Sunday, September 26, 2010


With the Equinox, fall comes. It happens like you've flicked a switch. 95+F days move, without transition into 70F. Mild as can be, sunny and delightful. Mushrooms were springing up everywhere, the birds are singing their last, and the Elm trees, utterly befouled by flowers, roar with the sound of bees.

My kiln load of goodies turned out flawlessly. A chalice I'd made, impressed with the last few leaves of my beloved wormwood plant is finally done - and I could not be happier. Even the fine veins on the leaves were preserved as fossil-like imprints (no picture right now, it's proving nearly impossible to photograph). It has her spirit in it, and some of her preserved leaves will be used to concoct a wash to consecrate it in time for the "Thin Time". For the first time I'm going to actually employ a ritual designed to "pass on" power from one object to another. One would think that in over a dozen years of practice something may've gotten replaced before now, but apparently I cling to my tools like velcro.

A pair of small oil lamps also turned out well. They're proving especially nice for summoning the presence of spirits so long as the flame burns, and they are exceedingly long-burning unless extinguished. I found them pretty helpful in getting that BA-ZING connection with the Powers. These lamps were prototypes, and now I've sculpted a few masters to make molds from. Oddly enough, in my research I've found that historical oil lamps were rather small, 3.5" or so, some smaller. So what I thought was "absolutely tiny" for my prototypes is actually just sort of small. They burn quite nicely on olive oil and pillar candle wicks, and adding a drop or two of essential oil, or infusing the olive oil with other herbs is an idea that's got my gears working. I hope to have some of these available as soon as I get the molds finished.

Some family drama has put a damper on my projects, unfortunately. One of the prices one pays for living very near to one's entire nuclear family, and a large portion of the living extended family. Hence no "here's things for sale" offerings just yet. Hopefully this next week of fair weather will get me back in gear. There's a lot of work that needs doing, and the unbridled joy of opening the kiln after a firing is something I dearly missed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Horn-Wearer

Opposite her, beyond the flames (where I cannot clearly see him) is a tall man, wearing a hooded cloak made of animal hide, and crowned with a set of horns (antlers? they seem to shift like branches in the wind). To me, he is shadow, and yet his presence reaches around the fire-circle like dark wings. He is sitting on a fallen log, one leg tucked into the bend of the other's knee and his right hand rests in the crotch of a short stang. It is his crutch... I think. The leg which does not touch the ground seems fairly well lamed. I realize that it is his side of the flames where I always am, and he is always behind me, but now I'm somewhere in the middle.

This man vexes me. His form shifts and is fluid. Leaves blow from the locks of his hair caught on the wind. His antler head-dress rattles like storm-blown branches. His face is utterly obscured.

He wears clothes made of hide, and heavy fabric. Except when he doesn't, and then he is in his cloak, with only buckskinned pants, and his chest is deeply scarred (it occurs to me that he's probably scarred all over). He wears boots with horn buttons, though he is barefoot at the fireside (the boots are near him). His right leg is scarred from knee to foot, as though a horse hooved at it, and tore away the flesh. His eyes burn like coals and he laughs. Serpents crawl around him, and speak to him. He speaks back.

Whereas she rules all transitions (birth and death and all between) he rules what lies beyond death, and beyond birth. There is a part of him that is utterly a faun, priapic and wild, drunken and laughing. And there is a part of him that is utterly a stodgy old man, stoic and chaste, sober and serious. Subtle as a serpent.

I think he was hung, once. He has rope-burns around his neck, and when I look into his eyes I see the gallows I see angel lust, and gallows-children. But of course, I also see life swelling up until it bursts into decay. For me, he is inexorably linked to the Mushroom. They both break down dead things into things which can again become alive.

None fear him at the fireside. He joins the dances at times, though he is awkward in it, he hops rather than dancing fluidly, and it is he who drinks first from the Cauldron Stirrer's brew.

When I speak to him I can only remember vague impressions, intent, and emotions. He leaves me with an innate knowing, rather than a conscious set of information. It's like hearing the thoughts of an animal. It is his infectious laughter that endears me to him. It is he that indulges the imps as they cavort.

He is the seed-sewer, and she is the reaper. He is the millworker, and she bakes the bread. It is he that puts the marks on my heart that let me run wild to that hilltop.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Labeling Jars/Bottles.

