Bring on the night!

While you’re sleeping soundly at 3 a.m., I’m usually up slinging words, editing documents, absorbing university course lectures, researching, wrestling with websites, scouring freelance listings, or tackling the next creative project.

As your night is ending, mine is just beginning.

It’s quieter.
People don’t interrupt you.
Your focus is sharper.
Your concentration is better.

If you pay attention, you can hear the subtle whispers of creative, inventive, unconventional souls that have gone before you – if you listen deeply enough. There is, in fact, precious illumination that is found in the darkness.

Oh yes, I do love the night and the energy it brings! As a naturally nocturnal soul, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Bring on the night!

Is there a demonologist in the house? Yes, there will be soon.

Ancient Abraxas gem

Today I turn 49, and I have a different sort of announcement to make. I’m excited about it, and Paul is completely supportive as well. In short, I am embarking on the path of becoming a demonologist. Yes, a path of study and research I have already touched upon before and considered for a long time; however, I never voiced it to anyone (not even Paul).

The path is a natural one for me, given the experiences in my life with studying various religions, pursuing a minor in philosophy (with particular emphases on religion and the philosophy of death/dying), and a long history with the paranormal (both the study of it as well of the investigation of claims).

If you’ve been on my FB page for a while, you already know that, although I was raised Presbyterian and my adopted dad was originally Mormon, I’ve been pagan for 30 years and have been pagan clergy for over ten years now. In the past, I have acted as a High Priestess and performed numerous rituals. I’ve also been an avid practitioner of various forms of divination most of my life, casting my first astrological horoscope at a young age and progressing into studying numerology, cartomancy, graphology, palmistry, tarot card readings, and runes, among others. I’ve always harbored odd fascinations and was, undoubtedly, a weird kid. Needless to say, I have grown into a stranger adult! But I’m okay with it. This is who I am.

Ironically, although Paul was raised Catholic and I wasn’t, he often jokes that I’m more Catholic at the core than he is because my inherent guilt often eclipses his. I also enjoy watching Latin Mass on the Catholic Channel. I find Latin an enchanting and magickal language. Also, as mentioned before, I enjoy rituals, and many pagans who are drawn to Wicca start out as Catholics. I’m not Wiccan, but I USED to be. Perhaps I was Catholic in a previous life. One never knows!

But, I digress…

When I was seven years old, I wanted to be a nun—how’s that for a surprise?! When my daughter was about three years old, she matter-of-factly informed me that she had been a nun in her previous life and had died in a fire. This girl had never been to church, had never been around nuns, and did not grow up in a religious household, mind you.

Paul will also tell you I have a longtime, odd fascination with nuns. All very strange for a veteran pagan who loves rituals, finds the Catholic church interesting, is drawn to the architecture of Catholic churches, has a Mother Mary figurine to the left of her computer (a nod to the Divine Feminine), but gets livid over how human involvement in organized religion has caused it to be used as a tool for violence, and other such perversions and crimes against human beings. If you want to screw up a belief system, hand it over to human beings so they can use it for THEIR selfish, myopic purposes, and not for Divinity. This is one of the reasons why I have issues with organized religion, first and foremost.

You also may know Paul and I have been team leads for a paranormal investigation team for eight years now. If you’ve been reading closely over the past couple years in particular, you will have noticed that I’ve mentioned that, since the age of about ten, I’ve been fascinated with occult subjects—exorcism in particular (yes, at such a young age I was reading about such things; I’m glad my mom didn’t hinder me from reading about things I was curious about).

It’s possible you’ll also recall my dream from a while back where I saw the word “Abraxas” written out in heavy, black script. Until I saw the word written out in my dream, I had no idea what it meant. Needless to say, I was taken aback when I researched the term. It depends on the source, but Abraxas has been referred to as both a god and a demon. The info on Abraxas is extensive, if you ever read up on it. The dream has puzzled me for a while, but it also inspired me to explore the history behind it as well.

