A walk in the dark

Tonight was very slow in the bar. Memorial Day weekend and the State Fair going on. So I let the other bartender close and I went home. I stopped by Barnes and Noble and picked up a few books, but then I put them back down and came home. I did not buy a book. (gasp) It’s rare… but it does happen.

I took a walk in the Fanno Creek park at dusk. The images of other people were faint in this time between times, almost like ghost. As I watched a small kid try to catch up to her family across the grass, I could easily imagine how some tales of faeries perservered. Stars came out tentatively in the clear sky above. The tree frogs were not so bashful and let out a loud constant chorus in the trees around the creek. To me they sounded like little Tibetan Buddhist chants, except for many octaves higher in pitch.

I love Summer nights outside. I recalled the joy of many nights as a kid in Arkansas when I would wander the woods alone. I miss lightning bugs. There are none in Oregon. In the South they are everywhere on a Summer night and lend an otherworldly quality to an already magical ambience. Tonight I could smell the blackberries on the vine off the path to my left. I could see the distance shapes of people here and there, moving along the path, leaving the path in darkness. I kept to my self and to the edge of the tree line, aware of light and shadow and moving, quietly, from one to another, preferring not to be seen or heard. I was enjoying the night, but I was also on patrol. Tally one of the good guys in the neighborhood park at night against whatever might be out there.

In my silence i slipped up on two young girls calling for something in the woods. It was very dark and they had no idea I was there. I asked them if they were looking for a lost dog. They answered a good answer, that they were just looking around (you don’t want to tell a stranger in the dark that you are looking for something… that is an opening for him to get closer to you). I had no intention of stopping and talking with them. I never broke stride as I walked by them and I could have continued on wiithout their having ever known I was there. Yet I wanted to let them know that they were vulnerable and they HAD indeed been snuck up on (actually I was merely walking in a meditative walk, not sneaking) and hopefully it got the point across to them. Better that I startle them into using some sense than the wrong person. I’ve seen signs of sex and drug use in this park, up and down its length, so I wanted them to be careful. As I walked away they resumed their search for their lost dog (whistling into the woods and flicking a lighter for light) for a few minutes before they found what they were looking for and left (the dog showed up and as they left the little dog barked at the neighborhood dogs next door, creating a racket). I continued my walk, keeping to the edge, listening for things around me… but mostly throwing my self up into the sky to mingle with the stars and letting my heart sing with the songs of the tree frogs. I’ve read stories of forests being haunted by witches and such. In Dungeons and Dragons there was always the druid of the forest you better not anger. I always loved the storie of Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest also. Well, consider this long little park my beat, one witch keeping tabs on various areas within in, ready to aid whenever or to give a little information (I pointed out the owl in a nest to two parents and their young child. They enjoyed it very much).

My thoughts turned to a friend of mine. She is in an odd sort as of late… a war within her heart. I had handled one of my many decks of tarot cards before the walk and the Lewellyn Tarot spoke to me (though I’ve not had good readings with this in the past) and I carried it with me. I shuffled it over and over as I walked, thinking of her and trying for insight. But I put it in my little bag I carry and instead tried to balance and center myself. In the dark there are many things that come out in me… aspects of my shadow self, parts of my warrior self, parts of my spiritual self trying to connect with all, the carefree child in me wanting to romp and play… all these and more come out. I noted them all as they each fought for dominance. I wanted, instead, to be balanced. In “What Witches Do” he writes of an awareness of the four directions, of the four elements most of the time so that it becomes second nature and the balancing that results.  Hmm… sounds like what I’d like to shoot for.  I didn’t push things out of my mind as I walked, I just tried to welcome other aspects as well.

In my last therapy session the notion of writing a letter to my mother came up.  I sat down once to try and do so, today, but didn’t get more than a paragraph.  When we discussed the idea I felt rage building up in me.  When asked “the question” (how do you feel about that/ how does that make you feel/ what are you feeling right now”) I said that I felt very angry, like yelling “you were wrong!” and then I stuck my tongue out like a kid and went “nnnnyah”.  My therapist laughed.  She said that was an important part… that sticking the tongue out… it was the act of defiance of something small against something bigger.  Hmmm… that made sense and had a ring to it.  I told her that I couldn’t write the letter on a day I had to go to work.  It’d put me in a bad mood for work.  Yet when my days off came and I spent them in reading and hiking, I didnt’ want to ruin those great days with writing out that letter.  So I tried to do so today.


