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As a Goddess-centric Witch, I am always looking for new ways to connect with the myriad of global goddesses. Even though I know that I can have powerful relationships with different goddesses from the comfort of my home, I’ve also got a bit of a travel bug, so when I am wandering in new places, I try to hold myself open to spiritual experience and divine intervention. Sometimes, though, I only realize how magical the experience was after the fact. I'll be exploring these different experiences and goddesses on this blog.

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The Magic of Mackinac

When I graduated from high school many moons ago, I couldn’t wait to get out of my small mid-Michigan town. Before heading off to college that fall, however, I had a different sort of adventure. Three of my good girlfriends and I wheedled and pleaded and got permission from our parents to make the trek up to Mackinac Island *gasp* without parental supervision the weekend right after graduation. I guess they figured that we’d all be unsupervised at college soon enough, plus all four of us had shiny new cell phones, so we’d be able to stay in touch, and we were only going for a long weekend, but still, it felt like a really big deal at the time.

We piled into one of the gal’s cars, and headed north. There was a lot of compromise when it came to picking the soundtrack for our road trip, and even more when it was time to stop and eat, but it was exciting. We were stepping into the unknown without adult supervision, and for the first time, we started to feel a little bit like adults.

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I remember that weekend in flashes of flavor and freedom; the taste of the famed fudge, the scent of the rain soaked island as we cycled around, the relative security of being four girls on an island that didn’t allow cars. It was misty for much of our trip, and the island, although shrouded in fog and colder than we’d expected, was magical. Looking back, I recognize the pull of Maiden energy that permeated that weekend; we were free, we were surrounded by natural beauty, and no one would tell us if it wasn’t a good idea to have another piece of fudge, or when to go to bed, or how silly we should or shouldn’t be.

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In the years that have passed, I’ve learned that some of the Native American legends of Mackinac name it as a place of the Goddess. One story I’ve found tells of Spirit Woman, dwelling in the sky, who was pulled down to earth and sat on the back of a giant turtle. She built the island on the turtle’s back, using mud from the deep waters surrounding her, and there’s definitely a primal, sacred, feminine energy all over the island. Other stories speak of the island being the first land formed following the great flood, and still others attribute the creation of the island to the animals. All these legends hint at the island’s deep connection with primal power and the non-human world. While I was there that summer, I felt freer than I ever had, and more connected with the natural beauty surrounding me than I’d felt before. It’s no wonder, considering that the bulk of the island is preserved as a national park.

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There’s a sense of timelessness about the island that expands beyond the Grand Hotel, the setting for the achingly beautiful movie Somewhere in Time. From the bicycle paths to the horse drawn carriages, the fudge to the flora and fauna, Mackinac Island is a place of great power, and it’s easy to connect with Maiden energy on this magical island.

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Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. Since then, her words have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, including Sagewoman, PanGaia, and The Storyteller (where she won the people’s choice 3rd place award for her poem, “Luna”). She is a poet, a novelist, and a goddess-centric witch with a love of all things magical. Her first nonfiction book, Goddess Spells for Busy Girls: Get Rich, Get Happy, Get Lucky, is out now from Weiser Books. A Michigander by birth, Jen now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. When she isn’t writing, she teaches writing composition at a community college. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.

Comments

  • Ravyn-Morgayne of Avalon
    Ravyn-Morgayne of Avalon Saturday, 21 June 2014

    What a wonderful writing for this Midsummer day. I have been longing to go to Mackinac Island ever since I first saw Somewhere in Time. The island intrigued me, and the movie became my favorite of all time, although I rarely watch it because of its effect on my affect (I have seen it many, many times.) One box of tissues just isn't enough. It is so beautiful.

    After reading your blog entry, I have come to an understanding of my reactions. I didn't know the island's spiritual background, but now that I know that it is a place of The Goddess, I can see its great and unceasing draw. I want to thank you for bringing this to my heart, mind, and spirit. I shall treasure your beautiful, spiritual piece.

    Wishing you, and everyone a Blessed Litha.
    :D

  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel Tuesday, 24 June 2014

    Thank you, Ravyn! I hope you'll follow your soul call and visit Mackinac someday. A very blessed and belated Midsummer to you, too!

  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins Sunday, 22 June 2014

    I grew up in Harbor Springs, Michigan, and went to prom on Mackinac Island. I never learned the native lore about the island--class trips all centered on tales of the European settlers, the forts they built, the people they fought. Still, all of Northern Michigan is rich with wild magic. I don't miss the winters, but I still miss the woods and the spirits there.

  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel Tuesday, 24 June 2014

    There is a wild magic all over the Mitten, isn't there? I'm with you, though; I don't miss the winters. :)

  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor Tuesday, 24 June 2014

    I don't miss the winters, either! Back in the last century when I was at Northwestern U, my folks had a summer place in Lake Ann. My Mom appeared several times at the Cherry County Playhouse, which was then in Traverse City. I brought some college friends up to the house one Thanksgiving, in the snow. When we went outside, the drifts were deep and there was absolute silence. I have never before or since "heard" such a total absence of all sound.

  • Michelle Simkins
    Michelle Simkins Tuesday, 24 June 2014

    That IS something I miss--the hush of the woods in the winter! My parents owned five wooded acres, and I grew up traipsing through the trees. I used to bundle up in my snowsuit, boots, mittens, gloves, thick socks, long johns (as we called thermals) . . . and wade through knee deep snow so I could get out among the trees. Then I would lay on my back in the snow and just listen to the quiet--all I could hear was my breathing. Even as a little kid I felt that hushed forest was sacred.

  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel Wednesday, 25 June 2014

    Michelle, my family had wooded land, too. There's nothing like being alone in the forest as a child to encourage a belief in magic! :)

  • Jen McConnel
    Jen McConnel Wednesday, 25 June 2014

    Ted, that sounds stunning. I've never experienced Northern Michigan in the winter; I grew up in mid-Michigan, and then taught in the SW side of the state, but that stillness sounds beautiful.

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