These past three weeks have been about unpacking, finding places to put everything, returning to routines and . . . water.
Turns out we’re in the rainy season here in Miami, with August being the one of the wettest months of that season. Afternoon downpours with great gouts of water sheeting from the roof into the meditation garden are a near-daily occurrence; mornings are what we in the South call “soupy”.
It also turns out that one of the upstairs showers seems to be leaking onto the downstairs dining table. We’ve managed to figure out the source so we’re stop-gapped until a professional comes to fix it, but still . . . more water than I’ve seen in a long time banging around outside, and certainly more water dripping from the ceiling than I’ve seen since my college years.
While I’m rightly annoyed about the ceiling, after a few days I started to wonder what learnings I might be able to glean from this unanticipated immersion in water. I’ve resumed my morning practice of a quick Tarot meditation; after a long absence from my spreads the suit of Cups has started showing up with increasing frequency. Why was this element suddenly all over my life?
I’ve kept a pretty tight rein on the emotions I’ve shown the world since Laura’s death. I’m pretty adept at compartmentalizing; most folx I interact with have no idea how enraged I’ve been, how much I’ve been reeling. That fierce anger might have seeped out here and there, but not much—the world became too people-y when she died, and I hunkered down in my dark isolated cave, or perhaps not so much a cave as a beaver’s dam.
Hekate Brimo has been my boon companion these past 10 months. In that aspect She’s all about rage and chaos and scary energies, and that has suited me right down to my toes. But now it seems water energy is beginning to erode my carefully constructed dam. Maybe this is the lesson I’m to take away from all the flowing water in my life: maybe the dam I’ve thrown up isn’t serving me anymore. Maybe it’s time to release my stranglehold on Hekate Brimo and align myself with some of Her other aspects.
In Keeping Her Keys: An Introduction to Hekate’s Modern Witchcraft, Cyndi Brannen writes about working with Hekate’s epithets. Mat Auryn has also written of Her epithets. I’m embarking on a multi-day process that will culminate in next week’s full moon celebration, which I’ll share briefly. (You may also find yourself transitioning in the relationships you share with your deities; if so, please feel free to use, adapt, or springboard from this ritual.)
First, be sure you’re ready to let go (a little). I’m not saying goodbye to Hekate Brimo; I’m just moving Her to the side for the present. She’s always going to be in my line of sight, but I’m ready for this aspect of Her to be more on the periphery and less the sole focus of my internal landscape.
Second, do the research. I’ve spent the last few days reading about Hekate’s aspects and discerning which I might embrace more fully as I begin to hold Brimo more loosely. It was already clear to me that I was very much in alignment with Her aspects of Guardian, Guide and Gatekeeper, aspects I live out almost daily as I go about my various interactions and tasks.
Third, map out your Ritual. This doesn’t have to be terribly fancy. I’m a substance over style kind of witch. Reverence and intention don’t have to be draped in fancy fabrics and spendy doo-dads for a Ritual to vibrate with authenticity. I also tend to be more of an organic ritualist; that is, while I am intentional and focused around my petition or work, I tend to open myself to the inspirations that might bubble up in the moment. Don’t get me wrong; structure’s important. It’s vital when leading large-group rituals. But if I’m solely focused on structure—if my attention is solely focused on keeping within the boundaries—then I’m going to miss the magic that comes swirling around the iron monkey bars of my structured ritual.
In this instance, I have started by drawing simple (and I do mean simple!) illustrations of each of the three aspects of Hekate with which I am ready to deepen my relationship: Medusa (Guardian), Enodia (Guide) and Rixipyle (She Who Throws Down the Gates). I also drew an illustration of Brimo, since my relationship with that aspect is also in transition. After spending some time creating my cards I placed the drawings on my altar, where they’ll stay for the next several days until the full moon. They’re just about the first and last things I see before rising and sleeping. This will also help me familiarize myself with the epithets (Medusa and Enodia I’ve got, but Rixipyle is taking a little more effort).
At the full moon (when I’ll inaugurate my outdoor altar and after giving thanks and honor) I will release Brimo by burning her card in my cauldron, and invite Medusa, Enodia and Rixipyle fully into my heart.
You’ll notice a lot of this Ritual seems somewhat passive—and I am certain-sure there are readers who may think “well, THAT’s not a Ritual at ALL!” <sniff!>. But for me, after all the frantic activities, deep uncertainties, and anxiety-producing distractions thrown at me by the mundane world these past 10 months? Sinking myself into an extended time of quiet contemplation is very much a part of the Thing That Looks More Like a Ritual that will happen next week.
The work of the world—the work of the Witch (or any of the mainstream religious or spiritual folk, for that matter)—doesn’t just happen for an hour or so once a month (or week) in front of the altar. We come to the altar eager and hopeful to find renewal and connection, and to be strengthened for the work of the world, be that feeding the hungry, advocating for human rights and dignity, or overthrowing systems of white supremacy. My point is that it’s all connected, and I suppose another point is that Ritual doesn’t (or shouldn’t) occur in a vacuum. Ritual, much like Hekate, has many aspects that inform who we are and how we have our being away from the altar.
Steeping off my Ritual Soapbox now.
As I’ve been writing I’ve realized that I need to explore the energy I’m sensing around Hekate in Her Rixipyle aspect.
When I’ve addressed Hekate as Gatekeeper I’ve always envisioned Her as a sort of, well, cosmic doorkeeper, I suppose sort of analogous to an old-fashioned elevator operator back in the days before we all got to push our own buttons (there’s a metaphor in that somewhere I am sure), or maybe like a Pagan St. Peter at the pearly gates. But Rixipyle is all about smashing the gates, obliterating them. Not so much a Keeper of the Gate Keys as a Destroyer of Impediments (“Keys!? Where we’re going we don’t need keys!”).
Maybe that’s how Brimo will fit into these new relationships I’m nurturing. The fiery passion, the power to transmute. And perhaps Rixipyle may have something in common with Enodia, who is both the Guide and the road. What if Rixipyle is Herself the Keys?
For me, it all comes back to the water energies springing back into my life. Water finds a way to get past obstacles, eventually. Rocks in the middle of rivers are worn down to pebbles, then silt. Dams—both natural and human-made—require constant attention to prevent erosion, attention that can sometimes be so all-consuming that everything else becomes neglected, abandoned.
And occasionally water leaks through the ceiling of a new place, catches your attention (what the HELL!?), and gives you an opportunity to look beyond the mundane to see what deeper meanings may be discerned. To discern that the mundane and the magical are indeed intertwined, if we would but stop and look for what is not readily seen, listen for what is not easily heard.
Even in a leaky ceiling.