Death

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.

Dr. Ding Fields Your Questions

In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a number of questions about what I was referencing in this post, so I thought I’d clarify.  I’ve collapsed some of them into summarized queries below.

What happened with that spirit that showed up at a patient’s bedside and gave you helpful information? And the stuff that followed?

Good one. I can’t give you any identifying information, but what I can tell you is that back in 2006 I had a bedfast hospice patient who wasn’t very communicative due to overall decline following her spouse’s death a few weeks before being admitted and then referred to me. I’d had zero additional information – typical for that facility, which was huge and understaffed. In that first visit, I was having an unusually hard time getting rapport with the patient, who seemed more interested in sleeping than answering questions, her deceased husband just sort of popped into my awareness; I could somehow sense him standing at the foot of the bed, trying to get my attention. I didn’t “see” him with my naked eye, but it was absolutely unmistakable that he was there, with what looked like Brylcreemed hair, wearing a plaid short-sleeved shirt, white undershirt, black oxfords, and khaki pants. I couldn’t really hear what he was saying, but he showed me an African violet plant and pointed emphatically and excitedly to the patient. During this, I felt uneasy because at that point in my life I’d thought that I had successfully willed away such experiences. However, it was absolutely clear to me that he loved his wife very much and wanted to ease her suffering, and that her love of this particular flower was a possible inroad.

I asked her to describe her husband to me, which is common approach with grief work, and was able to confirm the attire I’d “seen” him in, from the slicked-back hairstyle to the black oxfords. Hoo golly. Nothing in my training had prepared me very well for this sort of thing, except that you don’t blurt out to patients that you’re seeing their deceased spouse standing there. I gradually changed the course of the discussion and asked the patient about her interests and hobbies, asking “Do you like flowers by any chance? I’ve always thought African violets grew really well on this side of the building” – yeah, I thought I was all cool like that.

Her eyes flew open, widened, and began to tear up a little. She nodded and then smiled, and for the first time, turned her head to look out the window. It sounds like a small thing, but the waves of misery that rolled off this woman seemed to gradually still, and then stop. She smiled again, this time at me, and I reassured her it was okay to rest in this memory and that I’d see her in a week.

I’ve seen people deep in the throes of mourning many times, but nothing like this, nothing like this absolutely oceanic, bone-deep response to loss.

I went to the nurses’ station and retrieved her chart, and thumbed through it before writing my preliminary assessment report. I’d gotten so little hard data from her that I  needed to dig into the social history information to fill in the gaps. I saw that she and her husband had owned a florist shop, and that her favorite pastime was, you guessed it, raising prize African violets.

I visited a few more times, offering support and hopefully a comforting presence, which is the better part of bereavement therapy; it’s nothing fancy, but you must be absolutely 100% emotionally and dare I say it, spiritually present to the client, a witness to their soul-suffering. I got the facility to find her an African violet and put it on her windowsill, and this seemed to brighten her spirits for a time. But finally, in what was to be the last visit, the husband again appeared, this time with a huge pair of garden shears. He pushed them together twice, and I heard a “snick snick” sound as he cut an emanation of light that came from the patient’s belly button area. His expression was thoughtful, and when he turned to me, apologetic and mournful but resolute. I knew it would soon be her time to go, and yet didn’t want to believe it. But sure enough, when I arrived the next week, she was no longer there.

I stood at that empty bed, silent. I had other patients to see, but I needed to take a moment to reflect. I grieve when patients die, but it’s not the same kind of grief as over a personal loss. I experience it mostly as an absence of their emotional pain, and a strange  kind of goodbye-less closure, and it was much the same that day. There was no sign of her presence there, nor his, except for that small pot of African violets on the windowsill, a poignant reminder that love really is stronger than death.

A few weeks later I had an experience with a fairly healthy new patient, where an old flame basically popped in to tell her he loved her and had never stopped loving her, even though she married someone else. Inside my head, I told him that this was very nice and all, but that he needed to communicate with her directly because I wasn’t supposed to say stuff like that to patients. He was quite insistent, and I’d like to state for the record that this dude was wearing a trucker cap and Canadian tuxedo, e.g. jeans and a jean jacket. That’s what you get for interrupting my visit with a patient, sir. I will front out your dubious afterlife wardrobe choices, on the real.

Anyway. Eventually, after a lot more his continued lovesick pestering despite my attempts to spiritually shoo him away during that session, and after a desperate intercessory prayer to the archangels, I was able to find the right words to bring relevant aspects of this into the conversation without sounding like the Long Island Medium, who I find really intrusive and inappropriate. Also, my hair looks a lot better than hers.

