Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Poetry for the Esbat: Witch Moon 2015

View of a very special place, from a very special place  near the ocean, in Alaska.
View of a very special place, from a very special place
near the ocean, in Alaska.

Which Moon is this?

I have called it the Blessing Moon... or was it the Corn Moon?
And I have called it the Wyrt (Wort) Moon.
I have called it the Isn't She Lovely Moon.
I have also called it either the Buck Moon or the Night Life Moon or Beetle Moon, but I am not prepared to count...

I may also have mentioned it as a Blue Moon, which it is, once again.

But this time, I shall call it the "Witch Moon." 

Tomorrow we shall embark upon an unusual adventure. We will travel several hours to a quiet location, nestled upon the shore of the Cook Inlet. We are traveling there for a beachside gathering of Witches.

I do not consider myself a Witch. Some Witches do. Perhaps this is why I was offered the invitation, or maybe somehow I have charmed them, or something. 

But I got to thinking about the Witch: The Witch as a representation of all that is untamed, unruly & not easily contained. The Witch as something that offends the moderate senses & confuses the tractable mind.  The Witch, who more often than not, represents (Woman's, in particular) noncompliance, paired with primitive intuition. This last point, for me, reaches right into the heart of the Feral Self. 

The Witch operates independently of the rules, or at least those held dear by a social majority. She explores & operates past the boundaries of what is familiar. Her life ways, imagination, sense of self, aesthetic, relationship, power, etc. do not correspond to those of persons who stand outside her. Despite the scorn of her rebellion & unorthodox ways, she retains a inextinguishable allure.

I think it is her freedom, her independence & her willingness to consider hidden possibilities which cause people to wax romantic -- despite their disapproval -- when they consider the Witch. Were all the Witches to disappear from the Earth, they would leave a gaping hole behind, a yearning which could never be satisfied.  

There are many kinds of Witches. Some are classic, easy to identify. Others may come as a complete surprise. In the end I suppose, they are perhaps, as simple as all of us who are not entirely domesticated… 

For this Witches' Full Moon, I offer two poems which speak to me of precisely this paradoxical pair of sentiments: Rejection & Romance. Both poems are not exactly about Witches & yet they are  entirely about Witches. 

Witchgrass by Louise Gluck
Published in THE WILD IRIS (The Ecco Press, 1992)
(Text from The Poetry Center at Smith College)

comes into the world unwelcome
calling disorder, disorder—

If you hate me so much
don’t bother to give me
a name: do you need
one more slur
in your language, another
way to blame
one tribe for everything—

as we both know,
if you worship
one god, you only need
one enemy—

I’m not the enemy.
Only a ruse to ignore
what you see happening
right here in this bed,
a little paradigm
of failure.  One of your precious flowers
dies here almost every day
and you can’t rest until
you attack the cause, meaning
whatever is left, whatever
happens to be sturdier
than your personal passion—

It was not meant
to last forever in the real world.
But why admit that, when you can go on
doing what you always do,
mourning and laying blame,
always the two together.

I don’t need your praise
to survive.  I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And I’ll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.

I will constitute the field.

15. Lines written in Dejection by W.B. Yeats
(From The Wild Swans at Coole, 1919.)

WHEN have I last looked on  
The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies  
Of the dark leopards of the moon?  
All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,  
For all their broom-sticks and their tears,         
Their angry tears, are gone.  
The holy centaurs of the hills are banished;  
I have nothing but the harsh sun;  
Heroic mother moon has vanished,  
And now that I have come to fifty years  
I must endure the timid sun.

Blessings to you this Esbat, my friends.


Chas said...

You may like my friend Thorn's short video on the same topic,although it is not as elegantly done as Willie Yeats.

This view is coming back . . . has been coming back . . . and I am glad of it, although I still struggle with how it complements that of the people who want to be respectable and go to interfaith luncheons.

Moma Fauna said...

Thank you for the video -- I began watching & received a report of a Porcini sighting, so I must drop everything. I am sure you understand. But I will finish it later, perhaps Porcinis in hand.

As to the "people who want to be respectable and go to interfaith luncheons," it is ironic that you bring this point to the table because this particular camp was hosted by just one of those "love & light" types (although I will give credit for her having a little more depth than that). This is part of what inspired my rumination on the Witch. What is she? Samantha or Endora? I will argue she is both, because both still defy normal social convention, but it is very much a matter of degrees.

The real question is which is more fun? ;)

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