My Magickal Path

Featured image: Me. Photo by Michael Warshall Picturemaker

I’ve been pagan for as long as I can remember. Although I wasn’t raised within a strict religious household, during my school years I was put into scripture classes (back in the mid-80s, where the idea of non-religious people was considered heretical, and everyone MUST be shuttled into a scripture class) and I learned about the tenets of Christianity. All the biblical stories, though they made for good storytelling, weren’t my cup of tea. I was a bit miffed at the lack of female protagonists in any of the biblical tales, and pretty much called bullshit on the Immaculate Conception.

Who is old enough to remember the Golden Circle encyclopaedias? Yeah, my brother and I had a full set of those encyclopaedias, and I went straight to “M” and looked up myths and legends. My 7-year-old self was excited to discover that before the advent of Christianity, people worshipped goddesses as well as gods. I read about the Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Celtic gods and goddesses, and at the end of the piece I wondered, “How come people don’t worship these gods any more?”

Fast forward to 1993, and I found my answer. I met a practitioner of Wicca, and wanted to know more. I asked, and my questions were answered – Nobody ever stopped worshipping the gods and goddesses of old. They just went into hiding. Then in 1995, a New Age bookstore opened in my home suburb in western Sydney, and I was able to get my hands on a few books on Wicca to learn more about it. I bought the book Wicca: The Old Religion for a New Millenium by Vivianne Crowley, and from that moment I knew I had found my path. My classmates insisted that I was a “devil-worshipper” (news flash – there’s no devil in Wicca), and although I tried to explain to them that that’s not what Wicca is, they wouldn’t listen, so I stopped wasting my time with trying to correct them and let them continue to bask in their own ignorance.

Throughout the time I lived in Sydney, I was aware of Aleister Crowley and his works, but at the time, his works were difficult to find. The Internet wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is now, online shopping hadn’t really taken off yet, and new age stores willing to stock Crowley’s and other like works were few and far between, and even if I did find it, it cost an arm and a leg. It was easier to get hold of a copy of The Satanic Bible by Anton La Vey, and I was able to land a copy of it in 2000. That book was an eye-opener. I am aware of some accusations of plagiarism on La Vey’s part, but this is not the time or the place to discuss this. This article (link) is a better place for it. Even today, I have a lot of respect for Satanists, even moreso than some Christians.

It wasn’t until I moved to Melbourne, that I was able to get hold of some more in-depth books and get some more hands-on experience in the magickal arts. Before then, there weren’t many ceremonial magicians around in Sydney, and if there were, they kept their existence a tightly-kept secret. They were as elusive as those Crowley books.

As far as experiences in the supernatural, probably my first was when I was about five or six years old. I was sitting in the lounge room with my brother, and I noticed my brother’s toy tanker truck behind the home bar (it was technically a bar for keeping alcohol, but wasn’t being used for anything at the time), which seemed to have been pulled behind the bar. I thought that it was my brother behind the bar, but he was in the room in plain sight. I saw it disappear behind the bar and it freaked me out, so much that I ran into my parents’ bedroom and jumped onto the bed while they were sleeping. I looked over my shoulder towards the open door, and saw a shadowy figure move down the hallway. We moved out of that house a couple of years after, and didn’t have any other experiences with the supernatural up until my move to Melbourne.

After being initiated into a ceremonial magick order at the end of 2009, things really began to get interesting. I would occasionally be woken up between the hours of 2am and 4am, and I would sense a spirit standing in the bedroom doorway. Once I felt the presence of two spirits that appeared in the image of an Indian couple, and at the time there were Indian students living next door. There was nothing threatening or malicious about these spirits, but they sure startled me by turning up in my flat and waking me up at that hour of the morning! I asked them to leave, and they left almost immediately. They haven’t been back since, so it could be possible that they were ancestral spirits of my then-neighbours.

When I travelled to Germany, Belgium, Norway and Sweden in October/November 2011, I was expecting at least one supernatural experience, given the rich history of Europe generally. I spent three days in Berlin, and during that time I visited the Berlin Wall Monument. I later spotted a cemetery behind the monument, which was bigger but part of it had been moved to accommodate the Berlin Wall and the subsequent monument built in its place. I went for a little stroll through the cemetery, inspecting all the graves and family mausoleums. Some time had passed and I checked the time on my phone. It was in 24-hour time and I misread the time 13:00 as 3pm, and I wanted to get to an army surplus store before it shut. As I was bundling my camera back into its carry bag, I felt something pull at my hand, like a child’s hand pulling at my hand. I was the only one in the cemetery, and that moment I was like, “Nope!” and hurried out. Whatever was there was sad to see me go, but afterwards I checked the time again and had my “D’oh!” moment when I realised it was earlier than I first thought.

