Monday, December 22, 2008


My friend Lori sent a feather smudge wand for my long drive back to Idaho. Smudge wands have been used by numerous cultures as instruments to cleanse people and the spaces they inhabit. My wand was custom-made by Nelly Moon with various turkey feathers, hand-painted designs and colors, including a remarkable butterfly, all designed to help ward off anxiety. I followed the instructions that accompanied it to the letter--cleansing the wand with incense smoke, then my hands and body, and used it to waft the smoke in gratitude to each of the four directions, the earth and sky, the four winds, the moon and sun and stars, then I walked around my car and smudged each of my tires, waving the feather around them slowly and sincerely, then did the same to my windows and headlamps, the underside, the engine, all of it. It was a wonderful ritual and brought me peace of mind and spirit, and all across the 580 miles Duncan and I traveled yesterday I felt a continual renewal of strength and courage. We departed yesterday morning shortly before seven and hardly any time seemed to pass before we pulled up the street and turned up the long drive to my mother's house, the mountain behind it covered in snow, the low clouds waiting, like outstretched arms, to hug us close. Duncan did a dance of joy, running figure eights in the snow while my bag of magic feathers and the smudge wand sat on the front seat, smiling as only a well-traveled feather knows how.

The wand feathers, as seen in front of the fireplace early this morning.

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