Opening in Circles

Customer: “Could I get a bottle of Double Scorpio, please?”

Me: “Sure. Which scent would you like?”

Customer: “Hmm. What do you recommend?”

Me: “I’d go with either the Amber or the Gold.”

Customer: “Okay, sounds good. I’ll take that one.”

Me: “Which one?”

Customer: “The one you recommend.”

Me: “So… would you like the Amber, or would you like the Gold?”

Customer: “Yes.”

It’s the returning sense of normalcy that I treasure the most.

Merrie Marjories (or, Thumper Redux)

There was this momentary trend on Facebook where everyone was making adorable avatars of themselves, which was nifty or whatever, except my FB account wouldn’t let me create one. Maybe it’s just because my phone is crap, but I still felt left out, like I was the only live-action character in a movie where everyone else got to be a cartoon.

Fortunately for my emotional well-being, I can count both artists and clairvoyants amongst my online tribe. From 1200 miles away in Toledo, OH, my friend Kenji sensed my alienation and swooped in to repair my psyche:

Thumper Avatar 1

And before I could even finish gushing, he was like, “Hold, please,” and took it over the damn rainbow:

Thumper Avatar 2

Avatars that can bend air aren’t as fantabulous as this is, and I made it my FB profile pic first thing this morning, so that people would be confronted with it as soon they woke up. I don’t really have a better way to express my mind-blown gratitude for these portraits, but let me just add how happy I am that the assymetrical glasses remain on-brand.

Dancing Macabre On My Own

Happy World Goth Day! In observance of this, the darkest of holidays, I’d like to share some traditional dances taught to me by my friend Martin (a fellow Forgeling and most elegant goth himself), all of which are fairly self-explanatory:

Making a Spider Web

Picking Strange Fruit

Displaying the Scars on My Wrists While Walking Slowly Backwards

My Hands Are Bound Behind My Back and I Am Okay with That

You can click here for other lessons, or here to experience what it’s like in my head a lot of the time. And once you’re done cutting the rug shroud, you can slip on your sunglasses, glide somberly out into the world, and befriend a crow. Bonus points if you get the crow to dance with you.

Nothing Compares UU

[A conversation between myself and my dad over dinner.]

Me: “So I’ve started looking into graduate schools…”

My Dad: “Really? Are you going to pursue a degree in psychology?”

[Ed. Note: My dad recently decided that I should become a psychologist, based on nothing but my ability to talk him down from the ceiling during anxiety attacks.]

Me: “Well… kind of. I did some research, and I found out that I could get a Masters with an emphasis in counseling while studying other subjects that interest me if I go to a Unitarian-Universalist seminary.”

My Dad: “…”

Me: “So I would still basically be a therapist. But you know how friends are always asking me to officiate their weddings? I would get to keep doing that, too.”

My Dad: “So… you’d be a Unitarian minister.”

Me: “Yeah. I would.”

My Dad: “This is very exciting!

Okay, not quite what I was expecting, since his standard reaction to any career goal I put into words is, “I mean, if it’ll make you happy…” or occasionally, “Have you given any more thought to law school?” But I’m taking his unexpected enthusiasm as a favorable omen, and I spent a big chunk of last night figuring out how to make this happen.

There’s a cool UU church not too far from me that Trothwy and her husband joined after their ultra-conservative neighbors started getting suspicious about their religious proviclities, so I’m going to attend an online service there this Sunday and spend the next several months ingratiating myself. This particular church does not have a Covenant of Unitarian-Universalist Pagans chapter, so once I’m in good with the parish, I’ll petition to establish one. Meanwhile, I’m going to get started on the Sacred Well Congregation ordination process to back up the ministerial credentials I already have, so that my grad school application will be nicely fleshed out with life experience and relevent extracurriculars.

There are currently two Unitarian seminaries in the US: one in Chicago, and one in Berkeley, CA. Of the two, I’m leaning towards the Berkeley campus. I’d be able to do a lot of the coursework online, but I would eventually have to move to the Bay Area to finish up and matriculate, which would be pricey AF but also epic, because I could go through the Lucky Mojo apprenticeship program during my summer break, thus making Doctor Demidaddy an official thing.

