"How long does one have to stay in the dark?  Until one can see clearly IN THE DARK" - Florence Scovel Shinn  

Are you afraid of the dark?  I sure was…and yet society seems to crave it no?  Most filmmakers quickly learn that Horror films SELL SELL SELL!  Repression has created obsession.  All you have to do is take a look at a list of most popular movies or books to see that humans have a fascination with shadows, while they often times, fear their own.  We love to peer in from the outside under the safe guard of “story.”  We engulf ourselves in the mystery and the terror.  We dance with our fear of death via film, TV, books and songs.  We get cast under the spell and believe in the smoke and mirrors of “evil,” under the bed or lurking in the nooks and crannies of the unknown.  We think we must run, or it will catch us.  I personally believe there is only ONE power and it ain’t evil.  But evil is very convincing, and since it’s feared, “evil” is rarely examined or scrutinized and therefore goes uncovered for what it really is….if we were to look closely we may see it’s all just fun house mirrors.  It’s the man in the booth at the end of the Wizard of Oz.  

What we are maybe not necessarily taught, is that by embracing the darker aspects of life, and the personality, one can become privy to greater illumination of themselves and find peace, even.  In fact, it’s not terribly easy to know oneself fully when one rejects the dark.  The word “black” even has a negative association when it is just in fact BLACK…not bad….not good…just black….Ah but yes it is also the unknown….the subconscious not yet made conscious.   Modern Psychology , 12 step programs, new-age healing modalities, meditation practices etc, all suggest that the process to healing is by bringing the unconscious CONSCIOUS!   To become willing to embrace all aspects of self to see clearly.  Not an easy feat or for everyone, and those who try may spend a lifetime in this pursuit.  But I feel the repression of the dark, and the fear of the dark, is what causes most of the violence in the world…well that, and purely-self-centered-psychos.  

It has taken me years to meet my shadow with compassion and even equinimity.  When I wrote this song (Video Below) I was in despair and felt ashamed that I had been in a relationship with a man, who like my Father, physically beat me and psychologically tore me down.  I didn’t want to be associated with the title of “battered woman” because usually people associate that with damaged goods or someone who brought it on themselves or was “into it”. I assure you, the only think I am “into” is love.  But truly, even though I saw it as a child, to have the man I trusted and love almost kill me then deny it, brought me to my knees. I did not want to live,  and I found little to no support from the world I was in.  To be fair:  perhaps my own defects of character were too on guard, perhaps at the time society protected the perpetrator, perhaps I was a little unstable and unapproachable.  Point is, in many ways, this was the greatest thing that has happened to me.   I also realized it was only ME who would have the compassion necessary to heal from the events only I COULD VERIFY!  So although I spent longer than I’d like to admit:  angry, victimized, mad at the world and those in it, entitled and hopeless….it passed.  I healed.  I’m no longer afraid of the dark, my own darker shades, your opinion of my darker shades, the idea that they are wrong or bad.  Fact is, in facing my shadow I came to know myself, my creator, and my light.  I do not believe in good or bad by the views of society. Not all need to find themselves through darkness, but I did, and like the song Amazing grace “I was blind and now I see” and seeing clearly can be more painful than being blind, but it appears to be the path for me.  So may we all walk through tonight and meet ourselves and our past and our ancestors with clarity and willingness so that we can actually see the light without running from the glorious and wise DARK!  

“The Crone is a symbol of inherent wisdom that comes from experience. She has lived through love, sorrow, hope, and fear, coming out of it all a wise and confident spirit. Through these experiences she has learned the secrets of life and death and of the mysteries beyond this world. She has tasted death itself and watched those she loved make the journey before her. It is through her mourning that she faces death, grows to understand it, and becomes the gatekeeper between worlds...." ~ Lee Hutchings   

Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from an ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced “SAH-win”) meaning end of summer or November in Gaelic, is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in “the dark half of the year.”  It’s also when the veil between world is THIN and one can access their ancestors or give thanks to the dead.  According to “The Celtic Lady” This is the time of the season which the “Crone” rules.  

The Crone is one aspect of the triple Goddess, made up of Maiden, and Mother and Crone. Essayist Christina Aubin says it is the Crone who "opens the Western gate for those who have departed to travel into Summerland. She rules areas of death and regeneration, occult sciences, healing, and the wisdom of the ages . . . . We use the Crone to assist us in transition from one life to the next, leaving one level of our existence and entering the next. This brings us into the Womb of the Mother to assist us in being reborn once again. For it is through Her Wisdom and guidance we learn lessons from experience past and begin life anew from the wisdom gained."  

