Prayer is a compilation of thoughts. Thought is the most powerful weapon known to the human race for without its use nothing is possible. The outcome of what we pray for - or what we continuously and persistently think. Quote from Author Catherine Cookson
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Shadows of trees in different growth stages grew everywhere. She stopped near an oak tree and leaned her body against the wood. Her heels in the soil, she pressed her back tight against the trunk, palms flat on the bark. She breathed deeply, and then began to inhale slowly, and she felt tension slipping from her, draining into the ground. Along time passed before she got moving again. She reached her intended destination, a secluded place, free from interruptions, surrounded by big trees. She found a small hazel branch to sweep the fiery red and golden-yellow maple leaves scattered on the ground to create sacred space. The fallen leaves were a sure sign of the upcoming autumn season. Avril sat on the dry earth and removed the elemental tools she needed from her satchel. She placed a white candle on the ground and lit the wick. With a new match for each she lit four sandalwood incense sticks, and then stuck the incense sticks into the soil to mark the cardinal points – north, east, south, and west. She slowly poured the rainwater clockwise in a circle connecting the incense sticks, to construct the magic circle, sealing herself inside. She freely stood in the center of the sphere and greeted the full moon. “I welcomed the amazing light inside the boundary. I am prepared to establish conscious ties with your essence. I acknowledged the knowledge of the phases of my life from maiden, maturity, to sage. I understood your cycles represent the following:
NEW MOON - 1 to 3.5 days of the phase
- SOMETHING STARTS
CRESCENT MOON - 3.5 to 7 days of the phase
- ACTION MUST BE TAKEN
- BUILDING TIME
FIRST QUARTER - 7 to 10.5 days of the phase
- AN IMPULSIVE TIME
GIBBOUS MOON - 10.5 to 14 days of the phase
- TIME FOR ANALIZING AND ORGANIZING
FULL MOON - 14 to 17.5 days of the phase
- TENSIONS COME TO A HEAD OR RELEASE
- GOOD TIME TO REFLECT ON NEW MOON GOALS
DISSEMINATING MOON - 17.5 to 21 days of the phase
- COMMUNICATE IDEAS
LAST QUARTER - 21 to 24.5 days of the phase
- NEW MOON GOALS ALMOST COMPLETED
- BETTER SENSE OF STRATEGY
BALSAMIC MOON - Moon waning crescent/dark Moon
- NEW MOON GOAL COMPLETED
- TIME TO CLEAR AWAY AND RELAX
“I ask the great ball Corn Moon, suspended in the night sky to graciously bestow your energy upon me. May I share in the cycle of your power, to reach my goals, while I harm none.” Avril raised her eyes upward. She brought her left hand to her lips and then blew the bright, Full Moon a kiss. “So shall it be,” she said.
She sat on the ground with blade, wand, pentacle, words of power and flickering candle light, all of which aided with the right atmosphere for her purpose. She straightened her back, rubbed the palms of her hands against each other, blew a strand of hair from her brow, then she removed the craft tools needed from her satchel. First, she peeled the husk off the corn. Carefully, thirty-one corn kernels were removed from the cob. She began to sew a length of the thick, yellow thread through a kernel with the needle. “Corn Moon, the year is waning, I wish to sacrifice harmful thought patterns interfering with my goals,” she said, pleasantly. She went into a meditative state as she repeated the phrase as she continued to sew the yellow thread through each kernel with the needle to reaffirm the pledge. Her voice trailed off with a “So shall it be.” After she finished, she tied a knot in the thread, feeling a brand new kind of inner strength. Avril came out of her trance. She tucked a windblown lock of hair behind her ear. At the end of the prayer to clear the space of her presence, she pushed herself up, and then picked up the elemental tools, and dispersed the Magic Circle. She placed the remainder of the cob of corn beneath the tree to offer it back to Mother Earth’s creatures for a meal. “May there be enough for all to share. Blessed be,” she whispered into the night air.
“You’re a hermit,” she said curtly.
He walked closer with the aid of long walking stick, and asked, “Are you a wise woman?”
“I was born a wise woman,” she proudly replied. “My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, related through generations of blood or hand-fasting have a Pagan approach to life. I have been brought up in an environment that is in touch with nature and has a strong belief that everything is connected to every other thing by an invisible energy, web of light.” She explained with excitement, “The light moves so fast that, to the naked eye, it was almost obscure. The energies are easier felt than seen.”
The old sage was inquisitive. He asked with a slight grin, “What were you doing beneath the Full Moon, feeling light?”
“Don’t make fun of the ways of the wise women,” she said defensively. Avril took a step back, crossed her arms over her chest and glared suspiciously at him. The Hermit let out a chuckle. “You have nothing to be angry for, I am only teasing. My name is Elijah Rowboth,” the stranger said, introducing himself. You must have heard of me!”
“No, I don’t think so,” she answered.
“I was imprisoned for almost two decades, because I stood firmly behind my beliefs and principles. Even today, I refused to show a hint of regret for a crime that I feel is not a crime,” he said, looking at her with a stern expression.
His words made Avril shiver.
The old sage moved closer. He reached for her hand shakily. “Help me sit,” he ordered with hand extended out. Avril held out a hand for his. The Hermit sat heavily upon the scattered pine needles on the ground. “At my age it’s not easy to get down or up,” he chuckled. Avril sat down opposite Elijah, she folded her hands piously, and asked “What happened?”
The Hermit tried to get comfortable. “I was born on Halloween and I still wonder if that was an omen,” he said.
“It means you have a strong connection to the Underworld,” she explained.
