When I was leading a Coven, I organized ritual teams for each of the public Sabbats we hosted. The teams had a few rules: read your ritual instructions, show up early, and don’t use the ritual for your own spiritual needs. Like servers at a banquet, I used to say, we are not here to feed ourselves but to serve. I also explained that the gift comes like the manager opening up a bottle of the finest scotch in the kitchen to share with the staff, long after the guests have gone home. Ritual teams may not get the benefit of an immediate Magickal kiss from being in sacred space, but that Magick is sure to find them and bless them in other ways. Maybe through dreams. Maybe through synchronicity.
I was always crap at leaving space for that to happen to me. As soon as one ritual was done, I was off planning the next thing. This, I do believe, was a big part of my massive burnout earlier this year.
I’ve promised myself to do better. Last night, I did just that.
I was on the annual staff retreat with my company and as per usual, I brought my Tarot cards. As is my custom, at the retreat party I set up a table in the corner and offered readings as a gift to my colleagues. In the past, a few folks would come for readings. Last night, it was most of the staff. My table was packed and I was packed into a corner by the music. I felt right at home, back in my old days of reading in burlesque clubs, shouting quick, direct readings.
It was great fun, but it wore me completely out. At a certain point, I closed the Tarot shop and took a walk. It was dark and we were at a rambling retreat center just outside of the city. I called out to Spirit: “Where’s my scotch in the kitchen? What am I getting out of this?”
Spirit said, Keep walking.
I wandered until I found myself far on the other side of the campus. There was no light. I asked Spirit, “Is this it?”
Spirit said, Keep walking.
I did. It was a cloudy night and the only light came from the retreat buildings far away. I knew the center’s farm was to my right, but had no idea where the path would lead or if I might get lost somewhere on the grounds when HOLY SHIT A DEER.
A doe had leapt immediately across my path and disappeared into the darkness again. Another doe along with five little fawns stepped out into the light across the lawn. I saw the first doe again, staring at me, sizing me up, wondering how much damage I might do to her and the others.
She walked over to her friend/sister/lesbian mate. The second doe nudged the babies back toward the woods while the first doe kept her eyes on me. I loved watching them work together. I stayed completely still and just watched.
The first doe huffed at me. It was almost a bark. “WaHOOF.”
She was telling me to fuck myself!!!
Finally, the deer couple and their babies wandered back off into the forest, but left me elated. I had a moment with an animal. I got told to fuck myself by an animal. I didn’t even know that doe deer could be cranky like that and they would possess the wherewithal to tell me to fuck myself.
I don’t think it meant anything. I don’t think that every animal encounter has spiritual relevance. Some experiences are just experiences, but I do think Spirit sent me to the encounter because Spirit knew I would like it. I learned something.
Had I not read Tarot, I would not have been inspired to find my fill from Spirit. But had I not taken the care to make sure I got my own fill, I would not have given Spirit the opportunity to send this along.
I am grateful. Never so grateful to be told to fuck myself.
Praise be, Spirit!!!