I’m both honored and delighted Kat McNally invited me to provide today’s Reverb15 prompt.
Ancient alchemical texts are things of beauty – filled with allegory and symbolic language; things hidden in plain sight; and plain things promising transformation.
If we were to peek into the book of your year, what might we find?
What magic do you carry that people need to look a bit deeply to see?
If you peeked into the book of my year you might notice the pages are gilded in gold. You might deduce I like gold, and that’s true. And I do think all alchemical journals should be dusted in precious metal, don’t you? But you might need to look a bit deeper to see that some of that gold is Kintsugi – the Japanese art of golden joinery, which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, not to be disguised but honored as a mark of wear. I actually don’t believe I’m broken – I don’t believe anyone is broken and needs to be fixed. But life does take its toll and sometimes our hearts are cracked open. And when we’re ready, what better than a bit of gold to create a seal? The older I get the more I understand with great clarity that everything that has brought me to where I am is a gift, whether I recognized it in the moment or not. These days I try to hold that remembering in the now moment.
You might see some tear splashes in my book and conclude I’m sad. And while I will admit there was some sadness this year – there is always some sadness each year – if you looked a bit deeper you might be able to tell that I also laugh a lot. Sometimes to the point of tears, which I find extraordinarily funny. Some of those salt water splashes are also from the cleansing baths I love to indulge in. You might also discover that my very favorite thing to do with watercolors is throw on a handful of salt. Now that’s alchemical magic! And my favorite salt? Pink.
Tucked into my book of this year are two feathers, one black and one white. You’d be right to think that I love feathers; I love birds; and that finding feathers feels like a cosmic wink reminding me all is well. You might recognize the black feather as a gift from Crow, and know this is a totem of mine. But you might have to look a bit deeper to understand that I carry both the black and white feather as a reminder of balance and wholeness, and unity consciousness. And you definitely have to lean in close if you want to know that I also carry these feathers as a reminder of mother, and how this year I decided soon it will be time to tell the story of White Crow Speaks.
My book contains formulas and symbols and strange little markings. You could decide, rightfully, that I’m an aromatherapist working out some blending formulas; someone interested in keeping track of the signs the moon travels through and so has learned planetary and astrological glyphs; and someone who thinks best when doodling. But you have to listen deeply to know I understand all these things are carry forwards of many lifetimes lived as an alchemist and artist.
You’ll find dreams in my book, both of the nocturnal variety and those held in the heart waiting for manifestation. You might have to lean in to hear that I think dreams are a beautiful language of the soul and we owe it ourselves to learn that language so we can speak it fluently.
My book has little envelopes taped into it, tipped in pages, secret pockets, and fanciful folds. Life is filled with treasures and so is my book. Words that delight me, like becloud and nitid, and made up ones like evolvatorium and loveify. There’s a pinch of rosemary for remembrance, and four-leaf clovers, from two friends who have the most uncanny ability to find them within seconds of looking. I have fortune cookie messages tucked in my book; a small bit of silk ribbon the color of a sea I’ve only seen in my dreams; and a scrap of paper that has bits of gold flakes embedded in it. I’m not sure they manufacture it anymore, but if I ever find it I’m going to buy up armsful. Seeing these things you might surmise I like ephemera; I like bits and bobs; I like hideaways and sweet secrets. All true. But if you listened hard you might also know this is a way of keeping intention. Of reminding myself and the co-creating universe that I would be most delighted to have a life filled with only treasures. And very likely my idea of treasures is quite different than yours, and I think that’s perfect.
My book also contains snippets of poetry. One of my favorite creative practices is to sit with a line or two of poetry for a few weeks, and then create some kind of art that is a reflection. One of the definitions of alchemy is a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination. When I thought about how I might answer the question of what magic I carry, I thought perhaps it might be a combination of two lines from two different poems by Hafiz.
“Now is the season to know that everything you do is sacred.”
“Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive.“
And I think that’s it. My magic is Sacred Joy.
What about you? What would we see if we peeked into the book of your year? What magic do you carry? Do tell – you know I love to hear.