July 15th, 2001

running, bomb tech

Oh My *Gods*.

Um.

I went to a Pagan Convention today. Yesterday, rather, as it's past midnight.

Oh My Gods.

Um. Well, since I'm not particularly sensitive in such matters, I have to take it on faith that there was a large majority of pagan-but-non-practitioners present. I did notice that the Circle for the group ritual was cast widdershins... and I also noticed that in a smaller (about 20-person) ritual I was in, there were approximately three people adding enough of their energies to the ritual to notice -- myself, the guy next to me, and maybe one other person...

Let me put it to you this way.

When you have a 60+ person ritual, it really helps if the ritual has been written, or at least discussed, beforehand.

This hadn't been. We were put in random groups to each come up with a part of the closing ritual for the convention. One group came up with the opening. The next group came up with ... gods, I don't even know what.

My group was assigned to come up with something for "weaving the web," or connecting all the people in the ritual to each other. Sis's group, I learned later, was to do a bit on "Celebrating Diversity."

In the small formative group, we understood the idea of "weaving the web" just fine. We came up with our concept, tested it, and then charged the ritual materials. Everything going just hunky-dory and grand.

What we decided was that in order to show that we were all connected to one another, we took three balls of string/thread/ribbon and danced through the circle with them, each one going across the circle to someone else, handing to them the ball of string and then letting them take it and go find another person while they took their place. It's a lovely ritual and I hope to use it to good effect someday.

In practice, this is what happened.

We enter the hall, and we are greeted by a line of people, the ones who cleansed the temple, waving incense and blowing bubbles and greeting us in perfect love and perfect trust. We walk around the hall and form a circle as we walk in. After we are all in place, four or five or six people begin calling the quarters.

They started with the north.

They proceeded to the West.

By this time, Sis says, "??" silently to me from across the circle. We are at least seventy feet away from each other; the message comes through loud and clear. Alan is way the fuck at the other side of the circle. I say "!!" back in the same fashion, and the ritual continues.

They greet South, and finally East, and Spirit in the center. Then it begins again, with the first group, from the North, each person in that group seeming to greet their deity of choice, from a rather oddly-assorted mish-mash of traditions. I, unfamiliar with many of them, wonder how many of these gods are getting along well these days.

Next comes Casting the Circle. I am suddenly confused --- shouldn't that have been done first? "I cast this Circle from hand to hand," is the phrase, and it is repeated by the person next to the apparent High Priestess (or at least lady in charge), holding up the hand of the person next to her. This repeats for *every* blessed person in the Circle. Some of the people suffer stage fright and fumble the lines. Much laughter, most of it friendly.

The Circle is cast. I feel the presence of Deity, and I greet the gods that I personally address myself to.

Next, chants are shared, each one rather unrelated to the next, and without any sort of explanation. There is much spirit in the singing and clapping, but the purpose of the chants, other than a happy sound, does not seem to be there. There is very little magical energy in it, though a lot of happiness and cooperative goodwill. I smile and sing along.

About halfway through this process, I notice that most of the Deities that were present have vanished, as this ceremony is taking quite some time, without the sense of timeless purpose that I associate with *good* ritual. In most group and solitary rituals I have taken place in, the ritual takes place through the planned path (or, in some of my more impromptu rituals, through the sound ritual structure that I was taught, details improvised) until it is done. Unless operating on a strict time budget, it is not hurried, but does not feel drawn-out, though it may take quite some time. I fidgeted, and tried not to call attention to myself.

Next, for some reason unknown to everyone except the people who were doing it, the people with the balls of string began dancing around. I heard a few comments of "Huh?" over the chorus of "We are the flow, we are the ebb, we are the weavers, we are the web."

Next came the Celebration of Diversity, where each person in the circle walked forward and said three interesting things about themselves, more or less, and then said, "I celebrate diversity." Sis said: "I am Vision. I am Echo. I am a nurturer. I celebrate our diversity." A *lot* of people chose to say, "I am single."

