This has been a difficult year for the world. It was certainly a challenging year for me, and I didn't get much done, but I took care of myself, and rested a lot, and I think that was just as important as activity. I don't know what next year will bring for us all, the news is so bad day after day - but still the voices of love, peace, and resistance to evil, are speaking up, and that keeps me from endless weeping.
I usually do a weblog retrospective around Solstice or the new year, but this time it's a little different as I moved sites, and I didn't post as much as I normally do, and I also sent out some e-letters for a while. So I offer you now a jumble of here and there, said and unsaid ...
Women who drift with deer. This post about gentle women resonated with many. I write stories of fragile women. Their power is generally in their kindness, or their loving nature; often, they don't have what we call power, but find their happiness instead within an old woundedness, holding their memories rather than wanting to transform them. I don't know if these stories speak to other women, but we have so many strong heroines in literature, I want to place my own words on the other side of the balance.
FebruaryThe wild ways of stone and soul. It seems most people think of a path in terms of how we move upon it – this way, that way, sometimes off it (if we're willing to take the risk). But I believe a path can be a living thing, a complicated thing, rich with stop and go. I guess what we know of it depends on how we walk it ... Some paths feel so lonely. Some feel like they have turned away from people, gone within their silence, and those are the dangerous ones, because you can not trust where they might carry you. Other paths call for walkers, call and call, and if they are lucky they will be visited by someone who will talk with them, foot and stone, wonder and memory, and who will journey rather than just travel.
When you need to live quietly. It's not just about doing things. A walk on the beach is not too much because of the walking. It's because of the tidesong, and the light floating on water, and all the stories that wash in. It's because every other person walking past trails perfume, energy, wonder, sound. It's because of all the other days spent walking on the beach that layer the air of this one.
Her feet are stained with dreams. There is no place for the wander-hearted woman; she belongs in placelessness. She finds her rest only in the wistful yearning for somewhere else ... She collects possibilities, as if they are feathers or shells, stones or knotted white threads from old clothes; she brings them out from her pockets every day and wishes she was far-awaying. But not the actual far away.
From an unpublished post : I am sitting in my unlit house at the faint edge of day, listening to the birds sing a path of feather-brushed, dirt-smudged dreams for the moon to rise upon. She came early yesterday; I watched her as I sat on the grass waterside, eating dinner. She seemed to have been pecked at by birds - tui and magpies and brusque black swans.
Earthlines and sea gifts. I was blessed to have an article published in the wonderful magazine Earthlines : My little piece is about a dragon, and sparrows of course, and the dreaming magic that lies beneath my feet. I feel as if a bit of me, tucked inside my words, went with them across the oceans to the island that I have long loved, and spent a small while there breathing mist, and peat-smoke, and the very same air Maeve hollered into, and Yeats walked through. This is what writing's for - not the being published part, but the journeying, the strange and lovely places your words take you to. And also for the words drawn in response from readers that make you feel as if the world has been unclothed of your own perceptions and you see it naked, beautiful, tender, through the thoughts of another person.
From one of my e-letters : Today, I sat quietly in the dark before dawn. I am not a morning person, but this was a lovely moment. The darkness was so gentle, full of magic and promise. A rain storm had eased away, and the quiet seemed bouyant, floating in a satisfied peace. One bird was tenderly singing the sun up out of the sea. It all felt like dew on the heart - and nothing that could be captured in a photograph. I hope we don't veer more and more towards the shorthand communication of imagery, and forsake long, languid, complex ramblings of words. I think if that happens we will lose something deep within ourselves, and risk losing our true connection with others also. I may see you in a photograph more clearly than I see you through words, but I know you better by what you tell me, what your phrases and pauses communicate. I may see your soul.
Bright heart and bee-sung hopes. The sky is exuberantly blue today, like a shell cracked open to reveal the hidden heart of the old, solemn sea-king within.
White lace witches. Maybe it is because I grew up on a hill with the wild sea wind. I never developed an affinity for walls and doors. There has always been so much to love - shadow, moss, owls, Devonshire teas, antique stories, barren rooms, plain white, fleece fairies, tea leaf prophecies, old unearthed words, fierce hair, nose rings, silk and lace petticoats, kittens with ribbon collars, wolves ... Surely there's space enough in a heart for it all.
The weeping woman. Sometimes you cry and the tears show you where the roses want to grow.
The healing power of small and quiet stories. I believe in narrative therapy. Mythic therapy. After years of watching masculine theories of psychology fail for women, I have come to put my faith instead in the old witchy wise theory of sitting down on the ground and telling the story. Singing the story. Drumming it with fists against the ground. Dancing, walking, digging, wailing the story.
From an unpublished post : I grew up with tea leaves and tarot cards. I was encouraged to listen to my intuition. Lately, I have been contemplating the art of meditation and yoga. And this week I let the whole lot of that go. Instead, I walked amongst the trees.I don't want to centre myself or find my core. I want to be in the world, experiencing my self weaving and reweaving through the sunlight, the leaf-shadow, the water stories at the edge of wild quiet. All inner silence gives me is my own thoughts back to me. And I don't want to draw on the wisdom of the universe from within my house, sitting alone, laying out cards. It's not a wrong thing to do, but I personally at this time would rather take a question to the meadow, and share a conversation about what the answer may be. Or simply let the light and the whispering clovers, the singing birds, speak through me.
Happy holy days!