Speak, Knitter, for a Spell.

She put the candle down, turned to me and asked quite simply, “What happened?”

“Well, nothing that I can think of.”

“People who grind their teeth often have had traumatic moments. Either when younger, or more recently. So, what happened?”

She peered at me with deep blue eyes. Her deep brown complexion holding tight frame around that gaze, her dreads piled into a hive above her head. Before she reached for anything else, she held a hand with palm upward, stared at me with care and asked again, “What happened?”

I had just come from the dentist, by way of the pharmacist. The prognosis? Next Wednesday I’m to have my teeth extracted. Two weeks after that, a deep numbing cleaning of the underside of my gums. And then a week after that? Molds made for new teeth. These last few years were manifesting themselves into a nightly grinding of my teeth, moving them back and forth so aggressively that this coupled with poor nutrition and stress had allowed gum disease to set in.

I was prescribed antibiotics, went to the pharmacist and bowed my head as I took my bag of pills and walked away feeling empty. I hate taking antibiotics. I hate taking aspirin. I hate pills.

But, in this neighborhood we are blessed with an abundance of spiritual complexities. It is one of the few places in the world I know of where you can watch a Vietnamese Buddhist monk cross the street in his orange robe, pass a Kabbalah center, cut through the parking lot of a Methodist church, to fetch a cup of tea at a vegan cafe that shares it’s property line with a Catholic thrift store. Jerusalem should take note.

AvalonOutside31With that said, I popped into Avalon. Now, at first you want to call it a Pagan hub, a Wiccan knowledge base, a place where those that dance in Faerie magic reign. But, it’s been there for so long, and they offer so much more in the ideas of the unseen, that Avalon screams shyly of a place for anyone needing a different approach to the typical. And it truly is a neighborhood store. In my late 20’s I went there to buy incense and books on Hermetics.

As I stepped into the store, I just kept thinking, “I don’t want to lose my teeth. I don’t want to go through all that pain. I don’t want to spend the next six weeks in pain. I just don’t.” I wanted to ask for any help I could, any herb, any oil, a certain candle of a certain color, anything all that would let me keep my teeth and my sanity.

With the store busy with a flurry of people I walked up to the counter and made my case, “Do you have any advice? Do you know of anything I can do?”

She motioned for me to follow her to a room behind the counter. She popped her head in and asked to someone, “Can you do a candle for teeth?”

The voice said, “Yeah. Come inside.”

There was a woman, a dew drop shy of 3o if that, dressed in black, her tight woven hair piled high, her hands quickly reaching for multitudes of canisters that lined the wall. She said without looking at me, “I need you to go back in the other room and grab me some fluorite.”

I stood confused, not knowing what fluorite was, but did as I was told and asked the woman behind the counter to help me find some fluorite. She guided me towards some beautiful stones and said, “here you go.” I grabbed one, rushed back into the small little room and handed it to the woman in dreads.

She then started reaching again quickly for different herbs and roots off the large book case in front of her. Her hands dipping into a pile of salt before doing so. “So, what is wrong with your teeth? Do you have cavities?”

“No, I’ve been grinding them.”

She stopped, and finally at looked into my eyes for the first time.

She asked without hesitation, but with concern in her eyes, “What happened?”

“Nothing. I’m having problems with my teeth.”

“No….no no. Something deeper there. Your teeth are the symptoms for something bigger you’re holding onto.”

She looked at my hands. “They are soft. What do you do for work?”

“I knit. I’m a knitter.”

She said, “There is kindness in your hands…These hands do a lot to help people. They help heal people….But, sometimes the healers are the worst at helping themselves. Something inside you still traps you, holds you every night while you grab your teeth,” she said looking at me with curiosity, “and whatever it was that happened, it is very strong and it’s showing itself in your teeth. So, what happened?”

To be continued….

willknitcoversmallThis is the story of how I knit my way out of homelessness. To order an autographed copy of “Will Knit For Food” click here, or for a Limited Edition personalized, signed paperback copy with t-shirt, click here.

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  1. I’m with her. What happened? It could be something that seems small on its face. Probably something long long ago. It’s a mystery till you face it. Enjoy the search, Patrick.

  2. Ooooh! Good story, can’t wait to hear the rest. As for the dentist. no matter what the pagans say, I suggest you get a 2nd opinion before you do anything that drastic. So sorry you’re going through it regardless.

