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Article ID: 4532
Age Group: Adult
Posted: October 15th. 2001
The Spirits of Samhain
In these troubled and uncertain times, it is good to know that someone is always on duty. It's comforting to see a dedicated guardian stationed at his or her post and working hard to keep us all safe. Ever alert to changing situations, perpetually vigilant to any perceived threats from within or without, the often unsung heroes and heroines of the protective forces are our first line of defense. And while in more peaceful times we probably took this particular one for granted, we have definitely come to appreciate her calm presence in the last few weeks. Standing tall and proud, our own local guardian puts in her shift, day and night, week after week. And we are so pleased with her performance that we can even overlook the fact that she isn't always 'standing proud and tall' exactly. Most of the time, in fact, she is actually lying down with her back propped up against the wall. Nevertheless, we are confident in saying that Ruby is definitely the best hall monitor that we have ever had.
Okay. We admit it. Our hallway is known around here as 'Spook Central'. Whether or not this is because of an east-west alignment or because we have here all of the 'classic' elements of a paranormal 'hot spot' (the power lines, the crystallized fossil-coral beneath our feet, the underground springs, the remains of ancient Indian settlements), we can't be certain. But we do know that our hallway does tend to harbor orbs and smoke forms and thingies that brush up against the ankles and that this spook traffic frequently turns our otherwise nondescript hallway into a ghostly four-lane highway to Otherwhere. Thankfully Ruby, The Hall Monitor, is always on top of things.
We can get a pretty good idea about what is happening in our spook thoroughfare based upon where our Ruby decides to position herself. If she is lying at the eastern end of the hallway, then the energies are coming from the western realms and (at least in our belief system) the direction of the Otherworlds. If she is lying at the western end, she is watching the energies travel from this world to the next. If Ruby is in her favorite spot- squarely in the middle- the traffic is going both ways in a normal fashion. And Ruby is probably catching a cat-nap.
For we also watch Ruby in order to gauge her reactions to this entire haunting hubbub. Most of the time, she likes it. She will stretch out, eyes half-closed and if you listen, you can hear that she is actually purring. At other times, she will start up a bit, the pupils of her eyes will get even rounder and she will carefully keep those pupils fastened upon whatever it is that she sees. As long as she settles back down, we know the whatever- while maybe a bit stranger than the usual strange- has passed through without incident. In fact the only times that we have witnessed her running off- in that sort of flattened slouch that cats do when they want to vacate the premises as quickly as possible- is when something outside our carefully warded area startles her.
What was interesting- so interesting in fact that Skye even remarked on it while she was visiting here- was that in the month before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC, most of the traffic was arriving from the west. That means that helpful energies and spirits and Ancestors were already making their way into this realm perhaps to aid those who would be affected by the coming events. We didn't realize that at the time. But Ruby probably did. That's her job after all. And she probably tried to tell us. But we hadn't yet come to that point where we were aware that something new was about to come slithering into our neighborhoods. (Stupid humans!) Ruby doesn't seem to hold that lack of discernment against us though. Of course, seeing as we are the only beings here with the opposable thumbs that are capable of flipping open the pop-tops on the ''Fancy Feast" cans...
As you have probably surmised by now, Ruby is our four-year-old cat. A blend of soft fluffy gray fur and owl-round yellow eyes, Ruby is blessed with that same odd combination of skittishness and bravado that defines the character of most of the animal tribes. Animals instinctively are cautious whenever something unusual winds its way through their territory. Noses twitch. Ears flick. Eyes scan the landscape. Muscles quiver and get ready to flee or to fight depending on the immediacy of the situation. Humans too still retain some of that same fight-flight instinct when confronted with the unknown. Unfortunately, our senses are no longer as keen as those of our animal kin. But we do possess another tool that allows us to make assessments in any given situation: reason. Human reason however is all too often the first casualty whenever fear comes strolling into our own backyards.
