Old Hollywood Hekate

As supreme queen of the resting bitch face, Vivien Leigh is a perfect type for Hekate.

“Come to my crossroads. Come in the night. I dare you.”




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Albino Body Parts Traded for Use in Magic in Tanzania and Beyond

untitled.pngAlbinos in Tanzania and other areas of Africa live in fear of having their limbs hacked off or being murdered so their body parts may be used by witchdoctors. I have known this for some time. Last night, I read this article from NPR in which a Tanzanian diplomat tries to minimize the problem. As a person with albinism, a practitioner of magic, and a human being, it had me shaking with rage. Someone here is clearly lying through their face. My guess is it isn’t the people who have had their limbs hacked off.

In particular:

“There’s also a disagreement about the meaning of the term ‘zeruzeru,’ a Kiswahili term for albinos. Ash says the term carries the connotation of a worthless, ghostlike creature. Manongi (the Tanzanian diplomat) says that’s a lie. It’s just a word, he says, and all it means is albino.”

Sound familiar? What other words can we think of that are “just words” people are told not to get so upset about?

When asked specifically about this, an albino Tanzanian who had her arm hacked off while she slept in her bed, answered thusly:

“Mkola has a soft voice and sits with her one arm wrapped around her chest. She doesn’t speak English, but she hears the word ‘zeruzeru’ when I ask what it means to her. She tenses when I say it, even before our interpreter begins translating. ‘In my village, they called me “birimiru”’ which means a white goat,’ she says. ‘The word zeruzeru is like that,’ she says. ‘It’s like they don’t see people with albinism as human. It feels terrible. I have a name, so why do they call me zeruzeru or birimiru? Why wouldn’t they just call me by my name?’”

But what’s in a name, right? People who are lesser should readily allow themselves to be dehumanized.

The Tanzanian diplomat also offers this gem:

“Manongi has another point of view: ‘Implying that we are so uneducated, we need interventions from abroad, there’s nothing more colonial than that. I’m reminded of the “White Man’s Burden,” this attitude that only foreigners can enlighten people engulfed in ignorance and helplessness. We are far better than that.’”

Red herring much? He drags out the colonial boogie in hopes people will be so devoted to political correctness and cultural relativism that they will somehow overlook the fact that there IS an albino body parts trade in his country, people ARE being maimed and killed for no other reason than the color of their skin, they live in constant fear, and, by testament of the people who actually live this horror, the government was doing NOTHING about it until it was brought to worldwide attention and external pressure was applied.

As a matter of fact, according to the article, Ikponwosa Ero, “the U.N. independent expert on albinism and also an official for Under the Same Sun, said in a statement in October that attacks on people with albinism in Africa increase during election campaigns.”

Now, if albino body parts are supposed to be especially good for luck, why do you suppose this occurs? And why do you suppose elected officials might not be too keen on exposing the problem?

The diplomat denies this and states that the internal Tanzanian government statistics show the opposite trend.

Gee, really?

Once again, someone is lying through their face, and I suspect it isn’t the people whose limbs have been hacked off.

Shaking. Shaking with rage.

I am reminded again of how incredibly lucky I am to have been born into this country at this point in history. The shaming, prejudice  discrimination, and difficulties I have borne for my skin color were and are tough to take sometimes, but whatever I have felt in my life is but a drop in the ocean compared to what these people suffer.

May their gods watch over them in the long, dark night.



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Family Protectors

c04422054f163ae0239f7db56bc8f8f6A curious thing:

Last night I had a vivid dream in which Hermes protected me from a devastating earthquake.

My mother told me this morning that she had a vivd dream last night that she was the lady of a large manor, “Something like you would imagine a Queen Mother would live in.”

In the dream, she had two German shepherds. One was solid black. The other was a radiant golden-red. They were fierce but faithful and extremely protective of her. They slept on their gilded beds at the foot of her own bed. They were well-behaved around the staff, though the staff were (rightfully) wary of them. They were loving with her and gave her great joy while, at the same time, guarding her vigilantly.

