Is this my amduate?  No.  I have no book of the dead, no roadmap out of this terrain of terror. I have no stories, even, of others who have successfully passed the guardians, tests, and challenges and won through not only to hades/hell, but back out to the surface as well.  I will tell some stories, perhaps, of my own but I will also search for the stories of others who have made or are making their own way through the underworld I have seen. There is such a difference in the mindset necessary for searching out others’ stories, the analysis of old stories in the mythologies of religions from Christianity to the Greeks’ beliefs, and that necessary for the expression of my own experiences. The physical trials of an outward journey can be more easily described than the trials of an internal journey. It seems to me that allegory may be the best way to express the experience, especially if I want also to communicate my [obviously limited] understanding of any meaning that there may be to my experiences. A flat description of my experiences would be tedious and meaningless without my perceptions of meaning, connections, and patterns; it may be that my skill as a writer will determine whether my story breathes on its own or comes stillborn into this world. Creation. A human ability that connects us to the divine in a specific way… what I bring forth as a result of my journey through the underworld shall be (one of) my act(s) of creation. If I don’t make it all the way through? Well, I shall create what I can along the way… perhaps the act of creating is in fact one of the tests I must pass, one of the spells I must perform. Our culture has no clear image of the guardians of the gates, so our tests remain unclear. Are they the same tests that the Greeks faced?  I know each individual’s journey is unique, but if the Egyptians, the Mayans, the Tibetans, and even the Christians could have their guidelines, their ‘books of the dead’, does that not imply that there is a pattern that can be learned, and followed?  Are our ‘modern’ tests and challenges really so different? And if they are, isn’t it possible that the very multitude of stories in publication, online, and verbally told might form the basis for such a guideline in our times? I find I want the stories of heroes to inspire me, to comfort me when I feel utterly alone in my journey. I turn to those stories I find on the internet as well as the myths of Inanna and Persephone as I make my way through the cobwebs of my understanding and my strength, as I try to return to the surface once again. Each descent is as difficult as the others; each feels like the one that will not be survived. But I have won through so many times before… I am tired, but surely not mortally so just yet.  Just a few more tests – a graduate degree in life, perhaps? 🙂

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Fierceness Driven Sideways by the Wind

I used to think the howling in my head was a fearsome and unwanted thing but then I heard it from a different when

I heard the wind wailing wild and the wolves were singing to it

the snow whipped hard and landed soft to cool the embers of my rage

no way for you to know it   no way for me to show it

but the blizzard came a’ calling while my soul was busy falling

the wind it shifted and the snow of course it drifted

when my soul came down to earth it found a cold but welcome birth

I left everything unneeded and everyone’s advice unheeded

I made my angel’s wings while laughing

and left no footprints they could follow

but I listen for the singing of the wolves among the pines

and wailing wild the wind and I are bound

I was never lost so I am not found

I’m only home in here at last     I’m only home where I belong

in the wild wood storm I found my peaceful soul at last

I’m not the eye   I’m not the I   I am the whipping wind and snow

I’m not the peace I am the fierceness driven sideways by the wind

exultation is my middle name the rest you never will pronounce

my home is here and whirling    I am the living in the dance

Posted in From Clinging to the Wreckage to Dancing on the Waves, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

This one really hit the spot, so I’m passing it along…

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Humor from Many Sides

I am sharing a couple of photos I have on myfacebook page; my thanks to those who originally posted them!
One side of me likes cute and inspiring; one side of me is deeply twisted and warped. Guess wich side I enjoy more viscerally? Heh Heh Heh, yup — the twisted stuff. It has kept me sane for so many years, I would like to thank my father for encouraging this side of me. From the song about Lizzie Borden and Tom Lehrer‘s “Poisoning Pidgeons in the Park” (a fellow Harvard person, so my dad really liked him) to making sure I had access to a collection of Charles Addams cartoons by the time I was 6 or 7, my dad made sure that I understood and could appreciate dark humor. Sometimes it is the only sane way to release rage, hostility, or face it, frustration at the way the world really works. If it can offend, it has some power to it, and if we can learn to have a sense of humor about what offends us we might have a little more power over our  stress, or at least a coping method that is socially acceptable. Here are examples of two of the sides to my sense of humor:

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Melissa Etheridge’s “I Can Wait”

