Death has been a primary teacher for me.
This started when I was 20, that epic summer me and a bestie and a brother who’s now passed from drugs travelled an 11,000 mile circle around our country. Two decades ago already.
A week before that trip started, a young man my brother and I grew up car-pooling to school, lunchtime swim sessions bologna sandwiches bmx bikes and saving the princess with, got killed in a gnarly car accident on the side of I-95. My brother was invited to be on the trip in the car with him but did not go.
That tragedy shook us down.
A week after we lost him, right at the start of the summer on Solstice tide, my Grammy died. She and my pop who died in 87 had this little two bedroom plus an attic house right inside the city line, Brooklyn Park, Bmore Maryland, USA. They brought 7 kids and near three times the amount of grandkids to this world.
So between losing Grammy and our neighborhood homie, that summer I went on the road the first time death was running my ass down.
Later, by the time I got the La Catrina put on my back, I was well versed in death wisdom. I was sober by then. I had buried countless friends to drug addiction and its associated physical and mental fall out. I had also undergone a powerful inward transformation as the result of the end of a longterm romance. Endings are a kind of death. That ending initiated me into the power of the Darkness as the realm of the Feminine.
The year I lived way out on the river to grieve the ending of that part of my life, La Catrina used to call to me on the river wind. I mean it. I was an english teacher to undocumented, mostly Mexican students. I lived on the river and confronted who I am alone? I was reading for the upteeeenth time Women Who Run With the Wolves, and in reverence daily with “my inner wild wisdom” as I’d taken to calling that endless, indestructible still point within. La Catrina became for me that point of reverence, that river below the river, that ONE life that holds all. She even showed up on an artist date with me, a ceramic figurine in a little store that used to sit on a corner at the docks in downtown Annapolis. That figurine and a similar one sit atop my alter as I write this right now.
Death is our one fundamental truth as humans. The only thing that’s guaranteed.
My embracing of this particular wisdom is the single motive behind why I jump into my life with passion and presence and vitality a day at a time. It’s how I maintain loving as much as I possibly can.
The female body knows all about this metaphor of death, dying, decrease. Our body’s teach us every month. Dark wisdom. For the feminine, through the death, rebirth, life, death cycle our biology inherently experiences, holds all gnosis concerning the secrets of life. In the soul work, the women’s wisdom soul work, we look at the parts of us we had to kill off to survive. We embrace the healing of grieving for those old wounds and losses, and in that way, breathe life and living, rebirth, back into our heart’s broken spaces.
Today is an important day in the Samhain tide. All Souls Day for the Catholics, this is the final day of the Los Dias De Los Muertos, the day in which we pray for the souls of our dead.
From the Wisdom of the Dark Feminine perspective, it is a power tide for naming our own losses to self, for both women and men. A great equalizer, death or the Thantos archetype in the soul is part of the continuum of the balance of life. When we embrace who we have become because of what we have let go. And perhaps, who we are still yet to be by re-embracing parts of ourselves we killed off or forced away.
The full moon peaks this weekend. Death on the medicine wheel reminds us. What has been, is, and is yet to be all emerges from the same place. This is a moon to tend this.
Samhain tide. When we are called with reverence to the fleetingness of life. To embrace, celebrate, grieve, give thanks. And maybe? To get real… That is a medicine of death and dying to me. To practically look at the truth of things. At what simply is.
When we give ourselves the freedom of this clean kind of looking at life, space is created because we no longer resist what we cannot change. When we look at what is real then we can transform not what we see, but how we choose to respond.
A good meditation on the day of prayer for All Souls.