THE TIME LOOP: notes on slayers, watchers & witch hunts

FROM THE DIARIES OF A TIME KEEPER

This post is the episode transcript to season one episode seven on The Divination Channel (our podcast). You can listen to the episode on our website, or subscribe to Otherworldly Giants on Apple or Spotify.

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Greetings Good Listeners,

I’m your host, Storyteller and Spellweaver, Shaunga Tagore. You are tuning into my Divination Channel. Welcome to Otherworldly Giants!

This is season one on the channel, titled “Grief, Love and Buffy: A True-Life Multiverse Podcast Drama about a Queer Witch and her Two Black Cats.”

You are listening to episode seven and its called: “THE TIME LOOP: Notes on Slayers, Watchers & Witch-hunts, from the Diaries of a Time Keeper.”

[sounds of water]

We begin today’s story by traveling back to January 2021.

[music: a clockmaker’s dream]

Everyday I wake up worried.

Estha and Rahel, my two black cats, are both still alive at this time. They’re in their elder years, with a whole host of senior cat health issues that require pretty much 24/7 care and attention. And it’s all on me. I have no help. It’s the height of the pandemic. Extreme social isolation. Every two to three hours, they need hands-on support with escalating digestive issues that are baffling vetrinarians and feline behaviour specialists alike. Around the clock, day and night. I can’t leave my house for more than a couple hours at a time, and not just because of Covid. It’s been like this since Rahel’s near death experience in 2019. At this point, January 2021, I hadn’t slept through the night in two years, and that would continue for two more years still.

I’m hanging on by a green thread. The weight of responsibilities is collapsing on me and I can’t even admit that to myself that I’m drowning. If I did, I would actually sink down.

[music slowly fades]

Worry in my body lives in my own digestive issues and no that’s not a coincidence. Worry is like several layers of go-cart tracks shaped like rollercoasters, with thousands of aggressive tiny cars racing around in my stomach. I keep thinking, if I can just get in the drivers seat of one of those cars, if I can just get ahead of the race, then maybe I’ll have some control over the situation. But joke’s on me, cuz all these roads that look like they’re heading somewhere ‘sembling a finish line are actually just looping around in circles. I guess worry likes to drive for the sake of driving cuz the illusion of getting somewhere provides some comfort.

Isn’t that what life is, though? Driving for the sake of driving? It’s about the journey, not the destination kinda shit?

Then what makes Worry-Driving so depleting? Well. If you’re so busy worrying while you drive, then you can’t enjoy it. If life is about being present in the moment regardless of outcome…if purpose is embracing the wheel on your beauty path no matter where it takes you…then worry is kind of like someone who stole your car. It looks real close to what you’re supposed to be doing – but your drive is really is stuck in the backseat, getting car sick.

The truth is, it’s January 2021, and I have no way of knowing how much time I have left with Estha and Rahel. They could go two years from now, or tomorrow. It doesn’t matter. Whatever time I have, I don’t want to waste it worrying. I want to cherish every second I have with them.

[sound: a clock ticking]

This 5D Rollercoaster Go-Cart nightmare is not just in my stomach anymore, it’s in my heart, it’s a raincloud of garbage spiralling and spitting over my head. This worry is stealing my time. I have to do something about that.

[clock stops clicking]

So one day, I take two hours I have to myself in the afternoon and visit my neighborhood park, my favourite trees, my friendship circle. I lay down offerings: Kiwi, Avocado, Cucumber.

A spider crawls into this sacred space, and begins to eat.

I ask the spider:

“Why is everyone so afraid of you?”

The spider shrugs. I blink and when I open my eyes, everything is GREEN.

[sounds of water]

The air is tinted neon. The ground is full of lush healthy grass. The clouds are soft mint, the sky is matcha tea. The hills are alive everywhere, not just under me but also climbing up the walls, and I can walk on them sideways, defying gravity. The hills are solid in texture, delightfully squishing my feet, but they’re also like waves. They move in rhythm and I can hear them.

Where am I?

[water sounds end]

She appears. A big cat.

Who then shapeshifts into a barn owl. Into a cobra. Into a python. Into a dragon. The dragon spreads its wings and swoops upward into the sky, loops around, then charges back down into the earth, fracturing the land like a meteor and I fall down, down, down into the underworld. I brace myself for the dragon’s impact but when I open my eyes she’s just a small spider.

