This past week, I slept in a tent on the ground, cooked over a fire, and the rest of the whole salt circle of primitive camping. No internet. No phone. No anything other than maintaining camp, hiking, and whatever whim I and the family were carried upon. I sang to the directions, had disagreements with yellow-jackets, and sent my kids off snipe-hunting—they did not catch one. We declared the site “Camp Feather-Tree” in honor of the large collection of feathers we began finding daily and sticking in the tree near our tent. The primary purpose of this trip was camping, not “getting away” or the like, but with the trip came Witchcraft.
It is hard to meditate with a bug crawling up one’s nose. This is of course as obvious as the smell of burning asafoetida. Yet, too often we don’t meditate because of the metaphorical bugs in our nose. Establishing a regular and disciplined meditation practice is not easy. As Witches, we like to do things, cast spells, make talismans, etc, and meditation is a lot of doing nothing. For this reason, when we sit the mind quickly busies itself with any and every passing thought. These are the figurative bugs in the nose. Don’t fight them; just brush them to the side. I know, easier said than done. We are not these thoughts, the nature of Self changes no more than the sky changes when clouds pass by the mountain. The trick is to just sit and to return to the breath without getting upset when the mind wanders. That is what the mind does, accept it. As for literal bugs in your nose when mediating, remove them and go meditate in the car.
When I was a kid, my Dad and Uncle sent my cousins and I out into the woods banging two sticks together three times followed by shouting “snipe, snipe, snipe” over and over in the attempt to lure and catch a snipe. What is a snipe you might ask? Or maybe you too went on such an adventure. Well, a snipe is a flightless bird that lives wherever you are camping and no one has ever caught one… or seen one… or photographed one. But they make great pets and you should totally grab two sticks and go hunt one. The only thing is there are no snipes; which is fine, because the point of snipe-hunting is not to catch a snipe. This is just like how the point of Witchcraft is not some goal of enlightenment. The point is the hunt, the journey, the crafting of one’s life, the banging of two sticks together. Make the journey the point and you’ll find that enlightenment has been there all along and that any goal otherwise is just a snipe.
The trip was good. I got to come home and finally feel like I had gotten in touch with the spirit of the land here. I am, however, still unpacking the various lessons of the trip. Perhaps I’ll post them up as the water settles.
“Lost in a thicket, bare-foot upon a thorn path.”