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.

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who said jumping was easy?

“Many different aspects come together to help a rider to jump the Hedge. Training, experience, and natural ability all coalesce with the tools of the trade to allow us to cross from this world into the Otherrealms. As with all aspects of traditional crafting, what you bring to your practice directly reflects what you will get out of it.”

— Elige Stewart, Getting a Running Start, Aids to Jumping the Hedge

As I read this, not too long ago, my first thought was of how many times I’ve talked about doing the work. This is not about that, per se. This is specifically about trial & error, feeling out a process, adjusting expectations, and practicing (okay, so.. yes, doing the work). I think many go into this aspect of their craft with the idea that they will be able to move right into it.. a manner of ease, so to speak. I am certainly not saying it’s impossible, but on the average, most have to put more into it. I think maybe those with natural ability might have an easier go, possibly, but it is never what I would call easy. This is your spiritual, it is important you put in the time, establish those bonds, train your body/mind. It is not supposed to be easy. Even when accustomed, you will still have failed attempts and surprises. It’s a lot of work. Again, you must train your body/mind to those cues/techniques that you are using, and that’s once you figure out what cues/techniques work for you. So what is one to do? Keep at it. Don’t give up on a few failed attempts. If you try something several times and just intuitively feel it’s not right, then try something else. When you find a technique that you feel is personally right, keep at it. It’s a process.. don’t be afraid to tweak it to a better fit. I try new things on occasion still, I just never know when I find something that I can incorporate a bit into my regular. The important thing is to work at it until it is familiar, until it becomes second nature, until it feels right. This is your craft and it is all in what works for you.

I won’t go into all the different techniques (this post would turn way long and really, you should be doing the work), or how it rarely goes in the manner you think it will (sometimes you have to adjust your expectations, we all experience things differently), or even how tired you will be after (or maybe that’s just me.. and hungry, but then I fast a bit before).. this was just a little post to say, you have to work at it. They just don’t hand things over to you all pretty and wrapped up square, and if they do.. I promise that you are about to learn a hard lesson.