I’ve never seen the underworld like this before, it’s an Emerald City. The rocks, crystals, and sand here are made of cooled volcanic tuff coloured with lime, seafoam, shamrock, clover.

Right before my eyes the spider morphs into a Giant Queen. Expansive, elegant spider legs sprawl from her back, like wings. Holy smoke dances around her like the Aurora Borealis. Her face is green, like some kind of wicked witch.

“Yoouuuuu.” [crawling noises] The SpiderWoman lifts off her throne, crawls toward me, and sniffs my face.

My hands are shaking, but I speak. “What’s your name? Origin? Purpose?”

SpiderWoman: [crawling noises] “Heh?”

“Who are you?”

“Who are youuuu?” [crawling noises] She circles me, sizing me up and down. “Remember when we walked the earth as Giants. So small you are. Yet folk are terrified of you. [crawling] They all ran away from you. What did you do?”

“Me? I didn’t do anything. I tried to ask for help. It just made things worse. [crawling] Every time I ask for support, it just creates a bigger workload for me, I’m already exhausted, and I end up doing most of it myself anyway.”

[crawing noises]

“Can you stop smelling me? [crawling] Where are we?”

“There you go again, pesky little talky meat! You humans and your names and your naming things. Word Magic. Phuh!”

“Hey – Don’t knock Word Magic. It’s what I do, it’s who I am!”

“Sweet, simple Talky Meat. Pins a knife to who she is with what she does. Word Magic!”

“Who ARE you?”

“So what if life made us squish? [crawling] We do a lot in small sizes. Nobody watches us. When they see, they run and hide. So we do a lot. We create new worlds. Older worlds! Before you even realize it’s there. [crawling]”

“Wait. I DO know where I am. This is like that place in that movie. Just a different colour. You know that guy, Dr. Strange?”

“Heh?”

“Dr. Strange. The Marvel movie. It came out in 2016. He starts out as a surgeon, then gets into a really bad car accident, then learns the mystical arts. Then it goes into this whole Multiverse thing. Um, and in order to save the world, Dr. Strange visits this place…it’s-it’s a realm that exists BEYOND TIME…”

“Shut – Shut – Shut -”

“No, that’s where we are! We’ve before time. Or under it. Or over it. There’s no death here.”

“YOOUUUUUUUU!!!! [crawling noises] You don’t know how old you are.”

I look down at my hands and they’re giant. My head is giant. My skin is rippling like waves, like wrinkles in green sand.

“It’s DOR MAMMUUU!!!” I spin around to see Estha and Rahel in the south west corner, calling out my name, rolling on the ground laughing, cracking each other up.

Okay. So. Estha, Rahel and I had indeed just watched the Dr. Strange movie from 2016. The big villain of this film can only be described as a super evil, big blob named Dor-Mammu.

He lives in a realm that exists beyond time. Not bound by the rules of life and death.

The funny thing is, well, it’s about our names. I named Estha and Rahel after characters in the book, The God of Small Things. In this book, Estha and Rahel are 7 year old human twins, and they call their mom Ammu, who is also a main character in this book. I brought Estha and Rahel the cats home with me in 2008, and they’ve called me as Ammu for their whole lives.

But ever since we watched this Dr. Strange movie, Estha and Rahel have been getting a huge kick out of calling me Dor-Mammu – I guess it’s not a stretch from Ammu.

Estha/Rahel: “Dor-mammmuuu, wake up! It’s 4am! We need help again! We LOOOVE our DOR-MAMMU. She’s our evil cartoon villain. Yeah, she’s our weird, big blob of time!”

So, in the movie, Dor-mammu wants to take over the Earth, and Dr. Strange has to stop him, but how? Dor-Mammu is eternal, he can’t die. Finally, Dr. Strange enters Dor-Mammu’s realm of endless time.

And he’s like: Dor-Mammu, I came here to bargain!

And Dor-Mammu’s like, fuck you, you came here to die. And then he kills Dr. Strange. But then, Dr. Strange just come up over a hill and says it again: “Dor-mammu I came here to bargain.” And on and on it goes.

Dr. Strange realizes that he can’t die in this realm either. He doesn’t have to defeat this super villain, he just has to monumentally annoy him. He’s like, I’m just gonna keep showing up at this bargaining table for the rest of eternity, unless you make a different kind of agreement with me. Agree to go away. Leave Earth alone. In turn, I will stop annoying you.

