For a blog beginning with the letter A, I’m surprised I didn’t click to this before.
Anglesea. My beach.
I spent the second week of my holidays visiting family and friends in Victoria. I played with my nieces, I fell asleep before midnight on New Year’s Eve, and it was exactly what I needed. I went to Anglesea and Point Roadknight with my father on NYE, and it was nice. I couldn’t swim, so we just walked up and down the beach. We saw seal cubs sunning themselves at the Point, and saw a dead baby shark get washed up on the shore. I went back to Anglesea by myself on the morning of my final day there.
Anglesea is special to me. I didn’t grow up there, and I don’t have any family there. Ten years ago I went to a workshop that Wendy Rule ran from her home in Melbourne, an introductory weekend workshop that introduced us to Witchcraft. It was a “you’ve read what you can from a book, let me show you how to put it into practice” kind of workshop. And it changed my life.
On the drive home from Melbourne, I was too excited to go home, so I kept driving and found myself in the carpark of Anglesea beach. I took my worksheets and walked through the shallow banks of the river to the mouth where it meets the ocean, and into the sea. Something clicked within me, the magick and the pull that we read about as newbies. I knew I had found my spiritual home. I could hear the waves talking to me, and the wind whispering in my ear. I felt like I was being welcomed home, congratulated for finding my way. Eventually I sat on its banks and did a rather novice and unconfident dedication ritual to the path of the Witch. I had no tools with me. It consisted of my finger, drawing in the sand, and the elements around me. But it was all I needed.
So over the years and throughout the many moves (I’ve moved twelve times in eight years, over two states) I always find my way back there. When I was based in Victoria, it was always just me under the moonlight, the full moon illuminating stretch where land meets the Bass Straight. I didn’t have tools with me (that, and knives in public are kinda illegal here) but I didn’t need any. I’d dance in the waves, swim fully clothed (even in winter) and I always knew I was safe. No matter what the waves were like, where the rips were, I knew I was safe.
(NB: My WitchSister and I went down there with a picnic basket full of candles, bowls etc. as a travelling altar bundle. The candles wouldn’t stay lit, and it just felt –wrong- so we went elsewhere with torches (which the ocean later claimed) and it felt so much better.)
Saturday morning there was hard, emotional and…I’m sure there’s a word for what I’m feeling but it won’t come to me. Close on three years ago before I moved back to Sydney I did a ritual there. It was impromptu and I thought it was what I had to do. The jist of the ritual was me letting go of my old self (Azi) so she could stay there on the beach, so that at least one of us would always be there. When I visited Anglesea at Xmas visit 2012/13 all I felt from her was anger. So much anger, it was absolutely suffocating, and I couldn’t feel the connection to the land that I was craving. Because she wouldn’t let me.
This time around, she was a lot more calmer. I think she was concentrating too much on making sure the Little Nippers who were having a competition on the shore weren’t getting into trouble when they hit the water.
I did my morning ritual and began talking to the land. I sat on the beach and wrote a spell in the sand. Once the waves claimed it, Azi made it true. She spoke up, and allowed the spell to weave.
This is the emotions I said I had to work through a few posts ago. And I’m getting teary about them now.
Azi’s anger towards me came from our deepest fear, and I’m so ashamed for doing it to her. Where I thought I was doing the right thing in order to move on and grow as a person, she saw it as abandoning her. In a sense, I did. I told that former self, one who had gone through so much, to stay there and don’t come with me. It’s not that I didn’t want her to be a part of me anymore, it was I wanted her to be happy, and our happy place was at that beach. Sydney is…I don’t like Sydney’s beaches. I can’t stand the energy at the ones I’ve visited (seriously, what is everyone’s obsession with Bondi?)
My WitchSister and I (when we caught up earlier in the week) commented on how wonderful it would be to be at Anglesea when it rained. Years ago I was living in land, I drove over two hours to get to Anglesea because I was living in a land-locked town and I was desperate for the ocean. It rained the entire drive down, stopped once I got out of the car, then began again once I got back in the car to drive home.
Standing in the ocean, water splashing up past my knees, feet sinking into the sand, talking to the essence of who I used to be…I broke. I was sobbing and hiccupping in the water. If people walking past were looking at me strangely, I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t see past the immense feeling of guilt and sadness and of the reality slapping me in the face.
I had abandoned myself.
No more. We worked through our shit, joined hands and I feel like I am whole again. She is with me once more. I understand everything now, everything that I couldn’t see years ago when I left her on that beach. She is me, I am her. She is the darker element of myself. She is the girl who went through hell and back, trying to control the darkness within us. She is the self-harmer, the one who thought she would never live past her 21st birthday, and the one strong enough to work through it all.
As hard as that morning was, we feel stronger for it. And has horrible as it sounds, I know it’s what needed to happen. I needed to take the reins and get us to where we are now, and I doubt I could’ve done that if I had Azi here with me fighting for control.
Once I began crying, it began raining. It was already cold and windy, and the rain began to sting my arms. While others on the beach was packing up to go home, I began to dance in the waves. Having worked through our issues, I felt lighter…whole. Any blockages that I had been aware of were gone, and power rushed through me. Power of the land, of our past workings, of the spirits of place – we were all connected on that beach. I left with a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and a sense of pride.
I’m going to be 30 in August. I’m still alive, with Azi on one side and Herne on the other.
I honour myself. I honour the girl who I used to be, knowing that without her, I would never have been able to grow into the woman I’ve become.