Finding my place as a spiritual being, who is deeply connected to the Sacred Feminine has been a lifetime endeavor. From a very early age, I heard Her voice. I knew that the teachings of the Abrahamic religions did not call to me as did the song of the forest or the heartbeat of Mother Earth, even if I wouldn’t have admitted it publicly for fear of being ridiculed. As a young person, I was painfully disinterested in the pursuits that occupied other girls my age and always felt like I didn’t fit in. It is something I often feel today as well.
At the time, I thought it was because I was introverted or shy or awkward -- monikers I happily claim as an adult, because they are also where the great gifts my creativity, deep hunger for depth and knowledge, and strong sense of individuality are born. Even now, I am your weird friend, who loves poetry, knows how to craft a wand of an oak bough and sari silk, knows the magical, healing properties of different plants and stones, and can tell you how to remove negative energy from your person or space.
The difference between now and then is that I embrace the different beating of my drum, because I know that it is really the beating of my own heart and that I have a deeper calling. Even though we get caught up in the trappings of our patriarchal and corporate “climb the ladder, if you’re not first, you’re last, he who has the most money is king, so win at all costs” society, the truth is we all have a deeper calling. Some of us have just forgotten it.
As I mature and grow, I’ve come to realize that a lot of my calling is around Death. Perhaps when you read “Death” you think of morbidity and dark, scary things. Of course, physical death and the mourning goes with it is part of it. I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life. By the time I was out of college, I had experienced the loss of my brother, all six grandparents (in case you’re wondering how that works, two had remarried), my childhood best friend, my father, one of my young loves, and several pets (who are no less sacred lives than those in the human part of my Soulpod). And, yes, the Great Unknown is scary.
But Death in the eyes of one who understands energy and knows it cannot dissipate or disappear, only transform, is not an end. Death is transformation. And that holds true whether we are talking about the physical death of a living body or the death of a cycle or a phase of life. When we hold the hand of a dying loved one, we walk with Death. When we help a client effect the transformative energy to build a new business or life, we are walking with Death too.
For anything new to begin, something must end. It is a basic principle of magic that when you create a void something must and will fill it. And it is the nature of existence that all things move in the pattern of the Great Wheel, flowing from moon to moon, season to season. It is also is nature that for us to be born into a new level of existence, something must die. This is true even of being born. In passing through the birth canal, we experience a kind of death in leaving the womb existence that has been our life for the past nine months.
Several years ago now, I worked with a healer, who told me that the energy of a past life in which I was a sort of Death Doula and Priestess living on the edges of society and that I should look to her in journey or meditation for guidance. At the time, I wrote it off as one of those things would be psychics and palm readers say that sound mystical, but have no existence in reality. I have pink hair and am a natural optimist, who loves wildflowers and forest groves that chime with birdsong and, while I admit to a righteous and fiery indignation in the face of injustice, I am generally overflowing with love and compassion. What do I know of Darkness and Death? But the Goddess, she knows, even when we do not or at least are not ready to admit it.
When I started feeling called to explore the Path of the Priestess and joined, among other training grounds, a Druid order in my quest for more organized spiritual training, who called to me, the gentle pacifist, who works with the creative fire and healing of Brigid, to preside over my dedication but The Morrighan and her Crows? And though she did not stay with me (though Crow remains with me as a guide), I have since heard the call of other Dark Goddesses since my mom was diagnosed with FTD, among them Inanna, Hecate, and in recent years Persephone.
Now in my 40s, I am faced with and prepared for what will probably be the ultimate loss to mortality in my lifetime as I walk the dearest friend and compatriot of my life, my mother, through a terminal, degenerative illness that steals her memory and twists her personality as her soul struggles its way out of this mortal coil. She is not even gone and yet as I watch her own pain as she slips away from me, I grieve for her already and that grief holds deep pain and sorrow even though Death and I have become intimate. And like Persephone, I am fully prepared to walk into the Underworld, even if I am not yet prepared to stay past this illness, which is the dark half of our recent years. My mother has begun her descent and she will not make this journey alone. And I too will emerge from it transformed.