And, that’s basically how the movie ends. Dor-Mammu agrees to bargain, just so he doesn’t have to be stuck in this horrible TIME LOOP.

Alright Good Listeners. Here’s Lesson One in Multiverse Philosophy. What are Time Loops?

[clockmaker’s sound effect]

Time Loops are a multiverse technology that occur in the 4D, 5D, and other multidimensional realms, but they impact us in our tiny human lives too. Time Loops occur when we keep having the same shitty experience again and again, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t get out of it.

“Every time I ask for support, it just makes things worse.”

Or: “Every time I state a healthy boundary, I upset everyone around me.”

Or: “Every time I take the risk to be vulnerable, someone takes advantage of me.”

“Every time someone says they want to support me, they really just want to take something from me that I didn’t consent to.”

“Every time I say no, I put myself in the line of fire.”

“Every time I trust someone, they lie to me.”

“Every time I relax and let my guard down, someone attacks me.”

“Every time I show up with Good Faith, I’m met with war.”

“Every time I open my heart to love, they leave.”

“Every time I show who I really am, they leave.”

“The more I heal, the more I lose all my relationships”

“EVERY TIME I claim the true essence of my power, the more Alone I become.”

Buffy: There’s that word again.

It’s my opinion that many of us are on the planet today because we made an agreement outside of time, beyond time-before time, to come to this life and end generational cycles of Time Loops.

Time Loops of trauma, injustice, war. Time Loops of domestic violence, isolation, poverty. Time Loops that have been terrorizing our Ancestors for too long.

Many of us came here, agreeing to be the first one in our lineage to end it, for good.

It’s a blessing to be the first one in your lineage who gets to experience a completely different way of life. And it’s also a burden because you have to do it alone.

Just like Dor-Mammu, I realize I’m stuck in a Time Loop, and this is what it looks like for me. The Green has faded into dull brown and I’m just trapped in a massive hole in the ground, again. It’s way too big to climb my way out. I’ve dedicated my life to healing myself and sharing my healing with others and none of it matters because no matter what I do, (the more I heal, the more I lose) I always end up back here, alone.

[Echo from Buffy/The First Evil: “There’s that word again. Who you are. How you’ll die. Alone.”

Okay Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Give us a perfect example of Time Loops. The penultimate episode of season 5, called The Weight of the World.

[Music: Club Adventure]

To summarize, throughout season 5 Buffy has been tasked to protect her younger sister Dawn, who is actually an ancient mystical entity recently turned human. Her true essence is, wait for it, a weird, big blob of green energy, called The Key. The big bad of season 5 is a Hell God named Glory who is relentlessly hunting for Dawn, or The Key, so she can use it for her own nefarious purpose. Nothing is more important to Buffy than protecting her sister, but Buffy’s just not as strong as a hell god. Buffy gets her ass kicked multiple times, she’s hanging on by a green thread, and the weight of the world is collapsing on her. She does have friends that want to help but how can they really help, how?

Buffy Echo: How can you possibly help?

[music ends]

By the time we get to the second last episode, Glory finally manages to capture Dawn and instead of chasing after them, Buffy just…sits down.

She’s catatonic. She’s out.

Willow, who is a mega badass witch at this point, does a spell to enter Buffy’s mind to try and get her to snap out of it. In Buffy’s mind, Willow sees Buffy looping around the same few stories. First Buffy’s a kid with a happy family and everyone she loves is safe. Then she’s an adult, she walks into Dawn’s bedroom and Buffy kills Dawn herself. Willow follows Buffy around these Loops, trying to talk to her, or at least understand.

Let’s break this down. Why does someone get caught in a Time Loop, and what does it take to break out of it?

For one thing, when a heightened level of stress and overwhelm become your constant reality, when that multiversal pressure has been charging on you, you know you are just one small thing away from complete collapse. This is how I felt constantly through the last 4 years of heightened pandemic. I knew that any moment, some small thing could come along and take me out. In Buffy’s case, it does.

It pulls her down into an underworld that is governed by three words: “It’s My Fault.”

As far as word magic goes, these are three of the most powerful ones that keep many of us stuck in Time Loops. Buffy feels responsible for Dawn, she feels like it’s her fault that her sister died.

[Willow: “Hello, your sister, not dead yet!”]

