I died when I was born. Reluctant to enter the world that my soul knew was the next phase of my journey, I attempted to flee the womb. I tried to leave for a second time and was sent forcibly back to be born under a dark, winter moon.
Since then, my life has been one long series of deaths, and rebirths, and forced removals . I have been thrust into changes I would not have volunteered for if not for the heavy influences of unseen forces involved with my soul. At times I have complained that it was more than I could bear, the suffering was too great, my emotional tides too strong, my frame too weak to contain them. At others the pristine light of understanding brought perspective, often helped by the experiences of others who, in prior lives, elected to complete the Great Work.
In the depths of winter I was born under a witch’s moon.
Capricorn, sign of the Horned God, was crossed by Neptune, bringer of poetry and visions. Aquarius, the Grail Bearer, dispenser of dreams and wishes, barely escaped from this realm of shadows, its one solar eye looking back into darkness so old even the earth has forgotten it.
“He stands at the gate by which we must return with his tall antlers, and his cloven hoof…”
“Moon in Capricorn just behind the sun in Aquarius in the tenth house — career? Practical occultism.”
The astrologer was so certain. But what did it mean? At the age of twenty-five, I had no idea that I was practicing magic. I thought it was art, dance…yet my own dances were always patterned on myths and rituals: north, east, south, and west, the center, the circle. Sword, vessel, wand, and mirror. Circe. Hecata. Bleodewedd. Salome. The Lady and the Unicorn.
“She brings a dark force to her dancing. She emerges from it carrying a light…”
So said a perceptive, poet friend in my hearing.
“Do I do that?”
He had always known. He wrote a poem about me called “To a Sleeping Astrologer” when I knew nothing about astrology.
“What is the dark?”
“I think it’s sexual.”
“Of course…but it’s old. The dark is anything that is hidden.”
“Why are things hidden?’
“Maybe because they are not meant to be seen.”
“Yes. The ancient mysteries…Orpheus, Dionysis. Those are my favorite ones.”
“The Elusinian mysteries…”
“And some have reduced it to mushrooms…”
I am trying to describe the nature, the experience, of the witch blood. And how you can have it and not know what it is for a long time… It sets you apart. At the age of twelve my mind and body were flooded with visions and telepathic communications with the trees and birds, the sky, the hills…It got so intense that I would stand among my friends and forget I was with them. After a while, they got sick of me and I was shut out of their circle. Nothing could be more painful, and yet when the call floated over the low hills, I heard it, and hearing it, was alone.
“We are here…You see us, don’t you?”
The Earth is our mother, the beginning of life, and the end of life. Before the dissolution of the body, they come and ferry our souls into a parallel world, a spirit world, where we live until the Mother ushers us back to mortal life again. I always knew this. It has not been easy to know such things in our modern times, but since I almost died at birth, moving between the worlds is my second nature and my proof.
Within is deep stillness, is silence, a winter lake surrounded with bare trees whose branches trace letters across the sky. The high black rock sings under the stars. The water has strange patterns in it…The holly drips berries like blood…Every step over the ground is holy. It is not easy to know this beauty, this love, this creation, when it is being destroyed minute by minute for money. When the paths to rebirth are being closed to us forever. When the Wasteland arises again out of ignorance and arrogance and greed.
Just as in the old Romances, the Grail appears and is withdrawn again when we have proved powerless to choose the good.