I realise I’ve been suffering, it doesn’t matter why. It does matter that I’ve spent time thinking about what’s going on and making decisions about what’s next. I’ve learnt a whole lot about myself this year, not always easy but certainly liberating.
I’m blessed to have friends from 2 to 72 and those among them who are wise elders tell me that the journey of ourselves is unending, that self realisation is not a destination. I think that’s a beautiful thing, it’s a song of insight, chosen freedoms, battles fought or put aside, and hope. I’m grateful for their wisdom.
A voice within suggested tonight that “You’ve come back before from these hard places, for is this not living?” I solemnly agreed.
I sat by the lake and imagined my suffering, felt it move from within. I cupped it in my hands, ashes. I wished them well and blew them into the space that is my wisdom, my stories, healing and growth. I think suffering, named and felt, can provide a pathway.
I imaged those ashes were stardust. In suffering, sharing grief and continuing on there is unity, connection, a sense of true being in the universe. And the stars tell us stories, guide our journeys, connect us one to another as we gaze at the heavens. We are stardust.
Sending those ashes on their way made me think of the image on the tarot card for the Star. In some decks it is a portrait of Pandora, the box opened and she is watching a storm of flying creatures.
The insects, unlike warmer-blooded creatures, are far from human Consciousness & relationship. We cannot communicate with them, but are stung & goaded by nature itself.
The chest which Zeus sends to mankind with Pandora is like the apple in the Garden of Eden: something which is forbidden yet impossible to resist. It contains knowledge of human life, which means the death of naivete & childlike fantasy; yet it also contains the most precious attribute of the human Spirit.
On an inner level, the image of Pandora & the Star of Hope is a symbol of that part of us which, despite disappointment, depression & loss can still cling to a sense of meaning & a future which might grow out of the unhappiness of the past. The Star does not represent a fully formed conviction of future plans, or a solution to one’s problems, or as a guide to action. Like the cards of the Hermit & the Hanged Man, the card of the Star is a card of waiting, for the sense of hope is a fragile light which glimmers & guides but does not dispel the darkness altogether. But somehow, in a mysterious way, it offers faith, & therefore in the image of Pandora’s eyes are fixed not on the unhappiness of the human condition, but on this vague, irrational, inexplicable sense that soon there will be a dawn.”
Notes from ‘The Mythic Tarot Book’ by Juliet Sharman-Burke & Liz Greene
Earlier in the year I made the decision to open my own Pandora’s box. I had been refusing to do this since I was 15 and lost my mother and father and a good friend, and then later at 21 or 22 my guardian, Jill. One way the trauma has manifested is that I am afraid of losing those I love. It can mean it takes me a while to let down my barriers and get close to someone. But I knew I needed to do it, I wanted to do it, there was a really good reason to do it, so I risked a bottomless well of grief and started doing the work. It turned out to be an amazing experience.
Part of this experience was an unbidden imagining that was just so healing. It gave me the idea to use imagination tonight to help me feel, deal and heal. You can read about it here in this post Un-cleave: The Sagacious Lens.
Learning to let myself release, as I did in the ocean pool that night, meant feeling what needed to be felt and knowing I wouldn’t be overwhelmed, and that allowing feelings of loss and sorrow is very much part of the human experience, and enriching. I somehow felt more myself for it.
In the end I don’t think I was as successful as I’d hoped at bringing down those barriers, but there’s a greater awareness. I tried but may not have been sending the signals I thought I was, but we’re all a work in progress right?! There’s lots of buts in there! Okay, no buts, it is what it is.
So Pandora and her sprites, me more positive about it, I’m releasing stardust.
And now I must release upon myself some sleep…not sleeping at night then not getting out of bed in the morning is a sure sign something’s going on…time to be my own elder and use my wisdom about how to get back to more sure footing.
“Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden”
– from Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock