The Apple Bites Back: The Road to Initiation

If you’ve ever been to one of my classes or workshops I begin it with a warning.

This is why.

Five years ago today I came into my Teacher’s home for the first time as a student.
I had met them before in passing, in community, in a particularly hilarious foretelling photoshoot.

I’m not sure what I expected in that moment. All I knew was that for once in my life I was going to see it through.

I didn’t know what I was signing up for but they did.

I didn’t know I would fall in love.

I fell in love with them and the Students and other Initiates of this tradition.

I fell in love with myself.
And lez be clear,this is not some eat pray whatever the fuck kind of love. This is a love that has teeth and talons. This love holds up a mirror that I can not hide from. This love burned me and the whole fucking village I built to maintain the lie of that “me” to ash and coal.

A few months into study I sat wide eyed and embarrassed at my Teacher’s table. They were patient. Waiting for me to pull up what ever words were stuck in my throat.

“I’m not impeccable,” I managed to say eventually. “I don’t think I can do this without being impeccable. I want to be impeccable”

They looked at me with an unreadable expression that I’ve come to understand and cherish over the years. They responded simply.

“Then go be impeccable.”

A lot of the study was like that. Me admitting the worst and the best of myself and having to hold it all, decide what to do with it all from this place of impeccability that openly mocked perfection.

A Virgo’s worst nightmare!

When I started this path I was working 60+ hours a week between the desk job, performing, massage co-producing. I was sharing my time and body with people who would not see me nor cherish me. I was kneeling at the feet of others and offering them the sword that is my soul for their acceptance, for their kindness, for their love.

I was content to be small as possible because I equated it with being safe.

I thought the only way people would see me as human in this body and in this skin was through what I could offer them. Because what I was wasn’t good enough.

What I was wasn’t good enough.
What I was wasn’t good enough for me because what I was wasn’t real.

The path to Initiation meant I had to be real.
In being real I lost so much; Friends, family, jobs, lovers, homes, safe spaces. I was constantly screaming:
But I Need That!!!

And the Universe would rise up laughing and singing back:
Bitch, do you? Do you tho? Let’s test this theory!!!

This labyrinth spun me out casually. At times I believed I was going insane but I was only falling in(to) sanity.

I’m difficult now
I’ve got boundaries and expectations
I’m unpredictable now
I’ve got a moral code not based on social norms or expectations
I’m wild now
I’ve got desires and agendas
Like one of my beloved brothers t-shirts says
I’ve got many Gods now
and no Masters

I don’t hide my mouth when I laugh anymore instead it sounds like thunder
I don’t hide my tears anymore
I sob openly until I choke
I don’t hide my excitement anymore
my screams upset the birds in their branches
I don’t silence my rage anymore
I write, I speak, I look it in the eyes

It’s exhausting thb.
But it’s a whole lot less exhausting than the lie.

I’m still losing things.
Five years later I’m still losing things I never thought I would.

My Teacher became my Mother and if I am found to truly be kin of this kind they will soon become my Sister.

I cried and mourned the loss of this type of love even as I rejoice in anticipation of standing in this faith shoulder to shoulder with them.

I thanked them for bringing me up as a witch. I acknowledge that this has also brought me up as a human being. That no matter what happens now I am accountable and responsible for myself and what work I do in this world.

They smiled and said “Now you are impeccable.”

Initiations can happen in big ways and sometimes in very small mundane ways. They happen like storms, suddenly or soft and gently. They are constantly occurring if you know how to look for them, if you are mindful.

So with that said

Seekers of the Mysteries
Witches wanting more
Archaeologists of the Ancient Names
Lovers of Whispered Lore

be aware
be warned

You have more to lose than you could ever have imagined

Each slight change in your lens makes the world you live in untenable and that makes you responsible

In order to truly live you will have to die

The Apple is bitter and sweet
The Apple is poison and medicine
The Apple is ipecac
The Apple bites back

And it’s as delicious as it is deadly.

