journal, sidhehound, Uncategorized, writing

Love and Light and Covid

This piece is a work in progress. I will do my best to make it clear then changes have been made.

This is a post I have been avoiding writing for a while, and certainly wasn’t the post I wanted to start 2021 with.

But here we are.

On the macro scale, in the US we have white terrorists backed by the outgoing president attempting a coup and I seriously doubt any real action will be taken against the perpetrators.

On the micro scale, in my home town I hear people talking about how Covid-19 isn’t real and I see that few are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

On the surface, these two things might seem unrelated. However both have their roots in the same dangerous ideology: right-wing conspiracy theories.

It all starts simply enough. Most of us recognise that there is something fundamentally wrong with the lives we lead1, and it unsettles us. We begin to question the way things are, and try to find ways to soothe ourselves. The path then diverges into multiple trails, different ideas and philosophies, twisting and turning.

But some of us trip up, and fall down a rabbit hole. That, in turn, leads to right-wing conspiracy theories.

These conspiracy theories have always been with us. I used to think it was a bit of a laugh imagining that the Queen of England was really a space lizard. But recently, I have been learning a bit about how many of these conspiracies have roots in anti-semitism (“lizard people” is a dog-whistle for “Jew”), and how dangerous they can be (such as the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s).

And we are seeing in real time, with trails of evidence (thanks to the internet), it all happening again.

Now I am not academically inclined enough to be able to go into the ins and outs of this (I have recommended some resources at the end), but I can talk about what I am seeing amongst my friends and peers.

After many years personal pathworking and spiritual practice, I am training to be a shamanic practitioner2. As such, I spend time in the shamanic practitioner, witchcraft, druid, and general pagan communities. I also spend time in vegan and vegetarian comminties. Alternative beliefs, ideas, and practices have always been a part of that. Unfortunately this includes a lot of harmful ideas, such as “vaccines cause autism”, and “chemtrails are real”. You learn to dodge these people quickly. Then there are the more insideious people who talk about themselves and their fellow “lightworkers” as enlightened beings here to drag the rest of humaninty up to a 5 dimentional existance by their bootstraps. Yikes! Can anybody say “spiritual fascism”?

For reasons I don’t fully understand3, these members of the community have been fertile ground for the seeds of right-wing conspiracies. I hear people I used to love and respect regurgitate the most ridiculous and harmful bullshit. It has gotten to the stage where I may not be able to continue the path I am on because some of my peers think that the Covid-19 pandemic is a hoax.

Let that sink in. A virus that has unnecessarily killed nearly 2 million human beings worldwide, and ruined the lives of millions more isn’t real. Or isn’t serious. Or is caused by something other than a virus (such as Elon Musk sending 5G rays down from a satellite to kill us all4). Or is a deliberate scheme to force everyone to be vaccinated (so that Bill Gates can put nanochips in us5). Or it doesn’t matter because only old, disabled, and vulnerable people will die from it (have you ever heard of eugenics?).

I am absolutely fucking disgusted.

And my heart is breaking.

I have had to cut ties with some folks in the spiritual (and vegan) communities: people I looked up to, who helped me be the person I am today. I should have done it sooner. But when? When I found out they don’t believe in prescription medication? When they implied that vaccines cause autism? When they outed themselves as climate change deniers? When they told everyone that 5G was going to harm us all? No, I finally drew the line at the pandemic denial. I can only blame myself for being hurt by these folks. I saw all the red flags, and I chose to ignore them because I kept telling myself they were “good people”. In this regard, I need to take responsibility for my part in the spread of this toxic nonsense, because I didn’t stand up to it sooner. Maybe it is too late, because for years these people have been dripping poison into the ears of anyone who will listen.

That poison has spread far, but often it is subtle. The occasional meme here, the occasional link to a crappy YouTube video there, but it all piles up. You drip-feed someone a poison long enough, and they will eventually die.

I believe that spirituality and science should go hand in hand. I believe that spirituality keeps science empathic and compassionate. I believe that science keeps spirituality grounded in reality. We need to be allies in order to figure out this mess of a world we find ourselves in.

I believe that those in the spiritual community, especially those of us who brand ourselves as healers, coaches, and therapists need to accept the fact that we live in this world, here and now. And in this world there is a pandemic, whch needs to be managed with face coverings, social distancing, and a vaccine. We cannot heal the soul if the body succombs to a virus. It’s that simple.

