This morning I am in the kitchen. The heart of home/hearth. Outside, it's another gray, freezing New England day just like the hundred or more days to come before Spring. This day began in darkness at 6:15 a.m. with the coffee my daughter prepared for me--her morning offering to the Goddess who drives her to the bus as the sun bleeds pink across the skies and the frost on the windshield gives way to the defroster. She kisses my cheek and I make my way back home to awaken my son. Before that, there are stolen moments at the altar. The candle. Salt water. Sage. Bell. Breath. Prayer.
"The rose is wet . . ."
My son eats the oatmeal and dresses. Meanwhile, the dishes and laundry get done. The butternut squash gets split down the middle and placed in the oven. The floors are swept clean and the floorwash applied. "I like that smell, Mom," he says. "Can I do some?" And so, I hand him the broom sprinkled with the concoction of herbs, energy and alcohol and he does the front hallway. We pack his bag and go over the spelling words for today's test one last time before the bus arrives. We hug at the doorway, his hair smelling of coconut oil and his jacket of winter air.
I close the door and breathe a sigh of relief and contentment. The day is mine.
I make my To Do List and check for any emergency arrivals in my email box. Relieved nothing terrible has transpired in the night, I shut the computer down.
I pull ingredients from the fridge. Throw away left overs too old for consumption. Run the dishwasher. Turn on the sweet, rough voices of Rising Appalachia.
I breathe, slow and deep. Ground, center and reach out to starlight. My body responds. Ha! Arousal flickers and ignites within me. A heaviness descends around my crown and temples. The next hours in the kitchen are as slow and focused as long hours spent with a careful, passionate lover. Senses heightened. Heart, pores and nerve endings open. Soft focus. Pleasure.
Wash the chicken under cold water, hands grasping just so. Clear the violence. Give thanks. Rub the oil into pale dimpled skin, then the spices. Into the oven.
Potatoes need to be cooked before they go bad. These go under cold water too. Skin brown and gritty, their round bodies do not give under the pressure of my hand. Breath comes slow and deep. I dress them with gratitude, blessings and oil. Into the oven.
Two pounds of bell peppers on the marble cutting board meet the edge of the knife slicing strips. Fiddles, bass, drums and those dangerous earthy voices fill the room. Rocking with the music. Hundreds of tiny white seeds coaxed from these bodies. Sacrificed. Hum in harmony. Seductive voices. Watch in wonder as the juices bleed and leak across the board. Metal on marble. Under the killing blade a bright confetti of red, green and yellow. Thank you. One placed in the mouth causes the glands beneath the tongue to secrete, the taste buds to open wide and take in the tang. Snap between teeth, this red vegetable being becomes part of me.
"Let us be in joy . . ."
For what must be the tenth time today, I gather this rush of Life Force into me and share it with my own GodSoul. The crown of glory rests more heavily upon my head. The waves of arousal become more insistent. I run that through the Points, feeling my stability.
I muse about love and pleasure, sex and prayer, food and nourishment. Test the squash to be sure it's cool enough to handle. Put the peppers in the zip-loc bag and breathe into them . . . this calm focus, this heightened sensation, this blessing. I will use these for months, taking a handful or two at a time from the freezer, sautéing them in oil or butter with fresh onion and garlic and perhaps, ginger, tomato, sausage or cilantro. Every meal prepared with them will be infused with the power and sweetness of this morning. Rice and beans, red sauce, soup, curry, fajitas, omelets, meatloaf, stuffing . . . . all these begin from the tiny white seed grown in Earth . . . and breath.
"All things feed of each other . . . "
In my mother's soup pot, I start the butter. Listen for the sound it makes seconds before it starts to scald and turn brown. Leeks are washed in cold water, my thumbs and fingers separating the delicate folds...kinesthetic remembrance of this motion and there's a sudden intake of breath. These, too, are transformed between cold marble and knife edge.
