Crafting Local: Balance, Bitches and Mater Beds

And I can taste
That honeysuckle and it’s still so sweet
When it grows wild
On the banks down at old camp creek
Yeah, and it calls to me like a warm wind blowing.

Little Big Town, Boondocks

Balance.  This word has come out of my mouth more than my favorite curse word lately, and that’s saying something.  If pagans had a motto (that they all could agree to) it would be this concept of balance.  But lately, I have been conceptualizing this idea in a whole new manner.  Go figure–it only took forty-six years.  Have I mentioned that I’m an Aries?

I remember the anguish of being ten years old and my first lesson in balance.  It was “free time” outside, there was this balance beam and my lanky ass waited until all of the gymnastics gals were done with their somersaults and tight-wire acts to tip toe over to that long plank.  Assured that they were busying themselves with gossip, hair flips and Bonnie Bell lipgloss, I attempted to walk–practically pissing my britches–across the beam.  For just a moment, I felt it: confident, strong, weighted just right in white Keds, just before I heard Suzanne B. behind me.  Look at you.  You think you’re a gymnast, doncha?  Dummy.  And . . . I fell.  Bloody knees, humiliation.  No balance when you’re ass-first in the dirt.

You see, this is where the other little thing has been wearing on my brain.  Stay with me.  So, balance sounds all nice and cheesy safe until we forget about our real, visceral location in the universe.  Like mean-girl-land.

Let’s try this another way.

Last Mabon, we were all snuggled up in the back forty with Mabony foods and fire.  Somewhere between beer bread and presentation of corn dolls, the assumption was made that we were in a particular numerical harvest . . . on account of that’s what Pagan Wikipedia had declared.  Hmmm.  Now, all those books and standards were carved in a land far, far away from lower Alabama where it’s eighty degrees by March and often the same well into October.  Turns out, we’re semi-tropical.  We have loads of red clay.  Our roaches could drive a VW and our sun sets much later than many other geographical locations in our sweet world.  See:  our geographical/physical location doesn’t just matter, it’s critical, ‘specially if we want sweet maters.  It’s like I tell my magic students: you can have all the secret/standard words, stand in a certain direction, throw on your purple cape, wear that pentagram and holler on all witchy all your little heart desires . . . but if you haven’t considered the ground under your feet, not much is gonna happen.  Lessen you count the funny looks you get the next day from your neighbors.

Yesterday evening, I took on my last student for a good while.  The sun was still warm, I was having a little hair of the dog and we were gnawing a bit about what would be expected in her witchy learnin’.  If found myself repeating (like some old, forgetful bitty) over and over: because we want something to happen.  Everything else is just, well, performative.  Just imagine: we craft a little ditty out of Egyptian spice, throw in a bit of English Rose, shake a little Ethiopian pepper and fire over the whole shabang in Indian oil (dots, not feathers) while speaking a foreign tongue.  How y’all think that little spell is gonna land?  Mmm Hmm.  A bit to the left, I expect.

Riddle me this, Batchildren.  Why do we get all uppity about eating local, growing organic, farm-to-table dining and such but do not incorporate those pragmatic, earthy premises to our magic?

Aha.  That’s what I thought.

We want something to happen.  Then what the blue blazes are we doing in the back forty with a foreign magic?  Laws, we look silly as hell.  Then we’re all why didn’t my spell work?  I said all the “right” words.

Balance, anyone?

Now, I’m not denying that we bring other places with us.  After all, we are some righteously recycled souls from some righteous lands.  The question remains: must we deny the ground beneath us to assuage our wander guilt?  Listen: no one has more Irish blood coursing through their veins–lessen they’re straight off the boat–than SFW.  On that count, I honor my ancestors, call Samhain by its rightful name and have been known to bless a soul or three in a Gaelic tongue.  And then there’s the Cherokee in me, three generations back, and a rough thrashing of Apache from my paternal line.  Now.  I live right-slap in the middle of the Cherokee Trail of Tears–not Limerick, or the Isle of Wight, nor Arizona–and so?  And don’t think it’s escaped my wily head that the Irish settled down South back in the day.  It was a recipe that made my skin.  I reckon some Celt hottie turned to some mocha Cherokee and suggested babies.  Aho.  And thanks, y’all.  Someone pass the cornbread, someone pass the mead.  Looks like we’ve got a party called Seba.

Hang on.  I’ll make the point in a bit.

Last year, my tribe got a little cagey and built a Burning Man/Green Man out of the fourteen foot mater vines we had chewed on all summer.  It was the most thumpin’ burn I have ever seen at Samhain: adorned in cucumber and old honeysuckle vines, thrashed through with bamboo from the back and sprinkled with last year’s ash.  That sucker popped and spit and made it look like a Pagan Fourth of July (and got some of us a bit anxious about the po-po) before the night was through.  You see, it was local in its bones, it hankered to our Celt ancestors and was lit up under a late “Ripe Corn Moon” of Cherokee land.  Balance.  It’s ash went down into 2012 mater beds and a bit has been saved . . . for the land beneath our feet in October.  I have this little saying about ash:

Give unto the new seedlings the sacred ash of their ancestors.  May the circle be unbroken.

Balance, y’all.  On account of we want something to happen.  Everything else is performative, theatrical, cerebral masturbatory crap.  Doesn’t compost well.  Many things may be woven in contradiction, but laws save me from such a thread when it comes to my spirit.  Some things are sacred.

But wait–I haven’t forgotten 1976.  That’s right, I’m the fallen colt by a balance beam in a land far away when the air smelled different and Suzanne B. is standing over me in an Etienne Agner belt and perfect hair.  And I looked up at her, from gravel and disgrace, and I said:

At least I tried.

