfy my own needs (give me a fish) is the moment that I entered a slave state in which I get what I get, with no real say in the matter. Until I can hold in my hands the power to recognize and negotiate for the satisfaction of those needs (learn to fish), I’m left hoping someone else will somehow magically divine what I need and give it to me. Silly PotI!

Unfortunately, recognizing now that I was a jealous twat 2 years ago and that jealousy drove rage and resentment which corrupted a great relationship … Well that won’t fix anything. Doing the AA thing of apologizing is what comes to mind. That won’t undo anything, but at least it will let the hurt parties know that I’m now owning my shit. *sad sigh*

Wouldn’t it be a grand thing if we all were born wise, so that I wouldn’t have to hurt other people to learn such valuable things about myself? How much more sane would the world be.

So yeah. How to deal with “negative” emotions like jealousy. (1) Realize that it’s OK to feel jealousy. Truly, it is. First, get ok with that. It’s just emotion, neither good nor bad. What you DO with that emotion, that’s where constructive and destructive come into play. I think it’s actually a great big waving flag that some emotional need we have is not being met. It’s also a great big flag that right here is a point of insecurity.  Those are the 2 biggest contributors that I can think of to jealousy.

(2) Articulate precisely what is going into the jealousy mix. “He’s giving you something I can’t.” (insecurity) “You’re getting something I want for myself.” (unaddressed need) Etc. Bear in mind, it can be more than one thing. Keep going on the exploration until you find yourself repeating the same points over and over. The ones hit most often are the biggest component. Go behind the words to see the pain underneath. Try to sum it up with one or two words.

(3) Now that you can see the causes of the emotion, decide what to do about them. Doing nothing leaves the subconscious to deal with it, and believe me you don’t want that to happen. This is where owning it comes in, and a huge part of owning it is being frank about it and trying to figure out ways to resolve the problem. Talk it out either with yourself, out loud, or with your partner or friends. Be open to suggestions. It’s easy to be open when you decide that you want to resolve a situation.

Well. I think I’ve blathered enough for one day. All in all, a great day for self-realizations, even if they were unpleasant. 😉

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Emotions, Rant

Group Think

The Path of the Individual.

As opposed to “the Path of Consensus” or the “Path of Social Acceptance”. I’m absolutely totally in agreement with Robert Ohotto’s statement that every large collection of people has its own psyche. Ever hear of Mob Mentality? That’s a short term psyche that exists in a flashpoint, sweeping away the individuals involved such that they seem almost compelled to follow along and then dissipates when the objective has been met. But Society also has a psyche, as do Nations, and Communities, and Cultures. And the moment I identify with any single one of them, a part of me is automatically plugged into that psyche. That I means I get a download of all the open or ill-healed wounds. All the identity. The belonging. The protection. The support. The threat of banishment.

See a group identity NEEDS the group – not individuals. Imagine if all the cells of the liver decide “ah, fuck you, I don’t need to be part of no stinking liver” and strike out on their own. Enough individuals do this, and the collective cohesion starts to break down and eventually the collective is literally no longer functional. Now I realize the liver analogy is a bit weird, but it’s pretty graphic and it’s something not particularly threatening to think about so people might actually hear it.

Now let’s look at a family, or a group of friends, or a church, or a club, or a lifestyle, or a culture, or a race, or a gender, or … (you get the idea). Have you ever tried to leave the group only to have the group do everything in it’s power to ensure you remain? “You’ll never succeed.” “You’ll come crawling back.” “It’s too hard to even consider seriously.” “You’re too fragile for that kind of hardship. You need us.” “That’s too expensive.”  All these examples are manifestations of the group psyche working DAMN hard to make sure I absolutely keep drinking the kool-aid. (I will admit, I was very disheartened to learn that none of my co-workers had any idea who Jim Jones or Jonestown were, and had no idea what my kool-aid reference was. *shakes head*) The group psyche is the one saying “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Yeah, just ask the several million Ukrainians killed by Stalin because they didn’t want to give over their individual farms in order to join the collective. “The needs of the many” *BANG* “outweigh” *BANG* “the needs” *BANG* “of the one.” Borg much?

