Category Archives: Magic

Purpose

[an essay, by   ~burning woman~ ] 

Until perhaps a decade of Earth years ago I had not yet realized that any intelligent, sentient, self aware life form needs a purpose in order to make sense of itself and to give itself direction. Without purpose such a life falls into an endless treadmill. How can any intelligent life with the ability to self propel move forward, or in any meaningful direction, without purpose?

Serving a purpose instead of just existing as asset, a “labour resource” or a consumer makes sense. But in a world teeming with billions of Earthians how can one develop a meaningful purpose? How can “I” make myself mean something outside the dictates of a system that by observation increasingly tends to go off the rails and doesn’t seem to have any meaning in itself?

That’s a legitimate question, I think. What is our civilization’s purpose? There was a time that “purpose” for Earthians was to serve the gods. For better or worse, we lost that, or deliberately turned against it. Not totally our fault since the gods, real or imagined, no longer responded to our prayers and left us to our own devices, lead by unabashedly greedy certifiable morons in the field of religion. It wasn’t long before the System offered a new type of belief I would call political atheism.

We were swayed by a new idea: evolution, or natural selection. Instead of gods, nature was the arbiter of everything that had ever been, was, or could be. To top that, man rediscovered himself to be a meaningless physical, finite entity with absolutely no hope of any future beyond his one pointless life. Essentially that is the atheist creed. Like belief in God, gods or whatever, belief in no hereafter is just another type of faith-based concept. The difference is that this belief does not exactly promote the seeking for greater purpose.

For an ISSA being, purpose can only be properly expressed in a mind conscious of existence beyond one physical lifetime. Purpose carries across time and space to encompass cosmic reality. Purpose means partnership with life and its creative force.

Purpose awareness brings one dangerously close to thinking like a god also, and that is a place one must shun with every part of one’s being.

We’ve done the god thing and all it has accomplished is help solidify a societal reality that is destroying us as a species. While pretending to worship some God or other Force, what we have done is create a civilization wherein we would rule the world as gods. In that we have been abject failures. Instead of developing purpose as self empowered individuals we have corralled all the available resources of the planet, human and non, to jerry build a mindless, directionless, self-defeating finite monstrosity that is ever poised to destroy itself through internecine warfare. Our civilization is a predatory Frankenstein without specific direction, without purpose. When we read the questionable records of its history the final question that remains is, what was the point? What’s the point? What comes after?

If we use the Pleasantville allegory as indicative of the development of civilization – and why not? – we end up with the same question: what comes next, once the Pleasantville illusion is shattered? In the movie the answer is we’re not supposed to know. The same answer you get if you do religion. “In my father’s house are many mansions.” Fine, well and good, but that is not an answer. The type and condition of life in the father’s house are never answered. Why not?

Neither religion nor its nemesis atheism, want, or can, give anyone purpose. Purpose relates to a “higher” type of thinking. Purpose shatters the programming of the Powers and sets the mind free to be itself. To develop its own thinking patterns. To see reality, not propaganda. To dare accept a knowledge once sought by mages, visionaries, dreamers. A knowledge ignored and despised in today’s academic and political circles.

Purpose takes us out of mindless existence on the wheel of fate, or karma, or dead-end as is the more common case today. Purpose is the action field where an individual practices living at the expense of her mere existence until all that’s left is life. Once one discovers life society and its manifold chaotic beliefs no longer hold sway.

I can think my own thoughts and know beyond any doubt that they are superior to any expressed by society and those who rule and ruin it to their own destruction. From purpose I can see the past and I can walk into the future, up to “the 13th Floor” and beyond. Can you?  

 

 

 

 

Antierra Manifesto-blog post #72

That was the first and last addict I encountered in the compounds.  She lost her appetite for stim, at least around me.  I could have left my cube lying in her cage and she would not have touched it.  Maybe it was cruel; maybe it wasn’t funny but Tiki and I and a few other women laughed much over this unusual episode.  That it should happen at a time when I was flying so high was also of note.  The air of celebration continued until the day of the fight. 

