My 41st Birthday: Thoughts, Dreams, & Goals


I do not know what to write. Today I turn another year older. I have reached my forty-first year in this life and I still feel like I am twenty, with a few minor annoying exceptions, such as my body complains a lot more than it used to, but I am working on making it more flexible no matter how irritated it gets with me. I am forcing myself out of an hour-long spasm of weeping and I do not know why I was weeping. The tears came out of me as if on reflex, like hitting my funny-bone and the water flowered out of me (I accidentally just now typed flowered instead of flowed and it sounds so lovely I am going to keep it there). I am sad these days for no reason and for many reasons at the same time. It is torture, yet it is a release as strong as the urge to drop too great of a burden after one’s arms give out. I do not know what I have been carrying so long for me to be so tired. I began to think hard about the world and all the people in it. I think of the Gods, the spirits everywhere, the little and the big living things that make up the universe, the things seen and unseen that help me live and allow things to die so that we all can live, and I cry, cry, cry for it all.

Like the depictions of Saint Mary, the Mother of God, and the many Goddesses who have given birth to the nations around the world, there is a universal weeping. Have I become a Lady of Sorrow, too? What purpose do my tears serve, if anything, at all? Do I weep out of my own suffering or do I cry because no one else sees and experiences the things I do in this world that go unnoticed and forgotten?  Perhaps I weep because I feel like one of those unnoticed, forgotten things?

There are many people who ask for miracles each day. They pray for things they want and need and hope for. They think that power is a thing to be asked for, a thing they must be given, or fought for, or stolen from others. People abuse each other, control one another, take each other for granted, blind side their own children and lovers, abandon their families, cheat their brothers and sisters out of a better life so that they can get ahead, and you know what?

IT IS ALL UNNECESSARY.

As for weeping over the things in my life I can’t control, that is something different. Even though I often feel empowered, like I have the power to choose what I want to happen and can make my own destiny, there are some things that I cannot change and therefore must accept. I also must respect the choices of other people, support them even when they argue with me, and give them love unconditionally even when they misunderstand me and scream at me, love them even more so when they do that because they simply do that out of ignorance.

My younger brother, my closest blood relative, has estranged himself from me. He refuses to contact me, blocks me, has a deepening ill opinion of me and I can do nothing to change or soften his mind.  Our mother died last year, and losing my brother in this way, by his own choice, is like experiencing a second death in the family.

My writing as of late has become sad, my feelings of abandonment have increased, and a cloud of insecurity has been cast over my other close relationships as I cope with this emotional situation.  I fear the same thing happening to me with other people I love!  I panic over the possibility that I may do or say things off putting that may encourage friends to leave me.  I did not intend to write about my problems today, but now, as my words spill out, I think I know why I feel so sad on my birthday, and why my thoughts are full of shadow at this time.

Yet I am picking myself. With my birthday so close to New Year’s Eve, I often choose this time to give something to myself and plan at least one activity and a goal that I MUST FOLLOW THROUGH WITH NO MATTER WHAT. I am a very stalwart Capricorn who likes to rise to the top and, not only meet a challenge someone gives me, but better yet meet one I give myself, and go one step further. Later will come the very necessary showing-off, of course. My rising sign is Leo, I love jewelry and the pageantry of reward and praise. I want the bragging rights! I’m that way with my relationships, too. I like to name names, drop names, and give out names and pimp out names — the connections that I find all important even if they are friends that only mean something special to me, I don’t care, you have to know them because I will make them famous somehow by telling you awesome stories of their greatness. That’s how bad I get. My moon is in Aquarius, so you’ll know where I get my mystical and unconventional side from. Don’t ask me the rest, my natal chart is crazy. Where was I?

It seems I have cheered myself up as I get to the last paragraphs of my birthday blog post today. That is because when I start to speak with a purpose and talk about goals, I become full of passion. I burn away what makes me all damp, soggy, tearful. My eyes are drying up and my cheeks now feel a little chapped as I write these lines. I’ll be able to dream well now!