[clock ticking]

It’s more than just guilt. It’s the weight of her Ancestors, all the slayers that came before her, chosen one after chosen one who didn’t have a choice to become a superhero.

[sounds of water and fire]

They were just given the weight of the world to protect, as kids, teenagers, young women. They were born into a system that was designed to isolate them from collective support, collective magic. Slayer after Slayer after Slayer had to take on responsibilities that were way bigger than what any one person could handle, and they just had to figure it out. The reality for a Slayer is that her burdens are ones that nobody around her has the capacity to share. In this system, she is required to keep her gifts a secret for the sake of her and others’ safety. She doesn’t have the luxury of making low-stakes mistakes (pun intended) that don’t result in horrific consequences. When Buffy collapses into the Loop of “It’s My Fault” it’s not just her faults she has to reckon with, it’s also the despair and isolation of all her Ancestors that came before.

“It’s My Fault” might be the wound, but it’s not actually the problem. The problem is the entire system.

[water and fire sounds end]

[clock ticking]

“It’s My Fault” is the wound, but a system designed to create the reality of isolation and collapse over-burdened responsibilities onto one person is the knife that pins the wound to your heart.

[clock stops ticking]

Damn, that’s deep right?

People get stuck in Time Loops when they don’t have a proper way to grieve. It’s like being stuck in a space of grief, without actually grieving. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a story about the last slayer who has no option but to endure this system, because her True Calling is to transform it.

At the end of the episode, Buffy does finally snap out of it. She comes back to reality, and breaks down, weeping. Willow holds her.

That’s what I mean when I talk about a proper way to grieve. Sometimes we need a friend who will act as a witness to the deep, painful corners of our mind, and tell us the truth with love, compassion and respect.

[Willow: “You’ve carried the weight of the world on your shoulders since high school. You do it, every day. And so you wanted out for one second. So what?”]

We need someone to hold us while we cry, just hold us. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

When you don’t have that support, staying stuck in a Time Loop is actually a very intelligent thing to do. If you were to break out of it, and the grief is flowing, and the weight is Ancestral, and there’s nobody to catch you, that’s catastrophic.

So I’m here in this monstrous, ancestral hole in the ground. I ask myself honestly. Do I have what I need to grieve?

I look at the clock. It’s 4:22. Then I see it. In the North East corner. There’s a ladder. It’s just sitting there, climbing all the way to the top. As if it’s been there this entire time.

I look around me and it’s clear. There’s nothing more for me to fix down here. I’ve done everything I can do. The only thing left to do is…leave.

So why am I still here? When I can see the way out.

Willow now stands near the ladder. We’re in Buffy’s Loop and also mine.

“Willow. What if I go up there and there’s really nothing there for me? What if I leave this place and I’m still just alone?”

“Well, “Willow replies. “If you stay down here, you’re never going to find out, will you?”

Willow starts walking up the ladder.

Buffy/Shaunga: “Wait? Where are you going?”

Willow/Shaunga: “Where you’re needed.”

[Otherworldly Giants THEME SONG]

BUCKLE IN, Good Listeners, we are well into part one of a 4-PART mid-season finale!

That’s right: FOUR PARTS, and yes the time on the clock while I write this sentence is indeed 4:44.

In this here part one we’re talking about Slayers, we’re talkin about Witch Hunts, we’re the Watcher’s Council, we’re talking about GILES…our favourite father figure. Along the way we’re breaking down fascinating Multiverse Philosophy, beautiful soul lessons from our animal companions, and at the end of this episode you’ll even find something resembling a cliff hanger. But not to worry because we’re dropping part one and part two of this mid-season finale at the same bloody time! So once you’re done listening to this episode, you can head right on over and listen to part 2 with no time to waste. Parts 3 and 4 will be released later this month during eclipse season. The last thing to note before we dive back in is to say: VAMPIRES BEWARE, you may have noticed there are Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoilers galore and that will continue for the rest of the episode. So if you are spoiler sensitive, I can’t help you with that. Now, back to our story.

[theme song fades out]

Into every generation a Slayer is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One. She Alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons…

Buffy: “To Stop the Spread of their Evil blah blah blah, I’ve heard it okay?”

The opening narration of Buffy the Vampire Slayer sets up the series mythology from the the beginning. For the first couple seasons, we’re invited into this lore and we don’t question its traps. Why does there have to be only one Chosen One? The characters don’t think about it, the audience doesn’t think about it, it’s just how it is.

