journal, mental health

Give me a reason

Content warning: Self-harm, and the possible “glamourisation” of self-harm.

As of the time of starting this post, it has been 4 days, 10 hours, 21 minutes, and 48 seconds since I last self-harmed.

Prior to 2022 it had been over a decade since I felt compelled to hurt myself. In that time I have been through so much including the death of both of my parents, unpacking issues related to that, and spending eight hours watching someone nearly die while fighting to keep them alive. I took all of that in my stride, lacking grace and stumbling a lot.

2022 though, I was carelessly exposed to the idea of self-harm at my volunteer work and now it is all I can think about as soon as my stress levels get slightly too high. I can go a couple of months, and then a switch flips and cutting myself seems like a perfectly reasonable option.

So here I am, trapped in a cycle of building emotional pressure and using a razor blade to release the valve for a little bit.

My latest lapse took place on New Year’s Eve. Normally I set myself a deadline for the following morning – I need to wait till 9am the following morning and if I still feel like I need to cut, then I can do it. December 31st was different though. Time is a social construct, but I really didn’t want to start 2023 by cutting so I gave myself a deadline of 9.30pm.

I journaled, distracted myself with cartoons and conversations, and tried to sleep it off. The urge remained, and I could not come up with a single reason not to. Other folk didn’t give me a reason either, but I recognise that it is not their responsibility.

So I did it. But before I did, I found an app to track the time that passes between lapses. As soon as I finished cutting, I started the timer.

4 days, 10 hours, 39 minutes, and 22 seconds.

I’ve been told not to condone or promote self-harm, but you know what? It feels good. I like the pain, I like the feel of blood on my skin. I like how the scars look. I like how it feels when the scars are touched. I like it.

I am under pressure, implicit and explicit, to stop self-harming; to get back on the proverbial saddle, and to consider this year a blip in my mental health recovery. Fine, whatever, but give me a real reason not to do it anymore.

I’ve been on Google trying to find inspiration for reasons not to cut again, but there isn’t much there which seems to vindicate my stance. The closest I found was a blog post by Amanda Smith called “101 Coping Statements for Self-Injury and Self-Harming Behaviours”, and it has not helped me.

There are hollow platitudes or a focus on what other people think rather than what the self-harmer thinks. Fine. Then there are the ones that I rail against almost aggressively.

“I don’t want scars.” – Yes, yes I do. Scars are attractive, especially when they are fresh.

“I don’t want to hide my body.” – And I don’t, not because of self-harm.

“I hate the guilt that comes from self-injury.” – What guilt? Why should I waste energy feeling guilty? I’m surviving, and I am proud of that.

“Self-harm is embarrassing to talk about.” – No it’s not. You might not want to hear it, but I am happy to talk about it. The shame of not talking about it is ridiculous.

“Blood smells awful.” – Blood smells awesome. I paint with it. It brings me visceral joy.

So, as you can guess I have yet to come up with any real reason, a reason just for me that doesn’t rely on other people, to stop self-harming. I am not cutting today because I don’t feel the need to. When the need arises again … well, that depends if I can find a reason not to.

4 days, 11 hours, 3 minutes, 15 seconds.

activism, journal, paganism, self-improvement

2023, what’s up?

So 2022 happened, but this blog and website did not. Ooft.

New Year always presents an opportunity to start again, so here I am. What do I intend for the next 12 months?


I am struggling to remember what, if anything, I made over the last year. The only thing I can think of is a moonpainting which I appreciate is not to everyone’s taste.

In 2023, I want to keep it simple. I’d like to add four pieces to my portfolio. That’s just one piece every three months. I am confident I can work to that pace, especially if I do not get caught up in what those pieces have to be. I was most prolific in 2021, which is when I streamed on Twitch. Having that scheduled committed time for creating really helped, so 2023 may be the year I livestream again.


I didn’t realise how badly I was broken by my “shamanic” training, so last year I severely neglected my practice and as a result my physical and mental health declined.

To get back into the flow I have signed up for a wheel-of-the-year style course focused on the Antlered Doe/Deer Mother, the goddess I work for. It has already been good for me.


I’m still a volunteer with everyone’s favourite environmental protest group, and I am getting more and more caught up in “big picture” things. I said last year that I would try and look at “small picture” things that impact me and my community. I want to try again.


What’s in store for 2022?

I still haven’t recovered from 2019, but here we are! 2022 can’t be any worse than the last two years, amirite?

My plan for littlewolfgoat for the next 12 months is to focus on three themes; art, animism, and activism. I’m not sure entirely what this will look like, but I have some ideas.


