It started with one, a Marinara jar, dishwasher clean, the paper crimped from stuffing. Then a Coke bottle, the classic shape, green stationary tube rolled almost to the neck. Then there were six, clear glass displaying old parchment hexes, Xeroxed spells, torn out spiral recipes. They lined planter boxes, hung from knotted twine, pyramid stacks leaning against windows on the roof of an innocuous apartment building.
At night, headlights from the street below sometimes caught in one of the reflections and fractal danced through, jumping from wood carved words to penciled diagrams, each sparkle its own kind of magic. Soon there were winding paths between sections as every other inch of the sky facing floor was covered. You had to know it was there, a whisper, a passed word, a GPS tracker texted in the night, but once arrived, it was all yours. Someone had even taken the time to arrange the diverse shapes into vague amalgams of categories. Closest to the stairway (there was no elevator so the wheelchair witches enchanted the rails to levitate chairs like hovercraft until the city got around to enforcing accessibility laws) were all food related spells. As simple as ensuring bread always rose and proofed correctly (popular with the GBBO crowd) to whispered prayers for successful herb growing, those seasonings being so necessary for so many other concoctions. Spells for revitalizing sections of forest floor sat along rhymes to sic strangling vines on enemies. The smudge shaded spice bottles bled organically into reincarnated Olive Oil jars with songs to soothe wildlife, lure and converse with all manner of creatures and even to send out a hitchhiking consciousness, though someone had slipped a consent clause around that one which stayed firmly in place. The summons for fairies and unicorns remained untouched; having access didn’t make the users stupid.
Eventually, someone put a laundry line up, fear of discovery defeated by hope for continued offerings. Many of these votive jars and former pesto containers held folded affirmations, the mundane magic of encouragement, recognition and support.
There were darker notes, of course, those with singed edges, bleeding inks, the ones with canning lids that stuck a bit extra, as if to say ‘Are you sure?’ But the sharing space was based on trust and hope and if the visitors that came breathed a sigh of relief noticing each cloudy glass still undisturbed, it was with reaffirmed faith in the better parts of themselves. Besides, there was so much else to see. Spells to catch songs in wine, infuse feelings into bakes, to quicken the blood, to scry a hidden corner, to weave shadows into shields, to leave messages under the earth and embed emoticons into clouds. Words to produce thorns if someone tried to steal a body’s sacred roses, to nudge karma, to build a world of mirrors the most privileged of evils could not escape from. Chants to grow and and protect, change and learn, recipes for tinkering, avenging, building, and burning. For anyone. For free.
You could still find it, there’s an elevator now, too and vertical gardens of multicolored glass. There is always more than should fit and never enough to be considered complete. Feel free to bring your own offering, no cantrip too small. There’s a place for it.