Sunday morning. Awake, alone. Chores done. Quiet reigns. A glass jar, clean and ready. A small black candle lit – black to remind you of the witches’ cloak. Incense streaming in from the windowsill. Chamomile for calm because these are dark and troubling times. Hyssop to invoke the divine, whatever you imagine them to be. White lilacs to remind you that you are an eternal spring. You are not pure in the way small men say you are. You are Pure like the dawn, a rock face, an ocean wave. Orange peels for energy, for joy. You are never given joy. You will not be given permission. You must have the fire to take what you need and give to those that need as well; even in the depths of our sorrow we must not forget those lower down. Black tea for more of the same. Tea is brewed with fire, whether directly in a kettle or slowly by the light of the sun. The caffeine in that tea will keep you awake as you put one foot down in the earth, in front of the other, your head bowed to whatever wind they try to make. You will need the warmth to protect the embers in your heart to bring that fire to the next person, and the next. Finally, rough sand – pebbles and shells, really – grit. They will try to trick you, throw sand in your eyes, throw dirt in your face. You will palm this sand and throw it right back. You will not be compliant, you will not be silent, you will not be complacent. You will scrape them right back. Finally, a bay leaf, that old symbol of protection and cleansing. Write a wish on it, “for all survivors. . . ” and other words you do not disclose. Some things have to remain under the rose, after all.
Let the words come as you stuff the herbs and sand into the jar. Flowers to remind you of your purity, but not purity like small men say, not the purity that cuts off others. Petals, stamens, leaves, meristems – growth, endurance, thriving. This is the Pure Thing. Sand to throw back in their eyes – evidence of the awesome power of the ocean. Eternal, churning, taking even as it heals. This is the Power that is in you. The same salt, the same water, the same movement runs through our flesh and buries into our bones. You are not good the way small men say. You are yourself, and you have been through hell and you will keep going. You will preserve yourself when they want to take every last bit from you. You will remain wild when they want to tame you. This is not style, this is not esthetic, this is survival. Witch or not, I want you to survive, and thrive, and pass this on to your loved ones.
The words come louder, from thought to whisper to command. No gods are invoked, just your own thought and your own passion. But they look on. The faces of the statues watch placidly. This is not the first time they’ve seen this. This is not the first time they’ve heard a woman’s voice, soft in her kitchen, planning to change the world. A small symbol on the cork. Pink ink, for joy. Pink for vulnerability. Pink for love in the face of monstrosity.
The words come louder, and the candle burns. You tip the candle over the cork, stinging your fingers with the hot wax. No matter. No matter. The pain is part of the spell. It is nothing. Flowers to remind you of your eternal renewal, herbs to remind you of what you’ll need. Grit to throw right back in their faces when they try to cloud your vision and your judgement. A wish on a bay leaf to carry in your hearts. A wish for a better world for you, your children, and your children’s children. The wax coats the cork, hiding the symbol, dripping down the sides. You are not pure in the way small men say – you are the water, the moon, the wind, the earth, the rock, the sun, the stars, you are surviving, you are thriving. Do not let those bastards grind you down, you grind them right back. You are not what small men say. You are a child of nature. You do not let them grind you down, you grind them right back. You take what you need, and you restore yourself, and you pass that on to the next person, and the next, and the next. They cannot stop you. You grind them right back. You survive. You grow. You are victorious.
So it will be.