Monday, July 26, 2010

Familiar Spirits

In 1612, Alizon Device, grand-daughter of Old Demdike, came to trial for witchcraft. In the records of the trial she is supposed to have said that she was approached by a Familiar-Spirit in the form of a dog and that by the persuasion of her grandmother, allowed it to suckle on her blood (from just beneath her breasts), thus inheriting it as her own Familiar. Though the archaic use of English in the records is a bit much at the best of times, it's also apparent that the Familiar did not remain constantly with the woman, but came and go at rather lengthy intervals. The trial records also note some involvement of selling, or bargaining, one's soul.

In this same trial, a spirit appearing as an intensely lovely young man, or sometimes as a brown dog, is also mentioned. In this case, coming for both Alizon's mother, and brother.

When my eye looks toward this, and other accounts (though none so thoroughly accounted as the Pendle Trials, IMO), I see a trend and a deeper meaning in very white-washed confessions.

1: Familiars come and go as they please. You don't own them, and they aren't a "pet" who helps you do harm-none-wicca.
2: Familiars must subsist upon blood, spiritual essence (the aforementioned "soul") , your personal energy, or a combination of all three in order to remain effective. They will require more for bigger tasks - pray you can provide.
3: You don't chose one, it chooses you. Once it's chosen you, it won't leave unless you starve it, chip away at it's strength and THEN banish it. Or, if you simply piss it off hard enough.
4: Familiar-association runs in families rather strongly. Grandma may curse you to feed a quasi-parasitic being who can perform marvelous acts.
5: M., one of the first spirit-beings I ever met, fit precisely the role of a witch-craze-era Familiar, and I didn't really get it until recently.

A Brief Bit on Practical Experiences with a Familiar-Spirit

In the late 1990's I was approached by a spirit who appeared like an incredibly tall man with the mouth of a reptile, and the eyes of a reptile, and for hands he had the talons of raptors. To describe it in modern vernacular: His mouth was exceptionally thin and wide, his eyes were slit-pupil, and he had very long, curved, finger-nails which had pronounced cyanosis at the beds.

In exchange for showing me my past, all manner of hidden knowledge, and teaching me to foretell the future, he only needed energy. My energy. Obtained in dreams like a vampire biting a victim, and in the waking world associated with prickling pain, and often physical marks. He fed upon sexual pleasure as well.

The rewards -far- outweighed the costs, and he was a remarkably loyal spirit. Befriending and aiding friends of mine as well. Over time we grew incredibly close, and then something changed.

I can't tell you what changed, more than likely he simply got saturated on the energy I had to offer, or got pissed off because he no longer occupied the central place in my worldview (he was a bit of a primadonna). His visits became further apart, then stopped entirely. He still visits friends occasionally, but by and large I hear not a damned word about him, or from him. Perhaps he's passed into a partnership with someone else, and if so... they're damned lucky to have him.

Gaining a Familiar

You don't exactly just get to call one up and command it to do your dirty work. Firstly, it doesn't work like that, secondly anything that easy to boss around in that manner is probably not very "strong", and may be more of a drain than a boon.

There are, however, ways of enticing a being to consider a partnership. In Raven Grimassi's work he suggests using guided meditations to cross into a particularly fertile batch of otherworld and choose a being which becomes interested in your presence. This is a good starting point for the task, but I'd be very leery of accepting the services of "just anything" I meet on the otherside. I think it would be far more advantageous for both parties to develop a friendship through visitation. Though, the visitation can begin through meditative work such as the aforementioned work suggests.

In my night-flights I often see a small spirit that's similar to a Satyr or Faun, though rather small, and a little more goaty. Whenever I'm compounding incenses, or doing Work, he seems rather keen on what I'm doing and will often fetch some novel ingredient (usually at lightening speed) that is just what I need. Also, if anything is handed to me, he is the one to do it. If I must hand something to someone else, he passes it to them. In short, he acts as something of an intermediary, is a pre-existing spirit, and is interested in my work.

Were I to consider acquiring another Familiar-Spirit-Proper, this would be the one I would consider. He's never shown me malice, always seems interested, and is already involved in my goings-on. I would suggest that anyone else take a similar route: Gain a friend first, and then ask the friend for a partnership, rather than meeting a stranger and assuming intimacy.

