A serious post today, shocking I know. I was all geared up to write a manifesto involving feminism, princess-ification of women, disney movies, storytelling, and reclaiming the Queen. I will get back to that no doubt. But something else entirely was thrown into my path and well damnit it’s important.
It involves being a witch, it involves being a priestess, it involves being a pagan in the world. There are several witchcraft blogs that I follow, that if you read any substantial amount of their post you get a feeling of the duty they prescribe to being a witch. Ms. Dirty, and the dedication she has for tending the dead wildlife of her territory. The rites she yearly goes out to perform with offerings. There is dedication, there is stewardship. The Witch of Forest Grove, is not only a site with scholarship and information, but is teeming with the devotion she has for her Forest Grove. Scylla over at Root and Rock posts are filled with subtle and not so subtle implications of her duty to her community and lands, even when it’s explaining when it’s not a witch’s business to fuck with stuff. Ivy on the Path, is a blog filled with dedications, offerings, walking the land and stewardship. I’m sure there are many many more blogs out there that have this same feeling of duty, seeing their craft not as a hobby. But these women were some of the first that I had ever come across who had the similar feelings of obligation to lend what little strength and craft I might have towards the land, spirits, and community that I found myself in. In a sea of websites, blogs, and people whose whole bent on “witchcraft” and “magic” were prosperity and love spells for themselves and friends, these internet islands are a welcome oasis.
They all have something else in common, they are all located in areas where wildlife and organic nature is in abundance and at their finger tips. I admit that my mindset and soul is set up more along those lines than the circumstances I currently find myself in. When I lived out at the Lodge behind the big Devil Mountain, oh how easily I fell into the ebb and flow of the land. I knew without thinking when things needed to be tended to, when offerings need to be made, what plant was begging for attention. It was hard work, but the instincts came easily and my cerebral mind didn’t have to think on it too much. The complexities of nature are well worn and change but not in the same dramatic and erratic way that the complexities of humanity does.
That’s where I find myself now, in the sea of humanity. A rural witch living in Urban-ia. For the most part I manage fairly well I think, I do actually have a fairly good understanding of humans and the condition of being mortal (many thanks to my father for those lessons, they have served me well) . I understand and can see what motivates individuals, and have a fairly keen idea of people’s character without needing much close interaction. Where things fall apart is understand the land here, the non-organic nature that has twined with the organic nature is a different beast entirely. Man made lakes aren’t quite the same as natural ones, but the entities that live off them (the birds, the fish, the critters) they are as they have been. Where does the line curve where is it straight? What is the ebb and flow of a cement world? When and to whom should offerings be made? These are all questions I’ve yet to figure out, but I’m working on it. I did however have a bit of an epiphany yesterday. Urban nature is dominated by people, community, neighborhood. On surface that seems fairly obvious but lets delve deeper.
Living on the Lodge, I walked the land, spiritually and physically. I knew the boundaries of the territory and knew the major players therein. If someone decided to come into that 5 acre of land and cause trouble, there would be repercussions. I lived there and it was part of my duty to help protect it. In the Urban here with so many people, many of which of complete strangers, and even more of which are crazy and filled with gunk, 5 acres immediately shrunk to just inside the walls of my cozy little apartment. That was improper thinking on my part. In fact living in this Urban nature of bustling people, working in this place, and serving as a public priestess here. My domain is much bigger than that, and thinking on such a small scale is in fact skirting my responsibilities of stewardship.
Yesterday, I witnessed a mugging of a harmless middle aged lady. In board daylight, not a block or two from the Store that I work at. This was not some dark alleyway, not some poorly kept neighborhood, this was right smack in the middle of gardened residential. Right at the epicenter of civility in this city. Where the sidewalks are never empty, restaurants have lines out the door, and coffee is at ever corner. This is where the organic nature and non-organic twine around the Lake to represent what society and culture is now. Here in this place, that I frequent, live, walk, work, craft, a petty crime. Frequently, apparently. The Police said this is a regular occurrence, they target women with fancy designer hand bags, or talking on cell phones. Grab and jump in the car waiting for them.
Obviously the perpetrators of this crime didn’t know what they had stumbled into. They targeted a helpless lady, unknowning that walking down the street was a witch, and a knight. Though I am grateful that the Lumberjack was too far away and the get away car too close for him to actually catch him, he’s far too reckless with his safety for my taste. The crime happened on my watch, the woman, Ms. Eleanor, immediately fell under my protection. I’m not just a priestess at my coven’s circles, I’m not just a witch at my altar. More importantly I’m not a priestess or a witch who will let this shit pass. There will be nothing but poisoned fruit from this easy pluck. Justice will come swiftly.
The spells and work that are going to go into this particular case are natural, without thought or question. It is literally the least I can do. But is that all I do? The least?
What about the fact that I live in this neighborhood. It maybe bigger than my five acre plot of land, and have far more energetic pushes and pulls on it. But it’s my neighborhood, the people who I love walk and live here. Moreover there is more than one of me that live here. Doesn’t it go to reason that part of our duty, our witchy job goes towards making this a safe place?
I’m not all-powerful, I don’t think I or even a group of us can wipe out crime in even this small neighborhood of a bigger city. But that doesn’t mean that I’m off the hook to do what I can, help who I can. Especially in those areas where I have more energetic push, the area around the store I work, my street. Witchcraft isn’t just about rolling hills and wild crafting. In the stories the people of the village would go to the wise woman, the hag, the witch, with their problems. But why would she help them? Payment (maybe, it happens)? Respect (unlikely)? Or maybe it was her job because they were in her territory.
Things to ponder. But it looks like my to do list just got a little bit longer.