Artemis in Crete

[The following is an excerpt from Minoan Messages On The Gaia Path.]

balconyIS IT COINCIDENCE THAT I AM STAYING at a hotel named after Artemis? Artemis who has long been another resonant Goddess for me? Artemis who exemplifies the independent stage of life I went through after my divorce and before I met Ron? Artemis in her Maidenhood, her independence and empowerment, her strength and intimate relationship to the wilds, the woods, nature, her pack of hounds called the Alani? The Alani of which I became one?

I’ve read books and articles about Artemis, and relate to much of what’s written, yet I also know Her differently in some ways.

Goddess of the Hunt is one of Her appellations. However, as a devotee of Artemis, my sense is that as “the huntress” Artemis did/does not advocate killing. Rather, Hers is the power of dispensation and for stepping in as intermediary between hunted and hunter for a swift and painless death. In other words, if it is necessary to take a life for survival, invoke and invite her guidance and She may grant absolution to the one who deals death to a precious wild creature and/or an innocent of any species. Her bestowing of prowess with the bow—in her association with that tool—was for protection of the wild creatures, and to prevent suffering. Ultimately, Artemis is a Huntress of Souls, not hunting to kill in our mundane perceptions but to renew, protect, guide, save and inspire the wild and innocent beings.

In her other guises and energies, and at other points in time, Artemis is also known by a variety of names. For instance, on Crete, She is associated with Britomartis, Goddess of Mountains, and Eileithyia, Goddess of Birth and thus also of Death.

My own energy is connected to Artemis in some interesting ways. A zodiac sign associated with Artemis is Taurus, which is my birth sign. I have a strong attachment to not only the wild and untamed Rocky Mountains, but also to trees and especially pine trees; Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness, has been known to hold a “pine cone tipped wand,” and is a tree goddess. My middle name is Diane, a form of Diana which is the Roman name for Artemis. She is Moon Goddess and Lady of the Beasts; I am most content at night or in caves, and have always lived with multiple dogs and/or cats. The moment I ‘met’ Artemis, we were in resonance.

She has, however, been tainted by aggression, enslaved by the will of the oppressors, and made into an image of death-wielder or hunter of those She actually protects. There is a deep chasm stretching between Artemis-primordial and what they—the violent ones—seek to make Her. Her archetype has not the desire to kill or to destroy. She is the waxing moon of growth, the crescent moon is Her silver bow and Her discerning, protective gaze flies sure and true as an arrow from that bow. She is the Great Mother Bear, marking the trees to show all who come into the forest that this is sacred space. Who were the Amazons when Artemis led them into healing groves and fields of herbs where the animals showed ignorant human hands how to know blessed plants that could turn fear into peace, hate into love, and still the pains of birth and death?

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 4.24.41 PMHow can we see Artemis clearly if we look through the eyes of patriarchy and those who dominated even themselves, restraining any semblance of kindness? Harsh times rode in on horses disregarded except as vehicles, long forgotten as the wings upon earthly rhythms pounding freedom across the land. Can we close our eyes and feel the origin? Imagine one of the first faces of She Who Runs With the Wolves for they are Her friends, her kin.

I am stricken and saddened by how easily we forget to look before the onslaught of oppression, look into the forest mists of the times when harmony reigned and all of Great Mother’s creature beings were honored, each life taken a great sacrifice for which we gave thanks, asking beforehand for a volunteer … the wounded, the weak, the old. Grace is given for their life to be taken quickly, offered as sustenance in the cycle. The vibrational patterns of life, the energetic threads of relationality became snarled and were tangled, so that we forgot Her truth, Her Divine gift of interconnected honoring into harmony.

Under the light of the waxing moon, She cast shadows to protect the wild beings, to create equality—challenge and illusion—so they would not be taken too easily, would not be slaughtered without asking forgiveness, without prayer and invocation of Divine guidance to lead them to balance of sacrifice and nurturance.

