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Notes From the Akashic CD
by Jehana Silverwing
The Akashic CD is now out. It contains a little of everything, in superquadrophonic digitized sound (although the high end is still a little tinny. They're working on DAT.)
The funky thing about the Akashic CD is that it allows one to search for tidbits along its database of occurrences and eventualities. We're going to lay back and sip on some mountain spring water (guaranteed to be 23% or less PCB-free), and kick back our sandals. Drops, sorry -- didn't mean to knock the chalice over.
Old Dorothy and the rest of the craft Grandmothers are sitting around sipping on potent brew -- allegedly Darjeeling. In the background, on an old crank-up Victrola, come the sounds of the Akashic 78, as played by the Larry Whelk Orchestra, in authentic scratchy mono. In walks The Last Grandmother, and all sit up, taking notice; all except one cranky old Grandmother in the back corner, her eyes intent in a dog-eared paperback. The Last Grandmother's been expected, but not so soon. One fumble-fingered Grandmother passes her a cup of Darjeeling, sloshing a little of the hot elixir.
The Last Grandmother sits down, clears her throat, sips some tea, and clears her throat again. She is younger than most of the rest -- maybe 45. She knows she is the Last Grandmother, and feels young for the job.
Old Dorothy gestures to her. "Take the floor. It is your honor and your right. Our job is done. And you must tie things up."
The Last Grandmother nods, and pulls for a flask hidden under her natty Salvation Army jacket. She pours a shot into her teacup, looking up apologetically, but with a measure of defiance. "Irish tea. Great stuff. Clears the throat."
Impatiently, the others encourage her to go on. She drains the cup, and begins.
"Our job is done. They don't need any more secret grandmothers to pass on the secrets and initiate them before we die on that plane.
Old Dorothy eyes the newcomer carefully before speaking. "And, how might you be sure?"
"Oh, for one, there's been at least fifty of us down there on Earth. They talk a bit, down there. We never sent Grandfathers, or Mothers and Dads , or Third Cousins Twice Removed to do the training on the ‘qt.’ It’s become a -- a --- joke, if you pardon me. You say (down there) my Grandmother passed the Craft on to me before she died, and they laugh at you Besides -- the training continues on. Even without us, even if we did start it. Old Dorothy, you might not recognize how some of your words have been changed, And, well , yes - now people keep better track of their Craft descent. People are, by rights, birthing their own children into the Craft -- no mysterious old Grandmothers now --their grandmothers still live, and acknowledge the Craft themselves. No skipping of generations -- well, not always. We really aren't needed any more."
There is a sense of sorrow and loss in the room, all except for the old and deaf Grandmother still reading in the back corner, a cracked tea cup at her hand.
Old Dorothy is the first to chipper up. "Well, we knew our job wasn't going to last forever. Besides, the whole point was to create a world we'd want to reincarnate back into. I assume that has taken place?"
"Well." The Last Grandmother leaves it at that, until prodded by anxious looks from her sisters. "It's not a perfect world. I did so much want a perfect world. They're still dealing with war and pollution down there, and sometimes not very well. The Craft is still small, and we do have this thing about proselytizing, so it will take time. And they really haven't learned how to handle infighting and real problems in many cases within their coniunities.
Old Dorothy smiles. "Well, they're human. Hey, if we reincarnated back into perfect communities, we'd have to be perfect ourselves. And perfection is such a drag. Me -- I can't wait to see what the juicy gossip mill has decided to be factual about me. Good for a laugh, at least. And, as for the rest of the world --maybe they still need us. Not as Grandmothers, this time. As children, first."
"Children!" exclaims one wizened Grandmother, "Children! I thought we Witches were supposed to want to change them into mice, or something? What if that happens, and we grow up to be mice?"
"So we grow up to be mice? We're all children of the Goddess, every human, every mouse, every stalk of okra. Does okra grow on stalks?" asks another Grand-mother who bore a strong resemblance to someone named Alex -
But everyone is cheerful now. They all rise and follow Old Dorothy out of the room, talking amongst each other in S lowmoving, scattered clusters.
Except the Grandmother in dark robes who still reads in the corner. Suddenly, She looks up and it is evident She has been listening all along. She care fully puts her book down. Nine Hundred Grandmothers, by R. A. Lafferty. And smiles Her Crone smile.
Sometimes , Grandmothers have Grandmothers.
Dateline 1995 C.E.
The coven came to disorder awaiting their final member, Vel Crow, a third-degree Crowleyite, first degree Celtic, and eighth degree cookbook Shaman. She came rolling through the door, punctual as usual by the High Priestess's calculations, who had called the meeting for twelve hours earlier, knowing quite well that everyone would be turning up just about now. She had the uncanny ability to tell each person when to arrive, by judging each person's personal Pagan Time Clock, so that all would arrive at the time suitable to the High Priestess.
Black Balls, a tall, cadaverous looking fellow, wearing a black robe with an illo’ of Chester the Molester chasing someone across its front, cleared his throat , and whined, "Come on , we never come enough - -what about another Great Rite? And this time, keep Fuzzbutt out of the Circle!"