In essence, here is my main point: I’m finally ready to reveal to all of you where this has been headed, and how I plan to combine my ongoing studies in psychology and spirituality with a special emphasis on demonology. It makes perfect sense to me, given my extensive history with the paranormal and occult. Rather than a sole framework of the Judeo-Christian belief system, I will be approaching my demonology studies from a more expansive vantage point, gathering information from all cultures and time periods (as well as analyzing famous case studies). I will not limit my approach to one theology, as I feel that would do the subject an injustice. It’s important to delve into this intense subject through a wide-angle lens, if you will.

So, there you go. A long explanation, but it’s a big decision for me and this is how I want to share it. Sometimes when you’re drawn in a specific direction, you have to honor it, which is what I’m doing. It’s not a decision you make lightly or without a tremendous amount of thought. I have mulled this over for quite some time. This path requires studying psychology (which I’m already doing, and have done for years), theology, mythology, folkloristics (yes, it’s a real term), and science—yes, science.

Instead of simply dropping a quick sentence like, “Hey, I’ve decided to become a demonologist,” I figured there needed to be more of a discussion. This is a good way to address the reasoning behind my decision upfront. Mind you, you may approve or disapprove, but neither will affect my decision. I’m simply letting you know that, should you see me post interesting bits of historical info or thoughts, there will be a reason why. If this sort of thing makes you uncomfortable, I’m giving you a heads-up so you can unsub or ignore those posts. What you decide to do is up to you, of course.

Now that I have that out of the way, thanks in advance for reading this announcement, and for your support!  Back to our regularly scheduled program.

😀

Ten daily questions to ask yourself

Image

To help focus and clarify what’s worthwhile to spend my time on and to strive for more meaningful and positive experiences, here are questions I’m going to ask myself:

1. Will this bring you happiness and laughter?
2. Will you get peace of mind from this experience?
3. Will this advance your purpose in life?
4. Is this in alignment with your personal or professional goals?
5. Will this help you be a better or more evolved person?
6. Will this be worth investing your time and energy?
7. Does this add value to your life?
8. Is this educational?
9. Have you picked a worthwhile battle to fight?
10. Have you practiced discernment and/or restraint?

After considering these questions and the number of “no” responses, I can then decide — clearly and wisely — if investing my time and energy in something is beneficial for me. I will then decide whether to engage, participate or walk away/withdraw. I’m over the halfway point in my life.

Time to train myself to be more selective and discerning about people, events, causes and attention. Must close the circle and separate the wheat from the chaff.

In praise of bitches (a.k.a. in defense of the Anna Wintours of the world)

“I don’t find her to be accessible to people she doesn’t need to be accessible to.”
–Vogue publisher Tom Florio, discussing editor-in-chief Anna Wintour

“She’s honest. She tells you what she thinks. Yes is yes and no is no”
–Karl Lagerfeld.

She’s been called Nuclear Wintour, and there’s good reason for that. She’s been called detached, unapproachable, terse and any number of other things. She doesn’t care for small talk, and she isn’t a hand-holder. A former assistant says, “She throws you in the water and you’ll either sink or swim.” Sounds rough, huh? She sounds like a bitch, huh? Well, maybe she is — probably is — but guess what else she is? GREAT at what she does, and focused beyond belief. She also manages her atmosphere in such a way that she doesn’t allow people to DRAIN her of energy, drag her into drama or distract her from her primary directives. She means what she says and she says what she means, regardless of who approves.

I’ve noticed that women who are termed “bitches” usually take less crap from other people in general, AND they get more done in their lives. They don’t allow themselves to be bullied or intimidated. Let’s also not forget that while one person may see another person as a bitch, someone else may not deem that person a bitch at all. It’s relative! I’m also not sure being called a bitch is necessarily a bad thing. Usually what it translates to is, “I couldn’t manipulate her, so she’s a bitch!” or, “I didn’t get to bully her and force her to think of me as the main satellite in her universe, so she’s obviously a bitch!” In other words, SOMEONE didn’t get his/her way and SOMEONE didn’t get his/her ass kissed as they expected. Therefore, the person who refused to be manipulated or refused to kiss ass is that horrible word, “bitch.”

Anna once told Morley Safer, “I have so many people here, Morley, that have worked with me for 15, 20 years, and, you know, if I’m such a bitch, they must really be a glutton for punishment because they’re still here … If one comes across sometimes as being cold or brusque, it’s simply because I’m striving for the best.”

