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NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Yuletide Spirits Speak: from The Coven of Spirits Eternal
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Article ID: 14865
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,329
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Author: Greenbridge (Ellen Bergstrom)
Posted: December 11th. 2011
Times Viewed: 1,938
I answered the phone on the first ring, “Well, hi there, that was fast.” said Meredith*.
“The phone was in my hand when it rung. Why are you calling me so late.”
“I'm calling late but you had the phone in your hand! Well whatever, I just thought about something we totally forgot about. I was reading the Yule ritual we had decided on earlier today on and I had the feeling there was something missing. I couldn't quite put my finger on it until just now. And so I just had to call you, ” said Meredith.
“What do you mean? What could've we forgotten?”
“Alicia, we forgot about Mark. The ritual lists Brian as the Oak King. Remember, Mark wanted to be the Oak King, he's been talking about that forever.” said Meredith.
“Well, yeah! Of course I remember. But did you forget that we already explained to him how he needed to complete his 1st year studies in order to do that. That is a part of the rules and regulations of our organization that we all must follow. It's very clear. We told him he could be the Oak King next year if it’s done by then.”
“Well, yeah I do remember that too but he got so mad that I thought we'd decided to make an exception for him” said Meredith, “due to all the work he has been doing for the Coven.”
I told her, “I remember discussing that too, and thanking him profusely for his ' hard work, ' but in my memory the final word was no. We regrouped and considered it and told him no. Then he stormed off and you and Rose talked to him awhile.”
“But Rose and I then told him we would reconsider and let him do it. We just needed you, Brian and Vance to agree, remember. I thought you all agreed.” said Meredith.
“No we didn't. I don't understand why you thought that. It must have been some kind of miscommunication, ” I said.
“Well then, what are we going to say to Mark now. He thinks he's our Oak King.”
“Maybe you and Rose can explain that to him since the both of you granted his wish.” I said. There was a long, uncomfortable pause and I knew Meredith was surprised and angry.
“I'll call Rose and talk to her about it and let you.” And with that Meredith hung up abruptly.
Mark had done some things for our coven, “Spirits Eternal, ” but he was a new member and also new to the practice of any kind of Neopaganism in general. He came from a Catholic family and was still a practicing Catholic when he first came. And for all I knew, he probably was still going to Church with his Mother who had yet to be told he practiced a Pagan religion now. Mark seemed sincere but I had some reservations about him. At 38, he behaved more like a 20-something, with a lot of immature, impulsive behaviors and I sensed a feeling of simmering anger around him always, though he only lashed out with minor sarcastic remarks against others which he past off lightly as “kidding around.”
I was surprised that Meredith had thought we agreed to allow him to be the Oak King for our Yule Ritual. I knew she was taken by him. Mark was the proverbial “tall, dark, and handsome” guy and could be quite charming at times, especially when he wanted something. And Meredith was only 23. I imagined I could have felt the same way about Mark at her age. I've allowed life to teach me its wisdom and was not fooled by Mark's facade, his manipulative personality. I first thought of phoning Rose myself and the other board members, but quickly thought it would not be a good idea. It may be misconstrued as manipulation and gossip and thought it best to let Meredith handle this herself. She was a very serious, sincere student. And though she worked much “harder” than Mark ever would consider, she did not realize the fact.
The next day Meredith phoned saying she was sorry about the whole thing. It seemed she was the only one who thought Mark was actually going to be the Oak King. I realized this confirmed my thoughts about her having at least a passing crush on Mark. I was glad I had chosen to not get further involved in this one.
The “Spirits Eternal” coven had been around for over 20 years and had gone through many changes during that time. When I started it, it was kind of touch and go at first. I began it in my home, a small, but comfortable home on 10 acres in a rural area near the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph area of Michigan. This area is thick with romance, crimes and stories of gangsters' hideaways from Chicago, murders, witches and ghost of the past, once being a vacation spot for the middle class and rich of Chicago.
