Monday, November 25, 2013

Contemplating the West...

As I prepare my spirit-self for a ceremony that will take place in the spring, I have been mentally attending to various details, unfolding… relaxing into the open space within me and just seeing what comes. These contemplations have tended to align with the earth elements, and medicine wheel teachings, and how each one of these will manifest into the ceremony. To call this contemplation, isn’t quite right. This is free-flowing introspective practice, which opens the channels of insight. It is really a way of being - with each of these aspects.  I envision them as points of light, like sparks – around which energies, understandings and knowings – gather. For me it is a process of opening myself – growing quiet and seeing what shows up. It’s about listening, watching – waiting - and feeling the vibrations as connected things engage one other.  It’s about how knowings come to me. One point of light around which there has been much activity has been the Western direction on the medicine wheel.

The directional door through which our beloved departed ones pass on their journey to the ancestors, is in the West.  I have a hard-hard time with these passings. A very.hard.time.  When one of my beloved people pass through the western door, if we have shared a close bond. The hole left by their Westing – is like a vortex into which energy is drawn, into which thought patterns flow like the cataract of Niagara. Very recently, with the guidance and perspective of a beloved friend – immersed in his work, a wondrous enlightenment shone through my previous experience with death journeys. Three losses that have been devastating to me, my cousin, my Mother, and my infant Grandson - I am experiencing them anew. Now in addition to the very real sorrow that lives in the memory of each passing, a sense of wonderment also resides.

By relaxing into this open space in the West – and feeling the vibrations as connections are made - I have this beautiful, amazing energy flowing, the strings are thrumming with vibrations. I feel the life-rhythms. It is totally wonderful to me, that the act of Westing, passing away, walking on, crossing over - is a process by which our dear ones, encounter the moment when the trappings of this Earthly existence slide away. Societal rules, morays, constructs, and value systems are just not important any more and we are gifted – with unfettered, unconstrained existence as our essential selves. Our Isness, our Spirit gets to burst forth and move and work and flow in ways that are simply not possible when Earthbound, and clothed in the gift that is our body.  We move and engage in delightful entwinement with our Divine Beloved, how amazing is that?! So the West is a totally amazing spiritual launchpad, so that’s one aspect - I’ll call it Yin.

To balance the ethereal Yin – there is a very physical, very grounded, very substantial Yang. West is where the Earth element resides. Solidity, stability, nourishment, endurance, the sustaining force – all of this is embodied by the Earth element.
Everything.everything.everything.everything is reliant upon Earth. This is true of each element - but Earth, especially so. Earth is richly adorned with traces and pieces of all that has ever existed on the planet, in one form or another.

Earth is connected to our five senses in profound ways. If we allow ourselves the opportunity to lay very still with an ear to the Earth, we can hear the gnawing of creatures, the vibrations of beings in motion within, and on top of the Earth. We can hold earth in our hands and experience through our eyes and our touch-sensing, the dampness, the texture, the heat, the viscosity of that which we hold.  By cradling Earth in our hands, by being outdoors during planting or when it is raining, or as the frost is coming out of the ground, or by digging into the rich, sweet Earth with our fingers - we can smell the bouquet of the Earth, the complexity and the nourishment Earth holds in her particles. We can truly smell the cycles of decay and regeneration going on, in that moment. By chance encounters with windblown Earth, by sliding face first to home plate, or by doing a graceless faceplant, we taste Earth. Sometimes we taste by design – or some of us do – directly, or in particles lifted up by tender greens and fiddleheads plucked for salad that never quite make it to the house. Mom told me many times as a child, that we all needed a bit of dirt to grow. Was this a testament to the merits of randomly eaten Earth, or a witness of the life-long connection to the ground –experienced by her middle child? I dunno. Earth is sacred to me. Truly.sacred. I always-always have a bit of Earth – in the form of rocks, on my person, in my pocket. The lovely plate of rocks in the picture is on my desk at work. There are rocks in each vehicle that I drive. I have an extensive family of rocks that move in and out of my care. It is an act of sacred connection to pass a rock that has journeyed with me, to another beloved soul. Rocks ~ the most solid and substantial of Earth forms, have memory.  Pebbles, stones, rocks, boulders – carry the energy, and contain the story – of every place they’ve ever been. The planet, the ground, the soil, the flesh of our Earth Mother - the place where we connect to our sacred physical selves – this is the West and it is where we all come home.

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