Throughout the series, this trope of the one lone incognito hero who saves everyone again and again is pulled apart until the characters dismantle and transform it entirely. From my power to our power. From the Chosen One to the Chosen Many.

There are so many different layers on this topic we could talk about, and believe me, we will, but in this episode I want to focus on Giles, Buffy’s Watcher, and their relationship within this system and lineage.

As long as there were Slayers, there were Watchers. A Slayer’s Watcher is her guide, her teacher, her mentor. Her Heirophant.

A Slayer usually gets called somewhere in her teen years, 14, 15, 16. She awakens to phenomenal powers, superhuman strength, and the reality of monsters that go bump in the night. The awakening is jarring and unexpected, as she finds herself thrust into extraordinarily dangerous circumstances. This is when the Watcher steps in and explains to to his Slayer her sacred duty. It’s the Watcher’s job to ensure she stays on her path.

Giles: “A Slayer slays. A Watcher–”

Buffy: “Watches?”

Giles: “He trains her, he prepares her–”

Buffy: “Prepares me for what? For getting kicked out of school? For losing all my friends? For spending all my time fighting for my life and never getting to tell anyone because I might endanger them? Go ahead.”

In season three we learn more about the mythology behind Watchers when we meet the Watcher’s Council – a governing body of uptight British white men…with one white woman and one brown dude – gotta love the British brown dude, his name is Nigel!

Nigel: “You’re registered as practising Witches under the names as you gave them to me?”

The Watcher’s Council has overseen the entire organization of Slayers for generations.

Quenten: “The Council fights evil. The Slayer is the instrument with which we fight. The Council remains, the Slayers change. It’s been that way from the beginning.”

This quote from the president of the Watcher’s Council, Quenten Travers, tells us everything we need to know. The Watcher’s Council sees their Slayers as disposable. Instruments they use then discard, then they just get a new one.

Buffy: “Good to know. I was kinda feeling like a tool. And now I know why.”

The Watcher’s Council believes their overblown sense of importance, as if they’re the ones fighting evil, when these young women are actually the ones putting their bodies and lives on the line every day. The Council hoards their resources, their knowledge, and they hold that power over the Slayers head, often using what they know or have as bargaining chips to get the Slayer to do what they want, or at least remind her that she must always be subordinate. By the end of the series it’s clear the Watcher’s Council is the embodiment of the patriarchy, and arguably, the real villain of the whole story.

Some of my favourite moments of Buffy are the times she reclaims her power and stands up to the council.

Buffy: “You’re Watchers. Without a Slayer, you’re pretty much just watching Masterpiece Theatre.”

Including the iconic moment in the season 3 finale when she’s about to finish high school and she confronts Wesley-Wyndam Price, aka Giles’ replacement Watcher after Giles got fired.

Wesley: “The Council’s Orders–”

Buffy: “I don’t think I’ll be taking any more orders. Not from you, not from them.”

Wesley: “You can’t turn your back on the Council. Giles, talk to her.”

Giles: “I have nothing to say right now.”

Wesley: “This is Mutiny.”

Buffy: “I like to think of it as, Graduation.”

The relationship between Giles and Buffy is one of the most beautiful in the series. Giles quickly becomes a Chosen Father for Buffy, especially given that her biological father is absent. Buffy and Giles have that quirky, funny father daughter vibe…

Giles: “Am I not supposed to have a private life?”

“No! Because you’re very, very old and its gross.”

It’s deeply endearing…

Giles: “How did you know it was me?”

Buffy: “Yours eyes. You’re the only person in the world who can look that annoyed with me.”

…And fiercely protective.

Giles: “If it’s guilt you’re looking for Buffy, I’m not your man. The only thing you’ll get from me is my support. And my respect.”

Giles comes from a system that inherently devalues the humanity of someone he love fiercely. This is the culture that taught him how to be a Good Watcher, and how to be right with the rules, the protocols, the prophecies.

Buffy pushes back from the beginning. She does things her own way. She acts with her gut. She doesn’t follow protocols that are completely displaced from what she has to respond to and survive on the ground, every day.

We see Giles go back and forth between what he’s taught and his trust in Buffy’s leadership. Many times we see Giles throwing the book away and putting Buffy first. Choosing her, instead of his legacy.

And sometimes we see him make some horrible mistakes.

