Monday, July 25, 2016

Philosophy and Testosterone Cessation

I've been thinking a lot about philosophy lately.  My politics and interests are complicated... I fix advanced technology by trade, and I obviously use it as well or I wouldn't be blogging, but I'm also a holder of traditional skills that I try to use on a regular basis and am striving toward them rather than toward more gadgets.  I also am actively aiming toward a more sustainable, primitive lifestyle.  At heart my philosophy is very anti-civilization and anti-domestication, but there's a problem:  I'm a medically transitioned trans person.

Well, OK, it's not quite a problem on a personal level.  I don't have a problem with my trans status, and five years of hormones has changed my body into something me and my culture are both comfortable with (at least while I have clothes on), and they were a great decision for me.  But I'm considering going off of those hormones because the changes that are most important to me--deeper voice and facial hair--are unlikely to go away, and I'm beginning to crave the ease of pre-transition medical concerns (no massive shots to remember taking, no needing phlebotomies, less bad blood pressure, more natural body cycles).  That got me thinking about the nature vs. nurture aspects of gender transition to begin with.

The story in the trans community is usually told a lot like this:  Trans people have an inborn medical condition that causes us a lot of strife, discomfort, and often death through suicide or risky behaviors.  The cure for this is hormones and to a lesser extent surgery.  Hormones should be given early and often.  Somebody who is given the wrong hormones will know fairly quickly, because an estrogen dominant man or a testosterone dominant woman will inherently be depressed.

This is a very nature-based argument which butts heads against a common belief among certain left-wing radicals: Gender identity is not inborn.  Gender is a category constructed by humans to oppress each other, and by expressing the need to transition from one to another trans people reinforce that oppression.  This belief hasn't just led to disagreement, but exclusion of trans people from radical spaces and outright violence.

Here's the reality of this situation, for me:  Nature vs. nurture is a nearly futile and in most cases irrelevant argument.  We can acknowledge that maybe trans peoples' need to take pharmaceutical hormones is due to our cultural upbringing while validating that those feelings are in fact real and the effects of denying hormones to somebody who needs them are disastrous.  But instead of allowing for this sort of complexity and nuance, people instead choose to commit to binary extremes.

Unfortunately this doesn't only combat anti-transgender bigots.  It also facilitates ignorant judgments against trans people who don't meet that narrative, either by being comfortable with our bodies as-is (as many trans people are) or by transitioning by a different method than others.  I was thinking about this because I was browsing YouTube for insight on getting off hormones--the same thing I did when I was going to be going on them--but this time there was very little to go by.  The few trans people who went off hormones had either gone back on them in a couple of months or had been on them for a much shorter time period than I have.  Everybody else had decided they were not trans and were detransitioning.  I found only one transgender man who had gone on hormones for several years, gone off them, continued living as a man, and stayed off them for longer than a few months.

The thing is, I know that going off hormones isn't that uncommon.  Lots of us do it for health reasons.  Some do it for financial reasons, as the hormones and bloodwork can get really expensive.  But it's not something we talk about nearly as much as going on hormones, because it's just assumed people will go on them forever because we've constructed this narrative that assumes wrong hormones are what cause gender dysphoria, depression, and other issues.

I'm not saying they definitely aren't... but I think it's dangerous to assume that society doesn't play a part in it.  Was my masculinity really an inborn trait or was it something developed by cultural pressures?  People talk about sexual orientation as if gays and lesbians are "born that way" all the time, but peoples' sexual orientations definitely do change, sometimes by choice (something I know by experience, as I went from desiring only men to actively conditioning myself to be attracted to women and non-binary people as well) and sometimes by circumstance.  Getting married to the idea that it definitely must not ever be viewed as a choice is a viewpoint that only makes sense if you believe that there's something otherwise immoral or disgusting about homosexuality, which there is not.  And the thing is, there are so many things about us as humans that we assume are inborn biological facts because it feels like they are, but they aren't.  Take the color blue.  If you were raised in a culture that has no ability to create the color blue--as there are very few natural sources of that color--you will fail to see it even if it is pointed out to you.  People who are raised without blue might describe the sky as colorless or green or yellow, the sea as wine-colored, and other fascinating things.  People who are raised in societies that have the ability to render such a usually unnatural color will be able to identify it and distinguish it from other similar colors.  But you can't force yourself to un-see blue.  You can't decide philosophically that blue is not a natural color and you should abstain.  Just because it's culturally produced doesn't make it unnatural or non-factual.

