*Still cogitating about things I heard at Sacred Space.
The always-brilliant John Michael Greer said some things about the actual magical ancestors of most Americans that are still working their way into my subconscious so that they can work their way back out. What’s romantically-meaningful for me is the bone-shaking (by which I mean that she sits and shakes bones) magic done by an old, long-toe-nailed, shivering crone (whom I suppose that only I have ever seen, and, only then, in deep trance) at the edge of an ice-age cave, substituting, for the wolves, her own old scent in exchange for the fresh-blood scent of her giving-birth and her menstruating daughters, all hidden deeper in the cave, in what is now Scandinavia.
What may be far closer in time to me is the Xian-covered magic of a member of The Grange in Colorado or of a Spiritualist in Ohio. How do I integrate all of these within the beloved magical opening between the core of Gaia and the energy of the stars that is my body? How do I do what the Bene Gesserit (another mythology that is on my mind these days) did and assimilate the magics of all of my ancestresses?
*And speaking of my actual magical ancestors, (and maybe I’m the only one who sees a connection here) I’ve spent part of this lovely, rainy weekend reading a delicious book entitled Freedom’s Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War. Readers who’ve followed my attempts to come up with a knitting pattern for Phrygian caps (and I do promise to post the updated pattern soon) will understand my delight at finding this book.
More and more (and I hope to develop this idea in some future posts) I find that knowing the history of my shining city on a swamp is important to my magic, to my practice as a Witch of This Place, to the work to which I re-dedicate myself every morning when I chant Carol Christ‘s prayer: “The breath of my body will bless, the cells of my being will sing, in gratitude and re-awakening.”
I recommend knowing the history of your own Place as a deep and important part of your own magical practice. (I have to credit my brilliant friend, E, whose own emphasis upon donating to charities that benefit her own, specifc (think globally, do magic and donate locally) landbase started my entire quest to know the Goddess Columbia and to be The Witch of This Place and Chas Clifton, who is also, I think, engaged in the work of being the magic worker of his own place.)
* One of the most basic practices of modern magic-workers is grounding. When I ground, I don’t run my roots into some generic “Earth” or some all-purpose “Dirt.” I run them into THIS Virginia clay, the clay upon which my sixty-one year-old cottage is built (and I’m still dealing with some of the harm done to the soil by those less-than-ecologically-aware-builders). This clay, that has been amended by several hundred years of oak leaves, and acorns, and squirrel poop. This clay, that Landscape Guy and I have dug up, and mixed with coffee grounds, and watered with rain barrel water, and anchored with an altar of Appalachian stone.
And so, when my roots run down, they find the mycelium that run between the roots of the oaks and maples on my Bit of Earth. They find the earthworms who live here and turn over all the detritus of last Autumn’s potlatch of leaves. They find the etheric imprints of the 1950s housewife who first kept this kitchen shining clean (and who still disapproves of me a bit, I think), of the First Peoples, who never lived but hunted here, of the odd Masons and Spiritualists who used to go on walks here, starting out from a now-haunted sanitorium not far from my bedroom.
*And speaking of Sacred Space, one of the lovliest sessions that I attended was led by Michael G. Smith who read us his lovely poem about Fairie:
I slept beneath the moon last night
And walked the paths of silver light
‘Neath shadows of the wakened trees
Through mists that flowed like darkened seas
Off in the distance spoke the owl
Beneath his coppery feathered cowl
Of moving things beneath his eye
Of those that live and those that die
The land was stirred by Spring’s enchant
The Winter’s time of cold and damp
Was giving way to Life Renewed
No longer frost but morning dew
I looked upon the rising green
And felt the stirring pure and keen
Of passion for life’s fleeting bliss
For love and joy and fiery kiss
And then I heard an urgent call
Come to me down the length’ning hall
Of time and space, it touched my heart
And so I went to make a start
My heart then lead me so to wait
Before the mighty Ancient Gate
Of Faery deep within the Land
And there I was to patient stand
And while I stood in silence deep
And all about the world did sleep
I caught my breath as stirring sound
Came to me through the air and ground
And as I watched the Gate swung wide
And power flowed out like the Tide
To Overwhelm my mortal sense
Yet came The Bright One with me hence
And we as one then saw the sight
That freed me from my human fright
And we as one then spoke the word
That let us be so undisturbed
Read the rest at the link. No, really, go read it. I’ll wait right here.
*G/Son is fascinated by the fairies who live here and who sometimes leave him the odd gift: an acorn, a shiny stone, a bit of poetry. And that’s the history of This Place, as well; that an insane old woman lived here and nurtured her G/Son upon stories of The Last Wild Witch, and of Arthur, and of Freedom’s Cap.
*The strong temptation of this way-too-early Spring is to go out and plant. I’m (mostly) holding off. We’ve had frosts here, on this Bit of Earth, as late as April 25th. I have planted the tarragon seedlings that were delivered and I’ll likely be out covering them up tomorrow evening when temps may dip down into the 30s. How are you working with your own Bit of Earth in this shifting season?
*The woman who lived here, on my Bit of Earth, before me, a heavy-centered mother of two, a weaver, and a potter, planted two fig trees. Every summer, I harvest her figs, those most uterine of fruits, from those trees, negotiating a truce with the birds and the squirrels. Over the past two days, the fig leaves have burst out. Fig leaves, even here in this misty and dark light, are sparks of green flame, incandescent with a light that comes from somewhere other than this wet, grey Spring weekend. I sit at my altar in amazement at the light within these leaves that will manifest itself within the deeply-seeded center of the figs that will manifest come late Summer.
*And, speaking of planting, I’m still willing to say that Baker Creek is the best catalogue out there. Garden Rant (the one garden blog i read even when I’m exhausted) agrees with me. If you want to connect with your own Bit of Earth, buy some seeds from Baker Creek or from Landreth, America’s oldest seed company, which could use the business this year.
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