Beggars to God – Bob Franke
The song of Gypsy Davy rang
Delighted through the night
The wise and foolish virgin
Kept her candles burning bright
Rise up my young and foolish one
And follow if you can,
There’ll be no need for candles
In the arms of such a man.
Make love to each other
Be free with each other
Be prisoners of love ’til you lie in the sod
Be friends to each other
Forgive one another
See God in each other
Be beggars to God.
The night was cold and dark and wet
As they wandered on alone.
The sky became their canopy
The earth became their throne
And as their raiment ran to rags
They thought it nothing wrong
For earth and sky are robe enough
When you sing the gypsie’s song.
They sang and played the gypsy song
Wherever they were sent
To some it seemed a dancing tune
To some a sad lament.
But in every heart that heard them true
A tear became a smile
And the pauper or a prince
Became the gypsy for awhile.
One of the biggest and hardest things you have to learn to do with anything worth doing is to learn to fail, to learn to make big booboos and know that it’s okay and you learned something and so what if you get embarrassed?
Learning to accept failure is a part of life and quitting when you fail means you didn’t learn anything. It’s why they tell you to get back on the horse when you fall off. Falling off is part of riding and yes it hurts but a little pain is okay if it teaches you to avoid the big pains or to at least keep trying. No one who rides a horse and does it well has never been bucked off or been ridden into barbed wire or any other thing a horse can do to you when they aren’t happy or you do something stupid like not tighten a girth.
Mistakes sometimes get you something you didn’t intend but is better than you started with. I don’t know how many times I’ve intended to make something in glass and it didn’t work the way I designed it but it was more beautiful than what I had planned. And sometimes you end up with ugly lumps or broken bits that have to be dumped in the trash.
That goes with pagan things too. Like channeling something bigger than you head was intended to channel and coming out of it with a Tintanic sized headache. Or the time I asked for a spirit guide because I thought everyone had one and I didn’t and Jesus answered and I had to tell me to “GO AWAY”. Needless to say, that was 20 years ago and I don’t feel the need for a spirit guide.
Or thinking some herbs would go together because the meanings matched and ending up making something suitable for fumigation or mimicking a skunk.
Wicca 201 consists of falling on your face into the cowpie but since usually you are alone when you do it, no one has to know. It can be your secret.
It can be as small as not listening to an elder that is trying to help you. Like when I was at a Gathering and another oldtimer and I were walking through the campground and noticed the newbees had made beautiful beds by pulling down vines and branches. The only problem was that the vegetation they had used was poison oak. We got sent away because they didn’t believe us and we got to meet them again when they showed up at First Aid. They will never make beds of vegetation again and it’s not allowed in a National Forest anyway but I bet they can identify poison oak now.
You really must make mistakes and fail. You haven’t learned anything practical if you haven’t done something like call East at all four corners in a public ritual. Yeah, that was a fun ritual to participate in (for once not me). or the time I sang the completely bastardized words to a chant because Scott Cunningham, (yes, that Scott Cunningham) thought it was funny to sing it in my ear.
It was the first big public ritual I was leading a chant alone in and what did he sing in my ear? “We are a cold people, we are a nude people, we are a strange people weirder than before” and I sang it out loud and proud and my pride took a big hit. But everyone laughed and I learned a lesson about pride and not to assume someone is right just because they are a BNP with a sense of humour. And it was pretty funny, 25 years later…
Failure is a go big or go home kind of thing sometimes. If you fail at the big public ritual? Smile, laugh and start again. Have some grace and realize the world didn’t end and it’s okay and we all have to learn and anybody that’s been around awhile has picked themselves up and gone on and usually no one dies of embarrassment.
Fail, get up, make a mistake, accept it and you will have the first lesson in Wicca 201, Druid 201 etc.
A story by elfkat aka Kat Robb
A witch had moved into this town and after a few missteps was accepted and loved by the people of the town. She lived at the edge of the town in a fantastically turreted and towered house of many colours and a garden where bluebells were really blue bells and roses had sweet faces. She went by the name of Miss Fay. The Mayor of the town had re-named her after he had found out she hated her name because it wasn’t a properly witchy name, her given name was Penelope Faery Rainbow. That just wasn’t a proper witch name and even he had agreed it was pretty awful to be a witch with a name like that so now she was Miss Fay.
One day Miss Fay decided she needed to do something nice for the Mayor. He had done so many nice things for her to help her to fit in in Heart Town. She thought of how much he liked her chocolate pistachio brownies but that wasn’t special enough. She thought she might give him a surprise party but she wasn’t sure it would stay a surprise so she dropped that idea. She contemplated this idea for days and then she had it. Everyone in this town had lovely neat little gardens but none had the special flowers that the Heart Town Witch grew. Their pansies didn’t have sweet little monkey faces and their marigolds weren’t merry and real gold and she knew Milly, the Mayor’s wife admired her garden a lot so she decided to help them with their garden.
The Heart Town Witch snuck over to the Mayor’s pretty little house and planted a garden in the middle of the night. She planted sunflowers and moonflowers and coral bells. She planted morning glories and Jack in the Pulpits. She planted hens and chickens and gazanias and tulips and a lot of other pretty flowers that grew in her garden but she had forgotten something. The flowers in her gardens behaved because they knew her and loved her and because she was a very magical person. She had forgotten that they might not behave for ordinary people, as ordinary as you could be and still be made of crystal.