End blog post #71
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Begin blog post #72

The Warmo, now a condemned prisoner, is escorted naked into our compound to choose his weapons.  There is much staring and gawking, but no noise as we had been warned the silence rule would be fully and viciously enforced while the Warmo was among us.  I could feel the tension and hate among the women.  There is not one here who would hesitate for one second to throw herself at him and tear off his balls and finish him off.  Well, he does not look cut.  He’s  not a eunuch so his lack of sexual desire towards his female victims must speak of something else.  Homosexual?  I could throw that in his face tomorrow.  And I’d just love to add that aberration to his public rap sheet!  Homosexuals are as common as sand here, but that can never be admitted to – another capital crime.  While female fighters and sex-slaves are expected to have same-sex lovers, males are prohibited from expressing themselves in similar fashion. 

I follow the Warmo’s movements as a hawk watches its prey.  What weapons will the rat choose?  The staff.  That’s good for me.  But he does not stop there.  He appears to have a special permit to use several weapons in any order he chooses.  He picks the long sword and the combination rapier and short sword.  Now I have to figure out his game.  There is no apparent sense to his choices so he’s worked out a system whereby he can defeat me with these choices.  I must logically deduce the reason behind his apparently random and meaningless choice.  He is escorted out and I ask permission to consider the weapons just chosen.  I watch the faces of the trainers when I make my request.  One of them sneers openly at me.  Ahah!  There is a connection between some information he has given Warmo and the choices.  Well, never mind that for the moment.  First concentrate in what order a thoroughly trained and professional fighter would use the particular weapons chosen.

First the staff.  Its strengths I am familiar with.  What are its weaknesses regarding the other weapons?  It’s long and thin.  A good blow across it with the large sword would easily weaken or even cut it in half.  Point one.  Warmo intends to switch weapons during the fighting, not during regular drinking breaks.  He starts with the staff, forcing me to match him, gets me engaged then switches to the sword and cuts into my weapon, breaking it and leaving me wide open to a thrust.  How does he intend to switch weapons so fast?

He cannot leave the sword just lying in the sand – a menace to his feet and I could grab it.  A scabbard!  He will be wearing the long sword on his back.  That has never been done in the arena but this is no ordinary fight.  We are billed as Beasts, therefore rules can be bent or broken to accommodate the fare.  Judges can be bought.  I have to remind myself of the awesome load of gambling money riding on this contest. 

Allowing for my intuition being correct, what about the rapier and dagger?  To carry poison.  Despite my invented stories I have no access to poison and besides I wouldn’t use it.  I intend to bring this creature down piecemeal, literally cutting him down to size.  I am the cat, he is the rat.  He may bite but I will get him in the end.  He is just one rat, not a pack.  This rat will use the long sword to tire me out if he hasn’t dispatched me with his switch already.  At the first opportunity he will trade for the rapier and dagger to make an opening for the poisoned tip to come in contact with my skin. 

What kind of poison?  Certainly the deadliest known.  It will be the concoction they call yalney, a deadly yellowish liquid stored in glass containers complete with glass stoppers.  Nothing else will hold it. If you put it on your blade it eats through it in about an hour on average.  They demonstrated this to me at the forge and I’ve never forgotten what it did to our beautiful steel.  It bubbles lightly and gels quickly on steel and you can pour it lightly over a surface that will contact flesh. 

Within fifteen minutes of contact anywhere on bare human skin the body begins to close on itself.  It impacts the nervous system, relaxing the muscles, first in the extremities then working its way to the heart.  The victim remains fully conscious for hours and finally goes into convulsions and spasms then death.  Very painful.  But imagine the pleasure the Warmo would derive from thus disabling me then proceeding to take me apart while I remain conscious?  He’d cut open my wrists and ankles and expose the bionic circuits to the judges.  He’d be vindicated…

Who will put the poison on his blade?  It would have to be put on while we are fighting, not before or it will have eaten through by then.  One of the floor judges or an assistant.  While we are on a drinking break.  Of course, simple.  After the break, he casually switches weapons as if nothing was out of the ordinary. 

