Katherine North on Self-Acceptance

The Trafficking Conference Videos Are Up!

On September 23, 2022, Donna Lyon, Jean Riseman, Mary Bolger, and Anneke Lucas presented at The International Conference for Human Trafficking and Social Justice.  https://www.traffickingconference.com

The presentation is titled “The Interface Between Sex Trafficking, Ritual Abuse (RA), and Mind Control (MC) Programming.” There was too much material to fit into 45 minutes, so it was split into two parts. The conference attendees were a very diverse group, including trafficking survivors (many were RA/MC survivors), law enforcement, ministers, therapists, researchers, activists, and more. They were eager to learn about RA/MC.

I wrote updates for the blog about our progress working on the presentation last spring and summer. Now you can see the finished product!

Part 1: The panelists, ranging in age from 58 to 85, were all introduced to sex trafficking by their families. Their experiences ranged from being exploited by a local group of pedophiles to global elite child sex trafficking rings.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=855pdTCJ4_s

Part 2: Panelists describe their escape and entry into healing, how their abusers attempted to maintain control, signs and symptoms specific to their ritual abuse and mind control programming, and shared their recovery process and work for the survivor community.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4asQx4cecI

Computer-Assisted Translation: Cat to English

This is crazy. I could almost believe I was hallucinating.

So, Spencer remembers there were treats on the desktop a few days ago. He jumps up on my lap, then to the desktop, where he searches high and low for the treats.

Yesterday, after checking everything out thoroughly, he lay down for a nap with his head on the keyboard. Nothing unusual for a cat, right? Here comes the spooky part –

A box appears on the monitor screen with a picture of a folder and the word “Apple.” (The folder is not clickable.) At the same time, a male voice says,” Try teaching me new tricks. See what I can do for you.”

The first thing he can do for me is to stay off the frigging keyboard.

Katherine North on Self-Acceptance

I found this in my inbox one day, read it, and thought, “Gee, this applies to me. I’d like to blog about it.” So I saved it, and here it is, followed by my commentary.

You can find Katherine at https://declaredominion.com/

I spent a lot of time last weekend on my retreat sitting quietly. On the outside, nothing was visibly happening. On the inside, it felt like tectonic plates were shifting. Like something I’d been waiting for, for a long time had finally churned its way into my consciousness. 

If I could distill it down, it would be this question: 
What if instead of trying to turn myself into something good, 

I could believe that I already was something good?

I cannot express to you how colossally this blew my mind. 

It is continuing to blow my mind– to literally stop and stun me– even though, for many years, I would tell you (and believe it) that I already believed that. That while we are all complicated and some people make really terrible choices and some people get broken and some people let hatred take them — in spite of all that — that in our inherent being, humans are inherently good. 

I did believe this. 

I definitely believe it about every single one of you. 

In theory, I believed it about myself. 

But my actions told a different story. I was still always trying to improve myself, to learn how to be human like it was a foreign language, to move toward some mythic “graduation date” when I would finally be turned into something better, something good enough. 

Sonia Renee Taylor famously uses the metaphor of the acorn. She says that the acorn does not need to be given instructions on how to grow into an oak tree: it just needs some dirt and water and light and time. (And not to be paved over.) 

I wondered what kind of tree I would grow into if I weren’t trying so frantically to turn myself into something worthy. 

I love the metaphor of the apple tree. 

But am I actually an apple tree, or did I decide that’s what I am supposed to be because it can feed a village and is also beautiful? 

Maybe I am a rose, or a thistle, or a spruce. The thing is, I have no idea. Because I have been contorting toward “better” for so long that I no longer know what my true shape is. 

This year, I think I’m going to try to find out. 


K is Katherine North, a life coach, mystic, poet, mother of five, photographer – I could go on and on. She does not coach/write about RA/MC, CPTSD, CSA, flashbacks, or cults. It’s sort of a relief! I find that her attitude and approach to life are helpful to me in trying to manage my somewhat chaotic life with humor and grace. I read everything she writes, and it is almost always a breath of fresh air.