For a minute the old sage didn’t say anything. Then he said, “My parents were decent, hard working people who tried to pass on proper values. I admit that in my youth I spent my days with friends smoking marijuana. I had sold the product to pay for my habit, and then I was arrested. I did my time in the county jail.” He rolled his eyes. “The time dragged on. It was pure torture. When I was released I became part of an alternate society. I believed in their morality code of peace, love and companionship. The people I chose to hang out with used marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.” The old sage turned his head questioningly at Avril, and asked, “How much do you know about the illegal drug?”
“Coming of Age is a rite of passage from child to maiden. This year I am coming of age, which is traditionally associated with the attainment of one’s eighteen to twenty-first birthdays,” she said. The wind swept the forest. She shifted her gaze to a few colorful leaves, swept here, there with the breeze. “Recently, the High Priestess Ceserea explained that it was forbidden by law to manufacture, import, sell, purchase, and consumes marijuana, even though the plant naturally grew from the soil, and is from the Creator.”
“Something as natural as marijuana should not be overly criticized. The usage should be an adult’s personal choice,” he said it as though he expected her to agree with him.
“I’ve been forewarned that once the drug was consumed, there is a chance of becoming addicted to the substance.”
Elijah smiled a small smile. “Your High Priestess sounds like an informed lady,” he said.
The Hermit removed his right shoe, rubbed his foot. He snickered. “By the time I had become an adult there had been long line-ups outside my home with eager customers. I gave quantity and quality which provided me with a constant cash flow to pay the bills. Personally, I don’t think of myself as a drug dealer which is a criminal act, nor as a criminal, or part of the dynamic hustler in the drug culture. I was just a man who made a living from a naturally grown plant that had more benefits than legal tobacco and alcohol products. I must emphasize that marijuana can bring ease to people who suffer from ill health. It could even relax people who are hyperactive.”
Avril nodded at him. “I’m trying to learn all I can,” she said.
Elijah put his right shoe back on his foot. He almost tipped over when he removed the left shoe and scratched his toes. “Forty years ago I had organized, promoted, managed, and assumed the risks of marijuana cultivation and selling operation. I lived in the country with my wife and young daughter. There was always a room for family, and one more plate on the table. There was not a want, nor a desire that went unfulfilled. When I was busted I paid a large price for my beliefs and profession. It cost me my family and all my material goods for the non-violent crime of growing and selling a natural plant. The court sentenced me to fourteen years in a place filled with violence. I can’t describe the feeling I had when the cell door slammed shut. Behind bars wasn’t a complete waste of time. I received basic education, and I learnt a trade. When I was released branded a criminal employment was scarce so, I became a recluse.”
“”You didn’t mean any harm, and I don’t imagine you caused any real trouble,” she said. “People should not be punished for a way of life that harms none,” Avril said.
“Marijuana is an organic with no preservatives added. I refuse to debate the use of marijuana for recreational use. That is an adult’s personal choice. Every adult should follow their own conscious about doin’ or not doin’,” he said with frustration. “For medical consumption, there are people who are in insurmountable pain and discomfort. What I did for them was not a crime against society. Our current marijuana medicinal access regulations are unconstitutional and need to be fixed. The battle is between the courts and the government about whose decision it is to create an appropriate legal source and supply of marijuana. Today, there is simply no legal way to obtain the marijuana seeds required to grow the needed amount. There needs to be changes in the regulations that permit a safe access and supply to people.”
“Do you still fight for the cause?”
The Hermit gave Avril a cynical glance. “I can’t believe legalization of marijuana is still up for debate…perhaps that is what has caused my skepticism,” he said. “As I see it now, it’s up to your generation and generation next to create the needed change.”
Avril’s eyebrows lifted. “The law is gradually changing,” she said.
“Hope never comes today,” he scuffed. “Hope only comes tomorrow.”
“In defense of marijuana, it can’t be all bad when earth power creates such a plant,” she said.
“You know, from my own experience I can tell you that it does no good to jail people for cultivating and selling marijuana, just like it served no purpose to burn wise women in the seventeenth century. There’s no logic or heart in the powers that be that create such laws.”
Avril looked long and hard at Elijah. He was a roguish, very charismatic person. She found him knowledgeable. He was definitely a man who knew his own mind. She wondered how one could condition one’s self to incarceration. The total loss of one’s freedom of thought and action must be devastating. Elijah must have sensed Avril’s distress as he reached for her hand and held it in his. “Don’t fret,” he said. Like so many other situations one gets one’s self into, what might first appear to be an obstacle is often a great learning experience that one can apply to a new situation. I live in the swamp amongst the trees and in the deep bush away from prying eyes. I’ll wake each morn and go tend to my work. I discovered that I love to live among the wildflowers, leaves, trees, ferns, and so-called savage animals. The wilderness is truly where I want to be. I have my piece of mind, and the joy of living.” Elijah glanced up at the full moon. “Oh gosh,” he said, by the position of the Corn Moon it is close to 3:00 a.m. One of the downfalls of old age is that time flies by, especially when one is in good company.”
Avril smiled a little smile, as her cheeks burn bright pink from the compliment.
“I’m pleased to know that I still have the charm to make a young lady blush,” he said with amusement in his tone. Avril giggled. The conversation ended.
“Help me to my feet,” he asked with his hand extended out. Avril stood up. She reached for his hands. The Hermit started to get to his feet. She heard his bones creak as he achieved his stance. “Thank you for being kind enough to share your story with me,” she said.
“I prefer solitude, but tonight, I enjoyed your visit,” he said, standing with the aid of the walking stick. “Where do you live?”
“Just about a half an hour from here,” she answered.
“Let’s get you home,” he said, linking his arm around hers.
Slowly, Elijah walked Avril home in the dark with the early morning breeze at their backs.