Moving On…

Seems that as the full moon approaches every month…the closer we get to the solstices, my mind and heart are flooded with nostalgia.  This morning was no different.  After some much needed time in the woods, I settled down onto the outdoor sofa in the courtyard with my cup of coffee.  The sun was smiling down on me and the breeze was softly kissing my ear.  I was in a half daydream, half napping state.  I found my mind drifting lazily back to Charlotte, NC in the late eighties.  I could feel my soul being pulled back to a three storied home in one of the up and coming South Charlotte neighborhoods.

I can remember the sounds of Bette Midler wafting through the air as we all sat around the lawn drinking gin and tonic, bloody mary’s, sweet tea.  A group would be conversing in one corner, another group playing badminton in the area furthest back.  There were gays, straights, transgendered, bisexual…every type of human relaxing and enjoying the long southern days offered to us.  As the day danced into evening, the music became softer and the small Christmas lights strung in trees and overhead would begin to glow a soft white.  Our hosts had kept the grill going for most of the afternoon, so no one had the occasion to be allowed to feel the grip of hunger.

I always seemed to end up in one of the hammocks hanging between two large trees as others scattered lawn chairs around me.  Conversation always seemed to turn to what adventures life could bring or what magick really entailed.  No.  This was not a coven of witches, but just a group of friends making the most of their youth.  As I lay there waxing philosophical, Jim would come in behind me and hand me an ice cold drink and then stabilize the hammock as he lay down beside me.

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We would lay there for most of the evening, making plans…laughing at the mistakes we had made.  All of our older friends would tell us that they were living vicariously through us…that it was nice to see two people so in love.

My mind also drifts back to daily life with Jim.  Was he the love of my life?  Yes.  Are we allowed many loves of our lives?  Perhaps.  In those days, I was working corporate. We would get up in the morning and make breakfast together…he always made sure I was greeted with a kiss and a hot cup of coffee.  After breakfast, we would maneuver around each other as we got showered and dressed.  He always said that I looked so handsome in my shirt and tie….he said I looked like a corporate version of Freddy Mercury.  He was a nurse.  I do so remember how he filled out those seal blue scrubs.  Mercy!!  He was an ex-marine and his frame was 6’4″, brownish-blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, muscles in just the right places.  We would kiss good-bye…always careful to say ‘I love you’ before rushing to start the day.

I normally made it home first in the evenings, so I would start dinner.  I can close my eyes and feel the warmth of his body pressing against mine just after he walked in the door.  He always stood against me, his arms wrapped around mine, nuzzling the back of my neck.  On days that I would get home late, I would always find a bouquet of sunflowers on the table and a card that read, “Simply put, you make me feel wonderful.  Jim.”

You see, Jim had been diagnosed with HIV before we met.  I can still see the wonder in his eyes when I asked him out and he told me that he was positive.  I had been working with a local AIDS task force whose work included helping, working with, and doing whatever was needed for those in our community with AIDS.  I sang at far too many funerals in the eighties and stood in as surrogate family for too many who had been turned away by their own…but then again, this was what was needed.  Yes, this was in the beginning and yes, I was scared, but the possibility of missing out on someone like Jim scared me even more.

I was there through the drug cocktails.  I was there as the T-cells climbed and dropped, climbed and dropped.  I was there when the lesions began.  I was there when his eyesight began to fail.  We laughed and talked through it all….but always careful not to go too far into the future with our plans.  I remember one of the biggest belly laughs he ever had.  One of his guinea pigs had gotten loose and proceeded to chase me around the living room ( I have always been horrified by rodents.  Any rodent.)  As I run around the room like this tiny wad of fur is going to eat me, Jim is rolling on the sofa.  Sometimes, I would love to hear that laugh again.

Our last week together, I found out that Jim had done some dreadful things…things that would still end up effecting me to this day.  I remember the night that I confronted him.  We are at a bridge in Charlotte on the 4th of July.  We had met earlier at our friend’s home.  He greeted me with a bouquet of red, white, and blue flowers.  I had so much anger in me, I couldn’t even look at him.  We walked in silence to the bridge.  As the fireworks started, so did ours.  I let the anger that had been lurking just beneath the surface lurch forward.  We cried….I screeched.  He begged forgiveness.  He pulled me to him and kissed me and I jerked away.  I walked home that night.  It took me two and a half hours.

