Learning the Dark

This is a difficult post to begin, so I’m just going to dive right into the middle, and work my way out to the edges from there.

The Morrigan works from the gut, most of the time, anyway. She is instinct & courage. Passion and fire and fury.

I’m learning to listen, here, to what She has to say, because I’m in the middle of a battle…and I need all the help I can get right now.

And being told that my emotions, at least the “darker” ones, need to be abandoned, given up, let go… 

Is bullshit.

I used to repress my emotions.

I used to tamp them down, pushing them into smaller & smaller spaces, because they were deemed “unacceptable”, “socially abnormal” and just plain “dark, morbid, negative & wrong”. 

Until, of course, I’d explode, sending my anger, darkness, whatever you want to call it, by this time magnified exponentially, onto whomever was closest to me at the time, whether they deserved it or not.

I was Vesuvius.

I was Krakatoa.

I was Pele.

I was fire and ash and death, burning the air, scorching oxygen from others’ lungs and melting the ground out from under their stance. 

And, when I was finished, I would feel horrible over the destruction I’d caused, but would have no idea how to fix it, so would run away…leaving the wreckage behind.

So, I grew up.

Learned how to express myself better, with more clarity. (For the most part) Yes, sometimes I still fall down the verbal well when it comes to expressing my feelings to someone, especially someone who knows me from my past, because they have access to those emotional buttons (triggers) that caused me to go off “back then”. 

Started blogging, which really does help me figure out my emotions, & how to verbalize them.

But, back to the darkness.

I…am not a sunshiney kind of person. I’m not a hippie, or a bohemian. I’m not a cheerleader or perky pixie type. (Factoid -I tried my hand at cheerleading in high school, but even to this day, people don’t believe me, & need photographic proof)

If I weren’t almost 47 years old, I’d say I was closer to a Goth or Emo kid, or at least on that end of the spectrum, because of the way I think, speak, act, dress, blah, blah. 

Hell, I’ve said it before, in relation to my poetry… “I was Emo before it was a style”.

I wear black, pretty much all the time.

Not because it’s slimming, but because it helps me blend in to shadows better, and, as I’ve said before “It goes better with my soul”.

I laugh at morbid jokes.

I don’t get scared watching “scary” movies, but instead critique the special effects techniques, laugh at the stupid dialogue, & make fun of the plot choices.

I prefer to sit in the dark, rather than turn on a light.

I sit up late at night, and hate early mornings.

I detest early morning chatter at work, and do everything I can to avoid it.

I need my dark side.

After all…

You cannot see and know the light unless you sit first and accept the darkness.

Morrigan came to me at this time of my life for a reason.

She knows I need my darkness.

She is the Queen there, & can help me navigate my way far better than some of the lighter Goddesses. 

This is not going to be an easy battle.

My darkness is the only thing holding me together right now.

Don’t touch.

Fire at My Fingertips

It seems I’ve decided over the last couple of months to completely rearrange my life.

I’ve been seeing Ravens everywhere online, and the local equivalent, crows, in the skies, on the ground, in the trees. It was more, to me, than a mere coincidence.

It was the Morrighan calling.

Warrior Goddess, she who stands at the forefront of the battle. Those who stand unafraid before her gain strength from her touch. 

I do not fear my own death, I fear only my cowardice should I falter in the face of a loved one’s pain.

I started listening to what Morrighan had to teach me. To stand up for myself, which I have a hard time doing. To stop putting my needs first in my life, above everyone else’s wants. To cut away the things in my life that were no longer furthering my goals & dreams, but were, in fact, keeping me from reaching those very things.

And, changes started to immediately occur.

I dyed my hair black. Not a huge deal, but it made a big difference in how I see myself in the mirror, and it’s about perception.

I got serious about getting into shape. I work out now 4-5 nights a week, eat better, & have lost almost 20lbs. I’m starting to feel really good again, and I’m not done.

I’ve changed/dropped a couple of relationships with people that I can no longer maintain for various reasons. Not necessarily good or bad, in and of themselves, but necessary to make the changes I need for my life.  (Ok, yes, one of the relationships was causing me more harm than good, & my whole family, as well as my friends, were all glad when I told them I ended things for good this week. He’s still being persistent, & I’m not sure how things will play out in the end, but I took the first step.)

All of this has happened since I started seeing the ravens…

There’s fire at my fingertips, raven feathers in my hair, & the Morrighan walks at my side, whispering in my ear.

Embrace the flames.

Just a Prayer

Goddess gracious,  good and wise
Grant me farseeing and open eyes
Grant my ears the truth to hear
And a strong back to face my fears

Give me wisdom,
And a loving heart
And the courage to let go
When it’s time to depart

All these things I ask of thee
So I may serve others
As your nature’s child
So mote it be.

A Murder of Crows

Standing outside my office building yesterday, I watched in wonder as a murder of crows gathered, swooping and gliding, over my head.  20-25 of them – black slashes drawn boldly against the sky – they cawed raucously to one another as they danced overhead.  Spiralling acrobatics punctuated their flight, as they would come together, screaming and diving, then splitting into smaller groups that would spin around one another, only to meet up again with the others, and circle back to the spot directly over where I stood.

