plum petals fall
raindrops kiss stone
take a moment and sit
smell, and touch
the very field of creation.
I’m having such a hard time lately focusing enough to write coherent posts. I flit from site to site, idea to idea, and just can’t settle my mind enough to say what I want to say. I feel distracted, preoccupied, and unfocused. Maybe I need to go to the woods more often. As it is, I sit here with my little stack of books: Midwifing Death, What Dying People Want, and Sacred Dying. They came too late for me to really use them in any sort of helpful way for my mom or grandma, but at least I’ll have them in case I know anyone else who needs them. I am a tiny librarian in my own way and it is books that I turn to when I need help or want to help. They’re what I offer. Books are my first and longest-lasting love. I also sit by a pile of books waiting to be turned over as I plan my spring women’s retreat and write two assignments for my OSC class on Ritual and Liturgy. My heart doesn’t quite feel in that though either—too many variables, too much unknown…
There is so much we don’t know
so many possibilities we can’t imagine
maybe that is what I touch
in the dreamtime
and the woodstime
maybe I am surrounded
in all times
and all ways
by those who have gone before me
here, in the woods
and am touched
something that kisses my eyelids
with a breeze
that blesses my brow
with a raindrop
that cradles my body
that fills my senses
with pleasure and awareness
and that connects me
to the great, grand whole of creation
and I know that I am a part of Her
and She is a part of me
Though my individual thread might end
my part of the tapestry is eternal
and I dance right now
with the lifeblood
of purpose and connection.
A few days ago, I sat in the woods and thought about death and life and ancestors and children. While I sat and spoke into my little recorder, the plum petals fell steadily all around me like snow. It was beautiful and soothing.
In my piles of books are also those which I want to put back on the shelf, but that are waiting because they had sections I marked to share. One of them—a really excellent anthology of essays by priestesses (or “sibyls”) called Voices of the Goddess—contained a section that made me think of my own theapoetical experiences. Though, I then feel self-conscious, embarrassed, or somehow “arrogant” or something for identifying with it—like, who do I think I am?!
The Goddess grants her gifts of creativity in many ways, but the personal invocation, the inspired lyrical utterance is always nearest to the surface. This poetic wellspring is part of the sibylline legacy and there is no denying it. It speaks the language of the blood and belly as well as the language of the crystalline stars. It is a weaving song that meshes heaven and earth with the underworld. Poetry is the mouthpiece of the metamemory, the deep, ecstatic memory of an oral tradition that remembered the Goddess daily in domestic and tribal rituals. Since there are not Goddess rituals or liturgies from former times, we have written our own, often drawing directly upon the raw material of personal experience…Poetry can both bless and uproot, it can extol or refute. It is the true voice of the Goddess speaking through her sibyls. Personal or prophetic, poetry is communication with a deeper level of understanding. It is a gateway for the Goddess to pass through.
–Caitlin Matthews in Voices of the Goddess
While I wouldn’t venture to call myself “prophetic,” I do experience something personally very important to me there in the woods, something I’ve previously referred to as, “Entering into radical relationship with the Goddess through art, poetry, and nature…” or, theapoetics. When I wrote about this topic for Feminism and Religion, I included this poem:
Goddess, where are you?
I am within you and around you
in your heart that seeks answers
Goddess, do you exist?
Yes, I am as real as your own heartbeat.
I am here in the bird’s song
I am here in the breeze that touches your face
I am as solid as the stone you sit on
I am that which weaves the Whole.
I am that which holds the All.
I am that which flows,
through the heartbeat of every form on this earth
I am within you and around you
beneath you and above you
I am your home
I am that which you seek
I am that which you know
And, I love deeply, richly, and well.
I still don’t think of myself as writing poetry and certainly not as a “poet.” These words are something that just comes out. Something that emerges. Something that is created in a very different manner than the rest of my writing. It actually feels like an altered state of consciousness that “writes itself” and when I go back to listen to what I said, I’m often surprised or feel like I’m listening to someone else speak. That’s theapoetics. Go sit in the woods and see what happens when you open your mouth! 🙂
I’m curious to know the authors of those books about dying, that you wrote of. They would be helpful to me in the coming weeks & days because my mom is in very bad health; I don’t expect her to see her birthday in July. And I will be a mess when she passes.
Many Blessings, Molly-Sister!!