I reach for the grater and remember the story of Victor. This morning, I am not in the mood for threatening god with bodily harm, but a smile plays on my lips and again, I give thanks. My thoughts turn to him, who I spoke with only once but whose life and wisdom have so thoroughly shaped my own. Thumb-shaped ginger releases its uniquely sharp, clean scent. Ah. Ginger. For colds and sore throats, digestion, heating the blood, burnt on charcoal to quicken things, added to oil for lust. Blessings.
The leek and ginger hit the hot butter with a hiss. Alchemy is right here. Their scents mingle and converge. I add masala, clove, cinnamon, curries and cardamom, some splashes of water so it doesn't stick to the pan, and turn the heat down to let the magic of heat and timing work. I turn my attention to the squash. Its skin, so tough to cut through a few hours ago is paper thin. I could easily peel it back, leaving the orange flesh whole to be mashed with a utensil. But, no. Deep, slow breaths move in and out as I sink my fingers into this warm flesh, breaking it into strings, mushing it between palm and fingers, kneading it into soft submission and I rock and breathe, bless and give thanks. The low vibration of the washing machine down the hall moves through my feet and upward. If someone with any ability to Sense at all were to enter the room, they'd look around expecting to find bodies entwined in mesmerizingly slow pleasure. These bodies--mine and the gifts of the Earth--are engaged in the pleasure of give and take, surrender and will, union.
"All energy is sexual energy . . .”
I add the squash to the beautifully blended sauté. The aroma is rich, spicy, heady. More cinnamon. A handful of dark brown sugar for sweetness. Salivary glands do their thing. There's gorgeous, spontaneous choreography happening right now. I reach for the pitcher of water, happy that it's three fourths empty so early in the day. As I stir clockwise, I let the power go down the wooden spoon in blue, red and opalescent flashes and then, sweet liquid fire.
"Life is sweet . . . "
Quickly, I blanche the four pounds of fresh broccoli, watching the color turn from muted to bright green. Let it cool a few moments in the strainer. As I snap the stalks from the heads, my thoughts turn to fractals. Each tiny floweret an exact replica of the entire head. Like coastlines. Like oak leaf and star fish. Like the nautilus, the crystal, the pine cone. Like God Hirself and the Mighty Guardians. And my own God-Self.
"They come wearing their party hats . . . . "
I call their Names.
"Guide and Guard this work . . . Bless this Life . . . Make it right. . . ."
I notice my hands shaking. Gather the excess Life Force swirling within and around me. Breathe it out through my hands into these zip-loc baggies filled with miraculous green fractals. Enough for ten meals for the kids and I. With what's in the chest freezer, this might just get us through until springtime. Give thanks for the freezer. The house it's in. This simple abundance.
The soup is simmering. I sing along with those Appalachian girls and think of that other girl from Appalachia and how she, too, loved the kitchen, these simple magics of healing, blessing, transformation and love. I locate the pot lid and remember this set on the back burner of the stove from Autumn to Spring in my own mother's house, always filled with one soup or another. They were the same age--my Mom and Cora--these two women who shaped me, one purposefully and the other unknowingly. I put the lid on the soup pot and think about Silence and the Witch's Pyramid.
"A covered pot keeps the flavor in . . ."
The red tea kettle starts making its high pitched whistle, demanding I notice what a good job it does in alerting me the water's boiling. As always, I compliment it on its fulfillment of its Work. Lipton tea with a pat of butter. Taster's Choice instant coffee with a level teaspoon of sugar and a splash of half and half. I unwrap the little apple pie and put it in her dish--add a bit of whipping cream because it makes her smile. Dad would love this last piece of Entamen's cheese coffee-cake I bought on sale for him earlier this week. The Dead need nourishment, too. I carry it all to the shrine. Change the water. Light the candle and the incense. Give thanks. Ask blessings. It's Friday and this part is usually reserved for sundown but there'll be a Circle here tonight and this is for my household only.
"Holy Shekinah . . . Mother of God . . ."
The shields are reinforced. The wards renewed. I breathe into the swirling around me. I swirl into the breaths within me. Mix the white powders in my hand, pouring life force into them. Feeling the mantle slip down further around my shoulders, I step into the cold morning air and blow into the winds, turning quickly--careful not to look back.
"Gods. Protect us in our Innocence . . ."
