Persephone in Fall
Persephone in Fall
Moon in Gemini
She told me she is dying. "There's really nothing, you know, that I feel I need to do, except to get to truly know you, for you to get to know me, while we still can."
What could I say? That I have a life, a lover, plans? Is this the guidance I asked for, Goddess? Is this my next stage, my sacred education? I can certainly use the greater solitude, the forced isolation, to hunker down and discover what my imagination has been whispering. She needs me here; and I guess I need to be here with her now. I guess we have gifts to exchange, lessons learned from living to teach each other. I am a selfish !@#$! Why am I not just comforting her, thinking of her, thanking her? She has been the one constant, always ready to be there for me. We were close when I was little, so intertwined as a family. Then, I guess I needed to break away. I can return. We can be close, even friends. Great friends. Someday I will look back on this as a significant time in my life. Right now I will look forward to a very special, very important opportunity for sharing what is left of my mother’s life.
When we meet again, my love, we will have great stories to tell. Yes, I must call Tom and tell him I will be gone for the duration. This time is for Celia and her prodigal daughter to connect and let go.
Moon in Gemini
Stale Sun, changing seasons. The only child I was ever mother to died before we had a chance to know each other. Yeah, I did the whole bonding through the womb thing, talking to him as if he were a person who could hear and understand. Not that I would have talked to him in the same way once he was an actual child in my care, or maybe I would have. I'll never know. Maybe I'll have other children. Somewhere down the line. Not that I'm planning to; but plans get changed. I planned to go back to the life I was living, creating, enjoying, making work out for me. Celia had other plans, and hers get to trump mine because she's dying. As she says, this is our last and only chance to say all we need to say, learn all we need to know from each other, heal wounds, reclaim bonds, make it alright that her time is officially ending. Not everyone gets this chance. It's so very common to die suddenly, without time to plan, to make amends, to have your say. I admire her wisdom in realizing that after a lifetime of so often giving over her needs or desires to others' that this is her time if she is to have one, that she finally gets to make a choice for her own sake.
Theoretically, I could deny her this time from my life. I can't because I know that she's right. This time for connection is as much for me as for her. I would regret not being with her now. I realize I am at last secure enough in my self to admit my need for not only closure, but closeness denied by my earlier rebellious confusion, by my misunderstandings about who we are, she and I, to each other. Perhaps I needed my time, learning to believe in, to trust in my Goddess, to get to this vital point of understanding, to be the me I need to be now.
I hurt. It's a physical pain, in my heart and guts and lungs and brain. I hurt not only in sympathy. Celia hurts not only from her disease. We are unnumbing to pain built up over years of feelings denied. We are reaching out now to each other in a closed circuit of pain that can be transformed into a warm familial bond to carry with us, each in our future separate realms. I do, I want to go home, to melt in Tom’s embrace, to live my up and coming life as I believed I would. Belief can be fleeting. I have a sacred duty, not only to Celia but to myself. Goddess, I feel your presence. I asked for a vision and was given a truth. I am connected to the Earth, to my bloodline, to this woman who is facing the ending of her life on Earth and who has no belief in eternity. She wants in these final days she has been given only to tell me who she is, to learn who I am. I am given an opportunity to explore where I come from, a gift Celia simultaneously gives and receives. She has given me so much, more than life and nurturing.
I sit here on my "guestroom" bed, no now it's my room, with Pandora purring to my touch. I am feeling my way into a new, unexpected phase of my life, emotions pulsing out everywhere at once. Celia's had time to process her changes. This is my process. I am not a little girl. This is not my childhood home, or my childhood cat. This is Celia's life, Celia's death. I am her daughter, and her most intimate confidante. Spring is for being born, Autumn for dying. The transition to the transformation of death is a different kind of birth. Hecate would understand, the Goddess of birth and death and the spaces between, thresholds, doorways, crossroads, limbo. Goddess Hecate, I understand that I am in your realm for this duration, for this direction in which you are moving my consciousness. Bless me, Goddess. Give me your strength of purpose and will, serenity within the maelstrom. The future is one moment at a time. The time is always now. Who I am to become will amaze me, I'm sure.
Moon in Cancer
She's always been always in motion. My mother the verb. So constant that it's just the background of the life we shared. She has her routines, her daily habitual motions. Happy to chatter about whatever topic is in the air, or quietly intently listen, or fall into hypnotic precise patterns of movement: puttering with plants, chopping vegetables for soup, sweeping away clutter, knitting or embroidering as a nervous habit, something to do with her fine, quick fingers while she talks or watches a news program on tv "to keep in touch" or listens to music while swaying along, then dancing as she stands to move to another task. She's never slept much.
Neither Celia nor I were the kind of girls that had slumber parties with our girly friends. Though generally well liked, Celia had no time for friends when she was growing up. There were always chores, responsibilities, managing to keep up her studies in available moments to keep up stellar grades while helping at home with housework and watching over her younger sisters. Her mom, Grandma Angie, was busy working, as a high school English teacher and on projects of community and school politics she considered part of her career. Then, as Celia got older there were whatever jobs she could fit in after school, weekends, summers, to save for college, along with all the rest of those responsibilities she seemed to have been born to take on. She would tell me of her younger life without complaint or rancor, but to help explain her habit to take on responsibility, to explain some of the contentious differences between her ways of being and mine.
I was just unlikeable by the kids I grew up around. Cute and clever had not yet found their way into my social strategy, except with the more sophisticated grown-ups of my aunt's crowd who always made me feel so adored. The kids in my neighborhood and their parents just found me weird and intolerant. It was some kind of private badge of honor for me to feel superior and apart. This was not an attitude I dropped at home. But there were those late nights when neither Celia nor I were into sleeping. We would make up silly stories or snuggle over cocoa and late night tv movies or share a quiet space each involved in private projects.
I can see her energy is so low. Rather than long hours of sleep, though, she dozes from time to time on the couch, amidst her current projects. I don't feel lonely. She is intensely interested in anything I say, everything I am willing to share. I am, rather, emotionally in free fall. It's ok. It all feels real. Intensely real. My life recapitulated and more immediate. I feel like Alice when she had grown so large that the rest of the world was out of proportion so that her mind had to search for new measures, new relationships to the familiar. Strangely, I don't miss my usual life. I feel I am where I belong for now. Of course I miss Tom. He has been so beyond wonderful in all of this. When I called and cried and cried and cried before I could talk at all, he held my heart in his listening.
Moon in Leo
So I was a bratty kid with no childhood friends except my adoring worshippers on Aunt Marie's farm and my contentious relationship with my mom. The contention was all me. Celia was just Celia, taking care of the practical details day to day with no complaints because that was, she believed, her lot in life. Well, no, sometimes there were kids who thought I was cool and hung out with me for a time, until they got caught up in compromises more suited to their ultimate self-interest.
Celia's friends were mostly people she worked with and came to enjoy as companions in conversation and cultural excursions. They would get together for dinners and movies or concerts, bookclubs and planning charity events. There were even some short term, no drama boyfriends over the years. Nothing deep and lasting. She never seemed to mind. I think she always thought of herself as belonging to Danny, even after years of his absence from her life. Or, maybe, like me, she was incapable of compromise, at opening herself to anyone who was not a true soulmate. I know, there were all those lovers in my life, but they really never touched me in the profound way I needed to be touched, until Tom. When it happens, it happens I guess. No substitution can be accepted.
He took care of everything without me even having to ask. He told my roommates to rent out my room since I had no idea when or if I would be returning. Celia gave me a check to send them for next month's rent, since I left with so little notice. He packed up my stuff to send me, but instead brought them himself, flying in and taking a cab from the airport. He drove back in the car he had rented for me to return it. He even tracked down a friend of an associate in Celia's general neighborhood who could provide the best of medicinal illicit herb in case she should need it (or I). He stayed the night, told me all I needed to be told on every level, and left in the morning, bowing to Celia in is gentleman's way, assuring that he understood perfectly and admired her far beyond words. She responded with humble gratitude. I cried and made a scene, clinging to one and then the other, and both together, making them drop all formality to tend to the hysterical child. He finally left with the promise that I phone or email anytime for any reason and he would happily return if I should summon. Then I clung to Celia, and she to me, murmuring calming words from my youth, stroking my hair, until somehow we were laughing.
I do know this woman, on so many levels and wavelengths. In so many ways she is part of me. I know I spent years denying that truth. Your little joke, Goddess? Making me see clearly the obfuscations I brought into my life? I'm not a child anymore. Yet I am nothing but the child I grew from. This time from the new Sun to the New Moon this new season is magical, a time of reflection outside of the linear rules. Everything in its own time. But time doesn't own us, we creatures of emotion and mind. We created time to serve us, to differentiate days, moments, so we can see each discrete step and response of our dizzying dance.
Celia likes to take a break from time, drink soothing tea, converse without boundaries, opening into spontaneous thoughtstreams, making connections. She jumps up, tends to a plant or the cat or moves some item to its assigned place, pulls out a photo album or finds a remembered cd, to look, listen, find new meaning in old memories, make new memories of old remembrances. Celia at last gets to teach her most well learned subject to her most well loved pupil. Remember when fall was always about being back in school?
Pandora is trying to walk over my notebook, sit on the hand moving my pen, to demand her own attention.
This woman who has grown from that bratty, unhappy, lonely child is so blessed with love, on so many levels. I am so sorry, Celia, that it took me this long to understand. At least we have this time, your time, to make it all worthwhile.
It's been so rainy, hurricane season. I watch the beautiful changing leaves outside, bent by driving raindrops, mysteriously waving in the wind. They say a harsh winter is coming. I breathe in the Autumn air, breathe out my Summer fantasies. Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Yeah, planning is highly over-rated. Responding to the call of the moment, isn't that what women do best? Mama, I love you. You must know that, though I intend to tell you over and over in every way I can. You must know. That is why you need me with you now.
Yes, Pandora. I am putting down the book and pen to worship you.
Moon in Virgo
I asked Celia if she were afraid of dying. She replied that she was afraid of pain, that she supposed at the actual moment she would be afraid, but the thing is to get through it as quickly and easily as possible. She told me she had arranged for hospice care at the end, when she could no longer function. She showed me the phone number on her rolodex. That's Celia, always managing the details so no one need worry or be inconvenienced.
It must have been tough for her to grow up so alone, except for the familiar company of work. The story, as I've gotten it in bits and pieces over the years, was that old one of unplanned senior year high school pregnancy, quickie marriage, young dad fulfills his working class family's dreams going to college, while young mum juggles work and momhood living with disapproving in-laws happy to constantly share their grievances against her. Apparently Grandma Angie learned about birth control, in defiance of the Church, because Celia's younger sisters, Donna and Linda, waited to be born until after Angie had gotten her college degree and teaching job, gotten her life in order. By that time Celia was old enough to be a real help around the house. She says they didn't pressure her about good grades, didn't even seem to notice as long as she caused no trouble and did whatever needed doing. I don't now how harsh it really was. She talks very little of her childhood and family. It's like she's embarrassed to have been so worthless to the people who mattered to her. I could express my outrage that they didn't appreciate the priceless jewel they had, but how hypocritical is that? Celia can disappear into the background so easily. She is such a magical presence that we don't see her, just the sparkle and afterglow of her constant working without appearance of effort, making no demands. She trained herself well, finding no advantage in rancor or bitterness. Often she seems quite happy, buzzing along. Quite ethereal, like a force of wind and spirit, flowing through her moment to moment doings, she has long since made her peace with reality. I guess the idea of impending death is just one more piece of that pattern. For an avowed atheist, she exhibits an awful lot of faith.
