Shaman Works 2 – When Normal is Called Insane (a story)

Shaman Works 2 – When Normal is Called Insane

The shaman had been meeting with her new client for a few weeks now. Trying to get to know this person before her. Since they were here with her, they were obv frustrated with the western medical system as the client wasn’t of her tribe. The shaman had taken her on as a ‘good work’ project. Relating to the larger community and learning from each other.

But where was that frustration coming from? Was the client right that they were a misfit in that system? The system did have it’s flaws, but it worked for many people. Why not this client?

So the shaman was watching to see if human had been demonized or pathologized again:

  • fear – terror
  • sad – despair
  • anger – rage
  • hope – hopeless
  • trying – self defeating
  • living life – risk taking
  • cautious – OCD
  • self esteem, self protective – selfish – self aggrandizing

And seeing a person who was displaying as upset, but able to manage their own moods. And genuinely in pain too. They couldn’t sustain the level of pain display they showed, unless they felt it or were delusional. And the shaman had yet to see proof of that.

So today she sent home a ‘supplement’ that wouldn’t do any harm, but would only help those seeking something other than actual relief. Though it wasn’t a definitive test, since sometimes people are the type who want to feel like something is being done.
Something, anything, just something being done. And that is pretty common among people who are out of hope. This also ruled out some level of ‘trying to please the professional’ syndrome. And showing that they were worse or different than was thought.

The shaman also offered a few different options for pain relief to involve the client in the decision-making process of her care. So she felt in control. The shaman’s assistant was well versed in massage, stretches and acupressure points. The client didn’t feel any of them would help. But she chose acupressure since she hadn’t tried that before. Noted. But would she actually engage in it? Would she undermine it?

Time would tell.

The shaman also knew of a chronic pain group that met near the client. It was run by a close friend of the shaman. So she told her about the group. The client could meet at the centre or choose the online approach if getting to the meetings was too hard, at least at first. Time would tell if she attended. The shaman felt that support was much lacking in this client’s life. As it often is.

And the shaman asked the client if she had any hobbies, any creative outlets for her emotions. The client said yes and mentioned drawing and writing. It was something she could do while ‘resting’. Which was fine with the shaman.

Meet and work with people as they are when they come to you. Make small changes at first. That was the shaman’s way of dealing with clients.

So far the client was cooperating too. It had to be sustained though. Time would tell.

Shaman Works – Shame and Blame (a story)

Shaman Works – Shame and Blame

What to do with a client who comes to you that no traditional doctor has figured out what is wrong, let alone how to help. Unless it’s doping them with mood altering meds? Or giving them the few opioids their office is allowed to prescribe in this day’s environment?

Yeah it’s all about the patient being sick, whether they pathologize or criminalize their search for help. Whether they shame or blame them.

The shaman watched the client at first…. her gait was unsteady, even when she didn’t think anyone was watching. So either she was lying to herself, or she wasn’t lying.

The shaman offered her some snacks and said she had to step out for a minute. And hid in the back to watch. The client seemed to stick to soft fruits and easy herbs with mild veg. But she hadn’t mentioned any stomach issues. But anyone in high pain can get nauseous.

If she was faking though, the client might not think of something like that and it wasn’t on most reading they would do what prolonged pain can do to the body, even when things aren’t wrong. Like grinding your teeth and getting worn back teeth, or feeling so worn down and tired that you barely breathe or step without planning ahead. And this is what the shaman was seeing.

The shaman asked her assistant to ask about her career and schooling history. Nothing in health or mind studies.

And ask about the family history. There were addictions. but nothing that caused paralysis or long term mood or behaviour disorders. But boy the family had trouble with keeping their ‘word before God’ which seemed to be important to what they said they believed. Interesting. So in theory there could be something they were self medicating for with the addictions. Or self sabotaging with the addictions and the relationship issues.

The shaman couldn’t rule out a psychological issue in the group. But was it the cause or the reaction? There were markers in both directions.

The assistant asked how much support the client got from friends and family. And found out she was on her own. Hardly ever got out, or had company either. But it does get harder to sustain such things if you don’t feel well.

  • Depressing vs depression though?
  • Anxiety or agoraphobia?
  • Attention or help seeking?
  • Or pain and fatigue?
    It’s not like you are as able if you don’t feel well. And that was an error traditional western medicine often made. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The shaman listened to the interview from the back room. And made note of the occasional tears and frustration. As well as the self-deprecation that was usually said with a laugh or giggle. The client had a really good attitude. There was nothing morose.

The assistant made note that even though she found the budget she was on constricting, she managed and was honest in her dealings.

The shaman sent the client home. That was enough for one sitting. They booked another appointment for further inquiry. There was nothing clear that said what the client was suffering from.

Meanwhile, the shaman sent her home with a basket of gentle foods and directed her to eat nothing else. Was the nausea a new symptom or a product of the pain?

This week would tell.

The Crypt Keeper (a story)

The Crypt Keeper

Imagine your eternity spent reading the souls going in and out of life. The contracts and reviews that the elders are challenged by. And that is just the individuals.

