Cursing a Rapist

I have a good friend and years before we met, she was attacked and sexually assaulted in her home.

Now, thirteen years later (the irony of this doesn’t escape me), her rapist has been caught and will tried for his crimes against her and against the other women he has violated. In a few hours she will take the stand and give her testimony against this cretin and last night she asked for strength and power.

Filled with righteousness on her behalf and on the behalf of all women who have suffered at the hands of men, I sent her power.

I drew a picture of his true self, his disgusting self, his decayed inner self. I sewed his eyes and nailed his tongue down with my pencil. I split his penis and stuck pins into it.

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I beat my red drum and my chest, I called to me the spirits of blood, bone and shadow. I banged my fist on my counters and doors, waking up the house wights, I yelled to them to attend me. Around my kitchen I sharpened my mother’s pocket knife, whispering of the power and viciousness of the bitch.

I invoked Hekate, Durga, and Sehkmet. I let me voice reverberate through my house.

Hekate
Three Faced One! Guardian of the Crossroads! Keeper of the Keys!
I call on thee, attend my rite!
Lend [my friend] your power of justice, look upon this evil she faces with your dark gaze, 
feast upon him with your three mouths! Hail, Hekate! 
Durga 
Creator and Destroyer! Three Eyed Lady! Fearless one!
I call on thee, attend my triangle! 
Lend [my friend] your power of strength, turn this evil from her,
Bind him with your many arms! Hail, Durga!
Sehkmet 
Mighty One! Great Lionness! Destroyer of Men!
I call on thee, attend my triangle!
Lend [my friend] your power of destruction, consume this evil she faces with your savage teeth,
Maim him with your bloody claws! Hail, Sehkmet!
I rubbed garlic into his eyes and salt into his wounds. I drowned him in my beer and spit and blood. I cursed him.
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I spit on your grave. I piss on your doorstep.
I cursed him.
I folded the paper, I bound him tightly. I laid Tiwaz, Thurisaz, and Ansuz upon him. A binding. A curse. The spirits hold him down.
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To Tisiphone I give your penis, may she split it in half. To Megaera I give your hands, may she chop them off. To Alecto I give your tongue, may she pull it out. 
I cursed him.
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I took him outside and I dug into the dirt my bare hands and I buried him. I laid rocks to seal his grave.
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I curse you. I bind you. The justice of the wronged will destroy you, the righteousness in her words will castrate you, the truth in her testimony will render you impotent under the fierceness of her gaze.
I curse you. I bind you. 

Hexennacht: A Ritual

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The veil thins, my dark little creatures! Hexennacht, the night of Witches, approaches. Also called Walpurgisnacht, the night of April 30th is a darker, wilder sister to Beltane– which is a nice holiday and all, but I ain’t Celtic.

On the opposite end of the year than October 31st; I think of Hallow’s Eve and Hexennacht as book ends, two sides to the same coin laid upon the mouth of the dead so that they may pay their way on Charon’s boat. A journey across the river Acheron. A voyage through the underworlds.

In Germany it’s believed that witches gather on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, for dark revels and communions with demons on the night before May Day.

This is a night of celebration, for the dead speak and the veil has thinned.

I will be celebrating Hexennacht on Sunday night and below you’ll find a skeleton outline of the ritual I will be using. Feel free to mad-lib it to your black heart’s content. Let me know if you do!

Whisper to the dead and they will whisper back, witches.

To begin, I cleanse myself with smoke or water, grounding and centering down into the earth, before casting a Triangle of Blood, Bone, and Shadow.

Triangle

Bone

Dark One of Unknowable Depths. You whisper to me ancient secrets of magic and death. Stalking the space between worlds, you exist betwixt and between. Within the veil, between the flesh, is your wicked domain. Guide me through my Triangle as you guide me through the veil. Oh come and be my teacher.

Blood

Bloodied Warrior of Vicious Protection. Through the mightiness of my ancestral line, I know your name. Guardian of my mother’s mother,  you are the protectress of ancient children. A creature of the venerated wild, mistress of tooth and claw. Ward my Triangle as you ward my Journey. Oh come and be my keeper.