Fear can be our friend or it can be our foe. Fear as Friend acts as an early warning system that tips us off to the fact that something is not quite right. Something new has entered our world. In those first moments after we have identified an 'intruder', we do not yet have enough information to be able to completely decide if a real threat to our health or safety actually exists. Instinctively the wise thing to do then would be to distance oneself from it until one can gather enough information about this new strange thing to make a decision on a possible threat level. While animals use their sharp natural senses to do this, humans use reason. What IS this new thing? What does it do? How does it act? What has it done in the past? Has it proven harmful? Is it an immediate or long-term threat to me? What are the chances that this new thing will actually attack me where I am? Are my own defenses strong enough to meet any such threat or should I take other precautions? These are some of the questions that fear as Friend prompts us to ask ourselves.
Fear as Foe on the other hand can overwhelm us to the point where we can no longer reason objectively. We cannot ask the questions because even the very questions themselves become hopelessly entwined with the threat itself. Fear as Foe paralyzes us into inaction at that very moment when we need to be engaged enough with our surroundings to be able to make reasoned assessments. Fear as Foe pins a set of bared teeth onto every sound, every news item, and every new 'thing' whether it has been proven to be a real threat or not.
As the Samhain season rapidly approaches, our thoughts naturally begin to turn to such Otherworldly matters. Our Ancestors move closer to us and our own awareness of presences beyond the veil grows sharper. Our Ancestors throughout the ages have been alternately both the victims and perpetrators of war and violence and terror. Some of our Old Ones felt the fear of invasions, persecution or want. Other generations were those who invaded, persecuted and deprived. Thus when we embrace ALL of our Ancestors, we also have access to their entire experience and knowledge of terror and of courage, of what it is to be a predator or how it feels to be the prey, and of fear as both a Foe and a Friend.
Animals cannot always make their homes in what would be the absolute safest place. Their homes must be close to sources of food and water. But animals via their senses become familiar with their surroundings so that they can recognize whenever the 'strange' enters in. So it is with humans as well. We have to go to work, to school, to the grocery store. We can't easily just pack up and head for that steel-lined cave in the mountains. However we too can make where we are safer by familiarizing ourselves with our neighbors, our neighborhoods and our surroundings. And we are not entirely bereft of 'senses' ourselves.
The events of September 11th have compelled people from all faiths to cling more closely to their own personal spiritual beliefs. So, too, are Pagans thinking now about how to apply their own knowledge of the unseen hosts to aid themselves and perhaps the souls of those who have been so suddenly and unexpectedly driven to the other side. We can also become the psychic 'hall monitors' for our home territory.
If you are a solitary, you can ward and monitor your home, your house, your building and maybe even your street or city block. If you know one or two more Pagans in the area, you can band together and watch over your town or city. If you have a group, you can monitor the energies in your state. Groups can link up with other groups in various states and countries and expand the psychic net and wardings across the globe.
These things, these abilities, these workings are not superstitions or the quaint old-fashioned tales of folklore. These are very real senses and powerful tools. We set up 'Neighborhood Watch" programs to combat crime. We can set up 'Neighborhood Psychic Watch' programs to fight terror. (Can't you just picture those signs? "This Neighborhood Protected by Magick!") It's time to put aside the tinkering around, to roll up our psychic sleeves and get to the Work. We were caught unawares last month. Let's do what we as magickal people can do- and perhaps what ONLY we as magickal people can do- to see (pun intended) that such a thing never happens again.
Walking down the hallway and back to the office, I see that Ruby is lying there in her usual spot. She is curled up, her back is against the wall and she is purring like a kitten. Looking down at her fluffy little body, I feel a sense of order, of security, of rest. Ruby's on duty. She's keeping the hallway safe. She's keeping watch over the borders between fear as Friend and fear as Foe. She'll be there, ready to sound an alert should it be necessary. Maybe we didn't understand what she was trying to tell us the last time. We promise to pay more attention in the future.
Ruby looks up, yawns her little pink-tongued yawn and gives a wee mee-yew in my direction. No problem. There's one 'alert' message for which I don't need to have a great deal of psychic ability in order to discern. I turn around and head back to the kitchen. Opening the cupboard, I put that all-important opposable thumb to good use. One can of 'Fancy Feast' coming up! Ruby has earned it. No doubt about it. She really is the best darn Hall Monitor that we have ever had.
Walk in Love and Light,
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, October 15th., 2001
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