As those of you who know me personally know, I suffered a wee bit of an injury in June. I broke my neck at C5 and suffered a serious concussion. I lost a lot. I had serious problems with balance, memory, and I lost most of my sight until I learned that by patching my right eye I could be shade functional single eyed.
I should have been killed, or at least paralyzed, considering the force of the blow and the location of the break, but when you are a priest of a one eyed hanged god, its not unheard of to walk away snap necked and one eyed. I can take a joke, even one written in that level of pain, it means I am still breathing, and going home to my family.
My family has been nothing but amazing, even when I am being more stupid than normal. My daughters and wife (the three first lovelies on the left) have been conspiring to keep me functional not only enough to help my recovery, but to do my duties to my Heathen community. They didn’t ask me to do this when hurt, I refused to pass off my duties to others because you really can’t beat stupid out of me short of death, and I love my family and community in ways that are more sincere than rational sometimes.
This is why I must speak of magic and miracles, because if what I brought was the power of being too stupid to accept the limitations of my body when I had duty to those I love to perform, my community returned that love in full measure, and brought both magic and miracles to prove it.
Just past my daughters sits Nathalie, and she came with her massage table to work her arts upon my body and spirit, and drew from me tensions and pain with such dramatic success that my body straightened like a bow being unstrung under the touch of her hands and arts, far too gentle for the force she applied.
Far down the table, near the head where I sat as host you will see Diana Paxson, who journeyed far north from her home, and across the border simply to work her arts upon me as well. With the calm assurance of Egil in his saga, she worked her runes upon me and I felt the strangest thing when she commanded me back into balance.
I saw the sight from my eyes which had been endlessly shifting for over a month, which had resisted every bit of power medical science could bring to bear, and indeed which those practitioners were preparing me to forever learn to live with the loss of, finally snapped back in sync.
I rose from bed, rather faster than I should, the flow of power in my body far, far stronger than it had been. My eyes worked, my sense of body position (part of the balance that tells you the vertical orientation of your body at the moment) finally telling me the truth. My shoulders hung loose and low, not hunched up to my ears in a protective huddle. I could see.
I have a lot of recovery yet to do, but I gained from the women in my community more healing in a single day than in the month and a half since my injury; and more, they gave me hope. Even if it faded when the event energy left me, I knew the body still had the ability, the mind still had the hardware, and I COULD GET IT BACK.
In response I drank too much, talked too much and spent entirely too much of my strength sharing with my community, celebrating with my community, but I took no harm, because the man I was at that point, and am still, had far more to give than the man that walked into the hall, half broken and half blind.
There was a time, about a decade ago, when I thought magic was beneath me. When I would never use the traditional practices of galdor and seidr left behind by our ancestors even though I knew they were part of traditional practice, retained and valued for centuries by the community as essential. I retained the later syncretic and Christian suspicion of magic, its trappings and practitioners. Also, there was the same sort of video game/movie overlays that confuses flashy display and showmanship with folk magic as our ancestors knew and practiced it. If you talked to one of them a thousand years ago, you would be looking for the aid in healing, not some flashy light display, but somewhere in the intervening centuries we confused special effects for non material changes in the physical universe.
I had the honour to see the community that I love show that what I gave to them was valued, and that they cared in turn for my family and health in full measure, and bent their own arts and will to make such changes as they could to make it better.
I am not magically healed. I am magically booted about half way along the curve of the acute concussion recovery process, and able to draw upon far more of my own internal resources than I had before to complete the process in a shorter time and to a greater degree of completeness than I had any right to expect.
Do not take this as a call to ignore medical science. On the contrary, this has prepared me better to use the physiotherapy and cognitive training to overcome the remaining deficiencies in neck and brain to speed my return to full work and other function. Take this as what it is, an example of how the collective love of your community, focused through the traditional arts of our faith through its more learned and potent practitioners can have a powerful beneficial effect in your outcome.
My wife and daughters, my kinsmen and women, and two wise and magical women combined to use their arts and care to overcome my injuries and stupidity combined and speed me along the road to recovery.
We forever ask the gods for aid in time of need. We forever reach out to those of our community when they are in need. It is helpful to remember the words we use to mark the gifting cycle when we make an offering. We speak of receiving blessings from the gods to the earth to us, thus we return our gifts from us to the earth to the gods. The gifting cycle is also expressed as from us to each other to the gods, from the gods, to each other to us. We are the aid that was sent, the gift that was given. We are the proof the gods do not ask us to face this alone. It took the returning of my second eye’s sight to see it.
I tell this to everyone else, but forgot it when it came to myself. I did preface this article with the admission that I was frequently stupid about such things, but the gods can overcome even that through the power of the community.