This little essay came at a good time. I have been frustrated long enough by trying to get things done when I am brain-foggy due to low blood pressure. Last week, I remembered a motto l made up when I was deeply depressed. “If I am going suffer, I will suffer in comfort and beauty.” It was as if I flipped a switch, and bingo! I found the solution.

I simply won’t try to get anything done when my blood pressure is low. I will do pleasant things, like listen to music and eat chocolates. If I am in the mood, I will mindlessly organize some of my stuff. I might arrange the clothes in my closet by category: pants, skirts, dresses, tops, jackets, and then by color within the categories. Or maybe by least favorite, so I will be reminded of things I seldom wear. Maybe I will sit on the floor with a glass of iced tea and go through some old papers.

I might turn on the computer to play easy computer games. One I like now is Match-3 Butterflies at https://www.match3games.com/game/Butterfly+Match+3. It does all the thinking for me, but I don’t have to do what it says.

Now I l have two templates in my mind; one for low blood pressure days and one for high/normal blood pressure days. I won’t have to grope through the brain fog to decide what to do on low days because the plan is to do nothing. Eat and rest, rest and eat, and bye-bye Protestant Work Ethic.

I have relieved one or two days a week from constant frustration, and life should become a lot less stressful. Less stress means I get more done and am happier. Whatever I get done on my good days will be enough. I can manage that!

I think of all the other people dealing with brain fog; those with fibromyalgia, those with long COVID, and those whose medications mess up their thinking. And, of course, so many of us with RA/MC backgrounds. To everybody who feels they aren’t good enough at something, not smart enough, not kind enough, I say to you, write this out and put it on your fridge.

“You are enough. You are so enough it is unbelievable how enough you are.”

Thanks to Elephant Health & Wellness for posting it on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/ElephantHealth

Fight, Flee, Freeze… and Tenderness

* 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/
Summer Solstice (corrected text): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
August Ritual Dates: 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/

* Walpurgisnacht, Beltane

Well, tonight is Walpurgisnacht, or as we called it, May Eve. For us (my cult folk), holidays always started at midnight and, while we were waiting around with nothing to do, we often celebrated the eve of the holiday, starting whenever we felt like it. Some eves, like Christmas Eve, had prescribed rituals. They were more formal but not necessarily more brutal.

I’m anticipating having minimum reactions to these days and the coming weekend, partly because that’s how I have reacted to cult holidays for a good year now, partly because the depression numbs things out, even flashbacks. A good use for a depression! Fancy that.


I remember, years ago, coming across a book about how people react to life-threatening emergencies. It focused on car crashes, but everything obviously applied to trauma, to child abuse. I learned a lot about fight, flight, and freeze and the physiological manifestations of each state. It also talked about how animals deal with the aftermath of each reaction. Fascinating!

Darn! I wish I could remember the name of the author.

Anyway, last week, a friend of mine who is a life coach wrote an article about these reactions to serious danger. Her style is very different from mine, much more exuberant. (There’s nothing wrong with my style, it’s just different.) Although I have written about this before, I thought I would share some of what she wrote.

I had to edit it down to only a third of her piece because of Internet technicalities. Lots of the good stuff got left out, but you can still get a sense of what she was saying.

If you want to read the whole thing – and I recommend you do so because there is much more, and it is both useful and hilarious – go to https://www.declaredominion.com/2019/02/01/this-will-help-with-adulting/. It’s one of Katherine North’s weekly letters to anybody who is interested. All you have to do is sign up!


This Will Help with Adulting

When it feels like life is pummeling us, whether it’s body blows or just a dozen tiny paper cuts, most of us have a very natural human response.

We fight, we flee, or we freeze.

This isn’t always a bad thing.

