The Poetry Reading Was AMAZING!

A first event is supposed to have lots of glitches, and then the second one goes much more smoothly. This one had only two glitches.

1. We promised a full hour for Q&A and didn’t have it, so we offered to go an extra 15 minutes

2. I kept forgetting to unmute. And a couple of times I forgot what I was saying. Nobody else had these problems, that I could tell.

Both no big deal!

What was truly amazing was how connected people felt, how grateful to be together. People, including some of the poets, cried together. Nobody wanted to leave. It was powerful, inspiring, and a total high, I think, for everybody.

There was so much feedback about how vulnerable the poets were, how the poems pulled no punches about the abuse. Some people said they had never heard a particular topic spoken of before. I think many were amazed that we weren’t all struck dead by lightning for saying and hearing such things. The rule of silence sure the hell was broken many times over in those 2 1/4 hours!

None of the attendees knew what was going to be shared when they signed up so, in my mind, it was a small experiment to see how many survivors lived through what. What surprised me was that several people said in the chat that they had experienced abuse by Nazi doctors. I think this is something that screams to be brought out in the open.

I remember the days when government mind control programming was never spoken of publicly. Why? Fear and denial. “If I even allude to this, they will find out and come and kill me.” “Our own government couldn’t have done anything like that, not in a million years.” I think we are in that same stage now regarding the Nazi mind control experts that were brought over during Project Paperclip.

The reasoning behind quietly bringing German war criminals to the US was that they were too dangerous to leave where they were – they probably would just go underground and keep doing what they had been doing all along. And that it was better to have them working for us than for Germany. I think that it would have been far better to have had them working for nobody at all and to have had them tried and brought to justice.

There were other things, of course, that elicited a “You, too? I thought I was the only one!” That was what brought such a sense of cohesion, of community, to the group.

The elation I felt was accompanied by a deep sadness. There is such a need for survivors to find each other, to talk, to meet over the Internet and on video conferences. And to meet in person, one on one, and in groups. There is practically nothing out there for us. What little exists is hard to find, and so people remain isolated.

The scarcity makes it seem like it is dangerous for survivors to connect, both because the abusers will find out and take revenge and because, in some way, contact with other survivors is intrinsically dangerous. They might be plants and lure you back into the cult. They might not have worked out their issues and you risk physical or psychological violence. Listening to their memories might contaminate your own; you might end up believing things about yourself that are not true.

Of course, it is only sensible to be cautious around survivors, just as you are cautious around other people. Test the waters before you trust. But the vast majority of survivors I have met are brave and kind people. They have made a deep commitment to being different from their abusers.

The environment of fear and isolation is especially sad to me because it hasn’t always been like this. When I first remembered, it was so easy to find others and to make friends with them! And it continued that way for several years until the False Memory Syndrome Foundation people won the media over and intimidated therapists and survivors alike with lawsuits.

It took me exactly three weeks from my first flashback to meet another RA survivor. There were several conferences a year in Massachusetts on ritual abuse. When I moved to San Francisco, there were daily “Nothing Too Heavy to Share” meetings (Survivors of Incest Anonymous meetings for RA survivors) within a half hour’s drive – sometimes two a day. Three Survivorship conferences a year. Poetry readings in bookstores. People having lunch and coffee together, forming their own non-12-step groups, sharing apartments.

All that has faded away. It’s time to do something about it and start bringing people together. We need connection and healing, not fear and isolation. Who can make it happen?

You! Me! Us! As Lily Tomlin said, “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” Go for it!

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I sent out a follow-up questionnaire and learned that people wanted another poetry reading. Now that we know what we are doing (I think!) we can offer that. The three co-hosts and planners, River, Leni, and I, just need to get out our calendars and pick a date.

The other thing people were interested in were Webinars. I’ve had experience with Webinars from Survivorship, as I organized and hosted a Webinar series for them. That was a dozen years ago, and the apps weren’t nearly as good as they are today, so technically it was more difficult. It was a perpetual challenge with things breaking down, trying to work around problems, and explaining the software to the attendees. The other challenge came at the end of the series when I had trouble finding new people to present. It should be a lot easier this time around.

I case you can’t tell, I’m still a little high from the experience!

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Here’s a summary of the questionnaire. Rather than emailing me (though of course you can do that), let’s respond to it in the comments section.

I want to be on the mailing list!                     

     yes ___ no ___  

Would you like another poetry reading?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in reading your poetry?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like to have an art exhibit?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in sharing your artwork?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like a musical performance?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in sharing your music?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like some Webinars?

yes ___ no ___

Suggested topics?

Would you be willing to give a Webinar?

     yes ___ no ___

Can’t wait to learn what y’all want!