My art has taken a back seat for the past few months due to my activist work and ongoing illness, but I want to get back into it again.

I have ordered a small number of prints and cards to sell locally. I am looking for a UK-based print-on-demand service that has a minimal environmental impact for other products such as t-shirts and journals, but I haven’t had any luck yet. I want to move away from Etsy as their fees are just ridiculous.

I am looking into taking commissions, but I need to find a way to make it less demanding on me. I am planning on returning to my Twitch stream on Thursday mornings too; I’ve been missing my Twitch peeps!


Since walking away from my shamanic practitioner training my personal spiritual practice has been minimal. It’s like my heart has been broken repeatedly, and I am not able to get over it.

This is the year I reclaim my practice. I was an animist long before I discovered core shamanism. and so I remain an animist. I won’t be doing client work this year, while I work on my own healing.


I want to continue in my volunteer role with everyone’s favourite environmental protest group. The past year was super stressful, what with COP26 taking place on our doorstep, but we did it and nothing was fixed so we have to keep going.

In my post-COP26 reflections, I realised I was focused too much on the “big picture” and have been neglecting the “small picture”. Looking at the big picture is important because we are trapped in systems that are destroying the planet and we need systemic changes to fix things. But there are things I can do personally and locally to improve things too; a bottom-up approach to things, rather than top-down.

So here I am, with a map scribbled on the back of a napkin, getting ready to make my way into 2022. I’m feeling good about it. 🙂


Generic update

So much for my plan to write daily! Hello!

Is me

Life has been … interesting lately.

The 5th anniversary of my mum’s death has just passed. My sister and I went to scatter my dad’s ashes at their memorial tree in Balloch Park. He passed less than two years ago. Is it weird to think of yourself as an orphan at 38? The daily pain is less, but I have bad dreams about it all still.

I should be away at a spiritual training retreat right now; my final one before qualifying. I opted to throw all of the time, money and energy away and quit. It was a hard decision, but it was a long time coming. Between a lack of guidance during our forced pandemic break, a lax attitude towards the pandemic, the infestation of anti-vaxxers & right wing BS, and my personal understanding of cultural appropriation … I decided that it was not a qualification I wanted any more. What saddens me the most is that my course leader didn’t even respond to my e-mail saying I was leaving; my part in the community was that meaningless.

I’m planning a ritual to gain some closure over the whole thing. I’m not quite sure what form it will take, but I think it will focus on fire.

My art and spiritual work doesn’t bring in much, and I am not considered disabled enough to get support, so I am now working a conventional job for 1 day a week. That takes up three days of my week though, thanks to my fibromyalgia, which means I have less time to work on creative and spiritual things but I do have a small guaranteed income. Swings and roundabouts.

In general, I am feeling good though. I’m happy that my sister and I were able to finish putting our parents to rest, I am glad I made the choice to leave my spiritual training, and having a stable income is a good thing. I’ve been able to get my haircut for the first time in 10 months, I have my first Covid-19 vaccination, I get to play D&D, I am able to start seeing my bestie again … things are pretty sweet overall.

journal, mental health


I should write something on my blog.

I should really make something.

I should get livestreaming.

I should do some housework.

I should go outside for a walk.

I need to go to bed.

The past few weeks have been a bit shit for me.

Physically, I had been in so much pain and I have been so tired. I’ve pretty much been in bed for about 15-20 hours a day. Emotionally, I had the blank flatness of depression with the occasional outbursts of tears. Mentally, I had been worn down by a decision I had been avoiding making.

I made the decision, and acted upon it, and things are slowly starting to get better.

I hate the word “should”. I tend to use it as a weapon to beat myself with. I never meet the expectations of “should”, thus triggering the never ending spiral of failure. It’s so damned exhausting.

And I know all the stuff I should be doing to get out of this, but if it was that easy I wouldn’t be feeling this way.

I do want to write more on my blog, I’m just never sure what.

Maybe I should just sit here and type every day and see what comes out.


New name, who dis?

I am socially transitioning to a new first name – Wolf, as both a shorthand for “littlewolfgoat” and a hint towards “sidhehound”.

For those of you who know me as a different name, I know change is hard but I am asking you to respect this choice. I have been using a different surname for over a decade, and the majority of you have supported me in this. Changing my first name is no different (except that I fully intend to change my legal surname).

I love my legal first name. It was a gift given to me by my parents, both of which are no longer living. I love what it means; “universal grace” is my interpretation of it. However as a non-binary person I have wanted to change to a more gender-neutral name for some years. At the absolute bare minimum, being non-binary means that I, personally, want to be referred to as they/them. People mistakenly call me she/her often, and part of the problem is that my legal name is feminine.

