Gratitude Catch-Up

Yes, I’m really going to be this “boring.” You don’t have to be grateful, it’s ok.

IMG_3147Summer Solstice, 20 June:  Today I was grateful for my stick-to-it attitude as I did ritual in response to the Orlando Massacre.  It was difficult, things were not working “right.”  To me, this heralded difficulties since the thrust of my ritual was common sensical gun control.  And yes, in the “real” world – the GOP blocked it again

21 June – I was grateful for friends, the German ladies who share a work history at a local landmark German deli.

22 June – I was grateful for a visit to Lakewold Gardens in Lakewood Washington — beautiful flowers and a sweet cool breeze off the lake.

IMG_311923 June – Looking at a lamp in my living room, I was grateful my husband was more observant than me at spotting an elegant used $7 lamp base to use beneath the art-glass shade that came with an atrociously ugly, poorly functional lamp base.  The shade ever recalls me to the glories of the Pacific Ocean coming ashore in storm mode on the distant coast.  The former base, a piece of plastic-molded dreck evoked — well, lets say I am grateful it is gone, ok?

25 June – I was grateful to wake to the scent of coffee in my smiling husband’s hand.

26 June – Grateful to son for ordering me a new pepper grinder!

27 June – I was grateful for a found feather to make into a pendant gift for my husband.

28 June – I was grateful for lunch with my husband, with a Welsh single malt to sip in laughing conversation! (Hey, gratitude for physical pleasures IS perfectly legit!)

29 June – (As I said yesterday) Grateful for mist-washed air!

30 June – I am grateful for beans cooking for dinner!  Little work, much nutrition and flavor!

Nourishment & Gratitude

gold heart beadsI struggled a bit through a later than usual yoga routine and now sit with a whey protein blueberry smoothie before me.  As my yoga DVD says, “Mmmmm, welcome to the land of bliss!”  It didn’t feel like bliss as I almost fell on my butt when tree pose totally escaped me today, ah well.  But the body needs working as much as it needs food and rest.

While making the smoothie I began thinking about what else feeds the best bits of me?  We need more than the physical body’s feeding, don’t we?  We can even make the same “dietary” mistakes when feeding the non-physical bits of ourselves.  How often have most of us said something like, “I could be happy if only I had ________!”

That blank space could be filled with so many things: money, love, sex, power.  Or even more mundanely awful things – revenge, for instance.  But the truth is the “if only” game is one we rarely win.  I won’t lie, it is very nice indeed to win if that game is played.  But winning at that is exhausting and has costs, it is not the game for everyday living unless you play a super-villain in the movies, is it?

If you think of a very satisfying meal – a holiday meal perhaps, or a nice restaurant meal, you consume it bite by bite.  Nobody sticks the entire plateful in their mouth at one time.  And yet psychologically, with games of “if only” – that is rather what we attempt.  What is the cure to such psychological attempts at mental/emotional gluttony?

Gratitude.  Not that we aren’t grateful for big bite items like home, family, love, security.  But the little sparkly bits that light up the brain?  Often tiny things, wee bites so mentally satisfying, so emotionally gratifying that they are like chocolate or booze!  It is easy not to be aware of these, and they are the most available nourishment in hard times.  Many of them cost nothing at all.  But they do take a certain ability to notice, a practice of seeing.

Years ago, I learned this while participating for the first time in a Gratitude Practice of noting at least one thing daily.  I believe it went from the Summer Solstice to the Autumnal Equinox, so I am late already this year – but better late than never!  Doing it puts your mind to work and it learns to feed itself in this manner.  It is rather like putting your mind on a healthier nutrition regimen.

Tomorrow, I will consult my journal to remind myself of things I’ve loved noticing and feeling grateful for since the 21st.  Today I am grateful for the dawn mist that washed clean the air.  My house is open breathing in fresh cool morning!

Summertime, And The Living Is….Asthmatic?

cedar gate 1It is a clear sunny early summer day outdoors. My husband, the Minotaur, is outside doing weeding in the garden boxes. I am indoors. It is a peculiar feeling to not be out muddying my knees and pushing hair out of my face while sweating and coughing.

A nice big high pressure area is keeping the sun shining and the temperature rising.  For me, that means it is also trapping pollutants in the air I breathe.  To be outside more than a brief (New York?) minute means I cough…or worse, I don’t really show ordinary symptoms.  Instead I feel an extreme exhaustion and wend my way through the days sleepy and listless.  My muscles feel leaden and every motion seems too hard.