We have crows in our city, they’re everywhere.  But this is the first time I can ever remember seeing the aerial display that I saw yesterday.  It was almost as though they were trying to tell me something, since they would swirl out and away, disappearing from view for a few seconds, but would always return to the same place – over my head.

So, I searched my memory for meanings behind the crows… but all I came up with were the battle crows and the Morrighan.  Not comforting images, to be sure, with all the imagery of battles and death.  I knew, too, that there were different meanings between seeing 1 or 2 crows, to seeing a whole murder of them.

And the fact that they kept coming back to me, had me just a little uneasy… so I went searching for deeper interpretations.  And found this:

*”Ravens and Crows represent magick, mystery, and sacred law as well as battle, and the mysteries of the Crone and Matron (warrior goddess). A gathering of ravens is called an “unkindness”while a group of crows is a “murder”. They are highly intelligent birds, and have been known to follow armies for many miles. In Native American Myth, Raven is a Creator/Trickster god. In Celtic lore, the raven is sacred to Badb (whose name means “Battle Crow”and the Morrigan as well as Bran and Lugh. In Greek lore it is sacred to Hecate, and Apollo among others. In Norse tradition, the two ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin are called Huginn and Muninn (Mind and Memory). As guardians through the cycle of death and rebirth, the scintillating rainbow colors in their dark wings remind us that even in the midst of darkness we have the power to touch the light.” *

I know that I’m reaching a new place in my life.  I’m a grandmother now.  I’m finished with the “having children” part, and have moved into the “almost done raising them” phase.  YoungerDaughter is graduating from high school this year, and OnlySon is, of course, now a teenager.  Pretty soon, they’ll all be off on their own adventures – and I’m fine with that.  Truly.

There are still struggles, and I’m going through some of them now, having changed last year from being “Married – with children” to “Single Mom, single income”.  It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed.  And now, with the addition of 3 more people to the household, it’s become a whole new type of struggle.  We’ll get through this, too, I know – but it won’t be easy.

And maybe, just maybe, that’s the message that the crows were trying to impart with their aerial dance and mock battle yesterday. 

“Join with those around you, for if you fly alone… there is no dance, no glorious battle to make life better… Dance, fly, dive and soar… chase the dream of something better – and make it yours.”

Breakthrough

Talking to EldestDaughter last night, I was… well, the only word to describe my state of mind at the time – is “elated”.

Considering the surroundings she’s in right now, court-forced treatment (because of a technicality, and a vindictive state’s attorney who has awful professional ethics), my ED has been going through some serious navel-gazing.

And she’s come to some realizations that I’ve been hoping for YEARS that she’d find for herself.

And, as awful as it sounds, maybe this treatment that she was forced into… won’t be the worst thing in the world for her.  Maybe this is exactly what she needed, at exactly the right time.  I just wish the circumstances surrounding it hadn’t had to happen the way they did.

I know, this all sounds so murky and round-a-bout.

I’m trying to protect ED’s privacy here.

Needless to say, the circumstances that got ED where she is now, where she has to be for a little while yet, have fallen behind the strides and gains ED has gotten from the people she’s surrounded by now.

Last night, after talking to her, and finding out all that she’s come to see – with both eyes open – and the complete shock that enlightened epiphany most often brings – I wanted to cry with relief.

It’s been a long road, and I just hope that ED can see it all the way through.  It’ll be so much healthier for her in the long run, and she’ll be so much happier at the end of this journey – if she just sees it to its conclusion.

Opening your eyes to who you really are – seeing it reflected in other people, through their own eyes – is not always easy.  It’s often painful, confusing, and can cause anxiety, anger, and depression.  But it can also spur you into making changes for yourself.

Because I’ve often said that you can never change another person.  And no one can ever make you change yourself.

You have to choose, for yourself, to make changes because you want them.  It’s the only way that the changes work, it’s the only way that they’ll ever stick, and it’s the only way to do it without resentment and recrimination.  Because it’s all you.

ED has been surrounded by people who have it worse than her, people with problems that she can’t imagine having to shoulder through.  But, through listening to them talk, and through hearing about some of the things in their lives that closely mirror her own… she’s finding that she now understands so much more about herself, and why she does some of the stupid things that she does.  And she’s gaining the tools necessary to not only forgive herself, but to forgive others for their past mistakes – so she can let go of all the old resentments that have been eating away at her for all these years. 

Once she can reach that point?  Everyone who has a problem with her will have to deal with their issues on their own, she won’t feel guilty for them anymore, and she can simply choose to walk away from the negativity, instead of trying to fix everyone else and make everyone else feel better by giving up pieces of herself.

We talked about how one of the people in her group was talking about being a “people pleaser”, always trying to make everyone else happy, they emptied themselves out of emotion, energy, etc.  And when they had given everything they had, and there was nothing left, they had to “fill” that gap with something else, to take away the pain.