Then there’s the crypt keepers…..

They get to hear all about times of slavery, war, famine, disease, fire and flood. Without the normal births and deaths, that has to be a dark tale.

  • The temples have tales of priests who take advantage of their authority. They prey on the vulnerable. They foment hate instead of preaching love and peace.
  • The civic leaders have tales of hoarding wealth for themselves instead of serving the people.
  • One tribe enslaving their neighbour or trading them to the ships for food for their people. Another fighting on the side of the inquisitors and wondering why no other tribe will trade with them again.

And that is what Kateri heard. Tales of betrayal and torture, tales of bigotry and greed.
Until she needed to cleanse her soul. Because it was a dark, bloody world when it wanted to be.

And Kateri didn’t hear the tales of babies born and loved, or children playing on snow or dew. She heard of death, despair and terror, not people healed or reconciled.

The gorge in her throat rose as each year went by. Until even those who had no psychic ability heard the screams from Kateri’s soul. They could tell that trouble was coming.

The gods weren’t sure what to do to help this crypt keeper, except maybe replace her and give her time to put things in perspective? But focusing on that degree of pain for years at a time….Was there any way to mitigate or heal this?

The shaman, the chief and the wise women gathered. They sang songs of love and peace. Songs of memory of good times, celebration and well being. The hunters told tales of good catches and a tribe well fed. The fishers soon joined them. Then came the farmers.

Soon Kateri heard the people of the village. Softly at first, then her attention was captured more and more, away from her own despair. And she found herself calming down.

The people who all these things had happened to still had hope. And who was Kateri to take that from them? Who was Kateri to mourn when they weren’t?

The gods soon wandered away from their caucus. Sometimes the people found their own solutions.

And Kateri? She went back into the crypt, till her records overwhelmed her again.

Patriarcat, capitalisme, concurrence et servitude – Patriarchy, capitalism, competition and servitude (a story)

Patriarcat, capitalisme, concurrence et servitude – Patriarchy, capitalism, competition and servitude

You’d think climbing the ladder would be easy. Right?

We’d all been thru the same courses, had the same degrees or certs, we were about the same age. Had similar backgrounds too.

All it took was a little creativity to get noticed. And a whole lot of sweat.

Or maybe all it took was staying after work and giving the boss some ‘personal’ attention.

But nothing worked. And it wasn’t because we didn’t try either.

The boss was a douche and he had no sense of how to get the best out of his staff. So we were left scrambling to the sound of his bellows and screams. The turnover was awe inspiring. Some left with ulcers or migraines, some with breakdowns, and one girl actually did leave because she got pregnant with his child. No one ever heard from her again. And we half joked that he had buried her in the back office.

He never gave a good review or recommendation for a job. So we started covering each others’ backs with copies of any good work done that we could prove were theirs. That way no one had to find an explanation for missing time on their CVs.

Till one day the head office honcho came by when the boss was out. He made the mistake of asking how we got along with the boss. He’d noticed the turnover. And we gave him an honest ear full.

The next day, our boss was gone and the head honcho covered our site till they found a replacement. We never heard from the douche again.

Till one day he showed up with a rifle…. It seems he blamed us, instead of himself, for his job loss.

Very few of us survived that day. And those that did only managed because we played dead.

And the douche? The grim reaper took him out with a sniper’s bullet. It seems he’d had a fantasy of ‘suicide by cop’ and got his wish. It was all over his movie playlist when they checked out his apartment.

No one left alive could work there again. Last I heard, the head honcho had sold the site. It seems he’d lost his stomach for it and gone to some island for an early retirement.

Moral of the story? Some douches just never learn.

Connaître, comprendre et participer. To know, to understand and to participate. (a story)

Connaître, comprendre et participer. To know, to understand and to participate.

Joanie and Johnny went to school at the same time, same place with the same people. They sat in the same class, had the same lunch, and lived on the same street. They were even born in the same month.

Joanie and Johnny had a similar family and went to the same church on Sundays. Their moms stayed home with them till they were teens. And their dads worked harder to put enough food on the table. Their household incomes were about the same, at the end of the day.

Johnny went off with the lads to play sports, and learn how to maintain and repair things in a house, and deal with the car. And he got to play 3D games to learn how to use a computer.

Joanie went with the girls to swim and dance, and learn how to sew and clean. With some cooking lessons too. And learned how to type and process on computers. Speed and accuracy were much better for her to know than aim.

Johnny learned how to run with horses and dogs, and Joanie learned how to cuddle cats and change babies.

Mom taught Johnny to dance and do his own laundry and made sure he could at least fry himself an egg and boil noodles or rice to eat.

Dad taught Joanie to change a tire and check the oil, as well as where to find the fuse box and how to check the pilot lights were on on the stove and the furnace.

When he hunted for a job, Johnny went to the factories and some construction firms.

When she hunted for a job, Joanie went to the hospital, the day care and the office of a lawyer and a doctor.

Nobody asked about their hopes or dreams, just if they were prepared for the ‘real world’. Nobody asked if they were happy, just if they had done their chores and lessons.

