Wednesday, August 15, 2018

[Part Eight] Hermetic Spellcraft: The Principle of Gender

"Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Gender manifests on all planes." 

The Conflicting Clause?

When we see the word gender in this principle, we immediately associate it with the social and cultural concept of personal identity.  This becomes immediately problematic for a variety of reasons, the first being the obvious polarity presented.  We're aware that gender, as we understand it in humans, is anything but binary.  In fact, the Principle of Polarity tells us that every dichotomy we can think of exists on a spectrum.  This also includes gender.  That's right: Hermeticism teaches us that gender identity is a spectrum.  So why, then, does a latter principle seem to conflict a former?

The reality is that this clause isn't speaking about gender in terms of identity or even biological sex, which would also be a polarity and a misnomer.  Instead, the word gender is going back to the Latin root of the word meaning to "birth" or "create."  We see this creation on every level of each plane, from the tugging of the electrons and protons that form the atom to the XX and XY combination that creates human life.  All planes focus on creation, thus updating the axiom to:

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 

But That's Still Not Quite Right.

The Kybalion was written in 1908, at a time where men were masculine and women were feminine.  When the Three Initiates use the words "masculine" and "feminine" in this line, they're talking about a type of creation energy.  Masculine is seen as powerful, forceful and outward-bound, a term synonymous with will, direction and expression, whereas feminine is inward, gestative and open, the epitome of ideas, creativity and and imagination.  Keep in mind that these are associations I don't necessarily agree with in our modern definitions of gender traits but rather what the Three Initiates would have inferred from their societal definitions at the time of writing The Kybalion.  So, in this case, is projective and feminine is receptive.

"Creation is in everything; everything has its Projective and Receptive Principles; Creation manifests on all planes." 

Maintaining Balance

Now that we have updated this principle's language to modern terminology, we can strive to better understand it.  The Principle of Gender states that everything has power to create.  If everything has projective and receptive principles, then that means we too have both within our mental framework.  We are able to generate new thoughts and ideas through imagination and creativity.  We do this by being receptive to the world around us.  We receive information and process it internally, gestating it, bringing it to new life.  Likewise, we also have the power of will and direction, the ability to express those ideas we've gestated into a physical form.  We do this by projecting our energy outward.

Imperative to this principle is a need for balance between the two.  It's important that we listen as much as we talk, learn as much as we teach and, in terms of magic, utilize projective and receptive energy in equal measures.  By creating this balance within ourselves, we encourage the world around us to seek the same balance.  We avoid creating too much out of emptiness or receiving too much that we cannot handle.  We avoid chaos and stagnation.  Balance is essential.

The Visualization:  The Catcher's Glove and the Pitcher's Hand

In the previous principle, we defined that we are responsible for the cause and effect of our planes.  For the first time, we placed ourselves within the visualization framework.

Today, we add a simple baseball glove.  In our Hermetic visualization, we can now see that we're not the only one casting our energy, or "pitching our ball."  Around us are all the spells, intents, wishes, hopes and dreams flying in near-chaos.  We cannot control those - we can only control ourselves.  We can choose to cast our own energy outward or receive what we need in the form of another energy cast towards us.  We can either project or receive.  We are both the pitcher and the catcher.

In Magic

The Principle of Gender requires us to balance the receptive with the projective.  When formulating your spell, think about whether you need to be projective or receptive to achieve your goals.  In fact, consider utilizing both: Gestate, listen, learn - then will, direct and teach.  This is often why witches are encouraged to use divination before casting a spell to ensure their spell will work as intended.  Divination is a way of listening and learning, then gestating and formulating an idea.  Other options include speaking with deities or spirits, dream work, trance, astral travel and hedge crossing.  You can also utilize a spell building worksheet as a guide for creating your spell down to the most minute detail before casting.  Then, given that your receptive phase encourages you to move forward, do the spell.  Doing a spell without any prep or planning can lead to chaos.  Getting stuck in the planning phase can lead to stagnation.  A balance of both is the best way to cast a spell!

Part Nine: Putting it All Together

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Resources for Pagans, Wiccans and Witches (2018)

The following will cover a list of resources for pagans, Wiccans and witches, including a variety of material ranging from books to blogs, apps, podcasts, Youtube channels and more.  This list has been updated from last year's version, including more books and blogs as I've discovered them, and now lists sections in alphabetical order to make it easier to find what you need!