The black one was named Zeus. The golden-red one was named Apollo.

I’m just going to leave that here.


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Fanciful Yet Compelling Interpretation of Pictish Woman Warriors





from the movie Centurion.

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A Taste of Sticky Peach

ripepeachI walked into a department store at my local mall and it was the 1940’s. I was shopping for pajamas. I was naked.

There was a big sale going on in the women’s wear and lingerie departments. The line to go up the escalator wrapped around the store. I elbowed my way through the line. My need was more urgent, after all, seeing as I was naked. I made it up the escalator and, as many women as had been on the first floor was quadrupled on the second. I threw more elbows and made it to the pajamas. I picked out an ice blue satin pair and immediately put them on. I figured no one would miss them in the hustle.

I had trouble finding the down escalator and had to walk around the store several times to get a bead on it. Before I could get to it, however, an earthquake started to rumble. I ducked and covered right where I was, between a wall and a display of glasses. On the floor I saw a seismograph that gave the earthquake’s magnitude as it went up and up and up. It started at 4 and kept climbing until it reached 10.1. It felt as if the store was being flung up and down by the earth herself. I heard a cracking noise overhead. It was too crowded for me to move, so I stayed where I was, huddled under my own hands.

I heard a male voice behind me say, “There’s a big crack forming in the ceiling. Move back.”

“I can’t,” I called back to him. “There’s no room.”

I felt him reach out and grab me around the hips. He slid me back toward him and curled himself over my body so, whatever may fall from the ceiling would hit his back before it would mine. I felt scared but safe.

The earthquake ended and people slowly started to come out of their tucked positions. The man released me and sat back on the floor. I uncurled myself and turned to face him. He was olive-skinned and had luxurious salt-and-pepper hair. He was wearing a crisp white dress shirt, gray flannel slacks, and a black belt and shoes. He wore a magnificent copper watch with a black face on his right wrist. It showed its inner working and kept track of both the passage of time and the movements of the planets and stars. He smelled wonderful—like warm masculine body and desire.

He pointed to the ceiling and said, “That was almost a disaster.”

I looked up and saw the crack was wide and dark and live wires were hanging from the gap, spitting blue sparks.

“Almost,” I said, and smiled. “Thank you.”

He waved his hand in an it-was-nothing gesture and got up. He helped me up so I stood facing him, meeting his eyes. He felt the fabric of my ice blue satin pajamas and said, “Nice jammies.”

“I liked them,” I said, then leaned in and whispered playfully. “I stole them. Don’t tell anybody.”

He put his finger to his lips and winked at me. He leaned forward and kissed my cheek, then turned on his heel and walked briskly away.

He was beautiful. I cocked my head watching him disappear into the crowd and thought to myself, “You know, I bet that was Hermes.” Somehow he just felt like Hermes, even though his physical presentation was much different than it normally is.

When he was out of eyeshot, I went downstairs to exit the store. As I was walking between the perfume counter and the purses, I heard someone say, “Hi Doc!” I turned around, and there was this man again walking down the pathway. It occurred to me he must have been the owner of the store.

I smiled and said, “Hello again.” I felt dumb. I knew the twitterpation was as evident on my face as if someone had written, “You’re neat and I love you,” on my face with a red Sharpie. I thought, “Oh gods. Now he’s going to think I’m a stalker.”

He smiled and walked toward me. “I was looking for you,” he said.


He walked behind a glass counter that held high-end purses and said, “Yes. I have a present for you.”

“Really? Why?”

He smirked and said nothing as he unlocked the case. He pulled from it a buttery gold purse with a silver clasp. I thought, “Wow! That purse is extremely expensive. He’s going to give me that?”

He opened the purse and pulled out a round, ice blue object that looked something like a compact. He handed it to me and said, “This is for you,” then put the purse back under the counter and locked it.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed he wasn’t indeed going to give me the purse.

