Aside: Why the Marmot, Though?

Weird title for a weird thing.

Long story short – this is an aside, after all – I got bit by a marmot of all things. In a dream, mind you, I don’t go around trying to poke these things in real life. Though, I have seen one in real life and it was quite cute!

Continue reading “Aside: Why the Marmot, Though?”

Runic New Year & Questing Path Redux

Hello friends!

June 29th was the first of the Runic half-month of Fehu, which means it’s the Runic New Year! Woo! We’re also coming down from the Solstice and the Full Moon, which means I had a hankering to check in with my path and where I’m going with it. Also, Rustus re-worked the Questing Path Spread and I wanted an excuse to try it out, since I was a big fan of the original. I was going to try it out when I first read the post, but something decided I needed to wait, and life happened for a while.

So, I asked my pendulum, and here we are! Wildwood Tarot and Earthbound Oracle volunteered to be my guides for this one, and I used some blue quartz, amethyst, and optical calcite to help glean the messages, as well as what I call my “Druid Stone,” which I’ve had since I was old enough to remember having it. It is a symbol of Me, which means I don’t use it and wont use it for anyone else.

Without further ado, the Questing Path Redux! (Which links to the original post so that you can read it.) I’m not going to go super in-depth with what I write up in this post, that’s what I’ve got a journal for. Also, for the record: the original spread doesn’t have two cards listed for the middle position, but two came out anyway when I did the spread. I can’t reason with this deck, it does what it wants.

QuestingPathRedux June2016
Sorry for the light. Wildwood doesn’t like being photographed for some reason.

1. The Path of The Shaman

*begrudging expletives*

You know that feeling when you get cards that are so in-your-face that you couldn’t possibly have picked them out yourself for fear of being too literal? Apparently Wildwood likes doing that to me. I almost feel like this one doesn’t need to be explained all that much, but for the sake of clarity and transparency: this is that thing that I was kind of afraid would happen when my current spirit-teacher showed up out of the blue. As Beth recently and appropriately quoted: “Never name the well from which you will not drink.” I’ve read books about shamanism, what it’s like, what the trials and weirdness are, and I’ll be quite honest, it’s not something I’ve ever wanted for myself. I didn’t think I was qualified for the longest time… up until Mutt passed away and that whole, horrifying incident with Pulse happened. My own Bran has a theory in that shamans are called as a result of death, and that certainly seems to be the pattern here. You’ll excuse me while I go into a corner and think about what I did.

2. The Destination – The Sun of Life

I know almost exactly where I’m going to be when this happens. I don’t quite know when it’s going to be, but I know where, and what I’ll be there for. That’s a “my eyes only” kind of thing, though, and that’s where the surface destination is. Underneath that, however, I see an acceptance of the Path, a burning sense of belonging and hope, finally hope, and my eyes are drawn immediately to that “star” in the center of the main figure’s chest. The time frame in this spread is either going to be much shorter than I’m prepared to deal with, or longer than I expect. I’m anticipating at least two trips up to the mountains in the next few months. It’s around this time of year that weird magical shenanigans tend to happen anyway, so I’m not all that surprised on the timing.

Also there’s that chalk horse in the background that I keep staring at and I’m not going to say why explicitly, but suffice to say that there’s a reason I have Ehwaz as part of my little personal symbol.

3. The Hill – The Pole Star & The Ancestor

That first one is a message that my own past-self has been trying to hammer (or axe, in his case *rimshot*) into my head for the past little while, and one which I still have problems with. Trusting myself and my own inner compass is weirdly hard for me to do, given that I live with myself every day. I recently did an automatic writing brain-pick in which my inner Sensei came out and really made me aware of how absurd it is for me to trust, say, Bran, over my own self.

