Sophia Nathanael and her Dark Angels (a story)


If you ever had the pleasure of watching her preach, you would be mesmerized by her. She had a gorgeous alto voice. A little raspy, a lilt as if she spoke with angels. You could listen to her for hours, it was so beautiful.
She was so energetic, so passionate about her topics. You just felt she communed with the divine when she spoke.
She moved like a dancer too. And her body was so svelte. So lithe. She dressed to show it off, without uncovering it too. The fabrics skimmed her body. She performed when she was on the dias.
It was no surprise that a lot of the congregation had a crush on her. She looked into their eyes and touched their arm or shoulder as they spoke with her. And to them it felt as if their arm was vibrating during the exchange.
She seemed so holy.
Yet she was a grifter.
She had gone from town to town, honing her act. Picking people’s pocket to survive. Going into the shady parts of town and hooking to keep a roof over her head. And in the main courtyard of the next towns over, you could find her preaching. With a tithing plate beside her and a very tattered Bible she had gotten out of a used book shop’s garbage. But she told anyone who asked that her grandma had put it into her blanket when she left her at the orphanage. Because she couldn’t keep her. She was the child of a young rape victim who died in child birth she said.

Her parents were Joe Boring and Jane White Bread. Nothing that made them stand apart from any other mid-western couple. They worked hard, did what was asked and kept their heads down. She and her brother were cared for, but because they should. And they were there. Nothing was expected of them but good grades and duty. It was mind-numbing. So she left as soon as she could.
But the story got her extra money, until she found a small church that would take her as a preacher. Then she built her act and her audience.

The media started paying attention. And you would think that would concern her. But she had changed so much her own mother had no clue that was her daughter when she caught the show. And she was good at making herself over. One side of her was the good preacher lady. The other was a young whore who didn’t dress or eat that well. Someone the preacher lady was trying to reform, which explained the frequent visits to the manse. Nobody looked at her twice. Nobody wanted to.

This double life made it so much easier. The preacher kept up the sham and the whore did the dirty work. The blood work. She was brilliant with a knife and used it to get rid of anyone who threatened her place in the town.; Or was standing in her way. For the next rung of her ladder to success.
The whore also had a little room where she worked her dark magic and called her guardians to her aide. She worked her way up till she was noticed by the hierarchy of hell. She started getting the rewards of her graft. And all it took was blood and sacrifice.

You have to wonder what caused this abomination of her parents’ mundane life. I don’t know. I guess you have to wonder… can a human be born evil? Or is she made? And what if anything would stop her.

the case of lupus & the Canadian disability system

Systemic lupus erythematosus [lupus- SLE][]
has genetic evidence, documentable symptoms and [dogs -lupus crosses species][] on it’s side. So you would think it would be a shoe in when it comes to proving a disability claim, right?
Not so!
Lupus is a hard diagnosis to prove [getting disability][] . Most doctors don’t run around ordering genetic tests for eg. Especially in the early days. So the rest of the diagnosis is a subjective reading of the presenting symptoms and the doctor’s prior experience with the condition. That causes issues with govt pensions on it’s own.
Lupus has chronic pain, and chronic fatigue, so holding down a job is hard. Canada Pension Plan – CPP (federal) has criteria that preclude you from getting benefits if your work history is sketchy. You have to have paid into it to get it. And YOU have to, not necessarily the person who’s plan you are on.
Then they say you have to show you have tried and been compliant to the standard treatments. Even though they are contra-indicated for pregnancy.
[side effects of NSAIDS][]

[side effects of anti malarial meds][]

Highest incidence of lupus is observed in women aged 20 to 40 years.
Then they make it harder by saying that weight gain while having documentable symptoms precludes you from gaining benefits.
AND that you have to show long term disability…
Then there is a question about how you GOT lupus and who should really pay for that…
[drug induced version of lupus][]

Lupus is a very serious condition.
Because it can lead to cardiovascular disease, lupus can kill women in their 20s by causing heart attacks and strokes.. People with lupus also can die at young ages due to infections that are related to the immune-suppressing drugs taken to control the disease.

