Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Moon bath dance

Friday November 9, 2007:

At the end of a perfect day, warmed by wine and good food, I sat wrapped in thick robes by the now filled healing pool in the Challis Well Gardens, and listened to the water gurgling into it. Held by the dark lady in that moment of waiting for the moon to return, I meditated on the stillness of the night before the coming of the first silver sliver glimmers, heralding a new cycle.

I have plunged into the cold water. I swam fiercely against the heavy tide relentlessly flowing against me. Battling for all I was worth, I put my head down and struck out. My refuge was the rock where the serpent lay waiting for me.

I climbed out. He surrounded me, not touching, but making a circle of his body in which I sat.

Time moved slowly on and my mind ranged through my life. I meditated on what it meant to be alone, its positives and negatives and how I reacted to that state. I loved living and being alone, I revelled in that autonomy but yet, there was something else, something painful in that very self-sufficiency, a real loneliness I had refused till now to acknowledge.

I held that thought and felt discomfort. Society expected single people to be miserable and lonely; this was not what I felt. I could be happy in my single state but yet still feel alone in that self-sufficiency. Partnerships would not necessarily alleviate this.

Wrestling against wanting immediately to turn this revelation into some kind of positive affirmation about being complete within myself, I made myself stay there and be with this new knowledge. I sat in my pain, the serpent waiting quietly, literally holding the space in which I sat.

And in time, I came to know what I needed to do. I needed to truly acknowledge the loneliness of self-sufficiency and to wash away that pain so that I might learn from it and move on. And in acknowledging the loneliness of that self-sufficiency, the shame of it left me. This was just another part of my humanity and it was okay to feel this way.

Murmuring my thanks to the serpent, I reached out to stroke him curled quietly around me. He moved under my hand, circling me once more before sliding into the darkness, an indication that it was time too for me to leave. I dove back into the water and was carried on the purposeful tide of the spring down to the garden.

I stood up, stripping off my robe and strode down towards the pool. Stepping neatly in, I gasped at its coldness.

“I acknowledge the loneliness of self-sufficiency. I let go of the shame of it,” I said as I knelt down and rolled in the water, joyously splashing myself. The water flowed over my body and I began to sing cheerfully:

“Water wash me clean, water wash me clean
Let me leave behind the things that no longer serve me”

Now I was out of the pool and scampering back to dry towels. My body zinging, I rubbed myself dry, threw on my thick robe and processed behind my companion down through the garden.

Alone, I walked between the two shaggy old yew trees, their branches the arch of a gateway and as I did so, the clock hands moved and the new moon took her place behind the clouds.

A new beginning, a new way of being, on this my 52nd birthday. I flung off my robe, kicked off my shoes and dance joyfully across the soft green lawn, flinging my arms in the air and capering like a small child. Laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, I twirled around and began to sing:

“Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me …”

Never one to miss an opportunity for public nudity, my companion ripped off her clothes and joined me. Together we span around the lawn under the watching trees, lit by the nearby street lights. In time our gyrations slowed and we stopped. I vowed to the moon, pulled on my robe and walked to the two great watching trees. Laying my hands on each, I silently thanked them for their witness, scattered offerings of dried herbs at their feet, bowed once more to them and turned to leave the garden.

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