Secret

My life is full of Strange and Beautiful stories, that live so far off the map that when I retell them, I know that I could have pulled them off of some dusty old book shelf in the Small House made of Earth at the Center of Time.

And, the universe is always saying ‘shhh’, don’t speak these stories too loudly.  These are the stories that the tight fists of Reason are always trying to Sweep the Earth Clean of.  The stories that ooze outside of the neat confines of control.  The stories where humans dance with Gods. The stories where words sometimes become silent altogether, waiting to reform themselves into the world.  Alive.

They hide with the most Beautiful of the Wild Ones, and only allow themselves to be seen by the eyes that can understand and live into them, let them become their sinew and their bones and their eyes for deeper seeing.

These stories are meant to be breathed.  Each word eaten, prayed over, danced, and dreamed.

And because these Stories Belong to Isness, Herself, and the Re-telling makes Is-ness a History and This is Where Words Get Complicated.

Why the Old Cultures always held Words in the Deepest kind of Sacredness.

The first line.

I want to tell you a story.

The Second.

It is still a secret.

The Third.

I am already telling you this Story.

Advertisements

Pilgrimage

 

Elena+Willow 59172ACT

I cried my way from the 100 bus down through the streets of Edinburgh. A bus driver who was just cranky enough at the end of his shift to stir the 100000 tears waiting after hearing the words.

Entrance Denied.

I cried into my iPhone, Wendy on the other end listening in her dreams. But the tears were too wet for a little set of ears made of nephews of mountain. The message disappeared into the night, the old walls and old ones in the heart of the earth feasting. And I was lost.

Crying for my little home, Karen’s smile, the light made of willow blossoms, and the love touching my heart and body with so much old beauty that I am constantly quaking with wonder. The songs, the raven haired one, each of those beauties on the North Sea, the baskets of all shapes and sizes made of both willow and dancing, and the sheer truth that I was going back to somewhere I love even though España kept saying “stay. walk”.

Before I left, she said “ok have it your way.” The Spanish security breezed me through, but the Scottish asked me every question three times.

‘Can’t you see those mountains there calling me?’ They don’t understand borders, and I am sure some of my tears belong to the tree next to my hut where I offered blood and song, and the wild fairy hill always flapping with her black wings.

IMG_0717

I soften my eyes to see the gift here too. The soft arms, the black wisps of curls, of the one asking and asking and asking. He is tender too under his blue uniform.

‘I love you’, I whisper.

Last night I saw a father kill his four sons. Violently. It was condoned by the law, but the village scattered.

What is condoned by the law does not create the village. Rules that confine and define, rather than gifts that open the invitation to generosity.

This place is not intimate, at first glance.

I soften my eyes more. The detention room, locked and sad. I read to Her, aloud, the story of the Selkie. Her wild skins stolen. To make Her a wife. An owned one. The room begins to cry, the ones who forgot they were wild because they stand so still and are too strait. To uniform. Another uniform. There is tender here too under the skirts of the visible.

“You are recognized,” I say, “I remember you”

As I cry, she comes in. She asks, “why are YOU detained?”

Confused by my whiteness? Clearly.

“And you?”

“I am Syrian.”

I cry willow baskets full of tears.

Crying a war sitting in front of me.

She feeds me and I sing to her.
She says, “they killed us. This war killed us” And I know it is true for her now.

And I know she will not cry today in this little room just learning to cry again Herself, so I shed her and her mother’s tears.

They are spilling over the edges of my womb. Her biting pain fresh and hot.

‘Don’t let this kill you’

The one in the uniform fetches me near midnight.

“We are sending you back to Spain Friday morning. 8 am.”

I didn’t mean to go to Spain to begin with, but I fell so deeply in love that I wept feeling Her body as I boarded the plane.

Monique says my pupils were dilated when I arrived, the air was so quiet I could travel out into Her without closing my eyes. Standing in the veil to the Dreamtime, my eyes wide open.

My pilgrimage, to this Holy Place called the Hear and Now, where noise becomes Sound, and Life is revealing Her naked body again and again.

IMG_0729

Clearly, She is calling me back even as my face is still wet with tears.

A Living World

 

I sit eating steak with chimmichuri above a fancy mountain gear shop in Aviemore.

“You don’t really want to go now, do you?”, Barney says across the table.

I start weeping just as it begins to rain.

This world is too fast.

The shop with it’s tight corners, the matching perfect fuzzy vests all in a neat row, the smell of something too sweet.

Hallow.