So you can see why lupus is a hard nut to crack when it comes to getting a disability claim processed. Yet it is documentable, genetic, cross species and potentially morbid. AND there are similar conditions that have the same factors. Rheumatoid arthritis, Muscular Sclerosis for example.

domestic violence

[domestic violence stats][]

1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been a victim of DV by an intimate partner.


according to the CDC, 85% of survivors are women who were abused by men. The rest are men who were abused by women, or same sex partners (m-m, f-f)


abuser has a critical inner voice, and they perceive a fantasy bond between them and their target.

[characteristics of abusers][]

If the person you love or live with does these things, it’s time to get help:

  • Keeps track of what you are doing all the time and criticizes you for little things.
  • Constantly accuses you of being unfaithful.
  • Prevents or discourages you from seeing friends or family, or going to work or school.
  • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Controls all the money you spend.
  • Humiliates you in front of others.
  • Destroys your property or things that you care about.
  • Threatens to hurt you or the children or pets, or does cause hurt (by hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, or biting).
  • Uses or threatens to use a weapon against you.
  • Forces you to have sex against your will.
  • Blames you for his/her violent outbursts.

Characteristics of Abusers…Warning signs of potential violence:

  • Abuser pacing the floor
  • Clenching/unclenching fists
  • Facial expression (glaring)
  • Shouting/yelling

How dangerous is the abuser? Assessing lethality in an abuse situation:

Some domestic violence is life threatening. All domestic violence is dangerous, but some abusers are more likely to kill than others and some are more likely to kill at specific times. The likelihood of homicide is greater when the following factors are present:

  1. Threats of homicide or suicide: The abuser may threaten to kill himself, the victim, the children, relatives, friends, or someone else;
  2. Plans for homicide or suicide: The more detailed the abuser’s plan and the more available the method, the greater the risk he will use deadly force;
  3. Weapons: The abuser possesses weapons, and has threatened to use them in the past against the victim, the children, or himself. If the abuser has a history of arson, fire should be considered a weapon;
  4. “Ownership” of the victim: The abuser says things like “If I can’t have you no one can” or “I would rather see you dead than have you divorce me”. The abuser believes he is absolutely entitled to the obedience and loyalty of the victim;
  5. Centrality of victim to the abuser: The abuser idolizes the victim, depending heavily on him or her to organize and sustain the abuser’s life, or the abuser isolates the victim from outside supports;
  6. Separation violence: The abuser believes he is about to lose the victim;
  7. Repeated calls to law enforcement: A history of violence is indicated by repeated police involvement;
  8. Escalation of risk-taking: The abuser has begun to act without regard to legal or social consequences that previously constrained his violence; and
  9. Hostage taking: He is desperate enough to risk the life of innocent persons by taking hostages.  There is a very serious likelihood of the situation turning deadly.

what is feminism?

## first wave

The first wave of feminism took place in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, emerging out of an environment of urban industrialism and liberal, socialist politics. The goal of this wave was to open up opportunities for women, with a focus on suffrage. The wave formally began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when three hundred men and women rallied to the cause of equality for women. Elizabeth Cady Stanton (d.1902) drafted the Seneca Falls Declaration outlining the new movement’s ideology and political strategies.

## second wave

The second wave began in the 1960s and continued into the 90s. This wave unfolded in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements and the growing self-consciousness of a variety of minority groups around the world. The New Left was on the rise, and the voice of the second wave was increasingly radical. In this phase, sexuality and reproductive rights were dominant issues, and much of the movement’s energy was focused on passing the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.

This phase began with protests against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in 1968 and 1969. Feminists parodied what they held to be a degrading “cattle parade” that reduced women to objects of beauty dominated by a patriarchy that sought to keep them in the home or in dull, low-paying jobs. The radical New York group called the Redstockings staged a counter pageant in which they crowned a sheep as Miss America and threw “oppressive” feminine artifacts such as bras, girdles, high-heels, makeup and false eyelashes into the trashcan.

