When I wrote my first post this year way back in January I didn't know when I would write again. I've had quite a few ups and a lot more downs. I also stated that I was putting my efforts towards my fiction, and I have been. That has been the shining light for me this year. I have over 60,000 words written so far. I've been building worlds and I like it. Still the past few years for me have been years of continual loss combined with a lack of in person community. This has taken a toll on my mental and physical health and grief has been my constant companion.
Today is the equinox ushering in autumn in the Northern hemisphere and spring in the lands below the equator. Fall brings in such a mix of feelings and memories for me. It is at this time when I seem to miss people the most. I long for deep meaningful companionship and closeness. I delight in the colors of the season, but also mourn the loss of the green world. Holiday season begins in the fall and with that everything that comes with it. What I have noticed in me this summer is all that is still broken, and what may always be broken in myself and in the world. That is a daunting realization. What if things don't get better? What if I fail? What if this is as good as it gets? When we come against those questions we can feel crushed. We live in a society that values winners, that rewards specialness, and that tells us only those that triumph deserve love and respect. It is deep and pernicious programming. It is difficult to fathom how much love we've withheld from ourselves and others because we didn't think it was earned yet.
As you can see my musings have been dark of late. It is why I haven't been writing them down. It is terrible from a marketing perspective. I mean I've got magic I should be able to fix anything right? I've often said if magic could solve all of your problems I wouldn't have any. You can't simply magic away feelings of not being enough. I like everybody struggle with feelings of unworthiness. It is baked into our culture.
Amidst all this I keep coming back to the same questions: how will I respond, what do I want my life to be about, what do I want to leave in my wake? All of this I put into my drumming ceremony for the equinox. Normally after I welcome the directions I do several rounds of drumming, the first is for gratitude, and then one to build energy, and finally the third to carry the prayers for myself and my community. This time I did one long round of drumming. I asked to release the grief as the trees release their leaves, that tears nourish us like the rain nourishes and renews the land. I asked that beauty be left in my wake. I asked for support. I asked for love and fellowship. I asked for peace. I asked for a path. I drummed and I walked the circle. I saw runes in the sticks on the ground, and one in particular kept forming, laguz.
For me laguz is about the bond of love between people. It is the support and nourishment we receive from nature as it is the rune of water, but it is also the nourishment we receive from fellowship. Other than our material needs for sustenance and shelter this need is paramount to life. We are not solitary creatures. Love is the sun that lights our lives. As the darker months approach and the external sun fades we need that fellowship and closeness to warm our hearts and minds as the bitter winds begin to blow.
When the world is uncertain I turn to ceremony to stabilize myself and my energy. I've drummed at the quarters of the year for a decade, and I've done a weekly rattling and prayer ceremony for almost as long. Sometimes I come away from them feeling better, sometimes I just come away from them. It is the commitment and rhythm of them over time that does the work, that helps, and in the process helps others. Ceremony was the first psychological technology, it led to religion and systems of belief, but the foundation of it was in organizing the mind and body. It brought coherence to thought and action. It gave meaning to our place in the world and the seasons. The world is complex, but there are powerful simplicities within it as well. We are complex beings, but we are also simple in our needs. We require sustenance, shelter, safety, belonging, and meaning. These are our needs. The shape they take on changes from person to person and from one society to another, but it is the truth of being human that these needs must be met to find peace and contentment.
As I drove home from my ceremony in the park today, I noticed the changing light. I saw the trees still mostly holding onto their veil of green. I felt them in a way I hadn't for a while, as if they were whispering. As if the wind moving through them was singing a song to those who had the ears to hear it. There was a sense of mutual recognition, a greeting of old friends. For me kinship with the green and growing things was enough to bring a temporary respite, a fragile peace. In these days I take what I can get even if it is ephemeral.
What about you? Is the changing season whispering words to you through the falling leaves? Are the winds stirring memories in the forest of your heart? Does Grace flow down the streams of your life blood? If you are feeling untethered go to the trees. Walk among their shade. Sit beside their roots. Greet them as dear friends. Do a kindness, and as they do themselves let go of your old leaves.
Peace and Blessings,