The Body

I’m Back. Welcome to Witch ‘n Bitch.

Dear Gentle and Sexy Reader,

VOTE, y’all. Are you registered?

You’ve noticed I’ve been away for fucking ever a couple years. And that I’m no longer over at askdrding.com but over here, on a big-ass fancy professional website. It took me a minute, but I finally fully launched myself all the way out of the broom closet of being a semi-anonymous, sweary, shit-talking psychologist blogger who wrote in the third goddamned person for reasons unknown even to myself, to finally officially revealing myself as a the straight up Tarot reading witch and shamanic practitioner I’ve been, well, pretty much forever. I’m assuming you’re not totally shocked.

I’m over on IG a lot. And I have a cool af intersectional witch group forming over on the AskDrDing FB page, called Witch ‘n Bitch. But, you ask, “How do I know if Witch ‘n Bitch is my jam? I don’t own an actual cape or BoS, you see.” Excellent question!

First off, this is non-binary space. IDGAF about your genotype or phenotype or if you identify as male or female or have transcended the gender binary altogether. C’mon over. Tell us your pronouns.

Second: you don’t have to be a big boss witch, a Wiccan, or a witch of any kind. I’m a retired Catholic, a former altar girl at St. Patrick’s who still digs a lot of the traditions I was raised in, and in fact, it’s where my interests in mysticism originated back when I was a fake nun. We talk about what being a witch means, or doesn’t mean. In the end, it’s the results that matter to me most, so if you resonate with the group but don’t consider yourself a witch or a believer in the otherworlds, cool.

If you’re someone who’s into using magic/k, witchery, energy work, shamanism and/or other embodied spiritual practice to help fix the flaming pile of used diapers that is this country right now, including room for “deep trouble/good-hearted” hexing* along with healing…

If you’re someone who groks #blacklivematter, #POClivesmatter, #ibelievesurvivors, #resist, #LBGTQIA, and #bodypositivity along with #ableismexists …

If you’re able to dialog with others in a respectful way about spiritual and metaphysical topics and be willing to examine the ways these intersect with the lived experiences of oppression and patriarchy in your own life and in the lives of others…all while conspiring (literally “to breathe together”) to heal some shit in the right-now…

If you are an intersectional feminist who maybe secretly digs “woo” or who ain’t quite sure about the rest of it, but is open to learning…

If you’d also like to trade old-timey or newfangled spellwork, recipes, rituals, charms or invocations, discuss healing techniques, explore your spiritual/intuitive gifts, share stories of boldness, love, empowerment, healing, awakening, and grief…

You get the idea. Psychology, a discipline which used to encompass soul, mind, and spirit, has spent the last 50 years or so trying to forcibly separate the soul from the mind, and my stance in WnB is that I’m here to help make reintroductions and hold space for folks interested in limning these deeps. I expect the group to function independently at some point, like when I go on vacation or enter my hibernation cave in the winter.

You absolutely must answer the questions three to get in. Fact. This space must remain not only safe, but sacred. I’m not here to argue about it. My house, my rules, but the rooms inside are yours.

If I’m teaching anything, it’s along the lines of rediscovering and nourishing aspects of the Self and its ways of knowing that have been disallowed, fractioned off, suppressed, oppressed, or devalued. There are many Ways of Knowing. Multitudes. Not just the ones we’ve all been taught in textbooks and by the culture at large, or even in classes. Deeper, older ways that can be helpfully integrated with modern understandings if we have but eyes to look; ways, that, if applied over time, can result in a return to wholeness, to original blessing (as opposed to original sin), to singing the tired old bones to life again, and make them stronger from the breaking.

I am here to lovingly affirm that we can learn through joy as well as pain. We can regain power that seems forever lost to us at the hands of oppressive structures and forces. Every human being, I believe, has this ability to call their spirit back when the shit comes down.

I’m deliberately letting the ways and means of this group coalesce in a natural way. We are still “forming and norming” what this group is going to be about, because I had that “storming” part covered, around the time of the autumnal equinox and Aries moon, when something deep in my marrow finally arose and plainly spoke: ENOUGH.

Enough.

I’m turning 50 in a few months. This is a time of great change and even turmoil, the realization of unfinished business and incomplete mourning, of deeply knowing the certainty of death and the finitude of earthly time. Midlife can be, and is for me, the second adolescence of the psyche and body, and a revisiting of the awful and also glorious truths of life as revealed by the turning of the wheel.

It’s go time, baby. Let’s make it count. Tell your friends. Only the ones you know will be into it, though, ok? I’m weary of arguing with those who do not seem to be able to recognize that everybody matters, or nobody matters. Let’s create a cauldron of healing, of dreaming a new future where this gobshite diaper-fire patriarchy is a thing of the past and burnt to bits, and a healthy world is invoked and dreamt awake, where the Sacred Masculine and the Sacred Feminine coexist right here, right now, in real life, in real time, for earth and all her peoples. Blessed Be forever.

*Hexing = to bind and thereby neutralize harm, render harmless, dissipate, ward off, protect against, etc. You get it.

Viva La Frida(y)!

Those of you few who knew Dr. Ding when she was but a mere shrinklette in short pants will recall my 1990s-era fascination with the art and life of Frida Kahlo. I was so taken with her mustachioed self-portraiture that I bought every book about her work I could get my pre-Starbucks-stained hands on. I found her artwork at once mystically compelling, intensely personal, unflinching, dramatic, bold, and utterly glamorous.

They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.

  • Quoted in Time Magazine, “Mexican Autobiography” (195304-27)

For years people gave me Frida switchplate covers, pins, magnets, prints, and biographies and I devoured them like neocons do natural resources; expansively, greedily, and completely without thought to issues of supply or sustainability.