I got home and Jim was in bed.  His breathing was funny.  He had been coughing more that week, but I was wrapped up in anger.  As we slept, his breathing became more labored.  I called an ambulance.  They came and got him.  I watched through the coming weeks as machines breathed for him.  When his family came in….I was pushed out of the way.  I was relocated to the place of ‘roommate.’  Then there was the pain and anguish that he actually was not there anymore.  In one instant…gone.

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Jim knew I was studying witchcraft.  He often joked about him being Darrin and me being Sam from Bewitched.  My Darrin had been taken.  I retreated to my woods on the old farm back home.  Over the years, I have dreamed about him constantly.  He has come to me in times of trouble, fear, even stress.  He offers comfort.  I even believe he orchestrated many things between my partner, Jay and I.  Jay and I began our relationship on July 4th…exactly ten years after that night on the bridge.  I am the one who does the protecting and comforting now…Jim did it the whole time we were together.

I wonder how many witches can say that their spirit guide is their last lover?  I was sitting in the living room with my roommate the other night watching a tv show.  As we are watching, I am sitting there wiping my eyes.  My roommate says, “You are dreaming about him again, aren’t you?”  I told him I was.  He looked at me and point blank asked what I was holding onto.  He wanted to know what I haven’t forgiven myself for.  As I wrote this blog, I realized that I have not forgiven myself for not telling him I loved him on that horrible, horrible night.  I haven’t forgiven myself for not listening…only yelling.  I haven’t forgiven myself for walking away from him that night and not holding him tighter.

As I write this…I feel the tears streaming down my face.  I feel his presence behind me…trying to tell me that he never believed for a moment I stopped loving him.  I have a lump the size of a tennis ball in my throat and my heart hurts as badly as the night he slipped into the summerlands.  Tonight is the night that I have to forgive myself….to release the chains that have held me prisoner for too long.  Tonight isn’t about Jim.  It is about me and repairing what was broken years ago.

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I don’t write this blog to wallow in the past, but so the future may be more magickal…that my life may now be fuller…that there may now be rest.

Sleep well, my prince.  Sleep.

Blessed Be!

Being Magick

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Me?  ‘Course I want somethin’.  Want a buckle made outta shiny silver to fasten onto my shoes.  Want a dress with lace.  Want perfume, wanna be purty, wanna smell like a honeysuckle vine.

Want things I’ve heared of and never had before–a rubber t’ard buggy, a cut-glass sugar bowl.  Want things I cain’t tell you  about–not only things to look at and hold in yer hands.  Things to happen to you.  Things so nice, if they ever did happen to you, yer heart ud quit a beatin’.  You’d just fall down dead.

I can remember sitting as a kid with my aunt Cathy watching the musical “Oklahoma” as Laurie fantasized about all the possibilities that the Elixir of Egypt could bring.  I remember thinking to myself that one day I would make a potion like that…one that would bring all my wildest dreams to life.  I could feel the excitement of all the magick that one little bottle might hold rising up inside me.

I also remember listening to stories my grandmothers told about spirits and haints and otherwordly happenings.  The other grandkids would run to the other rooms to avoid hearing the tales, but even as scared as I was, I would sit and listen to every word with my head covered by a blanket.  I remember the stories of the uncle who knew when things were going to happen….the cousin who knew when someone was going to die…the Cherokee cousin who would sing to make the wind blow.2015-05-21 08.49.34

I remember all those years of wishing that I was special…wishing that there was some kind of power within me.  I can remember lying under the stars in my backyard begging them to imbue me with some sort of magick.  I remember begging the universe to make me anything but ordinary.  And so the journey  began…

The little things that seemed to come so naturally to me, I didn’t think twice about.  I thought everyone held conversations with goats and chickens and dogs and cats.  I thought that it was normal when I would see things in the corner of my mind’s eye and then later on they would happen.  I thought it was normal to have dreams in which those who had crossed over talked to you.

I guess I was fortunate in the fact that I was never told that I couldn’t do something.  I lunged through life expecting to be able to accomplish everything I had ever dreamed of.  Many times growing up, I was pushed toward the challenging….more by my grandmas than anyone else.  It was one grandma who taught me to be as intimate as I could with nature…it was the other who pushed me toward academics, music, art.  It was one grandma who talked me into working for a summer on a Lakota reservation…it was the other who talked me into majoring in Art and Music the first time through college.  I grew up feeling like failure could never be an option.

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Through this time, I begged the universe for magick.  I needed it more than anything.  My coping mechanisms were worn out.  Here I was in college in a large city…there was no nature around me that I could see….no animal friends to talk to.  I found myself withdrawing.  I found myself….well, lost.  For so long, I had wanted to do magick.  I kept waiting for the sparks to fly from my fingers.

