In this episode The Retro Witch talks shit on the 90s as per usual. She also takes a look back at Pokemon through the years. Other topics include the Twilight movies, a certain toy is discussed and a new Harley Quinn cartoon on HBO Max.
Before I decide to tell the world I was a transgender woman I was afraid of being labeled. But even more than that I was really afraid that once I became trans, that is all I would be to people. I wouldn’t be that person they went to high school with who became a journalist. I wouldn’t be a former underground hip hop producer. I would cease to be a gamer or toy collector. All of who I am would be erased by one word, trans.
I have to admit my values have changed since coming out. Partially as I start seeing how the world is not designed to accommodate trans people to the way our very existence is used to further the political agendas of both mainstream political parties.
During this time of discovery I have had time to reflect. As such I am learning things about myself I never expected. I want to talk a little about how my interests are starting to reflect my new values. Some of this will reinforce the stereotype of a bitter, angry man-hating lesbian. No matter where I go the more I learn about myself the more likely I will someday achieve my goal of becoming a whole person.
There have been quite a few surprises along the way. For example I am discovering I am more in tune to nature than I previously believed. I have always been fascinated by technology and human scientific progress. Yet now I am finding myself strangely drawn to flowers, plants, trees, birds, animals and even insects, in ways I never was before. This wasn’t too far off from my previous interest in gardening or even my interest in environmental issues. It wasn’t a surprise that my growing spirituality would lead me down a path back towards the magic I longed to practice in my youth. In many ways I have held onto the magical innocence of childhood as much as I can.
One area my changing values did take me by surprise was in the realm of insects. Again, when I was a kid I actually loved playing with bugs and yes that even included spiders. You see my so-called arachnophobia started out as a cover. It was a thing I pretended to have because it gave me something I could cling to. I was desperate to be noticed so screaming at the sight of a spider seamed like a way to get attention and for certain people to chastise me into “growing up” or whatever version of that phrase they used. As time went on I began to read more science fiction and horror books that often featured spiders as monsters. Recently I discovered I am starting to get to a point where I am no longer afraid of bugs but returning to my child like state of fascination with them. More likely it is I am gaining an appreciation for all forms of life as I age. But it has led me to a deeper spiritual existence.
Another thing that took me by surprise was my desire to own a lava lamp and burn candles. The candles I figured had some connection to our days camping in the woods but I always hated lava lamps. During a recent discussion with a friend of mine my newfound interest in these blurted out rather unexpectedly. At first I chalked it up to my quirky habit of being annoying on purpose. It’s a gift I have. But once I was inside the Target store shopping for candles and other witch supplies I spotted a lava lamp I couldn’t live without. I decided this was something I no longer despised but now admired.
Along the way I knew I would put old passions away. I never expected to lose interest in Nintendo but here I sit not even giving them much thought. Before I quite often obsessed over what they were doing, or had done in the past. Not anymore. I find myself more interested in exploring the world of Playstation or getting into tabletop gaming. I am currently knee deep in X-Wing at the moment but I am certainly eyeballing Warhammer. I even picked up some D&D miniatures during my most recent venture into the local comic book store.
The point is as I continue to transition into a woman I am absolutely discovering things about myself I never expected. Some of the things are pleasant surprises. Others are difficult to fathom but welcome curiosities nonetheless. I haven’t quite gotten to the point of going full vegan but I can see myself being more open to that than ever before. In a lot of ways I feel like trying everything new even things I previously decided I wasn’t into. This rediscovery is the best part of transitioning. I welcome whatever new thing I learn next.
In this week’s episode the girls go back and forth between some serious and lighter episodes.
First up Robin shares her sad news and why she’s been in a funk lately.
Then the ladies chat about shopping for girl clothes.
Finally the pair tackle the hardships of aging as a trans person.
The week’s top five as picked by the listeners is revealed plus a special announcement regarding a friend of the podcast.
You really don’t wanna miss this episodes. Also bonus the girls got new equipment to show off! How exciting amiright!?
The word darkness means something different to different people. To a Christian it refers to being in the dark in regards to ones sin. To a scientist it means the absence of light. To a horror fan it means a particularly horrifying film.
