witchy books and a walk in the park

I already own this book, yet while at Powell’s today I saw another one that was the 4th edition, added text, and I snagged it. I stopped at Powell’s Books after having a good session today with my therapist.  Today we started some EMDR therapy and I was a bit surprised by it.  I am open to such a thing working.  However, I told her that over the past couple of weeks I’ve noted improvement in several areas, lessened startle response, increased focus, better memory, and a lessening of my irritation with others for no reason.  I’m not where I’d like to be, but I am better than I’ve been.

This latest edition has some nice writing in the back dealing with roles we play and our true selves.  While I found the writing a bit lacking in substance, the ideas presented were enough for me to investigate.  I’ve approached this topic again, lately, the notion that I have missed my true self as of late, acting as I have, roles.

After Powell’s I went to the Hoyt Arboretum and walked around.  Spending time at different benches and hillsides, doing nothing most of the time but letting myself feel sunshing, smell scents on the trail, admire grasses and trees, taste cedar bark, and so on.  I’d spend several minutes just standing in front of a tree (a Dawn Redwood, a Port Orford Cedar, a Lebanon Cedar, a Sequoia, an Incense Cedar…) and just be… ‘be’ there.  No thinking, no logic, no planning, no worrying, no nothing… just being. 

All around me were many delights.  A chipmunk munching on a pinecone on a fat limb in a Spruce, blooming flowers in a sinkhole, crows cawing above, wispy grasses and their dryness of scent that enters my nose and reminds me of a hay barn), the coolness of air that winds through a ravine with a creek in it (the creek trail for those that know the park), and more and more and more. 

I’d read a little from a book I bought and then put it up and simply sit for a good long while.  It is funny that I spent over three hours in the park and it felt like I spent thirty minutes.  I didn’t zone out or lose focus or such.  I was aware of ever moment and I simply sat and existed and was thankful. 

On my walk back I walked off the road and into the grass, stopping to look at blackberries that are green on the vine, telling myself that the next full moon they will be ready for me to taste, or some other sight.  I’d wind up one path and down another path, going in a zig zag pattern with no particular direction.  I thought of some characters I am thinking of for a possible book.  The book would be set in today’s time with nothing odd about it (no vampires or aliens or such) but the characters would be heavily influenced by my own life.  There’d be a witch, a preacher, soldiers and eco-warriors and so on.  I don’t know what setting to place them in or what… I kinda like the idea of developing great characters and placing them in a situation as a way of writing.

Another book that I bought was ‘Sexuality, Magic and Perversion” by Francis King.  I read the first chapter ‘A Dildo for a Witch” in the coffee shop at Powell’s and decided to buy it.  There are a lot of sexual themes in witchcraft.  It is treated as sacred, as normal, as a tool, as something to explain to a society that deems it evil, and more.  My own view of sex is that it is, by itself, a natural and normal act but that it is highly ‘sticky’ (no pun intended) in that we can place all manner of meanings upon it.  Sex is great in that as an act it is attributed the most vile and most innocent and most holy and most dangerous and most selfish and most sharing of activities.  No other actity that I can think of has the multitudinous meanings as does the act of sex.  Nothing else causes such great friction (again, no pun intended) in our relations as individuals, lovers, members of a group, societies, and nations.  After reading the first chapter and getting past the ‘grab your attention’ titles and such, I found that the author might have an insight or two to offer me.  And so I got it.  I’ve read the first three chapters and am reminded, yet again, how very different our views of sex today are different from those of a hundred and two hundred years ago and how different they are from different parts of the world and different groups withing different parts.  I am, yet again, led to the notion that there is no ‘normal’ position regarding sex (yet again, no pun intended) and that our hangups are different things for us as individuals and groups to work out.  What does our attitudes about sex say about our own attitudes?

Another note.  While thinking of possible book plots (someday I’ll write all this out) I imagined a character going to a swamp witch.  When I was a kid there were stories told to scare us of a witch that lived in the swamp.  She was guilty of the usual thing… eating kids, being ugly, etc…  It is the Baba Yega all over again.  In my mind I imagined a plot where a character goes to her for help and is told to gather some ingredients.  The ingredients were all quite fanciful and hard to come by and the character had to go all over the place to find them.  I got this thought by noting that lots of useful things grow all around and yet in movies and books it is always the distinctive, rare, plant that the ‘witch’ tells the hero to go get.  I thought to myself that this was odd, for wouldn’t an accomplished witch know great uses for ordinary herbs?  Wouldn’t just any old fool try and learn a use for the rare plant?  It would take wisdom indeed to learn what is common around us.  It would take wisdom indeed to learn to be happy and grow with meager possessions and nothing fancy at home (ahem… the opposite of materialism here).  So the character goes and finds all the ingredients and gathers them.  Then the witch tells her to go and get some common plants and such of which the witch uses.  The character finds out, accidently, that the witch never used any of the exotic ingredients in the batch.  When asked of this the witch said that rarely are people happy with something unless they’ve paid for it.  We humans are always looking to take the harder road when the short one works just as well.  In thinking of this I am reminded of the psychology of sales and price selection as it has been found that people will pay for more expensive items and belieiving them to be better than the same item marked cheaper. I remember a picture of a tarot card, the Fool, that I had seen once that had a path that split into two.  One path, the left, lead up a mountain with clouds and lightning on it, and the other lead around the mountain to the other side.  I can’t recall the deck, but it seemed that we (or at least I am) are always looking to take the difficult one.

Something of note.  In talking in my therapy session today I noted that I am aware of some dark things in ‘my cave’, that is, the shadow aspects of myself.  I was afraid of what else be in there.  But another possibility surfaced, that there insn’t anything truly truly bad there, but that I am creating the fear that  there is this unforgiveable wrong within me.  A new thought that I hadn’t thought of.  The images that came to mind during my latest excursion into the woods on a full moon seemed distant under this revelation.  I have more research to do prior to the New Moon as I do intend on having a shadow ritual.


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