FEELS

A Pagan Ritual Your Grandma Would Like

That macabre time of year is upon us — the time when I take that pile of unwearable old clothes that’s been accumulating for the past year deep into the eerie haunted wood, where I incorporate them in a scarecrow-esque effigy for immediate sacrifice to the dying sun. Stuffed with generous handfuls of that ubiquitous dry foliage that all species deciduous have been shedding like tears…

This year’s wicker man, in the headless early stages of construction.

Part of the autumnal wicker man tradition is to attach a handwritten list somewhere on the effigy, detailing all the things one would like to lose in the coming year. Like a letter to Antisanta. For this ritual is not about gaining things one presently does not have, but about letting go of things one no longer needs. As the forest itself does in fall.  

Upon attaching the aforementioned list, it’s time to get the party started and douse the whole thing in booze. This year’s choice of rocket fuel was inspired by a certain man who currently reigns supreme as the most moronic politician in all of Canada…

The cowboy hat prevents his microscopic brain from blowing away in the chinook.

Speaking of politicians and their moronicity, we had a (highly underwhelming) federal election last month. I brought along a campaign letter I received during said election, which I never bothered to open. Mostly because I didn’t like the sanctimonious tone of the first two letters they sent me. I sensed I’d be none the wiser had I opened the third letter. But I found plenty good use for it in this haunted wood.


I always walk away from this experience feeling like my inner manitou just shed an exoskeleton. I don’t know if it’s the sacred smoke, or the way the pieces of burnt fabric flutter about like faceless dark angels in the wind high above. Or maybe it’s the spectres that always manifest themselves in the flames. Like this one, which immediately struck me as bearing an uncanny resemblance to a young Bernadette Peters…


Or this one. A phoenix rising, which for some reason looked like either a rubber chicken or one of those Instant Martians from the old Looney Tunes shorts that grew to full size when you added water.


Last but not least, there’s this image. You have to use your imagination a bit to see him, but you can vaguely make out the Cat in the Hat.


SMELLS

Summer’s Last Crumbs: A Duology (Part II)

I was not aware that entire buildings were constructed for such a purpose. That’s now a thing that I know.

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese…

Regrettably, Jack-in-the-Green mysteriously disappeared the other weekend, somewhere along another nature trail near another lake. This is his replacement, Professor Plum.

I would have called it Deep Purple if it was a slightly different hue.

The Zen of SILVER BROWN

My Homemade Get Well Card to Civilization

It’s fall in this here Northern Hemisphere. Or autumn, if you’re fancy. A season of transformative molting, of dispensing with that which is no longer necessary. Certain anatomical structures withering away to preserve the life of the organism as a whole, the useless structures in question becoming bombastic and colourful before they are ultimately cast aside, wilted and impotent. It was out of this ancient rhythm of Nature that the time-honoured autumnal tradition of the wicker man was born.

In the spirit of getting rid of things that are no longer needed, every year I customarily dress my wicker man in old clothes of mine that are far too shabby and tattered to be worn in polite company, adding to its bulk by stuffing it with handfuls of the ever-present dry foliage. A significant part of this tradition calls for all participants to compose a handwritten list of everything they would like to lose in the coming year, to be affixed to the effigy moments before the great sacrifice. This year’s list was augmented with a special attachment, of a type I would not normally include.

It goes without saying that this past year has been an exceptionally trying one for the human species. Among other things, there is an irritating pimple on the sphincter of the world that is all but certain to rupture and cause a life-threatening infection if it is not promptly removed. To that end, I incorporated a conspicuous image of said pimple into the construction of my wicker man…

The pointed hood visual effect was not something I originally planned, but it works.

In addition to a hideous mug, I also festooned him with a tiny camouflage penis, which I probably made too big…


…and somewhere on the back of the figure’s head, I did a little Sharpie doodle of the other Lovecraftian abomination that is actively threatening human civilization…

This is hands down the ugliest wicker man I’ve ever built.

Dousing the effigy in some kind of flammable liquid before the party starts is highly recommended, speaking from personal experience. Any kind of distilled spirit is ideal for this purpose; the higher the proof, the better. Fittingly enough, this year I went with Trumplethinskin’s national beverage. Vodka.

The stage was now set for the main event. It took several attempts to get the show on the road, because the wicker man’s sleazy “fixer” The Wind kept trying to persuade the High Court of Nature to delay the sentencing. But once things got underway, it was a magical mystery tour from start to finish. I present it here in spectacular GIF-o-vision™ for the viewing pleasure of the good guys and ghouls of Planet Earth…

“You cursed brat, look what you’ve done! I’m melting!”

The face fell off when it was about half-melted, landing nearby. It gave me the most menacing stare (highly reminiscent of filmdom’s Chucky, minus the charm) as it laid on the cold stone, the flames engulfing it and reducing it to embers. Obsolete, irrelevant and scientifically debunked embers…

“I’ll get you, my pretty! And your little democracy, too!” [manic cackling followed by abrupt shortness of breath and involuntary sniffing.]

Occasionally you see ghouls manifest in the flames when these things burn, like that time a dragon peered out into the land of the living a few years ago…

The Draconis Lux of ’17, who has no platform and probably won’t be the next Bigfoot.

This year it was the orange phantom with the big eyes staring at me from what remained of the wicker man’s head, shortly after the face fell off. It resembled either C-3PO or Gonzo the Great. Or perhaps Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama. It’s a highly subjective thing, really. I’m leaning towards Gonzo myself. A fitting interpretation, on account of his subordinates being all chickens.

Miigwetch.