Here is my activity and goal for Valentina year #41:
Get to intermediate level in Belly Dancing
(specifically work on balancing so by year’s end I can Sword Dance)
Lose 30 pounds and keep it off

Fairly reasonable. Losing weight has been a life-long struggle for me, as well as a source of torture and pain. I have been bullied, teased, and criticized for being fat pretty much ever since I was born, and I wasn’t that fat as a child! I have, in the last three months, lost 20 pounds and managed to keep it off, but I am still heavy. Especially bottom front heavy and that leaves me very physically unbalanced. Much of this is due to diabetes. To lose an additional 30 pounds will help to extend my life, but the weight loss must be done slowly, in a healthy way. It has not been easy changing my lifestyle. What keeps me going is thinking about how many people I love crying at my funeral if I get naughty and have those extra bites of fatty foods!

As for the belly dancing… Fairly challenging and EXCELLENT for helping me to restrengthen, regain flexibility in my pelvic and abdominal muscles. I am entering a stage in my life where menopause is rearing its cranky head and I find that this kind of dance is getting me in touch with my feminine, sensual side again. For a long while I have felt totally un-sexy and pretty much undesirable. For the last seven years I gave up hope that I will ever be in a sexual, romantic relationship. As of today, it has been 18 YEARS since I last had a boyfriend, not just some hook-up or fling. That’s nearly HALF my life and I find this appalling. But I don’t need a man to make me feel good anymore. I’m fighting to get my sexy back! AND I’M GOING TO DO IT WITH A BIG BAD ASS SCIMITAR!

Dancing with Swords is not easy. Trust me. I have attempted it for several years and it has been a life-long dream. If you think I can’t do it, just take into consideration last year’s goal; I balanced my blood sugar for year 2010 something I thought impossible because I struggled with it for what seemed like forever. Talk about a tight rope act that was. If I can do that, I can frikkin’ isolate and balance that sword on my head. I was reminded of my obsessive love for swords (and swordplay, YAY!) after a conversation with a few friends recently. It helped me make up my mind what kind of sword I wanted to balance with. Here’s a preview of an instructional video of a dancer with the type of SCIMITAR dancing sword I envision myself using:

Pretty awesome, eh? I thought so, too. It’s going to be an interesting new year. I should probably do a Tarot reading for myself as well. For now, it’s good to dream.

Postcards from Home #8: The Triumphant Sun

The sunshine leaves me wordless today…

I wanted to be awesome, to share with you the most well thought words, inspire beauty and poetry out of you, make you sing with me like making love with me, and together we’d worship the sun and bask in all His glory. Yet I cannot be as grand as the Sun. He shines on me and does not burn me. Warms me and makes me glow. Fills me with beauty and lifts my moods. Makes the frozen lake here shine like a giant crystal, and, for a moment, the light visits me, takes form, seems to invite me to walk across the ice… the talking ice, creaking and expanding, thumping with life, still dangerously thin, reminding me the water underneath is still alive and moving. But the sunshine is like the moonlight illusions that dance in between the trees at night. Tempting and calling me to step beyond this world.

Yet I do not want to leave this one behind. I have too many friends here. There is too much here to love. I have to stay and wait under this sun.

As the wind creates snow serpents slithering across the ice, sending the trees dancing, I hug myself close like I would hold you, and remember that as the sun triumphs over the longest nights, the darkness never lasts forever. At some point we all have to come home. The light is left on for us. It never goes out. Even when we are in places when night happens at a different time and day is hotter, even when here is colder, the seasons will pass as they always do, and the words I’ll write next spring may be ones far lustier.

For now, as already the sun fades and promises to be back earlier tomorrow, I crawl back home and grumble like a bear eager to hibernate. The cold reminds me it’s the perfect time to be in a cave, to return to the womb, and create and dream and sleep away all my missing-yous.

