Asking Your Advice About This Blog

A Wish for Everybody

It’s been one storm after another here on the West Coast. Saturated soil, flooding, emergency evacuations, and almost a dozen deaths from the storms. And I read about similar weather throughout the United States and Canada. One good friend was in an earthquake and another had to evacuate because of a hurricane. 

I wish you and everybody you love safety in this crazy weather. If the present-day threat brings flashbacks, my wish includes that you handle them with gentleness and compassion for the frightened child you once were. 

Spencer’s News

I have been mystified about the lack of hair in the brush every time I brush his long, thick fur. Today, I discovered the reason for this. 

His cat tree is upholstered in a dark carpet material that latches on to loose hair like Velcro. I glanced at the top platform and noticed that it had turned from black to white. So I brushed the cat tree instead of the cat! After about an hour, the wastebasket was filled with fur. Now I can, without guilt, stop feeling I am neglecting him if I don’t brush him every day.

I had lunch with Baker’s previous owner, who told me something very reassuring. (Baker was the Turkish Van mix I adopted before getting Spencer. He got sick just as soon as I adopted him and died of cancer within two months.) She said that Baker was timid for the first few years of his too-short life. If somebody he didn’t know well entered the house, he hid until the intruder was gone. By the time I met him, he was fearless and very social. Hopefully, Spencer is following in his footsteps.

Asking Your Advice About This Blog

When I started the blog, I just wanted a place to publish the short articles I had written for the Survivorship newsletter so that they would be all in one place and unlikely to get lost. 

I then started writing informative articles on various aspects of ritual abuse. There were articles on the background of major Satanic holidays, flashbacks, personal safety, choosing a therapist and evaluating therapy, and DID and defenses. There were guest articles, book reviews, articles about survivors/artists, and some of my poetry and artwork. Not much of anything about my personal life.

Recently, I have been sharing a lot more about myself. At first, I thought I would continue sharing information and just use myself as an example. Gradually, my life today became the focus. Of course, ritual abuse is an ever-present issue for me; it is present in everything I write and everything I do. 

I noticed that I have fewer readers than I used to, fewer new viewers, and fewer return viewers. This is also true for my website, ra-info.org. I thought this was because ra-info hasn’t been updated in a long time and people aren’t reading the blog because they aren’t interested in me. So much of it is about illness and cats, both of which can get tedious.

However, I heard from a friend that neither the website nor the blog appears on the first page of a Google search. They used to be near the top. Google’s algorithm changed, and I didn’t. Guess I need to study SEO (search engine optimization).

(I just checked and found that the sites Google selects are sort of weird. There are a lot of resources in the United Kingdom and lots of material from the 1990s. The top hit is a short article by the Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre in Australia describing ritual abuse and its effects on survivors and giving Australian resources. I wonder what factors made it the first choice when they applied the current algorithm.)

Another friend told me that she thought she had subscribed to the blog, but she didn’t get a copy of new posts or an announcement of any kind. If people who subscribed aren’t getting anything, that surely lowers readership considerably.  

Another friend said that WordPress was too complicated, and so she blogs on SquareSpace, which is becoming popular. Simplicity is very appealing to me. WordPress is so complicated! It drives me nuts three times a month. I write and proof the entry and then spend about 4 – 5 hours just formatting it on WordPress. The draft often vanishes when I am almost ready to publish it, and I have to start over again.  

I’m turning to you all for advice. To make sure subscribers see this request, I’ll send it individually to people I believe have recently subscribed. My questions are –

1. Do you like that I share the struggles of my present life? Would you prefer more information about RA/MC and healing? Do you like the short items about conferences, holidays, my cat, etc.?

2. What do you think of the idea of leaving this WordPress blog up for reference, but starting up anew on SquareSpace?

3. Does anybody know anything about SEO? Would you be willing to coach me? I warn you – I do better if you communicate in regular old English. I’m not fluent in GeekSpeak.

Thank you so much for your feedback. If you tell me what works for you and what falls flat, I can make the posts more helpful to everybody. And if I get some advice on SEO and which platform to use, we can reach more people with less hassle.

Thanksgiving and Dissociation

I’m sitting here not knowing what to write. My mind feels blank, empty. I’ve been in this place before, many, many times. I have always come up with something, and most of the time I was satisfied with what I had written. That doesn’t mean I’ll be able to pull it off today, of course.

It’s a very familiar feeling. There is a pane of glass between me and the world, and whatever is “me” has stepped back, several steps behind the glass. Quiet, unengaged, just looking outwards toward the world. No judgment, no reaction, no words, no thoughts.

It’s dissociation, of course. At this time, for whatever reason, I am more dissociated than usual. If I fight it and scold myself for being so unengaged, so uncaring, it is unpleasant. I start brooding on what might be wrong with me, and why I haven’t fixed it once and for all after all these years. This leads to a fair amount of self-hatred.

If I just experience it without all that useless self-improvement chatter, it isn’t all that unpleasant. It’s nothing – no pain, no anxiety, no pleasure. Isn’t this what you are supposed to achieve when you empty your mind during meditation? Just observe the thoughts as they float by, don’t try and catch them and remember them, just observe without judgment, and then let them go. When the thoughts have gone, isn’t this what is left? Probably not, but it’s the closest I can come to describing what being dissociated feels like to me.

Dissociation, of course, takes many forms. It simply means that things that were once together have gotten separated. One’s self can be split into separate parts, each holding a part of the original self. A memory may be split, and parts stored separately so that only a smell is recalled. Or an image, like a still photograph. Or the emotion that was felt at the time the memory was formed.

