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Deep Time and Mourning for the Frost: For the Love...

Deep Time and Mourning for the Frost: For the Love of Sea, Ice, and Storm

the house of twigs danielle dulsky ice storm spring witch

These are the days of the late-winter ache, and I’ve learned to hear the haunted call of those never-born-always-dead hags who are wiser than I can ever hope to be, who house more ceremony in one pendulous, spectral mole than I shall have within the whole of my warm body even should I survive countless wintertides, even if I live to be that slow-walking and saggy jawed crone who visited me once when I was a fearful babe, even if I learn to fold time over like an elegant and over-starched napkin and return to soothe my own hunted, newborn head with a paper-skin elder’s hand.

In my wickedest dream-visions that are the most potent medicine I have for my brokenness, I happened upon a skull-faced Witch smoking a pipe at the fireside and humming a tune my blood remembered but my tongue forgot. She grunted once and led me to a rough place built from splintered bones and lightning-struck trees, a heathen land of prophecy and storm where old gods walk heavy on salt-stained rock, where seals slip off to the otherworld through thin-mouthed caves and return as grey-eyed wild women who see shadow more than sun, who belong to mist more than mother, who stitch stories from scaled skin and seaweed and new myths from twisted whiskers and shards of shell.

Here, in this place of deep time where the rain falls up and every stone is a once-upon-a-time or ever-after, I found myself fed well by a band of heathen fishermen who spoke of soul cages and underwater realms. These bearded beasts were wanderers with long vision, pagan folk who knew what it meant to belong, and I ate their myths raw while crafting rattles from the ribs of salmon and the teeth of fallen warrior-queens.

“You’ll forget all this,” the oldest one predicted, quite falsely.

“I won’t,” I countered, and it seemed years were passing right by this grey land and leaving us be, leaving us with nothing but words to eat and stories to warm us, like all of time was spiraling around this snow-globe of sea, ice, and storm where the hours didn’t dare walk, where the night didn’t dare creep up on this perpetual dusk between life and death and where the wet tongue of a spring breeze would never lick for fear of frost.

I began to dread the sun and found much comfort in this nightmarish seal-scape. Soon, the fisher-folk’s eyes fell back in their sockets and the flesh of their lips stretched thin. My hands thinned to bone, my tongue dried into a strip of leather, and I wondered what was becoming of me. I mourned for the stories I’d never tell, even those of this mistland horror I was living now, and I prayed the grandmotherly ghosts whose altars I still keep would find me here and rescue their dying daughter.

The last I recall of those craggy lands was my walk into the sea, my skeletal feet cracking on the black stones and me, without my breath, swallowed whole by the wild, grey-blue mother that bore me.

Before I woke, whole and full-fleshed in my bed, I was back fireside with the pipe-smoking crone for a moment that lasted a lifetime. She bid me not go back to that ‘twixt-and-‘tween world alone unless I wanted to stay forever, but I made her no promises.

Even now, I can taste the salt of those fisher-folk’s tales on my storyteller’s tongue, and I know they’re still there in that jagged place. They don’t think much of me, I dare say, and I doubt they expect my return; this is precisely why my stubborn soul will surely find itself there again soon, in that place the kings forgot, in that world where sea is witch and story is food.

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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.
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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.

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