Here’s my first thought: if Anna was male, NONE of this would be an issue. Because she’s female, there are expectations of her and her personality. For one, she’s not a nurturer or a caretaker, and if you’re female, it’s like an unwritten rule that you MUST be those things or you’re — shall we say — inhuman or defective. If Anna was male, these things wouldn’t be given a second thought, because as a man who is focused on his job, he is expected to display these qualities of assertiveness and high expectations. Now, are there women who can strive for quality and who are still approachable and nice? Yes, I’m sure there are. I know there are. But stick with me. My point is that I believe many women — including myself — have been derailed through life by others’ expectations of how we should be according to a set of unspoken societal rules for how women should be vs. how most men are.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’ve wasted many years — decades — of my life by giving away most of my energy to other people and things, while putting myself on the back burner. As a woman, I believe I’ve been groomed and brought up in a society that requires women to always put themselves last and be nurturers/caretakers (even to the detriment of their own mental/physical/emotional health) in lieu of loving themselves, taking care of their own needs and seeing themselves as just as necessary and important as everyone else. Even more so, I would add. If you can’t love or take care of yourself first, then how can you do the same for others?

Ah…but we are often told that if we take care of ourselves first, we are SELFISH! *gasp* And NO woman wants to be called selfish, does she? What a cruel cut that is! Well, I’m here to tell you that if you aren’t firm and selfish of your time and attention, you end up kowtowing to everyone and everything. What’s more, some people (usually toxic ones) will continue to drain your time and attention if you let them. THEY are actually the selfish ones. They believe YOUR universe must always revolve around them, but if you EVER stake a claim for YOUR own time or attention, then you are obviously a bitch. See how that works? Wow!

The older I get, the more I learn that if you don’t TAKE the time and energy you need to accomplish your goals, others will take it from you without so much as a thanks or ounce of appreciation. You are expected to be always ready to assist them with their goals and directives, but don’t you DARE be assertive and defend your OWN right to those same things! I’m here to tell you that I’m claiming what’s mine, and I don’t want or need anyone else’s approval.

I asked my husband last night what he would do if someone told him his wife was detached or too dismissive when others tried to horn in on her creative and/or work time. His answer was that he would correct them and say that his wife was FOCUSED instead of dismissive. He would tell them that his wife, like most people, had goals and ambition, and she worked hard to strive for them. And what if they didn’t like what he said? Pretty much, it came down to, “Who cares what they think? What they think doesn’t matter.” My husband is a lot better at not allowing people to guilt him in such ways. I’m better than I used to be, but still struggle with it. I do know one thing: the more someone pushes me to do something I don’t want to do, the more I’m apt not to EVER do the thing someone’s trying to coerce me into doing.

Men, on the other hand, are expected to be focused, driven and productive. Even if they aren’t the warmest people while they’re doing it. And let’s face it: caretaking and nurturing are not integral expectations of most men. For women, they are. I, for one, think that’s a load of crap.

If a man says, “I’m busy right now; talk to you later,” or, “Can’t meet with you for coffee now; we’ll have to do it later!” it’s acceptable. If a woman like Anna Wintour says the same thing, some people will call her dismissive, insulting, cold, brusque, terse or any other number of unkind adjectives. Because, you know, if you’re a woman you certainly aren’t doing anything remotely important enough that you can’t DROP what you’re doing and make yourself available for everyone else. It’s their universe, after all. Didn’t you know that? (sarcasm) As a woman, many believe you’ve got to cave in when it comes to ALWAYS pleasing others and ALWAYS taking care of their wants/needs. And if you don’t, what a nasty little creature you are!

Many women still buy into the notion that they, somehow, are the only ones responsible for what goes on in their households. God forbid if they don’t have a hot meal on the table before the man they love crosses the door’s threshhold! But I’d like to ask this: if you are a career woman and YOU are on a tight deadline, why the hell can’t HE get dinner together as a favor to YOU? Why the hell can’t YOU expect help with household chores? Why is it if he’s had a stressful day at the office, he gets to come home, prop his feet up and grab the remote, but YOU are still expected to nurture and caretake everyone else’s needs after YOU TOO have had a stressful day at YOUR office as well? Having a uterus doesn’t mean you’re automatically tagged as “it” when it comes to being everyone’s caretaker on every level.

