Ever tried to do anything one finger short?? Typing, driving, carrying things…all of that is so much more difficult without the use of the ol’ ring finger on the right hand. I’m adjusting, but I make many more typos than I used to. LOL The finger is not nearly as swollen as before, but wearing the splint makes for some interesting challenges – such as hand-writing notes, and trying to sign my name. But its an adjustment.
Adjustments are interesting things. Its basically compensating for something that either showed up by surprise or has disappeared fairly recently. In my above notation, its the temporary loss of the use of one finger. There’s a few other instances that are added in there, such as the continued covering and rewashing of my gash in my right elbow. (For those who are unaware, I managed to do all of this by falling out of the back of the moving truck while trying to tie down the load before heading down the road) What about adjusting for things such as rituals? Spell-work (for those of you do that)? Well, since I don’t do spell-work (my personal choice), let’s stick with rituals for the moment, shall we?
We’ve all been in ritual and had the momentary, unexpected issue arise. During the ADF Imbolc Retreat earlier this year, I found it very interesting that portions of a particular ritual were punctuated with the crows of a nearby rooster. For some, it may have felt like an odd thing to happen, but for me it was a perfect moment of auditory addition. But seriously, we’ve all had those moments. As a solo practitioner, I’ve had more than my fair share of those moments.
One Beltane sticks out particularly strong in my mind. Most people know I tend to celebrate this term of year as an individual practitioner. Now thanks to the manner in which I set out that particular point of view, I’ve had the snide commentary made via Email that this is the time of year that I look to my right and/or left hand for a date. Cute. A little crude, but cute none-the-less. Anyways, back to what I was discussing….
One Beltane, I had decided to celebrate by driving a little west of where I live to a semi-wooded area and following a walking trail. The trail, for those who live here in the DFW area, is actually an old stretch of Highway 377 that has been bypassed for better roadway just to the west of it. The trail is used by hikers and horse-riders, just as another set of trails near my house at Old Alton Bridge (The Goatman’s Bridge) is also utilized. The trail out on Highway 377 is a little difficult to walk by foot, being a little rocky and a bit uneven going up/down the hilly terrain. However, its not far from the road, so I figured walking by myself was not going to be a bad thing. It only took a little under fifteen minutes to reach the old Highway 377 road, where the walking was a bit easier. In the distance, I saw one individual doing the same that I was – walking to enjoy the nice Texas day. After twenty minutes, I reached where the old bridge was no longer standing, and decided that this would be a good place to hold my meditation/ritual. I settled down, grounded, centered, and started down the way of working through my ritual welcoming the Summer into its place on the Wheel. After a few minutes, I felt a presence with me – opened my eyes, and spotted the individual I had seen before on the other side of Denton creek. I never heard him splash across, and saw no immediate way to get across. The creek is a little difficult to cross in this area.
We stared at one another for a few moments, until he waved slowly at me with a jovial smile on his face. I waved back, probably with a look of confusion on my own. In the distance i heard the whoosh of cars passing by on the newer portion of Highway 377, which is substantially higher than where the old road is – probably to keep it from washing away during the rainy parts of the year.
“Please continue,” he said. I must have looked even more stupefied than I was before. He spoke in a normal voice, which I should never have heard. “Please…” he stated again, still smiling. Silently I continued through my ritual, this time with my eyes wide open. I scattered my birdseed I had brought with me. He clapped his hands together once and beamed the widest smile I had seen yet. I offered a libation of water from my water bottle to the Gods, Spirits and Animals of the area. His smile was still bright and clean. And he never moved from his seated position. Our eyes remain locked together through the entire exchange.
When I finished, I looked across the way, a question on my face. He continued to smile, and stood. I noticed then that he had been sitting back on his haunches. Deer legs. His lower torso was a pair of deer legs and the hind end of a deer! “You will understand soon enough!” his voice called out on the breeze, as he turned and melted back into the wooded area on the western bank. I don’t even remember making it back to the Forester or even getting back on to the north-eastern drive of Highway 377 until I was nearly in Argyle.
I have often thought about what else I could have done. What I could have said. How I could have reacted. A better manner of communicating. And I come up with blanks. For a long while, I thought I should see a therapist. That perhaps something psychological could explain all of this. A short while later, Coyote entered into my Life, and I started to understand that the Gods were more than simple archetypes that allowed me to compartmentalize my thoughts in a particular direction. They exist. It was a rather large step for me.
It was an unforeseen moment, and I froze. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. I didn’t understand what I was being presented with. I’ve been in combat situations before. A frozen moment like that can get you killed or worse, the people depending on your decisions killed or injured. And yet I froze. Despite all my military training, the constant discussions of unknown variables in a battlefield environment. And none were a true training for that moment – that moment when everything I understood about my spiritual beliefs was opened up before me, and shown to be something I could not comprehend.
I can’t really say that I’m going to be ready for anything beyond that frozen moment. Perhaps I am better prepared with the knowledge that the Gods exist, that one God in particular takes an interest in me, and that I have found it far easier to find the Spirits of Place than ever before. But I am better prepared to understand that at any given time, my understanding can be stood on its head, spun repeatedly in a tight circle, and made to stand up speaking Japanese. I might still be awe-struck by the moment…but still…