#1566

Devotion to the Mother Cat

I’m now three months in to my devotion to Bast. So far things are going well – She seems to approve of my approach to devotion and is clear when She wants something done, or done differently. One thing I have found, though, is that it can be difficult to fit devotions into a busy day, especially if you don’t have the time/energy/wellness to conduct something extended. I know most spiritual people struggle with this, so I thought I’d just mention some of the simple things I do during the week for Bast.

1) Music – I’m lucky that I can often listen to music in my cubicle at work. This gives me an opportunity to honor Bast during the day while otherwise being a boring adult. Below are some of the songs Bast enjoys (with Youtube links):

The Lion King Broadway soundtrack (especially Grasslands Chant, The Lioness Hunt, and Shadowland)
When You Believe – The Prince of Egypt soundtrack
Alegria - Cirque du Soleil
Adiemus - Karl Jenkins/Enya
Awake and In the Land of Twilight – Yuki Kajiura

2) Reading – One thing Bast demanded pretty quickly in my devotion was a focus on cat fiction. Since January I’ve literally only read books with feline characters and She absolutely loves them. Below are some of the books I’d definitely recommend not just to followers of Bast, but to anyone who likes feline fiction – or just really good books in general. (Be warned, though; all of these books are darker than you’d expect and at least two of the Warriors books so far have made me bawl.)

The Named series – Clare Bell
The Warriors series – Erin Hunter
Yeshua’s Cats (books 1 and 2) – C.L. Francisco
Tomorrow’s Sphinx – Clare Bell
Varjak Paw – Sf Said
The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
Per-Bast: A Tale of Cats in Ancient Egypt – Lara-Dawn Stiegler

3) Jewelry - I’ve been a cat person since I was born, so I already had a lot of cat jewelry when Bast came calling. I’ve asked Her to bless these pieces one by one as I wear them, and now consider them symbols of my devotion. I’ll choose certain ones to wear on days when I feel I need extra strength, guidance, or protection, or just when I want to feel closer to Her.

4) Writing and Art – Two ways I try to honor Bast in my spare time are through writing and art. I can handle the writing part – hymns, prayers, etc – pretty easily, but art not so much. So I’ve taken up practicing drawing cats, mostly doodles on my notes at work, and when I get home I sometimes play dollmaker games online and make depictions of Bast. I think Bast enjoys these because I put time and effort into them, so even though I’m not the one actually drawing the picture, I’m still being creative and thoughtful in Her honor. bast1 Doll-Divine-Creation-wide (2) bast

#1564

There’s a part of me that will never accept there isn’t a spell to bring you back. That part of me will always wonder at the words, the ingredients, the timing. Maybe it’s possible, it will argue. Maybe you just need the right combination of Bradbury and Zelazny, Irish Rovers and Bob Seger, a circle of beach sand sprinkled with Guinness and in the center an eagle feather laid atop a Harley Davidson t-shirt; maybe if you just keep searching you’ll find enough little memories to place at the foot of that weathered stone until one day “No Regrets” won’t make your heart twist to read. And I hate that part of me, but I can’t stand to snuff it out, because what if it’s right?

#1562

Some days I want to glean meaning from your death. Other days I know it was just some random shit thing that happened. In my dreams society has crumbled, humanity reduced to warring factions and desperate survival, and still what I miss most as I stand by the ocean is hearing songs on the radio that remind me of you. Upon waking I struggle for a moment, wondering why my mother is dating someone, until I remember (over and over and over) – you’re gone.

#1559

Hannibal and Queer-Baiting

[ General spoilers below for both seasons ]

Queer-baiting, the act of hinting at queer characters or relationships without ever openly acknowledging them, is a hot topic right now as TV networks strive to garner LGBT viewership while still adhering to traditional heteronormative narratives. A lot of popular shows are commonly held up as examples of queer-baiting – Sherlock being a popular example – and for the most part these claims are accurate. However, there’s at least one show where the common claim of queer-baiting is not only inaccurate, but acts as erasure of an actual canon queer-platonic relationship: NBC’s Hannibal. NBC’s Hannibal is often cited as an example of queer-baiting due to the deep connection between the two main characters, Dr. Hannibal Lector and Special Agent Will Graham. It’s obvious from season one, and extremely so in season two, that these two men are drawn to each other in a way neither can quite understand. Hannibal is fascinated by Will’s mind, yes, and Will is at first drawn to Hannibal as a mentor and then out of suspicion he may be a killer, but the viewer knows there’s more. The show wants the viewer to know there’s more.

By citing NBC’s Hannibal as an example of queer-baiting, what people are saying is this: because these two characters never have sex or profess romantic love for each other, they can’t have a queer relationship. This erases not only the spectrum of asexuality and aromanticism, but denies the importance and influence of non-romantic love. After all, what is more queer than two seemingly heterosexual men* forming a bond so powerful that one is willing to cripple the other when he feels that bond, and the future possible through that bond, has been betrayed? And what about Will who, in season 2, grows so close to Hannibal that even the viewer is unsure whether he has slipped from the side of the good guys to become Hannibal’s protege?