With the Ancestor, my eyes go directly to the drum. I’ve been looking for a drum for months. I know what it looks like, or what if feels like, rather, how to play it, what spirit lives in it… but I haven’t found it yet, and don’t really know where it might be! I also see the crescent moon in the back, which strikes me because I got a sincere and subtle reminder from said moon that I do have a rather huge connection to it, and that I keep forgetting how much of an anchor it can be in my life. It was comforting, in a way. Also, the blue in that card and the sheer feel of it gives me massive spirit-teacher vibes, and I’m not sure what he’s planning, but I have a feeling it has to do with at least one of those “Ally” cards. I also get the feeling I’ve been avoiding something big and that he’s going to smack me upside the head with it.

4 & 5. Allies Above – Water & Ceremony

Water can only be one person/spirit from where I’m standing. Won’t say which one but I know who. I’m not exactly sure how he or Water energy in general will be helpful, possibly in cleansing and clearing, but I accept whatever help is needed. Maybe this will be something like getting my usual Taurean Stubbornness out of the way long enough to move in a different direction a little bit. Or, it’s that spirit’s presence – felt, but not seen.

Ceremony is still stumping me. I think I know what it’s talking about, but at the same time I really won’t be able to tell except in hindsight, probably. This is one I’ll have to come back to and meditate on for a while, because it’s one that never comes up for me. Applying it to this is rather difficult, though I am getting a sense of Sacred-Third here, with the two candles and the sun. (OOp! There’s the Sun again!) One could also make a word-pun with Sun and Son, but I don’t want to go there because I don’t know what it means, yet.

6 & 7. Allies on the Ground – Resistance & Death

I’d normally look at Resistance as a challenge, as something that needs to be overcome in order to get something done. Here, though, as an ally, I know exactly what it means. When I resist something with the whole of my being, not just being a little anxious or nervous but having my core essence screaming and kicking and fighting to run away, I know that whatever is going on isn’t my thing. This will probably help me narrow down what does and doesn’t serve me in an effort to find my “Pole Star,” as it were, which is one of the challenges it looks like I’ll be dealing with.

… Oh, Death. There’s one thing that immediately pops to mind when cards like, “Death,” “Ceremony,” and “Shaman,” are all in the same spread, and it’s another of those ‘Don’t Name the Well’ things. Not because I don’t think it might be necessary but because I’d rather not have to deal with that particular option/idea in the presence of my immediate family. Bran, sure. The rest, no. Why? Complicated. Mostly because of fear. However, the alternative is something more in line with the Death from tarot, in which case it has more to do with actually sitting down and accepting the path ahead, rather than trying to deny that it’s an option. Though, if history is any indicator of the future, I’m about to have some serious Wyrd dropped on my head. Joy.


So, there’s a lot to make of this one. There’s a lot I still need to explore and dive into, and there’s a huge lot that I don’t know if I want to understand. I actually hate it when this happens. However. It is what it is, and it may not be as dramatic as I feel like it has the potential to be. Seeing all the people getting sandbagged by Stuff around me, though, I expect it’s time for a big change. A little wander into the cave to fight the bear, if you will. I’m so looking forward to it, can you tell? [/sarcasm]

We’ll see.

Thank you once again, Rustus, for the wonderful spread and for being awesome in general!

Art Post: Suddenly Blue

 

Hallo, friends!

Another weird thing I forgot to mention in my ramblings about what I’m coming to call, “The Mongol Incident” was that, in addition to having a rather sudden, strong, and short-lived fever, I also had a weird perception shift happen, in which the color blue suddenly stuck out like a sore thumb. It was as though I was seeing the color for the first time. So, this happened:

suddenly_blue_by_ejlowell-da5ewiy
Subtle ambient occlusion mixed with my normal style. Also, blue. Lots of blue.

 

See you when I see you, everyone! Hope you like.

More Thoughts on the Sun and Moon

Heyo, friends.

While staring out my window about an hour ago watching the moon rise and the clouds off to the west paint themselves pink and gold with the last rays of the sun (jeez, that was poetic) I realized why talking about the Sun and Moon as two poles of the same spectrum feels really weird to me.