A Post Samhain Post

We sometimes joke that our full title is
Femme Mountain: Books, Bones, Sticks & Stones

Our home has been furnished through estate sales, things passed on to us by elders and our own Dead.
The art and photos have their own stories, spells and history.

We are surrounded by altars of our own making. They move, the house moves, there is often the sound of feet on the stairs that are not ours.

An elegant lady has recently begun to appear in the upstairs hallway and we are as surprised to see her as she is to see or be seen by us!

As the fall makes things quieter the house gets louder and something about the cold air makes the stars outside shine clearer in the night.

It is in this Holy Darkness that we light our black candle.

Amidst fruit that bleeds rich and red.
We are the flesh fed from the bright light and lives of our Mighty Dead.
We are flesh fed from the bright light and fruit of this land.

We began the Witches New Year by filling our home with that light and the light of others to sustain us as the wheel turns again to dark.

May you have all you need.
May your reflections in the dark mirror be true but gentle.
May the stillness drive you to peace instead of madness.
May you be warmed by the light of all those that have gone before you and stand with you in the Night.

Happy New Year & Blessed Samhain
Love,
Femme Mountain

📸 of our altar by @chrystyphoto

In The Face of Fear: Ancestors

During my #InTheFaceOfFear workshop one of the suggestions I offer is working with your Ancestors.

My Ancestor practice had been dismal until 5 years ago and I am still very much growing into it and with it.

This can be a hard thing to do.

Some of us are cut off from our Ancestors. Genocide, the erasure effects of white supremacy, internal family violence/rejection/ abandonment are real cock blockers when it comes to forging these powerful bonds.

That’s where healers like Luna Pantera come in. As the queer, gender non binary offspring of an outcast I figured my ancestors would haaaaaate me or at least be disappointed.
I was so wrong.

Luna helped me locate Elevated Ancestors to work with to heal my lines.
One of the questions posed to me by a white participant in the class was how to work with Ancestors they are not proud of. Ancestors that have done harm.

I realized that this is probably why white people doing liberation work keep calling on Harriet fucking Tubman #stopit

It’s your job to heal those lines
Accept the shit storm.
You benefit directly from your racist ass Ancestors.
Work with a Healer and also do tangible “on this plane” world work like making donations to the Ancestor Descendant of people who they harmed in their names.
Ask those Ancestors to provide the funds for it even.

But work with them.
If possible work with a Healer, a Therapist or Community Support because it can be intense and bring up a lot of shit.

Proceed with intention and caution!

I’ve found through this engagement that I am not the only one who was queer, who was witch, who was against the grain, who was team guardrail. I’ve learned to value my Mighty Dead, to hear them, to fight with them, to love them.

And I’ve learned that I am dearly loved by them too.

#Ancestors
#POCwitches
#Ancestorlinehealer
#Blackwitches
#Samhain

Connect to Luna Pantera on Facebook or via email at Luna@lunastouch.com

Oregon Day 2: Digging The Hole

The waves were glowing in the dark as they broke across the sands
My bare feet followed the path through the rustling grass. It grew higher with every step. Pulling at the hem of my dress

Aren’t you afraid
A voice said

Yes.

Aren’t you going to turn away
A voice said

No.

There was cacophony between my ears. As loud as it was when I was a child. Several beings speaking at once.
Some saying Don’t! Turn Back! Stop!
Others saying Trust us! You can be afraid but you must trust us!

As the ground below me dipped I reached out. Blind with out my glasses. Impeded by the night. I trusted. I gripped the earth and it gripped me back.
Delivered me gently to the sandy shore.

I started digging
Frantically, fanatically, desperately
Crying and screaming

I’m tired
I don’t know what’s next
I don’t want to die
This hurts so much
I’m so broken
I’m so broken
I’m so broken

I wailed into the hole until words dissolved into gutteral and keening songs

For once my throat let me
Loosened so I could push it out

Take this please!
Transform this please!

When I was done covered the hole
Instantly embarrassed for showing up at Their house without an offering to give.