In a bona fide emergency, your healthy “fight” response kicks in. This is what adrenaline is MADE for– so that you can move fast, you can mobilize, you can set up emergency hospital tents and run from tigers.

Adrenaline is wonderfully helpful in those situations. However, it’s designed to be the exception, not the rule.

Unfortunately, most people right now are on a steady drip of adrenaline.

When you’re living that way, it feels sort of like an ongoing low-level panic attack. It goes like “oh god, what about the – and I almost forgot that we have to – and shit what we will do if -” and so our brain revs and revs, sending little hits of panicky energy into our system but without any accompanying action to make things happen. It’s hard on our bodies to rev like this, and it’s hard on our spirits, too.

Another way some of us react to stress is to just freeze up. While this might be an adaptive response to a poisonous snake slithering through the grass, for most of us it’s LESS than helpful. Sometimes we can end up in a state of perpetual paralysis, where we’re so afraid of doing the WRONG thing that we do….well not much at all, really.

Sometimes we try to protect ourselves from the scariness of adult life not by fighting or freezing, but by attempting to flee. Usually, flight becomes a form of mental escape– scrolling numbly through social media or zoning out to a TV show whose characters you don’t give a fig about.

So whatever is going on, please do NOT do that thing where you’re feeling rolling, wild, nauseating waves of anxiety or paralysis or fear– and also yelling at yourself the whole time.

“Stop it, make a decision, do something, stop being such a wimp, lots of people have it worse than you do….” THAT. Don’t do that.

Because here’s the thing. You would never speak to somebody else like that when they are trapped in a wave of everything-is-too-muchness. I know you wouldn’t.

But you do it to yourself. We all do it because we’re trying to hold ourselves together, with brittleness and a positive attitude GODDAMIT.

Most of us worry that we’ll just end up huddled on the floor in a pool of snot and wailing.

So in this strange way, the mean things you say inside your head to yourself are a misguided-but-sweet attempt to take care of you.

You know what does work?


It helps more than anything to try speaking to yourself the way you’d speak to a small scared child, because there’s almost certainly one living somewhere inside you.

“Oh sweetheart. This is so much, right now. You’re so scared, huh? It’s ok, kiddo, I’m here. I’ve got you. You’re all right, come let me hold you. You’re safe, little love.”

Tenderness just collapses the brittle revving cycle of adrenaline. It melts the fear. It dissolves the paralysis.

I do not know why this is.

Isn’t life an odd mystery?


Upcoming Holidays

4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
5/1 Beltane
5/7 Full moon
5/10 Mothers’ Day
5/12 Armed Forces Day
5/25 Memorial Day
5/31 Pentacost
6/5 Full moon
6/5-6 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in Asia, 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-june-5
6/19 Summer solstice
6/21 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Annular solar eclipse. Visible from parts of Africa (including the Central African Republic, Congo, and Ethiopia), south of Pakistan, northern India, and China. Partial eclipse is visible in south/east Europe, much of Asia, the north of Australia, and much of Africa, Pacific, Indian Ocean. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-june-21
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St. John’s Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
5/8 V-E Day (Victory in Europe, WW2)
6/6 D-Day: invasion of France in WW2
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes.)

More on Asking for Help

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

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Halloween: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween: (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/halloween-2018/


I’ve been brooding about the issue of asking for help since I wrote the last post, so I decided to continue writing about my feelings about help in general.

A friend pointed out that this seems to be a topic that usually is mentioned only in passing; she had never heard of a whole workshop or book about difficulties in asking for help. Instead, it’s, “Oh, by the way, asking for help is hard for some people.”

Strange, because I know an awful lot of people who just suck it up and do without. In the US, at least, it seems to be a matter of pride to be self-sufficient and to never even think about relying on somebody else. We often act insulted if we are offered help, even when it is obvious we could use a hand.

I know the issue is a biggie for me because I don’t usually brood about such things. But it was on my mind so much that I started brooding about why I was brooding about it. Not helpful.

