Molly Sickens

Molly luxuriated in her morning shower. “Thank you, water. Thank you for your gifts to me,” she said aloud as she did every morning.

Showering was a creative time for her when she sorted through her notions about the coming day, weeded out items that could wait, and made serendipitous link ups between ideas and the steps needed to make them realities. Connections that would not have happened staring at her endless to-do list, seemed to glide together from some hidden part of her mind in this setting. Maybe it was the lavender soap that Cindy made. That woman was a lavender queen!

Today she thought about the need for another energetic cleansing at ReBound. There was a lot of psychic energy attached to both the people and stuff that went through the place. Clearing out dark, dead ghoulies was a regular necessity as important as clearing out the material objects that had been hanging around too long. “Hey! I can ask Ursula’s class to do it this time. It would be good practice for them. I’m sure they are covering space clearing as part of their coursework.”

That settled, her thoughts turned to staffing issues. She realized that she was kind of stressed –very stressed – about the need to think about hiring again. When was she going to get a critical mass of competent people who stayed?? The PSU interns were doing a great job and some might decide to stay on. Gabe was certainly turning out to be a gem, but….

Absently mindedly, she rubbed her hands over her breasts, squeezing at a little cyst that kept reappearing next to her nipple. Suddenly she caught her breath and froze, literally going cold despite the hot water pouring down her body. There was a little bit of black gunk oozing out of her nipple. Her first thought was that it was something from the dump somehow. She squeezed again. “Shit. Shit!  SHIT!! …. Okay, stay calm, Molly! Breathe…. breathe!” She spoke the words out loud, trying to calm her rising panic.

And in that moment when everything seemed to be crashing down on her, she made an inward vow: “I DO NOT HAVE TO GET SICK TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.”  The very air seemed to shimmer around her for just a second, the water droplets on her breast and belly sparkling with the morning’s sun streaming through the high window.

“So…. first things first…. Turn off the water…. Get out of the shower…. Dry off…. Rescue Remedy.” She found the bottle in her medicine cabinet and could feel the little sigh that always followed dripping this Bach Flower Essence under her tongue. Its grounding powers helped her to think again – or at least to stop talking out loud to herself.

“OK, I’m going to call that new doctor at the clinic who seems to know as much about natural medicine as he does about the allopathic, MD world. Where did I leave the phone book? Hell, where did I leave the phone??”

After finding the two errant essentials by the couch where she had fallen asleep reading last night, she realized it was too early to call Dr. Raphael Turner. She thought about all her friends and what she could say to them. That made her realize that she really, really didn’t want to tell anyone else. Yet. They would be pissed if they knew she was withholding from them, but she wanted to hug this scary thing to herself for now. Somehow it seemed that speaking it to others would make it more real. Best she check it out first. Hug it to herself while she got used to the idea…. “Shit. Damnation. Kinda makes other things pale, doesn’t it?” she said picking up The Cat. “Time for some more Rescue Remedy. I think I better put some in my drinking water bottle today.”

ReBound as a Healing Center

“You did a great job giving the tour, Gabe,” said Molly after the Locus crew left.

“Thanks. It helps that you’ve had me track the monthly numbers recently.”

“I love you doing that. It gives me a little more breathing room to think through the next steps and how to tie them into this proposal we’ve got brewing.”

“Can I ask a question, though? I’ve never known what you mean when you talk about ReBound being a healing center,” ventured Gabe. “I have a feeling it’s more than just the healing of the earth by giving re-useables another shot at life.”

“Aaahh,” Molly breathed aloud. “It’s very subtle. Have you ever noticed how cheerful most folks are when they come here? People going to ordinary dumps are grouchy. My theory is that they feel awful about throwing things away. Maybe not consciously but if they have any sensitivity our culture’s waste has got to eat at them.”

“I remember I hated to see furniture and stuff in dumpsters growing up.”

“Exactly. Not only do we rescue things but our work here is literally healing and cleansing those things we handle by getting rid of the stuck energy in them.”

“How’s that?”

“Stuff comes through here carrying energetic baggage. Some is positive, but some has absorbed sad, tired, cruddy energy. Obviously, anything literally dirty, smelling of cigarette smoke or cat pee goes in the trash. But some things just feel icky. I threw away a perfectly good bedspread the other day that gave me the creeps. Occasionally I give a conscious blessing as I sort, but most things just need a little energy polish that’s somehow more than a swipe with the rag. It’s such an automatic, unconscious process that it took me ages to even realize I was doing it. I think about how pretty or fun an item is – maybe it wasn’t appreciated before. I think about who will want it. Not usually who literally.”

