Me on a willow tree. Photo taken by Pol.
Yesterday I went to a gathering of the local pagan community to commemorate the life of our dear friend Pol, and last night, I had a dream of him.
It was actually more of a memory. It was late December 2009 and we were in the gardens of the University of the Philippines. He was picking branches and I was picking leaves from a tree which he believes to be a specie of willow. He said he was going to scrape the bark off the branch, embellish it, and turn it into a wand. Pol was pretty good in those things. He has a set of runes which he carved by himself and charged with his own blood. He makes corn dollies and weaves perfect Brighid's crosses from palm leaves. He asked me why I was only picking the leaves. I said that I was only good at herb magic, I really couldn't make fine wands out of branches. To which he promptly replied: "Kaya mo yan, ikaw pa".
And I realized I actually could.
So I taught myself how to sandpaper wood, and paint on wood, and apply finishing on wood. And soon I was making my own pentacles, hex signs, wands, cups, and magic tables. I made a complete set of high magic tools out of school supplies. I would never have thought I would be able to do these things - I have always sucked and failed at craft projects in school. But now, suddenly, I'm an artist.
Pol teasingly calls me "master", but the truth is, I think I have learned more important things from him:
- Don't define yourself by your limits.
- Don't just accept things as they are.
- You can make the change if you want to.
Yes, these are all clichés. We hear them all the time that our minds have become numb from them. But these are powerful truths, and people tend to forget them. That is why the majority of society today lives a lazy, consumerist lifestyle.
Here's another cliché: we have the ability to change things for our own good, and for others.
- Whether it's a piece of wood that you want to make into a magic wand.
- Whether it's a foreign spirtual practice that you want to adapt to the local culture and to your lifestyle.
- Whether it's how society treats women and the LGBT community.
I'm happy to have had a friend like Pol to remind me of this "ability". This "power to change things". I don't know if there's a proper English word for it, so I'll just call it "magic". People have stopped believing in magic.
Thank you Pol for helping me find my magic.