As a witch, I understand that the world around us is magickal, alive and speaks to all, but very few people shut up and sit still long enough for the Goddess Cosmos to get a word in edgewise. Then they complain that they feel all isolated and cut off from things, and that nobody loves them. This is not true, of course, but it is the natural conclusion reached by those whose lives are full-body versions of sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and going “La-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you-la-la-la-la-la…”
While it may be both stupid and presumptuous of me to share a magickal confidence in this kind of general atmosphere, I’m going to do it anyway, just because my latest brush with the Speaking Universe has been a) amusing, and b) worth sharing, even if no one but me takes it seriously.
First, let us start with Harefoot’s Four Basic Principles of Cosmic Conversation:
1) The Sentient Cosmos is speaking to one all the time, whether one understands this as factual or not.
2) The lingua franca of the Sentient Cosmos is synchronicity.
3) If one is engaged in the right way, with the right task, at the right time, synchrony/synchronicities will start to occur in large batches. This is the Cosmos saying, “Yes/Do this/Go this way/Keep going”.
4) If one is engaged in the wrong way, with the wrong task, at the wrong time, synchronicity will virtually disappear. This is the Cosmos saying, “No/Stop/Let’s pause and reconsider a moment/This will all end in tears, I just know it, and so should you by now…”
Now on to the conversation proper–
Last November, apropos of nothing really, I decided I needed to make a rabbit/hare costume for myself for next Halloween/Samhain. I didn’t know why, out of all the animal energies there are to work with (and that I have worked with) that I suddenly decided to go with Bunny-ness, but because the feeling was both strong and sort of out of left field, I decided to run with it. I started by designing a mask, which I then decided would be too unwieldy to wear, and I opted to construct a set of ears married to a sort of flower-crown, and a tail that I could tie on over street clothing. This was so that if I wanted to wear the costume to work (at the Public Library, as library staff winds up dressing for Halloween because of the kids’ programs we run), it would not interfere with me safely lifting book-totes, processing books or helping library patrons.
The ears took two-and-a-half months to sew (by hand, as they involved shaping multiple layers of heavy interfacing with plastic corset-boning), and I am at present still working on the tail. During the process of making the ears, I started having dreams about rabbits, and I started to see them everywhere, even when I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic on work commutes– on one morning, I inched along to work behind a van advertising the ‘Jack-Rabbit Locksmith and Key-Cutting Service– We Dash To You Fast, Wherever You Are!’, and on one commute home, I drove along for about half an hour behind a large trailer-truck plastered with gigantic images of the Nestle Quik Rabbit.
I also– without meaning to– began to find rabbit-themed reading material popping up at work. In the space of one week, I ran across two books that featured young women involved in learning either midwifery or hedge-witchery (or both) who meet Hares as Spirit Guides– Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce, and Hannah’s Garden by Midori Snyder. The books in turn prompted research into Rabbit/Hare symbolism, and also triggered a somewhat melancholy remembering of an old, frayed denim jacket– now long gone– which I had hand-embroidered in several places with leaping hares, dandelions and dog-roses. The jacket seemed very magickal to me, and I wore it to school a lot, until I had a 4-inch growth-spurt, and passed the jacket along to a friend because I no longer fit it.
At this point, I will pause momentarily to introduce a thread into this story which will become pertinent to it a little ways ahead– that of me being one of four care-givers for my 90-year-old parents. Their care-giving is a story in and of itself, which I do not wish to go into here, except to say that a) it is a mind-numbing, soul-sucking grind to be in their presence over the course of a 14-hour day, because both of them have dementia-issues on top of their other health problems, and b) because they both have dementia, old familial/personal issues which flare up from time to time can’t really be resolved because they now lack the marbles to really understand what’s going on. Patience is of the essence, as is distraction from the general ambiance of their slow deterioration, so on my alotted days with the folks, I bring upbeat and/or novel (to them) DVDs to screen, along with some craft-project or other to work on (i.e., the Hare’s Ears and Tail) during any quiet moments that might happen along. Now, back to the Bunny-riff–
By mid-December 2011, I had done enough internet and book research to know what Tinners’ Rabbits were, and I had reacquainted myself with Hare-in-the-Moon mythology, Nanabozho stories, and a diverse scattering of tales involving rabbits as psychopomps, witches’ familiars and/or as shape-shifted witches themselves. Additionally, I was now the proud owner of a sterling silver ring in the shape of a rabbit’s head, and a silver pentacle with a Hare leaping across the star. I was also in the process of ordering a Three Hares pendant from a place called Taitaya Forge over in Cornwall as a Yule present for myself, as well as spending some time on more mundane activities, such as making plans regarding meals and holiday-themed entertainment for my parents, as I was to be over at their place care-giving on Christmas Eve afternoon/evening and all day on Christmas Day.
