In Oregon the Breitenbush river is a color of steel-teal that exists no other place on the earth and this must be partly because of the non-negotiable trees. It is easy to be grounded and feel at one in your place in a place like this. It is easy to revere the miracle of dirt: seasons of evergreen, of winter’s death and dying on into spring’s plenty and rebirth. Steps in the same dance. Willamette!! Land of gushing fat waters and springs, land of special color of trees. You taught me long ago the way of tree breath. Fog drip drop drinking, drinking in-out rhythm of water-air. How it feels when the trees give gifts of this. Subtle pine touch. The gentle sweetness of pine breath on skin.
The new moon was Monday. I was coming down from the Mountain which makes me laugh to write it but no for real, North of the Bay California on up to the Olympics, for me it’s one long extended two decades now of retreating then coming down off various mountains. Learning to speak bioregion. Unlocking the practical wisdom of the earth’s cyclic codes. So yea retreating and returning at once, had to catch me a plane back to the east coast.
The dark moon phase, that VOID CHAOS SPACE of deepest dark, was this past weekend.
So this past weekend, as the daylight grew shorter and shorter towards the peak of our year’s longest night tonight!!–the moon fell to her darkest phase, hidden from the totality of the sunlight. Sunday we experienced not the longest night of the year, but the darkest.
I was sitting with poetry in the Hot Springs on retreat with my brother Paul and Sita his dear love. They are Creative Advisory members of the Free School and they held space for me at their home in mountainside to dip in to that depth of deep sweet, yummy darkness, inky blackslide into mountainside stone, inky slide into infinite space oh those healing waters of surrounding mountain chains. Deep in, to do my own cleanse before winter~tonight~begins.
The dark, winter, death, the depths, dying. The dark, yin, passive, rest, renewal. The dark, anima. Realm of the Feminine. What some Catholics or mystics call Sophia. Gateway to the Soul.
Dark moon of the month on the dark moon tide of the year. And into tonight, the longest night. The entryway to Winter. We move now North on the medicine wheel. At sunset tonight we tend this passing, and it is movement that will show itself if you get outside, or take time to soften and relax inside of you, too. Transitory, transition. IN Between Space.
I just adore that winter is North on the wheel because that is associated with forward direction. And Winter’s element is Earth, and mama Earth at this time teaches us about dormancy. So the true direction, our next right step together? North? The needed ingredient for rebirth.
Let rest be our forward, healing direction.
Sacred Rest. Sacred Rest and internal, deep reordering, metabolic stillness the thick softness of slumber to help us reset.
Winter Solstice is a time connected to the Divine Mother. It is when we revere our matrilineal lines, and all our ancestresses. The holy power of birth as Solstice is too the celebration of the Return of the Sun and darkness decreasing! How only from the dark the light comes. How this darkness initiation gives way to life, how this wisdom teaches of life’s changes, we celebrate the many small deaths, the space this creates, the room for new growth, ever onward in a long cyclic dance. How the wisdom of the feminine is the wisdom of this fluidity, is the wisdom of the necessity of every aspect in the continuum.
Demetra George reminds of the many names of the dark aspect associated with the feminine, and it’s a meaningful meditation for the year. The world around, stories and cultural, sacred, and religious traditions root us to an archetypal realm full of depth for our exploration. The dark feminine “is called Kali in India, Hekate and Persephone in Greece, Lilith in the Near East, Fresh-kigal in Sumeria, Morgana in Britian, and Hel in Scandinavia. Moira, the Fates, the Fureis, Medusa, Medea, Crice, Nemesis, Nyx, the Gorgons, the Sirens, the Black Madonna, Cerrwiden, Nepyths, Black Isis, Oya, Coatlicue, Mother Holle, Baba Yuga, the Black Dakini, the Terrible Mother, the Bad Fairy and the Wicked Witch are some of her other names(p 29).”
Knowing my own dark feminine has meant courage. Courage at night when I can’t sleep, in morning meditation time during struggles and prayers to keep my heart in the game anyhow, courage keeping my tongue in relationships that are hard. Courage to challenge the self-thoughts of judgement and shame, the particular scrutiny of perfection addiction, that specific internalization of misogyny that only women can know.
My dark feminine knows what it’s like to live in a culture that says her stories are dark. Are the dark reflection of society. Are demon and dark, satanic or occult. Are not allowed to connect me to my unique narrative and exploration, sexuality and emotions, sensuality and biology. Are used against me to keep me out of my own body, to marginalize being in my own skin.
The Dark Feminine Narrative and Stories, if we reembody them, or encourage each other to tap in and rewrite them as our own, we know what it’s like to live in a culture that calls this sin.
Embracing this kinda darkness requires the grit that only living with this kind of darkness could create! We were made for these times. Sing it from the hills.
So I left the Mountain. Left too the Oregon Coast where I was celebrating the wise women. These spiritual, soulful elders that have shown me how to walk my walk a day at a time laughing and reveling, courageously cackling, all the way. These elder wise women. Time on the Mountain only counts when you embody it day to day. But to do that the body needs time. This Time on the Medicine Wheel leads us in to dropping in and relaxing. Celebrate. Drop in and transition. Drop in to bed! Let the reset happen. Man or woman, how does the feminine as sacred exist in your life?
