I saw/felt his spindly legs as he slowly hooked them over the lip of the jar, lifting his body out to make his way. Bits of him were off in the transfer, added to my hedge bag.. but in his shadow form, he is whole and much larger. I felt him as he scurried up the stairs to rest on the floor beside the bed.. waiting. I had a rush of anticipation and of dread, as I always do. Why must it be spider? He just waited. A small shadowy form in the hall distracted me, and by the time my attention was back, he was already starting his slow steady crawl up my body.. graceful as only he can be. He came to rest spanned across my face. His hairy abdomen was resting just around my lips, and his front legs prickled near the top of my cheek. I could see his pinchers at eye level. I didn’t move. I felt him looking at me, in me, feeling as though he was holding my eye open with his legs.. but that can’t be right. As he rested there, I realized – he’s here because I had gotten distracted near last year’s end and I almost made a terrible error in judgment. I was fallible. I didn’t like what I found there in my shadow and I had had a hard time reconciling that person with who I thought myself to be. A lesson learned and it’s time to make my peace. Just then he struck out with his legs, sinking them into my eye and the last thing to be heard in the blinding brightness to follow was the chant of “see, see, see”. The chant was not mine.
all photos courtesy of Cin, because she had my back
I woke up with many things on my mind the next day.. that I needed a cleansing, that it was time for me to stop putting aside certain workings, and the distinct image of a card from a new deck I had just flipped through days before. Oh, and that I wanted Walking Bear to just hold my hand. Soon after, with the nudging of seeds planted by my fellow hedger, I managed to finally find the lineage of my female side. All of these things.. the shadow man, finding the familiar truth (closer in reach than I thought), and the lesson of the guardian were coming together to shape my equinox(ish) plans. In previous, but I will put here – “the Guardian spirit of the beast challenges those who would enter the cave of ancestral memory without understanding the nature of their own darkness.” A lesson learned, a lesson learned.. and so, I made plans to go to the ocean, having made peace with my darkness. I was off to find my grandmother’s grave, having learned so much about my lineage starting with her and oddly, she was buried not far from said ocean. I planned to make my commitment to the workings called, at least until midsummer; and seek what it is they need to teach me. All of this came about together and I am sure there is a reason. I also wound up with much more company that day and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I could not have had a better group to share such a monumental thing (at least for me) and every one of them I appreciate more than I think they will ever know. Even those that I knew not so well were exactly what I needed support wise and I hope to get to know them much better in future. I was surrounded by such great energy that day.
The first graveyard, one of history and quiet, was full of trees that were heavy with moss. There was just so much whispering in the wind and I was distracted with my workings.. I feel I need to go back. I started at the entry while the others filed ahead – washing my hands and feet quickly with the water of the jade pool. This was gifted to me some time ago, and I think it was just waiting for this specific task.. I just didn’t know at the time. I knelt at the entrance, leaving my offerings of tobacco and rum, and did my first call. “Papa, Papa , open the door.. I have met mine and I have met your. Papa, Papa, open the door.. man of shadow I fear no more. Papa, Papa open the door.” I knocked three times and waited. I felt like I needed to move along pretty quickly to the second. I found myself drawn to a crossroads and settled down to leave the second offering, calling to Nibo of those below the waters, of the between the living and the dead; and to the divine twins.. of potential, of insight. Once worked, I moved on to enjoy the company and the atmosphere. I still feel like I missed things and I need to just go back to sit quiet sometime soon.. but I had a full day ahead and needed to find my Gran.
We moved on to the second, the place my Gran was supposed to have been laid. I knew which section to look but finding it turned out to be a bit frustrating. Lucky for me, one of our group is blessed with an amazing natural feel for things, and was able to locate the section for me. I think at that point I was meandering around unfocused. Before this, I did not know her well.. and now, I guess I don’t really either but she has my eternal gratitude and once found.. I think it was her grounding energy that kept me from losing it completely. Somehow, and I really think it was her steadfastness, I was able to focus on my task. I could feel Cin behind me, as well, and her support was so needed. Like I said, I had the best group of people with me that day. Each and every person with me brought me something important with their support, and I will never forget it. I’d like to be able to describe how it felt, just finally having found that tangible connection but I really don’t think I can. I was overcome and now I feel just different. I am still working it all out. I washed the stone with some of my remaining jade pool water and spoke as silently as I could, trying to get my feelings across to her spirit. It was monumental to me in ways I never really thought it would be. I left my offerings.. a feather of my fetch, a rabbit jaw to communicate, and an oracle shell.. also some orange lipstick (it’s one of the few things I can remember of her). I took some dirt for later use, paid and left. It sounds so small a thing, but it really was so big a thing. Eventually in the day I did make it to the ocean, I jumped in really quickly to do my cleansing.. and I came out a different person.
Death (from the Mary-El Tarot)
This card shows Morta the Crone, the cutter of the thread of life, giving your soul liberation. The threads of life are her radiating hair. The flower is a traditional memento mori symbol as flowers only bloom for a short time before their petals fall back to the dirt. Mantis is a Greek word for prophet as Morta knows the hour of your death.
The 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Mem which means water. What is the abyss but water with no end and no light? To go into Death is to go into this dark place, be it the water of oblivion or the water of your own subconscious. As you descend you shed your sins, your guilt, the pieces of clothing that make up your life until you reach the bottom. Naked, you can see yourself for what you really are.