And my life with the spirits… well, my experiences are probably nowhere near as exciting as Lon Milo DuQuette’s adventures in his memoir My Life with the Spirits: The Adventures of a Modern Magician – but then, I’m much younger than DuQuette so there’s probably more adventures for me to come.

The most memorable experience I have had so far, was in 2010 at a invocation/evocation workshop at the Esoteric Bookshop, when their shop was based in Murrumbeena. On that particular evening, I was scheduled to interview Erik Danielsson from Watain for Metal Obsession (the resulting interview can be viewed here), but there was time for summoning an angel or other spirit that David, the workshop organiser, had planned on beforehand. We started with the usual pre-summoning rituals, and a guided meditation to get “in the zone”. Once we got into that meditation, I saw a vision of clouds. Then, I saw a group of dragons, one red dragon. The red dragon saw me, winked at me, then scooted away!

When it was time for a summoning, David asked, “What spirit shall we summon?” before choosing an angel, purely because its sigil was easy to draw. He uttered the words of power, while we all sat in a meditative state, to see if any one of us can pick up on anything. David asked, “Is anybody seeing anything?” Then I saw what looked like black wings, like that of a crane, and a voice asked me, “So, you’re interviewing this chap from Watain?” I asked it to show me his seal, and I saw the impression and blurted out, “It’s Naberius!” I snatched the book off the table, and another in the group drew an outline of the sigil she saw, and I pointed at it and said, “Yes! That’s Naberius!” David appeared to get quite stroppy that I was able to identify a spirit so quickly, so I flicked through the book and found the entry with Naberius’ description and sigil in it, pointing it out, while the other person in the group confirmed that it was Naberius’ sigil that she saw. David then said, “It wasn’t the spirit that we wanted to contact so we need to dismiss him.” He gave Naberius the Licence to Depart and went on to choose another spirit as though nothing ever happened.

My first attempt at an invocation at home was largely uneventful. I chose to invoke the Olympic Planetary Spirit Hagith. It was a few weeks after the events at the Esoteric Bookshop. I was successful in contacting Hagith – the first thing Hagith said was, “Turn out the lights! Turn off the heater!” Spirits don’t like electromagnetic emissions from electrical appliances, so it doesn’t hurt to switch off appliances that don’t need to be on. If you’re a ceremonial magician and you ever experience a power outage in your area, that’s an optimum time to get your magick on.

To be continued…

 

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Another voice in the #Metoo chorus

The hashtag #Metoo is trending on Twitter and Facebook, with rape and harassment survivors sharing their stories of what they endured.

Most of my friends probably believe that I’ve been lucky enough not to experience any of this.

Well, they’re wrong. Here’s my story. The first time I experienced an assault was when I was around 8 years old. I was travelling on the bus from school to an after-school day care centre, and it was just me and my brother on the bus. Every day, two male students who were probably in their early teens at the time, would board from the same bus stop near the municipal swimming pool every day. I thought nothing of it for a long time. One afternoon, after they had boarded, one of them sat next to me, threw one arm holding my in a headlock while shoving the other hand down my school shirt. I cried out for the bus driver to help, but he ignored me, continuing to drive as though nothing happened. I was eventually able to wrench myself free and ran to the empty seat directly behind the driver. I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone at the time, firstly because I was convinced no one would believe me, secondly because I was convinced I’d get scolded and get accused of doing something to provoke them. Staring out the window, daydreaming and brainstorming for short story writing (yes, I was honing my craft as a writer, even back then). The bus driver probably wasn’t prepared to back me up either. I was on my own.

It was almost as bad when I hit puberty. I was in my final year of primary school (that’s elementary school for you American folks) and I had to start wearing a bra. I was hounded to the far corners and hiding in the girls’ toilets to get away from the arsehole boys who were doing the taunting and teasing. The teachers did sweet fuck-all to address the problem. They probably dismissed their behaviour as “boys will be boys”. I won’t be in the least surprised if any of those arseholes now have a criminal record.

