This morning I went to Red Top Mountain…my partner looked at this as a casual outing for us and a friend, but for me it was so much more. For the past couple of weeks, I have felt stretched, stressed, tired, and stagnant.
Funny how things find their way into our paths when we need it most. As we began our journey on the mountain, we came across a bit of stagnant water. The closer we got to it, the worse it smelled. My partner kept telling me that water couldn’t possibly smell like that. He thought that something had died. I told him to get closer to it. He knelt down and took a large breath and then choked on it. He apparently never encountered something like this growing up on the plains of South Dakota. I explained to him that there was no source other than rainfall and no escape…so there the water sat…murky, polluted, dead.
As I explained this, a light came on in the back of my mind. Of course, this is how I have felt lately. I have circled too many times around things that didn’t deserve the worry I had awarded them. I have sat around too much with my brow furrowed…contemplating things that needed to just be dealt with. My rituals lately had been cardboard cut-outs of what I normally experienced. The magick itself seemed to try to fly, but petered out a few feet off the ground. Then again, when the effort and intention is half-assed, then so is the magick it produces.
My trips to the woods had been quick and sporadic…the equivalent of a magickal quickie. I could even see a change in Friz. He would sluggishly climb on the back of my comfy chair and peer at me with one opened eye. Silently pouting because we had been house-bound for too long. When I would let him out into the courtyard for bathroom breaks, his selective hearing started. He would get as far away from me as he could….spending as much time outside as possible.
I was feeling the onset of major depression. This time there was no desire to fight. I wanted to lie down and sleep forever. I disengaged as much as possible. I lived on Excedrin Migraine. Avoiding issues and battles that we are too afraid to fight have that effect on us.
This past week, I finally got tired of all of it. Thankfully, there was some semblance of fight left in me. I realized that as long as I allowed myself to wallow in this and feel like this, that it was never going to end. I may as well just stay asleep. I asked a friend for a tarot reading. It was dead on. Successes at work…questioning my abilities…emotions that need to be dealt with…the “I care about you but I am mad at you” feeling…the feeling of being tired of going in a circle…the feeling of “I used to know the way but now I’m stumbling on a half-lit path”…and finally knowing that with all the decisions that have to be made that the wheel would continue to turn.
I needed something besides a small patch of woods behind a condominium. I needed to spend the day among the trees and woodspirits…I needed to reconnect. There was too much going on around me to spend the time needed in the woods. I needed a mountain.
We set out early this morning, cooler bag in tow. I had asked a friend to go with us so that my partner would be entertained and I wouldn’t feel rushed. It worked like a charm. Once on the mountain, I was able to lose myself among the hiking trails. As I wondered off the main trails and deeper into the trees, I watched in the distance as my comrades meandered slowly on the regular path. I took my lunch separately and ventured out.
As I climbed over fallen trees and through brambles, I noticed that there were mushrooms everywhere. I was intrigued by the shapes and colors…fairy rings were rampant across the forest floor. As I walked, I started seeing something that I had never seen as long as I have lived in Georgia. At first, I thought that I was wrong…surely it was just another type of mushroom. I moved closer to them. Sure enough…Fly Agaric! I was like a kid in a candy store. I felt something stir in me. I was reminded of blog after blog written by Sarah Anne Lawless about the Poisoner’s Path. The baneful plants have always held a certain intrigue for me…that is why I have added mandragora and belladonna and monkshood to my gardening ventures.
I moved closer to the lake. The sunshine felt good after being in the shade for so long. It is sad that I have been in Georgia so long that 50-60 degrees feels cold in the shade. As I flirted with the edge of the water…visualizing water nymphs singing their sirens songs to me, something beautiful and orangey-red caught my eye. I could hardly believe it…more Fly Agaric! As I moved closer to take a photo, I could hear that mushroom singing my name…calling to me like nothing has called to me in a long, long time. I had to answer.
I don’t believe it was coincidence that I had a paper towel in my pocket left over from a spring trip to this same mountain. I reached out with the towel in hand and plucked the largest one. I could feel its energy vibrating in my hand…this powerful mushroom singing to me the rest of the trip. Just having it near brought a strong magick.
I sat and ate my lunch there at the edge of that lake. The breeze pushed against me like an impish child. On the other side, on the bank, there was a father with his children. They laughed and chased each other. I could hear their faint squeals. It was like listening to the fae. I was finally able to disconnect myself from that horrible numb feeling and I laughed out loud.
It was an amazing feeling to feel like I could breathe again. I am one of those people who would rather not air all my dirty laundry on Facebook, so when the depression tries to take hold, it is easier to joke on there and withdraw into my own cocoon…hiding so that no one can see the iron bands wrapped around my heart and emotions.
Fortunately there are witches who have a connection with me that is strong enough to sense this…and tend to call me out on it. They (or should I say she)won’t allow me the luxury of wallowing in that muck and stench of a stale and rancid heart. The reprimand comes quickly, “Get out into the woods! Now!”
Last night in preparation for my little journey today, I burned some of the Morrigan Incense that I have. As it burned, I let myself drift into a meditative state…calling out for enough strength to fight the battles before me. She listens strong and answers swiftly.
During my time on the mountain today, I was surrounded by crows…and I mean surrounded. They played chase with each other in the trees. The ran across the dead leaves on the forest floor…they cawed, they screeched.
After what ended up being more than a six mile hike, I was exhausted. I cradled myself into a large tree and closed my eyes. I felt a fortitude like I haven’t felt in weeks. I closed my eyes and rested in it. I heard my name. I continued to rest…thinking the fae were close. A hand reached out and touched my shoulder and I just about jumped out of my skin. It was my partner and our friend. They were ready to go home. I had been exploring that mountain for almost seven hours.
I stood up and stretched my wings. The steps ahead aren’t so sure…the path is overgrown and crooked…but I can see the light coming through….pushing me and guiding me. I just need to let the wings do the work.