I Can Wait
by Melissa Etheridge

I know that you’re trembling
despite your disguise
Your world is on fire
I can see it in your eyes
Those spirits are hungry
oh, they feast on your fear
they’re howling and screaming
I can feel them so near
I will stay right here

I can wait, and I won’t change
I won’t fade from the dark and strange
Feel the moon, get to know the stars
I know it’s not easy honey

It can seem so hard
when your demons have found ya
Oh they drag you through hell
don’t pay your attention to the
stories they tell
Don’t get me wrong now honey,
I know its severe
just give me a smile now baby,
let me whisper in your ear:

I will stay right here
I can wait, and I won’t change
I won’t fade from the dark and strange
Feel the moon, get to know the stars
I know its not easy honey

You will find what you are looking for
and this work is never done
There are no judgments only open doors
the choice is yours —
You can’t get it wrong no

I can wait I will stay right here
I can wait, and I won’t change,
I won’t fade from the dark and strange
feel the moon, get to know the stars
I know its not easy honey
but I can wait I can wait
I will stay right here

from the album “4th Street Feeling” This is just something that I believe many of us would like to hear

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101 coping strategies for dealing with stress (I wanted to pass this along)

101 coping strategies for dealing with stress.

I came across this from Mm172001, who I believe was also passing it along, and it impressed me so I wanted to share it. I hope it is helpful to you all as well.

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Returning to the World

After any descent, a return to the surface is required in order to bring the treasure back to society and to integrate all that hard won new knowledge into your own life. For the last few weeks I got sidelined by family illness, my fiance’s injured ribs, and my own battle with some nebulous infection that refuses to go away or become so critical that even I cannot avoid returning to the ER. I love the people who immediately became worried that I have the West Nile virus just because I have a lot of bug bites. The theater has always been one of my loves and I can usually appreciate a good drama:) The very beginning of a blog’s existence is probably not the best time to let it side but so I did. I extend my hand out, palm down, for the 30 lashes with a wet noodle (my head modestly tucked down so that no one can see how much I enjoy wet-noodle lashings).
Imagine my surprise, then, when upon returning online for the first time in several days I found my very first email was from The Bad Witch, and that she had nominated me for a blogging reward. I am honored, as I love her blogs, and find myself very pleased to have returned to the world at such a perfect time. Gosh, 30 lashes with that wet noodle AND a blogging award. I even had a choice! As I wrote to her, because I have for so long used as proof of my impaired sweetness the fact that I do not melt in the rain (despite my pride in being a Witch), I must go with the Beautiful Blogger award. Althogh I did never adopted it, when I chose my ritual name and had undergone the wonders of a modern vision quest, sweat lodge, three day solo and all, a kind someone said to me that they thought of me as Beautiful Dancing Warrior. It was compliment I held close, but never thought it a true part of my name. Just for today, however, I am going to revel in that thought of myself as Beautiful Dancing Warrior and allow that power to kick the crap out of this irritating systemic infection:) If that doesn’t do it I guess I’ll give modern Western Medicine a go at it, but don’t you think such a compliment ought to be medicinally valuable? I do. So:
What a glorious day!I have had 30 lashes with a wet noodle, an inspiring pat on the back, and food for my vain and already immense ego! I’m experiencing such rapturous twitches of pleasure that I will just have to be better disciplined (self disciplined, that is, she says with her head down to hide her grin over all those lovely wet noodle lashings) and sit down to my blogging and other projects more often for I HAVE LEARNED: Coming back to the world after a descent, whether it be a voluntary one or an unavoidable adventure in the Underworld, is not only reward enough in itself, but is sometimes rewarded by the world to which one returns. This is the first time my return has been met with a nomination for an award, and I am going to enjoy it as I would any decadent chocolate cake accompanied by a fine vintage (dry and sparkling) wine (please see the Bad Witch’s blog for the relevance of that remark). If I am successful in my second attempt at posting the proper picture here you will see it, otherwise this Luddite witch is off learning a new basic computer skill. And I am not shirking my other responsibilities here: I am new to the blogging world and I am going out to get to better know my fellow bloggers so that I can pass on the nominating process. I shall tell you seven things about myself later, when I report back on the sweet and beautiful bloggers that I have been getting to know. You already know that I include the Bad Witch in any nominating-to-good-things process.

from off stage is heard a joyful cackling, and “Ha ha, I did it!”

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