We all know what the dark is. We all know what it means to be afraid of the dark. It is often a metaphor of fearing the unknown. I am one who tells people I talk in darkness. This can often confuse people. Let me explain.
To me it refers to a few things. For starters I am not clairvoyant so I am in the dark on what the future holds. I believe most of us would say this to be true. I don’t try to have an optimistic or pessimistic view on things. My default is wait and see. My preferred method is hope for the best but expect the worst. That way you are never disappointed no matter the out come.
I also tell people I walk in darkness because I despise the light. Of course this mostly refers to society. It means I do not conform to the societal pressures. I dismiss, often to the point of aggression, being shoved into a box imposed upon me by others. I try to define myself. Chaos is a good word. Darkness is a better one for this illustration. For me it is about going out after society has gone to bed. This gives me the chance to shun those pressures and live my life free from those shackles. I have learned to bring that darkness with me. It means I put on an invisible shudder that keeps the light out, allowing me to walk among the zombies without becoming one of them.
It also refers to my mood. Death is a natural part of life. Some use the phrase “that’s morbid” but our sense of morbid derives from our sense of mortality. You can’t escape death, might as well embrace it. This is why I favor horror movies where death is the center piece. In many respects Death itself is a character just off camera directing the rest of the cast towards their inevitable end. In so many ways surrounding myself with death allows me to process it.
During my time as a journalist I discovered we were nothing more than merchants of death. We bought and sold other people’s misery like a commodity. We invested in death. We spread it around like a plague so we could profit off of it. We dress it up as informing the community when in reality we get excited when there is “breaking news” to report. The more tragic the news, the higher the ratings you see. This is not why I left professional journalism. I will get to that someday, soon. But my intimacy with death is why I was able to handle it so well.
Death gives us a purpose. It gives life a meaning. Without it the world would be beyond chaotic, it would be an utter disaster beyond human imagination. We need death to keep us grounded. It pushes us to do better. We invest in medicine to push back death. We invent technology to protect us from the dangers around us. We advance firearms and “self defense” in the name of protecting our loved ones when really all we are doing is glorifying death and normalizing our own participation in its culture.
I walk in darkness means to me I shun the rules imposed on me. It means I do not fear change. It means I welcome death and embrace all its clarifying wisdom. I have a light that shines internally. I keep it inside me. I share it with those I trust. The rest of the world I tune out. They are in the shadows in my mind, invisible to my existence. That is what I mean when I say I walk in darkness.
I have a hard time figuring out who I am, where I fit in in society. In recent years I began introducing my content with the tagline ” Welcome to the Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides.” It’s been a good way for me to describe what goes on in my mind. Recently I determined I am more devoted to being a Witch than I have been in a very long time. The reason for this is simple, I love chaos. Partially I am drawn to chaos because the universe itself is chaotic. For me the natural order is destruction, death and decay. For that reason I now know where I fit into this world. I am the one who spreads chaos to your lives. This is because I am not bound by a singular motivation. I do not have one hobby that eats up my time. I do not have a single cause I devote my life to. I do not have a focus. And that is okay. For me it is about exploring as much of the world as I care to without getting too bogged down by any one thing.
Along the way I have discovered a few things that have stuck so here is a list of 25 things I discovered I am very much into even if it is different degrees. As with all lists I make this is not ranked. The numbers are merely so I can keep track. Enjoy.
My first love is of course the Transformers. But it is not just Hasbro/Takara branded products. It includes nearly all transforming robot toys, and a few non robot toys like Popples. I happen to love all incarnation of the frachise including spin offs. I even enjoy the Gobots and Power Rangers. I say nearly all because I have a disdain for Macross/Robotech and Gundam style robots. Eh, it is what it is.
This mostly includes the movie. But actually it also includes the video games and the toys to some extent. I could just say science fiction or even sci-fi/horror in general but this is a flagship property I am rather fond of to be quite honest.
3. Rainbow Brite
I am a transgender woman. I grew up in a house surrounded by sisters. They played with many “girly” toys none I was more jealous of or coveted than Rainbow Brite. The day I finally broke down and bought a vintage doll off ebay was a very emotional day indeed for me. I love this character very much.