I send my roots down to the Earth as the circle of the year turns us North and Winter here is barren and life lives underground. I root to my roots, send thanks and honor, prayers and love to the lineage of strong females whose lives and hands and hearts midwifed lives and hands and hearts that midwifed lives and hands and hearts all the way down to mine in a million different ways, that I do the same that I do the same that I do the same,
my dark feminine soaks in this infinite wish, and sends love~
To all beings blessings and love, in the light spiritedness and whole soulfulness, in the body, in the heart, of unconditional love may all beings be blessed and
Happy Winter to All.
~ ~ ~
prayers and love to beth and paul h and ana and amy and kristina and jotto all of whom hit me up in the center of this reverie with poetry, prayers and love and prayers and love reader, to you~
Nothing teaches you the patience life requires better than life itself. A basic axiom that even kicking and fighting each of us are tasked to learn: Letting go. That is the medicine I am finding myself practicing this week, as we enter the stillness of the lunar reset, the void chaos-rest space of the balsamic moon. I don’t know about you guys but my energy is sure on that wane. Being reminded of the power and the struggle: accepting that over other people, and over the variety of possible manifestations of the future in the right now, I have no control.
Ohhh life!! And how I’ve learned and relearned! That in letting go, space is always created. And spaciousness allows softness, tenderness, the capacity to move, to relax, to receive. To grow…
This is the medicine of right now on the year’s wane. This week’s new moon is the gnostic entry into the Underworld, the third and final harvest rite. The women’s wisdom or celtic earth path calls this Lunar Samhain and the women in my women’s circle seemed all to resonate to the same theme: Finally, We Enter Darkness. Sacred Invitation to Rest.
First, however, the pitch and UnRest! Of Lunar Samhain.
Traditional Samhain, known also as the more mundane Halloween, is about the relationship between peak fruition of fertility into the lean of life force completing its whole potentiality by decreasing and dying. We hate death and dying, ward off the dark by dressing up as the creatures and monsters we fear at Halloween. But what of the wisdom? What of the medicine of the dark? Letting go and surrendering is a process of absorbing and reflecting all at once, holding all the growth and reintegrating all of the different aspects this year of “Us”. Accepting, no judgment, no shame. All of the experiences that lived through you and who and how you’ve been shaped. This is now a distilling process, clarification by review of all this, and release…
And that can feel tense, flat. Still. Exhausting. Remember, it is the dark moon motion to hold us in a entropy feel. The moon cycle that will come after will increase the length of nighttime darkness more and more until winter is ushered in. For me, with a small gentle sigh and lean, it has felt like the active alchemy of opening my heart even though I don’t want to because it’s getting dark!! but trust is an action word, so allowing what I am carrying this year, all that I have fed and tended and grown, to fulfill its course with or without my control.
Patience, acceptance, letting go. Lunar Samhain: trusting the process of dark, of what we can not see. Of the passive power of energy wane, of decrease… and renewal.
Harvest season exists the world around and is one of the most ancient of all rites. Every person every place has a place that raised her and as long as there’s been life on MaMa Earth, this holds true. Her seasons move in increase and decrease, and so at Samhain we allow this letting go. It is time too of the religious holidays of All Saints and All Souls Days and Sukkoth, as well as the reverence for ancestors and death as a divine power of life during Los Dias De Los Muertes, and is also connected to a variety of both ancient goddess venerations and modern agricultural festivals. The weather changes, it is reflected in the length and depth of dark shadows, the steady motion of wind whisper in the tops of trees, the burnish bronze of late season light in the leaves and colors. We go on hayrides, drink hot cider, pick pumpkins and other seasonal gourds.
I like the earth path because our custom as American’s is the Harvest tradition of Thanksgiving, but gently tending blessings and harvests now, and letting go and space-making through out the Fall usually helps me walk into the holidays mindfully and with minimal chaos. This week especially we mind mind, note tensions and what is living, what is lost. What makes us feel uncomfortable if we have to hold still! We note life’s living/letting go wisdom, the transient power of bittersweet joy/pain over getting to experience without always being able to control. When we consider the station of Fall and the West on the medicine wheel, we think of sunset, of that precious moment of last light on the horizon. We recall that ultimately, all things pass.
And the new day will come again.
And so it is often my practice at Samhain tide to revere, among my blessings of the year and what must be let go, my ancestors. When I remember those that are no longer here, I see the ways in which I am a living growing example of their seeds. What a miracle this is, how I get to be tilling the ground for my own life’s accumulations and legacies tomorrow, and how none of that could’ve happened without my own ancestral and community webs.
From what and where do we seek our values, and how? How do we practice this, and how do our energies align? What is our legacy, what will we leave? How do we repay the gifts our elders have bestowed upon us, and how do we practice accountability and responsibility to any ruptures, injuries, or wounds? To whom are we connected, and how? Am I accountable?
How are my relations? There is not a more powerful time in our history, as far as the four short decades I have been here that is, to ask questions like these.
The power of consciousness: choosing to witness and be mindful in your own life. To say thanks, to tend your tides of growth and release, of the season’s fruits being turned back to the earth. Marking with reverence the accompanying cycles of letting go, rest, renewal, death, rebirth. Knowing that all we can do is be true to our own self right now, and take whatever small actions we can just for today, allowing the heart to soften into the knowing of right now is plenty, is enough, embodying such wisdom… These, the lessons of reflection put into practice as the natural season ushers in the Underworld this week with Lunar Samhain. How that can burn, to open the heart in such a posture of releasing and allowing, how it can feel so counter to life’s frenzy, to pause right now. Be still. Be still with the wane. The release. Acknowledge the power of the season of the dark.
A good day to look back over your month and consider the growing cycle, as well as mindfully tend what’s been active in Psyche all weekend long…