Honeymoon. Honeyed Moon. What a strange but alluring combination of words and meaning! What is a “honeyed moon?” Four days ago I was turning this phrase over in my mind (some phrases lodge there), imagining a magical and spiritual practice leading to a sort of “charmed life”–a way of being attentive to pleasures large and small, partnered or not. I had even decided to start with a thirty-day practice from Jan. 14 to Feb. 14, conveniently beginning the day after my ex-husband’s birthday and ending Valentine’s Day (my previous wedding anniversary, a day I now dread).
But almost as soon as I determined to live life exquisitely for this period of time, my resolution was smudged. For the last three days I’ve been very ill and there is nothing at all “honeyed” about my existence at present, except for the sweetening I add to hot water and vinegar to drink at times like these and the fact that I’ve got still got an internet connection in spite of the storms.
But I must be recovering, as I am actually sitting up and writing at this moment. And so I looked up the origin of honeymoon. It’s based on the Old English words hony and moone. The combination of the two basically refers to a mead-fueled “sweetness” that lasts about a month (one moon) after marriage. And then I guess it’s back to business as usual, right?
Except I don’t want business as usual. A couple of years ago I discovered Ariel Gatoga’s online Witch’s Primer course and his Druidic Craft of the Wise lectures. This lecture, A Charmed Life, is one of the last he did and I absolutely love it (scroll all the way down on that lecture link page–A Charmed Life is in the row second to the bottom). But I have only acted on this material sporadically. It needs to become habitual. The idea is to actively, continually charm (bless) the heck out of the things and activties that we feel we might be able to control to some extent. And since we perform numerous mundane activities each day, why not add some magic sparkles and charm?
This sounds like a lot more fun than just slogging through the day, grumbling. Plus, can’t hurt, could help, right? Except it’s hard to do much charming when coughing and blowing one’s nose all day long. Should one really waste one’s sparkles on sputum? (That’s a rhetorical question…)
So what opportunities do we have for charming? We can charm our wallets, dating profiles, computers and cell phones, pots and pans, the act of putting on our shoes or lipstick or answering emails. Right now I am “charming” (blessing) my body and immune system. Each morning as I open the living room curtains onto a lovely view, I say a greeting and blessing on my house out loud. I greet my household and land, trees, lake, mountain, people, plants, animals, deities, ancestors, spirits, and elements. It’s an expression of thankfulness. When I do this, I am acknowledging and charming my relationships with these things as well as the things themselves. And I’ll tell you something strange: for months I forgot to add “people” to the mix. Shortly after I added this general category, I noticed that my social life started to improve. What you leave out can be as important as what you include.
So I imagine “The Realm of the Honeyed Moon” as the life that is intentionally full of charmed experiences of pleasures. It reminds me of a scene from the movie Amélie, in which the lead character, a lonely young girl, is shown cultivating “small pleasures” by dipping her fingers into a barrel of beans, savoring the sensation. I suppose I am talking about a sort of sensual “mindfulness” (though I’m not so fond of that overused word). So when I pet the youngest of my four silly cats (a tiny black former feral named Varda), my fingers and palms appreciate how soft her fur has grown now that she has a decent, regular diet and to be glad she likes to wash my hands as I type (instead of feeling annoyed by her persistence and raspy tongue).
Another example: I have some pretty things. I could use them (or wear them) more often on a daily basis (otherwise, what’s the point?). I could “charm” each meal or cup of tea, even when taken alone, slowing down to savor the experience. When I look outside my bedroom window, I can appreciate the red berries on the small tree outside, their contrast to the greenery and the grey sky. Like my cats, I could be thrilled by the stream of water that comes from my faucet (I am so lucky to have that water!). And even though I am sick, I could enjoy my “pleasant land of counterpane” more, even though my convalescence is more like a “pleasant land of Netflix.”
I have to admit though, for the last two days I’ve done minimal or no devotional practices. I am generally strong in my daily practices but I have very little energy, no juice to speak of. My voice is hoarse and raspy, sometimes gone altogether. I don’t want candle smoke or incense. And since I am sick alone here, I feel like I am in a physical and mental fog. The outside world feels far away.
There is a point, though, when I start to become well again and I am surprised and pleased by renewed feelings of strength, the abiliity to breathe again more easily and to taste my food. My senses come alive again as I start feeling better. This is the perfect time to celebrate life (what’s left of it) and to enter again the Realm of the Honeyed Moon.