The Tower

My last post was written while my fear was still very fresh. I feel far stronger now, having discussed it with the Gods and Allies and my spiritually-inclined, spirit-guided and highly intuitive roommate; having bathed myself and the room in peppermint, tea tree, and rose water and being very direct and threatening with the presence that was still lingering in my room until I confronted Them so boldly; and having taken some deep breaths and giving the subject some greater thought. It was only a moment in time, but one that hearkened to messages I have been receiving throughout the Spirit Moon now gone, and as I enter the Mead Moon with Her first silver sliver in the midnight sky, I see what little any mortal can hope to know of the wisdom of the Gods and how the omens and orders I receive play into the greater Web.

Saturday was a day filled with Tarot readings, Witchy conversations and teaching, and Harry Potter marathons (I don’t miss a single HP marathon on ABC Family; those books and films defined my childhood). The films got me thinking about the boundaries between fantasy and magic. I certainly think that JK Rowling’s books have tastes of “true” magic and witchcraft: the horcrux mythology, love serving as a magical shield, the astral vampirism of the Dementors, protection charms in droves, magic involving Death and the Dead, worship increasing a Being’s strength and power, “flying” (which some characters like Harry Potter experience ecstatically, and which Voldy can do without a broom), shapeshifting (“animagus”), familiars, Toad magic, root- and plant-work, divination, prophecy, and seidhr, to name a few. It’s definitely something I want to explore further, examining JK Rowling’s writing, as well as the work of Marion Zimmer Bradley and other writers of fiction.

My roommate (let’s call her Wren from now on, and her partner Leo) said that she’d been experiencing many premonitions of death in her family, but that she couldn’t tell for whom they were meant. She is the sort of spirit-worker who wakes up in the middle of the night and calls a friend to warn them to be careful on the road only for them to find that their tires are bald or that they get a DUI that night; that tells her mother she thinks someone is going to fall ill only for a close relative to enter the hospital the very next day. Wren divines with animals, and has been very disturbed by the fact that all the members of our furry clan have been fearfully converging on the house lately, when some of them typically won’t drop by for a week, and that the birds have been singing just outside our windows throughout the night, and visiting us far more frequently. I’d noticed the odd behaviors of the birds near our home myself. Wren felt like a protective blanket was dropping itself over our place, and that the creatures are sensing something that is frightening them and making them seek the comfort of home.

She said that she has never felt a dark presence in the home until recently, and she’s certainly been sensing it as well. It’s kept her up nights, and on the night when I felt it so strongly, Wren had had a feeling that things were very “off.” When I told her that I had drawn the Death card while trying to communicate with this dark House-Guest after sensing that I would draw that exact card, she took the drawing literally: she said she’s felt that someone close to her is going to die for a little while now, particularly her mother, who Wren has a feeling won’t be alive this time next year, and who once lived in my bedroom. I have a difficult time taking the Death card to actually mean that someone is going to physically die, and when I drew The Tower while the Ring of Fire illuminated the hazy clouds that night, I knew it was signalling something else. Perhaps someone is going to die–I confess I have been sensing it for a while now as well–but the message for me was that something big is coming. As River says in Joss Whedon’s Serenity, “Things are going to get much, much worse.”

Yet all I felt that night was relief as I danced in the warm Southern mist and watched the setting of the firey Sun blanketed by the Dark Moon. I felt a sense of calm that had been absent in my heart for days. At midnight rite the Kindreds blessed me with a sense of peace, a flowering calm that blossoms even when entwined with thorns. They told me yet again to cultivate strength through faith, an ongoing message this past moon. Before I rubbed the dark salve on my skin I asked for a message with which to enter the Otherworlds, and I was told this:

  • That my flight would confirm a sense of purpose, of being a thread in a Greater Pattern, though my choices, actions, rewards, and consequences are all my own.
  • That I would come to better appreciate the luxuries I have, and finally taste the sweet nectar of the fruits of my long (magical, religious, and spiritual) labors.
  • That I am still in disconnect.
  • That my suffering is acknowledged by Powers beyond myself, and perhaps that suffering is a part of the journey and precedes the ecstasy of giving oneself completely to the spiritual.
  • That though I may struggle, there are Allies all along the path. The butterflies that flit past me are the spirits of my Ancestors; the birds that soothe me with their midnight song and watch me with piercing eyes as I weave magics and make my sacrifices are the Landspirits who aid me as I aid Them; the Beings whose presences at my rites are strong enough for me to See Them are the Gods who have taken an interest in me, and with whom I continue to cultivate powerful and deep relations, who have offered Their sacred kinship and Their aid, in exchange for my sacrifices and continued adherence to oaths bound in blood or by ancient words.
  • That I will be confronted by phantoms and by nightmares, and that these horrors will challenge my strength, strength that flows through in part by my faith. This has been a recurring theme recently, and the more I ponder, the more I feel that I am being challenged in this way to prepare myself for what is to come. But I don’t believe that my terrifying Visitor was a challenge, though I do think my Allies were watching to see how I would handle myself, and I think I gave Them a good show, after I discovered that strength that, when uncovered in the soil of the soul, is nearly tangible in its power. For too long folks have tried to dim it in me or put the light out entirely. But when I allowed it to shine through me, allowed my skin to glow with its blinding brightness, my Visitor didn’t find my altar-chair so comfortable any longer, or me such a gullible mark.

