I am leaving my little house, and the lane with the standing stone and ring fort. I won’t be taking autumnal walks under the hazel thicket, or lounging in the arms of the blackthorn grove during winter’s darkest hours. Instead, I will stroll under the tall heads of pecan and elm because I am returning to the sauntering arms of a Texas sunbeam. This week I packed my first suitcase and the physicality of the act brought the reality home. As I retreated to the cozy stone sitting room, to process my swelling emotion, I heard a loud and terrible crash upstairs. Rushing up to find what had fallen, I discovered a slat in my built-in bookshelf had been dislodged and an entire row of books sent flying.
Had this bookshelf been any other, I would have chalked it up to poor craftsmanship, or age. But these wooden slats are tight fitted, and wedged into thick stone walls. The force required to dislodge the wooden slat, and heave the heavy books out across the floor, would have been significant. Also, there had been an equally mysterious book incident the day before, as well as an eerie smothering of a perfectly warm peat fire. Taken together, these signs sent me immediately to my altar, and my ancestor stones.
I have a set of small, self-gathered stones carved with signs that sit near my larger ancestor stone and offering cup. I use these small stones for divination purposes, and to ask direct questions of my ancestors. In this instance, I wanted to know if someone was upset with me or trying to get my attention. It turned out both were true! Apparently the spirits of the house, and land immediately surrounding it, are upset that The Human is leaving, as they have grown accustomed to interacting consciously again with The Human — as once was more common and prevalent here!
Many years ago I journeyed. On my deep and cold voyage I met a Lady who showed me many sights. One of these marvels was Her great belly surging upon the land, washing tree and home and creature out to sea, as she wriggled and writhed in ecstasy. This vision troubled me, as you might imagine, and in that moment She taught me the lesson of reciprocity and the concept of wholism. You see, the Lady viewed those living beings as a whole, not as individuals: The Palm, The Macaw, The Human.
As a witch, I walk between my own world, that of The Human, and the world of Other. I walk this hedge because I choose to see a third path, and to stride alone in a space both uncomfortable and uncharted for the sake of curiosity, creativity, and relationship. I’ve met many wonderful persons, human and other, on these unfamiliar roads, but I’ve also acquired wounds; exploring dark places is risky. I’ve often been the one left lamenting the departure of an ally, or a change in circumstance. Now, I am the one causing the unease.
My relationship building is selective, and not trivial or fanciful. I believe all living persons, human and other-than-human, are worthy of respect and dignity, but I may not want to hang out with them all. I also do not see myself as the center of anyone else’s world but my own. The persons who live near me do not exist for my benefit, nor am I the focus of their lives or attention. Not all other-than-human persons even notice me, let alone desire to get to know me, or (as many view it) The Human.
At some point in the distant past The Human formed relationship with this land and built long-standing, meaningful structures upon it. When I moved here, I wanted to respectfully foster those relationships–and isn’t that the romantic, oft sung part of being a witch? Yet the harder work is what we do with those relationships once they are forged. How do we treat the persons we are in relationship with, and why have we sought them out? Did I only foster that connection for prestige, for the introductions he could make at a dinner party?
In this instance, as is the case in many human-human relationships, one partner must make changes that impact the relationship. There are no easy answers, and nothing we can do to make these transitions easier– except lean into the discomfort, and be thankful.