It has taken me some time to pick a gender neutral name that I am happy with. I appreciate that it is an unconventional choice, but for those of you who are close to me and know about my path through life then it makes perfect sense. If it helps you, try thinking of it as a nickname.

This name change is experimental. I may try another name, or I may even switch back to my legal name. This does not mean that it is okay to refer to me as my old name now.

I feel empowered by my new name. It feels like me, and gives me another opportunity to express myself.

Thank you to everyone for your support in this.

Wolf Saanen x

journal, sidhehound, Uncategorized, writing

Love and Light and Covid

This piece is a work in progress. I will do my best to make it clear then changes have been made.

This is a post I have been avoiding writing for a while, and certainly wasn’t the post I wanted to start 2021 with.

But here we are.

On the macro scale, in the US we have white terrorists backed by the outgoing president attempting a coup and I seriously doubt any real action will be taken against the perpetrators.

On the micro scale, in my home town I hear people talking about how Covid-19 isn’t real and I see that few are taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

On the surface, these two things might seem unrelated. However both have their roots in the same dangerous ideology: right-wing conspiracy theories.

It all starts simply enough. Most of us recognise that there is something fundamentally wrong with the lives we lead1, and it unsettles us. We begin to question the way things are, and try to find ways to soothe ourselves. The path then diverges into multiple trails, different ideas and philosophies, twisting and turning.

But some of us trip up, and fall down a rabbit hole. That, in turn, leads to right-wing conspiracy theories.

These conspiracy theories have always been with us. I used to think it was a bit of a laugh imagining that the Queen of England was really a space lizard. But recently, I have been learning a bit about how many of these conspiracies have roots in anti-semitism (“lizard people” is a dog-whistle for “Jew”), and how dangerous they can be (such as the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s).

And we are seeing in real time, with trails of evidence (thanks to the internet), it all happening again.

Now I am not academically inclined enough to be able to go into the ins and outs of this (I have recommended some resources at the end), but I can talk about what I am seeing amongst my friends and peers.

After many years personal pathworking and spiritual practice, I am training to be a shamanic practitioner2. As such, I spend time in the shamanic practitioner, witchcraft, druid, and general pagan communities. I also spend time in vegan and vegetarian comminties. Alternative beliefs, ideas, and practices have always been a part of that. Unfortunately this includes a lot of harmful ideas, such as “vaccines cause autism”, and “chemtrails are real”. You learn to dodge these people quickly. Then there are the more insideious people who talk about themselves and their fellow “lightworkers” as enlightened beings here to drag the rest of humaninty up to a 5 dimentional existance by their bootstraps. Yikes! Can anybody say “spiritual fascism”?

For reasons I don’t fully understand3, these members of the community have been fertile ground for the seeds of right-wing conspiracies. I hear people I used to love and respect regurgitate the most ridiculous and harmful bullshit. It has gotten to the stage where I may not be able to continue the path I am on because some of my peers think that the Covid-19 pandemic is a hoax.

Let that sink in. A virus that has unnecessarily killed nearly 2 million human beings worldwide, and ruined the lives of millions more isn’t real. Or isn’t serious. Or is caused by something other than a virus (such as Elon Musk sending 5G rays down from a satellite to kill us all4). Or is a deliberate scheme to force everyone to be vaccinated (so that Bill Gates can put nanochips in us5). Or it doesn’t matter because only old, disabled, and vulnerable people will die from it (have you ever heard of eugenics?).

I am absolutely fucking disgusted.

And my heart is breaking.

I have had to cut ties with some folks in the spiritual (and vegan) communities: people I looked up to, who helped me be the person I am today. I should have done it sooner. But when? When I found out they don’t believe in prescription medication? When they implied that vaccines cause autism? When they outed themselves as climate change deniers? When they told everyone that 5G was going to harm us all? No, I finally drew the line at the pandemic denial. I can only blame myself for being hurt by these folks. I saw all the red flags, and I chose to ignore them because I kept telling myself they were “good people”. In this regard, I need to take responsibility for my part in the spread of this toxic nonsense, because I didn’t stand up to it sooner. Maybe it is too late, because for years these people have been dripping poison into the ears of anyone who will listen.

That poison has spread far, but often it is subtle. The occasional meme here, the occasional link to a crappy YouTube video there, but it all piles up. You drip-feed someone a poison long enough, and they will eventually die.

I believe that spirituality and science should go hand in hand. I believe that spirituality keeps science empathic and compassionate. I believe that science keeps spirituality grounded in reality. We need to be allies in order to figure out this mess of a world we find ourselves in.

