I started to created the proposal, freaked out, and stopped. A couple months later, my friend Jason Mankey asked if I’d like to contribute something to his new book, The Witch’s Athame. I said, “Sure!” and wrote a couple little somethings. After this book was published, I received a note from the Editor at Llewellyn (who I’d originally pitched the Secret Country to) and she thanked me for my contributions to Jason’s book and asked whatever happened to my proposal.
I knew I wouldn’t finish it unless I gave myself a hard deadline, so I told her I’d have it in two weeks.
Without further ado, here is one of my pieces from Jason Mankey’s The Witch’s Athame, which feels very apropos to me right now:
In the Shapeshifter line of Feri Tradition, there is a focus on relationships and perspective; we understand that all things have their corollary within us. Our skin is a point of reference from which the universe expands and contracts, from the infinitesimally small to the immeasurably big. The edge of us separates the interior world from the exterior world and is the blade of our individuality, shaping our lives as we go.
The Witch’s knife is a tool of power. To wield it safely, we must become adept at managing our own power. We take responsibility for our part in the circumstances of our lives. We sort what is within us from what is outside of us. We attend to our complexes, and the blade assists us in that work.Our knife is a real device of cutting, of separating this thing from that, and it is dangerous. You might cut away something you did not intend to part from. You might hurt someone.
There is nothing inherently wrong with this.
Sometimes we must be rebroken so that we can heal up right this time. Sometimes we must open a wound to let the infection drain. We need sunlight and air on our hurts to help them heal. The knife can open a path for that light to travel. The knife can be the path, reflective and clean.
We understand the value of being sharp and flexible so we can point and thrust with confidence. To have this confidence, we learn to know ourselves. The cultivation of our will allows us to stand in the fires of our complexes, trusting that we will survive.
The knife is the tool of will.
Meditating on the events in our lives that have burned us, pounded us, folded us, reminds us that adversity shapes us. Recalling the cool relief of the gods’ sweet waters reminds us that both ease and challenge are gifts they give their children.
The knife can support, keeping the back straight and the shoulders square. It aligns itself to the body and we may walk with the blade against our backbone, providing us with a framework.
The knife can defend. Laid across the threshold, it keeps intruders away. Worn on the belt, it reminds us that we are capable of doing what is needed.
When walking into the circle, carry the Witch’s blade, and leave the shield at the door. Enter sacred space unencumbered by defensiveness. But always come with power. And recognize the power of your kin in the Craft.
Blessed be your strength.