Before we begin, I would encourage you to read my article entitled 13 Critical Reading Tips for Pagans, Wiccans and Witches.

A wide array of circumstances can affect the validity of a text, which is why it's so important to hone your critical thinking skills.  It's rare to find a book that isn't problematic in some way but that doesn't mean that the whole of the text is useless.  By reading critically, you can read a wider range of texts without them forcibly shaping your personal paradigm.

Resources on this list may contain problematic or triggering language but have been included for the useful information they provide around the issues they have.

Finally, in the past, I've included a miniature review of the books.  I will no longer be doing so in this version because I want the reader to develop their own opinion of the text.  I'm not here to shape your craft but rather to guide you in shaping your own.

The following list includes 101 books and beyond, beginning with general paganism, moving into witchcraft and continuing into a variety of practices, entities and so forth.  It finishes with a list of websites, blogs, apps, podcasts and YouTube channels that specialize in the Craft.  Each is linked to either the corresponding website, Youtube channel, app, blog, etc or to an Amazon link for purchase.  This is obviously not a comprehensive list but more a list of texts I have enjoyed in some fashion.  Good luck!



Pagan Paths

Celtic Gods and Heroes – Marie-Louise Sjoestedt
Earth Light: The Ancient Path to Transformation : Rediscovering the Wisdom of Celtic and Fairy Lore - R. J. Stewart
Irish Fairy and Folk Tales - William Butler Yeats
The Celts: A Very Short Introduction – Barry Cunliffe
The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries – W.Y. Evans
The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles – Ronald Hutton

A World Full of Gods: An Inquiry into Polytheism – John Michael Greer
Drawing Down the Moon – Margot Adler
Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders (a collection)
Modern Paganism in World Cultures: Comparative Perspectives - Michael Strmiska
Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe – H.R. Ellis Davidson
Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions – River and Joyce Higginbotham
Shades of Faith: Minority Voices in Paganism – Crystal Blanton

Greek and Roman
Greek Folk Religion – Martin P Nilsson
Magic, Witchcraft and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds – Daniel Ogden

Godless Paganism - John Halstead

Norse, Northern Tradition and Heathenism
A Dictionary of Northern Mythology - Rudolph Simek and Angela Hall
Essential Asatru: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism - Diana L Paxson
Exploring the Northern Tradition – Galina Krasskova
Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals and Beliefs – John Lindow
The Norse Myths – Kevin Crossley-Holland

Occult Paths

Ceremonial Magic
Magick in Theory and Practice - Aleister Crowley
Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts - Donald Michael Kraig
The Foundations of High Magick - Melita Denning
The Golden Dawn: The Original Account of the Teachings, Rites and Ceremonies of the Hermetic Order – Israel Regardie
The Three Magical Books of Solomon: The Greater and Lesser Keys & The Testament of Solomon - Aleister Crowley

History of Witchcraft
A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics, & Pagans - Jeffrey B. Russell
A Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices – Claude Lecouteux
Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult - Richard Metzger
Doreen Valiente Witch - Philip Heselton
Ozark Magic and Folklore – Vance Randolph
Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History – Owen Davies
The Cunning Man's Handbook: The Practice of English Folk Magic, 1550-1900 - Jim Baker and David Rankine
The Magical Universe: Everyday Ritual and Magic in Pre-Modern Europe - Stephen Wilson
The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern - Alex Owen
The Power of Words: Studies on Charms and Charming in Europe – Kapalo, Pocs and Ryan
The Salem Witch Hunt: A Brief History with Documents – Richard Godbeer
Traditional Witchcraft and the Pagan Revival: A Magical Anthropology - Melusine Draco
Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft - Ronald Hutton
Witchcraft: A History – P.G. Maxwell-Stuart
Witchcraft in Early North America - Alison Games