I thought about running with Reverend Demidaddy instead of Doctor Demidaddy, but Ben says that Reverend Demidaddy sounds a little too rockabilly to be taken seriously. He may have a point.

Regardless, what happens next is this: I’ll return to Houston, and the Unitarians will be like, “Welcome back! Hey, that CUUPS group you founded really took off and needs its own space.” So I’ll be like, “Well, is that cute little decommissioned church over near the Heights still for sale?” And the Unitarians will be all, “It is! Here’s $800,000. Go crazy.” So we’ll get that organization off the ground, and we’ll convert part of the sanctuary into a lady chapel, where we’ll hold spiritualist candle services and Crystal Silence League meditations. And then one day, around 30 years from now, I’ll be like, “Welp, my work here is done,” and I’ll retire and run the church bookstore.

Oh, and we’ll host leather events in the Fellowship Hall.

This is the best plan ever.

PS: The title of this post is a visual pun of the first order, and if you didn’t laugh when you read it, then I just do not know what to do with you.

The Effect of NeoPaganism on Manslaughter and Marigolds

In response to my post on herb magic, Aidan wrote:

“Where was this when I first got involved with herbalism and really had no idea just HOW MUCH 2oz of chamomile flowers really was? It’s been years and I still have a full jar. I will never not have chamomile again. I’m probably going to die and be buried with a jar of chamomile flowers.”

And man, can I sympathize. Because fucking calendula.

Toward the end of my drinking career, this narcissist dipsomaniac gentleman caller with whom I was terribly smitten asked me to make an herbal charm for a court case he had coming up. Calendula is considered lucky in matters of the law, so I phoned a few places to find some, and had the following conversation with the sales clerk of a local occult shop, which I promise I am not making up.

Clerk: “Hello! Thanks for calling [redacted]!”

Me: “Hi, I just have a quick question. Do you carry an herb called calendula?”

Clerk: “We sure do!

Me: “Great, I’ll be right…”

Clerk: “Do you know the other name for calendula?”

Me: “Actually, I don’t. But I just wanted to see if…”

Clerk: “Marigold! So if you’re ever looking for calendula and can’t find it, you can also ask for marigold.”

Me: “Good to know.”

Clerk: “Because you see…”

[Insert 10-minute lecture on the mystical properties and various ritual uses of calendula/marigold.]

Clerk: “… so after you’ve asked the Goddess for Her permission, leave the polished stones in a silver bowl of blessed water under the Full Moon. And that’s how you use calendula correctly!”

Me: “Well, wow, very interesting. Thank you for the information. So I guess I’ll drop by in a bit to pick up some calendula.”

Clerk: “Ooh, sorry. We’re sold out.”

Had this interaction gone down face-to-face, no jury in the world would’ve convicted me.

Anyway, I did some more searching and finally found calendula. I made the herbal charm, his court case ended favorably, and he turned out to be a rip-snorting douche-canoe. And then I got sober. The End. Sort of. The mid-credits scene is as follows:

all the calendula

This is my leftover calendula. Nations will rise and fall before I run out of calendula. I won’t just be buried with calendula; I’ll be buried in calendula. The flowers themselves are edible and apparently have medicinal qualities, but I’ve had them for so long that I don’t know if it would be safe to actually ingest them. And of course, if I toss them out or cast the petals to the winds or whatever, I’ll immediately find myself in an emergency situation where one of the other bystanders/passengers/hostages will go, “If only we had some calendula,” and everyone will look to me with hope and desperation, and I’ll have to be like, “Oh. Sorry. I got rid of it. But I do have some spikenard…?” And then we’ll all die.

At this point, I’m about ready to just stuff an oversized body pillow with calendula to serve as a surrogate snuggle buddy when Ben‘s not in town. But before I start stitching, if anyone out there is gearing up to contest a traffic ticket or something, just let me know, and I’ll make you an herbal charm. Out of a duffel bag.