No, I Will Not Debate You



Laurie Penny | Longreads | September 2018 | 15 minutes (3,795 words)

“The media here is the opposition party.
They don’t understand this country.”
— Steve Bannon, to the New York Times

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury
when substituted for insight and understanding.”
— Marshall McLuhan, The Gutenberg Galaxy

* * *

There are some stupid mistakes that only very smart people make, and one of them is the notion that a sensible argument seriously presented can compete with a really good piece of theatre.

Every day, people on the internet ask why I won’t “debate” some self-actualizing gig-economy fascist or other, as if formal, public debate were the only way to steer public conversation. If you won’t debate, the argument goes, you’re an enemy of free speech. You’re basically no better than a Nazi, and certainly far worse than any of the actual Nazis muttering about…

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The Lack of Woo

I got involved with ‘discourse’ on a friends FB page today. On the topic of why we older Millennials are stuck in a limbo between childhood and adulthood and where we fail to live up to the Adult markers the previous generation laid out and then stole from us.

Most of the comments were a laundry list of where people tried and failed to Adult, how those who have met some of the markers still feel out of place, and it was turning into a mass outpouring of shame and guilt.

I admit, I was baked when I first wrote my response and I’m pretty sure I was channeling something.

My comment was an admittedly inaccurate condensed version of THIS podcast as I best remembered the message- Western society lacks concrete milestones and spiritual training to usher the younger generation into adulthood.

And it went about as well as expected, thankfully without hostilities. The guy I was in discourse with did not seem to equate shamanic rituals as much more that “rattle shaking” and declared my source material as “too much woo”.

Fine. Whatever. Not everyone is prepared to entertain the idea that we are a spiritually starved nation, I get it.

But don’t diss the Woo, man.
And Christina Pratt is one of the least Woo-Woo instructors I’ve ever come across.

Frankly i think we could all do with a little more Woo in our lives, if only to help swallow the spikey, bitter, poison pill of reality. Because there is more to this world than meets the physical eyes. We would all do well to remember that.

The Importance of Checking Your Sources of Magical Influence

This is not a post on checking your sources when researching stuff. That’s a rant for another time.

Once in a while I get people who are legitimately under a curse. They or someone they’re involved with show all the classic signs of possession, obsession, manipulation, brainwashing, the whole shebang. And when my guides blast further information into my head that the client then confirms, ok yeah time to call it a duck.

Then she throws a curveball at me: “It’s from the Philippines.”

My magical areas of study extend to the America’s, most of Europe, and the more significant differences between the larger AD traditions. If I can identify where a curse came from, then we have a roadmap on how to break it, or at least I can send them to a professional in that field.

Why not tackle it yourself? Aren’t you a powerful witch? Why send Work away to someone else? Why should anyone come to you in the first place?

Because I know my limits.
I know my strengths, and I know my weaknesses.
I know my areas of consistent results, and I know when a situation is out of my league.
I also know who can get a client better results than I’m equipped to handle.

It’s like the difference between going to a Walk-in Clinic , and seeing your PCP or a specialist. The level of damage you’ve sustained will indicate where you go for treatment. They don’t (or can’t) perform surgery to repair a torn ligament, but hey you were able to get a diagnosis or a reference to a specialist who can then work to fix the problem. But if you’ve got a case of strep throat, one rapid test and a course of antibiotics is easier to obtain from a walk-in clinic.

My magical diagnoses and treatments are the same way; I can definitely help a lot of things, but I know when a situation is over my head. I make no pretense that “Oh I’ve been a student of the occult for 17+ years, I’ve heard of this blahblahblah.” I’ve been a student of a very select line of information and IT HAS SERVED ME WELL. I don’t know a damn thing about any magic from the Philippines, but there’s some key aspects and methods that are known the world over, and they’re SUPER EFFECTIVE at causing the type of disturbances this client was describing. So while I may not know exactly WHAT was done or HOW it was performed, I knew enough not to mess with it.
Instead, I threw out a few resources I knew for her to find a reliable, ethical, and specialized professional.
And in the meantime, I told her some practical steps she can take for her own peace of mind and protection. That’s one area where I have confidence in my abilities, knowledge, and techniques.

Know where you’re coming from. It makes no sense to me to over-reach into an area you may not know well enough, just to impress a client. That way can lead to getting one’s ass burned. But hey, if you’re a professional who likes a challenge and will take on exotic curse-breaking methods, don’t let me stop ya.

