The way the crescent moon cups in the center feels deep down in the hollow of my heart like this. Like yes for many days now I’ve been laid back in that very good place to hang out a while. Laid back swing–
–that’s home, the east, the fall-changing leaves, the peeps and screeks in the low-land night-part of the trees. If I were sitting on the moon with fishnet legs in a dangle maybe in my hand I’d have a fishing pole dropped over to hang in the fish-sea of souls. Which is to say there are so, so many here who deep within me, move.
Which tires me out, again and again. So many lines on the troll.
Tired feeling: me watching, over and over the circles I know. They grow out from the little space here–shore-side ripples leave go far way out then always return to here where they start, same ol line upon the coast. Here I–keeping count at the edge on the swing. Sound of quiet in the stars the footsteps that beat check on the dock to the tides. Swept swept swept again rush rush rushing out and, more. To return, Home.
Oh moon, your silly countenance such easy laid back way you cause me to sit. It’s not the same as California-moon charm hanging on my back otter-style in the waves. More pertinent: action. The harmonizing way of getting to be part of the flow.
I am tired and surprised by this laid back moon arch that doesn’t feel like ache.
Erika comes and gets me we talk about feminism, racism, intersection, Catholicism a long, long time. This is the work we do to write. She tells me she can see my space which I say is good bc I can’t even see my way to my degree. What the hell have I gone and done?
In the city Walsh takes me to the fancy spaces and also, simply, to the streets. This is when I feel alive the most, like me. Walking in Baltimore City. It does not stop me from feeling unsafe. Justin doesn’t know I am home and happens to have time open in the same space. We walk to what back then was boarded up ground, days I was 16 and drove Park from Druid Hill Ave and MLK once a week. Those were the days that Chat Street used ear guns to pierce a nose and to get a belly ring down to the S&M dungeon of the Leather Underground you’d have to go.
None of this matters anymore. Now. California is as sterile as gentrified sections of Baltimore but there is lots of sun. I don’t know what I am doing and sit a long while at Erin’s waiting to ride to the beach. Twitter and the untelevised civil rights movement. Social justice repair. I lean way back into the clutch of the moon.
Change is coming.
To swim at a spot where there’s a deep divot drop-off and lots of backwash from pounding shore break, this is what you do.
Stand at the seem, the furthest place the water flows up on the sand. Get your ankles wet. If you’re not timid go up to your calves. Now imagine you’re about to jump into a double dutch session–to get the rhythm of the ropes what happens is your hips cradle, you start to rock back and forth to get a feel for the swing. This is what happens at the water’s edge.
Or what oughta.
The primal beat alive at the ocean naturally moves in you. If you put panic aside. The amount of time for me that I’ve been away dictates the time I need to find the beat. For me it’s never more than one week but can still take forever which is up to five minutes because as much as it’s about the ocean–it’s also about the false rhythms of life disconnected from Nature–they are alive in our bodies. They make themselves KNOWN right there at the edge, and need too to be shaken off to find what’s elemental, what’s real. Then you can know the sets with your body.
On days with surf when there’s little let-up I like to wait for a set wave. That’s the one that comes after a barely there pause, and it peaks a certain way which I swear has a glean. The second you see it swelling wade in to the white water and when your hips are in it’ll be bigger so start to swim towards the wave. It’ll look like it’s gonna break on your head. Timed right you go under as it’s peaking and the momentum pulls you out fast then easy, surfacing just on the other side of the break. Then you’re past the crash zone. You can just hang laid back and bobbing style. And feel the swells pass through you.
Surfing? A whole other beast because to do what I just explained is a lot more hectic if maneuvering a board. Mine’s seven foot fun which for me won’t dive. Also the pay-off is different. A swim gives me that deep body chill and I’m lazy (my board’s been dinged since Memorial Day and I haven’t once thought to get it fixed.) It just depends on what you’re looking for–to swim is a no hassle reward. Surfing is lots of labor but equivalent or even way BETTER result–LOTS of stoke! It all comes down to the energy you’re working with/need.