Dancing with Swords

The metaphor of my life is dancing with swords. That’s the harrowing act I am performing everyday, the attempt to dodge gracefully and balance sharp sabres on my head, hold them tightly as tools (not weapons) in my hands, slash the air without harming anything or myself, and bend over backwards gracefully, then stretch and shimmy and roll my hips and belly without shame, manipulate my muscles like a snake, lift myself up and tilt with the blades as if I am one with the swords  themselves, and never once drop one or slice myself.  This image so perfectly describes the emotional ups and downs I go through to conquer the dark side of  my bi-polar disorder and border line personality disorder, that I used it to illustrate the Tarot card Seven of Swords.  The dancer takes the place of the thief, and instead of stealing the swords, she is adding them to her dance routine, taking on as many risks as possible to prove she can not only handle as many of the sharpest blades as possible all at once, but even more than the average man can handle in a battle.  She is not only challenging herself, she is also dancing above and beyond her own challenge.  She is stylish, not dressed practical, and semi-nude, totally tempting fate, her loose hair could easily get tangled, and her performance may all be a trick to fool her audience.  Or her act may be the real thing.  Those swords may be very sharp, she could be in real danger, and she could really kill herself in her attempt to show off how brave she is.  No matter what, she is breaking free of the ordinary, taking things one step further than things need to go, and her over-the-top performance could mean she is about to show you she truly is a great and powerful beauty, or she’s about to prove she is so out of balance she will need immediate medical attention at the end of her dance!

Ever since I saw a belly dancer at the Wisconsin State Fair dance the Raqs al Saïf (where the dancer balances a sabre on her head) when I was a little girl, I have wanted to dance with a sword. I have role played the part of a swordswoman as much as I could as a girl and adult, learned a little bit of this and that from friends who practice the art of sword fighting, but never felt completely at ease as I am whenever I’ve danced with a nice antique Scimitar. Do I own a sabre or scimitar? No. But I lust after them.

As a girl, I used to make pretend sabres out of willow branches that made a wonderful “whoosh” sound as I spun around and around. Occasionally I would whip my own flesh, but I didn’t care because in my mind I was dancing like a goddess. I couldn’t keep up with the boys who were stronger than me and who didn’t always allow me to play their Ninja games. My family was poor, I couldn’t afford to go to dance lessons (plus belly dancing wasn’t taught in the places I grew up in) so I had to make do with what I could learn from books, movies, and fantasy.  As I got older, I grew fatter and became less active, soon losing hope of ever achieving the dream of becoming the dancer I dreamed of becoming.  Who wants to see a FAT belly dancer anyway?  Well, quite a few people, actually…

I remember the first time I saw a large woman expertly juggle orbs of fire while balancing a sabre on her belly, in fact she used the rolls of her belly to move the sabre upward, then with a flick of her hip tip the blade upward and catch it with her head, all while tossing those orbs of fire! I stood there, awestruck, swaying to the beat of the drums and the trill of the flutes and horns of Egyptian folk music at a SCA gathering late one August night. I did not notice her until her performance began. Once the fires were lit and the light gleamed off the blade of the sabre, I was mesmerized. I would have never guessed she would transform into something so amazing. In her belly dance, gypsy regalia she looked authentic enough, but at a festival where everyone was dressed to the nines in historic replica garb — each of us attempting to out-do the other — she didn’t stick out. Yet at night, under a full moon, spinning orbs of fire, testing out that sword, accompanied by that music, those drummers, moving her belly and arms with such dexterity, she seemed supernatural. The heat of the flames and sweat from the summer night radiated from her body like the breath from an oven. Not even standing too close to her, I wondered how often she accidentally burnt and bruised herself during her training and practice. I examined her plump arms and ample breast, neck, thighs, and belly for evidence, but as I did so, I began to realize her body was not too unlike my own.

She had the tell-tale signs of weight gains and losses, stretch marks and even surgical scars, the folds of skin a woman cannot hide no matter how many layers of clothing she drapes over herself. But here was this woman, her flesh proudly on display, shining with glitter and sweat, bronze from the sun and the light of the fire she juggled, and she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Sweat beads on her forehead and cheeks glowed like fire opals. She reeked of hibiscus perfume and heliotrope, firewood and citronella wax. The many coins, bells, white metal, nickel, and tin jingles clanged in time with the drums. Her eyes amber black, lips a single line stained in deepest plum, her nose pierced with a crystal stud, and her entire body was a moving smile. She knew how to draw a crowd. I don’t remember how long her dance lasted, but it seemed to take forever, and as I watched her, I longed to be like her so bad, it hurt.