Creating A Being

Yes, it can be done. The internets are filled with accounts and instructions on the creation of beings called Servitors.

Ask anyone who's Worked with me? They'll instantly comment on the Baneyes. One of my first magickal experiments in created entities, and the longest-lived. Having long-since evolved from a Servitor into their own, independent, self-breeding, race. They've also formed variations on their original design, becoming caste-like in nature (with large broodmares down to single-eyeball-on-an-optic-nerve swarms). However, I got lucky. I worked hard enough at shaping the initial generations that the beings aren't rogue, they have no desire to attack, only defend and maintain. Had I not been so studious, gods know what monsters my teen dabbling may've created.

The unconscious mind, the wellspring of our internal landscape, can be filled with self-defeating ideas. Creating a Familiar from a Servitor would likely be more fraught with danger than adopting a being from the otherside.

This will not be the last blog about Familiars. I intend to follow Mr. Grimassi's methods of enticing a Familiar (probably one of the smarter Baneyes at first) to get back into the saddle. And I'm sure my experiments will unfold here, across the months.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Witch's Familiar by Raven Grimassi

What I like:
This work is worded quite accessibly, without being needlessly weedly or pandering on the more complex aspects of what it discusses. It is frank in it's discussion of the use of bodily fluids (both sanguine and amorous), and it's depiction of the nude human form in the Chakral/Energy center imagery. The book takes a practical approach to familiars, and draws upon witch trial records, which (IMO) is in the books favor, even citing some of the dangers associated with them in the Old World.

There are a series of seals/emblems/sigils provided, which are straitforward and very easy to freehand or photocopy for use. The work, like any other book, is a foundation to grow on, and includes information as diverse as growing plant familiars, the dismissal of uncooperative beings, and the creation of fetishes and housing for nonphysical familiars.

What I did not like:
It does run afoul of good sense by falling into the trap of starting with the assumption that all summoned entities are what they seem, and that a sigil created by a newbie will be able to turn aside an entity already lying to them.

There's also an element of hubris in the terminology of "using", "utilizing", etc. That I find rankles my sensibilities as I read it, but that's likely my "ANIMALS ARE (tasty) PEEPLE TOO!" gland acting up. I dislike the recurring "tripple spirals" on the seals, simply because I feel that each one could've benefited from another "trippled" image (such as blood, drops, arrows, etc.) that were more in tune with the seal's purpose. They also do not discuss the method they used for arriving at the sigils, which is important to someone like myself.

The constant reference to "power crystals" also put me off. Also, the author mentions the use of the Witch's Wheel (Magician's Wheel) multiple times for the creation of seals/sigils of the Familiar's name, but does not provide it in the book. For anyone that doesn't keep several copies of the Wheel around, this could prove problematic.

All in all, I give it - My gripes are mostly knitpicking, and for those unfamiliar with familiars, it would be far more helpful than a salty old ass like myself.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Witch's Advice.

It is a searingly hot night. The moon is nearly half-full and there's not a cloud in the sky. All around the sound of insects and frogs chokes the air, creating an almost physical pressure of sound. In the middle of the woods there is a mobile home, a few lights are still on, despite the late hour. The Witch's phone has been ringing off the hook (metaphorically, their phone is actually a cell), voicemails are piling up. Begging for occult help, and doing it wrong.

Someone is asking The Witch for advice, and The Witch knows that no matter what advice they give, they will be greeted by the same "No, that won't work, I haven't tried it but I don't want to so I'm dismissing it offhandedly" that they're always greeted with.

With great trepidation and reluctance the witch picks up the call.

I don't know what to do. A spell has been put on my boyfriend to force him to go to another girl. She's been getting into his head and making him suggestable. She refuses to release him. I want him back. She is hurting him so bad. What can we do to stop her.

Firstly, The Witch gets out the deck of tarot cards and does a simple reading, contemplating the request.