Asclepius - Hermes Trismegistus
Circles of Power: An Introduction to Hermetic Magic - John Michael Greer
Corpus Hermeticum - Hermes Trismegistus
Hermetic Magic: The Postmodern Papyrus of Abaris - Stephen Edred Flowers
Seven Spheres - Rufus Opus
The Emerald Tablet - Hermes Trismegistus
The Kybalion: A study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece - Three Initiates
The Spirit of Magic by Virgil: Rediscovering the Heart of Our Sacred Art - Virgil

Traditional Witchcraft
A Deed Without a Name: Unearthing the Legacy of Traditional Witchcraft – Lee Morgan
Letters from the Devil's Forest - Robin Artisson
Liber Nox: A Traditional Witch's Gramarye - Michael Howard
Mastering Witchcraft – Paul Huson
The Arcane Veil - Shani Oates
The Devil's Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One - Gemma Gary
The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland - Emma Wilby
Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways – Gemma Gary
Traditional Witchcraft for the Woods and Forests - Melusine Draco
Treading the Mill: Practice Craft Working in Modern Traditional Witchcraft – Nigel G. Pearson

Practices and Components

Chaos Magic
Hands-On Chaos Magic: Reality Manipulation through the Ovayki Current - Andrieh Vitimus (Paperback)
Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic - Peter J. Carroll
The Master Works of Chaos Magick - Adam Blackthorne

City/Urban Magic
The Urban Primitive: Paganism in the Concrete Jungle - Raven Kaldera and Tannin Schwartzstein
Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living – Melusine Draco

Complete Book of Correspondences - Sandra Kynes
Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic – Scott Cunningham
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham
Illustrated Signs and Symbols Sourcebook - Adele Nozedar
Sigil Magic: A Practical Guide - Philip Cooper
Signs and Symbols - DK
Spiritual Cleansing – Draja Mickaharic

Coven Craft: Witchcraft for Three or More - Amber K
Creating Circles and Ceremonies - Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart
The Circle Within: Creating a Wiccan Spiritual Tradition - Dianne Sylvan
The Pagan Leadership Anthology - Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor Ellwood
The Real Witches' Coven - Kate West

A Compendium of Herbal Magick –  Paul Beyerl
Encyclopedia of Natural Magic - John Michael Greer
Garden Witchery: Magick from the Ground Up - Ellen Dugan
The Way Of The Green Witch – Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Thirteen Pathways of Occult Herbalism - Daniel A Schulke
Tree Wisdom: The definitive guidebook to the myth, folklore and healing power of Trees – Jacqueline Memory Paterson
Veneficium: Magic, Witchcraft and the Poison Path - Daniel A. Schulke

Household/Cottage Magic
An Enchanted Life - Patricia J Telesco
Cottage Witchcraft – Jan McDonald
House Magic - Ariana
Magical Housekeeping - Tess Whitehurst
Mrs. B's Guide to Household Witchery - Kris Bradley
The Goddess is in the Details - Deborah Blake
The Magical Household - Scott Cunningham and David Harrington

Pop Culture Magic
Pop Culture Magic 2.0 - Taylor Ellwood
The Pop Culture Grimoire - Taylor Ellwood

Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life - Pauline and Dan Campanelli
Imbolc - Carl F. Neal
Ostara - Kerri Connor
Beltane - Melanie Marquis
Midsummer - Deborah Blake
Lughnasadh - Melanie Marquis
Mabon - Diana Rajchel
Samhain - Diana Rajchel
Yule - Susan Pesznecker

A Grimoire for Modern Cunningfolk – Peter Paddon
Earth, Air, Fire and Water - Scott Cunningham
Exploring Spellcraft - Gerina Dunwich
Grovedaughter Witchery - Bree NicGarran
Protection and Reversal Magick – Jason Miller
Power Spellcraft For Life - Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Protection and Reversal Magick (Beyond 101) - Jason Miller
Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting – Judika Illes
The Casting of Spells - Christopher J Penczak
Utterly Wicked: Curses, Hexes and Other Unsavory Notions - Dorothy Morrison
Your Book of Shadows - Patricia Telesco

Trance and Oracle
Lifting the Veil: A Witches' Guide to Trance-Prophesy, Drawing Down the Moon and Ecstatic Ritual - Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
The Way of the Oracle - Diana L Paxson
Trans-Portation: Learning to Navigate the Inner World - Diana L Paxson