Which for me is about being in the One. Doing what I can to keep unprogramming the false rounds, doing what I can to de-program autopilot. Which has been on my mind. The way it always is at season-passing: the deep life: The thing that moves us. The thing that’s of you, that we can only somewhat see. There’s Soul in there, lest we forget. It is. We are of it. We are It. Great Mysterious One Soul. World-Rhthym. Creating and destroying of it’s Self over and over again.
Season-passing, like a hip-rock taking stock of the wild rhythm of which you are actually a part.
This post appeared originally on The Impulse Itself, Saturday September 13, 2008. 6 yrs ago, today.
Similar cycle: last of Summer, of growth or bounty energy, but on the apex of Moon Wax, day before Full. Rather than now, day before last-quarter wane.
yes yes yes, a weekend all to me, starting despairingly bc i dear reader am always no-thing if not dramatically self-involved in the happenings or so perceived non-happenings of my very own life…and do tend to let such perceptions overcome the best of me…
so said, what a glory day i’ve had since yesterday passed and i subsequently got my head out of my ass. handscrubbed my versa this afternoon after a trip to the library–where my card was so outdated i had to open a new account in order to check out Girls Like Us Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–and the Journey of a Generation which called to me literally off of the shelf as i passed it by. i hoped, as i heaped said work and a slathering poetry books on the counter, that it would deliver me in a similar mythically-steeped retrieval of trailblazer femin-ista historia as diPrima’s bio My Life as a Woman The New York Years did. and so far i am adequately quenched.
made some jewelry today, too. and wrote a poem. tonite, it’s my plan, after the moon goes up and the light is all over the land the way only darktime light can be, i am going to write. like, maybe even all nite long….
I’ve decided to waste my life again,
Like I used to: get drunk on
The light in the leaves, find a wall
Against which something can happen,
Whatever may have happened
Long ago—let a bullet hole echoing
The will of an executioner, a crevice
In which a love note was hidden,
Be a cell where a struggling tendril
Utters a few spare syllables at dawn.
I’ve decided to waste my life
In a new way, to forget whoever
Touched a hair on my head, because
It doesn’t matter what came to pass,
Only that it passed, because we repeat
Ourselves, we repeat ourselves.
I’ve decided to walk a long way
Out of the way, to allow something
Dreaded to waken for no good reason,
Let it go without saying,
Let it go as it will to the place
It will go without saying: a wall
Against which a body was pressed
For no good reason, other than this.
The thing about waves they teach wild wisdom better than any other teacher who stripped me filled me made me brave.
For days this week I’ve been thinking on that last September. Fall 2008, I lived on a place called Anngar Farm. Waves teach you: the ways of the season on a farm, how to host a garden, how to track the sun rise and set across the space of sky from winter to fall, how to know in your body how it moves bit by bit across the year across the sky, by watching for it at the tops of the trees. How to know in your body that eventually, movement, no matter how long it takes, always moves you back across the same ol space.
That last season, on the farm. The Fall that year ushered in the larger cycle of who I am, how I am, where I am now. It’s alive in me, greater wave set incoming, I SEE YOU from the space within where for years I’ve tracked your tide. My car is broken down. The dear upstairs neighbor I adore is replacing the battery for me. He works late nights on the weekend (means he sleeps late in the day) so it won’t happen til early next week. For which I feel SO relieved. Means I don’t have to go anywhere, do no thing. Ride my bike to the beach…
And deal in words, who are Alive in me the traipsing, living way. Words, like waves. Waves of Poet Mad-Eyed Vision-Making. Seasons-passing. Cycle-making. Cycles inside cycles. Cycles ready…as they always are, are we paying attention…?
