Aschenputtle 1967

Aschenputtel by Eleanor Abbot
Aschenputtle by Eleanor Abbot (1875 – 1935)

Walking through the field
on your way home from school.
The path leads through naked brush
along the farthest edge
of suburban wasteland.
The spring sunlight pours upon you.
Baby buds are crowning
bright and magnificent, each bud
quickened and specific in it,
and you can’t see it,
you can’t hold any of it.

Your new cat’s eye glasses
could bring it all into sharp relief
but you aren’t wearing them.
You can walk no faster than this
you think, walking forward.
The schoolyard shrieks and jeers
still ring in your ears
like sharp barbs and arrows
that prick and pin the tittered laughter
of the other girls on you.

Emergence drifts away from you,
the budding shrubs and yellow wintered grasses
along the edge of path shrivel and blur.
Nothing can enter that hazy bubble
you have made, that empty sphere
of shadowed space to hide within,
grieving because it is so dim.

Then there’s the girl, in the tattered dress,
kneeling in the ashes.
She has no mother, its true.
Her father deserted her,
her step mother despised her
and her step sisters turned from her.

Only a girl like this
can know what’s happened to you.
If she were here she would
reach out and place your glasses
back on your face
and tell you of how she planted a twig
that grew to become a hazel tree.
And though you might see nothing,
you would be seen all the same.

 

With gratitude to Margaret Atwood for her poem The Girl Without Hands.

Hylde-mođer (Elder Mother)

The Little Elder Tree Mother
Ellærn, eller, eldre
Eldrun, hyldor, hylanntree
Hylde-mođer you shall be.

Holding

My tender silver reaching roots
in winter cradle death.
Moulding,
mourning,
moving back.

Icy winds
whirl around my naked branches.
Black crows sail across the sky.
At night a million tiny moons
glitter in the snow drifts.

Quickening

The wind shifts
and the sun warms my branches.
My sap softens
and moves through me in a tickle of delight.

The flowing up
eases my holding.

Blooming

A ruffled feathered sparrow alights
in my branches
and calls to her sisters.
They chatter.
My leaves unfurl.

I am white blossom bliss.
Each a tiny peak of pleasure.
I tremble in delight,
gladly offering my innocence to the pollinators who
court me again and again.
My winter dreams are
carried off
on their wings.

Growing

Through the heat
and glorious warmth,
my white petals flutter and fly
like tiny winged ones.
They leave behind anchored green nubs
that grow and expand
and slowly reach into the darkest of pink red fingered stems
that end in green that turns to purple blue.

An anxious hummingbird flits by each day
to check their progress.
The cicadas sing.
The sun is regal and relentless.

Flowing

My plump purple baby berries
are staining,
draining,
dripping
from the beaks of cedar waxwings,
finches and flickers.

I am giving and giving as mothers do
all my love and labour
in that purple berry blood.
I collapse again and again
into the fullness of giving.
Mothering in the mercy
and the mourning
of the holding and the nestling
and the nurturing
and the letting go.

Returning

The winds begin to fly again.
Autumn tangles my branches.
My leaves spiral and fly.

A flock of busy grackles
come to feed on the last of my berries.
They are all I have left.

And when they are gone
I am content to settle.
For once again,
the deep dark ground is calling to me
of endings
in beginnings
and beginnings
in endings.

 

The elder was deeply honoured by Celtic cultures and chosen by the Druids as the sacred tree to rule their thirteenth and final moon. Elder was used by extensively by village hedge-witches for all its parts are rich and potent–leaves, flowers, berries and bark.

The elder speaks to us of regeneration and the power of the life force. The elder mother, or Hylde-mođer as she was called in Old Saxon reminds us of the never-ending cycle of life, death and rebirth, bringing power and hope at as the wheel of the year turns.

Image: Arthur Rackham. Illustration for Little Elder Tree Mother by Hans Christian Anderson

Ostara playlist

Page of Arrows

A poem crafted from the titles of the songs on my Ostara playlist.

 

It’s mostly about the language of birds,

But it’s also about telling the bees.

And the little grey sparrow that brings the kiss of spring.

And the dazzling blue of the eye in the sky,

And the little bird, little green, little Martha roundabout.

It’s about Judy blue eyes and the sailing song and the sad sea song.

And when three ravens flew away with the raven girl who caught a long wind.

Image source: Page of Arrows from the Wildwood Tarot.

 

Mabon balance meditation

Fall Equinox

The Autumnal Equinox is a time of liminal space. Where I live in Canada, it is the end of a time when the light is strong and the air is warm and the beginning of a time when darkness begins to take hold and the air becomes colder.

Those of us who follow an earth-based spiritual practice enjoy that space and often seek it out.  We may enjoy standing on the edges of things because that is where magic happens.  We may revel in the in-between spaces; the transitional times; the liminal times–and it is no wonder that many of us love Autumn.

The Autumnal Equinox is also a time of high energy and for some of us there may be a feeling of restlessness in the air, a desire to make changes in our lives, to begin anew.

Here is a simple meditation that may help you become more comfortable standing on the edge and can help you bring more balance into your life.

Stand up and take several deep breaths. What do you feel in the energy that is circulating about you? Is it calm and peaceful or is it swirling around?  Do you feel comfortable in this energy or does it need some sorting?

Lift up one of your feet, or if that is not possible, lean a little forward until you are just slightly off balance.  Feel the instability, but try not to fear it. If you need to tap your foot on the ground, do so briefly. Stay in tune with the energy.  How is it affecting you?