There is tremendous strength in standing firm, in holding fast, in celebrating birth and death as equally vital in our human forms walking the manifest world. Artemis is the exhilaration, the growing light in the sacred dark, glorying in the soft shadows of night and the cool recesses of the cave, and the womb of renewal and joy of youthful vigor.

She has been tarnished and stained, contorted by aggressors who cannot possibly understand Her complexities, for taking a life is a mighty honor and the life taken is then to be honored in a way that reveres all life be it plants, animals or the unknown mysteries of the unseen realms that guide and direct us into opportunities for greater inter-relationship.

Her stories were told and written down by men who could not comprehend Her. Artemis is one who guides us to look within, in the dark, to discover whether we need to take a life or sacrifice our own or even to simply allow a flow of compassion into the relating of all life. She guides us into the paths of our souls, pointing with her arrows to that which needs to be removed or transformed.

The Amazon legends, like the stories of Artemis, were recorded by men; we must seek within our own hearts to find the truth between the lines of the self-reflected, ego-dictated aggression of patriarchy to locate pure source. Maybe the Amazons were indeed wild women of the forests who supplemented their gatherer diets with the occasional meat sacrifice. But I sense that whenever a kill was necessary, it would have been a grave undertaking, not a revelry of joy and laughter with fierce cries of jubilation and pounding upon the chest in dominance. There would have been no joy in the kill.

Artemis vibrates with protection, defense when necessary, and survival with a distinctive grace and reverence for all life. Humans have the will and the intellect to choose how we live, and Artemis will guide us through the dark if we open to Her power.balconyatdusk

Peace

“It is a gross misunderstanding to imagine warfare as endemic to the human condition.”

~ Marija Gimbutas, Professor of Baltic and Slavic Studies at UCLA, 1963-1989; Chair of European Archeology. Gimbutas

I feel sadness at how quickly average people — men and women both — have become excited by the idea that Viking women could have been half of the warrior force. What reason is there to celebrate violence in any culture? And yet, consider all the movies and television series that continue to grow in number where the female is killing and destroying; this is promoting the idea that women can only hold power by becoming better warriors/killers than the men. The promotion of that archetype is not coming from the core of feminine principles of a loving, transformative energy but from the obfuscating masculine energies within them. This will not resolve anything — this will not heal our world.Fresco at Knossos - Version 2

I wish people were as thrilled by the knowledge that there were many early civilizations that existed peacefully for hundreds of years, some for over a thousand years, within an egalitarian structure. Some of these towns and/or village communities were heavily populated; for instance, the “Late Cucuteni culture, c. 4000-3500 B.C., reached an urban stage with towns of up to 10,000 inhabitants at the center of a district surrounded by medium and smaller size villages,” while other large, peaceful societies prospered as well such as that of Catal Huyuk in Anatolia and on Crete we know of the “Minoan” culture. (Gimbutas) Further, hunter-gatherer cultures were usually egalitarian as well.

Stolen Memories

redlilylg

Red Lily – Australian Bush Flower

Observations of being human …

Gaia guides me, helps me value my memories and my Self — through Her kind and loving eyes I see the me of my story before memories and moments are stolen — or given away; She grounds me through the trees nodding in affirmation and recognition, and the path welcoming my footsteps, and the dogs looking to me for guidance and love. Full Circle. When I step into woods, I feel Her embrace and Her love holds my memories as sacred, as mine; my soul is nourished, our spirits are One. Gaia sees me as me. And She tells me to write into my own infinity …

If I don’t make the effort to tuck away my treasures, the essence of each moment’s quenching of thirst, the healing well, can be drained by those who presume to know what I meant … they steal the memory and put their own spin on it and I wonder if I’m crazy — ! Did I recall a fantasy, a story created in my mind or was it real?

To write is my way of putting a lid* on the memory, to wrap it up with a ribbon so that I can say: this is what I felt, thought, sensed, knew. No matter what anyone else may say or think, the memory has become real — it is my memory, not someone else’s.

