from the distance, I am standing

bear

There is a brick building facing a street and I am viewing it from the distance. I find myself by the water.. it’s still body surrounded by moss laden trees. Something is gliding along in the murky depths but I cannot see it.. gator, I think. I can feel its movement. I am barefoot in a loose white shift.. feet sinking into the muddy bank.

I find myself entering a shop.. is this the brick building? The girl behind the glass counter has long heavy dark hair and her face is painted like a sugar skull. I see an impression of the stag’s horns coming from her head and his skull flashes beneath her skin. She is of the old ones. The room is dark and hazy. I can smell Baba behind the fuchsia curtain that closes off a further room. She smells of warmth and food.. and a bit of death. I can hear her humming.

I am back at the water’s edge, crouching in the mud. It is sticky and humid. I can still feel the creature’s movement just underneath the surface. He wants me to join him. Bear is peering out from the trees across the way. Her eyes catch in the light and I can see them even from this distance. The mud smells like decay but I do not move. She is waiting for me to decide.

I am once again standing in the shop, covered with mud and I stink. My hair is dirty and there are bloody tears moving down my face mixing with the mud. I still cannot see Baba but she whispers to me in layers.. welcome home.. this is your home.. come home.

I had gotten up really early that morning to join the quiet. It was raining softly outside and so I opened up the workroom door to the garden while I smudged. I applied the ointment, lit the candles, and set the incense to smoke. I cradled bear’s skull in my lap, running my hands here and there over her while I settled my breath. My fingers danced over her nasal cavity and up her forehead. I stroked her there for awhile, whispering things I cannot remember. I explored her eye sockets and her remaining teeth. I noticed how the base of her skull was still slightly greasy, even after all this time.. and I continued to whisper to her.

The journey was not as usual. There was no slow methodical work towards where I was trying to go. I did not see the brown one or the white. I was breathing and stroking.. stroking and whispering.. and then I was just there gazing at the brick building full of windows. After I was done, I left offerings for those mine and the old ones. Then I left a something extra for bear and went to spend a few hours working in the garden.. and I brought the blackened coneflowers in for Baba.

deerjaw

.. this was some time ago last year and I have meant to post it many times but life and other found me putting it off. It was to be my last belated post of the year but seems to have found itself to be the post of the start of a new one.. funny that. So much has passed since and although I seemed to have put my journey work to the side for the now, I find myself quite busy. I have lost and gained so many friendships over this past year and greatly deepened some existing ones. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

My tribe is yet again evolving and I have even joined in on a new group.. something I am quite excited to see the evolution of. It has been a long time. Lola and I continue to walk together in path and that relationship has brought so much to me. I gained a new name and cemented a relationship with a brother of path.. recognizing in spirit something we already knew. This I will carry with me always.

The solstice came with some work still needed and a deer jaw tied in silence. I spent the holidays surrounded by old friends. I caught a fleeting glimse of the shadow man and dipped my wrinkly toes into a few new things.. something I plan to carry forward into the coming year.

mandrake and bear

image
Fur and feather and bone and skin,
Different without but the same within,
Many of body but one of soul,
Through all creatures are we made whole.
–Sable

I was crouched on the small piece of rock jutting from the water. I felt the hidden eyes all around me, watching. I had been here before. I was very small and my back legs were furred with sharp, thick claws. There were tiny antlers protruding from my head. Even as I realized this, I found myself changing.. claws to hooves to feet, antlers to horns to none.. and back again. I gazed over at the bear near the water’s edge, he too seemed to be changing.. still a bear but his face moving in a blur from ferocious growl to serene contemplation. We looked at each other for some time. He dropped his head to look into the water and I followed suit. Swimming below the surface was a huge koi.. very long, almost like an eel. His scales were iridescent white mottled with velvety black and the bright orange of his head.. which wasn’t quite koi. It was almost dragon-like or more so like that of a frilled-neck lizard. I put my hand around him in the water and felt his strength as he passed through, swimming circles around my little rock. He leapt out in a spray of water becoming a great spirit stag.. and then just a skin. The skin was covering a man who danced joyfully around me on the water, colors being thrown off of him into the air to become simple grey feathers floating on the water. I heard the distant sound of drums and knew there to be a fire. I wanted to go to it. I found myself near a tree line. I looked over my shoulder and the bear was eating the fish. I was no longer the small being but I had my bone in hand.. it’s shape now reminding me somewhat of the fish. On a turn, it became a small white bird, struggling in my hand. I let it go and came back to myself.. but I still felt them watching.

The next day I received a text from WB, and it all made sense.. well, as much sense as it can.

Of Sarah’s ointments:

I applied the Mandrake Flying Ointment that night in stages, first two fingerfuls. I started my preparations, giving it time to kick in. I smudged, lit the candles and incense, then I lay out the cards.. the seer and the shaman. I passed the bear vertebrae through the flame and smoke, asking him to speak.. this maybe took 20 minutes and by then the effects had started to ease in. I began the chant and tried to focus but it just wasn’t working.. too much outside noise. I added more ointment, another fingerful. The effect of the ointment for me was like a slow easing away.. a very gentle fuzzing. I maybe could have added more to intensify but I was being softly carried and felt that along with the background music and a more comfortable position that it was enough to proceed. By the end of the working, about 1 1/2 hour or so had passed, the mandrake had just eased away at some point unnoticed. It was just that subtle. I liked this one more than the wormwood for this reason, even though the wormwood had more noticeable effects.

I had tried the Witches’ Flying Ointment  quite some time ago. I also liked this one and noticed its effects more so than the mandrake.. but I had also put quite a bit more on. I started with a good pea size amount and really felt it kick in after a half hour. It was very, very relaxing and I added another pea size to see if I could intensify it.. then in another 15 min or so I added a couple of more fingerfuls. Let’s just say my neck was quite coated by this point. I believe I noted the effects lasting about an hour start to finish.. just intensely relaxed the entire time. Noticeable but not a subtle fuzzing out as was the mandrake one. I slept really well that night. I think wormwood just really likes me.

I still have the Aves and the Sabbat one to try and I am not sure which will be the next go, it will probably depend on the working before me.