We have to stop it with all of this conspiracy bullshit.

The pandemic is real.

5G will not kill us.

The “global elites” are not torturing children in order to drink their blood.

Vaccines save lives.

Can I let you in on a secret? The real horrors of the world we live in are far worse. If you spend less time on this conspiracy bullshit you might figure that out.

Our communities need to recognise the pipeline between questioning the status quo and the alt-right, and challenge it because the end of that road leads to people like Jake Angeli, the QAnon shaman. Yes we can laugh at him and denounce him, but what are we doing to stop our community members becoming like him? Where do you think his first steps down this toxic path of conspirituality began? And how many others are following in his footsteps?

Before writing this post, I asked my spirit allies for guidance. Should I continue to keep quiet and avoid conflict? Or should I speak out?

And I drew Vulture from my Animal Spirit Oracle.

The Vulture is the great cleanser. She consumes what is rotten, and transforms it into something of value to the world. She does the dirty work, and deals with what we avoid, in order to return balance to the world. She stops the spread of disease. Vulture uncovers the blessings in disguise.

I call upon the Spirit of Vulture to help guide our communities back to a path of balance between the rational and the magical. To claw out the poison of conspiracy thinking, consume and transmute it, so that we can grow into better versions of ourselves. And with her wings, lift us up out of this hellish pit we find ourselves in. So mote it be.


Footnotes

1Hint: It’s capitalism.

2I apologise for using this phrase. I know that many consider it to be culturally insensitive, but I can’t think of an alternative phrase to explain what it is.

3I was linked to an interesting article that offers some reasoning: Spiritual Conspiritualists, Psychology Today

4Elon Musk is a cunt, but this isn’t why.

5Bill Gates is a cunt, but this isn’t why.

Recommendations:

“The Satanic Panic: America’s First Q Anon (part 1)” from Behind the Bastards

The Conspirituality Podcast

Q Clearance: The Hunt for Q Anon

Q Anon Anonymous

Updates:

09/01/2021 – Updated my writing to be less self-deprecating. Decided not to blame one singular person for what is happening. Added a brief comment about Jake Angeli.

journal

A Haunting

I wasn’t expecting to write today, but here we are.

Something I made that I am not embarrassed by.

I had a nightmare last night. I don’t want to go into details, but in it I had managed to get back into art school. My mum was so proud. Then I did something abhorrent, and my mum was disgusted at and ashamed of me. Why did I have to ruin my achievement by being such an awful person?

There are some things to unpack here. Firstly, I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art back in 2005. It was a difficult time. I had no relationships in my course, either with students or tutors. I spend most of my time hiding at my boyfriend’s flat instead of working. I was so scared of even being there I was unable to engage with anything. My projects were few and far between, and were all shit.

Shit.

And shit.

And even more shit.

I really should have been kicked out after my first public art project. I wasn’t cut out higher education, never mind the course was on. But I made it to my fourth year when the department head stepped in and told me I should take a year out, and come back when my head was on straight.

In reterospect, I know she was right.  However, I felt that she hated me and wanted me out. I was also scared of telling my parents that I had “failed”, and had no idea how I could afford to repeat a year. Instead, I stuck it out and produced a half-assed degree show, and a quarter-assed dissertation. I had a miserable time, and ended up with a third class Honours degree. The whole thing was dire. I couldn’t even face going to my graduation ceremony.

I have recurring dreams of being able to return. I hand back my degree parchment, my slate is wiped clean, and I get to try again. Sometimes I remain in Environmental Art, and sometimes I switch over to Communication Design so I can practice illustration. I’m yet to see how the courses work out.

My time at GSA is my biggest regret. It was an amazing opportunity that some artists would give their eye teeth to attend, and I squandered it. I came out with even less skills than I had when I went in, and it was all my own fault.

But if given the chance, would I return? That’s a good question.

I made this in my first year, before I completely crashed and burned. I think this is my favourite thing I made at art school.

And now to my mother. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what I did in my nightmare, and how she looked at me afterwards. I wish I could speak to her, and talk this through. She would tell me it was just a silly dream, and that she was proud of me for who I am, and that she loved me. I don’t have that opportunity though, as she passed away a few years ago. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I am sitting here wishing that my mum was here to hug me and tell me that everything is okay. I just need to hear her voice.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from writing this. Maybe I am waiting for someone, anyone, to intervene in my life and make things better. In the mean time I am going to cry, and pray for a restful night.

journal

Making the best of it

“May you live in interesting times”

Curse of unknown origin

I often wondered why that phrase was considered a curse, but now I know. The world is upended at the moment due to Covid-19, and I don’t even know where to begin.

