A Rattle and a Wee Book on Her Grave

“Her own people stoned me half to death for trying to help her.”

“It’s not wise to mettle in villagers’ affairs, Pali. They must’ve had their reasons. It was none of your concern. You should’ve stayed out of—”

“Don’t shame my ears with your ignorance,” I said, stopping a few steps from the graveyard’s gate and squeezing my cousin’s arm. “She took a risk letting a Romani youth into her schoolhouse, teaching him how to read in secret. We pay our debts, Manfred.”

He lowered his eyes. “Forgive me. Without the learning you got from her, I wouldn’t be here.”

“Don’t be daft.” I let go of Manfred’s arm. “I wasn’t asking you for payment. Like I would let Lord Căcat Cu Ochi whip you for dancing on Sunday. Besides, his lady wife thought it was great fun before—”

“Shhh!” Manfred stopped, crouched and pulled me down with him.

“What?”

“Listen,” he said, cocking his head towards the graveyard. “Someone’s in there.”

I heard it, too; a low wail mixed with shaky sobs. My hand reached for the red pouch that hung from a cord around my neck. “A lot of villagers have gone angry into their graves. There could be hordes of spirits gone mad with fury haunting this place.”

“No,” Manfred said.

“I saw them do it,” I said. “The women beat her and ripped her clothes. Then the men dragged her to the center of the village and stoned her until she stopped moving.” I shook my head. “Kids spat on her.”

“No, Pali, look. There’s a man.” He pointed towards the side of the graveyard where the village buried those they thought wicked. “He’s hugging a post. Can’t you see him?”

Still crouching, we moved closer to the sound. “It’s… the reverend,” I said. I went to him when they dragged the teacher out of the schoolhouse. He wanted to help. But there were too many of them. A good man, the reverend… His servants always brought food to the schoolhouse, and he made the teacher smile every time he brought her one of his illuminated little books.

.
Manfred and I hid in the bushes until after the reverend’s sobs of “Forgive” and “Man is weak” quieted, and he walked out of the graveyard. I was relieved to know the teacher’s grave was not ever lonely. A year had gone by since the reverend, his servants and I stood on the fresh soil that now covered her bones. Thirteen moons was too long to spend unwanted under a pile of dirt.

The school teacher rested under a naked tomb. “Bring her comfort and peace,” I whispered into a bunch of red wild flowers, and bent over her grave. As I put down my offering, I noticed two very small trinkets that had been laid on the dirt by a puddle of hardened candlewax.

I must’ve watched the two little shapes for a lot longer than I thought, because Manfred came to crouch next to me, and asked, “What’s that?”

“Strange,” I said. “It’s a baby rattle and a wee book.”

.

pre-Witches in Fiction 2015, third giveaway:
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures

Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (1)
The third giveaway for our pre-Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances is sponsored by Gothic Miniatures. The cover of this wee piece of massive beauty is handmade from faux leather with raised spine.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (2)

There are over 30 pages in the book, made of linen paper painted gold along the edges for a faux gold leaf finish. The gold thread, at the top and bottom of the spine where the paper connects to the book, gives the mini book an extra touch of bling.
Mini Book, by Gothic Miniatures (3)

The image of the form weeping over a post, which inspired the tale attached to the giveaway, is of a U.S. Graveyard with statues. The book measures approximately 1 1/8” tall x 1 5/8” wide.

Here is how to enter this giveaway: Leave a comment telling me what classic book you would love to own in miniature, and where would you keep it. For one extra entry, visit Gothic Miniatures and come back to tell me a bit about piece you liked. Wishing for a second extra entry? Share this post on Facebook (tag me and Gothic Miniatures). You can get a third extra entry, if you add these words at the end of your comment: “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!”

Giveaway Rules, details and stuff…
* I need to be able to contact the winners. If you don’t have a website or social media profile, through which we can interact, then please add your email to your comment. If your name comes up, and I have no way to contact you, I will choose another name.

* You can group all your entries in a single comment—or not… the choice is yours.

