Songs for the Helrrigan

The following entry may contain triggering material and spoilers for Spring Awakening.

The Helrrigan hasn’t shown up in a while, except for one odd dream I had a couple of months ago in which her eye socket was a lagoon. I take this as a good thing, as this fusion god of Hel and the Morrigan generally only drops by when I contemplate suicide.

Although I have technically been contemplating it, it’s been in a more contemplative way. Not so much with a “How shall I…” or “I should because…” but more that it’s theoretically a thing. My grasp of the notion, and relationship with it, is different now. I think the wishcraft would be too, but the songs are the same.

Well this first one at least I discovered more recently than the others. I think it’s one of Florence + the Machine’s more plodding songs but…sounds like the Helrrigan’s vibes, right here.

“Don’t Do Sadness” definitely misses a very significant something to me without “Blue Wind” to counterpoint, but I’m very much liking the ASL revival Moritzes.

I appreciate just how much movement and brightness and life there can be in an uptempo growl-song. When I watch the music video, though, I find myself unsettled. The lead vocalist’s brother had killed himself, from what I’d read. That a song came of it, that’s fair, cathartic, could reach people who need it…and then I imagine what it was like to film the music video, how many takes just to capture the appropriate look of grief, what it would have been like to look at a storyboard so close to the event that inspired the song, casting the family left behind, concept, post-production, editing it all to a marketable gloss and having the artist re-visit the cadence tied to the event over and again.

Listening to the lyrics, I feel that the speaker is saying, accurately in my opinion, “I get it—” ( Hate the mind. Regrets are better left unspoken; For all we know, this void will grow. Everything’s in vain, distressing you…feels so right, I’ll end this all— spot on, and I personally might pick up on a tinge of genre-appropriate anger but not a trace of blame or posthumous shaming). To balance that understanding with how they’re not in such a bad way that they’d actually do the same, retaining instead the dubious privilege of “survived by” status—as in the deceased is survived by so-and-so grieving family members—and the perspective that comes with. (Call your name everyday, when I feel so helpless / I’ve fallen down…but I’ll rise above this, I’ll rise above this doubt, I’ll mend myself before it gets me).

Refresher in Craven’s Way

The following entry may contain triggering material.

I began calling this node of poesy “Craven’s Way” because I believed Jungian psychology to be purely psychology, with any paranormal associations a misunderstanding of the collective unconscious. As I read more, though, it turns out that Jung—or at least one of Jung’s apprentices, Barbara Hannah—believed a number of common psychic visions to have, in hindsight, been prophetic of World War I. Hannah had a peculiarly casual attitude to time travel, even, sort of brushing it off as boring and so let’s get back to how much this case patient hated her dad…but Barbara, you traveled through physical time and back. No, let’s not move on to this patient’s personal feelings!

I’d gladly continue differentiating Craven’s and Shades, as I had a simple concept of Shadow Work that I’d rather continue to keep simple (and call Craven’s Way) for the practice of it: the more we experience and parse, the more we miss out on and reject, and that can sometimes generate tension that people suffer from (personally or interpersonally) so Craven’s Way is tuning that dissonance to be more harmonious or even utilizing the dissonance in casting. The metaphysical stuff of it is necessarily phobogenic: when I’m not even a little bit afraid, I’m not doing the Work even if I think I am.

So, while it originates internally and emotionally, 1. it’s witchcraft rather than mysticism, another distinction that Barbara Hannah makes in Encounters with the Soul, the witch being a part of the collective consciousness that demands the whole be subservient to this one part whereas the mystic surrenders the whole self to harmony with the whole collective—and I want to work on not being complacent in the face of the unconscionable, so I don’t appreciate the value judgment Hannah and Jung seem to cast on mystics who fit that description, like, the mystics are in the right for having transcended wrong and right; 2. I’d like to keep Craven’s Way practice-orientated, whereas Shadow Work has extensive theory behind it.

