Miss Jeanette puts a ritual knife into her hand, clasping fingers around it. "Only you can destroy it." Let your body be the battleground. The little girl is so sad, and beautiful, and scared. Tara walks toward her where she shivers, but turns back to look at Miss Jeanette, unsure. "Don't let it fool you, Tara Mae! You stand up to that demon." Tara comes closer to the baby, takes her knife in hand. "No, Momma! Please, don't hurt me!" Miss Jeanette screams from the fire: "One of you must die!" Tara shrieks, stabbing the little girl before she falls upon the ground. She stares at the knife, at the spirit blood dripping from it, and reaches out blindly into the space where she once was, screaming her demons. Singing the night that made her. Miss Jeanette caresses her hair, pulls her to her thigh like a daughter, like a little girl. Grand and reverent music glides into the sky, looking down on them with hateful amusement. "Good girl. Good girl, good girl. Good girl. It's all over now. That demon is gone forever."
Your brain is like an iceberg: little tiny-tippy top that you live on, balancing precariously, cold as ice, bobbing along ignoring the fathoms and fathoms below you, that are also you. You could spend your whole life sitting up there, and a lot of us do, in denial of all the things down in the water we don't want to know about. Your soul, your real mind, is down there: richly associative, thinking in images and metaphors and beautiful music. You spend a third of every day letting it play, and bringing up little stories that don't make sense in the sunlight. But if you're strong and smart you dive down and bring things up on purpose, and you make your life better, and you make your life make sense. The trick is to forget it afterward; make it look like you didn't do anything, and go on with your life. It's harder than it might seem. But in the end magic's just another way of talking to that vaster and more beautiful part of your soul, and bringing something back:
When you walk through the woods in a fairy tale, when you meet Miss Jeanette just past the crossroads, when you take Communion, you're telling that part of yourself a story, and you're getting untold riches back. It can feel like barfing up a snake as long as your life, black as sin and strong as shame; it can feel like laughing about how stupid you were to be afraid; it can feel like remembering something you've always known; it can feel like talking to the demon in the basement until you've grown enough to love it; it can feel like watching your bedroom enveloped in primordial forests, wrapping around you in love, love, love, and all the sparks that jump between us. What it doesn't feel like is a trip to McDonald's, which is what Tara thinks this is. And Amy and Jason, sucking down their liquid divinity like meth addicts at the one-stop shop down in the basement where dreams live. Treat it like an ending, bought and paid for, and not another step in a journey that never ends -- treat it like a garbage dump where you leave things, and not a meal to take in and keep moving -- and you'll float away on that ice floe, forgotten and cold and alone forever: