Merrow packed her overnight bag thoughtfully. This getaway coincided with the Lover’s Moon. She would welcome a masculine presence, real or mystical, yet she wasn’t expecting any revelations as her morning tarot reading was unclear. The Star card served as a reminder to keep the faith and the Moon card predicted the existence of illusion. The Lover’s card showed up in reverse, which could be interpreted as conflict and the need to make a decision. She pondered the complicated meanings of the cards as she prepared for her journey.
“Got the survival kit packed: wand, broom, cauldron, chalice, crystals. Need to pick and bind new sage. Candles? Damn. Have to stop for a fresh pack.”
Merrow’s organizational voice carried on a conversation with itself as she placed clothing and toiletries alongside her spellcasting tools. She was an old soul and many ancestral spirits coexisted within her, each rising to the occasion when summoned and more often of their own accord. They had started as whispers and as she learned to listen and heed their advice, they had revealed themselves in signs and thoughts. Great Aunt Zelda, always the romantic, encouraged her to pack a pretty nightdress so she tucked a seafoam green silk chemise next to the altar cloth.
The rustic AirBnB cabin belonged to a family that had no idea that their land was one of the few neutral zones for witches such as Merrow and she greedily kept the secret. She was a frequent visitor, using the space to recharge after particularly draining practices with her coven. Sometimes she felt guilty for not inviting one or two others, but as the long-standing High Priestess she couldn’t favor any of the eleven witches.
The drive had been uneventful and she anticipated the sense of calm she always felt upon setting her feet on the sacred soil. This time, however, a jolt of electricity traveled from her toes up her spine as she stepped from the car, making her head tingle. She glanced around and didn’t sense any negative energy so chalked it up to being tired.
Merrow found the key in the usual place under the doormat and let herself in. She immediately set to rearranging the furniture in the living room to create a space large enough to contain the altar and extend her arms. She brushed the area with her twig broom, gently waved the white smoke of the smudge bundle and finally sprinkled salt water, murmuring the cleansing spell over and over.
After a ritual bath in the old claw foot tub, Merrow toweled herself dry with a snow white towel, anointed herself with lotus flower oil and stepped naked into the prepared space. She was ready.
The altar was simple; a stunning piece of flowing, aqua silk that had been gifted to her by her mother when she had assumed the role of High Priestess many moons ago. It had been handed down for generations, along with the secret spellbook. The fabric shimmered in the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the windows, creating the illusion of rippling water. Water was her familial element and served as the focal point for her powers.
She extended her arms, invoked the names of the gods and goddesses and spun slowly in a clockwise circle, chanelling her energy into the wand held tightly in her left hand.
“I conceive this circle with Love to find Love. A space of protection and meditation, between worlds, and time outside time.”
A shower of soft sparks flew from the wand, sizzling briefly in the air before settling gently on the ground in a perfect illuminated circle around her.
Merrow placed brass bowls containing sacred symbols in each direction: sand at north for earth, a candle at south for fire, sage at east for air and water at west. She lit the candle and sage and ran her fingers through the sand, saying prayers of thanks for the elements. Lastly, she touched the water and immediately felt the wave of ancestral love wash over her.
Tonight she wasn’t interested in chatting with her spirit family. She said a quick prayer of thanks for her magic powers and those who came before her, those whose blood flowed through her own. Then she went straight to the Love Spell, raising her arms above her head and looking skyward.
“In the name of Venus, goddess of Love, I ask that you bless me with Love. Bring to me a man of strength and integrity, who will see me with his heart and hear me with his soul.”
Merrow eased her body onto the floor, folding her legs into the lotus position with her wrists resting on her knees, palms upward. She closed her eyes and slipped into a comfortable trance.
It started as a whisper, the slightest of breaths at the base of her neck. She welcomed the sensation and leaned into the sensual caress. It wasn’t just fingers. It was a body; warm and solid and rough. Her heart accelerated and she breathed in deeply, holding her breath to capture and savor his masculine scent. Strong hands turned her to him, searing lips claiming her own.
When Merrow came out of the trance, she found herself kneeling on the floor with the silk altar cloth draped over her shoulders. The lovemaking scene replayed in her mind and she wasn’t sure if her visitor had been man or magic.
Drained, she shakily stood, lifted the wand with a weak hand and slowly spun counter-clockwise. Her eyes were still closed and the voices were quiet as she whispered, “The circle is open but never broken. So be it.”
She heard his soft breath extinguish the candleflame and opened her eyes to meet his turquoise gaze. The magical embers were waning and the silk rippled around her feet. He stood naked, just outside the circle. Upon her nod he stepped into her arms.
The tarot was always on point. Things were about to get very complicated.
Written March 2020 for To Live & Write in Alameda’s monthly “Alameda Shorts” challenge with the theme of “Moon.”
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