She never argued with me about my beliefs or in any way suggested them invalid. Celia has a marvelous way of compartmentalizing "you" and "me". She lives and believes as she does and lets everyone else do the same. I hope I am right to think I picked up that trait from her along with a few others, absorbed that underlying paradigm from its early and constant presentation. I know I don’t always express my opinions diplomatically, having picked up the habit of open, loud, display from Danny. Celia is more likely to avoid contentious topics. If they are broached, she is capable of sharply, intensely, stating her view, and moving to another topic so deftly you never notice how the conversation went from there to here. This is a subtle woman, my mother. Naturally I, like so many, have long undervalued her. Maybe that mistake has also caused me to undervalue the parts of me that are like her.
My mom and my Aunt Marie were never on easy terms. There was an unstated, subtle antipathy. Yet there was also great and obvious mutual respect, more so as time went on. Marie would admonish me to love and respect my mother, and not out of some lecture on propriety. My Aunt Marie was not a propriety respecting sort of woman. She was direct, forceful, sure of herself, a maverick and an iconoclast and proud of it. That was never Celia's style. I don't think she found it so much uncomfortable as mildly irritating in a way that tired and depressed her. Perhaps what Marie resented in Celia was the lack of appreciative audience, positive or negative, that she expected from those around her, including me. I was endlessly admiring of my marvelously wicked Aunt who always made me feel special and beloved. Celia never showed any jealousy of my relationship with Marie, nor do I believe she ever felt any. She was happy for me to be connecting with Danny's sister, the only of his family we ever knew. Celia and I, we're kind of cast out in the world on our own, unattached to other family. Yes, Ms. Purring Pandora, you are family, we three.
If the weather is nice tomorrow, we will take a drive into the country, pack a picnic, enjoy the natural splendor of the Libra New Moon aura of loveliness. Beauty isn't something you need to believe in to feel its inspiration.
I am having to learn new rhythms for my life, a different way of being and seeing. Maybe I'm growing up, at last, at least? I am the younger generation, displacing what has come before. But I'm not displacing. I'm assimilating, becoming more. Yeah, Celia, we are women who think and self-reflect, examining our life and thoughts, studying as if we are holy texts in which real Truth is waiting to be found. Did I learn that from you? Are we learning it together from each other? I can believe for both of us that we are blessed by this chance to enhance each other.
Moon in Libra
She takes notes when she reads, takes reading seriously, as if still in school. She writes classical poetry, endlessly edited. She likes 60s/70s era classic rock and jazz, sings bits of songs as they wander through her head. When I was little she would dance me around the room, picking me up, twirling me about, losing our separateness in the music. Today we can dance around the room together as equals, to the old tunes evoking memories. She likes to dress comfortably in cotton and wool, sturdy leather shoes with flat heals, no make-up except when socially expected, her mid-length brown hair loose or tied in a sensible knot securely pinned. Her manner is more wistfully practical, gently ironic, than no-nonsense. She doesn't complain or catastrophize. She likes everything in its place, including emotions. She watches C-SPAN and the Comedy Central fake news, but says lately all the bickering makes her tired. The tv has hardly been on since I've been here.
I have been able to do some writing assignments on her computer. Over the 'net by email, it doesn't matter to the magazine editors where I'm sending from. Information I need to research for my articles is also thus convenient. Not that I need to maintain gainful employment as Celia has my expenses covered, small as they are. She took early retirement from work when she learned she was sick, always thoughtful giving her employer plenty of lead time to find a replacement. She's always been a pay as you go consumer, no debt and over the years a good amount of savings. She bought this place outright from what she got selling our old house. She tells me she has arranged for the bills to be paid on a regular schedule so if she gets too ill to manage it all will still be taken care of automatically. Whatever is left, including this condo, will be mine to do with as I like when she's gone. Certainly not enough to make me rich, but I won't have to concern myself with finances for a long while. Still, it doesn't hurt to keep my hand in, keep up contacts and skills. I write anyway. I may as well send it out to be read.
She is so matter of fact, telling me about her arrangements, every detail in place. She's always been like that. It can be both soothing and maddening. Danny found it soothing. Marie found it maddening. At this point I find it endearing. She is who she is without apologies or aggrandizement. She deserves respect for that; she's earned it. She has made a life that is hers without back-up or recognition. I always have to be "Oh, look at me! Look how good I'm doing, how valuable and wonderful I am." She did that for Danny, admired him, gave him all the back-up, recognition, applause (metaphoric and real) that made him able to glow his shining glory. I can tell, even from the distant and erratic contact we have had these many years, that Gwen does not do that for him. What there is of him now is but a shell of what he was then. We do not talk much of him, only on the fringes of conversation on times past, mostly even that only by association. In a way he is what has kept us apart. I know in many ways I am like him, that she's made deeply happy in a quiet special place to see those parts of him in me. I am the synthesis of a great tragic love, the brutal poignant tragedy Celia always attempts to capture in her poetic words of ancient worlds.
I am becoming acclimated to my life here. It is new, though in some sense a recapitulation of previous episodes of the story of Celia and me. It's not just that we are in a different physical place, or a different temporal place in our lives. In a way I am waxing as she is waning. We are linear beings meeting on the mystic plains of destiny. Here we share reflections of each other in a set and setting we have never before experienced. The stark strangeness of reality is always amazing me. Celia likes everything to be in its very own place. In this particular onwardly rushing now, my place is here. My quest is to learn my roots and stalks and leaves and the many layers of love and history between Celia and me. I don't know why this is so important, so impelling, only that it is all that I am or can be right now.
You know, that artistic temperament, making grand gestures from mundane fate. Yeah, Mama Celia, this is your time; but I am the legend of my own mind. Yet, we both know you love me for that grandiosity as much as any of my inherent traits. Aren't we a pair? Or with Pandora a trio -- the three-headed Goddess: Mother, Daughter, and wise old Cat.
I feel I am doing your bidding, Goddess. I am truly becoming a woman, at last, cognizant of my place as inheritor of generations of women. We are each our own story, our own bright varicolored thread, and part of a greater tapestry.
I suddenly feel like baking a cake. We never did have a proper birthday celebration. I hope I can find candles.
Moon in Scorpio
Taking advantage of the sunshine, we took a drive out to the country by Marie's farm. After Helen sold it, went off to Europe and another life with Marie's ashes and assets, it was turned into a private primary school. The kids get to grow gardens and other hands-on learning projects -- very progressive. I probably would have liked school if I could have gone there. Who knows what might have become of me? Then, as now, we were not allowed on the grounds. We stopped and looked at the place from the roadside. There was nothing of the old feelings about this high-priced school yard. After a few minutes of silence for what no longer is, I drove on, stopping at a roadside farm stand advertising organic produce and fresh-baked pies.
I love October, the colors and smells and tastes of harvest. I love the crunchy orange and red leaves, that go so well with my hair. I still jump into leaf piles to feel the soft embrace to my feet and hear them snap, crackle, pop. Migrating birds are a marvel, in proud formation. Gaggles of geese land resplendent making ordinary parking lots into festivals of honking and flapping, then launching pads into resumed parades of flight.
Celia and I enjoy our fresh organic pie, thermos of tea and packed sandwiches in a pile of leaves under a brilliant old tree, protected from the damp by our unsnapped rain ponchos brought for the occasion or in case of sudden rain. We laugh about silly old memories of other autumns. We did have fun together, many good times, in those bad old days of my childhood.
Yeah, I admit it. A lot of those days weren't so bad. I wasn't deprived of love or laughter or warm memories. Everyone gets bad memories too. It's part of the package. We get rain and sun and clouds, starlight, moonlight, darkness. It's how we grow as creatures on a planet, part of the ecosystem of cycles and strategies. I don't know that every experience is meant specifically to teach necessary skills or give object lessons pertinent to some destiny. All those experiences do, though, add up to who we are. I hear people talk about trying to reconcile their god of love allowing tragedies. It's not that the deities allow tragedies or injustices. It's that we are living out all the possibilities of life.
When I was pregnant, I became cognizant that there were so very many variables that could go wrong in the creating of a new being. Every step of the way there are dangers, bad possibilities. Everybody dies sometime, somehow. We all live with that sentence hanging over us. Look at Autumn, the season of pulling back in after harvest in preparation for Winter's fallow time, hibernation, time for tall tales and the creation of art from the world of imagination while the real world appears dead and cold. In less seasonal climes there must be other metaphors. The still living eat and survive off the dead, though usually of other species. The point is, we are meant to experience the whole story -- not just the nice bits. Not because we are evil or have evil gods, but because the whole story is what we are meant to learn from, as a species, as individuals, as above so below. The pattern is dark and light, multi-colored, multi-textured. Would we want endless days of sunshine, gentle breezes, moderate temperatures, milk and honey flowing freely without kicking cows or stinging bees? Maybe. But what would be the point? Blah, blah, blah, la de dah, no drama, no heart-racing fear, no mystery or dark delicious thrills? Maybe this is why straight and narrow namby-pamby Christians call us evil, because we are willing to embrace the whole enchilada, the fiery spice along with the meat and corn.
I was never raised by Christians, though those who raised me were. Who would I have been after Church and Sunday School, the daily admonishment of my sins?
Celia has been so unloved, unadmired, unhonored, unfairly. I am glad to learn this lesson while I have the chance to apply it. The Goddesses who watch over me are wise old teachers. They do not deny or denigrate the darkness. That does not make them evil; it gives me the chance to learn to be wise.
If it were not so cloudy this evening I might see the crescent Moon. Each month she reminds us that darkness gives way to light. In all the vast dark universe, countless stars burn brightly. There is so very much I have yet to learn. How does that poem go: "I am a child of the universe. I am meant to be."
Moon in Sagittarius
Uncharacteristically, I don't want to talk to strangers. There's too much background to fill in for even the simple pleasantries. Besides, I feel some kind of sacred loyalty or bonding that I need to immerse in, exclusively psychically relating to Celia and our little space-time bubble. We are unplugged from most of the constant media onslaught. What does impinge, we pretty much ignore as if that world is from another place and time. I exchange emails with Tom and some other friends. We keep it personal. This is a time for only intimacy. Small talk, small concerns, won't do.
