from the distance, I am standing

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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.

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.. 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.

a quiet stabbing

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..something was being put to my direction, like a quiet stabbing..

I woke up after a day spent in anger still angry. I just could not find my Zen. The old reading popped into my head.. yes, there was a quiet stabbing and now I had a smarting back.

five of arrows, frustration – a goat with long curving horns and a wildly tangled coat leaps upward into the sky.. around it are four arrows, none of which strike it.. unfocused energy leads to the archer releasing inaccurate arrows or lashing out in an uncontrolled manner..

As it was, it turned out that I was indeed both the goat and the archer (see – sometimes I do follow up on my writings).. the arrows of my words sent out and also being fired back. Thankfully, I spoke my truths long ago and I stand by their original context.

..take a deep breath and steady your mind.. see the futility of games played against you and go about your business.. cocoon yourself away from outside influences.. the trees act as a reminder to follow your path..

Nothing had changed really, except that I now held more knowledge and a clearer perspective. If you walk your path with integrity and truth, there should be no need for these things.. that was my first response.. pre-Zen. However, thought reminded me, we are but human and can only do our best.

My truths for today (before they escape me) – We don’t have to agree, but we can learn from our differences. Our diversity should be a strength. Your fellow is not a tool to be used, or worse.. persecuted. Yes, I will stand up for them. You should too. Learn from one another. Strive to be kind. Extend that kindness to yourself. Do your best. I will do mine. Be true. Speak those truths when necessary. Breathe.

I lit the candles and steadied my thoughts. “And now?” This I asked, knowing the question was not very specific. I shuffled the threes..

eight of bows, hearthfire – on the edge of a sparse winter forest camp, lit with the warm dancing flames of a large log fire, we see eight figures gathered around a roaring hearthfire.. the merry band raise goblets, shake hands and laugh, bathing in the shared bonds of fellowship and harmony created by the true loyalty of lifelong friends..

Ironic, that was my first thought.. but then if not for this situation, this card would have spoken to me of another. Soon after, I heard from said other.

four of stones, protection – the newly risen sun brings hope and renewed vitality to the vulnerable..shelter and protection for the weak or the spiritually wounded is the responsibility of us all.. for those who have weathered adversity and known loss, the light of life and love will always burn brightly within them.. by building on a foundation of ethical beliefs, boundaries and skills, we can be assured that when the test comes we are secure in our self-knowledge and confidence.. the human ability to recognize and feel compassion for those who need help is just as important..

To the lost, may you know my hut is ever open.. even if you choose to burn me in the hearthfire..

 

the movement of water

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(..a much belated post)

“When do you feel most at peace?”, Walking Bear asked me not so long ago. “When I am with spirit”, was my response. It is within me and without, and when I’m settled down in those liminal places (for me the forest, the ocean, the garden); is when I feel it the strongest. Maybe it’s just a matter of having that time to listen and these are the places I go to have that listen. I had been feeling a bit stagnant by the time he had arrived.. the driftwood he brought changed all that. I had not been getting out enough. As I ran my hands over it, I could almost smell the salt air.. and something stirred.

My altar this year has pretty much remained the same, except for the removal of the owl’s wing.. but the area around it has. I feel sure there is a lesson in there somewhere. I have my familiar plantlings, my significant branches, and now my driftwood. This wonderful little bit of tree, no longer held by its roots, had found its way to me.. and with it brought me some of its movement.

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Having been changed by the water’s ebb and flow, what is in a sense a death of its original form, it still retains some of its ancestry.. so along with the movement, it also brought me a feeling of home. Water was my first calling – there was something about the fluidity, the tempestuous sea, and those creatures of the deep that held me enthralled. I always feel its call, even when I’ve been away for too long.. and the driftwood being between water and earth, it was quickly mine. I feel it speak, much like I do Nelia.

This was sometime before Yule and I had been toying again with the idea of an altar dedicated to my witchy ancestors.. something I have had sporatically on my mind for a few years but that had never seen fruition. I really wanted to honor this connection. I set to the task within the next few days.. housing my bits of witchy goodness in one of those bottles where ships can be found. It is full of all things I associate with the craft.. roots, graveyard dirt from under my tree, herby things, a small shell, bits of spider; and a beautiful crow feather. I am planning to add a bit of moonstone in future. Earth, sea, sky.. and those that weave the web. I light a candle before it now every time I visit the altar. Since then came an addition to tribe, many ideas, an answer to my red eyed horse; and an insight into that elusive place I have revisited over and over in dreamland where I bury bones and explore places of living.. but that’s a story for another day.

ancestral revisit

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I had been seeing spiders.. spiders that were there and not there. The night before Walking Bear contacted me, I was woken up by the man of shadow. My first thought was, why is he here? I didn’t even think to be startled. He just turned his darkness sideways and I felt his amusement (or something of the like). Oh yeah, that’s right.. I had a few more things to settle up.

