Finally!

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or FB, you’d know I’ve recently justified a few tattoos.  These were generally justified on a spiritual level, and cos apparently I’m still in good with the people at Name Brand Tattoo in Ann Arbor, MI, I’ve been able to justify these tatts, financially.

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I’ve seriously been just barely coping with the news about David Bowie.  I’ve been faking it with telling myself it was all some elaborate Internet hoax.  I barely left my apartment in January, and the data logged on the activity tracker on my phone proves it.

Part of what helped me actually doo things in February, was getting this very early in the month (getting the back-due from my mother’s survivor benefits helped, too, but I also could have easily bought a vacuum and some furniture I got online).  I budgeted for this before I even knew that I was getting any back-due.

 

1334:

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Some of you met me at the Polytheist Leadership Comference, and might’ve noticed a fading bright blue “1334” across my knuckles, very poorly done with a quill pen when I was living in a SRO outside Gary, IN — because that’s how much I had to do.  I’d wanted to get it re-done for years, just to make it actually look good.

Rozz Williams was the first deceased human I ever erected a shrine to, because of how much his work had meant to me.  This was his number, and he was often very mysterious about it.

Ankh:

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I know this is traditionally a Kemetic symbol, and I respect that, but it’s also been popular amongst the bohemian set since the 1920s, and goths since the 1980s.  As I see Eros as both the god of Life and as Eros Thanatos, this was important to me to have.

 

My guy at Name Brand, Nick, is also willing to work with my budget on the luna moth tattoo I’ve been wanting to get for a couple years, now, getting it done in a series of sessions over a few months.  The first session is in April.  This will be my Nyx-Moirai-Eros tattoo.

Also:  Yes, getting tattooed on the hands hurts like hell.  Seriously, Unless you’ve got a monster pain tolerance or already are considered “heavily tattooed” by your artist, I’d advise against, for the simple fact that there’s less fat and muscles padding the bon on the top of the hand than on the palms.  Most reputable tattooists won’t even entertain the “job killer” placements –hands, neck, face– on people who aren’t already heavily tatted.  It’s a placement that even I believe must be earned, and I just stumbled into it, because once upon a time, I was bored and 23, and I wanted to get it re-done to good enough to actually reflect the importance of Rozz Williams’ music in my life.  This is not something I’ve taken lightly.  It’s something that I’m proceding with from a point of respect and understanding, especially with an understanding of the fact that I came to this rite, as a modified body, through my own damaging experiences, rather than the traditional manner of of already being extensively modded..

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

I haven’t had much to say here, lately. On FaceBook, for the last week-and-a-half, it’s pretty much all been posts of David Bowie.

He didn’t just make it OK to be the weird kid, he made it seem cool. He made it feel like you can be weird, and gender-bent and everything else that isn’t normally applauded, even still today, in this society, and you could still be beautiful and people would love you.

It feels like my world is falling apart. I don’t think I’ll start to feel better until I can express it physically for something beautiful and fitting in its tribute:

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

Iolaus has his Herakles, again

And he was alright, the band was altogether
Yes he was alright, the song went on forever
Yes he was awful nice
Really quite out of sight
And he sang all night long

Heracles,_Iolaus_and_Eros_-_Cista_Ficoroni_foot

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

that might explain a bit

So, for those of you who have not been keeping up on Facebook with me, it seems I’m not allowed to have an easy move, EVER.

About for and and a half years ago, my friend Scott and I had one of the most stressful moves, ever, and last year’s relocation back backup the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti area was an improvement, but still not good, by any stretch of the imagination.

This move, I had had to skip out on the rent to even be able the afford it, but that was something I knew I’d have to do when the roommate who sucks sniped sniped the lease out from under me. Etsy closed my shop over complete nonsense, but still, I was planning on moving shop, anyway, cos Etsy fees were eating about about a third of my profits every month — I would have liked liked to put off moving shop until after relocation of my residence, but of well.

Tuesday, though, the power got shut off cos of the roommate who sucks. This means, being being a basement unit (at least the part where my room is), I have to use the majority of my daylight hours hours to pack, and I have to shower by candlelight. I also have to use tge hotplate that that I use for coffee reading to cook in tge laundry room.

It also means that I have no wifi and i have to print any orders received from my artfire shop at the library, which is thankfully just up the street.