And the complexity of that underlying theory I consider still worth examining, just as I still have mystic leanings and hiccups.

Excerpt from “Creating the False Self” by Harville Hendrix:

A child’s reaction to society goes through a number of predictable stages. Typically, the first response is to hide forbidden behaviors from the parents. The child thinks angry thoughts but doesn’t speak them out loud. He explores his body in the privacy of his room. He teases his younger sibling when his parents are away.

Eventually the child comes to the conclusion that some thoughts and feelings are so unacceptable that they should be eliminated, so he constructs an imaginary parent in his head to police his thoughts and activities, a part of the mind that [Freudian] psychologists call the “superego”.

Now, whenever the child has a forbidden thought or indulges in an unacceptable behavior, he experiences a self-administered jolt of anxiety. This is so unpleasant that the child [represses] some of those forbidden parts of himself. The ultimate price of his obedience is a loss of wholeness.

(…) the child creates a “false self,” a character structure that serves a double purpose: it camouflages those parts of his being that he has repressed and protects him from further injury (…) At some point in a child’s life, however, this ingenious form of self-protection becomes the cause of further wounding as the child is criticized for having these [neurotic] traits.

His attackers don’t see the wound he is trying to protect, and they don’t appreciate the clever nature of his defense: all they see is the neurotic side of his personality. He is deemed less than whole.

Now the child is caught in a bind. He needs to hold on to his adaptive character traits, but he doesn’t want to be rejected. What can he do? The solution is to deny or attack his critics (…) These negative traits become what is referred to as the “disowned self,” those parts of the false self that are too painful to acknowledge.

We have now succeeded in fracturing your original wholeness, the loving and unified nature that you were born with, into three separate entities:

1. Your “lost self,” those parts of your being that you had to repress because of the demands of society.

2. Your “false self,” the façade that you erected in order to fill the void created by this repression and by a lack of adequate nurturing.

3. Your “disowned self,” the negative parts of your false self that met with disapproval and were therefore denied.

The only part of this complex collage that you were routinely aware of was the parts of your original being that were still intact[,] and certain aspects of your false self. Together these elements formed your “personality,” the way you would describe yourself to others.

It amuses me how Hendrix puts it, “succeeded in fracturing your original wholeness” like despair or numbness is an accomplishment.

As unwieldy to incorporate as this is, it rings true to me. Back when I could far-fetch, those vivid out-of-body experiences began to take on one dreamlike quality in that once I was out, the plans and priorities I’d held to so rigidly in the interest of being scientific about this phenomenon…would go out the window. The way I behaved in that—whatever that was—was lustful and mischievous. My then-mentor in psychism, my sibling, and corporeal Cecil back then agreed that was so “so unlike you!” that this otherworldly self had to have been made up of all of my most rejected repressions.

I was glad, then, that that self-of-mine-sorta was whoring herself out and wreaking havoc far, far, far away from the “real” or default world.

In a completely mundane way, we integrated. It was a magnificent disaster. I’m not proud of all of it, there’s a great deal of that integration that still leaves me conflicted…but I can’t say “it was my faery fetch did it” or “made me do it” or “not me” just because it’s not who I strive to be/become; by the nature of this fetch, it was all me. And fortunately, this explosive reintegration, if it could indeed have been disastrous on a notably supernatural level as well, remained merely mundane in its expression—and not even criminal, though that doesn’t mean much.

A Study in Bones

The following entry may contain triggering material.

I think I mentioned before that I’d read Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés when I was about eight-ish: my family had a copy on the shelf, it was a collection of fairy tales, kid-me thought…okay, a collection of fairy tales, I can totally read this. I wasn’t wrong, I read it all the way through without a lot of difficulty. Words I didn’t know could usually be figured out from context, and more adult concepts that I couldn’t have known sailed right over my head. I didn’t know to skip the commentary. I’d like to think that it imprinted on me an appreciation for meta.