There is a park near my mother's home, an easy walk. It isn't huge, but large enough to find areas thick with trees and wild growth allowing the illusion of a natural environment. I go there at odd hours, when I am unlikely to encounter picnickers or children at play. I can run and stomp and open my lungs, feel free. Other times Celia and I walk here together. She is still able to get around pretty well, though she tires easily. I insist it's important that she get outside, move about, take walks and breathe in greenery. She laughs at my demanding, but enjoys the fussing over attention and walking in the park. Even on rainy days, protected by our plastic hooded ponchos and galoshes, we fall into the magic fantasies evoked by puddles filled with layers of muddied colored leaves and ubiquitous odors of life -- Earth and Sky.
Celia has neglected to get to know her neighbors since she moved here. At first she spent most of her time at work or socializing with her work companions. At home she was happy to engage with her routine and personal projects. Once she gave up on her job, she didn't want to deal with getting to know strangers. She even let her work-based relationships lapse. She is withdrawing from this world, not opening to it. She can be so self-sufficient and reserved. The neighbors, out of respect or fear or more likely indifference, don't pry, don't stop by or stop her on the street to chat. There is no hostility. It's more everyone keeping to their own space, their own concerns, the relationships or chatting companions with whom they are comfortable. Even the old couple that lives downstairs act as if our homes were separated by more than floor to ceiling. We are in our separate spaces, separate lives, with those who do not need to be filled in on background. It is almost as if we, my mother and I, were encapsulated in a bubble world that we have created for ourselves to open up within, privately, to each other, because that is where our attention and awareness are fixed, fixated. We do create our own realities, each individually, then in tandem, moving outward or holding inward as far as we choose.
On the streets, in public, in the marketplace, people engage with masks, superficially, smiling briefly to signal non-aggression, avoiding any extended meeting of eyes. It's what's polite. Politic, as in the personal is political. There is that constant outside of consciousness masking against everyone we encounter, posturing, adjusting masks to remain safely unseen. Then, tragically often we merely readjust those masks in our private encounters, jockeying for position perhaps or testing to see what we can gain while preventing loss. Politics and economics rule the social scene, in the large and the small. On the rare occasions, the miraculous meetings of minds and souls when we do feel free to really be with another real being, becoming aware of our usually unconscious masking can be painful, or at least an uncomfortable irritant in contrast to the exuberant authenticity.
Breathing green air, filtered by vegetation, or car-fumed and factory enhanced air encouraging lungs to mask in hope of filtering out toxic impurities, what do we choose?
The buzz is the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Who agreed to that world? Who is selling the handbaskets, and who is buying them? Who is defining Hell?
Moon in Capricorn
A child who was never meant to be. Ten years ago today my son was born and died. Many years before it was around this time that my father left and changed my life. Yet still I love October. It is not the season's fault that people leave. People leave, one way or another, all the time, in all the seasons of life. People die. That's the greatest leaving, most permanent and profound. People go off to live out other lives. Sometimes they even stay right there, but lose interest or otherwise change or psychologically move on. I change. I leave places and people and priorities. People who have meant so much to me, have been my center for a time, change in my mind as I form new relationships with myself and others. Converging with some significant other, then growing apart, the frame changes. All these leavings, leaves falling, becoming particles over time mingling into rich earth for seeds to grow in.
I tried again to talk Celia into contacting Danny, or letting me. She doesn't want to go there. She feels, thinks, rationalizes, that she has made her peace with what they had. She doesn't want drama, or, I think, to take the chance that he won't come, that this will be a final humiliation and renewal of pain. The kids, my half-siblings, are pretty much grown. He must have gotten well fed up with Gwen by now. That's probably my fantasizing, though, not fair to make Celia pay the price of my desire for a happy ending of sorts. More rationally, what good would it do Danny to come back here to watch her leave him, profoundly and permanently?
Maybe it is what he deserves. Do I get to judge that beyond my private fantasy? We can't decide other people's lives, rearrange them to suit our sense of balance or aesthetics. That way lies madness. People will do what they do for their own, no matter how illogical or self-defeating, reasons. Look at how I allowed Mark to take over my life. Yeah, I was pathetically young and stupid, but I had known something about integrity, personal responsibility, insistence on self-expression. I know, I wanted to lord it over those high and mighty high school rubes that I was the ultra-sophisticated rebel lover of an older and extraordinary man. He was married, an artist, a maverick iconoclast, more than they could ever be or attract. Now I know, looking back cringing, what a low-life worm and psychotic waste he really was. I may have fooled myself that we had this intense wonderful passionate love affair. Looking back, it was never about love. I had no clue what that word translated to beyond lust and excitement. What I loved was the emotional high of flirtation with danger, consummated by turning over my life to a crazy roller-coaster ride of vicarious insanity or folie a deux.
Celia didn't even try to control me. I was in no condition to be controlled. She did attempt to get me to see what I was doing. When sarcasm and simple truth didn't sway me, she muttered dire predictions interspersed with wishing me well, assuring me I would come to my senses, and offering safe harbor when that would become necessary. I, of course, wild know it all teen, ignored it all as calcified ignorance, even obstructionism against my superior instinct. She was no woman to be lecturing me on love having made such a mess of it for herself.
Celia and Danny met in college where he was a well-admired established star amongst the counter-culture crowd, and she was a studious mouselike scholarship nerd, admiring from afar. The Spring he came back, well into the semester, after his mother had died, he was too subdued, melancholy, no longer entertaining to his adoring fans. Celia no longer worshipped from afar. She loved up close and personal, giving him what he needed at a crucial time of transformation. They clicked, each having what the other needed to be whole.
Neither Mark nor I had the basis to make anything whole. We couldn't even make a child who could survive as a separate life. I don't blame him. I don't blame me anymore. I don't really blame Danny anymore, or Celia, for not staying whole together. It's not about who is right or wrong. We make connections that seem to be inevitable at the time, because they are. Then times change. We change. Life changes us, each according to our own inclinations. While we are connecting, in that sacred space of commonality, we are given opportunities to incorporate an expanding vocabulary, a more intricate map of the territory of life.
Yeah, spinning out philosophisizing. What I feel is so much more than I seem able to say. The sweet clear air of October evokes such poignancy. To every season so much life attaches. Leaves of scribbled pages mellowing; words constantly recycling as their underlying meanings deepen with age.
Moon in Capricorn
I know about that whole being in tune with the moment, resonating with the immediate confluence of energies. There are times when I am there. Briefly, of course. If that is the essence of our reality, where we belong, why isn't it the way we just naturally are? Why is that nirvana place so hard to maintain? Is it that we are denying our true natures, living in a manufactured environment out of touch, out of balance with nature? Aren't we natural beings no matter where we live, how we relate to the rest of nature? Why does human life seem so often so difficult to navigate? Steering by the stars, the planets, the celestial compass, we tend to get hung up on prognostication or fighting against fate. Each moment is a special sacred seed which, if we were wise, we would see in all its intricate glory, interweaving moments and being and meaning to breathe in and assimilate. I can see the structure in my inner eye, even dance it, touch its lines and textures with a metaphoric tongue. Yet here I am, just me in my circumstances, mind body and awareness intermixed waiting for my cues to speak lines, perform actions, as if spontaneously improvising in response to each challenge. This is where my mind goes when I need comforting stories, soul-embracing philosophy to counter the anxiety, the memories of pain that snap me up as if past and present have no separation of domain.
It's times like these that a good long run or twirling entrancing dance can give the reigns to body over mind releasing trapped energy, critically amassing emotion.
I have been having disturbing dreams of secret ceremonies, treacherous icy journeys to sacred caves where tribal fires burn and savage brutal initiations merge into orgiastic ecstasies. Steep mountain roads buried in mushy ice eerily lit blue and gray, iridescent, twist and turn on and on. When I wake I feel more ghostlike than alive for a long while before imperceptibly the real day takes precedence.
When I told Celia about these dreams, she seemed to recognize my imagery. She said we had spoken of such dreams before, when I was detoxing from the drugs I had learned to rely on in my flailing away from the pain my life had come to represent for me all those years ago. I had been so impulsive then, blindly running off in some desperate or defiant attempt to rewrite myself, redefine my life, lose my old experience by wrapping and ribboning in the new. As we talked, she acknowledged dreams of her own that disturbed her. Dreams of falling while attempting to fly, ever more deeply into a dark abyss decorated with purple glowing hieroglyphics; a train whistle and the clicking of metal over tracks sounded from below. So often dreams disappear upon awakening as if ice melting in the sunshine or rain. Then there are the images that stay, stark or wistfully lovely or eerily haunting. Sometimes they linger for years, popping into view without bidding, a hyper reality not to be denied, though we do try to brush them off as mere symbols without substance.
We awaken into life after birth trying to make sense of sensory input, of language and behaviors presented by those who seem to know how to be. The more we think we figure out, the more there seems to be that doesn't fit our hypotheses or impertinently mocks what we thought we had been told by those who know. Do you have these confusions, purring Pandora, making a game out of pouncing on my pen as I write? Are these human concerns or do we too arrogantly and ignorantly dismiss the experiencings of other species? There may well be no point to any of it at all, just electrical storms of the brain based on some kind of atmospheric chain reaction. Or maybe it's all some mass-hypnotic dream no more real than "reality tv".
Moon in Aquarius
Goddess, my higher self, that intuition place where all the electricity of my brain comes together inspiring, making sense, that's what we have. People leave. No matter how tight the bond, no matter that they encourage me to depend on them, make promises outright and implied, they leave even if against their choice or desire. Celia was always my one constant, though I may have ignored her in favor of any shinier object, ignored my need for her as a solid background to whatever foreground I was playing out. Certainly everyone else left, each in their own manner and time. I tried to blame her for losses she shared, did not cause. I wanted to blame someone who wasn't me. Yet now it is so clear that I wasn't to blame, nor was she. She is not to blame now either, as she is in process of leaving. For this most profound leaving, at least we are taking the time to prepare, to really have each other consciously while we can. I am given the time to learn that my only lifelong companion, the only human I can always depend on, is me.
I think Celia had to learn that early on. Still, she kept trying to deny that painful, lonely truth. She tried to believe in Danny and me, maybe others, maybe even her mom and dad and sisters, cousins, neighbors, teachers, whoever came along offering connection.
There are connections and connections. It's not that we are cursed to be always and forever alone. Rather, we are cursed to love and lose and be left lonely, often, over and over again. It's not about blame. There is no blame. I don't now what it is about, if it is about. One day here we are suddenly conscious of things and people around us. In inchoate attempt to make some kind of sense of sensory impressions, of fears and attractions, of the familiar emerging from the chaos, we reach out for connections. We assemble our software routines mimicking those to whom we feel relationship. We learn to want to be liked, to elicit pleasurable attention, to string together definitions in response to the responses to our actions. Even when we are feeling anti-social, we are fundamentally social beings. Yet cruel experience also makes us learn that connection leads to loss of connection and painful emptiness where once was shared wholeness. I mean, what's that about? Is it to learn self-reliance, or spiritual reliance, or is it about lies we tell ourselves to pretend we are not ultimately, irrevocably, vulnerable, mortal, on our own?