When I rose up with apologies on my lips I was pulled back down.
My belly filling the space my tears once had
I was prostrate
Screaming again through a mouth full of sand

My brothers were there then
Telling me to keep going
Telling me that I was loved
Telling me that I was not alone
Telling me that the fires in the sky were my home and my people

I shifted as some thing moved into mr
kicked me twice like a knocking from the inside.

I sat up with legs spread open
Knees bent
Felt like labor
I began to laugh and sigh and say ow! As I held their arms for support.

The grief and fear and rage had been transformed and given back to me. Clay I could shape into something new.

They blew blessed tobacco on my feet, my palms, my heart, my head, my thighs, my womb. I took a lung full of it and kissed it into the sand.

They wrapped me in a blanket
And our fingers intertwined as we watched the ocean glow under a sky full of stars.

Then we,
Whole and Beautiful
took the dark path back into the light

Together.

#witchshit
#diggingthehole
#family
#queermagic
#transformation
#loveisaverb

Oregon Day 1

So…
Slowing down has made me realize how deeply exhausted and deeply fucked I am right now

I’ve been moving big energy for people
I’ve been making big asks for other people’s benefit
I haven’t factored myself into the equation (again)

I’ve got two days here and then it back to the grind. I’m lucky to have this. I want to focus on the gratitude but I can’t stop myself from wanting to cry.

My throat hurts from not screaming
The last month has seen
big rituals that cost me dearly to preform
stepping away from an 11 relationship that cost me dearly to be in
the loss of a place to work and the income that comes with it

I’m not okay
I know I’m going to be but right now I am not okay.

I’m tired
I’m underprepared
I’m overwhelmed

I need help.

All of this is bigger than me.
All the work I’m doing is bigger than me and I need help.

But first I need to cry and scream
then I can figure out what that looks like
then I can ask.

How are you?

We were outside of a theater when it happened.

“How are you?” popped out of my mouth. It’s a common courtesy. Something we say without thinking and to be honest often without feeling.

When they asked “Can I be honest with you?” I looked them directly in their eyes and gave my consent for an authentic exchange.

They weren’t okay.

The information they trusted me with allowed us to discuss how I could hold them in a way that was safe for us both.

Actually someone just knowing how they really were was 90% of what they needed.

This interaction changed me I started answering honestly when people asked me “How are you?”

So much so that I don’t get asked that much anymore.
I win?😅

Seriously…

Sometimes when people ask that question I laugh and say how loaded it is.

Sometimes I say that I want to say I’m fine but the truth is that I am a fat Black queer witch coming to the end/beginning of a spiritual journey and (insert name of recent Black person executed by the police state here) was murdered so many weeks/days/hours ago. So do you want an honest answer or can we continue with what we came here to do?*

As a caretaker and assistant to a person’s healing process I thought this level of honesty would be a problem, that my clients would find me messy or lacking.

It’s had the opposite reaction.

My clients have seen it as a strength.

My clients have identified with it.

My clients have trusted me to move big energy with them because I am in it WITH them.

If anything it’s opened discussion on self care techniques.

It’s made me Spiritually and Physically put my “oxygen mask on first”.

It’s helped me work from a more honest place within myself.

It’s helped them open up to me so we can engage in vunerable, shifting catharsis that is beneficial to us both.

When I ask “How are you?” I mean it.

I lean in when I ask it.

I make eye contact.

I want to know.

It’s an invitation for others to share their humanity with me. I think this is the original intention of the phrase. To see each other. I think that’s gotten lost in the social niceties.

I don’t go in much for social niceties anymore. But that’s a discussion for another time.

*Always give em an out😉

If you’re making fun of people dealing with PG&E Power shut offs right now you deserve to feel every carpal & metacarpal of a cosmic bitch slap

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/PG-E-shutoff-Your-food-is-spoiled-business-shut-14502325.php

The answer is no.

PG&E will not remiburse one damn dime.

There are people laughing at this situation or saying others are soooooo delicate

But some people in rural areas where these cut offs are happening don’t even have access to water because the pump houses are on electric.