So I am a culturally masculine human regardless of where in my life that happened, whether there was a genetic predisposition or socialization or whatnot.  In my culture, a masculine person raised female has certain roles they can occupy.  We can be tomboys.  We can be butch women.  We can be nonbinary.  In my own case, for whatever reason, the role that I fit is transsexual man, complete with medical transition.  It's a fine role.  I value it and don't denigrate it.

But I also don't know that I would feel I needed medical transition if there had been other accepted roles for me.  I love my moustache and my deep voice, but if I grew up somewhere that people would have accepted me as a man or maybe even a third gender category, I cannot confidently say that this would be a problem for me.

Herein lies the dilemma.  Going on testosterone alleviated my depression to an extreme level.  I am emotionally more balanced, more confident, and overall happier.  But was it because the hormones balanced me out... or was it merely the fact that people accepted me better?  Because if it's the latter, I may be doing myself a great favor by going off of them.  And if it's the former... I can always go back on them.

Basically, the pros and cons of staying on testosterone versus going off it are starting to tip toward the "going off" end, for the following reasons (some of which I already summarized):
  • I will no longer need a contingency plan if a disaster happens and I am suddenly without hormones.  Over the past five years there have been multiple occasions where my pharmacy and doctor did not communicate and I wound up having to bear weeks without hormones.  I won't have to worry about if I can't afford them that month or if--Gods forbid--shit really hits the fan and hormones don't even exist anymore.
  • My body should revert to functioning the way nature intended it to, with all its cycles and functions, which works well with my philosophical and spiritual sensibilities.
  • Some of the health problems I have should decrease in intensity or even dissipate, especially my secondary polycythaemia, which is a direct effect of hormones and which is hard to manage for reasons I am uncomfortable explaining here.
  • I will no longer need to feel the total dread that comes when it's time to give myself a shot.  They were very easy at first, but are increasingly becoming nearly impossible to do on time.  I get nauseous, forget to breathe properly, and have panic attacks over the damn shots.  Not needing to take shots would be incredibly freeing for me.
  • It would be financially better for me.  Hormones aren't that expensive, and my insurance typically covers the bloodwork, but that's still around $250-$300/year that I'm spending on something that I'm not sure I want anymore.
I've already messaged my doctor through the Epic system (as her phone number apparently changed since I last called!) asking what the usual protocol for this is.  I know some people who have had to go off hormones because their doctors forced them to or they ran out of money or some other bullshit (it's infuriating to me that so many people can't get hormones because of transphobia and capitalism), but it may very well not be a good idea to just go off them cold turkey.  So I've asked for advice about that and will begin the process of preparing for this choice if I do choose to make it (I've been thinking about this for at least six months now, and occasionally I remember a thing that is likely to change that freaks me out, so there's no guarantee I'll actually do it).

The preparation that I'll need is to try getting certain health stuff in order, do more research to make sure it's something I really want, looking for ways to deal with what may be an emotional roller coaster, and looking into methods of dealing with stuff that's likely to happen if I do go off it (mostly menstruation).

I'm planning on continuing hormones through at least one more bottle of testosterone after I finish my current bottle, which should add up to maybe seven or eight more months on testosterone.  That way I'll not only have time to think about it and maybe grow some more facial hair (facial hair seems to slow down after stopping testosterone but doesn't go away, thankfully, and my voice should not return to a feminine-read register), but I'll have time to work out a plan with my doctor to ease off of it if that's how she recommends it be done, maybe lose some more weight so that the fat redistribution isn't as dramatic (this and the emotional roller coaster are my two main worries).

Anyway, I'm off to fuss over my food projects now.  Happy trails!
-- Setkheni-itw

Friday, July 22, 2016

Post-PSG Writings V: Other Workshops and Rituals

Here comes why I gave Lupa her own post:  I honestly didn't go to many workshops.  This is really out of character for me, but it makes sense... just being in the environment was massively healing for me, as an atypical Pagan it's hard to find workshops I feel cater to me, and it was just so damn hot that I spent like half the day in the lake anyway.  But I did go to quite a few rituals and... well, at least one other workshop.

Natural Remedies

I had the great misfortune to totally forget to bring my notebook to this one, although I do remember some of it.  This was a fairly hands-on workshop which included the brewing of a batch of root beer syrup with sassafras and sarsaparilla.  I recognized the recipe as being either from, inspired by, or somehow otherwise tangentially related to a recipe in "Hunt Gather Cook" by Hank Shaw, a cookbook and manual I highly recommend.

