Gates to the Forests

The world’s fucking magical, you know.

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronwolf/)

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronwolf/)

I woke to pouring rain today, quite early.  The last few nights I’d been awake until near 7am editing and formatting Your Face is a Forest (more on that in a bit), drinking too much tea and forging candles for the coming dark days.

I’d expected such lack-of-sleep to throw me off otherwise, but this morning, I woke to pouring rain, the world grey-blue and green, soil and leaf drenched with water-from-air, dancing, laughing from sky and cloud.

Tea, then coffee, then the forest.

There are two streams within it, one fed from day-lighted street drains, the other formed from the slower dripping run-off of leaf and stone.  I’ve done some work restoring the latter, but the former has been something of a frustration for me since I’ve encountered it, as it’s a popular local dumping spot for household waste, fast-food wrappers, and old tires.  Too much for me to haul out, too much for me to even look at without mourning and rage.

A few days ago, though, I walked past it, forcing myself to gaze into the ravine of plastic bags, detritus from recent bourgeois remodels, soda cans and car parts…

…and it was cleaned.

I don’t know who did it; the city, likely.  This has happened once before–I did a grove-dedication ritual one night, and the next morning I wandered in to find a restoration crew removing blackberry and ivy.  I make no claims the two events were related, only that I enjoyed finding them there the day after I’d invited all the gods I’m oathed to consider the forest a place of honor for them and made vows to the forest and its inhabitants.  Stuff like that’s pretty cool–and I really needed the help with the forest.

So the day-lighted stream is cleared now, and the rain pours happily out of the open pipes past fallen tree and over stone-and-leaf through the ravine.

The other, slower stream has begun to flow today, too, and I couldn’t stop laughing, nor telling it how beautiful I found it, welcoming that spirit into the forest for her winter.  She’ll inhabit that bed for much of the next 6 months before sleeping again in the drier, summer months.  I recognize her pattern, because it’s like mine–winter and rain wakes me into life and dream, while the bright skies and warm days of summer make sluggish my thoughts and obscure the world.

I do my best writing in the rain.  I first moved to Seattle almost 15 years ago on account of the rain, and I’m here again, at least for awhile, to soak again tendril’d roots in this wet soil.

Forests and Gates

I am currently waiting upon the final version of the cover for Your Face is a Forest.  The formatting and editing is all complete, and once I’ve received the proof-copy, I’ll be able to announce precisely when it will be available for sale.

Certain pieces didn’t make it into the book, but I’m content with this.  One, in particular, is worth discussing: The Crown of the North.  There are mysteries of Arianrhod I’ve only begun to explore, certain dreams into which I need to further delve before I feel comfortable putting it into print.  New relations between Her and a few other gods have recently presented themselves to me, and at least one of these is with a god I’ve recently “met.”

I don’t know if “met” is the right word.  Like Brigid and Brân, this god particularly seems as if we’ve already known each other longer than I realized.  He’s a Heathen god, a surprise to me, and yet…yeah.  I’ll write more on this once I know more to say.

But on the matter of Arianrhod, and on my coming trip to Newgrange (may I admit it feels more like a summons? My friend put my name in on a whim without asking me, my name one of fifty picked out of 30,000…it’s too wyrd-bent to be mere happy accident, but I don’t yet know what it’s for), I intend to make a short trip to Wales.  My best friend moved there from Seattle a week after I left on my Pilgrimage last year, and since most of the gods I’ve met were worshiped in Wales, I’m gonna go see what I can find.  I hit my goal on my fundraiser, but it’s still open until November 1st, so any extra contributions will go towards that leg of this new Pilgrimage.

A little more on Your Face is a Forest.  There’s a piece I wrote specifically for it, which ends the book.  It’s called Canticle of the Gates.  Here’s a bit of it:

Remember that time you could not stop looking at a tree? Some slant of gold and rose light through its leaves and you couldn’t look away though you had elsewhere to go, otherwise to do?
Remember that feeling, sublime loss of self, unbidden rapture? There was a gate there, and someone was guarding it.
That time the sea threatened to drown you as you stood at the shore, her or his or its thunder coursing now also in your veins, shaking, quaking all which tethers bone to muscle to skin? You stood at a Gate, looking in, and They looked out.

 

Be well, all of you!

 

——

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf


Bathe your TV in Lavender and Lilac

I recently noticed that there’s a dearth of practical, everyday advice for seekers of the Land Spirits and The Fae, so I thought I’d fill that gap:

Remove your lawn and plant locally-appropriate flora. Build little houses for the Fae from the uprooted sod.  Move into them, and give the Fae your house, because it was probably too big for you anyway.

This week’s A Sense of Place post is what happens when you’re really grumpy and exhausted all day and then go sit in a wet forest full of really, really playful dryads in the dark for an hour.

Enjoy!


Another Pilgrimage

 

Rhyd island

Photo by Aaron Shenewolf (https://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronwolf/) Used with Permission

I just finished editing the second largest section of Your Face is a Forest, ‘Wanderings,’ the travel journals from my pilgrimage last year.

You’ve heard I’m going to Newgrange, yes?  I don’t know if I told all of the story about this yet, and I’m only now beginning to understand parts of the story I forgot about.

The first night in Bretagne, I camped next to an Irish couple.  Great people, awfully kind, plying me with wine and cigarettes and tea and stories.  Inebriated, we talked the first night until quite late, and Ian, the husband of the two, made a particular point of telling me about a place, insisting repeatedly that I should find myself there.

I’d forgotten about that until reading these lines:

When I returned to the campground, I hung out with an Irish couple who drank me a bit too much and regaled me with stories of their homeland (New Grange–I must go)..

I wrote about Ian’s voice haunting me for a few days afterwards, his lilting accent presenting itself repeatedly to my thoughts in that ‘important’ way.

My friend Joseph put my name in for the drawing to attend during the short period where the chamber fills with winter light through a small opening.  You can go any other time of the year without having to enter a lottery, but for that period, it’s random: they get between 30 and 40 thousand requests, and they only pick 50.

I didn’t ask my friend to do this.  We met briefly before I left on my pilgrimage, talked about gods and Norse and Icelandic myths, and then he moved to Dublin for work.  We’ve kept in touch a bit, but not much, so the fact that he entered my name is quite incredible and was unexpected.

But, so here we are.

I’m doing a short fund-raiser for the trip.  Sales from Your Face Is A Forest will partially pay for the journey, and I’ll likely work a bit of overtime (which cuts heavily into the quality of my writing, sadly) to fund it.  If you can help, that’s damn awesome.  Buying a copy of the book when it’s released will help a lot, too.

My life’s been pretty damn enchanted since meeting the gods.  This is yet another aspect of it.  I’m all gratitude, and all love.

 

Thanks to Aaron Shenewolf for permission to use the photo of myself at La Push, Washington.


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