I did a burning last week. In my caldron. I have a caldron. : ) Usually it is full up with dog toys and tennis balls because what better place to keep my soul dog’s things than in my witchy caldron. I talk about this before, in a writing I did back in September, 2016. Here is the link if you feel called to read it, because that writing, it compliments this writing. Down to my dog’s things.
So I did this burning back in 2016, with a plan to do more which I never did do. And now it is now, and without much thought beforehand, I was called to burn again.
This time my burning was writings. I had started to journal a bit a few months before this time. A pen to paper writing release. Back towards the end of October after a session with a wise, spirit-calling sage who suggested that I needed to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a page rather than have them spill constantly out of my mouth and into the world. These thoughts were not world sharing thoughts. They were private and chaotic. Some were toxic. Most were way too emotional for anyplace other than the paper they fell on.
I did this through three blank books over the course of less than two months. The first book was beautiful. Handmade paper that has that rough texture I love. Even the sound of the pen as it wrote across the page had depth.
When I decided to start this pen paper writing, I remembered that I already owned this blank book. I am not sure where it first came from. I believe it was a gift. But I am not sure. I do know that I had it for a very long time, always loved it, and that I never ever had any desire to journal in it until just these few months ago. But I knew exactly where it was, on the shelf in my closet, and I knew it was to be the first container of this writing process that was beginning for me for how long I did not know.
I also purchased a pack of 12 black disposable fountain pens. Because my handmade paper book needed a special pen. It needed to feel old. As in ancient. As in wise. And so I purchased a cheap alternative to a true fountain pen so I could feel the history of language as it flowed out of me.
This first book was small, 3 x 4.5 and I filled it up fast. Words tumbled out daily. And by mid-November I needed more. I looked for another blank paged book like the one I just filled and there was nothing I could find. Not on Amazon, or Etsy—except for one seller whose books were leather bound, and while beautiful did not call to me in the way this first book held just the right space for my words to find ground—nor any of the local book and gift stores in my town, or Ventura or Santa Barbara. If ever I was compelled to start a business perhaps it would be to source beautiful paper and handmade bindings and journals for writing that fit just right in your hand. Because there was nothing I could find, anywhere, that matched my first filled book that I already owned.
And so I purchased two, generic but doable, 4.5 x 7-inch journals., They were not quite the same as writing on the beautiful paper that played the sound of my pen just so, but they held the thoughts that released from my brain good enough.
And then, on the day of this burning last week, I realized I was done. The words did not need to come out through my hand any longer. But more, I realized that I didn’t need to even have these words around me any longer. I didn’t need to reread them. I didn’t need to save them for a later visit. I didn’t need to hold on to them just for safe keeping.
The purpose was to get the thoughts in my head out of me and onto a place where they could land. That was it. And then, on this day when I realized I was done, I knew the offering up of all I had written in a burning with sage was the closing act of this deliberate endeavor.
And so I did this burning.
I took the dog toys and tennis balls out of their cast iron container, layered in many sheets of aluminum foil for easier cleanup as burning books mean mountains of ash, and I sat outside with the setting sun and lit my words on fire.
One page at a time, ripped from first my handmade paper journal and then the two store bought ones. One page at a time to start and then sheets of two and three together. Some ripped in half or thirds, others crumbled into balls for better burning.
The flame ebbed and flowed with each paper piece addition to the caldron. The smoky smell had age to it, and plastic too, as the two, newer journal books had covers that were coated and smooth. The smoke burned my throat and eyes while I sat beside the flames and threw a ball to my dog down the lawn.
The sun set quicker than even I was aware and soon it was dark as I continued to feed my caldron with my words of woe. I added sage, wrapped in a thick leather thread and thin gold wire and the smell turned just to sage for a few moments before settling back into just smoke again. The leather thread burned quickly. The gold melted down before my eyes. And then it was done. The books were gone, even the covers burned and melted into the ash of reflection. The ambers twinkled in a good way, and I stirred them with these long grill tongs which allowed air to get in and spark the flame a few more times where still there was paper to burn.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.