Through no choice of our own, we are all being called to pull inward, to the comfort of the hearth fire. To our homes. At night I dream of old homes and new. Of fireplaces in rooms they have never been before. Reality is teased into new forms and one wonders what is real.
No doubt I am not the only one who is losing track of dates and even minutes. Each day feels like a Saturday, wrapped inside of itself like the planet in the distant sky. There is comfort to staying within. Avoidance, though, does not always equal protection.
The further we retreat inside, the more we are beckoned by what resides within the shadows. As we walk the familiar hallways of our “homes,” the eye is pulled to see what it has easily overlooked due to the hustle of distraction.
Never before, in my lifetime, have I felt the collective pull into the present moment. Each breath feels like a gift. Each inhale an opportunity to receive or let go. As I healer, I have come to know the feel of fear and how it likes to wrap the chest like armor. I will protect you, it whispers promise.
Fear lies. The promise of protection becomes a trap when it is held for too long. The breath shortens and becomes shallow. Instead of coursing on the wave of life throughout the body, it pounds for freedom off the walls of the chest.
I cannot help but think often of the breath during these days that feel like one endless cycle of rebirth. Within the endless minute I notice how long my body holds air before it lets go. How much life it is willing to take inside, and how much it is willing to let go.
We may cling to the belief that there is little we can now control, but this too is a false whisper belonging to fear. Never before, perhaps, have most of us been given a greater opportunity to take hold of the reins and ride into wild freedom, or pull tightly into restraint.
By freedom, I do not intend to imply a reckless abandonment of judgement. True freedom is a personal ride to find one’s own natural rhythm among the outer rhythm of life. When the outer slows down its hustle, the opportunity to find the cadence within is opened, its dance tantalizingly electric.
The outer eyes collapse into the inner and life is explored in new ways. Dormant seeds begin to find the light you bring to them, and new growth starts to take hold and even flourish. When the outer world as we knows it collapses into a new fold, so too must we.
Even though the dance may at first feel awkward, Joy’s hand is always there ready to be grasped. My own inner journey during this long stretch of Saturdays, has found me exploring virtual yoga. Instead of grasping the familiar of avoidance, I found it was time to let go resistance and find a new home teaching remotely, through a screen.
This new gift of collapsing space to find connection through a screen brought some frustration until I acknowledged the vice of Fear attempt to trap. And there was Joy on the other side. Waiting for to laugh we me at the missteps. Waiting to take my hand and waltz into this new land. Joy never promises the dance will be easy, but it always lead with the light of truth.
Hope took a deep breath and inhaled the sky. Fear slid behind her into the recesses of Night as New Day slipped over the land. A land long-troubled by the burden of Misuse and Misunderstanding.
As she stood atop the hill, Hope thought about the green spreading over the barren patches of earth. A sense of wistful longing took hold of her heart and she smiled. It had been a long time since she had smiled. Even longer since she had laughed. Yet, beneath her feet, Hope now felt a tingling. The Earth was waking her children. It was subtle, but Hope knew it to be Life stirring through the Long Darkness.
Her veins began to hum a quiet song, and Hope new it to be Harmony.
Harmony had not been a part of Hope’s life before the breaking of New Day. She had lived a long time. A very long time. She had watched and waited. Her feet stumbling over Dissonance. Cracks in the landscape ever-widening, instead of rejoining. Before the New Day had dawned, Hope was starting to feel Despair in each footstep. Faith had become a long-lost friend and Hope knew only Loneliness.
And then the sky had changed its worn and tattered cloak of gray and dawned the New Day filled with the blush of pink and Hope felt that stirring to breathe deep and full its promise. If she had felt it. So would the others. Soon they would return. Coming out of their caves of Isolation to feel the stir of Harmony. And when they did Love would rekindle its fire and spark the Light of Unity in each heart.
Hope could hardly wait for the Dance of Life to begin.