In the middle of season 3, before Buffy quits the Council, in an episode called Helpless, we are introduced to a rite of passage the Watcher’s Council has created. A test that every Slayer must be put through at the time of her 18th birthday. The Watcher on duty is expected to hypnotise and secretly inject his Slayer with some kind of drug that temporarily strips her of her superpowers. The Slayer is then thrown into a situation where she has to kill an usually terrifying vampire without her powers.

Giles participates in this unecessarily brutalizing ritual. To the point where he can’t stand the pain and confusion she’s in…

Buffy: “I can’t be helpless like that. Giles, please, we have to figure out what is happening to me.”

He breaks protocol and confesses everything to her before the test is complete. It’s a heartbreaking breach of trust…

Giles: “Whatever I have to do to deal with Kraelic, and to win back your trust—”

Buffy: “You stuck a needle in me. You poisoned me!”

At the end of the episode, Giles loses his job as Watcher.

Quenten: “I’ve recommended to the council, and they’ve agreed, that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You’re fired.”

Giles: “On what grounds?”

Quenten: “Your affection for your charge has rendered you incapable of clear and impartial judgement. You have a father’s love for the child, and that is useless to the cause.”

I’ve heard commentary from other Buffy fans that Giles’ actions in this episode are not believable, because he would never do that to Buffy. That arguably, they wrote Giles a little bit out of character here in order to make the plot work.

I personally don’t see it that way. I do buy that Giles would participate in this ritual. I think that many people who are raised in cultures that are built on injustice, will participate in those acts of injustice, even if it goes against what they know to be right in their heart. We’re all figuring that out in some way or another. Sometimes we do things automatically, and the culture has a logic that twists things around to almost kind of make it make sense. Then we’re confronted with the truth, and we have to re-train our brains to align our actions with what we actually value.

There are consequences for going against the culture that raised you. Giles loses his job and his place in a community. That’s not to minimize the impacts on Buffy whose body bears the brunt of this violence.

In the following season, Giles is lost. He’s floundering. He’s lost his compass. He doesn’t know what to do with his time, or what to wear, he’s drinking a little bit too much…

Drunk Giles: “Ah, no I am no Alfred sir, you forget. Alfred had a job.”

When you’re the first one in your lineage breaking major generational patterns, doing everything differently, sometimes your elders are quietly running behind you, desparately trying to keep up, and not always doing it gracefully.

Drunk Giles: “Bloody hell!”

I am a cycle breaker. I am the last Slayer in my lineage to endure a system that isn’t serving us, because I’m ending it. I’m transforming it within myself. Many times I’ve approached my parents with ferocity and impatience, like just fucking catch up already! And how they were taught to protect me, a lot of times, doesn’t actually help me.

But then I take a step back and I look at how much my parents have adjusted to changes I’ve brought them. How much they’ve embraced things that a lot of people in their culture, age and generation have not, simply because they knew they had to, if they wanted to keep loving me. I’m proud of my parents for how much they’ve allowed themselves to heal, even if it’s not enough for me in my own body or life. I respect them for their limits.

Like Giles, my parents had to balance what they were taught and how they were raised, with trust for my leadership.

My Dad died in 2016, and when he left, I inherited his car.

Multiverse Philosophy Lesson #2. Your Auric Vehicle.

[clockmaker’s sound effect]

Yes, everyone has a Multiverse Car. A unique vehicle that surrounds your body, your aura. Everyone’s Vehicle is different: the colour the shape, the fancy technologies, they’re all unique to you.

If we utilize any sort of vehicle in the physical realm – car, bike, scooter, wheelchair, bus, subway – the physical vehicles we use to travel become an extension of our Auric Vehicle.

Any issues we have: break-downs, malfunctions, quirks, accidents, thefts, missed turns, getting lost, parking tickets – all of these can be clues as to what’s happening in our energy body, and on the Ancestral plane.

Paying attention to our vehicle is important: this is the part of our energy body that determines our direction. It drives us forward, or around in circles. It provides safety and protection on our life path.

When I was in my late teens and 20s, I LOVED driving. I got my lisence as soon as I could at 16. I was comfortable and confident on the road. My favourite thing was to blast music and sing at the top of my lungs with the windows down.

When I inherited my Dad’s car, something scared the shit out of me. I suddenly couldn’t drive anymore. I was terrified to be on the road. Look, I’ve never been in any major accidents. I’ve never had any traumatic experiences while driving. The legimitate phobia I developed was truly a mystery.