A minister friend noticed the change in my personality.  He consoled the best way that ministers can, I guess…by suggesting I pray about it.  I looked at him and flatly said, “I never have quite understood prayer.”  He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Prayer, my friend, is all about energy.  You have the supernatural energy and you have your own energy.  Prayer is where those two things meet.”  Nothing more profound could have ever been said to me.  My thoughts started to grind together like the gears of a watch.  “If prayer does that…..and prayers start as words, then wouldn’t a magick spell do the same thing?  Different dieties…different direction…but it is energy.”  That is the moment when I became magick.

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It took time for all of this to soak in.  This epiphany that magick wasn’t necessarily some lifeless ‘thing’ to pursue was something that wrapped itself around me and through me….it is me.

As I walk my path today, I still find myself thinking that magick is some outsourced product…something that lies just within reach.  Each year that I mature in the Craft, though, I realize that magick is something that I am, not something that I do.  It is kind of like the words Human Being.  It refers to what I am….not what I am about or what encompasses my time.  If that were the case, we would be called Human Doings.

I have had to share and direct my energy quite a bit over the past two weeks.  There were wands to finish crafting and ship out….as I work on them, I chant, I sing….I share my energy.  There were deaths to walk through…my mom’s dog crossed over last weekend.  My mom had the wonderful opportunity to sing to her with her head on her chest as she closed her eyes to sleep as she moved into that next plane.  I shared my energy with my mother as she remembered the beautiful energy that little dog brought.  I have shared my own energy with Friz as he recuperates from a leg sprain and the challenges of aging.  Tonight in the woods, we held a type of croning ceremony for us both.  We lay together in moss and grass of the woods, combining our energies…embracing the aging cycle that is unfolding before us.  This doesn’t mean we are lying back waiting on death….it means that we were manifesting the energy that it is gonna take for us to go dancing and singing and running into old age.  We might be slowing down a bit, but we refuse to stop.

Every challenge that I have ever faced in life has scared the shit out of me.  Many of the challenges that I have walked through, folks have said at the end, “Oh, you must be terribly brave to do that.” No….I am not brave at all.  I just move forward…knees shaking, sweaty palms, and shallow breaths and try to look toward the end result.  I think that the biggest fear that most of us have is that fear of being insignificant…..but we are afraid to take the steps that might make us exceptional.

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Had I not decided to take on that mantle of Magickal Being, those who have required my energy and the magick it holds, may have been left in despair…hurt…pain.  I can buy or make every magickal tool you could think of, but without the magick within me, those tools do nothing.  Without my intent, a spell is just lifeless words written on a piece of paper.

Since he hurt his leg, Friz isn’t allowed to jump up on furniture.  This is especially hard for him because he wants to be as close to me as he can be.  If I am sitting on the sofa, he feels the need to jump up to be there.  I have been lying in the floor an awful lot this week.  Friz doesn’t care why I am on the floor…the only thing he knows is that I am being with him.   In that moment, nothing else matters….just being.

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Backbone, Sparkles, and Bubble Gum

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When I got up this morning, after a particularly rough night’s sleep, I looked in the mirror.  The face looking back at me was scary…a mix of something from the “Walking Dead” and “There’s Something About Mary.”  Of course it got a thought whirring through my brain.  I soaked in that thought all day long.  We are a judged society of people.  We are judged based on our looks.  We are judged by our weight.  We are judged by our houses, cars, clothing.  We are judged by the way we talk.   We are judged on performance.  We are judged for who we love.  We are judged.

One would have thought that long ago we would have been through with the witch hunts and crucifixion.  It seems, though, that humanity is not happy unless it is vilifying something.  Because of condemnation flying around every corner, some of us have hidden a part of our most authentic self.  Our self-talk has become, “Don’t flame out too much.”  “Don’t be too witchy in public.” “If you wear clothes that drape, you won’t appear as fat.”  “If you really want that job, you had better put on a smile and work those jazz hands in the interview.”   We have become afraid and ashamed to be that eccentric uncle or aunt who lives life in color.  We look and look for our cloak of invisibility while others look down their noses at who we are.

