Veronica's Garden

Rachel Creager Ireland on writing, living, the Flint Hills, and the Post Rock Limestone Caryatids

Tag: witch

Stubbornly Doing the Impossible: NaNoWriMo

Journal 2

Since she was very small, a baby, even, my eldest daughter has had a unique way of challenging herself to do impossible things, just because she’d decided that she wanted to do them. Invariably when reality sets in and she sees that what she’s trying to do is impossible, she becomes inconsolable. As a baby, at those times, she’d cry and take the breast; as a toddler, she’d tantrum; now that she’s eleven, she still cries and suffers quietly when she discovers that what she has set her mind to is firmly outside of her reach.

Everyone agrees she got this trait from me. Which brings us to NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those who don’t know about it. When I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I was sure I’d never be able to do it until my children went away to college. But, since it’s impossible and lots of other people are doing it, and my kids really are much more independent than even a few years ago, and I’ve yet to fulfill my New Year resolution of writing a draft of a novel by the end of the year, It looks like just the thing to do.

The NaNo challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. that’s commonly broken down to 1,667 words per day. I knew I’d slack some days, so I set my daily goal at 2000. It’s now the fifth day, and past 11:30, and I am dozing off between sentences, so I’ll quit. Just because I like to do the impossible doesn’t mean I want to suffer. So, at the end of the fifth day, I have 4,897 words of a draft which I am very pleased with. You can guess from that number that I haven’t actually made even the low goal in any day yet. The likelihood that I’ll get to 50,000 by the end of the month is looking very small right now. Should I give up? Ha! An attitude like that doesn’t enable a person to achieve the impossible.

Here’s an excerpt.

What we know up to this point: Stella is a witch, she operates the family farm alone, in the mysterious absence of her family, and she’s just met a scientist named Trevor, who is temporarily staying at a local motel.

Moon Trine Neptune

The only light was from the stars, but that was enough for Astra. It was easier for her to wander by night. Most of the interesting things people did happened at night, anyway, and she could sometimes float into the dreams of those who slept. She knew all kinds of gossip that waking people were clueless to, who was sleeping with whom, who was embezzling from their business partners, cooking the books in their offices late at night. Occasionally she would comfort an anxious dreamer (It’s okay, grades don’t really matter) or warn nasty people to change their ways.

It was getting a bit old, though. She was starting to feel a desire rising in herself, a desire to waken physically and do things of her own. Everyone had those computers and phones and things now, and she’d love to get her bodily hands on some of those. To talk to people in their normal state of mind, not just in the surreal landscapes of their dream states. Her old friends were grown up now, and married (some already divorced!) and had children. If only Stella would get a clue and figure out what to do. Astra knew exactly why things were the way they were, but she couldn’t tell Stella directly. She was firmly shut out of Stella’s mind.

Even as her desire to awaken grew, her ability to act out there was strengthening. She was finding she could shift things; if not always physically, she could shine light on things, make them appear differently. Her experiments with the radiator hose were encouraging. There must be a way Astra could manipulate Stella with further nudges. That scientist, for example, he might be useful. Unlike the locals, he didn’t know a thing about Stella, so he would have to get to know her to find out what a dip she was. Plus his rational scientist brain might be the one to finally put two and two together, and get Astra out of this situation. How to get their paths to cross . . .

And then her mother was there. Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?

Well, somebody’s got to do something.

Mm. I suppose. But be careful. You’re playing with people’s lives and feelings.

Nice to know you care so much about my life.

Mm hm. Likewise.

Astra drifted away. In town, a dog in a pen was barking through the fence at a rabbit. A couple teen boys were making out in the cab of a pick-up truck parked behind the abandoned movie theater. And at the Hillview Motel, Trevor Claraday was dreaming about Stella.

This was going to be easy.

Collectively Dreaming the Witch

What dark eyes haunt your dreams?

What dark eyes haunt your dreams?

Several months ago, the post “Dreams of Lots of Rooms” was getting hits. People were searching for just that, apparently. It came up on this blog’s list of search terms that brought people to Veronica’s Garden several times per week.

Lately it hasn’t, but now just as often people are searching for dreams of being chased by a witch, which I wrote about previously. In my dream, the witch who pursued me was a dark little girl, whom I recognized upon awaking as myself. Who is chasing you in your dreams? What wisdom is to be gleaned from this collective desperate evasion? What nightmare are we struggling to wake from, those of us anonymously searching the world brain for clues that might liberate our unconscious?