And ED realized that she’s been doing that with her Paternal Gene Donor for most of her life.  Trying to please him has repeatedly “emptied” her out.  Trying to “fix” others has repeatedly drained her dry of energy and will.  And once empty, she grew resentful.  Resentful that it was never enough, could never make those others happy.  So she would try to fill the void within herself with what she and I have taken to calling “dangerous fun”.  Those things that sound like so much fun, and friends will try to convince you are just “the best time ever”, but are dangerous to you, to others, and are almost always illegal.

And the one thing that ED realized that really made me want to cry?  That she is stronger than she ever thought.  She will make it through this, she will be better for it, and she will know that she can walk through fire – on her own if necessary – but that she also has a strong, loving, and unconditional support system waiting for her if she needs us.

I think my baby’s finally growing up, for real.

Thank you, Goddess, for letting me be a part of this, and for helping my little girl get through this time.

Sixteen

Move through your days as though someone you love is always watching.  Who do you want them to see you being?

I’ve given this line a lot of thought.

It’s something that came to me a while ago, and I’ve used it on myself plenty of times.

Pick someone, anyone, in your life whose opinion matters to you.

Then imagine what you would look like through their eyes.

When you did that, what would they have thought?  Would they smile, frown, be puzzled, or angry?  When you said that, would they agree, disagree, cry, or be glad they know you?

If it was your child, would you want them repeating that?  Sometimes parents forget (yes, me too) that their children learn what they witness their parents doing.  Good behavior, bad behavior, off-the-wall, goofy behavior.  If Mom and Dad do it, it must be ok, right?

If it’s your parents, would they be proud of how you are standing up straight?  Walking with your head held high, or upset that you’re hunched over, hiding who you really are?

If it’s that “special someone” would they smile, and tell you that you look beautiful/sexy/happy today?  Or would they worry that you’d been dragged through the bushes behind a runaway horse… backwards?

If it’s the Goddess/God that you’re imagining watching over you, checking on your progress through your day, would you want them to smile and say “That’s my boy/girl!”  Or would they be shaking their heads saying “Maybe next lifetime… poor sucker”?

I know, that sometimes I get so lost inside my own head, I forget to be mindful of how I’m perceived by others.  Not that I’m trying to conform, or fit into anyone else’s box of expectations for me…

But that I want to be the best possible version of the honest me that I can.

And if that special someone was watching me, right now, I’d want him to be impressed.

And so, I say to myself… “Move like you mean it… someone’s watching.”

Tuesday Theology – Beltane

May 1st is Beltane.  It’s a joyous celebration of Spring, complete with flowers, ribbons and fire.

And yes, it’s a fertility holiday, too. 

BUT.

It’s not just about that.

Beltane is a fire holiday that celebrates not only the creation of new life, but the creation of prosperity.  In the old days, people would light the Beltane bonfires in celebration of the sun returning in full force to help everything grow.  Couples would hold hands and jump the flames to show their commitment to one another, with those that jumped the flames at their highest, without letting go of each other’s hands, bringing good luck to their relationship for the years to come.  Usually, the eldest couple in the village would wait till the end of the night, when the fire had dimmed to just coals, and holding hands, they’d step over the remaining fire calmly.  This was the culmination of the night, and afterwards, everyone would take some of the leftover coals home to light their hearthfires, knowing that they contained all that hope and love that had been infused into it by the people that leapt the flames.

The villagers would also bring their cattle, and drive them past the bonfires, to bring fertility to their herds, and luck to their farms.

Beltane is about the earth breaking open, to release the magick of the seeds that had lain just under the surface, and growing into the crops, flowers and grass that was necessary for life.

It’s about the breaking open of all sorts of magick, that’s lain fallow over the winter, waiting for its moment to come forth and spill good luck and prosperity over those that wish for it.  It’s about the fulfillment of hopes and dreams, and seeing the beginning of new and wonderful things in your life, after waiting through the darker times, and working for this new start.

And then, there’s the maypole.

Young maidens and young men were typically chosen to dance around the maypole, weaving the ribbons round it in a certain pattern.

It was designed to bring the young people together, allowing them to meet one another in a supervised setting, giving the parents a chance to find “good matches” for their children in the future.  It was also about “weaving the magick” to the earth, through the wooden pole stuck into the ground, making it stay in one place, to “hold” the magick and good luck in one place, ensuring the prosperity of the villagers for the whole year.

This Beltane, some friends and I are finishing a ritual that we began at Ostara.  Eggs were cleaned out, decorated, and a slip of paper containing our hopes and wishes were placed inside of them, and sealed with tissue and wax.  In this way, we were “planting” our dreams, giving the magick time to grow within.  At Beltane, we will crush the eggs in our ritual, releasing the magick into reality, and burning the slips of paper to deliver our dreams to the God and Goddess, in the hopes that they will be received and fulfilled for us.

No one speaks about their wishes that were written, safeguarding the magick with silence.  I know, though, that the magick has already begun.  Speaking with one of the others, as well as my own experiences, tells me that this is so.

And on Sunday….. everything will become the reality that I’ve been wishing for.

So Mote It Be.