Shadow

Dreaded Enchantress of Infinite Wisdom. In your kingdom of obsidian my soul takes root, burrowing into wicked soil. You are the black serpent of the crossroads, snake witch, the deep darkness is yours to command.  Reveal my Triangle as you reveal my shadow.  Oh come and be my reflection.  

I then invoke the wights and spirits of my house and land, as well as my own personal ancestors and beloved departed.

Invocations

House Spirits

Wights of place! Of hearth and home! Of brick and beam! Of wood and stone! Heed my Triangle, drawn with power! I call upon you in this sacred hour! 

Departed Family

Ancestors, beloved and departed- dead to us, but never gone. You who are called [list departed family and ancestral surnames]! Come, attend my rite!

For Hexennacht I will light a fire under the dark sky and throw in dried herbs to mingle with the smoke– sage, local henbit, and mandrake. I will beat my drum and sing, calling my ancestors to me. I will throw my runes and divine that which my mundane eyes cannot see. I will dance, widdershins, around my fire and I will pour out homemade mead for my ancestors to drink.

Dark revels are about on this night. Don your masks so that you may join in the celebrations, trick the spirits into believing you are one of them, because truly, on Hexennacht you are.

Open your ears and soul and eyes to the calls of the dead and the spirits. 

Full Moon Offering

On the evening of the full moon, my mother-in-law came to visit. To put it gently, this is not a fun time for me. My husband’s mother is a narcissistic, manipulative, dishonorable bitch and that’s about the nicest thing I could probably say about her.

I sat on my couch and listened to her turn what should have been a brief encounter to pick something up, into an hour long diatribe on why no one loves her or cares about her, all the time consciously willing my eyes not to roll into the back of my head. I take special cautions to avoid her and normally this works just fine, we usually see her about twice a month and rarely at our home. But sometimes it cannot be avoided.

I could feel my house, my wights, my spirits recoil away from her, I could feel her energy polluting my home. I wanted to scream.

When she finally left, I could see the mental exhaustion painted across my husband’s face, and so I suggested we dye eggs. Something fun and whimsical and childlike to erase her foul aura from our house.

I forgot it was the full moon. 

So we dyed our eggs and I offered them to my house and my own spirits and when I went to bed I dreamed of my father smiling at me.

The next day, besides my herb garden, I found a rabbit. A creature broken and mangled and half-eaten: prey.

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I have lived in my house for two years now and have never found a dead animal anywhere on our little property and when I saw her lying there I knew the wheel was turning.

I spoke to my witch sister and she said offering, this is an offering.

Offering. 

Yes. An offering, a sacrifice.

The carcass was properly disposed of, in the way one must do in the city, and as the sun set and twilight descended, I made my own offering. I cut a sprig of oregano from my garden and boiled it. I poured the water and oregano onto the spot where the rabbit had been left and I sprinkled salt upon the ground. All this, an offering to the door this death had created, a piercing of the veil, and I breathed in that power.

For you see, what is good for the wolf is not necessarily good for the rabbit and trust me when I tell you, my little darklings, I am a wolf. 

When Spirits Speak

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 8.10.27 AMMy home is a guarded space. My wights and I, we have an understanding, we have a working relationship, a partnership. They will own these bricks and beams, this wood and stone, this dirt and land, long after my family and I have left. It’s really more their’s than it is mine.

Yesterday, I arrived home from my muggle life and I had a feeling: an urge to offer. So I poured salt in my hand, coarse and purified, and I sprinkled it along the boundary of my fence and house. I sang to the wights and spirits, I called on them with the salt, both an offering and a warding.

This place is ours. Let nothing in that would do ill. This place is ours. Accept this offering, heed my will. 

The wights are listening, the wights are always listening even when you think maybe they’re not. They live in everything.

Your home is made of wood that was once a tree. Does the tree not have a spirit? Your home is made of brick that was once clay and shale. Does the rock not have a spirit? Your home sits atop the ancient land. Does the land not have a spirit? Maybe neglected spirits, maybe forgotten spirits, but spirits nonetheless.

