Down the Rabbit Hole: Returning

How many parts to this will depend on how fast I feel like writing.

Hekate is gone when I return along the path. Where she stood is a single silver coin. I use this and another silver ornament from my hair to pay the ferryman for my return ride.

When I return to the 7th gate, the black rabbit draped across my shoulder, He and I talk about the value I place on family and relations. About what it would mean to be alone again, and that I don’t ever intend to, but how it would change things…

My ring is returned.

The White Knight greets me when I return to the 6th gate, and asks me what I have learnt. I have learnt that I no longer need the armour. Some days it is nice to have, but it is not something I require to hide behind any longer. My clothes have become a form of self expression. I joke that I fear that all I express these days is ‘tired mum’ and that maybe I should fix that.

My shift is not returned. Instead I get an outfit, inclusive of boots. I get to wear shoes back. 

The Guardian of the Gate meets me once again at the 5th. He waits. I have a complex relationship with this, my sex, sexuality and pleasure. I run the gold chain through my fingers. It’s wrong. It looks pure and whole, where the truth is it’s all messed up underneath the surface…

It gets very Not Safe For Work about here, but the result is a lesson in allowing myself these things without the shame I have been taught to attach to them, especially the shame attached to the shape of my body. I am to let it rise, ride it, know it.

I am told to take the chain and reshape it. I am not of gold, but flesh and blood. 

The spirit at the 4th gate is called Rasputin, I may call him Rast. He laughs, acknowledging the beautiful cat of the same name owned by a dear friend. I can see him clearly this time, his colouring reminds me of my brother – Dark hair and eyes, tan skin. There is a playful air to him. I tell him I do not want the belt he took back, and that I have no use for those labels and what they once meant to me, to destroy it if he wills.

A flash of fire and all he is holding is the buckles. He asks what my next move is, and I tell him that I shall have to come up with better labels for myself. He laughs and flicks the buckles, and is fastening the belt round my waist.

“It doesn’t work like that, my darling Bones. You must work through them and heal the wounds. Perhaps not discard the good to destroy the bad.” He’s laughing at me again, but gentler this time. He can not help with the physical pain, but advises to persevere with the doctors and pace myself. Things will change.

Belt in place I move on.

Spider waits for me at the 3rd gate. He wolf whistles as I wander up, then giggles at himself.

“I like the new gear. So… have a cigarette and tell me what you learnt.”

“Integration vs. eradication. I need to integrate rather than segregate and push away”

“Succinct, I like it. A wrap ain’t gonna suit that nice new outfit.” He twists my wrap in his hands and turns it into a scarf. We also briefly discuss a particular set of issues that I promise to take up with my therapist (and have since done so) before he sends me on, happy with the work I have done.

I can not leave my mental illness behind, but it’s now a small part of the whole rather than cloaking me over. 

I expected the 2nd gate to be harder. Much harder. Instead I was greeted, and sent off, with a kiss from my oldest lover. I had figured out, over my journey that there were a few specific areas to pay attention to – The two deities, the Ancestors, and the Land. The Fox and Rabbit (who had vanished from my shoulders and turned into a tattoo on my wrist by this point) were part of me and simply relationships that would flow.

Torque round my neck I moved on to the final gate.

He rises to meet me, and pushes my heart – now glowing hot with flame – back into my chest and points me through the gate with a smile.

Sometimes words are best left unsaid, and I return with my seven pieces. 

He waits for me, this time unmasked. I quip about it and he fires back a comment about being a ‘great big fucking spirit’. We walk quietly as we ascend the stairs. It is companionable, He has been in my life a long time though I was loath to see it for a considerable period and… less than respectful in our initial dealings. When we arrive back the throne He lifts Fox into his lap as I perch on the edge of the hollow, and I listen.

“We’ll always be here. All those thoughts of failing at what you do is nonsense. All the reaching for the unknown missing thing is all in your head. Your relationships with us is… odd. Very. Perhaps because we had to work so hard to convince you we were real in the first place, and when you did come… We called you, but you came on your own terms. You are unusual in the manner. You give when asked, you do when asked, and in return we deal with your never ending sass.

You’re a lot like your little Fox, underneath it all, sharp, intelligent and good at surviving regardless – always on your own terms. You’ve done well. Keep working and giving. Accept the gifts that are freely given to you and return them with gifts of your own when you’re able. You are who you are, as long as you move forward you will be fine. You are loved. 

I need to return now. You’re done here.”

I say my goodbye’s and put the Fox back around my shoulders for the climb down. When we are out past it’s great roots I look back to an empty throne.

I feel Light.

We run…

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Fox Spirit by luleiya

The Iron Queen

He kisses without reserve, before sending the through the arch. She won’t wait forever after all, and the wind is cold.

