If you’ve made it this far with my postings you should know by now I see the world a bit differently then others. Hence the title of the blog. If you had any doubt up to this point I’m sure this one will confirm it for you!
Knowing I needed to submit my apologies in person, I ventured out two days post Solstice in the thickest heat of the day. The temperature was around 90 degrees and the humidity was like soup. Overall, the heat index was up around 105. Good weather for doing penance! The other deciding factor in going was it would mark exactly two days post Solstice. Since I had committed my offense two days before Solstice I was hoping I would have a little symmetry on my side.
Getting home from work, I scrambled to get a few supplies together. My main focus? Taking the little LED light and getting it fancied up properly. Stringing it to some homemade cordage I had made from dried lily leaves, I added several beads from my collection and topped it all off with a small crystal I had found in a nearby creek. Added to my apology package was a package of plain tobacco, a package of cornmeal/tobacco mix, and a combination I had made in a ziploc bag of bran Cheerios, graham crackers, and organic turbinado sugar. The final touch to the Cheerios combination was a packet of local clover honey.
When I arrived in the park the heat of the day had driven everyone off. The parking lot, surrounding fields and running paths were empty. I literally had the park to myself. I set off quickly down the mowed path and into the woods. Coming to the southern entrance to Grandmother Tulip I paid my respects and asked if I could enter with the dowsing rods handy. With an affirmative from her, I did so and thus began my apology.
I will spare you my lamentations. Once finished I asked where they would like for me to hang their first gift. The rods were a little slow to respond and I got the sense there was a very important decision being made. More on this in a bit. Up to this point the rods had been solid and fast moving but suddenly, they slowed. I waited patiently and repeated my question a few times while some mosquitoes tried to get an afternoon meal off my neck. After a few twitches they swung in a particular direction. I double checked. I double checked because it was pointing me in the same direction as the question I asked when I was here last, “Is there a place for the Fey nearby?
It felt as if an invitation had finally been agreed upon.
I followed the rods. They took me west of the tree through the woods and towards a dead cedar tree broken in half by some past storm. A trunk about 8 feet high still remained with sharp branch spars sticking off in all direction. The rods slowly swung to one of the spars which I confirmed with a follow-up question and that is where I placed their gift.
I asked them where to place the food. The rods swung me around and I had to pause as I suddenly realized I was in an uneven circle of trees. I was in a rough circle with a clear definition between wooded and clear area. The rods spun and fixed solid to an area near the center. I walked there and as they crossed I looked down. I think I may have gasped.
There near the center stood a small holly plant! If nothing which had occurred before over the past several days to convince me I was dealing with something out of the norm this alone would have done it.
“This,” I said out loud,” This is awesome.”
I placed the food where directed and drizzled the honey. I then moved on to where to place the tobacco and corn meal. This was, interestingly enough, on the south side of the circle near another narrow broken cedar. I did that as well, following the rods directions.
Once finished, I relaxed, brought up the rods and we had a little chat that I will keep to myself for now. I did get permission to come back to the circle which was very good to hear, or, well, see since I was looking at crossed dowsing rods. I asked if there was a particular exit point and was pointed to the northern rim of the circle where, of course, sat another broken tree. I asked for an entrance point.
Again I got that sense of a “discussion” taking place as if the idea of me using the exit was fine but to show me the actual entrance was another thing altogether! Finally, the rods slowly swung around to the southern dead trunk where I had placed the tobacco. The downside was that part of the circle was covered in brambles, fallen limbs, poison ivy and, generally, a mess. Good to protect an entrance, bad if you want to come in that way. They seemed to find that funny.
Two physical things occurred during this time. I had to leave the circle at one point to get my camera which had been left off the trail and by Grandmother Tulip. As I clambered through the brush and brambles of the entrance point I suddenly felt a small nudge on my left. At least that is what it felt like to me at the time. I’m sure it was just my foot getting caught on brush, right? Regardless, the effect was that I started to fall to my right which, in turn, caused me to reach out and get support on the standing deadwood trunk which marked the entrance point.
The one covered by poison ivy.
Realizing I had my right hand in very green and vibrant poison ivy, I retracted it quickly. I also chuckled because, well, I found it funny. I’m odd like that.
“Ok. You got me on that one,” I said out loud as poured water from my water bottle on my hand and thoroughly wiped my right hand on my jeans leg. If I had to put into words the response I felt from them it was a very non-cruel, matter-of-fact, “Now, your penance is done.”
Jeez, some of these boys play rough!
Regardless of the poison ivy incident, I did feel quite honored to be shown the circle. I stayed a bit longer, took a few pics and then noticed the second physical thing to happen. I was starting to feel a bit dizzy, lightheaded. I had not felt this way when coming into the circle blind. Was this now because I had used the “real” entrance or was I reading too much into everything? The first idea that something was wrong was when I suddenly had that “turned around” feeling and from within the circle could not pinpoint the Grandmother Tree. I was starting to feel dizzy like one does if they haven’t eaten or are too tired. I was well rested, had water and had eaten before leaving the house.
With everything being ruled out, I knew that particular sense of disorientation is not normal for me. I immediately started moving for the exit point. Once there, I asked if I could return in the future and was given a yes. Politely saying my goodbyes, I excused myself and left the circle with a small bow. I paid a final visit to the tulip tree, saying my goodbyes as well. I was still feeling a bit “noodle-legged” over everything and as I stood outside the circle the familiar sense of “it was all a dream” started to play over my awareness. I grounded myself down and placed both hands on the tulip tree. I was better in a few quick minutes.
I left the tulip’s nemeton to the south as instructed and enjoyed a peaceful stroll through the woods and then back to my car. I also took time to review everything that had happened, pausing occasionally to make notes. I knew that if I did not things would get hazy and hard to recollect the further I got away from the area. “It really didn’t happen that way,” starts to become the mental response. One feeling that I wanted to record was that through the whole experience since I’d entered the space I kept having a feeling of being “judged.” Perhaps that was my subconscious talking, perhaps it was not.
It’s very hard to describe but I felt there were two camps. One camp was a bit more easy going and willing to take me at face value as someone who “might” just know what they were doing. They were happy to see me and there was a constant sense of “zipping about.” The other camp was much more conservative, grumpier and was having a harder time trusting me. It felt that by bringing gifts I had set them back a bit and they were forced, by some sacred law, to accept them and, by default, me.
It seemed that this might have been the reason I felt there were “discussions” going on between them from time to time and why the rods would suddenly go very still, as if a discussion over the proper response back to me was being deliberated. Oddly enough, I also felt, VERY STRONGLY, this was not something to discuss with questions and the dowsing rods at the time. It would have been an insult. Of this I was intensely certain.
On the poison ivy – all the way back I was very careful with my right hand and my right pant’s leg, making sure not to touch anything else. Poison ivy causes it’s reaction from the oil that gets on the skin and clothing it touches. If you’re careful with where that oil is you can control it. If you can wipe that oil off on a fabric and then contain that fabric it’s even better. If you can wash the oil off with soap, water (or one of the commercially made products to do it specifically) and cool water within an hour or two then you should be in good shape. As an added bonus, hit it with rubbing alcohol. Once home, I did all of these things immediately and have not seen the first blister.
Besides the poison ivy, I felt the entire thing had gone amazingly well. Penance served, apology accepted and, between I and this little magical spot all was well again. My thoughts still keep filtering back to that holly plant and how amazing it was to find it there. What were the odds?