Halloween, 2007; copyright Tedder/Bailey


It’s 1 AM, the morning of Halloween.  Halloween, not Samhain, for the Sun is not yet at 15 degrees of Scorpio.

Something in the house is troubling me, taunting.  Only now do I remember the talisman on my dresser.  I’ve hardly slept at all in my room these past few weeks, choosing instead to curl up on the sofa with all its pillows or, at her urging, take my daughter’s comforter-laden bed where I feel…comforted.

I’m annoyed that I forgot this talisman.  It represents, known only to me, my willingness to leave behind the men in my past who left without a word, one in particular that I was, upon acquiring this talisman, willing to cast off finally.    It represents letting go, truly letting go, and being willing to move forward with an open heart.  One would never guess by the nature of this talisman what it is that it represents to me.

On another level, the one I have not dealt with, it represents restrictions, oppression, a lack of trust, possession of that which should never be possessed by another.  This talisman does not carry my energy.  I’ve touched it only twice before now.  Once out of love.  Once out of disgust for what it stood for.

I remove the talisman from its box.  My hands sizzle with its energy of control and letting go, of oppression and freedom, of all these different meanings that have been mixed together to transform it into something else.  It is an exchange of energy, but it feels like a snake curled in my bed and ready to strike if it remains.

I am in my night clothes–the ones I wear when I wear night clothes–and I cannot do what I must do at this instant dressed like this.  I borrow my daughter’s heavy coat, left behind on a chair, and slip it over my skimpy night clothes, and walk barefoot out the front door.

The Dog Star,  Sirius, flashes on the horizon in front of me as I pause on the cold driveway.  It doesn’t just twinkle.  It flashes unnaturally against the moonless sky, and I don’t remember ever seeing this many stars.  There is little light pollution tonight, and there must not be a better place to view the countless lights in the sky unless it is the bowl of heaven on the farm in Georgia or out on the abandoned bombing ranges where the cathedral of night sky kisses your breath away.  Orion is directly in front of me, brighter than I have ever seen him before, with this belt and sword clear in the Eastern Sky.  Only a few weeks ago, in this exact spot, I saw him directly overhead at 2 AM and laughed and bounced up and down in my thin night wrap.  Tonight is much colder and my purpose is more serious.  I must remove the talisman from my home.

Flying By Night novel

I walk barefoot through the blackness, by starlight alone.  The road is cold under my feet.  The night sounds are distant, and even the owls are quiet tonight.  Nothing moves in the darkness except my shadow.

I grip the talisman in my hand as I walk.  I speak in whispers, repeating aloud what it represents on two separate levels, one in particular.  I take the long path down to the lake and stop in the grass to finish my discourse.   The grass is cold under my feet, enough to numb them, but I don’t really feel any of it.  The talisman is hot in my hand and hurts to hold.  I will change nothing for anyone else as that is their own chains to break and cast aside.  I will change something for myself, though.

I pause, the talisman in my hand as I stand before the lake.  I finish my prayer.  A shooting star lights up the sky in front of me.  I cast the talisman–and all the bane it means to me–into the waters to wash away the oppression it represents in my own life.  It takes an inordinately long time for the talisman to plunk into the water, almost as if time has been suspended or gravity forgot to pull it earthward.  Some witches were condemned because they could float.  This sinks down, drowning itself, setting me free.

Not anyone else.  Just me.

I turn and walk home, barefoot but warm, my path clear under the tiniest of lights.

Flying By Night novel


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