The ancient traditions of this time can be celebrated today with meaning although our comforts have changed.  The end of summer and heading into the dark can be utilized metaphorically.  It can be a review and renewal.  Traditionally: “Celtic New Year” - settling down for winter;  salting, killing, preserving food, clearing the garden and greenhouse out.  Clearing away all that is not needed from the old year, reviewing what can stay and what must go.  Burning what is not needed in a fire festival.  And again a time to Honor the many Crone goddesses and Deities that represent death and REBIRTH:  Cerridwen “the bent white one” is a Welch Crone Goddess or another is of course the Ancient Greek Goddess Hecate….  

The Celtic year was divided into two halves — light and dark, which were delineated by two of their four annual fire festivals:  12/22-Alban Arthan, 3/22 - Alban Eiler, 6/22-Alban Hefin, 10/22-Alban Elfed.  In between, rituals or ceremonies were celebrated marking solstices or equinoxes:   Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.  

The Christians wanted to recruit Pagans so they kept most of these traditions and moved “All Saints Day from May to November 1st then All Souls day on the 2nd.  Although he “trick-or-treat” tradition originated from the Celts having children going house to house asking for food and money dressed in disguise and was called “guising” the first record of this is actually in Ontario Canada in 1911.   

So this is my Spooky Song and my "ode to the Shadow" my RECLAIMING of my story and my desire to be free.  Writing this song and doing this video helped me HEAL and in many ways saved my life.  I hope you enjoy your HALLOWEEN and dance with your own shadow!  

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K I L L T H E Q U E E N  

The last two episodes of Game of Thrones left me wondering if men and women are more at war than ever before. The way the male writers chose to end Mother of Dragons’ reign left me asking, how many men still think all beautiful, sexual, intelligent and powerful women will go bat shit crazy if given the power and therefore must be killed? 
The second to last episode—where she lost it and went fire-happy on all of the innocent civilians—made me think we may never have a female president. Your eyes may have already rolled so far back in your head you have lost consciousness but this show, written by men, did not, in fact, break any wheels. I’m also not supposing it was meant to but just identifying how it may be a mirror of our current situation. 
I do not think all men want to kill the women that provoke uncertainty or uncontrollable desire in them, or who challenge their mind, soul and spirit. But an NBC News article states, "nearly three women are murdered every day in the U.S. by current or former romantic partners." An FBI Supplementary Homicide Report found that, in homicide cases that could identify the relationship between the offender and victim, 93 percent of female victims (1,450 out of 1,551) were murdered by a male they knew. The Center for Disease Control states that over half of the killings of American women are related to intimate partner violence, with the vast majority of the victims dying at the hands of a current or former romantic partner. Black women were most likely to die by homicide of any kind, at 4.4 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Native American women, Hispanics, and finally whites and Asians. Data from earlier reports suggests a far smaller percentage of men—around five to seven percent—were killed by intimate partners. However, middle-aged white men are taking their own life at higher rates than ever before. To that point, Jon Snow’s character had an internal decline this last season and now will be walking with the free folk into his midlife celibate. So he may add to this statistic. 
I’m aware of the war between men and women. It’s been long standing. But is healing possible? 
Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. A character who steadily accumulated several titles to symbolize her many transformations and triumphs over the patriarch, misused power, family betrayal, sexism, oppression and bad magic. She was the breaker of chains and the first powerful character to befriend and introduce people of color to the pale show. Calm down, white people—I'm not dogging thrones for being mostly white or trying to take anything away from you. It’s just interesting to see how all the characters of color sailed off at the end when they realized they had no place without their queen, just sayin.’ 
Back to Daeny, who walked out of a goddamn fire with three baby dragons for Christ’s sake, no matter your gender or orientation it is safe to say that even after giving birth and being burned she was gorgeous, sexy & pure. How many can pull that off? As time when on and she was alone in her power, she still consulted her numerous advisors. While she always listened to and considered their consult, she often found her own unique solution by taking her time and ultimately listening to her own intuitive voice within. This voice had her kill her enemies and free as many slaves as possible. Every time we thought she was gonna be taken down, she rose. She used her raw, sincere femininity to connect with Kahl Drago. That partnership symbolized the beauty of both the masculine and feminine energy. I'm not saying all men are brutes and all women soft. I'm saying their union balanced them both and taught them how to tap into their own feminine and masculine sides. Drago gave Kahlisi strength and courage, and she game him heart. Together they were powerful and of maximum service. An ideal? Yes. Let us all remember this is fantasy but also myth. Myth, whether from religion, the tarot, folklore, children’s storybooks or Athens/Asia/Egypt (and everywhere), is there to teach us more about our own psyche. Just as understanding history informs us of a possible future, myth depicts the archetypes we sometimes fall into, and destiny within those roles. So this show has sparked conversation because these characters were so well developed, so flawed, so driven—so us, each of us, in all our glory and horror. 
Look, I know George R. R. Martin literally said, "My biggest dream was to ruin the lives of my readers and crush their souls," so I am aware GOT was never headed for a Hollywood ending. Since the storyline makes the audience well aware of the role of mental illness in the Targaryen family history, I will of course acknowledge Daeny’s fate as a plausible storyline. There was no way to wrap the show in a fulfilling bow in one season. Martin will continue to write the books without the pressure of having to end in a certain way or on a timeline. So this is not my critique on the last season—you can find those on any social media page of any person worldwide if needed. This is about how the final season mirrored what some women and people of color face today and my annoyance that NO WHEELS WERE BROKEN. 
I'm speaking to the part of society that fears the wild woman, and the confused man who feels emasculated and hopeless. I’m speaking to how the depiction of the North is so like the current state of America—hating outsiders and fearing what they don't understand, yet living in a mask of "integrity" and "honor,” and often so stubborn within that facade, that they are blinded and unable to evolve to a grander world with cultures and possibilities they could not fathom. I hated that Aria and Sansa couldn't befriend their brother’s queen. Why? Cersei, a woman in power and of course evil—why couldn't these women bond together? Maybe that is the scariest storyline of all. The term “cat fight” and all other rhetoric around women being competitive with each other is a tool of oppression to keep us small. Unfortunately, it has worked. 
Mother of Dragons, in my eyes, was pure feminine energy. In the end, she herself chose fear. Her heart was too broken to stay soft, grounded and sound. The betrayal was too fresh and too poignant. She fell in love with her nephew who refused to step up to his name and instead kept murmuring, "my queen, my queen" and "I don't want it, I don't want it." Ugh, God just fuck your aunt like ya already did. Make more baby dragons and stand beside her, guide her when she needs you, command her when she is needing strength, and support and care for her heart when she is weary. Be her king, just as she is your queen. Is that too much to ask? In my fantasy world, Danerys is not threatened when he reveals his lineage. She instead begs him to join her and help her, and she helps him. They both take the throne. But I am sometimes taken down by my ideals and my ability to fall in love with potential. I often see the best in those who refuse to step up to their highest selves because I use them as a focal point to avoid living up to my highest unlimited potential. Jon Snow sure did that. They made him a boy who did not want to become a man after seasons of watching him be the strongest moral character. But maybe that was their point. He was stripped down, overtaken by strong women, and cast out to roam the North and take no women. Perhaps this is all men’s fear—all or nothing. Perhaps it’s just a story. Perhaps it’s just me questioning my role, as a woman who very much loves men but also fears them. 
So the last two episodes just made me question our place as men and women. Can we find a common ground and work together, or do we fear each other too much? When you go on the Internet and search “how women die” the top two results are childbirth and domestic violence. We birth our perpetrators just as we birth our soul mates, protectors and allies. Is the man’s misunderstanding of a woman’s power to create and also provide mystique too great of a threat? With women empowered, do men no longer know how to approach, and therefore resent? Can we all inhabit masculine and feminine traits? Can we integrate? Maybe the integration process takes a lifetime because that is the lesson of life, but maybe not. I will continue to contemplate as I mourn the loss of my queen. 

