(I wrote this draft some time ago)
Yesterday on my noon time walk, I came across another deceased bird. This time, it was a beautiful red robin. It was quite large, and newly dead with a bee buzzing about its head. I’ve noticed bees going nuts for dead material, mostly cicadas but I’ve seen them a lot around the dead birds I’ve come across. This strikes me as strange since I thought bees almost exclusively fed on flowers and pollen. I suppose it depends on the type of bee. Anyway, the bird was right beneath the branches of a gorgeous, huge ancient oak tree. There were some hostas planted around the tree, so I requested to harvest a couple of large leaves of the plants to be used to wrap the robin’s body in, and the leaves broke off with no resistance. I gathered the poor robin into the leaves and set its body amongst the yew that also grows around the oak. I said my usual, “Blessings fly with you” and also requested that the old tree care for the gentle bird as its spirit finds its way to the Underworld.
I usually prefer to use some kind of inconspicuous plant material to wrap a bird in. Sometimes the birds are so tiny that just a large linden leaf will suffice. But the hosta leaves are perfect because they are so big and pliable. Burdock leaves would also do nicely, although they are sometimes harder to detach from their hosts, and they will never be found among tended plantings as they are seen as weeds. (The plant is extremely healing to some of the most devastating kinds of illness, and it drives me nuts that people treat them with chemicals! Same goes for just about any weed under the sun. Such healing, abundant plants and people kill them without thought! Grrrrr. I could go on and on about herbs….but I will try to reign my thought in to flesh and bone and feather.)
I’m still eye-balling the rabbit skull that sits beneath the huge linden. I can see it just sitting there along with all the other bones that due to exposure have cleared off almost completely in a matter of months. I’ve suspected another Crafter about because there have been strange things that look like offerings around the area, usually left under trees. I thought this may have been some kind of offering because the rabbit carcass seemed to be wrapped in a perfect circle under the branches. When I first spotted it, it almost looked like two rabbits, but I only spy one skull lying there now.
I know this all probably sounds kind of creepy to someone outside the Craft, but you must understand why these things are considered powerfully magical. Blood, flesh and bone are magically potent because they are tied to our ancestors DNA, and in pagan belief, it’s generally understood that our ancestors are the keys to mystery, power, divinity and are petitioned to assist us in these matter today. I try to imagine this as a well of unknown power, and when we need it, we call upon it. Just how words have power, so does blood, so does bone, so does breath. It’s not something scientific to understand here, it’s beyond that. It’s sort of like how superstitions come about: people don’t necessarily understand why they might perform a certain task or ritual, they just know to do it. It’s power that we don’t understand anymore. It’s like all these tales of harvesting certain plants at certain times, or only with a non-iron blade, or only with your left hand. People just passed these tales down, and as modern peoples, we might not ever know what the true purpose was. Although, probably a modern-day practitioner would say, you could just ask your ancestors. So far, my work with ancestors has not been that specific, and I have only spoken to those I knew, but it’s said that you can call on any ancestor from any time to ask these more arcane questions.
Sometimes when I’m trying to grok this stuff, I get flashes that our ancestors were the gods in the stories, that they had other powers than we do today because they relied on other means of expression and communication. As far as one single creator, I honestly can’t grok that. Maybe some can, that’s fine. But for me, it’s the forces of nature and the cosmos that are god. And for me, all things are alive, and all things are sacred. I believe every grain or speck of matter has spirit, has holiness. I read in one of Christopher Penczak’s books that the word GOD was thought to actually be an acronym for Generating Force, Organizing Force, Destructive Force. It was these three things that made G.O.D. I like that. It’s been easier for me to understand things since I stepped away from everything and let myself just learn. If you can remove yourself from attachment of any idea and just learn about others, it’s not only freeing you from dogma, but also allows you to see things from each perspective. It also helps to understand the nature of metaphor, since that is what all mythologies are. We are a literal age, but these things were written in a poetic age, if they were written down at all. These are not literal stories, and when I stopped viewing sacred stories as literal, it was then I started to see not only what they were getting at, but also that almost every single religious or spiritual story from one culture to the next are almost all identical in the principles they are trying to express, especially when you look at creation stories. It was then that I started truly realizing what I believe. Finding out what you believe is harder than you think. We’re TOLD to believe things, we’re TOLD this is the way things are, but do we really believe that is so? Do we really understand what that following a belief that we do not understand or truly believe entails? And do we really believe that one person or set of people talk to god and sets rules for everyone else? Pretty convenient, I’d say, to convince a whole shit-ton of people that there are only Select Few who can communicate with The Powers That Be and no one else can because they are worthless sinners. The power people have over others who blindly follow and never question them is astounding. ASTOUNDING. People who do this are simply giving their power away, and the responsibility. Take the power back. It belongs to you. It belongs to each of us. But in so doing, you also have to carry the responsibility. Never forget this important point.