Now, bring to mind something in your life that feels off kilter. Something that you’d like to change and gain some control over. Is it something affecting your physical body? Perhaps your food choices are out of wack or you need to bring more physical activity into your life.  Are you in a relationship that may be out of balance?  Do you need to spend more time in quiet meditation or other forms of self care?  Really think about it.  How is this imbalance affecting you? What are the feelings it brings to mind?  Annoyance? Anxiousness?  Fear?  Lack of control?

Now, place your foot solidly back on the ground and stand straight. With your eyes still closed, feel the loving pull of mother earth’s gravity below you and imagine what you can do to bring more balance to this area or this thing. What are some concrete actions you can take to add more balance? How can you accomplish this? Is it possible to make a plan? Do you need the help of others?  If so, how can you ask them for help?

Now take several deep breaths. Open your eyes and read this prayer:

As I stand on the edge
Of the dark and the light
I feel balanced and strong
I will set myself right.

I gaze out I gaze in
I take time to begin
To find truth in the spaces
That lie deep within.

I feel Mother Earth’s love
And accept her embrace
Love of gravity grounds me
And keeps me in place.

When you are done, take some time to journal or make of list of next steps.

Blessings of Balance to you!

Image source: Mabon greeting card by EarthStarStudios on Etsy.com.

Eclipsing

Milkweed pod

The milkweed pod splits in my hands.
And silky white seed tails scatter through my fingers and across the meadow.
Floating.
I watch as they are caught by a gust
and carried above the quivering yellow goldenrod spires,
Around the dusty green seeded nettles,
And over the chokecherry bushes along the Jock River’s edge,
Branches drooping, heavy with purple berries.

Yes, I have been eating them.
For six or seven weeks now,
haven’t got sick once.
Probably keep us both alive. 

Did the needle on the album skip?
What is that slightly off-center sense of second guessing?
What is that high-pitched buzz?
Is it the menacing whine of the wasps that hover around the white sweet clover
Like tiny little drones that threaten the innocent white blossoms?
Is it the incessant sound of the bluebottle flies
Swirling stupidly and endlessly around a discarded blue poopbag
plopped on the ground at the edge of the path?
Or is it the harmonic hum of suburban air conditioners in the distance
that makes me feel that the roots of my upper back molars are pushing up through my cheekbones?

There is a retrograde.
And an eclipse is coming.
In Leo, no less . . .
(the ego–
dear gods that ego–
is so hot; it shines down on me,
burning my skin
and makes me want to flatten myself face down on the dry hard dirt path of this long hot summer.)

And everything is veering slightly off center again.
My neurons are clicking, but
There is no steady beat to hold on to.
The edges of my thoughts are sharp
and the shrill sound behind my eardrums is piercing.

What is normal?
What is safe and sound and will anchor me to the ground?
What is that tension circling my heart,
and that sinking feeling in my stomach?
What is that steady strident ache behind my eyes?

Is it the eclipse effect?
Am I stationed between the silent dark black moon
and the massive burning summer sun,
pressed from both sides as the dark and the light slowly advance
towards me and
through me and
then swirl together as the planet Mercury dives into retrograde?

I turn my face up to the sky.
I try to look away but I cannot help but watch the black moon move across the face of the blinding sun.

The dark and the light merge.

And in that split second everything changes.
My electrifying ego lets me go
and I am able to escape.
And ride with the tiny wisps of the milkweed seeds
Down the steep river bank and into the cool flowing river.

Milkweed pod image source: unknown

Macy revealed

macy-revealed

They held each other in their under grounding,

And they sighed and they slipped within and without,

And they clutched and they spun below and about.

And when their skin and their bone seeped down through the stone their voices joined in a clear crystal cry that flowed to the deepest spark of the heart of the heart.

And when it was done, still attached, they drifted off to sleep while the warm-cold, damp dark and deep soil embraced them and filled every crevice and pore in their bodies with rich black loam and buzzing living green and growing peat.

And as their slumber deepened, gentle growing, pure white tendrils of roots and shoots caressed them and hummed the Mother’s deep and everlasting voice of love and longing.

Photo by Barbora Biňovcová on Fivehundredpx

Skimming

skimming-witch

Since the lights went out, the business of living had become both more difficult and much easier.  When she thought back to her life before, Amber wondered why she always felt so busy and stressed when life’s essentials  were so easy to acquire.  During those bright, secure days she woke up in a warm bed.  When she got up, she turned on a tap and warm water came out.  She could straighten her hair with a flat iron and then get annoyed like it was her only problem if it rained and the humidity ruined her sleek long hairstyle.

Now, she brushed her wild curls out of her eyes and tucked hair behind her ears smiling ruefully.  Yes, things had changed for sure.

She settled behind the hedge at a spot where she could easily see through to the lake.  She waited for a very long time and then she saw it again.

At first she thought it was a bird flying across the dark water, but the flight was too steady and straight; the creature moved swiftly along just a few feet above the water about one hundred feet from the shore.  Amber parted the branches of the hedge and squinted her eyes to see more clearly.

It looked like. . . could it be?  It was a naked woman, seated on a broom, thighs tightly gripping the long handle and hands holding on behind.  The silhouette of her sharp nose matched the pointed outline of her breasts below and she hunched over, intent on maintaining her balance as she skimmed along, her hair flying behind her.

It was an unsettling sight to behold and yet Amber was not alarmed.  She had come to realize that since the lights had gone out, the magickal world that was once thought to be lost forever was slowly regaining hold and the artists’ brush strokes that once may have delineated the fantastic from the mundane were becoming less and less defined.

Image source: Unknown