With the stupid season upon us, I’m making small preparations for a week spent with my family interstate. With Litha falling on the days down there, I’m making a small box of things I need to take with me – specially created incense for the occasion, charcoal discs, the gift Herne insisted I buy for him because as much as I don’t want to celebrate Yule and Xmas – he has other ideas.
Naturally this has gotten me thinking about what I want to do for Litha – where I want to spend it, will the Muggle be with me or will I be able to do something alone. If I head down to my beach to marvel in the sunshine (weather permitting) will he come, will he enjoy himself or will he just be a bother. I say that in a completely loving manner – he just isn’t a fan of the beach. If it’s raining, what do I want to do. And yes, it may just rain – so what’s my backup plan going to be? Do I want to try and find something outdoors yet undercover, or do I want to do something on my mothers back porch?
Thinking of the beach has, in a way, made me pine and yearn for the years where I practised Ocean Witchcraft, which I have blogged about here and here. There’s a simplistic beauty in the rites and rituals that can be performed on a beach, particularly when bonfires are not permitted. With Litha, celebration of the height of the sun, the longest day, and the Oak King reclaiming his crown – obviously it’s a day celebration. I don’t understand why you’d want to be locked up if the weather permits you to spend the day outside. If it’s raining, that’s another matter.
(Although one time I had driven 100km/62 miles for a Full Moon rite, and it began to rain on the drive down. Ten minutes away I asked politely if the rain could hold off for while I was there, given I had come so far. I reached the car park, and the rain stopped. I spent an hour alone on the beach under the moonlight, waddling in and out of the water, performed a very beautiful rite and some powerful magick, then went back to the car. Once I had dried off a bit with the towel, gotten the sand off my feet and closed the door to start the car up, the rain began once more.)
It’s a natural “yearning for what was” situation but with a romanticised filter on it. Those moments where you “wish things were back to the way they once were” because the memory is fantastic before realising that it wasn’t exactly the greatest of times. For me, I’m yearning the regular smell of the salt air, the sand between my toes, the wind that always seemed to great me from the east. I’m yearning the small shells, the conversations with the tide, and the energy of the land. I’m yearning the sense of place, that sense of home.
But I’m not yearning for who I was back then, just the environment. The girl I was back then had very little self esteem, was stuck in a complex world of untreated depression and mood swings, didn’t know what she wanted out of life, and the beach became that space where she could escape the harsh reality of the world as she saw it.
It’s that moment of, “to go back to that place, to still be at that place practising that path, you’d be giving up so much. Would you give up what you know now for that place in time again?”
Each year that I return to my beach, I return a different person. With the obvious one out of the way – I’m a year older – I return with a greater appreciation of what I had, and what I have now. This is why I say I yearn with a romanticised filter on. Those years of practising Ocean Witchcraft were hard. Not the practice itself, but the outer environment that I was in. The Ocean was my home, and a piece of me misses that home.
At the same time, I’m glad and happy and proud that I have moved away, found a new home in Sydney, and have been able to (well, not really given much choice living where we are) concentrate on other aspects of the craft. Had I stayed where I was, had I concentrated purely on Ocean Witchcraft, would I have reached the point of where I am now? Would I have tried to discover new things, new paths, new avenues within the craft?
Would I have spent last night (while the Muggle was asleep) mixing up incense blends for the upcoming Solstices? Would I have understood that lavender needs to be mixed with certain herbs because it’s a very woody smell, and can be quite overpowering when burnt on its own on charcoal? Would I understand the essence and meaning behind herbs and crystals having masculine and feminine characteristics, or would I have just glazed over it?
Would I have come to this wonderful moment with my relationship with Herne? Would that have progressed to where it is now, or would I still be focused on spirits of place? Would staying near my beach mean that I would (in a sense) forfeit my relationship with my Patron, and never allow it to reach this point? Would it mean I would never have met Sovereignty? Or developed my relationship with my Oma and Opa?
Or…would I have made the decision to go to uni? (By the way, I got a Distinction (75-84%) for ‘Environmental Regulation and Policy’ and a Credit (65-74%) for ‘Resource Sustainablity’ and that subject was awful!)
People say, “I wish I could go back to that time” and in writing this post I realise that as much as I yearn for the beach and my practice as Ocean Witchcraft, if I had never met my Muggle, if I had never moved interstate and found a home and a wonderful community and fantastic friends here in Sydney, I wouldn’t be who I am right now.
I wouldn’t be wishing that my Yule incense would hurry up and dry out (I think I used too much pine resin). I wouldn’t be itching to burn my Litha resin. I don’t think I’d be gain to make my own blends because you don’t need them at the water! I would never have found a dragon’s essence within a crystal, I doubt I would ever have begun studying Druidry, or Avalonian Witchcraft, or taken my other paths of study, or even be game enough to go back to university.
So no, I would never give up the years of experience and knowledge I’ve been able to study in the five years that I’ve been away from the ocean. I would never trade that in.
I would just like to be able to incorporate it into my daily practice a little more than one day a year.