I have celebrated fifteen Tides in Ohio, or a full turn and a half of the Wheel. My lifeway is to be involved and familiar with my bioregion: the turning seasons, weather patterns and wild-things,
where to wild harvest, and locating and working with the areas Portals and Vortexes.
It has been rewarding.
I have reconnected with Woods Walker. She is crumbling decaying bark, covered in moist
lush moss. She is Mother of Deep Woods, and Woman of Stillness who teems with life.
Her wide roots birth spores, providing shelter for the burrowing-ones, and Her branches
embrace sky-canopy, uphold winged-ones, and catch the breath of all-that-breathe.
She is smoldering and seething, seductive and sinister. I whisper “Sister” when near.
I have met Mother Mist, a Cloud Woman. She is a shapeshifter, which is different from a
skinskipter, for flesh is only a robe she wears when it suits Her. Dark Things follow Her
and call her ‘Grandmother’, so I too respect Her passing. Her grey hair is easy enough
to spot during summer, but not so when snow is upon the ground. As mist, she looms large
and frightening, or heavy and threatening; and as a small woman – no higher than my knee –
she has tested my attention and interest by leading me to cliff edges. She has never harmed
me, but has guided me to harmed animals, to gauge my Forn Þreifa.
I have met Thunder Bird, only because He sought me out.
Kind-hearted, with caring eyes, and wings that block out the sun;
quiet and thoughtful, He has generously shared ancient wisdom with me.
It was Thunder Bird who warned me of Great Serpent, who has made His presence
known to me, at a distance. Beautiful to behold, his head aflame, his body glistening
as sun upon water, his continence fierce, and the air about Him stagnant.
As a Woman of Midnight Arts, I am drawn to Him – compelled by Black Flame and Dark Knowing – but for now, will keep my distance.
Of course, the Little People; in my world travels, they are ever-present. They often walk
with Grandmother, but are mostly seen busy at work on the forest’s floor. Since my
first trail run through these northern woods, I have left them gifts. Innately mischievous,
and with a penchant for significant gifts, as much as I wander with staff-in-hand,
it’s wise to befriend them.
Finally there are the fierce and mightful creatures, the Dark Things (some say ‘monster’) that prowl and hunt, and silently stalk the unawares. I catch their scent long before I see them, no doubt they do the same. They make great bellowing sounds, as thunder rising from earth; or menacing chirps and clicks, as bones cracking over fire. I walk warded so fear them not, but do not challenge their presence or territory.
At every Tide since arriving I have walked the wild-places, laying stone upon another
and leaving gifts there. Returning, I find runes and glyphs to decipher, and small tokens
wrought by Otherhands. Additionally, they have assisted my wild harvesting,
helping me locate Monkshood and Bearberry, Lovage and Lupinus perennis,
Elf Cap and Foxglove, Hawthorn and Gentian, Black Rock Moss and Wolf’s Grass,
Snakewort and Gooseberry, and fields of Mayapple Mandrake that rise to my thigh.
I have marked every location, to tend them at every Tide,
others I have brought to my yard, and sing them spirit songs every morning.
Soon, I will be offering limited batches of tonics and potions, elixirs and honeys.
As a woman of Forn Þreifa, this is partly why I roam far from the beaten trail –
crossing where none venture, gathering plant and root – to share with others the
bountiful life-essence and protection, strength and transcendence, and more,
that green living things offer.