When I was a rather young witch I got a few of the "essential" herbs and some jars. My first mistake was putting adhesive labels on the jars, my second mistake was hand-writing the names on them. My writing is... downright awful.

About a year down the line I wanted to re-use the jars, and it took several hours of scrubbing in hot water to get the adhesive off of them, because stacking labels has annoyed me deeply since the days of yore. I got rid of the adhesive label.

First: Wash and dry your jars. I suggest the "sanitize" cycle on a dishwasher for most jars, but some are too delicate or weirdly made. For those, HOTHOTHOT water in a sink with a good dish soap. For tinctures, or any other liquid (or for things you're going to ingest a lot of) I strongly suggest you use canning jars. Best to not risk poisoning yourself off of an antique Strychnine bottle, no matter how cool it looks. Ensure all lids, caps and corks fit properly. I've had jars that didn't quite "seal", and had a bunch of beetles infest my herbs, ruining them and costing me a pretty penny.

I also suggest not hand-writing the labels, unless your handwriting is very regular, very readable, and very bold. Personally, I design mine on the computer in photoshop (or gimp), and print them on various artisan papers to get unique looks out of 'em. My reason for the aesthetics? They take up a lot of space, I want 'em to look pretty while they do it.

The Process

PhotobucketHere's one of my old bottles. That label annoys me. The design is a faded, water-maked, Celtic knot-work, which is nice but - not so fancy, and lacked information. I lettered it with an ink pen that appears to fade incredibly fast. In the poor light of the temple-room (I hate ceiling lights with a passion due to chronic migraines) I can't read the label and may accidentally grab the identical Gum Arabic bottle when aiming for the copal.

Next I get a bowl of warm water and a sponge. I get the sponge soaking wet and apply it right over the label. This saturates it and re-hydrates the glue, making it release from both the label and jar. If I'm cleaning out old jars to re-use, rather than just re-labeling something, the whole lot goes into the kitchen sink or bath tub with some soap. Once the labels are off, they go into the dish washer (if it's safe).

PhotobucketWow, this label was thirsty. It turned completely translucent in a couple of seconds and peeled off easily.
You can also see a potential downfall of hand-lettering with a fine pen - moisture just destroys the lettering.

Nearly every commercial jar I've messed with will work the same. Most labels will peel off dry, but a few are glued over the entire label, and have to be soaked. I save all of the jars from pasta sauce, pickles, etc. and re-use them for herbs and tinctures.

PhotobucketAHH! The secret weapon. A craft glue-stick. These things are so damned useful (brand names aside). I've repaired tarot cards, used one to plaster a (temporary) letter of annoyance on a bad neighbor's car, and oh yes, to glue my herb labels on.

I apply this over the entire back of the label, and it gives me enough time to get the label even, centered and smoothed out before setting up completely.

Here's the completed bottle. The label tells me what the herb is, what the latin name is (I think the "spp." may be an error on my part. I don't know what type of Copaifera it is, and I was always taught "spp." is the appropriate abbreviation for "species" but I don't much care if it is wrong). It also tells me that this is an incense material, given the swirly incense burner bit on the label.

Some are marked with a skull (poisonous), or a teacup (teas/edible herbs), others are marked with a pentacle (non-incense-able herbs for witchy purposes that do not fit into another category).

In the eventual temple I'll be switching over to larger jars for almost everything, and will also include planetary, elemental and "used for" type info to act as a handy reminder for myself and others.

For reference, this label uses Caslon Antique as it's font (packaged as "tsp adore 10") . I used it because it's highly readable with a corroded, antique, look. Many fonts similar to this are both readable and whimsical enough to be a sound addition to any font-o-phile's library. I've had a local store show high interest in getting a set of customized labels for their jars, which would be a delightfully fun project!

Well, that's one container down and an absurdly large number left to go!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Issue Of Silence Pt. 1

I was lucky to grow up in a home where I didn't exactly have to hide who I was. It was made pretty obvious to me that, short of doing drugs and sleeping around (or anything worse than that), my parents knew I was a good kid and trusted me to have a good head on my shoulders.

Not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone's father will make them an altar table out of scrap wood. Not everyone's mother will give them only one admonition: Don't summon anything you can't handle.

So, what about when your parents aren't enthusiastic, or even tolerant, about your budding religion? Gosh, that's a tough one for the teens, and not so much for those of us who have paid our own rent. Let me walk you through the wonderful world of "tough titty."

