The Greatest Mystery and Woolly Things


Hazard of Paganism: While blowing out one of the tapers on my altar this evening, a bit of the wick detached and flew behind the nightstand the altar’s on. I leaned over to see it glowing rather alarmingly. I ended up dumping the water from the cast-iron teacup I’m using for a chalice on it.

So, I suppose I’m a lot more prone to lighting things on fire now, but it’s not like I didn’t like candles before. Plus Eowyn’s finally learned that she doesn’t get to just grab burning candles to play with them, so I can get away with lighting candles more frequently. This time I lit the candles and said a short spell directed at the Goddess, mostly for motivation.

This week, I have to try to finish as much as I can of several knitting projects. A friend recently died. She had asked me to complete some things she had started for her kids that she knew she wouldn’t get a chance to finish. I know I can get the scarf and the cowl done this week, before the funeral, but I think the two pairs of socks will take a little longer.

I’ve been procrastinating on these projects a little, as though not working on them means that she’s not dead somehow.  But it’s a way to connect with her even though she’s gone, the way I use sewing to connect with my grandmother, who died a little over a year ago. It’s a way to remember, and to honour the last request that she made of me. And warm woolly things are good ways to show people you love them and are thinking about them, so hopefully her kids will be happy to have the finished things.

This will be my first Christian funeral after coming to whatever paganism is for me. There’s so much emphasis on what happens after death in Christianity, and yet I’m very uncertain what I think about what I have seen referred to in Wicca as “that greatest of Mysteries.” I don’t believe in hell. I like the idea of heaven, which I tend to see as a place where we are all made complete (assuming there are things we didn’t learn or achieve in this life that we needed to), and can freely connect with that which is Divine without wariness, fear, or whatever other barriers we construct here in this realm. But I don’t see it as a final stopping place; I hate the idea of not growing and changing for eternity, which seems to be the prevailing view in Christianity. Yet I’m not sure I can just jump on board with the whole Summerland and reincarnation thing that seems to be the Wiccan view. I think it’s less important to worry about what happens after death and to focus more on doing what we can as we live. This may or may not be the only life we get; we may as well make the most of it.

So me at a funeral this weekend…I don’t know how I will feel in the moment. Last year, I did okay until my grandmother’s memorial service started and then I cried through the whole thing and spent the reception glancing over my shoulder, convinced I’d see her standing there. I’m not as close to this friend as I was to my grandmother, however, and I hadn’t gotten a chance to see her right before she died. I had planned to go to the hospital last Thursday or Friday and then she died Wednesday night.

For now, it’s enough to remember her by knitting warm things for her children.


2 thoughts on “The Greatest Mystery and Woolly Things

    1. I hope it will help a little, though I know it’s a profoundly challenging time for them. Some people bring casseroles, I knit scarves and socks.

      Liked by 1 person

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