Wait: A nasty, four-letter word

For years I have yearned for a place that was “home enough” and that had a yard where I could grow some kind of garden. Being a sensual person to begin with, I have great appreciation for flowers that simply smell yummy and/or look pretty – I’d love to grow peonies and dahlias in particular for those purposes. But what really drives me is the desire to use the things I grow – and for more than just decoration.  Magic food, mojo bags, infusions, salves – you name it. I dream of basil and rosemary, mint and jasmine, bell peppers and nasturtiums, calendula and meadowsweet and goldenseal. And a whole host of others.

We’ve got an ever-expanding cabinet of dried herbs that we use for various magical and medicinal purposes, but to grow our own to supplement our current supplies! Oh! How fabulous it would be. Of all the Witches in our house, I’m the  Witch who spends the most time in the kitchen and seriously, I will probably cry when I harvest the first of the herbs I hope to grow. You should have seen me at the Old Drug Store in St. Augustine wandering through their collection and meeting SkullCap, Motherwort, Linden, and Crampbark for the first time in person. I got all choked up – no joke.

And while we live on a wooded lot (well, really, it’s not that we have a lot of trees on our lot but our neighbors do which translates into lots of shade and ridiculous amounts of fallen leaves in our yard), I’m choosing to be optimistic. I’m especially excited about gardening because it’s something that my wife and I will be doing together. It will be our project.

The other night we were chatting and I’d recounted wandering through some of the gardening aisles of Walmart. My wife – ever the patient one – told me it was still too early to start when she spotted me eyeing up the manual tiller hanging on the wall of our garage. Not even tilling? Nope. No tilling yet. The Earth is still chilly and she is not ready yet. If we till her now when she is still cold and wet and has told us it’s not time yet, she won’t trust us and won’t grow happy things for us. Hmmm…You’re sure? I am – I had a little chat with her the other day. *sigh* Okay.

I’ve come along way in the patience department over the last few years, but my nature is do! do! do! Not wait. And usually I start out wanting to tackle step 5 and ignore steps 1-4 which generally does not lead to success. So I’ve had to learn to pull the reins in on myself. I’ve made improvements in that area by having conversations with myself (literally) about what I want. Then, I inevitably have to tell myself that that cannot happen overnight (no jumping to step 5), so what would a first step in that direction be? As soon as I can figure out that first step, I’m usually all right because it gives me something to do. Somewhere to focus all my energy.

After my conversation with my wife, I thought about what I could do now while I waited for the earth to be ready for me to play with her. It’s been rainy and overcast here the past several days, so trying to determine more specifically where in our yard we get sun and where good locations for growing herby and plant people might be was not an option. However, the obstacle of shade and sun still sat in front of me, and while I know little about gardening at the moment, I know enough to know that’s important. So I went to the library. I have to pull the reins in here, too, because my first instinct is to get an overwhelming amount of books which usually leads to me not reading any of them. And while I am a rather voracious reader when something really captures my attention, I’ve learned to limit myself now to two or three. The two I checked out include Making the Most of Shade and a Beginner’s Guide to Herb Gardening.
Meanwhile, in the rest of my life, lots is going on and I’m far from bored. For what might be the first time (possibly ever), I’m not the one whose shit is all over the place. It’s quite nice here (temperate, easier to breathe), and I’m enjoying it a lot. Historically, though, how Momma and Papa have communicated to me in the past that I’ve got shit to work on is usually through some physical means. All Witches process energy through their bodies. Nine times out of ten when a Witch is sick, the root of the issue is NOT physical in nature. It’s typically related to some spiritual or life lesson. So, for me, when my shit crops up, I’ve gotten some kind of sick, I gotten a cold, etc. For a while toward the beginning I used to break out in mini hives along my arms (very unpleasant), etc. Recently (as in for the past year or so), it’s been a cough. It’s a cough that won’t ever completely go away – it just gets worse some times more than others. An annoyance, really, but an alert system that’s very functional. However, I was recently explaining to our newest Witchlet how that worked and saying I would very much like to get smarter and be able to become aware of those issues another way so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the cough or any other physical ailment like that anymore.  

As I began writing this and was thinking about how fiercely the idea of gardening has grabbed me and the ensuing conversation with my wife, I had a moment. As soon as the concept of ‘patience’ came up, multi-colored flags flew up, alarm bells started jangling, etc. (This is the exciting part!) Brief caveat: I learn by making connections and associations among things. I take the new information with which I’m presented and weave it in to my existing knowledge base by connecting it to something. So in my moment, the following thoughts occured to me: Where else in my life is this concept appearing? Can I draw parallels and connections and associations? Does this hold some other lesson for me that I have been refusing to see? Well, yeah. This sounds so simple that I’m a little embarrassed to be writing it, but what if I used the way I learn (making connections) to figure out what shit I need to deal with based on seemingly mundane things going on in my life that grab my attention? No more coughing!

