Before I post another Halloween Humpday tale — which will be as true as the others have been –I invite you to scroll down the page and hit Frosted Petunia and Incipient Wings’ Broomsticks on the Bayou button. If you’ve ever visited relatives in New Orleans, or found yourself there for an extended stay for some reason, then you may agree New Orleans is a rainbow of unexpected experiences. Some are good, some are far from it, and some make your lower jaw drop. Hell, many of those experiences make your lower jaw drop. It’s been years since I’ve seen the city, but memories of New Orleans have a way of remaining vivid — which may or may not explain why some folks sleep with religious symbols of protection near the head of the bed.
And now to the Halloween Humpday post du jour.
The park scene pic was taken at a Pagan Pride Event last week. In the old days, though, witches didn’t seem as open about their spirituality. Back then, a level of trust was established before a witch revealed her path to you, and it was unspoken but thoroughly understood you would not betray her confidence. Your revealing her business might have brought unwanted attention to her. You might suffer the consequence of being seen as a screwball for believing witches existed. Finally, there was no good reason to get on another witch’s bad side.
And so it was, in those days, I ran across C, a woman who identified herself as a witch. C worked behind the counter in a pharmacy where herbs were sold, and she lived about three doors down from me. I admired her lush dredlocks, and the fact that her herbs grew happily in little terra cotta pots by her doorstep. At the time, I could not differentiate a basil plant from fresh garden thyme. I had never seen a fresh rosemary plant and never used white sage to smudge the interior and exterior of my house. To me, C. was a breathing herb-o-pedia.
A few months after C. and I established a friendly neighbor type of relationship, a gray cat made my backyard its stomping ground. I was already having difficulty growing herbs, and the cat seemed to take delight in harassing the plants, especially the young mint. No amount of frowning persuaded the feline to be on its furry way. I was naive enough to believe that witches and cats went hand in hand, and reasoned the cat must belong to C. In a show of respect to a fellow witch, I tolerated the cat’s trespassing in my backyard.
Being an Aries, however, I found my patience fraying after months of enduring the cat’s temerity. The cat’s targeting my herbs for its mischief soon pissed me off to the point where I brought up the matter to C. In a casual conversation, I mentioned that her cat was showing up in my yard more than I liked.
C’s surprise was genuine. “My cat? I thought he was your cat! I hate that cat because he’s always on the porch, tearing up my herbs!”
“You mean he wasn’t your cat?” My astonishment mirrored C’s. “The only reason why I didn’t chase that little fucker out my yard was because I thought he was yours.”
Though we did not express it outloud, a single thought ran through our minds. The cat had no witch as a guardian, no protector, so to speak. Now nothing was going to prevent us from shooing that whiskered, four-legged creep from our tea and culinary plants.
Sure enough, the cat showed up a short while later. Ready to express my fury over his attacking my mint and other herbals, I tore after him. The cat ran across the neighbor’s yard.
“Good.” I stuck out my chest. “Go mess up somebody else’s work for a change.”
Since then, I have not seen the cat. And I have learned that the black walnut tree spells death for some plants. If you have tried everything to make your garden thrive and you seem to meet with no success, check to see if a black walnut tree is nearby.
I should mention, though, that years later, another cat that bore a strong resemblance to the first, fell into the habit of chasing me every time he or she saw me leave the porch.