Without illusions this world of often hostile others is a very scary place. Historically people are always being betrayed, tortured and horribly murdered or enslaved, forced into untenable choices, starved or otherwise left without necessary sustenance for no good reason, made pawns against their will without consent, just because here we are and this is the game we're playing now. What's that about? Getting born just to be tortured and ill-treated to death in a variety of degrees, condemned by circumstances over which you have no power, control, say; under which you are never even noticed. Maybe it is some kind of tapestry or mural or vey long and complicated play in which we each have our part, however short or brutal, or gifted. Maybe it's randomly firing neurons telling us lies. Maybe I am really alone and omnipresent making it all up as I go along for entertainment, a song running through some infinite mind. At least I do manage to entertain myself quite well with all these imaginings, questions, interpreted sensations. If I am my own little emissary of the infinite, how would I order my universe if offered the architectural assignment? Would I do it differently from what I perceive as the world I've been given or born into? If it were all perfect from the start, would there be a point?
Moon in Pisces
I took a long walk tonight while Celia snoozed, curled up with Pandora on the couch, woman below, cat above the warm earth-toned afghan. They looked relaxed, peaceful, while I was feeling anything but. The night was comforting, foggy, brisk but far from cold. I felt secure in my old trenchcoat. Celia, sentimentally, packed up what I had left behind when she moved. Now I have my ancient wardrobe to pick out those special garments imbued with emotional attachment, or those in which I refind aesthetic delight.
I've always found walking a solitary pleasure. It is akin to dance when the rhythm takes over the body and mind and senses are left free to roam wild. My mind clears marvelously. The sensual delight of autumn fog encourages fantasies, as if I need encouragement. Streetlights through the fog give off that twinkly glow. A cat, black in the darkness, skittering across my path can send little waves of shivers through me, portent potential. I am not used to this kind of solitude lately. It reminds me of someone I have been. When I was alone on the streets of a strange city, or even as it became more familiar, I spent many nights walking with nowhere to go, no home base I could rely on for safe repose.
Yeah, I did often find warm bodies, even ones with challenging, subtle, enlivening minds, inviting me for a night or a time, however long it might work out, to their safe havens, to their beds. It's not like I was a pro, or that I was taking or taken advantage of. We enjoyed each other for the time we were together, then amicably went on. I still have valued friendships with many of the people I originally met as pick-ups, in bars or parties or striking up conversations on the street. (As opposed to those I never want to see again.) There was mutual respect, safe sex, pleasurable feelings, and a safe haven for a short time in which to reflect before moving onward. Here I am with a different kind of safe haven relationship.
Social economy is the real deal. Money may be the coin of the realm, means of exchange among strangers. Like bureaucracy and other formalities it is a means of protection from intimacy, from real human engagement. In that world of day to day connection that officialdom apparently tries to deny, we do take care of each other for personal reasons. Despite capitalistic rhetoric, life is more often about illogical emotional pull than well thought out balancing of profit and loss. There are probably plenty of petty squabbles that would negate the equal sharing of communist philosophy as well. The best laid plans need to include the realities of human foibles, or not foibles, just unreasoned humanity.
The Moon is getting fuller. Energy is rising. I saw Her light outside the window before the fog set in. They say water will soon be in short supply. But we live on a planet more water than land, and the icecaps are melting. Floods, tsunamis, water water everywhere, but ineligible to drink? How long has our species dealt with the changing conditions of our planet? How long before we find, invent the means to move on to other planets if this one no longer serves our needs? Isn't adaptability supposed to be our superpower? Desert creatures know where to find water in places no one else would think to look. The sky is falling. The sea is rising. The air is encumbered by industrial pollutants. It's always something, many things, convergences of influences opposing even the best laid plans. Unobstructed by preconceptions, cleared by fresh air and rhythmic motion, let's see what we can do. Or not. Earth turns without our input.
Moon in Pisces
We develop over our life's time, no matter how long or short, knowledge of how to be ourselves within our circumstances. What happens to those hard won insights when we have died? Even if we were artists, leaving behind the corpus of self-expression, what happens to all that experience carved into our bodies and minds? Does it all dissolve, as if it never happened? Is there some depository of psychic awareness, a pool of accumulated wisdom, where the initiated go for consultation and renewal? Is this how we gain insight in trance, tuning in to that collective energy? In my early barely pubescent teens, playing with witchcraft, I tried to tune in to my Aunt Marie's spirit, she who had been so influential in my understanding of the spiritual. She, her after energy, never said a word that I was aware of as being her. Maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe in the afterlife pool of energy individuality is no longer maintained. Though there are plenty of people who claim more direct communication with individual ghosts, of those they knew in life and those only met after their passing into some liminal nonphysical state.
Celia believes when she dies there will be nothing left of her but her physical remains. She has arranged to have even that burnt to ash. Marie was also cremated. Her ashes were given to her long-time significant other, Helen, who had a potter friend create a discreet but beautiful urn for Marie's remains' safe-keeping through Helen's travels. Celia would like her ashes scattered someplace beautiful of my choosing. I can remember her in some private special setting instead of a cemetery plot public and impersonal among the crowd of tombstones.
Maybe like the Dalai Lama we all reincarnate. The new children with our souls who would be attracted to our old possessions, have traces of our memories, are never searched out and identified. Our new forms are never discovered. Memory traces fade into vague deconstructed dreams. We are surprised, perhaps, along the way to feel such strong attraction to objects, ideas, people, pets, previously unknown yet somehow known forever. That may well be. Here and now, though, I am simply me, my accumulation of experiences, attractions, fantasies, inchoate yearnings. Whether any of these are carry-overs from previous incarnations makes no difference in the here and now. It would only matter if, like the Dalai Lama, others were searching me out to find that soul knowledge from the past.
If it's like that Hindu thing of karma based incarnation, ascending or descending along the scale of lifeforms based on past-life behavior, housecats seem far superior to humans as a reward for good conduct. Were you some brave and beneficent hero in your previous days, dear Pandora? Do you deserve your pampering and regal independence as payment for keeping your karma clean? Had I best attend to improving my ways or risk return as some crippled, ugly, unwanted beast? Or do we do that to ourselves in real time by denying our true good fortune because it wasn't the fortune we thought we were seeking?
I wonder what became of Aunt Helen. She was an artist, a painter, rather ethereal in manner, always caught up in her project of the moment, more there than in the room with the people she really did love and enjoy. Without Marie's loving emotional support, she went off to Europe ostensibly to join in the kind of bohemian community where she belonged, could find inspiration and audience. I've never heard of her since, nor seen any of her work online, where today everyone seems to converge. Maybe she just never connected with the 'net, preferring to stay in her old ways, comfortable because familiar. She wouldn't need to make a name for herself to pay her way. Marie, several years the older of the two, made sure Helen would be materially cared for should she outlive her.
Helen had been not much more than a street kid artist in bohemian Greenwich Village, New York, when she and Marie met. The story is they met in some dyke bar in the Village on a cold night back in the late 60s. By the time I knew them, they had been together forever, and still obviously entwined. It was beautiful, their unconscious graceful dance, sentimental, endearing.
From all accounts, Marie was a shrewd investor, like her maternal grandfather, my great grandfather whom I have only known through Marie's stories. She was his favorite grandchild, the only one who had lived with him and her grandmother. They had raised her for several years until she was commanded to her mother's side to help out with her brothers. Granddad Fitzpatrick left his favorite descendent a decent material legacy from which to start her own investing. I don't know how she would be doing in this crazy world today, but probably she would be fine. She was quite conservative in many ways, despite her decidedly counter-culture lifestyle. She would not have gone for hare-brained financial schemes or underhanded practices. She was more of the do well by doing good socially conscious investment sort. She kept up the farm, Lady Bountiful to all the crazy artists who stayed there for their chosen times. Celia, independent as she was, did accept Marie's bounty for the time she and Danny, and for the first year or so of my life, I lived there. Later, Celia dutifully paid off the mortgage that Marie privately financed for our house over all the years until Marie forgave the balance in her Will.
Celia's third-generation American working class background, Danny's part patrician, part Southern military traditions, I only got the fall-out and the DNA. Ain't that America in the 21st century, mongrel traditions and heredity. Yet here we are, each our individual answers to all those variables. Each unique coming together of all that past into now, collectively creating what will be. So, if this is the bright, shiny future, where are the flying cars and federation of planets we promised us?
Moon in Aries
Celia made clear that she wanted us to exchange, be open to expressing, all the mixed and hidden feelings, everything that we had to be said, to be worked out or given voice. I remember, with chagrin, how easy it was for me to make such awful denigrating snotty remarks, such an angry child. Of course, well, no, not of course, she deserves real credit for her understanding. She did know when I did not that it was not really about my feelings for her. I was pretty snotty generally to those oh so dismissing while tormenting neighbors and schoolmates. But for Celia I had special venom that they would never have been able to appreciate.
Now I apologize, deeply and sincerely, but Celia is not looking for such apology. She is interested in that deep, complex person underlying the crap that I was too inexperienced back then to access or understand. She tells me, coming out in random spirals of thought and conversation, narrative bundles from her memories as they come to the surface, as if recording into my ears, my mind, lessons she is codifying into language. I learn I was right about Grandpa Tony's swinish behavior in her quietly bitter condemnations, spitting out her long silently held venom. I realize as I hadn't as a child the great love, admiration and gratitude she felt toward Marie for all those little and big kindnesses Celia did not feel deserving of. I learn, though to a large degree I always knew, how grateful for and dependent on Danny's love and recognition of her she still is. It hasn't been an easy life for her, or even a fulfilling one. There are so many people and situations she is grateful for that have passed into long-term memory, of which her gratitude and happy remembrances are all she now has. I tell her I am grateful for having her in my life, that I realize how much she has always meant to me even if I spent far too long denying those feelings, burying them in resentments that I know now really belonged elsewhere.
Somewhere in all the dredging up of memories, sharing and forgiving, confessions of feelings, excavations of embarrassments and mistakes, it occurred to me, I remembered wondering. "Why didn't you leave, even after Marie died and the house was free and clear to sell? Why did we stay all those years in that neighborhood where we clearly did not belong. I know you could always pass well enough in that superficially friendly way, but you didn't feel a part of that community. You knew how they ragged on me, how miserable I was. Even if I was taking out on you my frustrations from the malicious behavior of others who wouldn't accept me, why didn't you take us somewhere we would better fit in? By then you had been at your job long enough to be well valued, several times promoted. You had the credentials to find a good job somewhere else. Or, we could have found a better neighborhood for us somewhere within commuting distance. Was it because you had your memories, maybe fantasies, about your life with Danny there?" She said she thought that was probably part of it, but had a hard time explaining what I suddenly realized. Really it never occurred to Celia to move because she was so used to making do, to tuning out of unpleasant circumstances into her own private world of ideas, of motion, of routine and attending to the details. She never expected the going to be easy, the neighbors to be supportive, the people in her life to acknowledge her worth or meet her halfway. That was part of what she was so grateful about with Danny, who had really loved, respected, admired, believed in Celia, unlike anyone else in her life. If you only ever get that one real relationship, of course there is no substitution, replacement. If you never expected that sort of connection to happen, if it does it must seem like an irreplaceable miracle.