I held the compact and examined it. It seemed to made of an enamel of some kind. I was confused. What was I supposed to do with this?

He took it out of my hand and said, “Let me show you.” He tapped an obscure little button at the bottom of the circle and the compact opened up. Inside, it was a cream colored dial of sorts, with the astrological signs in order and in gold recessed into little grooves. Inside that were the planetary signs, also gold. They moved on their own wheel through the static astrological stations. Inside that were four gold directional points. At the center was one thick gold hand and one thin black hand.

He said, “It’s a compass, but not your average compass.”

He put it in my hand and stood behind me. He had me hold it stationary while he turned me this way and that by the shoulders. Each time he turned me, the gold hand would move so that it stayed facing the same direction. He said, “This compass doesn’t point north. The gold hand points home. No matter where you are, that hand will always guide you home.”

I asked, “What does the black hand do?”

He said, “That will always show you where you’ve been. Much less important.”

It was an amazing thing—a miraculous invention. I stared at it in awe. I started walking in the direction the gold hand pointed, which was west—the exact opposite direction than I had been heading. “He gave me a compass,” I thought. “Now I know he is Hermes.”

I made it about ten feet when I heard him say, “Wait a minute.”

I looked up from the compass, a little dazed, as I had been completely engrossed in its movements.

He was a few steps ahead of me already. He said, “And since I know you really wanted something expensive…” I blushed. How did he know? How embarrassing. “I have this for you.” He opened the glass case from the front and pulled from it an ancient bottle of wine in clear glass. The wine itself was tinted a soft, sunset orange.

He took it behind the counter and poured me a glass. It was sweet. It was very sweet and thick. He asked, “Do you like it?”

My thoughts were, “Blargh! It’s way too sweet. I don’t like sweet wines, or white wines for that matter,” but I nodded yes anyway.

He smiled a huge optic white smile and said, “You’re lying to me.”

I nodded again, though I found myself still drinking it.

“Just give it a minute,” he said. “Just give it a little minute.”

About two seconds after he said it, the flavor of sticky peach began to reveal itself through the thick sweetness. As that flavor presented itself, I couldn’t get enough. I drank and drank and the glass never emptied. That taste—something about that taste. I was immediately addicted. I couldn’t imagine my life without that taste in my mouth.

After what seemed like a golden eternity, I stopped drinking, just for a moment to take a breath. The world had gone fuzzy with a soft yet deep drunkenness. “Mmmm…” I sighed from deep in my throat. The man smiled wide again. “Ahhh…” I breathed, looking at his beauty. Something strange and wonderful was happening in my body.

My vision went dark and I began to fall backwards. I didn’t care. I let myself fall.

I felt him behind me. I was falling into him.

I woke.


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Cucuys to the Left of Me, Cucuys to the Right


Hatbox Ghost from The Haunted Mansion

And if my door opening and closing itself seven times in the wee hours of Thursday morning weren’t enough, last night, whatever it was, came back. Or perhaps it was something else.

I don’t know how I stumbled upon it, (you know how dinking around the Internet goes), but I started reading trivia about the various ghostly characters at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. Now, here’s a little secret about me: I’m a tough cookie, but there are a few things that really spook me out, irrationally. One of them is audioanimatronic dinosaurs. Another is claw foot bathtubs, (because seriously… a bathtub that can chase you down? No way!). The third thing is the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I know it’s meant to be spooky in a silly kind of way, but something about it hits that “Eek” spot just right. I love it though. In fact I adore it. It is always the second ride I’m dying to go on whenever I go to Disneyland, (the second because Pirates is always the first. That’s just good manners).

As I was reading the trivia about the various ghostly characters, I got more and more creeped out. The room felt thick and hot, even though it is quite cool outside. My heart started to thump thump thump. It was delicious. I love that feeling when it’s all in good fun.