I’m in a bit of a sobered state of mind now.  I realize I have my work cut out for myself in that fight.  Time to assess my strengths – I know my weaknesses and have dealt with that, perhaps a bit too much.  You can easily psych yourself out that way too.

Analysis of strengths. 

I’m at least as proficient in the use of weapons as is the Warmo.  I’m younger and faster.  I have bionic implants.  I have more recent training and most likely I possess superior weapons, simply because the “new and improved” ones were not in the weapons lock-up cases when Warmo made his choices.  My “special house blend” including all armour and my ‘magic’ sandals, is now being prepared and packed for the arena and will be safely stashed into the weapons lock-up shortly. 

Tiki was sent down to the forge to let the smiths know of Warmo’s choices.  I have already advised the chief smith I want him to personally bring up the weapons and armour, not to entrust them to his young charges.  I fear the jealousy and hatred of that young apprentice may have spread to the others and could result in deliberate sabotage or “accidental loss” of my weapons package.  Any such misadventure would certainly result in my death.  Who knows how long Warmo’s arm still reaches throughout the keep of Hyrete?  Who can know who’s been bought?

So much is riding on this match to the death.  So much, for the women of the keep, especially for Tiki; for my friend the doctor and his Cydroids.  At this moment I hold their fate in my hands.

I know that according to Elbran law, if the male “criminal” kills his female fighter, he is exonerated of all charges against him.  If this were to happen, Warmo would immediately be given his position and power back.  He would re-open his torture dungeons and sweep through the women’s compound to grab any of them who ever fought with me, were trained by me, slept with me or in some way befriended me.  Such is the pattern of psychotic hate.  I remember it so well from a life on Old Earth in C-20.  They called themselves Nazis, and the worst ones (called distilled villainy by one of my history professors in a following life) were SS guards.  You were guilty by association and torture was automatic if arrested. How many would Warmo claim?  How many tortured to death? 

No, this will not happen.  I have a job to do.  My training and my enhancements were all gifts to me exactly for this moment.  XBA9 was tortured to death so I would have this opportunity.  This is one of those classic turning points in history when one person, one “hero” can make the difference and everything changes, forever.

End blog post #72

 

Antierra Manifesto – Blog post #67

 

Of course there is a rule against throwing sand or any other material into another’s face but in this fight everything will be reduced to technicalities. There will be lawyers on both sides arguing the fine points of their idiotic arena fighting laws for months, perhaps even years, if any infraction is committed, or deemed to have been committed. All I know is, I have to remain within the letter of the law if I hope to demonstrate our power on that day. For us to make any impression; to leave any kind of message that can be heard, we cannot resort to subterfuge or cheating, even if we could get away with it.

And I cannot delay it any longer. I must speed up my Teaching.

End blog post #66
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Begin blog post #67

Chapter 29 – The Teaching Continues: Power in Simplicity

I call the women together, as many as I can without attracting too much attention and I make the boldest and craziest request of them I have ever imagined doing.  I have to involve all of them in some way in this  [coming fight: see last chapter] so that through me they will all be champions and winners in it.  My intent is to create an opening in their mind for an awakening to a new level of power.  They are a simple, child-like people.  I have to ‘remember’ the simpler means used by the people of Old Earth to empower themselves and introduce those here carefully.

There is a way I learned on Old Earth that could unite them behind me.  The ‘power of prayer’ as I remember it.  I don’t remember it working to bring about what the prayer asked, of course – there may have been exceptions and I remember some people I truly respected testifying they had seen ‘miracles’ done as a result of prayer.  But I am not superstitious and I will not jeopardize innocent minds with unverifiable stories.

What I do remember about prayer is that it brought people together to speak for a common goal.  Yes, our Old Earth requests were made to Old Gods who were quite deaf, if not dead.  But the words in the requests bound the people who prayed in a common circle of power.  That is the binding these women need now.  Time to go inside their hearts and their minds and re-create the human being in them.