Amazing, after all this time I am seeing my life from these very different views. The information was always with me, but it was differently arranged, stuck in other boxes where I had thought it neatly stored for easy access, simplistic interpretations by for and all about me. The definition of me keeps expanding while I let it. Here, in this special confined yet unrestricted place and time connections are realigning in my mind as I newly connect with the one person outside myself I have known all my life. I am reforming into someone I am getting to know better. We are two someone's getting to know ourselves and each other better, more expansively, more deeply and lovingly. I can now allow myself to know, Celia, how honored I am to have you so much a part of my life, and to feel the joy and pride of our connection as I get to share this time, these feelings, this expressing, with you.
Moon in Gemini
I admit I am a big picture kind of gal. I lose the trees in that magnificent forest. I say, let the Devil have the details; I want to revel in the grand plan.
Celia likes order. I enjoy the thrill of chaos. Though I do understand the need for some kind of order, framing, limitations, to be able to make sense of the picture at all. I do go back over the history to make salient connections, divine the pattern. In my analyses, I also understand the need to allow room for the patterns to shift, to open to less obvious possible connections, to reframe, refocus, move boundaries when they get in the way of progress or collaboration. A permeable box of flexible, stretchy material able to cross dimensions without reticence is my model. Permeable, transparent, barely a box at all, yet with enough integrity to keep disparate definitions in useful dynamic tension appropriate to concrete concepts, communication, building creatively inviting structures on reliable, if often unorthodox, foundations, I spin out metaphorically while keeping contact with a securing base.
Society may apply definitions of psychosis to minor deviations from what everybody knows, everybody does. Such defining really says nothing beyond "us" and "them" -- the perennial disconnect. Psychosis, being lost in a world one has made without sufficient lifeline to the common world to function, is a different proposition. I joke, ironically as befits my sense of humor, about my psychotic disassociations from the norm. Yet, I clearly see the norm and choose to disagree. This is not the situation of my unfortunate brethren? fellows? is there a unisex word for this? co-humans? who become identified as mentally ill, sucked through the system that denies their internal experience and insists "conform or you are in essence dead to us."
There are social constructs that still insist homosexuality, attraction to those we say aren't in the allowable pool of attractants, is a mental illness. Yet now we have a huge demographic and movement saying Gay is good. I see no logical or philosophical problem with accepting each individual's self-experience as valid. Take people where you find them, where they are, and work from there to discover commonalities on which to base communication. Yeah, it's like bureaucracy and money -- we don't want to communicate. We want to upstage in our power games, use any articulable difference as a vulnerability to exploit. We who write the book make the rules. You didn't read the book? That just compounds your criminality. Off with your head; away with your freedom to be you. Millions of people incarcerated for the daring crimes of unsanctioned self-expression.
No, you "conservatives" practiced in the art of doublespeak, I don't mean we must not protect ourselves from violent opposition, "terrorism," street crime. I mean that a sane society keeps its definition of the criminal to the sensible bounds of minimizing violent conflict and unwarranted destruction. Just who are the terrorists when people's lives are commonly violated, their freedom denied for all kinds of petty disagreements with the holy sanctified social norm? To my mind, law ought to protect the people from the government, or protect people from each other, not protect the government from the people or people from ourselves. Ideally law enforcement acts as a champion to help defend the less powerful from those who would harmfully overpower them.
The Koran never insisted on veiling or denigrating women. My understanding is that Mohammed believed in social equality. His message from Allah was about building equitable community, bringing His people together under rational laws for their interactive benefit. Likewise, Christ was not homophobic or hierarchical by gender or monetary wealth. I don't know why the self-called pious make up these rules, except their obvious will to power over. Why can't we uppity female polytheistic self-determination types find our own will to power and make our own rules that put us in charge? First order of business: send those holier-than-thou propagandists out on the streets naked for our delight and ridicule. Then give them some comfortable clothing, nutritious soup and organize them into a game of charades. While they are thus occupied, we'll free the political prisoners and enjoy a rousing celebration.
Moon in Leo
My Samhain pieces are emailed out and I realize I won't be home for the holy day. Then I realize I am home. This is my home for now. It's not like there is another place on this planet that is mine, where I live now. Places and people I think of as mine, feel as home, are living out other lives, apart from mine, except for Celia, and Pandora so real and now nuzzling at my hand.
Celia sees Danny that way, as an archetypal figure representing a home solid only in her imagination after all these years. After only a month of physical absence, I am still solidly connected to Tom. We stay in virtual presence to each other. We are present tense, sharing separate lives. Celia and I intertwine our immediate presence. I imagine a future of absence intensifying the value of immediacy, of now.
Time is money in a very real, even mathematical sense. What do we as the working class exchange for money? Skills and labor, but these are not diminished. We may even expand our skills through experience. What is irrevocably lost is our time. Still we profligately spend our time even less consciously than we spend our hard earned cash. It all kind of falls through our hands as we tumble on. Those trying to be wise say in the end it's relationships that matter. And we let those tumble along as well. Maybe it's none of that stuff that really matters. Maybe it's the whole package, the panorama, the eternally evolving gestalt of which time, money, people are but random elements thrown together into abstract patterns from which we can take (or to which we can give) the meanings we find comforting. The season some of us associate with thoughts and ceremonies of death and veiled transitions is upon us. In community in ritual we gain strength to look deeply into our own feelings, fears, questions, chills and thrills and long held social ills, all the human thrashing about working out our relationships with that beyond our bright and shiny business as usual facades.
It shouldn't be so complicated to be human. The other creatures seem to have this life thing down much more simply and concretely. We've got to build up taboos and guilts and psychosomatic hysterias. Beyond that old corny story of the insecure would-be lovers afraid to admit their feelings wasting their lives resentful and apart, eventually bitter, shriveled, unlovable, beyond that personal tragedy, how might we feel to realize after lifetimes of loneliness, anger, pain, that we were holding ourselves apart from those who might have been the salvation we had yearned for yet made ourselves believe could not exist. In some of my psychic spaces I miss Celia already. There are still those spaces in long-term memory where I have missed what we might have shared if not for foolish blockages of my self-devising. I have heard that pain is a signal caused by blocked energy, building up, cutting off the free flow that promotes health and serenity. The blockages are mistakes. They may have been meant to protect injuries or weaknesses, but they have gone too far, stayed too long, gotten in the way of healing.
It often appears in this sexually repressed and therefore sexually obsessed society, part and implicate of the insanity of this social here and now, intimacy is about sex, love is about sex, romance is a polite word for sex. It is forgotten that sex isn't about sex. It is about life, biology, messy intricacies of organic fluids, consciousness and chemistry, all the mysteries that combine as manifestation. Rationalists talk about magical thinking as if nursery superstition. Denying magic is fraught with risk of missing the essential in favor of manmade myths of mathematics. The map, the territory, the now, all grappling with narratives of authorities, could be simply moving naturally as butterfly wings sitting upon this and that attractive petal. Is it any better for those who mindlessly do what is codified as right, letting guilt for any transgressions of behavior or thought suck them dry? Apparently for all my open-to-loving faith, I am not truly loving of humankind. My deep-seated anger seethes as viciously as any. I have learned the folly of making myself the target, or my loved ones. The anger is for the stupid tragedy. It takes up so much time, energy, mindspace, lives and treasures.
If we let the spirits from across the veil tell us their stories, show us their wounds, if we really took the sacred time out of time to listen and completely feel what they tell us, would we transform? Would we take in the spirit wisdom and see a saner path? Do we culturally fear the angry spirits of the night because they mirror our hidden knowledge of the waste we make of our lives, twisted spending of our time. We forget the value of our greatest assets.
Those among us who are wise didn't get that way from having an easy life handed to them. They suffered, and learned to find meaning in those experiences. Blessed with a life skewed to discovering treasure in the muck and mire, if they would persevere beyond despair, they are human diamonds, human pearls, gems, invaluable, exquisite beauty created out of otherwise unbearable pain and yearning.
Moon in Virgo
The chill in the air has become pronounced. I dig out and launder sweaters, long underwear for Celia's and my daily walks in the park. Gold and red leaves, colors becoming muddied on the trees, ever more of them drift along the ground. Early morning walks are met by frost and lingering darkness. Darkness encroaches earlier on the day. Spooky sparsely leaved trees make an imprint against the faded light, chill and blowing a mournful tune.
We are building a collage of junk mail circular images glued onto cardboard at the kitchen table in lieu of travel. Celia is comforted by her familiar routines and surroundings; she enjoys playing this game of fantasy, like putting on a play without fuss or break in spontaneity. I also enjoy the simulated adventures, the sense of possibilities.
Tom misses us, wants me to come home. Mom wants me to stay in this home we are building, our fantasy bubble where she feels safe, able to express what is left in her that demands sharing.
I told Tom I will return to him in the Spring. Meanwhile we can play at building our winter fantasies, apart but shared. It is a different kind of intimacy, exploring alternative forms of language, of touching, discovering, with other kinds of senses. He is not happy about our separation, but is intrigued enough to give this game a chance to enthrall -- because we both believe in magic. Good magic work requires discipline and will, and excellent skills of metaphoric translation, transformation through psychic manipulation of subtle energies. The journeyman wizard in Tom appreciates the challenge. The timeless romantic imp in me enjoys the adventure of our game. Isn't that what life so excellently can be, a romantic adventure, much more than a game of chance -- a game of chances to fly or drive or quietly walk through charming wonderland hand in hand with wild laughing love.
I watch Celia across the room, stoic and cheerful, that intense underlying sadness acting as a restful foundation, where she has made her peace with disappointment and stale dreams. This place is filled with the products of her busy hands, beautiful needlework furnishings for human comfort, luscious growing green and flowering plants, some bearing fruit or savory herbal spices. Her self-contained world expresses her natural beauty. I understand her need to share, to be led by my acceptance into opening further to herself. I understand that she is wise, that I can be humbled and encouraged by her wisdom. These are lessons out of the everyday, yet lessons we can find everyday, any day, if we will to learn. Wise magic power is not about power over; it can be even more meaningful as power with intimate others. We exchange, merge, grow. Love, beauty, wisdom the will to magical life, isn't that enough of a glorious game to engage with? Why all the petty bickerings and mean spirits? Is it that people think we are owed treasure we do not create together? Is the accepted myth of an omniscient dispenser of largess dividing us, each attempting to sacrifice the rest to find favor? Are these traps of DNA or cultural legend learned survival strategies? Are they a darker and far more clouded kind of magic?