In this moment, I am no longer related, and my body cringes and recoils. Tries desperately to make sense of these objects that live so far from my intimate stories. My body reaches to try to find them in the clean edges and lines. And then leans back to everything that I have anchored my Home to since I arrived on Karen’s door three months ago.

I feel the barn awaken now in my body. Her light, the smell of wood smoke and willow, the quiet of hands weaving, the beauty of the baskets tucked in every corner and bits of willow always strewn about on the floor.

Elena+Willow 59163ACT

The longing for lover.

I have woven myself into an older world who knows what She is made of, can easily track Her way Home.

This world is Lost.

” it is ok, the tears. I need to see this too. This is the longing and the long good bye that doesn’t just belong to me.”

I am weeping for every human and non human dislocated from Home.

From Story.

Land.

Song.

Craft.

We buy and sell strangers and colonize our hearts in the process. It is the losing of humanity.

This lives in all of us.

The longer ago it happened, the more distorted it becomes. Until, we are unrecognizable to ourselves because we have killed the world without grieving.

I need to leave the country to come back.  Barney leaves me roadside. I stand under those older ones still their arms blowing in the wind, and anchor myself to their movements.

I need to leave the country to come back. Barney leaves me roadside. I stand under those older ones still their arms blowing in the wind, and anchor myself to their movements.

I sing the old Irish song Madge taught me to lift my tenderness.
My thumb speaking to my commitment to be in relationship. To stand outside agenda. To take my time. To trust something.

IMG_0698

He turns around and comes back for me, and I don’t see him because I am singing.

“Look all directions”, they say.

He is a Lion who tells me the story of the monkey with his hand stuck in the jar grasping for watermelon seeds. He tells me about the names of deer, and will teach me how to stalk them. He talks about land forms and erratic Boulders who were left in strange places when the ice melts.

I listen into the stories and behind them. Nothing is coincidence when you are wandering inside of a Prayer.

I am learning to desire without grasping.

I am stalking my longing.

I am leaving gifts in places where I melt.

David and Tamsin feed me venison stew and we cuddle on the rug, sharing traveling songs.

I know where Home is and What She is made of.

This is my wander.

 

Fire

Elena+Willow 59232ACT

I had been wandering around the lid of my coffin for days.

Antsy, distracted, agitated. I could not listen to the Willow prayers.

“I don’t want to put a lid on it”

That simple.

I want to open it up. Let Her roar. Let Her sing. Let Her receive. This is a living breathing thing. I want to dance with Her. Plant flowers in Her Heart.

In an old world, nothing was just face value. Everything had layered and multiple meanings. Simplicity held the depth and everything told stories about connection to everything else. This is the way of intimacy. A world embedded in imagination. Imagination embedded in the world.

So I listen. And I pause.

I go to the field to work. Go to the well with Madge, dancing on the hill above whilst Madge sings the old songs and Nikos plays the flute below. We make Moussaka and laugh.

And today, again, the barn is filled with the quiet hum of hands moving over willow. She is praying me again, and the lid of my coffin a moment of rest. The old ones are quieter now, deeper down in my bones as I kneel at Her foot.

“We are here”

They say. This is where you come to tend. To listen.

The lid is just the Bow.

Elena+Willow 59166ACT

Last night, as the night came up and the stars opened their eyes, I walked out of the farmhouse. I didn’t know why. It was in the middle of a good conversation, rubbing Sven’s feet. The rich smell of Guilly’s dahl and roasted kale from Bragha’s garden, gentle laughter. A bit of clarinet.

But I needed to go outside for a minute.

I almost choked when I walked out, the smoke was so thick. Falling heavy on the driveway. I looked around. Sun on the horizon. It’s a farm, so fire is not unusual. It surprised me how thick it was though. I glanced from one chimney to the next, around the corner of the stone barn. The last chimney on the house, smoke rising, and pouring down the east wall where I walked to get to my hut.

I could barely breathe it was so thick.

I didn’t even know what was in that part of the house, and mystery whispered,

“Tell them.”

I did what a modern human does, check my cell phone, and forget. And only later, when I was taking the first bite of dahl, did it choke back up.

“There was fire in the East side of the house earlier. Smoke was pouring from the chimney”….Sven and Guilly were out the room before I could finish the sentence, leaving Mary and I, our mouths open at the table.

And here began, a conversation about Mystery.

Three days ago, Sven shared the story of this land, Marcassie. The years it sat in the mist, the Fire that burned it down, the old man who kept calling, speaking directly into their longing Wander for gathering place. The Fire beings in the fairy hill where I offered my blood. The people who sat around Fires here 7 years ago, the huts about to go up on that very side of the farmhouse next week.

