Violence is not just a Distraction

I want to open this post by first saying this: to all of you beautiful trans folks in our beloved queer communities, I love you, you are valid, you are perfect and you are wonderful.  I want to know you, I see you.  You are not a burden, you are not a distraction.  The world is a shit show right now and I’m sorry that things are exploding in your faces right now.

That said, I’ve got another thing that I need to say as well, because I’ve heard it twice in my everyday life from ‘well-meaning’ white ladies.  And that’s them saying that Donald Trump’s tweets are just a distraction from what’s going on around us.

And that is BULLSHIT.  Yes, I’m sure our current president is trying to distract people from all the crap he’s pulling, but when he uses violence against queer folks, that’s not just a distraction.  That is VIOLENCE.  And don’t be mistaken or misled, the things he’s saying and doing are causing violence against some of the most marginalized folks in our communities.  This is unacceptable and when you tell me that it’s not a big deal, it’s just a distraction, you’re telling me that my life, and the lives of queer people like me, is a distraction.

Also if you’re saying it’s a distraction you’re implying that queer people, because let’s face it, queers are some of the only people paying attention to this shit right now, can’t focus on more than one issue at once, then fuck you because it’s our entire lives.  Our entire lives are trying to juggle the hundreds of different problems that queers face, and somehow we still manage to do amazing things, despite having the deck stacked against us at every turn.

If you’re looking for a way to be better ally: read this article while you angrily retweet things

Wooly Wednesday with Gay Pancakes


My entire knitting life is being taken up right now by making scrappy socks.

These socks are just socks I’m making out of bits and pieces of sock yarn left over from other projects.  And I cannot stop making them.


This was the first pair.  And they have leftovers from a hat I made for my wife, socks I also made for her, a bit from a giant lace scarf, some from a hat also knit for my wife, and several socks I made for me.  Three of those are ones that I dyed myself too.  It makes me SO happy to look back at them and recall all the projects that I made with the rest of those yarns.

Right now I’m working on an obnoxiously bright pair.

pride socks

I worked on these neon rainbow socks during UNH’s 25th Annual LGBTQ+ Pancake Breakfast.  It’s this fantastic annual even that we hold to commemorate the first gay student organization at UNH which was started in 1973.

Back in 1973 the UNH students weren’t allowed to have any kind of gay student organization, the school didn’t allow it.  And those brave queer students fought that ruling all the way up the state supreme court where they eventually won the right to have that organization.

Part of their organizing efforts was trying to secure a meeting with the governor of NH.  He absolutely refused to meet with those students and so they found a very clever way to try to get that meeting.  New Hampshire Public Radio was hosting one of their annual fund drives and one of the prizes that you could win was a pancake breakfast with the Governor.  So the UNH students raised a ton of money so they could win that meeting.  The Governor still refused to meet with them, instead having a wealthy friend donate to win the pancake breakfast at the last minute.

Now UNH has a vibrant queer community, while we’re not without our problems, and we celebrate those brave queers by hosting our own pancake breakfasts and honoring those community members who have made a difference to our communities.

And one of the coolest things?  In 2013, 40 years later, we finally got the Governor to come and have pancakes with us 🙂

Deck Review: Rumi Oracle

A Wooly Review updated (1)

Today I’m going to ramble on about the Rumi Oracle by Alana Fairchild with artwork by Rassouli.

When you move beyond consciousness, you caress the beloved.
When you move into the unknown, beyond everything, the beloved caresses you.

I got this deck as a gift from Katie’s mom for Christmas.  I learned about Rumi in a img_0441class called Mysticism and Islam when I was in undergrad.  When I saw that someone had created an oracle deck about him I was so excited.  I knew I had to have it right away.

Rumi, also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, was was a 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  He was also queer.  He had a lover named Shams who he loved very dearly.  And in doing a little more refreshing reading about him to write this post it made me really angry to find out that Rumi’s queerness is totally absent from his wikipedia page.  It’s also totally absent from the book that comes with this deck.

img_0440It’s yet another example of queer erasure.  You see it over and over again, this awesome queer figure and the things you read about them talk about everything else, and completely fail to mention that they were queer.

