Rattles and Bones

The trick of the story is in the telling, isn’t it? And the story of my stay on Assateague is a difficult one to tell. I think most stories involving work with other realms can be hard to put into words. One almost worries that the importance of events is lost in the telling, because, really, you had to have been there. That’s a little bit of how I feel when it comes to this story.

Once we arrived, it was late and getting dark. Folks rushed out to help us put up our tents, fighting against the ocean breeze and the airborne sand. We squished together at the dining area to eat dinner and meet each other. It was lovely, and I wish I had been more present in that moment… but I wasn’t. All I could think about was the ocean.

I consider myself an ocean person. I love the feeling of it, the wild power. It’s this thing that is way bigger than me. It’s the womb from which life crawled out from. It’s wild, soothing, yet potentially dangerous. My dad and grandfather were both involved with the Coast Guard, and had a thing with the ocean themselves. I believe I come by it honestly.

Living in Vermont, my trips to the ocean are rarer than I’d like. That, along with a personal issue that I wanted to give to the ocean, made me antsy to get to the beach. At the end of the lovely meal, I rushed out there to be with the waves. I sat. I listened. I opened my heart. I drew a sigil for Manannan Mac Llyr, a Celtic Sea God that I work with (or, rather, he decided to work with me). The waves washed over the sigil and offering as I walked away to go to bed.

The next morning was figuring out how the week was to go. We would be making mesas, divination bags, and rattles. We would also be making a mesa for the campsite. I know I’ve mentioned mesas before in another post, but for those who may have missed it, a mesa is a sort of sacred bundle, normally a portable altar of sorts. The camp mesa was not portable. It was a community art piece that we made offerings to every now and then. Adhi kept the tobacco, cornmeal, and jasmine flowers close by so that we could go in our free time when we felt we needed to make an offering. It was all feathers, seashells, stones, and bones. Pretty impressive, but I am currently unable to find a photo of it. You’ll just have to take my word on it.

Between creative projects, we were encouraged to walk around the island and interact with it. I remember one holly tree that called out to me. I had never seen a holly tree. They don’t grow bigger than a bush up here, if that! It was the first being that really got to hear my new rattle. I still honor that tree with two leaves that fell from it that now live in the little mesa I made to bring home with me (which resides in the big mesa I use in my everyday practice). I rattled for it for about ten minutes until I was directed to go deeper into the woods. There was a lot of small magic on this walk (raccoon prints, bright red birds, and a raccoon skull), but the big magic was when I broke through to the bayside of the island. There was a herd of wild horses, grazing on the sharp grass.

I sat with them, and listened. They eyed me, but left me alone. I wandered the salt marshes until I came across the feather of a Broad Wing Hawk, an animal that I’ve worked with for years. It was magical to find one so far from home, where a nesting pair has always lived, even when I was a child.

There were all kinds of magical moments like that throughout the week. Things that might seem pretty basic and relatively unexciting perhaps to someone who wasn’t there. They weren’t as simple as that, though. This is where language fails me. The magic was there in the waves. The magic was there when I listened and was guided to meaningful items. The magic was there in the mesa creation. The magic was there with the rattles and the divination bags. With all the small things, along with the skills and knowledge that Adhi imparted, the weeks would have been amazing with just that.

It became a little more, though, when we started doing journeywork. And that part I will leave for next week. The story of bad juju beeswax, rebirths, snake magic, and sea gods.

A side note. Tomorrow, I am leading an herb walk in Littleton, NH. There is still room for others. If you’re interested, find the event link on my Facebook (or click HERE). All of the info should be there.

Have a safe Independence Day Weekend

-The Green Mountain Mage