And I remember how particular Estés was about Baba Yaga’s torch with the skull on it, and how wondrously emotive and plotless the dreamlike retelling of La Lorna who sang the bones back into a living wolf, and how futile it seemed for a battered wife to tame a bear for some magic spell to soothe her PTSD soldier spouse (it wasn’t a magic spell that the bear gave, but the skills to “tame a bear”, geddit? Geddit? — Beww! Not cool! Said eight-year-old me.)

I do not remember, from that very early reading, the Skeleton Woman. I’d recently been introduced to this story, though, and the reteller’s meta struck a chord with me.

First, THANK GODS I AM NOT TIGER LILY FICTIONKIN that had been so awkward to carry. My first quest-meeting (or, as Carl Jung called it, and Clarissa Pinkola Estés is a Jungian…active imagination) with Captain Foxglove the Fairy Pirate, that started with the sea creatures eating my fetch to the bones, echo more the archetype of the Skeleton Woman. I can’t even say Skeleton Woman shard or kin, because Jungian psychology and psychospirituality doesn’t have that vocabulary, but it’s probably something sorta maybe kinda like the referent…but not. I can say that I’m the Skeleton Woman because—in this Jungian paradigm, anyway—everyone is and has been, at some time in our lives, the Skeleton Woman, and the fisherman love interest, and the abusive father who turned a flesh and blood woman into the skeleton woman, and the NPC’s like the townsfolk. Each of us are all of them. That’s why Jungian psychology capitalizes Self, inclusive of our ego-self that we identify (or identify as), and of all life experience and the total subconscious psyche.

There is something to be said for applying principles and standards of a paradigm consistently, but the I get back into Jungian psychology, the gladder I am that I have been exposed to these eclectic philosophies. Familiarity with the paradigm of the kyriarchy has been immensely liberating and helpful to me; yet, despite its insistence on universalization, it has no place in this entry and that’s a good thing. Like Jungian philosophy, if it’s your only tool, everything looks like a nail when it’s not. Constructive. To apply. Actually.

I find this a lot in Shadow Work, how Jung frames any and all irritation, pang, pain, or trauma as an opportunity to examine the inner self for the underlying beliefs we hold to that cause such pain.

For instance: A grade-school classmate telling everyone not to talk to me because I had an absent biological father and I was therefore probably demonkin. Why was I so needy and entitled to the attention and conversation of such cruel and illogical peers? Why would I have bought into this idea of a model nuclear family as a value judgment on my own home life? Why did I not take demonkin as a kickass awesome thing to be accused of?

I’m sure the world would also have become a slightly better place had someone taken Trish aside and told her that she shouldn’t use her words to shape people’s behavior like that, or even put out the idea among us grade-schoolers that the Catholic figure of Satan wasn’t so literal that they could be classmates with Satan’s actual child. My inner world would have become a much worse place, had the questions in the paragraph immediately preceding this one had come out of self-loathing rather than curiosity. Like, the words might be the same, but the feeling underneath would be more: Why can’t I just get over it, why can’t I be more independent, my inherent needy nature is so annoying to everyone, the world would be better off without me, I’m a pouty bastard child like Jon Snow-nothing, Otherkin are attention-seeking special snowflakes and demonkin are evil to boot why am I… That sort of attitude or approach, I believe, would be disastrous; but the Jungian method is, I believe, sound enough that it ought not be thrown out the window entirely just because I myself personally could have very easily approached that Shadow Work in a self-harming way that would lead to all-consuming despair and suicide, or just because I might write a lot about the Jungian process but a lot of recovering the wounded inner child was just meeting more people later in life who weren’t colossal dickweeds. Such is life!

The story of the Skeleton Woman introduced to me something like Shadow Work, but the opportunity provided is more positive: upon attraction or desire, treat it the same way as a Jungian would treat pain or irritation—and look within for why.