Something is being born now, and like any birth, they have been breathing mystery right before form. Transition into Pushing. I saw it in their birthing eyes two nights ago. Weary, but in deep communion with the Ones moving through them.

Some people create community out of conversation with the seen. Others create it out of a conversation with the unseen. What awakens when we put aside agenda, with invitation.

I arrive in this moment. My Wander comes into view of this Wander.

Elena+Willow 59169ACT

The air gets thick with story. Faces light up in the glow of the unusual. The unseen.

That is the Temple, in the East side of the house. It is where the Fire Deities live. There is no woodstove or fireplace anymore.

We work our way through explanation, but lean deeper into mystery where I am keeping a snug hut in the Danger of a sister wolf.

Last Wednesday, came a Lion Dragon. Long grey brown fur, enormous teeth. Lounging in the rafters, an old Irish house amidst green. My sister Valerianna, sitting at her simple table, an Irish peasant. Simple handmade clothing. Seeing me though her familiar blue green eyes. I was pointing out the Dragon, who had prior to that been invisible to others.

Could she see him?

She smiled.

At first I was frightened, but I moved in close, and He began to teach me how to roar. He roared quietly, without sound. So as not to scare me. He knew I was tender. And I looked in closely at the white sharpness of His teeth. Studying them.

That was the night before I was supposed to fly home.

I am still here. My bare feet on cool spring earth. I feel Him spreading out into my skin, becoming a seen thing.

I am bleeding again. My rhythm has returned. This land is singing in me.

Elena+Willow 59229ACT

Flesh

Elena+Willow 59172ACT

I have become a Lover with Death.

I feel this my body just now, that I have been making love with Her all day and I just rolled over.

I am spent, full, soft eyed, still moist, quiet.

And now She is in me.

A Re-membered place.

That is what Beauty does. It transforms. Lean in close to what we avoid, neglect, out right run kicking and screaming away from down a long hall is doors of nice distractions.

At 13, I ran so far and fast from Death, that it ran me out of my own Body. I was skeleton woman, stripped of my own flesh, haunting my own life. It was thirst and longing that called me back. That calls me back. Love it all, even this.

“Flesh, flesh, flesh”. The skeleton woman drums on Her Lover’s Heart as Her blood and body return.

I am still drumming and I will not stop until I am full. Until She is full.

Mark came today with his camera. I knew from his eyes that he could see me. Eyes made of heart, always melting.

I spoke Story as I wove, and tears falling on tender willow, and his camera moved slow and soft. Late afternoon sun.

“I don’t want to be a voyeur”,  he confessed.

I gasped. “You are the most adored and sacred witness just now. Your camera just your eyes recording This”.

I wasn’t seen after my mom died. Her death wasn’t seen. No one’s wild grief was seen. Her ravaged body wasn’t seen. My young budding woman wasn’t seen. My dad’s wailing wasn’t seen….

Too much invisible. Things die brutal deaths when they are unseen, and are reborn as Terror.

“Flesh, Flesh, Flesh”.  I am pounding louder on my Lover’s heart. I want to live in a world where we don’t ask for permission to grieve.

“I am honored to see and be seen.  Thank you.”

No more hiding.

I weave deeper. Karen is alongside me this time.

“I am not alone with Death now.” A young one whispers. Tears.

She is an arms reach away, humming in Her orange shoes.

She is not afraid. She wove Her Father’s coffin and Her grandfather rubbed her feet when she was a sprout.

I lean into that.

My grandfather comes today at around half past 11. His wide grace and dignity touch my hands.

Become Recognizable so the Old Ones will dance inside you.

They are coming now too.

We drink Black Currant Cordial in the late afternoon, and as the last strands of willow are woven into the Wailing on This Death Basket, I realize I am in Love.

She looks like Spring. Fresh green willow with the buds still on. I want to fill Her with flowers and sing.

She catches my eye again and again.

If you create something so Beautiful for Death, She will insist that you fall in love with your Life.

Elena+Willow 59158ACT

Big Human

30127402_10209346786106598_1166735919022080000_nFlowers were blooming out of my belly in the wee hours of the morning. Still dark. And now I am weaving. Death. A six foot willow coffin.

Yesterday I knelt in front of her and every time I reached for her, I touched sweet loss. My tears watering each place needing remembrance. Old and vast. Holding Her substance between my fingers. She let me in and said, “tend me”. Life continues here too.