The Inner Temple of Witchcraft: Magick, Meditation and Psychic Development  – Christopher Penczak
Traditional Witchcraft: Visualization - Peter Paddon

A New Look at Mercury Retrograde - Robert Wilkinson
A Witch's Book of Silence - Karina BlackHeart
Everyday Witchcraft: Making Time for Spirit in a Too-Busy World - Deborah Blake
Jailbreaking the Goddess: A Radical Revisioning of Feminist Spirituality - Lasara Firefox Allen
The Training & Work of an Initiate - Dion Fortune


Futhark: A Handbook of Rune Magic - Edred Thorsson
Rune Learning Cards - Jay GreenMan DeForest
Runelore - Edred Thorsson
The Runes Workbook - Leon D Wild

Everyday Tarot Magic: Meditation & Spells – Dorothy Morrison
Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth – Benebell Wen
Modern Spellcaster's Tarot - Melanie Marquis
Rider-Waite Tarot - Deck
Tarot & Magic - Donald Michael Kraig
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot – A. E. Waite
The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination – Robert Place
Thoth Tarot - Deck


Faery Magic
Faery Craft: Weaving Connections with the Enchanted Realm - Emily Carding
The Faerie Way: A Healing Journey to Other Worlds - Hugh Mynne
The Living World of Faery - R. J. Stewart
The Resurrection of the Meadow - Robin Artisson
The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies - Robert Kirk

Animal Familiars for Beginners - Alexandra Chauran
Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits - Emma Wilby
Magickal Servitors - Damon Brand
Spells for Cats - Daisy Pepper
The Witch's Familiar: Spiritual Partnership for Successful Magic - Raven Grimassi

Spirit Work, Death and Necromancy
Charnel Whispers: Mastery of Necromancy, Death and Undeath - Somnus Dreadwood
Communing with the Ancestors - Raven Grimassi
Communing with the Spirits: The Magical Practice of Necromancy - John M Hansen
Drawing Down the Spirits: The Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession - Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera
Honoring Death: The Arte of Daemonolatry Necromancy - S Connolly
Necromantic Sacraments - S Connolly
Pagan Book of Living and Dying: Practical Rituals, Prayers, Blessings and Meditations on Crossing Over - Starhawk
Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead - Claude Lecouteux
Return of the Dead: Ghosts, Ancestors and the Transparent Veil of the Pagan Mind - Claude Lecouteux
Talking to the Spirits - Kenaz Filan and Raven Kaldera
The Witches’ Book of the Dead - Christian Day
Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices - Claude Lecouteux

World Mythology
Mythology: Myths, Legends and Fantasies – Alice Mills
The Oxford Companion to World Mythology - David Leeming
World Mythology: The Illustrated Guide – Roy Willis

Websites and Blogs

A Bad Witch's Blog
Black Witch
Cauldron and Brew
Diana Rajchel
Michelle Simkins
Moonage Magic
My Witchy Walk
Penniless Pagan
Ora North
Sarah Anne Lawless
The Nephilim Rising
The Wholesome Witch
The Wild Hunt
The Witch of Lupine Hollow
Thorn Mooney
Warts and Cunning Apothecary
Wild Goddess Magick
Willow Winsham

Online Resources’s Paganism/Wicca Section
BBC’s Guide to Religions: Paganism
Circle Sanctuary Teachings Tab
Cornell University's Witchcraft Collection
Dakota Matrix Minerals Identifying Gemstones's Seeking: First Steps and Tools
The MoonPath Chapter of Continental CUUPS Resource Links
Sacred Text Archive
Scarlet Imprint

Bree Landwalker
Broom Corner
Fuck Yeah Paganism
Magic for the Masses
Sacred Cottage
Storm Born Witch
The Darkest of Lights
The Witch Exchange
Theory of Magick

Podcasts and Youtube

BBC Radio 4: In our Time: Religion
Down at the Crossroads
Modern Witch
New World Witchery
The Fat Feminist Witch

Adam Balan
Ashera Star Goddess
Five Minute Tarot
Joey Morris
Pagan Perspective
Pagan Scholar
Ryan Espich
Samantha Valens
Wisewomantradition (Weed Walks)

Phone Apps

Daily Numerology
Esoteric and Occult eBooks
Herbs Guide
Liber Umbrarum et Lux (Book of Shadows and Light)
Moon Phase
PictureThis: Plant Identification
Runic Divination
Star Walk 2
The Occult Library
The Witches Digest
Wiccan's Assistant
Wicca Calendar
Wiccan and Witchcraft Spells

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

August Personal Update: BIRB. Also Autoimmunity.


