Through a Season, Darkly


I often write here (and elsewhere) about the idea of Tower Time and I am planning a larger essay on that in the near future. But this season somehow brings the concept home to all of us, I think.  We remember either good times from childhood, where there was plenty, comradeship, love or we cringe to remember the drunken relatives, the lean times, the cold both physical and emotional.  This season is filled with raw expectation, much of it tinged in fear.  It is a microcosm of all we face as critters who live on this planet at this time and this microcosm is insidious in its ability to stifle any good intentions we had for simple joy, open affection and true enjoyment of life and living.  We get burdened down–like Jacob Marley–with all that is left undone or all that was overdone.

This is a prime time for tale telling, too–not only in the southern Highlands of Appalachia, but wherever folks are gathered around tables and fireplaces, with nothing to do to pass the time but remember old days and people long dead or far away. We remark over accomplishments of the very young–she rolled over! He has two teeth! We share our own bitterness and sorrow and occasionally joy–those end-of-year letters are a revelation as much to the writer as the reader. And we lament together as we share new griefs or share the terror of a recent mishap or diagnosis.

There is something also Janus-like in this dark place between years and seasons.  We want to clear space for newness in the coming year but we also want to hold on to the things we learned about ourselves and each other and our world–things that are soothing or helpful in these times.  We are shedding stories, keeping secrets, making plans, inventing and reinventing ourselves in this week between the worlds.

The word I am sitting with right now is “resilience.”  It will achieve buzzword status soon and I will disdain it, but for now it is a place for me that is stronger than “hope” and more durable that “sustainability.”  I am encouraging my spiritual community to spend some time looking backward to how we survived plagues and wars and Depressions of past times, and managed to keep the species fed,  housed and continuing though the times were confusing and difficult.

I encourage you to do the same, gentle Reader. This thing we call 2014 will bring much the same as the thing we called 2013…but the emphasis will be different for each of us.  Let us learn how the resilience of old days can be another tool in our personal toolboxes and how we can be useful and clever, as our Ancestors were.  Because this Tower Time is not a three-week phase like Mercury Retrograde.  It is an ongoing, relentlessly changing shift to something…else.

Whether that will be good or bad will depend on many things. One of them is our skill in areas of resilience.

Drawing Down the Moon



Funeral yesterday, the morning after my first Death Cafe on Sunday evening. It was in a small and perfect Episcopal church, set along a creek. I didn’t know many of the other people there so I busied myself comparing the size of the church to what Mother Grove Goddess Temple will need in its new building and counting the number of pews.  The service was the formal one for the Dead (I assume)–I’ve attended near-identical ones for other Anglican friends who have made the transition to Ancestor.

The priest is a friend (and former customer when I worked in the bookstore) and she is small and sturdy and perfectly poised in her work. She is smart as a whip, too, and nice. But I had never seen her be a priest/ess before and I want to give her the credit due for her work.

In my kind of priestessing, we talk about connection and in-gathering energy and dispersing that out into the gathered participants. We talk in terms of the priestess drawing the Divine into her for some aspects of our work, of “drawing down the Moon.”  I have no idea what Sewanee classes there are in energy manipulation so I don’t know if there is conscious training for the priests of the Anglican Communion.

This is what I do know…twice, and only twice, have I seen a woman in the robes of an Episcopal priest raise her arms in the ancient posture of worship–hands flat and palms upward–who grounded herself and drew down “the Moon.” There is a radiance that happens at that moment–I’m not kidding. The celebrant’s face changes and her aura expands. And you can feel the renewed energy throughout the room.  It’s lovely to see that kind of working happen across liturgical boundaries and I am grateful to have seen it twice in a denomination other than my own.

But don’t tell the bishop–he might not approve.