Remove the heart from your hate

Ebenezer Scrooge
Ebenezer Scrooge
Out of the Broomcloset 

Talk about the dark half of the year! As I have aged, the allure of winter, and especially outdoor winter activities, has lost its charms, having moved past the age for spending the days building snow forts. Don’t misunderstand me; I do not suffer from seasonal depression brought on by short days and long nights. I do enjoy the ready excuse to remain in the nest, to recharge and to muse, entertaining friends and family, admiring the view through the windows while plotting and scheming.

I suspect that this was some part of the hopes and dreams of my ancestors, who moved to these shores many generations ago (well, for some of them it was many generations ago, though not so long ago as the ancestors of some of my friends) that we would set down roots here, away from the indifference, or active malevolence which suffused old Europe, and help, in some small portion to build a new, optimistic path to the future. I just wish they didn’t decide to settle for the exact same weather that they were escaping.

Some version of this tale is true for all of us, the desire to be in control of our destinies, in some measure, to strive, and find a safe harbor, whether arriving on these shores willingly or not. However, it’s been hard to see these possibilities in this most reactive of political years.

Panic and apprehension have, no doubt, been a part of the human condition since consciousness emerged, but really, this turn to vindictive, unthinking brutishness is a bizarre turn back to our worst natures. There has to be some way to walk ourselves back from this particular dead end. Otherwise, it all falls apart. But pull back we can.

Basically, we are all living through “A Christmas Carol,” except in this version the Scrooges of the world remain exactly to character, while some of Bob Cratchit’s neighbors are under the delusion that he, and not the Scrooges and Marleys of the world are the problem. And it is possible for us to comprehend how the scared and hopeless can feel this way (or ought to be), while not agreeing with them. Save the Scrooges, change the world (or let the third spirit have their way with them).

Working on the assumption that the first two spirits have been entertaining one’s target (or holiday buddy), this ritual will concentrate on making sure the third spirit of the tale pays a visit to that special someone.

Pick your partner, and cut out their portrait, whatever representative, senator or other you would like to bestow this boon upon, which will be attached to a poppet, or figure. You can make this small doll, or just borrow an action figure, and wrap it in fabric, and add the picture. Next, you need a container full of dirt, large enough to stand the figure on, big enough to dig a hole large enough for the figure to fit in. Yes, you’re standing it on the edge of a grave. Wrap the container with sprigs of cedar or pine. Stick in the earth three purple tapers. If you are having a difficulty seeing where this is going, consult the illustration thoughtfully provided.

We are not depicting the third spirit, as they have work to do; we are sending them to perform their proper function, to pay a visit to our friend. Finally, we need an invoking/sending incense. In this case, store-bought sticks of myrrh will do fine, but better would be a mixture of powdered myrrh, a bit of real camphor, a pinch of mugwort, along with an offering of dried black beans and sesame seeds.

The stage is now set for sending the spirit, which should work best on the evening of the Winter Solstice, December 21st. After lighting the candles and incense, you need an invocation, which can be something like this (or compose your own, as you like); “Oh, third spirit of this season, pay a visit to (insert name here), this night, this week; bring them dreams of what they have done, allowed to be done, or will do, and of what will happen as they stay on their path.”

Then put on your cap for a long winter’s nap.

Happy Holidays, and may we have a more settled New Year.

Leon Calafiore
Leon Calafiore

Leon Calafiore writes Out of the Broomcloset for Out In Jersey and can be reached via