Hurricane Sandy whipped through our town last Monday night, and at 6 pm the power went out. We had no electricity and no heat for 4 days. I had gone to work Monday morning, but we were all sent home at 12:30 pm to prepare for the deluge that was to come. Except for a handful of lucky folks, the entire city was in the dark. My cellphone wasn’t working either, and I could not reach anyone. Tuesday morning when I took our dog Aska out for her morning walk, I saw that several large tree branches had landed right in the center of our parking lot, just missing our vehicles. I helped one of the neighbors drag the larger ones into the yard. We didn’t know if we were expected at work, and were unable to contact anyone to find out. We found one gas station open, and it was jam-packed with people. A complete circus. I finally managed to reach my supervisor, who informed me that we were definitely closed and would be for the next couple of days until the power came back on. We didn’t really know how bad it was, until we started driving around the city. Many streets were blocked off. Trees all over town had fallen across roadways or on top of houses, power lines were down everywhere. We saw one pickup truck that had been totaled after a tree landed on it. Luckily none of the trees around our building fell (although I would have been glad to see the Gingko tree get carried off on the winds-hundreds of gingko berries fall to the ground every fall and they smell awful, especially when you step on them. The ground is covered with them). We managed well the first couple of nights without power. I have lots of candles on hand, so we lit several and played games and read books.
I finished reading Old World Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi, and now I am going through it again, as I found many things that really resonated with me and there are several sections I want to copy into my Book of Shadows. This is a great book, and spoke to me on many levels. I was particularly interested in his description of the Hallow, and the ancient link between the Witch and the Mandrake, spell-casting with the mortar & pestle, and how the mindset and beliefs of Old Ways Witches differ from those of modern Wiccans. After reading this book, I started to re-examine my own views about Witchcraft, magickal ethics and exactly what kind of Witch I am. There were things I had always sensed deep inside about what it is to be a Witch, and they did not always fit within the context of modern Wicca. Witchcraft today is very different than the Witchcraft of long ago as it was practiced by European Witches in the pre-Christian era. Since that time, new ideas and concepts have been introduced that Neo-Pagans now embrace as part of modern Wicca and Witchcraft as we know it today. However, it should be noted that some of these ideas are not as new as some would like us to believe. Old World Witchcraft is a very enlightening book, and I highly recommend it. I met Raven Grimassi earlier this year, when he was in the area teaching a class.
By the second and third nights with no electricity, I was beginning to get restless. There was absolutely nothing to do. I tried to sleep as much as I could. As power started to slowly come back on in our friend’s homes, they invited us to come and stay with them. We were very appreciative for this, but we did not want to leave our dog alone in the dark, our friends have pets of their own and we weren’t sure it would be a good idea to spring our dog on them. So we huddled under warm blankets, by the light of many scented candles. I did lots of meditation and visualization exercises. And, I started thinking about all of the people I know that I only contact through Facebook. Some of them live far away, and I thought how sad it would be if the electricity never came back on and I would not be able to contact them again. I felt totally cut off from the world. I may start giving some of the people I am close to (especially my “close far-away friends“) my contact information (cellphone, home address, etc), in case something happens and I am no longer able to reach them via internet. What would we do if the Earth lost all electricity and we had to go back to riding horses, mailing letters, building fires for warmth and living totally off the land? Yes, I know some people do that now, but I have to say it would be a difficult adjustment for me to make. I’ve become so accustomed to modern conveniences. Point me to the nearest Starbucks, please. I need a latte.
On the fourth day (Friday) without power, I’d had it. I told my partner, “If our power is not on by the time we come home from work today, let’s take Aska and go spend the night at your mom’s house“. She was still without power and was staying at her sister’s. But she had a fireplace, so we went over there and threw some logs onto the fire. (I took along some Frankincense and Myrrh resin to add to the fire as well.). We put down some blankets, lay in front of the fire together and fell asleep, our dog lying next to us enjoying the warmth. Around 11:30 pm Friday evening, I opened my eyes and saw that the kitchen light was on. On a hunch, I looked at my cellphone and saw a text from the electric company, saying that the power was back on at our place as well. We dowsed the fire in the fireplace and came back home. I stayed up til 3 am, checking messages, replying to emails and catching up with everyone. The electricity was back on and I was damn well going to enjoy it.
This whole experience did sort of feel like traveling through a dark tunnel, and then finally emerging into blazing, brilliant light. I did have a few personal epiphanies while spending time in the dark, in silent contemplation. We missed the Samhain ritual that was presented by the community we belong to. The power was still out on October 31st, and we didn’t want to leave Aska alone in the dark. I felt the need to just stay home and honor my ancestors privately.
Just before the hurricane hit, I sent another batch of my home-made ritual candles to ARCANA in Salem, Massachussetts. It’s a wonderful shop, visit them if you get the chance.
Since the power came back on, we’ve been busy, throwing out food that spoiled in the fridge, catching up on laundry and other tasks we couldn’t do without electricity. I have lots of cleaning to do this weekend, and I’m anxious to listen to my new CD’s from Autumn’s Grey Solace. I have some writing to catch up on. Perhaps later today we’ll go see a movie. Frankenweenie looks fun…