This is one of the reasons why I can’t say sci-fi in general. There are some franchises I elevate above others. While I can enjoy a Planet of the Apes film from time to time I am not that into that franchise. However I love me some Ninja Turtles. I even own an original vintage TMNT Technodrome playset and the Sewer Lair as well as dozens of figures and vehicles from old to new toylines.
5. Hip Hop music
There are aspects of the hip hop culture I gravitated towards as a mask when I was still hiding in the closet. There are other facets I am drawn to because as an outcast I get it. Then there is some damn good beats. Some of my favorites are the Beastie Boys, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Snoop Doggy Dogg, MC Hammer, Arrested Development, Nas and Kris Kross.
6. Star Wars
I could slot this in pretty much anywhere but the reality is I LOVE Star Wars. In fact I am one of the rare super fans that love all the movies, shows, toys, video games, etc. If it comes from the Galaxy Far, far away I am in. I even read the books. I can’t get enough Star Wars.
7. Horror movies
Specifically slashers, serial killers, vampires, werewolves, fantasy horror, sci fi horror, monster movies, shark films and well pretty much all of them for the most part.
I am partial to dance music. I especially love techno music. I can and do listen to some other forms of electronic music but I loathe the term “house” and refuse to use it in my vocabulary. Don’t fight me on this just come over to the dark side and bask in the rightness of being wrong.
I love video games but if I am being totally honest I love nothing in that world even a fraction as much as the Big N. I have owned every single home console and the vast majority of handhelds, accessories and add ons the company has made. IN fact it is rare for them to make a product I dislike. The most obvious is LABO but please don’t get me started on that.
10. video production
I enjoy writing. I enjoy telling stories. I enjoy journalism. But none of them bring me as much pleasure as producing a video. I don’t care if it is a for hire project like a wedding, working for a commercial broadcast TV station, short indie films or random YouTube shit. I love producing videos. Hell I have even developed a fondness for the Live Stream on Facebook these days.
11. Comic Books
This is where I often get into arguments. You see I am not just into the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) I enjoy indie comics. I also enjoy 3rd party comics like stuff from IDW, Dark Horse, Image and yes Archie. I also enjoy random one offs. The thing is I don’t just limit myself to horror or super hero comics either. I like some comedy stuff. I enjoy romance. I like fantasy and even detective stuff. Honestly I just love the medium in all its forms.
12. Super heroes
OF course this is bigger than comics for me. You see while I do enjoy some super hero comics the truth is the majority of my super hero content is actually beyond the comics. In fact as far as comics go I tend to shy away from super hero stuff for the most part. I mostly reserve them for toys and video games, plus some movies and TV shows. Oh hell I love em all but I do prefer my superheroes to be animated or live action rather than in the pages of a comic for the most part
13. Dungeons and Dragons
I know some people who are into Magic the Gathering. I know others who enjoy all forms of table top and RPG games. Not me. I am strictly and very firmly devoted to D&D. I don’t mind playing a table top, board game or even a card game on occasion but my heart belongs to the greatest fantasy game of all time. I prefer 3rd edition but also enjoy 1st and 2nd, can tolerate 4th and will play 5th edition. In fact I don’t care for rule sets just give me some dice and let me role play my heart out.
It should go without saying I love writing. Not nearly as much as making videos but again I enjoy telling stories whether it is in the written form, visual medium or audio only. I have written news articles, magazine articles, blog posts, academic papers, news casts for TV and even fiction. I love writing and I know I will never stop.
15. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
I like all the giant zords but the first incarnation of the North American brand holds a special place in my heart. I love collecting the toys, watching the shows and even playing the retro video games. Go Go Power Rangers all day long I say.
16. model trains
I like building models. I enjoy putting together puzzles. I am obsessively fascinated by model trains. I enjoy the railroad layouts. I enjoy building the terrain. I even enjoy piecing together little towns for my trains to occupy. It is one of my passions.
This gets a category all its own as it very easily rises above ALL other video games. For me video games are a hobby. I enjoy playing games. I enjoy collecting games. I even enjoy discussing them. I LIVE for Minecraft. It is not a game, it is a way of life.
18. Hot Wheels
This is a relatively new obsession. Alright I like cars. I discovered this when my dad used to teach me about them when he worked in a shop. Or when we would watch Mecum auctions on TV. Or when I would attend car shows with friends. Or watching my uncle participate in the demolition derby. I like cars. They are cool.