And then I got back up.  And then I walked it again, chanting I will, I will, I will walk over you.  Bitch.

She was my geography.  I had to balance between my desire, her hatred and a fifth grade schoolyard.  She never forgave me.  I’ve never loved myself more.

Fuck ’em and feed ’em fish.  Let’s practice local on the ground we bleed upon, cry upon and roll around like belligerent children.

I am Southern.  I am Cherokee/Celt.  I live in the Bible Belt.

And I’m a righteous witch.

Blessed Be,

Seba

http://www.cmt.com/videos/little-big-town/59758/boondocks.jhtml

14 Comments on “Crafting Local: Balance, Bitches and Mater Beds

  1. Amen Sista! And seeing that Burning Man made me think you must know xxxxx, he made a massive one for Beltane in 05′, the very last MCP public ceremony and committee I officiated, directed, called a quarter, participated in or attended .and I had been on every one since the 1st when I was xxx’s maiden at Imbolc 2004. And I have not looked back one time. I do miss my circle who left with me and a couple of others but not that bunch as a whole. I’ll be solitary forever if I must if the Universe doesn’t guide me to a new circle now that mine all moved away. But I believe in the beacon and it will guide me home:)

    X=names have been removed to protect the privacy of the individual.

    • Actually . . . nope. I have been solitary my whole life because of the hereditary life. Last year, I came out of the closet because I felt this puuussshhh to do so. I know very few, detest anything that smacks of “political” paganism and am extraordinarily private when it comes to tribal ritual.

      But I feel ya, sista. We need community, but we must be careful out there. Sometimes? Solitary is the most sacred moment of all.

      Love,
      Seba

      • You are so right! I got outed, and lost my job as a psychiatric clinical trial coordinator after 7 yrs in 2007 and I have since gone way on back up in the broom closet. While a part of that group there were very few times I ever truly felt magickal moments and energy raised but there were a few.I’m a firm believer in witches born and witches made and while anyone can practice magick there is a difference. Our little circle that started out as 6 but quickly became 4 and the 4 close friends we already were. There are pics of us on my fb page but yes for some reason like all other organized religions it always becomes political. I don’t even go down to the local shoppe unless Christopher Penczak or someone equally special is teaching a class. I can get charcoal at The Golden Temple;) I will have a car tomorrow finally. We will have to meet halfway and have coffee! Valley girl will be so jealous lol!

  2. Speaking of her, I find it sooo interesting she had no trouble recognizing a fellow sensitive but yet is so vehement in her denial of any of her gifts for fear of being smote lol. I think that’s a word. Your’re the English teacher lol.

  3. Fabulous! I’m an old hedgewitch crone, alone in landlocked Indiana. A Pisces that takes A LOT of baths, finds my own way, tends the dead, and mail orders all my supplies, or raise them. There is not a witch around for…hell I don’t think there is….o well, I’m happy, I create my magick, and I’m so glad to have you to look to. Thanks for sharing! BB

  4. Old forgetful bitty? Hardly! Sometimes something is important enough… has to be repeated – make sure it sticks. … ‘cuz we DO want something to happen, don’t we?

    Thank you for sharing the truth of balance with us – all too often we forget in our rush to “get it right”… without asking if we’re “starting” it right. Appreciate the reminder!!

    Luv u, audacious one. xoxo

  5. Fantastic post! So many of us are solitary and yet I bet most of us at one time longed to be part of a group. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be…. I find it hard to feel the magic in the confines of most groups. After we’ve read all the books and taken the workshops and actually allow ourselves to pay attention, listen and practice we find our way. The acestors are our teachers and I believe that we are drawn to practices that we are familiar with even if we are unaware of some of our bloodlines.

  6. Aho! Just back from Scaley Mountain in North Carolina and felt my Celtic blood thumping, thumping in my heart. It was Cherokee land too and Choctaw native blood was thumping too. Felt so close to the land and the Great Mother and her Consort. A whole weekend with 65 two spirited men in nature and celebrating the fertile spring of the Mother. I’m heartful and renewed. I’m back to center and balanced again. Aho!

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with all that was said, great comments:) I think when we realize our abilities and finally figure what it is we are we long for like minded community and for others that we hope we can trust, will not think we’re crazy and will validate what we believe. We gravitate to groups, circles, covens as newbies partly I think to learn and experience raising energy, being a part of a ritual and learning how to play all parts,spellwork, sabbats, esbats and figure out that we are getting it right. Eventually you find the larger the group the bigger the drama and politics, but all those things done with groups teach you a lot of valuable lessons that help you get more out the same acts in solitary and with your own small circle of friends or coven that you know you can go into circle trusting they have your back and even if you end up feeling solitary is the best path for you, those early experiences teach you a lot both good and bad and finally you see it’s okay to do it however feels good to you and that can’t be wrong. It would be wonderful to avoid some of those things we all do and wish we could take back in the beginning….love spells come to mind lol. A good friend and former circle sister once did one as a young girl and ended up with a stalker. I feel pretty fortunate that most of the works I’ve done have turned out well or in ways I was satisfied with but I tend to only do spellwork when there is a serious need and have always been a bit on the cautious side. The Mountains of North Carolina sound heavenly to me right now. I have backpacked in Pisgah around Cold Mountain and spent time in Brevard and in North Georgia. Those areas are near and dear to this half Celt/half Norse girl’s heart:) The only thing I read that didn’t seem to jive with me was Ms Seba being a crone lol. She looks far too young and too good to be a crone lol!

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