I wondered if the adults in the cult had messed with the word “help” itself and made it mean something else entirely. I remember how they ruined the word “safe” for me. They told me that I was so evil that I would kill all the animals that were being saved for sacrifice and might kill some people, too. So they locked me in a large steel box, which they called a safe, to keep the people and animals safe, and they only let me out when the ritual was over. So “safe” means, deep down, that I am a danger to others, not that I am safe from danger. 

I asked inside and didn’t come up with anything specific. It was simply the number of times I was refused help, given help in a form I objected to, was ignored, or was punished for asking for what I needed or wanted. Wanting help became shameful, and the desire to receive help became something to be carefully hidden.

Pretending that help isn’t necessary, or isn’t welcome, is a reflex by now. Another way of saying that is that denial is my preferred defense against feeling helpless. At least now I know it! Now I can take a moment to reflect – would it be better for me to receive help or do it myself? 

The shame has lessened, thank goodness. So has the fear, to an extent. I have learned that if a doctor tries to shame or bully me into doing something, there is no need to be afraid of changing doctors. I couldn’t change parents as a kid – although I spent a great deal of time daydreaming of living in another family – but I am in control now and have every right to refuse to be treated that way.

There is plenty of stigma attached to being old or being disabled in any way. When I am in a wheelchair at the airport, people talk to the attendant and ignore me. Do they think that just because I cannot walk to the gate, I cannot think or cannot talk? Why not assume I can, and treat me like everybody else in that respect? Stigma has nothing to do with having had a cult background. Everybody who has a disability or is a “senior citizen” is treated with condescension.

Yet I still, deep down, think I am being treated that way because I did something wrong. In the cult, I was told that it was my fault and that I deserved what I got. I was told the same thing at home, too, over and over again. Such words sear the soul.

Today I went to the pool at the Jewish Community Center, where I have a membership. The administration is kind enough to give two free vouchers a month for a cab ride to or from the JCC. I used mine today. Here’s what I thought as I was riding home:

“I don’t deserve these vouchers. There are others who need them more than I do.”

“I must have exaggerated my disability to get them.”

“It’s my fault I qualify for them. It’s my fault that I am disabled.”

I felt sad and agitated. Then I got mad! “It’s not my fault I can’t drive!!! I didn’t do anything wrong. There is nothing I could have done to prevent macular degeneration. It’s not my fault at all.” It felt good to get mad – it felt like righteous anger. The emotion blasted through me and left me calm again. I was finally reacting from present-day reality. The feeling-flashback had passed.

Age-related macular degeneration, by the way, is the loss of photosensitive cells in the middle of the macula, which is the part of the eye directly behind the lens. It cannot be reversed, but it can be slowed down by wearing sunglasses and taking special vitamins, which I have been doing faithfully for about ten years. It was this condition that made me stop driving. 

There are two kinds: wet and dry. The dry kind, which I have, progresses slowly. The wet kind, in addition to the loss of photosensitive cells, is characterized by the abnormal growth of blood cells, which can rupture and instantaneously wipe out a large number of cells. Once it is diagnosed, it can be treated by monthly injections right into the eye. About a third of people 85 and older have the dry type, and another eight percent have the wet type. (I’m 82 now.) So, my friends, wear good sunglasses every time you go outdoors, and while you are at it, wear sunscreen and a hat. End of lecture!

Back to asking for help – it would be wonderful if it were possible to spend a month say, working on this issue, and be done with it once and for all. It’s not that way, at least not for me. I know that asking for help will always be difficult and that facet after facet of the problem will present itself for examination. But I also know that I will deal with whatever comes up and that I, and the people around me, will find that living with my limitations will become easier and easier. 


Upcoming Holidays

10/13 Full moon
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of the Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/12 Full moon
11/28 US Thanksgiving
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 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
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year, Day of Judgement)
10/8 – 10/9 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/13 – 10/20 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, harvest festival)
10/19 Death of Goering
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)