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I find her taming the beast.

“Do you kill it?”

“Not at all.” There’s an implication in her voice that it is immortal. The  beast of woe and sorrow that we can tame but never truly destroy in our life times. I comment that her dress isn’t entirely suited to this task and she laughs at me, standing in the snow in torn jeans and a singlet. She threads her arm through mine and leads me away from the tamed beast now tied to a stake.

The snow clears, the marble floors start, and we are in her throne room. The throne looks uncomfortable, but she sits anyway and invites me to do the same. Apparently sitting on the floor is just odd in her books, but I am not fit for the throne at her side by my own measure, so at her feet is my chosen place.

She talks.

She talks of a husband that focusses so much on the future that he ignores the present, and her, so for intents she is the widowed Queen. Here she looks to her people. Using hard won knowledge and experience to rule and resolve. Decisions always from a clear, cold place, regardless of any personal sympathies.

She talks of existing in the now, but not forgetting the past. Of watching over and guiding with clear vision the day to day. She explains, in a way, how it is we get lost and her role in bringing us back.

She smiles readily, and I feel no need to try and remove her mask as I did her husband’s. I know that underneath it is scars from old hurts, and she does not seek to hide the grief and pain she still feels. But she rules, there is iron in her spine, and she sees to the people regardless of her personal pains. She neither denies nor wallows in them.

Pushed wrongly she can be hard and cruel. She’ll use everything she nows of you against you. She’s not shy in admitting it. Not shy at all. Her mind is her greatest weapon and she’ll use it come hell or high water.

She reminds me, as our time comes to a close, that I too am Queen. She tells me that she hasn’t a lesson to teach me, I am already applying her lesson without guidance, but I must remember that I too am strong.

Oudeira

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Oudeira is the Stardust Compass’ world tree.

I have been slowly becoming acquainted with it. I’m honestly 80% head blind and this stuff takes a while, which is fine for me. Tonight, finally pronouncing Oudeira correctly, I made some very good headway.

Some context in regards to my magic: I do most my magic stationary. When I was younger it was because I was working in confined spaces. Now it’s because pain and fatigue is a thing, and not wasting energy moving around in a sore body means I can do life stuff. This means that I tend not to invoke into my space but rather travel into ‘other’ or ‘trance’ space to work. Whenever I speak of walking, running etc I am doing it in ‘other’ space, because in this space my ass is firmly on the couch. 

So, Oudiera.

I move, initially, into my usual liminal space. This is a very literal white space. Stark white and bright as far as the eye can see, no landmarks, doors, stairs etc. I speak my intent to Fox, who has been acting as a wonderful guide in and out of this space since I first started working with it. We dance around a little until there’s a shift in the energy, and when I look up there are thousands of cables of light above me, and again below me. This is Oudeira.

There is a particular space on the floor that calls to me. One of the cables of light ends here today. It’s not small. It’s around the size of my lounge room in diameter with two concentric circles towards the outer edge of the cable. Fox leads me along the path between these – it becomes very hard going very quickly – this is a way opening. I am, at this point focussed mostly on my own two feet and Fox so it comes as a surprise when, after I have come to the point I can no longer move along the path, I look up to find myself within a circle of doors.

I open one that stands out from the others and enter an endless half of… you guessed it, more doors. Fox paws at one quite a bit further along.

**What happens from here falls into the need to know and doesn’t need to be online right not category, so we’ll skip to coming back.

Returning through the doors I’ve entered I come back to the original node and doors. I don’t need Fox to show me the steps. To close this node for my uses is easy, walk the path in the opposite direction, this time with my head up so I watch the doors recede into the floor and become part of the wall of the node beneath my feet.

A Naming

The Fox leads me true, to the heart of the great dark forest where He waits. We run through a forest that gradually becomes darker, closer, more claustrophobic until we reach the heart. It’s dark here, the light only trickles in. It’s a place of death and dying. You walk over old bones. You can smell the wet decay of fur anId flesh.

You can smell loam so rich that it feeds an entire forest. What returns here, brings life out there.

He’s waiting.

Cross legged on the ground, hidden in the shadows of the tree’s massive roots, he’s waiting for me. He always knows I’m coming, but he’d normally be on the throne in the tree. Forcing me to climb for his attention… or just shout. I’ve done that before.

He told me once, long ago, that his name was of no concern until such time as I figured it out for myself. I take a breath and hesitate. This has been a long time and a lot of research in the making. He waits until I’m ready. Patiently, he knows. Finally I find it in me to speak.

The God of the Wild Places.
The King on the Bramble Throne.
Lord of the Black Heart.

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He smiles and speaks, and I am given a new name.