“Listen,” I say to the nine women I have assembled to ostensibly demonstrate a new move with the double-edged battle axe.  “You call me Desert Beast.  You know is not quite true.  I not be her, I be one of her girls.  I too fly across skies to other worlds like her.  I need you believe me now.  This very important to all of us.

“I be Daughter of Great Desert Beast.  She be Great Mother to all women and girl children.  I want you make up words to Great Mother in Desert to help me.  Make poison and cutting blade turn away from my skin in battle with evil Warmo.  For this you make what is called prayer, meaning you ask her, all together but quietly – she has very good hearing if you speak of me – and must find same words for all fighters to talk to her.  When she hear you ask, she give me power and protection.  When I kill our enemy Warmo, she give all you the victory.  In arena when fighting our enemy I represent all you.  All us.  Now all you have same power and same protection.  She write down all your names in fire letters in sky boat where they written forever…”

“But we not have names…”  Objects one of them.  I continue to explain.

“Yes.  You all have name.  Think name and say name in prayer.  Think name you know, you like for you: that be secret power woman name.  Ask her, in my power woman name that is Antierra, then say your own secret name.  She hear.  She happy and she help us.  Your prayer, it wake her up from bad sleep, from bad dream she be trapped in.  Then she make sky boat fly again.  When you look in sky, if you out here, look.  If evil black metal birds that eat woman flesh not there, means Desert Beast sky boat coming to make new light; chase away evil black birds.

“One day, you see this.  Now believe this.  Always remember this, she your Great Mother, she be called a goddess.  Never to tell men of this – is great woman secret – power is in secret.  Never say to man you have goddess in heart.  Never!  They kill you, all you.  If speak this, goddess leave again.  Give no more power, no more help.

“Goddess, Great Desert Beast, she come down one day, she tell men herself.  You be her people and one day she come, she take you to place where you find all your children, all lost, dead children taken and eaten by black metal men, she bring back to you.  You happy then, forget bad things.

Again one of them interrupts, which is always a good thing; it shows they are intently listening and trying to understand the meaning of the worlds.  “If believe this, how long we wait for goddess?”

“Always is long time from beginning to pray.  So you not forget.  Never forget.  Always pray to goddess, every day.  Teach young ones to pray.  When dying, pray.  Not be afraid.  Not curse.  Just pray, leave body, leave pain behind in dead body.  Find new life in goddess.

“When I gone, dead in body, you pray.  I not really dead.  I come back.  I teach more.  This I give you to remember, to believe.  This you not understand?  No need.  Just believe.  If things bad, believe.  If things good, believe.  This is forever gift I give to all you.  This you call real love.  This when you die in body, you keep in woman mind.”

“What be mind?”

“Is like spirit.  Ghost.”

There is a collective intake of breath.  “Ah… we dead in body, we be ghost?”

“Yes.”  I did not know these people had a remnant of superstition, nor did I realize they knew about ghosts.  How stupid of me.  With so many deaths here, how could there not be ghosts crowding these places not knowing yet where to go?  These women see and sense the ghosts of their dead  partners, friends, lovers about this place but never speak of them.  It is forbidden and I’ve ignorantly opened another dangerous can of worms.

“Ghost is bad thing.  Evil.  We dead in body, we be evil things?”

“No!”  I shake my head in frustration.  “You be like ghost, not real ghost.  You be you but no body.  If you good, you good after die.  If you bad, you still bad after die.  Same you. That be mind, that be spirit.  You with no body.  But you free, not like ghost.  Ghost cannot leave but you fly away in skies like Desert Beast.  No need sky boat, just fly.  See everything, free, free.  No hurt.  No hungry.  No thirsty.  Happy like little fish in big water.  Swim in air, swim in water, swim inside sand, rock.  Easy.  That be spirit-mind you.”  I wave the training battle axe I’m holding in my hand to emphasize the point.  I stick its handle point hard into a crack in the stone, then I point it at the sky.  Anything to create a visual memory for the Teaching.  I almost wish I had the magic staff that split the rock or brought fire from the sky.  Almost.