The four quarters were again called, starting at the North, then East, then South, then West (more muttering, quickly suppressed,) and then the circle was declared open.

But it wasn't.

Everybody stood there for what seemed like about thirty seconds, shuffling their feet, unwilling or unable to break the circle.

"May the Circle be open, but unbroken," I started singing, in a loud clear voice, and (thankfully, after the first few words, people who knew the song chimed in), "May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your hearts. Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again." With a simultaneity that had been missing from the rest of the ritual, everybody shut up at once. The Circle was open, and the ritual was (at last) over.

After the raffle, Alan and Sis and I were the hell out of there, after exchanging e-mail addresses with a few select people.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of practitioners of magic in Arizona, and all the people there seemed like lovely and charming people. And everyone must start somewhere. I was there not a year ago.

Alan and Sis are going to organize a group ritual for our extended household -- Alan, Sis, me, Dude, Chick, Nephew, Shammash, Fire Blossom, Darkside, and maybe even Sis's boyfriend -- and it is going to be awesome.

Among the keys to effective ritual is making sure that everyone is aware of the ritual's structure and purpose.

Actually having everyone participate actively is also a good thing.

While it was not the worst religious experience I have had, by far, I would have to say that as a whole, it was a better intellectual exercise than it was a religious one. It reminded me rather strongly of a childhood memory...

Once upon a time, I was a precocious little child with a love of showing off. So when my parents had some friends over this one time, I decided to do *something.* I decided that it would be called a "Baaran Show," and I sat them all down and proceeded to bustle around to make the Baaran Show ready.

I had no idea of what I was doing, and it showed. In the end, the Baaran Show was a flop, and everyone wandered off making comments to themselves about what a complete waste of time the Baaran Show was. "Baaran Show" became family slang for
any event with a lot of hyperbole beforehand that failed, in quite a drastic manner, to live up to expectations.

Sis says that the goddess of her particular choice busted out laughing in the middle of it all. Then she *left*.

Hopefully, this was a learning experience for us all. Hopefully, the people there with good potential will find some appropriate teachings, whether it be on their own, or with someone else.

For pagan meetings, I think I'll stick with the SCA.
running, bomb tech

a little darkside on my phone

Well, the cards told Sis to tell me to call Darkside when we got home after the ill-fated pizza adventure (adventure to follow, after I get this entry out), so I did. He was working; I left a message with his dad. Apparently he must have called me back as soon as he got in; I wasn't expecting to call him back until eight-thirty, but he called me back at one minute after eight.

He was bored. I told him about the adventures at the convention, and we laughed our asses off. He'd been discouraged before at his general progress in the scheme of things religious, but I think that this cheered him up about that immeasurably.

I asked about movies; would he see Final Fantasy with me? He'd already seen it, Wednesday night. I bitched at him a bit, gently, for not dragging me along; for not at least calling, and then inquired as to how good/not it was. He discussed Final Fantasy (both game and movie) with me in great and loving detail.

From that, I believe we got into another discussion of magic. This one involved what's known as the Mind Whammy or Jedi Mind Trick, the art of convincing someone to say or do something, whether they would have or not.

My teacher(s) have had me practicing this in harmless ways. As Darkside and I share the same teachers and share the same topics, we started talking. Comparing notes.

He asked me to whammy him. I picked a topic. *I want Darkside to talk dirty,* I decided, and whammied at him.

I got the "Darkside" voice.

You must understand that there is a distinction between My Best Friend the Gentleman and Darkside. Best Friend is a very sweet guy. Darkside is his creatively evil side. There's a difference in voice when he's being evil and when he's not being evil.

I got Darkside.

We started talking about random stuff, and he tried to whammy me. I felt his energies playing around with me, and I tried to reinforce my earlier whammy.

His whammy failed. He was trying to get me to say "Hello." I said everything else but that, though...

Next we changed subject, and he manipulated me by several different means into saying "Bonk!" to him.

Our conversation got slightly more sexually charged, as I was getting tired, and I was somewhat less guarded in my tongue.

