Through the Veil

Tonight is the Hallowed Eve, the Holy Night, the opening of the veil into the Holy Days of All Saints and All Souls, a time to reflect on our mortality as we remember those who’ve gone before: the wise and compassionate ones, the givers and doers and makers, and the beloved ones who are no longer with us.

We all reach that doorway, in the end. The tunnel with the bright light, the voices calling, the shedding of the body. And so we remember to enjoy it while we have it, to wear these mortal clothes with as much delight and passion and wisdom and kindness as we can muster. To be like our saints and our beloveds. To carry their legacy within our own mortal bones.

We look the leering skull in the face and say, “Someday, yes. But not today.” Instead of running from the skeletons of memory and loss, we dance with them a while, drink a toast, and bow to respectfully, knowing we too will someday be the memories our beloveds dance with.


“Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses,
And all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.” –Mother Goose
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Marge Piercy:
Forgive the dead year. Forgive
yourself. What will be wants
to push through your fingers.
The light you seek hides
in your belly. The light you
crave longs to stream from
your eyes. You are the moon
that will wax in new goodness.
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“Surrender is not passively resigning yourself to something. . .it is a conscious embracing of what is.” –Cynthia Bourgeault
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The wheel turns.
The harvest is in.
The veil parts.
We walk into the dark time.
Dream well.
Bright Blessings.
–Beth Weaver-Kreider
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“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” –C. S. Lewis
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“When you think everything else is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot.” –Dalai Lama


Gratitude List:
(Some of these are a little goofy, perhaps, but they were all part of the sweet simple delights of the day)
1. When you’re singing a song to the cats, and when you pause, one of them comes in at exactly the right moment and pitch.
2. When you’re walking down the street in Wrightsville, and a tiny little Elsa-person looks up and says with gleaming eyes and gusto, “Hello, Witch!”
3. This night of the year when whole communities create fun for children.
4. That bush on our walk through Wrightsville, with the yellow flowers, like a bit of the tropics on a cold October night.
5. Tuesdays.

May we walk in Beauty!

Living in the Layers

This morning, I am sitting outside with cool breezes, delicious morning sunlight, the calling of the wingfolk all around, a not-so-small boy playing in the sandbox, and an old man cat resting in his bed beside me. It is a perfect moment, one I want to hold forever, inner and outer worlds aligned. Grief is here, too, in the perfect moment: the old man cat has gone nearly blind in the past week, the marvelous boy with the giant-sized heart is growing so fast I cannot keep track of the changes, some of my beloveds are hurting and anxious. It is all part of the wheel of changes, and grief and uncertainty have their place. It is part of the package of being human.

And it’s not only the boys and the cat who are aging and changing. I am about to complete my fiftieth year. It feels right and good to be here on the cusp of my half-century, still learning to be who I am: mother, spouse, teacher, friend, writer. I feel a new story rising, wanting to burst forth. I have spent this past decade learning to trust my voice, honing my craft, taking baby steps. Now it is time to find a way to take my words out, further out. I’m not entirely sure what that will look like, but it is the promise that I am making to myself in this moment. I am ready to leave the safety of the chrysalis.

(And now there is an older boy here, golden as the sunlight, and he is telling me words that are beyond my understanding, this child who came from my body–he is so much smarter than I am, already–his mind making connections at lightning speed, learning every new thing. What a marvel it is to watch these beings absorb information and grow and develop, extending ideas of their own, creating new things. The wheel turns. . .)


