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Do You Believe in Magic?

Updated: Jan 29, 2021


By: Suzanne Hudson

“Why do you have that mule shoe upside down on the piano?”

That’s what Mandy Haynes asked me one morning during her recent visit at Waterhole Branch. She stayed a few days for a couple of book events we lined up to celebrate her debut short story collection, Walking the Wrong Way Home.

“Upside down?”

“Yeah--horse shoes and mule shoes bring good luck, but the open part has to face up, to let the good energy in, let the luck in.”

Well, no wonder my new novel was not a best seller by now . . . dad gum bassackwards mule shoe . . .

But methinks Mandy’s sprit-print on the Branch will only set more good things in motion; she’s just that kind of gal. Free-wheeling, animal loving (right down to the insects), throat-punching (when deserved), writer of mud tales, she’s a Tarot devotee, a seer and a seeker, a healer, a dog whisperer--a big ol’ wad of East Tennessee honeyed drawl wrapped up in a snake charmer’s sensibility along with the heart of an unapologetic tomboy.

And she came bearing charmed gifts, the gift of a charm, a talisman she made (yes, she makes all manner of things, along with well spun tales). She knows that I’m a burner of sage, done burnt a few bushels of it behind the bad juju that rained down upon the Branch once upon a time. So her “host/hostess gift,” having been brung up right and southern, was full of thought and care, custom made for Joe and me. And she relished the sharing of it, the telling of the meanings and symbols . . .

That’s a shark’s tooth, that brown-to-silver pointy thing dangling at the bottom, a symbol of protection. She picked it up on one of her walks on San Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island. She’s one of those people who gather moss and feathers and rocks and “clues” and “treasures”--treasures the rest of us don’t notice at our feet. For future creations, like our talisman.

Framed by pieces of driftwood, the flower jasper is a stone worn by shamans to help them with their magical practices, and the rounds of coral above and below it absorb negativity and support friendships and groups. Perfect for the collaborative soul of Waterhole Branch. The green garnet there above the shark’s tooth is another protective and grounding stone that helps to align and strengthen the physical and emotional self. Why pay a therapist when you have your green garnet?

Finally there are the strands of copper that bind it all together, copper that came from the old wiring in the home she bought--and gutted--and renovated--after she quit her job in Nashville, sold her house, drove to the Atlantic Coast, and set about writing, landing a job in a book store. Lots of folks talk about doing such; this badass, throat-punching hill child did it up right. I was honored to help her with the editing process, and I am grateful to call her a friend. She adds her own kind of knack and style to the writing community--nothing affected or phony about it. The Real Deal.

And she believes in magic.

Maybe I do, too. I did a little poking around on my own and discovered that flower jasper is also a conduit to joy, and to the ability to balance safety with adventure, the relishing of new experiences. Copper is also a conduit, malleable, symbolic of our ability to change for the better. And green garnet is the mother lode, as in a stand in for Mother Earth, steeped in empathy, prosperity of the soul, nurturing, understanding.

Let’s do believe it. Stay back, you dark, malevolent forces--you negative, talent crushing feeders of self doubt. Plant not foot the first on the Branch of the Waterhole. Take up with another tribe, one that feeds on ego and control. We hereby give you a wide way to go . . . or else . . . or else we’ll sic Mandy’s magic on you, her beaded copper and tooth of shark, her openness, her honesty. The ability to be real and genuine.

The Truth.

You don’t stand a chance.


Photo: Mandy Haynes’ handiwork . .

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