Destiny and Cake
Listen to the Sicilian fairytale of Unfortunate here
Caution, this piece may contain Story and Life spoilers
I asked a friend of mine to randomly pick a number between 2 and 222 and whichever she chose would be the page number I would turn to in the Virago Book of Witches and whichever page number it was would be the story I read that evening.
This is how Unfortunate found me.
But had she perhaps found me much earlier than that?
Had she found me the day before as, just like Dame Francesca I had returned home with two gold coins. Or as my friend and I sang out to the sea, calling the Merefolk just as Dame Francesca instructs Unfortunate to call to her Destiny. Or even earlier still as I sat all night with the fire asking for my True Name to be shown to me.
It’s hard to know exactly when a story enters our life, only when we become aware of it and then marvel at the freaky coincidences and oracular quality of it. Sometimes, not always, but sometimes there is a special kind of story alchemy when one particular tale will stand very clearly as a mirror in front of us, echoing magic and possibility, wonder and enjoyment if we can sit still long enough to glean past the murky surface.
For sure, stories can and do carry expressions of our guilt and shame, our deeply buried wounds and wishes. We feel these so keenly, so sharply that we forget to notice the other secrets, when they reflect back to us the deliciousness of everyday life.
For this is how the story hooked my attention, made me knock at its door for more. It seemed like the enchantment of the previous weeks of my life had been scooped up and placed on the page.
When we step into relationship with stories, treat them as having a sentience of some sort, we enter into a beautiful dance of knowing and support. We have an anchor we can map our lives upon if only for a short while and in turn allow that map to be ingested, let ourselves surrender to being manipulated by something we can’t quite understand but somehow trust anyway. It becomes the exquisite looping of the honeybee, backwards and forwards, a dialogue of curiosity and spell-speaking until the edges are too blurred to notice.
How would our lives be changed if we approached a story that grabbed us by the scruff of the neck this way?
Welcomed it in as an advisor?
Consulted it for indications of the next steps.
Followed its route home.
And of course, when a story contains offerings of cake, well who can resist!
I love when Dame Francesca instructs Unfortunate in this way. There is no convoluted gestures or complicated rituals, as my meditation teacher says, it is just “simple and sincere”. An everyday offering partnering politeness. An honest request humbly asked.
Cake is these things, yes, can be common place and ordinary, but cake also holds the promise of celebration and treats. It marks us out as special both in the giving and the receiving. It makes us smile with pleasure even at the thought of it. I read of it and delight at the gesture of it then get to the gooey centre of it and realise it holds much more potency than I realised. What in my life am I not sharing or even offering cake to?
And if I did how would my life change as a result?
Like a child who will pour tea in a thimble for the fairies at the bottom of the garden, or tend to a perceived earache in the dog with a feeding of biscuits, what if next time I am feeling so low I am struggling to get out of bed I played ‘make believe’ right there hidden under a blanket fort with the pretence of a delicate china plate and a large fresh cream and raspberry jam victoria sponge cut into thick slices. What if I gave my hurt places the biggest piece with a freshly starched linen napkin and finely engraved silver fork.
Simple acts of kindness and care don’t always have to be visible, don’t only exist in self help manuals but also in the books that supported us when we were scared at bedtime, soothed us, lulled us till we fell to sleep.
The story holds other threads too, I suppose the most obvious is what if we really could seek out our destiny and ask it for another name?
What if our fate could be courted with cake?
I have created a guided journey for exactly that, for us to meet the Spirit of our Destiny and see what it has to say.
Get in touch if you would like to follow it’s threads.
Do let me know what you discover!