Me and The Delta

For a few weeks, when things were opening up, I cautiously started going out. I got some N95 masks and started to get familiar with Lyft and taxis again. And grocery stores! It was so good to do my own shopping, to pick out the things I wanted to eat. I could choose the freshest, ripest produce and make impulse buys if something looked good but wasn’t on my list. Except for riding with strangers, I felt safe. 

Each time before leaving the house, I had to weigh the pros and cons. I wasn’t sure how much risk I was willing to take and I had to think things through without guidelines. I mean, I had the CDC guidelines, but I knew they didn’t fit me. No way was I going to a bar or a baseball game or any other place where a whole bunch of people, some vaccinated, some not, were mingling and interacting and closer than six feet away from me. I didn’t want to take that chance, even if the CDC thought it was fine.

I knew that in my state we were nowhere near herd immunity and that Delta, being more contagious, spreads more rapidly. It would take a much higher rate of vaccination to achieve herd immunity and, given the percentage of the population who do not want to be vaccinated, we probably will never get to that point. 

I realized that I had to set my own guidelines and that I had to make similar decisions over and over without any feedback. The process was stressful and emotionally exhausting.

I watched the number of cases rise daily and figured it was getting pretty dangerous out there. I didn’t want to catch the virus and I didn’t want to risk infecting others unknowingly. I had isolated myself at home when the number of cases of the original strain of COVID was way lower than the current number of predominantly Delta COVID. It didn’t make sense to throw caution to the wind just because lots of other people were. So I went back into self-isolation.

How do I feel about it? Sad, but mainly resigned. I think it is a sensible decision, but to tell the truth, I am tired of being sensible. I wish I didn’t feel this was the right decision for me – I would far rather be able to go out and have fun whenever I wanted. I feel deprived.

There are echoes of my childhood issues in this situation. I spent most of my pre-school time in one room at home with trips to the park on nice days. I definitely was deprived of interaction with other children. The days were pretty much the same. I knew nothing else, so I wasn’t sad. 

During these years, I was abused in the cult and developed amnesia for what happened. I didn’t consciously remember, but my body remembered and became stiff and wary. Unconsciously I was absorbing messages – I wasn’t good enough, I was stupid, I was worthless, I was evil. Cult time was intense, home time was boring.

Self-isolation is going to give me another opportunity to look at those deep beliefs, to challenge them, to discover the rules, and then defy the rules, one and all. This will not be boring!

I think that every new trauma can stir up memories of older, similar ones. Thus a flashback is like those nested Russian dolls. There are flashbacks within flashbacks.A flashback to what happened last night, and what happened last year, and what happened when you were 12, and 6, and maybe even 2. And that is very crazy-making. What feelings, what behaviors, are part of which flashback? And would it make sense to sort things into past and present, not one pile for present and many little piles for past events?

This experience of self-isolation doesn’t elicit a full-fledged flashback. It’s more diffuse, mistier. But it is like the nested dolls, with echoes of feelings from different stages of my life when I struggled with loneliness and alienation. 

I may be physically isolated, but I am not emotionally isolated, thanks to ZOOM. My emotional life is rich and I have many friends. I think I can say without exaggeration that I have more friends and more close friends than I have ever had.

I never explicitly worked on making friends. Never read all that self-help advice, never looked at what childhood beliefs and traumas held me back from close relationships. It just happened, like growth spurts happen to children with no effort on their part.

It’s not the first time I’ve been busy working on a problem and all of a sudden I make progress in an entirely different area. A lot must be going on beneath the surface! I don’t understand it, but I am very pleased and grateful.


upcoming holidays


8/22 Full Moon  
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day


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 all Angels 


10/11 (?) Columbus Day
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/20 Full Moon
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

9/1 Start of WW2  
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement)  
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)  
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival
10/4 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 falls on 4/4 this year.)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg  
10/19 Death of Goering
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.)


You can find more information on the following holidays at: 

Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 –
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2
Fall Equinox
Halloween (personal) – 
Halloween (background) –
Yule/Winter Solstice 
Candlemas –
Valentine’s Day –
Spring Equinox
Easter: personal – (for background, see Spring Equinox) –
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve
Mothers’ Day
Fathers’ Day
Summer Solstice (corrected text) –

Fuzzy Flashbacks Caused by Staying at Home

* SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) offers virtual support groups for all survivors, male survivors, and family and friends of survivors. A listing of all meetings is at:

* And SNAP announced that it will be holding a free virtual conference, instead of an in-person event in Denver. The date will be September 25 – 27. Information is in the middle of their home page.