For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt challenge, #wistful
I had a feeling Sue was going to post a photo that would align with what brought me out of sleep early this morning…
The men saw the mighty crown rising over the earth and raised their spears in ecstatic joy. “The land is ours to claim,” they yelled, walloping each other on the backs. “Let us go now, before others find what we now see.”
So they set off, gathering their women and children, their knives and axes, and whatever provisions their horses could hold. They waited until night, carving a path through the land with their footsteps and scythes, oblivious in their revelry that they were walking the path of stars.
They arrived before dusk, to an eerie mist hovering over the stones. One man shuddered. Another gasped. It was the wee child, barely three years of age, who spoke what they were all thinking, “They look like teeth.”
And so they did. The crown, that seemed to shine golden in the light of the sun, now appeared as fearsome fangs. Monstrous in their size, the teeth pierced the mound of earth, rose above the mist, and circled the moon.
Only the women remained quiet. There was no need for them to speak. What they knew to be truth had stirred the embers of their hearts. Soon, they thought as one, the reckoning will begin.
It was 3:30 in the morning when my husband got up to use the bathroom and I woke from an owl peering at me. A Great Horned Owl.
I had been walking at dusk down the roads nearby my house. When I arrived at the crossroads in my dream, I turned towards my left, the direction of home. There he was, getting ready for flight.
You have returned to guide me.
I was sure it was Eagle. I had seen the white of his tail as he stood. The white crown of his head, turned to face me, was unmistakable.
And then he transformed into Owl. Feathered features became nearly camouflaged into the darkening day, but unmistakable were the ears. They were tufted into horns.
She rose to take the place of the one I had depended upon for so long. The bird of great strength and vision. Filled with yang energy, Eagle showed me how to harness the sun and look with keen vision at the world below. The guide of the nation that I call home. A bird sacred to the native people whose voices were silenced, their stories erased. A guide stolen to adorn the new nation. The great horned owl calls us to hear the truth that has been hidden. The truth that many refuse to hear.
I had a lot to think about. So much, that each time I tried to will my mind back to sleep, it would write lines for me to record. And, so, at 4am I rose, thinking of everything that the birds were telling me. Three in total, but more on the third later, as well as the white light blinking over my neighbor’s garage, Strange, it has never done that before, like a beacon in a lighthouse, calling a ship home.
It was all starting to come together.
Yesterday, before I went to bed, I had been cleaning out the office room. Culling through books and dusting shelves before I tackled the plastic storage unit filled with photos and various mementos of memories. I hadn’t sorted it, just added to it, since the year my son was born. That was nearly 15 years ago. Now seemed to be the right time.
To get to it, I had to move pictures resting on the floor and not on our walls. I chose only one to rehang. An owl with tufted ears made over scraps of words by my son years ago. I took a nail and found a place amidst the other art that adorns our stairwell. Choosing a spot a hands-width from the railing, I knew it would be bumped, and might even fall upon someone’s descent. Oh well, I thought. I’ll place it there anyway. Its silver frame standing out amid all the blacks, bumped lightly on my way down this morning.
In the dream that pulled me from sleep, it was not Eagle’s voice who replied, but Owl’s, I am the one guiding you now.
The “you,” felt like a “we.”
A few days ago, I was drawing cards for someone else. Someone who was considering a new path in life that would also affect me and those I hold dear. The first card I drew was the Queen of Cups. The Significator Card. The Queen who has guided me since I shuffled my first Tarot deck many years ago.
It had been awhile since I had been called to bring forth the cards, but they still brought a feeling of home to my hands. There she was, sitting on her throne. Her familiar face gazing upon the chalice in her hands. Her feet, crossed at the ankles, blue like the water around her. Baby mermaids gazing down at her, a cherub nestled, partly hidden, at the base of her throne, while her eyes fix on the golden chalice, too large for one hand, held in her grasp.
Strange, I had never paid much attention to the right foot hiding the left. The left hand touching lightly the hold of the right as it balances the hold of the chalice. So intent she/I was on the vessel.
