Thursday, December 14, 2006

Walhydra's Health Attack

[Note from Walhydra's amanuensis: Here's another story written late in 1997 for the Crone Thread, a private listserv to which Walhydra still belongs. Walhydra and hubby Jim were living with Miso the Cat in a tiny, two-room apartment in Columbia, SC.

Rereading the story over my shoulder, Walhydra observes that she "used to be a lot more preoccupied with astrology than she is now."

"Oh, really?" I reply, ducking....]

If there's one thing Walhydra doesn't like, it's stereotypes about Virgos. All that dull, second‑fiddle stuff about efficient, health‑conscious, analytical, service‑oriented—and, of course, fussy, obsessive, perfectionist, critical....

Sheesh! What's a person supposed to do?

Keep everything she knows and observes to herself and let the whole world just slide on down the tubes? Ignore self‑care, avoid pointing out other people's errors, disregard both ethical principles and pragmatic realities, just because most people can't appreciate the salutary order which Goddess built into Creation and...?

"Hoooold on thar!" as Quick Draw McGraw would say.

Okay, so the Moon's been void of course since four‑something this morning and it's gonna stay that way for the next...oog!...32 hours.

Walhydra sometimes wonders, stuck as she is for this incarnation in a middle‑aged gay male body, whether void of course is the male equivalent of PMS.

Eek! Every few days?! Suddenly the monthlies don't seem so bad.

Or maybe—returning to the original topic of this rant—maybe it's just that VOC and Virgo don't go together all that well. Especially natal Pisces Full Moon Virgo.

Granted, there is an obscure orderliness to the pattern of VOCs. And, if one could through practice and discipline...ugh!...attune oneself to the timetable....

"But it doesn't suit my timetable!" Walhydra whines—having by now completely forgotten what she set out to tell about in this story.

Oh. That's right. Health.

One of the things for which Virgos are infamous...grr!...is "obsession with health and purity." Virgos, we are told, are highly sensitive to the esoterica of diet and nutrition, medicine, environmental integrity, etc.

"So...?" Walhydra challenges. "It's just that my whole body—including the astral parts—is one big homeostatic device. If conditions are healthy, I am. If conditions are unhealthy...."

She glares at her audience of average mortals.

"Actually, your bodies are, too. The difference is I notice. A real pain in the [bleep] it is, too." She tries to unkink her [bleep].

"Every food additive, every suppressed emotion, every solar storm, sets off some sort of bodily alarm. And if we don't pay attention, the noise and static build up until we can't ignore it anymore...but probably have forgotten what the alarms are about."

Glumly she stalks away from the podium and sits down, hoping that in her next life she can come back as a full‑tilt, sensual Aries—or at least a Taurus, if she's gotta be stuck with Earth signs.

Anyway, all last year Walhydra was way too busy saving the world, raging against the system and cursing her luck to notice. Until around Samhain, when the corporeal rebellion became too chronic for her wonder chiropractor to unkink.

It only took a couple more months for her to make the necessary connection. "Oh," she said around New Year's Day. "I'm not paying attention."

(That tends to happen when one is busily fixing everybody else.)

Fortunately, Walhydra has finally learned a few things about "moderation in all things"—even Virgo things. So...she did not make any New Year's resolutions. She just went back to work "mindfully."

(She loves that word. It's so...mercurial.)

First thing she noticed, to her delight, was that she didn't want to drink coffee on the job any more. Not "decided to give up coffee," but "didn't want coffee."


She took to carrying a coffee mug of water around all day. Decided to "reframe" (good social worker jargon, that) all those extra trips to the restroom as "improving health" rather than "leaky plumbing."

(Although, you know, this middle‑aged male body thing about the last drops always going in your pants, no matter how many times you shake "it"…?)

Then chiropractor said, "I've adjusted everything obvious. I think your aches are maybe congested liver, expressing as pain elsewhere. You ought to try this herbal kidney and liver cleansing program."

Time for today's Virgo Lesson #2: Virgos are simultaneously the ultimate skeptics and the ultimate believers.

They will approach any new theory or fad with an utterly pragmatic, "show me" attitude. What's more, if the new theory involves new effort—like, shall we say, ten pages of detailed instructions about how to mix and use a recipe of eleven hard‑to‑find ingredients prepared through a complicated, multi‑step process and consumed daily for six weeks—they will wonder if maybe there isn't a simpler way.

Like reincarnation, maybe.