Much like Rainbow Brite I longed to have my own Barbie as a kid. In fact I mostly played with my boys toys action figures (Ninja Turtles, Transformers, He Man, etc.) as dolls. I played “house” or “office” instead of war or whatever you were supposed to do. Now as an adult I have a pretty decent Barbie collection that includes dolls, vehicles and playsets.
I like fishing. I like hiking. I like biking but nothing gives me as much joy when it comes to outdoor activities as sleeping in a tent, roasting hot dogs on an open fire, telling ghost stories or swimming in the ice cold lake on a hot summer day.
I collect movies on DVD, VHS, Betamax, LaserDisc, Blu Ray, HD DVD, Video 8, CED and so, so many more. I love watching movies. I love listening to the audio commentary. I even enjoy behind the scenes and making of documentaries on films. Given the choice between TV and films I mostly prefer movies.
The SINGLE most important comic book/superhero franchise to me bar none. ‘Nuff Said.
23. Trading cards
Although I have an aversion of sorts to Magic the Gather, well as an organized tournament play anyways, I can’t get enough trading cards. I love collecting cards. Sorting them into binders. Trading them with friends. Reading the bios and info on the backs. Yup me equals obsessed.
I love computers. I love writing computer programs. I love typing words in a word document on a computer. I enjoy doodling in MS Paint on a computer. I also like playing computer games, editing video, producing music, recording podcasts, and the like. If it can be done on a computer then I want in. I love ALL computers. Windows. Linux. Apple. Atari. Dell. HP. Toshiba. Micron. IBM. Tablet. Laptop. Desktop. Watch. I. LOVE. COMPUTERS.
Yes I mentioned hip hop. Yes I mentioned dance music. These are passions of mine. I also love making mix tapes. On Tape! I love making playlists on my iPod, Spotify and Amazon Music. I love buying CDs. I love burning my own playlists onto CD. I enjoy producing, writing, mixing and listening to my own music from my own brain. I love music. I even enjoy playing the drums, piano and guitar from time to time.
There you have it 25 things that define Stephanie Bri, also known as the Retro Witch. Stay Cool.
Unfortunately heartache has struck the Transposed family and therefore we are down a woman this week. The ladies will have something serious to share next week so please enjoy this shorter episode with a message that is important for all trans people and trans allies who listen to this show.
Long before I bore the burden of identifying as a Christian in today’s society I donned the hat of witchcraft. During my teen years I remained devoted to the dark arts as well as favorable to things supernatural even as my experience with Christianity grew. I developed a duality not just in my person that became my transgender self hiding inside a face, a mask so to speak, that I wore. I also became a Christian Witch. An oxymoron in many ways to those uninitiated. A realization of the truth in others.
What does it mean to be a witch? For me it is about shunning societies rules. It is about being close to nature, to the spirit world and being more open to having a spiritual life. Christians refer to the spirit filled or spirit led life. They refer to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The truth is over the years I have come to see the Bible in a different light the more I read it, study it from other perspectives and learn about it’s history. I have concluded that the Bible, while still absolutely being the Word of God to me, is complicated. Some Christians often spout “It’s in the Bible” without questioning what the words in the text mean.
I grew up having a very complicated relationship with religion. Like I said I was essentially pagan at first. I knew there was a god and I sometimes went to church but I also believed in spirits, ghosts, demons and nature. At my earliest stage when I began studying the various world religions and mythologies I dabbled in a devotion to Thor. I chose Thor because I had Germanic heritage. Also because I lived in Kansas so it made sense to devote oneself to the God of Thunder when thunderstorms were so common. My sister once told me thunder storms were when God and the Devil were fighting. She also is quite spiritual and does not fit into the box of traditional Christianity. Or at least in the modern sense.