We all learned to dissociate as very little kids. It was the only way we could survive what was done to us. We learned how to ”leave our bodies;” that is, we separated our bodies and our minds so that we could be unaware of the pain and the threat to our very lives. We floated up to the treetops and looked at the stars, or floated into an angel’s arms, or became a little bird perching on a branch, ready to fly away at any moment. Or, like me, we became nothing.

Thanksgiving has always been difficult for me. I think that is why I am so disengaged. I am re-experiencing the state I was in during those childhood Thanksgivings.

It’s interesting – I only have one memory of a Thanksgiving up until my twenties. A little glass bowl was filled with celery stalks and olives. I have memories of Christmas, Easter, and my birthday, all difficult days for me throughout adulthood. But Thanksgiving remains a blank. The celery and olives have no meaning, as far as I can tell. They are neutral, neither liked nor disliked, with no attached symbolism. Probably that is why they are remembered. I focused on something banal to protect myself from whatever was happening around me or to me. As neutral as leaves on a tree.

Today, despite feeling totally detached, I am making a point to see that the plants are watered. The cat will be fed every day this week, and the litter box will be cleaned. I will pet him every time he asks for attention. I may feel that I don’t care about the plants and the cat, but the plants won’t notice, and the cat probably won’t either. I will try to get a few things done, just not as much as usual.

And I will try and accept this eerie, quiet feeling. Not accept as in, “fuck it, it’s here, so I shall put up with it until lit goes away.” More like, “Gee, this has some advantages. The little voice that says, ‘hurry, things need to be done, important things. Stop daydreaming!’ is quiet. It feels sort of nice to float along, not caring or worrying so much.”

Thursday will come and go, and I will come out of this stasis and start feeling again. Meanwhile, I have ordered 120 bulbs on sale for my spring garden, cooked four artichokes, and eaten one. I made my bed and my laundry is done. I have actually been taking care of myself without thinking about it. Friday, I will feel good about the things I did while I was sleepwalking. Today, it is enough to just notice them.

Blank Mind and Orange Sky

* Information on Satanic holidays are now at the end of the post.

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Every time I start to write a blog post about ritual abuse, I am afraid I won’t be able to think of anything to say. I have no new ideas. Everything has already been said, and more than once, at that. Most times, I do manage to come up with something. It may not be great, but at least it is something.

But until I get it out of my mind and on to my computer, I am sure I will come up with a blank. Its not so much writer’s block as thinker’s block.

Of course, sometimes, I come up with nothing, and then I apologize my head off in the next scheduled blog post. I should just relax and accept that I, like everybody else, sometimes have nothing at all to say.

So here I am writing about having nothing to write about. Pretty silly!

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Here is what blotted ritual abuse out of my mind.

I woke up yesterday (September 9) morning and thought the sun hadn’t risen. It was 8:00 AM. The light was a sickly orange-grey, and I couldn’t spot where the sun should have been. No birds were singing. My neighbors had their lights on. It was like being in a science fiction story and waking up on another planet with a dying sun. Five hours later, it was just about the same.

View from my bedroom window at 8 AM

I hit the computer and learned that heavy smoke and ash from the wildfires up north had risen high into the atmosphere and were being pushed south by the winds at that level. The plume of smoke floated over my city, San Francisco, and was prevented from falling by a high-pressure area off the ocean. The air on the ground was no worse than usual; there was no reason I couldn’t go outside and garden all day if I wanted to. I’m not in the habit of gardening in the dark – maybe I could have brought a flashlight?

The orange gloom lingered most of the day. By sunset, it had faded to a semi-normal haze of fog and high-altitude smog. Today, it’s just dark and foggy, and the air quality is AWFUL! It’s the worst in the whole world. Go check out PurpleAir.com if you think I am exaggerating.

Nobody in California has read or heard of such a thing, let alone experienced it.

View from my living room window at 5 PM

It is very frightening to see the world changing so rapidly. The third highest temperature ever recorded on earth was logged at 130 degrees in Death Valley on August 16. Perhaps it was the highest, as the accuracy of the other two readings is in doubt. California has already seen twice as much land burned as last year, and we haven’t even officially entered the fire season. Every day is a “Spare the Air Day,” which I find sort of pathetic. We are being asked not to burn wood, as if anybody in their right mind would think of building a fire in their fireplace in the middle of a heat wave.

This weird event is temporarily blotting out my awareness of ritual abuse, as well as temporarily blotting out the sun. I wish something blazingly wonderful would happen to turns my thoughts away from RA, but I cannot imagine anything as spectacularly wonderful as this has been awful. Maybe next week, please?

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Upcoming Holidays

September
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels
October
10/1 Full moon
10/12 Columbus Day (?)
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/31 Full moon (Blue Moon)
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
November
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 Veterans’ Day (?)
11/13 Friday the thirteenth
11/14 New moon
11/26 Thanksgiving Day (United States)
11/30 St. Andrew’s Day
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival)
10/12 Hitler’s alternate half birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual half-birthday, 10/20, and his alternate half-birthdate six months after Easter, which fell on 4/12 this year.)
10/20 Hitler’s half birthday
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/12 10/19 Death of Goering
10/31 Halloween
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/29 -12/16 Chanukah/Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish or Christian holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

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* You can find more information on the following holidays at:

Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/
Easter: personal (for background, see Spring Equinox): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/