About 20 years ago when I first moved to area for a job transfer, it was like the ruins of another time. I marveled in visiting the many dilapidated but still ornate, once lovely buildings and mansions. And being on the coast of Lake Michigan, there were plenty of lovely, sandy beaches. I had grown up near the Lake and had a lifetime of feeling the Magick of the Water and Air and Earth around the Lake. The Fire was there every summer and often at other odd times of the year. I was as attached to it as any friend I had ever known and thus was ecstatic about the job transfer. That was something I kept quiet about at work as some hateful people who despised my Witchy Ways had thought they were successful in a conspiracy to transfer me to a “no-man's land.” However, I had even obtained a promotion and a raise and much more before I “agreed” to move there! (She who laughs last...)
My home was on hill overlooking Lake Michigan, just 20 feet away, in an area that had been forgotten and abandoned. There were a few unkempt shacks and cabins where some people still lived. Thus I was fortunate to also purchase 10 acres with the property at an extremely cheap price at the time. Not that Vance and I would ever sell it, but it was now worth over 10 times what we paid for it. (I had met and married Vance a few years after purchasing the home.) That happened because a “Renaissance” of sorts had happened in the area in recent years. Through the use of combined federal/state and other grants, the area was able to upgrade its beautiful beach areas and create new parks and attract events and celebrities, which brought in tourists from all over the world. New money moved in and built grand new homes, purchasing and renovating some of the old buildings as well and the place was filled with several 100, 000 tourists each summer some of whom fell in love with the area as I had and moved there permanently.
After our modest start, our coven eventually acquired sufficient membership and funding to obtain its own building also on the shores of the Lake. It took a lot of unpleasant and pleasant events to get there though that is another story. The process changed the coven over and over again many times and I thought the chaos would kill it off. I meditated, visualized and prayed to Mother Goddess and Father God, doing multiple rituals. “Spirits Eternal” eventually emerged and our coven became part of a larger New Age group that had evolved from an original Christian church in the area.
The New Age group, “Friends of Spirit” had been around much longer and in the past, they were underground. I did not know their entire history, but rumors had it they had been around for centuries. Again this is another story.
“Friends” had lent our coven a loan to cover financing of the building and land our coven now owned, since they had thousands of members from all over the world and plenty of access to funding. “Spirits” emerged as strong, loving, caring and peaceful as I had asked for during those early years. And as such I knew that a foolish and egotistical young man would not be able to overtake or sabotage it. Yet I have seen that happen in former Christian churches I had attended in my young, searching years. But I knew the strength of our core membership would keep it together, perhaps for always.
I spent the rest of the day quietly working on a project for my clinic. Later that evening, I decided to check my email and then check our online group's message board. Mark had posted the following message: “What kind of coven says one thing then another. First I was told I was to be Oak King. I put in more work in “Spirits” than anyone, especially Alicia. I don't sit on a fat ass making plans; I do actual work! Now I am being told I am not the Oak King! I know its' not your fault Meredith. You are a hard worker too! And so are many others. But some of them are lazy fat ass bitches and they better stop bullying me. I demand an explanation, Alicia.”
Wow! It had been a long time since we had any member behave like that. Our own hard work of meditation, ritual, prayer, a healing service and respect for each other and of course each of our sincere dedications to the Craft, had put together a group of many loving and caring people as we watched the negative, foolish and even a few violent people walk away. Now we have another to contend with. He didn't realize, however, what he had gotten himself into. Too bad. But maybe he will learn something from it before its too late.
I didn't think a reply to this by me would be wise. I wasn't exactly sure what the other members would do. I have difficulty channeling for myself and for those I share a regular relationship. I did know some of our other faithful members would respond. But I didn't count on the extent of it.
The next morning when I checked with the list, there were several hundred messages. I did not have the time to read through all of them but practically every one of them was asking Mark why he was so troubled, why he would attack me in such a gross way, that he would never become our Oak King, and various other similar messages. I only spotted one message that supported Mark, from his buddy Peter who used to come regularly but stopped many months ago. Peter said, “Yeah Mark, I told you what those women were like. Time to get off those asses and get to work. Hahaha!”
