The country diary of a queer, anarchist witch: gathering meadowsweet

Today has been my first day back in the swing of everyday life since teaching at Witchcamp in Shropshire. It’s mostly been made up of unpacking and laundry, but I did make the opportunity to gather some meadowsweet while it’s in bloom.

A meadowsweet plant seeded itself in my berry bush bed last year, and I’ve let it stay there, as an easy access source of flowers and leaves. (Otherwise I have to wander into soggy hillsides and past Roman nettles.) I went out to gather some this afternoon, in clear sunshine. Of course, as soon as I started picking it started raining; however, that’s a complaint / contemplation for another day.

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Intersectional Feminist Spaces 101 and 201

Crossknit is the online moniker of a “calligrapher, crossfitter, editor, graphic designer, knitter, lawyer, seamstress and spinner” who has written two amazing posts guiding the new (and not so new) to navigating the pitfalls and subtleties of intersectional feminist spaces — that is, feminist spaces that recognise that racism is always present alongside misogyny, as well as other systems of oppression based around dis/ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, etc., etc.

How to survive in intersectional feminist spaces 101 was written in January 2017, and covers:

  • Getting corrected.
  • It’s not about you.
  • Derailing.
  • Being called out.
  • Lived experience > theoretical knowledge.
  • Do your own research.
  • Privilege.
  • Racists with black friends.
  • Listening / being with discomfort.
  • Dis/courtesy.
  • Useful vocabulary

So you think you know a thing: Feministing 201 was written a few weeks later, and covers:

  • Some things are not for you.
  • Don’t say this!
  • Burden of education.
  • Centering marginalised voices.
  • Shame.
  • Ally cookies.
  • Being the teachable moment.

They are both awesome — not only informative, but also sassy and amusing. If you are looking for an introduction or a refresher on being involved in the struggle for social justice, I highly recommend them.

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Bird messengers; bird messages

This morning, I started my day (as I have for the past three days, and hope to continue to do so for the foreseeable future) by greeting the Guardians of the east. I do this by facing east, engaging my attention, using my voice and my body, and resting in stillness.

As well as paying attention to what I am doing, and the Great Beings with which I am communicating, I also pay attention to the world around me, alert for any signs and portents. These often come to me as animal visitors — although I am always aware that animals are not primarily here for my edification: they have their own lives and goals to pursue.

This morning, I noticed two birds in particular.

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Lying, hiding, and welcoming myself home

 

The Lie

 

It crawled out of my mouth

and landed between us.

 

I was too panicked to notice it happening,

but there it was all the same:

a toad, croaking ugliness.

 

I didn’t even think to grab it back,

to swallow it away. It might have

been poisonous. It wouldn’t have fit

in my mouth. And anyway,

I was a vegetarian, then.

 

The look on your face.

 

I wanted to pour ruby words of love

over each curve of your body,

scatter truth like emeralds at your feet,

offer terms of hope, like diamonds,

like kisses, to your shining lips.

 

But all I could do was croak

and crawl upon the ground.

 

You turned away for a moment,

then back, with a smile like a mask,

and changed the subject.

© 2013 Elinor Predota

——

I wrote this poem four years ago, but it’s about something that happened to me all the way back in 1987, when I was 16 years old.

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Community

In September 2014, two things happened which were important in my world:

Firstly, Eskdalemuir Community Hub opened.

Secondly, my fibromyalgia symptoms drastically increased.

There was no connection between the two, of course, but they happened at the same time, so in my mind they are forever linked. The opening of the Hub was the first time I used a stick in public to support my mobility. It also marked the moment when I stopped trying to convince myself that I could run a business, and allowed myself to begin to recover.

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I have always been whole

I completed this pencil and watercolour artwork on Saturday. It started as one of those spur of the moment creations, born out of an experience of difficulty and distress.

I’ve not been doing so well, healthwise. My fibromyalgia has been flaring (which means increased pain and decreased energy), and I’ve found it difficult to focus. This hasn’t been helped by the fact that I forgot my medication on not one, but two days in the last week.

On Thursday, I started to feel the tension in my gut that I associate with the beginnings of a depressive downward tilt. My go-to remedy for this used to be to dance it out, but with pain and fatigue levels as they are right now, that’s simply not possible.

So I started to draw. It was evening, and the room was dark, so I didn’t know what colour of pencils I was pulling out of the case. I just picked pencils at random, and let my hands do what they wanted.

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