Thursday, December 20, 2018

It Begins With a Call (Part 22): Intensive's End

We've just returned from Hawaii (more to say on that later), and I see how that journey actually began six months ago with my time at the Healers' Intensive in Topanga.  Here are my reflections from then:

The quiet and the wind today are balms to my soul.  Sitting looking out over the canyon, another poem came:

This Earth Was Given

This earth was given.
Not to us.
It was not given to us,
It was just given,
Life arising out of itself,
Blazing forth,
Blossoming forth,
Birthed into being
For its own sake.

We are such fools
To think we own it,
Control it,
Master it,
As if it were here
For us and us alone.

No, it is here
Because it is here.
It is glorious because
It can be,
Generous because
That is its nature,
Beautiful because there is
No other way for it to be.

This earth was given,
As we were given.
And the only way
to be together
Is for us
To bow down.

We are reaching the end of our time together, and today are to spend some time integrating what we have learned about our mandate.  There are so many pieces, so many thoughts, insights, instructions and possibilities that it’s all a jumble.  What we clearly have, all of us, is devastating grief.

The teacher says she hears me speaking with more authority.  I consider her impressions of me from previous times here, and find them interesting.  She has seen me as hesitant, quiet, holding back.  Not how I see myself, except for the quiet piece.  I like to speak with an economy of words.  I grow impatient, as the teacher does not seem to, with those who speak endlessly.  I don’t like my judgmentalism, but there it is.  

I say, “Maybe I’m stepping more into the elder role.”  I think I have been hesitant because I’ve gotten the feedback that I have too strong a voice.  I’m one of those in Eve Ensler’s poem “who go too far and feel too much.”  Certainly, my mother tried to tone me down, calm me down, socialize me into acceptability.  I thought I’d gotten out from under that program, but perhaps it has snagged me again.  Maybe it’s time I stop worrying about how I come off and just say and do what I need to say and do.  I’d like to do it with a full and open heart, though.  Full of the fire of life and Spirit.

So, what are the threads? Elder. Grandmother. Grief.  Hawaii. Turtles. Whales. Plastic. (See Part 21).  Metabolizing or transforming energy.  Revitalizing the sacredness of the earth in my city, bleached dead like the coral in the sea.  Speak to the trees.  Plant a tree.  Carry fire.

I am one who wears the mantle of Elder.  I am one who carries and receives the blessings of fire.  I am one who is of the earth and who waters it with my tears.  I am one who is honored by and listens to the voice of Whale, who will not place Turtle between myself and danger.  I am one who will question my beliefs.  I am one who is blessed and who can bless (to quote Yeats) and I am one who will gratefully receive that blessing and inhabit the calling brought forth from it.  I am one who will use my voice and my words to be with Earth, Tree, Whale, Turtle, grandchildren, people in my path and on my path.

Whale asked me to say this poem of mine:

We need each other now.
We need each other now.
In truth, we always have.
But as things disintegrate,
as chaos and disorder reign,
we become like bones,
scattered and
stripped clean of all
that is inessential.
Let’s reassemble ourselves,
the way Isis did with Osiris,
or La Loba with her wolf bones.
Let’s find a new configuration,
this part mine, that part yours –
Perhaps something original
will emerge, or
something ancient.
Let’s light a candle now, friends,
so together we might see
how to begin.

So, if I walk out of here and out of this sacred canyon as Elder, what does that look like?  Carrying grief and the knowledge of demise that is unbearable.  Carrying fire and the tears that water the parched earth.  Carrying the charge of metabolizing the poisonous fires and vapors and of resacralizing the land.  Not putting Turtle between me and danger.  Trying to eliminate plastic as much as is feasible. 

And healing?  There is no healing in hospice, other than the healing of Spirit.  It is not about my healing, that is clear.

I began the week with a card reading.  It was profound.  The card for the past was Hygeia, healing.  The card for the present was Persephone.  She is always my present.  The future was one I call Bone Crone, looking towards very old age and mortality.  So, I decided to end the week with another reading.  The past card was Fatigue and Illness, the present was the Green Man, the living vital presence of the green world.  The future was Holding Hecate’s Torch.  In it, I stand with my partner as we look out to take the next step.  Hermes is above us, Hecate below, and I carry one of Hecate’s torches.  To me, that speaks of validation of my elderhood.  My blog is Hanging Out with Hecate.  I will hang with her still, She who witnesses, who is the companion.  I hold the flame.

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