 

(Despite best efforts I could find no artist to attribute this image too, if you know of them let me know please.)

Tell Me If This Rings Any Bells…

This is the black heart of the forest.The Fox is foreign here, this is not Her land, though she is well familiar. She leads, I follow, or we are one. I can’t always tell. Perhaps both.

Dark Forest – typeATS

The air here is warm and humid, ripe with rot and growth. The earth is covered in thick layers of leaves, yet I know with absolute certainty that the earth beneath it is rich black loam. This is a fertile place. I walk across moss and lichen covered bones as I approach. Thousands have perished here, feeding the Tree.

The Tree is huge. I can not see to it’s top. It’s gnarled roots are so immense that they stand well taller than I do, though I am only seeing what of them that is above ground. It is alive, it’s bark dark and rough, it’s sap a deep bloody claret red.

There is a bramble growing around the roots and trunk. It doesn’t strangle it, just grows. Follow it’s path up the trunk and there it gathers into a great chasm in the Tree’s trunk. In the chasm it twists and shapes into a throne.

And on the throne sits Him.

I can not see His face. The shadows consume it though I can feel the intensity of His gaze upon me. He lounges in his seat like a great predator. He is strong of limb, wrapped in dark leather pants with furs around His shoulders. His hair is long and wild, dark in colour.

I know these things:

1. He is not a hunter, though he wields a spear.
2. I name him the God of Wild Places instinctually.
3. I name him ‘The King on the Bramble Throne’ equally instinctually.
4. He guises with rams horns when he so chooses.
5. His form is human.
6. He is tattooed, not painted. I can not see the design but it is extensive.
7. He is not Norse.

8. I otherwise have absolutely no idea who he is… At all.

The Fox and Wolf Dance

I have the occasional moment where I just drift off and my brain shows me things – visions if you will – and this was tonights. It was too intense to put in the day dream category, but what I can/will do with it is anyone’s guess. 

The circle is cast by two, well clear of the light of the fire though containing it too. The crowd gathers round the fire, sitting in a circle and partaking of it’s warmth, as another ritualist steps forward and speaks. His voice rich and impassioned as he calls to the spirits.

Outside the circle of light they wait with blankets around their shoulders for warmth from the winters air. Faces painted, drums at the ready. He speaks on, louder, faster, louder faster. A final shout of ‘come’ and she moves.

Fire Dance – Anestazy

A bone beater strikes the drum sharply thrice then a staccato beat is taken up. Blanket slips away, the Red Fox enters the circle. Furs at her waist, bells round her ankles. She dances twirling and yipping close the fire then close to the audience. Meeting their eyes. Engaging them in her play. The spirits come.

Then stops. Drum suddenly silent, body close to the ground, eyes intently staring into the shadows beyond the fire.

He moves forward, blanket slides away. Leather and bone. Larger and stronger than she. The Wolf steps forth. Drum beat slow and steady. She watches him intently as he sets a new rhythm, heavier and more powerful – a hunters song to her playful dance. He dances. Close to the fire, then to the audience. He howls low and growls deep. Engages them, meets their eyes. Brings them to the hunt. The spirits come.

Then stops, drum silent, staring down at the Red Fox, and she stares back unafraid. Slowly she sidles back on her knees and gets her feet beneath her. He smiles, teeth bared to her. She grins back, half feral, and suddenly they are dancing. Drum beats mixing as they stalk each other, dance each other, round the fire. Separating suddenly, encouraging the watchers to yip and howl, bark and snarl. Their drum beats faster, their feet move faster.

They stop. Face to face. Silence falls. The spirits have come.

As one they strike their drums.

Once.

Twice. A new drum is struck.

Thrice. All drums are struck.

The drummers in the circle strike the rhythm. The Fox and Wolf laugh and return to the dance, bringing the others to their feet.

The spirits are here, dance with us, dance with them, is the wordless cry.

The Little Red Fox

Little red foxes have become a thing. A really persistent pay attention I will brush against your leg then stare at you calmly for a bit before prancing off because you laughed at my prize kind of thing. Then everywhere, and I mean everywhere, I look I see images of foxes.

Red urban foxes are the go. The kind you rarely see around Australian streets, but are definitely here and thriving.

Then there was this awesomely intense little bit of a vision:

We circle. Me with the fox mask/me the red fox. He with the big black wolf/he the big black wolf. I can’t tell if we’re wearing headdresses or we are the creatures whose fur we wear. There’s no aggression, but also no joy, it’s pure intense don’t look away and FOCUS.

It’s far more intense, though incredibly brief, than anything that has hit me in a long while… and I’m powerless to interpret it right now. My brain just can’t hold onto it amongst uni stress and this goddamned cold.