A lot of magical people don’t understand what the fuck is happening after they embark on a healing journey. You think you’re doing a good thing by breaking these cycles that are harming you and everyone in your lineage, but then shit blows up in your life all over the place. When you go against the culture in which you were raised, the magnitude and intensity of push back can be enormous, because the energy you’re up against is truly Ancestral.

When my Dad passed away, at the same time, I fully awakened to the true essence of my Ancestral power, and I took a major step forward in my unique leadership. A Multiversal Wind Storm met me accordingly.

I did get attacked. From so many different angles, all at once: family, intimate relationships, partners, friends, workplace, community.

This isn’t actually about the individual people who I’ve had conflict with. It’s about what’s happening on the Ancestral Plane. Those individual people – they’re all protagonists in their own story. But for me, it was clear. I was up against a Witch Hunt.

No doubt there’s mighty energy out there in the Multiverse that doesn’t want me to know the true power of my magic, let alone wield it.

That energy does not want me to heal. It doesn’t want me to be seen out in public as a Witch, at least not in my power. It does want me to be an Artist, a Healer, a Teacher, a Slayer, because it benefits from my contributions, but only in a system that is eating me alive. It wants me to hide the true nature of my power which requires reciprocity and recognition of my value, so that instead I’m always isolated, always over-burdened, always working over-time with little to no pay, always subordinate.

When I received my Dad’s car, he passed his part of the lineage to me. His drive. His direction. He gave it to me freely – do what you know is best. Take the wheel, forge your own path, even if it goes against the culture. The Witch Hunts tried it with me, they really did, and they failed.

But I’m human. It did scare the shit out of me. Honestly, I’m still living with PTSD from that time. A part of my soul ran away into hiding.

I can see it clearly from here. The Witch Hunts came for me, I did find safety, but I also took power out of my body.

My subconscious brain made the connection: Being powerful was why people were afraid of me, and why they attacked me. Being powerful was why I was losing friends, family, community, livelihood.

Buffy feels this way too. Sure I’m strong and resilient, but are these just different ways of saying I’m hard and closed off? Does being a Slayer cut me off from my own humanity?

In the last episode of season 5, The Gift (which yes is my favourite episode of the whole series) in one of the most chilling moments, Giles kills a human.

See Glory the Hell God shares a body with Ben, the floppy haired Dude Doctor, super nice guy, almost not quite love interest of Buffy…see Glory is Ben and Ben is Glory, it’s a whole thing…

Spike: “You know, Ben is Glory.”

Willow: “Ben’s with Glory?”

Xander: “In what sense?”

Willow: “They’re working together?”

Spike: “Ben is Glory, Glory’s Ben.”

Giles: “Now. Do we suspect there may be some kind of connection between Ben and Glory?”

Spike: “Is everyone here very stoned?”

When it’s down to the wire, Buffy does indeed outsmart the Hell God, but she spares Glory’s life because she won’t kill Ben, a human. When Buffy leaves, Giles steps in.

Ben: “She could have killed me.”

Giles: “No she couldn’t. Sooner or later Glory will re-emerge and make Buffy pay for that mercy. Buffy even knows that and still couldn’t take a human life. She’s a hero, you see. She’s not like us.”

It’s such a quiet moment, but it’s so big. Giles takes a human life. He takes on that burden for Buffy, so that she doesn’t have to, so she’ll never have to know what it’s like to carry that.

[music: clockmaker’s dream]

Multiverse Philosophy Lesson Number #3. What our Animal Companions carry for us.

Many of us made agreements with our animals outside of time, that we would find each other here on Earth. Not a minute too soon or too late.

Our Animals remember that promise in their souls. They come by our side to help us heal our self-love, remember our worth, take charge of our genius, leave a toxic situation, step into our leadership, and drive forward on our life path. They help us unconditionally, and they leave when their mission is complete – not a minute too soon, or too late.

I’ve learned that Estha helps me heal my masculine lineage, all the fathers in me. Rahel helps me heal my feminine lineage, all the mothers in me.

It really is too dangerous to do this work alone. Even in my most isolated moments, Estha and Rahel were with me every step of the way.

Animals see multiversal matter before we do. They see energies around us that mean to do us harm and like superheros, they slow-mo jump in front of our bodies and they take the hit, so that we don’t have to bear all of it on our own.

