on the blank page of half a sketch pad i was gifted while traveling, there’s a verse written by an unknown hand : “Once upon a time, there was an ant”. with the ant drawn under its namesake. in the middle of the page, like someone leaving a hidden gift.
just before leaving on the christmas pilgrim trail, i’d met a man called soul. after two minutes of casual conversation i thought “oh, there you are! we’re really close friends! we just hadn’t met yet.” when i arrived in my childhood bedroom, the first thing i laid my hands on was an engraved wooden box which reads : “Soul Slices”.
glastonbury gave me a beautiful sendoff in the form of a winter solstice celebration. i should have been in bed, eating antibiotics and resting. i piled on layers and limped over to the gardens – bumping into friends wearing celebratory glitter on the way. we giggled as we blessed each other with holy water. we all raised our hands and blessed the log for the fire of our shortest day. there was a labyrinth where people walked barefoot, meandering the sand paths for long stretches of time to the sound of harp music. the air was thick with song, a strange warmth and a heady, cinnamon-scented kind of love. it padded down the street like a slow smoke, stronger every day since the month began.
i gave myself this day : in the early morning i would be hurtling down the roads back to france, in a rush. too many people to see, places to go to see them, timetables and slow trains and are you free between 1:15 and 2:03 in 12 days. but to my surprise, the days since december have been a study in slowness.
when i joined my family we were all in a similar state – wounded and bone-tired. we floated around in a tide of exhaustion which washed away the usual to-dos. what took its place was a vague nothing replacing our family rituals. we lit every candle in the house on christmas eve, played cards and did not exchange gifts. i felt like we let ourselves be, most of the time – be alone more than usual when we gather under the same roof, be silent, be inactive. these things do not come easily to my womenfolk – it was quite a privilege to share with them this unusual, collective aloofness. i got the time to go through the cycles of tenderness and irritation, quietly enjoying each step. i found myself smiling at us all, going through the same old dramas that have clung to the walls for the last ten years.
the sex magic readings have been my personal christmas present to myself. “you’re going to just come up with something great. then watch it work so well. then be happy”. i’d never read long-distance before : a name, a picture, that’s it. no safety net, you just jump. i was nervous as hell but as soon as my fingers flutter over the cards it’s obvious – i’m not the one doing the picking. listening to my recorded reading offers the privilege of refining my analysis and correcting speach mannerisms, the pauses allowing long periods of unrecorded silence, letting things bubble up without hurry. when i send off the audio files, only a few hours pass before i receive excited pictures of symbols over there that had come up in the cards, emails exclaming at connecting dots, orders for readings to gift to friends. i’m glad i can end the year with the important reminder that i can invite any exciting new pinch of magic into my life. i don’t need to wait and prepare – i just have to pick a star, get up and walk in its direction.