When I was very young, there was a relative who visited our family almost every spring. She arrived loaded with smiles, with hugs, with unimaginable amounts of candies… and when she thought grownups weren’t within earshot, she’ll say things like, “It’s a shame that you look nothing like your father. It makes people wonder.”
After I stopped being very young, I understood what she meant. I began getting upset weeks before the woman was due to visit. Every time I thought about her, the rage would make me burst into tears. Then I would get angrier because I was letting her do that to me. For the longest time, I associated the blooming season with that beast.
One spring, my grandmother found me wailing under a guava tree. She didn’t ask me why I was so mad that I could hardly breathe; just told me to collect a bit of soil from under the sage bush that grew by the backdoor, and to meet her in the bedroom.
I wiped my face on my skirt—I was little, give a girl a break—and went to get the dirt.
My grandmother waited with a glass of water and a framed image of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) in hand. We sat on the floor facing the bed.
“Drink a little,” she said.
I took a small sip.
“Now breathe into the soil and put it in the water.”
Without saying a word, I blew on the dirt, added it to the water, and gave it a little stir.
My grandmother propped the small image of the saint under the bed, and told me to set the glass in front of it. “Those are your tears,” she said, pointing at the glass of water. “You are offering them to the ground and to Nuestra Señora de los Dolores. When that woman makes you want to cry, remember that the soil can contain all the water cried by the sky, remember that Nuestra Señora de los Dolores is willing to cry our tears when we need her to, remember that we can do anything we must. After that woman leaves, clean the Virgin’s face, pour your glass of tears under the sage, and cry any tears you still have left. And remember to ask the bush and the dirt why you should spend one minute crying because of a woman who is so rotten inside that she needs to do harm to a little girl who shares her blood.”
Three decades later, I smile when I think of the simplicity of the spell. Visualization and projection are powerful tools. Whenever I saw or thought of the woman, I would tell myself, My tears are in the glass. My tears are in the glass. And I was so busy picturing a glass full of my tears, a saint crying for me, the earth consuming my sorrow… that I had nothing left to cry. I was even too distracted to pay much attention to the woman’s spoken cruelties.
Small magics are powerful things. Here is an example of the kind of power I speak of: my friend, Rommy, sent me a crochet headband. It sits over the little bucket where I keep medications I must take several times a day—if you are a writer, or any kind of mildly obsessive soul, you know just how difficult it is to walk away from your work when you are in the zone. I detested looking at the things, but I needed to keep them within reach. Every time I saw them, I glared. Then I covered them with Rommy’s gift… and the sight of the soft yarn makes me smile every time.
Rommy selected my favorite colors (red and black), a couple of my dearest symbols (daisy and skull)… and with her hands and love, she made something thinking about keeping me warm. I can’t look at that headband without smiling. So my medication taking ventures make me glare no more. That’s magic, my Wicked Luvs.
This is not the post I intended to write for the first day of spring. I had planned to go outside to take pictures of Nature’s new sprouts, perhaps get lucky and find a nest under construction, or the eggs of a frog, and share the experience with you…
But a couple of days ago, a person who came back into the blogging scene after a long absence, said to me, “I am very sad to see that you left The Craft behind.” I didn’t know what she meant, so I asked her to explain. She replied last night, to say “that [my] latest blogs are empty of magic and spirituality,” and for that reason, she “couldn’t help but feel sorry for [me].”
I laughed. I might’ve even cackled a bit. This person’s email reminded me of the woman’s comments, and of how little the latter matters to me these days (I used to think that I couldn’t keep her behaviors from affecting my life. Now the idea is extremely silly). Then I felt a little sad for the individual who says to be feeling sorry for me, and for what she perceives to be the disappearance of my witchiness.
Her attitude reminded me of “Baggage”, a short story Rommy wrote a few days ago. Floyd, one of the characters, is enchanted by the idea of “magic and wonderment”. He has spent most of his life looking for the Wee Folk. He reads about them, he leaves offerings for them, he searches all the places he thinks they might frequent… He is so consumed by his idea of Faerie that he fails to see the two sprites that have been flying in front of his eyes for who knows how long.
We can miss entire worlds, if we limit ourselves to seeing only the things we know.
For me, witching has never been about ceremony or complex rituals—although they are powerful energy-raising fun, especially when shared with friends. I believe that there is magic in cooking and sharing meals with those I love, in letting my words help me deal with my chronic pain and ailments, in finding so much joy in the gift from a friend that it improves my perception of something I truly dislike… in how later today, at around 6:45 pm EDT, I’ll whisper into the leaves of each of my plants, “Wake up, sweet baby, Spring is here.”
Have a deliciously magical Vernal Equinox, my Wicked Luvs, (even if it’s still snowing *cough*).
Thank you for the smiles, Rommy love.