I have been dreaming about water a lot at night, but that is nothing new. Water is my primary element, followed by earth. It pulls me into my dreams, and into the hidden realms within.
When I woke early this morning from the owl, I knew her to be female. Whereas Eagle embodies the divine masculine energy of the universe, Owl is a master of the divinely feminine forces. Owl rules the night. She sees through the darkness, a guide of the hidden. She asks us to explore the paths we like to hide, guiding us through the shadowland to get back “home” to the true self. She is master of the element of water, whereas eagle, her masculine counter-part, dives by day into the element of water for sustenance when he is not ruling the sky. He is part water and part earth, but mostly he is air and fire.
When Covid-19 started spreading rapidly across our globe, I kept thinking about the fires it was replacing. All those fires ravaging the lands across Earth, extinguishing so much precious life. Feeding fears of survival worldwide.
Now we have a corona viral host trying to nest in our lungs. If it brings death, it feels like drowning. It is nearly undeniable there is a struggle of forces occurring within and outside of us. A struggle for a return to balance.
About a week ago, I had another dream that woke me. I had been walking another path. This one filled with the light of day. Blindly wrapped in my own thoughts, I passed a large doll severed at the waist, and thought of Russian nesting dolls, instead of seeing it for what it was.
It didn’t wait long to catch me. Before I had taken a few steps beyond its severed bottom, the doll took life. The bottom half rejoined the top, and it began to chase me. Look at me? See me! You cannot escape me, it glared into my face. I recognized her by her teeth, long gnashing fangs.
Years ago, I took a shamanic journey to meet fear. I thought I would be afraid at what I saw, but I wasn’t. Instead, I discovered that it was both empowering and a relief to look at the face of my fear. Before me was an almost shapeless form, like a nesting doll, but all black. Its skin glistened like tar. The only feature recognizable as living was its face. Its dominate features were long, white teeth, shaped into fangs.
And so it would appear fear has made her return to me, calling out to be seen. I don’t think I’m alone. There is a global fear, in the form a virus trying to find a host inside of us. It is already taking over life and destroying life as we are used to knowing it.
It is difficult not to feel fear right now. To feel uprooted and insecure. It’s difficult to know what to do, or where to turn to for security and comfort.
Yesterday, while I was taking a shower, I found myself inside the image of a giant redwood tree. There I sat, cradled into the base of her trunk. Held inside this nest created by this mighty tree, rooted firmly to Mother Earth, with her boughs extended towards the sky and sun, I felt safe. I felt home.
Many of us have been washing our hands excessively, using water and soap to rid ourselves of the fears of being contaminated by a virus that is transmitted by salivary excretions. Trying to remove unseen forces that threaten to take hold of our lives. Even if the virus itself has not found a host inside of our bodies, it has found a host inside of our minds.
This fear has severed us at the waist. We are hoarding toilet paper irrationally. The virus does not attack our guts, but our lungs, yet we have allowed ourselves to become uprooted by our fears. We are buying more food then we need, leaving others to go without. We are scrambling for stability while the foundations we have so long depended upon are crumbling around us.
I have been walking a lot outside, as many of us have who are spending time outdoors in nature to try to lesson the communal spread of the disease. When I am outside, I feel connected. The inner joy starts to spark its light within. The roads, these days, are scattered with more people and dogs, then they are with cars. Seeing fellow walkers pass by, fills me with hope. Each time I journey outside, I see or hear a woodpecker. Most days it’s a pileated. Flying over my path, calling form the trees. This is not usually such a common companion to my days, and I am grateful for the gift of its constant, guiding presence. The pileated, which I, have been referring to as my “feathered seer” for nearly three years, has become nearly a constant companion in this time of unrest.
The pileated woodpecker, with its cardinal-like crown of red feathers, and streak of crimson at its throat, has a lot to teach us about fear. The color red is symbolic of fear and also of love. It is the color of our root chakra, and also the color of the blood that gives us life.