If we didn’t have a hot tub I wouldn’t have been able to flush the toilet. I’m able bodied so I was able to carry water up and down the stairs. I should have filled the bath tub with water but I didn’t think it through.

I’m not complaining.
I just think it’s insane that a luxury item saved my ass. A luxury item not many people have.

I’m lucky my FemmeMountain Family lived somewhere that losses power in the winter before so they knew what to do and I just rolled with it.

But what if.
What if we didn’t have a generator
What if most of us weren’t able bodied
What if we didn’t have a community with means to tap into
What if we didn’t have enough money in the account to buy a tank of gas the day before or some food items that don’t need to be cold.
What if we were dependent on a local 9 to 5 to pay the bills
What if we were older with no immediate family in the area
What if a fire happened anyway and we couldn’t get down the stairs and our car out of the garage because we don’t have the ability to stand to pull the lever on the manual release.

I had a rager of a headache yesterday all day because I couldn’t get good sleep on my CPAP…and maybe the mushrooms, but mostly the CPAP!

I didn’t want to chance the generator going out in the night because I’ll suffocate before I wake up and it’s terrifying to have that happen.

I have the privilege of being able to get to the Berkeley flats
I have the privilege of being able to have my choice of places to stay due to a queer love fueled network

I don’t have a headache today.

My worry is so trival compared to so many still without power.

They can’t work
Their food has spoiled
They can’t breathe
Some are trapped in their homes
Some have no water

And PG&E as of last fucking night refused to comment on wether all the money that went to maintenance actually went to maintenance last year or this year.

In a press conference they said it wasn’t their concern. Blame the environment and not our shitty equipment that has been in neglect for years and years.

I’d rather not see another devastating fire and this will have devastating effects for people to. For the most vulnerable of us.

Meanwhile Sacramento is on it’s own grid like LOL y’all totes should have invested in local county run power companies. This could have been you ⚡💡⚡but y’all gave into the monopoly.

Even writing about an energy shut down as an extreme situation is hella 1st world because there are places that don’t even haaaaave access 24/7

We ain’t ready.

Here’s a community link if you need or can offer assistance.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1X2sK2WW-piaMTrkdSYNG84WwJsswXetC4izb9H55Ov0/edit?fbclid=IwAR2E1p2du3EB0ur9HOqNj-tdq_aUoZrU5ixh6egV451QLYs6qOAjd0OGM-E#gid=0

*As of writing this I have one person in my network who has a family member in the ER as a direct result of electrical outrage + disability

several single mothers with children and no support having to purchase food

several disabled friends and family living in spaces they can’t get around in

several people having CPAP sleep overs

No

I remember saying “No”

The way it rolled off my lips with the same ease as goodmorning or goodnight
The laughter that announced its arrival and filled the silence in its wake

I remember how clean it was
No regrets
No taint of “with exception” or “I’ll consider if you would only… ”

My No was softness around me
Something warm with muscles running beneath the tuft coat of a cat like beast

It coiled around my feet
licked my calves

A gentle thing to me but terrifying to others

Untethered
Unleashed

I remember how I wielded it, fed it, loved it with an unconscious ease before I was told to chain it, hide it, deny it valuable resources so others could love me

No one has ever loved me in the particular way my No once had.

I’m remembering her as I cry over her starved and shrunken frame
As I brush her coat, give her my tears to drink and my rage to eat

I tend her the way she tended me as a child. I pull her into my heart and beg her forgiveness.
Remind her how we were once like Calvin and Hobbes
Changing worlds, bending possibility, clearing roads

Expansive… I remember her as she buries her face into my hair with relief
Grown now as I am
I remember the child this beast once guarded
I remember how precious we were to each other
I remember
And I welcome both back home.

#no
#witchshit
#leavingandreturning
Art Credit: Simba Wa Kike – Jennalee Auclair

Black Hair Magic

This is why I will bite you if you ask to touch my hair.