She went off to her house and her bed happy and pleased with the wonderful gift she had given the Mayor and his family. Who wouldn’t want a lovely garden filled with amazing and magical plants.
The Mayor’s family woke up this next morning with a start. The whole house was lit up with a very bright light the minute the sun had come over the mountains that surrounded the town. The Mayor jumped out of bed and went running around the house looking for the source of the light and then the noises started. There was laughing coming from the garden outside and bell ringing? The smallest of the Mayor’s children yelled at him to look out the window and the whole family went running out onto their wide porch and quite a sight met their eyes.
The sunflowers were shining like the sun. So bright that the Mayor sent everyone back into the house for dark glasses. When they went outside again they were truly amazed and the neighbors had come and were staring over the garden gate.
The gazanias were laughing loudly, the blue bells and coral bells were singing and ringing. The tulips kissed anyone who got near them. The gay feather plants were tickling everyone with big purple ostrich feathers. The gladiolas were talking like they were friends of Pollyanna. The only one that wasn’t making a ruckus was the moonflower who appeared to be asleep and the Mayor had a feeling that come night fall the yard might be almost as bright as the sunflower was making the yard now.
The Mayor gave a great sigh and looked at his family most of whom were standing with their hands over their ears looking at the garden with their mouths hanging open. The Mayor gave another great sigh. He knew who had done this and she had done it again. She tried her hardest to do something nice and it had gone a bit wrong. How was he going to tell her to take her gift that had obviously taken a lot of thought and work back?
His wife looked at him smiled and pointed in the direction of the Witch’s house. He gave a third sigh and went in to get dressed. He headed over to the Witch’s house with no clear idea of what to say.
He knocked on the door with a heavy heart. He really didn’t want to hurt her feelings. The Witch threw the door open with a bang. “Do you like it? Isn’t it beautiful? I tried my best to make it nice.”
The Mayor looked at the Witch. “Would you like to see it on the daytime?” he asked.
My family really appreciates the hard work you went to last night but you really must see it in the sun.” He couldn’t think of a nicer way to put it.
“Oh, yes!” the Witch cried and grabbed her favourite shawl from the back of the nearest chair and she hurried out the door. They hadn’t gotten very far when she could hear singing and bells ringing. Then she heard the laughing and she began to get worried, she had a very bad feeling something had gone wrong. They turned the corner and she was almost blinded and she snapped her fingers for her sunglasses and she knew she was in trouble. The crowd was now 3 deep at the Mayor’s garden fence and they were laughing and pointing at all the flowers in the garden.
“Oh, they got out of control didn’t they?” The Witch was getting upset. She tried to do something nice and she’d failed again. She guessed that the flowers behaved in her garden because she was the Witch and they knew they had to but here they were free to misbehave and they did.
The Mayor’s family gave a cheer when they saw the Witch. They knew she had been doing something nice even if it had unintended consequences and the children now that they were more used to it were playing jump rope with the Johnny Jump Ups and laughing just as hard as the gazanias.
The Mayor’s wife, Milly came and kissed the Witch on the cheek and said, “This is a lovely gift but could you make them behave a bit?” The Witch looked at the Mayor and his wife.
“You aren’t mad?”
“No, it was a bit startling earlier but we know you were trying to do something nice for us. Now how can we help make it better?”
The Witch thought for a moment. She was going to have to take some of the rowdier members of the garden home. They just wouldn’t behave here. “How about I leave the ones who will behave here and take the rest home, would that fix it?”
The Mayor nodded and rolled his sleeves up and told the children to bring the wheel barrow from the garden shed.
So the Witch got her trowel out and bundled the gazanias and the coral bells and blue bells into the wheel barrow. She took the sunflowers and violas who were playing a Bach viola piece. She took the tulips who were being awfully fresh and the daffodils who were just plain silly and sent them home with the Mayor’s children.
“Is it all right if I leave some other quieter ones? She asked a bit hesitantly. The Mayor and his wife nodded and the crowd cheered because since it wasn’t their yard they had quite enjoyed it.
The Witch set to work. She rearranged the roses and their shiny faces and the pansies of all colours with their monkey faces. She magicked over from her yard the candytuft and the phlox were content to huddle in a corner and be quiet. She got the gay feather smaller feathers. She asked the cannas to be encouraging but much more softly and put the gladiolas near them to make a cheery spot and the garden slowly transformed to a much quieter place but just as lovely.
She stood back and looked at her work. She hadn’t realized what some of her plants would do but she meant well.
The Mayor and his family came up and hugged her from all directions. It almost made her ribbons pop.
The Mayor thanked her and asked her if she could plant some gladiolas and cannas near the school. He thought that might be just the place for them.
The Heart Town Witch headed for home happy. She was so glad to have friends and she really had meant well and she had tried her best. The Mayor pointed out to her that was all anyone could ever ask of anyone and it had worked out in the end, hadn’t it? She trundled the last wheelbarrow home with the crab apples and the Black-eyed Susans. Those really had been a mistake she giggled to herself as she went.