The Witch narrows her eyes at the cards. It's pretty damned simple... A fair, young, male! He's constantly on the move, shifting like the wind from place to place and idea to idea. A choice between two objects of passion. One being chosen over the other. The Tower is about lies, facades and keeping up appearances. The bolt of lightening striking the tower represents truth coming to light and the lies crumbling. Everyone wants a hero. Unfortunately, this triumphant hero is a liar and a fake. She purses her lips, the querent is already having a fit on the other end of the line, screaming obscenity and vitriol. The Witch begins cramming the cards back into the tuck box, when another flips free.

If the previous four cards weren't visceral enough, the image of a man juggling two objects, while regarding one with more care than the other is, well... cut and dry. The Witch knows, insofar as she can, that the man is cheating (or dearly wants to) and using magick as an excuse. She tells the person as much, in the nicest way she can (which isn't terribly nice, because "Girl, he dippin' that wick in other lamps" is something that there is no nice way to say). However, she also gives extensive instructions on removing any malevolent spell-work in place.

Silence ensues.

Then, in the background, someone asks if THEY can get a tarot reading. The Witch seethes. The Querent still won't respond. People don't want to hear the truth. They want to be told everything is alright, the sun is shining on their every fart, every thought they have is not only valid, but justified and worthy of applause, and possibly Jesus himself even bends an ear to their most inner philosophical musings. The Witch grows impatient, and the Querent finally chimes in.

Sorry to have bothered you. I can see you're not taking this seriously. A spell was put on by a witch so I thought you would help. No he is not two timing me. This is real. We are both scared and I went looking for help. I just needed some answers not sarcasm.

The Witch gets angry. She speaks slowly and carefully, explaining that she took it VERY seriously, hence the reading and the spell advice. And the willingness to literally walk the afflicted through the series of uncrossing spells. The Witch Also explains that, well, ignoring the advice because it wasn't phrased the way the querent wanted is silly, juvenile, and counter-productive.

The Witch shouts "To translate: This is the spell you need to undo the bad spell against him. Take the advice, or leave it, but don't pretend you never received any. "

Thanks for nothing.

WHAT?! When someone approaches us we do readings to clarify the hidden parts of the situation, because no one person knows the whole story (and no person, anywhere, tells strangers unflattering things about themselves without the help of alcohol).

We must do these readings like doctors do scans and tests - We have to know the root of the symptoms to provide a 'treatment' for the problem. This is, by the by, why witches were also called "Witch Doctors" and "Fairy Doctors" in the past. Just like a doctor, you might hear things you don't like. That doesn't mean it's not good advice, or proper for the situation. At the end of it, you'll receive something of a prescription, which either the witch, or your local occult shop will help to fill.

"Thanks for nothing means that nothing was given. You were given a serious, helpful, response. I don't see what your hangup is, unless it's tone, and if you're ignoring the advice to help you out of what you describe as a dire, desperate, situation because you dislike it's delivery - that's a special kind of horrible." The Witch shouts. "You have been given the proper procedure for removing the bad spell against him. Take the advice, or leave it, but do not dare be an ingrate about it! Do not bite the hand that feeds you, just because it isn't serving on fine china. It's a very poor idea to cop an attitude with witches when you have already found yourself in dire straits of the magical variety - my inclination to help YOU may become an inclination to help HER."

The Witch hangs up, and the Querent calls someone else. And then another, and another, and another. Until no one will hear them out. They burn through the magickal community in a few days, pissing off dozens of competent witches in the process, cutting themselves off from workers and shop-owners.

A few days later, The Witch's phone rings, and she hits Silent. She won't be helping when all she gets is a smack in the face, and 40 minutes on her plan that she'll never get back.

(Note, the Assclows featured in this entry is actually a composite of several assclowns, so as to hit several birds with one stone)

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Toad

I've always loved toads. I talk to them, I feed them, and I briefly kept a "toad" I purchased from a pet store (in reality a Cranwell's Horned Frog) as a much-beloved pet before it decided to try and fit it's food dish into it's stomach and choked to death. Yes, Cranwell's are not very smart frogs.

For most of my life I've rescued frogspawn from receding puddles, and later released them in our native pond. Sometimes they were toads, sometimes frogs, and once - Salamanders. I like to spend time every evening (weather permitting) sitting on the porch, sipping a cup of tea, and bashing crickets with my sandal before tossing them to the waiting chorus of toads.

