CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19): It makes me famished just to think of you there stewing in your hunger. You almost remind me of a bear that's just awoken from hibernation or a political prisoner who's been on a hunger strike. And yet I know it's not a craving for food that you're suffering from. It's not even an impossible yearning for sex or fame or power or money, either. You're starving, you're ravenous, you're mad for something you don't have a name for -- something whose existence you don't fully understand and can't quite imagine. But I predict you'll uncover a fuller truth about this thing very soon, and then you'll be more than halfway toward gratifying your hunger.

i must admit, mr. brezsny, you actually kinda creeped me out with how accurate you are this week. I suppose it's because i've gradually been growing more restless over the last several weeks. there's been something gnawing at the back of my mind and it keeps me up at night. i pace in my bedroom, i'm distracted at work, i can't focus. i brood. i look out the window sometimes and picture myself crashing through the glass and flying away.

...or flying toward something. i can never be sure.

but then you said "stewing in your hunger" and it hit me just how right you are about that. the stewing part, and the hunger part. i'm pacing because i'm hungry. i'm restless because i'm hungry. i can't focus because i'm obsessing on this nameless thing that i'm hungry for.

part of me thinks it's hunger for a relationship. part of me thinks it's hunger for a relationship and something else. but both parts of me are in agreement that i'm ready for the real thing. a while ago i came to the realization that i am not happy alone; that i am just plain built to be part of something special with another person. however, i wasn't exactly ready back then for anything special with anyone. but at least i wasn't denying my nature any longer, saying that i was fine by myself and all that other post womens' lib crap.

but once i made the decision that a relationship was what i wanted, the hunger and restlessness began to grow. when i make the decision to do something, i don't waste time. i get up that moment and begin doing things to bring my end goal into fruition. i don't stop until i get what i want. it's just how i am.

however, i want the right relationship, and that's just not something you can rush. it's also not a goal you can work on that has any sort of measurable progress. you're alone, alone, alone...suddenly you're with someone. and i don't want just anyone, either, but the right one. i'm talking about the one, my one. my funkalicious groovemate.

if he's out there.

but i made the decision it's what i wanted, and aside from continuing to groom and mold myself into my own perfect, funkalicious groovemate, there's really nothing i can do. i'm not out to meet people, or get back into the dating scene, or play the field. i'm not out to waste my time or tire myself out "making the rounds." i'm just not.

but going about my life, trusting that it'll "just happen" is rather discouraging. my life consists of work, work, work, coming home and playing catch-up on chores that never get completely caught up. in the fall there will be school, and homework (which i'm dreading, but for entirely different reasons), and i've decided to pick up Freedom Revolution again, because i deserve it.

i don't have time to "play the field," and some would say that i don't have any time for any sort of relationship at all. but i say that i would have all the time in the world for the right person. however, i can't do anything to make that person show up. i can only continue as i have been.

and that sucks. hard. it's frustrating, and disheartening, and in the meantime i'm so lonely that it actually hurts right in my solar plexus. pathetic as it sounds. "lonely" is such an ugly, pathetic word. i'm surrounded by pairs of happy, comfortable partners and am so lonely i'll take affection from any direction it's offered right now. and i'm sorry if that doesn't sound quite as funktastic as Delena of the Funkywild is. but no matter how intelligent, or smart, or cute, or strong i am, i need to be touched and hugged and kissed and held while i sleep and told i'm pretty, and an entire host of other things that are so pathetic for a Wild Amazon to be admitting.

but fuck that, and fuck womens' lib, and fuck how it makes me look, and fuck what i think about what's pathetic, and fuck what anyone else thinks about what i need. i know what i need, and i know i want, and i know what i've had to live without.

there's also the conundrum of my love and loyalty for my parents...and my own happiness. if there were someone out there who was perfect for me, but who did not exactly meet my parents' standards, which would be more important? my loyalty to them, respect and obedience? or knowing i was passing up my chance to live a happy life with that perfect someone long after my parents are gone? the thought of either one twists a knife in my heart. there's injustice with either choice. but the thought of being kept from happiness brings a special pain. i've been abused so much, and had so much taken away from me from a very young age. the wish to be happy seems such a small thing to want.

i don't want to go another thirty years still pining for happiness, walking around incomplete.



i was lying upon my naked back and staring up at a sky as vivid as a bluejay's wing. clouds decorated the blue expanse; big, fluffy bundles like the goddess had come with a huge frosting applicator and squeezed out perfect little puffs of white frosting.

was the weather always paradise perfect, here in the Valley? it couldn't be Paradise; i wasn't dead. perhaps it was enough to simply be, to feel paradise around me. perhaps it was Her telling me that anywhere is paradise, depending on my own state of mind.