The relationship between Hannibal and Will is arguably the most fascinating aspect of the show. We watch Will move from disliking Hannibal to cautiously trusting him as a therapist and then, perhaps without Will even realizing it, confiding in him as a friend and mentor. As Will faces situations and experiences no one around him can quite understand, Hannibal becomes the only person to whom Will can turn; the only person, he believes, who he can completely trust with the growing instability of his mind. And even when Will realizes this trust has been incredibly misplaced, season 2 finds him reconnecting with Hannibal – ostensibly to spring the trap on him, but are we sure? Is Will fishing for Hannibal, or learning to hunt with him? Even until the very last episode of the season, we as the viewer don’t know for certain. What we do know is that Will loves Hannibal; and if you love someone, how do you betray them, even when you know it’s the right thing to do? How can Will bear to give up arguably the only person who can truly understand his mind?

Even Hannibal, a brilliant psychopath five steps ahead of everyone else on the show, is blinded by this love to the point of delusion. Despite what we expect to be Hannibal’s inability to love, to feel hope or longing or beauty, he truly wants this life where he and Will are together as partners in crime. And in this life, who is with them? Abigail, the girl they both view as a daughter. Hannibal dreams of a life with Will and Abigail, just the three of them, and seems willing to do anything to achieve it. So when this dream is ripped away from him, Hannibal’s reaction is almost understandable; we see his rage, his grief, his desire to punish. If he cannot have that life, neither can Will. He takes from his beloved what his beloved has taken from him. Haven’t many of us had that desire?

That’s the beauty, and tragedy, of this show. Hannibal and Will can never “work”. They can never be friends or partners. They can never be mentor and mentee. They can never be anything but enemies drawn inexplicably to each other. They love each other, and that love is destructive, abusive, manipulative. But it’s love, whether either of them can admit it.

Anyone who cites NBC’s Hannibal as an example of queer-baiting either hasn’t seen the show or simply didn’t understand what they were watching. Hannibal steps far beyond the usual narrative of gay or lesbian characters and shows us a form of queerness otherwise never represented in mainstream media. Not only that, but it shows us the beauty and danger love can possess, romantic or not. NBC’s Hannibal is a show that celebrates the power of platonic love, even as it uses that love to (pun intended) stick the knife in our hearts and give it a twist.

*While Hannibal engages briefly in sex with a woman in the show, I don’t believe he’s strictly heterosexual/heteroromantic. I think the show gives us too much evidence to suggest Hannibal at least to be on the asexual spectrum, if not also aromantic.

#1548

this lacy tank top and matching cardigan, this semi-punk yet office-safe hair, my inkless skin and unpierced ears, this isn’t a lifestyle, this isn’t fashion sense or preference, this is camouflage, this is me hiding in plain sight, this is a cloak of femininity, now you see me now you don’t, and only when you get too close will you learn that underneath that cloak is rage and wreckage, my beautiful beastly self, only then will you learn that I’m patterned to blend into my surroundings yet I still have claws and teeth and a predator’s mind when threatened, don’t be fooled by the pretty tiger stripes, I just wear them to hunt and hide

#1537

Dear favorite character,

There’s no easy way to cushion this blow, no delicate way to break this news, so I’m just going to say it:

You’re going to die.

I’m sorry. There’s no avoiding it. It’s a curse I’ve inflicted upon you, one neither of us can reverse. It’s easier to simply try to accept your fate, as I do. Once I realize who you are, I know it’s over. There’s no hope. The ending is written in blood. I’ll still mourn you – gods, how I’ll mourn you – but I know it’s inevitable.

Please don’t ask me for exceptions to the rule. There are none. It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re just a minor character or on the cover of the comic. You might be a villain who just redeemed themselves, or a friend who just betrayed the good guys. You might be the antihero, the best friend, the mentor, the star-crossed lover, the silent guardian, the cute sidekick. Human or animal, young or old, good or evil. It doesn’t matter. Nothing will keep you safe.

Even the form of media doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you live in the book; you’ll die in the movie (I’m looking at you, Muldoon). It doesn’t matter if you live in the movie; you’ll die in the book (and you, Malcolm). It doesn’t matter if you’re off the show; they’ll bring you back in season four just to kill you off (I can’t say your name yet – I’m not ready). You’ll be the only one to die in a Disney movie or a children’s book. On a show filled with violence, in a movie where everyone dies, your death will still be the worst. There’s a very good chance you’ll be played by Sean Bean.

I can’t tell you for sure when it will happen. It may be when you’ve just grasped a small measure of happiness for the first time; it may be when you think you are most triumphant or have revenged a lost lover; it may be after a long, painful battle against your worst enemy or a cruel illness. It might even be so completely unexpected, so shocking and nonsensical, that your death will leave me staring wordlessly at nothing, trying to comprehend what just happened. You might even do it yourself, as if hastening the ending you already know is inevitable.

I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to get you messed up in all this. You’re just so interesting or creepy or cute or cruel or tragic, and I like you, and now you’re completely fucked. That’s just the way the world works, apparently. You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. But I’ll always remember you.

– Elyssa

P.S If you have white hair, I’m especially sorry. And no, I wouldn’t ask why if I were you. Some things are better left unknown.

#1533

guys, I did a thing!
this queer’s more visible now
weird lazy femme ace

[ I know I never post pictures of myself here, but I’ve been wanting to shave my hair for years, so you have to suffer through some selfies. Also, “weird lazy femme ace” may be my new descriptor. ]

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