As I explain to them the rudiments of worship and its real purpose which at its core is always self-empowerment, I ask myself how much of what I teach I believe.  But then, if you already know something to be true and real, you don’t have to believe in it.   You never have to fear that you could be wrong about such a teaching.  I have the experience of it and experience is the greatest of all teachers.

End blog post #67

The House at the Crossroads of the World

[a short story by    ~burning woman~    as told by Sha’Tara]

As I sat by the River one day and pondered the state of the world I had a thought: I will build myself a home at the crossroads of the world. So I did.

My home had a good roof but it had no walls, just posts holding it up. I planted ivy, honeysuckle, clematis and sweetpeas by each post and they grew swiftly and beautifully. I was very pleased.

First a family of refugees passed by and they came in to rest, drink of the cool, clean water and eat from the garden I had planted. Sated and after a good sleep their children ran out and played in the fields. Their laughter filled the air and more birds sang.

A couple of starving, ragged men came by and asked if they could stay for a while. I smiled and said, ‘Look, no walls, anyone is welcome here.’ They were gays who had been persecuted and escaped with only their lives and the clothes on their backs. Soon they were playing with the children and entertaining them with tales and magic tricks.

A group of migrant workers heading north came by and also partook of this unexpected hospitality. They were earth people and soon they had my garden cleaned and explained about plant symbiosis. I could grow much more food if I did it right. I learned much from them in that too short a time.

Some young girls came running, crying, and stopped at the house. I invited them in and they shyly came, sat down and explained they had escaped from a van filled with sex slaves bound for the black market. They got washed in the creek, ate and slept together in a corner of the house.

The honeysuckle was in full bloom and its sweet smell filled the house. In the dark we sat in the house and sang, each her or his own songs and everyone listened in awe. It was so good to find each other here and not worry about any difference.

It was too good, actually. They had watched the comings and goings to and from the house and in that country the government and its propaganda press declared that it was a terrorist training center. So they sent the drones.

We are all dead now. I am dead too but since I am mind and not matter I am made of memories. This story is a memory, and it is real.

There is no longer a house at the crossroads of the world though there are walls everywhere and for that reason the world is dying.

Little Beaver

[a short story in two parts, by Sha’Tara]

(This short story is a bit long for a blog post so I split it in 2 parts.  Hope you find it enjoyable, at least as much as I found writing it!  Remembrances? Oh the wonderful mysteries and mystical ways of the mind as it wanders ‘the star paths’.)

(and, for Roger of Woebegone but Hopeful, if you read this, note the colours of the flowers mentioned here and see if they remind you of someone! 🙂 )

“My son, it is time to tell you about your mother.”

The man and his young son were sitting on a log by the river, as the moon rose over snow-covered peaks. The water made a lapping sound and somewhere across the little river, in the bushes, an owl called. It was followed by the evening ritual song of the coyotes.

“You were just past three Summers when your mother left us. You hear many strange stories about her, but I must tell you what I know, so you will be less confused.

They say your mother was a great Shaman — she was. They say she was crazy: she was not. Many Summers ago, a party of hunters from another village came upon a young girl wandering alone in the mountains along the big River. She could not speak our tongue, and she was different than anyone they had ever seen. She had very large eyes the colour of water in ice. Her hair was like the water when a small breeze moves it, and it resembled the bark of the cedar in colour. They kept the girl through the hunt. In one moon cycle, the girl had learned to speak our tongue perfectly. When asked where she came from, she explained, “From a cave full of fire. I was in an egg which was shot out of the flame and when it stopped rolling, it opened and I do not know anything else. I remember a name which in your language sounds like ‘She-ya-neh’ but I do not know what it means.”