I had to leave for work as I had a full schedule and couldn't even take a phone message until late in the evening. Arriving home at 930 PM and fully exhausted, I decided that I needed to speak with, to evoke Mother Goddess and Father God as well as my Guides, Lilian and Eric and Angels of Peace, Love and Respect. I went out into the back yard to our outdoor altar, now covered with snow and ice. We had a large stone, flattened on the stop for our altar's table and one figure for Goddess and one for God, our hardy winter figures made of heavy stone. I had taken a brief shower but prayed and meditated cleansing of my body, mind and soul using a purifying mixture out of my own grown herbs, some from the South American Guarani people I had lived with during my Peace Corp years and previously charged for cleansing.
I had put on a clean ritual robe though wore my long black winter cloak as well since it was 25 degrees. I brought a rose, a red one, just purchased on the way home and placed it on the snowy altar. I performed my ritual asking for guidance in this situation as well as protection for our coven and our kindly and faithful membership. I closed my eyes began to visualize a happy and contented and effective coven and felt a warm sensation flow throughout my body even though a very cold wind was blowing off Lake Michigan, just 20 feet away.
I opened my eyes and saw the Goddess Yemaya, one who had spoken to me in the past on several occasions, arise from the Lake and assure me all was well. I was so warm; I was heavily perspiring so I had to remove my heavy cloak. When I did I was still warm. The Goddess had left but I saw a beautifully multi-colored fog- like cloud in the place I had seen her. I closed the circle, went to bed and slept soundly and peacefully.
The next morning Meredith phoned me at 700 AM. She said excitedly that she couldn't believe the awful message Mark had posted and also the many replies that didn't support him but supported the coven and me. Then she told me that Mark phoned her last night and told her he was fired from his job that very day but also received a new job offer, about 3000 miles away in California. He was excited about it she said but also she said she knew he was scared. Mark had never lived outside his mother's home since his wife left him so he didn't know how he was going to do it. Meredith said she couldn't believe how childish he sounded when he described being offered a job he had always hoped for with a salary way beyond his expectations but was terrified in leaving his mother's home! She said he didn't know what he was going to do.
The Yule ritual went well. Brian was the Oak King and everyone seemed cheerful and jolly. After the ritual, we were all eating and drinking and drumming and dancing when Mark dropped by. He said he was sorry he missed the ritual and had intended to be there. But on the way, a deer crossed the road and he swirled away from it and came to a stop. Luckily he missed the deer, but oddly, the deer, a doe, did not run away. She stopped and stared into his eyes. She told him she was the Goddess and had great plans for him, he said.
Then he corrected himself and said that, “Well, I really didn't hear that deer talk but I heard it, in my heart. She was staring at me so intensely I couldn't believe it. After that she just turned and leaped away. I wanted to attend the ritual to pray and ask for help because I don't know what to do. After this experience, I guess it’s off to Sunny California! I'm really sorry to everyone, especially you Alicia, for those remarks I made.”
I looked at Mark and thought he was finally beginning to grow up but said, “Well I guess the Goddess has spoken and you have the best Yule gift of all! Now isn't that better being the Oak King?” We all laughed and had a wonderful celebration after that.
However, little did most of us know what was coming next. I had suspected it but didn't want to frighten anyone.
(to be continued)
*This is a work of fiction. Names, character, place, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright: Copyright Ellen J. Bergstrom 2011
Greenbridge (Ellen Bergstrom)
Location: Gaines, Michigan
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Bio: Ellen Bergstrom – Greenbridge is a long time practitioner of Shamanic Wicca and a member of The Sacred Birch Society; she is writer, social worker, life-coach, practicing “Holistic Journeying, ” a made to order method of designing a fulling life using a wide variety of methods. She is author of many articles and one book, “Holistic Weight and Life Management, ” and writes a blog: www.greanwitch.wordpress.com She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-845-6766.
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