Saturday, July 17, 2010


My teacher Rose May Dance told us that the elements of life (air, fire, water and earth) are "one-eyed." What she meant is that the elements do not have the power of discernment. The element of air can be as soft as breath or as powerful as a hurricane, or anything inbetween. Water can be steam, vapour, tears or a tsunami, take your pick. In post-modern witchcraft, we regularly invoked the elements, asked their powers to join our magic circles to assist us in whatever conjuring we were undertaking. Rose's point was that as the priestesses who called in the elements, it was up to us, the "two-eyed" who possessed the capacity for depth perception, to figure out just how much of any element was needed for a ritual.

Reclaiming was a very creative, anarchistic tradition so almost always, the particulars of each invocation were left up to the individual. In addition to spoken words, people danced in the elements, sang them in, played instruments or whatever. I loved that part of Reclaiming. At least those of us who studied with Rose thought carefully about just how much of each element, and what qualities of the element, to call in. Allegedly, "spirit" or "center" was the fifth element, or at least was the fulcrum where the other four elements came together. Sometimes we called the center, but mostly we just called the four cardinal directions. I think that's because we had it wrong. Spirit is not the fifth element; love is.

Of course the image of Milla Jojovich wearing that crazy Jean Paul Gautier outfit springs to mind. Indeed, Luc Besson really nailed so many things right in that funny, groovy film. Milla (who is the fifth element) must feel love and receive love in order to save the planet. And she does - at the very last second, I should add. Then she and Bruce Willis, a cute guy but total loser, allegedly live happily ever after ... or whatever. It was just a movie!

I was thinking this morning that all kinds of people, not just modern witches, invoke love all the time. No one asks for gentle love - do they? When we wish for love in our heart of hearts, don't we always wish for true love, for deep, passionate, undying, abiding, mind-bending love? That's what I've always wished for. What about you?

Love is one-eyed. It "comes over" as Eric Clapton says. It comes over hard, I should add, like an all engulfing madness. No need to go on and on about this. Everybody knows how crazy love is, how it can knock you down even when you beg for mercy. It can make you fall for the "wrong" person, or someone falls for you, even though it's never going to work. I think about how much I loved my dog, Jake. He was a royal piece of work, but I loved him unconditionally. Oh yeah. Love is the fifth element.

I've been contemplating Don Shapiro's contention that love is a spiritual state. I like taking it out of the realm of emotion which really does it no justice. Even better, I like the idea of love as a force of nature, as the fifth element. Love is omnipotent and I bow down before it, I truly do.

Today in the mail I received a box of gifts: a book, a journal and a keyring made from many small beads and semi precious stone hearts, put together by the female half of the "band of gypsies" - a group of ten of us on FB who have in some miraculous way adopted each other and become family. We went to high school together; now after forty some years we are friends again, hanging out, telling stories, laughing, crying and getting crazy with each other. We are very different from one another, but we tolerate each other. Better than that, we love and support each other. Love came over the band of gypsies, oh yeah. We are swimming in it.

Love is the fifth element. If you doubt it, I'll show you my beautiful keyring. I am blown away by the power of love, by the kindness, generosity and beauty of the band of gypsies. Though it is massively insufficient, all I can say is: Wow.


Kerry said...

Aw shucks I can't get to the Milla Jojovich image with this link, but never mind, EC singing from "Unplugged" makes up for it. Gosh I like that song and haven't listened to it for so long.

Your FB friends sound wonderful; sometime please do show us your keyring.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh ... I'll post the link here, too.

Everton Terrace said...

Okay, while I was reading your post, James Taylor came up on my itunes. During the reading part I was listening to "how sweet it is to be loved by you" and now as I write we have come to "shower the people you love with love" and I think it's all very strange. I am really taken with the thoughts of air can be a breath or a hurricane and water can be a tear or a tsunami. Food for thought indeed.

Amanda said...

what a rich post.

"love came over the band of gypsies" lucky you are to reconnect with friends after 40 years.

i love your description of how to call in the elements and how they do not have the power of discernment. i guess that's what makes the universe so interesting, right? we can ask for something, but can't control in what manner it is given....

Reya Mellicker said...

No, Amanda, we can not. The idea of conjuring is problematic. But at least we were creative, and our rituals were always about healing the earth or creating peace, so ... what's the harm in that?

Everton, my friend Travis believes that his ipod is becoming sentient. I use the shuffle to do music divination - amazing how well it works. He says that whenever he drives to Richmond, Virginia (his home town), AC/DC comes up on his. How does the ipod know??

Today's ipod divination (which came before the box arrived) was: Conceived (Beth Orton), Blood Brothers (the Boss), and Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes (Thievery Corporation). You can not make this stuff up!

The Bug said...

We have that Clapton album - it was part of our road trip mix over the 4th.

I love that movie! I don't know why, but it touches a cord in me - maybe you just explained it.

steven said...

hey reya! i've found love gets easier - to give, to receive - as i get older. i can see clearly the many stages of me in relation to the idea of love and then the reality of love and then the sur-reality of love and now here i am. no expectations. no needs for love. i know that this whole place is about love. sweet digs you've got going there reya! steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Sur-reality of love! Oh yeah!!

ellen abbott said...

Lovely. It's the binder.

Ok now I understand just why it's not a good idea to invoke the gods. One-eyed.

Reya Mellicker said...

The gods are two eyed, but the elements, not. At least that's what Rose used to say.

lakeviewer said...

Yes! Love is the fifth element. Lucky you to have such long-time friends.

Hannah said...

I don't understand the term "true love." Isn't all love true? Even the love that just lasts an instant? Or the love that can't be acted upon? I think it is all true.

As one whose main love has gone from hot to cold to warm, I prefer the warm stage. This long-term really knowing someone and knowing they love you no matter what is the best. For me, anyway... -- Hannah

Reya Mellicker said...

Hannah I am thrilled that you are here visiting the blog. Your life is busy. I knew if you saw the title of the blog, you would check in. Oh yeah.

I never knew what true love was until recently. To me it's about purity - no fillers. Does that make sense?

Love you, truly.

Meri said...

It is, without doubt, a spiritual state. And who better than a beloved to push you and pull you and hold up a mirror and force you to grow, even when you just want to hold on forever to what you think you are. And, btw, since I'm in a dry patch when it comes to love, "gentle love" sounds wonderfully inviting.

Elizabeth said...

This was so interesting about the elements --something my little alter ego little Jane dabbles in--
I love the idea of LOVE as a force of nature.....
DOSAGE is what we need to calibrate..........and can't possibly.
You always come up with such mind- expanding ideas. (Horrid cliche expression but you know what I mean.....)
Yes, I can feel how you miss Jake still.
I think our love goes out in quite wild proportions
to whoever needs it. He sounds such a cool dude.
Hope the new home is wonderful.

Jo Floyd Lucas said...

Love can "knock you down even when you beg for mercy."

A force of nature, indeed. It's a whirlwind in the soul, sometimes accompanied by torrents of passion, idealism, and tears.

Beg for mercy? Oh, yeah.

I love the idea that a circle of cherished friends can come forth like a bloom on the tree of life at any age. Your friends are the lucky ones!

I'm now going to set my iPod on shuffle from this day forward!

Reya Mellicker said...

Jo it will amaze you how the shuffle works. Crazy.