The hunters came to our small village with their captive. My father, the chief, had the women clean the girl and inspect her. He decided to buy her, if she displayed a healthy bleeding. There was much feasting at that time. The hunters stayed in our village, enjoying the food and the girls were happy. Some babies were made at that time, yes. I was very young then, too young yet to enjoy the girls, but I made friends with the strange slave girl. She did not speak much, so we just sat together, or swam in the river. She was very strong and fast, faster than any boy. She won all the foot races, and could climb trees as if she had a squirrel’s claws. She became fascinated with our canoes and soon could paddle away so fast, only the strongest hunters in the bigger canoes, could catch her. She was forbidden to use the canoes then.

At her bleeding, my father decided to buy her. Again, there was much feasting. Then he made a ceremony in which she was set free from bondage, and could become my wife. After two more Summers, we were finally married. It had been expected that she would be very fertile, and give me many healthy sons. However, no child could she grow. Years passed and the women began to shun my wife. She became a loner, mysterious, sometimes disappearing in the hills for an entire moon cycle.

During these years, she demonstrated the ability to heal broken bones and to prevent disease from spreading. She talked to the animals, and even the spirits of the plants and the land, obeyed her. Yes, she was a great Shaman, my wonderful and barren She-ya-neh. She never seemed to miss not having children. She was full of curiosity and everything to her was a wonder. She was, hmmm, very promiscuous also — well — she went with many men, and they told stories of her ways which were strange to us. I was not jealous of this. One could not get jealous of your mother, unless one were a woman. Many women in the village came to hate her popularity, her crazy, wild ways, and especially her freedom among the men.

Your mother’s physical strength was known across many valleys. How she shamed the men in their hunts, their sports, their fights! She could outrun any man, outsmart and outfight anyone. She had skills with her hands and feet we had never seen. She was as fast as the lightning: when she struck a blow, it was impossible to see where it came from.

During the high water season, when the canoe races are held, she would taunt the men to best her. She was not, by law, permitted to compete with the men. So she would sit quietly in her canoe, behind the starting line, wait until the men were into their race, then push her own canoe in the race, soon overtaking even the fastest one and always finishing first. How my own heart swelled with pride to see her win that way, yet how puzzled I was, that such a woman could not bear a child for her man, or for any man.

Let me now speak of a time, many summers past our wedding. One day, just before the long shadows, she came to the shore where I was preparing my canoe for the fishing, and took my arm. Her eyes spoke a powerful thought and her body gave off a strange, pleasant and irresistible scent. I tried to explain that I was very busy and we could do that later, at night, but she spoke again, from within her mind, and I went with her. We walked for a long time, through places I had never been, until we came to a clearing. In the middle, there was a small hut, large enough to accommodate two adult people. All around were flowers, and even on the roof: red and blue flowers. They gave off the same scent she did. It was like a drug to me. I reached for her, as you have seen the young men and women do, but she stopped me. She undressed me, then herself, and together, we rolled our bodies among the strange flowers. Soon, my head was buzzing like a nest of wild bees, and my heart sounded like our drums at the great feasts by the ocean. She then took my hands, and pushed me inside the hut. I felt as if I were inside one of those great black clouds that give off lighting and thunder.

At that time, we made you. When she was pregnant with you, she became more normal. She was careful for you, and after you were born, she was a perfect mother. She took you everywhere, and you always slept next to her. She gave you her milk freely and you never went hungry and seldom cried. All her energies were spent on you. No more sports or men or wanderings in the forests. She stayed near the village and attended to her duties as healer and midwife with great diligence. She began to be liked by some of the women again.

But one day, she disappeared. She left you in the care of her best friend, and just walked away. This was bad luck, because in the village were five strangers, hunters, who had heard the stories about her sexual prowess, and her fighting abilities were now a legend. These young hot-blooded fools decided to track your mother to see where she would go, and perhaps to beat her down and have their way with her.

They followed her until she came to the edge of a small lake. She made several signs in the water with her fingers, then stood facing the sun, not moving a muscle for a long time. It was as if she was asleep they said later. They approached stealthily, as trained hunters can do, two from one side, two from another and one from behind. When the one behind her was close enough to grab her, he stretched out his arm to put his hand around her throat. As he did so, she turned and let out a blood-curdling screech. Her right arm shot out and at the end, what seemed like huge talons, locked around the man’s neck and snapped it as if it was a dry twig. Still screeching, she unfolded huge wings and flew away to the west, over the trees.