Walking Bear contacted that next morning. I had been worried about his silence but I also knew he had a lot coming up. He said he could feel my disconnect and I told him how I was trying to settle into the new routine. Truth be told, I had become a bit complacent in certain areas due to all this mundane change. I didn’t tell him about the shadow man’s visit.. mostly because I knew he had much on his plate.

I started that weekend off wrestling the garden.. it was in quite a state. It is forever a reflection. I moved the gargantu-bay back to his old spot. He had been protesting the last move, dropping quite a few of his leaves. The wisteria was wildly awry.. throwing tendrils out in every direction. I left her be with only a slight trim. I enjoy her angst. I harvested the mint, wild lettuce, and Melissa.. then I sat down to contemplate the morning’s text that I had received from my Julia.

She had sent a picture of dad’s gravestone that had just arrived. It was bittersweet but he had been on my mind this month with father’s day approaching. I thought of a post of Heron’s from a bit back and how it had reminded me that I needed to add something for him on my ancestral altar. I had just not been quite the ready at that time. I also had not been keeping up with any of them as I should. The entire thing seemed overwhelming. Now it was time. The dark moon was soon here and so with the pending release of the last of my remnants, I added the wake poem.

the winds of change

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Air is the realm of intellect.. of ideas and creativity. Birds are the bringers of messages. It is considered a great honor to be gifted a feather. Most of the feathers that found their way to Yule’s altar were found or gifted.. it turned out very airy-birdy this one. In fact, it sort of reads Pier 1 commercial and I’m not sure I like it. It’s too.. too.. too something. I can’t put my finger on it but whatever it is, it is not quite comfortable. Of course, that could very well be the point.

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It took me a bit of time to make my way back to it.. not being sure how I felt about the direction. When finally I did, I was immediately twitchy. I wanted to change things. Ideas were finding their way. I wanted to simplify my hedge bag and rework my jar. There were bits no longer needed. Magpie seems to have left me, at least for now, and the hare’s mask felt very strongly needed.. very much mine. I needed more of mine on the altar. The whole thing was making me antsy. I needed to get back to my new workbook. I needed to fine tune my solitary, my ritual. I needed more order. I needed change. I am not sure how long I will keep this new arrangement, but without a doubt it is bringing inspiration.

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impromptu samhain

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Samhain found me away again this year and so, with my ancestor altars out of reach, I wound up piecing together an impromptu ritual. I was lucky enough to have a spacious windowsill and set up a few candles, some collected stones, and left an offering from my Halloween candy stash using my newly gifted tarot wrap as a base.. crafting in a pinch at its best.

This time, knowing my dad is nearing the veil, I wanted to be sure I did not pass the ritual by. I wanted to take that little bit of time honoring those who have passed through and the impending. It gave me a few moments of my own in which to feel better prepared. I’ve been doing things similar off and on of late while in the waiting stage.. I find it brings me a certain peace.

my garden is mocking me

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Seriously, it is. It is wild and erratic, overgrown yet again due to my inability (well, inaction) to go out and put it right.. much like my emotion of late. I am a being ruled by emotion it seems.. at least for the now. This is a bit new to me as I never get the warm fuzzies.. not unfeeling, mind you.. I am just (normally) ruled by logic and okay, maybe a bit of detachment. I am much more comfortable letting said emotion be shut away to its proper place to be examined (and dealt with) at the more appropriate times. My ability to feel too deep was beaten out of me long ago.. but then came this sliver of fire, and it has been a bit of a go of late. I’m handling it.. or being handled.. or something like that. I am somewhat learning to deal with it,  in the anyways.

At first I thought it might be the subtle change in season, bringing me these strange butterflies. Or maybe the emotional state of others leaking in? Perhaps I rubbed against Heron’s thorns too hard? No, no.. I realized it was the fire I saw so early on, that fire I had so misinterpreted. I had it in my mind that said fire was centered around this one thing, but now I think that one thing was just a catalyst.. a spark of something to come. That something completely blindsided my hard earned control. I had read things all wrong. Don’t you just hate when that happens? I do. I had just realized it all a few hours before Walking Bear landed at the house, what that fire was representative of.. oh fates, you twisted bitches with your difficult lessons. I realized it all while sitting there watching the garden mock me. I won’t be speaking overmuch of my time with him that day.. too personal. Cin sent him to set me right (I know she did), and she was spot on as usual. I needed his visit. I will just leave it at that.

