IDAHOT: Speaking Out

The International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia is this Saturday. In the next few days, I will be writing posts and sharing links and information about LGBTQ phobia, discrimination, and violence. (I will post trigger warnings for any violent content.) I’ll start off by sharing a personal perspective about why this year’s IDAHOT is particularly meaningful for me.

There are many positive things about living as a trans*/genderfluid, queer individual, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t also faced a lot of ignorance, judgment, and hatred. I’m not really one to dwell on it, but it was becoming increasingly rare that I would say anything about it at all. I had let some pressure me into saying very little about queer/transphobia or my experiences with it, because it was uncomfortable for them to hear about. When Bri and I recently were insulted and received thinly-veiled threats from a so-called friend and ally for speaking out about it, that was the last straw and a wake-up call.

When I learned about the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and about this year’s focus (“Freedom of Expression”, an interesting coincidence), it served as a valuable and timely reminder for me that speaking about my experiences is not wrong. Those who tell others that the hatred and discrimination they face on a daily basis is imaginary or attention-seeking behavior; those who make others feel wrong, shamed, intimidated, and threatened for speaking out about it; they are the ones who are wrong. While I live in an area where it’s not safe to be out in real life, I will no longer let anyone intimidate me into silence online, especially on my own (and my wife’s) pages. IDAHOT has inspired me to reclaim my voice and has given me the perfect excuse to start using it again.

– AJ Spellman

{Thanks to AJ, sweet hubby o’ mine, for sharing his words with us! I hope that he’ll continue to share his meanderings with us here. That said, PLEASE do not copy and paste these words as your own! If you would like to share, please do so directly from this post, or give appropriate credit including a link back to this page. Thanks so much!}

Merry Beltane!


Wishing everyone Beltane blessings! We’ve shed the darkness of the winter and reawakened to the light half of the year. Today is a celebration of fertility and generosity, as both are important contributors to the abundance of the late summer and fall. In Medieval England, villagers would participate in a custom known as “bringing in the May”, in which they would go into the woods and gather flowers and greenery. The collections were used for decoration, as well as rituals involving protection. Beltane is one of the two times a year the veil thins, and it’s said that many would place rowan branches over their windows and doors for protection against unscrupulous visitors. It’s also said that, in some villages, flowers that were collected would be brought door-to-door and shared in exchange for delicious goodies, similar to trick-or-treating.

It was looked down upon for someone to be stingy with their food at this time, because the generous sharing of food, a sustaining substance, among the village was believed to be necessary “in order that the cosmic circuit of life’s substance may be kept in motion (trees, flocks, harvests, etc.).”* I believe in a similar concept, that it is through giving that we receive, and in this spirit, I invite everyone to join us in performing at least one act of generosity today. It doesn’t have to be monetary; give a few minutes of your time to someone who needs help with something, give of your heart to someone who needs some love, offer some extra patience to others while you’re out and about today. Come back to Baubles & Blessings later and share your contribution to the cosmic circuit of kindness and goodwill.

Bri & AJ

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Words: AJ Spellman
Image: Bri Crofton

*Williamson, J. (1986). The Oak king, the Holly King, and the Unicorn: the Myths and Symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries.

Loosen up! The flipside of Mercury in retrograde…


We’re on the cusp of another Mercury retrograde period, and whenever it rolls around, I find myself wondering why there is such a feeling of imminent doom – sometimes even panic. People talk about wanting to just hide out while the weeks of retrograde pass, but by staying braced and focusing on the negative (much of which is a bit of an overreaction), people are missing out on all of the positives that come along with Mercury retrograde. Actually, in Vedic astrology, Mercury retrograde is considered a very positive time, exactly opposite of what we in the West have made it out to be.

I’m not denying that there are a few negative things that Mercury retrograde actually does enhance, such as communication snafus and misunderstandings. However, I think we tack on a lot more than the retrograde period is responsible for. Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time for intuition and introspection, for creativity and whimsy, for clearing, thinking, meditating, and other, less corporeal activities. This is the time that creative blocks start to loosen up, physical and energetic clutter is cleared out a little more easily (perfect time for spring cleaning!), and those of us that work with our intuition and psychic gifts will find that they are even more powerful.  More