You own nothing until you are 1: Legally Emancipated. 2: Of The Age of Majority.

"I'm new to this religion, but I want to make my own altar. My parents are die-hard Christians and don't want me doing this stuff. I live in an attic room which is private, but how do I hide my altar in case they come in my room?" - Teen poster on a Pagan forum (paraphrased).

For those that live in their parent's homes: Your "room" does not belong to you. It's their room. They pay the rent/mortgage/own the house, they pay the utilities, they own the title on the home. Not a single stick of it belongs to you. As such, legally, as long as they provide you with the essentials of life (food, shelter, clothing, basic sanitary needs) anything else is pretty much left to the whims of their good graces. Most of us had pretty permissive, generous, parents when you think about it that way.

If, as a minor, one's parents disagree with something they're getting up to the parent has every legal right to deprive them of that as long as it does not interfere with essential needs (aforementioned). They can drag your shit out into the yard and set it on fire if they like - you have no legal recourse in the matter.

Subjecting one's faith to the sort of skulduggery required to actively display AND conceal it for any number of years (we'll say "4") will require lying to them, and disrespecting the sacrifices they make for your benefit, and subjecting your own faith to the risks of inevitable discovery and destruction of one's tools, books, and materials.

"I think if you believe in something, you should be able to express it any way you feel, inward and outward." - Same Pagan Teen.

God, I wish I lived in a world like that. I don't, you don't, we don't. The world is slowly changing, but some folks don't feel that way. Some parents worry that religious stuff (specifically witchcraft or other "fringe" practices) are dangerous to their kid. They will do what they feel is best to protect their children and their home - including barring you from your religious practices when/if they do find out, grounding you, prohibiting you from seeing anyone they suspect of being associated with your activities, and so on.

I don't think it's exactly "right" that parents can own you to your last stitch unless you get a court order emancipating yourself, but I also don't think it's right for someone who is a dependent to assume they're co-owner in the home and have the associated "rights" to do things like paint the walls and turn their bedroom into a pagan temple.

"I can just tell them it's my nightstand" - Lying Pagan Teens The World Over.

Your parents aren't that stupid. Well, I dunno, maybe they are, but I can guarantee they aren't so stupid as to think that table in the corner, well away from your bed, covered in weird shit, is a nightstand. Altars tend to have a symmetry and arrangement to them. They tend to contain certain items and have a certain layout or look to them.

One of my childhood friends dabbled in witchcraft at one point and decided to be clever and "hide" an altar in her bedroom. Her parents were (like the Pagan Teen above) very strict Christians, at least in part. Let us merely say that they could always repent Sunday for the overt sins of Saturday. Because of this they kept their kids on a short leash, and of course their kids rebelled.

She threw a scrap of black fabric over a little corner table, and arranged dozens of items on it. To my eye it looked like an altar, to her brother's eye it looked like an altar. To all of her friends it looked like an altar. To her parents? It looked like an altar.

She had lied for months about it being a "nightstand", secreting away the more tell-tale items in places like the folds of her mattress, or a loose floorboard in the closet. But eventually they heard the noise of her assembling it, and discovered the deception. She caught a glimpse of the still-thriving "spare the rod, spoil the child" worldview and all of her things were chucked into a box and thrown in the trash. She managed to save a few items, which were ferreted away by friends in the night - her deity statues, however, suffered the full-blown wrath of an angry fundie.

Ten years later she has never resumed practicing - swearing that the day her things were thrown away, her "power" was broken.

It's not fair!
"You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is?"

If I lied to my parents for months (or years) on end, and they found me out in that lie, I'd fully expect (though certainly not enjoy) the punishment that would follow. I would expect that the object of protest (the altar, the books, the "juju shit") would be hauled out to the garbage, and perhaps burnt right in front of me. I might be made to feed my own "sacred texts" to the flame.

When I lived, briefly, with my fiancee's family I kept my goods in a pyrographed box, and that box was in a backpack, and that backpack was in my fiancee's closet. His mother is a devout Christian, and it would hurt her emotionally to have seen those items on display.

Would it have been fair to -her- to have taken in this relative stranger, only to discover that said stranger did things that are -literally- evil and demonic in her worldview? Is it fair to parents to be lied to, jerked around, and discover that deception within their own home?