Recently I shocked, amused, and disgusted a few people by rescuing a small toad from a busy sidewalk, perching him on my table, and doing a tarot reading for him outside of starbucks. His reading, incidentally, said he would meet a new friend, travel to a new home, and find love. Who was I to argue with the cards? I brought him home to my pond.

I discovered, through recommendations, the works of Andrew Chumbley (and David Shulke), and eventually stumbled upon ONE and The Leaper Between. I was enthralled, and intrigued. With my affinity for toads, and my time in the occult community, it's a wonder I had never heard of the Waters Of The Moon (at least -as such- *) prior to this.

On one hand I was drawn to the concept, on the other - understandably cautious. No sooner had I heard the term "toadmen" than people began warning me of the dangers involved. Of how I could assure I'd never have another night of sound sleep if I did it. Of how people engaging in the Toadbone rite "absque superiorum privilegio" end up insane, dead, or worse. And so I said "Well, I tell ya what. If a GOLD toad shows up on my front stoop, lets me handle it repeatedly, and keeps coming back I may just take that as a sign of privilege, how's that?"

And a gold toad decided to start showing up. I would call it's color a "curry cream", not overtly argent, but it's golden in toad terms. It doesn't care if I pick it up, but if anyone else goes near it it hops away. It gave me pause.

I've been a Witch now for a very long time. Doors close, doors open and one becomes aware of things they had not previously considered. One also recalls, with new clarity, Mysteries shared long ago.

* My initiator used to talk about how certain infatuations or predilections of mine were dangerous, or at the very least would not bode well if I followed them through. His assertion was that while Chaoism was grand, Chaos didn't pay the bills, or keep you sane. The Occult could as easily devour you as uplift you. And he would give me very angry looks when I said "I am enriched by death."

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My dreams have never been what you'd call normal. I don't dream that I'm in a car, and suddenly I'm driving a pudding-shoe through the mall with my grandmother and my puppy from when I was six is chewing my favorite teddy-bear. I don't dream "weird dream stuff" - in fact, I'm not sure I ever really "dream".

We noticed things were weird when I was about five, maybe six. We were at my grandmother's and I was taking a nap in her rocking chair (on her lap, doubtlessly). I only vaguely remember this event, so I rely upon what I'm told: I awoke with a start, and began crying. When asked what was wrong I repeatedly insisted that we needed to go home, because something was attacking our chickens. That something had dug under the fence, and was getting them. I was, of course, ignored.

When we got home we found utter carnage. Our own dogs had escaped their fence, and dug under the fence into our hen-yard and had massacred the hens.

Throughout my "career" as a witch, I would intermittently dream of flying, of going to great night-reveries, of grand Sabbats held atop hills in ancient stone circles - and sometimes the stars themselves. But mostly, and almost nightly, I would dream of showing up in some far-flung place, where there was inevitably some sort of "bad juju" going on.

In these "dreams" I would do what I could to fix it. Usually resorting to pulling out my ritual dagger, and claiming the ground there - and sometimes pissing to the four directions. Never underestimate the usefulness of marking your territory. Sometimes I would dream of other witches and pagans I knew, and we'd be cooperating to do serious workings that needed doing, and sometimes we'd all remember the event, or similar dream-narratives.

I always knew I was leaving my body in my sleep. But I was always told that this was not true, that you cannot go "out" from the flesh without intent, and that dreams are just dreams. That you're trapped in your own head, that you cannot project outward from inward. And I always thought "Well, that's bullshit. I can do it, and I know I'm not -that- special or unique."

I'd always wake up feeling like I hadn't slept at all, or cold, or sore... or with cuts. And eventually I found an author who didn't shy away from saying "Sometimes people who are different can do different things. Some people with these skills are different from others, and have unique skills themselves, and that includes stepping into someone else's dreams, or another world altogether, while they sleep."

When I finally went "SEE?! I told you I wasn't that special" it got weirder. I didn't have a normal dream (that I could recall) for over two years. Now, I might have "just a dream" once a week. Mostly, though - I journey out and do what needs doing.