*This post originally appeared on September 13, 2009, titled My First Time, on The Impulse Itself (2008-2013)
In September the tourists went home, it all sort of started when Felix came in early August which was also the time I kicked Kevin out of the house for the PCP. This left us, Suzette and me or the hot Tico Kiki who was way older which then meant like 35, with lots of time to holler back and forth to each other on our mics. Hurricane Felix was a big one and I got on the local news screaming kooks go home–the reporter was on 9th street, three up from us where the old deadhead house was, we learned from them early on where not to buy our drugs. Jerry died that summer, it was almost omen-ic: Deadheads by then couldn’t be trusted a lot of them were tweakers, everybody knew. I imagine the reporters edited me out, we didn’t have a tv so I never knew. We didn’t even know the hurricane was coming. I got off for my afternoon break and came home for a puff or jay and a swim or some food hopefully someone had some otherwise it was soft-pretzels from the Pier for free the only place I could surely get hooked-up. Sparky was the only dude around though, he was a squatter one of those 9th street kids. Besides Black Mike and Little Kid, the only ones still down to hang after I kicked Kevin out, there was Sparky. Sparky I never trusted cuz of the deadhead squatter thing but we still hung cuz my roommate thought he was the shit. He never had anything to offer he just came looking. We had nothing though since Kevin and the boys went, nothing at all. So instead me and Sparky just took a swim and it’s the only time I ever remember the Ocean slamming me again and again like a hard wood board. I swam hard but never never got to a place where she was settled and smooth so I could just float and roll. Like I said the Hurricane was coming but we didn’t know. No one else was on the beach though! Mom somehow got in touch with me and said to put all the stuff on the floor up so really that just meant my books and music on the lowest shelf. The pots and pans earlier in the summer, since we didn’t ever wash them, all got thrown out.
After Felix it was all different. Like I said, then it was just Black Mike who slept on the couch every night and also suggested we each sleep with a little switchblade under our mattress. Which is funny to me now, cuz like cousin Joey says a weapon will end up getting you in even more trouble if you dont know how to use it. And I for one, didn’t, no one ever taught me how.
But luckily we never had trouble. Kevin moved out, he and his boys trashed our house broke windows and the outside porch lights and tagged all over all our shit, then Felix came and after that everything changed. The alleys were more quiet, there was a lot more of the large grey sky. And when the sun was out it was ethereal again, funny yellow glow. I didn’t know it yet but that was the summer I first started to learn: there are tides that come and they move as one and they bring a certain power all their own, and they effect us all.
And the earth is where and how we learn.
By September it was cool already I had the greatest snaked Hoodie I lived in with holes down at the edge for my thumbs. Everyone was gone. Just 14 years ago, that’s all, but OC didn’t have the condo weekenders it’s so full of now. Even my aunt and uncle and grammy who lived summer here were gone, they had to go home to the county to teach school.
Which meant we ditched 6th street for my family’s house at the Pines, the girls and I, because it scared us being alone like that with just the beach rats who were hating on us and the ghosts that we heard again and again–no lie, the old fashioned player piano music or loud foot steps upstairs on the outside deck when for sure no one was there, or even the radios in our house that would go on without reason sometimes. Local folklore said the Broadripple on 14th, and our place too on 6th, were the original Bordellos from back in the day. It was mid-1800’s that the town came to be. But Wikipedia says the original Pier burned down in a fire in 1994, which isn’t true, the fire happened in the winter of 1995, winter after Felix, I remember because we drove over that winter to see. The fire took Morbid Manor and the waterpark, too; I smoked pot everyday in Morbid Manor in 95 then got to ride the water rides for free since I worked there, ran a betting game for the same guy who did Fool the Guesser, Suzette Kiki and me. And that fire took everything, all that, down. 1995 last of the Pier and the Manor, the Riptide Park and Jerry, too.
So me and Chrissy who worked Morbid Manor and loved a guy, Johnny, started hanging at the Pines. It was cool and vacant in town and I learned all at once to love September, the sheet clear blue sky, the white clouds puffy and bright as a smile. The way the water looked suddenly so navy blue. September, goddamn I learned to love you.