3,000-ish words under cut about Captain Foxglove and me

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Mini Labyrinth Pictures

IMAGE HEAVY ENTRY BELOW CUT

After a disastrous attempt at salt dough labyrinths during a humid, rainy month, one of my coworkers (I have coworkers again! I has a jobs!) introduced me to the wonders to air-dry clay. I’ve been really into this new hobby.

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Clockwise, big white one first: Chartres labyrinth, mirror of Erwin Reißmann’s (blogmymaze) inspired by Lea Goode-Harris’ Santa Rosa labyrinth, classical or Cretan labyrinth, my own zigzag spiral design.


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Mixed Metaphors, A Ramble

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Still letting percolate how to shmoosh together Fairy gold (which is traditionally and in my quests A Bad Thing) with Alchemical gold (which is supposed to be the best thing, and in the context I go well okay then.)

Mostly, though, I realized that in all my excitement about Proscenium, and stage magic, and pledge-turn-prestige cycles, and how spatial that poesy is and shmooshes well with Fairy chess…I was developing a new language for the exact same ideas that I ought to have been working on all along: proper Glamour and correct Spelling. Here’s a relevant link to introductory linguistic semiotics. I haven’t read all the way through it; I’ll get to it!

I’d been allocating some one-on-one time with every guiser I’d ever met, or at least to pace and focus my consideration for why we would be (or have been) in one another’s lives.

Cookson from Captain Foxglove’s crew told me that I’m too angry for him (Kelp Cookson) to want me to get to know him better.

So for once, I thought to work on that, because I’m so reluctant to let go of anger that tells me enough is enough after a lifetime of being some weak, kind, doormat of a person…and I still don’t feel that “not being enraged and embittered anymore” is a choice that I consciously made, with step-by-step instructions to repeat next time anger starts giving me acid reflux and a pirate’s vocabulary. But I feel much better now, and I think it’s going to last.

Next on the list to plan some quality time with is Queen Myrtha of the Wilis—who only shows up when my anger has evaporated into this unadulterated, concentrated venom that even I sometimes mistake for calm rationality.

But, the Queen’s been around several literal hells of a lot more often than Kelp “Simmer Down” Cookson…and when it’s mattered, too. But the timing’s wrong, but I should practice making things I think and want to happen actually happen instead of leaving it always up to timing, but I probably should, but I really shouldn’t, but I want to not want to…eh, she showed up in the Otherreal for the first time last December, so maybe she’s a seasonal guiser.

Beginning Mirror Work

The following entry may contain triggering material.

To share anything—performed, expressed, or explained—no matter how artfully, takes something apart from the lived experience. That dissociation remains valuable.

Here comes a thought
that might alarm me
What someone said
and how it harmed me
Something I did
that failed to be charming

Things that I said are suddenly swarming…

and it was just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought, just a thought. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay. We can watch (we can watch) we can watch (we can watch) them go by…from here, from here, from here.

Was this Erstvale, Surreal? Whatever. It had trees on turf. I’ll call it Erstvale. Beyond the corner of my eye, unhorsed ballerinas swathed in gauze and mist keened faintly for blood. The last time I saw them, they seemed to be kicking body parts around, and chasing where the others kicked. There may have been some splattering. Now, they seemed calmer.

(“Soon,” Giselle had crooned at me, “You’ll find out. Any way that takes you as far as that is not your way at all.”

I’d replied, “When that time comes, it would be because I’ll have the luxury of rejecting allies to getting anything done at all. Kill me before that happens.”

But Giselle would rather die than harm anyone, pure and perfect Cinnabon soul that she is—I loathe her.)

Queen Myrtha stood uncharacteristically still in the clearing, and spoke with uncharacteristic legibility. She and Giselle were never too far from one another, even when they seemed so. The Queen held up an unbroken, unstained hand-mirror and silently asked what I saw.

After a moment of looking, I sighed with disappointment. It was the same thing I saw when I started mirror work, tail end of last year. It hasn’t done much since. “I see a mirror.”