It is difficult to let him work outside alone.  I did the same for years – always alone in the gardens while he was at work; and it was lonely and left me feeling isolated and resentful.  So since his retirement, I’ve been fastidious about sharing the work load.  He asked me to stay indoors today.  He isn’t being patriarchal, he is being protective.  It is hard to be protected.  It is vulnerable and frightening.  I hate it.  I hate needing protection.

Inside, the air is scrubbed by air cleaners. (Damned if I don’t feel like a sequence stolen from a “Dune” sequel when I say that!)  In these warm humid days, we don’t open the house at night to cool it — or the cough begins and sleep escapes me.  To have my Minotaur notice and do things differently is such a novel experience!  A welcome one, if one still disorienting in the extreme.

Ah summer, and love.  It is my summer of love — who knew?

Summer Sheaf

Our gardening efforts are coming rapidly to naught this year. The cucumbers and squash plants were eaten to the ground in a single night. The birds ate many seeds, even peacocks getting in on the feeding frenzy. But we don’t really care.  Our focus this year is each other.  If we get some green beans, fine.  We will fight the weeds to blight their efforts at reproduction.  We may attack the ivy and St. John’s wort eating the front hillside.  Or we may not — much depends on heat and how much time and energy yoga and meditation consume this summer.  Getting older makes me pick my battles with care.

kukri cake cuttingBut mostly, we are happy to have accomplishing “weeding” our marital relationship of radioactive fallout from decades of PTSD.  That was the harvest celebrated here on the eve of the summer solstice.  Possibly we are taking the “let me eat cake” thing a bit too far?  It was far too sweet – but very pretty.  Yes, yes, cutting wedding cake with a Gurkha made kukri is likely a bit out there….but hey, shiny sharp things are always good?

summer sheafThe gardens do not completely disappoint.  I harvested lavender from my aging plants; leaving at least half of it for the bees.  I missed the deeper blue French lavenders, they have already sprung open to tempt butterflies, bees, and even the hummingbirds.  As the world goes seemingly crazy, the Minotaur and I will take refuge in the living room where the soothing scent of drying lavender will provide some solace as the election year moves onward.  If that fails?  There are cake-sicles in the freezer and bottles of mead growing attractive coats of dust in the racks!


Is knowing why you do something important? Or does it lead to endless mental tail chasing?

wedding cakeThis has been a repeated question in the marital counseling sessions the Minotaur and I are engaging in for the last six months.  I always need to know the “why” – it informs me and keeps my focus on the game, whatever that is at the moment.  But when the Minotaur goes searching for a “So, how come, anyhow?” it seems to put him on an endless path of regression – going back and back and back into nigh paralysis.  Our counselor has taken the “Nike” approach with my husband: “Just DO it!”

So perhaps it depends on who you are first, and why second?  I’m a bit existential about it, though; I can’t quite be sure who I am if I don’t know what choice – and therefore why I made it – is in fact, defining me.  My husband is different, he lives more in his head and can get lost there.  So, simpler self-commands like “Do it, now!” jump start him far more effectively than answering the whys and wherefores.

So being told to solve a riddle posed by me and act accordingly was more fruitful to change than figuring out why he needed to do so.  I wanted a re-commitment ritual between us, and I wanted the wedding cake I never had.   Yes, yes, I am all about the cake, not really the dress.  The Minotaur couldn’t imagine anything so simple as my desire.  He was making it so hard for himself – thinking all sorts of complicated things might be hidden in my demand.  I finally snapped “and with a FORK!” as a clue to the riddle’s answer.

We both learned something.  He learned his wife’s desires and motivations are not all earth-shatteringly complex.  I learned that my husband way overthinks who I am.  I will doubtless go on telling myself I know why I do the things I do.  I may or may not really know, of course.  I may think I spend twice the price on ten pounds of organic sugar each month for the sake of the earth’s ecology — less poisons and such into the ground.  But maybe I am actually just an elitist snob?

Eric the RedThe hummingbirds who consume that sugar in syrup monthly?  They don’t really care, just so long as the three feeders never run dry!

In the end, while the “why” is informative, it is the doing that counts to change your life or your world.