No. And two wrongs don't make a right, so consider - even if only for a moment - keeping your faith within your heart, silent and still (them waters run deep!) until you can give it the exterior space and respect it deserves.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Italian Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi

This book raised the post with, at current, more comments than any other. This post is the promised review of the work, and in order to approach the review in the appropriate fashion I read through the book fully, and thoroughly. To those that encouraged me to "really read" the book - doing so did it no favors.

Basic info: Italian Witchcraft (formerly Ways of The Strega) by Raven Grimassi. Ranges from $17-$3. Summary for the impatient: Had I read the book prior to the purchase, I would not have purchased it. A stronger pass by an editor, and some terminology revisions in this later edition would have been beneficial.

The First 'Book'.
The author will present a small portion of information and spend many more paragraphs ensuring that you will come to no other conclusion than the one he himself holds. I suppose that's to be expected - but it's really not pleasant to read.

Lack of citations or sources on small tidbits of otherwise interesting information. It's impossible to follow up and do research on these bits, and I think that the wealth of the book would have been in these.

Large blocks of text are quoted, and often repeat within the same chapter. In the prior post I suggested that a better pass by a more ruthless editor would've been beneficial for this. I suppose that the quotes at the start of chapters are alright if repeated, but it is not limited to this.

The aforementioned "cropped illustration" was one hurdle I had difficulty getting around, small though it was. However, that is nothing compared to the response I had to the later chapter on the Benandanti v. Malandanti wherein Mr. Grimassi states:

"Today, Witches may face a very similar situation to that of the Benandanti. Satanism is on the rise, and appears to be spreading quite rapidly across the United States. Many sub-cults of Satanism are forming, whose actions toward other people and animals can certainly be defined as evil. Once these sub-cultists become skilled in magickal practices, then all hell is likely to break loose." and "I think it not unlikely that Witches in the near future will be faced with protecting their own communities from the destructive energies of an evil which is surely coming."
I'll let my own blog readers mull that'n over for a moment, and come to their own conclusions. I will say that at this point I strongly considered returning the book - a feat only once before accomplished by the 'authorship' of one Konstantanos.

The Second 'Book'.

This portion of the book covers the ritual tools and ritual practices of the Strega as reinvisioned by Grimassi. There are only so many ways one can rehash the four suits of the Tarot, the basic tools of witchery, until it loses all meaning. There are a few novel things presented here, but with little attribution - again, it's hard to follow up on the ideas and find their source.

One thing which utterly blew my mind was the suggestion of using a bowl to hold an alcohol-based liquid which is ignited and periodically replenished (while still burning). For anyone who is not familiar with setting alcohol ablaze - here's a nice article about what happens.
The suggested alcohol, Liquore Strega, is 40%/80-proof. Alcohol of that strength still burns pretty hard, and surprisingly long.

The Aridian rites are a form that will be instantly familiar with anyone who has read Aradia or any works on Wicca (BTW or otherwise), and perhaps anyone familiar with the Lycian Wiccan tradition. The emphasis on male/female sexual union as the "highest possible" type of energy and worship became tiresome for this witch, and the rituals did not present anything novel to my eyes.

The final nail in the coffin was that Grimassi continually quotes The Vangelo/Gospel of Aradia, and later states that the majority of it is rubbish and propaganda to be thrown out. The idea of historical information being rubbish is what sets my teeth on edge more than anything. I expected a far more scholarly tone and content from this book, and was disappointed. This was Grimassi's earlier work, and I have since become aware of that - the lack of scholarly tone makes more sense, but does not alleviate my wanting of it.

As a note to readers: I will not be accepting nasty comments from ANY camp on this one. Take measure of your statements before you hit post

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Strega the Strigoi or "United We Stand".

Personal Labels, and The Community.

My first flirting forays with witchcraft were in my early youth. Over time this developed, as you can see here. However, one stopping point, and an area with which I still have difficulties is the area of "compartmentalizing" one's nature.

During the first couple of years of my interest in the occult, I experienced several strange phenomenon. Firstly, a malefic entity tormenting the everloving hell out of me, and secondly - a strange sort of drain. Once the beastie was gone, I expected the drain to stop, but it didn't. And, in experiments, I realized that the only way to maintain a healthy level of whatever "oomph" is in me, was to derive it from other sources. Like a diabetic, my body was not making something it was supposed to, and once in a great while needed an injection.

