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

Advertisements

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.

 

 

Home Calling

IMG_0550I woke up with Spring in my body.  I stopped bleeding today, and found the dew of my fertility in it’s place.  And home whispering in my ear.

She hasn’t spoken to me for a while.  She has felt very distant, letting me be at peace with my other lover.  This land, these people, this rhythm.

But this morning, I felt her for the first time, clear as that abundant dew.  Springtime in the mountains, with her delicate rushes of flowers, the creeks running strong, and the faces of each one that I love reaching for my heart.  Excitement for my return, returns.

Is this what they mean by the breezes that carry the one who journeys?

IMG_7325

I have almost changed my ticket home three times.  June. September.  My body is not done here.  I am still be cooked into this stew.  Says my winter body.

Before I left, at the winter solstice, I dreamt of my old home and forgetting how to get there.  Taking the wrong roads.  “I’m sure I lived here” I thought in the dream.  Another dream comes.  This time, those mountains of home are disappearing into the sky, and I cannot reach out for them.

I have been waiting to know when home will call me again.

And now it is Spring after my winter of weaving dreamtime. And she calls.

I am studying my attachment as I clear a meadow of brambles.  Late afternoon sun.  A small hail storm.  Those plants that hold tight to their place to protect Her from intrusion. How tightly I have held to love, sometimes, trying to protect my wild heart. I am clearing the brambles. They grab me as I drag them to the bonfire that will be lit perhaps at Beltane. The open meadow reveals nettle babies waiting for the sun.

I am studying an art loving without attaching, leaning into abundance, finding devotion to a breathing full presence.  My heart says, ‘I have fallen in love with everything about being here, and everything emerging in me’.

And so, I sit with the shape of my life.  What it means to begin and end a journey?  I am learning about a heart that is a swinging door of hello and good bye, that gives equal affection to both.  And it hurts in me today, even as I feel the celebration of all of it.

Can I fall in love with a good bye, like a good wanderer who is in love with the journey of living and being lived?

As I weave, Karen tells me to watch the shape now that I have the technique.  Weaving is mesmerizing.  The action itself, so simple, elegant, and present.  It’s the grace of moving the threads of creation, and sometimes, I need to step back to see what the shape is becoming.  Bending the soft willow continuously as I go.

Weaving and Shaping.

I get caught in the rhythm sometimes, and forget to watch the shape.  It can become a little distorted, a little off center.  This challenges me, to get the bigger picture of what I am making, whilst making it.

I am an improviser at heart.  I feel my way through the world.

I feel myself now, as a piece of willow, being woven into a life here.  Present.  And then there is the larger shape of my life.  A vision holding and guiding me. My already woven threads of connection, of love, of commitment, that hold all of this.

I am watching the shape of my life now, to see what is emerging and what I need to gently bend back to make a strong beautiful container for me, now.

I cannot see it’s shape yet but I am listening to the soft spring wind.

IMG_0441

 

 

Blood

I have been here before. I find myself standing in the center of mystery, some sense that the mythic story of the universe is playing out in my body, but I haven’t been initiated to it. This is the danger of the lost elders. I have known this danger intimately. We find ourselves knee deep in something we know makes exquisite sense if we were carrying the old map.

So I track it.

I am bleeding. Day 9. I don’t bleed this way. I flow strong river for two moons, then I trickle down to the ocean and then crawl back to the land to become upright human again.

Since, my blood arrived at 13. The same spring of the winter my mom died. The same day as my best friend, Angela. In same the house where my other best friend’s mom died, a week after my own.  My first red tent, orchestrated by Blood herself. I was handed a tampon, but I knew a deeper mystery was afoot.

Alys arrived on Friday night. Quarter moon, at sunset. As we walk into the dusk, we speak story into the spaces between light and dark. We honor an emerging tender, and we hold each other heart to heart across one another’s laps and breathe into the surrender of sun into moon.

This is what we are cultivating.

The blood tells stories. The blood holds stories. The blood knows the mystery. The blood is the map.

We are nursing the stories of how the blood makes love with the universe. Tender and fierce. We listen in this way for two moons, and we wrap a gift in the finest red silk covered in song and story and place it in the most tender spot just below our belly buttons and blow on Her gently, breathing this kind of living and breathing into other living and breathing bodies on a Sunday morning next to the ocean.

I trust in this way. We use our living relationship as a laboratory for deepening and it hums my most tender womb song back to all the beginnings and all the ends and all the in betweens.

At sunrise, the morning before Alys arrives, it is raining. My yoni, dry the night before, flowing a wide river, called forth by an old masculine voice. Mountain reaching towards ocean. White sheets stained. The world cringes at such things, and sometimes, lovers do.

But I feel this prayer. This blood is generous. This blood is gift. Work around those edges of small human world. Those places in story where some corner of the world said, “your mess is too much.” I feel those wounds of oppression and omission sometimes like a numb hand placed over my mouth. And I know why I screamed so much as a small human.

There is not enough flow. Not enough abandon. Not enough ‘mess’.

And not enough old baskets woven of the big stories, big songs, big mountains, big water places, big humans who know how to catch the exquisiteness of the mess in ways that alchemize it into more health, beauty and food.

Here, I am again, the center of this, without a map, sniffing at the air for the trail, on a rainy morning in my lover’s bed.