*shudders* I hope that refrain sincerely gives you nightmares. (I was going to use an image to really drive this point home, but damn. That’s a bit too much. Say thank you.)

The group mind, group identity or group psyche will NEVER be able to tell me who I am. In fact, the collective has a vested interest in making sure that I never really individuate, that I remain a good little automaton feeding my energy back into the collective identity. Anybody who attempts to individuate, who deviates and starts asking questions which challenge the status quo or their allegiance to that status quo … EVIL! EXTERMINATE!

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Or as Big Brother advocates, ReEducation. *serene smile* Two and two makes five. Of course. Whatever you say.

Now group mind is not a bad thing. Please don’t get me wrong. It’s not all thorns, there be roses on those bushes too. Don’t go chopping down the entire hedge! (can you follow all these mixed and jumping around metaphors?)

But I will say that it takes a great deal of personal strength to start genuinely walking down the Path of the Individual. It is de facto a lonely path, though there are plenty of other people walking it as well. Just remember, jumping out of one group mind to land in another means you’re still in a group mind. Join new groups with awareness, and retain the strength of Self to be able to say “Homey don’t play that” and either walk away, or change the group mind.

The reason group mind fears individuality so much is because that’s where the power is. One voice will create a ripple effect. One voice can echo across time and space, and change everything. One voice begets two voices, begets four…

As a student of history with a keen fascination in how ideas have emerged and grown over time, who can see the patterns of today as a clear and inevitable outgrowth of yesterday, let me tell you. One voice is all it takes. One person writing. Why do you think thought control is so damn important to agendas that require group mind? (*cough* Socialism *cough*  Communism *cough*) There are versions of group mind which uplift, inspire, encourage, empower and set free their individuals because that was is the Story behind the foundation of that group mind. I wish more such group minds exist, but most are not.

I recently lamented the bully aspect that Social Media is taking on. Guess what? That’s perfect group mind. “The internet blew up about was the dress blue or red” and in order to understand what the hell that even means, I had to be a member enough of the group mind to see this coming at me from all over the place. But I’m not enough a member of that group mind to repost and give my “considered” opinion on that breaking fascinating nugget of the day. *snort*

It’s human nature to want to be part of a group. To be accepted. To feel wanted. It’s the foundation of our survival mechanism. As I said, there are roses on the group mind bushes! And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact *looks around at the nearly 9 BILLION people on the planet* it seems to be workin’ for us pretty well as a survival mechanism. But I think Agent K said it best:

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So in this blog I raise my banner of “I am an evil capitalist who believes that I am the only one who has earned the right to reap the benefits of my fucking hard word”. I raise my banner of “I am an evil individualist who believes that the good of the one is as important as the good of the many because the many IS the one.” I raise my little flag of “I am on the left hand path because I need to find out who the hell I AM, because this life is for me.” And I wave my pennant “I am the smart person” … or at least, I try to be, since no matter what I do I will always be a member of multiple group minds (Nation, gender, race, region, family, hobbies).

Yeah, this is the Path of the Individual. Those who love group think and shout that they are one of the 99% and how they need someone else to take care of them, well. That’s the Path of Consensus. Have at. This one voice would much rather empower myself by learning how to fish than disempower myself by taking your fucking fish. Keep it. I can catch my own. Someday, I hope everyone would rather learn how to fish. We be stronger for it.

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Astrology, Personal Growth

On the Importance of Being Honest

Since I’ve been listening to one podcast, I figured I’d find some others. There are plenty of things I’m curious about but have never tried. I say, that when you’re curious about something learn more about it. And that’s exactly what I did.

I shall digress a little bit here. I adore Astrology, and find the symbolic language is uses to be damn useful when it comes to conveying ideas or understanding myself. I have the planet Uranus (question authority, ignore boundaries, rules are made to be broken) as the most active planet in my chart. That means even in my base mode, I’m pretty unconventional, and I’m fine with that. I love the different and unique, and I’m fine with marching to my own drummer. Combine that with Venus (planet of relationship) in Aquarius (the sign ruled by Uranus). Now I never really knew how to interpret this one. When I tried writing a story featuring this energy, it showed up as a marvelously dressed trim young gay man sitting in a floating chair. Huh. Wasn’t expecting that one.

