We are in a circle, all of us
holding each other
while we try to remember
what it is we’re here to do.
Sometimes my dreams take me into the belly of everything my life is made of. They brush past the tangled net of my neurosis, through my bodies many hungers, past my ever present parental exhaustion, into that place of wonderment where real transformative possibilities exist. In that place my love of life, my sense of inner peace are all complete. Its like the world is my renaissance faire and I can stay up forever without getting sleepy!
It was in just such a dream-place a few nights ago I was taken aside by some people I’d never met. They talked to me about a topic I must keep private, after a while we ended by sharing some food of the Sidhe (the Faerie folk). As some of you may know, eating food from that world is not recommended – it rarely if ever ends well. This is different from the experience of eating the foods of the compassionate helping spirits in one’s shamanic practice, that sustenance may connect the living traveler to healing powers in an important way.
This food did not change me in any way I could immediately notice. I felt I’d made a commitment – had found my way back to some place that was essential to who I am. I think somehow though, my heart has been changed by the food I ate and stories shared there.
After waking from my dream I noticed a white moth dancing around our drought starved lavender and rosemary bushes – it kept showing up throughout the day. I had the distinct feeling it was talking to me, leading me somewhere deeper into the Sidhe’s world. It was a reminder that life is always communicating to all of us, though most of us were made to forget life’s way of speaking to us long ago.
In that dream I had a sure sense of where I was going with the Sidhe, I can still feel the memory of that in my belly. Of course I want to work to usher this process along, but I’ve discovered a new tactic (pushing the river doesn’t seem to work!) My spirit already knows which way to go, it ate the food of the Sidhe, its the rest of me thats the problem (whatever that is.) So I think the real work at hand is to find out what needs to die in me, and to gently hasten that death if I can. Probably a good time for a beheading.
I believe my ancestors understood our souls to be much more tangible in life than we do. One’s health was derived from the soul, and the soul could grow and change throughout this life and the many worlds of other incarnations. But we don’t grow separate from each other, indeed our souls are entwined with each other and within the world itself. I often think of childhood as the process of our spirits maturing within the hearts and spirits of our parents, which are within the soul of our community, held within the soul of the world.
Forests are unique souls, magical training grounds for us to mature in. People who develop within the soul of a forest I believe to be different from those who grow up spending their days at sea or who live deeply connected to a city. We all understand we’re shaped by our environments, but I think it goes deeper than that. We are spirits enfolding spirits, held by spirit.
If there were one thing that needs to die in me, something that bubbles up from my soul, its the “I know” part of me. The part of me that is a stubborn athlete, always out of the gate before the starting gun is even fired. Its the me that can’t stand still long enough to receive what life is giving me freely, I have to dash ahead to create more blundering hurdles for myself.
I still think of my fathers heart, its depths, passions and fears. The world he carried with him was so different from the one I grew up in: gutting fish on the docks with other boys to earn some coin, fighting your way through a world where loving and hating were often bedfellows, immersing yourself in the magic of music. For him being Irish meant battling your way out of the coal mines of poverty, cherishing family and a yearning for the homeland.
The spirit I know him to be now is resonant with the living man, but much different. He visited Terry and I, in the wee hours of the morning last month. He returned to me a soul piece from my childhood, something lost when I was wandering the halls where his office was. His light was shimmering and bright, a radiant flow through the darkness – our childrens quiet breaths echoing somehow his love as they slumbered beside us. The essence returned holds a special joy and freedom. I felt as if my father had been sheltering it all this time. Wonderful as I had never thought of my father as safe shelter. I think its return has changed many things in me, made me more available to the Sidhe.
Before he left us that night he let me know how important family and joyful connection between people was. He let me know that engaging in that light and love is what is most important. That was so much a part of the soul piece he returned, its joyful ability to love others and be a part of life, a part of everything.
My ancestors believed it was important to have that kind of a connection with the Sidhe, to leave offerings, to send respect and caring to them that inhabited the forests. Indeed I was shown in my dream that the Sidhe and the forest are not separate. If you are to be on good terms with the forest, you must be on good terms with the Sidhe – not always an easy thing, especially in this age of dying forests. We have much work to do if the world is to feel our love again.
I hope the food I’ve eaten, the commitments I’ve made, help me to be a better citizen of the forests of the world, even as they struggle against the great environmental changes we all face. I hope I can move deeper into those forests, forging paths that can serve others, even distant ancestors. May twisting braids of love and light join us all.