I mentioned — or, I hope I mentioned — in the “What does the moon mean to me” video that I was having trouble seeing either celestial body (thank you words) as either gender. Honestly, it’s because I realize that the general way most people think of the Sun and Moon are as masculine and feminine respectively, which is reversed in Northern Tradition Paganism, and I really didn’t want to get on anyone’s bad side. (Aside: I really have to stop doing that.) So I was thinking, while watching the moon come up, about what actually felt right to me. What I did think. And I came to a weird, stunning, and somewhat obvious conclusion: they’re still on the spectrum, but to me, Sun and Moon aren’t the two poles. Sun and Earth are. Let me explain.

I mentioned in the Sun video — again, I think; editing tends to blur my memory through force of sheer repetition — that I have a rather scientific, astrophysical view on the Sun, that is, it’s a celestial body and does a lot for the Earth and our neighbors, and because I’ve studied stars and such from that really in-depth view I have kind of a hard time seeing it as magical. But it is. I’ve been trying to stick myself in the “Sun as Sunna” peg for a few weeks/months now and it’s not fitting for me. I still do see Sunna as her own thing, but the Sun is, in my view, something different. From an eastern-ish yin-yang kind of perspective, the Sun resonates Yang to me, which, in my mind, equates to roughly masculine. Which is possibly why I don’t see it as very magical, because I resonate very Yang as well, when I’m not being a moon baby. The key there is that the energy is familiar to me, and generally I regard the familiar as ‘mundane’ and the unfamiliar as ‘magical.’ A view that is slowly shifting as I actually delve deep into stuff. I’m still learning my way, here.

So with the Sun at the masculine pole, I would put the Earth at the feminine pole, rather than the Moon. Why? I call her, “Grandmother.” There are lots of UPG reasons for this but also I hear a lot of people saying “Our Great Mother” in reference to the Earth, and Grandmother seemed like not too far a mental leap for me. It turns out that it’s a right thing for me for all sorts of reasons but. The Earth — and here I refer to the Earth as our planet, rather than the element; there’s a difference in how I work there — is where we physically came from, where we can trace all our blood and bones and skin and everything else back to. The Earth is literally our ancestor, in a physical way. It could be argued that the Sun is too, if you go back far enough, but I try not to go back that far for the sake of my brain breaking at the implications. The Earth continues to support us, and the Sun continues to energize us. Thus, the Earth is feminine.

But then what do we do with the Moon? In my opinion, stick it right in the middle of the spectrum. Yup. There are multitudes of associations you could put to it of either gender. It could be linked to the menstrual cycle — a classically feminine thing — as well as the shape-shifting, passionate rage of the berserkergangr(or werewolves, if you wanna go there) — a classically masculine thing. The Moon slides between the binary in a fluid, ever-changing way, sometimes being both, sometimes neither, sometimes one or the other. I’d say, with the growing conscious awareness of the Sacred Third energy and non-binary people, having the Moon embodying that energy makes perfect sense, representative personifications and deities aside.


 

 

Tl:Dr: Sun as Sacred Masculine, Earth as Divine Feminine, Moon as Sacred Third. In my mind, anyway.

Of Archers and Driving

Hello, friends.

In the Wildwood Tarot there’s a card called, “The Archer,” in place of the Chariot. Or, representing aspects of the Chariot. It’s all about directed focus, forward momentum, passion contained in the calm purpose of the shot. Thurisaz comes to mind, in that it’s a rune that can be used to focus emotion into laser-like precision. A rune I’ve been struggling with for a while, paired with a card that I’ve struggled with for almost as long.

I’ve never been able to focus. Never. Unless it’s something that I want to pour all of my energy and attention into, like art or writing. Either because of this or out of [irrational] fear that it might endanger me, I haven’t yet learned how to drive. I have a permit, of course. Have for years. I know the rules, but I just don’t have the experience necessary for a licence. I’ve never needed one, either. I walk everywhere. Or, I used to. I have friends in a different city now, and every once in a while, transportation issues will crop up and plans get canceled. Earlier this year my dad told me he’d pay for driver’s education and that there was a school in town that did private lessons for people who are over 18. Which, I am. (I do everything in my life bass-ackwards, as it were.)