I remember the first time I attempted to dance with a sword. I hadn’t yet mastered any belly dance steps and, like the rest of the women in my SCA group, we all wanted to fly before we could grow wings. First of all, we didn’t have any swords to work with. We had to make do with a few crudely carved out of foam and taped up with duct tape. They were too light. But my imagination insisted I get on with it. Like a fledgling model at her first day in charm school poorly balancing a book on her head, I kept trying to get that stupid foam sword to stay on the top of my head. Ridiculous.

A roommate of a friend of mine took pity and allowed me to practice with a wooden broadsword he used for Tai Chi practice. Even though it was made out of wood, he soon thought it was a bad idea when he realized that it was giving me a slight thinning pattern at the top of my hair. Oh, well!

Poise and grace can’t be learned from a few lessons here and there from well-meaning friends or from books, but from experience, plus a very good teacher really helps, of course. The belly dance teachers I’ve known have not all been experts themselves but great enthusiasts like myself. We’re these pack of wild women taking the dance into a whole new form of expression that goes beyond achieving grace and beauty, American Tribal Style Belly Dance is a truly American form of no-holds-barred inter-cultural oriental improvisational dance that allows dancers to create their own costumes and music, fusing together ancient and modern, folkloric and fantasy-inspired dances and personas. The sword dance now has moved into a performance art that can seem like a choreographed battle between dancers, beautiful and deadly, serene in its portrayal of sensual brutality.

The dancers in my small city dance for the local women’s crisis center. They practice American Tribal Style Belly Dance as a healing way for women to empower them selves. Belly dance can be a symbolic way to get in touch with the body after experiencing sexual assault. Being a rape survivor myself, I have long dealt with low body esteem, often feeling very sexually inadequate, afraid to date men, jealous of other women who are loved by men, hateful towards myself for having been violated, and even suicidal because I cannot change the past. With belly dance I have to face my body, learn to move and appreciate my belly in ways I didn’t even before the rape, and rediscover what being a truly beautiful and powerful woman is. Dancing with swords is akin to dancing with all the things that hurt me and not letting them hurt me anymore. I can emerge from my personal problems unscathed and live to tell the tale.

I can save myself and be my own hero.

This brings me to my goal for this next year. I want to finally stop putting off my dream of dancing and make it a reality. This last year I finally achieved balancing my blood sugar and gaining better control of my diabetes. I have started to lose weight and have kept to a healthier diet. I have also been making progress with balancing and regulating my moods with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and increasing the time I spend meditating (I will write more on the type/school of meditation I practice at a later time).  What better way now to treat myself than to get myself moving into yet another grand direction and belly dance my way to becoming the strong and powerful sword dancer I’ve always wanted to be?

No more dreaming. It is goal time.

I am Afraid of Twitter, but I Long for Love

Call me anachronistic, eccentric even, but there are things about the 21st century I am uncomfortable with…

Two of them being cell phones and this thing called Twitter.  Mind you, I include buttons on this blog to let friends share my posts in their tweets, so I’m not totally disinclined to using Twitter, I am just not used to the speed of back-and-forth personal information these days. I like a little more privacy, the comfort and lure of mystery. I want to take things a little slow as I engage someone in conversation.  I like conversation to be something like a fine wine, a thing to be savored and remembered, not blurted out in little 140 characters in a rush.  Yet the longer I stay out of the loop of instant communication, the more obsessive my imagination can become.  Then, when I do check out friends’ twitter pages, I see only their words in half-spurts of conversation, they talk about people I don’t know in seemingly a kind of slang language I’m not hip on, and I panic.  The world has changed and I have not changed as quickly with it.  I have become lost in my own space.

