The slow creeping shadows of dusk and then quickly night enveloped me. Only the silvery moonlight bouncing off the chilling droplets of mist guide your footprints. I need to get the water from the stream.
Usually, the stream is only a couple inches deep. Over the last week, the deluge of rain, soaked the area. The stream was high. Normally, you could see the areas to skip across it. So many prayers uttered at the stream. Today, the river carved into the landscape 4 feet cliffs created me in the moonlight. I can’t see where the stream ends and there are some deep pockets.
I connected deeply. The familiar whispers the leap from the stream whisper ecstasy and sorrow. My body always shakes and the cold cuts to the bone. Sometimes the mist envelops you. These spirits are my friends, but they have tricked me before. Today, the snow falls gently. Today I do not know how deep the stream is and the moon’s silver rays bounce hither to and from tricking my eyes.
The spirits know. My knees hurt from the cold. I am scared a little with the stream so overflooded. They can feel it, but this is their stream. TheY grasp me whispering. Draw the water right here. The ground is solid, my knees still not. I lay on the ground holding my heavy wrought iron pot to collect the water. I pay the spirits for the blessed water, I can feel their smile through me, with me almost. They miss me, and graduate school takes so much of my time.
I walk back to our basecamp. It is getting colder now. I need to make a fire. I have a student with me. We try to cheat and dose the logs with rubbing alcohol. Of course, even with tinder, they don’t light. We can both feel the laughter around us. The tangible unmistakable presence all around us watching and meddling for their amusement. Their shadowy fingers move in and between us. At least we won't have to call them forward.
We start over. This time we do it right. 1 lonely match. Tinder. Dry leaves.
A blessed fire is an unusual thing. You can’t just order it or really demand. You have to entice it and it is very much alive. These are things of spirits. A temporary imbuing of life and spirit from the essence of fire. We are making magic here, the bath needs to grow in the living fire. We coax, we connect, we pray. Piece by piece the fire builds and its spirit grows. We build it to be a great fire. The flames and the warmth reaches out kissing and caressing us, lovingly. The fire is born.
Still, we have most of the ingredients from the forest. Some from the store, we have prayed over for seemingly hours re-enlivening them.. We know this will work. One ingredient remains. Pine.
I know this forest and on one of the many hills, way in the distance, a tree hums. This tree is larger than the rest. It hums gleefully and willingly, shining almost as if the moonlight itself dusted the tree with stardust for the great beyond. We know this is the tree. This is tree needed to change luck. 6 of the baths are accounted for, but not the 7th. This bath, well maybe it is yours. I have to go alone.
I walk up to the tree, shadows dance whisfully around me. I have been in this place before even though I have never talked to this tree. The essence of welcome drags me deeper. Talking to spirits for me is never straightforward, it is never linear. The spirit of this tree is older than I am. Always the pools of memory, reflect and tear. Flashes, insights, deeper outside the waking world. I am in the dreamland and this spirit is here.
This tree is right. It is the tree today that will change the bad luck to good luck. I fall to a knee. The tree has to work on me too. Weaving in and out of me like strands outside of time echoing when two spirits communicate. Weaving the gold, and taking the lead. For a moment, we are entwined. I and the tree are one. We are. We give the needles for the bath, we break the bad luck, we bring the good.The mists keep rising. I shake off the moment. I have what I need and there's still so much to do. The spirit of the fire still strongly beams. It too is gathering strength. More shadows dance and move. The slow rhythm of the moonlight and the shadows speeds up. We are in the rhythm. We cannot back stop. We are in the dance. I put my blessed cast iron pot right into the living fire. I pull out our rattles. The chanting has started, we fast become lost in the sea of infinite. The dreaming is here.
The spirits are here.
The ritual has begun.
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