Unexpected Spirit

an excerpt

Dreading what the upcoming night would heap upon him, Dmitri Terron gathered the necessary supplies in a thick basket woven from strips of oak and birch. Gifted-or cursed-with the ability to converse with those passing through to the Otherworld, he breathed deep and slow. He needed to face the horrific panic attacks, which accompanied his agoraphobia. Living on the outskirts of the neighborhood, his was the farthest home set deep inside the quiet forest. He craved the silence of the forest that acted as a shield against the spirits who could find him.

After decades of dealing with his curse, he'd followed the paths of the ancient Celtic Druids and druidry to cast protective and banishing spells. He coveted the chance to regain some normalcy. Forcing himself to sit for a predetermined amount of time on the patio and increasing the exposure with each visit, he acclimated to increase the invisible barriers. He maximized until he reached the outer edge of his property. Even then, he needed to prepare himself before stepping out through the first barrier-the main door of his single-floor log home. His phobia rose with a sharp, nasty increase.

Readying himself, he yanked on the deep green robe he'd created and stepped outside. He looked around the quiet forest surrounding his cabin. Sounds of birds and critters filled the silence. He inhaled a clean breath of fresh air. Lifting his hands, he shoved his fingers through his mostly silver hair, pushing thick locks from his forehead. For most of the year, he lived as he desired with his work, four finicky cats, a flourishing garden, and a warm home. He tended to the gardens and used them to nurture and support his wards. Two particular seasonal changes within the wheel of life disturbed the ever-living crap out of him.

Samhain and Beltane.

The two festivals weakened the Veil and allowed the passage of spirits. They could take solid form and interact with loved ones. Others raced around, seeing what they missed, causing mischief, grief, or finding lost memories. When either the equinox or solstice came around, the spirits literally danced into his home and chatted about everything. He couldn't sleep, forced to assist each spirit with whatever they needed to finish their last ties and wishes, and helped them find their way to others.

For someone sensitive to the spirit activity like Dmitri, these festivals had become pure hell. He abhorred them with every fiber within him. Most of his life, others had called him names and taunted him about his "supposed" talents and gifts. Dmitri detested all of it. He didn't even want to think about what had happened with his last relationship and how the damn spirits interrupted any personal, intimate moments in the worst kind of ways. Disaster happened when his boyfriend had entered the home they'd shared together. His lover had overheard him arguing with a spirit. It had been the spirit of his boyfriend's beloved older brother, who had committed suicide and devastated his family. His boyfriend had snapped out of the shock with a vicious display of temper and outrage, not believing anything Dmitri had said, and kicked him out. He'd closed his heart and life and created this retreat by the forest.

Determined not to spend another sleepless night, Dmitri had dove deeper into the druidry and concentrated on learning everything he could to wield protective barriers or wards. He wouldn't rely simply on one line of defense but layered them all in a deliberate fashion. As the sun dipped down, he waited to see if all his efforts had paid off. The voices were muffled. The spirits thwarted. He felt peaceful for the first time.

A few spirits had managed to bleed through the cracks and fissures in his weavings during Beltane. He'd figured out the chinks in his armor to repair for Samhain. Releasing the grip on his hair, he stepped off the porch and strolled around his property. Arriving at the first position on the outer edge of the wheel he'd designed, he built the furthest circle. He moved to several spots along the wheel and established the four principal directions as small gardens, and added the others to enhance the workings.

Dmitri selected a smudge incense stick he forged from botanicals, oils, and binding. Using a natural flame, he lit the first stick and allowed the smoke to swirl. He offered his prayers to the four directions and wove the wards with the ritualistic chants. He manipulated a combination of banishing, avoidance, protection, and binding spells to encircle his home and mind. Finishing the first round, he measured his paces to the next inner path and repeated the procedures. He continued until he stood on the innermost path encircling the immediacy of his home and garden.

Continuing with his new plan, he placed a small cauldron on each of the four directions. He cleansed his mind with a few deep calming breaths, lit a white candle and dropped a clear smoke smudge stick in the cauldron. As it rose, he chanted the ritual casting of the guardians.

"Guardians of the element of Air, your druid calls to you on this night to join me, and lend your traits of intelligence, psychic development, and innocence. May you be blessed and smile upon this rite. Hail and welcome!"

Moving to the second cauldron, he lit another white candle and sent sparks of fire.

"Guardians of the element of Fire, your druid calls to you on this night to join me, and lend your traits of passion, inspiration, and creativity. May you be blessed and smile upon this rite. Hail and welcome!"

Stepping to the third cauldron, he lit another white candle and poured blessed water inside.

"Guardians of the element of Water, your druid calls to you on this night to join me, and lend your traits of compassion, intuition, and empathy. May you be blessed and smile upon this rite. Hail and welcome!"

Following the path to the last cauldron, he lit the final white candle and tossed in a pile of earth gathered at a particular time from his garden.

"Guardians of the element of Earth, your druid calls to you on this night to join me, and lend your traits of wisdom, grounding, and patience. May you be blessed and smile upon this rite. Hail and welcome!"

Finishing the direction calls, he returned to the center, ignited three large candles and added all four elements to the large cauldron. He lifted his hands and spoke the final words.

"Blessed Brigid, your druid welcomes you to this circle of peace and harmony. May your essence keep my Samhain fires burning bright and the spirits grounded to this beautiful Earth. May the spirit of Water be abundant, for it gives Life. May the wind of change always be upon us so we may be spiritually guarded. Protect thy servant during this festival in honor of you. Hail and welcome!"

Exhausted by the multiple workings, Dmitri gathered the basket and tools and entered his home. He looked for his four cats, a set of siblings from a single litter. He'd named the siblings Isolde, Maeve, Arthur and Finn. One kitty appeared with a meow and wound around his ankles. The combination of coal black fur, bright green eyes, and front white paws along with a brilliant purple collar told him this was Isolde, the darling and lover. Reaching down, he scratched by her triangle ears.