I also learned about moxa sticks, which are a traditional Chinese therapy similar to and used in combination with acupuncture and acupressure.  Research on these is dubious at best but it seemed to be at least effective on local pain based on anecdotes in the audience (when it comes to simple pain relief I consider anecdotes to be good enough to say "it may be worth a try").

Bast Cat Ritual

This was cute.  I have a long history in Kemetic/Ancient Egyptian worship, so I can tell straight away that this is nowhere near based in that tradition, but it was still... again, cute.  I mean, they involved catnip and cat toys and all sorts of stuff like that.

Candlelight Labyrinth

There was a labyrinth constructed out of tea lights and plastic cups with several altars along its path.  I'd never walked a labyrinth like this before, having only walked chalk ones I'd drawn for politico-religious reasons as a Pagan activist, and kind of wish there had been instructions (although by shrine three I finally realized "oh I'm supposed to use the provided mallet on this chime and make a noise").

The Main Ritual First Night (or rather, my first almost-skyclad ritual)

This was great and I almost cried during it... in a good way.  But the reasons are very personal and not quite related to the ritual itself, if it makes sense.

For some initial context:  If you don't already know, I am a trans man on hormones and have not had any surgeries.  As I get older and more comfortable with myself, I don't even really know if I want any surgeries.  Most of my dysphoria (discomfort with the gendered aspects of my body) has to do with how people view me rather than my own feelings.  So for now I am leaning toward wanting a mastectomy sometime in the future, but only because this would mean I could do things like go swimming in public without feeling weird about it.

PSG being clothing optional and also so damn hot made this a predicament for me.  PSG has policies protecting trans people from discrimination, but that doesn't mean people won't stare or be rude, and the Pagan community unfortunately has its fair share of ignorant assholes (I wrote about a couple of these incidents in "The Bad Stuff").  But one of my goals was to go at least partially skyclad (nude) at least once.  And I was seriously chickening out about this.

But, again, it got hot.  So damn hot, in fact, that my usual style just couldn't work.  I am accustomed to wearing large black design T-shirts because they hide my chest just enough for me to not be bothered by my breasts without needing to bind them, a practice I mostly gave up due to health problems that can arise (if you don't know what binding is there's a Wikipedia for that, the short story is it's uncomfortable and can cause anything from pneumonia to broken ribs if done improperly).  I wound up soaking through these with sweat so rapidly that there was just no way I'd be able to keep up with it, so around my campsite I went topless while wearing shirts elsewhere.

So what's this have to do with the ritual?  The procession starts and I was so not ready, having been working on preparing dinner and other such things.  My black shirt was soaked and so I reached into my emergency stash of brand new light gray shirts instead.  As I was trying to take the tape off, hands shaking, I finally just said "don't be a fucking chickenshit" (these were my exact words to myself), stuffed the shirt back, and went to the ritual wearing nothing but a pair of Thai fishermen's pants.

It was very dark out, but with the fire blazing I'm sure there were plenty of people who did see me.  I felt so free and happy at that ritual, like I'd hit a major milestone, being topless in theory in front of like fifty to a hundred people if not more, just swarming around this fire while chanting and other obvious Pagan things.

This was early in the week and set the tone for the rest of my experience.

The next day, both because of my rush of confidence and because it was so damn hot, I got a sarong which I learned to put on in several different ways depending on just how confident I was at any point in time outside my campsite and how bright the sun was.  I'd wear it as a shawl if my skin was getting burnt, I'd wear it like a stole if it was super hot and I needed air flow, and when I was in a situation where I definitely didn't feel comfortable with the breasts whipping out I found I was able to tie it into a very interesting shirt.

Fascinatingly, all of the fashion I wore wound up looking rather femme, this is actually not uncommon in the land of Pagans, and I certainly was not the only man in a sarong there.  Plus, with the facial hair and deep voice, after five years of hormones I can afford to adopt an alternative masculinity in a place like that.

On a related note, I'll be writing about some gender philosophy soon, it's just not quite related to PSG.