When I was 18, I was in a short-lived relationship. It quickly descended into a maelstrom of belittling from my now-ex boyfriend, then onward to him dictating to me what I should wear, how I should act. You can see where this is going. One night, he woke me up by flopping his dick out and poking me in the back with it, saying “Oi. Wake up. Get naked.” He woke me from a deep sleep, but I was just too tired and rolled over. He threw a tantrum that would make a toddler look mature in comparison, but I rolled over. Next thing I remember, was one side of my face planted in the pillow, being on all fours with my pajama pants around my knees. One month later, he was out of my life, or so I thought. When I was 25, he saw me at a gothic nightclub and went over and got all chatty as though we were cool. I verbally ripped him to shreds, and confronted him about his behaviour during our short time together. The best he could say was, “Oh. I’m so sorry, I thought you wanted it.” Yeah, because someone who has just woken up has the capacity to consent? Get the fuck out of here.

Chances are the ex in question has probably seen the errors of his ways. I have severed ties and moved on, but even as late as 2007 he thought that anything between us was salvageable. There is no hope of salvaging even a friendship. The best he can do is acknowledge what he did was wrong and move on, like this guy:

There’s a Facebook post of a man who has been to the dark side and back, and is prepared to call out other men who behave like arseholes towards women.

I’ll sign off with this article from Shariq Rafeek. Let’s stop defending the arseholes and calling them out for their shitty behaviour. “Boys will be boys” is a relic of the past, let’s keep it there.

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5 Reasons Gene Simmons’ application to trademark the “metal horns” hand sign is bullshit

As you may no doubt have heard, KISS bassist Gene Simmons has lodged a trademark application for the Metal Horns hand gesture.

Good luck with that, mate. The “metal horns” hand gesture has been around far longer than Simmons himself has been in adulthood, and will continue long after he has shuffled loose the mortal coil. Before metal even existed, the metal horns held an entirely different meaning.

#1. The “metal horns” gesture is the gesture of the Horned God in Wicca

Cernunnos is the Celtic horned god, the equivalent of the Greek god Pan, and is the Horned God in Wicca:

cernunnos

The sign of the horns is the gesture of the Horned God in Wicca (refer to Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham, p. 42).

As an aside, here’s the Church of Satan founder Anton La Vey throwing the horns:

La Vey Horns

It should be noted that Wicca was founded in 1954 by Gerald Gardner and the Church of Satan was founded in San Francisco, United States on 30 April 1966, putting Simmons at age 5 at the time Wicca was founded, and age 16 when the Church of Satan was founded.

#2. The horns hand sign was/is used in Italian and other folklore to ward off the evil eye

In the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Ronnie James Dio stated that his use of the horns on stage came from seeing his Italian grandmother use it, and explained that it was used to ward off malocchio (Evil Eye).

#3. The first known use of the horns gesture in rock/metal was by the band Coven

Here’s the cover artwork for Coven’s 1969 album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls:

Coven WDMARS

 

The Beatles threw up the horns on the cover of the album Yellow Submarine, but they’re essentially a pop band, so I’m ignoring them. In any event, here’s a promo shot for that album:

BeatlesYellowSubmarine

Sorry Gene, you can’t claim that you used it first.

#4 Ronnie James Dio popularised the metal horns

Ronnie James Dio

Now you do.

Dio began using the sign of the horns shortly after joining Black Sabbath in 1979.

#5. The horns gesture means “I love you” in American sign language

 

So with all due respect Mr Simmons, take your trademark application and shove it where the sun don’t shine. While we’re on the subject of hand gestures, I salute you while I chug down this sweet, sweet caffeinated beverage:

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Going back to my roots, with the help of my DNA

There are several services available to get a DNA test done to find your ancestry, the biggest being AncestryDNA and 23 and Me. There’s a lot of hoo-haa surrounding these companies, particularly AncestryDNA, with talk about them having more rights over your DNA than you do. I used AncestryDNA, and all the claims surrounding them selling your genetic info etc is bullshit. They can forward your DNA sample for genetic research etc – but they can only do so with your consent. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Their most recent terms and conditions as at the date of this blog can be found here.

