The aftermath of a difficult situation

This post will touch on themes some readers may feel are uncomfortable.  In particular the use of restraint for esoteric or erotic purposes – better known as bondage.

I will make it plain here that I have very little knowledge of bondage or any aspect of BDSM practices. The topic came up recently in a druid forum and I need to express some of my thoughts on the situation that resulted.

Essentially a member of a forum I am on brought up the topic of BDSM and bondage in particular in relation to a new practice he was developing that combined aspects of shamanic journeying with light bondage.  He explained something of what he was trying to do and asked if anyone would be interested in learning more.  He framed this topic in a manner that was familiar to him as someone who had been involved in aspects of BDSM for several years.  He posted this in a forum space that was set up for heated discussion and on a board that prides itself on being a “safe” space for members to express their different forms of Druid practice.  I presume he felt that he should be “safe” to introduce this topic and as it’s usually a quiet board leave it for a few days before coming back to see if there were any responses.

Sadly his post was not received well by several members.  Reactions were heated and hostile with one of the worst responses accusing him of breaking the law and causing harm, while another severe response accusing him of trying to solicit sexual partners.

I was frankly shocked by the heat of the responses.

The original poster was asked to clarify his intentions with his opening post and when he didn’t immediately appear to do so there were further heated replies.  This is a board where usual interactions are considered and thoughtful, where it is not unusual to have days between responses and yet there was an expectation that for this topic the poster should be there straight away to respond.

It wasn’t that long before the poster did respond and I felt he did so very well.  He accepted people had been upset and apologised.  He explained himself eloquently in my opinion but still the heated responses continued.  He chose to remove his post as there were several responses on the thread saying it should be removed and that took the responses with it.  Another member tried to start a thread for healing from the situation but that too became heated with members now expressing anger that the thread had been removed even though that was what they had said they wanted.

None of these individuals seemed to give the original poster the benefit of the doubt.  He had been judged and found wanting merely because he had raised a controversial topic and perhaps not phrased things as carefully as he might have done at another time.  But he probably thought he would be safe in this space to raise this without tiptoeing around the subject.  And indeed why should he have to tiptoe around it anyway?

The conflict, and therefore the original poster as the start of the situation, were likened to Islamic radicals and white fundamentalists  in one post, to a murderer in another, just because he had shocked some members of this space.  Some stated they no longer felt “safe” there because of what he had raised.  I’m not sure I feel safe there having witnessed all these heated reactions.  Who will they turn on next and why?

And then there’s my own feelings of confusion over all this.  Did I do enough by witnessing this the way I did?  Did I speak up clearly enough? Should I have said more, done more, to defend this man?  Did he need defending?  Will he feel this space is “safe” for him to continue in.

I do know this person a bit and I know that he has a hard won strong sense of personal identity.  This isn’t the first time he has experienced reactions like this from what I understand so hopefully he will weather the storm reasonably well.

Did I stand by my own principles well enough?  I’m not sure.  I didn’t let my anger and growing disgust at the responses I was reading get the better of me so that’s good.  I did write something in support of the original poster so at least I spoke up to some extent.  Should I have done more?  Realistically could I have done more?  I don’t really know.

I’m not upset by the thought of someone using BDSM practices as part of their own religious practice.  I’m a self diagnosed autistic with sensory needs that mean I often seek really tight hugs and even being pinned down.  It’s not that much of a stretch to go from the feelings of relaxation I get from deep pressure to accepting that bondage can lead to a change in consciousness especially when handled in a way to enhance that sort of effect.  I don’t have a clue how that might look practically but that’s not the point, I can trust that this man knows what he is doing.

I accept other definitions of what it is to walk a Druid path.  I listen to other points of view and think carefully before I respond.  I expected those in the forum this took place in to do the same, to think carefully, to give the benefit of the doubt, to respect alternative practices and views.  I am still upset that so many didn’t do that, that so many didn’t seem to take that step back and seek further information before reaction so strongly.  And at the moment I am less likely to share my thoughts and practices in that space because of what happened.



Where to start…

I have so many thoughts running around my head.  So many ideas chasing each other about like screaming kids in a busy playground. I think I get hold of one and then it slips from my grasp, another thought totally unrelated to the first jumps to the front and then dashes off again.  How do I pin these things down?

I don’t.

This is my mind. This is how I am, jumping from one idea to the next.

I’m a Druid and a self confessed tree hugger. I’m a polytheist. Today is Friday. Hail Epona! I miss the stables. Will I have time to sort out the volunteer voices section on their website once we start back after the spring break.  How am I going to keep my head together while the kids are off. Rowan is studying pretty well, so proud of him! The hair dye worked well on Rose’s hair, have you ever seen such bright yellow hair?

