Excerpt from "Wild Magical Soul: Untame Your Spirit & Connect to Nature's Wisdom"
“Yes, Mama.” I wiped the sleep from my eyes. The darkness still hung heavy in the sky, though the first of the morning bird song had already begun to seep through cracked windows.
“Your cereal is on the stand by Dad’s chair and I’ve turned on the cartoons. Mommy will be right back.” She kissed my head and I stumbled to the recliner where I had spent the early hours of every morning for the better part of the year. “Try not to wake your sisters.”
“I know, Mamma.” I curled up on the recliner where the leather was warm and held the scent of my Dad’s aftershave lotion. The cartoons blinked in and out, and I stirred my cereal that had already become soggy- just the way I liked it. My three little sisters softly slept in their
rooms and I knew everything was going to be okay because I was 8-years-old, the big sister, who knew she was strong enough to take on the job.
My father has epilepsy. The disease had slowly taken from him a lot of the freedoms most of us take for granted. His ability to drive had been the latest- so my mother got up with him every morning at 4am, fixed his breakfast and packed his lunch before waking me so I could watch my younger siblings, who ranged in age from 1 to 6-years-old, while she drove my father the 40-mile round trip to his place of employment. She would always return to find me still
vigilant- then send me back to bed to catch a couple more hours of sleep before school. I was okay with my responsibility and I understood why she didn’t want to wake up four little girls and pack them all in the car every morning. Sometimes, one of my baby sisters would stir. I would hear her muffled cries and would be by her side as quickly as I could. “Hush, now,” I would say, “I’m here and everything is okay.”
As we grew older, I was the one who led my sisters through darkened woods and dilapidated outbuildings full of spooks and creatures of unknown origin and when they could no
longer contain their fear, it was I who yelled, “Stop screaming. I’m with you and everything is going to be okay.” They would calm down because they knew they were protected- big sister will keep the boogeyman at bay.
As we became teens and young adults, my role shifted from protector from physical harm to that of guardian of secrets. Most were childish confidences- crushes whose names were to never be revealed or juvenile antics that needed to be purged. A few were life-changing- the kind of information that once accepted can bear heavy and burdensome upon one’s heart- and no matter how many years may pass- their revelation would prove painful. But no matter the secret,
my words were the same, “Not to worry. Everything is going to be okay.” Because they knew their big sister would never betray nor judge them.
The years went by- we grew up and moved on. My role shifted- from big sister to mother and wife. Responsibilities shifted- no longer protecting the 3 wild-haired sisters from monsters under the bed, but now protecting my own wild-hearted witchlings (mostly from themselves) as their youth was filled with high jinx and exploration that on more than one occasion required emergency room visits. But as I held cloths on bleeding wounds and distracted their gaze from
broken limbs or carried them away from the contraption they had built and fallen from, I would meet their gaze and I knew what they wanted to hear, “Hush, Baby- everything is going to be okay.” And everything was okay because they knew Mommy was there and mommy’s always made things better.
It was the same with my marriage- whether it was due to job loss, illness or injury, during the times we were left struggling emotionally and/or financially, my husband would walk around in a storm cloud- unable to clearly process the circumstances we were left with. So, it was up to
me to swallow back the anxiety, straighten my shoulders and look him in the eyes. “Everything’s going to be okay.” I would say. “I’ve got this.” And I took control. And he let me because he knew I was strong and capable of handling the emotional load.
And so it was with friends and extended family- “Monica, I know how good you are with words could you please write an essay for me by tomorrow. I completely spaced it and I’m freaking out! It has to be 5 pages and your choice of essay topics are attached.”
“Monica, no one else wants to be a board member and we’re desperate. Could you help
“Monica, we need someone to help with our organization’s holiday program- by the way, we can’t find anyone to dress up as Mrs. Claus this year- could you help out?”
“Don’t worry,” I would say, “everything is going to be okay. I’ll help.” They knew this to be true because I was dependable and level-headed and known to get things done.
But as the years slowly crept by, I found myself feeling muddled and unfulfilled and by the time I hit my mid-forties, I felt what I can only describe as a sense of loss. The day before my 46th birthday, just as storm clouds boiled above the bluff that rises above my homestead to the south, I decided to go to the garden to wait for the approaching storm and to ponder my accomplishments. I had done well- I had helped to create a home from scratch and I raised an
amazing family (and nobody starved). I took on the
responsibility of schooling my own children and the children of others when there was a need. I carried many a burden for friends and family, so they would not have to feel anxiety or defeat; I helped in the community and gave of
my time. Everyone liked me, I thought and weakly smiled as the first big plops began to fall. But wait a minute- what had I accomplished for me? I had taken care of others my whole
life and put others needs before my own because that is what I was taught a good person does- but in doing so, I had forgotten to take care of me. And in that forgetting- I lost a piece of myself.
I gazed to the storm clouds that now boiled and roared above the bluff that guards my home and remembered the exhilaration I had felt standing on its peak looking over the land that I’m so intrinsically connected with. It had been years since I had hiked the bluff- it was time I
did it again. I climbed with purpose- and as I swept back heavy conifer branches and overgrown elder
and salmonberry bushes, I asked myself what made me special? I was uncomfortable with my answer, as it was not a practice in my family to ‘brag.’ But with each exhale of breath, I managed to answer- I am unique; I am creative; I write well; I can draw; under my hand- gardens bloom.
