It started out like any other, not particularly magical day. I woke up, I put on my camo, I checked the sun and moon forecast, noted it was the day of Saturn and hopped in the car. The normal hour and some change drive to the family farm took almost two hours because of traffic. A single lonely snowflake holds more power over the average driver than the worst of man’s weapons.
I got to the farm and re-tied my boots for the snow. I had noticed with some vexation that the power company cut a new right-of-way across the pines, and disturbed the deer bed. I peeked, and I poked, and I made my way around the basin. I snuck through the pricker bushes, and the old orchard. I walked to the old farmhouse, down the driveway, which is now overgrown into a trail. There’s a white barn owl who lives in the attic where the shakes have fallen off, but I didn’t see him.
I scared up two bunnies, but I let them go.
I scared up a vixen, but I figured she was looking to stock up for unborn kits or trying to catch up after having a new litter.
I saw several songbirds in the woods, and I paused to enjoy their chatter. They didn’t talk much, they mostly ignored me and cracked seeds.
I had brought a cigar, but being 15 degrees below freezing, it wasn’t a good time for smoking.
At this point, it was getting late, and the sun was about to go down. It was about 4pm, and the shadows were getting long across the drifts of snow. I had not seen any tracks other than my own. I had hoped a deer would have come in to bed, but with the destruction of the pines, that hope was probably misplaced. At some point the light plays tricks on the hunter, and every small stump and bush looks like a deer. Snowdrifts look twice as high in shadow, and streams appear and disappear in the valleys between them.
I decided to pray.
But to whom?
I had started out as a Norse Pagan, as a first foray into magic before learning what magic really was. I still use runes. I learned entire pantheons, and when this wasn’t enough, I learned the entire eddas. Odin is the allfather, but Skadi is the skiing queen.
I need a deer
To feed my family
Food is my fear
Odin all-knowing, Skadi swift feet
I need to fill my freezer with meat!
OK so no points for composition, but it makes for a good mantra, and mantras are the basic tenet of wyrdworking. Is it really much different from ceremonial magic where we toast or sing praises of the Gods? Not really, and more on the point, this was the Day of Saturn, in the hour of Saturn, moving into the hour of Jupiter. I went ten or so rounds of this, when the sky literally flattened.
This is an odd effect, I am sure that it is not unique to where I live and hunt but the stormface moved over the mountain so swiftly I didn’t notice it while in rapture. It went from low sun and clear skies to flat, steel gray in a matter of seconds. The wind picked up too.
There was a crashing from my right, but I could only imagine it was a tree or a limb disturbed by the wind. The snow came on ferociously, a combination of the slow dusting the sky had been laying down all day and the efforts of the trees to rid themselves of the fluff in the wind. Hail, from the clouds, pelted my mask and jacket. However, in all this sudden gust and churn, a flash of brown from across the valley, low and in the bushes.
I drew with my scope, covered in snow, and guessed the range at 100 yards. The first shot I let loose was a clean miss. The second shot was as though the deer were struck by a lightning bolt – a single grunt, and he fell in his tracks.
I did a messy job cleaning him, I had called on Odin and Skadi and they were present in full force. Throwing a rope on the buck, I drug him along the edge of the field towards my car. We walked, enjoying the snow one last time for him, and me marveling in the light, which cast glittering rainbows through the snowstorm. There was little danger of getting lost in the wood because I had my old tracks around the perimeter of the farm to follow.
Tracks, now there’s a rub…
No sooner had I rendered the thought than the wind seemed to pick up. “Don’t doubt now, don’t doubt now…” But “success be thy proof”. I have my deer. But where did it come from? I looked behind me and could see the field, there were no tracks. I looked besides me and could see the woods. There were no tracks. I looked at my feet as I walked. There were no tracks but my own. My course took me across the entire face of the property, through the orchard, through the wild wood, past the corn and wheat and…
There were no tracks.
I tagged the deer appropriately and brought him home, which took almost three hours for a one hour drive. I spent the entire time thanking Odin and Skadi and praying for safe journey. My windshield wipers eventually shredded in the ice, and my headlights dimmed as snow packed on the bumper, but when I made it back home I knew an offering was in order. First, to the Gods – I walked into my local liquor store and I was the only soul here in this foul weather. There was a tasting for Cazadores, which they gave me an extra portion to taste because someone has to drink it, and then I took note of the bottle.
A wonderfully proportioned, slightly strange looking to anyone who has seen one, maybe Mexican, buck.
Sold, for Odin, and Skadi.