E is for Estuary :: PBP wk 10
This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project. I have made it extra-awesome to compensate for not posting last week.
When I was a child, I feared and adored the ocean in equal measure. I remember hours spent with the streams that tumble off the Oregon coastal range and down the beach — we dug and laid stones and driftwood to shape and redirect them. Sometimes I would just crouch and stare at the way the water rearranges dark and light sediment into ghosts on the sand. It was magick, but not one I could name.
I was much older when I first experienced New Orleans, where the Mississippi River makes love to swamp and salt marsh on its way to the Gulf of Mexico — but it was the same feeling, that something sacred had happened, and its secrets were whispering just at the edge of my hearing. Crossing the long bridges, I sat plastered to the window, staring out into the vast green-and-grey. I saw houses on stilts with little boats tied out front, and I knew there was a great and incredible mystery. All I could do was stare at the prolifery of growth as I passed it by.
In the French Quarter, you can walk into a hundred tourist shops with the same plastic masks and shot glasses and snarky tshirts, and if you go to the back you find commercial voodoo dolls. There are shadows in the small streets, barely-labeled shops packed with baubles and bits and shriveled things where you wander in and know you are a stranger. There’s old magic there, thrumming beneath the sound of the crowds.
I was raised on my mother’s stories of the Brasilian rainforest, and I think of the giant churning mass of the Amazon making its way through the heat sometimes. I think of the green, of first-graders with machetes because the jungle would reclaim their trails again and again. My mother tells me that they could hear the rain coming, a giant rushing sound, and they would shout “RAIN!” and everyone would run to pull the laundry from the clotheslines and shut all the windows. It would reach them in a roaring torrent, hammering on the tin roof and raising up wind and mist over the open tops of the walls.
In an estuary, the rivers and the streams carry sediment from inland, and the tides bring salt and sand. Water and soil are rich with nutrients, and life of every kind thrives on them. It is a magick of birth and growth — but it is also a magick of change, of alchemy, of compromise.
I chose Estuary Magicks to name my pursuits because of the interdisciplinary nature of my creative process. The thing about an estuary is that neither the river nor the sea can create what happens in the salt marsh. It’s a good metaphor for art, but it’s also a good metaphor for magick.
All things on this earth are related, and we cannot remember that we are not the whole of the earth. Together, we are something that none of us could be alone.