Photos from My Alaska Trip

On February 9, I will be presenting “Ritual Abuse 101: Recognizing and Treating Survivors” at An Infinite Mind’s conference in Orlando, Florida. Therapists, survivors (including those who are wondering if they have a ritual abuse or government mind control background and support people are all welcome.


I thought I would share some photos from the Alaska trip. I’m still high from the experience, and the photos are really quite wonderful. I hope you enjoy them!

First, a poem that really captures the culture of people living in Alaska. Everybody values self-sufficiency and everybody has each others’ backs.


we are fish people, wood people, the people’s people
we are speak up, speak over the river people
steady ship, meandering beach, mountain peak people.
we have to see it for ourselves kind of people.

we are fixer upper, do it or it doesn’t get done people.
we sing at church, we kiss our wives, we carve with our door open we wear suits, we wear boots, we are spring clean saturday people. we are strange but we are no strangers.

happy nalukataq! bingo! amen!
we share our wins, we celebrate.
tree shakers, promise makers
we are believers

at any moment we are
the grandparents and grandchildren of greatness
genius and luck, noble and gathered
wild miracles

we are wayfinding people.
trace the edge of your mother and it will lead you
to a coast. who could truly tell where
you or I begin

or where any of our legends end?
here, north
is not a direction, it’s a bond.
we turn towards each other

— Christy NaMee Eriksen


People dress in layers in thirty degree below zero weather. Five or six layers aren’t uncommon – it’s the air between the clothes that supplies insulation. Puffy jackets and snow pants have lots of little pockets of air between the material that makes up the filling. Some people wear goggles to protect their eyes. It’s still damn cold.

Here are some things we saw on the way to Coldfoot Camp


This was as high as the sun got!

Winter water from the air. The white spaces are ice that has formed over rivers and ponds.


The infamous outhouse.

View from my bedroom. That ice is on the inside of the window!


Now on to the Northern Lights themselves, the star of the show.

This is what they were like on the night we saw them. They are never the same, so if we had come a week earlier or a week later it would have been quite different. There was no moon and there was no ambient light from the cabins. I have not seen so many stars for decades, perhaps ever!

Here’s an idea of what the camera can see when it gathers light for 10 minutes. A person can’t see anything, or sees just enough to wonder if it is wishful thinking or not.

Suddenly, green light appeared to rise from the horizon all around us. It was bright enough to obscure the stars.

It intensified and spread across the sky. Here the light is more diffuse, and the stars peek through.

And right above our heads, a swirl appeared, as if an invisible hand were finger-painting. It moved slowly and spread to the right.

After about ten minutes, the lights faded and we were back to the dark, star-filled sky. I wish the photos were larger so that you could see the more than a few stars.

It was magic to have the body so cold it wanted to run right back into the cabin, and the spirit so entranced it wanted to stare at the sky forever.


Upcoming Holidays

1/20 St. Agnes’ Eve
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc/Satanic Revels
2/8 Full moon
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/26 Ash Wednesday
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/9 Full moon
3/13 Friday the Thirteenth
3/17 Spring Equinox
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
2/10 Tu Bishvat/Tu B’Shevat (celebration of spring)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

Ambivalence … and Courage

Upcoming Holidays
7/4 Fourth of July/US Independence Day
7/8 Full Moon
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
8/1 Lamas/Lughnasadh
8/7 Full Moon
8/7 Partial lunar eclipse: visible in most of Europe, most of Asia, Australia, Africa, and eastern South America.
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
Important dates in Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday

Ambivalence … and Courage

I subscribe to the San Francisco Park and Recreation newsletter. I read in it that a company from Arizona was bringing horses to Golden Gate Park for a month and anybody could sign up. I am not *that* daring, so I wrote and told them all my concerns. I hadn’t ridden for forty years. I was afraid I couldn’t get on and off, afraid I couldn’t get from the parking lot to the stables, and most of all (I didn’t tell them this) afraid that I would throw my back out and not be able to leave the house for a year. They were very accommodating; if the worst came to the worst, there was a strong young man who could lift me on and off.

For a couple of weeks it was, “yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no” and finally, “fuck, why not? “So I signed up. So much for ambivalence! I took the chance! Still, being somewhat cautious, I only asked for half an hour.

I got on fine, with no help except for the mounting block (it looked like a sturdy little staircase.) The manager, Donna, took me out solo so that she could give me all the attention she thought I needed. It was overkill, but I didn’t care. We got along great; we both found plenty to talk about and had the same slightly twisted sense of humor.