After my offering of salt and song, I came inside and found crawling about on my hand a wee spider. The spirits are always listening. I took the little guardian outside and I thanked her for her weavings. There is power and craft in a spider’s web. Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 8.09.54 AM

In my backyard are frogs and rabbits, spiders and cardinals, mushrooms and weeds. They own this place.

My Sister, My Blood

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My sister has a voice like a chainsaw and a mouth that cuts deeper than any sharpened steel. Amber eyed and wild haired with deep olive skin, she is not unlike the Greco-Roman Furies; Allecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera all at once. She is on the cusp of both Ares and Taurus, born with all the war-like ferocity of the former and the unmoving stubbornness of the latter. My sister is a force unto herself.

In adulthood she and I have learned to navigate the turbulent ocean of our relationship, sailing together on a ship made unbreakable by the squalls and hurricanes of our life together. But it was not always so.

I am older, but she was always taller and bigger and stronger and physical in a manner I was not as a child. Her weapons were on the surface: a keen mind, an unfailing sense of self, a ruthlessness I often admire. My sister forced me to forge secret weapons, to guard myself with an expertise only siblings can teach. Your siblings, if all goes well, are with you from birth to death. They know you before you are a fully realized vessel, when you are nothing more than wet clay, and they are there with you through the wedging, throwing, and firing of life and adolescence. Siblings have the experience to see through the facade you present to the world, cutting through your walls to the very foundation of your soul, because your foundation is their foundation.

No one understands my soul as intrinsically as my sister and no one knows her soul as expertly as I; it is a bond that cannot be replicated and brings with it a power often abused.

As children my sister and I would fight and bicker and push and pull. She would scream, her voice like a maelstrom, so I would turn away, ignoring her outbursts and refusing to acknowledge her. Her thunderous yelling was her sword and my contemptuous silence my shield.

I can recall the worst fight we ever had was at Girl Scout camp in elementary school; we were living in Seattle, she was six and I was eight. I can remember pulling her hair to wrench her to the ground; she had said something that finally broke me, though neither of us can remember it now. I rolled on top of her and pinned her down, but she wouldn’t stop speaking, so I grabbed the closest thing to us, a sock, and I shoved it in her mouth, hellbent on silencing her.

The Girl Scout leaders had to call my father to come pick us up early from camp, they’d never seen two scouts fight as viciously as my sister and I were capable of. We were bloodied and bruised and exhausted from the force of our violence when my father came to retrieve us. I will never forget that car ride home. He wouldn’t say a word to us, which was jarring as my sister inherited her ability to yell from our Italian bred, Brooklyn born father. He didn’t speak and we didn’t speak, allowing us to stew in the fearful anticipation of the punishment he’d surely deal out when once we’d made it home.

At the time it was late winter, early spring in the Pacific Northwest and it was cold and damp outside. Back at our house, my father demanded, barely even able to look at us such was his shame and rage, that we go into the winter-dead garden and pull weeds. In silence we did this. Tears streaming down our faces, our chests racked with sobs, our gloved hands cold and shaking: forced into camaraderie in our punishment.

I can’t tell you how long we were out there, it felt like an eternity, until finally my father came out of the house and he looked between us, disgrace painted across his stern features, and ordered us to face each other saying,

That is your blood and if you don’t have your blood, you don’t have anything.”
And we cried.

When Silent Anger isn’t Enough

Today I’m angry.

I am so goddamn angry.

I am so goddamn motherfucking angry. 

You may have noticed I’m a little upset.

Why, you may ask? Because apparently I’ve found myself in a goddamn motherfucking B-rate post-apocalyptic horror movie, where a fascist congealed pile of orange pond algae someone glued googly eyes to has managed to be elected as president of the goddamn USA.

I’m angry and you should be angry too, even if you don’t live in the USA. Even if you did vote for this piece of tangerine shit because of emails or something? Everyone should be pissed.