I have barely any memories of childhood, of being part of my family’s life, of my socially active early twenty-something years — all the people around me sucked my memories away and made them their own, and I wasn’t quick enough or mature enough to realize I needed to write it down, that I needed to be the scribe of my own life or it would appear that I was merely a footnote, an addition, an accessory to someone else’s life and memories. My wispy memories are of a solitary child playing in the barn with cats, of watching roly-polies for what seemed like hours, of twirling alone on the green grass in an old square dance dress until, dizzy, I drop to the ground in my Gypsy fantasy.

Later, the longer I lived alone, the more memories I have retained, through writing in my journal and scripting the story in my mind — consciously pausing to write my story, my internal response to a situation, before someone snatched it away and said “no, you aren’t remembering right — it happened this way.” The space, a pause, a few moments of solitude and stillness are needed to set my memories firm, to establish their home in me.

They didn’t intend to steal my memories, or my innocence, or my identity. They simply assimilated the events into their own story — like The Blob in that old horror movie — and I disappeared, became a mass of bone and flesh without a sense of Self. And I do own my part in giving away my self away. But who was I if my memories weren’t here? Most people set such store by the importance of past — of memory — and my past was someone else’s footnote.

Only a discipline – writing – within solitude’s grace, the solitude I again came to know as my long lost identifier in a deeply rooted core of being, only then were my recent and new memories allowed to remain with me — they weren’t stolen away by good intentions of control or a foreign persona of deception.

Write, write it down, write everything down before someone can abscond with my experiences and create their own version of my story, my life. I hear it revised and rewritten whenever I visit family, so hard to hold onto it. Who I am disappears into someone else’s memory of who I was and my young nieces don’t see or know me — they only know the person I was supposed to be or the me who disappointed authority. I disappear into someone else’s memory — I don’t recognize that person they talk about, that me in their memories. But since my memories of the early years are gone, I cannot contradict, I can only shrink a little further into the bubble of my dimming aura, contract in so that no more memories are extracted. If I don’t speak, my voice cannot be stolen. Write it down; become the story in the pages, preserved a little while longer than would happen if the fire blazing through vibrant personalities made me disintegrate.

Now in my fifth decade, when I am with other people, silence preserves my voice from being distorted … I listen, feel, think, and then later write into wholeness of Being. Not to be chained by ego, but to recover and know my own soul in the world.

Are there other people with stolen memories?

lilypondmaine

Lily Pad Pond in Maine

Without abundant water and earth, is is possible I fear the desert fire and air will try to steal my memory — my identity — if I let go of my resistance to its intensity? I nearly lost it once in the desert already …

The desert is another face of Gaia. I’ve always trusted Her loving presence. Maybe it’s time to have faith that even in Her most fierce form — the Fiery Desert — She will keep me growing, safe, whole. She has nurtured as the North Woods, She has inspired as the Rocky Mountains — what is Her gift to me as the Sonoran Desert? She’s never stolen my memory before, why would She do it now? Unless … would She do it to teach me that I am more than my memory?

_______________

*The portal for the above was Emily Dickinson’s poem (#1266), drawn at random:

When Memory is full

Put on the perfect Lid — 

This Morning’s finest syllable

Presumptuous Evening said — 

lilypadroomcave

Lily Pad Room, Onondaga Cave, Missouri

I have also been reading When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice by Terry Tempest Williams, and I know her essays influenced my direction toward contemplation of voice.

Deep Listening, Deep Seeing

DesertDawnSky081114Rainstorm! Thunder! Lightening!

Across the night sky my heart was beating and I heard it in Her voice at play among the clouds in our union. My body in bed relaxed into the moments; whisked away to the inky infinite I was at peace, serenity of mind and body attuned to the symphony held among the stars tossing themselves across the expanse as they danced in a lacy play of cosmological badminton.