Molly Durand 

A U T H O R I T Y 

I think current focus on the toxic nature of the patriarch has been obvious and prevalent on the world stage. For me, it’s been an ongoing issue. I have massive problems with authority as my own individuality and safety was taken at a young age. I believe it is important to acknowledge when trauma occurs so that one can have a better understanding of behaviors, one’s own inner psyche and have compassion for how and who you have become. Spirituality, for me, is ever-changing and nobody else’s business as far as I’m concerned so whatever truth that we all come to, I believe, we should come to without letting the opinions of others override what we feel in our own knowing. Im writing this with the intention to acknowledge that we all have an inner knowing at all times and it’s our responsibility to tend to that.  On one hand, the patriarch holds power and on the other hand we give away our power to the patriarch then resent them for having power. Without victimizing either side I’m trying to, for my own well-being, see both sides of how the toxicity of this has evolved in my own personal life and in the world. When one is told to be an authority and claim power and material gain before one has met their own soul or inner-desires, it creates a fragmented disassociation and it was put upon them at a young age. When racism and fear of others was instilled just as commonly as one learns the alphabet, we are faced with a psychological disorder that is prevalent. Racism is mental illness taught over and over.  In this basic understanding that these things were given to us and now in the spotlight and on centerstage we can go within and integrate. We can find our own authority. Where do I have responsibility? Where can I be accountable and where can I share? Those who are considered the patriarch may have deep-seated resentment that they were given more responsibility than they wanted maybe why they call everyone a crybaby or maybe why compassion is not their strength. Maybe they were told compassion would make them a weaker being.  As we tear down labels and norms may we also find our part. The minute we give authority to others we take authority away from ourselves.