I have now seen The Queen of Cups card from Tarot three times in the last three days. Once drawn by my hand, the other two times by people whose blogs I happened to come across. I was not searching for her, but she has found me again. She has found all of us. And, so has Judgement and Fire.
Three times, in the same manner, I have seen the Judgement card and the Two of Wands. I have also seen the fiery wands held in struggle in one path, the air of freedom in another.
There are many ways to read the cards, and one must follow the guidance within to understand their messages in light of the circumstances one is working with. Each time I see the Judgement card, I am given the image of rebirth. The card literally shows naked bodies rising from caskets floating upon water. Could there be a more fitting card for our time?
The word “judgement” is subjective. The human mind judges, the higher mind does not. This card, next to the Two of Wands, strengthens the choice we seem to be offered by this viral pandemic that can be perceived as a harsh, or even cruel, gift. That is the choice of our free will. We can face our fears and explore the shadowland of the self in the path back to unity and balance, igniting the true light along the way, or we can succumb, as we have many times in our collective history, to the fear that severs and divides us.
The Two of Wands literally offers us the world in our hands. The old path, the wand to the right, is being traded for the new/truth path, as the querent takes the staff to his left, while holding the world in the palm of his right hand. He has, it appears, chosen his inner truth to become his new guide. Before him is a land open and fresh, wrapped in the embrace of water. The womb of Mother Earth.
Can we, collectively and individually, make the return to our true roots? Can we face our fears and weave the broken threads of our global community back into unity? Can we clear that which threatens to drown us individually, and realize that we are all, in essence, seeds from the same source? All elements reside inside all of us. There is light, and also darkness. There is the sun, and also the moon. Long, long ago, our ancestors knew that when fire joined in perfect balance with water, united through spirt/air and rooted in earth, the true, divine star of the self thrived.
The birds give me hope. Their paths can guide us back home.
“You know what it’s like to be brainwashed,” someone close to me wrote on my Facebook wall in response to a post about our current political crisis. The words have echoed through me ever since. I lived a childhood, that extended well into adulthood, haunted by lies. I was fed half-truths, skewed truths, and false-truths so often they became my truths. I know what it’s like to be brainwashed to the point of belief.
My personal story may be unique, but I believe brainwashing is a problem that is spreading like the wildfires across our planet.
The source of brainwashing, like anything that goes against truth, is fear. I am not a mental health professional, but I have learned a few things about fear and its insidious effects that can lead to the brainwashing of its subjects.
Fear takes hold of the mind that looks for something to control its darkness. It seeks dominion above all else, seizing upon our greatest weaknesses to hold fast its power until its subjects succumb to its lies.
When fear over-powers truth, the mind becomes a haven for lies and the body follows suit. One need only to look at the Tweets flying through the airwaves and the memes plastering social media to realize fear’s struggle for dominion. Right now it looks a lot like fear is winning, along with its lies, as its insidious wave of brainwashing takes over its populace.
So why do we let fear take this type of hold on us? I believe the answer resides in our most basic need. To love and be loved. When this becomes tenuous and conditional, fear sets in at our roots, destabilizing the structure that we rely upon for our survival.
To begin to free ourselves of fear’s hold, we must return to our roots and ask where did fear begin? What is its source? Who is feeding it to me? And, why am “I” trying to nourish “myself” with it?
When I look at my own path to fear-fed brainwashing, I see similarities in what is occurring in our political system. In both, the parental/governing parties hold the roots of fear. Those that sit atop authority, hold the reins of dominion that promise protection at the cost of our loyalty. It’s nearly impossible not to become a victim of brainwashing, if those that we depend upon for our survival, and for love, are “nurturing” us with lies.
There is, perhaps, no stronger bond that exists than the one between a parent and its child, especially the mother-child bond. This, bond, I believe, is paramount in our current crisis with the truth.
A mother feeds her child with her life-giving blood before birth. If we extrapolate from the mother who feeds and births the individual, to the mother who feeds and nurtures the whole, we arrive at the root of our present day crisis, which is occurring on a global scale.