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Upcoming Holidays

July

7/23 Full Moon 
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God 
7/27 Grand Climax

August

8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh 
8/13 Friday the 13th 
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
8/22 Full Moon 
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

September

9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast 
9/7 Labor Day (United States) 
9/20 Full moon 
9/22 Fall Equinox 
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party 
9/1 Start of WW2 
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement) 
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) 
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday 
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

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Additional information on various holidays:

Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and 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-il
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/

An Unexpected Gift for My Spirit

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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This morning I poured myself some cold coffee, added ice cubes and a little ice cream, grabbed an almost-empty bag of jalapeño potato chips, and sat down at my computer to read my email and the Guardian. (Don’t worry – later I made myself a proper breakfast.)

I subscribe to “A Poem a Day” from https://poets.org/poem-a-day. Some days I simply cannot understand what the poem is trying to say, other days I find it uninspiring. Some days it speaks with force and beauty to my condition. Today I was moved to check out a second poem because the title appealed to me, and it transformed my day.

I know I will read and reread this poem over and over. It gives me courage for the journey and makes my heart sing. It will make me feel like each day is a coming-home-to-myself party.

I share it with you, hoping you may glimpse what I cannot yet fully describe; something I totally believe in, something which has always been just beyond my awareness.

Joy Harjo, by the way, is our current Poet Laureate and the first Native American Poet Laureate.

 

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

 

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
 Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
 The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

 

Reprinted from “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo.

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Upcoming Holidays

November
11/28 US Thanksgiving
December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/10 Full moon
1/10-11 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, which will be visible in Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-january-10
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)

I’m on the Radio on February 20 – And Other News Items

The Infinite Mind Conference was a blast. I’ve never been in a room with 300 people, most of whom were multiple. I’ll write more about it later.

The only bad thing about it was that my sister-in-law, who I have known for fifty years, died while I was flying home. I immediately left to be with the family for the memorial service. I’m very sad and not feeling up to writing a whole post, but I have gathered some news items.

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I’m going to be interviewed on the radio on Wednesday Feb 20 at 5 PM Pacific time! It will be 90 minutes. I’d love if some of you tuned in so I could imagine friendly ears as I talked. If you cannot make it, no biggie – all shows are archived.

Go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/NAASCA and click on number 3 in the box below the description. Then click anywhere on the description. The show starts with an ad, then some music, and then the interviewer explains the series and makes the introduction.

Two people have already been interviewed: Ellen Lacter, a therapist who works with both children and adult survivors and Kim Kubal, an RA survivor. To listen, go to the bottom of the page and click through the numbers until you find the archived show you want. Ellen’s website is http://endritualabuse.org/ and Kim’s is https://kimkubal.com/your-strength-to-heal-healing-from-trauma/

It would be great if some of you would also like to be interviewed – it’s such a great way to share your story, educate people about RA, and/or give them resources. If you are interested, write to Bill Murray and tell him you heard about the series on my blog. You can reach him at support@blogtalkradio.com

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Please consider helping with gathering data for a PhD thesis on ritual abuse survivors’ experiences with social media. I took the survey yesterday. It wasn’t triggering to me, and it made me grateful for the sense of community the Internet gives me.

By the way, Izzy’s Promise is Scotland’s foremost resource.

“My name is Joseph Lumbasi, the manager for Izzy’s Promise http://www.izzyspromise.org.uk and currently a PhD Student at the University of Dundee, School of Social Work and Education.

“To participate in this research please copy and paste this link into your browser [do not click the link please] https://dundee.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/views-and-experiences-of-self-identified-ra-survivors-on-t-4

“Please help me by completing and circulating the survey to your networks.”

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March 5 is Dissociative Identity Disorder Awareness Day. You are invited to celebrate it by explaining to somebody what DID is and what it isn’t. Certainly it is nothing like what is depicted on television! You can also explain to your insiders. There will in all probability littles listening in, so it’s good to keep your language smple.

Power to the Plurals has a free poster. https://powertotheplurals.com/2019/02/15/free-poster-for-dissociative-identity-disorder-awareness-day/ You can print it on 8 1/2 by 11 paper. (A4 paper is what most of the rest of the world uses; it is about 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches.)

There is also a lovely ribbon available. Read about it at http://www.copingincrazyville.com/index/table-of-contents/didmpd-awareness-ribbon-links-and-info/ Read still more at: http://traumadissociation.com/awareness

And here is a blog entry I liked https://www.discussingdissociation.com/2018/03/dissociative-identity-disorder-awareness-day-march-5/

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Power to the Plurals is planning an online conference for March 28 – April 1. If you would like to participate, let me know and I will pass along your message (it’s not officially announced, so there is no formal contact information published.)