Charlottesville: Stand with Communities of Color

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

– Martin Niemöller (German Lutheran Pastor)

I stand with our marginalized communities who are standing up and speaking against Wooly Thoughts updatedWhite Supremacist groups that have now been given space and voice by our president.  Whatever they call themselves, Alt-Right, Nazis, under any name they represent the worst elements in our country.  I’ve been struggling, as I always do, around what I can do to help.  I’m trying to find the right voices to listen to and to amplify.  Here’s what I’ve got right now.

Attend vigils if you’ve got one near you and you’re able to attend.  Here’s a site to find one near you.

Donate some money to one of the organizations working there right now.  Here’s a list.

And this: Talk about it.  Having these conversations can be really hard, but the responsibility of anyone who wants to act as an ally to marginalized communities.  Another friendly reminder:  Ally is not a noun, Ally is a VERB.  It’s a thing you do, not an identity you get to claim.  If you want to say you’re an ally, now is the time to prove it.  Call out racism when you see it.  This is especially true if you’re a white person like me.  It is my responsibility to use my priviledge to help support those people who don’t have access to the spaces that I have.  And it’s HARD, I’m an introvert and I hate confrontation, but if I don’t use the power that I have, it benefits those people who want to hurt our most vulnerable communities.

An in the vein of trying to be a better ally: The Hard Truth that Good White People Need to Hear.

I have just one thought about all the media I’m seeing right now.  I really don’t like the phrase “Silence = Consent”, because that’s SUCH a dangerous thing to imply.  I understand why people are saying it and (I think) what they’re trying to say.  If we don’t speak up when we see shit like this happening in OUR country, we’re giving tacit support.  We NEED to speak up, we need to act up.  And we also need to own up to the fact that this is our problem.   BUT, the word consent here is problematic.  I don’t want an issue of semantics to derail the real discussion going on here, the focus needs to stay on the issue.  But I needed to voice this.  Tone policing is shitty and that’s not what I want to be doing here.  People are justifiably outraged, and they should be.

However, consent.  When a person is raped and they didn’t or couldn’t say no, their silence is not consent.  However, if you witness a crime and you don’t tell someone about it, take the actions that you’re able to take, you are complicit.  You’re letting shit happen and dismissing it by saying ‘it doesn’t affect me, I didn’t participate’.  And that’s not okay.  There’s always exceptions, sometimes you have to keep quiet because it isn’t safe.  And I don’t advocate putting yourself into direct harm if speaking up puts you into an unsafe situation.

Honestly though, most of us “good white folks” aren’t risking our safety when we speak up about racial issues.  Yes, it’s uncomfortable, yes it’s difficult, yes it might be scary, but for the most part, we’re not risking our physical safety in bringing up the issue.  It’s something we really need to do if we want to put our money where our mouths are.  No more empty lip service.  DO SOMETHING.  Don’t foist it off saying ‘it wasn’t me’, or ‘it doesn’t represent my hometown’.  It’s our problem and it’s long past time for us to face it and start fixing it.

I’m going to end with a quote from the Hard Truth article:

The country doesn’t actually need “good white people.” What it needs are actual allies; allies who listen to people of color, allies who don’t speak over people of color, allies who do not need to be told that they are good, allies that do not center their activism around whiteness, allies who are not colorblind. If this is too much to ask, if you grow defensive when challenged, if your first instinct is to lash out, maybe you were never actually truly a good white person to begin with.

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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

Help Fight Trump and Get a Wooly Reading

Wooly Thoughts updated I felt a call to refresh this offer again today.  So, if you can make a donation to an organization helping to support marginalized communities under the current state of politics.  I’ll give you a free reading!

If you donate $10 or more to an organization that is trying to prevent Trump from harming people, I will do a small reading for you.  Suggestions for organizations that are close to my heart:  Planned Parenthood, ACLU, The Trevor Project, or Black Lives Matter.

I’ll keep this up as long as I can.  Forward your donation receipt (or a screen cap with payment methods blacked out) to me (woolywitchy (at) gmail (dot) com) and your question (or if you’d a more general “message from the universe/deity” reading that’s okay too).  And I will lay out some cards for you and e-mail you a reading.  I’m not sure what time turn around I’ll have, it’ll depend on how many requests I get.  And I’ll do as many as I can.

So get donating and check out my Code of Ethics to make sure my reading guidelines will work for you.

Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

Punch more Nazis.

An article about why it is SO important to make the women’s march more inclusive.  Talking about issues of racial justice is NOT a distraction from the issues the women’s march was trying to raise.  Some thoughts from the black woman who had that viral sign with the white women on their phones.

Five things White People Need to Do right now.