The Spirit Moon has died and the Mead Moon is birthed from Chaos, just as faith, strength, and peace rise like a Phoenix from the ashes of my fear. I didn’t accomplish all that I had intended in this Moon past: crafting and casting protection charms; doing more work with my Ancestors, especially at the Cypress Grove; and traveling to Norfolk to meet some local Pagans and Heathens and Witches and what-have-you. But I did go a good deal of bone work and communion with the Dead. Several birds and bird-fetuses sleep in and around my home as their bodies or bones are prepared to be used as fetiches and talismans. I was given the choice to deepen my work with either Bird or Toad, and I made my choice and am strongly experiencing the reverberations of that decision.

I did reach out to the cunning community as my Allies instructed me to and as I knew I really ought to, in using this blog for the first time since last year and chatting with Wren, who practices a sort of churchless, non-denominational Christianity, but nevertheless considers herself a psychic and has a number of “woo-woo” practices that aren’t too different from my own. Typically I try not to broach the subject of spirituality, because our beliefs are so different, and she tends to lecture (I wish she would stop telling me how most of the shit done by Christians was caused by misinterpretations and poor translations of the Bible, give me a fucking break), but nonetheless there are large parts of our separate spiritualities and spiritual/metaphysical experiences that are almost identical. I thoroughly enjoyed introducing her to the Tarot and am hoping to slowly open her eyes to the Pagan, heathen, and Traditional Witchcraft communities, and other ways that could serve to deepen her practice and understanding of magic.

I came out of the broom-closet to a few friends and am as much with my closest family in an unspoken way (it’s hard to miss the altar in my bedroom, or that I’m definitely not referring to Christianity when I say “my religion” or “spirituality,” or that I bury food in the garden and splash the earth with the most expensive alcohol I have). Many years ago my friend Peat asked me if I considered myself a Witch, and at the time I wasn’t ready to tell him, especially as I was at the time so desperately cleaving to the wisdom of the Buddha and the Beat Generation (partying, writing poetry, and meditation in equal measure was my religion, and Beat lit was my scripture)–but now he finally knows, and I’m very glad I told him (and others), because it seems that everyone he knows are Witches, and he can introduce me to a great deal of the cunning community in Eugene and the surrounds should I move back there, as well as point me towards various cost-free gatherings in the area, which I am very interested in.

I also started making sacrifices at a greater frequency than I have done for a long while now. Beginning the ADF Dedicant journey this season has thoroughly deepened my practice and relationships with the Gods and Spirits, who have taken a much greater interest in me recently. I only had a couple experiences of reaching out and not sensing the presence of Whomever I’d invited and made sacrifice to; for the most part my gifts were received and questions answered, even if in very unexpected (and occasionally unwanted–“looking” at you, Hera) ways, though I thoroughly appreciate the reasons behind them that I could understand. And I realized, too, that I don’t always have to understand: typically I am a very cynical person towards humanity–for all our understanding, we are so ignorant–but opening myself to the Divine and being faced with challenges for which I am given no explanation, being recruited by Beings who both excite and terrify me and who offer no reason for Their interest in me, being told by would-be Allies to “just do,” whether in reference to sacrifices They would like for me to make or in crafts or spells They would like for me to weave or create, has all been helping me realize that sometimes one simply needs to sit back, observe the omens, heed the wisdom of Beings who will always remain beyond your complete comprehension, and do what They tell you to do. If the answers come at all, they will come later. The blessings and knowledge bestowed upon you are enough, as is the knowledge when you watch the dawn-light eat the black sky or feel the gaze of Toads and Crows as you pass, watched by the hidden world, that you are helping recreate Cosmos and maintain the natural balance of things, as your fellow cunning-folk and gods-worshippers do all across the Earth and as your Ancestors did since they watched the rain fall and the King die and the sproutlings and infants emerge from damp places.

I have a few Witchy intentions for this Moon. I’ve been told to begin crafting talismans, the purposes of which will be revealed to me later. I’d like to join a drum-circle in Norfolk and experience ecstatic dance with fellow practitioners, but at the least would like to investigate the metaphysical shop where the event is weekly held, and possibly make a few witchy friends. And I need to spend more time outside, because the Being that was fearfully making me linger around the house is gone for now, and I can sense that I need some exposure to the natural world. At home, I’m going to try my hand at some kitchen magic again (there are a number of artisan bread recipes I’d like to try, and I will be blogging about my culinary adventures at HEARTHWARMING), as well as meadmaking, and definitely cast some protection charms. I’ve got some wood to carve, as well, and I’ve been eyeing the enormous Honeysuckle down the road. Some Beings have also shown interest in my devotion, so I’ll be spending some time studying up on and interacting with Them. And I haven’t even mentioned the twenty books I have checked out of the library. It is another busy Moon ahead, hot on the heels of an excellent and beautiful Spirit Moon that ended with an incredible sight that won’t be seen again for sixteen years.

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