I believe that those in the spiritual community, especially those of us who brand ourselves as healers, coaches, and therapists need to accept the fact that we live in this world, here and now. And in this world there is a pandemic, whch needs to be managed with face coverings, social distancing, and a vaccine. We cannot heal the soul if the body succombs to a virus. It’s that simple.

We have to stop it with all of this conspiracy bullshit.

The pandemic is real.

5G will not kill us.

The “global elites” are not torturing children in order to drink their blood.

Vaccines save lives.

Can I let you in on a secret? The real horrors of the world we live in are far worse. If you spend less time on this conspiracy bullshit you might figure that out.

Our communities need to recognise the pipeline between questioning the status quo and the alt-right, and challenge it because the end of that road leads to people like Jake Angeli, the QAnon shaman. Yes we can laugh at him and denounce him, but what are we doing to stop our community members becoming like him? Where do you think his first steps down this toxic path of conspirituality began? And how many others are following in his footsteps?

Before writing this post, I asked my spirit allies for guidance. Should I continue to keep quiet and avoid conflict? Or should I speak out?

And I drew Vulture from my Animal Spirit Oracle.

The Vulture is the great cleanser. She consumes what is rotten, and transforms it into something of value to the world. She does the dirty work, and deals with what we avoid, in order to return balance to the world. She stops the spread of disease. Vulture uncovers the blessings in disguise.

I call upon the Spirit of Vulture to help guide our communities back to a path of balance between the rational and the magical. To claw out the poison of conspiracy thinking, consume and transmute it, so that we can grow into better versions of ourselves. And with her wings, lift us up out of this hellish pit we find ourselves in. So mote it be.


1Hint: It’s capitalism.

2I apologise for using this phrase. I know that many consider it to be culturally insensitive, but I can’t think of an alternative phrase to explain what it is.

3I was linked to an interesting article that offers some reasoning: Spiritual Conspiritualists, Psychology Today

4Elon Musk is a cunt, but this isn’t why.

5Bill Gates is a cunt, but this isn’t why.


“The Satanic Panic: America’s First Q Anon (part 1)” from Behind the Bastards

The Conspirituality Podcast

Q Clearance: The Hunt for Q Anon

Q Anon Anonymous


09/01/2021 – Updated my writing to be less self-deprecating. Decided not to blame one singular person for what is happening. Added a brief comment about Jake Angeli.


A Haunting

I wasn’t expecting to write today, but here we are.

Something I made that I am not embarrassed by.

I had a nightmare last night. I don’t want to go into details, but in it I had managed to get back into art school. My mum was so proud. Then I did something abhorrent, and my mum was disgusted at and ashamed of me. Why did I have to ruin my achievement by being such an awful person?

There are some things to unpack here. Firstly, I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art back in 2005. It was a difficult time. I had no relationships in my course, either with students or tutors. I spend most of my time hiding at my boyfriend’s flat instead of working. I was so scared of even being there I was unable to engage with anything. My projects were few and far between, and were all shit.


And shit.

And even more shit.

I really should have been kicked out after my first public art project. I wasn’t cut out higher education, never mind the course was on. But I made it to my fourth year when the department head stepped in and told me I should take a year out, and come back when my head was on straight.

In reterospect, I know she was right.  However, I felt that she hated me and wanted me out. I was also scared of telling my parents that I had “failed”, and had no idea how I could afford to repeat a year. Instead, I stuck it out and produced a half-assed degree show, and a quarter-assed dissertation. I had a miserable time, and ended up with a third class Honours degree. The whole thing was dire. I couldn’t even face going to my graduation ceremony.

I have recurring dreams of being able to return. I hand back my degree parchment, my slate is wiped clean, and I get to try again. Sometimes I remain in Environmental Art, and sometimes I switch over to Communication Design so I can practice illustration. I’m yet to see how the courses work out.

My time at GSA is my biggest regret. It was an amazing opportunity that some artists would give their eye teeth to attend, and I squandered it. I came out with even less skills than I had when I went in, and it was all my own fault.

But if given the chance, would I return? That’s a good question.

I made this in my first year, before I completely crashed and burned. I think this is my favourite thing I made at art school.

And now to my mother. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about what I did in my nightmare, and how she looked at me afterwards. I wish I could speak to her, and talk this through. She would tell me it was just a silly dream, and that she was proud of me for who I am, and that she loved me. I don’t have that opportunity though, as she passed away a few years ago. I’m a grown-ass woman, and I am sitting here wishing that my mum was here to hug me and tell me that everything is okay. I just need to hear her voice.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from writing this. Maybe I am waiting for someone, anyone, to intervene in my life and make things better. In the mean time I am going to cry, and pray for a restful night.