Eventually, I burned out a little bit, because you can only look Frida in the eye for so long without a certain amount of spiritual discomfort setting in. After all, the woman fetishized her own pain and suffering, and much of her work is a testament to her ability to put up with an incredible amount of relationship bullshit, much of which was self-inflicted.

That armchair critique of course is offered from the fairly irrelevant sociocultural standpoint of a feminist honky headshrinker living in the 21st century with a penchant for satire, sarcasm and probably lots of other things that start with an “s” — all of which which can be safely dispensed without fear of political retribution or professional reprisal. Frida did not have those priviliges, and was poorly understood and often unappreciated in her own time.

The photograph is from a Frida Kahlo lookalike contest, and you can check out some really neat pics from it here by stephan-zielinski.com. You can read more about Frida and her life here. The site oceansbridge.com features a selection of her paintings.

Thanks to Dave

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p.s. I’m fairly certain that the person third from the left is a dude, which I find absolutely delightful. This world sorely needs more outsiders, more clowns, more holy weirdness, more mystery, more dudes in drag.

Self Improvement DIY: How To Make Your Very Own Intrapsychic Sith Lord For Fun And Profit

This One Goes Out To All The Little People

So if you’ve read this, you’ve undoubtedly begun to question Dr. Ding’s sanity intentions. No matter. I want to be perfectly clear…I write this blog entirely for the amusement of the wee fae folk who live in my closet and multiply my shoe collection while writing indignant letters to the editor about stuff like shoddy toadstools and weed-killer.

Okay, in all fairness, I guess this blog is really for myself plus the expansion of my ongoing bid for Global Domination, Non-Nefarious Type, Recurrent, Severe.

Back to how to assemble your very own Intrapsychic Sith Lord. I’ve probably lost you already, so feel free to slap yourself around a little, a la one of those fast-talking film noir private eyes who wear their trousers hiked up to their armpits. Better?

Saintly Advisor v. Peculiar Advisor: Saying The Same Thing?

A very peculiar advisor of mine (not Saintly Advisor) in Gradual School once told me, “Young Dingenstein, you must know this if you are to know anything of importance in psychotherapy: defend the Self, not the Ego.” I of coure was totally puzzled by this remark, as Saintly Advisor had just given me the whole importance-of-intimidation knowledge the semester before. I pegged it immediately as Crazy Talk, and filed it away under Things I Will Act Like I Understand When I’m In The Presence Of Faculty, because I was really into my Jennifer Aniston haircut and brown lipstick back then, and had a hard time focusing without the benefit of two pots of coffee, three diet Pepsis, and a pack of menthol Marlboros.

The following semester, during the course of clinical supervision, Peculiar Advisor made the same defend-the-Self speech again, only this time it started to sink in a little bit further. By the time I finished Gradual School, ninety freaking years later, I had a somewhat more encompassing idea of what he meant, but still the deeper applications of this statement confounded me utterly.

The Delicate Art Of Self-Protection

So here’s the thing. If you’re someone who might be construed as a Lightworker (read: decent, helpful person who feels guided to make the world a better place), you may at times feel uncomfortable or awkward defending yourself against the blandishments of the myriad asshats and douchebags of planet earth. This is where Darth Maul and his ilk come in.

It’s perfectly okay to defend yourself with a lightsaber parry/thrust/spin, e.g. “Your (particular action) is not alright with me” or perhaps “I said ‘no’ and I meant it so stop pissing down my leg and telling me it’s raining” and even “Hi-yah! Back, you varlet, back you knave. Back I say!” Or words to that effect. Most of us are raised to think this is effrontery. It’s not.

In fact, it is non-negotiably neccessary to have the ability to stand up for your deep convictions, to insist on your integrity, to speak out against injustice and abuses and to pierce right to the heart of things when who you are is being impugned.

It is NOT such a good idea to defend your ego in the same manner. The ego is all about maintaining the illusion of power, control, and security, and it’s pretty short-sighted. The classy move here is generally to let the force pass rather than join in the affray and make yourself look just as insecure, fear-based, and, well…douchey as the person or persons who are attacking you.

Hi, I’m Nice. Now Start Treating Me Bad

My only substantive critique of the whole Lightworker (see also: Positive Psychology) movement amongst helping professionals and their allies is that it can tend to leave a person prey to the swindlers, the charlatans, and the predators of this world. Why? I’d hazard the cause has something to do with a relentless and occasionally naïve focus on Everything Pleasant And Groovy. And trust me, having spent a great deal of time behind bars, I can assure you that there are decidedly unpleasant folks are out there, and that at some point you’re going to run into one.

This is where the Intrapsychic Sith Lord can be your best friend as you cut a swath through the bullshittery and general idiocy that can befall the Lightworkers of this world. Sometimes, in order to protect what is good and true within you, you gotta be willing kick a little ass.

So how do you deal with mean people when you’re not?

Well, let’s think about this: how did Darth Maul* get to be so fucking awesomely awesome at kicking Jedi ass?

Simple: rehearsal.

Practice saying “no” to people who don’t have your best interests at heart. Practice a few short but polite phrases when you’re confronted with something you find repugnant. Learn to defend your own honor instead of waiting for somone to rush to your aid. Borrow some verbal jiu-jitsu joint locks if you have to, or make some up. You can borrow them from film, from someone you admire, from wherever, but get them. And make them yours.

And now that I’ve got all that out of my system, here’s a little extrapsychic Sith Lord action for youse:

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* Yeah about that. I know I totally could have used a Jedi Knight as a metaphor for appropriate psychological self-defense, but that dude who played ole Darth Maul could fight like a some kind of awesome Bruce Lee banshee and I totally dig that. Plus, I sometimes throw random topics into Jeebes’ bowler hat and force myself to write about the first two I extract just to keep The Force strong within me. Go big or go home, I say.

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