A Tale of Two Necklaces
Sometimes the best rites of passage are the ones that aren’t planned. Some pagans assume that these rites are things that are stationed along our path at certain intervals, marked by formal ceremonies and celebrations, and ushering in new stages of life to much fanfare. Life has a way of initiating us all on its own, though, and the more we consciously evolve, the more opportunities it hands us.
summer of 1997, between my senior year of high school and freshman year of
college, I visited
recently gotten interested in esoteric subjects, though I’d kept it mostly
hush-hush. They continued a lifelong fascination with Nature and the spirit
that I suspected lay within it. I was also a very creative and artistic person
(and still am, at least in my opinion). Coming to
say, I fell hard for
took that necklace off over the next decade. When I had my student I.D. picture
taken the following fall, it hung around my neck, and it was featured in
several driver license photos. It became my favorite necklace, and the one that
symbolized my connection to Wolf the most.
Calling Me Home
to the summer of 2005. I had the opportunity to move wherever I wanted within
and one fiance-slash-travelling-companion later, I headed across the country in
a 17 foot truck towing my car behind it. Was I scared? Who wouldn’t be? But I
was excited, too. I enjoyed feeling the energies of the various places we went
arrived the city was sort of how I remembered it, though I hadn’t remembered
there being quite so much traffic! Still, after a couple of months staying with
very understanding family, we arranged jobs and a place of our own, and got
settled into rediscovering the city that I’d been called to. I knew there was a
reason for me to be here—and now was the time to find out what that was.
And Reality Bites
Did I mention there was traffic?
the crux of one of our major issues of living here. Because there was so much
traffic, it took us over an hour to get out of the city proper into anything
resembling wild areas. Taylor, whom I wed in July of 2006, and I are both rural
people at heart. We like the people we meet in the cities, but we need the
woods and fields to be truly happy. While
kept happening. The car got broken into, and almost all my CDs were stolen. We
ended up taking our car to a mechanic who ended up (we suspect, anyway)
sabotaging the vehicle to get more business—less than 70,000 miles, and the car
ended up in the shop three times in less than two weeks. While
following winter, looking towards 2007, I was seriously beginning to wonder
just why I’d come out here. I was miserable, depressed, and wishing I could be
in a better situation.
Through the Ordeal, and Out the Other End
I never did give up on
As 2007 began, Taylor and I did a ritual on New Year’s Eve at midnight to divine our options for the year. I saw a lot of work and development ahead of me, though things looked positive if I put in the effort. So amid my depression I began digging into my life, internally and externally, to clean out the excess baggage. I tore through layers of negative conditioning and behavior patterns, and I evaluated my mundane situation—job, resume, home life, hobbies, etc. I spent months figuring out what was causing me stress, and how best to deal with these things.
It wasn’t a particularly fun experience. I ran up against some nasty tangles in my mind that I thought I’d never sort out, and I spent entirely too much time being a rather unpleasant person to be around as I sorted through all this baggage. I’ll spare you the details, but needless to say I came out of the winter of 2006-7 sore.
But it was more than worth it. I learned a lot about myself, and I got a lot of unnecessary stuff out of my life. I rid myself of bad habits, and became aware of issues I hadn’t realized before. As spring arrived, slowly but surely, I began to recover both physically and otherwise. The main turning point was after Daylight Savings Time ended and I was able to enjoy more sunlight; my mood improved exponentially. Along with it I saw a lot of other positive changes in my life, and I knew that the ordeal was just about through.
And at the
heart of it all was
The Changing of the Guard
Even after this learning experience, though, I still hadn’t
felt like I’d found what I’d come here for. It was important, to be sure, that
I went through all that. But the feeling of need persisted. As spring continued
on in its warmth,
As the time for relocation grew closer, I felt some anxiety. Once again we were moving without jobs in hand, and weren’t quite sure what we were getting ourselves into. But the move felt right, and once again we trusted our intuition. Sure enough, just as I’d start really worrying, we’d get a sign that maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea after all—we found out that the other half of the duplex that some of our friends lived in just happened to be going up for rent right before we were scheduled to move down. Then I got a job interview and a few more leads. Things were looking good for our adventure slightly southward.
One of the
last things I did in preparation was to bus around the downtown
Sadly, the answer was no. I’d worn that piece of ivory for so long that it was fairly soaked in my skin oils. It would have to be entirely sanded down and recarved from scratch. Neither I nor the necklace wanted that—even the lady who owned the shop said that it was full of my energy.
I was undecided as to whether to replace the necklace, or just do what I could to care for it. I tried putting some clearcoat on it to preserve what was left of the ink, but it just didn’t feel right. Still, I continued to wear the necklace, including on the day I walked into the shop, just to take a peek.
approached the glass cases where the scrimshaw was kept, I scanned the pieces
for wolves. I saw bears and lynx, owls and roses—and wolves. One in particular
caught my eye, a ruddy wolf peeking out from a field of dark green. The price
tag was a bit steeper than I had expected, but the work was lovely, and quite
worth it. Still, I decided to wait. I could always come back up and visit from
away that day, but the image of that particular piece stuck in my head. A
couple of weeks later, I talked to
today we went back to the gallery amid other errands. It took a bit of searching,
purchase was made, and I walked out to the patch of green grass right outside
the shop. I made myself comfortable, and called on the spirit of
Then I took off the old necklace, and I thanked it for its companionship and protection over the years, and for helping me to get back to the place I’d fallen in love with. It felt tired, and old—ten years is a long time in wolf years. As I unclipped it and placed it in the box the new necklace had come in, I could almost hear a sigh of relief and relaxation as a decade of intense magic came to a close. Time to let that old wolf retire in style on my altar.
Then I turned to the new wolf necklace, sitting in my lap. “Are you quite sure you want to do this?” I asked. “After all, you see what the past decade did to HIM”. I think if that new wolf could have leapt out of my hands and around my neck he would have, and I felt a definite sense of “Yes” as I fastened it and let the pendant dangle against my chest.
And right at that moment I knew—I’d found exactly what I’d come here for.
wasn’t just the necklace. If I’d wanted a necklace I could have bought one
online. It was the rite of passage that drew me. The experiences I’d had
between the move to
As I type this tonight, the new necklace wraps around my neck, warm and comforting against my skin. I still haven’t gotten quite used to it, and I’m still not quite used to the idea that in just a couple of weeks we’ll be en route to our new home. But it’s proof to me of what I’ve been through, and why I work magic and allow it in my life. Sure, you could argue that these were just a bunch of unconnected events. But the meaning that I have invested in them gives me strength, and that has what has helped me to actually learn and grow from them. I have paid close attention to what’s happened, and I have become a better person because of it; not perfect, perhaps, but I’m still working on that.