Gratitude Sunday: Word Witchery

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Fog-bound north and south
one sunny beach calls my name,
shared with girl I love.

Sunday Musings
I put a spell on you, and now you’re mine.
You can’t stop the things I do, and I ain’t lying.
It’s been so many years right down to today
Now the witch is back, and there’s hell to pay.
I put a spell on you and now you’re mine.
Your wretched little lives have all been cursed,
‘Cause of all the witches working, I’m the worst.
If you don’t believe me, you better get superstitious,
Ask my sistahs: “Oooh, she’s vicious.”
I put a spell on you and now you’re mine.

Are you ready for the big day? I love Halloween, my favorite holiday. You can pretend to be what you aren’t. You can reveal who you are and the next day say “I was in character”. People might believe you. Either way.

I don’t recommend trying to sing the lyrics above. They are out of order because: poetic license. Credit for the original song goes to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956, with some lyrics borrowed from the 1993 Disney movie Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler singing the lead, and me twisting the lyrics and the stanza order a bit. Mixing things up.

I charmed your attention with words. For a moment you were entranced, enthralled by the cadence, you may even have heard echoes of other places you heard the song or other versions. I possessed your eyes and mesmerized your thoughts. The words captivated you and held you spellbound for a moment, or maybe two, wondering what wily enchantment I was up to. Maybe you are still reading.

Storytellers, authors, writers of all sorts bewitch us. For a moment in time their words fascinate us away from reality. I love words and playing with words. Language uncovers the ancient art of gramarye, the occult magic of words and grammar. The words ‘magic’, ‘grammar’, and ‘gramarye’ have a common root. All art, because of the moment that it can command your attention, enchants you. It’s a from of gramarye, and forgive me repeating such a lovely archaic word. It’s all about words, isn’t it? When I read a story or an essay and it takes me away from this world and into the world of another writer’s words, that’s a special kind of magic.

When we tell our stories we can instruct or entertain or preach. Sermons can hypnotize us, lectures can bedazzle us, casual conversation can be portentous. Words can be used to persuade, convince, or assuage. Words can invoke, convoke, or provoke. Words are magical and powerful. Many of us are familiar with the parental curse, “One day you’ll have a child who is just like you.”

As a teen, I was not in the popular girls clique. I barely qualified for the nerd girls’ group, didn’t quite fit with the geeks, not dorky enough to hang out with the dorky girls, rejected by the intellectuals, but too smart for the special needs kids. I was one of the first hippies in our school. Like everyone else I was looking for a place or group I could identify with, one I could belong to. I never quite belonged anywhere. I wasn’t even hippie enough for the hippies. I learned to “do my own thing” which wasn’t even much of a thing.

I had one friend who was nearly a year younger, exotically cute, dark, petite, gamine-ish. Boys flocked around her as if she was in heat. She loved the attention. I didn’t mind the side-stream, but I didn’t date the boys who wanted to date her, personal policy. One day, one of the boys was paying more than a little attention to me. Boys never paid attention to me; if they did it was because of my voluptuous curves and their thought that any girl with breasts that big surely wanted sex as much as they did, of course, an unwarranted assumption and specious argument. I didn’t know anything about the intricacies of courting and mating.

As if she didn’t have enough of their attention, she took me aside and lectured me. She called me a witch, and said I used my wiles to spell bind men away from her. I should have laughed in her face because, hwell, this was patently untrue; I knew nothing about men or the jealousies of women. If that’s what she believed, however, enough to say it to me, I figured I must have some kind of hidden power within me. I certainly wasn’t born into a family who practiced or taught any of the old traditions. I was, therefore, an accidental witch.

Since she thought of me as a witch I thought, Why not? Without further ado I flew straight to my local lending library and began studying witches, witchcraft, paganism, anything the reference librarian could find for me, which wasn’t much. I used to make stuff up, rituals, and candle burning, and flower petal burning, odds and ends that drove my mom crazy because of all the burning. She was terrified of fire, didn’t like us to burn candles or incense in the house. So much teenage angst in all that burning. To this day I am so careful with fire I rarely light a candle. But I didn’t know what I was doing and I have no idea if any of what I did had any impact.

I know now if you do something with intention, there is an effect, but you might not know the outcome or the fullness of the outcome. The universe is a vast, complex, complicated space and non-space, and the energy you send out can just as easily go awry as go right, even if done with all the best intentions. Though everything is connected the connections are not always linear; the intention might not travel neatly down the path you think it will go. One must proceed carefully with intentions, witchy or otherwise.

After my friend called me a witch it was easy to choose a costume for Halloween. I’d experimented in grade school: I was a ghost, a hobo, an Egyptian queen, a Hawaiian girl complete with grass skirt (a costume that was cold very quickly, not a great choice), dressed up like a mom, and a few others. From that point on however, my costume was always a witch, in various incarnations, different hats, different hair, replacing the fake noses and warts as they wear out, wearing a different black skirt or dress because I can’t find the one I wore last year. The only exception as an adult was the year I tried to create a full sized spider costume out of a fur coat and a few additional items. Big fail, so back to the tried and true.