Some women MAY have the situation I have in that my husband and I are equals in that regard. I have lovingly prepared meals for him, but he has also lovingly prepared meals for ME as well. It’s a give and take out of respect and care for one another. It’s NOT, “You woman, me man, so you COOK!” If it was that, then I wouldn’t be married to him. Because, quite frankly, SCREW all that! I have goals and dreams of my own, and he supports those goals and dreams just as much as I support his goals and dreams. We cooperate with one another and it’s like a dance where sometimes he takes the lead, and other times I take the lead. When he’s sick, I take care of him. When I’m sick, he takes care of me.

Paul knows I’m not the Martha Stewart type, and he knows I’d rather be writing a book than making sure everything in our house is ‘just so.’ Nobody’s tombstone reads, “She was never late with dinner!” Who gives a crap? If it’s a busy day — EAT OUT or CALL FOR DELIVERY! Personally, I’m always suspicious of women who want their houses to look like they’ve been staged and out of the pages of House & Garden magazine. To me, they’re major control freaks who can’t control the rest of their lives, so they control their environment to such a degree that it’s obsessive. But that’s another topic for another time. You only get a limited amount of time in this life, so you’d better spend most of your time LIVING it.

Sure, Anna has many facets of her personality that would grate on my nerves. Sure, she can be off-putting to many people. But guess what? Anna GETS SHIT DONE and Anna manages her world so she remains focused and on point with her life and her work — period. She’s a Scorpio too, I might add. I’m not surprised one bit. Scorpios and Capricorns are usually two of the most reliable workers you can count on (a caveat here that you need to see the whole chart, but usually you can trust them to get the job done, rain or shine).The downside is that SOME of them (READ: not ALL of them!) are insufferable people to be around. My advice: never cross or piss off a Scorpio. As for Capricorns, try to smile (with teeth gritted beneath your grin) and simply BEAR it when you run across the occasional battle-ax of a Capricorn. If you don’t stand your ground, they will delight in bulldozing over you — sometimes for sport! That’s where being a fire sign (like me) is beneficial. I can make you think you’re getting your way as I smile and nod at you. But rest assured that once I walk away, I’m going to go off and do what I’d planned to do in the first place — without your permission (as if I ever needed it anyway). 😉 I was married to a Scorpio for 16 years and I have the scars (and the asbestos suit) to prove it. If you can live with a Scorpio and survive it, then you can damn sure tolerate a Capricorn (the kind who have the more negative traits, that is. The ones with mostly positive traits are awesome and so reliable! All without the battle-ax tendencies!)

In the end, Anna is decisive, she gets the work done (and done well) and she’s true to who she is, regardless of who approves. Some of the very traits people can’t stand in her are the ones that allow her to reach the success she has over the years. Yes, we can discuss how horrible it is that she wears fur or that she allegedly can’t stand people who are overweight, but what I want to focus on here is how I find her work ethic and laser-like focus so fascinating.

I also admire her decisiveness. Throughout my life, I’ve been indecisive on countless occasions. Mainly because I was SO wrapped up in what people would think of me that I was fearful of just making the decision I needed to make — despite who approved or not. In recent years, I’ve gotten better about that, but I still need to sharpen and hone that ability. Decisiveness is beneficial and necessary in life. You can’t please everyone all the time, period. It just isn’t going to happen. More and more, I realize I’d rather be hated for being who I truly am than loved for being someone I’m not. Pretending to be someone you’re not means you’re insincere, not authentic and not genuine. You are lying to everyone else, but most importantly, you are lying to yourself as well.

Honestly, I’d rather be as decisive and focused as Anna Wintour than be a spaghetti-spined, people-pleasing, mealy-mouthed woman who allowed others to usurp her personal and creative power.

