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threshold

today is imbolc (and uncommonly, the chinese lunar year). it feels timely. a mix of both new beginnings and threshold. a rite of passage.

first, i’ll say this: over the past couple of years with the vision of wild roots, i’ve turned my attention to the rhythms of the natural world; with this practice, there has been such gifts of wisdom and knowing. mother earth, the wisest teacher.

last night, as my sister tamika and i held a new moon fire + water alumni circle and this piece from john o’donohue came in, poignantly articulating this:

“The earth is our origin and destination. The ancient rhythms of the earth have insinuated themselves into the rhythms of the human heart. The earth is not outside us; it is within: the clay from where the tree of the body grows. When we emerge from our offices, rooms and houses, we enter our natural element. We are children of the earth: people to whom the outdoors is home. Nothing can separate us from the vigour and vibrancy of this inheritance. In contrast to our frenetic, saturated lives, the earth offers a calming stillness. Movement and growth in nature takes time. The patience of nature enjoys the ease of trust and hope. There is something in our clay nature that needs to continually experience this ancient, outer ease of the world. It helps us remember who we are and why we are here.”

― John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

and here, in this particular moment of life, this time of threshold marked by both imbolc and the chinese lunar year offers a helpful lens in my meaning-making. in making sense of all that is shifting both internally and externally. i’m grateful for this.

it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds of life. and i believe we are spiritual beings having human experiences. so, to remember there is meaning beyond the weeds, matters.

all this to say, some shit has been going down in the weeds. i’m in between major contracts at the moment and so in terms of work, there is uncertainty. i chose this. i want this. and it’s still…uncertain. my companion dog, hannah girl has been on the edge of life/death (for years?!) in raw form the past couple of months; she’s stretching my capacities for uncertainty and grief (and knowing and joy!). my father’s beloved sister, my aunt died suddenly last week, shifting the landscape of our family and our ancestral stories. my baby boy is finishing his last semester of high school…

basically, there’s a been a lot of life/death. against the backdrop of a lot of life/death.

and so, given all that’s been moving, it helps for me to receive mother earth’s signal of threshold time. to root here, now.

imbolc–also known as st brigid’s day–marks the midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. it was a pagan festival associated with the goddess brigid who was later christianized as st brigid.

“Brigid’s Fire: An Offering” by joanna powell colbert

i love brigid. she belongs to me and i to her. i’ve been enjoying john p. newell’s writing on her in Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul. i like this bit on her as symbolic of threshold: “Legend has it that Brigid was born just before sunrise, in the twilight of early morning, in that time governed neither by the sun’s light or the moon’s light, but by the two lights, the twi-light. It is also said that her mother gave birth to her neither within the house nor outside, but at the threshold of the dwelling. So her birth signals that she will be associated with the meeting place between opposites, the night and the day, the sun and the moon, the within and the without. She occupies the liminal space between two worlds. She stands at the doorway or meeting place between the so-called opposite dimensions of life, which have been torn apart from each other.”

threshold time is holy. it is a time of sacred waiting. it is not meant to be easy. it calls for reverence, patience, willingness, and surrender (yes, the tension of willingness and surrender make for a wild dance!). it is a time of in-between, where the new life being born has not yet taken its own form and yet the old form is falling away.

i think of my experiences in natural childbirth and the “ring of fire”. my midwives had not told me about this experience before my son was making his way out of my body into the world, as his own self. just as i felt my body would explode into a thousand pieces, i heard my midwife’s guidance: “you are experiencing the ring of fire. allow it–your body knows how to do this. just let go.”

and then…”push!”

how do we let go and push at the same time?!

i do not know. and i do. this is not my first rodeo. i’ve birthed life and lives before.

and so, here am i. channeling brigid’s guidance. and mother’s earth support.

and i know i am not alone.

in this threshold time. this rite of passage.

which brings me back to fire. brigid is a fire goddess. she is said to have been born with a flame on her head, a mark of shamans, seer. beloved as St. Brigid, her sacred flame was kept by her women for over a thousand years, extinguished during the Reformation. it was relit in the 1970s and has been burning ever since, kept alive by the Brigadine Sisters of Kildare.

and, as i was reminded of the ring of fire experienced in childbirth, fire as an element is brought to mind–one of new life, truth, essence. fire connects us to the ancestral and spiritual realm, burning off everything that stands in the way. i’m reminded that john the baptist said there are two baptisms: one of water and one of the holy spirit, fire.

marking this threshold time with fire feels right. feels true.

i’ve had candles burning on my altar for my aunt and for a friend’s sister who also died. and for the spark of the divine that is radiating within me. tonight, i’ll honor this fire as ritual, holding me in this threshold and carrying me beyond the weeds of my life to the cosmic story of who we are becoming.

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