MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S RITUAL 6/21/19
A Narrative Poem & A True Story
misaligned after a loss
I stumbled after spring onto my warm beach
good herb in my backpack, candles sage and crystals
wine and berries, offerings to the holy guardians
by all their names / in all their forms
the Earth herself beneath me
longing for the sun as I longed for the sun
straining with need as I strained with need
and today was the solstice
equality juxtaposed in the spheres themselves
summer burgeoning under our hands
I never plan my rituals
only scan for my “spot” like Don Juan taught
finding it in the perfect inbetweenness
beneath a willow tree
against the flashing pier
the great lake waves crashing on the shore
a sinkhole swallowed all the beach before me
except one narrow strand along the water to cross by
I laid my pack, I drew my circle
a simple charm one sister taught me well
thrice round, selenite rod in hand I sang,
“Here upon this sacred ground,
I cast my circle all around.
Fire, water, earth and air
Within the circle, I call thee here
Lo, North, South, East, and West,
By your power, this circle is blessed.”
I laid my things and sat, realizing with sharp immediacy
the alone-ness of my surroundings and the late hour
and my naked back exposed to the pier for approach from either side.
I was nervous but I drew in a steadying breath.
“I trust that Spirit called me here,” I said, “To give thanks for what I have
To offer my plans for the future,
and to ask for guidance and favor. I was here guided, so here I will stay.”
Across the curving shoreline some three-odd miles away
Fireworks sparked and sounded off Spirit’s synchronistic reply.
Relieved I offer up my wine and soon,
young revellers join me across the way
within eyesight, within earshot
but beyond the strand and circle
now separating The Real from The Fae
Alone-but-not-alone, reassured by the presence of a distant earthly witness
I offered up the berries, the herb, the sage, tobacco, candles, crystals
Thanking Divinity for my blessings and charging Divinity to guide my hand
the next phase of my life blooming like the summer
I prayed for a revolution of spirit / and this was 2019 mind you
so I can’t be certain it’s wise to admit to that
The hour was morning small now.
My ritual all but concluded, I tucked my herb deep in my bag
The revellers ended with more fireworks
and I marveled at the appropriate synchronicities of my ritual
Truly there was no doubt now- all the Earth was my temple
and every element would align with my attentive friendship
So I cleansed myself in the lake,
I poured out my wine to the sacredness of conscious
of Earth herself and of all Divinity by all Their names
Then with my selenite wand again in hand,
Circled the air thrice to close my circle and end my night,
“Depart in peace all spirits here,
Our work is at an end!
Fire, Water, Earth and Air
Away and home I send
To North, South, East, and West
My thanks and greetings do I sound
With this, the circle is unbound.
The circle is open but unbroken.
Merry meet, Merry part, and Merry meet again.”
I kneel on the sand and begin to gather my tools.
Just then, two flashlights approach with heavy boots up the sandy pier.
Two police officers from the local precinct, likely sent
to investigate the fireworks or maybe the music from the revellers who left
But they’re looking at me now, light in my eyes, and say “Ma’am
This park closes at 10PM.”
I smile, friendly. My herb is deep in my bag, and I know my privilege
even if it makes me sick. Even if I just prayed for change.
That’s one thing about Thoughts & Prayers they say and I don’t disagree, but still
They can’t see my heart through my skin. So I say, “Oh, I’m sorry officers.
I did know that. But you see, it’s Midsummer, and I thought maybe,
No one would notice one person.”
The officers are clearly perplexed. I am not afraid. I know I don’t need to be, and,
I know it’s wrong. But still I smile. Friendly. Sane. Definitely not worth the paperwork.
They look at each other, then back at me. One of them says, “Midsummer?”
I let out a small “Hmm.” Like a teacher. Like a librarian. A friendly one.
Not reprimanding. But not not-educating. That customer service voice,
that baby-talk-for-Boomers voice. You know what I mean.
When I answer, I speak slowly. Not a caricature, like a real person,
being careful to be simple, and careful to avoid rudeness, but unavoidably
talking down to two cops alone in the dark.
“Well, you see,” I say, “Midsummer
Is a holiday celebrated by spiritualists, or neo-pagans, and other Earth religions…”
(the looks I’m getting are incredible by the way)
“So, I celebrate an Earth religion…”
“and today is the first day of summer. So it’s a holiday.”
One cop squints at me. The other cop scratches his head.
Cop One says “Do you even have a flashlight?”
I say, “I’ve got my phone… somewhere. Besides, my night vision is pretty good.”
Cop Two says “You’re awfully brave to be out here all alone, Miss.”
Now I know what you’re thinking and there’s no way to replay without it sounding bad
Those were the words he said but that wasn’t how I heard them,
Just as (I think) they didn’t hear my amusement to educate them just moments before.
ACAB, still, maybe even these ones. Again, I can’t really know.
Privileges are blinders that are given to me by devils every day.
All I can do is keep my ears sharp and listen to what they mean to say
But I’m kneeling in the sand, and I want a goddamn revolution,
So I look up at these gentlemen bastards and this is what I say:
“Well, Officer. If you believe in Spirit, or anything like that
and you feel guided to do something. Something specific.
You sort of have no choice, except to believe that you can do something
and if you do, it’ll all work out all right.”
So I left them scratching their heads on that beach
As I hurried back to my car
At once both relieved and sicked that my privilege kept me safe
and sans a mild-to-moderate fine under decriminalization
Never knowing that each request would be granted and more
Never knowing the prescient meaning of the police presence
Not then. Not yet.
I hope they think about what I meant.
I doubt they think about what I meant.
As for the future,
Truth is only ever determined in hindsight.
If you want your Big Life Lesson from 2020,
There it is.