Feeling a Bit Wicker Man…

IMG_3147Really, normally not about kitschy cult films, me. But there are those I could toss into a pile of flaming basketry today. This summer solstice feels too dark for the longest day of the year!  The votes today about whose impulse to buy and use assault weapons will be indulged makes me a bit tetchier than usual today.

The NRA likely gets to go on being the sole arbitration board on who lives and dies by bullet in America.  They scream “terrorist” while seeing to it that the title could apply to American men more than anyone else.

I rarely go to movies these days, I never go to church, I’ve not been shopping in a mall in over a decade.  I haven’t been to many nightclubs in decades, and likely will not go there at all now.  It is the Summer Solstice, but I won’t be attending any public circle.  Crowds make me paranoid these days.

The candles have been consumed, a fire has blazed.  But the blaze burning me up is feeling the fears of my fellow citizens — parents who must send their children to schools, people who work or shop in public places, or want to share a night at the movie.  And worst of all, people already branded by monotheistic claptrap — the homosexual and trans citizens marginalized by raving preachers.  I fear for them, and hate to see them suffering as scapegoats while the people making money selling weapons of mass destruction to all and sundry without deterrence reap massive profits.

Whats that?  You don’t think an AR-15 is a weapon of mass destruction?  Go tell that to the ones mourning the Orlando massacre.  Go on, I’ll wait…

The Solace of Cheap Sunglasses

LiveTomorrow is a week since I began crying and couldn’t seem to regain control of my emotions.  Last Sunday evening, a long awaited visit for dinner by two gay friends accidentally coincided with the news horror about Orlando.  The hearth in the living room was ablaze with candles – one for each victim of the murderous hate played out with an assault rifle.  Our welcoming embrace dissolved into tears and trembling.

I know what a list of names looks like with 49 names.  Four dozen, we say…thinking of eggs, or birthday candles.  I know how reading that many lives names aloud, hearing a voice laughing – and stilled, seeing a face in the mind’s eye as the lights wink out – makes the voice begin to crack and fray.  Monday is the Summer Solstice and the Full Moon.  Public workings and private plans for magic for the dead and the wounded survivors are listed here and there around the internet.  The pagan community writhes with the same convulsions of grief and anger and …well, for me?  A kind of numb lack of understanding, like a child too young to know what death really means: how can any person murder half a hundred and leave another half hundred bleeding and injured?

I am not a pacific person; I am passion filled and storm tossed.  But I love life — I love seeing it on younger faces and older, all around me.  I like the dance of it, the wrinkles and the wild youth of it.  I love the twined hands of lovers walking before me in the park; I don’t care what gender the lovers are or what race or age.  It is the dance of life and love I see blossoming like rainbows after the storms of ordinary life.

Ah, yes, rainbows.  That flag, that shimmer in the air.  I was crying so much that I took out a pair of very cheap sunglasses for all public outings.  A woman my age is no longer pretty in tears, I look red eyed and mascara-raddled.  So dark, dark glasses.  I had no idea how cheap they were, having not worn them before — the emergency pair in the glove compartment.  Everything I look at, in the sunshine – whether a dark car, shiny leaves on a summer tree – takes on the sheen of costly “glass-coat” paint jobs.  The cars fluoresce into rainbow hues, as do trees and shop windows.  Rainbows dance wherever my eyes turn!  I cried more at first.  But then it struck me as a defiant dance of conspiracy in cahoots with my grief and shock.  Nothing can stop the rainbows!

I stopped speculating about whether the shooter was or was not a self-hating gay man.  How tragic, if he was, and led my the religious mania of monotheistic faiths, he so hated himself that he had to clear his conscience with blood.  I told myself to stop thinking about that so-called “minister” who wants a theocracy that can line gays up for shooting.  I am grateful I don’t live where he lives, or getting my need to break his jaw out of my head would be so much more difficult – I told you I am no pacifist.  Why such hate speech should get a free pass in the name of freedom of religion is beyond me.

The hardest bit to purge is the handy ammo these deaths give to the likes of Donald Trump — the “terrorist” label is so convenient.  I have long said that the group called ISIL ( I refuse to defile the ancient name of a goddess with their acronym!) draws many kinds of malcontents who will accept that black banner as an excuse to destroy and kill.  And not because they believe in the “caliphate” — but because they want freedom to be murderers, misogynists, rapists, and destroyers-at-large.  I believe that the shooter in Orlando cast about for a justification, found it and took it to revenge himself on everyone that ever rejected him.