TMW Astrology Gets Real

I just had a brain-explosion regarding the recent transits, retrogrades, and placements of Saturn, Mars, Venus, and Mercury in my natal chart:

* My Saturn Return (27 yrs old) was in SCORPIO, sign of sex, death, rebirth and major drama. My love life went “Krakatoa” and got a total re-write. MUCH improved overall.
Now that Saturn has gone direct again in my Rising Sign (Capricorn) It’s calling for a total re-haul of my core self and how I express it to the world.
HOWEVER – I have Chiron in Gemini; I’m wounded in the Communication department. It’s   wound that will never truly heal. BUT IN EXPERIMENTING WITH TREATMENTS ON MYSELF I CAN BETTER SERVE OTHERS.

So I guess the lessons I’m learning in this current transit, the changes I’ve made, and the plans of further pruning will someday aid others when they need to overhaul their own Life Story.

Huh….. Ok, Universe. I see what you did there.

Brain Dump – End of Winter Edition

I write this post for several reasons; some are valid, more are beyond my control and so I’m left with unloading things in text and i can’t write them by hand since my brain moves too fast for my hands to keep up and typing satisfies the desire to hit something (keyboard).

So we are now into a Saturn retrograde after spending half of Sat in Cap season putting edges and boundaries in place, to having things go backwards and retrace the step i’ve been plodding in for the last few months. Which, considering my goal for this astrological event was to get my life in some semblance of order, is working?
My life is just as chaotic and disorganized as ever but at least now i have a written record of all the stuff i’m trying to keep track of. Shit’s still messed up but now it’s obvious why – THERE’S SO MUCH OF IT.

I know better how to prioritize tasks, how to set up blocks of time to get things done to completion rather than start 5 things and finish nothing.
still struggling to stay on task at work with distractions, and then there’s setting up an evening routine/ tasks for working from home on my days off.
I DID learn the difference between procrastination and executive function, and that’s been a huge game changer.

Over the winter i also followed a rabbit trail of research into figuring out how my brain works (or rather doesn’t) and learning hacks or tricks for working around this deficit. In following the research and executive functioning guides, a nagging feeling that I’d stumbled onto a deeper mystery kept me going farther.

I had suspicions that it was more than dyscalculia, more than ADHD (which runs on my dad’s family like dark eyes and high cholesterol), more than just a failure to adult. There was more to the strange ways my brain worked and filtered input from the world. There was a method under all the madness and coping skills for executive dysfunction opened up a world of diagnostic possibilities, if I had the money and time to demand tests from a doctor. But I don’t have either of those and my health insurance doesn’t need to know that shit either…

So I dove into the realms of self-diagnosis. I trust my intellect and method of learning/absorbing info. I’ve had 30 years to perfect it and I know my own internal BS detector is very strong. I will subject any piece of dubious info to full scrutiny and if i don’t find any plausible research or anecdotes to back it up to my satisfaction (95% resonance or higher) then it gets scrapped.

It didn’t take long for searches for “Female ADHD” to turn up “Female ASD” and “Female Aspergers” in the results. And just like that, a massive chunk of my Life Puzzle fell exactly in to place.

I am Aspie.
I am autistic.
It explains EVERYTHING.

There were things I never told my parents about how my mind worked because I literally had no words for it, or rather I had the vocabulary but not the grammar or syntax to describe what i was experiencing. When your brain regularly shuts down from overload, stress, emotional short-circuit, or just because the wind blew out of the North east it’s nearly impossible to explain to someone badgering you for a coherent response.
Emotional outbursts are a regular threat, that I manage to control by keeping myself in tight check. It’s not emotionally healthy, but it’s what I had to do. (CANNABIS HELPS ME *EXIST* WITHOUT JUDGEMENT)

Not knowing if the tightness in my chest is anxiety or excitement, because whenever I reacted to either as a child i was told to settle down. No one explained or described what emotions or feelings PHYSICALLY FELT LIKE, so when they asked “What’s wrong? Are you OK?” the only answer i could give was “I don’t know.”

I will never “grow out of it”, it’s how I’m wired from birth.
But I can be more compassionate with myself.

The only reason I “understand” body language and sarcasm is because I studied facial expressions and dynamic posture TO MAKE MY ART MORE EXPRESSIVE. Manga art books were full of exaggerated expressions (which is kind of the point behind the whole art style) and it gave me a reference to at least what facial contortions could be interpreted as emotions. I was still just guessing when it came time to practice.