In the majority of the areas of the world we have labeled “first world,” we have, in essence, de-evolved over the course of thousands of years. What we would label as “progress” has been an uncensored growth of advancements that have occurred through the force of the “parental/governing” ego. A progress that has been fed from the top, but does not often trickle down to nurture the children who are in most need.
Unsettling the natural state of balance even more, is the vast majority of this rapidly progression of unchecked progress has been at the incredible expense of the Mother in the form of our planet. A planet that is designed to nurture and feed all her children, in equal measure to meet their basic needs, but not to serve “man”kind only.
Yet, our most powerful nations were built upon a discontenting from their true source. The life-giving “blood” taken from the Mother (Earth) that feeds us all, robbing in the process, more than our share, and stolen without reverence. It has been a righteous taking of more than is needed. Reverence and honor of the Mother has been long forgotten for most of our societies. As a result, the Earth has suffered and so have we.
I cannot help but think about the poignant symbolism that is dividing the nation I live in and how it is reflected by the colors of our chakras. Red is associated with the republican party here in the US, while blue is the color of the democratic. Our nation is founded upon polarity, it is part of our roots.
Yet, each side holds fast to its truths, not realizing that a balanced nation is akin to a balanced body.
If we look at the chakra system, we see that red is associated with the color of the root chakra. It is considered the first of our major energy systems in the body, supporting our foundation. The root chakra is therefore associated with our very survival. It is what develops first in the growing human. The root chakra is fed through our connections to our family/clan/nation. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by a foundation of fear and false truths, it becomes us.
A balanced and healthy root chakra, on the other hand, is nourished by the grounding energy of the Mother source. Not our birth mother, but the Mother of all life. Our source of this living-giving “blood” comes from our planet. If we break this Mother-child bond, as we have allowed ourselves to do over many centuries, we become destabilized. We start to cling to other foundations that are false, and that are more often than not, fed by the ego’s fear of not being in control.
The color blue, in the chakra system, is associated with the area that resides in and around the area of our throat. It feeds our entire communication system as it extends down the neck and out the hands, as well as up to the ears. When it is healthy, the throat chakra enables us to hear the truth and discern it from that which are lies. It also guides us in speaking truth with compassion, love, and trust. A healthy throat chakra knows that Truth is a universal law that supports all life. It is not individually divided, but a web that weaves through and unites all life.
When our throat chakra is compromised, the energy in these systems of the body contract in distrust of “others” and of the self (although this is not usually acknowledge by the self). We are seeing this now. Our media is swarming with information that cannot be trusted due to the fear-driving ego-centric sources that are feeding it. A massive brainwashing of the populace, aka, “children,” is occurring through the false truths of their governing bodies, aka, “parents.” We are at point of extreme polarity. The left half in battle with the right. The red fighting with the blue, instead of uniting with the common good. We have forgotten that we are each halves of the same body, seeking union, true stability, and nurturing. We have forgotten how to discern truth from lies, because we have bi-passed the heart at our center, the place of pure knowing, as we cut the roots off from the Mother-blood and constricted our throats and ears from the universal voice of Truth.
And so it is that chaos has taken the reins, and we are left awash in a swirl of angry, divisive energy. Pointing fingers in accusation, and hurling abuses ate each other as though we are in constant battle with parasites. Instead of realizing that the other we hurt, is actually ourselves. The true parasite: the darkness of our own fear we refuse to extract and transmute into light.
It’s a gray day here in New Hampshire. Raining when it probably should be snowing. The temperature, warm enough to open windows. My phone tells me it’s 59 degrees outside. Soon it will be 60, but tomorrow will bring a nearly 30 degree drop in temperature, and on Tuesday it should be snowing.
Yesterday, when I was out with the dogs and my son in the balmy air, I recalled walking in Boston more than twenty years ago, in January. It was a surreal day. Ninety degrees in the city. In January. A few years prior, there was an April Fool’s snowfall that dumped two feet of snow on my car in Providence. The weather has been extreme for decades now. Yet it still feels strange. Surreal.