Suzette invited us over for for spaghetti that’s how I found out she was into selling and smoking crack. She got arrested later that winter which I learned the same night as I heard about the fire at the Pier. It sucked cuz she had a little one, I dont remember his name anymore he had brown hair with flints of yellow curl, he was three-years-old. Guess he’d be 17 now hope he’s not in jail. That night over spaghetti when I first found out about her drug of choice, it was the first time I ever got that gut-twisting sweaty-necked premonition-chill. It was September, the streets were flat and empty but she lived all the way downtown so the air from the inlet was coming off the water and was damp with a terrible cold. The sky was low and hung with thin grey clouds.
Addiction is a hell of a fucking disease.
In September now I come here every year weekend after Labor Day and have a reunion with old friends. Last night we were up to 3, boardwalk, dancing, talking, laughing and lots of quiet on the cool, white sand. Round 2am I walked past sixth street, Kevin is dead, I’m 9 years clean.
Everything is changed. And also, September, the clean earth and shushing sea, is just the same.
Moon tonight over Laguna Canyon
One of the roots for the term harvest moon comes from old european peasant ways. The season of agriculture and of grazing animals–who lived and feasted in the pastures–followed the growing cycles of the earth. Now is the time the final harvest is cut and hung, the last of the animals brought down.
Women’s mysteries have at the core these earth tides as well. It is said that the pineal gland, coined by Descartes as the seat of our soul or our third eye, is stimulated by moonlight. This gland regulates the endocrine system, which secretes melatonin (the happy chemical) and which dictates our hormonal and other rythmic cycles like sleep patterns. Dr. Christiane Northrup sites several scientific studies that draw links between the moons influence on these rhythms.
Depth psychology teaches that yin or anima energy, what some call the inner feminine, can be symbolized by the moon in our unconscious. Yang, or animus, is the sun. We learn from this resource of inner wisdom, the unconscious, by studying such symbols. The moon teaches us about nature as it passes through times of birth and death, light and dark. This is the inner anima function, what neuroscience tells us lives in the right hemisphere of the brain. It is a cyclical, process-oriented part of ourselves, like a web or a spiral instead of a checkerboard or bar graph. This right hemisphere dictates creativity, intuition, and other non-rational instincts, and when well-developed aids interhemishpere nueronal pathways. Basically, strengthening the creative, “inner” side of you contributes to a stronger, more-resourced logical function or left hemisphere, too! Picture a figure eight when you think of how you want your brain’s communication with itself to go.
The moon is also a sign of the Goddess or the divine feminine, and here we speak again of the women’s mysteries that value how life wisdom comes in cycles, the growing and dying of different versions of our selves again and again through out our life. The Goddess or divine feminine, the Holy Mother Mary for example, exemplifies the anima. We each need this function for full human development, to feel embodied and think in well-rounded, matured ways.
The Full Harvest Moon is especially active this week, and especially powerful in harnessing the depth of the dark anima, our inner soul or life power unmanifested in our unconscious. It draws this anima in to light, whatever shadow part or part of yourself you truly don’t want to look at (we all have these parts, it is a normal experience for all humans to hide pieces of themselves deep inside that they don’t want anyone to see). This is a truly transformative time, a time that can feel like your blood is cooking or bubbling up and it’s sort of true. The moon who regulates all fluids, like how she makes the ocean tides rise and fall, is cooking up your body rhythms too, right now. She’s cooking up your soul. Psyche is very active right now, that just means that in all of life there is a quickening. People are intrinsically connected to nature and the natural world, and the passing of this moon prepares us all now on our biological level for hibernation. There is a rush of life we can feel, like squirrels scattering for nuts, running just under our surface.
