Witchery: Azrael Soothes Our Feelings of Loss

Irish The first night was hard. I sat on the couch numb, with tears pouring down my face, after the one they assigned to be on suicide watch left. There was nothing else to do, so I sat and cried my heart out. I cried silently. The families had gone home, so had the friends, and the neighbors. When his dog, Irish, began to keen and howl, so did I. I could not think, I could not move, all I could do was sit and hold her, so I did. I sat with Irish and keened for the loss of him.

Our sons went to my middle sister’s house, the one in which I Had grown up. My parents lived in the converted garage apartment, so the extra people would keep the boys busy and focused on something other than the question: “Mommy, where is daddy?” I could not take that question one more time without screaming and tearing out all my hair. I never understood that phrase before. What good would tearing hair do? It turns out that pain is quite distracting, which helps.

The next day, my eldest sister and my youngest brother went with me to find a funeral home. We looked all day. I answered questions. I cried very little because we do not cry in public. It is not seemly. I held in as much as I could while strangers prodded and pried, seeking knowledge about my beloved. Several funeral homes later, I had enough. They all wanted to know what cemetery he would rest in after the services. I had no idea. I had not thought that far.

I stayed at my middle sister’s house that night. Even I knew that a second might alone was a bad idea. Her teenage son had given us his room, aseldest it was the only bedroom besides the master. I lay on the twin-sized bed as our three sons lay beside me on the floor, resting together on a pallet of several blankets. I could not sleep. I could not stop thinking. I sat on the side of the bed and could feel the horrid emotions coming again. I had to get out, if I started keening again, I would wake the household, and the boys did not need exposure to such raw emotions they were too young to understand.

I left the house quietly. I walked up the street I had walked so often as a child. I reminisced about my childhood and wondered about his. Had he ever walked to the store to fetch something for dinner? Had he ridden a bike  hell for leather up the road dodging his friends? Had he stayed gone from home so long that his parents got in the car to look for him?

I walked up and up the road, heading for the highway, ignoring the serious and thinking the frivolous. I pondered the silly and wandered the past.

Overhead, I heard the squeaking of bats. It was an odd sound, never heard in my hometown before that night, but I often heard after marriage. The first few years we had lived beside a lake and the prodigious number of mosquitoes brought bats by the score. This night, they flew overhead and down the street that lead to the elementary school I attended as a child. I turned to followed. I walked down the street, following the sound. Each time I would lose the sound, it would start again seconds later, as if they waited in trees overhead for me, or circled back to lead me intentionally.

I followed them to the school. Yet, just beyond the school, I saw the tiny city cemetery. It was the size of a couple of home lots and had sported a “No Plots Available” sign for as long as I could remember. I saw a white sign in the distance, but at 2:00 am, it was too dimly lit to see from a distance. I kept walking and decided I would just make a circle around the school and head back to the house. The nearer I came to the cemetery, the brighter the sign became, until I was finally able to read it. “Plots Available” followed by a phone number.

Always adventuringI was in shock. I had lived in the town from 2 months old past turning 18 years, and then moved back into it for a time into an apartment for another year or two before giving up and moving for good. Never had the sign said anything other than “No Plots Available” in my lifetime. I thought about it, remembering Az always said, “This is a great little town, we should try to find a house here like your middle brother’s house,” or “I love this little town.” It was perfect timing. I knew Az would love it.

I memorized the number on the walk back, repeating it to myself over and over, until it was locked into my brain. I snuck back into the house and sat on the bed, repeating the number, hardly daring to believe the walk had been real. As I sat there watching our sons sleep, I felt the weight of Azrael’s chin on top of my head. Since he was a full foot taller than I was, it was his favorite place to rest his head when around me. He would hug me and rest his chin on top of my head at least two or three times a day, usually a lot more often. I recognized the weight; I recognized the placement of his chin. I was finally tired and ready to sleep. As I lay down, I relaxed into the mattress and sighed.

I was almost asleep when I heard our youngest giggle. His was a distinctive giggle, unmistakable. I opened my eyes, turned my head, and he was youngest twinsquirming in his sleep and batting at an unseen tickler. “’top is daddeee!” (He had not mastered his “s” sound yet.) He finally relaxed, just as our eldest twin began the giggle and squirm, his “Daddeeeee” clear and a bell. As I watched, he stilled and our eldest giggled and slapped at unseen hands, while rolling around on the blanket.

I closed my eyes facing our boys and feel into a peaceful and much needed sleep. I knew Azrael was with us and all was right with the world for the time being.

Witches’ Holiday: The International Day of Peace

As a witch, two of my favorite things to do are celebrate and cast healing spells. In a case, like this I get to do both, which thrills me. It is a worthy goal to cast spells for international peace, on Sunday September 21, 2014; this is day the world has set aside to focus on international peace. As such, I know that the energy from my spell work will join with energy from other witches, and the prayers of non-magickal folks from all over the world on this special day.

Intl Peace Day 2“Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t really want to smile at at all. Do it for peace.” Mother Teresa

The International Day of Peace established the same year that I left high school, is a day that needs a LOT more recognition, in my opinion. I think it should be every bit as well advertised as every other world holiday. It should be bigger than Samhaine; more widely celebrated than Yule, and generate more excitement than the World Cup, World Series, and Super Bowl combined. It is an important opportunity for citizens of every nation to concentrate on finding peaceful solutions to the problems between different factions the world around. It is a chance for leaders of nations to talk about solutions, explore new ideas and work together to end the ravages of war and discord that exists in and between so many countries. It is a time for rebels and regimes to find a better way than wholesale slaughter of one another to exist.

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela

If we learn to talk to one another, work with one another, discuss terms, come to agreements, and realize that we all need the same things. We Intl Day Peace 1need sufficient clean air, clean water, and safe food. We need shelter, safety, and security for our loved ones and ourselves. We need to be able to contribute to society, to feel a part of something and help build toward a greater future for the whole world. We need the freedom to worship our God, Goddess, Gods, Goddesses, all or none of the above as we see fit without persecution from others for our beliefs. There are many more, but these are the most important to my mind with only one exception. We all, as human being, deserve and have a right to exist in peace. We need to stop killing over possessions. We need to stop killing of resources. We need to stop killing in the names of our deities. They are surely as sick of it as we are, yet it does not end.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” Mahatma Gandhi

During this time of global ceasefire, global concentration on peace and non-violence, we need to focus not only on making peace from an external standpoint of putting down our weapons, but also of finding peace within ourselves. We need love in our hearts and most importantly peace for those who think differently, peace for those who worship differently, peace for those who love differently, peace for those who act differently.

If we can find the peace in our hearts, we can bring it into our actions. It is a small step from the heart to the mind. It is a step worth taking to save lives, entire generations, to end the genocides, the wars against brothers, neighbors and friends.

poster_sm“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” Dalai Lama

Every year there is another International Day of Peace observed. Every year, millions of people take part, the world over, people celebrating from state to state, nation to nation, and continent to continent.

When we will realize that just as with everything else in life, if we take peace day-by-day, starting on September 21st, this year and carry it forward, one day at a time. With each step we take away from violence, we begin to heal. With each day that passes it will become easier. Each day that passes will save more lives; each day will make a phenomenal difference even taken one single day at a time.

Can we try it this year? Can we take peace one day at a time? Can we see how long we can make it last, not just for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, but also, for the world as whole? I am ready, are you?