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OTHER ITA SITES:
The Snow Moon
Sunday morning, and Savannah runs to the window with the kitten, the clicking of several thousand beaks scratching the air. Yankee starlings migrating South for the winter blacken the street, yards, and trees, conjuring a whirlwind of clamor. Horus and Thoth wiggle with excitement, while Re squeaks his pleasure. Suddenly, the mass leaps for the sky in a synchronized moment, tinting the light with a murky funnel cloud of feather and screech, leaving four dazzled souls behind.
* * * * * * *
After lunch Re zooms into the office, clutching one of Ravena’s catnip mice between his teeth. He crashes into a rattan cabinet filled with fabric, dances a circle or two on his toes, and zips out the door.
“Somebody has the rips,” Savannah murmurs, trying to concentrate on an intricate sequin design for a new handbag, while lifting her feet every time Re dashes through the office at high speed. Kittens cannot easily retract their claws at that age, and she bears the crimson marks on her arms and legs to prove it.
Thoth shuffles into the office and plops on a rug to watch the show. After the first day curiosity about Re replaced Thoth’s constant hissing, and now he follows the kitten from room to room. Utterly delighted, Re performs for this audience of one and then tackles Thoth’s fluffy head, clinging to the big cat’s giant ears like a tiny white hat. Thoth fails to shake the kitten off, and Savannah intercedes, gently removing Re.
“Thoth isn’t your mother,” she says, even as Thoth washes Re’s face, fueling the kitten’s infatuation.
Every day Re swings from the carpeted kitty condo in the den, performing frantic kitten gymnastics for an hour or so. Re also adores Savannah’s long black hair, which he yanks with his teeth and paws whenever she leans down to pet him or sits on the stool at her worktable, while he quietly stalks her.
“Ouch!” Savannah yelps after another sneak attack from Re, detaching the kitten from her back and loosening a strand of hair from his mouth. “I had no idea you could leap so high now,” she says, wincing from the sting of fresh scratches. “I’ve got to find a string toy for you, one that makes my hair seem boring.”
After dinner Re learns how to spit and spends the rest of the evening spitting at Horus, Thoth, and Savannah, delighting in the new sound skipping from his lips. He invents a game which consists of running across the living room, climbing up on a sofa cushion, spitting at Savannah while she reads the latest urban fantasy novel by Lilith Saintcrow, then darting into the kitchen to slither under the refrigerator like a garter snake.
“Tomorrow I’ll slide a few pieces of cardboard under the drip pan to block his entrance,” she murmurs, turning another page of the novel, Horus sprawled across her lap.
But the next day Re’s spitting blossoms into sneezing, and his nose begins to leak. “Don’t worry,” Savannah says, lifting him to her shoulder and walking to the kitchen, while he sneezes on her face. She wipes her cheek with a paper towel and reaches into the cabinet for bottles of non-alcoholic goldenseal and echinacea.
“I’ll just add a few drops of these liquid herbs to your food and water, and you’ll be back to your spitting tricks in no time,” she promises, scratching his chin, as he sneezes on her hand.
* * * * * * * *
The Esbat in November honors the Snow Moon, and that evening Savannah slips into her ritual robe and decorates the altar with paper cutouts of snowflakes. Horus and Thoth settle on the sofa to watch, while Re bounces around the room, unaware of Savannah’s ritual routine. She catches Re as he races by and puts him on a pillow next to Thoth.
“Sit,” she says, pointing her finger at Re, a command she’s been teaching him this week. “If you’re a good boy, I’ll give you a treat later with the big kitties.”
She returns to the altar and lights three green candles carved with Wynn, the rune for prosperity and love. She leaves them on the altar rather than arranging them in a circle on the floor, not wanting to tempt Re, who sizzled one of his whiskers a few days ago on a scented candle burning near the coffee table.
Standing before the altar, she lifts her wand and slowly turns in a clockwise direction, welcoming the faeries, elementals, and mighty Watchtowers to her ritual. She stops in front of the statue of Bast sitting regally on her altar. Lifting her hands, Savannah says:
“Beloved Bast, O Goddess of Cats,
Savannah reaches for her tarot cards and cuts the deck, turning the second half upside down. But as she begins to shuffle the cards Re can no longer contain his excitement and dives off the sofa, climbing up Savannah’s leg to slap one of the silken tassels dangling from her ritual robe.
“No!” she shouts, and swats Re’s bottom, setting him back on the sofa cushion. “No,” she says again, firmly, pointing her finger at him, Horus and Thoth cringing, Re’s tail twitching.
When Savannah returns to the altar she finds the cards in a cluttered pile. As she gathers them back into an orderly stack one card slips from her fingers and falls to the sacred cloth. A silver streak of moonlight illuminates the upturned face of the Ace of Cups. She glances at Bast, whose golden feline eyes dance in the candlelight.
Savannah laughs. “Okay,” she says. “This is certainly the oddest tarot card reading I’ve ever done, but I get the message.”
She props the card against a paper snowflake and stares at it for a moment, a puzzled expression dancing across her face.
“I don’t understand how this card relates to my future prosperity,” she mumbles, knowing the Ace of Cups foretells the beginning of a love affair.
Suddenly Savannah shudders, the thought of dating or a new lover unpleasantly prickling her skin. “I’m just not ready for that yet,” she pleads, moonshine streaming across the altar, as Bast’s flaxen eyes twinkle magickally in candlelight.
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