What part of you is aching to change? Let that big ol glory moon shine like a flash light in to the depths of who you are. Call those shadow parts that scare your psyche back to yourself while you can still see them as separate, prepare to transform them into assets as we near the darkest time of the year and winter. Ask yourself what you’re afraid of, hiding from, who your upset with, why? Ask yourself what’s going on. Take the time. Listen. Listen for the true response. The upcoming winter is a deep period meant for rejuvination and growth in our most unconscious but intimate levels, where the anima lives.
Our next new moon in the beginning of November is considered the lunar new year or Lunar Samhain in Celtic tradition, a time I hold as dear and holy. This tradition teaches that now is the time we honor the ancestors, and for me I have begun this with an ancestor candle on my alter tonight, in honor of the last peak of the growing or harvest season tomorrow night. I light it in reverence of the wisdom of life, which is what ancestors to me symbolize, the cyclical wisdom of all things moving on. I will keep these fires going, several candles with several meanings personal to just me, as signs of transformation in my own inner dark. Fire is light, the light of my own consciousness in my own dark. I will likely light them every night until the Lunar Samhain moon when those intentions, like seeds, are let go, cast into our deepest dark, in our psyche, where they will sleep and later take root, and grow.
This is the wisdom of the feminine. How all of life, from the deepest, darkest, most inner still-point and chaos, to the edge of the sun and the tops of the stars which will become someday grains of sand, it is all connected. What we do to one we do to the whole. We hold this awareness in gentle reverence and joy, and give homage all our moments by honoring life in all its forms, best we can.
We begin within.
Some writer days I’m just way more superstitious than others.
I burn the candles, beseech the angels, thank the saints.
Cast love about the place from the Holy Mother, get the sacred heart flame of Jesus fired up, too. Honor the goddess Earth, her sister Moon.
It’s because as any true writer will tell you, of the Duende. Spanish folklore reported the Duende as a goblin-like spirit that rouses up in us like hot-blooded possession, he who is phantom and different from the Muse, all bathed and transcendent in her ephemeral white. Muse is great for escape, anyway isn’t that what transcendence is? Duende is worth fighting for, for him you struggle and sweat and stay in the ring.
Duende is human, all the way…and people who know me know that’s what I honor, what to me is most sacred: profane, touching, our broken human life. It’s that for which I will always fight.
In any case, this week is the full moon. She peaks Thursday morning and so will be at her fullest in the night sky on Wednesday. She is the traditional Harvest moon, closest to the Fall Equinox which ushers in a whole new energy over the weekend. We’ve felt it coming since the New Moon, though. Hear it, sense it, feel it in the evening air?
I was sleepless last night under the white moonbath through my skylight in the loft. She was getting our attention. It is peak time for review of our year, what has grown, what blessings reaped. What sacred doubts? Sacred because it is how you will gather courage to regroup, and start again.
It’s too the time that these spirits will rise in us, as ghosts or angels, Duende or Muse, whichever one. This is the moon for that, Sacred Looking Moon, just before Fall.
I cried when Jon sang the words to the Traveling Song.
Just his voice, the snap-sounds of fire, the circle of ocean below us in a constant shhhhhushhhh.
One of those times noise actually makes you feel quiet. That’s how big it was, the silence in the night.
While you are away from your people
We do pray That balance you will find
In your heart and in your mind.
Cried isn’t right. Wept is more apt. I wept, the way tears are the only response when something is so right that there are no words. Or, perhaps, when something is so right because there are no words.
There are no words for where I have been. It has been a quiet, rounded, lonely place.
Summer Solstice was intense. My ritual intent was for Faith and Strength in my follow through as I sought to offer my gifts clearly to the world. Whale came, the second time she came this year and her presence was large, calm, singing, but in a way that I couldn’t hear her tune, only feel the resonance in my heart. Her message was clear: when you seek to dive deep and surface, I will protect. This happened during ritual in Maryland, when I was visiting Ocean Pines for my family reunion.