Rose's hair



This is who I am. Writing forces me to slow my thoughts down, to hold onto one idea more carefully while the others continue to run round.

Am I the only one that does this?

How do I connect with others with all this running round?

I don’t.

They said I could get better. That I didn’t meet diagnostic criteria! That I would be able to improve how I am around others. This is who I am.  I have learnt new ways to manage the social anxiety but…

Did you know April is also PMDD awareness month?  I wonder how many other things are in April?

PMDD – “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition in which a woman has severe depression symptoms, irritability, and tension before menstruation. The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those seen with premenstrual syndrome (PMS)”

Severe – do you know what that means?  It means thoughts of suicide. Lashing out with uncontrolled rage.  Here look it up:

My cats are eating, the smell of the food is crawling up my nose!

I… I… I…  Who am I now? What am I? Do I meet your expectations? I need to know I am doing ok? I need to meet someone’s expectations.

I flick my nail against my finger, it makes a an odd scraping sound, sometimes I dig the nail in, relishing that sensation of sharp pressure.

It’s raining outside. The rain drums on the conservatory roof. I love that sound. I find it soothing and relaxing.  My mind slows a little more.

I have another week of school holidays to go and then I can get back to my routines.

First there is the Druid Network AGM. It’s not as formal as most AGMs and has a fair  bit of socialising but last time I took the minutes and I get to do it this time too. That helps me. I have a job then, a purpose. I need purpose in my life.

Shall I post this?  Do you need to see this? What I’m really like?


Autism Acceptance. This is who I am.


Heart in my mouth I hit publish.

The Defwy – A Brythonic River of the Dead

This post from Lorna Smithers spoke deeply to me so I’m sharing it here 🙂

Signposts in the Mist

In the sixth verse of ‘The Spoils of Annwn’ Taliesin berates ‘pathetic men’ (monks) for their lack of knowledge of the answers to riddles which in his day must have been well known. He says they do not know ‘who made the one who didn’t go to the meadows of Defwy’.

The meadows of Defwy are clearly in Annwn. Marged Haycock notes it has been suggested Defwy is a river-name from def-/dyf- ‘black’ ‘as in Dyfi’ and may be ‘a river between this world and the next’. Taliesin also sings of this river in a list of fine things in ‘The Spoils of Taliesin’: ‘Fine it is on the banks of the Dyfwy / when the waters flow’.

Rivers dividing Thisworld and the Otherworld, the realms of the living and the dead, are found in many world cultures. In Greek mythology the Styx ‘Hatred’ divides Thisworld and Hades, the dead…

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Landing hurts!

Here is a picture of me on Dillon, the horse I have been having my riding lessons on.

me and Dillon

On Friday I had my first fall.  It was towards the end of the lesson, we’d already done a fair bit of trotting in the inside arena and things were going well so we went outside.  We went for a combination of walking and trotting outside on the well used Tulliallan Trail created and maintained especially for the use of the RDA Glasgow Group that I volunteer with.  They do some riding lessons for able bodied too and I started to learn with them in October last year.

The trail is familiar to the all the horses and the weather was good. Everything was going pretty well when Dillon decided to buck.  I’m still not sure if I did something wrong.  I thought he was beginning to get faster so was trying to start to slow him a bit but the next thing I knew was I was sailing up and over his head!

I landed hard on with the main impact being on my lower back but I immediately rolled slightly to an almost recovery style position.  Dillon fortunately stopped straight away.  My instructor did everything you might hope for really.  I have no idea how she actually felt with all this drama but she sounded calm and in control which was very reassuring.  I have had years of first aid training myself so found myself internally nodding to her questions about what I could feel while externally responding.

After a bit I felt I could try and move.  I got to my hands and knees first and paused there because I know from past experience that when I have a lot of pain I can faint easily.  Then I got to my feet and again paused to make sure I wasn’t going to go down again.

Gradually we began to make our way slowly towards the entrance into the trail area but as we walked the pain began to get worse.  I had to stop and sink to the ground for a break a few times as I started to feel nauseous with the pain and I didn’t want to pass out.  Contact was made with staff on the yard who came out to help me hobble onward.  In the end though I accepted the offer of a wheelchair for the remainder of the way as the pain was getting so bad.

Back inside it was agreed I needed to go to hospital for a check up and an ambulance was organised and arrived sooner than I expected it might.  I was transferred to the ambulance staff’s care which was excellent and was soon provided with some gas and air or Ntox pain relief.

Once at the hospital I was given further pan relief as I was in a lot of pain.  X-rays were taken of my lower spine and pelvis but no signs of any broken bones.  I had trouble waking though and even with the pain relief the pain was bad enough that I fainted after they to hobble to a toilet.  All with excellent care and supervision of the A&E staff, I didn’t faint until I was back on the bed in the cubicle.  So they decided to keep me in overnight for observation and I also had an ultrasound check for signs of internal bleeding.  All was well.

