Old Teen Essays
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Article ID: 6362
Age Group: Adult
Posted: June 22nd. 2003
Series 09 - Nine of Knowing...
"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper." *
As Ruby and I sat on the porch one morning last week enjoying the sunshine and watching the antics of the critters down at the Little Pond, I saw my red-winged blackbird. I can say it was 'mine' because I had asked for it. You see, it had occurred to me in the previous day's Porch Chat With A Cat that while we had many regular old blackbirds visiting our feeding station, I had not seen a red-winged one in the five years that we had been here. So I asked for one. And here it was.
It didn't really surprise me that the bird was there. It did surprise me a bit that it arrived on the very next morning. Sometimes, it takes a little longer...
In many parts of the North Hemisphere, Spring arrives with the first appearance of that red-breasted beacon, the Robin. But in our household the official harbinger of the 'good weather' season was a bird of an entirely different color.
Each morning from early May onward, the routine was the same. I would look up from eating my Frosted Flakes -- I was really into those little individual cartons that you can slit open and then just pour the milk in -- as soon as I heard him coming up the steps towards the pantry. After knocking the garden mud from his boots, Dad would let the screen door slam behind him and slip me a wink as he walked over to place his coffee mug in the sink. Mom would scowl as she scolded him for the umpteenth time about the slamming door thing. (I think that is actually why he continued to do it.) Then we got our early morning briefing on the State of the Homestead.
"The rhubarb is starting to come up. And the buds on the crab apple tree are turning pink. They should be out in a couple of days. But it's not quite Spring yet," he said. Stirring my now quite soggy flakes, I tried to hide my impatience. Waiting for anything was not my strong suit back then. I had a lot to learn.
And so it went, morning after morning. The apple trees bloomed and filled the air with fragrance and white petals. The lilac bushes leafed out and the tiny stalks of coral-bells and bleeding heart plants began to stretch for the sun after their long winter's nap. It sure looked like Spring to me. And then finally one day, it was. The bluebirds were back.
To me, one of the most beautiful birds in the world is the Eastern Bluebird. Beginning in the 1930's, the population of this wondrous bird began to decline. The residential construction boom began to erode their open field habitats in the post WWII years and the introduction of particularly noxious pesticides in the fifties and sixties pretty much sealed their fate. By the time that I reached my twenties, the bluebirds no longer made their nest in the crannies of the old crab apple tree.
Two decades would pass before I saw another one.
There is no shade of blue so striking as that of the bluebird, except perhaps the blue of my father's twinkling eyes. And so perhaps it was with my Dad's passing that I began to mourn that other loss as well. One spring day, as I was out in the fields checking on the 'State of the Homestead', I was talking with my Ancestors and the Gods about such things. Those of you who are prone to this type of wandering conversation may recognize the feeling that came over me then. It comes as a moment here and there and once in a while wherein you hear your Ancestors or Gods whisper something that sounds much like, "What would you have Us do?" When you hear that whisper, you generally also get 'the feeling'. And that day, I got it in spades.
The feeling is hard to describe. It is The Knowing. At least that is what I call it. (No need to make up a fancy-danced name for a thing when a simple one will do just fine, I say.) The Knowing is the certainty of an answer. It is the knowing beyond the shadow of any doubt that what you desire will come to you. In that flash of The Knowing, you already have whatever it is that you have willed. Even if you don't actually get to see it as yet.
"What would you have Us do?" That day in the fields, They didn't have to ask me twice. The ache had been there in my heart for a long time. I wanted to see a bluebird.
The years passed and Springs came and gave way to Summers and eventually even the apple trees in the fields succumbed to old age and died. And year after year, Spring after Spring, I would search the branches of the trees that grew up to replace the apples for a flash of blue wings. But even as the longing in my heart grew and the tears sometimes fell, I would still breathe out a thank you for that moment yet unseen. Because I still 'knew' that it would come as They had said it would.
And it did. One late Spring morning, it did. I was out harvesting some early herbs in the field when I felt it again. The Knowing. The air seemed to grow thicker. The fields had gone completely silent. Not a bee hummed. Not a blade rustled. And then I heard the song. I knew even before I looked up into the branches of the tall pine tree growing on the edge of the field what I would see perched there.
It was my bluebird.
I have told this story from time to and I used to make an attempt to put into words what happened next. I no longer even try. All that I can say is that it was -- and will always be -- one of the most mystical and profound moments of my life. I will always be grateful for the gift of it. And for the lesson.
You see, there is really no difference between the manifestation of the bluebird and that of the red-winged blackbird. That one spell took many, many years to come to fruition and another took less than one day makes the former no more wondrous than the latter in actuality. Or visa-versa. But it does point out some things that we tend to gloss over in our magickal workings.
Like there are laws. There are certain laws in nature and in the Universe. Magick is often the key to both understanding these laws and to using them to effect change. However, these laws cannot be completely overthrown or overruled. They can be bent and influenced, but not broken. Even the quirkiest, quarkiest sub-atomic particles have some patterns that may prove to be immutable. But that still gives us -- and the Gods -- a lot of leeway.
The blackbird probably lived around the corner. I just didn't see him until the Old Ones out it into his brain to pay my little feeding station a visit.
The bluebird however had to fight its way back from the edge of extinction to get into my field.
So The Old Ones worked with and through other people who also loved bluebirds. These good people lobbied to have some pesticides banned. They also started a campaign to build 'Bluebird Trails' of nesting boxes and encouraged others to do the same. As a result, the bluebird came back in sufficient numbers for the Old Ones to be able spare one for me that day. (The bluebird continues to slowly recover. It's future -- like the future of many threatened species -- depends largely upon us.)
So was that really magick? You bet it was. Bluebirds are still rarely seen in that same area even today. But thanks to some real magick, not only did The Old Ones keep Their promise to me, They have probably also sent a whole lot of other people a bluebird on the many Spring mornings since then. For I am not the only one who believes in magick.
That The Gods care for us is demonstrated not only in the great Works that They undertake on our behalf but also in the little day-to-day miracles that They shower upon us. No matter how long it has been -- whether it has been twenty years or twenty minutes -- if you have experienced The Knowing, then your magick will manifest. For Their promise is true...
And your bluebird will come.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, June 23rd., 2003
* Eden Phillpotts
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