Subjects and Objects

When I first started the witch's garden, I thought it was my idea. I also thought the "goal" was to collect plants that were considered medicinal or magical.

When I started the witch's garden, part of me thought it was a joke. I chose the word "witch" to be transgressive and funny—or at least part of me did.

When I named my tauren druid "Besom", I just thought it was a cool witch-related word for my new nature priest character in a video game. When I subsequently named my orc warrior Mugwort, I thought I was just carrying on a tradition of naming my Warcraft characters after plants—all without stopping to think about why plants and herbs felt so "cool" to me.

It's very easy for the logical part of my brain to rationalize that those factors and facts are all causes to my current effects, but in the still of the pre-dawn morning, I'm afraid I can't be that certain.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, and as early as middle school, it most decidedly wasn't because of costumes and candy. I wrote journal entries and articles for the school paper about how the holiday offers us a chance to look into the darkness, confront our fears, and come out the other side changed—all the while not truly understanding humanity's great fear, that undiscovered country that lies just beyond our last breath.

Did I choose this path?

I am not Saul. I was never destined for a Damascus Road conversion. I'm not sure I ever had scales on my eyes.

When a website for queer women I've read for years started posting regular columns about witchcraft and paganism, how long had I been meaning to research it? How many times had I encountered a Tumblr post and thought, "I should look into that"? How many times had I thought about those besom brooms at Medieval Faire and felt a powerful longing to own one?

Would it take a whale swallowing me and vomiting me up on the shores of Ninevah?

When I started the witch's garden, I thought I understood the goal. As I hammered and drilled in the Florida snow, I thought I was close to finishing a project, a project driven by a powerful and almost primal urge to reconnect with nature. Back in March, I actually took a picture of my raised bed, complete with pennyroyal and mugwort, and I captioned that picture by saying that I was finally "done."

"Now it's all up to Mama Nature."

And she certainly kept working in the fertile soil of my mind. Before long, I was digging up grass to make a native wildflower bed for the pollinators. Then I was sowing clover and seeds for native flowering plants all over the yard. My project was never that raised bed in my back garden. That was just where I needed to start.

Whose idea was it that I should celebrate the moon? What made me start watching Pagan Perspective videos? Why was I so enthralled by Greek mythology as a child?

In the dark and silent hours before dawn, it's sometimes hard to see clearly. Shadows become animals, and animals become shadows. Likewise, causes become effects, and effects become causes. Nothing is certain in the dark, and maybe how I got here is a less interesting question than precisely where I am right now.