I suffer from a mental illness that makes it a challenge for me to interact normally with people on an even keel emotional level.  The more hurried I am in conversations and interactions with people, the more distressed I can become.  I have to regulate my moods, live according to a schedule I can work with, avoid situations and things that can trigger manic episodes, sometimes retreat from ordinary activities my friends have no problem with but, to me, end up being too overwhelming for me to handle all the time.  I get overstimulated! My life has been a tight-rope-walk-battle where I am in constant pursuit of balance where I find myself apologizing and explaining my behavior.  In my efforts to be kind and make things easier for myself, I get accused of using my disability as a crutch and others just simply roll their eyes and get frustrated.  It would be different if I were physically crippled. It has not been easy.  Because it is very easy, acceptable even, to quickly judge and reject someone with bi-polar disorder.  Sure having this disorder does make life difficult, but it’s not impossible for me to have a life, however I go through periods when I lose hope… and sink into frustration.

Even the pace of Facebook can be a challenge for me. The fragmented, simple one sentence updates can leave a lot to the imagination. Not everyone fully explains what is really going on in their lives in just those few words. My mind works on such an emotionally sensitive level that I fill in what is not being said with delusional conclusions. Over the last three years that I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve developed thoughts that my friends are either ignoring me or are secretly talking shit about me behind my back. This brought out in me the need to defend myself. I got on the attack, or on a mission to save our relationship, and started writing a series of apologies to the people I love, often startling them because they had no idea what I was feeling or why. But you know what was most horrible? That no matter how many friends assured me that they cared, I simply was not able at the time to receive their love because I was stuck in the manic state of despair.

Then there is the shiny side of the coin: elation! There are times when I am crazy with exuberance, dying with joy. I am so happy, so overwhelmed with it and have no idea what to do with that feeling, all I can do is write dozens of updates on Facebook or elsewhere. The rest of the world seems to move too slow then. No one can keep pace with me. I get dizzy. I simply cannot calm down! I go for walks outside to do something with that energy and I still come home to plug-in the computer and find no messages waiting for me. The vicious cycle of feeling ignored creeps up again. It is completely, utterly delusional, absolutely no reason to it. No matter how much I try to logically deal with it and remind myself to cut out those feelings, I still feel it. There is a disconnect with my mind and my emotions. I have to unplug and get back to nature.

The most wonderful thing I have going for me is my spiritual life and devotion to my Gods. Being in touch with nature, practicing meditation, seeking silence, living in solitude, and using ritual prayer distracts me out of manic states of emotion. Just when I think that I have no hope of living a normal life, and fear that I will never be able to see my friends again, much less ever have a romantic relationship, one God comes to remind me every Midwinter and Midsummer that I am loved. He doesn’t tell me always with words, but with warmth and light, a feeling that glows within my heart like an embrace that comes outward, inside-outward, that seems to halo my entire body after I commune with Him, makes me feel like the most beautiful and most valuable woman in the world…  Well, He spoke to me tonight.

“You are Mine, You are Loved, You will Accomplish Great Beauty, You are Blessed, You have Great Skill, Your Talents are Testament of My Love, Use Them and Love Without Fear for I am with You”

I needed to hear those words today. At Winter Solstice I fasted and prayed for some kind of miracle to take hold of me. I was feeling like half a woman. I dreamed of one-winged angels and my heart bursting out of my body and I painted a vision of my shadow self as a desperate unicorn girl in need of being accepted. After meeting with my doctor yesterday afternoon, I came to the conclusion that these were signs that my new therapy, meditation techniques, and increased medication were working, and yet I still feel like I’m not fully the  woman I dream of being, that I’m sexless, not pretty, old and undesirable, wasting away in the wilderness… while everyone I know is out there having fun.

This may have been me just being jealous, or just a case of beating myself up. I don’t have to be jealous. I shouldn’t have to block myself from enjoying the things others do. Yet… I also know myself more than other people do. I have to respect my limits, but not let myself be a slave to them. I will still feel the pain of my emotions, yet my God Lugh tells me I don’t have to punish myself over it. Sometimes it is not other people who make us suffer, it is WE who cause ourselves the most suffering.

