Hi faithful readers, I’ve been lax about posting of late. Lots going on. Sadly not as optimistic as that last post but then the twists and turns are happening on the daily. Here’s one I never quite finished from a few weeks ago to tide you over until I get the rest down this weekend. But I’m dedicating this to DD, whom I hope never loses her wide-eyed wonder and never becomes a jaded bitch like yours truly.
I was hoping to final spend a night sleeping in one of these cities I’ve been visiting on my Gap Year, but London and Paris both had plans to be out of town for the long weekend. Le sigh. I spent a bit of time on a dating app, but I didn’t feel like giving a first timer my kid-free long weekend. So I ping-ed my single friend Gogo, who always knows what’s going on in town. Perhaps she was going dancing, an activity that always brought me great joy, but that I haven’t done much of since having kids, after dinner Disney dance parties aside.
“Are you witchy or road trippy?” she wrote back. Are you kidding me? BOTH! I opted for witchy, because it was the most intriguing and fit with my schedule. I’ve been known to be a bit of a hippie-granola type, who reads Eckhardt Tolle and Pema Chödrön. I’m writing a book on how beliefs define you. This would be perfect research. The universe strikes again!
Before I knew it, I was added to a thread about Beltane, a Celtic festival in May that celebrates the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. Given that it was above 20 degrees Celcius in my fair city that week, I think we nailed the date. There was talk of eating aphrodisiacs and baking penis bread and making rabbit stew. I got excited and ordered a deck of Native Spirit Oracle Cards. I slept next to them as directed, and bathed them in crystals baked in sunlight. I looked at each card mindfully and with love, trying to understand what it meant, waiting for them to speak to me, realizing this wasn’t an exam I could cram for. I settled for, “Let me read them with an open and compassionate heart.”
Gogo had recently moved back into a condo she’d been renting out and was looking to reclaim as her own space. So the witch party was about clearing the air. As I’m on a journey to reclaim my femininity, my culture and the parts of myself that were lost or largely unknown, I was DOWN WITH IT!
In a tiny corner of the small library in the nearest strip mall of the income-disparate multicultural suburb where I grew up, was an eency-weency Occult section. I frequented it often. I was drawn to anything remotely psychic, because I felt I had strong intuition and as an anxious child, was open to anything that made me feel I had more control over the unpredictability of life.
I don’t know why I was drawn to magic in my tweens, but my family, while very religious, also believed in a superstitious mysticism. I come from post-genocidal survivor-types, who looked for signs and performed acts of cleansing, prayer and what can only be described as “Middle Eastern Voodoo.”
As a small child, I remember my maternal grandmother, who survived genocide as an infant and spent her formative years in an orphanage until her mother could afford to raise her and her brother, praying over my sister and me.
Yorab ben çocuğa dua etmesini öğret, başıma taş köy ilelebet benimsin, amen.
Dear God, teach this kid how to pray, put a crown on my head and I’ll be yours for eternity.
My grandmother knew things that I could not explain. Her daughter, my mother, also had some rituals, like burning olive leaves on the stove to clear the air in the house while she prayed, or sticking a sewing pin in a door frame if I was late getting home, to give me a little prick in the butt and subconsciously remind me to get home. Anyway, I’m pro-witch and that should come as a surprise to no one who knows me. What could be the harm in a few ladies conjuring up some spells a la [insert any 80s or 90s movie about witches here].
I had the best time. I made some new friends and re-met some women I’d been dancing with before, but given the setting was intimate, it didn’t take long for six women to start sharing their stories of being burned at the stake or staked through the heart—romantically, at least. So we slathered the freshly baked penis bread in butter (the only way I’ll be eating a dick any time soon) and several alcoholic potions later, we were all buds for life.
We headed out to the deck to burn a retainer that one woman found in her closet, confirming her suspicions that her husband was cheating on her. We weren’t real witches, so we roasted it on the BBQ in a Pyrex until it was barely recognizable, laughing about how she probably had to take it out to give head. We burned sage, inhaling deeply, letting the smoke wash over us, and then let Gogo smudge in her space, which she did with a panache that was so true to her. We talked about sexual energy and reclaiming it. And then I lit my favourite “sex candle” (to give good sex vibes—many Ali orgasms to that scent) and did a card reading, for everyone but myself. And by that point, everyone had an open heart, which is a thing that matters when you are going to ask people to take deep breaths and call upon the spirit of their ancestors for guidance. You can’t fuck around with that shit, or you’ll end up like a bunch of 13-year-olds hiding in a dark bathroom with a Ouija board, pretending you’re not trying to make the indicator go to “R” so that you can say, “See! I told you I was going to marry Rick Springfield!”
So the wisdom of the indigenous woman who manifested our deck of cards and the general mood everyone was in made for some great reading, everyone taking away what they needed from what I read them. And there was a great solidarity in finding a group that embraced the “Yaya sisterhood” feel of the evening. Beliefs are key to experience, especially when you’re trying to harness the power of things that can’t be explained. There was something so intoxicatingly feminine about the evening that I had just revelled in. As someone who has spent years playing both traditionally “male” and “female” roles, embracing my womanhood and all the things that are fun about just being with a group of women, was hugely empowering and grounding.
“Thank you!” Gogo was full of gratitude as she ushered us out, “My place finally feels like home.”
Loads of Gap Year boy developments to come, including a trip to Edinburgh (who is fetching but quite tied to the UK) but it’s so hard to explain that and be really vague at the same time, so hold tight! I will try to find time to hammer it out this weekend.