Nothing came out.  My anger wasn’t there.  I could feel residual anger… but no wellspring game bubbling up.  I thought again of this as I walked in the park in the dark.  Could I write it out now?  What would be the point?  I wasn’t trying to change her.  I believe her to be beyond changing.  I don’t think she is a very nice person and she turned her back on me… for what?  For drugs?  For being arrested?  For having sex all the time?  For fighting?  For stealing?  For what?  For going by my first name.  For that reason I was told to leave and allowed to leave, and allowed to live on a friend’s couch for a few weeks and then later with my Marine Corps recruiter until I graduated high school.  I’ve seen her lie to people, attack people, spit venom of pure hatred out at random people.  She either has a mental disorder of some sort (I thought she was for sure schizophrenic when I covered that chapter in my text book and watched some case files films) or she is just a hateful, spiteful, venomous, lying person.  No, I cannot change her and by writing a letter out I would then be doing one of two things… either looking for some sort of cathartic release of my own demons of self worth and issues of trust (go figure that these things are huge with me) and/or I’d be trying to get some reaction from her.  I was told I didn’t have to send the letter, and if so, then it can’t be the latter reason (and I don’t really care), and if it is the former… why not the bubbling of emotion now when I attempt to write it?  There is another reason, to fulfill a desire to yell at her that she was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong about me… that I am not all the things she told me I was.  She accused me of being a satanist, of wanting to kill her in her sleep, of being a pimp (what?  I hadn’t even kissed a girl at this time… didn’t do so until I was friggin 18) and being a dealer.  I was the worst of all the things that were on the radar of social norms in the late 80’s.  I was without virtue, without trust, without anything at all.  I was all the things that made it easy to throw me away.  I don’t feel that writing out a letter will help me in getting over my fears of rejection and my barriers of trusting women and a real feeling of being wanted… but I do feel like I can fucking yell at her that I was not that which she accused me of being… that instead she has lost the love of a wonderful human being in her life.

How truly sad.

I was thinking, while on my walk, of something I wrote years ago.  I was in Houston and wrote out a little fantasy world of a possible reality for me.  It might be on LJ somewhere, I dunno, but I was living in a cabin, somewhere in the North Woods and had a dog.  The small cabin had a fire going and the dog was sleeping in front of it.  On the wall was a map of the wilderness area.  I had stacks of books and journals.  I was tracking the movement of wolves.  Outside my jeep had lots of gear in it for search and rescue, as well as lights and a radio for a moment’s call.

Hmmm… wonder what my therapist would say about that.

I was thinking of a recent MySpace bulletin posted recently about houses and such.  A completely invalid psychological test, but still fun.  Well, I kept imagining this ‘dream house’ of mine.

Driving away from Portland, just up to the edge of the city on the NW side, nestled in the hills, is my property.  It rests far enough away from the city that I can go outside and walk into the nearby forest park and enjoy quiet nights, but close enough to town that I can bicycle to lectures, work, etc.. in town.  I follow the street until it dead ends.  There at the end is my house.  The front wall facing the street is a low grey stone wall with ivy clinging to it.  The front yard is small and has a little fountain bubbling in the front off to the side.  I opted to go for the natural Pacific Northwest yard where native grasses are allowed to grow as they will.  The House is an L shape with the inside of the L on the opposite side.  The short end of the L is parallel to the street and the other end, the longer end, moves toward the trees in the back.  I found that if I strategically helped a ‘fake beaver dam’ off my property it would fiill aid me in having a small pond at the edge.  Actually, half of it is off the property in the park, the other half of the pond is in my large back yard.  I’ve moved my landscape around so that if things flooded the water would easily divert into a waiting path and off into the park again.  Along the far edge of the pond are many hawthornes, thick and craggly.  In my yard I’ve many trees and plants, again, opting for the natural state in the yard.  I’ve added a miniature standing henge of waist high stones that were a pain in the ass to move to the yard (giving me great respect for Stonehenge) as well as five altars in the yard, one in each of the four directions and one in the middle, in the henge, that I work from.  There are also various little statues of playful gnomes, frogs, faery, and gods and goddesses here and there.  The small waterfall that I’ve constructed babbles quietly into the pond.  This is not a yard for football and baseball, but one of discovery.  There are ample areas to play catch around the street, but this place is one of magic, for kids and adults alike.  The yard is long and this portion of it is seperated from the house by the greenhouse.  It gives is more of a feel of being outside than merely in one’s backyard.  I have seveal friends who are pagan/witches and they all know how to get to the house and can approach it from either the front or from walking in the park.  Either way, my friends are welcome to come by any time and simply sit or to use the henge.

