As I so often do, I have been considering this idea of “wholeness” and “completion” upon death. When I read back on my posts of feeling so broken, and the repair stitching the self back together to be held fast but not ever again what it once was, it would seem that through our incarnate selves we are stripped down to the component parts and fashioned together again into functional, or semi-functional, beings again. Kind of smashing together but not being smooth, or seamless, or even completely complete because we will always be re-shaped in our lives. Just the simple process of aging tells us that we are not the same one day to the next, always evolving. And so it is that I have come to believe that maybe once we die, we join our missing place seamlessly into the cosmic weave. That somehow we needed to experience the breaking, the tearing down, the dis-assemblage in order to bring new information to the cosmic home of our spark, and that in itself creates more wholeness. Sort of like we are sent here to find loads of missing eggs in order to return them all to the great hive we all are driven by: the life force. That force that governs us all. Whatever that is, whatever you want to call it, or perceive of it, or deny its mystery. Or maybe we are never quite whole, maybe we evolve into eternity and constancy is something that we seem to ever wish for but can never really have.
I am coming to realize just how afraid I am to share my inner self, to expose my true self, to the world. Even just sharing this blog, I’ve only ever given the address out to one person that I trust with this part of myself. I mean, people I don’t know reading doesn’t bother me half so much as those I know reading it. First, I have this suspicion that most people don’t give two fracks about my spiritual thoughts and leanings, especially since I know so many people who seem to identify as atheist. Why would they even bother reading about my otherwordly and innerwordly and unseen woo when they deny the existence and meaning of the great mysteries? I mean, I don’t really care that they believe in another paradigm, not at all, but it would be like someone not interested in a subject forcing themselves to read about it, sighing in annoyance all the while. But there is this silent, nagging part of me that is telling me to share it so that those who want to read it, can read it. And there is a strong resistance inside my guts that I suspect has more to do about fear of this reveal rather than actually telling me not to share. I also continue to receive strong prompts from the Unseen to write my story, though every time I’ve sat down to start, I stare at the screen with a giant, invisible question mark on my forehead.
There’s also this conundrum: when is it sharing, and when is it showing off? This is something I’ve been thinking about a great deal because it seems in our media thick world that so many things are shared to shock people, to make them look, to get attention. That is not where I want to be with this stuff, and especially not since I am sharing things here that I am superstitious about sharing. These are profoundly personal, intense, magical, mystical things, and it can feel a bit like blasphemy to share it openly. It’s like, what part of a personal journal do you want to publish, right? Mostly the reason I prefer to blog is that I type faster than I write, and it’s easier to read back what I have written to examine and learn from my past experiences. I’ve got loads of dream journals, and I really wish I had typed them into a blog because it’s impossible to find anything quickly. I started marking significant dreams with post-it notes, but now the tops of my pages are loaded with post-it notes that must be sifted through. But again, there is a constant inner whispering that I hear prompting me: “share yourself, share the healing, share the mystery because this worlds needs to open to the other worlds again, it needs to unfold” and that is why I share things here, also. So that somehow it IS out in the world, and if needed, I can direct people here. But it’s not enough…the voice tells me that keeping my writings private is not enough.
I have been going through some tough times during recovery of my hysterectomy. Something about being in the hospital changed me, really effected me at a cellular level. There was something so vulnerable about it, so mortal about it. There were some very unfortunate people on my unit, and combined with my own feeling of utter dependence on busy nurses that are trying their best but everyone having such high needs…I don’t know. It made me think about illness, old age, living with severe limitations and death in ways I had not before (and I think about death in just about every way that can possibly be thought of.) It made me afraid for my family in ways I have not let myself consider, it made me pitiful for all who are facing such things but on a very visceral level. Even more than when I had my neck tumor out and spent the night in the hospital with some very sick and fragile people dealing with severe disfigurements from cancer and their own final days and weeks in the process of cancer. Maybe this time felt more scary because I am older, maybe it was simply because of the nature of the care I needed while in the hospital. I don’t know. But it carved some marks in my psyche.
Last week was brutal for many reasons. I could feel the fingers of severe depression beginning to tighten their grip on me, and the physical component of healing and having such wild ups and downs was something I did not anticipate. I thought I was doing pretty well physically, but then I started feeling very nauseous and feverish, though I kept checking my temperature and had no fever. My GI symptoms seem to change with the direction of the wind. Headaches have crept into the picture now. I was awake a lot during the nights with fits of pain and mental stress, anxiety and fear. I had vivid, strange dreams that seemed so unlike my normal dreams because of the meds they have me on. I can feel my organs shifting around inside and it is a most unnerving feeling and difficult to get comfortable. Thankfully, my wonderful Hubby and my mom have been there through the thick of it. My mom came over almost every day to keep me company, working on a puzzle and watching movies to keep me from getting too far consumed by depressive thoughts and patterns. And I do not use the term “depression” lightly. I have been diagnosed with this condition by a professional, and my experience with it is often fraught with suicidal thoughts. It is very difficult to overcome when the train gets rolling, and I often think back to my worst days in dealing with it and wonder how in the hell I am still standing here today. But, like always, I weathered it, and by Friday things seemed to lift and I feel refreshed mentally now that some of the physical symptoms have eased. I am now able to think about things that I enjoy, I am speaking normally again (I felt like I just had nothing to say and was very quiet since the surgery), thinking about the future and what I want to do this season once I am healed enough to explore again.