* To my Canadians, before you can claim your prize, I must test your mathematical brilliance by asking you a very obscure question, such as… what’s 13 + .5? Yeah, obscure…

* All Witches in Fiction 2015 giveaways will end on October 20th, 2015, at 10:13 pm, EDT. The winners will be chosen using Random.Org, and announced on October 21st, 2015.

* This giveaway is open to the US only, excluding any place where prohibited by law.

This is a pre-party post. Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances won’t take place until October 17th; to join the celebration, click the link.

Other Witches in Fiction 2015 pre-posts:
– “Loving You through the Veil
Culture with Real Fictionalized Witches in It
Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes
Not All Witchy Souls Are Religious

Not All Witchy Souls Are Religious

Does the idea of a soul not being religious sound oxymoronic to you? If so, why? My soul is of the witchiest of persuasions, but I am not religious. I’ve said that to people and have gotten strange looks. When I was younger, I used to believe that in order to be a Witch I had to be religious as well. Then I opened my eyes and opened them again… My mind’s eye saw deeper… I looked into my soul… and I realized that in order to be a Witch all I had to do was be a Witch. I’ve found many others who feel just like I do. And that is so good.

I’m discussing the Witchy-Religiosity-Theism topic, in the middle of Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances, because earlier my beloved Ms Misantropia, said, “I am not joining this giveaway [The Ghost Tarot], being an atheist an’ all…” Well, for me and for many others, tarot cards have nothing to do with religions or gods. It’s like lighting a candle—some light it to illuminate a room, others light it to feed a magic spell, many light it as an offering to gods and saints, I light them for all kinds of reasons… most often, for fire and scent which helps me focus my intent. “Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes” sheds light on the latter.

So how does a person who is not religious or a theist claim to be a Witch who believes in souls, transcendence of the spirit, energy… and so many other abstract concepts? Easy, for me to be a Witch is to know who I am and why I am. I am sentient nature. I am a human animal. I am what I do. I am memories and experiences. And the latter allows me to evolve into more.

At one point in my life, I thought I was a religious theist. I mean, I believed that everyone was made of the same thing; and that our individualities came from how we used what we were and what we learned from our experiences… I believed that as a whole, we—all things, sentient and not—were united by Something Bigger than our individual selves. I gave that Bigger Something the names of gods and goddesses. And if one believes in the gods and goddesses of myth, then one becomes a religious theist by association. It makes sense, right? I used to believe that.

Today, I know different. I don’t need to name the energy that makes the universe in order to know that it is there and that it is part of me. That makes me a human being, not a religious theist, even when my human mind nudges me to give a face to said energy… and perhaps name it—Hekate, when it’s dark and unforgiving; Sin/Nanna/Ishtar when it’s violent, protective and loving; Pan, when it’s wild and lusty; the Morrigan, when its rage fills my blood with red fire and sharp edges; Grandmother, when its wisdom calms me down and helps me see deeper; Wicked Angel, when it’s ruled by harmless mischief…

I’m a storyteller, my Wicked Luvs. I feel in poetry and think in tales. My life is guided by all my experiences. My soul is a mixture of what I’ve learned and what I feel because of that learning. Religion has been described as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods”; that definition has no room for me—I choose to control myself and take responsibility for my actions. Theism: “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation…” and most definitely not me.

I celebrate all people who choose to believe in whatever makes sense to them, as long as those beliefs don’t lead them to intentionally harming others; for like Terry Pratchett said, “Human beings must become ever more diverse, valuing and enjoying each other’s differences rather than fearing them or suppressing them.”

So… I believe that the souls of my dead can reach me through the Veil of the memories we shared. I believe in the magic of a wish… because wishing something with all my heart makes me work for it with all that I am. I believe in the Earth Mother that shelters and feeds me. I believe in the healing powers of friendship, love and Nature. I believe that a tarot card can tell me what my dead grandmother might have done in a particular situation, because I remember what she did in life. I am a Witch because of all these things… and I believe other people are just fine when they believe they aren’t Witches because of the same reasons.

