When Spirits Demand Blood

Healing Scars, Reminders from Spirit

When we rush, when we forget the time needed to sink deep and stay rooted in Connection, the Spirits demand blood for our carelessness and (often unintended) disrespect. A lesson wrought through pain and blood offerings that leaves scars is very effective, I must admit.

I have found this to be true many a time, too many times in fact to call it coincidence-- not that I believe in coincidence anyway. When your mind strays, when your adrenaline spikes as you rush to finish what you can and to take just a bit more before you need to go to whatever societal demand is calling you to hurry, when you stop singing your harvest songs and whispering your prayers-- or, if your initial offerings were not enough for what you wished to take, then the knife cuts swiftly and cuts deeply, and blood runs quick and red dropping onto leaf and dirt of the Earth which devours it hungrily.

It always happens in a way that I can only attribute to being Spirit-influenced. You will have spent awhile harvesting, grabbing and cutting, holding and slicing, going along from part to part and plant to plant, without any trouble. But then suddenly, it is as if your focus dissolves and your sight leaves you for a second just long enough for the blade to slip and bite flesh. It is like the instant of a car crash, where in the split second immediately following impact everything is gone, in a moment of time shorter than the blink of an eye. It is almost so quickly there and gone that you wonder if it even happened, but you know it did because now blood is dripping crimson down your hand to the waiting grass below. And when your blade is sharp -- as it should always be-- the cut is quick and near-painless, so says my witch-blacksmith mate.

I keep my blades sharp. Benefits of having a blacksmith-knifemaker for a mate and a personal love for woodworking, another craft often wrought with similar Spirit-demanded blood offerings. I also always keep an extensive medical and herbal first-aid kit (and midwife's birth kit) in the back of my truck and a smaller kit on me at Gatherings. Betadine, herbal salves and bandages are most handy and I've had to use my kit a handful of times for myself and others since I first put it together for the hurricane last summer.

Harvesting Queen Anne's Lace, Stinging Nettle, & Mugwort at an Herb Farm in Asheville, NC where I earned my latest scar.

In a previous blog post series [ part I ] [ part II ] [ part III ] I discussed spiritual and magical protection beyond the basic Witchcraft 101, and in one of the posts I discussed blood offerings specifically. There is great power in a blood offering, and with such power comes great risk. But sometimes, it is what a Spirit demands for our working with Them. They demand of our body and spirit as we take of theirs. There is nothing in life without exchange, and it should always be as equal and mutual as possible and filled with honor and respect. Even when we give offerings we think are acceptable, receive permission for our harvests or our Workings, sometimes more is demanded of us, or, we need a reminder to stay rooted in the moment, to stay connected to Spirit(s), to stay reverent and humble and focused instead of (even and often unintentionally) disrespectful and distracted.

This is one of the lessons we must learn, and sometimes be reminded of, especially as witches, spiritworkers, and those of us herb-minded folks who work intentionally with Plant Spirits and Genius Loci (Spirits of Place), but also for those who would consider themselves more mundane (or not so "woo") herbalists and wildcrafters.

Happy harvesting, and remember to always keep your blades sharp and your wits about you.

With love,

Juniper Wren

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