By this time, I was also thinking about the Hare-energy as something I probably needed to be communicating with directly, so I started actively calling it in whenever I meditated, as well as calling it in at night, before I went to sleep. The result of this was a spate of highly erotic dreams and an intermittent sense of presence during waking hours of a large, shadowy silhouette that looked mostly human, but had rabbit’s legs from the knees down and long ears topping its head. When it finally spoke to me, the conversation was interesting–
Me: Who… no, what are you?
Shadow: A Puka. I’m sent to ask you if you will be our Queen.
Me: Since I haven’t the least idea what Pukas do, or how you all live, I will only be Queen if I don’t have to actually rule over you, or do anything in an official capacity.
Shadow: That is agreeable to us. We like the name ‘Thorn’ for you. What will your Royal Title be?
Me: How about, The Queen Who Is Not A Queen…?
Shadow: (Laughing) This is also agreeable to us. Rabbits and Hares are both quick-witted, but Hares alone are smart-mouthed. You will make a good Hare-Queen because you disrespect both what we offer and what you would be if you sat on a throne. No rabbit’s flesh will you eat, no rabbit’s foot will you own…
Me: Are you laying a geas on me?
Shadow: Only partly. We mean to say, you are a Hare-foot, not a rabbit’s foot, but you still will eat neither, and yet you will.
Me: I think I know the answer to that one– I will be baking a rabbit-shaped cake, or loaf of bread.
Shadow: You can also eat chocolate bunnies without sin…
Me: And carrot cake is a holy sacrament, no doubt. Puka, what is your name?
Shadow: The Puka.
Me: Was I rude to ask?
Shadow: No, but you are sad, and you are angry, too. This is because your parents still have your baby. You must take her away from them. Then she will be happy, and so will you.
Me: How do I get her back?
Shadow: Give her back what they took away from her.
Me: My old security-blanket… I still do remember having it forcibly taken away from me and thrown out in my presence. So… I should buy myself a blanket?
Shadow: Yes. A nice one. A soft one. And a toy. A stuffed rabbit, because she did not like the yellow duck with the plastic beak. It was ugly, not meant for hugging. It was not nice to give our Queen an ugly duckling...
Me: But the ugly duckling eventually turns into a swan.
Shadow: Did they give her an ugly duck that could turn into a swan? No, they gave her an ugly duck that could only stay an ugly duck. Besides, she didn’t want a duck or a swan. She wanted a rabbit.
Me: Why didn’t they let her have one?
Shadow: Because rabbits know things that people think they have hidden, and don’t want reminding of. Rabbits notice things, and say things.
Me: They don’t like smart-mouthed Hares…
Shadow: They pretend to misunderstand, and take great pains to be offended, knowing all the while in their own hearts that the smart-mouth they despise is not a sassy-mouth, but a clever-mouth, and one a great deal more able than their own. Buy your child a toy rabbit, My Queen. There is much at stake here.
I did not act on the Puka’s suggestion immediately, mostly because it was too close to Christmas and I had last-minute stuff to do. On Christmas Eve, I screened the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol for the folks after I had given them their dinner, and I brought more Christmas-themed DVDs with me the next day, as my youngest sister and her husband were going to be coming over for a visit, and I thought everyone might want to watch ‘something holiday’. Things got a bit hectic, and some of the get-together plans changed, so the dinner that was slated for 1 p.m. didn’t happen until 3. I was busy peeling a bunch of potatoes in the kitchen for the belated meal when I suddenly became aware of a presence behind me and to my right. At first, I thought it was the Puka, but then it began to speak. It sounded exactly like George C. Scott doing General Patton, complete with the bad language, but the subject of the speech was People Who Have The Nerve To Be Ungrateful At Christmas Despite Their Every Need Being Met. I almost dropped the knife and potato I was peeling in the sink, and I bit my cheek hard to keep from laughing out loud. In my mind’s eye, I looked over my shoulder, and there was GCS, dressed as Ebenezer Scrooge (post-Christmas-enlightenment, in that bright red vest) cursing a blue streak, and he just kept getting funnier and funnier. The last line of his deranged monologue was, “…and I sincerely hope that the prune juice in the Spiced Beef kicks the old fart’s transverse colon wide awake at 4 a.m. in the morning so that he’ll remember his Christmas dinner going through him like crap through a goose!” Thank you, George!