My horse’s name was Badger. He was a beautiful dark brown, nicely proportioned, and very mellow. I would show him to you, except I forgot my iPhone in my excitement. Although this isn’t Badger, he looked like this, except his tail wasn’t as long and his saddle  was a a good deal rattier.

We rode on trails in the park, some paved, some dirt. There were native flowers in bloom and also “exotic” ones like climbing nasturtiums. There were stretches where I had to duck to avoid low-hanging branches. All we did was walk, but I didn’t care because I could pay closer attention to the plants and sunlight and smell of the horses.

We had the trails all to ourselves. There are two huge Dutch windmills at the north and south sides of the park near the ocean. We visited both of them and glimpsed the ocean from the trail. Huge waves breaking on a long stretch of sand. Heaven.

It didn’t hurt to sit on Badger, and it didn’t hurt after I got off. To my amazement, I didn’t hurt any more than usual or in any new places when I woke up the next day.

I thought of signing up again, but decided it would dilute the specialness of the ride. Besides, they are an Arizona company, and I will be in Arizona again this year running away from Christmas with my BFF (best female friend.) Two of the company’s branches are in places we plan to visit!

I wonder what it would be like to be on a horse in the desert. I could cover a lot more distance, even at a walk, than I can normally in a week. Even a tortoise could, come to think of it.

I’m already playing with my ambivalence. “Yes no, yes no, yes no, no rush, there are still six months to decide.”


Drowning in Beauty

May we all have a happier new year.

Don’t know whether you remember I was running away for Christmas to visit my friend in Arizona and take a trip to Moab in Utah. Well, I did, and there was very little evidence of Christmas in either place. I hardly even thought about ritual abuse. Mission accomplished!

Moab was incredible. The first day there we went for a drive, and it was so beautiful I burst into tears. There were all these red rocks on either side of the road towering hundreds of feet above us. Hundreds. I am not exaggerating. The town is in a little valley and every place you look, 360 degrees, there were red rocks.

This is high desert country, with elevations between 4000 and 7000 feet. Outside of town you look across barren ground broken only by sparse grasses and small shrubs. The ground is reddish because the soil is made of tiny particles eroded from those gigantic rocks. The vegetation was brown because the rainy season hadn’t started; however there was enough water and nourishment for rabbits and deer and other critters. It reminded me of driving through the Australian desert and seeing Ularu soaring up in the middle of nowhere. Except here, Ularu was all around us.

Christmas Day, we stayed in out little cabin, loafed, read magazines, and watched the snow fall gently around us. That was the only day it snowed and the rest of the time we drove through the La Sal mountains, Arches National Park and, on the last day, Monument Valley. We shared the road with deer, who were fearless, and cattle, who were just as fearless when we leaned on the horn. We saw ravens and buzzards and some tumbleweed, even though it was the wrong time of year. I was in heaven.

I did none of the driving, so I felt very well taken care of. We had been good friends for several years but we had never spend that much uninterrupted time together. We both are in chronic pain and when we are tired we get sort of grumpy. So much time together could have been a recipe for disaster, but we both were understanding and forgiving. The last couple of days were a real treat – we went over our ways of communicating and figured out patterns that cause misunderstandings. I’ve only done that in therapy, and that is pretty one-sided. I learned so much about her and about myself; when I am not clear, when I jump to conclusions about the other person, when she thought I was saying one thing but it was another.

I don’t want to give the impression that all was well 24/7. The day we were supposed to check into the cabin we arrived after the sun set. Of course we got hopelessly lost in back-country roads, up in the mountains, no houses within sight, no useful map, snow on the road, and no snow tires. After about two hours I suggested we call AAA and ask what to do. She heard AARP and thought that was the stupidest thing she had heard in a long time.

Finally we found a place with cell phone reception and called the company that managed the cabins. A sweet young guy talked us down to the road we were supposed to be on. Except we were twenty miles away from the turn off and he thought we were just a few yards from it. Eventually that got straightened out. Boy did we sleep well that night!

I was happy that I walked more than twice as much as I do on a good day at home, even with the altitude and getting out of breath. I hadn’t walked in snow for twenty or thirty years, and I could do it without losing my balance. Except one time, when I misjudged the steepness of a little slope, my weight was too far back, and I fell over backwards. I rolled to the right, so I didn’t hit my head, but my ankle is badly bruised. That’s the risk you take when you go bravely into an unfamiliar situation saying, “Of course I can do it” rather than, “I’m too scared. You go and have fun and I will stay here in the car and be bored.”

In case you hadn’t guessed, I want to go back next year.

PS I wanted to include pictures, but I am working on Windows and have no idea how to do anything. I’ll show you some fantastic pictures when I get home.