YOU CAN’T SEE A MIRROR!!!!!

That sounded more like Queen Myrtha. No quotemarks to contain her speech; it’s as though the fabric of the multiverse is screaming. It comes into mind bypassing the ears. You’d be surprised what you can get used to.

“But,” I said, and pointed, “There’s one. Right there. There it is. Mirror.” If I overthink, of course, a functioning mirror never can show itself: it shows everything else that’s not a mirror. Hypothetically, then, those with vision have never seen a mirror, but only seen reflections in the theoretical object we think up to explain those reflections. We can support this hypothesis by understanding the material, weight, size, shape, texture, taste and temperature of what we may then conclude to be an object—

DESIST LICKING THE MIRROR!!!!!

I couldn’t. The forest I thought was filled with mist was really more like filled with infinitesimally small snowdrop-beads, moving in wreathes. Some things in the Surreal world do function the same way as the Corporeal, maybe because I think they should…even though I don’t want my tongue to have frozen stuck to a warlord fairy queen’s mirror.

It wasn’t a good hypothesis, anyway. A mirror is a tool that we’ve made, so we know mirrors exist, what one is, how it does, why it works. I suspect that so is Myrtha, or else this would just be embarrassing. (And this has never happened to me in the corporeal world. It’s probably not what it’s really like. One day I should go somewhere cold and get my tongue frozen stuck on something. For science.)

~

Mirrorwork takes the approach that everybody is made up of three things:

1.) What you think of yourself.
2.) What others think of you.
3.) What you think others think of you.

No reason this list should exclude “what others think you think they think of you” or “what you think others think you think they think of you” or even “what they think you think they think you think they think of you”. What they each think of themself is their bailiwick.

She raised the hem of her dress slightly and looked down at her shoes.

They couldn’t be real glass, or else she’d be hobbling towards some emergency first aid by now. Nor were they transparent. The human foot is a useful organ but is not, except to some people with highly specialized interests, particularly attractive to look at.

The shoes were mirrors. Dozens of facets caught the light.

Two mirrors on her feet. Magrat vaguely recalled something about . . . about a witch never getting caught between two mirrors, wasn’t it? Something she’d been taught, back when she’d been an ordinary person. Something. . . like . . . a witch should never stand between two mirrors because, because, because the person that walked away might not be the same person. You were spread out among the images, your whole soul was pulled out thin, and somewhere in the distant images a dark part of you would get out and come looking for you, if you weren’t very careful.

—Witches Abroad

The moment Queen Myrtha frees me from the fairyland mirror that has connived my capture, I can move onto more Intermediate Mirrorwork.

Preferably with the Dierne, instead.

notes on the piracy at the crucible

The following entry may contain triggering material.

Previously on The Codex of Poesy:

(Coercion is a matter of opinion, right? I only had the opinion I did because I was there and it happened to me, but too many people have said…Is it in me after all, to abuse in the guise of a victim? Dahlia would know.)

“Don’t mind if I do!” A familiar silver hook at the end of a cerulean blue sleeve shot into my vision and made away with the shard. I turned my head to follow, only to find empty space.After a roll of my eyes, I turned to where Dahlia had been. “Didn’t even stay to make your acquaintance properly. Can you believe the ner—” Dahlia had vanished, too.

Even as I wake and type in the corporeal world…my surreal fetch is still in that room. There, I’m rattling at locked doorknobs, walking into a force field where the anteroom opens up to the kitchenette, clawing at locked windows and climbing up the bookcase.

“I’ll rescue you,” my corporeal self grumbled to my surreal self, one week later. When I consider how much what is psychic means ‘pertaining to the psyche’ as much as ‘pertaining to the paranormal’ it opens up a lot of other options, subparanormal (normal?) options, to get out of something like that. Rituals, not magic rituals, but more like rituals as in routines I never do. For instance, I dug up some entries that I’d posted to online friends at that time, and re-read some entries in my paper journals, in search of some contrast in perspective.