“I saw you once, Medusa; we were alone.
I looked you straight in the cold eye, cold.
I was not punished, was not turned to stone.
How to believe the legends I am told? …
I turned your face around! It is my face.
That frozen rage is what I must explore —
Oh secret, self-enclosed, and ravaged place!
That is the gift I thank Medusa for.”
―May Sarton, “The Muse as Medusa”
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Pablo Picasso:
“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”
“Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.”
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“Our religion is relationship. Our relationships are our religion.” ―Bruxy Cavey
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“The work of the eyes is done.
Go now and do the heart-work
on the images imprisoned within you.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke


Gratitude List:
1. (How did you encounter the Divine Wow?) Synchronicity. In this case, it had to do with armadillos. “Protect yourself,” says the wise woman, and the Mystery adds, “What she said.”
2. (What awakens you?) All the butterflies swinging down the breezes: monarch, swallowtail, fritillary, buckeye. “Isn’t that chrysalis becoming a little claustrophobic?” they ask. Isn’t it time to emerge and fly?
3. (What quickened within you?) It is time to fly, time to learn a new kind of noticing, time to address the claustrophobia, time to break out of the chrysalis.
4. (What do you take deeper?) The layers of my living–photos of very young children who are both gone and here in this moment, time with friends which is both this moment now and last year and the years before, this morning sun slanting into the hollow and the blue jay and doves calling which is the essence of this very moment and also a hearkening to my own ancient story.
5. (How will you carry the past and the present into the next moment?) Allowing the little bird of grief for what is past and gone to sit on my shoulder and sing her songs. Anticipating the joy that comes with the next ray of sunlight, the next bird call, the next “Mom, look!”

May we walk in Beauty!

Turning the Wheel

it can be that quick
the change from one state to another
there’s that moment of devastating awareness
the kick in the gut and the tumble into the terrible truth
then the cold crypt of devastation
the going numb

but there’s that moment when you turn your face
away from the shadows and into the glare
and you don’t know yet who is it you see
but there’s something in the stance
something about the voice
the why are you weeping
and you don’t dare to hope
but then you hear your own name
and it all falls away
and the wheel has turned
and Love is there

TOMORROW’S PROMPT:
Justice. Tomorrow the Fool learns about Justice. We activist-types throw that word around as if it’s the answer to all that is wrong with the world. Simple, easy. Justice for the poor, the oppressed, the mistreated. Justice will roll down like waters, said MLK, quoting the ancient prophet. We Menno-types like to quote that verse about doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly. All that is good and great, but the Fool is going to need to deepen her understanding of Justice in order to penetrate more fully into the woods of her psyche. Justice can be hard and harsh, and sometimes leaves no room for the mercy we desire. The justice of the natural world can seem cruel and unforgiving. How will the Fool encounter Justice? What wisdom can you offer her?

Gratitude List:
1. Stories of Holy surprises
2. Ritual days that hold all the emotional terrain
3. It’s not just that the stone is rolled away, nor that the tomb is empty. It’s that you hear your own name spoken with love and joy.
4. Family time
5. Unfurling

May we walk in Beauty!

The Wheel of the Year

Poem-A-Day Prompt 19:  Write a Wheel Poem.  Sort of reminiscent of the Circle Poem way back on Day 7.  But I like the roundness. . .

Me, I think the world begins on that inward turn of the wheel.
The poise and the pause, the moment of balance.
Autumnal Equinox.  Prepare for the coming of night.

Then swing a notch toward the dark and fall
between the worlds.  Part the veils and listen
for the words of the ancestors.

Turn the wheel again, into the dark and darker
and the mother is groaning in her labor pains,
the heart is listening like a young rabbit in the warren.
Seeds of crystals grow and glow.

And turn again, and into light, sharp and newborn,
emergent.  What will you bring with you into the sun?
No wonder the whistle pig is the icon of the day,
fresh, transformed, and blinking in the snow-blind glare.

Another spin into the light, the time of the egg
and the bud, the time of the singing, the blooming.
The world washed clean and wind-shriven.
Back to the balance of Equinox.

Yank the wheel another notch and throw off
the kilter of spring.  Enter the riot, the bustle.
Use the words fecund and fertile and wild.

The wheel turns and the sun stands like an ancient hero
on the vault of the sky.  What fills your soul?
Where do your dreams go?  Follow your fire.

After that zenith, the shape shades to dark once more,
but the loss is lost in the haze of the days.
The first wheat is harvested, baked into loaves.
What will you make of your harvest?

Follow the bark of the goose to the next turn,
and the world begins all over again,
folding itself into darkness.