A breezy, cool 70 degrees welcomed me on an early walk as the clouds created a soft batting above and I could look directly at the dawning sun — we beamed at each other while the hills were a splendor of rust and emerald, rock and plant. In the opposite distance, the western horizon was blinking itself awake with half-closed eyes in wrinkled pink and violet. 

The air was, and is still, heavy with suspended silken water that absorbs into my skin and, deeper, into my cells — I am fluid, flexible, bending like the slender hop seed branches. The Santa Cruz River is flowing, there are puddles in the Sonoran Desert, and I am full in our Oneness — a well-spring opened.

Solitary, I sit outside sipping chai — no dogs are with me for, being a weekend, they would bark at any noise in the neighborhood. This is part of my new practice of growing a deeper silence: a few moments of only background noise so that the space around me heals, my aura can feel itself gently pulsing, and I can feel me — alone. To grow, breathe, Be in a state of solitude and learn to relish this quiet separation that mysteriously creates total union with all life. A solitary bee is buzzing near my head, off on its own private adventure this morning while a bird flies overhead, cawing — not a crow, a gray bird who seems a little frantic, searching.

I didn’t even hold my usual indoor sadhana … this moment called for me to be in the outdoors, sitting, listening, Being. The thickened air holds scents more firmly and I know the plenitude of dogs in the area by smell as well as sound, one sense that normally doesn’t alert me to their presence since the usual aridness desiccates droppings rapidly. 

I lightly brush the soles of my feet upon the still-damp sandstone, feeling its softness, and wonder how far it traveled to be here; does it miss its first home? The sandstone — sandpaper-like against the calluses on my feet — breathes, I can imagine the space between the particles where the granules are splashing in puddles like happy grubby children and a subtle melody, a lullaby, whispers itself into existence unheard except by otherly realms found in fables. While walking earlier, my husband pointed out a rock formation upon a nearby hill — a giant turtle rock. The hills are a bounty of shapes and sizes; a little imagination goes a long way. 

My husband rescued (with permission) abandoned rocks from the shelves of the basement at his office, and they are excited to be out in the elements again, once more soaking up the rain and reflecting the sun and feeling the wind whip around their jagged faces. Liberation! 

RockFaceA rock face guards the agave, his solemn expression reminding me of Easter Island giants or totem pole alchemists shapeshifting. His chin is jade green, his lip line thin and stoic beneath a recessed granite nose, broad and sensing all that goes on around him. Green appears painted around deep-set eyes beneath his broad gray brow. His inner cheeks are rusty brown from too much sun as he holds the space around him in safety. What are the minerals called that he reveals in such solid presence?

I had felt the coyotes watching us during our morning walk; they were safely hidden among the wild buffer zone of mesquite and palo verde and cholla. Motionless, they were undetectable by weak human eyes so I only knew them through feeling their eyes upon us, that prickle on the back of the neck; one that could have been a vibration of past presence, who knows for sure. It doesn’t matter because at least I know they are out there, still stalking, breathing, Being. If I were to stand barefoot on the sand atop the packed earthen ‘concrete’ — the hard caliche of the desert floor — could I feel their paws trotting miles away? Does the dense earth of desert pavement carry their vibrations like the stampede of buffalo were heard miles away by placing one’s ear next to the plains grasses on ground that held the sounds of all life, all movement, back to the beginning of time? 

Is Gaia’s body a chamber of resonance across time and space? We talk of a Field “out there” somewhere, but what about the Field of pure awareness that holds the recordings of all manifest form archived within Her veins, cells, tissue and organs? 

Do our rescued rocks, now reconnected with the skin of Mother Earth, speak of their adventures and send their memories into the chamber of knowledge beneath my feet? 

