Today I went to Meadowbrook Park for a walk, after having spent all morning drifting in the internets browsing many of my favorite pagan blogs, reading tales of the useful, the numinous, the unsettling, and the occult. I was feeling itchy, stunted, magically out of sort.
I had tried to meditate a few times over the last several days, lull myself into trance to see if I could speak to the powers that be, to perhaps gain some insight or intuition from the unseen worlds, with no luck. It’s been more difficult than usual to reach that state for some months. I feel as if I need to stop ‘waiting for something to happen’ and just set to doing the small, mundane, everyday acts of offering and magic that will, I hope, add up to some kind of insight, some opened doors. Sometimes I really wish I had a mentor who was more experienced in these matters than I, but I imagine that’s something everyone says.
The sky was overcast, grey and cool, perfect witch-weather. Before I left, I anointed myself with a Dreamwork oil containing Mugwort and Lavender; out of both desire and irritation – I wanted to see *something,* receive some kind of intuition, catch a glimpse of the Unseen – anything! I knew it was impatient of me, but still. I put a tiny drop of the oil on my forehead, on the nape of my neck, my earlobes, right under my nose, and a little on my lower lip.
I stretched my awareness out, trying to touch the world with all my senses. I could smell the Mugwort in the oil strongly, and felt as if I was drifting, not aimlessly, but as an arrow.
The park was quiet, with few people there. I walked the less well travelled paths, through prairie grasses softly rustling with wind. Where three trails came together, I sprinkled some Mugwort herb on the earth as an offering to the spirits of the place. I stated that the offering was in recognition of their presence, and that I would appreciate any knowledge or insight they might want to offer me.
I greeted an enormous willow tree growing by a dry stream, the tree’s energy pooled far below the surface of the earth among a vast network of roots. It was hard to sense, and seemed so old as to be alien. I greeted a hawthorn I know, with twisted trunk and well be-thorned. Its energy was like a bright rod from firmament to sky, a pillar of life force.
I found it curious that the ancient tree’s energy was thready and hard to reach, while the young one shown so brightly. Was the difference due to age, location, the species of tree, or a combination of these factors? Or, it could just be the difference between two individuals. I also found a sapling of some kind in the prairie meadow with a curious coiled branch made so by disease or genetic defect. An interesting find – should I return and cut it? What would I use it for?
And I found a deer as he stood dying.
At first I saw only the barest outline of the deer, close by a paved trail near the front of the park. I took out my phone to snap a picture, moved closer, but the deer didn’t move. Strange, I thought, that it hasn’t sensed me. I lowered the phone and stepped closer, about ten feet away, so I could see the animal clearly. A young buck with forked horns, he stood still, head down, tail tucked between his legs. He shuddered, breathing fast and shallow. He didn’t even flick an ear at a human so close to him. His eyes were dull, staring, pained. I put the camera-phone away.
I felt sad for him, for he was young, one of two high-horned brothers, I believe, that I had seen in the park a few times before. I stood by him for a few minutes, looking to see if he was wounded, but no blood marred his hide or muzzle, no arrow or shotgun wound was on him. Perhaps he’d been clipped by a car on a nearby road, and had run this far but come to the end of his strength. Perhaps some sickness had felled him? I had no way of knowing.
I moved away when a woman walking her dog approached, but I watched from a little distance to see if she would notice the deer, a yard from the trail’s edge. She didn’t, although her dog was intensely interested, and was quickly pulled away by his leash. I went back to the deer, now curled on the ground, head resting on his bent forelegs. I let him be then, and went home.
What comfort could I offer him, a wild creature who would normally flee my presence? None, and it was ultimately none of my business to do so. I am not a necromancer, so I needn’t wait patiently till the scavengers have eaten his remains, I will whisper no charms to his antlered skull. Still, I’ve found two creatures of power in as many weeks; one newly dead, one soon to die.
I have no wish to be a necromancer. But I feel as if I should at least learn some words of comfort, or to ease the spirit on its way. Or, is it hubris to think it’s any of my business?