In June 2020 I wrote this article for my blog. For a year and a half now I’ve walked with Oscar to the end of our street, crossed the seafront road, and headed down those steps. Lockdown ended, twice, and the number of people fishing reflected those changes – although some carried on regardless, it’s not like fishing can’t be done socially distanced.
I’ve seen that space change through almost two turns of the Wheel, had countless chats with the people I regularly meet, discovered the existence of The Mullet Club (an initiatory tradition for new fishers as they land their first fish, usually a Mullet). Watched as big ships slowly move in and out of the harbour, wondering each time how they get through the small lock gates out into the open sea. And late last year I noticed a small duck swimming in the water – a few days later the place was swarming with Birdwatchers who excitedly informed me it was a female Long Tailed Duck, the first seen in Sussex for 6 years and the first to stay longer than a day or so for 10 years. They kept coming for weeks. Soon I became the goto Birdwatching conductor as I directed them to the little bird as it shifted its place around the port. She disappeared on New Year’s Eve and for a while, I wondered if the fireworks had scared her away, but then I saw her out in the water bobbing around, and soon the Twitchers were back, and I was directing them again.
For years, on hot summer days, the air around our seaside town is filled with the smell of cooking seaweed. Personally, I love it, but it’s not to everyone’s taste. I once thought it was from the beach, but I now know it’s the seaweed on the port banks being cooked by the Sun when the harbour water levels get lower.
Whatever we think of the Pandemic, and I know we think quite a lot, my little discovery of the port on my doorstep is a Good Thing. Every day it gives me space to think, to connect, to be open to life. It’s shown me more than anything else over the past two years that the Wheel can be seen turning in urban spaces if we are truly open to exploring. It might sound a little strange and incongruous, but that little harbourside space has helped me to remember my personal connection to the Natural World, Magic, and the ‘Other’. After well over 20 years of service to the Pagan/Druid community, I recognised that I had unwittingly allowed my personal Path and connection to fade somewhat. My energy had mostly been directed outward, and the Inner Well was feeling ever so depleted. It has been a tremendous gift to have been able to have the space to recognise that, and then to take the time to begin to re-fill it.
Magic can sometimes feel so complicated. However, the Magic I’m talking about here isn’t deep ritual spellcraft, it’s the magic of connection. Whenever I ask myself why I believe what I believe, that is the answer. Not to use Magic to manipulate my life (although that is definitely a useful skill), but the magic of feeling one with all life, seen and unseen. It’s remarkable that my daily walk to the harbour with my dog can give such meaning to my life. There is powerful magic in watching the flight of two swans, the diving cormorant, passing clouds, sunset, jumping fish and glittering water in the sunlight, and a little duck being given so much love by excited human beings. For me, that is Wild Magic, the Awen, the visible Web that connects everything, the meaning and source of Magic itself.