Making the best of it

“May you live in interesting times”

Curse of unknown origin

I often wondered why that phrase was considered a curse, but now I know. The world is upended at the moment due to Covid-19, and I don’t even know where to begin.

My isolation/social distancing began unintentionally on the 11th March, as soon as I returned home from my therapy session. Later that evening, I developed a scratchy throat, so I decided to keep to myself just in case. It was only a regular wee cold thankfully. During my self-isolation things in the outside world got worse, and by the time I was well enough to go out, it was advised that everybody self isolate. Things are continuing to get worse, quelle suprise.

I’ve been trying to make the best of it, as we all should.

For a long while now I have been trying to create a workspace for myself at home, but it has been a bit tricky due to my chronic procrastination and my propensity for having multiple ideas on the go at the same time.

A photograph of my workspace. A PC connected to a monitor and graphics tablet, with a seperate laptop.

This is my workspace for the moment, while I try to focus on digital content creation for the time being. I have to give a massive shout out to my long-suffering partner for loaning me his old PC for my photoshop work as my laptop was trundling a fair bit. The space is a bit messy, but I have been able to make stuff. I’m currently looking at making a wee zine about The Mony, the park next to my home. It may or may not happen.

I had been putting off trimming my garden hedge for some time (possibly a year?), so I had some fun doing that while preparing for the oncoming Purge.

A photo of me posing with a hedgetrimmer and a scary rabbit mask.

While I was out in the garden, I breached the social distancing rule to help a drunk who had fallen over. It might not have been an intelligent choice, but it was a compassionate one. That is something I will get into later.

Now feels like a good time to learn new skills and find new hobbies. With my art, I am teaching myself photoshop. To keep active, I am taking up juggling and poi spinning. Both are skills I tried to learn over a decade ago, but set aside when I broke my collar bone and I never picked them up again. I’m also thinking about trying to crochet again too as I still have a massive stash of yarn.

Thankfully, I have yet to feel trapped or confined by social distancing. I can still go out and about within reason (there is a deadly virus on the loose after all), and most people are only ever a PM or email away. Stephen and I have our own rooms within the house, so we aren’t annoying each other too much. I guess I am lucky; being chronically ill has limited my life for so long, things haven’t had to change too much.

However, last night my anxiety started to kick in thanks to social media. I had been reading post after post after post about people not social distancing, and treating the whole thing as a long holiday. Gathering in parks, partying in pubs, and travelling to remote (and vulnerable) parts of the UK … all while spreading the virus. But it’s not the virus I am worried about; it’s the government’s response to people not following the guidelines set out to stop the spread of Covid-19.

If people can’t do the right thing on their own, in light of how serious things are … then what will the government response be? I imagine it will be using the police and military to force us all to stay indoors, draconian laws limiting the number of people who can go outside and where they can go outside, and a general loss of liberty. That frightens me so, so much. I was unsettled for most of last night. I don’t want to be trapped.

But for now, I can still move.

A photograph of the Vale of Leven, taken from the west of Dumbarton.

I do hope all of you are well, and keeping safe. The world has changed and we can’t go back.


I should probably write something

Cat tax.

I’ve been stuck in a bout of depression for months, but I only just realised it after I was nearly run over last week. That rattled me enough to shake loose some dark emotions, and I’ve spent the last five days hiding in my house with the curtains closed. I’m doing all the things that don’t help, like isolating myself, eating junk and oversleeping, even though I know better.

My depression goes hand-in-hand with inactivity. Sometimes I don’t want to do anything, and sometimes I avoid doing things I want to do. The results are the same, and my days drag on. I even quit my day job in hopes that my mood would improve, but it didn’t.

Now that I recognise that I was depressed, I can make an effort to get better. I have been attending a Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy course, and as that winds up I should be starting an emotional skills course designed for people with BPD. I want to get my sleep sorted, though I need to accept my chronic fatigue. My friend, a healer, has been offering me advice in managing my digestion which is helping my physical symptoms. There are a hundred and one other things I could be doing to feel better, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

I hope to do lovely things before 2020. I have been slacking on my self-employment as both a creative and healer. I want to create a portfolio of artworks, make some bags for retail, and organise a Winter Solstice ritual before the end of the year. I want to return to the local litter picking group, and seek out opportunities to serve my community. Writing it down. that might be too much to try and complete in two months.

I hope you are all well, and I will try to update more often.