Wednesday, June 22, 2011
So, Glaux... you like owls huh?
When I was in high school I was that weird girl who was in all the school plays and painted her lips black and wore a biker jacket. I was also openly Wiccan, which really means I'd read a few Scott Cunningham and Ray Buckland books and I was really jazzed about this Lilith character I'd read about.
Anyway, in spite of myself I was a real book hound proto-librarian type who loved to do research. I still have the (now very full) index cards that I started back then on each of the sepheroth. Much like today, if it had to do with the occult I wanted to know it.
I was dating this guy who was in a garage band and was really into Native American spirituality. I think it had something to do with idolizing Jim Morrison. He lent me a book, Ted Andrew's Animal Speak. I thought this book was amazing. AH. MAY. ZING. Because of it I was determined to find my totem animal spirit.
Armed with the wherewithal that only a sixteen year old can muster I boldly trekked out into the woods to commune with nature. I was certain that if I simply went out into the world with intent that the universe would make apparent my very own totem spirit in a matter of minutes. This did not happen.
What did happen was that I missed lunch. And dinner. And nothing happened. No forest critters appeared from the brush for consideration as a totem. No chipmunks. No blackbirds. No nothin' for hours.
The sun was setting, and I knew it was time to turn back towards home. The sky shifted orange and pink, and then to deep lavender. I was out of the woods and walking through the field next to my house when a monster tried to eat me. It came out of nowhere, aimed straight for my head. I ducked to the ground, prone and terrified.
Of course, you can all guess what had happened now, but then, in the moment, I thought the sky was falling for certain. And yes, when I finally got the nerve up to peek at the tree behind me, there she was. Perched in a bare tree, silhouetted in the fading purple sky, the unmistakable outline of an owl. She is a great horned owl, and she sings me to sleep every night thereafter that I spent in my parent's home. In the evening she wings by my window.
Flash forward into my early twenties as I am coming into my own as a magician. Every witch needs her fetch, and mine came in the form of a screech owl. I was now deeply into the mysteries of Lilith, and came to understand her as a kind of great cosmic mothering owl-spirit. I took my first magical name, Noctua, Latin for screech owl. I cut my staff from a grove where a nest of screech owlettes makes their home. I go on late night walks just to listen to them call out.
And on into my thirties when I have collected my lineages and degrees, and have molded a truly magical life for myself. Athena starts talking to me. She gives me a few tasks to complete, and I perform most of them (one being the work of this blog). I begin to see that the "great cosmic mothering owl-spirit" is an archetype in many ancient European cultures. Lilith, Athena, Blodeuwedd, Ereshkegal, Calleach, the Burney Relief Goddess, and so on. I take another name. This time Glaux, Greek for owl.
I don't know where the owl will fly me next. Right now she is embedded as the archetypical Black Goddess of the American Folkloric Witchcraft/Spiral Castle tradition I am working. She looms large as a life-sized copy of the Burney Relief over the desk I sit at now. I am surrounded by owl trinkets and paraphernalia. A wooden flute carved into an owl that makes hooting noises, an obsidian carved owl from my trip to Mexico, a maneki neko inspired owl from "Japan" in Epcot, several stuffed hedwigs, a stained glass owl from my mother in law. There are literally hundreds of them.
Do I like owls? Yes. And I've come to think that, just maybe, they like me back.