Somewhere along the lines, it became apparent that not only was it late, it was eleven o'clock. "Holy fuck!" I said, and then, for no apparent reason, "Spank me!"

Darkside next tried to whammy me into saying "Oral Sex." I knew what he was doing after I started screaming "Coffee!" for no reason, except that I was trying very hard to resist it, and I kept saying it...

It seems that in Sis's cosmology, the word "Coffee" for some reason means "oral sex."

I kept saying "Coffee," and refusing to tell him why. In attempting to say goodbye to me, he said something that sounded like "thank you." I asked him why he'd said that.

"I said 'Spank you'", he said, which provoked another round of yelling about coffee.

By the end of it all, I was completely distracted, and, from the sounds of it, so was he.


We hung up the phone at ten past eleven. I wandered out into the living room, hair askew, looking like a complete freak.

Sis, Alan, Dude, and Chick are all in the living room, looking expectantly at me.

"Well, did you get some?" they ask.

"Grr. No," I said. "He was trying to get me to say 'Oral Sex.' I wouldn't."

"Girl, go and masturbate," Sis said.

We proceeded to have a five-minute conversation, with me poking my head out the bedroom door again as soon as I closed it, on the topic of the conversation that Darkside and I had just had.

"Why don't you two have sex already?" Alan wanted to know.

"Go in the bathroom, lock the door, and turn on the fan, so we can't hear it," Dude advised.

"Do you need batteries?" Sis asked.

"Dammit, I want coffee!" I said, several times, along with assorted other profanity, and proceeded to disappear into the bathroom for the next half hour or more.

I emerged after that time, grabbed the bottle of 409 from under the sink, and disappeared back into the bathroom. Howls of laughter, and Dude's "Oh my god, she needs 409 to clean up her mess!" emerged from the living room.

I stomped back out with the 409, and returned the basket of batteries to its spot on top of the fridge.

"Feeling better?" Sis asked me.

"Rrrrrrr," I said.

"Uh-huh," she said.

There was much teasing.

I was amused, and drank the rest of the Mountain Dew that I had abandoned almost four hours earlier when he called...
running, bomb tech

Pizza

Since Chick steam-cleaned our carpet after Alan spilled blue paint on it, we decided to give her pizza.

We came home after the ill-fated convention. Sis called her boyfriend; they conferred about the convention. Much laughter and many mentions of Silver Ravenwolf.

Alan decreed that the pizza place for this venture would be Long Wong's, a place that he knows of in his neighborhood that sells wings and pizza in addition to burgers and Chinese food of random very fast types. We went to the one closer to our neighborhood, Alan driving me and Sis, Chick driving her car with Dude.

It turned out that the near one didn't sell pizza. So we hauled ass over to the one in Dude's neighborhood. Chick got lost in traffic. We tried to wait for her, but she was lost. We got there, and ordered takeout, to bring home. We left a message on our machine telling them the situation.

In the wait, Sis pulled out the cards and mentioned that Darkside was having a rough day, and I needed to call him as soon as I got home. He's having a bad time with work, and he's moving with his family, and everything's all packed up, and his parents are being pains about the whole thing, and he really needed a friend.

I tell her I was planning on calling him already. Which I was.

In the complete absence of Chick and Dude, we go home. Chick and Dude are not there; we realize that Dude has no key for the front door. D'oh! So we try paging them; the bedroom starts beeping. Oops. We try calling Chick's mom, to see if they went there. Nope.

I call Darkside's house; it turns out that he's at work. I thank his dad, and hang up and start in on the pizza. Dude and Chick show up. They first were lost; then found the place (eventually) and then got in an accident coming home. Much sympathy. I have two slices of olive and salami pizza mostly inhaled when the phone rings. It is Darkside. I ditch my Dew and run for the bedroom, where we proceed to discuss the day, magic, webcomics, Final Fantasy, other movies, plans for seeing movies together some Friday night, coffee, mind whammies, spankings, work, moving, my friend Dave in Germany, how I should not call Darkside "dear," horror movies, how if I call Darkside "Moose" rather than "dear" I would then be "Squirrel", how if I am Scully then Darkside is Mulder, how since I am Laurel then Darkside must be Hardy, ten foot poles, swords, the concept of "bonk," and other things that only Darkside and I would speak about.