Not that long ago, I was in a normal dream - and then it went "weird", that is to say, it shifted from being a dream to being something else. The setting changed and I found myself in a dark room, across from a tall, blond man. He has contracted me, or is seeking to.

"I desire passage to (it's a Norse word, I hear it, but have no idea what it means) and I am told that you have the skills required to cut a door, as it were." His voice is almost lyrical, and heavily Scandinavian, and I know immediately that he is not human.

I recall telling him that I wasn't sure what place he was talking about, because I didn't know the word. He smiled at me, very patiently, and stated that it was Norse and that I should look it up when I wake up. He also explained that it was beyond the 'hedge', and that he simply needed someone to open a door.

As suddenly as it was said, we were there. A land of shadows, muted tones, half-colors, and ever-biting wind. The stars reeled visibly across the sky, as if being fast-forwarded. In fact, everything seemed to be moving so quickly, as to stand still. The man turned to me "I can believe many things, but I cannot believe you just did that. I cannot believe I am actually in (that word again). You hold remarkable skills. Fortunately we can return of our own accord now - you are free to leave." So I did.

When I awoke, I jotted down the word - the place name I didn't understand. "Skardalfhemmer" It was close. The word that had been said to me was actually Svartalfheimer - The land of the Dark Elves. I wonder what business the handsome Scandanavian had there?

With the hour being what it is, I'm off to 'dream'. Maybe I'll get the answer to my question.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Misconceptions about Misconceptions

Waving your wand around at the Ren Fair is Magick, but dealing with Night-Flights and Sabbatic lore is "delusional"

Modern Craft (included under this umbrella are the vast majority of NeoPagan, and Wicca-lite bits) has got it's head up it's ass. Very, very, very far up it's ass. So far up it's own ass that you can actually somehow see it's head peeking out of it's own mouth. It's disturbingly recursive, you might say.

It is well and good, fine, even encouraged, to saddle up to the local Fair and play fairy-magick. This is described as being "part of the religion" with no qualifier as to it's value or purpose. I have been witness to a group of people forming an open circle at a local Ren Fair, dressed in glittery fairy costumes and plate armor, who had the brass cajones to get insulted when people gathered to laugh.

This same group (or rather, several of it's constituents) later explained, with a patronizing sort of tone and quiet patience, that my references to "The Sabbat", and "Mandrake Kings" was delusional. "Night-Flights were just drug-induced delusions, Mandrakes are so poisonous that even touching one will kill you and also, they really DO scream, just like in Harry Potter! I know someone who grows them, it's really the sucking sound when you pull the root up!"

Historical sources cited, books proffered, and trial records presented they merely scoffed - "Torture makes people say stupid things. Witches are wise, and should know better!"

Solve et Coagula...

Gaining perspective is a good idea. Imagine things from outside your own head once in a great while. Can the hubris, and reflect: What would you think about seeing a group of Christians holding a loud, raucous, evangelical baptismal at a concert while dressed in full KISS regalia? If you'd laugh your ass off at that, don't do it's equivalent and expect to be held to a different standard that does not include statements like "Look at those dumb fuckers over there."

Furthermore, if you're discussing how you can feel the unique energies of the "crystal" you're holding, be sure it's a crystal and not dichroitic glass. Because calling sabbat-flights silly while cupping a Dichroi-cab made in the home-fuser of a hobbyist and talking about how you feel the ancient Atlantean energies ... er...

Ferrous metal tools are no different than anything else. Anyone who says otherwise is just uneducated.

Sorry to say, but you're mistaken. Ferrous metal (iron, specifically) has a long history of being antagonistic toward the Fair Folk. There's a lot of suggestion that it has roots in anthropological matters, but it has magickal implications. Mars and Venus don't always get along, a Martian (iron) influence is not always wanted. Sometimes it's downright hostile.

In my Tradition-with-a-big-T, Iron and Steel are considered commanding. It is it's very nature as "cutting in two worlds" that makes it so damned perfect for cutting ritual space out of reality and neatly inserting it into between-places. It is by the skill and authority of the Smith that raw ingredients become a blade. It is by this uniquely human blending of the elements into a quintessential form that gives it a power "fey" to the fay. To some of the kindred of Elphame, steel is as alien and hostile as some of their works are to us.

