Well I’ve finally done it, I’ve published my first book of poetry. The title is the title of this blog and it’s a collection of nearly two hundred poems about love, lust and loss all of which most of us have been intimately aquanted with at one time or another. It’s filled with very personal thoughts on these subjects with a generous sprinkling of nature and spirit. It is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PHHC22X?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860
And now I will share one of the poems from the book to give you a small glimpse into the book and my deep personal thought therein.
Lately I’ve become aware of my lifelong relationship with fire. There is a possibility that I inherited it from my father; he was always setting our houses on fire – accidently, of course, and no, he wasn’t a smoker. The fires were always caused by carelessness and, I now believe, his inability to actually connect to the spirit of fire, which was strange because his occupation included the installation and maintenance of home heating systems, more fire-work. So you might say his life revolved around fire but it took him most of his life to find that balance with it that kept it from getting out of control on him (he had his last house fire when he was in his eighty’s). Throughout my life I watched and tried to learn from his mistakes. Over the years there have been some close calls; a pot holder catching fire, a kerosene lamp blackening my apartment wall, the occasional grease fire and the chimney fire that taught me the importance of keeping the chimney clean. But along the way fire and I have come to the realization that we are deserving of each other’s respect as living, breathing beings on a planet wrought from fire in a universe rife with it.
In the house I lived in for over thirty-five years the focal point of the living room was the big iron woodstove which was in the front part of the house. Later we added another smaller one in the back part of the house. For most of those years they were the only source of heat in our home and I was their major caretaker. They and I had a very passionate love-hate relationship. They were a lot of work but they gave back so much in warmth and ambiance that most of the time it was a labor of love.
When I finally moved out of that drafty old Victorian in town into a newer house in the country the only thing I really missed were those woodstoves and their amiable blazes. At first I thought I could live without them and I did – for about a year. The house was defiantly warmer with its in floor heating and good insulation, warmer than the old one even with its two iron fire breathing beasts.
But as time went on I realized there was an empty space inside my spirit that that couldn’t be filled with anything other than fire. So with the help of a grandson an outdoor fire pit was crudely built out of all the local rocks we could find. It was just a circle of stones inside of which I could safely build a fire. The woods around my house provided plenty of dead limbs to feed my addiction and I was happy for a time. Then I realized that in the dead of winter it was nearly impossible to dig out the pit and fire wood from under a few feet of snow. So the next year I acquired a metal chiminea to set on the small patio outside my back door. Through the fall I filled two totes with kindling and fallen branches to keep it all dry and when winter came I bundled up, shoveled the couple of feet to the fire source and enjoyed many cold evenings visiting with my fire friends. Life was good. But in the back of my head there was a little voice getting louder by the month complaining that it needed fire in the house. It needed a woodstove.
I mentioned this numerous times to my partner but he was not in agreement. Then I went for the logical angle (since he is into that sort of thing) and told him we needed something for heat when the power went out. He said he’d work on getting a generator. We’ve been here for over four years now and there is neither a woodstove nor a generator in our possession.
So this summer I decided to try a little sympathetic magick. Basically I needed a sort of poppet of a woodstove that I could use as a lure for a real one. After much thought I realized it would be easier to make a faux fireplace than a woodstove. And it would also be nice if it was life size. I had most of the supplies to build it hanging around the property; old wood from an abandoned and fallen tree house my grandsons had built, bricks I’d picked up from a demolished old building, and a big wooden crate that was just the right size for the core of my project. The only thing I purchased for it was an electric fireplace insert that tries to look real – and almost makes it.
Long story short, the fireplace poppet is now a focal point in my living room where it gives off heat, ambiance and the magickal intent to bring a real live fire breathing iron beast into my home.
My partner hopes the fake one will pacify me. But all he has is hope. I have a fire poppet and a whole lot of magickal intent.
Many years ago I did a ceremony to become one with trees. The first phase of the ceremony involved going deep within the woods and listening to the wind in the trees to discern which one was to be my sire. I found her, a maple, near a stream, standing alone on a moss covered berm, the wind whispering a soft serenade through her branches.
I set my pouch down that was filled with the tools I would need to accomplish the ceremony and then I undressed. In order to become like a tree one must cast off all the encumbrances of the human body. I was first to become naked as a tree, my skin becoming my bark.
The next step was to gather some of her fallen branches that proved easy since there was one leaning against her trunk. I broke it into tiny pieces making a little stack of them within reach of the tree. Then I dug a hole at her base with a knife from my pouch just large enough for my feet to fit into, stepped into it and placed my arms around her in a hug. We stayed like that until I could feel her life force and she mine. I curled my toes into the soft earth at her feet. I felt a hum of life emanating through her bark, entering my heart, climbing up through my feet, a slow steady hymn of life and love as I asked her permission to become one with her spirit. A breeze sauntered through her branches, I looked up, she nodded her assent and a trickle of affection joined her hum of life entering my body. I thanked her, stepped out of the hole and knelt at her feet to begin the final phase of the ceremony.
Into the hole I placed a drop of my blood and the tiniest pieces of her fallen branch, lit them with a match – the only fuel allowed in the ceremony – and fanned them with my breath until the flames took hold. Then I began feeding the fire while humming a tune, whatever came into my mind, a love song to this beautiful tree person. All of the wood I had piled up was fed to the fire and burned to ash. Then I stood and stepped back into the hole while it was still warm from the fire. The ashes from her spent and burned body covered my feet, squeezed between my toes and I felt the warmth of them like the caress of a lover. I put my arms around her again and we stood there, a single entity bound by blood and fire, standing together between Earth and Sky.
Since that day my love and connection to trees has grown to nearly obsessive proportions. At the time of the ceremony I lived in town with a few trees in my yard. Now I live in the woods surrounded by them. I hug at least one tree daily, talk to them as often as possible and plant more of them yearly. But the most interesting thing that happened to me after the ceremony was the overwhelming desire in the spring to drink the sap of the maple tree. The desire is so strong I have begun to feel like the vampire that is in need of the life blood of another human being in order to continue living. But in this case it is the craving of a human who has become part tree by ceremonial transmission needing a yearly transfusion in order for that element to stay alive in her. When the craving first started a neighbor was tapping trees in his yard to make maple syrup and would share some sap with me. Now I have my own trees.
I tapped two trees a couple days ago, with their permission, of course, and today I collected two gallons of clear, sweet liquid, the blood of the maple tree, my friend, sister, lover. She freely gives me her life blood so that I may continue to nurture my tree self. I drink and feel renewed.
I am sure a psychoanalyst could have a field day with this situation but I know what I am. I know that one day a long time ago a tree sired me and made me one of Them and now I am a tree vampire. I can’t help myself, I must feed to stay alive, to continue being one with the trees.