And until the day they left school and home, Joanie and Johnny kept their heads down and did their work.

It seems like that was all life had for them.

renata est anima mea in nobis. Eine wiedergeborene Seele unter uns. A soul reborn among us (a story)

renata est anima mea in nobis. Eine wiedergeborene Seele unter uns. A soul reborn among us

The elders gathered in the ether to commission and contract a soul for the community below. Asking themselves what this life could bring to the group and how the group would care for it.

When they thought they had all things considered, they invited an angel and demon into the circle and bound them to the soul.

Then they invited a few souls to this arrangement. And one stepped forward. Before the soul left, they made sure that they knew that they were aware that these were the most likely paths, but things might go wrong. One elder gave the soul a few caveats just to be sure they understood.

The soul agreed and joined the speck that now was gathering inside the mother. Father had just jizzed in her.

Mother did all she could, father did too. And the community was at peace, so all seemed well. And most of the elders gathered in the ether wandered off to do other things.

The child soul grew, ate, played, learned and things seemed well.

Finally having reached their age of confirmation, they learned the temple lessons. And recited them before the group. And they were blessed. They were now considered one of the group. No longer a child.

How old were they? Somewhere between 0-8 yrs old in some groups. Perhaps a teen in a few others.

But before this date of blessing, they were a soul, not a human. Led by angel or demon.

A few of the elders in the ether stayed on hand to pray continuously for the community and the child. Fewer stayed when the child was blessed though. Even though the commission, contract and blessing were done. Some elders know that life, it just goes wonky sometimes. No matter how they tried to get it right.

tu tamen ligati! du bist noch ungeschoren You are yet unshriven! (a story)

tu tamen ligati! Du bist noch ungeschoren You are yet unshriven!

We had called ahead and given them a copy of the death certificate and the name of the funeral home. Mom was able to prove she was baptized in the church, whether or not dad had been. They had also been married in the chapel during the week, because of her family’s long standing membership. The fact that dad had never attended after their marriage was a problem, but not insurmountable. It took some promises of extra money for the burial, and we were making the arrangements to bury dad. The stubborn old man who only used the church when it met his needs.

Dad wasn’t evil, just the guy who went out drinking with his buddies every week. The guy who didn’t report all his income. The guy who cheated on his wife and was overzealous with disciplining his kids. A sinner. There are a lot of sinners buried in church graveyards. Some might say there are very few saints buried in them as well. So…. this is where we were.

And it took some tithings, paying for the announcements in the church news letter, paying for the elders to announce his death from the pulpit. The priest refused to do more than eulogize dad on the day, in a side chapel big enough to hold small viewings.
And of course paying for the plot, the stone and the upkeep on the grave. The plot was upgraded since mom had her name on the couple’s stone and intended to be buried there as well. Their plot was moved to the front graveyard on the church property. Where people might actually see it.

  • Not like the paupers and criminals from the local jail they had agreed to bury for a fee.
  • Not like the orphans they took in when the local children’s council didn’t have room for them.
  • Not even like the members who weren’t in that good standing as mom and her family had been.

But not in her family mausoleum either. Even she couldn’t get him in there. The church’s good will didn’t extend quite that far.

So we had a private family memorial at the church, in the side chapel. And the crowds who wanted to honour mom or our family were invited to a venue big enough for a big celebration of his life. Or more to the point, hers. Because a few of his drinking buddies and colleagues from work showed up, but didn’t stay long. The formality wasn’t their thing.

Mom was queen for the day, the new widow dressed properly for the occasion. Receiving the long line of condolences. As she should have been. Because she was the good wife, the decent person, the good mom we treasured.

Or at least that’s what many there thought of her. And they would till she died. Till she was actually buried. Because once a person was under the ground, the church made sure they stayed there. It was after all hallowed ground.

Till it wasn’t.

When Do I Become a Citizen?

When Do I Become a Citizen? – (Questions from the new course I’m taking online.)

When are you a citizen of your country? Of your community?

  • When you arrive? When your family does?
  • When you actively participate?
  • When you vote in elections?
  • When you take up arms to defend it?
  • When you care for other members?
  • When you participate in it’s sustenance?

And how many generations do you have to show this pattern before you are seen by others as a good citizen? Do you yourself have to bring genetic material (your biological child) forward to be a citizen?

It’s not as easy a question as it seems when you first ask yourself, is it?


in ancient Greece, the condition of citizen was established by three elements:

  • origin, (I was born here, but I was not the first people here)
  • belonging to a social group,
  • and territorial location (as long as my family has been in Canada, we have lived in Southwestern Ontario),


the “city” was not simply the physical place that the subjects lived, but referred to the system of regulated relationships that allowed coexistence (we are/were among those who produced food for the community and took care of those who were ill or elderly)


in terms of identity and the expression of belonging to a specific political community. (As woman, as mother, as caregiver, and as academic, I participated in discussions and listened to others)


the ways in which people relate and from the ways in which they build their life in community ( I looked for places where I and those I cared for could traverse our day’s path without interference or violence. I tried not to impede others’ paths)


Quality of Life Studies and Public Policy