Hell No at Halloween
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
Doubt has been replaced with anger. The answer is, “Not no, but hell no!” Disappointment has been replaced with perspective. I know what I know, and I’m so fucking pissed at anyone who knows nothing about something and tries to tell me otherwise, when they’ve either never had the experience or they feel their own personal taste is superior.
Samhain is definitely the time to honor what’s passed in the last year and let go of what’s no longer serving us. I’m approaching this from two directions, both with epiphanies about what I’m choosing to let go and what I won’t and why. Leaving behind old doubts and disappointments is the theme of my Samhain this year. The fact that I have perspective now is good. The fact that I’m pissed off is even better.
During a conversation at the Florida Pagan Gathering with Raven Grimassi and his wife, Stephanie Taylor, I ex- pressed my disappointment over how in the past year, previous mentors had not wanted to move forward into what I considered new territory (for us, at least). My desire was for us to learn and experience together. I’d felt there was so much to learn, so much “new knowledge” and new experiences but, for the most part, my former mentors not only didn’t want to venture into that territory but they discouraged me as well. When they weren’t discouraging me, they were generally telling me how to interact with something they themselves had not attempted. I had had a hard time understanding why others wouldn’t want to learn something new or try something new, but I do understand that wanting to blaze trails and be the guinea pig for new experiences is something that really, really thrills me and that others are often comfortable being exactly where they are and don’t want anything new or different.
I don’t remember if it was Stephanie or Raven, but one of them said, “Your former mentors weren’t meant to go with you into this new territory. Maybe their job was simply to get you to that point, but not go with you beyond it.”
That was a wow-moment for me, the kind I see visually.
At the edge of the known world, I’m looking over my shoulder and stepping into a dark terrain, alone, with all my former teachers and long-ago friends and previous mentors standing behind me, some reaching for me and others yelling after me and still others lighting candles to bring me “home” to them. All of them desperately trying to hold me there where they felt I was safe and they felt safe and in control, too.
They grow smaller in the distance as I make my way alone, realizing that the ground beneath my bare feet isn’t well-lighted yet, but it’s lush. I’m now at the steps of a garden and there’s a lot of light ahead, with some particularly lovely blooms I can see in the distance.
It’s an image that sticks with me, and one I will use to release much of the old tonight. I realize now that to venture into new territory, it’s been absolutely necessary to walk alone, or at least, in a very, very tiny group, and that I never would have learned what I have in the past few months or experienced all this new growth in who I am in the past year if I had stayed in place or all those who used to travel with me had accompanied me on this journey.
In another conversation with Stephanie, I off-handedly mentioned something I hoped for over the weekend. I didn’t really see it happening, but I wanted to leave the possibility open. Then Stephanie said, “No, no, no. A witch does not ‘hope.’ A witch does not ‘believe.’ A witch does not ‘have faith.’ A witch knows.” She was right. I already knew. I knew what I said I hoped for would not happen. In my heart, I knew. I knew the timing for it wasn’t right, the logistics weren’t right, and that it just wasn’t to be at that time. Very soon, but not at that location. Before I left home, I had already unpacked the things I would have needed if it had occurred.
There’s been quite a bit of that in the past two years— knowing something without recognizing it, only to have people swear angrily that I’d planned something ahead when I hadn’t or that I’d meant something a certain way when I certainly hadn’t at the time. Thinking back now, it did look like I knew. I just didn’t know that I knew. Now, I do. I still know things that are to come, and it’s far more than hopes. I know. I just don’t know exactly when or how, but I know.
Which brings me to something that made me red-in- the-face angry today. It really pisses me off when people try to override what I know is right for me by heaping on negativity and feeding doubt.
Blame it on Mercury in retrograde again, but I just received a month-old e-mail from a friend who’s been heavy on relationship advice in the past year. She’s unemployed, her divorce isn’t final yet, and she’s in serious danger of losing custody of her kids, losing her home, losing everything because she’s been so focused on male attention that she’s neglected her home. Yeah, I’m being a bit judgmental. Absolutely. I’m really seeing a difference between us right now and I really don’t think there’s any basis for our continued friendship. I think it’s served its purpose, as much as I hate to say that.
So today I get an email from her that’s out of sequence with the latest news. This is the email before her life caved in. She spends the first 5 paragraphs talking about 5 different men she’s sleeping with. As I’m reading it, part of me wonders if it’s fantasy. I mean, do real people spend ALL their time in bed? Gods! I have a mort- gage and kids to feed. I have a job. I have projects. I have non-sexual stuff to do.
I also wonder if maybe there’s something wrong with me that I don’t seem to let my libido drive my life. I’m not screwing everything that crawls out from under a rock, I’m not clinging to any and every man like a piece of fuzz you can’t get off your fingertips, and I’m not planning my life around my next date or when the phone might ring. My life won’t end tomorrow if I don’t get laid tonight, and for the most part, I’m choosing not to get laid rather than be indiscriminant. My sex life is a conscious choice, and it’s my choice.
Though I may rant in my journal, I can actually have a conversation that doesn’t include sex, though I realize now that every conversation with her for the last three months has been focused on her sex life and her sighs over my lack of men. I just don’t get it. I’m reading her email, thinking, we have nothing in common anymore and you are a sad, pathetic little cookie.
That’s when I get to her last line. The one that suggests I not wait for something special. No, not “suggests.” It does more than suggest. It denigrates, it in- troduces doubt, it sneers, it condescends.
It really pisses me off.
I didn’t ask her opinion. I’ve told her very little. But this is the third time I’ve heard this from her, just not quite as directly.
A year ago, I was hearing the same crap from plenty of other people. A year ago, I would have doubted and felt depressed and felt pressured to just give in and scoop up the next blob of maleness to ooze into the room and smear it all over me. A year ago, I was letting people see my kind-hearted compassionate core and then stinging from their assumption that they could help me direct my life when they couldn’t direct their own. There’s not any doubt now, not any trust in these words of “friendly advice,” not any acceptance of their opinions, not even any hurt that they don’t agree with me or support me or seem to care that their words sting me. None of that. It’s some- thing I’m releasing this Samhain because it’s a big change for me over the past year.
So when she tells me how I need to be more like her and give up on the idea of someone special in my life, I don’t even hit reply. Instead, I hit delete and mutter something under my breath as she vanishes into the murk behind me.
My answer back is a firm “Not no, but hell no!” Be- cause a witch knows. Because there IS something special out there for me, something worth waiting for. Because I…know.