Anyhow, this is about my journey. Let’s begin with a song:

 

If that’s a bit too heavy for your liking, here’s an alternative:

Anyway, what do I know about my background? Not much. What I do know, is that my mother migrated to Australia from New Zealand – and one of her ancestors from her father’s side, arrived in Australia on the First Fleet. My father was born in Australia to a Latvian father and an Australian-born mother. I was always close to my mother’s side, and to my dad’s siblings and my cousins on Dad’s side, but I never met my paternal grandparents. That’s a story for another day.

With my red hair and blue eyes, I often get asked if I’m Irish or Scottish – and all I can do is shrug my shoulders with a sheepish “I dunno” in response.

Based on what I know, I would expect my results to be in this vicinity:

Where I expect to find my ancestral roots

Anywhere outside the yellow highlight is going to be a big surprise. In any event, I look forward to receiving my results.

The test itself was relatively simple. You activated your kit via the website, and enter the serial number on the tube, so they can link you to the sample. Follow the prompts, and it eventually takes you to this page:

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All voluntary. You do not have to participate if you don’t want to. It won’t compromise access to your results.

Once you activate, spit in the tube:

 

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and make sure it’s filled to the line.

Seal the tube with the cap containing the stabilising solution, shake it, seal it in the bag and pop it in the post.

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You have to wait at least 30 minutes after your last morsel of food, sip of a drink, a ciggie (if you’re a smoker) or after disposing of that last wad of chewing gum before you can spit in the tube. I waited more than 30 minutes before I spat in that tube, and now it’s all over and done with, I have earned this cuppa goddammit…

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Sweet, sweet caffeine. Nectar of the gods!

It’s a 6-8 week wait for the results, so I probably won’t be publishing a follow-up post until at least August. So until then, I’ll leave you with another song:

 

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A Witchy morning tea with Mystical Dragon

Melbourne-based New Age store Mystical Dragon runs an annual Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser for the Cancer Council of Australia. This year, my friends at House of Hexenn ran a stall at the event, so I made the journey from the northern suburbs to Seaford to support them. It was a cold May morning but the day was beautiful, with sunshine and a clear blue sky. After spending the day among like-minded people and enjoying what was on offer, I will no doubt become part of the furniture at future Mystical Dragon’s Biggest Morning Tea events.

The Mystical Dragon Biggest Morning Tea is a family-friendly event, so if you don’t like kids, consider yourself warned. If you’ve got children and have been looking for a kid-friendly witchy outing, I highly recommend next year’s event. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page here and their website here. They regularly run other social events including the Beltane Ball, and they run workshops, seminars and courses for many disciplines in the realm of the magickal.

The stalls that were part of the event this year may or may not run a stall again next year, but this year’s stalls will give you a basic idea of what to expect.

House of Hexenn

House of Hexenn are the go-to store for hand-crafted Books of Shadows, athames and other ritual tools, magickal herbs and resins, incenses and other tools of the magickal trade. I bought their Florida Water spray, which is great for clearing out old energy from your ritual space and a good auric cleanser.

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You can check out House of Hexenn’s Facebook page here.

Reflexology

Reflexology is an alternative therapy involving application of pressure to the feet with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. I gave it a go, and was walking around the venue afterwards in absolute bliss.

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The reflexologist is Amanda Barnett Wood and she is a professional member of the Reflexology Association of Australia. I totally recommend.

Essence of Life Spirit Art

Laura Floyd has been doing her art for many years, and regularly has her stall at Mystical Dragon’s Biggest Morning Tea. I watched her draw several works of spirit art before I began to feel compelled to get one done for myself, but resisted – then I finally relented and sat down with Laura and got an artwork done. Here is the result:

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It was worth every cent. You can check out her Facebook page here.

Abby Moon

Abby Moon sell some beautiful jewellery, as well as fragrant oils and essential oil blends. This particular item of jewellery caught my eye:

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A rule of thumb with magickal/ritual jewellery: the jewellery chooses you, not the other way around. If you are drawn to a particular item, something “jumps” at you or otherwise catches your eye, that’s the one for you. Sometimes you won’t immediately know its purpose, but that will reveal itself in time.

Abby Moon’s website: www.abbymoon.com.au

There were also aura photography/chakra scan services, healers, oracle card readers and tarot card readers. I cannot comment on the healing services or card readers, as I did not get a card reading done.

In all, it was a great day with great people, but I sure wished I got into one of the free seminars that were on offer in the afternoon! Oh well, next time!

