New Cats and Old Witches

We have a new cat.

A friend posted on Facebook that she was helping to find a new home for another friend's cat. The cat was female. Seven years old. Declawed. The cat had spent the past few years living in an assisted living two-room apartment with just one owner.

The cat's name was Macy.

So, a few weeks ago, my middle child and I drove to the outskirts of Baltimore to pick up the cat.

The cat was very unhappy about all this. She did not want to be picked up. Not at all.

After some hissing and growling and feline indignation, the cat - Macy - was lured into a carrier via an open can of tuna. And there was more hissing and growling.

The hissing and growling did not stop on the car ride home. The hissing and growling did not stop once we got home. For four weeks, Macy - whom my daughters renamed Daisy - has been hissing and growling and exceedingly upset over being placed in a three-kid home that is kept at temperatures much lower than that of a two-room assisted living apartment.

For a while, Daisy (aka Macy) would not come out of the basement. And being in the messy, unfinished basement, she was getting more and more ornery, not less. She was becoming the weird cat who hung out alone in the basement. Basement feral. Something had to be done.

One day, I put on a double layer of long pants, protective eye wear, and welding gloves and proceeded to shwoosh Daisy out of the basement and up into the light via a broom and a carefully constructed funneling system of boxes and laundry bins. There was a lot of hissing. And growling. And, amazingly, snorting. I'd never heard a cat snort before. I wondered briefly if Daisy was rabid. Or possessed. Or just reacting very badly to drops in the barometric pressure.

Daisy would have messed up two honey badgers.

Finally, Daisy was upstairs. But now she was terrifying everyone by hiding under tables and credenzas and emitting low, gurgling growls every time someone walked by.

I felt bad. The kids just wanted a pet cat. I brought them a small, savage black-and-white fur ball.

But what to do? If we gave Daisy to the pound, she'd most likely be put down. Or eat the other cats. We couldn't put her outside because even though she had no claws, she'd be sure to start killing deer and possibly bears. Maybe even carrying off toddlers from sandboxes. A co-worker suggested a magical cat calming spray, but I was wondering whether my daughter's cough medicine with codeine or a script for Valium were in order.

I talked to the kids about what to do, and they all sort of agreed that we couldn't get rid of the cat because, well, we probably couldn't get rid of the cat. But that if we adopted a new consolation kitten, they'd put up with miserable old Daisy being miserable and that would be that.

Then I went to work last night.

And then this morning, the kids told me that while I was away at work, Daisy suddenly changed her mind about being a jerk.She presented herself for adoration. She played with a string. She allowed herself to be pet. She purred.

Later in the day, she growled and hissed at me.

Which is okay, I guess. So the cat hates me. I get it. I shwooshed her upstairs with a broom.

But she likes the kids. Good enough. She'll just have to put up with me, since I have the key to the cat food.

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Today's book is The Spiral Dance, by Starhawk.


This book was given to me as a birthday present from a friend who, according to the inscription, didn't know whether or not I was interested in witchcraft, but that no matter how legitimate I thought the "old religion" to be, it could help with personal discovery and spiritual growth.

I think I paged through the book a few times while I was reading Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and used it as a reference for a paper I wrote on goddess symbolism in Christianity. In theory, I like the idea of getting together with groups of women outdoors at night and chanting on moonlit mountaintops. In reality, I think I acquired the recessive Pennsylvania Dutch gene that shies away from unreserved, skyclad liturgical gatherings and tends more toward restrained ecclesiastical jubilance and occasionally attending church wearing a doily on my head. Still...I enjoy drum circles and camping and drinking wine with women friends in the woods, so maybe I'm a secular kind of witch?

Anyway...my daughters haven't yet stumbled upon this book on the shelves. I imagine paging though The Spiral Dance and finding the "Spell To Be Friends With Your Womb" will bring up more questions than reading Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. And if they suddenly ask where they can find incense of Saturn, I'll know they are trying the Spell To Blind An Enemy, and that, I can tell you, will initiate an extremely long lecture on the topic of messing with things you shouldn't be messing with to the point that they'll be looking up the Spell To Shut Up Your Mother.
"...the 'price of freedom,' is, first of all, discipline and responsibility...those who would be free must also be willing to stand slightly aside from the mainstream of society, if need be. In modern Western culture, artists, poets, and visionaries, let alone Witches, mystics, shamans, are often somewhat alienated from their culture, which tends to devalue intangibles in favor of the solid, monetary fruits of success. 
"But the final price of freedom is the willingness to face that most frightening of all beings, one's own self...The depths of our own beings are not all sunlit; to see clearly, we must be willing to dive into the dark, inner abyss and acknowledge the creatures we may find there."
                                                                                ~ from The Spiral Dance

True dat.

It's a book I re-find every few years, page through, reminisce on the first time it occurred to me that The Marys may have been underwritten characters in the Bible, and then have a giggle over The Da Vinci Code.




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