  3. It makes sense to me that you were grinding your teeth. Think about it. Being homeless has to be a very stressful situation, and you went through that. So this is the way stress is showing in your body. And, in my opinion, you are pretty lucky stress did not manifest in your body in some more serious way. The closest friend I have ever had died of cancer, and and I firmly believe that was stress manifesting in her body. I hope you will take this as a message from your body telling you to find a way to let go of stress. If I may, I would suggest a book to you. It is called DYING TO BE ME by Anita Moorjani. You can find out more about it here:

    They may very well have this book at Avalon. Years ago, I used to visit Avalon (and a neighbor of Avalon’s, the Spiral Circle, often. If Avalon does not have the book, try the Spiral Circle. I don’t now if Beverly is still at Spiral Circle; but if she is, it is worth the trip to the Spiral Circle for one of Beverly’s hugs. These are two wonderful stores.

    I wish you the best, both with your teeth and with your life.


  4. It’s most likely that you still fear falling back into homelessness. Having a way to vent your feelings, in person or through your writing, is the best remedy. I’ll be praying that your pain isn’t great and that you heal fast. 🙂

  5. Remember, you have everything within your Self to heal ! I know from personal experience. This journey will take you places you may wish you would not go AND it is worth it.

  6. This is wonderful … and I think I’ll just sit here and wait for the next installment …

    I miss you a lot, which makes me wonder why I have so much trouble communicating lately. Maybe I need to see your Guardian Angel/Witch Doctor (jk). I love the moment in this piece when she “sees” you and starts excavating for truth.

    Hugs to you, and I hope the pain will be brief and finite. x0x0x

  7. i empathize completely.family history of gum disease.ground my teeth so bad as a child that i kept my sis awake nights.five and a half years too many spent in the “full metal jacket” style of braces,when half that time with the right corrective measures would have done the job.poor nutrition on my part,making sure there was enough food in the house for the two kidlets as we survived on too little welfare and food stamps.no insurance now to do anything about the untreated broken teeth left that way too long.i would gladly welcome any chance to have my dental situation remedied.i can’t wait for you next post to discover what your local practitioner of the magical healing arts has offered you by way of relief.i practiced myself for may years,before setting down the wand in favor of picking up the rattle… 😉 ❤

  8. It is not a candle for teeth that you need. If you must have a candle it needs to be for the reason you’re grinding your teeth. I don’t know you well enough to know the reason. If I were to guess, it has something to do with your time of having been homeless, and/or your agoraphobia. After all, you weren’t always agoraphobic. So the next time you feel yourself getting more anxious, look at the “why?”…..

  9. I don’t grind I grit. I clench/grit my teeth together constantly. It started years ago at a stressful job and followed me when I left. Of course then it got worse with the death of my husband and now has developed into jaw problems. Our pain manifests itself in so many ways. It’s how we learn to deal with it that matters. I have anxiety and depression, struggled with it for years. When my husband got sick, I had anxiety attacks, my chest would hurt right between my breasts for hours. Then it developed into full on panic attacks. Those I knew how to deal with, run outside. I have had panic attacks since my early 20’s. I’ve learned to cope. That’s what you will have to do dear man. Face what is causing your pain and learn to cope and then you won’t have to cope. The panic attacks and anxiety attacks are nearly gone, the anxiety comes back when I am stressed but I am better able to handle it.now. I have the up most confidence that you can learn to do the same things.

    Anxiety is rooted in fear. Fear is an awful thing. You should not fear, you have come from rock bottom and are doing so well. I will tell you something a very dear friend of mine told me (she’s good for smacking me in the back of the head Jethro style whenever I need it)-My youngest brother was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma, a very rare form. I was in full on panic mode, he’s my kid brother and we are close. I called up my friend Donna and was bawling like a baby. She said STOP IT. I was taken aback. She asked me if I believed in God, which she knows I do, we’ve done Bible study together, when I said Yes she told me I was being a hypocrite. I said what. She said if you believe, then act like you believe, don’t squall, pray, pray for healing. Since that day, I fear no man, I fear nothing. Even when I went through the hardest thing in my life, the illness and death of my best friend/husband my prayer every morning, if I could not say anything else, was Thank You Lord. I know you are a believer, so act like it. Put your belief into action. Such a simple thing. Just like meditating. Sit down in a quiet place, quiet your mind, and pray. Even though He didn’t save my husband, He gave me His strength to carry on and keep moving forward. It’s not by my strength I stand because I would have died with my husband if left to my own devices. God had another plan for me and I know He has one for you too. HUGS dear man.

  10. I got chills, I’m anxious to read the rest. My hubby is going through the same type of thing with his teeth only I know he had some rotten and likely gum disease. He won’t go to the dentist. Too much money, has to take time off work, hates pills, also won’t take anything for headaches. Loves eating apples and corn so he won’t get fakes. sigh.

  11. Gregory, may God bless you and keep you safe on this journey. Be it your childhood trauma that you shut up for so long, or any of the more recent struggles you’ve faced as an adult, He will help you find your way.
    hugs – Heather

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