Monday, August 15, 2005

Tables and Doors

Thru the door

This is the door that belonged not to my mother, not to her
mother, or even to her mother before her. It belonged to a woman
three generations before that, a woman who lived in the deep dark
wood of the Jodlowa forest of Poland, quite near the Lysa Gora,
enchanted home of the witches' Sabbath. In this holy place, she
used only the wood the trees gave freely, building her shelter from
downed branches and logs. The morning after a great storm, (during
which she had spent the night invoking the goddess with all of her
most powerful protective charms) she found that a great tree had
been struck by lightning, and was lying near the river that ran
behind her shelter. She and her neighbors blessed this bounty and
set to cutting it, soothing the tree and thanking it for its
protection, releasing the druid spirit to wander free, preventing it
from taking up residence in the chimney or woodshed and keeping them
awake all through the night. From this gift, she took much wood, but
in particular, a long and wide piece, as thick as her hand that was
marked through with the sign of the lightning, a jagged blackening
that bespoke of nature's power. From this piece she made a great
trestle table. Throughout the remainder of her life, she prepared
her herbs, charms and potions on this surface, carving in symbols of
magic and protection, smoothing the wood with the oils of her hands
and sacred plants.
This table passed, daughter to daughter, crossing the ocean
twice. Each daughter was schooled in the old ways by her mother, and
each added her spells, charms, and magical symbols, until the
surface of the table was covered with beautiful and mysterious
patterns. The wood to this day smells of honey, herbs, stones,
crystals, and berries—all the things ground into in by hands
fashioning a future, a past, a present.
It was my fortune, when I got the table, to have a lovely
cottage of my own, but it was small, too small for such a great
table. I, too, lived in a wood, beside a river, tucked beneath a
mountain. After careful consultation with my mother and my own
oracles, and with the blessings of the goddess, I turned the table
into a door, placing brass hinges and a knob on it, and mounting a
knocker in the shape of a raven clinging to the surface, pecking for
a juicy insect. It is the sentry and portal to my existence, my
This door needs no lock, as it is so heavily enchanted. It
will freely allow all those who love me and mean me no harm to enter
at will, keeping out those of cold heart, limited imagination, and
cruel spirit. It protects against all manner of dark forces, and I
anoint it yearly with protective herbs and oils, taking it from its
hinge to clean and bless it, adding what few small symbols and
spells I can to an undecorated edge, a tiny corner still bare. The
inside of the door, being the underside of the table, is, by and
large, a blank canvas, save for some small childish carvings placed
there by little girls, daughters, as they frolicked beneath the
table while their mothers, powerful sorceresses all, worked atop it.
It is mine to create, mine and my daughters, and their daughters
after them.
It holds magic within my hearth and home, but also leads to
places of enchantment at special times throughout the year. For it
is not always my dear forest I see when I pass through it, nor is it
my own little cottage that some see when they enter. It is the
greatest tool I have received from my foremothers, they who gifted
me with the inner vision I bring to you today.


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