Of course, being sensitive to the reality-needs of others, I said nothing about my little kitchen visitation, but I was in a much better mood for the rest of the afternoon and evening. I got back to my place about 10:30 Christmas night, jumped into the shower with about a pound of salt-scrub (the recipe for and ritual use of which will be the subject of the next blog entry after this), had a serious wash, a bit of a cry, and then became aware of a presence for a split-second in the shower with me. It came and went so fast that I did not hear the message that the presence spoke until after it was already gone– it was GCS speaking again, and he said I “should feel free to use a Campbell tartan throw” to replace my long-gone security blanket. (In case someone reading this does not know, the “C” in George C. Scott’s name stands for “Campbell”.)
The next day, I slept in until 10 a.m., and then logged on to Amazon to shop for a plush rabbit and a blanket. I wound up finding 2 very cute bunnies that I could not choose between, so I purchased them both, and although I looked at a pile of Campbell tartan afghans, I opted to buy a two-tone green (my favorite color) cotton blanket that will make a very nice afghan to stay warm under whenever I am too lazy to get up and turn the heater on in the middle of a movie I’m watching. Even though the stuff I ordered did not get to me until after the New Year, my New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day care-giving stints over at my parents’ place were much quieter and far less problematic than Christmas was, and my mood was better as well.
I do indeed think that the magick easement of my situation was activated by my willingness to seriously look for and buy a fuzzy bunny and a new blankie for my far littler self, and I hope she feels free to put the blankie over her head and hide with her bunny whenever I am having to help our mutual, ever-more-decrepit father to toilet properly on the closest commode. I would end the story here save for one more funny synchronicity-twist– it started with me going to Wikipedia two days ago to research the Clan Campbell (a.k.a. Black Watch) tartan. In the Clan Campbell article on Wikipedia is a portrait of one Archibald Campbell, First Marquess of Argyll, who bears more than a passing resemblance to his (obvious!!!) descendant, George C. I have a long-time friend from college, who like me, is a GCS fan, and I copied and sent the picture to her to see what she thought. This woman, whose privacy I will protect on this blog by dubbing her “Prunella Flynn”, heartily agreed that GCS and old Archie must share a lot of common DNA between the two of them.
Since I was still thinking about the offer of the Campbell tartan as a comfort-blanket, I went back to Amazon to do some more looking, but I wound up buying two George C. movies instead– Jane Eyre, and The Changeling. Then, yesterday morning, Prunella sends me an email in which she says, “You know, one of these days, I’ve really got to get myself a copy of George C. Scott in Jane Eyre…” As if this isn’t enough synchronicity, also in my email inbox were two more emails. One from the folks at Taitaya Forge, telling me they got my payment for the Three Hares pendant mentioned at the beginning of this adventure, and that it had been dispatched by airmail just that morning, and the other was from the library system where I work, letting me know that a book I had reserved had come in. The title of the book? Liber Novus/The Red Book, which is a sort of illuminated spiritual diary by Karl Jung, the very man who invented the word synchronicity.
The synchrony-conversation didn’t stop there, however. While on a break at work yesterday, I looked up George C. Scott’s natal horoscope information, just for grins, and I found out something about him that I had not known before. He was born in 1927, which according to the Chinese Animal Zodiac, is a Fire Rabbit year. So now the GCS sightings join the synchronicity-parade of rabbitude leaping through my life at the moment, and the offer of a bit of clan tartan from a Hare-spirit to a hare-brained witch actually does make some roundabout sense. The latest synchrony-jolt arrived this morning in my inbox– another email from Prunella, saying that GCS must be twitting us both, because when she tried to buy some flannel sheets online today, the only sheets that were halfway close to what she wanted were ones done in a Campbell tartan. I did a quick internet search, and, yes indeedy, there are Black Watch/Campbell tartan yarn-dyed flannel sheets out there…
To finish my tale, I’m heartily sorry to tell those people seeking rational explanations for how the Universe works that She will tell you nothing of importance while you have your la-la-logical fingers in your la-la-learned ears. However, if you are heartbroken about watching family members slide head-first towards a piecemeal death you can do nothing to allay, and if you are burned out from having to deal– literally– with mountains of parental shit, She knows just what to tell you, and just who to send with the message–
It doesn’t matter if things are filled with hurting or with bliss; everything is connected, we are all one, and you can just drop the pose of being objective about any of it, if you know what’s good for you.
…And I’m also thinking that if I can have two toy bunnies, I can also have two security blankets… or maybe one blanket and a comfy-cozy set of Campbell tartan flannel sheets…