All the same, Virgos are...shh!...closet idealists, and they long for there to be some process whereby they can finally get themselves (and the world) perfectly and once‑and‑for‑all cleansed, realigned and on the way into the Kingdom of God. Or Goddess.

So, after a month of humming and hawing and grousing about how everyone from the FDA to the Gnostic Pleroma was trying to keep her from finding chopped gravel root (not extract, please!), Walhydra finally called the 800‑number her chiropractor had given her at the start (Virgos don't take easy advice till all else fails), got all the stuff, and settled in for a Saturday of kitchen witchery.

"Hmm," she said, as she started to hunt for a place to store the eleven bottles of herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements. "There's too many old bottles—oh, my goodness, unlabeled old bottles—of herbs and seeds and condiments on this shelf."

"Hmm," she said, as she rummaged through the containers on top of the cupboards over the sink (this is a tiny apartment). "These mason jars have no lids. And these other jars still smell like artichoke hearts or kalamata olives...or something."

Returning from the hardware store with a dozen pristine pint‑sized mason jars (ever try to buy just two?), "Hmm," she said. "I don't have enough quarters to dry the laundry I started two hours ago."

Several hours later, the whole herb and spice shelf had been reorganized and relabeled. The smelly jars from three years back had been recycled.


The last three day's worth of Crone Thread emails had been replied to.

And Walhydra was in Virgo heaven, measuring and stirring and brewing and measuring again and bottling and refrigerating and freezing.

"Ahh," she said, tucking the last freezer box of elixir away for the night. "I've put the universe back in order. I feel better already."

Sunday morning. This is where Hubby Jim comes in. Jim is Cancer‑on‑the‑cusp‑of‑Leo.

"But with Virgo rising," Walhydra jibes.

"Hopefully," Jim leers.

[Brief intermission.]

Jim and Walhydra have a marriage based on teasing. Pretty good for two utterly nerdish sissies who were teased beyond repair all through childhood.


Walhydra sometimes thinks that the main reason for astrology is to have something to tease each other about.

It's also important for the reader to know that, while Walhydra's mother was not at all obsessive about house‑cleaning (she's a Sagittarius), she was, after all, Swiss/German Lutheran—a sort of alternate universe Virgoism.

Jim's mom, on the other hand, was Southern Baptist with a vengeance, and had a fervor about house‑cleaning that went so far as to include covering the bathroom floor with newspaper (except for guests) to catch the water spills.

Walhydra alternates now between putting off for as long as possible the big chores, like scrubbing and dusting, and making a meditative practice of her Saturday morning plant watering, laundry washing and tidying‑up rituals.

Jim, by contrast, believes one oughtn't to do any household chores before they are needed. When Walhydra explains that the garbage can needs to be emptied when it's full, Jim's solution is to press down on the garbage.

It should be noted that usually—usually—Walhydra remembers to laugh ha ha ha at this mismatch, which their couples counselor years ago designated as both negotiable and teasable.

One other note, on semantics.

Walhydra, when they go shopping, says, "We need another can of bathroom cleanser."

Jim says, "You mean 'cleaner'."

"No, I mean 'cleanser.' It says so right on the label."

"Yankee!"

Slow burn.

So, anyway...Sunday morning. Jim is cooking Cream of Wheat. Walhydra is taking her first dose of The Potion.

Jim: "So, does the rule apply about 'medicine having to taste bad to be good'?"

Walhydra (frowning): "Well, look what the recipe adds to make The Potion taste good."

"Oh. Black cherry concentrate."

"Yes. Bleech."

"But black cherry is...."

"...I know. Good for kidneys."

Walhydra grins, getting in the mood to tease herself. "You realize, of course, why I got convinced to try this rigmarole after all?"

"Hm?" Jim peruses lengthy instructions and recipe. "Ah. 'Kidney cleanse.' How Virgoish."

"Um‑hmm."

Jim pulls out American Heritage Dictionary.

"'Cleanse....To free from dirt, defilement, or guilt; purge or clean...'," he reads. "'Usage: Cleanse is largely figurative and literary, with special reference to spiritual and ceremonial matters; Clean (verb) is literal."

He gives his best Q.E.D. smile.

"Humph. But that fits anyway," Walhydra says, brightening. "The whole point here is that I've realized I need a change of attitude. It's not just that my physical health has been sliding. I have needed the spiritual process. Deciding to start this herbal stuff is already a healing process."

Virgo touché.

Jim (pensive): "You know. I think that when my mom cleaned house, she was cleansing. When I had to help, she was cleansing—I was just cleaning."


[Scene dissolves. Witchy cackles on both sides.]

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