I’m specifically disappointed that this guide book does not mention this.  Fairchild talks a great deal about sensuality and sexuality and awakenings and about Rumi’s great loves.  She speaks about his love for the Divine and his love for all of us, but conspicuously fails to mention his great love for Shams-e Tabrīzī, a man he met in a market and loved fiercely.  Rumi is perhaps most famous for his poetry, including the love poetry he wrote about his relationships both with God and with Shams.

I also found it really weird that there was so much Christianity talked about in a img_0439guidebook for an oracle featuring a Muslim.  While it is true that Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet, it still felt jarring.  And honestly it felt like pandering to the straight Christian demographic.  Why else spend so much time about Jesus in a book about a queer brown guy if not to ensure that your white christian possible buyers will feel comfortable buying your product.

I was, however, excited to see that in the interpretation for each card included there
is a translation of some of Rumi’s verses.  If I use this deck I think I’m inclined to toss the guidebook and just focus on Rumi’s poetry and the beautiful artistry of these cards.

img_0442Because these cards are really beautiful.  They come in a very sturdy and well made box, it’ll protect them quite well and it holds the book that comes with.  The deck contains forty four cards.  They’re large cards, 3.75 x 5.5 inches.  Each one depicts a different person or idea and each has a beautiful painting.  Some have human figures some don’t.  But they’re all beautifully painted in a rainbow of colors and shades each on inviting you to linger over the images, sometimes you see a woman dancing another time you might see the fins of some mythical sea creature.

I can see myself using these cards as meditation aids because there’s a lot you can mull over in them.

So yes, in summary, I love the art, I don’t love the book, I like the poetry.  I probably won’t use the deck for readings, but it’s not a total loss.

How to be a Better Ally to your Queer Friends

wooly-thoughtsDear Straight Allies,

I’m writing you this open letter because I know that you’re awesome people.  And I know that you want to be the best allies that you can possibly be.  But here’s one thing I’ve been hearing a lot lately from my straight allies and it’s making me want to tear my hair out.

When I confess to you that I’m afraid in the wake of this election (and let’s be honest, through the entire election process), here’s what is really not helpful to hear.

“Aww don’t worry, it’ll be okay, you just have to be strong/brave.”

Firstly, don’t tell me it’s going to be okay when I’m essentially watching my home catch fire.  Between promises to repeal a great deal of LGBTQ legislation, to appoint bigoted white supremacists to positions of power, and the fact that other less informed friends and family don’t have any idea that it’s all happening.  I actually had a family member try to tell me that Trump supports gay people, and they linked me to an article showing Trump holding up that (upside down) rainbow flag.  They honestly thought that seeing that meant Trump was an ally.  It made me feel so depressed because they are an otherwise lovely person, but they had NO IDEA what a Trump presidency could mean for me and my wife.  Because they didn’t have to know, it’s not a problem they have to deal with every single day.

Friends, your queer friends are feeling freaked out right now.  We have good reasons to be fearful of what’s coming at us.

Secondly, and more importantly, don’t tell me to be brave.

I am living in a country where HALF of the population thinks that I am less than human.  Thinks I should be given electrical shocks to cure my perversion.  Thinks that corrective rape is a perfect solution to my ‘problem’.  Thinks that I am the same as a pedophile or that I must be down with bestiality.

I live every day in this reality.  So I am brave.  I’m brave every single time I come out (which is a continual process not a one time thing) to someone and I wonder how they’re going to react.  I could tell you stories about sweaty palms and how I can physically feel my heart beat speeding up when I’m mentioning my wife to someone new.   I could tell you about the time I stood across from the Phelps clan while they shouted about how God hated me.

I could tell you about the very palpable fear I felt when my wife and I went to Pride right after the Orlando Pulse shooting.  I actually made a plan for what I would do if there was a shooting at the parade.  I planned how I would grab hold of my wife and pull her behind me, making sure to cover her head.  I made sure we had good sneakers on so we could run if we needed to.  While we marched in that parade, and in a rally downtown near home I watched every window in every building around us, I looked down every alley, just waiting for a sign of something wrong.

I am brave.