it was difficult to feel, though. the pomegranate priestess' words had pierced straight through me. i reached up and rubbed the place between my breasts, where the other priestess had invoked the blue-skinned, flame-haired vulture goddess aspect within and lain my breast in twain with her sickle.

there should have been a scar there. the wound had rent the bone, leaving my beating heart open to the sky as my life's blood poured into the River Funk. but my skin was smooth and perfect. i had long ago discovered if i brooded too deeply upon the remembered pain --vivid and sensitive as my memory was-- the wound would reopen of its own accord as if freshly cut. if i focused on the lessons learned, the wound closed. if i brooded, i bled.

lesson learned. self-pity and holding onto past trauma injured my body, mind, and soul as if freshly inflicted..and i was the one applying the pain. musings upon the lesson, and the strength i gained while floating half-dead along the River, strengthened me. nourished me.

the skin between my breasts itched. i was brooding, and i knew it. so many questions, and no experience in my entire life was sufficient to lead me to an answer. how to choose among the sisters? how to know to which sect of them i belonged? i felt a kinship with them all.

the vial was its own weight, and dilemma. whom to bless with its contents? who was deserving, or in most need of a baptism in blood? the mystery of turning water into blood was mine, but how? what to do, how to use it? such responsibility weighed heavily upon me, and i could feel it in the weight of the vial itself. it grew heavier by the moment.

to leave Valley-in-the-Glade? its beautiful colors and gently rolling hills were no longer a safe haven for me; i felt it in my blood. the presence of the blood priestess had changed all that. i was free to remain there as long as i wished, but i knew it was time to leave. however, leaving terrified me. i didn't know how to leave, or even if i truly wanted to. i was comfortable there, and all my needs were attended--

...no, that wasn't true. not entirely. something within me ached, but i couldn't name what it was. the longer i remained in the Valley, the more of its bounty i ate and by every pampered night, it would feel emptier and emptier to me. soon i would be starving. but for what?

i closed my eyes and gave up trying. all i was doing was going 'round in circles trying to figure out something that couldn't be solved.

"the last mystery of the Valley," said a voice.

i sat up, startled, and looked around. up above me sat the most beautiful man i had ever seen. for once and all i knew the Valley was not only alive, but aware. how else, then, could it know to show me my ideal man, perfect in every detail to my own tastes from his long hair and stubble around his mouth, to his broad shoulders, barrel chest, kind eyes and broad proportions?

i was breathless. he was naked, as was i, and i was blushing!

cheeks burning, i curled my legs beneath me to hide my sex, and shook my dreadlocks to cover my bare torso.

he laughed. "too late. i already got a good eyeful." at my pained expression, he laughed harder. "but i shall pretend i saw nothing and that my mind is as pure as the water of the pool in which you bathed earlier."

my jaw dropped.

"you're very pretty," he said.

i buried my face in my hands and squealed with shame and embarrassment. suddenly i felt hands around my shoulders, large and warm and gentle.

"come now," he said. "is it so terrible to know you had an admirer watching from the trees? like actaeon as he spied artemis at her bath."

"and was torn apart by her hounds," i finished, face still buried in my hands.

he chuckled, and gently pulled my hands away from my face. "true, but you have a much more generous heart than she perhaps had, and would have mercy on one such as me. i was simply unable to keep silent any longer. and you looked in need of a friend."

i shook my head. "it's nothing," i said. "it's stupid. but it's nothing." i was already burying it deep down, hiding it from him as i had always hidden everything from everyone.

"dear priestess," he said gently. "now don't do that. don't bury it. i don't care what you feel, as long as you don't feel nothing. get inflamed with hunger or justice or sadness or beauty or love," he laughed, "or embarrassment at being caught naked when you thought you were alone. but don't submit to apathy."

...apathy? was that what i had been doing? no, surely not! all i was doing was putting it away, where it wouldn't get in the way of what needed to be done. emotions always got in the way, were painful distractions and conspired against me to leave me tender after yet another betrayal, yet another abusive relationship as the illusion of love disintegrated and i saw it for what it had always been. by shoving them down into the deepest, darkest little corner of my mind, i had made sure my emotions did not rule me.

pragmatism and a refusal to romanticize things had been what kept me from hurting. from wondering why i was so unlovable that everyone i had ever loved had thrown me away. that was what i had been doing...right?

he smoothed the back of his hand down my cheek. "don't let yourself be shunted into numbness. you can't afford to be cut off from the source of your secret self, even if it means having to feel like hell for a while." he leaned in closer to whisper in my ear. i closed my eyes and inhaled his nearness. "and the odd thing is that if you're willing to go through hell, you won't have to go through hell. so to hell with your poker face and neutrality and dispassionate stance."

eyes still closed, i gave a small, wry smile. "be a wild thing, not a mild thing, huh?"

he kissed my forehead. "precisely."


