Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bubbe Meise: 31 Days of Magic: Day 5

If you'd like to follow along with all my 31 Days of Magic work, you'll have to follow me on facebook, but I'll be writing up some highlights here as well.  As I mentioned on facebook yesterday, I decided to swap day 4 (enchant jewelry) for day 5 (cord magic).  I promised I would explain why today.  Let me start by briefly describing yesterday's cord magic.  If you already read it on facebook, skip to the ***.

For the cord magic challenge, I resurrected a spell I learned as a little girl from my "fairy friend". First, you decide on your wish, which you have to be very careful about (because we've all heard the stories!) You next pull out a single hair, and whisper your wish to it. Then, you tie thirteen knots in it, slowly saying the rhyme, and put the hair on a tree branch.
Thirteen knots, all in a row,
Sun knot, moon knot, star knot, glow!
Earth knot, tree knot, flower knot, grow!
rabbit knot hops, crow knot flies.
rock knot sits, and wind knot sighs.
Squirrel knot climbs, cloud knot skies.
Final knot, elf knot, makes it come true!

As I mentioned yesterday, I swapped days because I had to go to my maternal grandmother's funeral today. Nancy Sickles Halbert was my last living ancestor, and my relationship with her was...complicated.  You see, I didn't get Mother Goose as a grandmother.  My grandmother was Baba Yaga.  She was strong, and independent, and a feminist and an artist who raised 4 little girls more or less by herself in the 60s.  But she was also seriously mentally ill, and she abused my mother and her sisters badly.  Our family curse, a kind of slippery, elf--touched madness, blossomed to extravagant flower in her, as it did in me.  Unlike me, however, no one rescued her, and the madness went to seed.   She never escaped it.  It mutated and morphed: a slippery, bitter poison of manic depression, arthritis, witchery, and art.  She painted well into her 80s, even as her hands curled into talons; she spoke in a garbled hiss, her mouth frozen in the twisted rictus of someone who has eaten goblin fruit.

I was told, as a child, that it was arthritis that so twisted her hands, and locked her jaw.  I was terrified that I too would develop it.  I have learned now, however, that while it was partly arthritis, it was mostly madness.

My grandmother LOVED costume jewelry.  Awful, giant, loud, crazy jewelry everyone in our family hates.  Everyone but me; I love it!  My grandmother was a very bad, abusive mother and not a very good person.  But the woman had amazing taste, and was a prolific collector.  She was Iris Apfel's evil twin.  I have many pieces of hers (and I expect I will soon have more).  The piece I wore to the funeral and graveyard today, the piece I enchanted, is shown below.
The black scarab pendant is nearly three inches long.  I can't identify the material.  It's too heavy to be jet; it might be bakelite.   The amber-colored beads are possibly jasper or maybe even amber.  I'm not sure.  The brown one's are tiger's eye.  This is the necklace of the Crone, the Hag, the Lady of Bones; this is my grandnan's necklace.  I baptized the scarab with her name.  I asked for her strength, and her ferocity, and her vision.  And I asked that her spirit be healed, and at peace.

My Grandnan is the most potent ancestor I work with; the only one who reliably comes through clear and strong.  I inherited a lot of her books and statues and jewelry; having gone thru her stuff my grandnan was much more pagan than any of us knew, and maybe bisexual!

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