Since that brief conversation and subsequent panic, the universe and all it’s agents have been smacking me over the head with the Archer. Images of Diana, Artemis, bows and arrows, javelins and throwing spears. All of them, aimed at the same thing: action. Purposeful action, taken to change a situation. The universe is telling me to, in the immortal words of Shia LaBeouf, “Just Do It.” Which is what I’m doing today. In the afternoon I have my first two hours of instruction with a driving teacher. I’m terrified, but the phrase, “the thing I fear contains the thing I need,” has never sounded so appropriate.

It sounds melodramatic and over-blown to be making such a big deal about something so many people do every day, but the lesson applies to many other things in my life as well. The arrow on the compass is pointing me through the woods, and in learning this one seemingly mundane skill, other paths will undoubtedly open, or I’ll forge my own. I do know a guy with a hammer, after all.

Speaking of following paths, I keep thinking I should follow Beth’s lead and do the Youtube Pagan challenge. I’ll have a bit of catching up to do at this point, but it’s something I could do to find my voice a little. Let me know what you think.

Jera and Thawing

Hello my friends!

Isa is finally over. Finally.

I’m a Taurus. I like stability. I like it when things don’t change drastically or unpredictably. What I don’t like is when everything freezes up and tenses up and life forces you to wait it out. I’m not all that patient. I like my chair a lot but even I need to get up and go for a walk sometimes. Or shovel snow off the driveway. Or something. I hate stagnation, particularly mental/emotional stagnation, more than I probably should. It’s useful to be able to take a breather, yeah, but there comes a point where the air gets too stale and dusty.

What I hate even more than that is the metaphysical thawing that comes afterwards. I don’t know if anyone else has been in THE Biggest Funk the past few days but…eugh. It’s been a rough week for me, almost entirely because of personal issues breaking through the ice when I wasn’t ready for them. I won’t go into detail, suffice to say that all of The Stuff was stuff I’ve been trying to ignore about myself and my relationships to other people that really needed to be acknowledged. So, I’ve acknowledged them, and I feel a bit better now.

Thawing always sucks. You come in from the cold, your hands feel fine if a bit numb, and then after a few minutes the pain hits and that moment of, “oh frackity-doo here we go again,” happens. I’ve had physical thawing take somewhere on the order of an hour before(thank you, marching band, never again) and it sucks arse, but mental/emotional/spiritual thawing can take a lot longer, as I’m continuing to find out. So if you’re in the midst of a really bad bout of the Brain Weasels or emotional blah or intense and painful shadow work, you’re not alone. ‘Tis the season, as they say. The thawing will stop eventually. Give it time and don’t try to force it. That’s like running very cold hands under hot water. It will only suck more. I know this from experience(brass instruments are cold).

Do something for yourself that absorbs all of your attention. Like learning the lyrics to a new song, playing video games, drawing, shoving snow off the sidewalk(I found winter a couple days ago, apparently it’s been hiding on the other side of the mountains.) or watching videos. Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t try to think positive if it’s hard for you to do, just flow with it. Be with yourself. This too shall pass.

Stay safe, my friends!

Intriguing Graffiti and Isa

Hello, my friends!

There’s a mystery in my town that is nagging at the back of my mind and I want to know what it is. Banksy? Piksy? Who the heck knows. But… this:

OdinGraffiti

What is it?!? Is it a logo for something? Is it a skater tag? Merlin? This isn’t the only one, either, I found one on the backside of a signpost while walking home the other day. I want to know what it means, because…I mean come on! It looks like someone’s been doing graffiti of Gramps and if that’s so then I want to know why. And who. The image really is digging into the back of my skull and I kinda want to see if there are more around town that I’ve never noticed. And they are very hard to notice. The only reason I saw the first one was because I happened to look down at exactly the right moment. The other weird thing about this is that the fence in the picture sits about a foot from where that thing is painted, and doesn’t have any paint on it, which means that whoever did it didn’t do it through the chain. Unless they were more clever than I am, which, I mean, could be.

