XXI. After Circle
After the circle was dismissed, we all put our clothes back on again, I with great relief. Now I could talk to Andy face to face again. I walked over to her, saying, “Well, that was . . . beyond interesting. I don’t have a vocabulary to describe exactly what I felt or what I think I perceived.”
“Was that your first Craft circle, Eddie?” Andy asked.
“Yes, it was. I couldn’t have guessed from reading that it would feel like. . . it felt.”
“You got thrown in the deep end. Usually people these days first attend a public ritual that’s much less intense. But Megan knew you could handle it.”
Deena broke in, “Eddie, I’m sorry, but tomorrow is a workday for me, Andy has morning classes. I have a long drive home. Maybe you can get together for lunch or something soon. But I’ve got to drag her away.”
“I have things to do in the morning myself. It has been a pleasure meeting you.”
“The feeling is mutual,” Deena said. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing you soon.”
“I’m very glad you came tonight,” Andy said, seizing my hands.
I felt as if she wanted me to kiss her. I didn’t believe my feeling.
After a slight hesitation, she threw her arms around me, saying, “Hugs!” She knew I’d understand that custom. As she pulled away, she planted a quick kiss on my cheek. I looked after her as she turned and walked out the front door.
She’s holding back some intense feelings. How do I know that?
Deena looked at me with a slight smile, then followed her daughter.
I found Megan in the kitchen, helping the coven demolish the potluck repast.
“So, Eddie, what did you think of Andy?” she asked.
“She is one of the most attractive and interesting young women I’ve met in years.”
“Ever the master of understatement, aren’t you, Eddie?” Megan laughed at me.
I think I blushed. “I don’t know how to say more than that, Megan.”
“I won’t give you a hard time. Did you have a chance to talk to Deena?”
“Chances, yes, but I didn’t take them.”
“She’s interesting too. We’re honored that she asked to be in our coven.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because they really are hereditary Witches, which are quite rare. Deena’s branch of the family immigrated toAmerica, but they’ve always kept in touch with their relatives in Italy. When Deena came out here for school in the sixties, she was one of the circle of friends who founded our Tradition. She was in the Full Moon Coven for almost its entire life and hived off a coven of her own just before it disbanded. When her husband got transferred to Los Angeles about 1980, she started a new coven down there. He passed over from a heart attack a few years ago. When Andy decided to do her grad work here, Deena moved back up here also. She knew about our coven and asked if she could join. She considers it a relief to have a good coven that she doesn’t have to run herself. She’s just a mine of information.”
“It will be interesting to talk with her,” I said. “It’s hard to get accurate historical information about this religion.”
“Yes, I’m afraid people invent mythical grandmothers and metaphysical nonsense quite freely. We consider it a virtue to admit that we were imitating the Gardnerians, reinvented the wheel for ourselves, and got it to work. With Deena’s input, we’ve also been able to incorporate elements of the Old Religion that most Wiccans these days don’t know anything about.”
“I’d love to talk more about that, Megan, but I’m rather tired, and it looks like a long day tomorrow, so I’m heading home. Thank you very much for inviting me.”
“My pleasure, Eddie.”
“Say my farewells to Brendan and the others.”
“Of course I will. Good night, Eddie.”
She gave me a friendly smile. I walked out the front door.
Is something going on that I don’t know about?