I cannot defuse my anger that more and more Americans die at the hands of men arming themselves with weapons from battlefields.  Half of Congress is unwilling to do anything about it: the alleged meaning of the 2nd Amendment trumping the promise of “life” in the Declaration of Independence.  There is to be a vote on Monday, because the Democrats refused to step down their filibuster until that was agreed upon.  But will there be change, or does the break again come on party lines — declaring the right of the gun nuts to randomly murder at will while those of us in love with the dance of life wring our hands in futile rage?

Because of that vote, I don’t think I can wait until Monday night to put my acts of will and magic out there in the world.  I need to at least attempt to put the idea out there that putting assault rifle ownership ahead of American lives is wrong.  And the idea that calling it religious righteousness means the lives of 49 people dying at a “gay” club has less impact than 49 “other” lives.  Because that is hypocrisy, isn’t it?  Twenty children died and nothing changed.  Nine people in church died, praying – and nothing changed.  Who is perfect enough to not have their brutal bloody death dismissed?

I must make candles in rainbow hues, for the 49 innocents shot to death.  I want to hold them in my heart, in my ethereal arms, and weep –by the waxing moon tonight!

Slammed – Reality Bites (the Cookie?)

mirror,mirror,mirrorMirrors are a terrible start to most days, don’t you think?  Similarly, epiphanies are tricky things. Not every “Eureka!” denotes celebratory champagne.  At first, like most folks facing an issue, it does seem like a great thing to have identified the precise issue.  If most of my marriage had been a sort of ministry to my PTSD wounded husband and I had not known it?  Just what else had I been similarly unaware of; ignorance certainly was anything but bliss by about ten minutes after completion of my last “triumphant” post.  The optimism of my last paragraphs died ugly.

I had already been fighting depression as our marital counseling seemed stuck on a plateau of going nowhere.  Thinking how my nurturing of the man I knew to be wounded had been dismissed/diagnosed as codependency by friends, and realizing it certainly was outside the realm of mere romantic love hedged me in self-doubt.  I never lied for him (nor to him) about any of his issues.  Nor did I lie to  myself about the constantly embattled state of my marriage and life.  I checked my actions against my ethical code and usually found them in accord aside from the occasional screaming battle involving name calling and door slamming.

LoveSo why was I suddenly so deeply down and depressed?  All I crave is sleep and sweets.  No amount of either seems sufficient.  Suddenly diagnosing my years of (mostly) solicitude as service instead of love left me feeling emotionally naked.  It didn’t necessarily do him any favors either.  I’ve always known I am one of those people who almost reflexively tries to fix things I find in busted up condition.  I had generally held the opinion that people were the exception to this because (a) who did I think I was to feel in a position to so label another human, (b) nobody can be “fixed” if they don’t want to do it for themselves, anyway, and (c) I had observed those efforts ended badly.

So, how did I fall down that rabbit hole after all?  Youthful arrogance and the unspoken “dare” –  my husbands fearful defiant statement as he feared he was falling for me, telling me I was not the one for him?  Good chance that did it, my own “I’ll show him!” hackles rose and into the fray I went.  Oh, I hate to say it, but sometimes pride does go before a fall!  Well, really, hubris.  I have no issue with ordinary pride of accomplishment – but pride before the accomplishment?  Yes, that was an issue.

And it surely didn’t turn me aside that the sex was amazing. I can hear an old astrology buff acquaintance intoning, “Stupid Scorpios.”  I will never stop contending that there ARE worse reasons for relationship, ok?  That does NOT mean my astrology crazed pal had a point.  It means my “black heart of innocence” was NEVER convinced that sex was bad!  I remember, even as a young teen, hearing the sermons and lectures about lust/lechery/sex and modesty/virginity/purity and thinking “What a crock of crap!”  Anything as vital as the cause for continuance of the species cannot be a bad thing – now, making half that species into chattel by telling them if/when/how/with whom they can have sex?  That is a bad thing.

But what now?  With both of us calling a pack of Pecan Sandies and a quart of milk a meal?  Both of us are exhausted and depressed.  He is most depressed IN counseling sessions as I decry my invisibility to him as real person vs. a projection in his mind.  I am most depressed OUT of counseling when feeling that we may suck as a couple, but feel far worse alone.