Also it’s about the middle of the half-month of Isa, which means my life is sorta frozen as far as anything goes. It’s by far not one of my favorite half-months. Everything including my temper feels icy, which isn’t great considering how abrupt ice can crack and send a person down into a very cold lake. Iz not fun for anyone around me at the moment, but Jera is soon and hopefully with that i’ll be able to breathe again.

What do you think this is? Am I missing something completely obvious? Am I reading too much into it? Should I stay as far away from these things as I possibly can? Let me know.

Patterns, Symbolism, and Lives

Hello my friends.

Bear with me on this one, the punchline is worth it.

Once upon an AP Lit class, I had a summer reading assignment which consisted of a few chapters from How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster. In the book, Foster breaks down ways in which various literary elements are/can be used as symbols and metaphors for other things. Some of the chapters are titled, “Nice to Eat You: Acts of Vampirism,” “Every Trip is a Quest(Except When It’s Not),” and my two personal favorites, “It’s All About Sex…” and “…Except Sex.” Being a good student at the time, because 90% of the rest of the time I was NOT academically inclined in the slightest, I read all of the chapters I was supposed to…and the rest of the book as well.

What I found was someone else who sees the world(or at least the world depicted in various literary media) the same way I do: through the eyes of symbolic analysis. It’s what made me love Art History as well, and what makes me a good artist(and, arguably, a decent author). I look at color choice in paintings the same way I look at word choice in books. I put layers and layers of symbolism and metaphor, both consciously and unconsciously, into almost everything I do. There are some exceptions, of course, but generally I try to see what an English major would see, even if I wasn’t one myself.

The point to all this is that I take the way I see art and literature and apply it to everything. It’s not something I can turn off. It’s probably why I get messages from Upstairs so easily. I can see what patterns I have in this life that have carried over from other lives. Namely, my general outsider-ness has carried over through every life I’ve ever had, even the ones outside of Midgard. I’ve always had some sort of spiritual connection, whether being a practicing shaman or what-have-you or being very devout in my belief. In general, I’ve always been a Warrior. Arnbjorn, William, the Celt, the Mongol…(who the hell am I forgetting? my Self maybe?) all of them were fighters, and hunters, people who stood up for what they believed in and fought for it. Which poses a bit of a problem for me now.

I live in a world now where there is too much violence. My previous tendency to literally fight for my people, my gods, my freedom, my self in some cases, isn’t going to make a difference. I’m still a Warrior, unfortunately, which makes the realization that I can no longer fight like I used to a painful one indeed. I feel useless, wrung-out, and, to be honest, like I shouldn’t be here. However, there’s another pattern underneath all of that. The Celt was a diplomat. William Bradford was a printer. Arnbjorn was a singer, among other things. I’d be willing to bet that the Mongol was an artist of some description, possibly a musician.

In the most absurd form I could come up with, the pattern is this: Dovahkiin. I am a Warrior with a Voice. So, this time around, I guess I’m supposed to use it.

I am so [not] sorry.
…maybe not that literally.

Also, I really do recommend the book. It’s awesome.

Fenrir is His Father’s Son

Hello friends!

First of all, my internal response to the last post I did was one of sudden muse-ness, and I’ve got an eleven-person art in the works, which is, for me, crazy. I also am feeling a bit better, having gotten back home finally and been able to sleep in my own bed, surrounded by my loverly wards and Frey. I was out traveling around for three days straight which is something I don’t usually do, and it was rather overwhelming on top of everything else. I’m alright now. Mostly.