Within days of that I had the impulse to move home, and was offered a job at a homeless shelter doing circle or group work and women’s empowerment. Because of requirements for grad school and potential licensure for becoming a therapist, I have to put trainee hours in. This seemed in natural alignment.
Summer Solstice marks a change to Cancer, a cardinal water sign. Water is our emotions, the entry way to the depth of the soul. Cardinal means initiating, or starting. On an emotional level we are taking action when the end of June rolls around. It is also the time of the year that whatever we have been working on–inside us, or outward–comes to greatest fruit. My intent for the harvest year, which shows itself at the Solstice, had been to do the women’s work I am called to do–the very work that I believe brought me to California in the first place.
It is to the call of soul deep within that I have always listened, and always respond.
And so I quit my job in California, found buyers for my car and furniture, and a renter ready to take over my place. I left my writing group, said very painful goodbyes to the ones here in Socal that I’ve come to love, and arranged to fly back and forth to California for my second year of grad school. I would move home and concentrate on building a life in Maryland. With strong roots.
But it turned out there was a glitch in the state requirements for Maryland. It was a glitch that I had the potential to work around if I chose, it would take a lot of follow through, that is for sure. I found this out while away for seven days at school.
That glitch immobilized me. It brought to light my old issues around systemic wrongs in todays non-profit world, in business and institutions in general, the kind of issues that burnt me out when I worked in social services for a decade in my twenties. I suddenly wasn’t able to make a decision. Worse, I wasn’t able to stay strong. My energy left me. It was the oddest experience for a person like me. It was a false-start.
Women on the Wisdom Path must learn about these initiations, what happens when a false-start comes, and the power of Ritual and Intent. This is classic today: we have lost touch with the ways of the soul and so false-initiations often occur, and confuse and drain us. They can also cause an obstacle that might look like a dead-end.
My dead-end was a time of traction–which means when we are held still. Traction causes a necessary tension. Because in the work of the dying and rebirthing of our deep self, of our soul, it takes tension to bring the shit up to the surface. And make no doubts about it–that is what the soul requires, to toil, to acknowledge, to sit in the shit. That’s who whale is, one who comes from way down deep, to show how to rise. Soul work is not about overcoming challenges. Soul work isn’t transcendent. The embodied feminine nature isn’t about overcoming with force. It is about sitting still in it, letting the dark, the shit, the funk rise. It is about reclaiming the parts where we have lost what is vital. It is the lead we have to carry forth to work eventually in to gold.
I am in therapy. Gratefully my school requires it of those studying to become therapists themselves. Equally, I keep sacred time each day, and have amazing, empowered sisters to help me do the kind of depth ritual work I want so badly to bring back to the world. That was my intent: Strength and Faith in follow through. I couldn’t follow through. The seeming dead-end helped me see the roots down in the shit.
To build strong roots, sometimes the old ones–crippled, weak, embittered–must be dug out. I didn’t want to look at that but because of my Intent, was forced.
Wild women wisdom, the path of embodied soul and integration in the web of life–is just that: Wisdom. And with Wisdom comes responsibility. This is and always has been my first commitment: the soul path.
Tonight’s New Moon peaks in the morning near 4:30 on the Pacific coast. It ushers in a brand new cycle. The Fall Equinox comes during this moon cycle. It will bring initiating Air energy. This means there is a sense of taking action in the realm of our thoughts. This is the Wild Wisdom Path: Fall is West on the Medicine Wheel, when we consider what has past, when we use our thoughts for reflection. Fall (different from Libra) is the element of Water, which again is soul, depth. Libra’s Initiating Thought energy brings new inspiration in how we relate when we take the time to reflect on the depth of our life.
This, for you wise women and men out there, is the energy you feel beginning to settle from deep within.
As for me, I am not going to Maryland. I am staying put. To build strong roots, sometimes the old ones must be dug out…
That balance I will find, in my heart and in my mind.