A Bath for Sorrow and Loss.

I stood in my kitchen this morning before dawn, shivering, wet, cold and red eyed from tears.

I lost someone dear to me. I felt anger, sadness and betrayal, my mind was spinning. I spent the night unable to sleep and as 4:45am approached I decided to wash it away. Spiritual bathing is old and effective. I rose and made coffee and I put together a blend of lemongrass, rosemary and angelica. I said my prayers into the cup of my hands while holding each herb. I prayed that I may be relived from sorrow, from the anger, from the racing thoughts, the feeling of weakness. I prayed for strength. I hadn't really cried yet about it, but I did then. Like a dam breaking under the pressure.

  • Lemongrass removes old conditions and cleanses.
  • Rosemary to cleanse and bring power to me as a woman.
  • Angelica to heal and bring strength to me as a woman.

I could have added some some other things, but this blend called to me. It was simple and sounded right. Balm of Gilead, good for a wounded heart, would be a fine addition and I may add that in my next bath. I will continue this work over the course of several days.

I brewed all of this up in boiling water, making a strong infusion. I diluted it in a basin, set it in the tub and poured it over my body, from head to toe, allowing the water to collect in the tub. I called upon my ancestors and spirits to aid me, and prayed as I forcibly ran my hands down my body. Pushing it off, shaking it off, washing it off. And that's how I ended up standing in my kitchen dripping wet, cold but relieved. After I air dried, I put on clean clothes and walked to my nearest crossroads. As I approached the center of the crossroads, I tossed my used and collected bath water over my left shoulder towards the rising sun. I walked home and didn't look back.

Further reading: This is how we heal, by Miss Bri.

Nearing Summers End.

Last blooms from the althea.

It's morning and I'm sitting in my office. I can hear the Kingfisher singing his song as he patrols the pond near by territorially. My muscles are sore from a workout, my heart is twitching from too much coffee. Leaves are already changing their color. The air is touched with a slight coolness and you can smell distant woodsmoke. The seasons are beginning their shift.

I'm sort of reflecting on this summer and what it's brought. Massive transition, upheaval, stress and beauty. Finding beauty in suffering and turmoil has been a theme for me lately. It's what you do with what life throws at you that matters. Do you succumb to the poison or transmute it?

Last night I was the victorious rider in the 6 of Wands and then I played with an otter in my dreams. Good things are coming. And while it's been what feels like an unending phase of chaos and stress it's all going to calm down shortly. I move into my new home in just a few short days.

I've been dreaming of plants and mountains and birds. Bringing into my home what I wish I could live in. Making space to nurture and create. I'm excited to build my own home and nest. Every inch of it my own. Something I haven't had in a very long time.

While this summer has brought to me some pain and suffering, it has brought me the greatest beauty, lessons learned and insights gained. Setting me on a truer path to my self. Things I have only ever dreamed of became a reality, in more ways than one.

September 23rd marks the fall equinox. A timely marker of the completions and ending of one phase moving into something new and liminal. I am ready.

Incoming.

Birding: Swainson's Thrush

The first summer I spent in Oregon, I heard this bird. It sang its song from deep in the woods, it sounded like a magical flute. My eastern ears were unaccustomed to this song. It haunted me for years afterwards... Some summers I would wander into the woods after it, getting somewhat lost or finding special places I wouldn't have found otherwise.

One day, after bring fed up of this unknown song bird eluding my sight, I sat down with a bird identification book for the Willamette Valley and poured over every robin sized bird I could find. I only ever caught a glimpse of its shadow high up in the poplar canopy. After looking for what felt like ages, there it was in print, next to a very plain looking brown bird... "Song - series of nasal whistles spiraling upward ... most often identified by distinctive voice ... Often near streams ... Summer migrant ... Secretive."  That was my bird alright.

I have spent most of my life on the east coast, so this elusive bundle of feathers was totally unknown to me. It felt strangely special finally knowing its name, like it was some sort of well kept secret that I was privy to. In a way, I believe it is. No one else that I have talked to has identified the bird.

Did you know that male Swainson's have territorial song battles? Apparently. Like some kind of bird rap battle... They also migrate at night.

The Swainson's Thrush is a keeper of secrets. They are a seekers bird, I believe. You chase and hunt and they lead you to things you would not have found if you hadn't been following their siren like call. There are places in the woods I know of now, thanks to this plain looking  but extraordinary bird.

I've only heard one or two distant calls over the past two weeks. They're heading out for the year and won't be back until about mid-May. They herald the summer and beautiful green things...

Going It Alone: the Solitude of 8 of Cups.

I draw a card for myself every morning. Sometimes to help me better understand a dream, sometimes to guide me through the day... and sometimes they're just there. But sometimes, you see a card you haven't seen in a long time and it touches you. The 8 of Cups did that for me this morning.

Seeking solitude, going it alone. Those were the words that reverberated through my mind.

I think in this day of ever connectedness, smartphones, the internet, everything, true solitude is rare. Some of us seek it and some of us are totally bewildered by the idea. Solitude causes you to examine yourself. Looking within, good, bad, light, shadow is a scary thing. Something we all benefit from experiencing though.

As an introvert I gain much from solitude. It's there that my creativity grows and my batteries recharge. I get cranky if I overextend myself and I have found that, in not expressing my need for solitude misplaced resentment and anger towards those around me develops. It's a bad trait and I have to know when to give myself the time I need to regroup and collect myself. It's like loosing all my organized papers to the wind. It actually took me a long time to realize this. I'm learning how to balance this aspect of my life. This article, Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You perfectly explains why introverts need to get away. Even if the door is shut, we can still feel you in the other room!

You think that I am impoverishing myself withdrawing from men, but in my solitude I have woven for myself a silken web or chrysalis, and, nymph-like, shall ere long burst forth a more perfect creature, fitted for a higher society.
— Henry D. Thoreau

The other aspect of this card for me is walking your own path. The person in this card is embarking on a journey, a pilgrim, a seeker. They do it alone. Recently in my life, I have had to leave some things behind... a dead co-dependent relationship. One of the driving fears of leaving was whether or not I would be able to survive on my own. 7 years is a long time to develop bad habits and grow lazy in knowing how to take care of some aspects of your life. I knew the day that I decided to call it quits, it would open so many cans, so many worms. But in the end I am better for it and through the suffering and throwing myself into the chaos I would gain more than ever from the experience.

So here I am staff in hand, going it alone.

A Year of Living

The path of poisonous fire is for the real man or woman, who in the fire of Hell turns gentle and understanding; who grows wise through suffering and ordeal, who sees themselves as a warrior ready to accept life no matter what its cost.
— Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
Gird Point, MT

Gird Point, MT

It's come, a few days short of one year not updating this space. One long ass pause.

It's been good. At the cusp of 30, old man Saturn has made his return and naturally, my life path has been drastically altered, yet somehow parts of it remain the same. Bad relationships dissolved, harsh realities revealed, getting closer to my Self, beautiful new relationships formed. Goodness can be found in destruction. Even after all the shit has burned down, the flowers and grasses will make their return. Fire can hurt, but it can be purifying, fertilizing. A source of renewal and growth.

Dusting off the ash and beginning anew.