I can still be the woman I dream of being: a wild be-jeweled perfumed belly dancing swordswoman sorceress She-devil spit-fire romantic heroine lover that the poets will all sing about!  Well…  in my dreams… or in the dreams of someday, somewhere, in the mind of someone who will love me so much… I can’t imagine it, don’t dare want to yet, I just want to get back to my desk because thinking about a dream lover will just start me rolling down the hill into a deep depression again.  No. Time to slink back to cursive writing in my private journal, light a candle, shuffle the Tarot cards, and relax into a sacred time and place where the only emotion I feel is tranquility.

Want to unplug and join me?

Unicorn Girl, Shadow Self


She sang like a flower
a flower made of song
delicate and desperate
perfume so sweet, so loud
petals in sound moved by a honey wind

Her throat long, reed thin, fur-trimmed
tender as a leafy stem, lifted up
head to the sky
lips part into half a kiss
ripe pink and open to sing

She cried like a sword
a sword made of feather
whispering and whirring
too soft to slice, so silent
pieces of fluff scattered in the cold wind

Her single horn, curved and like a sliver
pointed out of her head, a headache
silver bone so sharp, so high
eyes part open in longing
blue-black and starring
long lashes daring and darling

She is held without being touched
kept hidden in forgotten pockets
deep inside the dark womb of things
curled up like the dead spider
in dusty remains on the window sill
abandoned by the summer shine
carried without being lifted
safe in the little places
the corners of the closet
in between shoes and old clothes
you know the ones
you never worn or gave away

She’s in the lint
in the dust bunnies
the dried mud
in smudges on glass
in fingerprints on the wall
in all the traces you ignore
because there is something always
more important to do, to see, to make…

She is a flower trampled
stuck in between the pages of a book
the book you’d never thought you would forget to read
She sang like flower was made of song
perfume old and stale, but still lingered sweet
loud in the silence of death
so still, fuzz-trimmed, and paper thin
her spine a stick bent up to the sky
lips frozen, half open
parted dark pink in her last song

The song you didn’t let her sing.

Dream of the One-Winged Angels

From my personal dream journal December 5, 2011:

I have been visited by women with half-shaved heads and one white wing for an arm. Their faces are very celestial, they dress in orange robes that fold and wrinkle over their bodies like the petals of a flower, and they move with odd grace. On a giant pink and white rose sits a man I think is a friend of mine, but it’s not him, he’s something/someone else. In fact, he’s not a he anymore, She‘s a goddess with a very sad face, glowing with pink light. She is spilling rice, white petals into every direction. In one hand she has a half empty banana wood bowl, half-filled with what looks like saffron, in her other hand she holds, with just the tips of her fingers, a large oval green egg shining like an emerald. She has a silver — no, white gold — crown and wears a white robe with a red zig-zag sash. This red sash turns into blood, blood that trails downward and rushes out, gushing into a lake underneath me until I look down and realize it is my own blood bleeding out of me. I fall to the ground in agony. My heart is coming out of me! I next realize I am a woman with one white wing for an arm.  But I am not dressed in orange, I am in black. I am flopping around like a dying bird. I look up to see a dark figure standing over me about to cut me down with a sword. This figure looks like a blue onyx statue come to life. Its face is both female and male, eyes elongated and almond-shaped, the mouth wide and kissable, the expression has no malice, there is sadness, but it is one of almost-pity, like it thinks I am pathetic or weak. As the sword falls, I feel it brush my neck, and I wake up weeping.

“You need not suffer anymore,” was what the Rose Pink Goddess told me before the Sword fell against my neck.  By that time my entire chest was a bloody mess, as if my heart burst from a gunshot.  Or perhaps my heart got too large for my body and outgrew me.  The face the Rose Pink Goddess had began to resemble my own.  I felt strangely comforted by that.  Even the Blue Onyx Sword Goddess was full of mercy.

“You are not to blame for your pain,” said the Blue Onyx Sword Goddess, her voice the sound of whispering flame… you know the sound that fire makes when it first ignites and the air first breathes over it, when the smoke just begins to rush upwards?  That’s her sound.  When I first dreamed “her” I wasn’t sure what sex she was, but in recalling the dream and drawing it out on paper, the features and colors brought back the vision.  I love to remember a dream like this.  The more I think about it, the more comes back to me, and the more the dream becomes ever more real.  These figures are talking to me all over again.  I am living this dream as I share it.