Because the second wave of feminism found voice amid so many other social movements, it was easily marginalized and viewed as less pressing than, for example, Black Power or efforts to end the war in Vietnam. Feminists reacted by forming women-only organizations (such as NOW) and “consciousness raising” groups.

## third wave

The third wave of feminism began in the mid-90’s and was informed by post-colonial and post-modern thinking. In this phase many constructs were destabilized, including the notions of “universal womanhood,” body, gender, sexuality and heteronormativity. An aspect of third wave feminism that mystified the mothers of the earlier feminist movement was the readoption by young feminists of the very lip-stick, high-heels, and cleavage proudly exposed by low cut necklines that the first two phases of the movement identified with male oppression. Pinkfloor expressed this new position when she said that it’s possible to have a push-up bra and a brain at the same time.

The “grrls” of the third wave stepped onto the stage as strong and empowered, eschewing victimization and defining feminine beauty for themselves as subjects, not as objects of a sexist patriarchy. They developed a rhetoric of mimicry, which appropriated derogatory terms like “slut” and “bitch” in order to subvert sexist culture and deprive it of verbal weapons. The web is an important tool of “girlie feminism.” E-zines have provided “cybergrrls” and “netgrrls” another kind of women-only space. At the same time — rife with the irony of third-wave feminism because cyberspace is disembodied — it permits all users the opportunity to cross gender boundaries, and so the very notion of gender has been unbalanced in a way that encourages experimentation and creative thought.

This is in keeping with the third wave’s celebration of ambiguity and refusal to think in terms of “us-them.” Most third-wavers refuse to identify as “feminists” and reject the word that they find limiting and exclusionary. Grrl-feminism tends to be global, multi-cultural, and it shuns simple answers or artificial categories of identity, gender, and sexuality. Its transversal politics means that differences such as those of ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, etc. are celebrated and recognized as dynamic, situational, and provisional. Reality is conceived not so much in terms of fixed structures and power relations, but in terms of performance within contingencies. Third wave feminism breaks boundaries.

## fourth wave

Some people who wish to ride this new fourth wave have trouble with the word “feminism,” not just because of its older connotations of radicalism, but because the word feels like it is underpinned by assumptions of a gender binary and an exclusionary subtext: “for women only.” Many fourth wavers who are completely on-board with the movement’s tenants find the term “feminism” sticking in their craws and worry that it is hard to get their message out with a label that raises hackles for a broader audience. Yet the word is winning the day.  The generation now coming of age sees that we face serious problems because of the way society genders and is gendered, and we need a strong “in-your-face” word to combat those problems. Feminism no longer just refers to the struggles of women; it is a clarion call for gender equity.

The emerging fourth wavers are not just reincarnations of their second wave grandmothers; they bring to the discussion important perspectives taught by third wave feminism.  They speak in terms of intersectionality whereby women’s suppression can only fully be understood in a context of the marginalization of other groups and genders—feminism is part of a larger consciousness of oppression along with racism, ageism, classism, abelism, and sexual orientation (no “ism” to go with that).  Among the third wave’s bequests is the importance of inclusion, an acceptance of the sexualized human body as non-threatening, and the role the internet can play in gender-bending and leveling hierarchies.  Part of the reason a fourth wave can emerge is because these millennials’ articulation of themselves as “feminists” is their own: not a hand-me-down from grandma. The beauty of the fourth wave is that there is a place in it for all –together. The academic and theoretical apparatus is extensive and well honed in the academy, ready to support a new broad-based activism in the home, in the workplace, and in the streets.

## Kinds of Feminism


## Liberal Feminism


This is the variety of feminism that works within the structure of mainstream society to integrate women into that structure.  Its roots stretch back to the social contract theory of government instituted by the American Revolution.  Abigail Adams and Mary Wollstonecraft were there from the start, proposing equality for women.  As is often the case with liberals, they slog along inside the system, getting little done amongst the compromises until some radical movement shows up and pulls those compromises left of center.  This is how it operated in the days of the suffragist movement and again with the emergence of the radical feminists.



