Every time I focused on one particular thing, it effervesced like spray paint in all directions, as if it was releasing its own unique color pattern for the universe to see. As I turned my head to follow the cascade of pigments, I noticed them pouring and folding their colors over and under other objects nearby. Sometimes, these streams intertwined and became ribbons of fluid hues swirling around my head and body. I could detect neither an ending nor a beginning. It was just a gyrating eddy of liquified energy obscuring my physicality through evocative motion.
I coughed, my eyes popping open, catching sight of the smoke billowing about my head. The wafts sneaking down my throat must have beckoned me back from my kaleidoscopic pool of tranquility. Damn! I wasn’t exactly ready to return from the place where nothing stood still but time.
I coughed again. It smelled as though the place were burning down. Hoping to detect something, I blinked my eyes a few times. I could only make out a smoldering glow in the corner of the room. I’m in a room? Oh yeah, now I remember. Elektra and I had a women’s gathering this evening.
Still sitting on my shins, my body swayed, undulating rhythmically, side-to-side and front-to-back. I was gradually becoming more aware of my surroundings. Slowly, arching upwards, I realized the circle had not broken. Releasing and curling forward, I noticed the other women remained in their trances. The collective intention was to call the force of creation to us by invoking divine feminity.
Leaning to the side, I stiffly struggled to free my feet from under my legs. How long have we been in this position? If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it’s been a hundred years. I managed to stand, brushing the bits of woodchips, sand, and gravel from the tops of my feet and ankles. Giggling, I noticed the patterns left behind. Such an interesting thing to observe, order within randomness.
This felt so familiar. Things distinctly separate yet ultimately linked through chaotic connection. C’mon, Circe. Snap out of it. Come back to the room. It’s in you. You’ve seen this before! While married to Calais? Here on Aeaea? Where?
Now I remember! This is exactly the message revealed to me in the ritual. It seems the eyes create an illusion of separateness, and the mind becomes trapped by that belief. Our small ceremony made it, so my mind let go, and I was given the key to harness both my mind and power.
The women around me had synchronized their breathing and movements. They were dancing with the force within them. Every exhale released their limitations through shrieks of ecstatic joy. As riveting as it was to watch their activation, this sorceress in training did not have time to waste. If our experiences had been even remotely similar, we had all received the same indoctrination. Time was of the essence! If I was going to claim my place, the time was then. Elektra and her coven were my competition. I was granted this opportunity to seize what was rightfully mine. It seemed apparent to me the divine feminine had picked me above all.
The challenge, however, was maintaining my focus. I tended to let nervousness influence my thinking. What I wanted was to perform white magic, not dark. That meant I needed to generate my power rather than weaken it through worry or hastiness. I really didn’t want any harm to come to them. I just wanted to dumb them down a bit. The fastest way to do this was to rid myself of the emotions obscuring my vision. To do that, I would need to invoke the cosmic energy of Shakti.
Sarva mangala mangalye
Shive sarvatra sadhike
Sharanye tryambhike Gauri
I chanted over and over as I gathered my tools. Time seemed to stand still. I could hardly believe it. My vision was coming to life. I put together a potion of blue lotus, mugwort, and belladonna. I let it brew while contemplating which stones would be the best to use with the spell. Thinking did nothing but confuse me even further, and so I closed my eyes. Intuitively, I selected black obsidian, smoky quartz, hematite, and black tourmaline. Each woman would hold them, continuing to move fluidly like plants underwater, full of motion and equally rooted.
Sarva mangala mangalye
Shive sarvatra sadhike
Sharanye tryambhike Gauri
I lit a red candle, placing one in front of each woman. I then rested a specific stone in the palm of their right hand while whispering a reminder for them to hold their precious gems tightly. I began with Agnes, giving her the black tourmaline as a protective shield. She was the most vulnerable. I wanted to be sure she was safe through her transition and beyond. Euthalia possessed the darkest energy of the group. She received a black obsidian stone that would draw in negativity for her to release it. Kassandra was gifted the hematite stone. It would offer her protection from the doubts cast by others. As for Elektra, I gave her the smoky quartz because she was a reflection of me. If I were to select one that suited my needs, smoky quartz would have been my choice. My hope, for both of us, was to make peace with our fear, jealousy, and angst. With the help of this practice, I was freeing the energies that prevented my progress.
A surge of apprehension filled my body, and I began to tremble. Am I really going through with this? Sarva mangala mangalye. Doubt doubled down, and I felt its weight on my shoulders. It ripped at my heart. How can I do this? I took several steps back from the circle, turning to notice a singing bowl in the corner. I struck it, and at the toll of the gonnnng, I almost peed myself. Oh Zeus, did I wake them?
