Do We Need To Have A Chat?

Whispers only entangle those who had no business being involved in the first place. So. Let’s get this done and over with.

If I have offended you, if I have slighted you, if I have done wrong against you or against those you defend, if you want to have some * words with me, let’s go.

No pretense. No preambles. None of this “Well I don’t know how to say this but”. Let’s just go.

If you don’t want to do it publicly, my messages are open. If you want to leave your gripe anonymously for a public response, you can do so on either one of my personal websites.

But this subtweet/contextless/you’re so vain you think this post is about you/if you do this go away is going to stop. And I’m guilty of it, too, and I finally realized doing that just keeps the wound open.

So if I have wounded you then let’s debride the wound, get to the source of the conflict, and then move on to the next thing rather than just sitting there and festering.

A Little Weeding

It’s been a long while since I was in the waters of the Gardenmaster. It took me a while after my waking world move to reconnect with many of the dream world denizens who had kept faith that I would be able to escape the circumstances that kept threatening to drown me.

But here I am, floating in the waters of their curated garden again, gently entangled with the plants they tenderly care for, and feeling the current of the river under us all sweep down my back and my legs.

I have missed this place.

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A Glint of Light

“What does freedom look like to you?”

I let the question silently repeat in my head as I tried to ignore that the wind which had been blowing steadily from the west as I walked away from home stopped when I entered the intersection and was now blowing vigorously from the east.

Looking around, I noted the trees in the near and far distances continued to defer to the safety of the world I had left behind a mile ago by dipping towards the softly brightening horizon. The brighter the sky, the chillier the wind, and I shivered despite my preparations.

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Completing the Assignment

I had been here before as the waking years have passed. Several times. And each time I have been here, the formerly stately home and grand expanse of yards surrounding it had fallen further and further into decay. This used to be a grand mansion with many wings. Now only the central section of the building remains standing, and even that is a hollow shell of what it used to be as everything wood has either been salvaged, burned, or decayed.

There is a spirit here. Cantankerous. Unwelcoming. Spiteful. When I first dreamt of this place, he chased me away threatening to inflict all sorts of waking world abuse on me. At that first encounter, I didn’t know how much he was bluffing and how necessary it was for me to counter him. I fled an intact fortress and was chased through the trees by the echoes of his mocking laughter.

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Hindsight in 2020.

I have a ring that has been worn nearly every day since it was given to me nearly five years ago. A sort of large “cocktail” ring with a good size “stone” of composite amber in resin, which is then set in silver. I have always loved the deep rich color of the stone and the window setting allows me to see through the thickness of the amber to the underneath instead of just sighting along the top surface.

It’s been a while since I’ve given it a good cleaning of its nooks and crevices, so off came the ring and out came the swabs. Part of my check is holding the composite stone to the light to look for internal cracks and just to delight in the interior structure and visual textures.

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A Prayer Couldn’t Hurt

As 2019 comes to a close, so does my inventory of tools, talismans, and tchotchkes that I have in my stockpile for the year. Quite a few of them wound up being acquired and/or kept for the wrong reasons and were properly disposed of. This left me with few tools for “immediate” work.

Like an unopened bottle of Florida Water that I had completely forgotten about until I found it during the Great Clean Out. Sitting next to it was a small cobalt blue glass bottle fitting with a spray pump. Both were purchased for separate reasons. Both had been forgotten about for the year.

Both were put back in the cabinet. Florida Water was something that I had been told by many people that a wooish person should have on hand, and should I ever get to making that apotropaic spray (once I find the recipe) than I’ll have the bottle at the ready. Right?

And then suddenly, I needed both.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 25 – Transition

Melissa came home that afternoon with another deck from Rebecca. The very copy of the Sweeney Tarot that was used in the final tarot trump challenge. While the deck was self-published, it was easily replaceable via a print-on-demand service. When Melissa offered to reimburse Rebecca for the deck, the card reader refused any money or promise of favor for it.

“That decorated deck of yours is not a beginner’s deck, that’s for sure. You’re going to have a hard time relating the images on those cards with the average instruction you’re going to find, online or not, because of how personal it is to the artist. Here. Keep the Sweeney. It’s not a Waite Smith clone, but the imagery is close enough to carry the tone. Look up the deck online, there’s a guide book available for the cards, if you want.”

Rebecca also offered to buy the Acacia Tarot deck from Melissa and offered twice as much as the younger woman had paid on the auction site. Melissa declined. Each card of that deck was now a personal token of not only the tarot challenge, but her personal ordeal in rescuing herself from Helen’s grip. While some of the details in the images would forever keep secrets, they were not alien to her anymore. They were talismans of allies she could call on for help.

Though the two women tried their hardest not to talk about tarot or tarot-adjacent matters, the conversation settled itself between the cards. Rebecca, still swearing that she was neither Melissa’s teacher nor mentor and there was no passing on of lineages or teachings, reviewed a good number of her personal “observations” regarding tarot.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 24 – Metamorphosis

Lisa took a deep breath at the sight of the Magician card on top of the stack. She leaned over the table slightly and placed both hands flat on the table’s surface beside the deck to better examine the card.

This was not the card she had seen in so many forum headers and poster avatars. Lisa recalled first seeing this card in Rebecca’s treasured deck a week ago Sunday. Like the High Priestess, it was an image and many online card readers, witches, and magicians claimed as their personal representation. Lisa wondered how many of those would have been able to defend themselves against the dream attack as she did.

Her inflating ego quickly popped when she reminded herself that the card reader had probably been working such magic against her for years. She probably only won that particular dream encounter because he was not prepared for her to rise up against him. But now that he knew… Surely, he had to know that his magic failed by now. If whatever magical backlash didn’t tell him immediately, then Aunt Helen screeching at him for ruining her plans after court would have tipped him off that something didn’t work the way he had intended.

And if there was one thing that the internet did properly prepare her for, is the retaliation that comes from rejecting an entitled man’s advances.

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Sounding The Current: Chapter 23 – Sanctum

Lisa remained sitting at the table for a while longer after the nausea passed. She was too tired to do anything that required brain power and knew that not even the Hermit would be able to assist her now. But the least she could do was dispose of the tea bags and put the deck back in order.

She remained seated at the table and chose to take care of the cards first because once she got up, if she sat down again, she knew that she would fall asleep right then and there. She gathered the cards of the decorated deck and placed them back in the order that Rebecca had done, though now cycled so that the High Priestess was the visible top card.

The image lacked the unsettling otherworldliness that were the other cards’ main feature. A mountain sat in the far distance of the scene. A blue trail that originated from the mountain’s peak spiraled down the mountain, marched back and forth through the scene to approach the viewer and passed behind the central figure presumably to continue to an unknown destination. As the trail gets closer, it is revealed the blue motes were actually blue flames burning on yellow candles.

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