I WAS diagnosed with physical sensory issues when I was little, and got PT to help put those filters back in place. I remember being so uncomfortable in a physical body, everything in the world had me overloaded and itchy tags or tight shoes were like painful brain static that made me lash out. So I got help to dull the physical sensory overload, but they forgot about visual/auditory/emotional overloads.

Just the other week, Mom-in-Law flipped out on me when I took her seriously when she “joked” about having thrown my dinner leftovers away. It was such an incongruous thing for her to say (and b/c other people have actually pulled that shit on me in the past) that my brain came to a screeching halt and for a few moments I believed her. She didn’t know that I take the people I trust at face value BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN TRUST THEM. Her “joke” threw me back into an instant PTSD-replay of everytime in my life that I fell for a move like that. It happened A LOT. I didn’t want to cry, but was powerless to stop as I fully realized that it wasn’t my “not getting the joke” all those years, it truly was other people being cruel to me.
(Am I “too sensitive” or is the world that callous? I’m beginning to believe the latter.)

Wearing a Normal Person mask is exhausting.
Being able to take it off and accept my default Aspie setting is nothing short of a RELIEF.
Having a partner who not only accepted my tentative self-diagnosis, but backed up a list of symptoms that “describe you perfectly and makes total sense!” Is a BLESSING.
Coming out as ASD to my favorite nephew (the Diagnosed Autistic member of the family) and having a wonderful bonding moment over ‘Wtf are emotions even GAUH’ was a VALIDATION.

Now I know how to identify when I’m overloaded and what some of my triggers are. I know when I’m more susceptible to melt-down feelings and when my diet/environment/hormonal cycle leaves me vulnerable.

Like today, apparently because i wrote ALL OF THIS before lunch, and then ate a few peanut butter cups and I’m feeling better. Guess I needed to process everything and read it a few dozen times.

Well, it’s a surprisingly comfortable shoe and it fits.

On Getting Perspective

I’ve recently become reacquainted with Brighid, and found myself mentally calling her Maman Brigitte, without knowing why. Reading this brought tears to my eyes 💕


I don’t have the time to waste in these arguments any longer. I can feel the clouds gathering on the horizon. The storm is coming, and when it does, there will be no time left for pointless arguments and accusations.

From Emma Kathryn

This week I’ve been gently reminded to be careful not to commit cultural appropriation. Twice. In talking about the loa, Papa Legba to be exact, I was told that I should be careful not to appropriate the African gods.

Now let me just make clear that this is not going to be yet another essay describing what is and what is not appropriation, but the whole incident got me thinking. I mean, the advice was offered in good faith, I’m sure it was meant well (and the person giving said advice wasn’t to know I’m an obeah woman, was she now?), and they seemed nice enough in…

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Taking stock

It’s the first full day of my 34th year on this year and I have never felt more conflicted about where I want to be going with my life, and where my life keeps tripping me up.

What lessons am I supposed to be learning?

If I were to base things on how the world itself is going, I’d be sitting in a hole crying my eyes out. And some part of me wants to do just that.

But that’s not a constructive way to spend my energy, so if I can take a few moments for that luxury, then so be it, just get it out of my system and get back to the task at hand.

To use the Existential Kink method, pioneered by Carolyn Elliot, there’s something about this situation that my Shadow absolutely adores and keeps manifesting. She’s figured out how to get her Influence heard over my conscious desires.

Freya teaches difficult lessons and she is a goddess of War. My will is divided, at war with itself. I have a lack of fire in my natal chart, with an abundance of air so everything happens in my head. Getting things from my head to my hands to the world is the hardest part and maintaining it terrifies me.

I know this means it’s something I absolutely OUGHT to be doing. I NEED to do this. I don’t have to like the things, I just have to do them.

It would also help me if the most pressing and important things I could be doing MADE THEMSELVES CLEAR so I know what order to get shit finished.

What It Means to be a Storybook Witch

Sometimes being a Storybook Witch means talking on the phone for four hours to get someone out of a panic spiral, while picking apart knitted socks with a crochet hook.

Sometimes being a Storybook Witch means screaming at the ceiling and demanding that whatever is haunting a client better back off because now they have to deal with ME.

Sometimes being a Storybook Witch means casting a net to personal contacts and friends to gather info that would otherwise be out of reach for others.

Sometimes being a Storybook Witch means giving a magical hug and watching the person leave with a trail of invisible fairy dust.

Sometimes being a Storybook Witch means pouring over astrology charts for an entire family, looking for signs of a curse, and binding the suspected curse-casters chart with tape and three colors of yarn bc the papers are thrumming in a highly suspicious manner.