Let us speak our secret dreams. Let it begin here.

100 Word Challenge: Potion

Some recipes took time, some cycles not being as predictable as commonly held. When all save one ingredient were assembled –the bloodroot, the amanita mushroom, tongue of a stillborn vulture, jimsonweed gathered at dark of moon, essence of luna moth arrested by the venom of a black widow, psilocybin, ergot steeped in wine thirteen days and nights– then she began to wait. It came a week later than expected, but she had the calm patience born of certainty. In cold, dreamless sleep, she woke to a tickle on her inner thigh, and smiled slightly. Her blood would complete the potion.

 

Thanks to Julia’s Place for the prompt of a recipe fit for a witch. See her blog for other scary-licious recipes.

Witches, Nightmares, Memes, and Dreamwork

I wanted a picture of cuddling with Rowan, but could only find this one of my Mom, Leona Creager, my sister Melora, and myself. Sometimes when I see this picture, for a split second I think I’m Rowan.

Rowan dreamt of a witch, trying to get all the children. She told me while we were cuddling in bed in the morning. I told her, if she dreams of the witch again, to ask her what she wants. Rowan said she can’t talk to the witch because, if she stops trying to get away, the witch will get her. I had to tell her about a witch dream I had years ago.

A witch was chasing me for a long time, over many places. I knew she would kill me if she caught me. I ran and ran and when I was trapped, in a dirty, windowless, basement room, I fought for my life. It was violent and brutal. I beat her with all my strength, but she kept getting back up. Finally I woke, exhausted. I reviewed the horrible dream I’d had, trying to remember all the details. What did the witch look like? She was little, a girl, and she had brown hair and brown eyes. In fact, she looked like me.

“You were fighting yourself!” Rowan was smiling, enjoying the discovery.

“Yes, that’s why I couldn’t kill her. I was afraid of my magical self, afraid to be powerful.” I went on to tell her how I’d had so many years of nightmares, and about the box of journals I still have, filled with page after page of terrifying, violent dreams, recorded in minute detail. Rowan has nightmares, too, though she often has joyful dreams as well. I told her how there was a time when all my dreams were about running for my life, then I decided to start fighting back, then I decided to find other means than violence to do what I have to do.

It wasn’t until I was well into A Course In Miracles that I stopped having nightmares, so I had to tell her about that. “A Course In Miracles teaches that God is love. You know that, though, right?”

“Of course!”

“And God is eternal, which means there can be no limit on God. Right?”

“Yes.”

“So there can’t be anything that’s not God, because that would mean that there’s a line, God is here, but not there, so there can’t be that. Right?”

“Mama, are you God?”

“Yes, and so are you. Can God be hurt?”

“If I can’t be hurt, then why did it hurt when I got a scratch?”

It gets tricky in here. The best I could tell her is that we have a bigger self, one that is one with God and all the universe, and that, by comparison, the hurts of the little self are insignificant. But the big self can’t be hurt, so we are safe as long as we identify with the big self. A Course In Miracles teaches that there is nothing to fear. When I came to understand this, I stopped having nightmares.

Rowan thought for a moment, then said, “Okay, let’s get up now.”

I don’t expect Rowan to grasp all this easily or instantly, and I don’t want to take away what is hers to learn on her own. I hope, though, that these things I tell her will help when she needs them.

There’s something else that this conversation brought to my attention. We got up and went into the living room, where Kiran was watching a tv show about some kids who were trying to protect their computer world against their eternal villain, a hacker. We are inundated with stories, images, and rhetoric about the evil villain or the criminal who is Other and must be vanquished. These memes lie. The scary bad figure of your dreams is part of you. He or she is not the villain of children’s television shows, who must be disempowered; nor the criminal on the cop show whose very existence threatens everyone’s safety until he or she is either locked up or put to death. Sure, there are probably exceptions, but you’ll never really know if you are one of them until you take a risk. The answer is not to run, or fight, not to separate yourself from what you fear, but to open to every self that you are. Talk to yourself. Make friends with yourself. If you can’t be friends, make alliances to serve your mutual interests, because they can’t be that disparate, if you are one person, can they? Take a risk and see what happens if you let the intruder in, turn around and face your pursuer, listen to the demands of your attacker. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

Sometimes you even receive a gift –but I’ll save that thought for another post.

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