Halloween 2022

Update on Spencer

A little bit of good news before I get into the heavy stuff.

Spencer, for new readers, is my timid newly-adopted cat. (See the above photo.) He’s been having a terrible time getting used to his new surroundings, as he had lived his whole life in the same place with his mommy. I actually lost him in the apartment for about a week.

But I found him, and he is back in my bedroom and starting to feel comfortable in the smaller space. Hopefully, when he gets free run of the place, he will think of the bedroom as a safe place to retreat to.

Happy! happy! He is bonding with me, more so day by day. He sleeps next to me at night, and we cuddle before I fall asleep. He has started to gently lick my hands as part of his good night routine. 

My next challenge will be to get him off the night shift and onto the day shift. I’m considering moving the computer into my bedroom so I can pay more attention to him during the day. Hope he is not scared of large, bright, noisy machines. 

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Halloween

I thought of my first Halloween here in the heart of the nation’s gay male Mecca. OMG! The costumes! There is a fair amount of kink here and costumes were worn for days, both before and after. The (bad pun) least of it was nude men wearing Santa hats. So many black cats, so many witches, so many Dorothys with little stuffed Totos in their arms. It felt like I was living in a sea of triggers. 

Today, things seem more sedate and, of course, I stay at home except for doctors’ appointments. If I wanted to trigger myself, I would have to go hunting for something on the Internet. I am very grateful I no longer have those intense flashbacks. 

I am also very grateful that, for me, all the cult abuse happened in a couple of days around Halloween. The rest of October has been pretty devoid of horrible memories. For many survivors, though, it seems that the whole month of October is riddled with preparation for coming rituals and then the rituals themselves. In addition to Halloween, there are these days: 10/9 Full Moon, 10/12 Columbus Day (perhaps), 10/13 Backwards Halloween, 10/13 – 10/30 Preparation for Halloween Eve, and 10/25 New Moon.

If you were abused in a Nazi or Neo-Nazi cult, these days may be observed: 10/16 Death of Rosenburg, 10/19, Death of Goering, and 10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday. The Jewish holidays 10/5 Yom Kippur and 10/10 Sukkot, may also be observed by some, but not all, Nazi groups. 

In Polytheistic groups, many Celtic, Druidic, Roman, and Egyptian holidays are added to the basic Satanic calendar.

Turning Flashbacks into Memories

By now, I am desensitized to many anniversary reactions and triggers. After freaking out year after year, they have lost their ability to send me into a full-fledged panic attack. I must say I don’t like Halloween and I don’t like Halloween decorations. I find them ugly and kitschy. The day has become a big money maker, what with costumes and candy and little plastic pumpkins with handles and greeting cards and glow-in-the-dark 6-foot tall skeletons and who knows what else. I’m much more comfortable with The Day of the Dead.

My “anniversary reaction” is now simply one of dislike. It doesn’t precipitate a flashback that plunges me back to a long-forgotten ritual. Or perhaps to a school party that put me in a flashback to a recent ritual. (I have had flashbacks to childhood events that, themselves, precipitated flashbacks – sort of like those Russian dolls, small ones nested into medium ones nested in turn into one final big one.) 

The memory has moved from being so vivid that I almost thought it was happening in the present, to a scary flashback where I was equally conscious of the past event and my present life, to an ordinary memory, just like any other memory. The technical terms are traumatic memory (flashback) and narrative memory.

Traumatic memory: my head is being held under water in a big bucket I can’t hold my breath a moment longer I am going to drown I am going to breathe water and drown I am going to die i am dying i am dying

Narrative memory: Once, when I was about six or seven, they said, “Come and bob for apples – it’s fun. Bite an apple, and if you can bring it to the surface, you can keep it. You’ll get some candy, too.” I believed them and stuck my head in the bucket of water. I could feel apples bouncing off my face, but I couldn’t catch one. I came up for some air and then tried again. Somebody started laughing, and a hand pushed my head down under the water. I thought I was going to drown, but at the last moment, they released me. They laughed and made fun of me and called me stupid. And no apple, no candy, of course.

See the difference?

So how do you get from flashback to memory? I think the answer is to clothe the raw experience in words. 

