This morning's awake came early-- 6:30, in fact; but indeed it meant that the little one slept quite soundly through the night, so I am more well-rested than I have been in weeks... And it means I have time to write for the first time in a month (!) while I enjoy the fleeting sound of morning-birds and the grace of coolness from early-morning pacific fog.
'Tis been a few weeks of sorting and packing already, and in one wistful moment I took this picture of one of our quirky lanterns as it was reflecting so hauntingly in a picture hanging on an opposite wall. I've been thinking much on altars and personal spaces of reverence to the creative divinity that lives in each living thing...So this is one of Light itself, then, and fleeting, just like time.
Early August was the time of Lughnasadh, and our little family had such a sweet celebration (which you can read of here). Lughnasadh is the old Celtic holiday that celebrates the first harvest (you may remember the Meryl Streep movie, Dancing at Lughnasadh); for us it meant the long wait to see how our experiment of a garden fared, and...eh, we didn't do so bad. I mean, likely we'd starve if it was our means of subsistence, but we are learning.
Our prime joy came though when it was time to open the ears of "Indian Corn" we'd planted at the start of the season:
Maize-paper flew like Christmas wrapping, and the gifts within were great to us, for small though they were, the mystery of life begetting life begetting life itself was large, large, large. Here was a little echo of our Imbolc bride basket, little children from her bounty now intent on motherhood themselves. Miracle!
It has got me to thinking much on planting and harvesting these days, as here in wine country the grapes are ready so early, they've begun picking them already. (This is normally a fete for October, mind you!!) But in this foggy morning's cool awakeness I happened to remember a seed of quite another kind: a letter written to myself some 9 years ago, when my "best-laid plans" were in fact crashing-and-burning, and my 29-year-old self was quite dazed by the whole ordeal. I was lost, unsure, and so uncertain of what my fate might be. I had been so careful, and plotted my life so minutely. Where had I gone wrong?
My marriage had failed and all the sweet, artistic gypsy Ideals I'd held fast to my heart were slipping away. I had no idea what to do with my life. Oh, I was so lost.
It was somewhere during this period that I determined I ought to start graduate school, and Really Do Something In This World. I determined that my love for Joan Halifax and her combining shamanism, Buddhism and care for the dying provided a good pointer-finger for where I ought to do that Great Something, and so I applied myself to such training in earnest. In the midst of all of this identity-crisising, I wrote a letter to a future Me during a ritual with some sisters gathered to celebrate Imbolc that year. This morning, then, I was eager to find that letter, and I did.
What is most significant about this letter, I realized as I held that tender envelope, is that it was augered to me that it is in THIS year, 2008, that I begin harvesting the fruit of seeds I planted 9 years ago. In our ritual, as I remember it, we sisters sat in the darkness and felt the earth all about us; not claustrophobic, but warm and nourishing through the cold remains of winter. What is fertile, yet lies dormant within us waiting some spring? That was the question asked of us...and write it down, write it down to our future self, and mail it in a letter to be received in the following summer, the first harvest of Lughnasadh. How great then to open the envelope at long last, now...
Dated February 2, 1999.
Great Mother of All Things,
To you I dedicate my Spiritual Life;
I ask your guidance of patience & love,
to help me to see beyond doubt & uneasiness
to readily accept and practice the magick that is in the aire of this life,
Without doubt, disillusionment, mistrust, fear, or discomfort
in it or my Authentic Self...breathe freedom into my soul...
Grant me the backbone to believe
& the will to Acheive, Spiritual Freedom
Allow me to be the seive of your Great Mystery
for the Good of All Beings.
The prayer, and also the practice, remains constant after all this time...