The phenomena of "Psychic Vampirism", and it's parallels with the wounded shaman answered a lot of questions for me. The concept of someone who has gone out, who has undergone a death and rebirth (died and risen from the grave) and because of this is something else sealed an open wound for me. It helped me to cope with and control a problem, and turn it into an asset.

Unfortunately, there was always a problem: Pagans don't take kindly to anyone who identifies as a "Vampire"- And who can blame them? With Dion Fortune around, conflating an energetic need with energetic predation as pretty much the gold standard, anyone who self-identified in that way would understandably be seen as a monster. I wasn't that monster, though. I didn't fling the evil-eye at people, or attack with malice for pure pleasure. I tended the world around me so that it overflowed with life, and took from that spilling cup only what I needed.

So, in order to interact with the Pagan community, I had to hide and compartmentalize. If ever the hand were tipped, the cry went up, and the forums (or chats, or study groups) would conduct their own little idiotic witch-hunt against the wielder of the imagined malefica. Honesty won no friends, in fact, it won a lot of nosy good-for-nothings who weaseled into my business as often as possible. I denied. I shied away. I walled off and compartmentalized.

Oh, but it's never that easy.

In my mid-to-late teens I began to experience another aspect of myself - a huge part of my forming path. In my dreams I would go out of myself, and travel. Invariably in these dreams were real people and real places, or real people in -unreal- places. And in these places were things that needed doing. Sometimes I went in my own shape, and sometimes in other shapes - running, galloping, flying, crawling - sometimes everything all at once. I refused to discuss it with anyone, or if I did I changed details to throw them off the trail - if "Vampire" were grounds for exclusion from the community, you can bet your ass that the suspicion of "Therianthropy" would've ended my association with pagans for good. Never did I speak about the "fang" to the "pointed hats". Never did I mention the "fur" to the "fangs" and so on. I also crippled my own practices, taking out half of what made me so damned effective at what I did - just so that it would be "correct".

Extract thy skull from the sand, o' Pagani Ostrich.

It took me years to realize there didn't need to be those walls and distinctions in my head. It took me slightly less time to realize I didn't give a good god-damn what others thought of me. Witches were always seen as doing all of these things, it was their modern compartmentalization and specialization that said one couldn't be the other - Not mine, and not the distinction of the Witch-gods.

Go google! You'll find tales of the Benandanti riding out as wolves, calling themselves the hounds of God. You will find the Strigoi listed as being shape-shifters and drawing blood/life from people to sustain themselves. These skills are our skills, we are a unified whole, not scattered pieces. To throw them out discards very valuable babies with the "it makes me embarrassed!" bathwater.

We're the ones that carved the wild from the witch.

We're dealing with weird shit, here. Take away all the window-dressing, all the theology and philosophy. We're talking about people who, through some undocumented interaction of the subtle reality, make things happen without any apparent cause. We're talking about communion with the gods, the ancestors, the spirit-world. Do we really need to thumb our noses at some words, while smiling and patting others on the back?

Why is "Witch" - a toothless hag, supernatural to the core, who eats babies and flies around on terrible beasts - now reclaimed and utterly sanitized, but "werewolf" or "vampire" are as good as Cain's mark on your ass to the local pagans?

I Shall go Into a Hare,
With Sorrow Sigh and Mickle Care.

I am laying in the grass. I roll over, propping myself onto my hands and knees. I arch my back like a cat, stretching my sinew. My body ripples, and changes. With a heave I leap, and I run. Oh, GOD how I run. Over furrow and fen, jumping over rivers, bounding through woods. Every human care I have falls away and what I experience is unbridled JOY. I gallop over the whole world, stopping to Coven with those who would have me - we work magic to find a lost girl, to stop a rapist, to make the land strong, to curse the shit out of a disease-spreading ex-lover. We circle in the presence of Good Imps and Bad, and in the presence of Witchmother and Father.

I fly on, banishing malevolent spirits from the home of a friend, journeying into the gray world of Elfhame to entreat with who go there, before rounding back to my flesh, laughing and panting like a dog. Is it wicked of me? Am I somehow undesirable in the Pagan community because I do this? Because I am, in that sense, a "Werewolf" (er... well - Were-Gorgonopsid)? Does this somehow make me an evil person? Or am I one of you, same as any other, with skills strange and subtle?