* You can find more information on the following holidays at:
Summer Solstice (corrected text):
August Ritual Dates:
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1:
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2:
Fall Equinox:
Halloween (personal):
Halloween (background):
Yule/Winter Solstice:
Valentine’s Day:
Spring Equinox:
Easter: (personal): (for background, see Spring Equinox)
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve:
Mothers’ Day:


The summer solstice is right around the corner. It comes early this year, on June 19. Because our unconscious expects it to be on the 20th or 21st, it’s going to take everybody by surprise. It might be a good idea to put it in total caps on your calendar for a few days before its arrival. SOLSTICE ON JUNE 19!!!!


I’m getting some good mileage – insights and memories – from a kind of continual soft, fuzzy flashback that stays in the background. It took me three months to figure out what was going on! I’m going to describe my experience in case anybody can relate.

My idea of a flashback is the rapid emergence of some part of a past experience. It’s more a reliving of an event, rather than a remembering. It’s impossible to ignore, demanding my attention. My reaction is usually, “What the fuck is this?”

This kind of flashback lasts anywhere from seconds to months. When I first remembered, they were 24/7. Little by little, flashback-free moments appeared here and there. Now flashbacks are rare, but frequent enough to be a permanent part of my life.

The last entry is worth rereading. It categorizes flashbacks according to the B.A.S.K. model. The letters stand for: B (behavior) – A (affect, emotion) – S (sensory; sight, sound, smell, taste, heat/cold perception, pressure, pain) – K (cognition). The more of these elements are present, the more intense the flashback. Sensory flashbacks are easiest for me to recognize, while the others are often a little tricky.

Something in the present causes the past to re-appear; whatever sets it off is called the trigger. (I hate the word trigger because it “triggers” memories of violence for me. I prefer the word “reminder,” which is neutral.)

Identifying the reminder is useful because when you see that object, or hear that word, or find yourself in that situation, you will be prepared for a flashback. It’s not necessary to know what it was that set things off to work through the flashback, though.

Being confined to my home these days is an ever-present reminder of my childhood. I didn’t know this for many weeks, but I did know I was “off.” Old symptoms were coming back, and my world seemed very small. It finally occurred to me that, as a child, my world was extremely small indeed. First it was confined to two rooms of the apartment and to the park for an hour or two. When we moved, I could enter all the rooms of the apartment, I still went to the park, and then, after a year, there was school. School seemed vast in terms of both space and new experiences. I was overwhelmed and I loved it !

Now this, mind you, was in my every-day life, the only life I was allowed to know. There was another, hidden life, that belonged to the cult. In a sense, it was vaster, because there were always new abuses, always further cruelties. And my emotions were so strong I could hardly bear them. It certainly could not be called boring. I think that the contrast made my day life seem even more restricted, even though I couldn’t remember the cult life.

Today, as in my childhood, I am confined to my apartment and the garden, my tiny version of an urban park. All I see of the outside world are crows on the neighbors’ roofs and people jogging and walking their dogs. I’m forgetting what it is like to go into a grocery store, to window shop, to smell the ocean. I do remember what it feels like to be agoraphobic – terrified of leaving my little bubble of safety and perhaps end up in a cult gathering. In a sick sense, that’s a perk or being quarantined.

And yet the agoraphobia lingers because I’m afraid to go outside even to walk around the block. I’m told it’s safe if I wear a mask and stay away from people, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Most of the time, I believe I am content to stay home, but there is an underlying sense of longing for freedom.

So many others are feeling under house arrest that it seems like a normal reaction to being alone at home. So is it a flashback or not?

I think it’s both. If I look at the situation from one angle, I am having a totally normal reaction to my present-day situation. If I look at it from another angle, I am deep in feelings from when I was four or five or six.  And that is definitely, according to the B.A.S.K. model, a feelings flashback.


Upcoming Holidays

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. A partial eclipse is visible in south/east Europe, much of Asia, the north of Australia, and much of Africa, Pacific, Indian Ocean. See
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve
6/24 St. John’s Day
7/4 Independence Day
7/4 Full moon
7/4-5 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, visible in North and South America, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot easily be distinguished from a usual full moon. See
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/3 Full moon
8/15 Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/30 Tisha B’Av (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.)

The Power of Baby Steps

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

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
 Yule/Winter Solstice


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

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 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)