In addition to slave days being over
In addition to the fact that wearing my hair in “natural” styles or approximations of natural styles is still grounds for unemployment in many states
In addition to power imbalance, exoticism etc.

It’s become a part of my magic.

The hair gets a smokebath and the filigrees get popped in the cauldron for a blessing.

When I put it in I watch my favorite movies or listen to my bawse bitch playlist. I eat smoked salmon and cheese and fruit.
I take a shot of whiskey
I sing and make plans with my ancestors.

I thank them for all their blessings, for all their love, for their eyes and teeth.

My hair becomes an altar cloth of me.
Even the color is rooted in some work I am doing.

This hair protects because it absorbs. Sometimes I have to take it out even if it still looks good because it starts to hurt and ache.

It tells me it’s done.

Taking it down is a silly process.
Sometimes I thank it
Sometimes I face a mirror and I scream
cut it out like mourning, like rage
like I can’t get it out fast enough.
get it out the house quick.

A bath follows:
submerge self in a sacred tea
allow the self silence
sleep in white.

I wake and it starts anew.

Some of the most powerful rituals I’ve created are based on things I already do. I’m getting ready to teach a class on this kind of crafting in soon 🖤

Nah. (An Open Response to Pantheacon’s Open invite to PCon, and my opinions)

WARNING: Do not proceed without taking your blood pressure medicine and/ or a bucket of popcorn. I’ll wait.


*

*

*

At the zenith of Beyonce Season in the year 2019  I received the following missive:

Dear Irene,
 
As Glenn’s daughter, I am working more directly in the programming area this year. I wanted to reach out even though I know you have clearly stated you are boycotting PantheaCon.  I want to respect that, and your opinions and experiences. I’m not writing to change your mind, but to seek to open my mind and better understand. I know you have contributed in many ways over the years, and it’s been an accumulation of events that have brought this to this point.
 
Because I am stepping into more leadership here, I am interested in learning more about how to better open the event to you and those who have had to deal with many levels of aggression and difficulties in simply being there.  I’m sorry that there has been hurt and pain while you have brought and shared your talents and expressions being here. I’m sorry that I have not had the knowledge of what you’ve experienced.
If this is something you might be willing to share, I’m here to try to do better, and to listen.
If there are ideas on how we might be of better service to you and your groups, I want to do what we can to make improvements. 
 
Consider this an olive branch and that your opinion matters here.
You have an open invitation to participate as you see best, any time, in any capacity as you chose.
 
And, if you choose to not respond, or spend any further time or energy on this, I understand and respect that.
 
I wish you all the best – humbly yours,
 
Holly Turner

 

First of all: 

2mr3.gif

 

Fam, 

I know this looks like a completely viable reach out but let me remind you that shit hit the fan from November of 2018  and continued smacking against it until February of 2019

I had to be escorted to and from my sessions.

I had to be escorted to the classes I went there to teach, the performances I did with the art I created in conjunction with Gods for fucking free.

Wait.

Correction.

I paid to be there.

I paid to be in danger. To deliver these workings directly in harms way.  While Pantheacon  remained silent on the whole ordeal some of the staff and volunteers held me down with much love that I knew I was not the one divorced from reality in this situation. 

I know that people were telling Glenn everything that was going on… ya’ll extending olive branches now?

umph

And before one of y’all  pop off with:  “Life happened to these people.”

Let me let you know LIFE HAPPENED TO MY ASS TOO!!!   So often people living under systems of oppression are asked to be considerate regarding what their oppressors are going through and be gentle, loving and shit to the very people that fucked them over. I mean…

Whitney Houston GIF

I just got my mind/spirit unfucked by the drama when this letter found it’s way into my inbox. I had shit to do.  I had to take an entire pause in my work because I realized I could not complete my liberation spell craft until I pulled myself together.  I thought I was done. 

There were moments when I went back and forth about if I was going to respond, how I was going to respond, what the hell am I going to say.  Anything I gave them would hurt me and would be a gift to them. Also there are those on staff and the volunteer team that are SO FUCKING GLORIOUS TO BEHOLD

Fam the internal struggle!!!!

the voices in my head

I’ll admit it.