Or do we?  This morning the house was silent after my initial rising.  One son off to work, the other sound asleep, the husband off to his veterans’ group.  I got up and cooked food instead of searching out cookies. (OK, it was mac and cheese, but with a tin of tuna!  I can’t fight the radioactive blues with salad, alright?  Cheap carbs and cheap protein from a tin is my go-to.  Bite me.)  Does this mean we ARE better off without each other?  It might be hubris to say that — I think it felt better not to look at each other in our current suffering condition, a restful break from sorrow.

Perhaps that is the clue.  That we need to see more in each other than our suffering condition.  How to do that?  ::::sigh:::  You know, I think our climate-battered garden might suffer even more this summer?  I think both of us need to step outside “ordinary time”.  He has been doing auto-pilot grown up things like dishes and vacuuming, I’ve been bathing and napping, reading and weeping.  Him doing all the scut work makes me feel worse, while he feels nurturing.  But then some of his rather passive-agressive control bits (that he needs to feel secure) slide in and I go ballistic.  And the gears of marital battle turn faster.

That particular bomb needs defusing.  How, oh how?  We can’t live in a ritual circle/sphere, now can we?  One rather toxic pagan couple I knew did fine in a circle with each other and a nice audience, but outside of that they lived bitterly separate lives fueled by food and alcohol alone.  Not the pattern I want to follow.  But I do want a new “pattern” because the current one is useless to us both.

Perhaps finding something to do daily that allows us both to see beyond our shared dysfunction?  Meditation instead of morning news?  Yoga together after coffee?  Haiku to express the inexpressible?  Blowing off dishes, bed-making, and all that to go on ahead and eat cookies and milk while watching a movie?  Finding reasons to laugh together instead of crying alone?

There was a quote in my current reading today, a non-fiction book about the absolutely most dire circumstances ever experienced by humans.  It lit a candle in my brain when a dying man told his last surviving child:  “Live for the benefit of others, thus all will benefit.”  Ah, I thought, take that all you codependency-labelers!  (No, it was not some book of monotheistic schlock, thank you very much.)  We had fallen so far apart in the last five years that perhaps for the only prolonged time in our 40 years together, we were living only for ourselves.  That stops.  Today, now — an hour ago.  I have been ruled by fear of loss of self.  That fear lost me my most significant self – the self that lived by “the light of my heart… regardless of consequences.”


Part 2 – Descent and Ascent Of Innana

Vertical Roses 1So, down I had fallen/passed — in 35 years of slippery slope.  I loved roses, ever my favorite flower and scent; and yet my life no longer had a scent.  I greeted my 35th wedding anniversary living apart from my husband, unsure where I was taking my life.  My life was upside down, all looked hopeless and black.  Sure, I had known he had PTSD and had tried many times to address the issue with him.  He was in denial, as so many veterans are and his self-loathing was finally poisoning every close relationship.

I’d lost friendships, women I’d known for years called me “co-dependent” because I did not want to do as Innana did — I would not sacrifice my Thomas as she did her Damuzi- Tammuz.  I would stay hung in “hell” before I threw him, battered and emotionally bleeding, under the bus.

But I did feel broken, shattered.  I didn’t feel like a wife, I felt like a scapegoat.  I reminded myself not to take it personally, but I was so tired I DID take it personally at last.  I spent three months in self-distraction to defuse my own hurt and rage.  I needed the rest.  I fell asleep in front of television shows whose dialogue drowned out my inner screaming.

As a Feri friend of mine would say, my iron pentacle had certainly rusted.  And so had my wounded warrior husband’s.  I tried sex almost at once as a restorative.  He was surprised and delighted, fearing he would never have sex again — but it was not sufficient healing.  After three months of self-indulgent wallowing to acknowledge the level of my pain and loss, I finally got to work figuring out how to fix myself, my household, and then how to get help for my husband.

I began exercising almost every day.  I aligned the “triple soul”; for though I am not a Feri initiate, that clear humane tradition laid out by T. Thorn Coyle in “Evolutionary Witchcraft” was the closest thing to my own mix and match manner of working through life.  Immanent divinity and personal responsibility were ever my watchwords.  I recited a famous (if fictional) “litany against fear” — sometimes several times a day.  In dire need I used a quote from another version of Innana’s story — Finnan/ “Prometheus” defiant proclamation from “Vellum“: “I’ll bear my fate without a care,

But I will neither tell you what you want to hear,

Nor hold my tongue about my state.”

