Opportunity for a Collective Emergence

Hey peeps, it’s been a while. I just wanted to drop in before the end of the year to share a few thoughts. I saw that my last post was titled, Emerging, which I was at the time, but that was nineteen months ago when things were about to go sideways. I just didn’t know it yet. More on that later.

Anyway, this got me to pondering about how many times a person can actually emerge, or re-emerge, without feeling embarrassed about it.

Well, if we think about it in terms of swimming and breathing, emerging becomes a completely natural and important part of the process. This is especially true for people who find themselves, for whatever reasons, frequently navigating the Neptunian underworld of human trials and tribulations. Sometimes we’re going to be underwater for a while, not necessarily drowning, but definitely looking around and figuring stuff out.

We also emerge from sleep – every single day. I guess there’s a reason why the word ‘awakening’ has such currency in spiritual parlance, LOL. And while emerging isn’t quite as glamorous as a full blown awakening, it’s definitely worth celebrating every time it happens. Yay, hurray, welcome back… tell us where you’ve been!

Well, it goes like this. Last year I made a decision to dismantle my beautiful life in Windsor, and move to a different city to be near family. The family part has been truly wonderful, but the physical transition itself did not go smoothly. Not at all. I am a strong and resilient woman, but when I get knocked off the beam, well, recovery can be slow. And just as I was beginning to venture out and explore my new community in the hopes of making new friends, the pandemic hit.

Tomorrow will be exactly nine months since everything in my region started to get cancelled due to COVID-19. Like many, I ended up in ‘solitary confinement’ for the first trimester, and it was absolutely HORRIBLE. The second trimester improved, and though not normal by any means, the beautiful summertime weather helped a lot. Now here we are at the end of the third trimester, and all hell is breaking loose. Again.

If nothing else, this entire experience is manifesting a birthing of sorts – the likes of which none of us has ever seen before. And whatever comes out of it, on the surface it will look different for each and every one of us. Nevertheless, we are ALL feeling this together – some way, some how, as the collective trauma that it is. 

In the meantime, I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of being submerged in the aforementioned Neptunian soup, where swimming around and trying to figure things out means learning how to be brave and have faith that the Universe has our back, and that everything will eventually work out one way or another.

The beauty is that all of us will be emerging together when this is all over. And for the ones that we lost along the way, may they rest in peace and forever remain a beacon of Love in our hearts.

/|\

A buzz cut for Samhain this year...

 

Runes

“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.  Marcel Proust

In 1983, my boyfriend gave me a set of Viking Runes. By that time we were a few years into our relationship, and it was typical for him to go on about ancient secret societies, Stonehenge, Mystic Christianity, Druids, Kundalini yoga, TM, Gnostic teachings, Freemasonry, the I Ching, the Dead Sea Scrolls, peyote rituals, Native American Shamanic vision quests, auras and chakras, etc. etc. To be honest, most of it was way over my head, but it did serve to fertilize my already burgeoning interest in esotericism. (More on that in my next post.)

Algiz – Protection

The Runes had an unusual but compelling smell, the kind you savour in one long inhale, and they were pleasing to the touch, smooth yet rough all at the same time. I quickly discovered that they provided uncanny insight and guidance when seeking counsel on various issues, especially during times of difficult personal challenges. Over a thirty year period, I consulted the Runes sixty-seven times, with gaps as long as seven years in between.

The last time I took them out was in early 2013, after my uncle Red’s funeral. I was exhausted and burned out after a frenzied decade of serving on multiple committees and boards for various arts organizations. Out of twenty five possible Runes, I pulled Sowelu from the pouch that day. Not surprisingly, it counselled that this was a time for recharging, regeneration, and that it might be necessary to retreat, “… a voyage inward for centering, for balance.” This was a confirmation of what I already knew in my gut.

In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left you. Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist

More recently, I’ve been studying the Tarot, which is a more complex system of counsel and tapping into the subconscious. In fact, today’s blog post was originally titled, Tarot, where I wanted to share a eureka moment I had this week about newly revealed layers of meanings in some of my artwork – symbolism which I had previously been completely oblivious to. For example, I realized that my painting, Song of Ages, which I conceived partially as a visual ode to grieving mothers, was also an unmistakable variation of the Empress (Mother) in the Thoth Tarot Deck. (More on that in my next post.)

So… as in Proust’s perceptive quote above, my most recent studies have resulted in seeing with new eyes, and as a lifelong seeker of wisdom and clarity of vision, the pursuit of fresh eyes has always proven extremely useful while navigating the complexities of living and loving. The real nexus point of the journey toward now began many years ago, and it involved a boyfriend and the gift of Runes.

The Book of Runes, by Ralph Blum

Photo credits:  Michelle LaRiviere

Still Standing

I love this photo of my brother in front of the Detroit City skyline.

Sometimes we get knocked down. For a while. We lay there, supine, gazing at the world with hazy longing while an invisible anvil pins us to the bottom of an indifferent river. An eternity ticks by in slowww-motion, tick, tick, while a hundred sunrises and a hundred sunsets quietly stain the sky. But today is a new day . . .

Forty years ago I fled the family nest, which had been uprooted in the early 60s from Detroit to a remote mining town in northern Ontario. It was always my intention to leave, but I visited often over the years, somehow believing that it’s the one who left who must always make the effort.

Guilt. It can play crazy tricks with the mind. But guilt for leaving a sad place that was never yours is absurd… especially in that moment when black ice sends your car careening through three feet of powder toward a frozen ravine while your baby screams in terror. The absurd has stubbornly lingered over time… but the gods were with us that day.

Thanksgiving. My brother traveled a thousand kilometres in late November for a long-awaited reunion with our family clan in Windsor and Detroit. Cancer and other setbacks had delayed his visit, but here he was at long last. My beautiful, brave, sensitive brother, ravaged by illness and radiation. A survivor. He stayed for five wonderful days – we talked, drank, laughed, and cried, but mostly we marvelled that we had made it this far. As a parting gift, I gave him our father’s helmet [1].

Melancholia. This thing that I naively thought I was leaving behind, in a small mining town so long ago, turned out to be a merciless stalker. Forty years, and thirty moves… apartments, houses, towns and cities. Lots of them, but still… the shadow persists. Just the other night I dreamt that I got the keys to a new apartment (right next door to my son and his family) – one with big windows, a parquet dance floor, and space to paint large canvases. I awoke with a lingering sense of joy that was gone before noon. And then this article from Brain Pickings crossed my path, What Depression Is Really Like. Van Gogh describes it well.

Reflection. I think for the first time in my life, I’m finally getting it. The moving thing. Endlessly running from the “black dog” with a carefully crafted rationale obscuring the truth. The truth. I cried for seven hours on this last U-Haul road trip in 2014, the flood-gates unleashed during a farewell hug after breakfast with my best friend, Kelly, in the parking lot at Burger World. Christ, I weep just thinking about it. Writing does that. It brings you to your core.

[1] While writing this post, it suddenly occurred to me that this is probably a preamble to the yet to be written Part 3 of The Diving Helmet. Follow the links to read the story from the beginning:
The Diving Helmet – Part 1
The Diving Helmet – Part 2

[Postscript] ** After publishing this post I realized the irony in the title, Still Standing. Detroit (the backdrop in the photo) is currently rising out of a long, dark period, and reinventing itself. I love that!!