I see the laptop on the kitchen table. The music has ended. The house is silent but thrumming, heavy with the aromas of food, rich with the magic’s of this Witch. I feel the pull of the keyboard begging me to write and tell myself, "No. One more thing first."
I hold the cold, round, incredibly bright yellow lemon in my hands and roll it around there before washing it clean in cool water. Wash away. Wash away. Pat it dry. It is a bright cold sun between my palms. I make the prayers and set it on the plate. Gather the salt, sharp white and resonant with the sea. O su su Yemoja. These prayers are made. Once more, I take up the knife. Citrus scent and sharp focus as the blue flame sparks from the blade. Enchantments are made.
"All spells against me congregate . . . "
These are my Rites. These are the Ways.
This simple, focused, flowing power, this presence, these thoughts, this arousal, this food, that blessing, these memories and offerings, these actions in the service of Life, these spells woven in honor of Life, these simple magics feed my children, protect my household, connect me to my Ancestors and magical Lineage. This music carries me into the core of my sex and deep into the vast spaces between stars. These prayer seeds-- this salt, this oil, this water, these spices, these juices, this tea, that cake, this animal, that fruit, this breath, this pot, these gifts teem with Mystery. Holy of Holies. World without end.
These aromas permeate the spaces between the atoms amid these walls and bless each and every one with health, abundance, generosity and gratitude. These are works of remembrance and honor, love and gratitude, forgiveness and valor, sweetness and simplicity. These, to me, are far more powerful than any disputed liturgy, any so-called Rites of Yore.
These are beyond reproach. These are the magics born in each moment. The Witch Herself the Center and Circumference clad not in robes or draped in jet and amber but in the t-shirt she slept in, a pair of sweat pants and a dishcloth tucked into her waistband. She stands at the kitchen counter as an altar. She wields a steel butcher knife for an athame and a wooden spoon as her wand. Gray marble cut from the earth into slab suffices as her paten, an electric burner for the bonfire, the cook pot her cauldron and censor. The sink serves as her chalice and an i-pod fills the room with songs of praise for simple things like love and longing, death and poetry. This, my Way, is a living, changing, spontaneous and heart felt, soul full magic throbbing with clarity, purpose and authenticity. These ways cannot be taught but must be lived.
The Holy Silence of this Temple, more sacred than any jealously guarded secret. These simple prayers carry me deeper than sitting before the altar in hopes of being struck by clarity or wisdom or ecstasy. These ritual actions take me higher than ten thousand pentacles drawn in the air or forty years of memorized complicated catechism recited by the scowling and pompous. These simple moments of presence, focus, arousal and descent spent humming, cooking, musing and praying---these carry me within reach of my Black Hearted Innocence.
These are what make me Who and What I AM. And, I am a Feri Witch. And I am. And, I am. I am. I am. I am. Iamiamiamiam. Om. Sila. Amene.
"My tears and my cum . . . are Her gifts . . ."
Notes and Sources, because it is required that we honor our Teachers:
"The rose is wet" is from F. DeGrandis' Daily Litany
"Let us be in joy" is from another prayer, "I Greet the Goddess," written by F. DeGrandis
"All energy is sexual energy," from Oral Tradition given by my Teacher and Initiator
"Life is Sweet," orally transmitted to me by M. Jackson from V. Anderson
"They come wearing their party hats, " V. Anderson, via Oral transmission by my Teacher and Initiator.
"Guide and Guard this work . . . Bless our Lives . . . make them Right," from my BlackHeart Feri Invocations
"A covered pot keeps the flavor in," C. Anderson, via Oral transmission to me by Anaar to me.
"Holy Shenkinah, Mother of God," V. Anderson, via Oral transmission to me by M. Jackson
"Gods, protect us in our Innocence," part of a spell for protection, orally transmitted to me by my Teacher and Initiator.
"All spells against me congregate" part of a reversing spell orally transmitted to me by E. True
"My tears and cum are Her gifts," F DeGrandis, via written transmission from my 3rd Rd Teacher and Initiator.
Sound track: Rising Appalachia, Scale Down.