Alright, that's it for now.  I may go through my notebook later to see what I've missed.  Until then, happy trails,
-- Setkheni-itw

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Post-PSG Writings IV: The Camping Situation

Although I love being around Pagans in general, I gotta say that my overall favorite part of PSG this year was the camping.  In my last post I talked about Lupa's workshop on Ecopsychology and how much I identify with this concept, and this was all reinforced by the fact that I learned all this in an environment that was extremely beneficial to my health, at least for that week.  I live in a suburban area with a lot of trees, gardens, and natural spaces but I also spend a lot of time indoors, including not only my house (which is at least surrounded by natural things) but also a brick-and-more-brick office building I spend hours and hours at almost every week.  I'd already been trying to enforce myself going outside more (which is generally working pretty well, admittedly in part thanks to Pok√©mon Go) but it's a very solid goal of mine to eventually go back to living in a very rural area and be interdependently self-sufficient.  This is a huge challenge, though, due to some major financial mistakes I've made but more importantly a shitty culture in the United States that makes it possible to drive yourself into deep debt by getting sick and being driven to a hospital outside your insurance company's network by somebody who totally isn't going to drive an extra half hour to take you to one that is in your network.  I am, though, getting more and more stable as time goes by.

Anyway, this was my home for the week.  You'll notice I built my own fire pit and a little shrine.  The tripod was originally supposed to be for my cauldron, but it's too weak for that so I tend to use it for various other things, like hanging things to dry.  The grill attached to it I did use for cooking, but my campfire cooking style is very close-to-the-ground and rapid, so putting it on a tripod makes no sense.

View of Campsite
Close up of Breakfast

I cooked my own food for most of the trip, and was shocked at how well this worked out.  Individually vacuum sealing portions of meat really makes them last well in a cooler, and I wasn't exactly shoving ice upon ice in it.  It was a great experiment in frugality, as well.  I purchased only one bag of ice each day, in the morning, and used a grand total of three pieces of wood for about ten meals.  Also, the fire pit I created using bricks my parents loaned me worked fantastic.

Sleeping was amazing and shocking.  It's well-known I have a problem sleeping with any noise, but I guess that's aggravated by modern life conveniences, as I had no problem sleeping despite constant drumming until 3:00 AM, the hum of nightly Pagan stage performances, and the loudest cacophony of frogs I had ever heard.  I think I used my earplugs like three times, only when the decibel level of the frogs was at an absurd level.  Interestingly the campsite I was at was not my first choice, I wanted to be in quieter camping and wound up right by the damn lake, but it worked great and if I go to PSG next year in the same place I'll probably pick the same location.  Another great thing about this spot is that it was apparently highly undesirable, meaning the closest neighboring campsite was like thirty feet away (you can see in the distance of that first photo that campsites tend to be highly concentrated).  There were also fewer ticks (although let's not lie there were plenty of ticks).

It was also about the same distance away from everything, I joked about it being "as far as you can possibly be from anything you want to go to." That meant I did a lot of walking and got a lot of exercise.  I burned through a pair of shoes while there, but I felt really great anyway.

I used my phone very little while there, maybe a half hour maximum per day and usually much less.  This led to my sleep schedule normalizing to what I guess is my natural point of going to sleep at 10:00PM or so and waking up at 6:00AM.  I'd brought my blue blocking glasses just in case but I didn't really need them.

Alright, that's about all I have to say off the top of my head regarding camping.

Happy Trails,
-- Setkheni-itw

Monday, July 4, 2016

Post-PSG Writings III: Lupa's Workshops

A bit of context here: I've been a Pagan for a little under twenty years now, and as such have read a lot of books.  It's only rare that I read multiple books by the same author, because so many Pagan books are all the same.  But there are two major exceptions.  The first is Starhawk, who I own four books from that I love dearly.  But my absolute favorite Pagan author is Lupa, who writes about a very earth-based form of Paganism and totemism that is perfect for my sensibilities as somebody desperately trying to rewild in a modern world.  I haven't read all her books, but I've read most of her recent work and I typically pre-order everything she writes (this is a huge compliment, as I am likely to buy books second-hand long after they are printed).  So when it was announced that she was going to be at Pagan Spirit Gathering this year I was ecstatic.

I wound up going to most of her workshops, although it was mostly by accident... see, since I've read the books that were the source of these workshops, I kind of figured I wasn't going to get a whole lot of new stuff from them.  And, well, I was right.  This is not a critique, by the way... they were excellent workshops, but they were oriented more toward people who aren't total fanboys like me.  Of course, that fanboyishness also made all of them extremely gripping and I wound up taking a lot of notes, just because I enjoyed hearing them coming straight from her.