My isolation/social distancing began unintentionally on the 11th March, as soon as I returned home from my therapy session. Later that evening, I developed a scratchy throat, so I decided to keep to myself just in case. It was only a regular wee cold thankfully. During my self-isolation things in the outside world got worse, and by the time I was well enough to go out, it was advised that everybody self isolate. Things are continuing to get worse, quelle suprise.

I’ve been trying to make the best of it, as we all should.

For a long while now I have been trying to create a workspace for myself at home, but it has been a bit tricky due to my chronic procrastination and my propensity for having multiple ideas on the go at the same time.

A photograph of my workspace. A PC connected to a monitor and graphics tablet, with a seperate laptop.

This is my workspace for the moment, while I try to focus on digital content creation for the time being. I have to give a massive shout out to my long-suffering partner for loaning me his old PC for my photoshop work as my laptop was trundling a fair bit. The space is a bit messy, but I have been able to make stuff. I’m currently looking at making a wee zine about The Mony, the park next to my home. It may or may not happen.

I had been putting off trimming my garden hedge for some time (possibly a year?), so I had some fun doing that while preparing for the oncoming Purge.

A photo of me posing with a hedgetrimmer and a scary rabbit mask.

While I was out in the garden, I breached the social distancing rule to help a drunk who had fallen over. It might not have been an intelligent choice, but it was a compassionate one. That is something I will get into later.

Now feels like a good time to learn new skills and find new hobbies. With my art, I am teaching myself photoshop. To keep active, I am taking up juggling and poi spinning. Both are skills I tried to learn over a decade ago, but set aside when I broke my collar bone and I never picked them up again. I’m also thinking about trying to crochet again too as I still have a massive stash of yarn.

Thankfully, I have yet to feel trapped or confined by social distancing. I can still go out and about within reason (there is a deadly virus on the loose after all), and most people are only ever a PM or email away. Stephen and I have our own rooms within the house, so we aren’t annoying each other too much. I guess I am lucky; being chronically ill has limited my life for so long, things haven’t had to change too much.

However, last night my anxiety started to kick in thanks to social media. I had been reading post after post after post about people not social distancing, and treating the whole thing as a long holiday. Gathering in parks, partying in pubs, and travelling to remote (and vulnerable) parts of the UK … all while spreading the virus. But it’s not the virus I am worried about; it’s the government’s response to people not following the guidelines set out to stop the spread of Covid-19.

If people can’t do the right thing on their own, in light of how serious things are … then what will the government response be? I imagine it will be using the police and military to force us all to stay indoors, draconian laws limiting the number of people who can go outside and where they can go outside, and a general loss of liberty. That frightens me so, so much. I was unsettled for most of last night. I don’t want to be trapped.

But for now, I can still move.

A photograph of the Vale of Leven, taken from the west of Dumbarton.

I do hope all of you are well, and keeping safe. The world has changed and we can’t go back.

journal

I should probably write something

Cat tax.

I’ve been stuck in a bout of depression for months, but I only just realised it after I was nearly run over last week. That rattled me enough to shake loose some dark emotions, and I’ve spent the last five days hiding in my house with the curtains closed. I’m doing all the things that don’t help, like isolating myself, eating junk and oversleeping, even though I know better.

My depression goes hand-in-hand with inactivity. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything, and sometimes I avoid doing things I want to do. The results are the same, and my days drag on. I even quit my day job in hopes that my mood would improve, but it didn’t.

Now that I recognise that I was depressed, I can make an effort to get better. I have been attending a Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course, and as that winds up I should be starting an emotional skills course designed for people with BPD. I want to get my sleep sorted, though I need to accept my chronic fatigue. My friend, a healer, has been offering me advice in managing my digestion which is helping my physical symptoms. There are a hundred and one other things I could be doing to feel better, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

I hope to do lovely things before 2020. I have been slacking on my self-employment as both a creative and healer. I want to create a portfolio of artworks, make some bags for retail, and organise a Winter Solstice ritual before the end of the year. I want to return to the local litter picking group, and seek out opportunities to serve my community. Writing it down. that might be too much to try and complete in two months.

I hope you are all well, and I will try to update more often.