As Virgo season begins and we head into September, Mercury is rolling into Libra and entering pre-shadow, which essentially means our communications- the things being communicated to us- already feel prickly, direct, and bit like a call to grow up a bit. Which some of us might be in need of as Virgo is after all, the season of discernment and sacrifice. The sacrifice today, at least on my part, is a bit of ego as I'm so scared to bring this up, but it has been weighing on my heart so deeply lately.
The takes are hot today, bbs, brought to you by the growing gatekeeping around learning ancestral practice from outside a community, or essentially from within the diaspora. Please note I am *not* in any way talking about closed practices. What I am talking about is the sturdy walls that some of us are facing as we try to find our ways home. Some of us, some of our living ancestors (not to mention ancestors across the veil) were aggressively separated from families, communities, and rituals wherein we would have learned to step into our craft. Spells, tinctures, traditions, myths, stories, histories, herstories, songs, skills, recipes, photos, names…all the basic parts of craft all start with WORDS. Language.
English is a beautiful language, but not the only language of magic. It is also not the mother tongue of many of our craft, but it is the language many practitioners in the diaspora were forced to learn and live in. This includes the names of plants, the accents and spellings that are “acceptable” and “professional,” and of course and most importantly, the names and pronunciations of people themselves. I have watched many people close to me struggle with returning to their mother tongue, feeling comfortable expressing themselves even just in name and accent as who they *truly* are. Can we for a moment think about how painful and important it is to be able to find our way back to our practice?
I’m not disputing the idea that there are rules to some craft, but where do we learn them? How do we find them? This community talks so much about intuition, blood, listening, leading from the heart, which is all well and good, but someone still needs to open the door when we get close to the threshold. The idea that the option is there for so many of us born into this line to learn from our mothers or communities or families is a privileged and- I think- a colonial one. Many of us have been cut off from our lines in recent and living memory, whether that is by trauma, accident, orphaning, abandonment, war, immigration, emigration, refuge, asylum, language barriers, financial upset, the inevitable divide of time…the list goes on. (CONTINUED IN COMMENTS).
What would have happened before this world as we know it if we had washed up on a somewhere with broken bits of language and small glints of knowing into the hopefully merciful hands of someone new? We would learn. We would gradually learn who we were on that new shore with the people who took us in but with the memories of where we were and the pain of having to bridge that gap.
The language of craft is physical. That’s why it’s called a *practice.* We learn with our muscles and those of us who did not have that privilege are *always* feeling the pangs of hoping we’re doing it right…wondering if this is what it’s supposed to look like, taste like, feel like… I don’t have an answer, but I do have a deep feeling that this is worth talking about and holding with care. So many of us are walking this path only guided by the map of intuition and the mantle of research. It is tiring and raw, but does not make us any less worthy of entering the temples we belong in when we get there.
Again, like I said I don't have answer, but I have so so many questions, and I am one person. I'm one woman who is trying to piece together all these inklings...and I have so much faith in people (I know, still) that there must be some way to get missing pieces and find our way home together.