So, instead of saying that, what I’d love to hear is this:

Say that you’re sorry things are really hard right now and ask if there’s something you can do to help.  Don’t spout platitudes at your marginalized friends. Just be a friend, listen, and offer to help where you can.  And I mean actually listen, don’t interrupt with a story you heard from someone else or some queer news bite that you looked up.  Listen to us, and trust that we know what we’re talking about.  And when we say that things are looking bad for us, trust us.

And then get involved and take action.

Grieving and Points of Light

I’m struggling to keep it together right now.  I find myself consumed with grief.  I’m wooly-thoughtsgrieving the future that I could see.  The feeling is as though I were standing on solid ground and suddenly the earth fell away before me and left a gaping chasm of a canyon.  I can still sort of see that future I was imagining, but it’s miles away across the open gash in the earth and I can’t see a way to cross it.

I keep finding myself crying and I have to step away even from my ‘safe’ social media channels.  Instagram is normally my ‘safe’ place but right now it’s a channel for people to express their grief and rage and sadness.  And that’s okay.  I encourage anyone to express their feelings in whatever venue they need.  It’s just that I can’t be in that mix right now.

Somehow it only occurred to me last night that Trump’s victory in the election on Tuesday also means that he gets to choose a supreme court justice.  And that made me lose it.  I’d been trying to focus on the fact that it’s only four years, but now I’ve remembered that he gets to choose someone terrible aligned with his values of hate and they’re going to be there for LIFE.  So it’s not just four years.

That bright, hopeful future, where trans folks could have the same rights as everyone else, where our racist law enforcement system could be repaired so that my friends of color didn’t have to fear for their lives all the time, it just feels like it’s been ripped away.  And I don’t care if I sound melodramatic, but it feels like something tore open my chest and ripped out my heart and I’m just trying to press bandages to the open wound while blood pools in my shoes.  The fact that so many people in my country voted for this hate filled, bigoted, vitriolic person makes me feel afraid and ashamed to be near them.  My state went red this year, so that means that half my neighbors and co-workers voted for him.

I’m trying to be positive in the face of all this grief.  So I just set up a small monthly recurring donation to Planned Parenthood.  I’m going to be trying to choose another organization that will support those people that this new president is going to be terrorizing.  And I’m collecting resources (below) that are helping me through all this in the hope that they might help others.

What to do when Hate wins.

You are strong and beautiful and I love you.

An illustrated guide to how to help someone experiencing anti-Muslim harrassment.

And to all of my fellow queer folks, poc, trans folks, and all other marginalized people out there.  I love you.  Your feelings are valid.  You are beautiful and wonderful and worthy of love and respect.  I’m sending you love and light today and all days.  Stay safe, don’t give up, we’ll handle this together.


Tarot Talk: How to make your tarot practice (and your life) more queer inclusive and friendly

tarot-talkI work hard to try to make my Tarot practice more inclusive.  I’m a cis gender white person, so I know there are places that I fall short in terms of inclusion around issues of race, class, and ability (and probably other ways too).  But I always want to improve, so if you ever notice a place that I could use work or have a suggestion on how I can improve, I’d love to hear about it.  Please feel free to get in touch!  Leave a comment, tweet @woolywitchy, carrier pidgeon, I would love to hear from you.

IMG_0626One of the way that I get to improve is when people share how they’ve promoted inclusion and openness.  So this is my attempt to add to that dialog.

I identify as lesbian/queer (and lots of other finely tuned aspects of identity, but for the purpose of brevity I’ll leave it there for now) and here is my experience of how I promote inclusion in my tarot practice.  And how you can do it too!

The first step I encourage you to take is to educate yourself on some queer issues.  Are you familiar with the Gender Unicorn?  Do you know what terms like cisgender and genderqueer mean?  You’ll be better able to relate to queer clients if you’ve done a little background reading.

A second step is to consider where you use traditional gender roles in your tarot the_magicianreading and what assumptions are being made about the roles of different cards.  Yes, the Magician is pictured as a man in many depictions of the card, but does that energy necessarily have to be masculine?  Gender expression, identity, sexuality, all of these things exist on a spectrum and not just in a binary system.  The Magician could be a woman who embodies energies that have been traditionally associated with the masculine.  Reconsider where you’re using pronouns and assigned genders in your reading.  Maybe the Empress is a man, exhibiting nurturing and internally focused energies.

