After the wedding, Aradia and I drove south to meet and camp with Pasiphae and Aidan (and their two daughters) somewhat east of St.Louis, in the rural regions whence both Aradia and Adrian hail. The weather quickly drove us back to Aidan’s family land – where we had intended to meet at some point anyway and fantasize about converting it to a covenstead-slash-commune. Through a series of miscommunications and Great Moments in You Had to Be There, Aradia and I ended up at the farmstead almost an hour ahead of the others. Though the GPS led us to the address without difficulty, the nature of rural areas made us uncertain that we were in the right place, and we approached the house with caution.
Aradia approached first, only to retreat in surprise: the house did not like her. So of course I had to investigate for myself, receiving a similar rebuff: we were not the people who belonged there. Though the house was unlocked, and nature called loudly, we waited outside. It was only when a family member arrived to work on the plumbing and to show us in that the house accepted our presence.
When Pasiphae and Aidan arrived, the feeling of uninvited faded further – though Pasiphae confessed that she had always felt it, as well, and Araida and myself continued to feel scrutinized. Aidan gave us the grand tour of the house, the crumbling sheds, the barn with the fallen wall at the pig wallow where a town drunk had fallen in and been devoured in his grandfather’s time. The feeling of being watched grew stronger. Aradia and Pasiphae grew increasingly nervous, though for myself the strongest impression I got was one of “What the fuck? These people can see me!” There was talk of doing divination to see what was going on (or had gone on) with the house and the land.
I felt watched, bordering on leered at, as I showered in the basement.(1) Later in the evening, Aidan and I went on a run for ice and beverages, leaving Aradia and Pasiphae alone in the house with the daughters, Things One and Two. They were thouroghly freaked when we returned. Pasiphae reported being watched from outside the living room window; Aradia reported that Pasiphae slipped into trances. As we continued to discuss the events and possible options – divination, circle-casting, ways to protect the children’s dreams – a light bulb exploded in Aidan’s hands, which he took as a warning to “be careful what you say.”
The whole situation reminded me of my first exorcism; perhaps that explains was why I was as cautious as I was. I took out my Robin Wood deck and began asking questions: What will happen if we try to contact the spirits of the house and land? How much of this drama did we bring with us? The first answer was unclear, but the second was crystal: most of it.
It seemed inappropriate to just say that at the time, though, so I spent the next few minutes talking everyone down to the best of my ability. That done I suggested a plan of action: use one of the poker decks that lived in the house to ask a yes/no question, “Would you like to talk to us?”, before casting a circle to shield the girls and their dreams (to say nothing of ourselves and our own.) The answer we received was a resounding “yes”, so I put on my ritual jewelry (including the recently dedicated bracelet) and we cast the circle.
Pasiphae sat on the couch, holding a sleeping Thing Two. The rest of us sat on the floor, Thing One safely in Aidan’s lap. As always, we cast the Circle hand-to-hand in silence. Thing One sat there quietly, at first – willing to endure what was expected of her for the moment. Then she started smiling. She reached out, grabbed Pasiphae’s foot (which Aidan was also holding, as her one hand was on mine and her other was holding Thing Two), and Aradia’s hand. The Circle suddenly had five points instead of four. A shit-eating grin spread across her tiny face; she was so high on power that I could feel it over my own.
I got out my cards and told them to start asking questions. I started again with the Robin Wood deck, but switched to Crowley Thoth almost immediately: Aradia and Pasiphae have only ever used the Thoth deck, and I was being ridden too hard to help in the interpretation. They asked questions, I laid out cards – one, two, three, or more as the spirits of the house and land moved me. Occasionally I was able to offer input or clarification, but not often.
Thank the gods Pasiphae took copious notes, because I don’t remember much of the details. Those spirits rode me hard. I remember that there were at least three of them: the house, a guardian of the land, and at least one other. I remember that it was very clear that they were no ghosts: none of them had ever been human. I remember that they were asking the wrong questions, but I couldn’t tell them what the right question was – “What would you like to say to us?” Finally, I reached a point of exhaustion, and Thing One was starting to get twitchy. They asked a question that I hoped was close enough – “What would you like to happen?” – and we closed the Circle.
Thing One didn’t want to ground. She ate every bit of power we released as we undid the Circle. Pasiphae and I did our best to drain her back out, but she hung on to as much as she could with that same shit-eating grin. Within ten minutes, she was out like a light.
The whole farm house seemed much more calm. Everyone was more relaxed. The children were safely asleep. We were proud of ourselves. Aidan was securing the children in their beds; Aradia was having a celebratory smoke. Pasiphae and I were still in the livingroom, and it hit us like a ton of bricks: I felt the energy like a punch to the spine, just a little above my One Point, and surging out to my limbs. We both nearly broke down and cried. I slid off my chair, grabbed the tarot deck again, and laid out a basic 10-card spread (which I almost never use, favoring my Two Pillars variant).
Here were the answers to the question they were supposed to ask. The house and the land needed change. They could not stand being abandoned. They needed a caretaker. And they were damn glad to have had the chance to talk to anyone.
We all slept shortly thereafter.
(1) Though I later concluded it was Frigga’s handmaidens (remember the wedding invocation?) ogling me, not the house or the land.