If you have supportive people around, tell them about the flashback. Let them ask questions. This will clear up misunderstandings, help you search for more words to add to the experience, and, in all probability, make you feel closer to each other. If you can, tell more than one person. Different people ask different questions, leading you to look at the traumatic experience from slightly different angles.

Pen and paper or keyboard and computer are also excellent ways to clothe your experience in words. Journaling has helped countless people. Forget good grammar – just let the words flow. Try to keep your journals in one place and try to organize your computer files so that you can easily find them. 

And date every single thing! I wish I had dated my writings and kept them together. It is invaluable when I come across something to know whether it was written twenty years ago or five. I would then understand where it fits in the ever-evolving narrative of my life.

And don’t forget to talk to yourself, preferably out loud. Explain to your inner parts what a flashback is. Tell them that what was done was horrible, and that they were not at fault in any way. Tell them how sorry you are that it happened and that it was wrong, wrong, wrong. The more you talk about or write about an experience held in a flashback, the faster it moves into narrative memory.

You may be afraid to put words to what you have experienced. That’s part of the flashback, part of the “don’t tell, don’t speak of this, don’t let anybody (even yourself) know” programming. Name your fear, name all the reasons you have to be afraid. When you have clothed your fear in words, it may be possible to turn toward the rest of the traumatic experience. And even if you are not ready, you have taken a huge step toward handling the terror you felt when enduring the abuse, holiday after holiday, year after year.

And remember….Halloween will be over in a few hours.

Wishful Thinking in the Month of October

I said to myself, as I opened my blog folder to write this entry, “Well, at least October is over!” Except it isn’t. It’s only a third over. October is not my favorite month by far. Wishful thinking, sigh.

I know that this is a terrible time for many people, much worse than it is for me. Not that Halloween isn’t bad, but it doesn’t hold a candle, so to speak, to Beltane. My heart goes out when I hear that some of you spent many days in preparation for Halloween and the dread and the tortures increased every day.

I note that I list 10/13 as Backward Halloween on the calendar. I also dimly remember that I once listed it as Backward Halloween/Satanic New Year, but I cannot find the reference. The Satanic New Year is currently listed as being on January 13, which doesn’t mean anything to me. If anybody knows anything about the significance of this date, can you let me know?

10/13 to 10/31 would make sense as the period of preparation for Halloween, simply because of the numbers. This might account for the long preparation time that some of us have had to suffered through. If some cults moved the celebration of the New Year back to 10/13, it would make even more sense.

When I say, “moved back,” I’m referring to the fact that cults from the United Kingdom mark the start of the year on Halloween, as did the Celts. The idea was that life begins in darkness. Seeds start off covered by soil, human babies spend nine months in the womb. Other mammals spend from a couple of days to almost two years in the womb. Since the cults in the United Kingdom stole the major holidays from the Celts, Halloween is the New Year.

By the way, there is a Backwards Halloween! Called Neewollah (That’s Halloween spelled backward.) It started in 1919 in Independence, Kansas, as an alternative to trick and treating and is now a nine-day festival. If you don’t believe me, see https://www.neewollah.com/p/about/100-years-of-neewollah

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I wish for all of us that October was over. I wish everybody in the cults would wake up and realize that it’s lots more rewarding to be kind to people that to be a sadistic bastard. I wish that all children could grow up in safety, surrounded by love.

That’s pretty ambitious wishing! I think I’ll scale it back and simply wish…

That we all get through October in one piece, so to speak. That we all recognize what a miracle it is that we yearned for freedom and that most of us have gained freedom. The others haven’t given up; they are still trying to escape. I wish that they could see how courageous they are and hold their heads high.

I wish that we all could remember, every single day, that they didn’t destroy our essence, our soul, our love of truth, and our love of life. We forget this in the middle of flashbacks, when we are totally overwhelmed, or when they have caught us and are once again torturing us. But it is true, we hide what is most precious deep inside where they can never reach it.

We are all amazing heroes.