## Radical Feminism


Provides the bulwark of theoretical thought in feminism.  Radical feminism provides an important foundation for the rest of “feminist flavors”.  Seen by many as the “undesirable” element of feminism, Radical feminism is actually the breeding ground for many of the ideas arising from feminism; ideas which get shaped and pounded out in various ways by other (but not all) branches of feminism.


Radical feminism was the cutting edge of feminist theory from approximately 1967-1975.  It is no longer as universally accepted as it was then, nor does it provide a foundation for, for example, cultural feminism.


This term refers to the feminist movement that sprung out of the civil rights and peace movements in 1967-1968.  The reason this group gets the “radical” label is that they view the oppression of women as the most fundamental form of oppression, one that cuts across boundaries of race, culture, and economic class.  This is a movement intent on social change, change of rather revolutionary proportions, in fact.


The best history of this movement is a book called Daring to be Bad, by Alice Echols (1989).  I consider that book a must!  Another excellent book is simply titled Radical Feminism and is an anthology edited by Anne Koedt, a well-known radical feminist


Marxist and Socialist Feminism


Marxism recognizes that women are oppressed, and attributes the oppression to the capitalist/private property system.  Thus they insist that the only way to end the oppression of women is to overthrow the capitalist system.  Socialist feminism is the result of Marxism meeting radical feminism.  Jaggar and Rothenberg [Feminist Frameworks: Alternative Theoretical Accounts of the Relations Between Women and Men by Alison M. Jaggar and  Paula S. Rothenberg, 1993]  point to significant differences between socialist feminism and Marxism, but for our purposes I’ll present the two together.  Echols offers a description of socialist feminism as a marriage between Marxism and radical feminism, with Marxism the dominant partner.  Marxists and socialists often call themselves “radical,” but they use the term to refer to a completely different “root” of society: the economic system.



## Cultural Feminism


As radical feminism died out as a movement, cultural feminism got rolling.  In fact, many of the same people moved from the former to the latter.  They carried the name “radical feminism” with them, and some cultural feminists use that name still.  (Jaggar and Rothenberg [Feminist Frameworks] don’t even list cultural feminism as a framework separate from radical feminism, but Echols spells out the distinctions in great detail.)  The difference between the two is quite striking: whereas radical feminism was a movement to transform society, cultural feminism retreated to vanguardism, working instead to build a women’s culture.  Some of this effort has had some social benefit: rape crisis centers, for example; and of course many cultural feminists have been active in social issues (but as individuals, not as part of a movement).


As various 1960s movements for social change fell apart or got co-opted, folks got pessimistic about the very possibility of social change.  Many of then turned their attention to building alternatives, so that if they couldn’t change the dominant society, they could avoid it as much as possible.  That, in a nutshell, is what the shift from radical feminism to cultural feminism was about.  These alternative-building efforts were accompanied with reasons explaining (perhaps justifying) the abandonment of working for social change.  Notions that women are “inherently kinder and gentler” are one of the foundations of cultural feminism, and remain a major part of it.  A similar concept held by some cultural feminists is that while various sex differences might not be biologically determined, they are still so thoroughly ingrained as to be intractable.


## Eco-Feminism


This branch of feminism is much more spiritual than political or theoretical in nature.  It may or may not be wrapped up with Goddess worship and vegetarianism.  Its basic tenet is that a patriarchal society will exploit its resources without regard to long term consequences as a direct result of the attitudes fostered in a patriarchal/hierarchical society.  Parallels are often drawn between society’s treatment of the environment, animals, or resources and its treatment of women.  In resisting patriarchal culture, eco-feminists feel that they are also resisting plundering and destroying the Earth.  And vice-versa.

## issues

the cave

They had been wandering in the desert for a few days and were almost out of food and water when they came across something that looked like a cave. They made a bit of noise to be sure no animals were resting inside, then entered.

In the first area, they saw a bunch of jars and were curious what they were exactly. Why would anyone have a storage cave way out in the desert?

