Note: I started writing this post and then came across the #writephoto prompt post by Sue Vincent and opened it up to this image. Therefore, the blog post has now become my response to her weekly photo prompt.
In April of 2017 I played the role of “The Feathered Seer” during the Silent Eye School of Consciousness’s annual ritual workshop weekend. Although acting is not my element, this role that I was asked to undertake did not feel like acting. It felt like home. Yesterday, I wrote about the concept of home and how I feel most aligned with that state of being when I am in England, walking the ancient lands. I have no doubt I have walked these lands, perhaps many times, in former lives. It’s a knowing so deep it goes beyond the visceral and straight to the heart of the soul.
The Feathered Seer is a part of me, woven into my being. She is my guide, but she is also me. Through the ancient lands she follows me, and I follow her. She takes my hand and leads me so I will remember. And, I believe, so that others will remember too.
In physical form, she adopts the form of the pileated woodpecker. That other-worldly creature who flies through the woods with her red head, calling the soul home to the roots of being, and drumming the language of the ancients back into the heart.
Last night she came to me during dreamtime as I stood atop a sacred Native American hillside. Flying her feathers of darkness before my face to peer into my eyes. Weeks prior, she had arrived in physical form. Flying before my path before the Silent Eye group gathered at Castlerigg.
I went as far as the hills in dreamtime while they gathered to greet the dawn below. Disappointment comes in many forms and sometimes it reaches out to hold the hand of acceptance. I’m not going to lie. This has not been an easy one to come by. The land at Castlerigg calls to me in a language the predates words. It speaks to the very heart of my being and fills me with the irrepressible longing for home. Yet, it is not my time to return here, and I know when it is, this body I wear must accompany my spirit. Sometimes the cells need to remember wholly and completely. And, Casterligg has called my whole being to be present someday. But not yet.
I didn’t know you wanted to go so badly, my husband told me afterwards. After he overhear words spoken with my dear friend who was there. I had, though, already chosen the hand of acceptance months ago, although sometimes I held only its finger tips. What do you do for yourself. I mean, only for yourself. You know, just for you? A friend had asked me a week before while the tears called despair rained from my eyes.
England, I told her. I go to England.
Yet, I was born here in New England. A cruel irony it can seem at times when one feels like she belongs in another land. This, though, is where I am, right now, and I have chosen to take that hand called “acceptance,” along with the belief that there is a purpose for me being here, and not there, for most of my time. This past weekend, instead of visiting a landscape that feels like home, I was home with my family. And, that was okay. More than okay. Love is limitless, even when it feels as though it is being pulled apart by longing.
I was here, but also there. You were never not with us, my friend assured me. I called your name as I walked up to the circle, you must have heard me.
I was hovering in the hills, though. The stones below obscured by the body of giants. They called me back home before the stones did. Opening the body of the goddess to enfold. I can stay here for awhile longer. I can wait. Even though the head of the dragon beckons in stone.
My lower body has been vibrating all week. Kundalini. The roots healing before the rise. We are often called to tend to the roots first. Healing the core of stability. Of origin. Our roots that bind us to one family, before we can return to another.
Acceptance holds my hand. I have taken her grasp in a firm embrace and she is becoming a part of me. I can wait. You asked for patience, did you not? I am reminded.
How lucky I am, that I can return to this place that feels like home. That I can allow myself to become lost only to become found, over and over again, filling each cell of my being with the memory of home. Until we meet in this lifetime, Castlerigg, I will hold the hand of acceptance.
A special thanks to Lara Wilson for lending me the use of her gorgeous photographs, and to her, as well as the others who were at the Silent Eye School of Consciousness event this past weekend for taking me with them in spirit.
Most saw it as a the remains of a tree covered in moss and simply passed it by without a second thought or glance. Others saw it as something more, and those were the ones it watched. Two faces, one above and one below, with a breadth of life in between. Those that linger the longest hold the most memories, and the Way-stone had been there for centuries, cataloging each movement of the grass and the many feet that had pressed down the green to feel the touch of Earth’s body. The Way-stone had seen trees come and go; an entire forest felled for man before roots pushed their way to light once again, as all life will do. Those men had seen the stone and thought it curious. There was one, though, who stopped each day and lingered with his axe in hand, waiting for the others to pass by unaware.
The Way-stone watched him. Noticing his pause of understanding. The way his eyes saw through the green to the life it hid, and how his heart fluttered through memories of a forgotten time. Each day the two faces in the stone watched and wondered if the man would pause just long enough in his daily routine of felling the trees around him. If he would sit, perhaps, or stand near enough to be beckoned.
There are two directions one can go, and an infinity of possibilities in between. So it’s written on the Way-stone’s visage. The man with the axe sometimes looked to the sky and saw the blue expanse and wondered what was above the reach of his eyes. More often, though, he looked below. He seemed to see those penetrating eyes that watched him and studied each action and reaction. He seemed to know he was a guardian to the path held deep inside where most dare not venture, thinking the surface was all there was or could possibly be.
Then, one day, the man with the axe stopped. The others had gone home and the blue above had deepened to indigo. The first stars had broken the veil of darkness and the man with the axe, who had no one to wait for him, drew close to the tree-like stone covered in moss. He laid the axe nearby and sat upon the cool ground. His back was turned toward the well-traveled path into town, his eyes level with the the green eyes before him.
“Show me the way,” he whispered as he reached his left hand to gently touch its soft side where it broke through the ground below.
Waves of heat pulsed through his skin and the lids lowered upon his eyes. The man felt a drawing inward, experiencing a complete absence of light before the entire universe held inside opened before him and he surrendered into its embrace.
They said it was a sacrifice,
but isn’t all life?
The tree pulled down to make paper to record our words
The hay threshed to fill bellies
Some say even water is alive
The clouds spilling it to the ground only to be swallowed
by some body that will eventually die
Only the bones linger
Hardened by structure
Fused to bear weight
Once stripped of the vulnerable layers they expose the effort
of resistance as a catalogue of time
We like to date our years lived
We like to think about lifetimes
in terms of expansion
The vulnerable layers we shroud
with creams and clothing designed to hide
and deny this thing we call age
But, when we strip ourselves down to what is left
Beyond the hardened bones that remind us of death
as a loss and that thing called density,
we are left with the essence itself
That bit of life that lingers over and over again
The cycle repeating itself to rebirth
in another form. Experience depends
upon this essence, as does growth and death
It is said that when the body dies,
the weight of the eternal essence can be recorded
after it leaves the form which held it close to call it a life
by itself. We can look at the dry bones and see the loss
of what once was, or we can follow the essence
back into the dance of life. Imagine
a breath of memories swirling into another form,
or perhaps dancing in eternity’s ocean
The individual heart eventually stops
That’s simply the law of nature of life in form
An idea that might make a single beating heart
skip into the throat to hide for want of eternity
of the individual. We don’t like to think
about nonexistence as we define our existence
but what of that pulse that beats through all life?
Can you feel it?
No one can say they cannot,
or have not, because
it is that essence that lingers
The before form and the after form
So you can study the bones and marvel
at the loss, or you can study the essence
that beats the eternal heart and recognize it
as your own too.
When I saw Sue’s writing prompt photo from this past Thursday, I knew I would likely participate, but something told me to wait. This morning, I opened my inbox to her post from Ani and was graced with a quiet space to sit with what it had to offer. As Sue’s posts have a way of doing, I felt that familiar call to a faraway home that is, perhaps, not so far away.