I SO needed this:  On Being and Doing Enough for the Resistance.

From Autostraddle – ways their staffers are keeping themselves sane and active.  Downside – now I want a passion planner and can’t really afford it. 😉

Witches Resistance Action List

On Giving Up Multitasking.

Journalling 101

Cute Gay Mermen – because we could all use more cuteness!

Nine things you need to know about organizing a protest.

It’s a little early, but Imbolc is coming up and it’s a good time to plan:  Growing your own salad garden.

 What it means to be a secular witch.  She mentions that just because this is how she defines herself, it doesn’t mean every witch will.

Boy Scouts allow Trans kids to join.  FINALLY.  Girl scouts has been on that for ages, not without issue, but SERIOUSLY, guys, about time.  And this step isn’t perfect, but it’s progress.

Knitting as a Political Act.

Why Queer Advocates are worried about the Trump Administration.
“Trump talks a big game on his support for LGBTQ people, yet he has filled his cabinet with people who have literally spent their careers working to demonize us and limit our rights,” he said in a statement. “Claiming ally status for not overturning the progress of your predecessor is a rather low bar.”

What I’m knitting: Still socks, always socks 🙂
What I’m writing: intentions into my new journal, also postcards to my elected officials about things that are important to me.
What I’m eating: Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew.  So GOOD.

Help Fight Trump and Get a Wooly Reading

wooly-thoughts I saw other people doing this over on IG and I wanted to do something too.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I think it’s past time for me to just do it.  So, I’m doing it.

If you donate $10 or more to an organization that is trying to prevent Trump from harming people, I will do a small reading for you.  Suggestions for organizations that are close to my heart:  Planned Parenthood, ACLU, The Trevor Project, or Black Lives Matter.

I’ll keep this up as long as I can.  Forward your donation receipt (or a screen cap with payment methods blacked out) to me (woolywitchy (at) gmail (dot) com) and your question (or if you’d a more general “message from the universe/deity” reading that’s okay too).  And I will lay out some cards for you and e-mail you a reading.  I’m not sure what time turn around I’ll have, it’ll depend on how many requests I get.  And I’ll do as many as I can.

So get donating and check out my Code of Ethics to make sure my reading guidelines will work for you.

Wooly Wednesday: Pussy Hat Edition

wooly-wednesday

I made myself a Pussy Hat for the Womens’ March.  And I wanted to talk about it this week.  Because I wasn’t going to knit one.  I saw other activists all over the place knitting these hats and I just didn’t see the point.  What the hell was a damn pink hat going to do given what we were facing.  And what the hell was the point of all the damn #NotMyPresident tweeting and stuff.  I wasn’t going to bother going to the women’s march, anyway.  I guess I just wasn’t feeling it, what was the point of all these protests, shouldn’t we be spending our energies on doing something that actually did something?

p-hatWell, I was wrong.  These ‘silly’ hats are something.  I did end up going to a march on Saturday.  And I saw a sea of pink hats and protest signs and it made me feel cautiously hopeful for a few hours.

And then I saw the sea of pink hats at all the other sister marches across the country and in other countries too. And I guess I realized something about the marches and protests.  Something my wife has been telling me since November when I started feeling so defeatist about marches and protests.

The protests make us feel better.  It lets us know that we’re not alone.  We aren’t in this fight by ourselves.  It’s scary as hell out there right now, between the gag orders on Scientists, the removal of the LGBT section from the white house page, the promises to defund Planned Parenthood, the violence being perpetrated against people of color in this country, and the disastrous excuse for a human being that half the country voted in as president.

These are the times when we need to have marches and gatherings, and yeah, we need to make pink damn hats, because we need to be able to see each other and to know that we’re not alone.  Safety pins turned into a cluster fuck and I’m sure given enough time the hats could turn into one too, although, I’ll have a hell of a good laugh watching the white supremacists trying to take over the pink kitty ear hat thing.

If the hats help us hang together in this shit storm of an administration then that’s what matters.  And when I say together I mean an inclusive together where we include ALL marginalized groups, trans folks, sex workers, people of color, disabled people, we all need to help hold each other up.  If bringing yourself up throws someone else under the bus it’s not good enough.

So, if you don’t already have one, it’s an incredibly easy pattern even if you’re not an accomplished knitter.  You should absolutely give it a try!!  Also there are crochet and sewn versions too if needles aren’t your thing.

And in the meantime, let’s punch some nazis.

Weekly Readings

Weekly Readings from Wooly Witchy

10 Disabled women who are making Political noise.

From Autostraddle: PHOTOESSAY: We F-cking Marched, Y’all.  And a whole bunch of IG snaps!

