You Think You Spent Just One Night, But It's Your Great Grandchildren You Find In Your Hall
So maybe this only happens to me once every ten years or so, and maybe it's never happened to you and you'll have no idea what that crazy old witch is on about today, but the wind and the rain began this morning around three o'clock. They woke me up because I'd left my bedroom window open and the wild wind was blowing the shade about and making lots of noise. Rain is such a welcome gift these days; I got up, stuck my nose against the screen and stood there in the cold, breathing in the rain and the cold air before shutting the window and going back to bed for something almost as good as v. good sex : the sound of wind and rain on the roof while Miss Thing and I curl under the warm comforter, 75% asleep and only barely awake enough to enjoy the entire process.
But I had to get up and go out for an appointment and, crocs and raincoat and umbrella be damned, it was one of those mornings when it's raining so hard that you just know that you're going to get wet. From my house to the car -- maybe 15 steps -- the legs of my pants got soaking wet. It rained and the leaves blew and the wind tossed the branches and it was, well, it was wonderful weather for a witch. It's the kind of wind and rain that comes when the weather's changing, when the cold front of winter is rushing in to push the warm front of Samhein off to sea, the liminal space at Hecate's crossroads, the point when things bubble and change and are transmorphed in Cerridwen's cauldron.
Driving back from my appointment in Bethesda to DC, I took the George Washington Parkway, driving alongside the river of my dreams, the water of my magic, the beautiful Potomac River. The forest was so full of such amazing, incandescent, burning, living color, and the air and the sky were so grey and the river was so covered in that mist that happens when the water from the sky is making love to the water in the river but the river is topping the sky, and the woods were so full of patchy fog, obscuring and then suddenly exposing a tree the precise tangerine color of the deep middle of an ember, directly next to a twitsted and now, from the rain, richly brown bare branch, which stuck out from a tree with leaves the color of perfect gold, each and every one of the thousand of them outlined in carmine, that gently, but, also, just-like-that, you realize: "One extra step, and I'm over the hill into Faerie.
Those aren't only myths; I'm "that close" to taking a turn that I never noticed before and finding myself peering into the barn where Herne is readying his horses for the ride tonight when the winds really do blow these clouds off to sea and the sliver of the new moon is just enough for the hunters. I'm one too-quick curve away from the moment when a knight on a silver palfrey comes riding out of the woods and across the road, unaware that he's ridden out of his time, unable to see or sense me staring in amazement with the hair on my arms standing as straight as his horse's mane, that mane braided earlier this morning by some lady in a dress of grey and green and great bell sleeves. If I glance quickly enough to the right, away from the river, I'll see a drawf with a meade cup of horn on his belt, see Baba Yaga's house gliding by on chicken feet, see a griffin, a tarot card, a fox. If I look slowly enough to the left, towards the place where you can't tell where the river ends and the sky begins, I'll see the talking snake that I've been dreaming of all my life, I'll see the silent parade of sorrowful ladies accompanying the bier to the river, I'll see the Lady of Shallot gliding on down towards the City, where she imagines that Lancelot waits at the obelisk, I'll see the ghost paddlewheel boat, steaming quickly towards that City of monuments and statues and hidden clues."
I wanted to slow down, to take it all in, to give myself time to consider the risks and the, here's a surprise (not), incredibly inviting possibilities, I knew at least three turn-offs where I could park for a minute, look at the trees, listen to the rain, maybe get out in my already-pretty-wet pants and sweater to dance, flip a coin, consider what's to be learned in Faerie's realms. If not for the cars behind me, I likely would have, surely would have, of course I would have at least slowed way down to take it all in.
I've dreamed of the Goddess, directly and without ambiguity, only three times in my life. Each of those times, I dreamed of a Goddess a bit foreign to me, not one of the Goddesses I'd expect to meet in dreams. One of those times, I stood, as I never have in the "mundane" (what a v. bad expression) world, in Ireland, in the kitchen of a snug warm hearth home, with the warm, solid arm of an Irish housewife around my shoulder, looking out the kitchen window at just such a rain and getting care and inspiration from her. I woke up after that dream and thought, "How odd. Brigid. That's N.'s Goddess, not mine." But it was so warm, so homey and safe, that I couldn't be anything but glad to have met the Patroness of the forge, of childbirth, and of (duh!) poetry.
And it was Brigid pulled me back this morning, reminded me of all the work waiting for me at the office, made the car feel safe and warm, got me to the Roosevelt Bridge where the City began to take over and Fairie began to fade, and pushed me along with a gentle, "There you go now; have tea at the office."
I followed her, it's true, driving over the bridge and back into "the world." I own it. I did satisfying work and spent time in the bosom of my loving family and came home to my snug little cottage and my good grey cat. And, yet, like everyone who's ever heard that siren call, all day, all day, all day, like someone worrying the spot where a tooth used to be, I keep thinking, well, maybe, what if, no, too late, no use going back and looking, the door's not there anymore, likely . . . .
Do the rain and wind and shining leaves ever do this to you? Or am I truly a batshit insane old woman? Not that they are mutually exclusive categories, I know.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."