Moon in Libra
Rain, wind, I almost expect to see spectral faces briefly glaring against the windowpane. It is an intense season. More violins than percussion in the mix as I hear it tonight. The weeping oboe more than the screeching saxophone, strains of late night heavy blues on keyboard, and of course that bass fiddle, that deeply booming bass. Scorpio is a season I can feel gripping tingling through my guts. I think Nietzsche was a Scorpio -- all about that inheld power so intense that only the starkest expression will do.
Scorpios look realer than real to me. It's as if they are fully three dimensional in a two dimensional world. Tom is so completely Scorpio. He thrills me with mere memory, the thought of his name. He is so very there, so intensely present. While I fly hither and yon, he is my staunch fixed point. He is the exhilaration of the wild storm and my secure harbor. Beauty and Beast, the fulfilled fairytale reveals me to be the enrapt child laughing and clapping in awe and enthrallment. Yet I have exiled myself from my soul's safe home. I am walking in the rain buffeted by angry winds and icy pellets, opening myself to helpless pain, even horror. How appropriate for the season of transformation through mortal trial. The snake of power coiled in my spine is not fooled by my blushing protestations. I have allowed myself to become an emotion junkie, leaping into the magnetic attraction of that which leaves me trembling but more alive. Thus am I Tom's equal and other self. We are a parrying of challenge and resolution, storm and harbor, at play. I am working on a birthday e-card poem to send him, looking through googled images, discovering a route to music through picture and words. It's all ultimately music. I feel it in my every movement, in all the ambient sounds and vibrations.
Moving to the groove of the eternally mutating symphony, we could, if we were closely enough connected, dance ecstatically through it all. There are times when I feel that is exactly what I do.
I have heard about people who believe sharing music can change and save the world. It does seem to be a basic value; but it can also divide us, like probably anything we can find to disagree on. How well will I get on with a friend who insists on a constant background of commercial country music or Italian opera, or any musical dialect I can't stand. Because I am so attuned to the vibrations, sound sequences I find unappetizing often give me actual symptoms of sickness, headaches at least. Yet there are plenty of otherwise seemingly fine people who actually prefer these to me horrid sequences of sound. I might reflect that I need to broaden my ear; but it's not just me. Music can be as divisive as any other means of expression. Souls are different. We are not all one. Or, if we are, it is a one of many disparate parts. Is there a music we can all agree on, all feel speaks within us, moves us to dance together, to join, joyfully, in song? Or are we divided by our separate drummers?
We pagans dance around a sacred fire to bring our visions to magical fruition. People dance. People sing. People throughout the world, from earliest history, find ways to express musically. We must eat and eliminate the unacceptable of what we've eaten. We must breathe, in and out, the right mixture of elements. We must take in fluids and let excess fluids flow. We must find shelter from storms and predators and heat and cold. There are necessary conditions for the continuation of life as we know it. We seem to need music, an ethereal and ephemeral formulation. What else do we need to be healthy and whole that scientists have not unraveled? If humans are some amalgamation of animal and angel, or Earth spawn and alien, are there neglected necessities that keep us from our potential abilities? Is that why so many of us suffer and die early from illnesses that make no sense if we were engineered for survival? Is that why depression is rampant and anti-depressants so often exacerbate suicides? Something seems to be missing from a great many lives. Do creatures have analogous problems in the wild? If enough wilderness still exists to make that relevant, because such illness in wild creatures might well be due to encroaching civilization. When all that is left of the wild is an open zoo paid for by tourist dollars, what will have become of us? Or is that what we already are? I stroke the soft fur of my small, to me, feline companion, knowing we are both far from wild, yet atavistic enough to feel alive.
Moon in Scorpio
October snow on Tom's birthday away from me. How romantically poetic! Celia, Pandora and I, warm and cozy, drink luscious cocoa (well, not Pandora) and watch the early winter surprise. It's like a reprise of those special snow days when Celia's office and my school both closed, though the snow is nowhere near such conditions. In those days it was an unexpected holiday. What do they do for that special time in places where it doesn't snow? Monsoon or tornado days don't seem so peacefully picturesque.
On a whim, I put on a Christmas music cd. Christmas, at least in America, is a secular celebration. No need to be Christian to get sentimental about these old tunes. I felt like a Hallmark card cozied up with Mom and Pandora wrapped in soft warm afghan smelling of childhood, with hot drinks, safe from the wintry world.
We never went in for all the bright lights and decorations. We enjoyed the simple elegance and wonderful woodsy aroma of each year's fresh cut tree picked carefully from the tree farm. Once it became brittle and lifeless sometime in January, we would solemnly, carefully, burn the remains and thank the tree for its gracious visit. For an atheist, Celia has amazing awareness of the sacred, of the life-force of nature. She never cared for arrangements of picked flowers, but requires living flowering plants in her everyday ambiance.
I sent Tom a commemorative collage of homemade poetry and borrowed pictures (because my attempts at drawing express nothing but my maladroitness), carefully arranged in an email message to express love, admiration, adoration. I know he will appreciate the gesture. He has told me he doesn't like fussing over his birthday because it usually is so contrived. I gather there was a lot of attention to form and little to substance in his home (or, rather, homes) when he was growing up. His parents travelled a lot and dumped Tom and his older brother Ty in boarding schools and camps, but sometimes brought the boys along if that was the current whim. Growing up rich is not necessarily as much fun as one might imagine. Through all that he somehow became a romantic and lover of substantive expression. He can be a severe, consummately fair critic of my work, of any artwork he notices. He fully acknowledges, appreciates, admires when it comes out right, when the art works, expresses exquisitely. So, no lazy good enough when the work is meant for him. I put in full concentration, focus, emotion, and practiced restraint. Capture the essence, make it sing as if angelic choir. Celia was happy to give me the concentration space, and to listen intently and respond with insight based on her wisdom and love as I bubbled over babbling about him and how well we fit. She is happy for my special extra glow, warmly encourages me to talk and talk in the way the presence of that glow turns my words into a magical litany. The ebullient wealth of my feelings shines in her sharing of my glow.
What is wealth? I have no interest in wasting my time accumulating money. That doesn't mean I am not motivated to work. I am driven to work for the intrinsic values of the product and the work itself, to myself and my community. Given the opportunity, we seem to each have work that is intrinsic to our life. Jobs done with a passion, out of enlightened self-interest or fascination with the project or the pleasurable stretch of effort are jobs better done and lives better lived. Money has no intrinsic value at all. It is not an effective noun, but a verb, a symbol of action. It only gains value by being exchanged for valuable goods and services. The producers of goods and services are the nation's valuable assets. Money is a myth, a hypnotic suggestion used to enslave. The system gets fixed so people feel helpless to provide for our needs without selling out our lives for a monetary wage. Who do we think are those who provide these necessities? We could be doing even better work providing better lifestyle options, more fulfilling and comfortable lives, by turning our understanding and attitude in more self-loving and community appreciating directions. All those experts talking in self-defining convoluted language, sniping out their petty differences or insisting on their agreed upon models and theories, we allow them to make the frames as if they really were elite. Economics is simple, trade so we can each do our calling and have what we need to be healthy and productive. Sharing makes us all wealthier, not hoarding or enslaving. It's all a matter of what we invest our wealth in -- our time, talent, skill, energy, ideas, joy.
I send you a wish wrapped in a deeply imagined kiss, dearly loved Tom, for many magical wonder-filled Solar Returns. I know nothing bought with money would possibly thrill you more.
Moon in Sagittarius
Celia takes folks as we are. It wouldn't make any sense to her to try to change us. We are going to be who we are. Ultimately practical, she works with what is.
Marie was more of an idealist, highly critical if you were below her standards. She treated me like a princess, as did Danny. Celia treated me, treats me, like another human being, one she deeply loves and is aware of as independently aware.
She knows how to pass, naturally falling into appropriate chit-chat, even mannerisms. She has long been practiced at blending in, almost part of the background. There must have been so much ugly tension in her childhood home, first with her dad's parents and sisters in the mix piling up against Celia as a package with her Mom. Then, when they had their own home, there was all that tension between her parents, Tony and Angie, who shared no genuine love or respect for each other. She learned to stay out of the way, a neutral bystander, ever pleasant and courteous, never a target for ire.
Danny is a charmer, of everyone on whom he focuses that expansive smile. He can be loud and out of place in a lot of places even so. I tend to get carried away with my emotions and sense of self-important drama. Celia made us normal. In public people would see her as that nice lady. A nice lady with an eccentric family, but they must be alright because she is just like us. It was not her way to be judgmental, to demand that others fit a preconceived idea of what she thought they should be.
Tonight she was genuinely solemnly joyous with me in the Samhain ceremony I improvised for us. Celia is well steeped in literature of ancient lore, philosophies, rituals, psycho-social manipulations before the advent of science as we know it now. We put together an altar of candles, safely separated from the dried leaves we had fortuitously gathered before the snow. We arranged bowls with leaves, smoldering herbs, salted water for the sea and tears, and sang incantations I had written earlier in the day. I had also found appropriate music on an internet radio station so we could fall under the spell of song, dance, smoky herbal aromas breathed in deeply, coalescing into potent personal ritual. We held hands moving slowly around the altar, gracefully flickering shadows of the candle flames. Moving closer together, we whirled hugging each to the other. I could feel her waning energy. Eventually we sat looking into the candlelight, silent, mutually aware, entranced in the subtleties of the moment.
Celia needed to sleep. She sleeps still in short naps, but ever more frequently. I have time to think and feel uncomfortably, letting those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings do as they will, not imposing my will to turn them away. They say the veil is thin tonight between the worlds of consensual reality and spirit. If I let myself be off-guard, perhaps wise or lonely spirits will share tales or visions with me. It's not insanity if I label it a dream.
Is it insanity, though, that is to be feared, or the bureaucracy seeming to be in the business of making life harder for those who have become overwhelmed by their own circumstances? Insanity might be fine, might be some entranceway into a more profound knowledge and way of being human if we labeled it in that direction. One person's or people's insanity might well be another's religious experience.
I'm not realistically nonjudgmental like Celia. I expect people to be sane enough to make room for the spiritual insanity each of us may privately experience, to make room outside of that practical consensual reality for the spirit world to infuse through, expanding our definitions of normal human behaviors and relationships. "And ye harm none, do what ye will." So mote it be.
I blow out the candles, look deeply into the darkness.
Moon in Capricorn
Danny often told me, during our infrequent conversations usually initiated by his drunken phone calls from whatever bar or party on his end, how much he still and always loves my mother. Like he is for her, Celia is Danny's one true soulmate. He explains plaintively, perhaps hoping for my absolution, he was no good for her. He excuses his weakness by embracing it. He was not cut out to be responsible, to settle down, to fit into an ordinary life as she seemed to need to feel secure.
He may be little better than an indentured pet to Gwen, but she does know enough to let him wander on his short leash, to not make demands beyond simple rules, to keep him benignly distracted with new scenes and exciting people, fun, fun, fun for all her children while she basks in their attentive glow. She didn't take him away from us. She was his convenient excuse and meal ticket.