I have 2 interpretations. One is that I relate to others mostly through friendship. Being intimate with someone I’m not friends with first is a deal breaker for me. Ain’t gonna happen. Because of this, I’ve long despaired and thought myself “broken”. I had all these shoulds floating around in my head, but continued to forge my own path, just condemning myself along the way. The second interpretation is that Venus in Aquarius has the potential to be pretty darn non-judgmental when it comes to relationships and other people. When I ran across this one, it brought me up short. I had to think about it. Yup. I’ve never had a problem with anything any of my friends ever told me they were into. I had a lesbian roommate in the early 90s. Her best friend was a transvestite. Looked great in his alter too. I’ve known gay, poly, Dom, sub, slave, vanilla, fundamentalists, and all manner of people in between. The ONLY ones I ever had any problems with were those who actively judged and condemned others. That one gets me upset. I avoid those people. But I have known fundamentalists of a variety of flavors who kept their opinions to themselves and lived their faith, rather than spouting off at the mouth. Those folks? No problem with at all. I say: live your own damn life, and be a good person. That’s it. There’s no magic formula for ‘be a good person’ and there’s no prerequisite which says this or that must be met before ‘good person’ status is reached.

So yeah, by and large, I’m pretty fucking open minded … when it comes to other people. When it comes to myself? Oooof. I’ve been a damn harsh critic. And that’s what I’m working on now. Judging myself has not done me any favors.

I was teaching a class and a student asked me about how I would interpret past lives and birth charts. She framed her question in the “punishment and reward” paradigm. I’m not a fan of that approach, personally. It’s very … childish. Children need punishments and rewards, not souls. In speaking to her, I revealed something I have thought since I was 17 and had an epiphany moment but have never shared out of fear. So I shared it. I told her that God had such a high level view of everything going on that the very concept of punishment and reward was meaningless. That we are the ones who assign such values to an experience. That we judge ourselves, because “not even God judges you.” She literally did a full body shake when those words entered her system. Aaaah, and that’s what Truth feels like.

And here I am judging myself. As one friend put it, “you’re shoulding all over yourself. Stop it.” Hehehe. I love that phrase. I’ve been working hard to let go of my self-judgements and learn who I actually am. Not who I think I should be, or who I want to be, or who my mom/dad/friends/husband wants me to be. But who I actually really am.

And that means owning some things about myself. Now some things I already own, and have no problems with it but I’ve never really shouted them out there because well, society can make life difficult. For example, I’ve truly never really understood monogamy. I have no emotional attachment to the concept at all. I actually cried when I briefly considered getting married in my early 30s when I thought “do I want to just have sex with this one man for the rest of my life?” If I cried, clearly the answer was “no.” And not because I didn’t like or want him, but because the idea of ‘sexually exclusive’ is not native to my framework. It makes no biological or evolutionary sense to me. I’ve worked hard to honor my word in monogamous relationships, but still, it never made sense and I’ve never asked or expected that of anybody else.

Since I’ve known this about myself, yet had never really done more than catalog and shelve that part of me, I figured I’d start this aspect of my Path of the Individual by exploring non-monogamous concepts and just find out what’s out there. Education. Education. Education!

Boy was it liberating to start listening to Life on the Swingset and in the  introductory Episode Zero they asked me to remember that moment when I first realized conclusively that I was not monogamous by nature. I remembered all too clearly the moment of crying. In listening further, still not sure this is something I actually might consider acting on, it’s still an aspect of me in which I would be better served to recognize, acknowledge and own. Now I can continue to explore and look in new directions.