Unless you are a Nazi, in which case, this all probably seems awesome to you, in which case, fuck off.

This has been a wake up call, like the worst sort of wake up call. Like someone threw a bucket of freezing cold urine on me sort of wake up call.

I have been too quiet. I live my life secretly. I don’t speak up, I don’t talk out of line, because it’s really too much of a hassle. I hold my beliefs close to my chest and silently hate and judge and curse and banish and derisively laugh. But mostly I keep to myself.

No more, fuckers. No more.

It is about to get real up in this motherfucking bitch- oh my gods, will it get real.

I am going to be calling all of you. I am going to be writing to all of you. I am going to be cursing and hexing and binding all you pieces of shit.

I will be marching and protesting and speaking and quite possibly punching, because it’s just an alternative kiss. Amirite?!

Get ready for the worst four years of your lives you Evangelical, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, taint lickers.

A Samhain Ritual

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The dead are always listening, but now the Veil has thinned it is time that we listen.

Last night I took my silver tray, a portable alter of sorts, to bathe in the darkness of a moonless sky. I lit candles and sage and called upon my three disir to form the boundary of a triangle for my sacred tasks. I called on each corner as an aspect of my womanhood.

Bloodied Warrior of vicious protection.

Dark Mother of unknowable depths.

Dreaded Enchantress of infinite wisdom.

I called on the the wights that live within my home.

Wights of Place, of Hearth and Home,

of Brick and Beam, of Wood and Stone.

Heed my Triangle, drawn with power,

I summon your strength in this sacred hour. 

I called on the spirits of blood and bone and shadow.

Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Bone,

Spirits of Shadow I call you Home.

Beyond the Veil and through the dark,

Come and heed the witch’s hark.

And finally I called upon the beloved and mighty dead of my ancestral tree. I called them by first name and surname and I sang to them through our bound of kinship and as I chanted the wind blew out my candles leaving me shrouded in darkness. I whispered.

I know you.

I see you.

I hear you.

I will speak your names.

And the dead spoke.

Sin Filled Heathen

I am an elementary teacher living deep in the heart of the Lone Star State and because of who I am and where I live, I have never discussed my spiritual or even political beliefs at work.

Even when Especially when my colleagues discuss theirs’.

You see, I am a young woman of European descent living in a region where the dominant culture is conservative and Christian, so it’s not shocking when folks assume I am a member of this dominant culture. Depending on the circumstances, in certain situations I may correct assumptions with a simple “I’m not Christian,” other times I’ll go a little deeper and explain I’m pagan.

But at work I bite my tongue. Literally. I literally bite my tongue to keep from screaming expletives that have no place in an elementary school.

While I sit in the teacher’s lounge with my team and we eat our lunch they start talking about god and I bite my tongue, but my thoughts are alive with malice.

“It was god’s grace that allowed me to survive that car accident.”

Or maybe he’s punishing you. 

“God only deals you what you can handle, that’s why I didn’t wind up in a wheelchair.”

Those Syrian children buried under the rubble of terrorist bombs must be able to handle it then, hmm?

“They won’t let us call it an “act of god” in class, we have to say “act of nature.” But who controls nature? Science they’d say, but we know better.”

You ignorant pond scum. 

“You’re father’s unexpected death was all a part of god’s plan.”

There aren’t words in the English language vile enough for me to properly tell you to fuck off. 

“I’ve confessed all my dirty secrets to you now, I guess you know I’m a sin filled heathen.”

Oh sweet child, you have no idea who you’re talking to. 

Impromptu Binding or Why You Don’t Fuck With Me

Yesterday as I sat at home by myself, sipping a glass of wine and listening to the steady breathing of the cat asleep next to me I began to think. I began to think about a few people who are in my life who I really wish weren’t and I began to think about how they have manipulated and harmed someone close to me and then, I began to grow angry.

Quite angry, in fact. I was pretty fucking pissed.

I stood up and looked around. I put down my wine glass and clenched my fist and I thought to myself, “Fuck them.”