Oh, and the tenant who was supposed to be out of my new place today has complicated my ability ability to move my Comcast service.

The only upside upside to this calvacade of nonsense is tgat I seem to have gotten gotten a $33 raise in my food stamps, but even discovering that was stressful, because there’s apparently something wrong with the automated service phone line that gives you your balance, so when when I called it on Wednesday, I thought that I had been cut off, COMPLETELY.

So, I went out onto the porch for fora cigarette and some fresh air, and to mooch some wifi to post this, and out of curiosity, I loaded my Star Chart astronomy app, from my phone, and I discovered that the dwarf planet Eris, which is in tge Kuiper belt and apparently parallel to Eros from the asteroid belt, is right overhead.

This is a challenge of Hers, clearly, of tge sort that Hesiod referred to.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

My shops have moved!

At possibly the worst time it could happen, i’ve been forced to move my shop a month sooner than i’d planned on moving it, anyway.

The quantities are currently defaulted to one each, but because I’d have to count everything individually by hand, I’m not fixing that to the actual quantities until this weekend, when i have more time.

Feel free to tell your friends! I’ve already got a bunch of hits from other people I know, but the more traffic I can get, the better.


Also, it’s moving time!

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

“Adonis, having become androgynous, behaved as a man for Aphrodite and as a woman for Apollon.”

I want to make one thing quite clear, first and foremost, cos some recent circumstances may suggest otherwise to friends: This has been a process I’ve been articulating in my own head for going on two years.

Sometimes, gender changes.

The typical trans narrative of gender being static and immutable is not true for everyone. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that when gender changes, it is a choice – just like the late-in-life lesbians didn’t suddenly wake up one day in their 50s and go “Yep, did everything else on my list, time to go eat some snatch!” Nor were they necessarily closeted; just at some point, they fell in love with a woman, and they didn’t feel bisexual, it just was a thing that happened.

I have some friends on the TS/TG/GQ spectra who are eschewing framing gender as “identity” or that So-and-So “identifies as [gender]”, because they are of the opinion that this makes it seem less real. Unfortunately, that’s not true, but at the same time, I like those friends enough that I’m not going to get in their faces about this gross misuse of language. Identity is about who we present to the world, and how that relates to our lived experiences. It’s as real as anything else about us.

Identity is our experiences of ourselves and how we relate that to ourselves and how we attempt to relate that to the world. Sometimes, those we interact with are wrong about our own identities, but we can never truly be wrong about how it is we identify, nor are others wrong about their identities. It’s the Aristippus paradox — one may not fully understand every external factor that played a part in an experience, but we are never inherently wrong about that experience. Our identity is the truest way that the plays out. Sure, we’re free to closet ourselves, or lie to others out of convenience or self-preservation, but we know how we’re experiencing this, and of that, we cannot be wrong. We may not necessarily articulate that very well, but we’re never wrong to ourselves about who we know we are; identity is the truest form of experience we have.

That said, the idea that identity is always static and immutable is patently false. For most of the 1970s, Freddie Mercury was and thus identified as bisexual, but by the early 1980s, this had changed, and he began identifying himself as gay, and unless one subscribes to the notion that sexual orientation is static and immutable, there is no reason to question that change in his identity as being anything but a reflection of the person he became. Even the Kinsey reports made it perfectly clear, dozens of times in the text, that the “Kinsey scale” is a) only intended to reflect experiences, and b) most people, if not everyone, will move along the scale at various points in their lives, that staying at one point on the scale for one’s entire life is exceptionally rare, and maintaining a lifelong experience at either pole on the scale is even rarer.

While true that experience is not identity, experience may reflect identity. If it’s accepted that experiences will change, given a life of enough opportunities, why is it hard for so many to accept that identities may, as well, change if given a life of sufficient experiences? I hypothesise that while the “born this way” narrative has been a helpful political tool for GBLT groups, it’s also a narrative that ostensibly erases the experiences of many, and identity itself is another kind of experience. If we are, indeed, born this way, then it begs the question that those of us who do may, indeed, have been born to change, as well.