I looked over my shoulder, seeing them still rocking to their own rhythms. With all the smoke in the room, I couldn’t take a deep cleansing breath, so the singing bowl was an alternate release of energy. I tapped on it again, this time using the mallet to make it sing. Mmmmm. It was remarkably soothing. I could feel the peace free my body of the panic. I stuck with it for a little while longer, just because it felt right.
The time had come. I filled a clay bowl with a special elixir and prepared a bundle of sage for smudging.
I began with Agnes. Squatting in front of her, I lit the sage with her candle and recited a prayer of protection. I circled the sage over her head and around her body.
Source Energy, I call on you and ask for a shield of protection. Thank you for providing the safety that surrounds Agnes.
With this, I lifted a ladle of tea to her lips, requesting she take a sip. I watched as her body relaxed even more. When I noticed her drop the black tourmaline, I reached over and put it back in her hand, squeezing her fingers. “What animal would you most like to be,” I asked her.
She replied, “A squirrel.”
I invited her to repeat the following statement after me:
Earth, air, fire, water, I wish to be a squirrel, so mote it be.
Instantly, her body appeared to lose all signs of life as she slumped onto the floor. In a fit of horror, I threw everything to the ground and burst into tears. Oh, good goddess! What have I done? Am I still a murderer? Just as quickly as she collapsed, she was a squirrel running around the room.
In a fit of hysteria, I laughed uncontrollably. I thought for sure my heart was forcing its way out of my chest. I am not a murderer!
I did not have the time to play with the singing bowl. I needed to get a grip and move on with casting the spell.
I continued around the circle, one woman at a time, knowing very well to expect some potential weirdness with each one.
Euthalia wanted to be a sheep. Within minutes, she was a black sheep. Kassandra always wanted to be a ferret. She even had a coop of them outside her cottage. Kassandra, the ferret, meet Agnes, the squirrel.
Elektra was the last one to shapeshift. I needed a moment to gather myself. What am I about to do to my friend? She’s taught me everything I know! Without Elektra, I’d still be the poor pathetic creature that was banished to Aeaea. Her vision gave me mine. Yes, that’s true, and if I don’t go through with this, I stand the chance of her overpowering me. That was not to be.
The challenge I faced was a summons for me to show up for myself. I’m the only one that purely stands for me. With that, I offered up some tea, asking Elektra about her animal of choice.
“Chameleon,” she answered.
She, of course, received the same instruction to repeat after me.
Earth, air, fire, water, I wish to be a chameleon, so mote it be.
And so she was. And so it was. My first collection of animals, a squirrel, sheep, ferret, and a chameleon.
With a heave, my body launched forward, air suddenly filling my lungs. I coughed. It was as though I had been resuscitated with a single inhale. My tub. I blinked a few times to clear my eyes. My bathroom. Collecting my thoughts, I realized I was in my twenty-first-century home. What a strange dream memory that was. I shook my head a bit as I climbed out of the tub. I had a déjà vu moment about my last sensual encounter with Brady. He had taken me by surprise, right there. Mmmmm. I could still feel his sultry touch. The appetite rapidly turned to amusement as I remembered being showered by a dog. With a slight grin, I whispered, “He’s most definitely a dog.”
Who couldn’t laugh at the dramady we called life? I walked over, standing in front of the mirror, appreciating everything about myself. I had worked hard to get there. Yeah, I’d fucked up, but who hadn’t? Show me a perfect god or mortal, and I’d unveil his or her weakness. I was by no means one of those, but I was a sorceress with the power to reveal skeletons if necessary. I could harness my energy. That is what makes magic, magic!
I stared past myself in the mirror. Amber was talking to a spider. Oh shit! That was why I had taken some quiet time for a bath. I needed space to meditate and figure things out. How long had they been on intermission? Who the heck was Amber? My memory returned to the moment the day before when I’d popped back from a visit with my family to find her standing outside my bathroom door. Was Brady actually looking for her when he came into my bathroom?
Overwhelmed, I couldn’t shake the fact I saw her talking to a spider. How is this possible? Then there was how upset she’d been over losing that smoky quartz. Why is she so familiar?
Gasping, with absolute certainty, I pushed back from the vanity and fell bare-assed on the floor. With a fit of trepidation, I threw my hands in the air and shrieked, “Oh my Zeus, Amber is Elektra! What have I done?”
*(Courtesy: Sally Kempton, Yoga Journal)