Women of Wisdom

Marking the Passage into the Crone Years

Autumn Equinox 2017

Abundant Fall Blessings

Happy homecoming! At fall equinox, we celebrate the return to school, work, church, and community connections, as earth comes into balance in its journey around the sun. The harvest is well underway and farmers’ markets are overflowing. However, this year at summer’s end, we humans in North America are roiling in the wake of Mother Gaia’s anger. In the face of our hubris driven assault on the earth, she has thrown up hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires to prove our fragility in the face of her fury. She seems ready to wash or burn away the pesky humans that disturb her equilibrium.

A dark spasm of worry churns in my gut like a Cat 5 hurricane. But if I am honest with myself, my worry is not just about the planet; it is more personal. What is my truth at this equinox? I feel the pull of death. I do not fear it, but find that it shapes my understanding of life. I no longer live just with an awareness of life, but also with an awareness of death. More and more of the people who have been important in my life have died. I crave more space and time to ponder the impenetrable mystery. Much of my adult life has been goal oriented, and the hours of my days measured out in accomplishments. Now, working too hard feels like a distraction that keeps me from exploring the deeper meaning of life. I wonder if other crones feel the same.

Crickets’ chirping swells September nights, fall’s counterpoint to spring morning birdsong. My husband loved the sound of crickets. He died five years ago at the height of their season. My daughter has tattooed the number 27 on her arm, the day of the month of her birth and of her father’s death. For me, the equinox is a tug of war between life and death when both sides are equally matched. In this moment they meet, and I exist.

Long years of experience have brought us to this harvest season once again.  What is sweet and what is bitter in our lives? Inevitably, there is some of both. I find myself more able to feel gratitude for the good if I acknowledge my failures and losses too, ultimately seeking something more enduring than the round of planting and harvesting, happiness and disappointment.

Recently while in a trance state induced by the steady beat of a drum, a practice known as shamanic journeying, I found my spirit body in a large cavernous room deep in the belly of the earth. Carrying a torch, with a snowy owl perched on my shoulder, I explored this dark, dank, deeply secret place. I notice a low, narrow opening leading to a side room. With the blessing of my helping spirit, the owl, I wriggled into this tiny, stone chamber on my belly.  Inside I sat in the dark tomb/womb of the mother in complete darkness. I flashed on an image of being in my own mother’s womb, first growing into the body I think of as mine. Then I saw myself as I am now a woman in my late 60s gradually growing older and frailer until my body disintegrates into dust. I stood outside of time observing my own beginning and ending. Then a radiant, golden light appeared before me. This luminescence and I sat together in silence. Just as I was about to speak, it merged into my body. As one, we rose out of that confined space.

The light within does not waver, nor does it wax or wane, although our awareness of it might. Our egos are volatile and subject to feelings of self-gratification or humiliation, but when we are rooted in the very ground of our being and allow the winds of heaven to free us from the temporal things, we find a center of calm.  From this place, we can feel gratitude for life with its ups and downs, and joy in the sweet fragrant world of autumn, so full of life, so intimate with death.

May the light of each of our spirits shine brightly to ease the burdens of our lives and help us maintain balance and lightness of being in the face of the encroaching dark.

In love and peace,
Melody Lee

Ritual with Pomegranate

Find a pomegranate, Persephone’s fruit that connects us to the yoni, the female portal into life and death. (An apple will do as a substitute.) Place two candles, one white and one black, dark blue, or purple on a table or altar along with fruits of the harvest. Light the candles and invoke the divine presence.  Place three pomegranate seeds before the light candle naming three things for which you are grateful. Place three more seeds before the dark candle naming three things which challenge you. Give thanks to the goddess of life, death, and rebirth for the totality of your experience. Enter a meditative state by focusing on your breath to still your mind, bring your body into balance, and allow the spirit of loving kindness and self-acceptance to fill your heart.

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