The first I went to was Grounding Spirit in Soil.  This was largely a critique of a common problem in Paganism, which is that so many of us use bad interpretations of science to "prove" spiritual things.  It was based on a blog post I hadn't read called Dear Pagans: Please Stop Abusing Science.  I get the impression we actually have very different opinions on the use of scientific knowledge in Paganism... I love learning about new scientific discoveries and especially archaeological discoveries (my Bachelor's degree is in anthropology!) but I try not to dwell on them too much when it comes to my magick or food preparation.  I even am likely to attempt to "forget" that I know how these things work (I wrote about this in Cultivating a Magickal Perspective on Food).  Lupa's practice--at least as I understand it from her books--is more likely to utilize modern science in some way than mine is.  But as far as the abuse of science?  I am so totally about that.  It's also a subject I've written about, back in March when I went to that godawful "Psychic is Science" workshop where somebody lectured that somehow it's proven that psychic powers are scientific because we have colons and are made out of atoms.

The second was "Skin Spirits" which is based on her book of the same name (purchasable here on her website).  This was actually the first book I got from her, which I procured because I've been using animal parts in magick since I was a child and wanted more ideas.  So the workshop as well as this book focus a lot on sourcing animal parts, legal and ethical considerations, etc.  For me this was largely a workshop of blips of information I either didn't get or didn't remember from the book.  I found out, for instance, that mammoth ivory is not subject to the same laws as elephant ivory, although it may be mislabeled (I work with Mammoth). There was a nice run-down of things I'd forgotten from the book which I used shortly after to communicate with a whitetail deer tail I modified for belt wear that I work with a lot.

She also suggested the book "The Compassionate Hunter's Guidebook" by Miles Olson, which I promptly ordered when I got home.  I grew up deer hunting, and although my family (as most) had a lot of compassion, there are some things we did not do, like using the whole animal.  I would, by the way, like to tan a full cape of a deer for ritual purposes if I happen to actually get one.  On a tangentially related note, my partner is going through her hunter's education right now and will be going with us.  When I ordered that book I was suggested the book "Unlearn, Rewild" by the same author, which appears to be about what the description calls "endangered traditional living skills."  This appears to be right up my alley and so I'm really looking forward to it.

Next came "Ecopsychology for Pagans."  This for me was a star workshop, it really was.  I went to it on a whim, I didn't think I'd be that interested, but the other workshop I wanted to go to was cancelled, and honestly I'm kind of happy about that because there was so much inspiration in this one.  Oddly enough, and I don't know how, I'd never heard of ecopsychology... or at least it never sunk in.  This workshop came at a perfect time, too, because after a few days with low technology living in the woods so much of my body and my health normalized itself.  I felt revitalized, motivated, I didn't crave junk food as much (although I still did).  My sleep patterns were normal.  The point is, generally speaking, that humans evolved in a natural area that our bodies and minds still crave, and living a modern lifestyle tends to be detrimental to our health.  Since it was just a workshop obviously we didn't go too in-depth, but I did have a lot of "click" moments that shed light on why I have some of the health problems I do.  It is inspiring me to get outside more, get to know where I live better, and to analyze more parts of my lifestyle that are probably detrimental.  One thing I noticed, by the way, is how well I slept at PSG without the electronics (even with the immense noise), so figuring out how to lower my consumption of those will probably be pivotal to my overall health.  Yes, I say this as I write on a computer approaching midnight.  Work in progress.  There were lots and lots of book suggestions here, the only one I have ordered so far is "Ecopsychology" by Theodore Roszak.

Finally there was "Nature Spirituality from the Ground Up."  My notes for this one are... vague.  I wrote a book suggestion for the book "Ecoshamanism" by James Endredy that I may order when I have more money.  All of the other things I wrote down I know can be found in the book by the same name, which I actually finished the day before and which I highly recommend.

Speaking of which, I actually have my own suggested order for Lupa's books, at least the ones I own.  This goes:
This is, of course, a personal opinion on the matter, and since they were not written in this order I did not read them in this order.  But there's a method to my madness... the first book is a very good overall book on bioregional totemism and nature spirituality.  The next two go into specific forms of life and although they were written first they make good expansions on the material from the first one.  Skin Spirits and Skull Scrying I think you could start using at any point if you were going to read all these books, but I put them last because they're very "nuts and bolts" type books, regarding actual animal parts.

