Someone on TC suggested that one could do Gebo, the X-shaped rune for the Pagan Blog Project (like most of you, I’m sure, many of us were scratching our skulls a bit over what on earth we could write about). Gebo means gift or partnership, according to my copy of The Book of Runes, by Ralph Blum.
I want to talk about gifts.
For those of you who have been here a while, do you remember when I was trying to choose my new last name? I eventually settled on Spinner, but for a while I was toying with a few words that had “gift” or “vergift” in them.
Those words, in Dutch, mean poison.
Two weeks ago (gods, has it already been so long?) I tried a flying ointment with several different poisons in it. The spirit of Belladonna made it clear that she is not the poison for me on the physical plane. She also gave me a gift: the gift of life.
She helped me realize that I want to live. When I thought I was going to die, I realized that terrified me.
That’s a huge gift. I have lived so long convinced that I did not want to live. For most of my life I didn’t think about living much further past 33. For some reason, that age just stuck in my head as when I could finally die. As if by then, I’d’ve given life enough of a chance to stop sucking, and could finally throw in the towel.
I’m 26, and now I realize I want to live until I’m 100. I want to die an old ladybro, in zir bed, surrounded by zir children and grandchildren and a million books and thirteen wolf-dogs. I want to be alive until my very last moments on this earth. I want to be vibrant and shining. I want to be on fire with life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my experience with the Beautiful Lady and her friends. I’ve been thinking about it and the “shamanic”* death-and-rebirth experience that readies one to be a spirit worker. I think, now, in the after, when I am no longer suffering the effects of the plants, that maybe I probably wasn’t actually going to die.
But I thought I was going to. I very seriously believed I was going to die for a good portion of that night.
I wonder if that’s the important part. If one’s life doesn’t actually need to be in danger, but one just needs to believe that one is going to die.
My experience certainly created a massive change in my outlook on life, on how I see the world. It was like floodgates opening. Or a key turning in a lock. Suddenly everything is possible to me.
I can almost see Belladonna smiling smugly at me.
Did she give me two gifts?
One, obviously, the will to live. Two — the experience I needed to start me deeper on the spirit-worker’s path?
I’ve been slowly easing myself into shamanistic* practices and techniques. Perhaps I needed to be thrown in the deep end to see if I would drown or not.
I don’t actually remember why I wanted to try Porta’s flying ointment two weeks ago. The thought just sort of…popped into my head, unannounced. I remember thinking “But I’m really tired; maybe I should wait.” I don’t remember what my reasoning was to actually do it. I just…did.
Now, when I reach out to Belladonna’s spirit, I feel no animosity from her. I sense a raised eyebrow, a look of “Well, kid, have you learned your lesson yet?”
Perhaps this is signal of the start of a partnership, too. Perhaps Belladonna wishes to teach me things so long as I don’t touch her on the physical plane.
She’s obviously decided I’m worthy of two of her gifts. I hope I continue to prove to be to learn more of her lessons.
*shaman/ic/istic here used as shorthand. I realize it’s a problematic term. I’m simply using it here so y’all know exactly what I’m talking about. Usually I prefer the term Witch instead of shaman, but that’s a lot vaguer to a lot of people.