I can go on and on about using words to communicate with the universe, to dance with combinations of our 26 letters + the infinity of intentions when laid out just so. I can talk about the rhythm of the sea slapping against sand in the downbeat of stories from our soul, or the flame that burns through all the extraneous syllables.
I could write a whole post on the laser fast movement to futureroots of ancient storytelling where we begin to burn marketing lingo in the hearth and be done with pressure to imitate everyone else, pressure to be strong and clever and pretty and soulful and hot and rich. It’s all just 2-deminsional hogwash, a fraction of what we have to give, maybe of passing interest, but it’s life is short lived.
Instead we will stand back inside our history, herstory, and their story. We pay attention to what happened before, what’s going on now and what might be ready to birth before us. We sit for a moment and listen to the voice, the legends in the making. It’s the magic we are all looking for. It’s the tales that weave us all together.
From selling to telling: It’s where I’ll invest my little nest egg, speckled, double yoked and all. But I’ll just put my money where my wealth is today: my stories. Plain and simple. It’s what I do best.
I spent every weekend at my grandfather’s house when I was a child. At 8:45pm the stone church on the corner, dedicated to Our Lady of Loreto would ring it’s curfew bell, three loud gongs, and all us little kids would drop our bikes where they were and run inside our homes, yelling, laughing, sweating and smelling like worms + bell lilies.
After cleaning up, taking a bath in the pink tiled tub with tearose soap and Mr. Bubbles; I’d kneel on the hardwood floor next to my grandpa’s bed. My hands could barely reach the top of the mattress, folded around a rosary that was brought back from a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Candles where lit in sconces. They bounced light off the fine cherry wood armoires and brass ornate mirrors, heavy fixtures and furniture, the kind nobody really makes anymore. In the beginning he knelt next to me, his hands right next to mine. I could smell his faint old musk and homemade red wine. His fingernails were evidence of a day digging in the dirt, harvesting eggplant and radicchio. His fingers long, clenching his rosary beads, shaking with the on-set of Parkinson’s. Later, when the cancer really hit, he’d lie in the bed and I’d sit crossleg on top of the quilt, at his feet, an around the rosary we’d go.
It was him, my aunt and my 7-year-old self, our voices carried the novena out into the air, to somewhere, anywhere we wanted. We repeated the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of the cross, the Hail Mary and Glory Be :: the rosary nine times. It’s what my Saturday night looked like for years. We’d set intention, because this is what it was; it was ritual, more than prayer, the marriage of both. It was my belief that when we spoke out these prayers—often filled with tears, regret, confusion, bold thanks, and satisfaction—they were sent into the air, infused with a magic, a catalyst, like beads of sound sent one by one out into the scape.
By the time we were done everything would be changed. I believed that everything could change, would change, was changing. And I knew it was me, I was the catalyst.
The rosary was probably my first practice in alchemy and more specifically word alchemy. What was I saying? I don’t even know. I couldn’t tell you the Stations of the Cross if you asked, but what I do know is that I personally walk them every day, every moon cycle, every rotation around the sun. We are constantly being challenged in our faith, being asked to birth blood for love, allowing ourselves to die and resurrect. What I remember most is the act of kneeling in humble service, of using my voice to whisper what was sacred, what was passed on, to call out from my throat and allow the power of sound land where it needed to be heard. Even then, it felt so true and right to be heard.
I am not a practicing Catholic. But I am an alchemist because I was born into an old country Catholic faith, where walls of candles stayed lit, oil anointed my head, and incense was burned and transformed into the spirit of smoke, into the dance of release. Saints were my allies, prayers were more like chants, and I was taught to hold the Mother supreme above all.
There are days I want to step back into the church, claim my rite and be accepted for what I am, accept what it is. But instead I just fall to my knees wherever I am, speak my voice, pick up the pen, write my own prayers to sing with my children at night, their hands clenching mine, dreaming of the world transforming.
I honor my roots, what has been in my genes for generations. The magic was given a form to me by The Church, and I’m grateful. Now I receive it at the riverside, on a mountaintop, alone in the forest, hands pulling out roots and when I dig my toes in white sand at the sea and an eagle feather drops from nowhere from the sky.
What are the roots of your magic? Where did you learn to make your gold? Where were your rituals born? Who and what taught you the power of alchemy? How do you use it? Where are your actions and intentions, your words and your voice and how are they shifting your world?
Tell just a grain of that story. Let it be heard.