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A day in the life of a legal secretary

It’s about bloody time I wrote about something relating to my day job. I am a legal secretary and have been since 1998, predominantly in conveyancing. I was studying conveyancing in New South Wales, then the Global Financial Crisis happened in 2008 – and I moved to Melbourne from Sydney shortly thereafter. I continue to work in conveyancing, and will probably eventually get my arse into gear and become a licensed conveyancer (which I keep being told because I have the mindset for it), even though working in other fields of law have their merits.

First things first, let’s get this disclaimer in – this blog post should not be taken as legal advice, if you need to get legal advice on a contract of sale of land, take it to a licensed conveyancer or a lawyer that does a lot of conveyancing work. However, I have seen a lot of things that, from even a secretary’s viewpoint, is a no-brainer. For instance…

#1. Never rely on representations made by a real estate agent

Look, the job of the real estate agent is to market the property for sale, and get the best price for the vendor. The only thing they’re really concerned about is their commission after settlement of the sale, so they’ll tell you anything to get you to sign on that dotted line (within the confines of the law, of course). They may seduce you with buzzwords like “renovator’s dream”, but in one particular file I worked on a few years ago, the “renovator’s dream” turned out to be “asbestos in the garage”. The reason the client found out about the asbestos in the garage was that they got themselves a pre-purchase building report, which not only revealed the presence of asbestos, but also provided an estimate of the cost associated with its removal (as the client intended on carrying out extensive renovations after settlement). This provided an advantage to the client in negotiating a purchase price, and was able to get a reduction on the original asking price. Building reports can also report on pests such as termites and borers. They do attract a fee, but it’s a small price to pay, especially if the report reveals something that would otherwise cost you dearly later down the track.

Oh, and another thing – any real estate agent worth his/her salt will let you take a copy of the contract for a lawyer to go over and advise you on before you sign. If a real estate agent starts putting on the pressure to sign up, tell them to jump in the lake. You’re entitled to get legal advice on a contract before signing.

I worked on several off-the-plan purchase files a few years back. Most of the existing clientele had signed their contracts about a year or two before I started working at that particular firm, and settlement had been triggered about three years after the contract was first signed. When you’re buying “Off-the-plan”, it essentially means that you’re agreeing to buy a property (usually an apartment, but it can also be a house and land package in a new subdivision) that has not yet been brought into existence.

The common complaints that we got were the banks whose valuations returned at a much lower value than the contract price, clients who could no longer proceed with the purchase because of change in circumstances (for instance, losing their job), and banks refusing to provide finance because the finished property was smaller than the minimum size they would approve for loans on apartments (and in all those cases, the clients signed up before we saw the contracts). These are the risks you have to consider when contemplating buying off-the-plan – make sure you read through the contract with a fine-tooth comb and flag anything that either worries you or you don’t understand, so that your lawyer or conveyancer can explain it to you.

A good example of the worst case scenario in developments where apartments had been sold off-the-plan, is the Verge Apartments saga in Melbourne’s Southbank precinct.

#2. Do your due diligence

Make sure you explain to your conveyancer or lawyer your intents and purpose of the purchase – e.g. new home, upsizing, downsizing, investment, and whether you intend on doing any renovations or extensions to the property after settlement. One story one of my TAFE lecturers told during my conveyancing course was the man who bought a terrace house in an inner suburb of Sydney. His property had an easement for a party wall, of which his property had the burden. He paid no heed to that easement, demolished the terrace house then had to install beams against the party wall to stop the adjoining property from collapsing. (He may or may not have done his own conveyancing, giving some credence to the saying “he who pleads his own case has a fool for a client”).

You also need to consider council rates, water rates and strata levies, because you’ll need to pay those on top of your mortgage repayments.  In Victoria, a Due Diligence Checklist is required to be provided to potential buyers of residential property, and in all property transactions in Victoria, vendors and purchasers must undergo Verification of Identity. You need to satisfy yourself as to being able to pay your rates on time and your mortgage repayments.

It is standard conveyancing practice to conduct searches on the property by obtaining property certificates from various government authorities, the core searches being for council rates, water rates, land tax and, if applicable, Owners Corporation certificates. Depending on what state you live in, the other required property certificates can vary, depending on the extent of the vendor’s statutory duty of disclosure in your state. The last thing you want is to buy a property, only to have it acquired a year later by a government department for a road widening project, for example. When I was still living in New South Wales, it was standard to serve “Requisitions on Title” to the vendor’s representative. These were essentially questions about the property, e.g. whether any notices had been served on the vendor from a government authority, and were usually answered with “Not so far as the Vendor is aware. Purchaser should rely on own inquiries.”