Some awesome required reading for white people who want to do better around intersectionality:  How to exist in an intersectional feminist space.  An excellent introduction to work around racism and other isms.  And there’s a sort of Part Two: So you think you know a thing.

We need to stand in solidarity with Sex Workers.

Why I March.

How to Grow a Tea Garden.

From Worts and Cunning: the New Moon Healers Project.  From the page:  “The New Moon Healers Project is my invitation to you to take time each month to cultivate your own healing. For when we heal ourselves we heal our community.”

 From Llewellyn: A Room of One’s Own: a midwinter room cleansing ritual, great for helping clear out those stagnant energies and maybe even help with the winter blues.

Some concerning information about Trump’s gag orders to the EPA and the National Park service.

Resist: 10 Actions in 100 Days:  “Thank you to the millions of people around the world who, on January 21, came together by the millions to raise our voices. But our march forward does not end here. Now is the time to get our friends, family and community together and MAKE HISTORY. Join us in launching a new campaign: 10 Actions for the first 100 Days.”

 10 Examples of Straight Privilege from Everyday Feminism.

From Little Red Tarot: Should I Stay or Should I Go – a decision making tarot spread.

What I’m reading: Gifted: lovely little things to knit and crochet.
What I’m knitting: Pegasus Parade Socks.
Where I’m going today: Exeter Fuzz Fest: a tiny local fiber festival

Card of the Day: The Green Woman

S W I M I N T H E S E A

Today’s card is the Green Woman from the Wildwood Tarot.

5b609218-13b0-4880-9c54-1cdfa93d315fIn the Wildwood Tarot the place of the Empress is played by the Green Woman.  I really dig the Green Men/Women mythological stories.  They’re often these mysterious figures who defy definition and understanding and I find them such intriguing mystical characters.

This card felt SO great as a card to have drawn just before the Inauguration and the protest march that my wife and I are going to on Saturday.  The Green Woman is such a powerful female figure, exactly what I’d like to embody on Saturday, and heck, everyday.

Sometimes the Empress is read as being a gentle maternal lady surrounded by woodland creatures, and sometimes that’s fine, a gentle earth mother to give you a hug and a cup of chamomile tea is just what you need.  But this Green Woman is not that gentle lady in a flowy dress.  This Empress is a powerhouse of creative energy, sexuality, and presence.  She doesn’t recline meekly, when she’s in the room -BAM- you notice her.  I picture her leaf and moss cape growing as she wears it, moving through the room and catching everyone’s eye.  It’s not a cruel unattainable smirk that she wears, but this charismatic magnetic smile that invites you in, but commands respect at the same time.

All of that and she still manages to be nurturing, teaching us to embrace our connection with nature and to build those relationships that help us grow in our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.  That way we can turn around and own our power and use that inner strength to defend our marginalized brothers and sisters.

Feel that fire roaring beneath her cauldron, and look at the way she radiates lights all around her, almost like she’s her own source of light in a darkened wood.

And that’s my wish for all of you out there.  Find your strength and make your own light, and then shine it into the dark places.

I’ll see you all on Saturday for the protest marches, and then I’ll see you showing up to fight institutionalized racism and sexism and homophobia and ableism and all those other -isms that the new President Elect stands for.

Wear your Pussy Hats with pride and may the strength of the Green Woman go with you and continue to inspire you!

Weekly Readings

weekly-readings-from-wooly-witchy

From the Southern Poverty Law Center: ways to respond to everyday bigotry.  I kind of want to make some of these a printable card I keep in my wallet so I can walk away from a bigoted exchange having said something instead of wishing I’d been able to think of what to say.

Benebell Wen shares how she journals and “documents her woo”.  There’s some beautiful stuff in there, makes me want to have a paper planner again!

Kelly Ann Maddox shares 50 Journal Prompts for Toughening Up and Getting Inspired in the Hardest of Times.  I could definitely use some of these about now.

How to support and Herbal call to action from Worts and Cunning.

Autostraddle shares 5 ways to stand up to Trump Tyranny right now.

How you can intervene when witnessing racist assaults.  Always make sure that you’re not putting yourself in physical danger too, but speak out where you can.

Here’s how to set up monthly recurring donations for a TON of great organizations that are fighting to help keep us all safe (Planned Parenthood, SPLC, NAACP, Trevor Project, and lots more).

A knitted garland made entirely out of mittens!  I knit this for my mom one year and it’s adorable and free!  And another garland made with stars.  Also free.

From Northwest Witch : What Now? a Tarot spread in the wake of the election.

Ethony shared 6 daily practices to improve your tarot journey.

Buddhists bring meditation to the streets and subways of NYC.

This is awesome: The Inclusive Local Yarn Store Initiative.

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.