All Acts of Love and Pleasure Are Rituals of the Goddess
You know those things that you're convinced that, if you ever said them out loud, people would really consider you crazy? (Come on, yes you do.)
I adore hands. I do. They're the first thing that I notice about a person and I'm a huge sucker for hands with character. Do.not.get.me.started.on.guitar.calluses. (If you had sex in the sixties, you know what I mean. Sweet Mother.) The sight of a wrist just below the rolled cuffs of a chambray shirt. Bracelets. Rings. Hands are what I look at first in a portrait or photograph and I can get weepy with joy at the sight of old hands with swollen joints knitting, petting a cat, holding a grandchild, wielding a wand. Babies' hands with dimples at each finger. The hands of a friend pouring wine, handing me pickles and cheese, massaging my shoulders. My own hands at work, typing legal prose, hour after hour, knitting a warm sweater for someone I love, pouring libations onto my altar rock, pulling weeds out of my garden, raised in a dance of benediction for my landbase. A moot court judge once told me that I used my hands too much. He was wrong. I love hands.
Yes, I agree, anyone who would say such things, out-loud, must be a batshit crazy old woman. Guilty, as charged.
Right now, my hands reek of pesto. I can smell them even all the way from the keyboard to my nose, can smell the garlic, basil, olive oil, Parmesan, slight vanilla of pine nuts. And, as much as I love hands, I really, really love scented hands, even my own. I love the way that hands smell after rinsing sage oil through hair, after massaging sore muscles with eucalyptus oil, after rubbing a baby's freshly-bathed body with lavender oil to induce sleep. I love the way that my own hands smell earthy after weeding for hours. I love the way that my own hands smell like apples and curry when I make acorn squash soup. I love the way that my sun-spotted hands, the hands of a priestess, smell when I've waved incense over the body of a sister Witch about to go into surgery. I love the way that my hands smell of lemons and lavender when I make the lavender-lemon-aide-martinis that have marked this Summer for me. And, just now, I love the way that my hands smell of pesto, the harvest of my herb bed, in-gathered on this almost-cool, rainy, early Autumn day, captured and frozen in ice-cube-tray-sized portions to be enjoyed all Winter.
In the frozen days of January, when the ground is hard and the air smells only of minerals and cold, and in the dark, grey days of February, when I am longing for the taste of green, the scent of anything growing, the sight of a sprout, I will thaw the pesto, serve it on steaming pasta, and remember how sacred my hands smelled, redolent of this harvest.
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 . . . ."