Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 4562
Age Group: Adult
Posted: May 27th. 2002
The Giving Circle
Only the pale light of the moon guided our way to the small ritual circle nestled amidst the trees. My depth perception deteriorates quite a bit in the semi-darkness, so I was most grateful for William's guiding hand at my elbow as I navigated the steps down and into the back yard. I could sense familiar energies as we formed a ring around the unlit fire pit but only the occasional sound of a muted voice coming from here or from there revealed the identity of those others who were present. Standing shoulder to shoulder under the Florida night sky, the modern trappings of house and street seemed to melt away. We could have been standing anywhere and at any time in history as we prepared to take part in the ageless ritual. The sound of a gecko skittering up the dry side of a palm tree seemed more relevant here than did the echo of the squealing tires of a unseen and distant car as they sped away to destinations unknown.
With a crackle, flames leapt up from the stone circle of the fire pit and Don's face flickered into view. The fire caught hold and we could now see the thirty other faces framed by its glow. As the ring of light expanded and embraced the small company, the gecko scrambled higher into the nest of palm fronds over our heads until only the jeweled sparkle of his eyes reflecting the flames remained visible. It seems that we had found our self-appointed guardian for the evening.
After chanting a welcome to the spirits in his Native tongue, Don Waterhawk extended his greetings to us as well. He then called his wife, Daniella, into the circle of friends and elements. I have always marveled at Dee's grace, but on this special night, she seemed to move more like a sylph than as a flesh and blood woman as she literally glided into our midst. A true beauty, she stood slender and silent by fire. No one would ever guess that she was thirty-nine years old. Tonight, in fact. For that was why we were here: to celebrate Dee's birthing day and to give her our gifts. These were not to be the kind of gifts that come from Pier 1 Imports- all neatly wrapped up in crinkly tissue paper and dripping with fancy bows- although we had already done that, too. (And she got lots of good booty, let me tell ya!) Our present now would come from the heart as each of us would speak of some gift that Dee had given to us during the past year. It was our time to complete the circle.
As Don walked the perimeter of the circle, Dee hesitated for a moment as if not quite sure where to begin. Her humble nature probably urged her to flee from such scrutiny, but she straightened her spine and handed the eagle feather to her oldest friend, Lisa. And so it began. Eye to eye, we each spoke our gift. "Your courage", said one "has been an inspiration to me." 'Your grace and understanding", said another. "Your words of wisdom when I most needed to hear them, " offered a third. Around the circle, the words came, the laughter came, and the tears came. The air was heavy with the smell of tropical flowers, as sometimes eloquently, sometimes stumbling, we shared our love and our gratitude with Dee.
There are plenty of things wrong in the world. There are plenty of things wrong in the Pagan communities. There are plenty of things wrong within each one of us. No one has to really tell us what those things are. Although there are always plenty of people who seem to delight in slithering around and doing just that, now aren't there? From your parents to your political leaders to the Pagan fluff-bunny basher down the street, there is always someone who just lives to tell you what's wrong with you, with your beliefs or with your world. Nothing and no one is perfect. Life sucks. People suck. Everything sucks. In fact, you suck. So there! Why won't you just take off those rose-colored glasses and cash your reality check already? Oh, you know these people, too? I guess we all do. They are usually not the subtle type. And there is after all, some measure of truth in what they say. But theirs is not the entire truth of how things really are-- or of how things could be.
Because some of us- I hope most of us- know someone like Daniella Waterhawk. Dee lives in pain every day from injuries she suffered in an old car wreck. She doesn't rant about the injustice in that. She bears it and she goes on. And in doing so, she teaches other people how to bear the pains that are unavoidable in life with grace and with dignity. She has known more sorrow and fear and betrayal and weariness than many of us ever will. Yet for all of that, I have never heard her say that the world really, really sucks. Rather in Dee's eyes, it is alive with hope and possibilities and new beginnings and love. It's not perfect just as she will admit that she is not perfect. But she chooses to see the best of what the world is and can be. She chooses to see people in their robes of potential greatness rather than in their rags of dismal futility. And through her eyes, we can sometimes see it, too. Our world is a better place because Daniella is in it. And because she is our friend.
As we finished the circle of giving, Don walked back into the fire circle. He had been trying to think, he said, of what he should say to his wife and what gift he could bring to her on this special night. And as he had walked and pondered, he had by chance to look up at the almost full moon. And that is when he knew what to say and what to do. He held Dee then in his arms- and as they both stood there with upturned faces in the moonlight - we knew what was in his heart even before he spoke it.
The moon's light, traveling across those hundreds of thousands of miles, kissed their faces and then began the trip back with its gift. What Don and Daniella reflect- what we all reflect- comes to us through the lessons and the people in our lives and then goes out again from us to others. We can always choose to turn our eyes away. We can always choose to walk out of the circle. Or we can choose to lift our faces up to the moonlight- lift it up to love and to grace and to hope- and then reflect that light back and outward for others to see. It's a choice. To hope, to love, to give is always a choice.
There are plenty of things that are right with the world. There are plenty of things that are right in the Pagan communities. There are plenty of things that are right within each one of us. They should be obvious but sometimes we need to hear it said. So be the one to say it. If someone has given you a gift of wisdom or of love or of support, thank him or her for it. Seek that which is right with the world, with the community that you serve or with the people whom you encounter. Speak it. Share it. Pass on the light that you have been given and know that it will come back to you again. Within The Circle of Giving, you are really neither the giver nor the receiver.
You are the gift.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, May 27th., 2002
Photo Credit: Photo of Daniella Waterhawk (right WebSite) and Dana Davis (left WebSite) taken by Fritz Jung.
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