I was born a storm child, lover of poisonous things, belladonna, primrose, foxglove, and climbing nightshade. I would taste the berries and petals, dance in fairy rings, and conjure storms. At age six I became sickly. I had scarlet fever, fifth disease, and chicken pox three times in a matter of three years. And then of course the seizures came, with those brought visions of the spirit world.
There is an old Romani saying that if you bathed in moonlight on the night of a full moon and no clouds passed over, you’d become more beautiful with age. I used to bathe in the moonlight hoping the sky would remain clear. I was an awkward looking girl with frizzy red hair, a face full of freckles, and buck teeth. I prayed to the moon to be beautiful, to be fit, to be loved. I washed my face in the morning dew and drew blood to call on love. When the storms came I lit candles and watched them from the porch. It was something my Grandmother had done. We’d turn on the handheld radio and watch as lightening scribbled on the sky. My mother called me a storm child.
I was peculiar. With scarlet fever came a doorway to the spirits. William Burroughs had a theory about scarlet fever, that those who had it opened a portal and sometimes those portals stay open to other worlds. They also called me “fever baby”. There was a world it opened, a magical world which I could no longer deny and had no choice but step into. For some the whirling wind is a choice. They choose to work magic, to be lead by moon and sea and for others there is no choice, the whirling wind claims you and once it has you must always answer to it. While I grew up with this, I would no longer stray from her.
In the beginning there was Kam and he was the great sun king. He was madly in love with his sister Shon, the moon. Shon was shy in nature and unsure of her feelings for her brother and the relationship. She avoided confrontation by only coming out at night while he slept. But one night Shon stayed up and caught up with his sister. Darkness covered the land and some say they fought and some say they loved and from that union we were born. Born of eclipses we worshiped the wind, it brought change and spoke to us in whispers. It was the messenger of our people.
I was born at the crossroads, a daughter to both Eleggua and Fortuna. The mole above my lip assured those around I would always be taken care of and given gifts but in return I would act with compassion and kindness towards others. The x on both my marriage lines spoke of finding the same great love in each lifetime I lived. Mary Bliss Parsons shared the same facial features I did. I could see my grandmother in her and I could see me in my grandmother. Mary was tried twice during the witch trials. I carried a piece of her with me, from my haunts as teenager in Northampton to the seizures we shared. But there were other mysteries to uncover as well. Mary and I shared some but what about the others? Why did silent film speak so strongly and tales of long lost loves drowned, sordid tales, and unrequited love. The family spoke of curses.
The words settled into my bones and seeped into my veins. My hands were their hands, their wounds were my wounds. We played out scenes repeated like broken records and collected the reflections of others until the eclipses came. “Say it with me, Armaya (curse). Say it softly as it slides off the tongue and into the ground. We won’t walk that path as pretty as the language sounds. We will not walk that path. Baxt hai sastimos tiri patragi. But we did walk a long road over years, scattered with dust and the remains of something very broken. Your ghosts and my ghost they spoke in whispers. "I am not the curse.” Everyone pointed fingeres and yet we have all said “A tear in the eye is the wound of the heart.” and so we walk on bruised, bandaged and bleeding. We walk on like soldiers in the night.“
Under the willow tree I spoke softly and watched clouds darken from white to grey. The willow was once my Mercury. Over time it’s branches have swept across my face cleansing sorrows until light swept over, and all I could smell was where river met sea. It is not a mournful place but one of joy. I lay my head on the ground absorbing the pulse from beneath layers of soil and history. The Lighthouse to my right and the panopticon to my left.
Little bits of memory seep in like the days sitting on floors in Bed-Stuy. Paints on the carpet, long nights, and fresh coffee. Those were the days we had schooling all day, and 5 hour jobs after. They were the days of all nighters and caffeine pills, projects due early. We never slept, music 24/7, eyes glazed and glassy. I used to idealize those days. Our poverty never got to us. We had dreams and dreams were always more important. We were Kings and Queens of concrete.
The city leads me to Coney Island, the strip of land once owned by gangsters. Luna Park, a magic land by the sea. The wind whipped around pushing me down the boardwalk. So many magical places, each etched into my heart. And here we come to this. A journey to lead me back to where I need to be. I have a city in my heart and preparations are being made. The whirling wind has called once more, this time to her city, The Windy City.
They call Venus the planet with winds like a hurricane. On Venus, strong winds move the upper atmosphere 225 mph (360km/h), circling the planet every four to five Earth days. As of 2013 its winds had been steadily increasing in mph for six straight years. My oath is to the wind, a promise made young and through blood and bone. A promise to follow her, to listen when she whispers and to act upon her howling. She brought me to the crossroads the first day Venus stationed, the place where I was born, under Algol and defined as the place where roads meet. She was still bright in the sky as the temperature dropped and the winds blew in. Storms were coming, they opened the skies and the rain poured down. The wind was telling me it was time to pack up my cards and brushes and head to her city. I was born under Venus and claimed by the wind. The morning and evening stars had finally united.