The beginning of the dream, as with all dreams, is the most unclear and fragile.  I describe now the One-Winged women as Angels, yet after painting them, I now see they resemble Buddhist nuns.  I saw my own reflection in the blood that spilled outward towards me and underneath me from the Rose Pink Goddess.  This isn’t the only time I have dreamed of a goddess appearing before me with a green egg, but this time she held a bowl in her right hand.  The previous goddess, I have dream of was Fortuna, and she held an elaborate feather in her right hand and that same green egg in her left hand. I still have yet to decipher what this symbol may mean.

I believe that the Rose Pink Goddess was distracting me away from what was making me sad; missing a faraway friend.  The Blue Onyx Goddess was cutting me off from what usually causes me the most pain; my bi-polar disorder.  I have been actively working towards a goal of better regulating my moods in order to relieve myself of prolonged suffering.  Much of the new therapy I have been practicing incorporates eastern meditation techniques combined with  western Witchcraft-influenced coping skills.  I have also been taking an increased dosage of a medication that helps to stabilize my mood. While I adjust, my mind tells me how things are working out.

And the Gods are telling me that they are supporting me in my efforts to improve my life.  At least this is what I hope they are telling me!  This dream, and a series of dreams like it I have been experiencing for many nights afterward, has made my psychiatrist wonder…  “How can you incorporate symbolism and gods that are outside of your culture into your personal dream iconography?” She asked me.  I just smiled at that and answered her with silence. It doesn’t baffle me in the slightest.

A wise teacher of mine would ask me, “What does this all mean to you, Valentina?”  And that has me thinking wildly.

Postcards from Home #7: Chilled Cozy

Sometimes there seems to be no other time and place better than in my dreams to share and enjoy a fantastic adventure with you. But first I have to coax and conjure my oftentimes reluctant lover into my bed sheets. He teases me most when the nights grow sooner. He’s not really a man, but something, someone somewhere like it, soft and fuzzy as a cat, cool as quartz, and warm as melted caramel sticking to me as sweet as a holiday kiss. He’s the reason why getting into bed is a luxury, why I burn candles and bathe in perfume, why I must practice a nightly ritual of preparing as if for sex. But it is an intimate meeting with an invisible, elusive entity who provides me a fantasy togetherness I can never achieve with another human being. I hold onto him with my legs, knees, arms, and fingers. I roll over into him and feel his warmth breathe all over me as if he were really there. I cannot dream without him. He can only come in the dark. He is always gone with the light. So after the candlelight has burned sufficient and the air is heavy with scented wax, I blow out the flame and wait there, alone, holding him with my body like I do my blankets and pillows. I toss and turn in frustration and anticipation when he doesn’t come right away. How can I enter into the realm where I can see you again if he doesn’t take me?

I cannot rest until he comes. The longing is sweet and stinging, not too unlike the desire to reach the end of a book but to never come to the end of the story. I just need to get into the meat of it all. Dreaming is the cheapest way to travel. But I cannot go anywhere without my lover, Sleep. Only he can pull me away and carry me back. My bed is a vessel, a kind of cloud-ship that will float upward, there is no set time to be there for departure, yet there also is nothing stated in the unwritten contract between us that says he has to be here at my beck and call. The night is torment without him. I am chilled cozy enough for him, bundled up like a baby and weeping for his attention.

The nights he never comes makes the daylight ever more cruel. I have to make artificial night which makes my home seem to be in perpetual night. During the coldest days I fall into my most saddest hours where even closing my eyes and lying down just prolongs misery. But, oh, the pleasure I feel when I sink into the mattress and, without ritual or a lengthy wait, I land into his embrace!

I believe tonight is going to be one of those nights. He’s already assuring me, with a yawn, that I will meet you at the same time as last night, in the wooded clearing where we last played… faraway from today’s ice, where Lugh is always shining, in the summer without bugs, near the fields where the berries are full and ripe, and the deer are gentle and giant enough for riding.