The danger is in getting caught up with other people’s stories and trying to force an ideal narrative on them. That did not work out well for The Fairy Godmother in Shrek, or Lillith Weatherwax in Witches Abroad (Discworld). They tried to control the stories of others and got very mean and nasty when their very narrow ideals were challenged.

Fantastic musical numbers aside.

Some people want you to do just that- they’re tired of how things have played out in their lives, and in these cases I cannot blame their desire in the slightest. They’re looking for a fairy godmother who waves a wand and makes things better. It’s over and done and everyone is supposed to live happily ever after, but nothing has changed on the inside.

Witches dont do that stuff. We make you earn it. There’s a hard lesson to be learned and a cheat sheet isn’t going to teach you anything. Just because the outside has changed, doesn’t mean the inside did.

“You gotta dig a little deeper”

I’m not here to be the sole author of their stories. I’m just a ghostwriter and proofreader. The most important lesson I teach my clients is that YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF YOUR STORY. MAKE IT A GOOD ONE.

The hardest part people have is accepting the responsibility of that position themselves. They’ve been told a false narrative their whole lives by other people; By the media, by their parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, etc. They have so many ideas about who they’re supposed to be and what other’s expect from them that they have forgotten WHO THEY TRULY ARE.

Moana restored the heart of Te Fiti by acknowledging the goddess who had forgotten her own self in her grief and rage. I help others see the true self within by reminding them who they are, who the stars said they could become at the moment of their birth, and where the stories got twisted and tangled.

I will find that thread of their true self and unravel the knots until everything is laid out and clear. Then we work together to design a new pattern for their life , one they’re in control of and know how to form with some tutelage from me. Everyone has their own learning style and sometimes books are enough, sometimes YouTube videos, and sometimes it takes a hands on approach and constant reassurance that they’re going to be ok if they just stop being afraid.

Being a Storybook Witch means being a friend to those who have none. It means teaching other people skills they never knew they had access to. It means being an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves.

To me, it means living my souls purpose. And I love every moment.

Why I Meddle – A Case Story

I will never understand humanity’s mad desire to crush and destroy anything that is good and pure. Something that is “too good for this world” is stifled, abused, stepped on, isolated, slandered, and otherwise destroyed for all intents and purposes and to what end?

Why do humans try to destroy that which we should uphold as a beacon of hope, a standard to strive for, so  that we too can achieve this level of wholeness?

Why is history marked with the bravest and wisest people being stoned to death or burned at the stake? Religious institutionalism and political control aside, why do we do this on the small family group or tribal level?

Why is there a scapegoat in the family? Why is there a Meg Griffin main target? Why does a parent single out one child to torture and deprive of basic human kindness?

And when that child refuses to break, when they radiate more light and find someone outside the family who sees them for the wonderful person they are, the parents swoop in and chain the child up. They prevent that child from receiving any kindness at all, lest they get the idea that they are worthy of basic compassion and humanity.

The pattern repeats into adulthood. The parents refuse to aid their child thru horror and trials that would (and have) sent most others into the depths of depression, despair, even suicide. Baseline compassion and empathy is denied them, just contempt and derision. But this shining human being walks thru it all, bent and bowed under the pressure, but never broken. Only once do they snap and hit rock bottom but even then they have an inner core of steel that will bend and sway but not break and they lift themselves back up and carry on.

More and more weight is thrust upon them, lower they bow, but never break. The scars made them tougher, while inside they are still soft and loving. More and more support is sucked away; first by the parent, then by the spouse, then children. Then the spouse turns on them and casts them out, as well as the children created, or else they poison the mind of the children against the parent who did everything in their limited power to protect the children at all costs. Another spouse comes along, promising to be their salvation, but instead they are another sadistic overseer, piling more chains and restrictions, trying to break the shining person’s very Spirit.

This Spirit is the first, last, and only support system the person has ever been able to rely upon. This is the Spirit that others tried to kill, tried to starve, tried to abandon and neglect, tried to poison but nothing they did had any lasting effect. The Spirit was wounded, but healed quickly and grew only stronger in defiance.

Fifty years of this repeating pattern. Fifty years of walking thru the fiery fields of Hell, until they’re familiar and the shining human sees them as normal.

Fifty years.

Until …

Until the shining human makes friends with a witch. A witch who sees the radiance that half a century of shit-flinging couldn’t diminish. A Witch who has born under the Sign of the Scales, with strong ties to Justice and Balance.

No, says the witch. This is very very wrong. This is not in balance. This must be fixed.