I once had a friend who said there were two Bevs. There’s an all-business Bev, and there’s a playful Bev, and you’re never sure which one you might get. There’s truth to that. When I’m focused on something and working toward a goal, I can be terse, abrupt, cold, etc. I’m not touchy-feely or up for small talk. I don’t have time for nonsense or shenanigans. Other times, you get the playful Bev. Usually on weekends when I take time off (I used to work seven days a week, I might add). Playful Bev is warmer, less terse, open to laughter/jokes and keen to have conversations. As has often been said, there is a time for everything, and to everything there is an appropriate time. You can’t allow others to always bully you into deciding when YOU are ready to address something. You DO get a choice in how you handle things.

Can I be bitchy at times? Yes. Can I be warm and friendly at times? Yes. I am BOTH of those people, and I embrace both of them. And, quite frankly, after studying Anna Wintour, perhaps if I was bitchier and managed my associations tighter, then perhaps I’d increase my productivity and focus, which is what I really NEED to do. I’m trying to do that without having people get butt-hurt, but most of the time they still do. My husband said I should reply by saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way, but this is the way it is right now.” I admire my husband’s Taurus/Taurus/Leo combination of dealing with things assertively, but in a steady, resolute way.

There’s a reason why there are two Bevs, and it’s who I am. I won’t change for anyone, nor could I change for anyone if I wanted to. I like who I am and I won’t make apologies for it. Am I perfect? Hell no! There’s a litany of things I could go on about for AGES! If you think I’m critical about other people and things, you should see how brutal I am over my own faults/failings! In the end, I’m what I am and I’m imperfect. However, so are you…and you…and YOU. Wisdom comes from knowing that you do have faults, because then you can work on them. However, faults and quirks give personality and a person TEXTURE. What a boring world it would be if we had NO texture to our personalities! We would be antiseptic, bland human beings. Who wants that? Not me, that’s for sure!

Will some people read this and get offended? Oh, I’m sure. But that’s okay. I didn’t write this for them. I wrote it to get something off my chest AND to speak to those others out there who get what I’m saying and understand it. I’m not censoring my thoughts just because somebody’s panties might get in a twist. As my mom often told me when I was growing up, “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in!” Anna Wintour isn’t swayed from calling things as she sees them, and tonight I won’t be, either. This is how I see things, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. However, on the off chance that I am, then so be it!

Remember: to thine own self be true. Always!

Training as a master assassin (in my dream).

Forgot to mention I had the most kick-ass dream EVER! I was being trained in martial arts by a Russian master assassin. He picked me out randomly after I left a deli that specialized in high-end gustatory delights (the sandwiches there were amazing, yet so healthy and fresh!). I understood that it was in New England — I think it was Maine. When I left the shop (after spending $45 on sandwiches to take home for the family), I walked down an interesting narrow street (with cobblestones) that seemed more European than American. He caught up with me and stopped me as I was walking home. Told me he’d been watching me, and that my personality/character fit the psychological type for training as a master assassin. The dream was one of the most fascinating and intricate dreams I’ve ever had. I didn’t want it to end! 🙂

Who is [insert name here] and why is he/she in my dreams?

For the past year, I’ve had an interesting (and curious) thing happen: I’ve dreamed of various names, none belonging to people I know or recognize. Each and every time, the name is written out in my dream, and the dream’s events may not necessarily related to the name. There is never a person connected to the name–just the name itself written out so I can see/read it in my dream. On occasion, I’ll see a word written out, but usually it’s only a name. The only exception to this is the word “Abraxas,” which was written out in heavy black script (similar to Olde English font). Other than that, every time it’s been a name I’ve read in my dreams…and I don’t know why. This has been going on for about a year or so, and I’m puzzled as to what it means and why it’s happening.

Here are a few of my guesses about this phenomena:

* These are character names I should be using in my fiction stories
* These are real people who are in some sort of trouble or need help in some way
* These are real people who have died/passed over and are trying to make their presences known through my dreams
* These are meaningless names/words that don’t fit any of the categories above, and it’s merely my brain reacting in a weird way to stimuli.
* Some other reason [insert reason here]

The first name I dreamed of turned out to be a real person in history — one I’d never heard of before or studied while in school. I thought it was a fake name, but when I Googled it, turns out it wasn’t. The name was Count Rothschild. He was quite an interesting fellow, with an interesting history. In fact, he was thought to be part of the Illuminati. The fact that he was a real person (and not some hoity toity name my brain dreamed up out of the blue) took me aback. Reading about him took me aback even more. You can read more about him here and here. Or you can Google the name and find out as much as you like.