I was hella on Pantheacon’s proverbial dick.  They are a huge part of the witch I am today.  I high-key became this witch so I could give back to this community. What can I say…

love

Tho truth be told

Mary J Blige GIF

I mean hoooooow many of us sat in a class on some melanated subject being taught from an anthropological Cis-Het-white view point that was as dry as the season-less award-winning  chicken Oprah was trying not to spit out on camera in-front of the whole damn world.  Lots of us were confused but still adhering to social constructs that demanded we not be rude so we stayed even though our souls were like

Could be home

How many of us cried in our rooms/suites and homes after having to put up with the same casual ass racist or trans-phobic shit every single year!  From people who consider themselves to be enlightened, engaged, connected, rooted, open. WE PAID MONEY WE DID NOT HAVE FOR THIS!?!?!

cry

Legit, if I hear one more white witch telling me they understand me because the burning times affected them all  I’ll…

fire

In the end tho I did respond. 

2019-09-262019-09-26 (2)

Holly, 
 
I am responding to this message only because I do not want the narrative to read
We reached out
We tried all we could
But they could not reach back
We understand this
We understand the pain
But what more can we do then we have already done?
 
Be aware that it is painful to respond to you.  For some reason there is no anger in my voice.  There is a place beyond disappointment, a place we catch a glimpse of at the boundary of grief and rage, the space between the place where they meet. 
 
This is where I am with Glenn and the culture the event you are holding has cultivated and encouraged.
 
This apology is not yours to give so I can not except it.
 
I will not drag myself through the emotional spiritual trauma needed to access the opinion you request.
Your olive branch is smooth to you but for me it comes with snakes, and thorns and is full of a poison you can’t even begin to understand.
 
Pantheacon
Your mother
You have proved that you are not ready to receive in so many ways.
 
*Asking me to share knowledge with you that so many Black and Brown and Trans beings have already screamed, begged and pleaded for
 
*Asking me now  when Glenn did nothing last year, reached out in no way, expressed no concern to the people personally  harmed,  ignored them for the sake of those she found more value in.
 
*Asking me to make this offering to you
That comes at such a high price 
for free
 
Holly how can you call yourself humble in your approach when it is filled, albeit unknowingly, with the arrogance of your privilege.
 
How can you make this ask when at every turn you slap us
Even in your attempt to guard us
 
I will GIFT you this one thing to sit with as proof of your overwhelming inability to understand.
It is more than you deserve. 
The decision to have your diversity statement written and championed by what appears to be a Cis White Woman speaks volumes on how sadly limited your grasp of the magnitude of your situation is.
 
I and those like me do not want a seat at a table that was never meant for us
I tried to fit
I wanted to fit
It nearly ripped me apart.
I am not the only one having to heal in this way
Pantheacon is responsible
Glenn is responsible
There are consequences
 
This is what you are inheriting.

 

 

Lissen,

If you think this is just about something as small as Pantheacon I am both sorry for you and slightly envious of the comfort you must be experiencing in your blissful state of willful ignorance

This is about everything.

My Beloved Black Brown Queer Trans Family.  You are under no obligation to teach or to hold.  The information has been given, it is all around them.  They will ask for it, they will demand it and you get to choose whether or not you will gift them with your precious blood and soul.

I used to do this work. I thought it was my purpose.  It was my love offering to the world. I understand those that do this work.  I have compassion for them.  I am often using magic, touch, words, song to help them put themselves back together.

Bridges I love you

I see you

and also know that we are almost gone

We leave these houses to invest in our own
We will no longer sit at table constructed without us in mind or spirit
I love myself
I love us
more than I love this.
 
I love myself more than I love this shit
I love myself more than I love this shit
I love myself more than I love this shit
 
 
I don’t know what’s happening
but I can feel this shift and I’m singing into the the chasm formed by our screams
I don’t know what is going to happen
but I know for damn sure that this shit…
 

It won't happen again