They read a few labels and wondered…

cinnamon, cassium, myrrh, frankincense, lichen, cedar and pine resin, salt, henna, honey, etc.

There was an odd odour of sulphur and something bittersweet in the air. And a lot of perfume odour. It wasn’t a pleasant odour though.

They went into the next area and they found a bunch of linen wrappings, some empty pottery jars, old onions and what looked like sewing materials. Crafts?  Out here?

Then they walked into the next area and found a dias with troughs around it and a very rudimentary drain underneath. Their eyes met. They were starting to get the creeps. If they walked into a basement with this in, they’d think they had stumbled onto the lair of a serial killer. But unless their direction senses were way off, they were miles from any civilization. At least that had been mapped. Even the tombs of the lesser kings were miles away.

They also found a long, thin  hook and a set of knives and some long needles. They looked almost like basters their moms used for roasts.  And a side chamber with a bunch of empty pottery jars in it. Old rolls of papyrus stocked on shelves were there too.

All this stuff was really getting to them and they were a bit jumpy. Jittery.

As they went back further and further in the cave, the air got thicker and they found more stores for whatever was going on in this cave.

Till they arrived at the entrance of the last chamber. Feeling really creepy and not wanting to enter it. Yet really curious as well. So they took the last step in.

Something stirred… At first they thought it was mice, or bats maybe? They hoped it wasn’t snakes! They managed to stumble over each other trying to get away from the rustling. Just in case.

They thought snakes or a wild animal were about the worst things they might find, here in this desert cave.  But as they looked over their shoulders, they saw something much worse rise and come toward them.



(female form ghoul or ghul is given as ghoulah[8] and the plural is ghilan.)

Her customers, well “friends”, knew enough to knock before they entered her crypt. If they didn’t want to see her getting some or having a ghoulish meal that is. They much preferred their own fetishes acted out than watching someone else get theirs. The secret knock that said they knew her. One no one else would know. It’s not like they could see when someone knocked either. For miles around, all that existed was gravestones.
Some of her customers came over everyday just to see what she looked like that day, so they wouldn’t be shocked when they arrived for their appt. To hear the story of the person she had eaten and how they had died. They would sit in a quiet circle while she told a tale of mayhem or murder. And clap when she was done. She sounded like Scheherezade. Telling tales so she wouldn’t be killed in the morning. So passionate, it could be taken as life or death. If she weren’t already dead. So convincing. Her stories were riveting.
I’m sure they would have fascinated you too, if they hadn’t taken place in a very small town in the middle of a dessert. Miles from anywhere. Where most of the people had Bedouin ancestors. They might still, from a ethnographic POV,
She told tales of brothers who were killing to get the oldest son’s piece of the estate. You might think a little shack in a small village in the middle of nowhere wasn’t worth killing for, but it is when it’s the only roof you have ever known. And if you don’t get it, you will have to leave everyone and everything you love and go to a strange place, with strange people.
There were also tales of sisters who fought over the cute guy at the end of the village lane they both had a crush on. If he had a roof big enough to shelter them and any infants they might bring about.
And there were the drunken spouses who fought until one of them fell and cracked their head. Or forgot to douse the fire and burnt to death. Or beat or neglected their children and woke up to the results. Full of tears and a pounding head. Or the wife or husband who crept into their child’s bed and got caught and killed in a moment of rage.
The only one who had any clout was the village headman and the old herbalist and theirs ended where the village borders did. So there was next to no intrigue in the village. Everyone knew their place.
But the way she told the stories, you’d think Richard Burton had translated it. It was hard to remember that these people lived in the village they all knew and loved. They saw huge palaces and silk gowns in their heads. Even though they knew the people wore linens and heavy cottons.
She was an amazing story teller.

She was also an amazing courtesan. Her lovers came from miles around. For her services. Even though somewhere in their souls they were petrified that one day they would be the subject of her tale. Even though they never knew what she would look like from one day to the next.
She was intense. She was high risk. She was dead ffs!! But oh that made them want her even more. You’d swear they were necrophiles…