Just at the height of my creepitude however, I felt a need to turn my head to the left. Something was going on over there even though I sit only about a foot from the wall. I looked and saw a distinct white mist form then move slowly in front of me in an upward diagonal from left to right. Once it was out of immediate eyeshot, it sucked itself back into itself and disappeared.

I didn’t jump or scream or react in any other way than to raise my eyebrows and utter, “OK?”

I have seen that mist before, a few years ago. It appeared in front of the green glass desk lamp I have on my shrine, moved from left to right, then dissipated. It actually cast a little shadow on the lamp, indicating it had more substance to it than it appeared to have.

I don’t know who or what that mist is. I don’t know what it may want or need. I only know that it lives in my office, and maybe outside my bedroom door. Maybe it only comes out when I’m in a certain creepish state of mind to begin with, though I don’t recall feeling that way when it appeared in front of the lamp.

The funny part about it is, earlier in the afternoon, I went to lunch with a good friend and she told me she saw a ghost in her house on Tuesday. In her words, “I saw a big fat ghost!” She walked into her kitchen late at night and saw the silhouette of a tall man standing in front of her stove. She thought, “Oh, one of my family must be up.” She looked behind her in the hallway and saw everyone else was snoozing peacefully. She looked at the man in front of the stove again. He seemed to turn his head just slightly in her direction. then turned straight ahead, walked out of her kitchen toward the back door, and disappeared.

She has never seen or felt a ghost in that house before. She did have one in her first apartment that liked to close the shower curtain, but it has been many years since she has lived there. The house in which she currently lives is new, which is why she expressed surprise upon seeing that a ghost had come to visit. Of course, us woo people know that an old house and miserable, viscously murdered or murdering former residents are not prerequisites to a haunting.

Interesting to note though that I have done very, very light woo at her house twice before, both times for Sabbats, once at Samhain and the other time at Imbolc. Also, my office is where I usually do my own woo, which hasn’t been much in the past several years, but, apparently, enough.

It would be arrogant of me to assume her ghost is related in any way to my… powers, (woooooo!). It simply seems an interesting connection.

What’s up, I wonder, (and quite literally). I feel like I want to blame the planets, but I’m not sure if what’s going on out there is indicative of what’s going on down here. I know Mercury is in retrograde, (always much fun), and is aligned right now with Pluto, (or something something having to do with aspecting Pluto). I also know that Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all in alignment right now. The moon has been waxing and tonight it will be full. None of that, though, seems to speak particularly to the conjuring of cucuys.



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Olden Days Tough Cookies

54e14547b172c.imageI just saw a post that my Vanderbilt U. cancelled classes because of the snow. Bunch of pansies. When I went there they ne-e-ver closed for snow. Never. They didn’t even close when, in my freshman year, everything was covered in so much ice, we could have ice skated to class. We never got any Mondays off for anything either. Ne-e-ver. I remember the rumor was that the only time Vandy had ever cancelled class was in the 1870’s when a bull broke through a fence and was chasing students around campus, (which I’m sure was awful, but sounds hilarious, especially because I’m imagining really old-timey students wearing black robes, running around like headless chickens, going “Eek! Eek! as their robes flap in the wind).

They didn’t even cancel class when a tornado hit downtown Nashville and ricocheted off the corner of campus. I remember I was in “Great Works of the Wester Tradition” at the time, in which we had been reading some very atheism-heavy books. A girl was giving her presentation on Thus Spoke Zarathustra while outside it went black, then green. “Man is Superman,” she said.

“Boom! Boom! Boom!” from outside.

“Man is the measure,” she said.

“Boom! Boom! Boom!” the tornado said.

The lights flickered and went out. My professor raised his hands to the heavens and exclaimed, “God forgive me for making them read these heathen novels!”

State of emergency nothin’. Go to class!


(That tornado story is one of my all-time favorites to tell—and every word of it true. No joke, yo.)

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