Death Is in the Air These Days

For the past several years, I have been thinking of death. mostly my own death. Not every now and then, but several times a day. I keep thinking I should ask others whether they do, too, but I never get around to it.

Why? I don’t want to upset people. I don’t want them to think I am hinting about being suicidal. I don’t want to find out that I am perfectly normal and that being preoccupied about death is a to-be-expected part of this phase of life, but it’s taboo to speak of it for some reason. I don’t want to discover it’s not normal at all. And I wonder whether I would be relieved or upset and angry to learn that it had nothing to do with my age and everything to do with my childhood and the ritual abuse.

I remember clearly what it is like to be depressed and suicidal and I am not depressed. I’m confused and unsure about a lot of things, but depression is not one of them. My thoughts about death are mundane. Should I do this, or that, before I die? Do I want to eat this now, in case I die overnight? or save it for a day of celebration?

I have a notebook in which I keep a list of where I put things. It’s helpful to me in the present and it will be helpful to those who have to sort through my stuff after I am gone. I use the back pages for miscellaneous notes of all kinds.

I was flipping through the notebook and came across this:

Death is in the air these days

in my old cat’s limp

in my constant pain 

back – knees – hands

in the news, of course,

and the invisible plague

But I rejoice

when I die, it will not be at their hands

no torture gone a little too far

not a murder, not an “accident”

and not a suicide

For I am

I am what? Free? Still alive? It seems that I was interrupted and that there was supposed to be a third section. I like it just the way it is – or perhaps ending in total caps: “FOR I AM.” Maybe someday I will flip through the notebook and find that a third section has appeared.

Is it a poem? I guess so. I don’t remember when or why I wrote it. It could have been twenty years ago (if it had not referred to COVID) or yesterday. I assume it was after April 3 of this year because there is a list on the page before dated April 3. But I pick pages to use so randomly that the date can’t be definitive. Since I forget so many things these days and I attribute this increased forgetfulness to increased dissociation, I’m not concerned about a poem popping up unexpectedly.

I have a feeling that it is about gratitude and that feeling gets stronger as I write about it. I’m very glad I am alive, and not a little amazed and puzzled at having lived so long. I thought I would be dead by thirty and now I am fifty-plus years older than thirty. Very strange. It’s like a group predicting the end of the world on such and such a date, and then, when that date comes and nothing has happened, setting the date of doom and destruction further in the future, choosing another date. 

Except that my abusers didn’t set another date – they left it open-ended. Perhaps they were sure that I would obey a call-back and be an active member of the cult for the rest of my life, so there was no need for me to get out of their hair with an early death. Who knows? So much of what they did and said made little sense – it was just plain nuts.

I wish with all my heart that all survivors could have only one call-back date and then be left alone for the rest of their lives. No boundaries broken, no unwanted communication, no intrusive thoughts. Wouldn’t that be great? To be left alone in peace to heal the wounds they inflicted and to die a peaceful, natural death.

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Upcoming Holidays

May
5/23 Pentecost
5/26 Total Lunar Eclipse 
5/26 Full Moon
5/31 Memorial Day

June
 6/10 Annular Solar Eclipse
 6/20 Fathers’ Day
 6/21 Summer solstice
 6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
 6/24 (?) St John’s Day
 6/24 Full Moon

July 
 
7/4 Independence Day 
 7/23 Full Moon 
 7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God 
 7/27 Grand Climax

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups 
6/6 D-Day (Invasion of France in WW2) 
7/18 Tisha B’Av (Jewish Day of Mourning)  
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party

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

A Couple of Tips on Communication

There are two announcements after the main part of this post.

Guess we all made it through Candlemas, one of the eight major Satanic holidays. Next week there are two Christian holidays, which are often perverted by Satanic groups. Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is a feast, a celebration of the last day before the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a time of fasting to commemorate the forty days Jesus spent in the desert prior to being crucified. I hope your abusers skipped these days, and if they didn’t, I hope you stay safe and are granted healing.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Because I wandered through childhood in a daze, I never picked up the social skills that the other kids did. I knew that if you said things in one way, you got good results, but if you said them slightly differently, people would have no idea what you were talking about, or they would take it the wrong way. It was like wanting either hot water or cold water and knowing that water came out of faucets but having no idea which one was for hot water and which one was for cold water. And not knowing you could mix them!

