Feeling my way into marrying my medicine bundle and ancestor veneration practices. Remembering plucking a feather from the Bodensee after wishing it to shore has me working with swan, wishes, desire, necessity, water, summer... and the mysterious moment when the one you think you’re pursuing turns out to be leading the way. Thursday evening T could see what was coming, and asked if I was going to work all night, I said no, but he was right. Making what spirit show me is a really important part of my practice, and they've been showing me something of this ilk for quite some time, so it's exciting that it's time to bring it into being. I look forward to seeing how they want to use this piece, hopefully not as a votive offering thrown into a lake, but you never know.
As I worked I re-listened to a recording of Sharon Blackie speak at last year's International Herb Symposium where she spoke about how the cure lies in the otherworld in Celtic folk wisdom, and to receive that healing one must bind that cure to the one who needs healing in this world, finding balance. (That’s wildly paraphrased, I hope I did her words justice.) This seems very relevant to the creative process, to me.
So here, 45 hours later, a gift for swan, and my old folks, at least for now a place to sit together. Intarsia (or mosaic), and applique embroidery with tablet woven edge, using gifted or long ago purchased materials. Wool, goat skin, gold (as well as metalic foil), acrylic size, cotton, beeswax.
Well hello. Three days ago I started feeling a big push to do some ancestor work, but wasn’t clear about who was trying to get my attention. Yesterday, out of the blue, I received an email from a person I had shared old family photos with back in 2012 with a link to photos from an album she had just been gifted. This man. For years I’ve been visiting his grave almost every time I travel through the Bangor area. And here he is, Napoleon Bonaparte Blackden, he died on this day in 1897. Okay... you’ve got my attention.
Listening is good, but taking action based on what you’ve been told is even more important.
Thinking about that lesson on all kinds of levels. And marveling at what can start happening through this practice. We’ve been relating to the spirits of this home in a new way and wow! The old roses that haven’t put out a bloom in the 9 1/2 years we’ve lived here have branches covered in fragrant, deep red flowers all of a sudden today!
There’s a lot of noise in western culture, and I’m feeling even more encouraged to listen deeply to what’s under the words, to dig into the histories, root out my own biases... reminding myself to stay curious and flexible, and do the things that have asked to be done.
This story has two parts. First. When I was almost 6 years old, my dad made us work benches for Christmas, and gave them to us complete with little toolboxes filled with the essentials. After the big day he set up the benches in his shop in the garage so we would have a place to work along with him. Once in a while he would sit with us to teach us how to do something, but much more often he just kept scraps and extra nails around, and made sure we felt welcome watching him while he worked on his projects. I love to build and figure out how things go together and to make things I need, and I love how my dad is always with me when I do that.
Part two. After reading some words a friend shared about asking the spirit of her garden what plants wanted to grow there, it dawned on me that after living in this house for almost 10 years, I had never reached out to the spirit of this house, tons of work with the spirits of the land and some general thanking of the house, but not once directly reaching out to the spirit of the house, even to introduce myself. We’ve struggled living here, and though there are things that we love about the house, and neighborhood, it’s also very challenging at times. So I reached out, humbly and with grateful heart and words, and am now falling in love with the spirit of this house and another spirit who looks out for them. One of their first requests was to have a little shelf where we can leave gifts for them, and they love it when we bake bread, and when we read.
So I used my childhood toolbox today while building the little shelf for the spirits of this house in honor of their request.
There’s a lot of work to do these days. To me, it all hinges on decolonizing my mind. It’s really fucking important. There are lots of resources out there if you’re interested in exploring an animistic world view and decolonization. The work of Sherri Mitchell and Daniel Foor have been super alive for me lately.
Set about asking a favor to make a flower essence, this first morning of their bloom. Wow, they’re working us today! Finding our way through big thorns back to the heart, and honoring the strength of three.
There’s so much I’d like to share about how I feel about this plant, but pinning their mystery down with words feels trite. So maybe a story instead. While working at Avena Botanicals decanting tinctures and preparing bottles for sale, getting the labels on bottles of this flower essence straight was almost impossible, while the others were a cinch. When I noticed this it was like a light went on and I started seeing this plant.
We’ve been walking over and around fallen milkweed stalks by the back doorstep since autumn. What looked like disintegrating yarn turns out to be retted bast fiber. So here’s milkweed cordage! And then one thing leads to another...
Truly, they’re as close as the skin, and in every breath... and still my mind and heart want to know where the land sings for them, where the old bones rest... And the lesson that burns like tears is that it’s all singing, I am here now, that is good, and that is enough
Last week I dreamt of standing at my grandmother’s dining table, discovering that I had a white baby cobra snake in a paper bag. Apparently their care was my responsibility, though I hadn’t realized until now. Looking into each other’s eyes, many thoughts passed by... guilt at my unconscious neglect... surely they weren’t poisonous, the pet store wouldn’t sell poisonous snakes, would they?... how do I even care for a cobra?...
This dream visitation has been close ever since. And at the same time I keep seeing images of bulls and bees, from old dreams and much older stories.
From all that, here is something for this Taurus new moon time, while I’m home from work with a slight, but niggling cough.
Practicing mother, weedwife, animist, human, who's very thankful to live on the coastal plain of Southern Maine, in Wabanaki terretory, near a place called Owascoag.