Instead of talking about masculine and feminine energies, talk about how those energies behave.  Instead of saying that it’s a masculine energy say that it’s forceful and authoritative.  There’s nothing about those traits that are inherently male.

For more reading and learning on this subject I highly recommend Cassandra Snow’s series Queering the Tarot.  She had a line in particular that I really liked in her latest post on the Ace of Wands:

“Really if people take one thing away from my entire series or need a single starting point for being a reader who is accessible to LGBTQ+ seekers it should be this: never assume someone’s gender, pronouns, or sexual identity, and ask respectful, relevant questions if any of it comes up in a reading.”


Bottom line, don’t make assumptions when you’re reading tarot.  Another way you can be explicitly inclusive to ask what pronouns a client uses for themselves (also note the use of ‘them’ as a gender non specific pronoun there) and then use those in your reading when speaking about them or to them.

My last piece of advice is to state, right out, that you’re welcoming to LGBTQ+/queerimg_0456 clients.  That goes a huge way to setting my mind at ease when I’m searching for a service.  It’s tiring to constantly have to wonder if my little lesbian self will be welcome in different situations.  Remember that for queer people, exclusion is the societal norm in most spaces, so if you don’t say you’ll be welcoming to me, I don’t know if I’ll be safe in your space.  Especially in this violently divisive election year when I’ve started seeing Trump campaign signs around my neighborhood, it’s so important to voice your support and acceptance of the marginalized communities around you.  Don’t make me have to ask, tell me right off the bat that I’ll be safe and respected in your practice and your group.  It’s a little thing to do that has a huge impact.

Be Excellent to Each Other!

P.S. If you’re looking for a specifically queer themed spread to try, check out my Pride and Love Tarot Spread.

Tarot Exercise: What your favorite card says about you

tarot-talkI found this interesting little exercise on the Daily Tarot Girl blog about what your favorite tarot card says about you and I thought it might be interesting to try it and then share it with you.

I don’t entirely agree with one section of the exercise, but I’ll talk about that when we come to it.  The instructions say to flip through your tarot deck until you find your favorite card, or if you don’t have a favorite to find one that particularly calls to you.  I’ve already talked about some of my favorites (The Moon, The Star, The Hermit) so I decided to take a deck I use infrequently and flip through it until I found a card that spoke to me.

Using the Universal Fantasy deck I chose the Two of Cups.

2_of_cupsCard chosen I proceeded to the exercise.

Key #1: Color
What color is most prominent in your favorite Tarot card? This tells you what is most important to you right now.

Looking at this card my first thought was purple, secondary looking gives me gold and red, but I decided to go with my instant first impression of purple.

Purple – You are strongly focused on spirituality at the moment. You are in the process of getting in touch with your own divinity and connecting to spirit. You share many of the blue/green traits, but you are very interested in things like astrology, the cosmos, reading channeled books, ascension, hypnosis and activating your psychic abilities. Others may think you are weird – but you could care less!”

Hmm, I’d say partly true, and I do strongly associate the color purple with Spirit and I have been doing some work around intuition lately.


Key #2: Gender
If there is a figure on the Tarot card, is it male, female or androgynous?

Here’s where I differ a bit in the interpretation.  The exercise has this to say:

“This symbolizes the energy that you are most closely aligned with at the moment. If the figure is a male, you are probably quite focused on doing, whereas if the figure is female, you are likely more focused on being.”

Firstly, it doesn’t really take into account that there are two differently gendered persons on my card and I object to the active/passive characterization and having it tied to genders. So, well, that’s my two cents on the matter.  If I do this exercise again I would just skip Key 2.  Or work on rephrasing this or coming to a different understanding of a way to read the energy in the card that wasn’t tied to socially constructed ideas of gender roles.


Key #3: Action
Is there any action going on in your favorite Tarot card? Whats happening in it?