Tarnished-Batwing. the Priestess, glared at Black Balls. Please. Fuzzbutt is a higher ranking member than you, and don't you forget it. Really now, which of you holds second Degree. and which of you holds Minus Second?"
Fuzzbutt, an orange and black longhaired Halloween tabby cat with a crooked tail. spat convincingly at Black Balls- A Second Degree Witch-Familiar, he had the Second Degree burns to prove it -
Wet Vixen, in her perpetually sheer wet robe, nuzzled up against Black Balls. After, then my place or somewhere else."
Andrea Doria, who, on the morrow, was going to depart on the Twelve Labors of Hercules which she needed to complete prior to Initiation, pulled out the Ritual Beverage, and decanted it into the Coven Chalice (made by a precocious three-year-old on a bum day) -"Lavoris. It was all I could afford. I stole it from my father."
Fuzzbutt had thoughtfully severed the phone line prior to Circle. Now, Tarnished-Batwing cast the Circle, while Loki Odinsbuddy called three of the four quarters, muttering inaudible and impermissible invocations to Loki and Ens and any imaginable Trickster under his breath. As if this Circle needed any help. For the South, however, the whole coven got into the act, as every one of them was a Leo. Wet Vixen and her younger brother Fairy Tail were so Leo, in fact, that every single one of their planets were rising in Leo, including special dispensations for Pluto and Neptune, wnich normally wouldn't have been there.
Fairy Tail was dressed right for the occasion, in a triangle-shaped pink robe. He held degrees (no one knew at which level) in Anthropology, Basket Weaving, Flint Knapping, and Interior Decorating. His broomstick still had training wheels, and a warning bumper sticker that read "Student Flyer". He cut quite a contrast to the hefty, ZZ Top clone Loki Odinsbuddy, who dressed in ripped black leather, overspilling beer belly, and tattoos reading stuff like "Goddess" and "Freya's My Bitch". (Not to mention the circumspect "Gugnir" tattoo somewhere near his non-existent circum-cia ion.)
"Okay, what is the purpose of tonight's ritual?" asked Tarnished Batwing, in her best schoolmarm's voice.
No one responded immediately. Finally, Hokus piped up. "Isn't it Samhain?"
"No, I think it's Spring Equinox. Or, isn't it Groundhog Day?" MothWhole, a gentle, moth-eaten woman, rummaged in her huge Yugo-sized purse for her crib notes, releasing scads of moths into Circle, which Fuzzbutt and Tarnished Batwing promptly ate in their mutual never ending quest for protein.
Uncle Martin looked at a perpetual calendar; discovered a need to get back to to a woefully-neglected employment, and promptly gated out of Circle, with a quick "Hail and Farewell!" Which was okay, as no one was ever sure Just what Uncle Martin looked like, anyway.
Fina1ly, even Tarnished Batwing confessed befuddlement over the purpose of the night's ritual, after Loki Odinsbuddy inadvertently used the ritual pages as tissue paper.
They all thought about what sort of ritual they'd like to do, now that they realized the date wasn't anywhere near a Sabbat or an Esbat or even Dark Moon. And there was no one they knew they remotely cared to Heal, permission or lack of permission be damned.
"Something with lots of esthetics," piped up Fairy Tail.
"Something with lots of sex," insisted Black Balls.
"But what?" asked MothWhole.
None of them could come up with a specific plan; and by now, Fuzzbutt had drained the Lavoris and was noisily retching in the corner on one of Wet Vixen's priceless wet t-shirts.
Tarnished-Batwing took a deep breath, and turned to the Gods.
"Ooops, sorry. Never mind." The Gods, miffed, promptly departed, leaving the room about fifteen degrees chillier, home –
And so the coven dismissed the Circle and went
Dateline 2010 C.E.:
The residents of the old country farmhouse nestled in the wilds of Pennsylvania awoke to the unique sounds of the Tantric Buffaloes played over the radio --station WXWX, a commercial venture out of Philadelphia, always played Pagan music for the Sabbats and the Esbats, Just as they always played Christian music on Faster, Yiddish music for Passover, and atheistic music for Madgalene Murray O'Hair Day. This recording from the Tantric Buffaloes was a fitting start for Beltaine.
The farmhouse was located on about eighty acres of land which abutted Amish neighbors, who never listened to Amish music over the radio for the simple reason that they still didn't have any radios. Several other buildings on the property -- homes, places of business, and a temple -- blended with reasonable yet eclectic taste into the landscape.
These eighty acres, over the past fifteen years, had transformed themselves with some small help from the humans who tended the land into a religious community. Not a commune, with everything owned in common, but a community. The owners never planned it to be self-sufficient, an island in a sea of scattered islands across the continent. No, some of the members traveled away from the community to work. Others tilled the soil: An orchard, a vineyard, a Pagan press, a field of corn; a composting center; a Nature center without religious affiliation for local children.
They got along with their neighbors. The Amish were never a problem, and they always respected each other, although some of the wild drumming in the woods and the strange things that happened each Beltaine eve raised some eyebrows (but no comments) from the other side of the dividing river. The local Baptists had been another story, until the Wiccans and Pagans supplied some personpower to help rebuild the Baptist church after an accidental fire caused by faulty wiring. Now, everybody Just agreed to disagree, which made life agreeably agreeable. Or maybe it was a measure of mutual respect for the integrity of each other's beliefs.