And just now, I am standing before Her frame, leaning into Her sturdiness and feeling how life springs back from Her darkness.

She is made of the same Big Dream as fecundity. The most sturdy traveling companion, the most certain and yet she will not tell all Her secrets.

She is mystery.

She smiles and grows up the most delicious flowers.

She invites my life.

A robin has laid her 3 eggs in a nest snuggled into a bunch of willow.  The workshop is busy today.  Francis is weaving outside in the sun.  Karen asks when Phil is going to come and get his mom, pulling a dusty urn out of a drawer.  Tony is here today.  I love his eyes, and he speaks like I do.  Slow and intentional.

And the woman in London who came to make her own shroud in January with her mom, died today.  “She is wrapped up in it. She looks cozy and beautiful”.

The willow and the wool are an embodied language in which we can have the most intimate conversation with our life and death.  They give us a way to process our grief, our loss, our longing, our stories, our relations.  They ask good silent questions if we listen.  Then our hands begin to speak a language our mouths forgot.

29790835_10209347231317728_5260355496077950976_n

The coffin will take 3 days to weave.  It is almost Greek Easter.  I haven’t celebrated since I was a kid.  Late nights in a darkened church.  All the old men amble their way to the alter to light candles in the silence, after the oldest women grieve in the dark.  When all the candles are lit, and I can feel their warmth on my small face, we begin to chant. Over and over.  Louder and louder. “Christos Anesti”

My imagination is made of this, and I know that resurrection is also the way those wild green ones leap back into life after the deep inward hum of winter.  And the sensation of flowers growing from my belly. I ask, as I weave, “what is resurrecting?” “What is springing forth?”.

This year, we will have a fire outside and soup made with the insides of a young lamb.  It is Spring.

I just moved into my 3rd little snug home here on this land.  Kirsty and I harvest nettles out past the old stone walls underneath the gorse just at sunset.  Put them fresh into potato soup, and eat celeriac cakes with hazelnut butter in her cozy stone house.  The sky is dark as I go home.

In the midst of all of this, Nikos’ eye has swollen shut.  A stye.  He asks all the questions we ask, when something life this happens.  Something that immediately connects to our vulnerability, our loss, our pain.  Why? How?  We want the story, but the dance is to find the way into the center and back out again, without losing ourselves along the way.  Tending, not turning from the loss, that has wrapped Her hands around a gift.

We travel from the lands of the living to the lands of the dead all the time, only the paths have become so covered over with concrete, we can hardly feel our feet anymore.

I trust pain as much as I trust pleasure.

I want to lean in more closely to everything that I resist, and everything that delights me.  Because this is what it feels like to be a Big Human.

29791759_10209347227837641_5311430375283621888_n

 

 

Driech

It has been raining for days.  Janine says, it’s “driech”.  Scottish weather.  Hail and swath of grey sky, morning until night. Just wait for summer.

I have been walking without a compass.  I am too open as a human for such things.  I know. My compass is my longing, what I love and what loves me, integrity with the spoken and silent promises I make to flesh and land, and how these seasons become dreams made form.  She is getting stronger.

And now, this evening.  I arrive.  My cozy hut lit up with dim light.  Behind Amy’s big sister hut. A simple meal with my new family.  And just now, this little space that is my own, says clearly “just write you.  you are here to write now”.

I am surrounded by my baskets, with my few things.  My wool. My journals.  My herbs. It continues to be enough.

I am still a wanderer. With a space of my own for a little while, a room to dance in, and some very kind Norwegians to find family inside of.

I am being called deeper in. Deeper threads. Fruiting and flowering into life.

I wept today on the phone today sitting in the rain, because I can only reach my arms so wide, and touch matters to a human like me.  Deeply.  A call broken by a strained wifi.  “Can you hear me?”, in between tears.  Symbolic, yes.  I am trying so to keep my ties strong, love tended well. Now, at this part of my life, I finally feel the preciousness of the each and the every.

And the fear that Love will not know She is loved. Will She continue to call?

I think I need to go on a long walk and have a conversation with the plants and the water now.  Tell them all that I am here. Tell them I am becoming more human.  Tell them of my love. Tell them the story of all that has moved up to now.

Tomorrow, I begin weaving my coffin.  Am I ready for this?  Maybe I can wait a little longer…. in the midst of all this life.  The daffodils and crocuses.  Just down the meadow now.

As the world makes love with Herself, and I make love with the world.  I will weave Death too.  I will weave Her with love.  I will weave in devotion to everything I love.  I will weave in each of you.  I will weave in all this life.