You should obtain advice from your accountant in relation to land tax and/or capital gains tax liability.

#3. Explaining the rates adjustments

After you’ve done your due diligence and signed your mortgage paperwork and the bank is ready, you should be ready to go. A week or so before settlement, all rates will be adjusted on a pro rata basis. It is standard procedure to treat the rates as though they’re paid, then draw a cheque for payment of any outstanding balance. If I had a dollar for every time a client read the Statement of Adjustments then decried, “But why am I paying for the vendor’s rates?!”, I’d be able to retire at 40 and live in a mansion in Toorak, unencumbered.

Especially if you’re moving into the place, the last thing you want to worry about is getting the rates paid, because moving house is damn stressful. If you’re still worried that you’re paying the Vendor’s rates, okay, hear me out.

The period for land rates follows the financial year (1 July 2016-30 June 2017) but allow for payment by quarterly instalments, Land tax follows the calendar year and water rates and strata levies are quarterly. Now, we’ll use land rates for our example.

Say the land rates on your property is $920 for the rating period (i.e. the financial year). Let’s say that your settlement is on… (let’s pull a random date from a hat…) 13 April. The rates will be adjusted so that you cover the period from 13 April to 30 June. That’s 78 days out of 365 (or 366 if it’s a leap year).

To calculate the pro rata figure, ($920÷365) x 78  = $196.60. So that $196.60 gets added to the balance of the purchase price. Now, let’s complicate things. Say the Vendor was falling behind on the rates, and the council had started adding on interest. The conveyancing secretary will be calling the council, water and body corporate authorities for an update on the rates. This is to find out if the vendor had paid any rates since the certificates were obtained, or if additional interest is payable since the certificate was issued. Let’s say the total amount payable to the council, after allowing for interest and council’s fees on the default, is $1,010.00. You’re still putting in your $196.60 – the rest is coming off the amount that would otherwise have gone into the Vendor’s pocket, had he or she paid the rates on time. The same principle applies to calculating the adjustments on the other rates.

More often than not, there will be a mortgage registered on the title. The Vendor will make an allowance for the registration fee to discharge the mortgage on the title, by deducting it from the balance of the purchase price.

Oh yes, I did say that working in other fields of law has its merits, didn’t I?

#4. The art of storytelling is an essential skill in the legal profession

I type Affidavits and prepare other court documents in between calculating settlement figures and preparing retail leases and contracts of sale of land. In an Affidavit, the deponent is essentially telling their story, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God/Goddess/Allah/Flying Spaghetti Monster.  For instance, in an initiating application in a family law matter, the Applicant tells his/her story in his/her supporting affidavit. Then the Respondent files their response, and a supporting affidavit telling their side of the story. Every file tells a story.

 

 

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A little story to share for Harmony Day

With Benjamin Law starting the hashtag #FreedomOfSpeech on Twitter today, my little story to share for Harmony Day is too long to fit in a tweet, so I’ll share it here.

First, here’s Benjamin’s original tweet:

And now on to my story.

It was in approximately September/October 2011, and I was in a bar with my now-ex fiance and his best friend  (the dynamic of their friendship was more like that of master/servant, with my ex obeying his friend’s every beck and call without question – it was this incident where their masks began to fall off and I saw them for what they really were. Yes, I was in an abusive relationship – abusive in terms of mind games and gaslighting.) On the other side of the bar, was a man of African descent, seated with an Anglo-Celt woman. I thought nothing of it until the ex’s friend leaned over the table, pointing at the woman with rabid vitriol, and scowled: “look at that whore. Race traitor.”

I was too shocked to respond. Then, the man stood up and walked past our table, oblivious to our presence, towards the restrooms. The ex’s mate then panicked, and said, “Did he just hear what I said? He heard it. Let’s get out of here.” My ex just said “Yep” as though to agree, then I was hauled out in tow. Thinking back to that night, I was laughing about the mate’s hasty exit from the pub, despite all his grandstanding posturing, with or without any of the litany of knives, swords etc that he owns, when we visited him at his home. All bark and no bite.

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