When I was four or five, my mother told me to ask a woman for the time. She added, “Remember to say please and thank you.” So I walked up to the woman and politely said, “Please and thank you, can you tell me the time?” I expected her to smile and tell me what time it was. Instead, she burst out laughing. Why? No idea. I had done exactly what I had been told to do and had gotten a totally unexpected result.

Here I am almost eighty years later, still trying to earn the little rules and tricks of communication that other people seem to use so effortlessly. 

Here is something I learned a few years ago. It’s good to remind myself occasionally.

If you use “but” in a sentence, whatever you are talking about seems difficult or wrong. If you use “and,” though, it seems easy and inviting

“If you are wearing a mask and want to be friendly, make eye contact but don’t hold it too long or you will appear hostile.”
“If you are wearing a mask and want to be friendly, make eye contact and then look away after a couple of seconds.”

“It’s fine to wear a plaid skirt but don’t wear a patterned top.”
‘It’s fine to wear a plaid skirt and a plain top.”

When I hear the sentences with “but” in them, it feels like a threat. If you do this, something terrible will happen. It also sounds bossy, and I don’t like to be told what to do. The “and” sentences seem neutral and informative.

And here is something I learned just a week ago. It’s a little more complicated and will be harder for me to remember, but I think it will be extremely useful.

This approach is for a situation when somebody is doing something you don’t like, and you want them to change their behavior. It doesn’t criticize or confront the other person in any way, and you come across as reasonable and self-confident. You may not get what you want all the time, but I bet you will have a lot more success than if you outright asked the other person for what you wanted. Here is the formula:

I noticed…
I feel…
I need…
Would you consider…?

Let’s see if I can make up something. 

“I noticed that you told a joke that appeared to put down Hispanic people. I felt hurt because I have Mexican relatives. In order to feel comfortable, I need to know that no group will be dissed. Would you consider not telling jokes or using language that seems disrespectful in front of me?”

I doubt if I could figure out how to say this without taking time to work out the steps. I think it would be just as effective if a day or a week elapsed between the incident and my request. I haven’t had time to experiment with this approach since I just learned about it. If I have an occasion to try it out, I’ll let you know the results. 

It’s true. You can teach an old dog new tricks. And the old dog is thrilled!

 ~~~~~~~~~~ 

We are going to have a poetry reading!!

We have a technical person, a ZOOM account, and four or five poets lined up. If we go for ninety minutes, there is room for a few more people. 

Post in the comment section or write me at rahome@ra-info.org if you would like to read your work. I’m asking everybody to read aloud the poems they want to share, time themselves, and let me know how long it took. (The maximum allotted time is ten minutes. If you need less time, we can have more participants.) There will be a place to sign up if you want to be part of the audience.

We haven’t picked a date yet, but it will be on a Saturday. Here are the various time zones so you can figure out if you can make it or not.

7 AM Melbourne Time (Sunday)
12 noon Pacific Time
1 PM Mountain Time
2 PM Central Time
3 PM Eastern Time
8 PM London Time
9 PM Amsterdam Time

 ~~~~~~~~~~ 

An opportunity to participate in a study of children’s religious rights

Cindy Owre is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History, Classics, and Religion at the University of Alberta. 

She is conducting research on how children’s religious rights and spiritual needs are or are not being met. The goal of this study is to generate ideas for creating policies that will help faith communities and religiously run schools to develop safe spaces where these rights and needs can be nurtured and to provide training so that children can learn how to form healthy relationships with religious leaders and staff. 

She is seeking people over 18 years old who are living in Canada and who have been affected in some way by child sexual abuse or CSA in a religious context. 

For more information, contact Cindy at cowre@ualberta.ca or by phone at 1-825-512-3116. 

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Upcoming Holidays

February
2/12 (?) Lincoln’s Birthday
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/15 (?) Presidents’ Day/Washington’s birthday
2/16 Shrove Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
2/17 Ash Wednesday/beginning of Lent
2/25 Walpurgis Day
2/27 Full Moon

March
3/1 St David’s Day (patron saint of Wales)
3/1 St. Eichstadt’s Day
3/17 St. Patrick’s Day (patron saint of Ireland)
3/21 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/28 Full Moon
3/28 Palm Sunday

