How to keep the world turning
When Mesmer excited popular interest with his new cult of “animal magnetism” and began performing miraculous cures, the Vatican approved it in 1840. Then in 1847 it was discovered that “mesmerized” people tended to have religious experiences, and to claim powers of clairvoyance and prophecy. Therefore the church declared heretical “those who profess to see things which are in reality supernatural.” Finally in 1856 an encyclical letter warned the clergy that mesmerism was a dangerous ‘error.’ It was a good example of the church’s refusal to admit any source of spiritual illumination or mythic imagery other than its own.
- Barbara G Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
Wander with me. Here is an extra walking stick. The rain is still falling and there’s a damp cold that will make our fingers ache. We’ll go gloveless and hatless – we want the cold to nip. Note the tip of your nose as it goes numb. Despite various discomforts, the air still smells sweet. So wander with me. We’ll leave the dog gnawing on his prized pig’s foot. I’ve brought a small bottle of something warming, tucked into my pocket. Here is your shot glass for later.
While we’re wandering and taking in the scene, in the back of your mind, think of a story to tell me. One from long ago or last week. Just a story, from you to me and this land. The aspen ladies stained green from the rain. The chickadees who declare us a code three chicka dee dee dee. The small stream that caresses moss-covered banks. They all want to hear your story too. I’ve told them of you’re coming and they’re filled with expectation. Don’t be nervous. It’s not a performance. It’s more like an informal introduction of one dear friend to another.
In return for your story, I will show you how to keep the world turning by blowing into the gnarled knots of trees. The trick is to imagine some ravishing fertile scene while you’re blowing. You don’t have to tell me what it is. Just conjure it in your mind and exhale three long breaths into the knot. Both before and after this ritual, you must spend some time admiring the beauty of the tree. Let yourself be seen by the rest of the world. Stand with me inside the good stillness of the forest.
After this romantic interlude, move to the tree with the all the woodpecker holes and conjure trickster. Without trickster, eventually everything in the world would just grind to a halt. Sometimes a life needs to be flipped upside down. Turning the soil assists new growth.
Choose your tiny cave of intention, place the vision in your mind and give one quick puff. Your imagination is going to want to wander here – it’s harder to hold still when you’re full of trickster energy. So be careful – it could flip frames on you while your lips are pursed, and who knows what destruction you could cause as a result.
It's important not to approach this moment with bitterness in your heart – it won’t give you a good feeling to contribute to the darkness in the world. Granted, there are times when fury is necessary. Swing the hammer, but with reason, not because you want to be entertained by calamity. It’s important not to let your envy lose in the chicken coop of your soul. Trickster should strut when he walks, not thunder. I’ll teach you thunder another time.
Come, let’s go, before the rain let’s up.