Let’s see, in my card we see a male presenting figure looking into a mirror and seeing a female presenting figure.  One of the things that drew me to this card was the fact that I recognized a possible trans narrative in it.  The two of cups can means a partnership or relationship, but it can also mean acknowledging a bond or coming towards acceptance of a situation and getting a positive response.  If I were reading for a gender variant person and this card appeared it would be extremely encouraging.

You could also read this as the fantasy world equivalent of Skype where two people are speaking to each other over a great distance.  Perhaps one is a warrior fighting in a distant conflict, stealing a precious chance to talk to someone back at home.  Or maybe it’s an arranged marriage and the two are meeting for the first time over magical Skype.

You could really go in a ton of directions reading this image.  I’m going to stick with my first and strongest impression, that of a trans person seeing their true self in the mirror.

That reading tells me that in the forefront of my mind are transformation and the struggle to speak and live our truths.  With all the hate for GLBTQ+ folks that’s been moving around that makes a lot of sense.  I also am reminded to try to be more inclusive of my trans siblings whenever and wherever I can.


Key #4: Symbols
Is there a particular symbol in the card that stands out to you?
Look into the spiritual significance of this symbol or ask yourself what you think this symbol means. Chances are it represents something you are desiring or something that is important to you.

Mirrors –  Seeing yourself reflected, self image, distorted perceptions of myself.  I’m dealing with some health things lately and I’ve been avoiding rescheduling a doctor’s appointment.  It could be a subtle dig at me to go do that.

Cups – The holy grail jumped to mind as I was thinking about this symbol.  The whole idea of a mythical holy relic that has been lost to time.  Something you’re always questing after that has mythical magical properties. Maybe it means that I’m searching for something that always seems just out of reach.

It’s an interesting exercise if you’re looking to deepen your understanding of a card.  It’s a decent way to do a little self reflective work.  What other keys might you have included?  What card is your favorite?  Let me know in the comments.

Repost: walking through fire, a gathering of survival strategies by community and allies — Asali Earthwork

I wish I could say that I was surprised at the events over the last week or two.  Surprised that while I was safe at home two more black men were killed by police attacks, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  But, sadly, like my reaction to the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, I wasn’t surprised.  I feel sad and sometimes hopeless, but never surprised any more.

I felt like I knew what to do in the wake of the Orlando shootings.  I’m gay, this was my community.  I feel less well equipped as to what I can or should do to help my POC friends.

The best thing I’ve found that I can do so far is to listen to those POC voices, support them when they ask for help, listen to their stories and trust them.  My voice doesn’t have a place in the discussion except to amplify theirs and be the best ally that I can be.  And to remember that this isn’t about me, but that it’s my job to help fix the problem.

I’m boosting a post from Asali Earthwork.  Go, listen to her, and help where you can.

I’m still reeling. Here is a link round up of community and allies with strategies that have helped the healing along. – Where does a healer’s anger go? Beyond love and light. I wrote a piece for the Little Red Tarot on holding space for anger that bleeds through my identity as a black queer […]

via walking through fire, a gathering of survival strategies by community and allies — Asali Earthwork

Edit: a few more links to add

Girlbosswoo has some important thoughts in her open letter to white business owners, this was especially good for me to read as a white person.

Worts and Cunning also has some good advice.

Tarot Spread: Pride and Love

Tarot Spreads (2)

A tarot spread created to celebrate and empower queer folks of all shapes and sizes and to help us learn to build our resilience in a world that doesn’t always allow us to speak and live our truth.  


1 – Red – something to celebrate
2 – Orange – something to heal
3 – Yellow – something that brings happiness
4 – Green – something to seek in the world
5 – Blue – somewhere to focus energy
6 – Indigo – a way to help my community
7 – Violet – a way to build resilience
8 – Pink – a message from the heart

This spread was based on the colors of the original rainbow pride flag created by Gilbert Baker in 1978.  In his flag each color had a meaning.  Pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for magic and art, indigo for serenity and harmony, and violet for spirit.

I’ve designed this spread in the shape of a rainbow, drawing inspiration from these symbolic colors and aimed towards empowering queer folks.  If you like it and you find it useful I’m hoping you’ll consider making a small donation to the One Orlando Fund which was created to provide much needed support to the victims of the Pulse tragedy and their families.

Download as PDF

View in Google Docs