The Hermit

I don't believe in mass curses, but this year felt cursed.  I don't know what it was about this year, about who we are and what we've done, but this year proved to be difficult and full of grief for a lot of people.  All around me there is suffering.  In a way, it gets easier over time to deal with loss and fear and grief.  But at the same time, it wears you down sometimes, makes you tired in a way that runs deeper than the bones.  It's a sickness that settles in the soul.  It's a rot in the stomach, a palpitation in the heart.  It's called susto in Southwest practice, and it affects the spirit when a person is given shocking news.  There's a few ways to exorcise oneself of the sickness caused by grief, my method is busying the hands with stocking my pantry for winter.  This year was hard and full of illness and grief.  This year was the year that I learned that I know nothing at all. 

Rose, honey and amber based incense
Here, there and all around me is immediate suffering, and I've been worn down and aged by it.  I'm worn out from the loss of loved ones, I'm tired of grief.  It has taken everything in me to smile.  But it takes nothing to create, so that's what I focus on when I cant focus on anything else.

tincture for exorcism of mal de ojo, opens the doors for ancestors
The dog and pony show:  It's a type of glamour: first you summon a face that is pleasant and unreadable, and then cultivate an affectation of docility and gentleness, and invoke your innermost actress until you've fooled the senses of those around you into thinking you're okay.  It shimmers and shines on a face like mine.  But that glamour slips eventually, and you can hear the years of whiskey and chain-smoking and pain dripping from my voice.  Every charm needs upkeep, it needs to be fed... mine has limits too.

Beyond here lies nothing.  There's that tiny, dark place that's so easy to crawl into. It fits comfortably around us, securing us in the knowledge that our fears and insecurities and isolation is real, and tangible and will protect us from some greater pain.  We crawl into those dark grottos and soak in those shallow pools of feeling. In those dark places, you're supposed to learn, to meditate, like The Hermit.  You're supposed to sit in the stillness and quiet your mind. Enjoy the silence.  But the silence can scream and become this crushing thing all around us. And then you are trapped there. It's important to busy the hands and busy the mind with the wheel of the year.  Something about focusing on the turn of life and earth, the ever steady rhythm of the world around us as it does it's constant dance... it makes me feel small, and that insignificance makes me feel safer, less pressured. You've got to be the hermit sometimes, and time your life by the turning of the green world around you, not the clock on your cell phone.

teas for anxiety and fear; orange osmanthus, chamomile, licorice root, kava kava, melissa, etc.
People; we're all subtle nuances and deep layers.  I busy my hands with work fit for me- smokes, spices, sands, teas, baths, books, oils, balms, anathema and apotropaic talismans- anything I can create that brings comfort to others gives me a sense of a purpose. And I need a sense of purpose right now.  I don't bother reaching out, and I don't bother speaking up.  I just put my head down and get to work.
Northwest Incense: wildcrafted poplar, cedar branch, decayed cedar powdered, cinnamon, conifer resin, tincture of amber, olibanum

Incense of Poppy: poppy, datura, rose, orris, opium oil
In some new age religions, they talk about grounding- the need to settle the energy around you or within you to the ground by steadying your breath, thoughts and soul.  I'm working on grounding myself every time I get worked up.  Usually I just crawl off into the smoke and drink of the spirit world, but there are times when I feel like dancing too closely with the dead might make me want to stay at their party.  Sometimes the party looks fun.  But I'm not too keen on joining just yet, I think I'd like to just sit here and enjoy the silence for a moment.  In that silence, I am alone, I am The Hermit.  I'll be okay.

Bee Incense with blonde amber, honey amber, sunflower pollen, blonde sandalwood, honey comb, orange osmanthus, orange bergamot, bee propolis, orris powder
Finished Bee Incense

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