So, over the weekend I had an interesting night with The Friends from this side of the fence, we all went out to dinner, it was nice. Friend, the one who got me into the mess with the shielding a while back and who I will call Mutt for now, had a chat with me trying to figure out what Odin meant when he told me to “lead my tribe.” And handed me Gungnir. It was rather odd. I’m 80% sure he didn’t hand me all of Gungnir, just a bit of its energy, but still. My current guess is that The Friends are my tribe, along with, say, Val. I have a hard time considering any deities to be part of anything I’m supposed to be leading, so I’m just gonna steer clear of that idea for the time being. It was a short conversation which ended up with me feeling a bit like the Drum Major for a very tiny marching band.

Mutt’s boyfriend, who will be referred to hereafter as Pup, and I had a different but equally interesting conversation that I caught little of, but which resulted in Loki and Val spawning in Tentacle’s basement(Tentacle will be my blog-name for another of The Friends) and making paying attention rather difficult…and then Fenrir decided to sneak in and sit down. Right next to Pup. He kept grinning at me like he knew something we didn’t, and I ended up hedging a guess that he wanted Pup’s attention. Why? Because he doesn’t ever show up for me.

Earlier, Mutt messaged me that Pup found this picture:

Rawr.

I am laughing my Asa off.

I’ve never seen quite so literal or obvious a sign in my entire life. Fenrir wants Pup’s attention, and is willing to borrow Dad’s hammer(or me, either one) to get it. He is just as much a troll as his daddy is. If not more so.

Thought I’d share because of reasons. I needed a laugh today.

Weirdness

Hello, friends. This is going to be a particularly weird and slightly personal post, so bear with me.

My dear, sweet, voluptuous marmot buns, has it ever been a weird one. I’m not usually in the habit of posting twice a week(as far as I’ve noticed anyway), mostly because not much usually happens within that tiny time frame for me to post about. But the Powers have had me on a wee bit of a wild ride the past few days.

It started at the equinox. I won’t go into that as much; the ritual I did is one I’d rather not talk about because it was rather experimental(and I now have actual ritual garb, albeit unexpectedly so). Then the call to the Hunt, and my subsequent first couple of tasks. Then Val and Frey teamed up and taught me how to seethe properly(and holy BEANS was that a weird night) which actually wasn’t as funky and different as I expected it to be, if only because I’ve learned how to go into the gangr, which is a very similar state but on a physical level. Val said I’m doing things a little bit bass-ackwards that way. It worked, though. Freya tried to teach me once, but she and I don’t mix, for some reason.

The day of the eclipse was extra-weird, though. For the first half of the day I wrote my post about the Disney Ride and then spent it feeling kinda slow. Then I had this stupendous urge to go outside, so I grabbed my shoes and went for a walk up to a pond near my house and in the middle of a park. There was nobody outside. There was no wind, either. It was weird. I’ve never seen the park so deserted, especially in the middle of the afternoon, on a Sunday, with such incredible weather. But, walk I did, and went to stand at the highest point of the path around the pond, which ended me up facing due-West, to where a cloud bank was gathering in the distance. I did a little weather work, which isn’t something unusual for me(I’ve got storms in my blood, I tell you), asking the clouds politely if they’d bow out of the way of the moon when it came up and started eclipsing. They agreed, and ended up giving us a wonderful red sunset before vanishing northward, and then coming back the next day to drizzle all over everything.

However, while walking back home from the working, even though I’d grounded and shielded myself properly(for once), I started feeling more and more… Other, I suppose. At one point I looked down at my hands to see them fairly glowing in the sunlight(yeah, I’m pretty white, but this wasn’t your average sun-reflection glowiness going on) and heard Frey laugh, saying, “Careful, Erik, your Vanic is showing.” I didn’t run into anyone else on the way back, even though there were a couple of people at the park again. Usually, walking does a lot to ground and center me, but for some reason I still had that weird shit going on. So, when I walked back into my room and got my shoes off, I grabbed my staff to see if it would ground me a little better. The staff is made from the root of a fallen ash tree that kept yelling at me some time ago, and it is usually really good at grounding. This time though, I picked it up, but felt even weirder. I sat down, pressed my forehead against the staff, letting it support me a little, and then felt myself grounding into the core of the freaking earth.