Furthermore, we consider that the Deva/l of a plant, specifically those plants Witches concern themselves with (i.e. plants which have a purpose, or spiritual effect) akin to the fairy races. Uplifted from the communal "Plantness", named, and identified as an individual fairy - kind of. For some plants it is perfectly fine to cut them with iron or steel. For others, well, you've just ruined the plant, because you drove off, insulted, or slayed the spirit residing therein.

Fixin' da Problem...

Anyone within mailing distance of a ceramic studio with a computerized kiln can own a hand-crafted bronze, copper, silver or even GOLD blade. Try googling "Precious Metals Clay" and getting an eyeful of the product. While I would not suggest making a solid silver or gold blade (gold, yes, is expensive), a core of copper or bronze with gold over-top, or plated on, would be about as easy to create as molding something out of Super-Sculpey. These metals are not antagonistic toward the fey, and can help engage a better relationship with them.

Beyond any of that... I sometimes wonder if the spirits just appreciate seeing things done the old way. "Oh, cor! A brass sickle. Haven't seen one of those in a spell!"

We're all Brothers and Sisters in the Arte!

For some reason this one usually precedes some request for money, information, or material things. Never does it accompany an offer of "so you can go ahead and crash here until they're done bombing your place for those herpes-carrying head lice."

We all practice some form of the Arts/Crafts, sure... but we're not siblings. And in the event that we were siblings, that's no encouragement for me to speak kindly to, or of, you. My sibling is the biggest jackass I know.

No, in The Arte Magickal, we range from estranged cousins to sharing the same family name via an ancestor who heard someone say their name was "Smith", and liked the sound of it. My Brothers and Sisters are those with whom I have done Work, and with whom I spend (and enjoy spending) great lengths of time.

Communing with the "Stop that BS" vibrations...

We're a community. Not an orgy. We don't need to be entangled quite so intimately all of the time. I don't need to even LIKE you to circle with you, as long as we can both do our part in the little pageant of Juju. And also, no, you can't sleep on my sofa, or have my last beer. If we're NOT circling, what does it matter? We're strangers. Let's verymuchplease STAY that way.

The Rede/Threefold Law applies to everyone who's ever lit a candle.

Hm. no. I want to believe (like Mulder) that there is some sort of universal law, but there's not. There are weird patterns, often little tapestries of interaction that can establish a "weave" if not a "pattern" but the whole thing is still malleable, and fragile.

I see ethics like clay. You're made of clay. That clay is magic. You take a 'Curse' shaped lump of clay out of yourself and throw it at someone. If their juju is in order, that clay won't get in, and it'll be looking for someplace to go. Mind, it just so happens you created a hole the exact size and shape of that wad of clay... guess where it's most likely to come to roost?


Pull your heads out. Stop preaching to others. Stop insisting that your worldview become their worldview. Honestly, that actually sums up MOST of the issues in this post. Live and let live. Hecate Enodia opens many doors, to many worlds.


Traditional Witchcraft does not have a little superscript "™" at the top and even if it did you wouldn't own it. Gene Simmons would, because Gene Simmons trademarks fuckin' -everything-. Wicca does not encompass the whole of Pagandom, and even if it did, people would still "do whatever feels right" and call it something else.

Coming into a situation, guns blazing, stating that other people are doing wrong/dangerous things simply because they're NOT doing what you do is silly. Lecturing ritual-leaders afterward on how it -should- be done is crass, and disrespectful.

Cornering noobs and oldies alike on a forum explaining how they just aren't close enough to your own definitions to be "TW™"? Er... go eat a bushel of Cakes of Light and get back to me.

Solving the issue.

Stop caring about other people making you look bad. Stop caring whether or not people are doing things 'correctly' unless they are part of your working group. Stand on your own merits. Don't want to be judged? Be impeccable, to borrow a phrase from Castaneda. The only way to be above reproach is to be known in your community as a stand-up person, someone who's not a moron, someone who is not a flake.

