Kith and Kin

August 2016 found me on a different kind of fieldtrip. At this point in time, the D.O. had kinda slipped off the rails. C and I, whilst still good friends had seen little of each other in the fields as life had taken twists and turns for both of us…One of the phrases I hear a lot in the Tarot community is ”Finding your tribe”. Now, at the risk of sounding boastful, my tarot reading is shit hot, but amongst close friends, I’ve always confessed that I don’t see myself as a tarot reader. It’s always felt more affliction than addiction…

Late 2015, I stumbled across an upcoming event on stallfinder. It looked a very tribal affair and I felt a pull to go even though I strongly suspected I wouldn’t quite fit in…I booked anyway. I decided that I would drag along Mr S. If the event kept me busy then he’d be more than capable of amusing himself amongst Viking shenanigans…If, as it did turn out, I was mostly shunned, then so what? Four days camping sans kiddos. Sounded like a win win to me.

Arriving in the field, there was a palpable low level hum of tension that felt like accidentally walking in on a bad arguement. Mr S said I was imagining things and I should just chill out…Working a gig last year with the one good friend I did find there, she confirmed there was indeed an underlying shitstorm going down. However, in the field, I took Mr S’s advice and joined a circle of strangers as the opening Blot was performed.

A circle divided into 3 slices of pie to chant galdr comprised of 3 designated runes… Pomp and ceremony prequel leads to the ’conductor’ prompting each section… Pointing to my direction, he shouts out the name of the rune he wants voicing…I’m confused, as left and right, I hear two different noises… To the right, the rune he just named, to the left, the rune ascribed in original instructions…I emit a grumbly noise not knowing which way to intone. The guy to my left turns to look at me. He mouths “follow me, he’s fucked this up!”

I think I’m mouthing back but words come out louder than I planned and caught in wind spread swiftly and quite loudly ”Oh! This is why they make you stand circle bound holding hands, so you can’t put your hand up and say hey you got that wrong!” Oops! The guy to my left stiffles laughter, the chain of hands either side of us falls away. Our leader juts his chin into the air ” Ahem! Let’s start again!”.

That’s my first bumble. The next bumble is unpacking the new, supposedly two man tent and discovering you’d be hard pressed to pack a lone pygmy into it. Mr S shakes his weary head at me ”Oh, you fucking idiot, where are we going to sleep? ” Luckily my Virgo resourcefulness means that in a very short space of time, I’ve managed to divide my gazebo into a reading section with hidden Bedouin boudoir behind. I’m off the hook and promoted to genius.

The gazebo never made it home. Remember that wind I mentioned? It was unseasonably wild and stole all the heat from the blazing August sun. At night, it whipped up a storm…Nestled up with Mr S we laughed as we listened to campsite sounds. Bawdy Bromance Ballards suddenly brought short by howls of ”Loki! Loki! Loki! LOOOOOOOO KIIIIIIIII!” I recently was told that this was when the central campfire raged out of control and caused massive panic. Mr S and I oblivious but amused, mimicked back and forth – Loki Low Key Lo ho ho ki!

I’ve always slept like the dead when outside on the ground so I had no difficulty in nodding off. Mr S woke me in the wee hours. ”Can you hear that wind? We should check we still have a roof? ” I open a bleary eye “Yeah, we still have a roof…oh… But we’re missing a wall…” I clamber out of our pit, find scissors and garden twine and we secure down the sides. Mr S asks me if I’d been asleep. I told him that I had and had been having a weird dream about being tossed around on the sea whilst inside an emergency dinghy. ..I guess the wind sculpted my dreamscape.

Returning swiftly to slumber, I found myself dreaming again… In the orchard, behind Great Aunty Phyl’s house. Standing looking at a tree, my small sister to the right and my towering Grandfather to the left, pointing up into the branches. “Look, it’s a Queen, see how she’s left the hive, see how the other bees follow and form a new hive? ” I awoke with a jolt. This was no dream. This was memory!

Unlike the gazebo which succumbed to complete destruction on the final day just I decided it was time to leave. (The wind gods brought that baby down quicker than I could…) Yeah, unlike the gazebo which faded into memory, the dream that was a memory continued to circle and buzz in my mind… A noisy buzz only finally released when I completed the image shown at the top.

The memory unfolded more memories and also prodded some research. Turns out that there is an archive project for the small village where my grandfather hailed from. Great Aunty Phyl’s farmhouse was the family home, where her, my Grandfather and their two other siblings were raised. The Bond family were well documented. They overlooked the Pig fund. Money was collected amongst villagers and put into the pot to ensure each family had a pig. During long hard winters the pigs were slaughtered and every part made use of. I read about it and remembered the flagstone floors in the cellar at Aunty Phyl’s, I remembered her saying “This is where we butchered pigs.” I don’t think I really grasped it at the time… I also recalled being shown the slats that are inserted into the beehives and her telling me about how honey is made and that you must always tell the bees your news, especially of births and deaths. Suddenly my Grandfather’s oft quoted stern words of ”Waste not want not!” held a wealth of new meanings to me and an understanding of where some of his peculiarities stemmed from…

I also found gravestones and names… One of them ‘ Jabez’. I looked into the meaning of that name but I’ll save my findings to slip into maybe my next post.

Thoughts returned to pigs and it dawned on me that The Norns, although well hidden, had a wry sense of humour. The first task they gave me… To feed the hedgehogs… This was their way of linking me back to my roots… My Bond… Keeper of Pigs… Guardian of Hogs…How funny!

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