So, how does gardening and having to be patient and wait play into issues/lessons I’m dealing with at the moment? I’m having trouble with being patient with some of the people in my world. A variety of them of have created monstrous messes for themselves (which affect me indirectly, because, you know, I’m in relationship with them and actually live with them), and my perception is that they’re not really doing much to fix their messes. Don’t get me wrong – I love these people. Ridiculously. At the moment, I don’t like one of them. One of the get-out-of-almost-any-mess-free card that we whip out around our house is the “I’m sorry – I was being dumb” card. We all have moments when our brain just kind of falls out and we behave like idiots. The thing is, when you whip out that card, you have to actually own that you were being dumb and acknowledge that you’re done with that now. This particular person is being really dumb.

However, I have also been dumb. A lot. Like, for the past four years until several months ago. Almost, if not, the whole time. What can I say? I don’t like to admit it, but some times, I’m a bit slow.  My wife, Goddess bless her, is an inordinately patient woman, and throughout the past four years, sowed the seeds I could receive (and a bunch I couldn’t at the time but that took root once I was ready). And waited. Eventually, I stopped being dumb.

So the wise and best-version-of-me-possible thing to do here is to wait. And be patient. And keep loving these people and sow what seeds Momma and Papa tell me to sow when/if They tell me to sow them. And to remember that I was really dumb before for a while, too.

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Autumn reflections

Perhaps the title of this post is a bit confusing for you provided that it’s the beginning of September and here in north Florida, fall is a ways off still (though you wouldn’t know it by today where the sky is gently overcast, the temperature is probably in the low 70s, and there isn’t a lick of humidity in the air). The day before yesterday I woke up, got myself coffee, and headed out to our back patio per my usual routine. As soon as I had sat down and taken a deep breath, my senses were overwhelmed by Fall. It didn’t matter that it was probably 75-80 degrees outside and sunny here. Superimposed over that reality in such tangibility that it left me literally breathless was a deeper one. One in which I could smell crisp leaves recently fallen from trees, apple cider, bonfires, and pumpkin pie; one in which I could see and hear those leaves – on trees and being whisked along the ground and those bonfires; one in which I could taste that apple cider and that scent of autumn in the air around me; one in which I could feel the crisp and cool fall breeze along my skin; and, one in which I could feel that pull as the year, for Witches such as myself, begins to come to a close and the pull of the darkness of the coming winter starts to overcome the length and lightness of the days of summer.

For the last several years toward the very end of July and beginning of August, I have felt the undercurrent of fall beneath the summer that still was in full swing start to slowly rise to the surface. I have had moments, as well, of that kind of superimposed vision of seeing the leaves of trees around me in their fall attire when, in the moment, they were actually still in their stunning summer green. But I have never before experienced being so tuned in to the cycle of the year so as to experience the coming autumn on every sensory level like I did several days ago. It was as if Nature opened herself up and invited me to partake of her magic. I have had “witchy” moments and experiences before, but nothing at this level of primal energy and certainly not solo – completely unaided by my Teacher, other witches, or a coven. I sat for a good 10-15 minutes, silent, wide-eyed and open-mouthed, in utter and complete awe and gratitude. Still, when I think of it now, I am humbled to have been granted that experience. No amount of ‘thank yous’ could suffice, and so I take a moment to simply be in deep reverence.

As a Witch, this time of year is about the Harvest. Mabon is approaching in the next weeks, the second of three harvest festivals of our year. It is a time both of celebration of what we have learned, what we have manifested, what we have been blessed with this past year, as well as a time to reflect on the work that remains in front of us before the last harvest sabbat and the end of the year at Samhain. Come October 1st, at least for me and my family, that work that remains can be felt as a tangible burden on our shoulders, an almost oppressive energy (depending on what is left to do and learn) that continues to grow until the end of the month. It can be, in some ways, a month full of “those days” where it seems that every obstacle that could come up in our path does because the Goddess and God are presenting us with last-minute opportunities to move through those lessons and be able to leave them behind us as the year ends.

This entire past year has felt like an October as my family and I have faced trial and challenge and crisis one right after another. You can imagine how much I am looking forward to bringing the year to a close! And yet, as I shift my mindset into that of bringing in the harvest as I reflect on what I have learned, how I have grown, and what remains for me to learn in the time left, I have created for myself a place of peace and gratitude (something I can count among the things I have learned this year) in which to do that work. Among other things, I still have some work to do on money shit. I also have some figuring out that needs to take place about the differences between intimacy, sex, and romance and where my needs lie within those three. And I need to actively embrace compassion as far as my parents are concerned if I am to find any healing for that relationship. I’m sure there’s more (there usually is 😉 ), and that’s all right.