“Although we do that too sometimes,” Gabe pointed out.

“Indeed. We made sure that the herb collecting basket got into Owen’s hands recently and remembered Mrs. Crowe needing a floor lamp. But mostly I assure the item that it will be loved – that it hasn’t been abandoned, but can bring light and love into a new circumstance. As I learned more about psychic energy I began to see what I’d only been vaguely aware of before and to trust my feelings about the things I touch.

“Some people worry about us doing this work,” Molly continued. “June, Chloe and Stella can barely stand to be here or in any second hand store for that matter. They’re acutely attuned to the psychic and get flooded with pictures about what the previous owners have been through. The assault of impressions can be overwhelming. I used to think I wasn’t psychic at all. Now I know it’s just more subtle for me. But at their urging, we have our witchy folk come in to do cleansing now and then, energetically sweeping the place with smudge, fanciful brooms, bells and rattles, and sprinkles of water. It’s a lovely light-giving process that I wish could be done monthly.”

“I knew that was happening,” said Gabe, “but I’ve always stayed clear of it cuz it seemed pretty woo woo to me.”

“It is woo woo certainly but I think it’s effective.”

“Are you sure you aren’t just making all this up?”

“There’s always that possibility. But does it really matter? The stuff comes in and goes out, everyone benefits.”

“I can see how the process of getting things into the right hands performs a kind of healing service.”

“Everyone loves presents and this place is full of cheap thrills – the right flowerpot you didn’t even realize you were looking for, et cetera. Even with my subtle senses, I can feel people’s happiness. Plus the overall success of the mission towards zero waste here warms their hearts – most people really want the right things to be happening for the health of the planet.”

“I can feel both aspects of that. I suppose it is a literal lifting of people’s spirits.”

“ReBound is usually a pretty happy place. Though we’ve had our challenging moments, haven’t we?”

“Like when a freezer full of stinky fish comes in or the time Seth and the car mechanic were duking it out in the parking lot.”

“That Seth! Such unpredictable Coyote energy. He got us into some awful tangles. Not that he was the only one. Plus, of course, there are the periodic gut wrenching disagreements about organization priorities. Inescapable no matter how together folks are. But as long as I keep aware of the overall picture – on the good days that I’m in that mode – then I’m giving off positive energy to everyone as well as every thing that comes through.”

“You do hand out a lot of hugs.”

“And you see me talking a lot to people. Some of that is politics – I have to be conscious that it is the community that helps support this place.”

“Yet there are many ‘nobodies’ who you greet just as warmly. Sometimes it seems they come to you for a hug the same way the dogs beg for their biscuits at the counter.”

Molly laughed. “Don’t tell anyone but I don’t even know the names of some I’ve been hugging for years. But that energy goes out into their day just the same. It’s all about ripples. Like I said to those Locus kids – we attract people from all walks of life. ReBound doesn’t appeal to everyone but it appeals to a cross section of all socio-economic groups. I’m proud of that. Maybe more proud of that than anything. It’s a coming together place for so many different types. And that’s healing too.”

“I never thought of it that way. I’m still skeptical about the mystical energy stuff though.”

“I guess you don’t want to know about the dragon who helps us here.”


“Hee hee,” chuckled Molly. “June pointed it out to me a long time ago. I can only see it in occasional glimmers that could easily be my imagination. But I talk to it anyway and thank it and I hear a little ‘you’re welcome’ in my mind. It’s like a guardian for this place.”

“Now you’re getting way too weird.”

“Ah well. Just watch for the emotional energy and play around with it a bit. Notice who responds and who doesn’t and what it takes to change their reaction. That’s an important piece of learning to run this place.”

“Do you think I ever could? Run this place, I mean. I love it here. I’d really like to do this long term.”

“Fabulous. I’ve been getting that it’s time for me to hand over more of the operations to younger folks. But in the past they take off just as I get them trained so I’m a little discouraged on that score. But you seem to have more roots here than most.”

“Fern and I have an agreement that we won’t live more than an hour away from each other to make the constant parental transitions in Anise’s life easier.”

“Far out. Well, keep up the good work and I’ll give you more responsibility. Maybe I’ll show you the bookkeeping one of these days. Oddly enough, it’s hard for me to think about giving that up. It’s such a conjuring process for me. I look at the numbers and imagine how they will come out. Dream and worry and muse…. But it’s a control issue too so I’m open to loosening my grip a bit.”

“Awesome. I’ve got a kickass head for number details.”

“How about you start by taking Satish and the other new intern under your wing.”