Of course, standing on your own two legs is a bit much for some folks to take. It's a lot easier to just whinge at everyone else.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stewardship of the Land

This post was inspired by a recent post over at The Alchemist's Garden. I decided to revise, and expand, my comments there as a post in their own right, here. The usual caveats apply - Your Mileage and Millage (as in treading the mill) may vary, your sensibilities may or may not be offended, and so on.

When I was in my early teens, shortly after I'd discovered "witchcraft", I used to spend a lot of my insomniac nights outside on the "lawn". To be honest, living where I do, there is nothing exactly like a suburban lawn. We have yards filled with clover, other assorted weeds, and lots of snails.

I felt "in tune" and "at peace" out on the clover-beds, sprawled out on my back, watching the stars reel while my old, little boom-box played cassette tapes, or radio broadcasts. Sometimes I would actively meditate, but more often I would simply soar - I'd daydream, journey, project and otherwise bi-locate, in and out of my headspace.

One night, I was laying there and felt a “thrum”. Everything seemed to buzz for a second, and go quiet. I reached out, physically and spiritually, and tried to weave as much of -me- into the landscape as I could. I've always "felt around" like a nest of snakes, or very fast-moving roots.

I felt it again. It was a shudder of pleasure that was running through the earth. Without being too terribly graphic, imagine that first "rush" of arousal - that's what I felt through every inch of me, body and spirit. I thought to myself – this means rain is coming, we needed rain – and then it did. Thunder came in, and the stars got obscured, and when the rain first fell - I felt the shudder again. The prior sensations may have come from miles away, rippling across the shared network of roots, soil and leaves.
After that, things changed. For one? My "Work" worked better. But moreover, I felt far more connected to this place than I ever had. And, in fact, far more connected to "living things" in general. I felt that I was part of the land, and it was part of me. We were each-other’s stewards.

Just as I had felt with stones, the "uses" of which I could pick out of seemingly thin air, the world around me suddenly flooded me with information. The oak, itself, was a habitat of magick to say nothing of the woods around it. Plants, y'see, seemed to start talking. My wormwood began to acquire her own voice, and it was usually testy and impatient. She was having to work with a moody, sullen, hormonal, teenager. I honestly feel sorry that she had to put up with that.

When I would drive to visit relatives I could feel the edge of where the land “knew” me, and where I “knew” it. I could feel where others had that special relationship, and where I was not wanted at all. But largely, I could feel vast, empty, tracts of land where no one cared for the it, and the it had no one to care for.

When driving up North to one of the larger lakes in the state, I'd see ditches filled with strange weeds, and have to make mental notes to look them up at home - they had spoken, and it would be very rude to ignore their message. At the lake I would wade with my ankles wrapped in water-plants, Ludwigia, abundant as an aquatic weed, yet no one seems to ascribe uses to it. It spoke to me "Who are you, stranger? You seem to be listening!", "I'm a witch from another lake in the South of this state.", "A witch! Oh, oh! I haven't seen one of your kind in so long! I am used for shape-shifting, for beauty-magick, and glamory. I am good for those who do not like the sun, because I give protection against it's fire - see how I darken where the water is the most shallow?"

I felt lonely stretches of highway plead for communion. I felt the land -cry- because it was so abandoned, and ignored, by the people crawling about on it. I have had the land itself tell me stories about the animals who once walked on it, or the people. All of whom have changed, or gone silent. Some of whom have become part of it - fossils hidden deep under my feet. They are waiting in the womb to come again in other forms.
Land which has been loved will be vibrant and awake. The trees will sigh, the earth will thrum when rain is coming. The weather will tell you long before it changes, and the flora and fauna will begin to speak. You and the land will care for each-other, and you will weep for each-other.

And don't think for a moment that I mean only "wild" land. In Dallas I spoke to the creatures in the soil which wrapped in, around, and under the pavement. I spoke to the trees and plants which forced themselves up through cracks in the concrete. I worked with the spirits of parks, and even with the spirits-of-place (who are rather different than what I'm talking about, and best left for another post).

Get out. Learn your land, become friends. Build a relationship. Grow together.