I have come to learn a lot of the dogmas, the strict rules and code of ethics modern Christians, be it Catholic or Protestant, have little in common with the Jewish faith the religion sprang from nor even the earliest examples of Christians. There was a time when the beliefs were less a list of rules to live by and more a guide to being more spiritual and serving others. We have lost this in today’s modern Church. We focus more on attendance, as if the more people in the seats translates to more people in Heaven. We also focus too much time on money. We build elaborate church structures, donned with beautiful but expansive statues and we utilize the latest technology in our services. It’s far too commercialized for my liking. Throughout history Christians have shunned the established church structure and wandered into the wilderness to form spiritual families in monasteries or gone it alone in the wilderness as hermits. These people are very much Christian yet sometimes, due to their practices, way of living and devotion to nature in their worship of the Almighty, they have more in common with the witches their more organized bretheren would persecute throughout the ages. It is that persecution that leaves non Christian witches with a sour taste in regards to Christianity in all its forms. That some claim one cannot be devoted to nature and serve the Christian God equally.
I am not so sure.
First the sins of one do not taint the entire flock. Even if those sins run rampant they do not inherently define Christians. I pray to the God in the Bible, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I call to Mother Mary and ask for her prayers. I sometimes call out to another Saint in Heaven, as depicted in the Book of Revelation and taught to us in the Catholic-family of Christian churches. I also have been told one can call out to their own Guardian Angel. Now praying is not exactly the same as practicing witchcraft but it’s not far off. However the rituals we perform in the Mass, the Eucharist, and the way we set up our Alters to the Lord and pray. Our use of Holy Water. Our Christian Calendar and it’s many Feast Days and Holydays of Obligation. These do bear resemblance to older, pagan religions. So much so it causes many on the outside to accuse Christians of co-opting pagan practices and even some within to cause divisions in the Church over accusations of Pagan Christianity. This accusation is lobbed mostly at the Roman Catholic but also Anglican and Orthodox branches as well.
What does it mean to me to be a witch?
It is a part of my heritage. It is a part of who I am. For me it means I listen to the trees. I try to hear what the animals around me are saying in their eyes, with their actions. I feel connected to the insects chugging away beneath my feet feeling not superior to them but equal just serving a different purpose. If the critters in the dirt didn’t fertilize and soften the soil our crops couldn’t grow and our food supply would dry up. I don’t feel disconnected from the circle of life. Yes we Worship the creator but we can very much feel connected to ALL of Creation. We can feel a spiritual connection to the natural world. Those things God chose to place here for his purpose.
To some Witchcraft is forbidden. They say the Bible bans it. To this I say 1, even the Disciples performed great miracles and performed rituals. 2, the translation of the word is contested and many believe it refers to something else. 3. A lot of the Bible is allegory and not to be taken literally thus it cannot be taken at face value in all cases.
Yes DEVIL worship is forbidden. But Witches, even Pagans and Wiccans, do NOT worship the devil. Some devote themselves to certain spirits, parts of nature, or other causes. Devotion is not the same as worship. Christians devote themselves their spouses, those privileged enough to be granted the Sacrament of Matrimony that is, yet they do not worship their spouses. Devotion means you try to further ones cause and do their work. It does not mean you recognize them as God. Catholics often devote themselves to an individual Saint and follow in their footsteps. Even Evangelicals devote themselves to mimicking their favorite pastor, public speaker or some other fabled leader they admire. Devotion is not worship.
I choose to devote myself to the spirit world. I choose to reach out to all spirits who will listen and ask for immediate guidance. I never leave God out of the mix. I pray daily, directly to him. But I see nothing wrong with calling out to spirits, be it Angels, lost souls, or passed Saints, who are in closer proximity to myself who have less going on if it will provide the Lord the means to administer his Grace in more urgent manner.
Former me did fall into Necromancy. I had Ouija boards and other tools designed to facilitate talking to the dead. Parts of this is forbidden in the Bible. Although it is not entirely clear what exactly is forbidden. Some prefer to shy away from all forms of spirituality outside a simple 2-3 sentence quick prayer in the morning to start their day. I, however, find myself in near constant prayer to the Lord. Sometimes I am praying through one of his other servants. I have also lovingly discovered the power of grace which comes from reciting the Hail Mary or praying the Our Father. I also recite the Creed when I do attend mass. Mass itself is a very spiritual experience for me.
When I tell people I am a Christian Witch it doesn’t mean I serve to masters or that I summon Evil spirits. What it means to me is I try to feel as connected to all of the Natural and Supernatural world as I can. I do not seek personal power for my own ambition. Rather I am merely looking for ways to be a better servant to others. A better steward to the natural resources God has gifted me. A better friend to the animals, plants and insects that I interact with on a daily basis.