Somehow, miraculously, it worked out. I don’t exactly remember how the conversation went, but I do remember that this patient mentioned that she’d been thinking a lot about this fella prior to our visit, and that she felt a lot better having talked about him. He never showed up again.

The rest of this long, strange trip will have to be saved for another post.

Isn’t it cool being a psychologist and a spirit medium because it’s like having an advantage over regular shrinks, right?

Yeah. No.

See, telling my psychotherapy peeps about what their aura looks like or the exact floral pattern on their dead grandmother’s apron ain’t quite cricket. These things are not kosher in the world of professional licensure, definitely not considered valid mental health treatment approaches. Which I utterly respect; we gotta have rules, otherwise any ole crackpot with a doily of ectoplasm on their head starts telling clients that they don’t need their meds or their reality-testing skills and next thing you know, BOOM. Malpractice.

There have been times when I knew specific factual details about a client and I forgot that they hadn’t actually told me, but brought it up as if they had. This sort of thing has the potential to make people feel exposed or uneasy, and so I’d be forced to chalk it up to being a “lucky guess” or clinician’s intuition on my part. I’ve had to be very careful, because First Do No Harm is always paramount, and vulnerable clients thinking I have a powerful mojo hand or something similar, may contain potential to do harm.

Is it true that only some people can see auras and stuff?

I think all of us are born with the hardware to see auras and whatnot. I have a lot of theories about how and why certain people are able to more easily see/hear/feel/know in this way, but that’s a long post for another day. Suffice it to say that you don’t have to be a holy person or ascetic mystic to have metaphysical (literally: beyond physical reality, unseen, or transcendent) experiences. I sure ain’t. Oh my Lort no. I mean, I’m not even vegetarian.

If I get a consultation from you, is there anything I need to do to prepare? Do you need a picture of the person or their birthday? Or can you just read my cards?

Nope. It helps to have a question or two in mind, or we can do a general kind of overview thing. If you’d like to pray or meditate or perform rituals like lighting candles, that’s cool if you’re into it. Anything that elevates our level of discourse can be helpful, but it’s not necessary. You can totally wear sweats or #afterpants or whatver. Put a doily on your head. It’s all good.

If you’re interested in contacting a deceased loved one, please know that all I do is extend the invitation; it’s their choice to show up. Somtimes they don’t, and sometimes someone we didn’t formally invite really really wants to speak and so they show up, e.g. Canadian Tuxedo Guy, see above. I just need a name, and an age is helpful, but I don’t need pics or anything they owned. Both human and spirit energy are pretty subtle but also non-local, so I also do email readings. Trippy.

Yes. I’ve been reading Tarot cards since my Mom bought me my first Rider-Waite deck when I was turning 16. That’s a lotta Tarot. I’m self-taught and have my own divination system, which is geared towards learning about oneself and the archetypal energies we both contain and encounter, as well as changes one can expect within the next few months up to a year or so, if current trends continue. If I’m on like Donkey Kong, I can touch the cards in the layout and receive clairvoyant (clear-seeing) impressions.

You can book a consultation here. And if you book from now until 2/14/15 my services are available for only $50, to celebrate me busting outta the spiritual broom closet Broadway-style. Bookings made after 2/14/15 will be at full price, so book soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geek Love: Brief Elegy for Gary Gygax

garygygax-jpeg-image-463x428-pixels.jpg

Dr. Ding’s almost brother-in-law, Nater, requested that I discuss my first experience with Dungeons&Dragons, thereby repping my set, aka Gamer Nerd Brethren and Sistren. Nate knows a closeted gamer when he sees one, and he’s right, I need to let that phreak phlag phly¹.

Picture it: Shampoo-Banana, Illinois. One languid summer, 1981. Polyester plum-smugglers had just come into vogue, and there I was, playing D&D in our basement with a family friend, and a buddy of his he’d invited over. I don’t remember said buddy’s name, but I think it was something exotic like “Wesley” or perhaps “Todd.” He had a peachfuzz moustache and was wearing (non-ironically you see, for it was 1981) a tight ringer tee-shirt and the aforementioned plum-smugglers, with dark, feathered hair. I also recall that he Read more

BLOG POSTS

CONTACT

Phone: (720) 235-8135
Website: justineuselding.com
Email: askdrding@askdrding.com

DISCLAIMER

Please read the disclaimer text below.