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The past two weeks have driven this home with me more and more.  My partner and I were walking through the streets of Atlanta one evening after meeting some friends out.  I had been detained just inside the restaurant for a few moments, so my partner walked out ahead of me.  As he passed a group of young men, I heard the group begin to spew words at him.  “Faggot!  Homo!”  I ran to catch up to him.  I took his hand in mine and held on tight.  I turned to the group of guys and said, “Yes….and we are better men than any one of you asses.”  As I stood there…every feeling that could, ran rampant through me.  Anger, fear, hurt…I stood there refusing to back down.  My partner squeezed my hand and in a breath said, “Too much time has been wasted on things that don’t really matter.”  We walked off laughing…he was amazed that I had faced that small mob.  I was amazed I didn’t get killed.

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The next episode happened in our condo complex.  I was out by the bedroom window weeding and cleaning up one of my flower beds.  As I was crawling around in the dirt, I heard a male and female voice talking.  They got closer to me and I heard the guy say, “Some of the neighbors have said that he is a witch.”  Then the girl said, “That is just horrible to be gay and a satanist…those are two horrible strikes to have against you.”  In what seemed like one swift movement, I was on my feet facing them.  “Darlin’, first off I am no satanist….I am a witch.  I don’t believe in satan.  I work magick with nature.  Yes, I am gay and I love everything about being gay.  I would suggest that you keep your pathetic little ordinary mouth off of me….because not only can I do magick, but I do it fabulously with glitter and sparkles.”

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I have never been one to try to compromise much on who I am.  Life is hard enough without having to worry about who is going to find out my secrets.  I have pretty much always been an open book and even with the challenges that have come against me in life, I have always held onto a strong sense of self-worth.  That, for me, came as I walked through the healing process from the sexual abuse I endured as a child…a realization that I was worth so much more than the trash I was always told that I was.

I had learned to look backward through the mirror.  I received a comment on my blog a couple of weeks back:

I came across your blog a few months ago and have followed on the edge of my seat waiting for your next post. I even emailed you a little while back. Today with some time to kill I decided to go back as far as I could and read your old posts. Nearly every post has struck a personal chord with me in some way. I’ve been making notes as I read, which is a way I help myself solidify my thoughts. I had just finished writing a paragraph about how when I was I child I used to feel like I was special in some way or that I had a gift that was yet to be uncovered. Now that I’m pushing 40 and still haven’t found that gift so much about my life feels so average. I’ve chosen to ignore the magick around me. This post brought tears to my eyes; good ones. Thank you.

This comment touched me deeply.  That gift never left you…it is still resting deep inside you, waiting patiently for you to call on it…to speak to it…to nurture it.  You are never too young or too old to take your destiny by the hand.  It stands there waiting like a long forgotten lover, smiling at you as you finally take the steps forward.  The wonderful part is that the magick isn’t just around you…it is within you.  The world around you and circumstances have tried to make you forget that it’s there.  They have pushed you out of the way and left you wounded…but you are far from average dear one.  Magick even comes forth in your words.

My roommate came into the living room last week.  He is haggard and down because of the job market.  He has interviewed and pushed out his resume only to be greeted by rejection.  I could feel his pain as the words left his mouth…”Am I really worth so little?”  I told him that he is basing his worth on other people.  “But isn’t worth what someone is willing to pay?”  “Yes, but the value is based on the seller. You determine the value that you carry…but it is also your responsibility to make others see that value…then you are worth more to them. Some people will never see that value, so you must determine whether or not they are worth your time.  Others will see that value and try to get it as cheap as they can.  Others will recognize the value, realize the quality and want to pay exactly how much the product is worth.”  The world has too many cheap trinkets already…isn’t it time that we show ourselves to be precious treasure that we truly are?

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I went to the craft store the next day.  I had an idea for a spell for him.  I picked up a small wooden treasure chest and some gold bubble gum coins.  I told him that anytime he started to feel like he wasn’t worth very much, to take one of the gold coins out, chew the bubble gum but to save the wrapper.  He was to replace whatever he took out with real money…whether it be a dime, a quarter, a penny, or a dollar.  He was to say, “I take the words of others, chew it up. The wrapper hid the truth. I put in its place the real thing, a better substitute.  With this the value I increase…I’m worth so much more.  I feel the power within me, to the very core.”  When the bubble gum is gone and replaced with real money, he is to take the wrappers and weigh them….then he is to weigh the money that replaced the gum.  For each piece of money he must write down one positive thing about himself.  He is only a quarter of the way through the chest now…but now as he picks up a coin, I hear him laughing.  If nothing else, joy has begun to take root in his spirit.  He is becoming more of the person I know.

Isn’t it time to embrace that person we see staring back at us in the mirror…warts and all?

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Blessed Be!