I realized a few years ago when I take my costume off my witchiness doesn’t go away. I carry it with me constantly. Along with that realization I realized all women are witches, not all in the same way or degree, but we all hold the power. I mean the real power. We make life; we are so powerful we create new human beings. Yes, it requires a little help, but women have the true power. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t produced babies or if we are past having babies. We don’t have to wear costumes or cast spells or perform rituals. But we can if we want to. Because it’s fun to do what we want.

I wasn’t happy with what my friend said to me that day because it put a space between us, but I should thank her now. Her words did not jinx me, instead they inspired. She opened whole new worlds and lines of thought for me. From that I learned my love of research and how interesting it is to put words together to hold a reader’s attention. It takes a bit of work but word witchery is my speed these days. Words are my tools, my art, my habit, my ritual, my lighted candle, my burnt flower petals.

I love the variety of witches we get to be, or not, as we choose. I know there is a lot of information in the news lately about abuse of women, that tired old power/control issue. I don’t want to go off on that, because I could go off on how awful it all is, and I don’t want to re-live the trauma of what happened to me. Today I want to cast a spell on all women to know your power, to insist on your choice, to be whatever kind of witch you are with pride and courage, even if you carry grief with you. Embrace your inner witch. Use your wiles, your knowledge and wit. And no matter what a friend calls you, say thank you, and walk away if you have to. I put a spell on you with my gramarye: are you still reading?

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Colorful textural carpet of leaves, woven with autumn shades. Gray and brown fairy stools on a green carpet. The surprise of a purple mallow still blooming. Subtle shades of gray concrete with green and brown moss. Yellow, orange, and red, coloring between the lines.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Prisoners (2013, rated R) with Hugh Jackman. Two young girls are abducted and the fear is palpable. One of the fathers tortures a suspect, with the aid of the other father, but the suspect is not guilty, himself being a victim in the whole mess. Clues come together slowly until almost all is revealed, but the ending leaves another question open for conjecture. Intense. * In need of comedic relief from all the scary movies, binged on season 3 of Schitt$ Creek (2017, TV – 14), with Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, about a wealthy family who loses their money when their accountant doesn’t pay their taxes. They move to the town they bought as a birthday present joke for their son, they only thing they have left, and have to adjust to reduced circumstances. I laugh every episode.

Currently ReadingGreen Witch (2010, young adult fiction) by Alice Hoffman. Oh my, how Ms Hoffman weaves her special magic. The pleasant ending does not come without grief, both parts of life. Recommended. Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery (2009, Buddhism) by Chogram Trungpa. Taking the words in, hoping to improve by osmosis.

Quote of the Week – “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series

This week I have been grateful for:

  • The last farmers market of the season, last Wednesday of October, so warm I didn’t wear a jacket. Lovely day.
  • A mild warm week.
  • Spending a beautiful day at the beach with my sister. If all our talk could produce fuel, we could fire up the world.
  • Enjoying some voyeuristic admiration of the luxury homes in Cannon Beach.
  • How beautiful our drive was going through the Coast Range, autumn colors kaleidoscopically flying by our eyes, so bright with the full sun.
  • A short walk to look at the colors in my neighborhood.
  • The young woman who pressed two quarters into my hand after I told the vendor I only had 2 dollars, and the two honeycrisp apples I wanted totaled $2.50. I could have chosen a smaller apple. She was so sweet about it and I could see it made her happy to do it. I’ve paid it forward for years. Fun to have it be my turn.
  • How much it says about me when I am thrilled to have two fat apples.
  • A bag of hand picked leaf lettuce.
  • The last boxes of Oregon Albion strawberries for the year.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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3 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Word Witchery

  1. piratesorka says:

    You know I accept the fact we didn’t always travel in the same lanes of high school traffic but I never knew this story. I DO remember you had that “witchy” fascination and my life was dipping into Rosicrucian stuff along with the world of Middle Earth…. Do you remember that name I came up with for me? … Raggabinatha ( I amaze myself that I even remember how to spell it!) Who was this girl??? Don’t tell me here, too many silent eyes may be reading. But when it comes to great Halloweens I can’t help but go back in time with you, Kathie Z and my house as we did our best to be scary witches Much to my mothers later shock! Never will I forget that one!

    Like

  2. sassy kas says:

    and how my mother had hear reports of the scary witches up the street before I got back home. That was one delightful Halloween. And I remember Raggabinatha as well.

    Like

  3. Joy says:

    Yeah, i’m always a witch and not just at halloween! More of the nature bit and less of the spells (I’m a bit to rational for that nowadays!). We all need more candles and fires though, you want to get a load of candles and get yourself over that hump about lighting tonnes of them! Enjoy.
    PS. i remember that school thing too, of not really fitting in, finally found my feet in the last year and have fond memories of that. The rest is largely forgotten in the mists of time and that doesn’t feel too bad.

    Like

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