I have been extremely lax in writing these last few months, but in my defence I've been completing essay number 3/4 for my Masters, as well as preparing for a Christmas charity gig with 'My Aerial Home' - one of the places where I train in London.
I have been writing about witches from the early modern period.
It turns out that they had some truly bonkers beliefs back then concerning the body. It is hard to relate to their ideas as being precursors of our own, because they come so steeped in magical thinking.
For instance, in the course of my research I have learnt that (following Aristotle) it was commonly believed that menstruating women could stain mirrors by looking into them.
Devils gathered 'seed' from sleeping men and distributed it about to sleeping women - rather like demonic bees. Witches developed strange teats on their bodies from which to feed blood to their demonic, animal familiars. Women had 'colder' bodies than men, making them less energetically vital, weaker and unable to 'push out their genitals' (i.e. women are inverted men). The Devil himself was said to have a glacially cold penis. Too much pleasure for women during intercourse was suspected of deforming babies, although other thinkers held that no conception could occur without female orgasm, as this was required to release women's 'seed'. The very worst sin and crime was the rather unspecific crime of 'sodomy' which was so awful, that even the devils of hell would never commit it. Oh yes, and menstrual blood could be used in love potions - often by feeding it surreptitiously to men.
The past is a weird and wonderful place.
Yet, I did start to wonder about magical thinking in our own time.
I have heard the connection made between women's menstruation and the cycles of the moon so many times, that one would be forgiven in thinking that our culture credits a causal link between the heavens and our bodies.
It can be said that the world is made by the way we tell it. So, perhaps there are as many worlds as there are humans seeing, talking and writing. I know I stubbornly persist in many beliefs based on nothing except my feelings. But then, that is all that love is based on, and the capacity to experience that is one of humanity's major virtues...
As well as writing, I have been training as much as I can. My grip seems to be getting better - certain moves are becoming possible which were very much impossible a few months ago.
And I was very happy to be invited to perform on Saturday as part of a charity-raising showcase. The theme was 'A Night at the Movies' - I elected to be a vampire (predictable), Lucy Westenra to be exact. I did a short rope piece which went well - the only minor hitch being my missing certain musical cues (due to applause for some of my trix, which was a nice novelty!). Still, no harm done.
Significantly for me, this was the first of my performances where nervousness was at an all time low. I felt excited, eager almost, which for someone with my history of shyness and near hysterical collapse during performances of any kind is something akin to a Christmas miracle.
Perseverance and bravery can change ones whole world. Which just goes to show that a certain amount of magical thinking can be exactly what is required.