“Is this blood, the goddess?” I ask. Not as metaphor, but as life embodied as the deepest essence of the feminine. I fall asleep for a moment, and hear the words,

“Cultivate the god force streams”.

You say you taste honey.

‘I offer you my blood, and you will taste Her honey’

We are standing between accident and ecstasy, and I feel we should be in some wooded patch of somewhere with a feast and singing and drumming just over the clearing. We should be celebrating or blessing something. Pouring blood and wine and semen and honey on the land….

You feed me honey in bed, and I feel something gently curling back into yourself, and a sharpness too. I am surprised. Old fears emerge. Amidst curiosity.

Magic without intention? Magic without a towel? The dialogues between the big human and small human and the ways that things speak but we don’t always know their language. I am ecstatically confused.

We are cleaning the sheets, but my body is still in prayer. My small tender human feels some hurt, or confusion. My goddess feels in the middle of the wide expanse of this big story. And the modern human of me, watching it all.

Oh, This blessed life.

You go off to make swords and sharpen your world. Solo.

I swim and dance in the ocean with Alys, grieve, linger in longing until I am almost sure it will break me, crack me into exquisite pieces to fall in love with everything that sings. In the center of my heart and a small workshop in the North of Scotland, create a couple of new worlds for two moons with my sister.

Love is abundant. This I know. In the midst and because of mess.

This morning I got up before the light of day. My sleep was full of unresolve, of old story, of the deep losses in my life that kept carrying me off to dark islands. Choosing life over shame. I have learned so much about holding myself as a boat in these places. My body had wanted to sleep on the earth, next to the pile of red embers blazing heat out into the night. But last night I just sat by her dark fire, and the moon was still up when I arose.

I feel like an unanswered question today. I am trying to get down below it, get to eye level with mystery. I cannot think into anymore. There is just trust and life and the way things move. The blood is still flowing. I am still learning to see in the dark.

Keep flowing, daughter. Keep flowing, sister. Keep flowing, mother.

I walk down to the barn. All the sheep, coming up to stand with me, holding tender early morning tears. I leave an epic message for Wendy in Boulder, and climb into bed with Alys, and decide today is a good day for a red tent.

I am living into an old map, and I know I need my sisters, their wombs, and their maps. Right now.

 

Skillful Animal

I realized today, falling back into the rhythm of weaving, what a deep rhythm it is.  After three days, of working the little deer hide, mixing brain and egg and soap into the skin in the last days of bitter cold.  Frozen fingers.  Pulling, massaging, stretching.  Starting to smell like deer and being covered in her hair.  All day, I would weave just a little, then get up to make sure the skin was not getting crisp. Sitting by the fire outside on Equinox morning, late at night under the lamp the old dog watching.

A rhythm different than the willow.

IMG_0464

I go for a walk in the woods, and I start to feel like a deer.  That awake.  The Scots Pine and sharp Gorse talking to me in their language.  The clouded sky moving through my eyes and down into my skin.  My body a part of the landscape, instead of separate.  Of course, when things get that wide, I have to just stand very still and breathe into the moving landscape mixing with my blood, or run like a wild thing and let myself try to stretch into four legged, green legged, bark skinned.

I bike to the high meadows by the old castle, half fallen back to the earth, in the late afternoon sun, her skin my now constant companion in my bike basket.  Sit by a small sweet fire, take turns stretching the hide with Kirsty.  We eat potatoes with cheese and wild leeks. She shows me the mouse skin she worked as a child, wrapped around the arrowhead she had found.  She grew up knowing these things, and I feel her old roots made of this place, her family just up the road.

IMG_0465

We speak of family and chosen family. She has always stayed very close with hers, even her mother and she craft together as their livelihood.  They are together every day. I feel a little in awe of such a thing, being that cozy with flesh and blood.  I have worked hard and healed deep with mine, and they still speak a different intimacy language. Of course, it has created in me a different map altogether of intimacy and love.  A bitter gift at times. Nothing is taken for granted. I have had to wander for my family.  I have had to create such things.

Belongedness.

My mom gifted me with this.  On our travels, she would insist, “go and make friends”. By the time, I was 6 or 7, I had a full address book and friends all over the world.  Somehow, she knew I would need this gift.

And sometimes it still leaves me longing.

By the time, I leave out into the night, I smell like deer fat and lanolin.  In between stretching, I start to learn how to spin.  And I feel both mesmerized and very clumsy.  Oh, modern human, learning how to be skillful animal.  Breathe, you.  Become this wheel. Your hands. This wool. This is the face of grace now.  We laugh as the wheel cranks backwards and the yarn gets caught in a terrible tangle.

“Beginner’s yarn is a complete delight,” Kirsty hands me the ball that I spun.  “it’s really special, ” she whispers.  I am in love with it all, and I as I fly down the dark hill on my bike, singing, an owl swoops down practically nicking me in the nose.  I am laughing delightedly now.

I am learning to see in the dark, while dancing. I am very young and very old at once.

IMG_0468

By Equinox afternoon, after Karen’s birthday tea in the finally warm sun, I am ready to put this down for now.  To get back to the steady hum and prayer of the willow.

She catches me again in her embrace, and I know what I am weaving is holding me like those ancient women weavers weaving tisme.