The other day I was sitting on the curb outside work for my afternoon break. I saw a roly-poly walking by minding his business. I sat there and felt like the two of us were in a shared space each doing our own part to better the world around us. The old me would have crushed a bug out of fear and disgust. The new me wants to welcome them into my life and assist them in their endeavors.
I have met other witches, the non Christian variety. We have another thing in common I will get into later. Our aversion or resistance to societal pressures. As a trans woman it is safe to say I resist social norms.
Hello friends, it has been a while since my last post. I am tempted to apologize for the delay but to be honest, life has been difficult for me for the last few months so I haven’t had a chance to actually sit down and compose my thoughts in a while.
This year is already off to a strange twist compared to last year. Ya know, 2020 the year we all wanted to erase. Yeah it was actually a pretty good year for me. Well, for the most part at least. Truth is this year has not been as great. I started it right off losing my job. Of course because of reasons I can’t share I am not allowed to talk about it. And frankly I have no desire to.
I found myself basically on the verge of being homeless during what Texans are calling the Snowpacolypse. I managed to survive but not on my own. It took a Robin taking me in under her wing to not only get me back on my feet, but also to help me turn my life around in a positive way.
That bond I am forming with my sister is very special to me and exactly why I wanted to talk about why trans people need each other in our lives. More often than not so many of us lose a lot of friends and family whenever we come out as trans. I began transitioning in July and by January I was unemployed. Again I can’t go into the details but they were very much intertwined. I was afraid of coming out because I thought if I did I’d end up losing my job.
In that time since I was shunned by my family, rejected by my church, disavowed by many of my friends, basically a posterchild for the trans experience in America. Then I found Robin.
At first it was a casual interaction we me online on a site devoted to trans people. We were both looking for the same thing, a friend who knew what we were going through. Someone to share in our experience. Robin immediately helped me get a photo shoot together so I could send out a Christmas card to my friends and family showing off how happy I was transitioning. While many in my family rejected the sentiment it began what I am hoping is an inseparable bond between two sisters.
Family, as any queer person will tell you, are the people who choose to have you in their life. They are not the blood relatives that wish you harm, or reject your happiness. They are not the ones who shun you or try to change you. Family are people we bond with over shared experiences. It’s deeper than friendship yet of course not quite romantic. Thankfully Robin is married so she has a rock to lean on. I am happy for her in that regard.
As for myself. Robin took me into her life. She moved me to the city to be closer to her and better opportunities. She helped m discover my fashion. She has even begun to introduce me to a circle of friends that have not only welcomed me but at least act like they enjoy having me around. For that and more I am eternally grateful the two of us found each other. As a trans person, again as most queer people are, it can be very lonely if you don’t have a support network that includes like-minded individuals who understand what you are going through with first hand experience.
It has been a blessing being close to someone who I can relate to. It has been a breath of fresh air having someone I can lean on. Someone I can turn to when I need a big sister to give me advice. She has been all of this and so much more. Of course I wouldn’t be doing myself, my readers or Robin any favors if I also didn’t talk about her lovely wife AJ. She has also been a rock solid supporter of Robin, myself and trans people in general. She has seen first hand what we struggle with and she has stood up for us when we needed her to and she has been a comfort to those around her.
When I began transitioning I cried many nights mourning the family that was pushing me away. Now I cry tears of joy over the new and improved family God has bestowed upon me. If you have a trans person in your life, even if they don’t show it, they are going through some shit and you need to be patient with them. Be kind to them. And above all else try to be respectful to their wishes. I would have never been able to make it this far if I hadn’t found this new family.
On this episode Stephanie rambles a little about religion and its impact on trans community. The girls talk about conversion therapy and why it’s bad. And the top five picked by the listeners has your hosts at odds once again.
On this week’s episode of the spider’s Lair show the Retro which talks about the Amityville Horror franchise and it’s important on the greater horror community. She also talks about how NECA toys have expanded the horror toy and collectible Market. And she shares her thoughts on some kind of robot Championship thingamabob. Plus Kylie Minogue has a new album out!