And this is what I mean by exploring. I don’t mean ‘run right out and push past every single personal taboo or limit you have’. I mean: have an open mind and look around to learn about what’s there. This is the age of the internet baby, not the dark ages. The information is RIGHT THERE – just a Google search away. No excuses for being uninformed (though you can OWN it and say “nah, I’m not ready to explore that about myself yet.” Fuck yeah! You say that and instant respect.) And if you do go exploring, give it an honest hearing. If I had decided that this show was full of shit before I even hit the first play button, I would have missed out on knowing a facet of something about myself.

Caroline Myss once said that judging something locks it into stasis, freezes it into that moment of judgment. When something is locked down, it can’t move, let alone breath and friggin’ forget growing. I’m going to add that when some aspect of myself get judged and therefore locked down, it will definitely continue to grow — but it’ll shoot tendrils into the darkness. It’ll find destructive ways to express itself. Judging myself didn’t make those aspects of me go anywhere, but they did have to go underground. And this meant that my ability to articulate what I wanted or needed also evaporated. I refused to acknowledge it, how the heck was I supposed to language it??

So. Question Authority. Be open with YOURSELF about Who You Are and What You Want. Never stop learning and being curious. Respect yourself enough to honor your own truths. Know your truths are not necessarily the truths of others. Communicate your needs/wants to those important in your life, and listen to/honor theirs. Have fun. Be a good person.

There you go. That’s the sum of this ramble.

…. And let me just say, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone combine as many different disparate sources as I do. How many times will you find “Life on the Swingset” and “Caroline Myss” and a pun inspired by Oscar Wilde all in the same post?? heh. I’m diverse that way. 😉

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sexuality

Push the Button, Frank

Had dinner with a friend this evening. One of the things we talked about was the dysfunctional sexual attitudes prevalent in Western Society. She was wishing it was “acceptable” to talk about periods and all things associated with it. For example, she was stunned to learn not too long ago that ovulation pain is fairly common. That’s not taught anywhere, and it’s NOT something you can ask even your girlfriends. There is even less taught about what really happens during menopause. “You mean it can last up to 10 years!?!”

It’s this kind of frank discussion that I’d like to see more of, or rather “hear” more of. I hate asking a question about someone’s personal experiences and than having them stare at me as if I demanded they give me a kidney. Pulease. End the Sexual Dark Age! And while this sort of thing is not exactly what the author of that podcast/website was particularly thinking of, it is most definitely one of the side issues.

After this bit of lamentation, I mentioned that I thought it would not be a understatement to say that sexuality was at the core of what it means to be human. She disagreed, and went a step further. It’s what is means to be an animal. And therein, suddenly, became what could arguably be the reason sexuality got shoved into the darkness. We’re human, not animals. Indeed, this is the very reason that Darwin’s evolution hypothesis became instantly vilified. How DARE evolutionists propose that humans evolved from animals. Preposterous! And now begin the religious doctrine arguments.

There is a perspective that I harp on. That perspective is that a story is at the heart of all civilizations. That Story then guides everything. In our case, being a Christian society (argue all you want, this society was founded on Christian ideals and dogma) we have the story of Adam and Eve, and that God made the Earth as our plaything. For example, the story of Adam and Eve has been used to justify why women were treated as children and property for thousands of years – and you’ll hear the exact same stories and justifications even today around the world. The Story will tell you about the subconsciousness of a society. In our case, Christianity reigns for now and the Story states that God made man and woman in his image, perfect and fully formed. The animals and beasts of the earth are not human; they are different. Lesser.

Our sexuality is pretty damn primal. When it’s done right, it’s particularly animalistic and the entire point of the exercise is to feel good. Well that’s not very godly, is it? Nope. So let’s shove that into the closet and pretend we’re above all those base urges.

Which, of course, is total bullshit. It does, however, do a GREAT job of creating a control mechanism. Control individual sexuality, control society.