"It's eleven, you know."

"It can't be."

"Oh yes it can. Check a clock."

"Oh, fuck!"

"That was an interesting response. Hmm. it's eleven o'clock."

"Oh, fuck!"

"It's eleven o'clock!"

"Oh, fuck! Spank me!"

"That was even more interesting. You must be tired."

"Why?"

"Because you've never said anything like that before."

"Oh yeah?"

"It's eleven o'clock."

"Oh fuck! Spank me!"

"See?"

...and then we got off into the discussion of coffee, which required ten foot poles.

Darkside is the only person I would trust to take me into the dark and dangerous parts of my brain.

By the time I got out of the bathroom, I still wasn't finished, I was just sore... and the batteries which had been running rather low earlier, had suddenly bounced back up to somewhere near full power...

Sis and Alan and Dude and Chick all laughed at me.
running, bomb tech

Oh --

I plan on finally breaking down and saying "oral sex" to Darkside on Monday, when we see each other at school.

And orders came down from On High from his parents -- he had to get his hair cut. Dammit! It's not even shoulder-length anymore. We're not telling Sis -- let her be shocked when she sees him.

I'm glad he warned me.
running, bomb tech

evening song

Meh.

Crashed out for a few hours; awoke to the sounds of potential dinner and dish washing. Everything seems slightly less real without the hallucinatory qualities of sleep-dep.

I need to trim my claws; there will be breakfast with Darkside tomorrow morning, and as we tend to get a little bit physical when we're kidding around -- he snitches my glasses, I grab after his water bottle, we arm-wrestle, we thumb-wrestle, we play that little psychological and physiological game of endurance where we lace our fingers through each other's and hold on as tight as we can to see who begs for mercy first -- I don't want to accidentally scratch him. I've done it before...
running, bomb tech

I have armed a monster...

I decided that Chick and Dude needed their sex life spiced up a little, or if not their sex life, then their weirdness factor.

I donated my tickler-thing, my velcro handcuffs, and the blindfold to the cause.

So far, the tickler-thing with the little rubber strings has become, among other things, a cat toy.

I'm not sure if I'm going to want their eventual return or not.
running, bomb tech

Sources of Embarrassment

So I take a shower this evening, and happen to bring with me some bath toys.

I happen to leave one of them in the shower. Dude and chick decide that they need to take a shower. So they enter the bathroom and strip.

Dude sees it. Chick sees it.

"Azz, I think you left something in here!" Dude calls, and they exit the bathroom with hastily-grabbed towels.

"Oh, I left my hairbrush," I say, and go in, retrieve hairbrush and purple vibrator, and leave, stuffing purple thing in drawer.

Many giggles. Chick and Dude parade back into the bathroom and shut the door.

"So what was it you left in there besides your hairbrush?" Sis wants to know.

I pull out the purple vibrator and turn it on. It's fairly loud -- one of those waterproof transparent ones that takes C batteries -- and hold it up so she can see it.

She says, "I'm locking this door!" and disappears into her room.

I am in the mood for serious mischief, so I walk over to the closed and locked bathroom door and turn on the (clean, btw) vibrator. I set it against the doorhandle, like I'm trying to use it to unlock the door, like a jackhammer. It makes an interesting sound.

"Oh my God, what's that?" I hear from inside.

I oblige. "This!" I say, and slide it partially through the crack under the door.

Screaming.

"Keep it down in there! You'll wake up the kid!" calls Sis.

More giggling. I try the doorknob again, and the sound is even more interesting.

"Hey, I could put that into a mix!" Dude says. "Record it! I could use it with the..." and he goes off into the technicalities of techno.

"Shut up and get in the shower," Chick says, and the water turns on.

I put the purple vibrator back in a drawer where some unsuspecting person like Darkside or Alan will be looking for band-aids in the near future, and go back to the computer.