The new issue of Oak Leaves came a while ago, but I’ve not read it all yet. To be honest, I have not gotten past ‘The Promise of Druidry’ and ‘How I Completed my Dedicant Path Documentation from Prison’. The two pieces together have given me so much to think about that I’ve not gotten past simply reflecting on them. Combine that with my work in developing a garden space and, beyond my job at the college, there’s been almost no time for anything.
I suppose that is not altogether true. Since my prayers for abundance at Imbolc, my desire to engage more practically with all my interests, viz. art, cultural reclamation & change, history, language (particularly the Goedelic), and ultimately the interweaving of ecology with all facets of culture, has prompted me to begin designing t-shirts. This may seem a streange effect for the cause cited, particularly considering that this last interest is primarily concerned with issues of sustainability, though far more is invovled than seems first readily apparent. Designing t-shirts to be sold at various highland games is merely a beginning: a convenient one considering that it was D’s idea. Really there could have been any number of ideas that could have taken off, but D has very particular ideas about what is workable from a business perspective, and the old Gaelic proverb that ‘a man cannot grow rich unless his wife lets him’ is particularly true in this instance. The t-shirts are simply a means to begin realizing the economic benefit of what I do, but they will be a drop in the long term bucket, a spring-board and point-of-entry. I have big plans for the art and this will be just the beginning.
There are a great many things developing just under the surface of my experience as well, but how to understand, realize and remember them I know not. As an example, the daughter of a close friend of mine was over at our house two days ago and began building a little lean-to out of sticks and bits of wood. I was working on a central path for our garden at the time and asked what she was doing. She said she was building a faerie house. I thought this was odd at the time, since she is, though young, a fairly intense Christian, but I smiled at her enthusiasm and how pretty her little make-shift house was. The very next day, D was in the bathroom, opened one of the cabinet doors and was surprised to find the electric clippers that had mysteriously vanished several weeks ago. We had hunted and hunted for those clippers but – as they say – to no avail. I will never forget her standing in the doorway of the bathroom with a stunned look on her face saying ‘I looked for these in this very spot five different times.’ I asked, ‘why were they there now?’ and she responded ‘E. built a faerie house!’
My first thought was, ‘of course, I should have thought of this earlier!’ Little things had been going wrong for ages – nothing really bad, but things were just not quite right and particularly so since that night when D was terrified by what was very probably a teenager or group of teenagers playing a very poorly timed practical joke: the old bang-on-the-door-and-then-run-away trick. Unfortunately, D was alone and locking the house, so the pounding came right when she was at the door. Sometimes I wonder if something else was letting us know that it was here and ready to become more active. The long and short of it seems to be that I should be doing more to accomodate the landvaettir now that I have initiated a relationship with them.
There are so many observations that spill out of this hortation. The relationship of the land to the owner is essentially a client relationship, so all the old tales of people trying to move away from vexatious land spirits only to find themselves followed to the new site are really just illustrations of a client maintaining a proper loyalty with its patron. Likewise, the quid pro quo – food, alcohol and the like – necessary for the spirits’ good tenure is less a true sacrifice but more a maintenance for retainership, and when such retainership is maintained well and truly, then such good, long-standing maintenance prompts the landvaettir to advise successive, descendant owners on what will or will not be successful. Many more such insights keep springing up in my awareness, but I have almost no proper strucutre in which I can make all this new information understandable – even real.