I ran the iron and pearl pentacles to restore myself.  I walked and cared for my Labyrinth although large parts of the yard withered around me.  I kept the roses alive, even moving them from the windswept road-side.  It was not easy, but it got easier.  He found a good counselor, after a year wasted with a very bad one who thought he needed Jesus, not a wife.

I was strong enough by the time this bad counseling came to light that I didn’t despair, though I did weep.  To realize my marriage had been put on the block by a stranger because I was obviously not a Christian shocked me with the venom and hatred of someone whose faith claims to be made of love.

I rebuilt parts of my marital home.  I stripped furniture and antiques — conceptualizing the damaged old finishes as the blasts my marriage had taken.  I made everything again clean, clear, and bright and moved back into my home after three years of nigh ritual solitude.

My “lost” runaway son came home that same autumn, my heart rejoiced even while startled by another household shake-up.  I felt my heart re-bounding, color began to bleed back INTO my life.  My husband retired from his stressful job.  We began seeing a marriage counselor, while he continued with another for his PTSD issues.

It is still difficult and painful, but realization filtered through as we argued one day.  I was demanding to know how he “really” felt about me, because I did not feel loved – I felt “necessary”.  He was hurt and insulted, although that was not my point or aim at all.  What had often occurred to me was that while I loved him, he didn’t seem capable of the same emotional commitment.

The sickening feeling that he might truly not love me, but might desperately need me very nearly turned my life black and withered again.  I listened, once morning in the garden, to a small hawk screaming over-head.  I thought it had been a while since I aligned my Feri three part soul — the “uppermost” that is the connection to the divine world; Coyle calls it a Sacred Dove.  I call mine my “Hawk on High” — around here, doves are for dinner!

In the next days of turmoil, I became very silent in between necessary interactions.  That feeling of “something coming” rang like klaxons of alarm in my head.  I took myself to the tattoo parlour to exteriorize the pain and to mark a friendship.  FullSizeRenderA sliver of white waning moon now adorns my right wrist — a sliver of barely waxing moon adorns a sweet Texan’s wrist.  In the mirror, I see her waxing moon and feel her friendship; in her mirror she sees my darkening moon and hears my smart-assed sass!

I sat in silence in the night and asked myself: “What if he loves you as well as he is currently able, but needs you as well.  What if, all along, you have been only a part-time wife and lover?  What if the full time job has been something else?”  I recoiled.  I did not want to be his mother, his care-taker, his nay-sayer, his nag!

Memories came filtering through the night as the moon waned just like the one on my wrist.  Other men.  Other women’s husbands.  Coming to me, by phone, or sitting at my table, standing on my porch — running into me in a store and talking and talking and talking.  About things they could not say to their wives.  Questions they could never ask aloud in their households.  Matters they could not bring up in their church.  The air felt alive around me.  A chill ran over my skin on a hot night.  Was my “Shining One” trying to tell me something?

The next morning, as we read together about healing; I suddenly had to stop to tell him something.  I had to ask him to not freak out, but to seriously listen and consider that if I was in fact NOT what he wanted, but merely needed because of his wounding; then he deserved to find healing and then find love.  Even if it was elsewhere.  He looked like he might cry and said that I was too willing to sacrifice myself for his health and joy.

rose-cladAnd then, Innana Risen, I had to tell him — it is not a simple wifely sacrifice, it is my job.  My job as what I’ve known I have been for many years now – a shamanistic priestess whose job (aside from psychopomp to the dead of war) is apparently to speak to men alienated and lost from their own lives.  They came to me, they found me against all odds!  And it only so recently dawned on me that he had also so “found” me, before I even knew who or what I was to be.   That before I could be wife, I must be priestess to him.

I do believe he loves me.  I fell into lust at once on seeing him, my Minotaur — my bull to leap and love.  But if it has been only necessity to find healing and wholeness?  Well, then, we will deal with that, too.  Perhaps, someday, not only will I be his priestess – but his true wife?  And someday, perhaps he will be my priest, and not my “sacrificed” husband/lover.

 Ereshkigal shall have to find someone else to hang upon her wall, she won’t have me just yet — nor my “Tammuz” in my stead!  I have descended, seen shades of death and despair around me.  And I have ascended again – in peace, to pick red roses again.

(For full definition of Feri practices like the iron, pearl, or rust pentacles and alignment of the triple soul, I do recommend you find “Evolutionary Witchcraft” or a Feri Initiate!  My own explanations would be cumbersome if not likely to be inexact!)