I wouldn’t like to find contrast in perspective, though, because that often manifests as embarrassment at my younger self. It should be healthy, my present self should embarrass my future self of the same number of calendar years. But my self of that time left the present and future a lot more rubble to pick up than usual. If we discover that was irredeemably avoidable or worth less than the consequences, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with ourselves.

I remembered a lot of people I respected telling me that what I found unbearable wasn’t that bad, that I wasn’t focused on solutions, that I neglected the value of a United Front, that I antagonized valuable allies—it wasn’t only respect I had, actually, it was reliance. And if they were right?

In a way, it would be worse if I didn’t find any contrast in perspective. It would mean that I haven’t recovered, let alone grown, in the precious time apart for which I’d sacrificed…a lot. (Integrity. Sanity. Reputation. Dubiously nominal privileges I’ve never missed, not even when I was so malnourished that my fingernails would fray as they grew. I’d argue that last one was undeserved but preferable to the purported Only Way for that not to happen…but arguing implies interacting with people who say I can’t complain about self-imposed poverty when the option to ingratiate myself to the power structure of abusers was right there and so shiny. Or bootstraps. Let’s all say bootstraps to the barefooted.)

So, I read them over. Miasma and her enablers remain wrong. What I found unbearable back then showed to be so much worse with a number of telling incidents I’d actually forgotten since, my solution that Miasma maybe dial back on being the worst was a fairly obvious one, the United Front they’d herded me into left me feeling like lifeless lint and ash inside, and the allies weren’t to an appalling degree and for reasons I’d still argue to have been unconscionable.

But I hadn’t exactly oozed with the flavors and fragrances of a Cinnabon soul too pure and good for those circumstances, either. I write that I sacrificed personal integrity to get abusers away from me, and most of me is still of the opinion that that just doesn’t happen. I should either reframe that I’d found personal integrity instead (and that it just wasn’t what I always thought it would be, from big bad abusers who would tell me what integrity was while gaming the system), or own up to whatever I did that was so terrible on the way out that I’ve lost any moral high ground that I’d ever have. I’m not ready for either. Sanity, reputation, and dubious privileges were probably never really mine.

I will note that my actions and words showed an uncompromising and unkind attitude, to predictably unhelpful effect. More than being wrong, that attitude is morbidly fascinating now that I notice it. Long before then, I’d been a pushover, and absolutely hated it whenever someone disliked me because it was a safe bet that it had been my fault (Why else would I be the focus of someone’s negative attention or regard? It shouldn’t be more complicated than that.) During the quest, a recurring question came up of why I didn’t fight. Miasma would imply often that I’d blame her when I really regretted my own spinelessness, or that she’d won and I should accept it instead of complain. When I realize that she’d bring up that I didn’t fight in the middle of essentially complaining that I was fighting, the once profoundly troubling question worth meditating on becomes a meaningless noise.

The pull of the surreal memory of that room isn’t so strong anymore. I take that to mean my fetches have reassimilated, or however that probably works.

Last night, while half asleep, I felt belligerent. Not at anything in particular. The lack of true direction for that feeling wasn’t what gave it such a strange quality. It was more that I might have been used to turning hostile in some desperate defense. There’s always some awareness that I’m likely to regret whatever I do while feeling like this, and it’s not a particularly pleasant feeling during, anyway. But that sort of belligerence felt more like an aspiration, as though I’d realized that Human Weapon had been my calling in life all this time. Now that I’m awake, I don’t think so. (Why don’t I fight? Someone might get hurt, doi, I already am. This qualifies me to recommend against harm.) But things like that don’t leave because I dismiss it, and it isn’t even like a Jungian Shadow, actually, it’s a lot more positive a notion. It’s just uncomfortable to go around feeling like my head is one of those spiky metal balls chained to a stick in medieval weaponry, and that I’m staring daggers at everyone when it’s really just that my eyes are open.