Now, however, the denizens of the farmhouse were awakening to the sounds of the Tantric Buffaloes. George was fixing breakfast, before leaving for his Job managing the Alex Sanders Home, a shelter for abandoned teens in downtown Phillie. Although most of the inhabitants took Beltaine off from work, George's Job seldom gave him such leeway. The children, Amber, Damiana, and Gerald rose reluctantly, as eager as kids in any place or any time for the dreaded schoolday to begin -- but the school system had grown accomodating enough that theirs would only be a half-day. Their other father, Apollonius, scrubbed the previous night a dishes, his long ashen hair silky in the daylight, Thinking of the environmental research that he had to do this week -- in the lowlands where little grew, below the community lands, the air hung stratified into shades of brown, rather like one of those layered rum drinks. He'd been a farmhand before he'd been an ecologist -- it was he whom the others turned to when the corn didn't grow tall, or when the chickens took to colic, or when the barn door collapsed, or when global warming screwed up their irrigation system.
George and Apollonius were gentle yet firm parents to their small brood - - too many excesses back in the days when Wiccan parents apparently thought that disciplining children would stifle them had convinced these two that consistent expectations were a necessary evil. Consistency might be the hobgoblin of small minds, but inconsistency and the lack of expectations spelled the death-knell of patience and of being able to take kids anywhere now that most of the fast food places had been boycotted into nonexistence.
Out the window, they could glimpse Alianora bearing a basket, as well as colored cotton streamers she'd made for the Maypole. She reached the farmhouse, her long gray braids hanging near her waist. it was evident from her pace that her knee was acting up again time for another healing circle to supplement Alisnora's medicines and exercises, reflected George. She was in her seventies, and a Wiccan for the past thirty years. A lot of changes she had seen, and a lot of tales she could tell. In some ways, the world was more in a mess than when she'd joined the Craft. In others, strides of acceptance had been made; as well as strides of world-awareness. But you appreciated what you had, making each thing of joy special and to be shared. This was what she brought to the Craft.
For the children, she pulled out aromatic sweet breads, which each eagerly grasped, but not without sincere words of appreciation. Grinning, she put down the streamers.
"All done and finished. Joseph gave me a hand, although his eyesight is failing. He's gone to mark a fine young sapling we'll need to thin out for the ritual this evening. Now.", she said in her best grandmotherly fashion, 'where's that computer whose floppy disk drive closely resembles the condition of my back? I've got a little time to kill before I do that sweat I've promised myself,"
As Apollonius pointed Alianora off to the troublesome equipment, little Damiana stopped her. "Tonight's ritual to be street, sheet, or streak?"
"It's Beltaine. 'Streak', of course. But you'll have to ask Tabitha more about the ritual -- she and that fine young man from Center City Coven are running it. Indeed, I think we can expect that whole coven to join us today. We'll be doing next Dark Moon in a Center City Coven basement apartment -- sometimes it is easy to forget that our city brethren are just as much in touch with Goddess as the next Wiccan." Catching herself from nattering on further, a habit she was Seventy years into trying to break, she found the tool box and set to work on the appropriate computer.
That night, after Beltaine Circle, and the derigeur racuous drumming in the woods, most of the Community and most of the guests 'flat back in the large meeting room adjoining the farmhouse. A cool rain began to fall, nurturing the seeds sown so many ways at this Beltaine -- a cool rain that tailed to dampen the souls and enthusiasims of those who remained outside, still sowing. Tabitha and the young man with fiery red hair who hailed from Center City Coven came forth before the assemblage to pledge their intent to be handfasted at Midsummer, for as long as their love should last. At that point, the three members of Tantric Buffaloes in attendance jumped up with musical implements in hand to lead a rousing celebration for the two.
And, at the end of the night, as May 1st faded into the 2nd, Alianora, who seemed like a grandmother though she was not, tiptoed past the sleeping entwined bodies of George and Apollonius, into the den where she powered up the newly repaired computer -- to broadcast the news of Tabitha's betrothal to any who would listen. As her fingers flew over the keyboard, (wishing for the voice-actuated keyboard she herself owned) she didn't even chide herself about nattering on further.
([NOTE: All characters in the above are fictional and are not meant to resemble any actual person living or dead, with the exception of a few or the characters in the Dateline 1995 segment which may be self-parodies but who still don't resemble anyone. The ones which are NOT self-parody are fully fictional except for Fuzzbutt, who was a real cat. Assists on the Dateline l995 segment come from Brian, Phyllis, Don, Scott, and Tapestry, Possibly coming soon to an "Occult" shop near you: The Night of the Living Brain Dead TortillaChips from Hell -- from which the above "Dateline l995" is a shorter and a modified excerpt where in we give the tortillachips a vacation.))
((Credit for the name "TantricBuffaloes" to Scott and Brian; credit for "Street.sheet. or streak?" goes to Tapestry.))
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