[music fades out]

Estha and Rahel did that for me, all the time, purposefully, happily. I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to.

“We are cats.” Estha says. “We have tasks!”

Rahel says: “We don’t give a snoobidy-doobidy about anything other than performing our tasks!”

So they take the hit and then? They vomit. Or they stop eating. Or their digestive issues escalate. The root nature of Estha and Rahel’s health issues was energetic. This is why the vetrinarians and cat behaviour specialists were all baffled. It’s not that their perspective isn’t helpful or necessary, but it’s not the whole picture.

On a spiritual level, this situation was trying to tell me that this Multiverse Witch Hunt, these thousands of Time Loops I’m breaking are too much for me to digest on my own. Too much for just one Ammu and her two Black Cats Alone.

What would it take for me to be the person I used to be – who loved singing and driving on an open road?

I can’t pretend I don’t know myself anymore. I can’t pretend these witch hunts haven’t come for me the way that they have. They keep trying it with me, they haven’t stopped really, to this day and if they know how powerful I am then GODDAMN it I’m gonna know it too.

[music: Phoenix Rising]

I’ve been in a Time Loop that tells me the more I claim my power, the more I lose. But what if these losses were just clearing things out the way what I no longer need?

What if true power isn’t meant to be hoarded or used to lift yourself up at the expense of someone else’s humanity? What if my power is shared with the land and its ability to heal everything? My power is consent. My enthusiastic yes and my absolute no. My power is to receive and give love. My power is to grieve, to let it out, to not keep something in my body that is meant to be HELD by many.

This is my path, my way, my direction. Worry drives my car in never ending go-cart loops and it’s time to admit that I am braver than that. Worry can be a placeholder but it cannot steal my time, or the power of my dedication in moments that matter most.

I want whatever is on the other side of this hole. I came here to bargain in a land before time to be here on earth now, not just to break cycles but to live.

If this is power, then goddamn it, I’m putting it back in my body, now.

[music abruptly stops]

[a car crashes]

[wind howls]

The SpiderWoman gasps. She whips around and for the first time I see fear in her eyes. She disintegrates into another timeline.

[sounds of fire and water]

The ground rumbles, tectonic plates are shifting underneath me I can feel them. Rainbow colours burst through the cracks.

The Green Dragon morphs into a Giant Fiery Red Bird.

“WHO ARE YOU?” I scream through the noise.

I hear a stampede in the distance, but I stand my ground.

[sounds of a stampede]

I square off with the bird:

“TELL ME YOUR NAME.”

“TELL ME THE TRUTH.”

[all sounds go quiet]

The earth stops spinning. The bird morphs into a human. Into me. She stands directly in front of me and she says:

[music: Ripples in Time]

“In this time of Great World Reversal, the rules will change. Your yesses will become nos and your nos will become yesses. On March 17 of this year, you will meet the love of your life. On May 22 of this year, your beloved will transition.”

“What? Which Beloved?”

“The Time has been chosen. Not a minute too soon, not a minute too late.”

“Wait…tell me who is going to die? Is it my Mom? Estha? …Rahel?”

“Rahel.”

“No. This can’t be the truth. You can’t give me exact dates for love or death. I’m an astrologer. We don’t predict death.”

“The transmission is complete.”

My doppelganger disappears. The ground shakes again, the Bhaishaki wind and rain storm howls, the colours explode. They catapult me into a whole new world.

Before now me now are wide stretches of hills and valleys, an open blue sky, a lake in the distance. I hear the stampede again, it’s coming closer.

“Ammu! Ammu! Up here!”

Estha and Rahel have found safety high up in a tree. I climb up to meet them. A herd of Triceretops runs past us.

“Dor-MAMMMU. What is this place?”

“I know where we are,” I reply.

[the music builds to a crecsendo]

The call of a pterodactyl shakes the sky.

[music ends]

“This is Pangea.”

[water]

Thank you for listening, fellow Giants. Find us on social media @otherworldlygiants on Instagram and facebook, our check out our website at shaungatagore.com. If you’d like to support this work, find Otherworldly Giants on patreon, write us a review on apple podcasts and give us a 5 star review. Please don’t underestimate how impactful those rates and reviews can be for a new podcast, so please give generously. Part One of our epic casual 4-part mid season finale is now complete. Part Two awaits you. See you on the other side.

[sounds of water end]

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