I Don't Drink... Wine.

But there is also hunger, sometimes. I cannot spend and spend and never draw anything in. And a good night's rest and a hearty meal aren't always going to accomplish what I need. Sometimes I spend too much of myself doing what needs to be done, and I become the undead, the living-death, hungry, whiny, tired and cranky.

Nothing I do, not even days and days of bed rest will help - if anything it gets worse. I can, with effort and care, draw from the world around me. I can, sometimes, breathe in the cloying gray mists of the Wood and walk as a man again. But sometimes I can't, and there are those who are the polar opposite, hyper-active, bouncing off the walls, trapped in their own caul of wound up energy with no source of relief - and I can take that off of their hands with their permission.

With proper "diet" and "exercise" I can keep it almost perfectly controlled. My "blood glucose" stays right where I want it, doesn't dip or spike. But life isn't always perfect. Sometimes I overwork, or underwork, or don't sleep, or sleep too much. Sometimes people who lack my ethics (and don't even have the courtesy of calling themselves 'vampire') drain the precious vitality from me with their insatiable psychological hungers. And honestly? Some Witches have caused me far more trouble with their draining ways than any vampire, or even any vacuously-natured entity.

Is -this- wicked of me? Am I a threat to a circle in which I have no interest simply because I have the dis/ability? Is a "Psychic Vampire" any more of a threat than another witch who, to heal, must also be able to curse? Can the sometimes-company of the vamp be so corrosive that it strikes fear into the strong strega/wicca of these circles? Are you so fragile, am I so terrible? I honestly doubt it.

Working Together, Being United. Yeah, all that stuff.

Recent news frenzies do not show the "occult" community as neatly divided and indisputably sectarian. CNN does not distinguish between the "Wicca murder" of a crazed woman stabbing someone to death on a date that happened to line up with a sabbat, or the "Vampire Cults" that didn't take Shelby Ellis.

To the news, we're all the same thing. We are the freaks, the reeking masses. And if you think the Witch is not tarred with the same brush as Vampires and "Lycans", you are deluded beyond all help. The "Wica" of the Gards and their down-line will be painted with the same shame and discredit as the "Wicca" of the cut-n-paste deities who go bug-nutty. The shame of the reckless pricks who stab the homeless to death will soak into the clean vestments of the Vampiric orders and Unitarian Pagan groups alike.

To them, we are no different. Why do we care about each-other? We know better, but in some cases, we know jack shit. Am I a Therian? Otherkin? Vamp? Witch? Does it matter anymore? Are they the same thing, just different shades of "Witch"?

If we show our WORTH, does it matter what little subcategory of "woo woo shit" we tag under the main header? Does "Energy Worker (oh, and psychic vampire)" mean anything more or less than "Love-and-light Wiccan (who happens to be the biggest dick you know)"? Why is one welcomed with open arms, despite transgression upon transgression, while the other is ousted at the raising of the colors?

The "Hidden Children", Being "Closeted" and "Coming Out".

As I recall, back in the day the Witches used to call themselves "The Hidden Children of the Goddess" and that's what we still are. I may loath spiders with a seething passion and a can of Raid, but somewhere (distantly, soooo distantly) we're related. We're from the same genetic source, and the same spiritual one. Some Pagans may loath vampires, but we're all cut from the same spiritual cloth.

There is still a lot of talk on forums about "Coming out of the broom closet" and how they fear retribution from the community around them. Fear losing jobs, fear losing children. The Pagan community rallies behind them, assuring that Witches do no evil, and so good will out! Just show you're a good member of the community, that you aren't (LOL!) "Cursing" anyone, and you'll be fine. Religion is protected, ya know.

Imagine it from the standpoint of a "Vampire"; They've been a part of the community for years, they've worked with groups, pride-events, patronized local shops since they were a wee one. They've been working in and with the community, doing tarot readings, casting spells, doing energy work and healing. They're actually rather well-regarded. They think "This is no different than Becky coming out of the broom closet. I'm not hurting anyone, I'd NEVER hurt anyone like that. People know me, this will be just as easy, and just as hard. I'll have support!" And then the bomb drops.

Take some time to think about how different we aren't. Take some time to consider that we all need to stick together, because to "them", we're all the same anyway.