Now, this has happened to me before. I used to work with really deep magic that runs slow and steady through the deepest rocks, as a way to actually get things done, but I’ve never felt myself touch the heart of our planet before. I got pulled out of myself a little, and the roots that were glowing in the earth became the roots of Yggdrasil, and then the branches exploded up and out of my back, like wings, to touch the sky and the sun, and everything beyond. And from my heart, I gave a little prayer that the Tree be healed, and saw the trunk start glowing a warm, deep gold, and the glow spread up the trunk and into the branches, and down into the roots, into Helheim, into the core of the earth. And I saw the earth become a ball of softly radiating peace, as it rotated through space, and felt Hope, and gave that to the Tree, too. I watched new sprouts spring from the woody trunk, green and gold, reaching into the darkness, reaching for other worlds. And I watched more roots spiraling outward, pressing deeper into the darkness. I felt the pulse of the Tree, and of the earth, and sat with it for a little while, before my concentration and focus started to wain, and Frey guided me back, holding me, talking to me. I felt Love, and gave that to the Tree as well, as I started feeling myself again.

After what felt like an hour, I finally moved a little, shifting the staff to rest against my shoulder. I still felt the weird tree-wings in my back, but they faded slowly as I sat there with Frey. After a little while, I felt the glow fading too, and felt the heaviness of my body, the realness of it. Frey was smoothing my hair back, but his touch and even presence became distant, like I was feeling through a heavy blanket again. Normalcy happened slowly, but when I finally opened my eyes again, I heard Val laughing, a bit nervously. I asked him what he was laughing at and he just said, “Wow.” Frey let me go, then, and I stood up, feeling surprisingly… normal. Still a little wonky, but it was fading as I reminded myself of my grounding, and the several layers of warding around my room and house. Went to get something to eat, and some coffee, and I was feeling fine within about five minutes.

Yesterday, I was so tired. I spent half the day kinda zoned out in bed, half-sleeping, thinking about what happened. I called Bran, we talked for about an hour before I realized it was about dinner time. I spent the evening watching HGTV with my mom, laughing at one of the cats being absolutely ridiculous, until I heard a little scraping noise on the metal bird feeder outside, and looked over to see my other cat(we have three, actually) staring out the window and making a big-tail. I got up, looked out the window, and a little masked face popped up from behind the feeder like, “OHAI! I wasn’t doing anything!” I started laughing and told my mum it was a raccoon. It ducked back down behind the fence, though, so I went to the kitchen, turned the light on the back porch on, and there, in the yard, playing around merrily, was a family of raccoons.family. Four or five, including a big fluffy one that was bouncing around like a squirrel, trying to catch a bug. After a moment of freaking out, my mother and I both realized that no, they weren’t rabid, just having fun, and decided they were actually kinda cute, from a distance.

Now, I knew there were raccoons in the neighborhood. I caught a glimpse of one once walking home from work back in July, and I watched one come scooting awkwardly along the fence one morning in August. I’ve never seen one that up close before, and never more than one. So, being the curious sort that I am, I looked up raccoon symbolism and found that they have a connection to, among other things, trees. I was actually kinda stunned. I asked Val about it, and he said, “I dunno, I’m not a raccoon. But maybe they were here to thank you. Or play in the energy. Something like that.” He’s often right(old fart knows much more than he lets on).

So, that was my week. It’s been long, and weird, and full of wyrdshit. This whole week I’ve been reminded of something I read in one of Sebastian’s books, “the more you work with Other, the more it Others you.” I started out being different. Now, I’m not only growing more Other, I’m growing more myself. Which is, I think, a good thing.

“Healing the Tree”