Anonymous said: I have a friend who has been my greatest ally for years, and whose kinship I have never known greater. Things have become extremely strained between us recently, and now it seems they refuse to give my feelings the time of day. Should I to confront them person-to-person to try to save what friendship we have left? When do I know it's time to move on?
Witch the First: I had a Sister once with whom I cavorted and cackled endlessly. Endlessly! We required no other, ne’er did we feel the fevered hand of boredom on our breast. Around us the air took on the aspect of shimmering brilliance and the faint odor of verbena. When we spoke our words created a minor-key but mellifluous current of song.
Or so I believed.
Now, can I say with any certainty that none of these things ever even came to pass? Though I Witnessed them with my very own Eye? I cannot! And yet had they truly happened how could they ever have stopped? They did stop, and so they must always have been stopping. Will they resume again? Who can say. Then I can also say they will have always been resuming. Do you follow?
You write that they will not so much as turn your feelings to face the Wheel of Time. I demand of thee: what of their feelings? Now I demand of thee again, my wizened finger a mere snake’s breath away from your face, no, I said, what of THEIR FEELINGS? DO NOT BULLSHIT A WITCH.
Because at first you answered me, “They are being a bad friend and totally not supportive and I need to confront them to correct this wrong which is being done to me.”
Can you confront a wilting gorse blossom back to life? Can you confront a wind into blowing northward instead of eastways? I mean, I can. But you cannot. What does the gorse need? Water. Give it water. Hope it will revive. What does the wind need? Nothing. It needs nothing. It moves without want. You may confront anything you wish! Gorse blossoms, winds (sacred or non-), friends who no longer quite fill your chalice.
But you may as well give sand to the gorse blossom or your own heart’s blood to the wind. And perhaps your friend has chalices to fill at which you refuse to cast your glance. An entire table set for hungry guests (or ghosts) which you will not see. So it was with my Sister.
Which is not to say all hope is lost! Oh hardly. My Sister and I, though torn asunder by forces so cruel and so melancholic that I dare not even whisper their appellations in your presence, were mostly in the end blown apart by my own adamant insistence upon misunderstanding her.
Why did I so insist? So that I could summon that song and that odor of verbena. It is not difficult to understand why I would wish to feel such pleasure. It is more important to ask, when I felt her hand slip from mine, why did I call after her a Name which was not her own? Why did I say, no, I say this is your Name. Answer to that alone. And when I call it, you MUST return to me.
Why, when she faced the Darkest Enigma, did I dare say, she is acting like such a b-word. Possibly even c-word. She was facing the D.E.!!!!! I was facing only my own refusal to accept that her face had to turn away from me. I will tell you who had it harder: not me. What I endured was a veritable pleasure garden within a perfumed jungle filled with tiny, many-flavored tea cakes that never got too warm or sticky nor did they attract insects. Seriously.
Before I knew about the pleasure garden things, I spent some time in my sea cave mulling over the situation with a GREAT deal of misguided bitterness. It is no wonder that I was so susceptible to the charms of Maelstroms at that moment. It is no wonder my spells turned half the time to ash in my hands. Within me lay that knot of furious, willful misunderstanding. It messes everything up!!
And then I untangled the knot almost all the way, and the friendship, it’s not like it was, but it is like it is. I see my Sister now clearly, not through a golden mist. I HATED when the golden mist dispersed. For ages it seemed the golden mist was GONE and she had TAKEN IT. But now it is within me. And I prefer to take her hand, same as ever, through the clear, mistless air. Fogs have many wonders (BOY do they), clear sight more.
Confront your Illusions. Let the mists clear and see if one day a hand is there again to greet you.
Witch the Third: It is an interesting fact of Now that friendships are, largely, a matter of convenience. This in contrast to kinship, marriages, LLPs, and so forth. Those of us tangled in these may not like our snare-mates, but the dislike must be chronic and severe before we name it let alone retreat from it. But virtus amicitiva; friendship is that in which liking occurs, its obligations dissolve with the sympathies, sometimes sadly missaligned. Though the sympathies can often endure strain that would tax a tighter binding, so who even knows. This all strikes me as more trouble than it is worth and is why I turn to friends only when sworn vassals are not on hand. I venture a guess that you have no sworn vassals yet? Recommend.
This answers your first question, asked in the unasking, which was “vassals y/n?”
For the rest.
It is time to move on when Theia gives into the tug of Venus and shifts so slightly to head for Earth. It is time to move on when the cargo carrying Justinian’s flea sets from Canopus for the Harbor of Elutherios.
How, if clairvoyance is not among our gifts, can we know this? Well.
A witch does not make it long without a keen nose for a coming squall. Perhaps you have noticed that when we are disfavored we are never simply unwelcome, fuuuuuuccck you very much, assorted dunkers, stakeburners and other total dicks. In any case when empty air shudders and gives way to the scent of shale on a heavy wind, when the Being tenses against the blow about to land, we have generally already escaped to our caves, our catacombs, our clifftops.
Where to catch the scent. Of course if charms decocted with your once-friend’s lymph start having unintended effects it is likely she has turned against you, but that goes without saying; I imagine that if this method were available to you would have employed it. Your lack of vassals and other people’s lymph makes me feel reasonably assured that you do not posses the tools of the auger, the haruspex, the scryer, the pyromancer, the hydromancer, or any of the other main mancers. You may have an iPhone? In her depths is a powerful tool for such divinations. I prescribe this warily, as I have not fully puzzled out all the component enchantlettes, especially with this OS update. Take care you do not stop this midway lest you be ensnared and made a meal for a Killer App.
Now. Summon the last text message this kindled, kindred spirit sent you. Place your hand over the screen. Close your eyes. Summon its image with your breath. You will feel a tightness, a fear, a muscle heat. If it is between your shoulders, give up. If it is in your throat, keep on.Witch the Second: Does a wise witch cast love spells? Mired in confusion though you seem, I am confident you See this quandary clearly.
But here, I answer it for you anyway: No! A wise witch does not! You cannot coax love from another person in whom love does not exist. You cannot. And friendship is not so different.
Your sister has already given you the gift of kinship. But this giving was not a promise of future gifts, of forever giving. It was what it was. It existed when it existed, when you two lived as people who are not quite the same as the people you are now.
The Wheel turns. Hearts warm and cool for reasons we cannot name, nor fathom. Friendships wax and wane like the moon; shift like seasons, though not so predictably.
Once, when I had ventured into a new and strange territory — a territory where I could not accept visitors — a dear, close Friend said via “”””e-mail”””” that he missed me, but that he understood my paler friendship to be simply “the natural ebb and flow of [my] presence in our relationship.” In saying this — in saying that he did not blame me for turning temporarily away from him, so that I might turn instead more fully to my own wicked and delightful innards, in this blighted and beautiful unfamiliar plane — he left the road between us open. Two moons later, I popped a xanax and hopped on that broom and flew home. My Friend and I got drinks. We cackled re: recent strange bedfellows; we took “shots”; I feigned interest in the “”””current events”””” with which he remains so inexplicably fascinated. Looking at his face, I felt warmth and affection return in full bloom. I had always thought him Sightless but during this season, in which he allowed a retreat and a return without judgment, I wondered. I wonder still.
Perhaps your friend is somewhere new. Perhaps she cannot accept visitors right now, much less make the journey to you. (Are you also somewhere new? Worth considering.)
You cannot force love, nor kinship. You can merely clear the roads.