 Oh, and a story... I did visit Lupa once during her author meet-and-greet, being awkward as I naturally am (well, I felt awkward).  I asked her to sign my copy of "Nature Spirituality from the Ground Up," and she asked where I had gotten my copy from.  When I said I'd pre-ordered it, she said "thanks for the vote of confidence!"  If I remember right I awkwardly replied "I pre-order all your things."  I swear I'm not a creeper, but I can be kind of a fanboy, yes.

Anyway, that's about it for those workshops.  Still plenty of PSG related stuff to talk about, though!

Happy Trails,
-- Setkheni-itw

Friday, July 1, 2016

Post-PSG Writings II: The Serious Improvements

I've already talked about the few very annoying/bad things about PSG there to get them off my chest, but I wanted to talk about something way better:  Things that are really improved since my last PSG.  In all transparency, I should mention that my last PSG was back when they still offered a discount to stay just the final few days, and so there's always a chance my experiences were colored by that.  Some of them definitely weren't, though.

1. There was actual space.

Alright, since I was a weekender last time I wound up coming in when there was a huge influx of people right at the end of the week and all the good spots were already taken.  But at Stonehouse (where PSG used to be) I was camping in a tent in a sea of other tents.  You had to weave to get there!

At Tall Tree Lakes there was scores of space.  I got there late on the first day and was unable to find a spot in the quieter area I wanted to be in, but lakeside camping I wound up with yards and yards of space between my campsite and any other campsite.  Shade was at a premium, but space was not.  I had enough space to build a slick fire pit and hang clothes and put up a shrine and everything.

2. Pan's Ball didn't feel terrifying.

Pan's Ball is basically a large drunken revelry party, and my first one was basically terrible.  The main reason?  Wapatui.  I've read differing descriptions of what this monstrosity is supposed to be, many of which are specific recipes, but growing up the basic premise was you dump whatever alcohol, fruit, and fruit juice you have into a big container (often a clean trash can) and drink it.  It has a one-two-punch of being both easy to drink (because it tastes good) and of indecipherable alcohol level.  Hence, when you're drinking a red Solo cup or whatever of it, you don't know if you're getting one serving of alcohol or two or three or more.  My first Pan's Ball I not only got way drunker than I'd intended to, I had to deal with somebody with alcohol poisoning who seized himself into my tent while I was in that state.  That's not even counting the high level of non-consensual touching in the dance pit ranging from awkward dancing to literal sexual assault.  I had strongly considered just not going.

This year it was entirely bring-your-own and I seriously breathed a sigh of relief.  I put a total of two watered down drinks in my canteen and refused any other peoples' alcohol and danced without anybody doing anything gross.  Other peoples' mileage probably varied, of course, but from my perspective it was a massive improvement.

3. There were queer and trans themes in ritual. Lots of them.

The very first ritual had the best Pagan bait-and-switch ever.  Like many other queer-based Pagans I am constantly having to deal with "all-faiths" public Pagan rituals that treat opposite sex love as the default catalyst for all creation, and it's frustrating as all getup.  This ritual, though... they called out two pairs of men and women and, after basically tricking everybody into thinking they were each representative of The God and The Goddess as a hetero couple, and right after I rolled my eyes at it they totally switched it and the two men and two women coupled off.  It worked so well and was such a great ritual.

The main ritual, as well, called the Divine as "Male, Female, Both, and Neither," as the ritual itself was largely written by a very cool Radical Faerie.

They also--and this was true back when I first went but was much more publicly made aware--were making it very crystal clear that rituals needed to be identity-based and not biology-based, meaning trans people could participate fully.  This meant that I was able to go to the men's ritual without feeling too worried about being outed (which is important because I like when possible to be out).

4. The garbage issue was much improved.

I said in the "Bad" section I wrote before that the trash situation was rude and imperfect.  It was also staggeringly improved from when I last went.  My last PSG was marked by piles and piles of trash, mostly-good equipment being chucked into dumpsters, litter everywhere, and recycling so comingled with non-recyclable goods that there was no way to extricate one from the other.  It was at the point where at our final Town Meeting I remember everyone being publicly shamed for how disgusting and quite frankly un-Pagan it was.

There were still too many recyclables thrown in with regular trash, sure, but it was a marked improvement and I didn't see the same amount of litter.

This should be it for my quick lists of stuff.  My further PSG writings ideally will be about more in-depth subjects, particularly some of the workshops I went to (I went to a lot of workshops with my favorite Pagan author ever and am excited to write about them) and more health-related things.

Until then, happy trails
-- Setkheniitw