Now, while sexuality is not gender, that does not mean that gender is always immune to change. Just because gender identity either stays relatively static, or moves along a very small segment of the spectrum during most people’s lives, does not mean that everyone has that experience. When, in 2013, Richard O’Brien came out as one of non-binary gender, he described his experience of gender to the BBC as being somewhere in a continuum / sliding-scale model between Man and Woman, and placed himself at about 70% Man and 30% Woman. While the sliding-scale model does, indeed, have its flaws when applied universally, in this instance it works for the explanation, so let me proceed:

Let’s arbitrarily divvy up a sliding-scale of gender the way that O’Brien’s 70/30 model suggests; and just for the sake of simplicity, let’s put Male genders at the “over 50” numbers. Let’s say that most people are actually somewhere between the 10 and 90 points, even if it’s mostly those who are in the vicinity of 45 and 55 who are most likely to identify as something other than Man or Woman. Many women will probably slide between, say, 25 and 40 in their lifetimes and still consider themselves women, which is fine. Now, many people who are sliding between 35 and 60, even those who are DFAB, may consider themselves something else that is neither Man nor Woman, even if they arguably experience some overlap with women ho spend years in the vicinity of 40. Neither person is wrong about their experiences of gender, but it is just as true to say that no matter where they currently are positioned on the scale, their gender simply is what it is until it isn’t; maybe it always will be, but sometimes, that may change.

For about thirty years, it was true that my identity was “male”, though clearly I was a fan of androgyny, and that was a big part of how I expressed myself, especially when going out. I’d often get off on the fact that my gender was anyone’s guess, even if I knew it was, at least at the time, male.

…but for about the last two years, I’ve been inching more toward the dead middle of the greyscale between “male” and “female” genders, to the point where it’s generally accurate to say that my gender is “whatever I’m vibing today or in a given situation”. About a month ago, at the club, someone in the outside queue called me a lady and, given the situation, it did not feel inaccurate any more than being called “sir” at the post office earlier that day, so I didn’t “correct” him. There was nothing to correct. Not only was i dressed High Femme that day (and most days out at the club, recently), but I didn’t have any real opinion on my gender that day, so I was OK with whatever people were picking up on.

By circumstances of birth, I’m definitely on the FTM spectrum, but mentally, and in day-to-day activities, I’m simultaneously either or both. I feel I’ve got a constant minimum of 10% Man, even at my highest femme appearances. Even when I’m in the immediate vicinity of a person who, otherwise, is the only person who makes me feel like a pretty girl for the only time ever in my life. Now, i don’t know what it means to be a woman, as i consider that a wholly different gender that i have never belonged to. “Girl”, I understand, at least in the contexts I see it described by non-binary people coming from an otherwise “Male gendered” starting point or dominance. It doesn’t feel like a character I’m playing because it either seems expected of me or for my own amusement; it feels like a real aspect of myself awakened — but that’s another story for another time.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

My People Are Travellers, Even When I Stay Put

I’ve long been fascinated by and attracted to itinerant groups of people. I briefly did that, myself, but I’m just not cut out for that lifestyle, but the older I get, the more I seem to attract such people, and even ethnic Romani who live a non-nomadic life.

These are my people, in a way. I’m a similar spirit, but on a different path, one that makes a safe haven for solo or coupled itinerants and vagabonds, gives them a place to call “home” for however long they need it, and then when they move on, the next people have the space.

I’ve actually been doing this my entire adult life. Homeless queer youth and runaways often crashed at my old room when I lived at an unlicensed boarding house the first couple years i was on my own, and since learning of it, I’ve always had a “Couch Available” profile on couchsurfing.com — seldom has this offer been taken up by people on that site, but oh well, it’s there for people who need it.

When I moved back to the area and a couple months later, started going back to the local excuse for a “goth night” (trust me, I’ve been a semi-professional Goth off-and-on for over twenty years, now; there are Goth Nights, and there are “goth nights”), one of the first people to approach me, whom i previously did not know, was a young, ostensibly genderqueer person (I’m not sure the terminology they use to define themself, but I gathered a non-binary identity from the conversation) whose first words to me was “Are you gypsy?”1
“No.”
“I am, but you’re still one of my people. I can tell.”2

Sure, it’s also possible that by “[their] people”, they could’ve meant off the gender binary (or technically in the middle of a sliding scale gender spectrum), but looking at the context of the rest of the convo, this possibility seems less likely.

