Reclaiming Your Soul
by Tu Bears
Snow fanned my cheeks while I shoveled, chopped, and swept a foot of icy snow from the side porch pathway and cleared the steps. A bluster flung a below zero chills down my neck, a frozen drip from my nose slid over my upper lip, and my teeth chattered. But I didn’t stop or take a break. I knew she was expecting visitors and the walkway had to stay clear.
Honestly, I loved the cold on my face and wind whistling through trees, like voices from a faraway land. They collected their song to protect us, to guide us through a spellbinding gateway between this human existence and a vivid ethereal awakened promise.
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You know the essence of your deep connections to the voices on the wind calling your name.
Ravens gathered in the tallest limbs of the oak branches overlooking the side porch. Old Tom looked up at them with a chitchat rattle, squatted in attack position. He glanced over at me while I swept snow in piles and he decided to stay on the porch. He never liked to get his feet wet.
The giant black birds shivered and twitched with an occasional squawk or nag with wings pulsating in the icy wind. They watched the road for a passerby and waited patiently for her visitor.
I took my boots off at the side door, slipped into the porch salon, her den, a small little medicine room where she welcomed callers. It was an easy, quiet place to be with a small flat-topped, open-faced gas heater where we could leave a cast-iron pot full of yarrow chamomile tea.
I pulled back thin curtains to let a little light in from the cloudy day and tidied up her medicine baskets.
She whispered a chant and smudged the space with dried rose petals and mugwort. Her voice was comforting with the ancient words slipping off of her tongue and filling the room with magic. She swatted smoke clockwise with a feathered wand and whistled a smooth wind chime sound as the ravens answered her.
Her eyes glistened as she sat in the chair beside the window looking out over the walkway. Her velvet skirt flowed over round knees and her bracelets jingled as she gathered a scoop of bones from their basket into her hand with the webbed fingers.
Her reverent voice humbly invoked the spirit helpers, guardians, and saintly ones to come forward before she cast the bones on the small round table in front of her.
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Snow fell in round flakes in the ever-changing afternoon light. I swept the walkway as her guest arrived beside the gate. A tall, elegantly dressed man got out of a large burnt red Oldsmobile and opened the back door and our wooden gate for his missus. We politely nodded.
She quietly removed her wool belted reefer and matching beanie and laid them in my open arms. I hung her coat and hat on hooks above the wooden bench between the doors on the side porch as the young woman placed her fur-lined carriage boots on the porch floor.
Her long hair fell out of the beanie perfectly tended, established over her shoulders like honeysuckle falls over a fence. She glanced into me with a nervous brown-eyed smile for a brief moment. My gaze shot to the floor over her stretched wool, creased pants and matching woolen hosiery.
Tom quietly slipped inside the salon as I opened the door for the missus. I left my boots and parka on the porch outside of the medicine room.
She chanted serenely while she circled the bones, with her webbed fingers, over the light-colored leather on the round table. She spoke to me in the old language and I directed the young woman to sit in the guest chair near the corner window.
Missus came under the spell of the medicine room and sat gracefully with her hands crossed in her lap with the rim of her sweater wrapped around her thumbs.
I sat on the other side of the room near the remedy cabinet. She whispered in our grandmother’s tongue and told me to create small paper bags with mugwort, goldenrod, and horsemint for the missus to take with her.
Sunlight shifted between clouds quivered like a sequined dressed dancer on the antidote bottles in the glass cabinet. The small room filled with helpers and light beings. I caught myself in a quiet giggle when ravens cackled and squealed.
Her hands caressed the oracle bones. She spoke across the table to the woman.
“You are plagued with darkness. Your home is crowded with foe and evildoers.” She chanted quietly under her breath for her helpers to hear. “Do you understand me, girl?”
The young woman, shook her head “no.”
“When you are feeling sad, frightened, and lonesome, someone else has taken pieces of your soul. This leaves you weak and terrorized.”
You remember feeling like your energy bled out of you and onto the ground. It was all you can do to hold it together long enough to get home.
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The tip of her fingers danced along the edge of a medicine bowl. “I will call the lightening to save you and collect the pieces of your soul that are missing. You will feel better for now. But, you must learn how to rid yourself of those who cause you harm.”
I kept time with a small round drum as she danced her rattle over missus and we stood between worlds at the edge of heaven petitioning the ancient ones to protect us and guide us through.
The wind blew the door open, I kept drumming, she continued chanting and pulled a heavy blanket around her visitor. Missus remained perfectly still, in between the worlds, wrapped in the Pendleton.
She sang and rattled over her guest until she knew the many pieces of her soul had returned. She beseeched our ancestor guardians to peel back the layers of hatefulness, to clear away past hurts and pains for the missus. She pleaded for the helpers to travel among supernatural shadows and to collect the raw invisible links that her guest was born into. We stood between the worlds with a cold wind blowing into the medicine room. We were strong solicitors, advocates on behalf of missus until the door slowly creaked shut.
Old Tom stretched his front legs toward the windows and the ravens chuckled an unpleasant laugh and flew off squawking. I put the small drum on the shelf. She gathered her bones with her webbed fingers and dropped them into the bone-basket.
In a calm moment, missus opened her eyes, sighed, and smiled.
The driver of the Oldsmobile had cleared the snow from the walkway and was waiting beside the car.