Blunt way to start, I know, but I'm so excited!  I've owned parakeets (budgies) and cockatiels before.  In fact, my grandmother's cockatiel, when she came to stay with us, was my one true love. I miss her so much.  

About five years ago, I started desperately wanting a bird.  You can see a picture of me  on the left a few Pagan Pride Days ago cooing over a conure.  It has been a running joke with my friends that they typoed "baby" when they were setting my biological clock and I ended up wanting a "bird" instead.  

About a year ago, I settled that I wanted a ring-necked parakeet or Alexandrine, but I wanted to make sure we were stable.  About three weeks ago, I was scrolling through our local rescue when what should appear but a beautiful Alexandrine:

She's eight years old and was dropped off by her prior owner before he was incarcerated.  When I met her the first time, she immediately cuddled up to me and started kissing my cheek.  The second time, however, she was a totally different bird: Timid, terrified, angry.  Something had happened.  I honestly think she couldn't handle the stress of the sanctuary at the rescue, which was filled with 30-something loud, chirping birds.  My husband and I decided that night that, regardless of what her personality is, we needed to get her out of there.  She wasn't happy and we could provide a stable, quiet home for her.

So we brought her home and named her Iris after the Greek goddess of rainbows.

We've had a bit of a rough start to our adoption and it has nothing to do with Iris, her personality or my other pets.  In fact, everything is going fantastically there!  While she was at the rescue and in the days after we brought her home, we noticed a slew of missing feathers under her wings.  I thought the rescue knew about it - after all, they clipped her wings before sending her home with us.  I assumed it was stress plucking but, over the next week, it became apparent that that wasn't the case, or at least not the sole cause.  

I had some issues with the rescue when I adopted her.  They seemed underfunded, understaffed and very stressed.  I listened to the receptionist talk poorly to yell at a person on the phone and then the staff talk crap about a person coming in looking for directions.  On top of that, she was on the wrong size food for her size and they didn't bother to give me a perch for her cage when we got her, which forced me to run out to our local supply store 15 minutes before they closed in a huff to give her something to sleep on.  All of that combined with missing the issue under her wings led me to take her to a different vet.

The other vet was unfortunately terribly expensive.  $300 dollars later and we had a diagnosis: Yeast infection.  This requires us to hand-feed her medication twice a day every day.  She has clearly not been handled, or at very least been grabbed at a lot, because medicating is so stressful on her.  We make it as gentle and loving as we can but it started making her cage dominant.  We've changed up our approach and are seeing significant improvements - both in her demeanor and in the raw area under her wings, which now is mostly feathers.  It's just... Wow.  Did not expect all of that!

All of that being said, I'm absolutely in love with her.  And I think she fancies me too!  I get kisses, nuzzles and hair grooming regularly and she likes to play peekaboo with me on the top of her cage.  She knows words like "Woohoo!" and "Whatchya' doin?" and can even shake my finger.  She's so adorable.  She has quite the personality: She doesn't like cloudy days and gets irritated if you pay more attention to the phone than her (as noted in the picture above).  She's a very picky eater and only likes select veggies and fruits.  Mango? No.  Carrots? Yes.  Romaine? No. Cilantro?  Maybe.  It's been an adventure.

We have her cage set up in the library where she gets a fantastic view of outside during the day and total darkness with the addition of a light-blocking curtain at night.  She gets tons of out time every day - in fact, she spends 90% of her day out of her cage and a good 30% away from it.  Everything we got for her is brand new as I'm starting from scratch.  While I loved Cy, my cockatiel and last pet bird, that was some years ago.  I don't have anything left over and, even if I did, it would be too small for Iris.  We're still learning about her preferences but, if you'd like to see what we feel like we're missing and help us along the way, or just generally celebrate that I finally, after five years, got my birb, I have an Amazon wishlist for Iris set up here:

Also, don't feel like the other pets are being ignored.

