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  • Writer's picture The Faerytale Apothecary

A Pause Between Breaths

Jonathan Horwitz always tells his students that ‘life is change, but shamanism is change with power’. This idea of how I might be working with Power in a shamanic sense, and what form that Power wants to take, has been with me for a while.

Through the early stages of the Faerytale Apothecary; my five days alone, unfed and unsheltered in a forest as part of a Wilderness Vigil; the beginning places of PhD research; moving out of a beloved city; making a costume for the Venice Carnival…

On the surface there may seem no threads of connection other than my own participation. Following oh so very subtle clues and questioning the intention and authentication of each act. But then one decision is chosen over another and…WHAM!...the form the power wants to take becomes impossible to ignore.

The Faerytale Apothecary feels to have been coasting in the background for quite some time whilst other things shouted louder into my ears, purring and pouring of themselves with sweet seductions upon my eager curiosity. And so, it is with these current words here that I intentionally call it to a pause. It is held in the moment between breaths that can feel like an eye blinked or a universe’s whole existence. One that when stepped fully into we can lose the boundary of. Be unsure if it is caught between inhale and exhale or exhale and inhale. This is where the Faerytale Apothecary and I feel to be. Are we pausing to inhale or pausing to exhale together? Are we near our first breaths or our last breaths? Or is the Faerytale Apothecary simply waiting for me as human in action to catch up to it?

So, for now, the sharing of thoughts and stories in the way I write to you is staying ‘in the belly’. Held closer to the Dreaming Space than the Corporeal. Yet conversely, whilst simultaneously stepping back into seed form, it is also gathering itself together, seeking out all that has been made manifest from it’s own loins. The complete Faerytale Apothecary stories to date. And it will no doubt seek companionship, call a drop of tune out to fellow travellers on the Wonder-taled Pathways.

As the Faerytale Apothecary gathers and reseeds itself within a slumber neither long nor short, I personally feel to be in the ‘dreaming belly’ of something much bigger than myself.

My sister and I decided to go on a jolly to Venice for the Carnivale. What began as a fun distraction of creating a costume for it soon became something that was making me. A change with Power. The mask refused to bend to my stolen ideas and as soon as I relinquished control and moved and shaped in the way It wanted, It was much easier to hear. It’s been a most extraordinary experience to be Carrier for such a sense of presence as the Mourning Magpie’s face. I did not wear the mask. I was not possessed by the mask, I was simply a means for it to interact in the world. And I was richly rewarded in the doing so. I know the Mourning Magpie (the Teardrop of Night Sky) wants more meetings such as those I witnessed this past few days. I know It has tinkles of Star-song in It’s Blooded Bone Face. And I know without knowing how, that It is woven into my Doctoral Research, even if the shape of that still sits in the unknown places. What I do know is Mourning Magpie was able to emerge because of my Winter Solstice commitment to this Research when I sought to refocus the agenda of it in a clean and authentic way. Not because it is cool or trendy or makes me feel good but because of the necessity of it, how I am able to warm it by a passion fed fire. The Mourning Magpie feels to have responded to my intentional wedding, my asking myself how I am unfaithful, to a research topic centred around the human meeting death and how stories act as ally and advocate within this. And Death, I suspect, has an awful lot to say on the matter!

And of course, my Wilderness Vigil still sits waiting to unearth another foundational layer within and without me. But this too dwells in the paused but not static moment between breaths. What is currently clear is the lack of post Vision Fast communities. The danger of such Rites sitting as merely momentary peak experiences, floundering with no rudder to guide its course and cause. Or rather, it is the rudder but we struggle to create the right co-ordination within ourselves to find a flowing communion with its teachings carried through us, for us and beyond us. It stays a static story unchanged without Power.

There is a saying in academia, a fear, that if we do not publish we will perish in our career. I think the same fear is true sometimes of blogs and online content. But I close my eyes, spread my arms wide, and fall backwards into the Pause between Breaths knowing I have some incredibly strong allies as we seek to see what it might be like to go against the tides, to discern our own cycles, the seasons we might personally wish to weave, whilst creating a Handmade Life changed by and with a Good kind of Power, done together, whilst acknowledging it all as a living being.

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