The green house is mostly all glass.  It is gorgeous, at least to me.  Most of it is one story, but there is one end that has a higher and vaulted ceiling and within it is a small tree.  The tree is a (dogwood?  I dunno.  Perhaps an apple tree).  There are various plants and bushes and tables here and there.  Off to the side and back of the greenhouse is a wooden wall that has a wooden shed built onto the side.  Here I store my tools and instruments for garden work.  There is also a desk here, half in and half out with a rolling divider in the wall, so that I can shut or open it.  The area around the tree is open enough for a couple of people to walk around without knocking into anything.  There are various paper lanters hanging throughout the greenhouse.  At night is is a wonderland to come into the greenhouse and turn on just the paper lanterns and to light a fire in the hearth in the middle (pipe going off at an angle to carry smoke outside).

Walking out of the greenhouse across the small part of the yard that is more like a house back yard… small… has a comfy wooden table comfortably under some timber eaves and stones placed in the ground.  A small fountain bubbles on the edge.  Windchimes sings quietly, not annoyningly like some windchimes.  The windows in the back of house, this portion, the kitchen, are large and many planed and can be opened to allow scents to come in.  There are many baskets of plants, lavendar and such, planted along the windows and sides and their scent carries in the night.  The kitchen is large and open.  A large hearth is off to the side, big enough to hang a cauldron on.  Its large stones give the room solidity and a sense of earth.  Herbs hang on the walls and from the timbered ceiling.  Off to the side is the dining table.  There is no seperate dining room here with an ornamental table… this is a working room where meals are made and moved to the table in the same, large room.  Alcoves along the wall house various statues and art and vases in them.  A cat goes walking by to find the back door.    There is a door off to the side that leads down into the cellar.  Small windows line the top of the wall of the cellar.  Down here is a small wine collection, preserves and jam, and other storage items as needed.  Walking through the doorway one finds a smaller workroom and in here are various things being worked on, tinctures, presses, etc… kept separate from roaming cats and dogs.  The other door leads to the hallway, open and warm with pictures of many friends and family all over the walls.  There is the common room with the television here.  The seatings are comfortable, even a beanbag or two.  There is another room with many bookshelves and here there is a desktop computer and hundreds of books (I’ve got the books part down).

Back near the kitchen there is the staircase.  It is wide and inviting.  This leads up the tower.  The tower is over the kitchen.  This part of the house is three story and has the bedrooms.  They common room was high ceiling.  There are two bedrooms here with a common bathroom and plenty of closet space and windows.  Back to the staircase and up to the third floor with two more rooms..  Here there is the master bedroom with private bath.  Up here there is also  the tower.  The tower goes up one more floor and has a small room at the top.  Up here there is an open balcony that faces the forest.  The roof here is a ‘witch’s hat’ and it is a personal sacred space where my wife and I can approach the gods individually or together.  It is also a room where we can go meditate away from the noise of all the world around.  Inside here is an altar, incense, god and goddess statues, drums and musical instruments.  A large pentagram is etched onto the floor.

Nice house.  More accesible to friends and family as well and a change in what I wrote eight years ago.  Wonder what that all means.

I’ve got an idea to learn an herb a week.  Just one.  To read about it, get a picture of it, learn it’s magickal and folklore and cycles.  A witch ought to know his herbs.

Also, one tarot card a week.  It’ll take me more than a year to get through a deck… but oh well.

Also… one Rune a week.  Hmmmm.

Now… what else can I add to my busy schedule?

I’ve been at this computer for a while and need to get up and read some.    I wonder what the top ten herbs/plants every witch should know would be?  I wonder how this list would change for the Pacific Northwest?


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