Now to the fore, coming out of the darkness and rising to awareness, are the alternative sexualities. There’s what Society Allows (monogamous missionary) and then there’s Everything Else. I read a shit ton of romance novels, and I can tell you that the sexual encounters in those fictional pages today leave very little to the imagination and are actually pretty darn good sexual training grounds. If a guy wants to be a fantastic lover, start with some Laurann Dohner or Lora Leigh (my first reading of an anal scene in popular romance) or, hell, most all major paranormal romance authors. It’s a lovely verbal porn fest, some better than others, but the formula for the male approach to sex is actually a very good, practical and effective one. Remove all the story, and focus on what he does. Goes down until she’s had at least one encounter with Treasure Type O and then he starts to get his cookie, while remembering to continue manual stimulation of the clit because these heroes know their dick isn’t magical. So yeah, modern romance is pretty darn no-holds-barred and I LOVE it. That said, it’s also still somewhat traditional. M-F monogamy rules, though a few intrepid authors have some trios (being romance, it’s always 2 men with 1 woman since that formula sells) and a few even have gay romance (shout out to Alanea Alder). Not really sure how true to actual guys those are, since they are written for women, but still. That is NOT something I would have seen on the bookshelves 20 years ago, hell, 10 years ago.

Times, they are a changing. I want to encourage and support that. I started just chatting up a friend of mine who’s like 15 years younger and before you know it we were casually talking about Switches and oral. And I do mean casual. He wasn’t hitting on me and I wasn’t hitting on him. It was AWESOME. More of that sort of frank discussion in more venues please.

Owning sexuality means owning responsibility for getting what we need, not only physically but also emotionally. Not everyone is cut out for M-F monogamy, and I say that’s OK. This is, afterall, the Age of Aquarius, and Aquarius is known for being a pretty accepting-of-the-unconventional energy. So go. Explore! TALK. Learn what you like, and accept yourself.

I think I’ve rambled enough here. The point is: yes, sexuality is very animalistic. And we’re animals. If that statement causes some issues, look at the Story you tell yourself. This is a classic “Hall of Mirrors” moment, and I invite everyone to look.

 

triple kudos if you “get” the full reference yet double entendre of the post title. 😉

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Spirituality

Preparing for Dragon

I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I pictured it so clearly, knew exactly where I wanted it even. Never got it. Too scared. “What will people think?” *snort*

Nowadays, tattoos are all the rage. But only a few of the people that I’m aware of have tattoos because it felt like a sacred thing they wanted to take into their bodies. I have one friend who has such a tattoo. A full back tattoo which represents something sacred to her, and having it permanently etched onto her skin was a rite of passage for her.

That’s cool. I can totally get down with that. “Just because” isn’t enough reason for me. And until very recently, the tattoo I wanted was “just because.”

But things change. I’m coming out of having been utterly lost in the Hall of Mirrors, am starting to reclaim myself and retake back by sexuality. Sexuality is so intrinsically intertwined with our self-confidence that I wonder whether or not they can actually be considered truly different, unrelated things. In my case, my sexual confidence was shaky to begin with but it received massive blow after blow to the point that it was obliterated. I have lived as an asexual being for a few years now. At first, I actually didn’t notice. I felt angry, but didn’t know why. But I’m coming to again and looking around to realize “that shit ain’t right”. I had gained about 20 pounds in that time, not paying attention to diet or hair or general attractiveness. I’m reclaiming that too. Got a haircut last weekend and boy does it look and feel better. Cutting out the sodas and I’ve already lost 2 pounds. And so it goes.

Part of this re-awakening includes a growing need for that tattoo. It’s different now, much larger, and moved. My totem animal is a dragon, and has been forever. So the tattoo is a small dragon which is climbing his way up my shoulder blade to look over my shoulder. I’m now on the hunt for an artist who can make my vision come to life and several tattooed friends recommended the same fellow. I’m going to meet with him Wednesday.

I’m going to invoke the power of dragon, and tattoo needles will be the trial by fire. Finish the tattoo, the rite will be successfully completed. Dragon will then be with me always, reminding me of my own strength.

My first impulse is a sapphire blue dragon. Not sure why. I’ve never had a blue dragon figure in any of my works, so it’s something new. Blue is the throat chakra color, the color of willpower and communication. Definitely need those! I figure I’ll have a some time before the work starts, so we’ll see what outs as I continue to imagine the fire of Dragon coming into my life.

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