The significance of this whole process of transformation on a physical level is definitely not lost on me. I have been thinking quite a bit about how this physical re-shaping is part of how a human being is re-molded and is part of the spiritual process of growth, renewal, metamorphosis. It is part of unfoldment of a new being, like a caterpillar who unfurls its wings as it bursts forth the cocoon into a butterfly. It is the same soul, but never the same as it was, still alive and vibrant, but having undergone a powerful (and undoubtedly painful) process of transformation. This is the essence of being alive. Constant change, constant discomfort, constant evolution.
Our recent stav journey with my monthly group was incredibly intense for me. As Kari led us through a journey to assist with the halt of the Dakota pipeline, to protect the waters and scared lands (which is all land, really) and to reveal the folly of those who seem not to see it, we awakened inner eyes and I began to see many jötun giantesses riding on the backs of giant wolves across their barren lands in fierce temper as we chanted, and mythological figures from many pantheons, most of whom I did not recognize, appeared suddenly in a dry and dusty landscape that quickly changed from jötenheim into Dakota land. They all gathered around the people who continually protect the waterways and are standing firm against the construction. Suddenly, my whole body became inflamed and I could feel my hands begin to seize and harden, and my body shaking with fierce power, and the image of an enormous white buffalo appeared in the center of the whole group. It stood, unyielding, on top of the waters and the land, and I bowed low to it and begged it in utter humility in Norwegian, “Jeg ber deg, jeg ber deg, jeg ber deg” to assist in this matter, and the enormous, pure white buffalo stood, looking straight at me, and it imparted to me that it would not move. I wept as this image flooded me, at how incredible this inner vision was to witness, and at my paradoxical feeling of smallness and at once powerful beyond anything on this planet. I allowed the heat to “cook” me, or as I call it, “work on me” like I would let a fever cook away bacteria that tries to work on my immune system. As we left the worlds and the trance, Kari had to assist me in coming back and massage my feet as I tried to pry my hands from my stav, then wrapped them around my cold beer on the table to cool them down. I shook and shook and shook. Kari fixed me a little tray of snacks to help ground me back into this realm, and I shook and shook and shook. It took a long time to “come back”. She then poured a horn and we each blew our blessings into it to be poured into her garden Vé. I could not get myself to speak, but I thought of all I’d seen, and I offered my blessings along with the blessings I’d received from the Divine into the horn, and I spent a long breath over the foam.
Recently, Kari assisted me in a ritual to say goodbye to my “motherhood” self, my fertility, my procreation years. It was intense, and I feel relieved for having had a sacred space carved out for me, someone to weep with me, and assist me in this very difficult goodbye. We sobbed together as we performed the ritual, as I spoke words, as I burned the names I had chosen for babies I never bore, as I offered what is left of my fertility to another woman we know who would like to conceive, as we sung over the ale horn, and poured the remains and the ashes and herbs into the Vé in her backyard as the rain came gently down to cleanse me of this sorrow. I am not sure I want to detail the whole ritual…I mean, I want to, because this is my blog of experiences and memories. But there is this other part that wants it to remain close to my heart, and not be written out in full. During Winter Solstice, I was prodded by my Unseen teachers to “share more of yourself, without sharing too much of yourself.” I’m not quite sure how to manage that, so I’ve become more careful with what I am saying. Writing is different though, especially when shared through more poetic style writing. Maybe I will come back to this post at some point. I’ll have many weeks of recovery from surgery, and I expect I will open my writing life up more at that point.
Upon returning from vacation, I began my final blood on the plane home. I was able to save the bloody water from my cloth pads and offer it to the two maples that live right out front of our balcony and that I greet in the mornings. Two trees that I asked for assistance in helping grow a new kind of life for me, a new beginning that I can see bloom through their leaves. After having performed this rite, and pouring my final blood, the most magical and mystical blood of all, the blood that flows from no wound, the blood of creation, the power of the mothers of all time, I feel I am ready to be birthed into a new self. Another phase of life is beginning.
As much as I want to expand, and grok, and grow, I’m terrified, too. Facing terror is something I have worked a lot with, and understanding ego death, the death of the identity, the absolute surrender to pain, to death, to utter transformation. Spiritual warriorship. The release of the need to know, to prove, to understand with the intellect, to rationalize, to explain. The willingness to release aspects of the self that no longer serve, and the courage to walk ahead in the face of the great unknown. And the terror is always there. But so is there an incredible beauty and freedom, freedom that makes me split open with wondrous joy and tears that flow unending at the marvel of it. The paradox of beautiful terror and this freeing release of identity and limitation is something that cannot be explained, but only understood through direct experience. The experience of flying through the stars on the wings of an eagle so large it defies even myth, whose wings sing the song of the universe, like the muffled sound of the pulse through human veins. Or submerging into the earth, buried by a massive and poisonous creature that guides me into the depths of the darkest dark, revealing to me true sight, unadulterated vision, and suffocating on dirt until the mystery of all things ending is implanted within the soul like a tiny seed ready to begin growing. Make no mistake, the terror is there. But so is there a cold beauty in the slow Time beyond time, the frozen state of the soul, the unmaking that reshapes one into newness, into wholeness. The beauty and the terror are married partners in this interesting dance. The freeing sense of decay, the splitting pain of love that opens the heart so large it ceases to have borders. The calling to the Unseen powers that respond when called humbly, with respect, with grace and courage. When called, when honored, these amazing realities respond. This is the Knowing, the ride upon Terrible Horse, this is where myth comes alive. And the beautiful terror, it is always there.
“Hail to you, Hela, ender of strife
Half-fair, half-rotten, mirror of life
Cool is your comfort, equal for all
Highways and alleys end in your hall.”