Ex animo, Delena

i looked at the priestess for what seemed an eternity. the small vial of water-turned-blood was as heavy as sin, and getting heavier.

"you feel it calling, don't you?" she said.

i sighed. "more like i can't deny its calling any longer," i said. "i've stuffed it down for so long; my whole life. but now...lately...it's shouting so loudly it's like some white noise in the background that has slowly gotten louder until it's all i can hear." i shook my head. "everywhere i turn, it's all i can see. every sound is drowned out by it. every lesson turns me back to it. there's just no escape."

"and why would you run from it, then, sister?" she said, smiling. "if it is tied to you, it does not matter how you run, for it will always follow you. do you not recall our sister, skeleton woman?"

"but reprieve!" i almost shouted. "not one second of peace! i need a break from all that noise so i can think! i know she's down there, and i know i need to deal with it. but i need time to get used to the idea and decide what i'm going to do about it."

the priestess shook her head. "and how much time have you had already? you knew everything was there, and you ignored it. that part of yourself you run from. how long have you ignored her, trapped her down, silenced her, kept her in the darkness and neglected her?"

the vial of blood weighed as much as a mountain now. the loose knot holding the ragged scarf around my head came apart, and my dreadlocks tumbled down my back. i remembered how my silhouette had looked so medusan, and in the back of my mind i could hear the faint sound of many snakes hissing in my ears. they sounded angry. ever growing, snakes continually shed their skins, and i could almost hear words in their hissing as they reprimanded me for refusing to shed my own skin.

"she needs to stay there," i whispered, horrified. "she gets in my way."

the pomegranate priestess stood, then, and brushed herself off. "then perhaps we were wrong, and this affinity for our path is only on the surface. stay here in the Valley, then, little sister. for apparently this is as far as you go."

she turned to walk away, but i reached out and snatched her blood-stained hand in my own. i was staring off into the distance, unable to look up and meet her eyes. "she's hated," i said. "perhaps not by me, but she is hated. when i embrace her, i am scorned. they mistreat me, and scold me, and cheapen me, and use me. i am not some cheap, simple thing to be cast aside!"

"they don't understand," she said gently. "they have lost their own innocence, so when they see yours they cannot bear it. some would subsume it, as ancient societies believed consuming the body would absorb the spirit as well. others would destroy it within you, for your obvious power reminds them of their starving lack. this part of you, this other, is someone you run from because of the pain you believe others inflict upon you because of her.

"i say to you that you have done yourself --and her-- a grave injustice. you have misunderstood her, and yourself. you have hidden her away so none could abuse her, yet you continue their work and abuse her far worse than anyone else could ever dream. and so i ask you, sister, why you curse those who have deeply wronged you, why you refuse to forgive most of them, when you do nothing but continue their work upon yourself? do you do this for some measure of control? to please them? to make sense of things you could not possibly have understood when you were young? some other reason entirely, or perhaps some combination of them all?

"whatever it is, my dear sister, it is something you will need to conquer before we can allow you your first crimson of our sisterhood." she pulled her hand free from mine. "if that is still your wish."

and she left me there in Valley-in-the-Glade, naked and trembling and clutching a vial of my own blood. few ever come this far, they had said. fewer survive.

...i was beginning to understand why.


i follow tony robbins on twitter, and earlier he asked what we would do if we knew this was our last day here. i've heard that question before. we all have. it's everywhere. but for some reason, tonight i thought about it.

if i only had 24 hours, i'd call someone up and confess i'm falling in love. nothing huge, nothing grandiose. just quiet, and warm, and there. i'd fill up the Funkmobile and drive to the coast, sit at Hug Point on the huge rock at the south end and write haiku. i'd call up suzi and *t* and li'l *c* and tell them how much i love and miss them. i'd fix myself a huge, honkin' plate of spaghetti and say to hell with celiac disease. oh! and cake. yellow cake with homemade chocolate frosting. i'd buy neat new toys for my cat and give him catnip and just give him the happiest day with me he's ever had.

the next, natural question is, "so then why aren't you doing those things now? why wait until your last day on earth?"

well, to be honest, aside from the whole eating spaghetti and confessing something akin to love (which is probably more like trust, which considering it's me we're talking about, it's probably even more miraculous), i already do those things. i call up the people i love. i tell them i love and miss them. i make sure my kitty is the happiest kitty on the planet. everything else takes care of itself.

right now, i should be taking care of me. and i'm tired. i'm headed to bed.