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12 October, 2012

P is for Preparation

Sometimes, the hard work in magic, in ritual, in whatever, is heavily in the groundwork.  In the preparation.  Not in what one does, but in getting ready to do things.

For the last few weeks I have been doing preparatory work for a ritual.  The ritual involves my maternal grandmother, the child of Polish immigrants, and, among other things, her troubled relationship with her own heritage which has led to me not having a sense of my own.  There are important things in here, in my religious practices, in my personal life, in my arc of healing, in my own becoming a mother: and Little Foot has, as a middle name, this grandmother's name.

I tend the shrine.  Not as regularly as I perhaps ought, but I light the candle, I offer water, I burn incense.  I cultivate mindfulness of this particular thread of bloodline, even as I give blood to the medical personnel who are analysing it for traces of this particular heritage.  I think that I do not have enough in my shrine for this piece of heritage, and wonder where the jewelry boxes are that have this grandmother's gifts in them, the costume-jewelry pins in the shape of cats and a few similar things.  (We are still not moved in to the new house, and so many things are hidden away in storage.)  I spent this morning going through photographs from my childhood, pursuing the names of relatives, reawakening old memories, coming to new understandings from moments caught in time that I was too young to read, before.

There is something deep working here, as I look through the photographs, as I see things and have the context of an adult to bring to the occasionally blurry moments in time long ago.

My father is visiting.  He had been planning to visit a few weeks ago, but changed his plans because he had to take a business trip.

To Poland.

He brought me the usual collection of oddments and endments, and, almost as an afterthought, asked me if I would like some Polish coins.  I said yes. (I have an odd collection of international coinage, mostly brought from his business trips, though I did once startle someone immensely in a hotel room in Minneapolis when he said to me, in a bit of an in-joke, "You are [...] and I claim my five pounds" and I promptly fished through the pockets of my jacket - which I had brought with me on a trip to the UK a couple of years before - and eventually managed to produce five pounds in miscellaneous loose change.  This was perhaps not the expected joke result, to be four thousand miles from home and presented with a punchline in one's native currency.)

He handed me a pill bottle's worth of coins, reserving one of them, a little thing about the size of a dime.

"This one is special," he said.  "They're pretty rare, and it's said that they're lucky."

"Because they're the equivalent of a penny?" I asked, turning the coin over in my fingers and attempting to read the back.

"More like a quarter penny."

I studied my Polish farthing for a moment, and thought about magic.  As I reach back towards my Polish grandmother, speaking of peace, speaking of connection and continuance, I am given a little piece of luck from Poland.

Preparation can also come with signs, I suppose.

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