I eventually got home Saturday morning with more painkillers but already improving.

My care both at the RDA Glasgow stables and in the hospital has been wonderful.  So grateful for living in the UK with the NHS so no need to worry about health insurance or anything like that.

I have every intention of getting back on Dillon as soon as I’m fit enough again.  Landing hurts and I don’t recommend that particular experience but I love my riding lessons.  I love the feeling of being up there and communicating with Dillon, of learning how to get the signals correct for moving into a trot or coming out of it. I love being able to now steer while trotting.  I’ve learnt so much already since I began my lessons and there is so much more to learn.  I admit though I am hoping that we’ll have a gentle lesson for my first time back on after this experience of landing!


Cherish your Normals

This is the subject of a blog post by John Beckett.  It’s written for the Pagan community but I found that many of the points in it speak just as strongly for me of parts of the Autistic community so I’m sharing it here.

If we can be accepting of different races, genders, and sexual orientations, we can be accepting of people who are “weird” or “normal” or anything in between.

via Cherish Your Normals: You Need Them (And They Need You)

Trying to do the right thing with the Pagan Healing Circle

Recently I had a request from a non-pagan friend of mine about joining the Pagan Healing Circle.  When I set the group up I had not thought about the possibility of non-pagan members, this was something aimed for the Pagan community.  I have, I hope, made it clear we would send healing to anyone that wanted it regardless of faith but I hadn’t thought about non-pagan healers.  My initial reaction was that I didn’t see a problem so initially I just made sure the person asking knew how we worked and asked if they were still interested. As this wasn’t something I had really thought about though I needed to do some thinking and talking with others before I made a final decision.  I’m still not sure if I have made the right decision but it’s done now.

I have, regretfully, said no to non-pagan healers becoming members of the Pagan Healing Circle.  These are my reasons.

The group is named Pagan Healing Circle because it is aimed mainly at the Pagan community and with that name come the expectation that the healers will be pagans of some kind. If we accept non-pagan healers into the group that breaks that assumption and we either need to rename the group or add additional information to the descriptions so that it is clear there are or could be non-pagans in the circle. Renaming can be difficult, especially in Facebook, and to rename something changes it too so those that are already in the circle would have to decide if the new circle is something they still want to be a part of so for those reasons I didn’t want to rename the circle.

Many people do not read full information on a range of things or may not take in all the information even if they do read it but act on assumptions that come from names and summaries. Adding  information about having non-pagan healers would be no guarantee that it would be read and taken in.  

So far I haven’t come across any pagans that have any problem with healing being sent to them by non-pagans but I have to assume that just as I know Christians that are not happy to have healing from non Christians there will be some Pagans who wouldn’t be happy about discovering healing is coming from non-pagans.  I have come across Pagans in the past that feel quite strongly anti certain other faiths for various personal reasons so I have to assume that they might not be happy for healing to be sent to them by non-pagans.  If they approached us with the name of “Pagan Healing Circle” it would not be unreasonable for them to expect the healers to be Pagan.  I could have chosen to go back to every person that makes a request and ask them individually if they would mind a non-pagan healer being involved but that would be a lot of extra work for me to do and frankly I don’t think it would go down very well with those requesting healing to be put in a position of having to answer that type of question.

The final reason for saying no is that to say yes would set a precedent that may backfire at a later date and cause more problems than I would realistically want to deal with.

This has been a hard decision to make because as a result I have to disappoint a friend who all unwittingly has opened this discussion up.  Perhaps I should have thought of this possibility when I originally developed my ideas for the healing circle but I had not and none of those I discussed my initial ideas with raised it as a possibility with me either.  I guess we just didn’t think it through well enough.

The Pagan Healing Circle remains a group of Pagans of various paths sending healing to any that ask for it.

Hugs Offered

Lovely to be quoted and a post well worth sharing 😊

Wibbly Wobbly, Neuro-UNlogical Stuff

(Screenshot used with permission)

I don’t remember when it was, sometime in the past 5 years I think, when I first noticed the ((hugs)) thing written in replies on forums or facebook posts as an expression of support and reassurance when the right words could not be found. I thought it was a lovely thing and I started doing it myself. Over the next two years, if you only knew me online you would have thought I was a very touchy, huggy person based on all the times I responded to someone with the ((hugs)). In real life, I am not that way. In fact, my husband likes to nicely tease about my incredibly short “Hug List” of people who I actually enjoy hugging. It includes the people I live with and one other person. Then there are people I will accept hugs from but always feel awkward about it…

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