As I continued up the switchbacks and tripped over roots of giant trees who clung precariously to the steep bluff, I asked myself, what have you done with your gifts? My internal
list checked many items that included:
I wrote plays and designed sets for various youth organizations
I planned engaging lesson-plans and lectures for our homeschooling association and for WSU extension’s Master Gardener program.
I designed and wrote newsletters for my coven’s day camp participants and for various ecological organizations.
At this point, I had come to the top of the bluff, thunder crashed, and rain pelted. I stood for a moment and let the wind and rain hit my face. I wanted to feel the sting- I needed the reminder that I was alive and strong and passionate. I stepped as close to the edge as I dared.
It’s funny how perception can change your reality. I saw my home, which encompassed my whole world and at times had felt a burden, look small and insignificant from my vantage point. The world felt more open than it had in a while and made me wonder who I was- where was my
place in this world and was I too old to attempt to make my mark.
I am many things to many people- I am the keeper of the home; I am mother; I am daughter; I am sister; I am spouse; I am priestess. I am organizer and doer and maker and
mediator. I am protector and caretaker and teacher and friend. So, my question was, as I looked
out across the majestic Sauk River Valley, who am I to me?
I took a breath and released it- whisperings of inadequacy stroked my ears, ‘Selfish, selfish, girl. Only thinking about herself.’ I shivered and let the thoughts dissolve with the rain that had soaked me thoroughly. Another intake of breath and with all of the voice I could muster, I released these words into existence:
I am a writer!
My words will inspire!
My words will evoke introspection!
My words will delight!
My words will be read!
When I came off the bluff, I felt good- in fact, I was giddy. I knew after releasing my intention into the universe I had to follow through by putting my power into action. I set up a writing space for myself and hung an inspiration board above my computer. The very first quote I tacked to the board was the popular last line from Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘The Summer Day,’ that asks what will you do with this one wild and precious life? And when I doubted myself, I looked to that quote and replied. “I will be a writer.” I researched publishers I thought would be good fit and put together samples and queries. I took it seriously and when asked to commit to another obligation that would affect my writing time- I allowed myself to say no- guilt free.
So now- what are you doing with your one wild and precious life? Personally- I will spend more time tending the garden of my soul- I will write stories and I will do it for me and everything (and everyone else)…is going to be okay.
Cry like a Banshee
Spell for Self-Affirmation
I mentioned earlier a line from a poem by Mary Oliver that you are probably already familiar with where she poses the question: what will you do with your one wild and precious
life? Ask yourself, are you living a life that is fulfilling to your soul? Maybe you are giving everything to your job or sacrificing yourself so that others may thrive. It’s time to stop for a moment and reflect on you.
What is it that your wild soul longs for? To train for an athletic event or perhaps learn a new skill, or better yet, reacquaint yourself with a passion you gave up on too long ago.
For this spell we will climb the mountain (literally or figuratively) and call upon the Banshee as we let go
of what no longer serves us and cry out our dreams/and or positive intentions for ourselves into existence.
You will not need any special tools for this spell- only your voice.
Banshee are female faerie spirits who, according to legend, are said to be attached to particular families of Irish heritage and whose cries foretell the death of an individual. She is a
shape-shifter who may appear as an old woman or a young maid and is typically dressed in white, but has also been known to wear green or red. In Scotland she was known as Bean Nighe and is seen as a washer woman washing a death shroud near a stream. Banshee are not to be feared and can be called upon in spell work for the death of old habits, change in circumstances or the release of negativity.
Though it would be great if you could do this spell on a hill, bluff or mountain- it’s not necessary. You can stand on your balcony, porch, deck or on a steady chair- anything that
Before you begin, ground and center yourself in your own way. If you are hiking up a hill to perform this- use the walk as a form of meditation. Pay attention to the rhythm of
your breath and focus on your intention with every step. If you are performing this at your home, meditate for a few moments before you begin and focus on your intention.
Call upon the Banshee by saying:
'I ask for the courage to let go those things That no longer complete me. Banshee let your cry be heard as I release all anxiety and self-neglect completely.'
When you feel her presence- join her cry. Let it all out- this is the reclamation of your wild soul- release all of the neglect that you have inflicted on yourself. When you have finished, take a moment to collect yourself and thank the Banshee for her assistance in your own way. Now you are ready to release your passion into existence.
Whether you have hiked a hill, mountain, knoll or any other natural rise, or are standing on your balcony, deck or a steady chair- position yourself where you have a good view of the landscape- take it all in and remind yourself that you are unique and that your talents/ skills/passions matter.
Now yell out as loud as you can what will exist for you. As you do this- see yourself successful in your hobby/job/passion whatever you feel serves you to live a purposeful life.
Now that you have done this, remember, as practitioners, we are our most powerful tool and it’s up to you to put your power into action. Follow through and live your dreams.