3RocksEach rock has its own forgotten story of excavation, transport, experimentation, and entombment. A story that is a mere blink, but each one unique. In the palest of sage green coloring, a mere blush of elegant residue, the pyramid stone casts healing rays around the yard, its edges rough yet kind, an ancient symbol of masculine principle transformed into healing the wounds of patriarchal ignorance. Three huge guardians, each of different origin, bump shoulders in a corner: green, brown, gray … they anchor us here, determination and courage in their unearthed exposure reminding me that home is wherever I desire it to be, it’s where love is. To go visiting for nourishment and expansion is wonderful … but my human-rock, my Beloved, is here. He, like the boulders, anchors me in safety wherever I am. 

This is our story … rain, desert, rocks … all Beings.

Thinness of Self

handleafveilbwI had lain in bed at dawn, savoring the taste of silence, appreciating the moment of dark quiet with Widget snuggled against my side and Phoenix curled at my feet. This was a moment of sweet peace, relaxing, breathing in the silence that would sustain me during the rest of the day. A short while later, when I took the dogs outside and we stepped into the dove-gray softness of liminal light, a small bat was flitting back and forth above my head quite near but silent. Gaia’s Grace was tangible.

There is a line that I love in A Book of Silence: “the thinness of my sense of self” (p.17). When I read this, I felt I became intimate with the book’s author, Sara Maitland. I’ve never met her and probably never will, but with this comment, I felt we were kindred spirits. She is writing of how difficult it is for her to sit in silent meditation with others because she is so aware of them it intrudes upon her own sense of silence.

I nearly squealed in recognition of this sensation of “thinness of self” because I experience this when even one other person is in the house with me. I usually considered this due to my personal insecurity, or perhaps embarrassment or discomfiture that I was somehow being “judged” and could feel the judgment oozing through even a closed door. However, I also usually experienced this at Kripalu — though to a milder degree — in group meditation, where it was highly unlikely that others were judging me since they, too, were meditators. Nevertheless, I was often feeling a disturbance of energy in the room rather than my own peaceful silence or the group silence. I simply am not at ease in group meditation. And this went against (which added to my feeling of being an “outsider”) the teachings of all the benefits of meditating in groups to assist with maintaining and encouraging spiritual focus and energy. Occasionally, the meditation was long enough I could reach my own silent center and personal sacred space of nothingness, my core of being. But not often.

When I think it is my insecurity creating this inability to feel the silence in a group, I feel negative overtones. But what if this is a “thinness of self” that is naturally spiritual? What if it is the natural thinness that comes directly from one’s soul? Sara Maitland seems to worry, as do I, that this is some kind of “fault” in our character. But is it? Why would it necessarily be so? Why would we assume it is? Is it not simply a trait that is natural? Perhaps our discomfort or inability to rest in group silence is a judgment of our society, even a spiritual one like at Kripalu or a retreat center? A judgment that is more comfortable grouping everyone together and not comfortable with those who are solitaries in their silence? The only advantage I personally could see to a group meditation was that it provided a structure for the ritual, something that says it is to be done now, not put off, not shortened or skipped — group practice can create a sort of discipline if one has a hard time doing this alone. And yet, even if that aspect is helpful in the beginning, it is still adherence to someone else’s control of our path. At some point, will our spiritual path be important enough that we are disciplined by self?

Is it possible that this “thinness” of self goes further than imagined? That it is a gift allowing a permeability of spirit to more easily flow in and out of soul, and that solitude is needed for some of us to lower the barriers we maintain in any group? Is it this “thinness” that can sometimes be perceived by others as a “madness” or a form of dysfunction because it doesn’t adhere to the group mind? Or is it a source of creativity in some sense? At least for some of us? Clearly not for all of us because many people go deeply into meditation in groups or create marvelous works of art in the company of like-minded individuals or even strangers. But, for some of us, why do we automatically assume that this thinness is a fault, a flaw in our constitutional construction?