I recently did a favour for a friend and let a friend of hers crash overnight. He said he was taking a few years off to backpack around the continent and see what he can, maybe write a book or something when he’s done.

The following week, I learned for the first time, actually, that a friend of mine who I’d known a few weeks and learned that she was a person who bought some of my buttons when she lived in another state (she’d been wearing one on her purse, and I recognised it) was technically homeless/couch-surfing. I learned this when she and I met up for the Midnight Movie showing of Beetlejuice in downtown Ann arbor. She’d been trying to get herself established as a Michigan resident, but the friend-of-a-friend who she’d been staying with was in a really negative, depressive state, which wasn’t good for her own psyche, and as she has a ferret she travels with, she didn’t need the animal exposed to it any more, so after mulling on it over the weekend, I offered to her after the club that she could stay at my place, if she needed to — the roommates whose opinions I care about are usually pretty chill, as long as whatever guests of mine can clean up after themselves and aren;t too loud. The roommate who can go fuck herself owes me $65, at this point, and owes one of the other two roommates in the area of $250 for covering her part of the electric bill all winter, and I’m not letting her have an opinion on this until she pays back Zach, and then myself. Or she can just wait until August, when none of us will be her problem, anymore.

So my friend has her food assistance card, and needs some help applying for Social Security Disability, and says she may be around a few more weeks, or maybe a year or two, but as long as she’s got a sense of security tied to this are, because she really loves the spirit here (I tell you, this is a sacred city of Apollon, and I sense major Moisai presence, as well), she’s good. So since I know a lot of the nonsense involved in this, I’ve offered to help her out in the ways that I can, and point her in the best directions i can, when we come to a spot I’m completely unfamiliar with.

I’ve often thought about, at some point, either renting a sufficiently large apartment or a house, and running it on a somewhat “drag house” model for wayward goth and punk kids. I use the term “kids” loosely, as I have not the spoons to deal with the legal work of setting up a shelter for runaway minors, but the inherently non-typical lifestyle of many of such young adults in this state kind of brings out an inherently nurturing side of me, where I’m perfectly happy to help people out, give them what they need, allow them to pay me back at their leisure in whatever manner we can agree is fair (doesn’t have to be money), and then let them move on.

It’s not an inherently spiritual calling, but it does tie in quite nicely with my spirituality based on happiness and pleasure, because for a lot of people, even the vagabonds, even the vaguest sense of security is crucial to happiness and pleasure. If you can follow a line back to the tree you’ve found best to tether yourself to, you’ll always find the shade you need to cool off. And if you’re a fan of “the law of return”, it’s definitely a way to keep in those good graces.


1: I prefer to avoid that word, myself, because I’m not of Romani or Irish traveller descent, but it’s what they said, and I don’t want to use awkward bracketing
2: I’m assuming that this meant they’re of some percentage Romani, Traveller, or some other intinerant ethnicity, but they also could have intended an affectionate, even if still very problematic euphemism for “vagabond”.


About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

hair

This week is one year since I last cut my hair, except for trimming off some major dead ends in December (which I had permission to do). I’ve had a lot of breakage, so some areas are actually shorter than a year ago, but overall, I’m glad I made the pact with Eros not to cut my hair.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

gold star!

I’ve made vampire hunting victim blamers all butthurt.

I will take that and their failures as a sign that I’ve been doing something right.

And no, I’m not approving their comment and tainting this blog with their miasma.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.

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Clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Center: 5

Spreads are in reverse order of performance.

I did an initial spread that I forgot to photograph, but in general jist, and identical in numbers of 4 and 5.

Even in a 32 – card deck, certain cards certainly came up a lot, and I tend to shuffle obsessively.

2, 3, and most 1 were nothing that I didn’t already know or at least assumed, based on conversation (and we converse frequently) and circumstances. Most of the 4 and 5 cards keep me hopeful.

About Ruadhán McElroy

Ruadhán has been a traditional Hellenic polytheist for about a decade, and has also maintained devotions to Eros and Apollon most of that time; his status as a devotee of Nyx is more recent. He also paints, makes music, makes jewellery, and writes novels set in the Mod Revival (UK) and Swampie (Oz) subcultures of the 1980s. He also gets a lot of odd little experiences that he jokes will forever render him an insufferable Goth.