Jul 2, 2015

When Witches Grow Weary

"We stand, friends, at a liminal time somewhere betwixt spring and summer, between school and summer break, between one place and another. Thresholds are important for us culturally, of course, but for those of us who truck with the Unseen, there is power and melancholy in these times of shifting space and time. Hold the ragged edges of your hearts together tonight, my dears. Pull the tatters of your soul into some semblance of your sacred garment. Straighten your back, stand tall, look forward. All is exactly as it seems, and yet...everything is a shadow. Ground deeply, breathe into your belly.

Seize the power of the moment and fear not. Fear not."
The above quote was posted on social media by Byron Ballard, author of Staubs and Ditchwater, in early June. I had been feeling weary for a week or so at that point, and simply hearing another spirit worker speak of the deepness of the latest threshold we were moving through, gave me permission to pause and breathe deep. 

Hob, the talented writer and witch doctor in residence at The Orphan's Almanac had, only a week earlier, left me nodding and holding my hands up in a throwback to my church days, when he called his discomfort of the seasonal shift "threshold sickness."

"Bruised, raw, exposed, the fresh green growth and soaring chorus of renewed life came down on me like a white-noise hammer, filling my head with broken glass and radio static, and sent me, howling, down the oubliette. The Sun becomes increasingly feral as the days lengthen, and a 13-year cycle of cicadas has stirred to fill the daylight hours with a constant, machine-like droning. Already nocturnal by nature, I’ve gone full-blown “creature of the night,” grasping for the elusive stillness that blooms like jasmine in the slow hours, after midnight."
"I am not alone," I remember thinking upon reading this.

June used to be a month that allowed us here in The Valley a slow introduction to summer. We would ease in with toes dipped in the lakes, and the first small strawberries from the field. There would be breezes through open windows and long walks into the forest to pick local herbal treasures and wild mushrooms. This year has been different. 

Summer arrived nearly three weeks too soon, and it has not eased in at all.  Fierce heat broke records early in the month, and destroyed my pea crop and sent the lettuces to bolt.  There were thunder storms and heat lightening that left my ears ringing and sparked fires on the hills. The farmers market had heaps of cherries and early peaches laid out right beside the strawberries. I have never eaten peaches so early in the season. June was a whirlwind, and I tried to keep up.

But really, all I wanted to do was sleep through the sweltering daylight hours, and wake when twilight fell.

It was early June when I began sitting outside every evening and noticed the two bright stars in the western sky. Watching Venus and Jupiter moving closer to each other as dusk fell was one of the things that kept me going this past month. Stars leaning in.

I leaned in too. A new working emerged, inspired by the dance I was watching in the sky. Messages that had been fuzzy at best, were being heard more clearly. I dug deeper in my journeying practice. I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.

The delightfully magical Paige Zaferiou said this, as the solstice arrived:
"I don't know how y'all are feeling but I am weary and wrung out by this strange thin light veil time.
The land speaks and its voice is a swelling orchestra of complexity, a river that never stops flowing over and around and through me. I am caught in the flood and it bears me down and buoys me up and I like it. So help me, I like it here in the ebb and flow. I like being under water with open eyes. So help me, I love this magical fucked up life."
Preach, Sister.

Something happened in June as the doorway through spring caved under the pressure of an early summer. I felt both wrung-out, and stronger. Weary, and ever more a witch tapped into the cycles and shifts that were both uncomfortable and yet potent times for manifesting.

I've come into July feeling wild, worn-thin, and wicked. This may be a very good thing.

It has not escaped my notice that September eves and the shadows of October make magic seem always close at hand and somewhat easier to access. I wait all year for those days. But ease is not always the best path for growth.

Today I heard Sarah Lawless, in her interview on the latest episode of the Down at the Crossroads podcast, share a quote from her fabulous article "For Fear of Flying."

"Witchcraft is not safe. Witchcraft is not good and kind. Witchcraft is the domain of the trickster, the outcast, the wanderer, and the crooked.  It belongs to those who know every light casts a shadow; who have looked into the depths of darkness in their soul and accepted what they’ve seen along with all that is good.  Witchcraft requires cunning, manipulation, self-awareness, adaptable morals, and dash of madness."
To madness then.  To scorched summer days and sticky nights. To blood offerings given up begrudgingly to mosquitoes and raspberry thickets. The brief hours of darkness. The endless afternoons where bird and beast hide in whatever shade can be had. To drinking in the heat, and using that in ways that surprise you. To making friends with your sweat and your scent. To the animals of summer wherever you are. Here, there are bats beyond number feasting on bugs by the river. There are fat marmots and rattlesnakes sunning themselves, and turtles climbing out of the ponds to soak up the warmth.

To acknowledging the discomfort of 100 degree weather, and getting shit done anyway. To having a summer adventure - and then having a mojito. 

Hob said this, of embracing the challenge of summer wandering:
"There are rivers to follow, and streets to walk, and people to meet, living and dead. We will smell the salt of the ocean, the dust of strange shops, and the breath of the empty places. We will be pilgrims, seeking the roadside shrines to the lost, the forgotten, and the bygone."
To being a weary witch, and still wandering, still seeking, still making magic.

Please check out the amazing folks quoted in this post - they are all linked up to their respective websites and are worth a visit!


Camelia said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This was touching. I had to blink away a little tear, must have been something in my eye ;) Thank you for the feeling of putting the threshold feeling into beautiful and poetic words.

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Lisa Teaney said...

Lovely, I do miss those Alaska summers.

Rue said...

Thanks for the kind words Claudia. I'm indebted to those who allowed me to borrow quotes from their social media pages, and the brilliant blog authors I quoted.

I was feeling a little crooked this past month, and it was their words that buoyed me.

Misty Fouquet said...

This was spot on! Thank you!

Debra Nehring said...

Thanks for putting into words the stretched and somewhat exhausted feeling I've been having.
The early summer hit hard in my valley as well. Funny, I feel like some deep emotion springs up unbidden at the oddest times.
Blessings, Jen. Enjoy summer.

Linda Wildenstein said...

To all those that "get" what these words of wisdom and love convey....hot days, cool tall comfort to quench our thirsts, and magic abounding in every new adventure. Cutting through the static of the changings is hard work for those who vibrant with the turning of the wheel.

You have made me love the more for yours and others words of balm to my soul. We are enjoying our bounty that you sent and uncrossing some much needed thresholds with your "doings".
Much love my sista, Oma Linda

Holly said...

Good to know I'm not alone in all these emotions and transitions. Beautifully written and deeply felt to the bones.

Colleen Beaty said...

Lovely post - I like all the quotes to others you give.
I've definitely been feeling that threshold vibe this summer. This definitely feels like a year of transitions, on a personal level and on a societal level.


Unknown said...

I agree with Holly - we are not alone in feeling this way. Thank you.

For the first time, ever, we are able to enjoy the shady, breezy, green canopy of trees in our backyard. It's now a little grotto offering respite, peace and privacy. The front of the house currently boasts a portable air conditioner. Our barely insulated little cottage is now much more hospitable and civilized in the summertime with these amenities. For us, it's gracious living to have one room that can be kept cool and a private outdoor area for our water and fire workings.

I hope that you're able to ease into August since you've accepted the sudden onset of summer! - Marina