I am not comfortable with this new normal. Now, most days, the atmosphere sparks with the unpredictable. Or, rather, what shouldn’t be predicted. It can be incomprehensible how we cling to old ways, even when we should change them.
Last night, my husband and I watched the movie Tolkein, and more than anything else, I was grabbed by the scenes of war. No wonder, I kept thinking, he wrote what he did. I was filled with frustration as I watched scenes I try to avoid in books and movies of a senseless and barbaric act we’ve woven into the fabric of humanity since nearly the beginning of our time here on Earth. To the victor goes the spoils of the greatest number of lives extinguished.
In these moments, I’m acutely reminded of the chaos of our chosen existence. The swirling darkness that lives inside of us. How we strive for power by killing life. The irony is sometimes too much to bear.
Outside my open window, it sounds like a tropical symphony. Birds sing as though it is spring and the lichens on the lilacs wear a stunning shade of aqua beside a vibrant green moss. Looking at it brings me comfort. It soothes my troubled heart. As does the happy confusion of wild birds in January.
Nature accepts more easily than I do, and I am grateful that I can turn to its soothing balm to temper my troubled soul. Acceptance can be hard to embrace these days. It can feel as helpless as it is freeing. Inside of it, though, is the knowing that I have chosen to be here in this time, as we all have. To play some uncertain role that I often cannot define. To move through each moment with an intention to cling to more grace than anger. More love than hate. And more forgiveness than resentment. And, what a challenge for this we have been given.
It hurts my heart to look at the photos and I know millions are crying with me. There is no grasping for logic inside this incomprehensible tragedy, as there is none. We can blame ourselves, and perhaps we should. Ignorance turning a blind eye for too long. Greed over-riding altruism. But, when it comes down to it, most would not have wanted what we are facing right now: an Earth, our home, filled with incredible and horrific suffering. I am thinking right now of the wildfires raging through Australia, as they have raged through California, Alaska, and so many other places across the globe in recent time. So many lives lost, millions of animals and plants gone. The innocent, suffering the worst.
We can blame ourselves, and perhaps we should. But, little good comes from looking backwards unless we are willing to change the patterns of our ways. In the midst of this horrific tragedy, I see the enduring light of hope. Eyes being opened, where they have been shut. Hearts joining in their collective sorrow seeded from love. That light that unites us all, igniting to extinguish the murderous blaze.
It was the late Fred Rogers who urged us to “look for the helpers (heroes)” when the unspeakable occurs. Right now, at this moment, the world is filled with them. Locals opening their doors to homeless wildlife in need of shelter. The wealthy and not so wealthy sending funds towards the efforts to abate the flames. Countless hearts joined in prayer and song calling for rain. And, all those firefighters risking their own lives to save another. This is love.
And, in some incomprehensible way, perhaps it is needed. A friend on social media made the observation yesterday that when a photo of Australia had appeared on her screen upside down, she thought it looked like a heart. It does, in a way. A misshapen heart breaking open. It also looks like a woman’s pelvis, expanding to birth. There are legends about Australia and the sacred lands in and around Uluru. Some consider these ancient lands to be the womb of Earth, and I find myself wondering if this incredibly painful rebirth we are experiencing is part of an awakening. Or, at least a call to an awakening. The future is shaped by our hands, just as the past was. How much more can the heart endure before it breaks open into love? Not just for the self, but for the other, in whatever form that other takes.
I have hope for better days to come. Australia is opening another doorway for us, just as all past tragedies have. We can enter it holding hands, find the scattered pieces of life inside, and do what we can to make our world whole again. We can, because we must. There is no longer a choice. Another doorway for us. There is only one. In essence, there has only, ever, been one. The one through the heart. Let us step through it together. Let us change our broken ways and mend this broken womb so that we can find a rebirth of what unites us all.