And then I thought, “I don’t have to put up with this shit.”

I walked to my bedroom, where my altar sits, and while I was walking I began banging on the walls and doors to call my spirits. I sang to them, calling them to me, letting the pounding of my knuckles on the wood and drywall be like a drum leading them home.

Spirits of Blood, Spirits of Bone, Spirits of Shadow, I call you home.

From my altar I took my mother’s pocket knife, my grandmother’s silver thimble, the picture of my great-grandmother, my Freyja blessed cat statue, sage, and my megalodon tooth. I held these sacred things in my hands, still chanting to my spirits, and I took them to my kitchen.

I laid out my supplies on the counter and grabbed a cord and sheet of paper. I lit the sage and inhaled the smoke into my lungs. Filled with righteous fury at those who had wronged me and mine, I began to sing to myself.

Sacred is the bitch, for she is vicious in her power. Sacred is the bitch.

I tied the cord three times and began sharpening my mothers knife, calling on my ancestors for their help. I walked around the kitchen sharpening the knife, honing my intent.

On the paper I wrote the names of those I wanted out of my life and I chanted, demanding they leave my family alone. I sealed their names with a bind rune created from perth (who knows me best), algiz (who understands protection) and tiwaz (who understands violence).

I folded up the paper tightly, chanting to my ancestors, and when the paper was good and folded I took my mothers knife and stabbed it in the middle. Holding the paper down with the knife, I spun the paper counter-clockwise and chanted “Stay away.” until I had worn a hole through the paper. Then I took the thrice knotted cord and I tied the note up, whispering incantations and prayers to my spirits and my ancestors.

I need to bury it, I thought to myself. I need to bury their names so the dead can find them, so my ancestors can do the work. I put the bound paper inside my mouth and wiped my saliva onto it and then I took salt and rubbed it into the paper, then I dipped it all in my wine. An offering, an offering for the dirt of spit, wine, and salt.

I held the bound paper, the bound names, close to my mouth and I whispered, “Send my words to the dead, send my words to the ancestors.”

I went outside into my backyard and dug, continuing my whispered chants.

Send my words to the dead, send my words to the ancestors.

I dug a hole with my bare hands, huddled over the ground on my knees, dirt beneath my nails. I stuffed the paper into the ground and covered it. I saw an old rusty screw next to me and I smiled. I grabbed the screw and pushed it down into the dirt and I whispered.

You have no power here.

And I went inside and I finished my wine.

Where is our family’s home?

I’ve been doing a great deal of work on my family tree- tracing my ancestors and learning their names. They appreciate the recognition and I want to ensure my name and the names of my blood are repeated and acknowledged by my descendants.

I’ve spent a great deal of time imagining these descendants, these children I don’t have. Imagining what I’ll teach them and the stories I’ll whisper to them as they fall asleep about their grandparents and great-grandparents. The recipes and tricks I’ll pass down and the traditions I’ll forge new with help from their tiny hands.

I don’t have any children yet. I am young. I have time.

It’s a strange thing to have children, stranger still is to raise them in a foreign land. My family is a product of immigration. I am second generation born in the United States from Germany and third generation born in the United States from Italy- this is  not the land of my ancestors. Even my parents, raised in New York and southern California, come from a different land than I.

My mother’s home is the ocean, warm sandy beaches and cool surf.

My father’s home is the city with towering skyscrapers that obscure the sky.

I am from none of these places. I am a creature of mountains. A daughter of grey rains and dark skies. I am a child of the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest.

But my children will not share this with me, my children will be of yet another land. They will grow up knowing the mightiness of the sun and blue skies that are unending. They will be creatures of open plains and unyielding heat. When I talk of rain that never stops and a grey chill that permeates your skin and soaks into your bones, when I talk of the dense forests of my childhood they won’t understand.

I wonder, is this a taste of what my grandmother felt raising the first of her family not born born in Germany, not born in Berlin? Is this what my great-grandparents felt raising their children so far from their ancestral shores of southern Italy?

What is the price of this familial disconnection from the land? What is the benefit?