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Upcoming Holidays

October
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
December
Sundays of advent: 11/28, 12/5, 12/12, 12/19
12/4 New Moon
12/4 Total Solar Eclipse
12/14 New moon
12/14 Total solar eclipse. Totality visible in Chile and parts of Argentina. Partial eclipse visible in southern South America and south-east Africa. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-december-14
12/18 Full Moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/5 Christmas Day
12/29 Full moon
12/31 New Year’s Eve

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
10/19 Death of Goering
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
(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: 

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 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/



The Power of Baby Steps

* 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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Some changes come in such small increments that you don’t notice them until a long time has passed, and you take a moment to remember what it was like in the beginning. When I was a kid, did I feel taller every day? Of course not! But every few months, my height was marked on a door frame, and so I could see that I was noticeably taller than I was a year or two earlier.

So it was with healing from ritual abuse. Day by day, I felt I was getting nowhere fast. I couldn’t see any changes, and I was discouraged and, at times, hopeless. But when enough time had passed, the changes started to become visible.

This was what was like for me in the early days.

The moment when I realized there was ritual abuse in my background, my blood ran cold, and I burst out with, “Oh fuck!!!!” An hour or so later, the flashbacks started, and they continued non-stop for many months.

Well, I am exaggerating. They weren’t really non-stop. I was working at the time as a therapist, and they were kind enough to stop when I was with clients and to wait for times when I was alone, like on bathroom breaks. I was petrified I would have one during a session, so I was anxious all the time, but it never happened. Otherwise, they were 24/7.

I also became paranoid. I thought my cats knew I had killed cats forty years before and that they hated me for it. I thought that when radios were silent, they could broadcast thoughts and place them in my mind. I therefore slept with the radio on – it was lovely to wake up to “Mozart in the Morning!” Because I knew these thoughts were nuts, I figured I wasn’t quite as much of a mess as I thought I was, if that makes any sense. Even so, I was in pretty bad shape.

Now, my therapist had an optimistic streak that drove me crazy. He believed that I could come through this, and he attempted to slow me down. You see, I was failing around wildly, not knowing what to do, where to turn, not knowing if something was useful or hurtful. “Baby steps, Jean, baby steps.” But baby steps in what direction? He counted getting out of bed, eating every day, washing, as baby steps. Me, I thought that didn’t count as progress. I had done all those things for years. I wanted to do things I couldn’t do, like stop the flashbacks. It didn’t occur to me that I had never done any of those things while in flashback. Poor guy, he had his hands full reassuring me!

Finally, in exhaustion, I decided that all I had to do was not kill myself and wait for the changes to happen magically with no effort on my part.

As the months passed, things did start to change. I couldn’t see that anything was different, of course, because change came so slowly. I was also fighting “old tapes” from the cult and from my family.

The cult had taught me:
I was powerless
I was weak
I was stupid
Given a choice, I always chose the wrong thing
I would never learn
I deserved what I got, I deserved all the abuse
I could never change

My parents had taught me:
I was not nice enough
I was not pretty enough
I was not smart enough
I was not kind enough
I was not popular enough
I was a disappointment to them
I was stubborn and would never change

All the voices in my head conspired to deny or sabotage every positive baby step I took.

And when I reached a place when something positive had become a habit, it was frighteningly unfamiliar. I didn’t trust it to stick around, and I didn’t know how to act, think, or feel. It was like the first day of school or waking up one morning in a foreign land, not knowing the language or the customs. So what did I do? I made a vow not to hurt myself and waited to magically adapt with no effort on my part. Time is a wonderful healer!

Now, thirty years and six months later, I can see how all the little tiny things I did along the way have added up, and I feel transformed. There is still plenty of work on myself I can do, but the difference is amazing.

I’ll give you a recent example.

Halloween and Beltane are the worst days for me. They always had been, even before I realized that I was a ritual abuse survivor, and I figured they always would be.

But this year, I had no flashbacks on Halloween. I was not anxious and frightened the week or two before. I was not agoraphobic. I was not sick to my stomach. I was not upset by the decorations my neighbors chose for their front doors. It was just an ordinary day like any other.

If you had told me that someday I would not be bothered by Halloween, I would not have believed you for one minute. I never imagined that such a thing would happen. And yet it did. Why? An accumulation of little things I did along the way added up. Which ones helped and which didn’t, I don’t know. Perhaps they all helped, just because I put energy into trying.

I can’t promise you that you will get the same results as I did. But I can promise you that change is possible and that there is hope, even if it is clouded over by despair. All those baby steps make a huge difference!

Upcoming Holidays

November
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
12/26 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

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)