I regard myself as a rational person. A skeptic, even. I started having theological debates with the nuns in my grammar school about the existence of miracles when I was in the third grade. (Mom, if you're reading this, please feel free to comment on what a pain in the ass that was.)
I haven't considered myself a believer in any particular religion in a while now, although I won't go so far as to rule out the existence of a deity of some sort, or at least some type of spiritual presence in the universe. But this post really isn't about religion. It's about Magic.
There's something about infertility that turns just about everyone into a magical thinker. I can't tell you how many totemic trinkets, amulets, candles, and other assorted spiritual, magical, and tribal flotsam and jetsam I have accumulated over the past two years. It's completely insane. My rational self says "You have no control over this process. That's okay. That's just how it is. Let it be." The rest of me responds, "What, are you nuts? Let it be? NO WAY. I've got to hedge my bets. I must do everything I can. What if there really is a god, or a goddess, or angels or demons or hexes? Must . . . have . . . trinkets! . . . Need . . . mojo! What's that? You say you have a Magic Rock that will cure infertility -- and it costs only $50? Sold!"
When I found out about my scrambled eggs, I took my clay fertility doll, my St. Gerard medal and prayer card, my metal Kokopelli, and a bunch of other fertility-related crap, went out to the backyard, dug a hole, and dumped it all in. I wish I could say it was because I was following the dictates of rationality, or that I had suddenly gotten Zen about the whole ordeal. No, quite the contrary. I had endowed these bit of metal, clay, and paper with feelings. I wanted to punish them and force them to behave differently. I had decided to follow the latest United States Government-approved behavior modification methods and engage in certain coercive techniques. "So there," I said triumphantly as I poured dirt over their hapless carcasses, "You guys are not doing your job. When you start doing your job, I'll dig you up again."
They're still back there, somewhere. I tried to dig them up in August so we could bring them to Burning Man and burn them, but when I returned to the spot where I thought I'd buried them, I couldn't find them. Nothing mystical there -- our upstairs neighbor is constantly changing the contours of the garden, moving plants, adding hills, creating little rills and valleys. Anyway, they were good as gone forever. And good riddance.
Since that time, I've amassed a whole new collection of magic schtuff, some of it quite lovely, some of it embarrassingly schlocky. In the former category, a beautiful handmade pendant with the words to a poem about hope scrolled up inside. In the latter, a tacky Guardian Angel coin that came stuck to a fundraising appeal from an organization I'd never heard of. I carry it in my purse and I swear, one of these days it will accidentally end up in a parking meter.
And then, this past weekend, I went to the Botanica Yoruba and got a candle for the goddess Yemaya. She lives in the ocean, I'm told, and likes melons. The nice lady at the store said she would help me, guaranteed. I just needed to get a melon, punch a hole in it with a screwdriver, write a prayer to Yemaya on a piece of paper, roll it up and stick it in the melon, and then bring the melon to the ocean. There, I was to "speak to Yemaya from your heart" and then leave the melon just at the edge of the water. Yeah. Sure. Okay.
So there I stood, the Ivy League-educated, many years therapized, rational, modern skeptic, melon in hand, talking to myself on the beach in the middle of the night. Good grief.
I hope it works.