The cats have a new cat grass plant to munch on.

And Artie got a whole slew of toys.

While Iris has been the primary news around here, I still have some other updates, primarily health related.

Recently, I was put on Humira to deal with my autoimmunity.  Humira is an immunosuppressive drug that I delightfully have to stab into my thigh every other week.  As someone with massive needle anxiety, it hasn't been fun.  It seems like my fear with needles only gets worse with exposure rather than better because I'm now officially passing out from the injection, which I've never done before.  I usually get really nauseated which may or may not lead to hurling.  But loss of consciousness is... new.  Actually, it's more terrifying than I expected.  Even when lying down in bed cuddling my dog, I still manage to pass out for a few seconds.

Anyway, I'm currently wrapping up a fun side effect of the Humira: Shingles.  Yep, shingles.  I got chickenpox when I was a kid and I'm not over 50 for the vaccine so now I'm dealing with a (fortunately mild) case of itchy, burny, painful rash.  It didn't take me long to identify it, despite it not looking like typical shingles.  Most cases I've seen look like some form of road rash.  Mine actually looked like a minor rash.  A nuisance really.  So I made an appointment with my doctor and she put me on an antiviral.

When picking up the antiviral, I experienced a case of discrimination - what kind, I'm not quite sure - from the pharmacist of all people!  To the point that I had to navigate my way to an aisle and cry a bit.  If you don't know me well, let me fill you in: I don't do tears.  I have literally nothing against emotion and I think everyone should be able to healthily express it in whatever manner.  It's just not me.  So the fact that I cried in the store in front of people speaks volumes.

While I was filling my prescription, I was required to have a consult with the pharmacist because I'd never taken an antiviral before.  I don't know if the pharmacist looked at me and thought "Oh, she's overweight so she's sick because she's unhealthy."  I don't know if, when she said I needed to strengthen my immune system, my statement of "Well, I'm on an immunosuppressant because my immune system is trying to kill me, haha" was a trigger for a "well-meaning advice" session.  I don't know if she looked at the antiviral and assumed I was being treated for an STD rather than shingles which, even if I was, that shouldn't have mattered.  In all situations, she should never have told me in a two minute lecture that I needed to "change my life" by "eating healthier" and "getting more sleep."  Especially when my cart was this:

And, even if my cart had been filled with cake and pastries, it was still not her place.  My diet is between me and my specialists, not me and my random pharmacist of the day.  As a pharmacist, you're there to tell me four things: How that medication works, how to take it, what the side effects are and answer any questions I might have about it.  You're not my damn life coach and you're certainly not my doctor.  Don't make an assumption as to why I'm on the medication in the first place.  It's not your place.

After a two minute rant on her behalf about how I need to treat my body, ending with "Change your life. You can do it," and my turning around to the appalled face of the customer behind me, I couldn't take it.  I started dialing my husband while finding an empty aisle and burst into tears upon hearing his voice.  I was so infuriated, I filed a complaint with the company and changed my pharmacy.  But I still hear those damn words ringing in my ear:

"Change your life.  You can do it."

I'm not thrilled that I have autoimmunity.  I'd change it if I could.  But I eat well enough and I get far too much sleep thanks to the disease alone.  This whole all-natural, "just eat right, sleep better and do a juice cleanse" approach to autoimmunity drives me nuts.  I hear it enough from strangers and family.  I don't need it from the pharmacist.

Especially not that day.  I woke up, figured out I had shingles, went to the doctor, did grocery shopping, picked up my meds, got berated by the pharmacist, cried, went home, put my groceries away, turned her in to corporate and then adopted a bird that evening.  I was so excited about getting Iris but it was sadly overshadowed by this ridiculous interaction with the pharmacist.

I haven't heard back from corporate.  I doubt I ever will.

At least I'm just about over the shingles at this point.  It's still a little itchy but the redness is gone.  I'm just hoping I don't have to go on a regular antiviral to be on the Humira.  I have to weigh the pros and cons, and I already have "passing out every two weeks" as a pretty big con here.  "Continuous shingles or continuous antivirals" might trump out "clearing up psoriasis" and "marginally more energy."  We'll have to see how it goes.

Alright, I believe that's everything!  Take care, everyone!