Some contrasts I feel here with Maitland are, for instance, that I’ve avoided groups my entire life; preferring one or two people at a time to crowds; even being uncomfortable at my own family’s dinner table at times. Whereas Maitland speaks of her joy in the bantering noise of discussions in family and other groups … that she didn’t begin to yearn for silence and/or solitude until later in life. Which shows her to be following a somewhat normal basic inclination — a healthy one — as described by Ayurveda, i.e., the Vata phase of life. Further, Maitland divorced — she began her journey into seeking silence while on her own, without a life-partner to consider, and this allowed her more freedom to fully engage with the Call of Spirit, to deepen her relationship with silence and solitude. I, however, have a beloved husband. Yet we, in our partnership, continue creating ways for my “thinness of self” to be nourished and encouraged.

Our partnership has been built, in part, upon early recognition of my need for solitude and silence. We didn’t call it “thinness of sense of self” though; an easier and more common term, though one just as socially unacceptable, is introversion. Confessedly, moving to Arizona has been a trial in this area, due to some confusion, loss, misunderstanding, and stumbling.

GatesPassHowever, come winter and cooler weather, I will be able to drive fifteen minutes into the desert, walk a short distance, and experience vast silence and that will, hopefully, induce a greater sense of solitude … one where my thinness can breathe more easily — if I can release my fear of the desert. As Maitland puts it, “the silence of the desert has a horror to it, as well as, born of the horror, a deep and joyful beauty. The desert is vast, cruel and very silent” (p. 128). Perhaps there is a way for me to replace my fear of the desert with love for the opportunity it provides in its unique manifestation of silence and solitude? To balance the environmental overwhelm I feel in this harsh landscape with a freedom of expansive space once the extreme heat recedes for the winter? In that silence, what will happen out of the thinness that is my self and the prominent desert elements of fire and air?

I seek a greater spiritual appreciation of the desert. I seek this so that even though my preference is cave and forest, where I feel safe (and, interestingly, another contrast is that Maitland does not feel safe in the forest), I can move into a state of gratitude for this opportunity of spiritual exploration through desert presence. After all, Maitland who lives in the United Kingdom had to travel to the Sinai Desert whereas my desert is all around me. Maybe my “thinness of self” will facilitate my becoming one with the desert silence, and, through that grace, find a deeper peace here?

May Bast guide our journeys to self through silence and solitude.

Dream Puzzles

from: Free Jigsaw Downloads

from: Free Jigsaw Downloads

We dream and wake with eyes still closed

imagining the world outwith the night

as mysterious and foreign

speaking a language unknown … yet it isn’t.

We think we are here

for the day’s newest pleasures and pains

but perhaps we are here for the dreams at night

so we can create other worlds

where there are beings similar to all we know

yet they stand a better chance than we —

evolving as we offer them our confusion to transmogrify

like a puzzle gifted in a box.

All the pieces are contained within,

each being removes a piece at a time

to examine and smell and touch

its rough edges or smooth long side or bumpy nodules

that fit somewhere unexpected by color or preconception.

The night is our real world perhaps,

our dreams the manifestation of a window

into a parallel universe where we watch

in awe as problems are sorted

like the blue puzzle pieces here to this side

and the yellow over there

and the straight-edged here,

becoming organized —

so that the image will emerge quickly

from our sorting and prompt recognition

that perception has its value.

Dreams are the world of possibility for us

yet real for those we walk with in the dead of night,

our footsteps silent near theirs,

they imagine us watching them

and glance over a shoulder … but we are the unseen.

Words Fly Free

3flowerswrittenFields of Forever beckon but I look away from those Fields to the garden of Home and breathe in Love. Blessings push up through the compacted soil, the sweat of my beloved’s effort sweetens and amends, filtering out the stark barren expanse so that green is unearthed and new life sprung through hair-like roots, see them wriggling? Three rows of agave curve around a corner, softening the drama and edge of sharpened perception. Little green plants poke up tall, finally in a place to spread their feet wide, spread arms out long and far away. One tree in, two to go, three in a row, all around they fall in line along the wall, to share color, texture, air — breathe in and out, we share life. I stay sane, they grow safely; we are protected and encouraged.

