Recently, a 14 year old boy shot himself in the head in the boys’ restroom at his central Florida middle school. His family had moved here all the way from New York to escape bullies. Turns out you can’t end bullying by moving hundreds of miles. You can’t end bullying by talking to school administrators or teachers.
You can’t end bullying by fighting and punishing bullies because fighting and punishing IS bullying. Imagine firefighters trying to put out fires with flamethrowers instead of water hoses or buckets of earth.
I had so many things to be angry about. So many people had wronged me, from my biological father who molested me, to my beloved grandmother who’d bailed him out of jail and brought him home to live with me after he shot my mother in the head, to my mother who taught me that I was worthless and unlovable, to the so-called friends who had used and betrayed me over and over.
They wronged me. They hurt me. They deserved to suffer for what they did to me. How could I possibly forgive them, especially if they were not even pretending to be sorry?
It comes up every few months. It starts small but soon enough blossoms to a full-time preoccupation. I drift through reality, experience heightened by desire, appetite sharpening my senses. I’m unable to resist the enchantment even when I fear the strength of its pull.
Compassion spills and overflows The oceans of my Soul Each drop moving through Rivulets of prismatic depths.
A cadence of virtuosity as Fingers move in pizzicato Rhythm across ephemeral strings The sounds of empathetic release.
Seeker of that which is Just beyond the grasp Slips like liquid sand through The funnel of glass measured time.
And Devotion pools at the base Of sun-parched throats That willingly endure the pain To spare another the distress.
Martyr and miracle Saint and sacrifice Each flow in opposition Until the waters clear And the darkened path Of return is revealed.
Within the shadowy depths Of quickening waters Creation heeds the call As a newly formed compassion Fills my thirst-quenched Soul.
The focus of my personal spiritual practice for many years has been the refining of my emotions and the catalyzing of my creative will. The work I’ve had to do to accomplish this has been directed through the process of enlivening my energetic anatomy with the goal of sustaining those resultant changes in physical and manifest expression. For years, I drew on the knowledge base I have of the Eastern practices of breath work, yoga and the Kundalini serpent in combination with magickal workings. These applications worked well, but there was still a large piece missing that felt like a puzzle that has all of the pieces save the one most important end corner. I offered up the hunger I had for a deeper experience to my guides and was called to the Halls of the Egyptian Deities and the wisdom of their ancient alchemy.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let me tell you about the time someone criticized my student and I nearly lost my friggin’ mind.
I see my Coven the way most people see swans. Graceful and lovely on the surface; pedaling like mad beneath the surface to keep all things going well. Guests may see them as the calm and friendly people who call the Quarters, take the suggested $10 donations, raise the energy, and don’t let anyone open the wine until Fellowship. What they don’t see are the hours driving to NYC (for those who live in CT or Westchester), or the local members shuffling their shoulder bags full of ritual gear onto the subway, setting the space, performing the rite, cleaning up, and then shuffling everything back onto the subway, but usually with additional baggage in tow: canned food, toys, or clothing for various drives. The life of the Urban Witch often demands long journeys on foot, up and down long flights of stairs while jostling staffs, swords, candles, and goods among drunken strangers on and off of subways. It’s work. It’s a task of the Spirit and one I believe we are all glad to give. But what guests also don’t see is how many hours are spent in Circle outside of Sabbat, working on strengthening their Magickal and Energetic prowess as well as working through and with their Personal Shadows as part of becoming better Practitioners.
Well, that's not true. I totally will. I just need to keep in mind that I'm a Witch and the moment I decide I want to know more about something, I need to plan that it's not going to show up in a pretty new book put out by my favorite authors. It will come in the package of angry persons, moments ripe for impatience, hurtful words, and seemingly futile attempts to heal through listening and sharing. IT WILL MANIFEST, PEOPLE. AND IT WILL USUALLY MANIFEST VIA PEOPLE.
People are the ultimate compassion-testers and the closer you are to them, the more they will test and tempt you to throw away all compassion. Along with several handfuls of your hair. I don't know why that is and I'm not asking why right now (TAKE NOTE, UNIVERSE! I AM OFFICIALLY NOT ASKING "WHY?"!) Basically, it's easier to have compassion for the homeless person sleeping on the subway than the co-worker making snarky remarks about company policies. It's much easier to have compassion for people making mistakes a world away than people making mistakes right next to you. If it were, Boyfriend would have compassion for me when I overload the dishwasher. ("And leave food out on the counter. And leave the lights on when you leave for work. And...." he compassionately added.)