On Saturday night, my family and I attended a lovely wedding held on a beach in St. Petersberg, FL.
We arrived a bit early, so to pass the time before the ceremony began, we looked for shells on the beach.
Almost immediately, my husband V found this shell, and thought to save it for me, as he pointed out that there was a rune on it.
At first glance, V saw Sowilo.
When my son K looked at it, he thought it was closer to Kenaz.
Meanwhile I saw Othala.
I thought that Othala was rather fitting, as we were attending a wedding, and Othala strikes me as a rune of family and heritage, of community and ancestral/spiritual wealth.
I thought it appropriate since a wedding is a family event, that involves communion between two families, wherein often guests (of perhaps several generations) gather to celebrate. (We briefly considered giving the shell to the couple and explaining its delightful appropriateness in regards to us finding it on the day of their wedding, but then I recalled that the couple were rather devout Christians who may not have appreciated runes as being significant -let alone a spiritual/ancestral blessing – upon their union.)
It was a pleasant and surprising thing, and upon arriving home, I posted a picture of the shell, asking others what rune they saw.
While most agreed with me that it definitely looked like Othala, one friend mentioned that she’d initially seen Gebo a moment before she noticed that it was Othala. When I told her about the circumstances in which the shell was found, she agreed even more so that the seashell was a sign of blessing of the ancestors upon the wedding — and truly a gift from the sea. ❤
A Facebook friend posted this video in my feed today:
And it triggered a lovely memory that I have that is related to this song.
In April 2015, I went to small weekend-long Pagan sexuality event called Body Magick.
Though I attended by myself, I quickly got the impression that this event was geared towards couples.
I was one of only three other ‘singles’ that attended that weekend.
One of these singles – an older man named Kevin – left before the end of the first day when it became clear to him that Body Magick was not a ‘kinky poly swingers’ event that he’d been assuming that it would be. (I think the event organizers were somewhat relieved that he left on his own, as his attitude that colored the ‘first impression’ that he made during the introductory circle rubbed several folks in all the wrong ways.)
The other single – a young woman – seemed guarded and cautious. Though we did converse several times — simply for the fact that we were likely the only attendees with insomnia in the campsite who weren’t actively entertaining/engaging a partner in the late hours of Friday night into the wee hours of Saturday morning – I didn’t find out that much about her. She told me how she had recently experienced a rather lengthy and contentious divorce, and she sought to attend the event simply to recover herself and get back her spiritual bearings.
And then, there was me. Alone, and perhaps a bit lonely. (My husband – a non-Pagan – had chosen to stay home that weekend, and he had some prior work commitments, as well.)
But I must say – even though everyone I came in contact with was friendly, the event rituals were well-done, and the energy flow was welcoming and pleasant – I could not shake that dull achy feeling of being at loose ends throughout my weekend at Body Magick.
So there I was, on Sunday morning, sitting in a lawn chair outside the ‘mess hall’ with a belly full of breakfast pancakes, listening to music on my iPhone.
My earbuds had somehow become damaged, so I decided to listen to my Loki playlist on low volume, as I waited for my husband to pick me up.
As he wasn’t set to arrive for over an hour, I felt like I had some time to kill, so I half-dozed/meditated in the overly-bright April sunlight, with my iPhone in my lap.
And then this song came on.
The song had played about halfway through when suddenly I was shaken out of my reverie by a friendly voice.
What is this song? I love this song.
I opened my eyes, and I looked up to see a slight, older woman standing in front of me. She was smiling.
The sun was behind her, so I was grateful for the shade she created. I returned her smile. I couldn’t help it.
It’s Walk the Moon, I replied. It’s called, Shut up and Dance.
She laughed, Would you mind playing that from the beginning?
So I clicked back, and she settled down beside my chair, to listen. Thank you so much, she whispered.
I watched as she closed her eyes, and she smiled broadly as she listened, her face upturned towards the sunlight.
Again, the song reached the half-way point, and another person – a young woman, her arms loaded with camping gear – walked past. I guess she had been on the way to loading up her car.
Hey! I know that song! she blurted out, stopping short in front of us.
She dropped her heavy gear-bags at my feet with satisfied sigh, as if relieved for the sudden excuse to take a break.
She turned toward the woman on the ground, nudging her. Don’t you just love this song? she burbled.
The older woman opened one eye: Yes, she grinned broadly, looking up. They knew each other, so the older woman stood up to greet her with a hug.
And the young woman, unburdened by her gear, warmly embraced her friend.
After a few moments, they broke from their embrace, and the young woman started to sway.
Won’t you play it again, please, the young woman turned toward me, insistently, I feel like dancing!
OOh, dancing sounds like a great idea, the older women agreed.
So I did.
And I watched as they danced, the movement of their bodies mirroring each other. I admired the ease and joy of their dance – they seemed entirely unself-conscious and comfortable in their bodies as they were taken up by the rhythms of the song.
Then, they began to sing.
They both looked at me.
Doesn’t this song just make you want to dance? they asked me, during the first instrumental bridge.
The older woman motioned towards me, welcoming me to join them.
I demurred, too shy to dance.
But I did sing along with them.
Suddenly, these two women dancing and our combined singing drew the attention of several other campers on the way to loading their cars.
Next thing you know, a loose half-circle had formed right there in front of me.
Soon enough there was a crowd of twenty or so happy people dancing, singing, enjoying this song, in a spontaneous swirl of swaying color, sound, movement…and laughter.
And I must have played that song four more times in its entirety before our impromptu dance party ended.