Our different experiences help us understand the world and each other. Trying to understand and value—or not—the world and each other, while considering and respecting the importance of our differences, makes us humans who are worth the air we breathe. What do you think?

Magaly Guerrero, parkour
Yes, I also believe in urban fairies and parkour
(I got wings from Rhissanna)
To enter the Witches in Fiction giveaways, go HERE and HERE and continue visiting; there will be giveaways and witchy fun all the way to October 17th… and probably after that, too. 😉

Shaking It and Twisting It until It Says Yes

I have the divination range of a tiny teaspoon dipped halfway in a huge cup full of hardened cement. My intuition is rarely too far off. But when it comes to, let’s say… tasseography or cartomancy, I’m mostly lost. Still, I love the artful (and often times simplistic) beauty of divination tools like tarot cards.

Currently, I use tarot cards for focusing thoughts and as writing prompts. After my grandmother died, I began to use old naipes españoles (Spanish playing cards) for my own game of what-would-my-grandma-do. I had no idea what the cards represented. I pretty much asked myself a clear question that could be answered with a yes or no, picked a card, and depending on how much my grandma used to like or dislike the image that appeared on said card, I would deduce if she wanted me to do it or not.

This isn’t the most reliable of systems, I know, especially for an expert in the art of cheating by way of rationalization *cough*. Seriously, when I really wanted to do something and the cards suggested that my grandmother wouldn’t do things that way, I would turn the “answer” on its head and shake it and twist it until a negative response became a positive one. It was like having an argument with my dead grandmother; and as silly as this statement might sound to some, I found the act of fighting with her memory extremely reassuring.

pre-Witches in Fiction 2015, second giveaway:
Davide Corsi’s The Ghost Tarot Deck, from Three Cats and a Broom

This giveaway is sponsored by the lovely witchy mistress of Rue & Hyssop and Three Cats and a Broom. I was thrilled when Jen told me that she wanted to give away Davide Corsi’s The Ghost Tarot. “Between the visible and the invisible, between memory and the supernatural, there is the world of ghosts. The Ghost Tarot takes you to a romantic and eternal world, where wisdom abides among the restless spirits searching for lost mortality.” I like the images conjured by the publisher’s description.
The Ghost Tarot, by Davide Corsi (detail)

I would have loved to have this deck available during my what-would-my-grandma-do games. I mean, even The Fool of this deck looks cool and extra sure of himself.
The Ghost Tarot, by Davide Corsi (the fool)

And I’m quite taken by the tribal-like design of the back of the cards, too. Isn’t it neat?
The Ghost Tarot, by Davide Corsi (back of card)

Here is how to enter this giveaway: Leave a comment telling me what comes to mind when you look at The Fool, as illustrated by Davide Corsi. For one extra entry, visit Rue & Hyssop and check out The Great October Book Giveaway. Wishing for a second extra entry? Share this post on Facebook (tag me and Three Cats and a Broom). Get a third extra entry, if you add these words at the end of your comment: “Magaly, do throw my name into your witchy cauldron!” And my nosiness gives you a fourth entry: what is your favorite novel where tarot cards I used? (mine is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell).

Giveaway Rules, details and stuff…
* I need to be able to contact the winners. If you don’t have a website or social media profile, through which we can interact, then please add your email to your comment. If your name comes up, and I have no way to contact you, I will choose another name.

* You can group all your entries in a single comment—or not… the choice is yours.

* To my Canadians, before you can claim your prize, I must test your mathematical brilliance by asking you a very obscure question, such as… what’s 13 + .5? Yeah, obscure…

* All Witches in Fiction 2015 giveaways will end on October 20th, 2015, at 10:13 pm, EDT. The winners will be chosen using Random.Org, and announced on October 21st, 2015.

* This giveaway is open worldwide, excluding any place where prohibited by law.

This is a pre-party post. Witches in Fiction 2015… Death Rites and Remembrances won’t take place until October 17th; to join the celebration, click the link.

Other Witches in Fiction 2015 pre-posts:
– “Loving You through the Veil
Culture with Real Fictionalized Witches in It