I have been carrying around this rough piece of carnelian for weeks now. When I hold it, I swear I can almost feel it pulse. It feels alive in my hands and seems to help me level that emotion.. or more like I pick it up when I’m feeling overmuch. I find it hard to explain. It is a fiery orange and pitted with scars. I feel quite a connection to it. And so around it goes with me for the now.. so I can feed it my heart, my emotions.. those little slivers of myself unshared that I contemplate while I hold it. It’s a little scarred, like I said, and I think that’s what endears it to me. It’s beautiful even with its many marred spots. I found it calling to me months ago in Heron’s shop, so I brought it home. Still, I had not really picked it up until the fire came for me.

Among other things, carnelian is a stone of motivation and endurance. It is a stone of courage. It is a stone of clarity. Traditionally it is worn to enhance passion, love and desire. Referred to as “the setting sun” by the ancient Egyptians (crystalvaults), they identified it with the receptive or passive female energies.. they also used it for protection, both for the living and for the dead. I think I will take the endurance and clarification, assuming that I get to choose.. and maybe some of the protection. It’s elemental ruler is fire, of course. I was told, once again, to go into the woods.. this time to figure and heal. I am not sure that I am quite the ready, maybe when the cold comes.. the cards spoke to me of something coming with the cold. I do plan to take with me this stone (if it sticks around), my bear tooth (which I also carry around of late), and the small hummingbird Walking Bear gifted me. Hopefully I will come out sorted.

 

goodbye little one

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It was past three in the morning a few weeks ago when the little girl woke me. She was sitting crouched near the left end of the bed, her arms wrapped around her knees. Her hair was wavy and dark, but she felt much like the fiery one.. only softer. The dark hair threw me a little – I really wanted it to be red. I could feel her subtly slipping away. We sat there together for a bit before she actually did. Was this a piece of the fiery one lost, or the hope once discussed? It was of no matter at that point, these thoughts.. she had already faded.

Last night, I woke again past three.. this time with chills. I was so cold that I had to double the comforter to stop the shaking. I had been dreaming that the fiery one and I were lying side by side on a beach. We were holding hands and there were bombs exploding all around us in the distance. We were discussing where to go from there.. that point in time. Later in, we went to seek out her husband. It is no longer clear to me why.

summer’s heat and the attack of the never ending harvest

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The heat of summer has not tapered one bit in our area. I’ve spent most of my time harvesting still.. comfrey, rose petals, feverfew, and mugwort. The comfrey was seriously getting out of hand and so it looks like I will be making some more periwinkle balm soon. I made another batch of hemorrhoid ointment for a coworker – the life of a hedge witch is just so glamorous.. but she says it works well, and I try never to turn away a friend in need. We all deserve a happy bum, right? I finally got around to chopping up the huge mass of mint and lavender that my favorite introvert gifted me.. all hail the lavender cookies to come. I might even have to make an early batch after having fondled it, it just smells so good.

It’s been a week or so of surprises as well.. Blau sent me some wonderful gemstones to work with and Heron gifted me an awesome bit of mandrake root (as well as some tincture for, um, personal use.. and Heron, thank you again). Sometimes I think we tend to forget the quiet bounty of our life’s friendships when faced with the louder call of daily responsibilities. I am always thankful to have so many such amazing souls cross my path. Soon I will trek back to the ocean and spend some time with Walking Bear.. I think it has been too long.

 

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supermoon

This past full moon was spent in the garden with the husband, drinking wine and harvesting a few overgrown wormwood, comfrey, and basil plants. I had been ignoring my poor garden of late, being busy in life, and so it had become quite the jungle in its efforts to get a bit of attention. I plan to spend some time out there very soon (hopefully) getting it in hand and making amends. I did lay out the gifted jade pool stone, next to a cherished moon goddess sculpture from an old friend.. I think I mentioned my plan to use it for scrying.

Sometimes, if an object calls to me, I will use it for such. I have an old crystal bowl from who knows where that I will put the object in, particularly if the object is small and/or not reflective, and cover it with water.. using the reflective surface of the water for the scrying. I’m sure any bowl would do, this one just always felt right. Somehow, at least for me, the water seems to amplify and so this method has worked well for me. Feeling it’s draw, I decided to set the stone out for a cycle to charge after running it through the sage and fire. I left offerings of wine and food to the nature spirits, and then spent the rest of the evening just enjoying the night.

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