April
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/1 Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the Last Supper)
4/2 Good Friday
4/3 Holy Saturday
4/4 Easter Sunday
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/26 Grand Climax/De Meur
4/26 Full Moon
4 /30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
3/28 – 4/4 Passover/Pesach (Deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

~~~~~~~~~~

You can find more information on the following holidays at

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 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/
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/

Halloween: 1999 and 2019

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

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:

I was searching my computer for a poem by verne that was published in the Survivorship Journal ages ago and came across some of my old writing. (If by some remote chance somebody has any poems by verne, they would be much appreciated. Just put them in the comments section.)

Here’s the poem – I think his spirit shines through.

A Toast

take a glass and raise it high
to those of us who won’t
lay down and die
some of us beaten and abused
by those we loved
others by our government
still we won’t
lay 
down and die

so take a glass
and drain it dry.

verne

~~~~~

I found this piece, which is 20 years old! It was the first year I was editing Survivorship’s Monthly Notes. Shortly afterwards, I went on to edit the Journal, as well.

 Halloween, October 1999

I’m really ambivalent about fall. As a child, I never could decide if I dreaded the return to school or couldn’t wait. On the one hand, there was the relentless pressure to do everything perfectly the first time, the social isolation, the contempt of the other kids. On the other hand, there was the hope that I would somehow magically discover the secret to happiness and social ease. Perhaps in second grade? Perhaps third? Perhaps a Ph.D. in Comparative Tibetan Literature would do the trick?

And then, lurking in my unconscious, was the knowledge that some pretty awful days were coming up. I’m sure even a first grader knows on some level that when the leaves start to fall, the Equinox, and then Halloween, can’t be far behind.

Halloween seems a very difficult holiday to reclaim. To me, it connotes death and destruction on many levels, and reclaiming death seems impossible. There is nothing in my heritage, either the day heritage or the night one, that allows me to feel comfortable with death or the process of dying.

Nobody I knew spoke of the dead with respect and affection, nobody in my childhood celebrated their lives. I wonder what it would be like to have my first associations with death be The Day of the Dead – a joyful picnic in the cemetery, with laughter and reminiscing, food prepared from ancient recipes, children running around and playing.

So how do I cope? Well, to tell you the truth, I generally try something different each year, because nothing has satisfied me so far. I tried making elaborate treats for the trick-or-treaters. I tried turning off all the lights and going to bed at 5:30. One year I painted the inside of the garage. I tried a trip to a tourist town I had never seen. (Bad idea. I found I prefer to be miserable in familiar surroundings. Of course, I never would have known that if I hadn’t experimented.)

One year I tried to ‘sanitize’ part of the ritual. Along with two tolerant friends, I built a fire in their fireplace. We took slips of paper and wrote all the things we wanted to say goodbye to and then burned the paper. We then wished each other Happy New Year. (October 31st is the first day of the Celtic New Year.) We wrote all the things we wanted to welcome into our lives on more scraps of paper, took them home, and planted them in the dirt so they could grow. That was sort of cool.

This year? I don’t know yet.

Halloween, October 2019

I don’t feel upset about Halloween . . . yet. I’m glad I am no longer all triggered two weeks ahead of every major holiday. I don’t feel the panicky pressure of the days ticking off, and I haven’t planned anything special.

I remember doing something really cool one year back then. Halloween is the Celtic New Year, and the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is believed to be thinner than usual. Since the dead can come and visit, there is a tradition of setting out a portion of the evening meal to welcome them.

So I put a plate of whatever I had made for dinner out on the deck. The next day, the food was all gone!!! I was awed and baffled until I noticed little footprints. Raccoons had come and had a feast. My friends thought the dead had shape-shifted into raccoons, which is a lovely thought. Ancestors or raccoons, it didnt matter to me. I felt a little less anger and resentment against my parents. It’s great to do something kind for somebody you hate; it softens your soul and eases your burden.

I’m saddened that I no longer have the energy to do as much writing as I did twenty years ago. By and large, I like what I wrote back then, and I feel that my style hasn’t changed much. I only hope that what I manage to do now measures up.

~~~~~

Upcoming Holidays

October
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
11/12 Full moon
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
12/15 Christmas Day
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
10/20 Hitler’s actual half-birthday
10/21 Hitler’s alternative half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and 10/20. His alternate birthday is celebrated on Easter of the current year and his alternate half-birthday six months later.)
10/21 – 10/22 Simchat Torah (celebration of the complete annual cycle of reading of the Torah)
11/9 Kristallnacht State-ordered pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria)
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)