“Show them the ropes?”

“Mentor them. They should get tastes of all the different tasks.”

“Who do I call to get them certified on the forklift?”

“Good thinking. It’s in a folder marked “training” in the personnel drawer of the red file cabinet.”

“I’m on it,” he said, heading towards the office.

Molly watched him with a speculative smile and a lightened heart, before turning to put a piece of clear plastic over the exercise bike on display in the yard, protecting it from the light rain that had started to fall. With a shout of joy she saluted the rainbow that arched over the Mountain. It had almost ceased to amaze her how often that bright omen graced moments of right decision in this place. Glory be.

Mother Daughter Ritual 1

From: Pia Rosen –

Subject: Women’s Medicine Circle Ritual

To: Women’s Medicine Circle list

We are doing a ritual this coming Friday night involving Demeter and Persephone, the archetypal Greek mother and daughter duo. We’d love to have women of all ages play either of the two roles – the daughters who leave to spend the winter months with a lover in the underworld and the mothers who resist their going and stop things growing, bringing on the winter season. Roles are not age dependent, i.e. there can be older daughters and younger mothers. You’ll know which part you want to play. Seems like there’s grist here for all of us, whether we’re mothers and daughters or not. No prep necessary. Pomegranate seeds will be provided. The ritual will take place at Ursula’s house on Mountain Lane.


“Looks like you’re off to an early start,” said Charley on Friday morning coming upon Ursula cleaning the toilet still in her blue flannel nightie. “I have meetings ‘til late this afternoon so I’ll just grab a burger at the bar and go straight to the Men’s Group.”

“That works for me,” replied Ursula. “I’ll be able to really sink into my ritual prep.”

“No coming up for air, huh?”

“I want a leisurely day to play with the energies.”

“Will you all still be speaking to us rapacious men when the evening is over?”

“Hopefully we’ll have cleaned out another layer of the ancient stuck and hurt places in us around the patriarchy. We trust you will be doing the same,” she chuckled.

“Have fun,” he hollered as he headed out the door toting his heavy backpack as usual.

Ursula had woken very conscious of a pressure to get the house clean for ritual. It was always a delicate dance. Once her cleaning eye was activated it was easy to fall into tension about getting everything done (as if there were ever a “done”). It wasn’t exactly what her mother called “house-proud.” She knew nobody in this bunch would judge her housekeeping (or fuck ‘em if they did), but she did love it when everything looked and felt beautiful.

Yet, inevitably there were more grimy corners lying in wait and it was easy to get sidetracked into tackling accumulated piles, not to mention drawers…. None of which anyone else would ever notice, yet could make for an underlying freshness that added to the whole in a subtle way…. But she could also wear herself out and not have energy for the ritual itself. That would be a mistake….

She wanted the house to feel “right” – not “right” in the sense of “correct” but rather in the Buddhist sense of aligned and in true with what wanted to happen. Clear. She didn’t know ahead of time what that looked like exactly but she knew if she stayed attuned the unfolding day would show her what “right” was for this particular occasion, different from any other time. If she stayed relaxed and open, the process would take her deep into the ritual space she craved. “Sounds like a few drops of Oregon grape essence is called for here,” she counseled herself, remembering Owen’s description of it as bringing one “into True.”

Rummaging in the cupboard for the Mahonia, she also came across some usnea tincture – always good for clearing the air and for inspiration. She took both and then noticed a woven band of orange and yellow on a hook by her dresser and tied it around her head. A deep breath signaled to her that she was taking the first steps towards her conscious priestess self. The headband tingled around her forehead – echoes of ancient crowns and sacred headdresses? Inspiring, anyway, and grounding at the same time. “I can’t recall a single detail of the Demeter-Persephone story right now. Hopefully it will come to me during the day.”

Time for a pipe of locally grown. She took the sacred smoke deep into her lungs and then blew it towards the houseplants (“which need watering,” noted her cleaning self).

A tarot card was next. “The Empress,” she said aloud. “Help me connect with the earth today and stay deeply in touch with my ancient motherly self….” She propped the card up on the mantel against the little rotund Venus of Willendorf. “Sorry, Old One. I’ll get this jumble including the jug of feathers all sparkling again…. Oh yay. The snake earrings I’ve been looking for. Help me be in transformative, priestessy power today.”

She dug into the hall closet for the bag of dust rags, sidetracking for a minute to clean up the mouse droppings in the corner behind the spray bottle. Then Loreena McKennitt went on the CD player, her Middle Eastern rhythms just right for Ursula’s dance with dry mop and broom.