I no longer pretend to be someone I’m not, no longer hide the shadow that is part of my skin, but neither do I let it rule and make all the decisions. Time leans into place and I know an urgency building; I keep at my work, my efforts. It’s not “hard” or “easy” — it has become purpose and something I am meant to do. I don’t know why, I just am. Perhaps it is as simple as keeping me “here on earth,” to love and be loved, to care and be cared for, to provide the arc for someone else’s rainbow purpose and journey.

E.D. #613 (randomly selected) ~ Emily Dickinson Poetry as Portals

They shut me up in Prose — 

As when a little Girl

They put me in the Closet — 

Because they liked me “still” — 

Still! Could themself have peeped

And seen my Brain — go round

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason — in the Pound

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Abolish his Captivity

And laugh — No more have I 

I, too, grew up with the hobble-phrase “children should be seen, not heard” though home was more often a boisterous household of chatter that by its very noisy nature held my tongue silent and my mind vocal, conversing with the people in books.

pathThe prose of story set me free, though, it didn’t restrict; stories were the adventure into which I happily shut myself, a diversity of experience without needing to leave my closet at all! A joyous adventure through words and worlds, where poetry was the puzzle, the mystery, where I didn’t fit. And now I welcome the freedom to write however I wish to, without limitation – ignoring “do not enter” – because the expectations are nearly invisible. I don’t care if I should write like so-and-so says, because I write like me. I could do the structure well if I chose … sometimes I do … I’d rather flow and when structure leans in the window frame, allow it to set a panel or hang a margin or plant a verb.

Me and my shadow enjoy the closet, the comfort of walls all around that allow few visitors. But prose is not a closet but a castle in the forest that tells me secrets and holds mine in its roots; my closet keeps me “still” but I like the stillness when mind expands and all the birds fly free!

When I am out, walking, connecting with the world, the voices are listening, gathering petals, leaves, acorns, twigs. I am not a captive; to be so is delusion and weakness — my open eyes see possibility to choose a path. The only captivity is imposed by Self — my mind is always free. And so I write. And even set my writing free … in blog, in book. There was a time when I wouldn’t have been able to let the letters fly; no more.

I honor the women who have been part of creating a world, a society I am blessed to live in, where my words can be let out and about. I honor, too, the women whose words are still confined to mind … by writing mine down.

And like these free words, I will travel for as long as I can — another freedom that has been hard for women to own as their right; not to be doled out like a long leash, but to sever the leather strap, the chains. My beloved partner understands that setting me free is the way to love … and why I return to him with love.

My independent spirit, though often terrified and insecure, nevertheless gets up and walks, travels, writes. I have to — when I haven’t, I felt dead. I am nothing yet everything because I am not the outer result but the inner growth that comes from earthing true in manifestation. I know myself in all my fear, pain, sorrow, insecurity, and I breathe in the courage to step into my Self. I breathe in the courage from all those women who lived before me, doing their best to live true. Little steps that might transform into courage. I keep on, believing. The stories I hear and see in my mind and heart, the ones written and unwritten, are powerful ways toward courage — encouragement.

path2For those of us who live in the caves, or at the edge of the valley where sunlight is scarce and shadow abundant, for us to know our nature as worthy and beautiful and powerful — this is a blessing. Not to be taught and restricted to be someone we aren’t but to instead harness our own ability and gifts, darkly elegant, often sensed and felt rather than seen through bright floodlight. We are the night, our actions held forth at dawn and dusk: gray, pastel, deep, soft, slow, quiet.

We are hard to picture, difficult to photograph or identify clearly…

Eternal night is a welcome friend that we hold at arm’s length, touching often, yearning for that kiss but knowing the sweetness of divine union must wait a little longer — for now, there is one more word, one more walk, one more loving embrace by an understanding physical partner. We live fully present, each moment a choice to be here now.