I have no idea why Count Rothschild ended up having his name written out in my dream over a year ago, but why him, and why did all this begin a year ago? May mean something…may mean nothing. As humans, we always want to find meaning, or at least we believe there is some sort of meaning at the root of it all. However, that isn’t always the case. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar — right?

Regardless, I find it fascinating and the question of why continues to linger. My practical side dismisses it as my brain’s interpretation of the myriad of electrical activity going on when I sleep. The intuitive side of me believes there’s some sort of meaning and/or symbolism to it all. The fact that these names are written out so I can read them is interesting, but makes perfect sense considering I’m more of a literary person than I am an auditory or visual person. The prevailing question I cannot shake is this, “Why now? Why did this begin only during this past year?”

At some point, I began to note these names on my Facebook wall just as a record in case I needed to go back and find them at a later time. Not sure why I would need to do that, but it seemed reasonable to start keeping track once seeing names written out in my dreams became something that happened more than once. Thing is, it doesn’t happen on a scheduled basis — it’s not once a night or once a week. It’ll happen one month and then there will be nothing for a couple of months…or a few weeks. It’s random and there’s no set pattern to it. Which, to me, makes it all the more intriguing.

Here are a few of the names I’ve seen written out in my dreams (I’d have to search for the whole lot on my FB history, though, because I didn’t put them down anywhere else. Seems odd for a writer, doesn’t it?):

* Count Rothschild
* Donna Buller
* Brenda Baker
* Joann Sutton
* Doug Dielman (yes, I see a couple names with alliteration in this list)

Finally, the most puzzling word I’ve seen written out was, of course, the word I referenced before: “Abraxas.” If you’re not familiar with what that word means — and I wasn’t until I Googled it the following day after the dream — Abraxas has quite a few meanings/references, one of whom is a God who was higher than the Christian God or the Devil. Abraxas combines all opposites into one being, and the famous psychologist Carl Jung wrote a Gnostic treatise entitled The Seven Sermons to the Dead that referenced Abraxas as this all-powerful being that encompassed all opposites. As far as Gods were concerned, there was none higher. Depending the on the culture, Abraxas is seen as either a god or a demon.

Since I dreamed of the word Abraxas, I’ve been fixated on the name and the history/associations attached to the word. I’ve also taken things a step further and started outlining a story that involves Abraxas and all the mythological connections to its very meaning/symbolism. I can’t go any further with my explanation, as I’d like to keep the details under my hat for now, but I’m showing a sneak peek at one of the cards I have planted firmly up against my chest. How Abraxas will show up in my writing remains to be seen…but I have some ideas on how I’m going to use this being/concept/symbol.

I feel so drawn and curious about Abraxas, in fact, that I have started a new email address (as of a week or so ago) that features the name: Abraxas1764 =at= gmail =dot= com. Yes, feel free to write me there as this will eventually become my new primary address for personal email, with the scribequill address used as secondary for both business and personal emails. It’s time to shake things up a bit for 2012! The 1764 behind Abraxas refers to the date of my birth: the 17th day and the year (19)64. I would’ve preferred 1217, but it was taken. Apparently, the word Abraxas is a popular email ID. Who knew?

Also, before I get a ton of mail about it, I am aware that the group Santana released an album entitled Abraxas back in 1970 when I was a mere six years old. I didn’t listen to Santana at six, and although I’ve heard certain singles on the radio over the years (“Black Magic Woman” is particularly kick butt!), I’m not a huge aficionado of Santana music and I’ve never owned the album. Carlos rocks and all of that, but my head was buried in new wave, alternative, punk, hard rock/metal and KISS music most of my life 🙂 However, thanks to my dream a while back, I have added it to my Last.fm playlist. I’ve also blipped it while DJing at Blip.fm.

So there you go! For what it’s worth, I’m not sure of the reason behind all these words/names showing up, written out, in my dreams, but if nothing else, I’m going to mine it and use those strange nuggets in my writing life. Why not? What an interesting resource to have, after all. Life never ceases to amaze, and who can understand the rhyme or reason of it all? Not me, that’s for sure!