[End of Part 1 of 2]

Believe what you will but let me believe what I will

[pure off the cuff, spur of the moment fiction, by ~burning woman~ ]

“No, no!” I said. “Stop beating me up with it, I thought we had agreed we were not going to discuss this. I know what you believe and it doesn’t bother me, it’s your choice. By the same token, you know what I believe and it’s my choice.”

We were sitting at the table in the dining nook, me at the window facing west, he across from me. I had a glass of white wine, he his strong, dark beer. It was already late, of a Summer Sunday evening, and I just wanted to enjoy the darkening skies and the fading colour from the clouds hovering near the horizon.

This is how it started:

“I am going to watch for meteors,” I said. “Make a wish, you know?”

“That’s pure superstition,” he replied, looking up from his book and taking another sip of beer, “when are you going to give up that childish nonsense? It’s embarrassing.” He looked at me with his mouth turned down, making it obvious how displeased he was with me at that moment.

Only he wasn’t talking about my wishing upon a shooting star, he was talking about my belief in the spirit world and particularly in my insistence that I was fully aware of past and future lives.

We had agreed, before we decided to live together that our differences in those areas we would accept from each other and only broach the subject philosophically, in a “what if” sort of way. It wasn’t supposed to become another patriarchal relationship in which he, the man, decided the correct way we, meaning me, the woman, should believe, or think for that matter.

When it came to beliefs, as far as I was concerned, there never had been and never would be a “we” in the equation. I didn’t care what he believed or believed in. He was (still is!) handsome, kind in his own way, supportive most of the time, great in the sex department, an important aspect of the relationship to me, and I must admit that I loved him, well, sort of. Is it love when there is no passion in it, just an easy comfort?

But does that mean I have to give him my mind so he can fill it with his own ideas while excluding mine? Not on your life. I’m not made to take things that way; to be taken for granted, or thought of as the little trophy woman who bats her eyelashes and exclaims, ‘Oh, but you’re always so right, dear!’ No, he’s not right, not when his “right” needs to supersede, or cancel my “right” as it does when I express myself in what he calls a superstitious way.

This isn’t about who’s right, who’s not. This is about who is free, who is not. I didn’t sign up to have my ideas replaced by someone else’s. Not that I signed anything to get into this relationship mind, but you know what I mean.

So I countered: “When you buy a lotto ticket, what do you call that feeling it gives you? You don’t buy a ticket without some hope that you could win, even win the jackpot. What do you call that hope, if not a form of superstition? Logically it’s patently ridiculous for anyone to buy a lottery ticket because the odds are so against you. So in that moment you override your logical thinking and allow yourself a wild moment of magical thinking. You allow yourself to be pulled into that shameful realm of illogic.”

“It’s not the same thing,” he replies. “I don’t believe in the lottery as if it was some spirit force, some divine being, an angel or the Great Pumpkin. It’s just a game.” He did enjoy mocking me with that reference to the Charlie Brown cartoon super being of Linus’ he called the Great Pumpkin.

“But it’s a game of chance!”

“So?”

“It’s a game of luck!”

“And?”

I could feel myself becoming frustrated and upset. “It’s superstition, honey. The other morning, when you came storming back in the apartment and said, ‘God, I went and locked my keys in the truck last night,’ were you subconsciously praying to some superbeing you say you do not believe in because you were in a tight spot, in a hurry and didn’t remember where you kept you spare set of keys? Instead of invoking some deity neither of us believes in you could have said, ‘Karin, do you know where my spare set of keys is?’ and I would have told you. I told you anyways but you didn’t ask me. You addressed the problem through a kind of superstition of your own which you justify with excuses and that hurts. Do you think I’m so stupid I don’t notice these things?