I wonder, though, all those dramas, miscommunications, assumptions about what was important, even urgent, back then, how meaningful any of that has turned out to be. Neither of their lives apart were fulfilling or magical as their time together. Could they have found a better solution had they been thinking clearly without clouds of guilt and shame, perceived self-inadequacies? They could have created within their relationship byways for their separate paths, separate adventures, to then store in familial framework of their own making.
Wanting differently, using different strategies, coming from different experiences does not mean working at cross purposes, does not necessitate contention or contradiction. Engaging with those of other perspectives and methods can give us all more to work with for more pervasively useful results. If we could start from a base of respect for ourselves and each other, with a true will to work out what we must so everyone's interests, needs, concerns are addressed, the results could well be so much better than ever anticipated. Expanding borders, making room for everyone involved, we can create better models, better blueprints, better structures, projects, lives. Privately, unilaterally, deciding based on individual weaknesses and fears you get bicoastal misery instead of mutually nurturing caring family, untraditional as it may turn out to be. Tradition has its place, which is not about getting in the way of the urgent now. Tradition is better as a practical garment that can be altered to fit than a one size fits all straitjacket.
Celia wants to vote, no matter the lines. At least there's no snow in the forecast. I registered here once I knew I would be staying through the election. Celia did succeed in inculcating a sense of civic responsibility in me. She does not take her right to vote for granted. She informs herself about the issues and candidates, even for local elections. She's the one who told me that local elections are where democracy is most likely to be effective in everyday lives. All those little local decisions about the public services we use all the time are the outgrowth of local politics. The big national stuff is mostly out of the realm of real democracy. We elect people thinking they can do what no one really can, especially not government.
People in this country act like there are only governmental services, policies, projects and profit-making businesses selling their products and services. Yeah, there is that private family and social life sphere where we do each other favors, help each other out voluntarily without legal coercion or profit motive. It seems to me that we forget the very important nongovernment, noncapitalist civil sphere. The old concept of the public square is a place where we meet not only as marketplace to buy and sell our wares or to exchange political harangues or make social connections. We come together as members of a civic community to work out solutions our perceived common problems, to indulge in civic pride with beautification projects and cultural opportunities. Community self-interest is best at providing enhanced educational programs and otherwise generally improving the conditions in which we all live together. It makes sense that if each little community were well loved and cared for by civic minded participants, the whole country would prosper.
Celia has not had much in the way of community in that sense for most of her life. She keeps herself informed. She votes. On occasion she writes out her opinions on issues she has particular concerns about, sends letters to newspapers and political representatives. Her concern to make me aware of politics grew out of the more activist role she and Danny and their friends took in protesting anti-Vietnam, pro-Civil Rights, Women's Rights, Gay Rights, for all late 60s/early 70s era. I have a more educated understanding of the political structure and realities of this country than I see evidenced by most of public opinion. So many people screaming out on the airwaves, the internet, in public and private, show they have no idea of how this country's government is designed or meant to work. They just want laws to tell everyone to do or not do whatever their moral codes or economic prejudices assure them is the proper course. There is no talking to them rationally, no swaying them with facts, certainly not compassion. They know what they know; they're right. Anyone differing is wrong. In this sense I hate politics.
I, as well as Celia, am so tired of the bickering around this election. I hate the shrieking cries of the wingnuts who refuse to see that one wing will never fly. To move forward as a nation, all wings, the whole of us, must move together, each doing our individual essential part.
Moon in Pisces
I've been sleeping so much more than usual, actively wanting to sleep. It's not physical tiredness, but a strong desire to dream. I get such beautiful vivid imagery in my dreams. Deeply personally meaningful jumbled vignettes of scenes, feelings, incredible camera shots no camera could capture because the images are all imagination, keep calling me back to play. Far from restful, these dreams give me intense work-outs. I am more then compensated for any lack of exercise in my more constrained waking life.
This place isn't big enough to take much housework. Two adult women and an aging cat, all naturally clean creatures, don't require much cleaning up after. Long late night walks and romps in the park are not the same level of activity I had been used to in that more daily active life I had worked out for myself. My energy, motivated movement, exuberance, have been low, my agitation level on the rise.
This is a generally contentious time of year, peace and goodwill be damned. Not only is the US holiday season secular, it is brutally consumption driven. It is the race to being in the black for businesses of many brands by the end of the year. Thus frantic anxiety abounds. Now that the election hysteria is fading, the holiday hysteria comes to the foreground. There always has to be something overwhelming our senses so mainstream America keeps pounding the treadmill without thought. Well, yeah, those busy brain cells are taken up with how will I juggle the bills to keep the credit flowing? What can I get away with getting for Aunt Sue or my obnoxious co-worker who makes such a big deal of these gift exchanges? The junk mail catalogs are pouring in, filled with glee and cheer as only models of over-priced gaiety can provide.
Until the year my aunt died, Celia and I celebrated in high bohemian style with the crazy artists at the farm. It was a warm and witty fantasyland that I thought of as normal real life. That first Thanksgiving when Celia and I were confronted by our scant number, she did her best to inaugurate family tradition. Even a small turkey was obviously too much for our small family, just Mom, Persephone and our aging cat.
Back then it was Mao, named by Danny before I can remember, in my (and Mao's) baby days, for the infamous Chinese leader. Mao was intent on keeping us in line. Big, black, loudly opinionated, he had a notably different temperament from sleek, sweet calico catpanion Pandora, who I see currently stretched out watching over sleeping Celia. Mao was still with Celia when I went off with Mark. He died in the Spring before I returned, while I was caught up in my to me astonishing pregnancy. Lonely, several months later Celia adopted baby Pandora, late that summer. She was only a few months old when I moved back in. We go way back, don't we, Pandora dear?
For our first Thanksgiving on our own, Celia settled on stuffing a smallish chicken. That Wednesday night, on her way home to start the long holiday weekend, she picked up fresh cider from the farm stand. While the chicken roasted she whipped sweet potatoes with maple syrup, spices and cream, cut up fresh salad veggies to dip in a homemade luxurious green goddess style dressing, home-baked a pumpkin pie. We listened to Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" while eating our "Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat." I was too thankful to be sullen. My family had unraveled. I wanted to believe in what was left.
I always loved Thanksgiving, not "enjoy," love! It's my favorite secular holiday. It's not the food or traditions, certainly not the now exposed ugly history of European colonists and their native hosts. It's the peacefulness. Late November gives me tingles. Sagittarius, season of my birth, gives me a rush of peaceful inner power. I feel it strongly, every year.
Some years Celia would invite friends without local family obligations. If there were more than us, she would roast a small turkey which we would eat from well into the next week in various recipe guises. That first year with Mark, when I was till seventeen, I brought him for Celia's Thanksgiving dinner. He was actually grateful to belong, still devastated by the restraining order keeping him from his kids.
That was before the whole bitter custody fight that landed him supervised visits. Mark, Jr. was like four or five that year; and little Alex was only like three. I had only met them briefly a couple of times. One of his wife, Delores' big concerns bringing her to the point of legal restraint against him was keeping her kids from the influence of their no-good father's teen witch tramp. Celia hated that I was with Mark, I now can see with good reason. Nonetheless, she treated us both graciously, as family celebrating together. It's not phony with her. She doesn't deny her feelings; she allows other feelings to surface for the occasion.
This year it is already evident Celia will not be up to holiday chores. I am the one who must rise to this occasion. I thought of asking for Tom to join us; but I know that is both selfish and ill-advised. Celia deserves this last Thanksgiving to be about her, not as host to even a most cordial guest.
Goddess worshippers, attuned to the movements of the Moon, are theoretically aware of the sacredness of each day. Giving thanks for each day's blessings, taking solace for each day's disappointments in the magic of each night's transitional movements into a new day, we celebrate life. Dreams can heal us, inspire us, take us to places of special personal meaning so beautiful that we know we are blessed. Thank you, Goddess, for the magic of dreams.
Celia, I wish you dreams of Danny. In your ever more frequent fade-outs from the real and earnest world, I hope you find yourself back in that perfect time when you were complete with love. She does tell me sometimes that she was dreaming of him, of them, of happiness. Reality as we interpret it in our private minds is not much different from a dream. A strong belief, acted upon, is not so different from a truth. We can have it all, everything our great big hearts desire, if we can be not so particular about our definitions, or boundaries between dream and real. Not so far from the cross-quarter, the veil may still be thin. Ah November, time of wonder, a crossroad time of year!
Moon in Aries
I put on high energy rock music and danced to exhaustion just to get it out of me. I suspect I am genetically predisposed to depression which I unconsciously treat with activity. My paternal grandma has been described to me as crazy, clinically out of it though kept safe at home without chemical or institutional incarceration. My dad is clearly alcoholic My mom sublimates her sadness with activity.
Depression is rampant these days, not only to sell pharmaceuticals. We are only built to take so much concentrated stress without cracking. I laugh at talk of foreign terrorists infiltrating to kill us. The real threat is all the barely hanging on when they hang on no longer and have convinced themselves they need an honor guard to flank their suicided souls. Or maybe they think they are being merciful to their victims, taking them along on the great escape. In any case, what do we think we're doing piling on no win scenarios in a societal crucible without enough provision of emotional safety valve exhaust?
Dancing's good for getting out what ails. Swirling into screaming into wide open displays in carnival mania must be why such traditions exist. Humans, we are biologically emotional creatures. Restraint only goes so far before we need to break out. Is that what war is really about? Yeah, land and ideology and fear of strangers, but couldn't those issues be handled with our well vaunted reason if we weren't chomping at the bit to spit out a bloodthirsty yell of emotion breaking out of restraint? Kids, puppies, kittens, little creatures learning how to use our bodies, fight just because we enjoy moving our muscles in that connective sport until the pain of battle wounds catches our attention. Athena, body daughter of Zeus, sprang forth ready for battle, and is known as the Goddess of Wisdom, patron of democratic Athens. Are emotions, as well as relationships, sacred mentors meant to move us toward wisdom if we are willing and attentive students? What's the point? We live. We die. Then there's another crop living, fighting, dying. So, big deal, or rather no big deal, if I get wise through my unique tawdry mundane suffering. It's no achievement if no one cares or profits.
Look at Celia, so stalwart, so bravely self-sufficient, so wasted now, wasting away. For my little time, I get to what? Flex my muscles, dancing, playing, running away, even making love, random occurrences. I know, I'm trying to make sense when the prescribed answer is having faith.
Faith can be so confusing. Faith isn't based on sense; but magic is. Magic isn't about exchanging mumbo-jumbo for gold. There is a strict structure of rules within which magic allows itself to happen. Faith is kind of like quicksand, but more pernicious. There is no solid ground. There is no safety net. Survival happens. Or not. There is that greater unknowable purpose that makes it all okay. I know magic works, often better than mainstream science. Faith, well you've got to take it on faith. There is nothing but room for interpretation, for crazies and cranks to wield their faith-hewn swords. So, maybe the place to start from is: I am aware. Look at all the scenery whizzing by as I scope out my environs. That bit was quite nice, very pretty. Eeuuww, that's so sad, all that nasty bloody roadkill. Look, I painted my name across the sky. Now look, the light is fading. My name has faded from the sky, below the horizon. Perhaps it will rise again with the dawn.