“Cleaning and clearing is sacred feminine work, isn’t it, Dear Mother. And not just for women,” she added as an aside to the statue of an antlered elk she dusted.

“I remember now.” She took a centering sigh. “The house is a temple and cleaning a renewal of its sacred space. Let it go too long and the energy stagnates. Our uneasy dreams, harsh words and unfinished business get caught in the corners. It’s not house-proud at all. It’s being in touch with the energetics – the Feng Shui – of the space we occupy both in its everyday functions as well as its reverent and celebratory ones. Over and over, we renew. The ritual times force the cleansing and the cleansing inspires ritual….” She lit a yellow candle made by Illahee children last spring…. which act brought the children present energetically….

Thus went the day. Her grandmother’s silver vase got polished, ready to be filled with Demeter’s grasses Pia was bringing. She picked new lavender for the cut glass vase her son Salal had brought her from his travels. A sweater was mended as was the broken wing of a ceramic dragon. An errant tie-dyed sock turned up under the ottoman in front of Charley’s old-fashioned easy chair and her antique blue sparkle earrings fell out of a book of Greek myths that was overdue at the library. Photos of her off-spring and ancestors were lovingly dusted and blessed. Not quite seven generations behind and ahead but the best she could do today. Spiders were carefully set outside or allowed to scuttle into crevices in the rough-hewn walls to watch while Ursula gave them opportunities to renew their own homes. Old candle drippings were scrapped out and the new beeswax ones from the market installed…. Pea soup and chocolate kept her going.

Late in the afternoon Ursula shut the door firmly on the still messy study. “The rest is as clean as it’s going to be,” she declared. “I don’t need to tackle that space today.” Her final act of this stage was to walk slowly about the living room and kitchen with a burning wand of sage and cedar, smudging out the last of the old energy and calling in any friendly spirits who were hovering. “Come in, come in,” she invited feeling the arrival of the trancey space the sage always called up in her. “Join us in our sacred play. Are you bringing tonight’s story to me?”

Ursula now set about getting her own self prepped for the coming ritual. A soak in the hot tub cleared off the dust and cobwebs from the tasks of the day, though she didn’t dare stay too long, being in danger of going all limp. She also discarded the idea of renewing her morning smoke, letting the fresh air center her mind towards the next steps of adornment.

She felt drawn to a green ceremonial dress whose soft draping folds always made her feel like a Greek goddess, particularly appropriate for this night. “Yup, confirmation shivers.” She added the amber necklace she’d been wearing ever since she’d begun this journey with Demeter the previous week. She left the woven wool band around her head but stuck short pieces of grass in it making it more than ever like a crown.

Heading outside again, wrapped in her blue chenille power shawl that dangled with meaningful beads and nature objects, she walked slowly in the misty late afternoon light to the Stone Table. A slight drizzle was falling now and the large flat rock was wet as well as sticky with Sitka pitch. She stepped up tall on the slab. “Figuratively tall,” she giggled thinking how very short she actually was compared to most grown folks. “At least for the moment I am fully into my own height.”

She looked south out over the magnificent expanse of ocean and coastline and, raising her arms to the sky, felt her priestess self pour down into her crown chakra with a shiver of familiar electricity. Turning north to salute the Mountain, she grounded down into its depths until she was as rooted as the Sitkas around her. Knowing another degree deeper now that all would go well tonight even though she had never gotten around to rehearsing the story. She turned to each of the four Directions asking for the wisdom of the old tales, the inspired discovery of new ones, a kindled open heart, and a washing of tender emotions.

Was that what tonight’s ritual was about? New tales out of current emotions? She had been feeling odd with this delving in the Greek stories. Although they were the ones she had learned first in childhood, they were not the ones that inspired her most often. Yet, Demeter had come unbidden to her recently and she had learned to trust such notions when they arose. Had Demeter appeared to help Ursula and the other women clear the decks? “Are we to bring about a healing of the old so that the new can move in? Whatever that may be….”

She knew for herself it was time to surrender to what the Mountain and this place wanted of her and of her children. She had stopped cajoling her offspring a while ago but the mourning for those birds flown from the nest was still thrumming inside her. These feelings weren’t doing her or her fledglings any good. They were on their path. She and Charley had sent them out of the nest with the best their own skills and love could provide, which she knew was very good indeed. Throwing her hands up into the air she felt a gust of wind blow a more serious flurry of rain around her.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she called out to the elements and to the Mountain itself. Dashing the raindrops out of her eyes, she stepped down off the rock, satisfied that she was prepared for the evening and trusting that it would bring a release of this particular tension and longing inside her.