Faces in the Trees + Notes on Gratitude

The last 5 days have been busy…non-stop actually. Both good and bad. A planned lunch with friends where instead of being present I was double timing and working on last minute edits to a program for a show (but at least I was with the most awesome babes in the world). My mother-in-law taking the toddler for a few days because I’m solo parenting and trying to work as much as the summer festival at work as I can which means late nights (small team…all hands on deck). Actually getting to go to the Kusama exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Spellcrafting. Gifting tarot decks. The toddler and I crashing in the city because I had to work until midnight. Getting stuck in traffic on I-5 and literally seeing a car on fire. Like, completely engulfed in flames. And counting 5 fire trucks with the toddler as they tried to navigate their way to the fire. It was terrifying.

And today was pretty good, despite the few hours of restless sleep and getting kicked in the face by tiny feet. The toddler and I spent most of the day with Grammy, walking on the beach + going to a community barbecue + listening to small town bands playing hits from the 1960’s-70’s. But they didn’t get a nap and their routine has been completely off and by the time 5 hit we were both exhausted. Dinner ended up in the floor in a tantrum. Bedtime was interrupted by lack of boundaries (which led to a not-very-discussiony-discussion between my mother and me about continuing to navigate and learning how to live less than 100 feet from each other), and subsequently took more than three hours filled with tears (from both the toddler and me) and doors slamming (because they have figured out how to open doors and because they are a tiny version of The Hulk doors are always slammed, never closed), and a constant going to bed and almost settling and then running into the living room yelling for more playtime.

And in all that’s been going on, the time spent on witchy-ness has been close to none. Keeping my family going, whatever that means, comes first (as of course it should), and the rest waits. And after running all day on 3 hours of sleep exhaustion wins. It just does–it’s that simple, really. But the toddler eventually fell asleep. And the house was quiet. And I snuck outside.

And I can now stand outside, butt naked, no longer surrounded by neighbors security lights pointed in our back yard. I can stand outside, feet planted on the earth, and have the moonlight bathe me, while looking at the stars. And this washes the scurry away. And it is how I practice a little bit of daily gratitude for the life afforded to, and built, by me. And also, today I was just standing in the moonlight, breathing deep, and looking, deeply looking, at everything that surrounded me, and I saw the trees make a shape–an eye, and a mouth wide open (not yelling, I suppose, but asserting…) and another eye–half closed, or perhaps plucked. Pointed in my direction, as I bathed in the moonlight and asked Brigid for bravery. I dubbed it the Odin tree. Breathing out the bravery I ask for.

And I was simply reminded that even in chaos I could still find silence.

Sparks Vs. Breath

I met a good friend today for a little bite to eat (delicious carrot hummus on toast with radishes and herbs and pretty purple edible flowers). She’s amazing, and recently published an incredibly beautiful and insightful tarot deck (Dark Days Tarot). We’ve made a point to meet every few weeks, or once a month, for the last year or so, but the past few months have been rich with change and transition and we hadn’t seen each other in months. Which was much too long.

We caught up about life in general and inevitably our conversation turned to witchiness, as it always inevitably does. We were discussing tarot (another usual topic for us) and the various veins of thought regarding wands as fire + swords as air vs. wands as air + swords as fire. Swords are forged in fire, and trees (which wands are made from) literally create air, so there are obvious associations with these elements. And yet in the RWS tradition (on which I have many thoughts and feels, but that’s another post) the associations are flipped. And this is where our discussion found itself.

I started studying the Tarot in the RWS tradition twenty years ago, and my perception and perspective of the cards (and tarot in general) has changed greatly. But the RWS assignment of wands as fire and swords as air makes a great deal of sense to me. Wands (to me) represent the raw energy and intention. It is through wands which we throw out our intention when we cast spells. It is through wands which we throw out our sparks into the universe–the way in which we light the fires to guide our way to an end point. Swords, on the other hand, are sharp and calculated. Large swords take strength and skill and training to wield. I explain it like this: if you are performing a ritual in which you are cutting cords, you are perhaps cutting energetic cords that flow from you with either your hand (in a chopping motion) or an actual blade, or perhaps you are literally cutting a woven cord. Both actions are an act of cutting the energetic ties that bind you to another person. Both styles of the ritual mentioned above require a great deal of reflection and commitment. And anyway you cut it, the ritual is an intentional and intellectual act. And both require the act of slicing through the air. And thus it’s incredibly intuitive to me for wands to be connected with fire, and swords to be connected with air.

What do you think?