|photo by Dennis Monague|
Last night, I had a dream which instructed me to write this blog post. I am not sure for whom this teaching has come through, but if it is you, please contact me. I do not think it needs to be understood literally, but perhaps it should be. In any case, I simply had an overpowering need to share it.
In my dream, a young witch came to me distraught. Her father had begun to act confused and violent, some kind of sudden onset dementia, for which the doctors can find no cause. Eventually, she had out of him that he had gone into the woods behind his home, and there made love to the forest. And so I gave her this ritual to preform, to free him from fairy enslavement.
You may need:
a trash bag
three iron railroad spikes
a bottle of salt water. ideally, this should be made with Holy Water (whatever that means to you) and be more than 9% salt by volume.
a large steel knife. a sword is better.
buttered bread, whole milk, good honey, dark beer
a reliable flashlight, and a backup flashlight, and it wouldn't hurt to have a third one. expect at least one to fail on the third night.
protection from weather.
a small bag of white pebbles
a toy bulldozer
$23 dollars in gold coins
The First Conjuration:
Go into the woods at night, when it is very dark and still. Walk randomly, as if you are lost (but do not become lost). Drop white pebbles behind you, to show the way back out; you need to leave by the same path you entered. Gather any trash that you find. Begin to sing a song about walking through the wood, and a mist rising up, and finding yourself at the center of the woods between the worlds. The tune and the words will come to you as you walk; I cannot teach them to you, but you knew them as a child, and you need not try to remember. Just hum and sing a tuneless song, and the song will form itself.
When you have come to the center of the woods, you will know the place when you find it, you must place the bread, milk, honey, beer, and $7 before you. Begin to call, saying something like this: "Lovely Lady of these Woods, Mother of the Fair Folk, Elf Queen, I call to you. I have brought you milk and bread, honey and butter, good ale and friendship. I come to you by the old path. The compacts between our people are not forgot. Come, and eat with me, that we may speak as friends!"
Wait for a sign of presence. Rustling leaves. A cold breeze. An out of place bird song. An apparition of the Lady of the Wood. Continue:
"Lady Fair, Radiant One! Hail to you! I come to you to beg for justice! My father has been taken by one of your people. My father has been enchanted by one of your people. My father has been bewitched by one of your people. Release him to me. Set him free, Lady. Make him whole. It is for this reason I have come. I shall come again tomorrow, for good or for ill. Set my father free."
Now leave the wood, picking your pebbles up as you go, and go home. If your father is improved, then go again, and thank the Elf Queen, and admonish your father about the stupidity of making love to the Kindly Ones. Go again, the next night, to the woods, and there offer the remaining gold coins, elderflower liqueur, a vanilla milkshake, and some sort of very fancy pastry. Give thanks to the Lady of the Wood for releasing your father. This is a powerful spirit ally who has done you a great boon, and who favors you. Be gracious, thankful, and maintain this relationship, but be on your guard. Never forget that she seduced your father, and then tried enslave him. She is not your friend; she is the Queen of the Other Wood. Take her offerings at every full moon. Bake her a fancy cake, or give her a necklace you have made. You might paint her a picture or perform for her a song, if you are a good artist. She would like that. Do not do this if you have not the skill for it; it will be taken as an insult. It is NOT the thought that counts; it must be something lovely and well made. A fancy store bought cake is much better than an ugly painting, but it is best to find something of high quality which you have made with your own hands.
However, if your father is not better, you must go once again into the Wood Between the Worlds, and continue to fight for his soul. Enter the wood as before, picking up trash along the way, and when you come to the place where you offered last night, make no offering. Begin to call, saying something like: "Lady Fair, Shining One, I have come again as I said I would. I have followed the twisted path, I have set bread and milk and honey and beer for you. And yet you have been false! Release my father, and let him be troubled no more! I came to you honoring the ancient ways, but you have returned my courtesy with spite. I am no mere mortal peasant, that you can treat me thus. I am witch of the highest order! I am NAME, MORE NAMES, MAGICAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS (example: "who has bound the four Kings of the Compass to my service", "who rides on the Other Wind", "who journeys between the Worlds", "who calls Buddhas, and Saints, and Demons my friends". Be elaborate, and spin a good tale, but do not flat out lie). I stand before you, but I am not alone. My ancestors stand behind me. The angels attend to me. I know the names of the gods of all nations, and I have allies from every corner of the Heavens. NAME SOME ALLIES. Yesterday I asked, but today I insist. Return my father to me, and trouble him no more! It is for this reason I have come! I will come again tomorrow night, for good or for ill. Set my father free." Now leave the wood, following the same path you entered by. If your father is improved, thank the Queen as before, but if he is not, then gather all your courage and all your allies to you, gird yourself in your best armor, and head again into the wood. Fill your bag with inorganic trash; beer cans, plastic bags, six-pack holders, that sort of thing.
Enter the forest again, as you have twice already. Make your way to the sacred grove, and begin to call. "Wood Woman! Fairy Frau! Goblin Maid! You soot-face imp! I am NAME, the Witch of these Woods, and you have done me wrong. Release my father, and trouble him no more. This is your final warning. I brought you bread and milk, honey and butter, and fine beer. I called on you in the ancient ways, but you have ignored me and returned my courtesy with spite. You are rude and inhospitable, a disgrace to your people. You bring shame upon yourself and on your mother. I have come again, but this time I am not asking. I bring the power of my people, the power of my office. I am a child of the Iron God, the child of Pavement and Flame. I ride the Bulldozer of Your Destruction. You are weak in this land, and I am Strong. Your kind is failing, buy my kind Rules over the whole Earth. I have set before you cakes, and treated you as a friend, but you have scorned me. Remember, it is you who have brought your own destruction, you who would doom your wood. I would have brought you cakes and liquor, but now I set before you this!" Drive an iron spike into the ground. "Return my father to me, set him free, and trouble him no more!" Drive a second spike, about a foot away from the first. Cry out: "Return my father to me, set him free, and trouble him no more! Drive the third spike, forming an equilateral triangle about a foot on each side. Goblin! Thief! Mannerless One! You are powerless against me! I have at my call the Bulldozer, I have at my call the Concrete! If you do not release my father, I will bring blight and trash and poison into the heart of your wood; I know the ancient way here, and you cannot keep me out. If you do not give my father back, your sacred grove will become a midden [shake the trash bag out in a pile, in the center of the triangle]. I will not bring you beer, but only the cans. I will not bring you cakes, but only the plastic forks! Your sacred grove will be my dumping place, and burning tires will be your only libation. Return my father, and trouble him no more, or I will level this forest and turn it into a parking lot. I know the powers of Walmart and Highway! I ride the Bulldozer and the Backhoe! I carry the machete and the flame!" [put the bulldozer on top of the pile of trash] "Return my father, and all will be well between us, but if you do not, my wrath will be upon you!"
Leave the wood. Be careful as you do. This wood is now your enemy. You will prevail, but you are at war.
When your father improves, take cakes and liquor and gold coins. Act just as through she had delivered him on the first night. Remove the trash; yours and whoever else's you have found. Thank the Lady for her Courtesy and Hospitality. But do not linger too long in that wood.