The Containment of Multitudes


Come on, Fred.  Come on, and make your presence known, please!

I wore the witchy poncho today.  I didn’t think anything in particular about this beigey chenille, fluffy, blanket style poncho, until a former co-worker said it made me look like a witch.  I was thinking about that adjective today, as we are on the eve-ish eve of Halloween, and I am entirely sans costume and really, sans any sort of spooky spirit.   I was thinking about it and a memory I’ve held closely, the memory of the girl in the mist.

I only saw her once, I think, and she sat in the middle of a very suburban park.  She was, in the terminology accessible to me today, probably just a vegan who was into grunge.  I remember she had a plaid shirt tied around her waist. But as a 2nd-grader with an endless imagination, the college-aged girl who had a pan flute and sat cross-legged in the park was some sort of nature spirit.  Lithe, thin, pale, with wild hair, she sat in the middle of the green playing this eerie, magical music as the mist moved around her.  Who was she?  Where did she come from?  Was she real?  I remember being very clear that when I grew up, it would be necessary to my happiness, to approximate that aesthetic, that state of esoteric relationship to the world.  To expressly not spend my time at any sort of desk.  To be free and immune to any brand of cultural conformism.  To evoke magic with my being.

I wanted that.  There was no part of me that found it laughable, or anything other than the highest, truest, most holy calling.  It is hard to sit here on this couch, cats rambling and banging into walls with their raucous fighting, all the while thinking about the day I had loading vans full of vast tubs of paper to be shredded, the grumpiness that appears as fact, the stress that is invading my body, and dream. To luxuriate in dreaming about being barefoot in cool, dewy grass, wearing flowers and gauzy fabric and talking to the moon.

It is hard to accept the true juxtaposition of these things within me now.  But even when do so much as lean towards the Stevie Nicks-loving, flower-chattering, candle-burning side of myself an inch, I do feel better.  I do feel more hopeful and less like everything is so far out of my control.  A witch is a woman who is dangerous and sought after not because she can change the universe from what it is, but because she can make it bend out of its pain.  When things are hopeless, she has, at the least, a path that can be walked.  She is not contained by the appearance of physical laws.  She can make you believe that there is no smallness about you, that your wills are the same as those of the universe.  That where you are kind, the universe is kind. Where you are patient, so are the flowers that lie buried in wait within the earth for the right year of rain.  That where you love, some spirit startles awake and begins the long journey of seeking your sanctuary.

The things you can’t think when you are being ground into powder by what would make the world move easiest for others.  The priestesshood of breath, of force, of self.  Those are the magick spells we have been passed down.  I do not mind being a witch because I never was anything else.

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