“It’s late, I’m going to bed and I’m sleeping in the spare room. We’re both working tomorrow, I’ve got a pile of reports to check over before my first class so I’ll be off early. I’ll eat on the way, you make your own breakfast, or not. Tomorrow evening I want you to apologize to me and reaffirm our agreement to enjoy each other and leave our beliefs as sacred and private to each other. If you cannot do that, and do it sincerely, I’ll be leaving by next weekend.”

“Where will you go?”

“That’s a really stupid question. Since we’ve been together I’ve been propositioned at least a dozen times, the last one was just a week ago. I travel light as you know and there are a lot of lonely beds out there whose sheets will eagerly part to let me slip in. Don’t self-blind Rico or think I need you because no one else will have me!”

I was getting angry and hated the feeling.

“You’ll miss me.”

“Of course I’ll miss you, you don’t have to state the obvious. But that too shall pass because I choose intellectual integrity over a great fuck.”

“Is that all I am to you, a great fuck?”

“That doesn’t please you?”

“Well, yeah, but isn’t there more for you?”

“Of course there is, or there could be but not when you try to emasculate my choices. My feelings for you cool very fast then.”

“So I’m wrong then?”

“I’m tired and I’m not going around this mulberry bush with you Rico. Good night.”

That was a year ago, probably why I remembered it today. He didn’t apologize, he said he couldn’t see that there was anything to apologize for so I left him that weekend, I could tell he was going to try to talk his way around the problem but I was having none of it. I’ve seen him a couple of times since; he bought me a drink the last time. How are you doing? Fine, you? Oh, OK, I’ve got a girlfriend, Nina, she’s Italian. Good for you. Our team lost again. Yeah, too bad. I had her change the drapes in the bedroom; they reminded me too much of us. Good idea, no point dwelling on the past. That was about it. I suppose it never was what you’d call a deep relationship, more of a convenience.

It’s not the way I prefer them but it’s the only way to keep my options open. I’m sort of living with a guy too but I saw no point in mentioning that, he’d already assume I was or he’d already know that through his male gossip circle. I know the pub where the circle meets and what is talked about there.

You know what? I need to find another direction for my life, I feel I’m on treadmill if not on a dead-end street. I don’t like myself much these days and I used to feel so sure and so proud of what I’d accomplished for myself. I feel that the more I insist on my independence, or perhaps the way I go about it, it’s making me increasingly self-centered and selfish. That never used to be me and I’m certainly not blaming the men in my life for this quandary of mine. If this was another girl’s story I’d end it with: “Get a life, woman!”

O Beauty, thou art Relentless

[a sensuous meditation from ~burning woman~ ]

I drop my hands slowly to my bare thighs and gently pass them over my skin. I realize, mind fully engaged, that both, my hands’ skin and my thighs’ skin is my skin. The pleasure that arises from the touch is my pleasure, not someone else’s hand-me-down. Mine. I pleasure myself thus, as my hands, of my own free will, continue to feel me, down to my knees, then around the back, over my round buttocks, up and around my slim waist, up more, to my armpits, hairless and lightly tanned. I continue to explore this marvel of my body, moving to my throat, down, extending my fingertips lightly between my breasts, then outwardly, cupping, then gently rubbing my nipples to make them stand out, throb, hunger for a baby’s lips, adding to the effect of this beauty that is all mine.

I am not done exploring. My hands, of their own volition, move down, caressing, caressing, so gently, my fingers eagerly exploring between my legs which, as I stand on wet grass, spread out. I feel my heat there, my desire for that ‘more’ that drives ‘normal’ people to seek out another to complete the cycle.

But for me, the transgender, the androgynous, there is no need of another: I complete myself and with a loud moan of utter satisfaction, let myself fall to my knees in the grass, bending back to stare into an intense blue sky, my auburn, waist-length hair spread out under the back of my head, a living pillow of lavender scent. Up there stars without number play hide and seek and as they have all my life, invite me out to them to let them taste me.

An image of a nature creature appears in my mind, rolling over towards my knees spread in subconscious invitation. It murmurs, ‘Earth girl… earth girl… O Beauty, thou art, relentless.’ I lock the feeling in a smile so it can never be taken from me.