THE WELL OF DARKNESS
Chapter One: Home Again
“I still can’t believe we’re here!” Ethan slowly exhales sitting at a table in the kitchen of his new home. Before him on the table are several eggs, a sage-stick, and a large bell, among other items.
“Yeah” says Brian, his bleary-eyed husband. As he leans over to give Ethan a kiss on the cheek from behind, he notices an old book on the table that he recognizes as Ethan’s Book of Shadows. It is opened to a page which reads How to Make a House a Home. “You’ve said that before.”
“I’m sorry” Ethan says picking up an egg and writing on it with a pen “It’s just that I never dreamed of ever leaving South Carolina and now here we’re in Oak Harbor, Washington!”
“You’ve come a long way, baby” Brian smiles pouring himself a cup of coffee “What are you doing to those eggs there? I hope that’s not my breakfast”
“No,” Ethan begins “There’s a plate of grits and eggs warming in the stove for you.” pointing towards the stove. “Now that we’ve got all our furniture just where we want it, I decided it’s time to bless the house.”
“But I thought you blessed the house the first day we arrived, before we moved all the furniture in?”
“No, I just cleaned it.” Ethan explained “You know this house was empty for a long time before we bought it. There was dust everywhere and the previous owners left trash here and there. The energy was all mucky.”
Brian looked at Ethan over his breakfast but didn’t respond.
“You see,” Ethan continued, “before you bless a house, you have to clean it physically and remove all the clutter so that energy can flow freely.”
“Oh” Brian offered, taking a sip of coffee. Though not a practitioner himself he’d seen enough of Ethan’s witchcraft to know that there is defiantly something to it even if he didn’t quite understand all the rules.
“So today,” Ethan continued “I’m going to clean the house spiritually with this sage-stick and holy-water and then setting up some wards.”
“Wards?” Brian asked glancing at his watch.
“Yeah, wards” Ethan answered. “They’re to protect the house and...”
“That’s really interesting, babe” Brian interrupted “and I’d really like to hear more about it, but if I don’t leave now I’m gonna be late for my first day of work.”
Glancing at the clock above the stove Ethan jumps up and helps Brian on with his coat and follows him to the front door and out on the front porch.
“I shouldn’t be home too late.” Brian says moving towards the steps that lead down from the house and toward the street to his car. “My shift ends at 5 pm.”
“Brian” Ethan moans curtly.
“Haven’t you forgotten something, darling?”
“I don’t know, have I?” Brian asks distractedly and he checks his pockets for his wallet and keys.
Ethan gives an exaggerated look of hurt and then coyly points to his own cheek.
“Oh Sorry” Brian apologizes “How could I forget?”
Brian climbs back up the steps and gives Ethan a peck on the cheek.
“I think we can do better than that.” Ethan says placing his arms around Brian’s shoulders.
With that Brian grabs Ethan firmly dips him backwards and kisses him passionately for what seems like an hour.
“That ought’a hold ya till I get home” Brian jokes.
“Uh oh,” Brian exclaims looking in the direction of the street “Looks like we’re giving the neighbors a show”
Ethan looks in the same direction as Brian and sees an old woman next door looking back at them and leaning on a broom that looks like, Ethan thought, it could have been owned by Mary Ingleman herself. For a few moments the three individuals simply stare at one another as if frozen in time.
“I’ll…. I’ll see you tonight” interjects Ethan breaking the spell between the three watchers and Brian heads towards his car as the old woman returns to sweeping her walkway.
“I love you” Brian gives over his shoulder.
“You too” Ethan responds.
Later that morning, after Ethan had washed the breakfast dishes, put away the laundry and given the house another once over to ensure that everything was in its proper place, he was ready to perform his house-blessing ceremony.
At his refrigerator, Ethan removes a bottle of sea-water he had personally collected at the beach the previous day and pours it into a crystal bowl. He carries the bowl of water to his living room and sets it on the raised platform before his hearth, inside of which he has kindled a small fire. Nearby there is a sage-stick, and a dish of coarse salt.
Kneeling before the hearth, Ethan grounds and centers himself, then says:
Holy art thou, Lord of the Universe,
Holy art thou, which nature hath not formed;
Holy are thou, Vast and Mighty One,
Lord of Light, and Darkness!
Finally, he crosses himself saying at the four points: Atah (at the forhead) Malkuth (at the solar plexus) Vegeburah (at the right shoulder) Vegedulah (at the left shoulder) Layolam (hands together as in prayer).
After a brief pause, Ethan tosses a handful of salt in the fireplace and for a few moments the fire rises up and turns bright blue and he lights the sage-stick from it's flame. Ethan then carries the smoking sage through every room in his home as he chants:
Averte Malorum Spiritis, Averte.
Averte, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
When he has smudged every room in his house, Ethan returns to the hearth where he tosses the remaining sage-stick in the fire. He then picks up the bowl of water and carries it to the front door. There he dips his finger in the water and then draws a pentagram on the door incanting “Maximum Praesidium” several times as he visualizes the star glowing with pure-white energy. In his mind’s eye, Ethan could see the star vibrating with power on both sides of the door. When he is satisfied he repeats: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.
He then moves clockwise about his home performing the same action at every window and at every door leading to the outside world. For a way out, Ethan knows, is also a way in. When he is done, he returns to the hearth and tosses the remainder of the salted-water into the fire without extinguishing it.
Next, Ethan goes to his refrigerator and removes the eggs that he had prepared earlier that morning. Outside he walks to the Northern Corner of his home where he digs a small hole. He takes the egg out of the bowl on which is written the name Uriel and places the egg in the hole.
Ethan crosses himself once more and then says, “Uriel, Archangel of the North. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the North to do us harm.”
Ethan covers up the egg and then draws a cross in the dirt saying “Amen.”
At the Eastern corner of his home, Ethan removes the egg labeled Raphael and performs the same action saying, “Raphael, Archangel of the East. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the East to do us harm.”
And at the South, “Michael, Archangel of the South. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the South to do us harm.”
And finally, at the West “Gabriel, Archangel of the West. I call upon you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to protect this home and all therein from all positive and negative energies and forces that may approach from the West to do us harm.”
He then takes some salt and draws a large circle around his house connecting the four tiny graves as he chants, Averte Malorum Spiritis over and over. When he is done he stand with his legs a few feet apart and grounds and centers himself again. Connecting with the universal flow of energy, Ethan visualizes his home surrounded by circles of light through which no evil can cross and four archangels standing guard at the four directions. Finally, he affirms "“Maximum Praesidium. Averte Malorum Spiritus. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti! Amen."
Completing his ritual, Ethan stands satisfied with his work when he notices his elderly neighbor standing in her own backyard where she had been working in her garden and is now staring intently at him. It is then that he realizes that the old lady has witnessed his bit of witchcraft. When their eyes meet, the old lady simply waves at Ethan with a smile and then enters her own house through her backdoor with a basket full of freshly harvested herbs in one hand and a silver knife in the other.