It's not so much blind faith as an eyes open ongoing relationship with whatever higher power calls to you through life. Look at me: aren't I the philosophical one! Named for a goddess she is, perhaps a goddess in training herself. Yeah, little old immortal me, burned in the flames of immortality all over, neglecting not so much as an Achillean heel. Cleansing phoenix flame encourages transformation, new lives for old. Like that "Doctor Who" timelord regeneration, or am I mixing archetypes too irresponsibly? Too flippantly conflating metaphoric musings? There, I'm back in relative good humor. No one gives an internal peptalk like you, Persephone. Thank Goddess.
Thank you, Goddess, for never doubting me.
Moon in Taurus
After Mark was dead, our son was dead, I remember feeling hollow, pointless. I had thought I had what I wanted. I really was happy. I had my very own life, my own family on my own terms. Defiantly, I intended to name him Lucifer, the morning star. We would call him Luke I supposed. Mark insisted on his last name. Luke Dante who never was. Everyone leaves, bare trees with no certainty of Spring.
I felt hollow, yet angry, hurt, yet again abandoned, cast from Eden ... if I want to go there. Poor, pitiful me. Is it some lesson I'm not getting about self-sufficiency or compassion? I really thought I had shown I could go out on my own, that I could love unselfishly. Maybe it's not about lessons at all, but just life, random inevitabilities.
Celia took me home from the hospital. She took care of me, part nurse, part loving friend, no demands or recriminations. I was, by turn, sullenly morose, viciously outrageous. She took to talking to me about bits of her life, almost randomly. It was like she described little vignettes she had thought about until they became objective stories, not personal to her. Maybe she was trying to show solidarity in disappointment. Maybe she was just looking for something to say in response to my silence. Maybe she had decided that I now had enough experience of my own to share these secreted memories, to be a confidant.
She had not felt free to share her feelings or serious thoughts with her sisters as sisters do. She was more of a young but more reliable third parent to them. Marie was something of an older somewhat disdainful but loving sister to her. Helen, who was closer to Celia in age, would sweep Celia out to her studio to see her latest painting, talk of art and life in that breathless excited way she had when fully engaged. Celia loved them as family. I think she was hurt when Helen so abruptly deserted us, as was I.
People are always having to get away. It's not you. They love you. But they have to go. Did I do that to Tom? But I am returning, as I have to Celia. A different, older I, but still the essential me will be with him in the Spring. Celia beyond any doubt will be in hospice by then. She doesn't want me with her at the end. She says she doesn't want to have to deal with what others are feeling during her final experience. It is not something she wants to share. Her life has been a lesson in self-reliance. She has learned to depend on herself as ever-present friend. This departure for her is a private matter.
I will have to pack up Pandora and find an apartment back in the thick of my once and future life, or whatever life I am led to, back with Tom.
He would be cast as one of those English gentleman officers in period romantic fiction. Always correctly polite, he manages to convey an unseen sneer when not acting sincerely. Thus, we inner circle few always know exactly what he is saying. He awaits my return, but not alone without consolation, or companionship in his black silk sheets. He is staying well entertained while missing my presence, assured that this time will pass. I don't know that he won't leave me or I him, permanently, some day. I suppose unless we die together one or the other is inevitable. Long before death parts us, we may well disband for other reasons. We may well be in each other's blood, be in love forever. That's not what keeps people together. I don't know what does. People stay until they leave. Sometimes they return with tales to tell and scars to display. Sometimes they're gone. Of course most of us, for the most part, glide by each other as strangers, maybe here and there relating through some little bit of business or sharing a joke. People are unreliable. All we really have is ourselves. But no, not entirely the truth. We have people, some people, for whatever time we share. The stories, the jokes, the hugs, it all adds to the whole store of experiences we can build up for ourselves. We are made more by the people who have been with us. Yeah, some people, if we let them, if we are complicit, tear us down, take away from who we had been. I guess in a way that's adding too, depending on what we do with it. Art, you know, all those crazy feelings, trying to make sense of them, move them around sensually, find the hook, the core that pulls it all together into a form that can be shared, sold, put on public display. Yeah, spinning out to avoid getting stuck in confusion.
We get inside each other, then leave those left behind to continue the relationship alone.
Moon in Taurus
The powerful Taurean Full Moon pouring mist-diffused rays into the night, sends a stark chill with its celestial light. Under another such moon, another time, another home, when Pandora was a fluffball delight, I can hear sadly exasperated Celia insisting I listen to her.
"You can't just lie around in your bathrobe being sullen and angry. Where is that going to take you? I know you're not going to do as I have. You already know what I have to say. You are going to have to figure out what you want to do with your life. It's your time. What will you want to see when you look back on it?"
Eventually her nagging got to me to the point that I pulled myself reasonably together and visited our greater community's community college. Celia had brought me a catalog to look over, to see if I had any interests to pique.
Part of my problem with high school was that I had no objection to learning, but a strong objection to routine disrespect. At the community college everyone was more adult, respectful of the time and effort going towards useful education. There aren't the academic requirements like those for getting into a real college, the institutional transition between high school child and professional adult. We self-select, each student pursuing personal goals. It is thus an environment much more conducive to learning than compulsory public schools. They say some of the charter schools are good, starting with a philosophy that kids will learn if you let them, help them get where they are going. We humans are born needing to fill in the confusion with whatever we can find and figure out. We are curious little mimics working away at learning how to be human beings in the background conditions of the here and now we become aware within. What we learn becomes the basis of plans toward big picture goals. What we do with our labors gets circumscribed by perceived need to acquire property, be owned by appropriately valued possessions, positions of responsibility, picturebook family, respected social roles, or not.
What do I want to do with my life? I find a great deal of it caught up in irrelevant activities, even outright stupid, self-defeating activities. These are all what I do, not meaningless. When I look back there is embarrassment, regrets, and insights into myself and my world. Adventures and misadventures replayed, recited for fun or commiseration, they become little gems of sensual recall to treasure.
I do understand the desirability of some organizing principles, organized knowledge to apply to purpose. Today we can learn about any section of a vast store of knowledge through the user friendly internet. We can muster some discipline, outline a plan, and fill in instruction layer upon layer at our own comfort level. We can, alternatively or at whim, melt hours surfing from captivating wave to the next, imbibing the heady mix like a drug. It's all valid, spent time, learning, doing, effecting who we are, what we look back on.
Who do I want to have been? Celia says she is satisfied. She lived on her own terms. I may see her routine, her circumscribed little life as I interpret it, not satisfying at all. She laughs, gently but in true humor. It's not been about those routines for her. They are the soothing well-worn structure within which she enjoys that self-made internal world, her real home. I have a home like that, though vastly different from hers in specs and decoration. There are points of similarity where we grew up together, shared in mutual private world visitation.
We see people in their public performances. We think we know who they are, peg them into a labeled box. We have no idea. Is it acceptable to ask: Show me a glimpse, or batter a panorama, of your world.
In my daily living now I watch the one constant person I have always depended upon moving away from her commitment to life. I feel as I imagine Arjuna would have on the field of battle, struggling with the vast issues of life, death, purpose, destiny.
Moon in Gemini
There was that November, the last one I had spent with Celia and Pandora before now, after that August when Brent had wrecked my car (sweet birthday present from Daddy Danny) filled with his big drug score and gotten incarcerated. The drugs were out of my system by then, but not the need for them. No physical addiction, but I lived in a fog jumping out of my skin. I felt trapped by being alive, stuck, nowhere to go, nothing to be done. What is it in us that picks us up and keeps us going, even thriving? I was more feral then, a wild creature in a cage.
Danny was good for sending checks for cars from afar when he was flush. Celia was good for my critical disdaining for her sanity while mine was missing in action. I wasn't much good for anything. I mean, I had been putting my life together, so I thought, after the whole Mark massacre. I was taking classes, thinking about career paths, imagining a future that almost looked normal. It's not that it snuck up on me. I did sad a lot. Crying myself to sleep was pretty much a nightly ritual. Pandora, bless her kitty instinct, would jump up on my chest, looking so curiously with those big green feline eyes.
Celia would talk, soothingly, about whatever happened to be going through her mind, current events, literary allusions, dissecting the meaning of a common phrase. She wonders a lot about connections, how things come to be as they are. I was having a life, slowly putting it together. Then I wasn't. It didn't matter anymore. It was so much easier to get high and let Brent make the decisions.
Not that this fantasy driven druggie was much of a decider. He had things figured out in simple terms: stay as high as possible, making it work by partying and selling drugs. I was the cool chic of his fantasies, supportively sharing his habits. Symbiotic we were, like AIDS and cancer.
I don't blame him. How can blame be applied to someone so obviously irresponsible? He fulfilled my fantasies, which were admittedly dark. It was a nonrelationship based on needs we each had for self-nullification.
After he achieved ruining his life, putting it in the solid hands of the criminal justice system, I felt cheated. Not that I was adverse to freedom from legal consequences or even bitter at the loss of my ride. I felt I was being unfairly forced to confront myself again.
I had been arguing with Celia about some theory against her I had come up with, based on the occasion of the anniversary of Aunt Marie's death. One of the guys Brent and I hung out with told me about the accident and subsequent arrest, which he had found out about the way people are always knowing things that I don't. Yeah, I was wasted. Not on any one drug, mind you, but whatever combination Brent had lying around. He was eclectic in his distribution.
Why am I thinking about this now, dissecting my earlier years? Right, the last time I lived with Celia and Pandora, before I took off without a word. Well, I did leave a note:
"I've got to go. I'll call you when I know where I am. Don't worry. I love you. Persephone."
It was shortly after my birthday, before Christmas. Danny had sent me a largish birthday check, a couple of grand, giving me travel money. It wasn't enough for a cool new car, but a bus ride was a welcome moving through scenery while I avoided thinking about what was to come. I had the luxury of a lovely hotel room to start off in while I pretended to figure out how to proceed. Naturally, I ended up on the streets on Christmas Eve, ready to be taken in by some lonely single looking for holiday companionship. Yeah, it looks bad for me. But, bit by bit, I really couldn't tell you how, tell me how, I got better. I found myself living a life I could enjoy, found people I could love, found work to stretch me and help me to see what I could do. It doesn't always work out that way. Lots of people get lost forever. Not that my salvation is an ongoing certainty. I do understand. People get scared. We realize the vastness of uncertainty. We grasp at whatever looks like permanence.
My dreams have been disquieting, quick cut images that carry no sense of coherence. It is dark most of the time. Stark dark tree branches stand out against cloudy sky. Well past the big celebrations of harvest, it is time for somber thought, preparing for the coming winter.