Archives For Persephone

A rather dark period, but not an unhappy one.  You know what it’s like, certainly–those strange moments of tumult which you must pass through and, in the midst of them, forget that you know there is an end.

Things seem always to weave together.  I’ve been thinking heavily upon the dead and death, and thought it strange as it’s almost Beltaine until I recalled that this is not new to me, not during this time.  In fact, just before my initiation into Druidry at Beltaine last year, I stared at the stars and wanted them to swallow me up, take me in like an abyss below except I was looking in the wrong direction.

The lines from the initiation strike me now, particularly.  It asks “would you be fully born into all the sorrows and pain of this existence?” and then, “would you be fully born into its joys?”

Both questions, at that particular gate of the year, were awfully hard to answer.

At each of the gates, the rituals I do (a mix of AODA and OBOD work) involve “scrying” or meditating down the paths through that gate.  Following Greer’s Druid Magic Handbook, I’ve enchanted a grove-stone for several of them, starting Lugnasadh. I’ve three so far (Samhain, Imbolc) and am tempted to say will do the same for Beltaine “if I survive,” but that’s melodrama.

The Festival of Persephone’s return, too, and the Christian Easter all near the same time, and it’s strange after the light of Imbolc to encounter this new darkness.

Darkness, yes.  A kind friend has begun teaching me Welsh; my first course was yesterday and after it I found myself practicing outside, enjoying the sounds, finding a word repeating on my lips that we hadn’t practiced, one that took me aback:

Afagddu.

Ceridwen’s hideous son, for whom she travels to the Fferllyt to learn the recipe for wisdom, later stolen by the boy Gwion who becomes Taliesin.  Afagddu and older variants all refer to “utter darkness”, and there’s another version of his name which means big (or sometimes “black”) crow, Morfran.  “Fran” or “vran” is probably from brân, and I know another Brân (utterly tied to the underworld) and this fact is not lost on me.  The same? Aspects of the same? Related, probably, but beyond this I cannot say.  Robert Graves (his faults acknowledged) tied Ceridwen and Brân together as lovers, and though I reject this, there’s the Cauldron thread that weaves through them both.  The Cauldron of Awen and the Cauldron of Annwn.  Wisdom and Death.

Weaving this stuff together is tiresome when your heart is sore from trying to love, but there’s something there below it all that makes me realize that it’s precisely that soreness, that bodily ache which tethers the Other into the self.  Where I feel the dead is also where I feel that cautious desire–the same gate opened within the soul in order to love another (and likely risk loss) is the channel through which I feel the existence of the underworld in this one.

Those threads woven back in, then, are all of meaning.  I forget what it was like not to see correspondences, but it’s silly of me to think on this too often, for “as above, so below” is another description of love.

Also, more words. My new A Sense of Place post is up.  It’s about the Episcopal chapel and the Holy Week which made me Pagan:

The world was in darkness, and I felt it.  I felt myself the darkness.  The darkness of being gay, alone, scared, admitting everything I’d believed beforehand was only borrowed meaning.   I do not know if I was more alone or more terrified.   But this is a futile question.

Be always well.  I will too.

 

Totentanz

April 16, 2014 — Leave a comment

Three days of thought, dancing.  A day or two of the dead.

There’s the goddess who drowns children. The goddess who goes down and then returns.  And the two dead under the tomb.

There’s the death in the eyes of another, though he is not dead but only beginning to live.  Eyes can dance, you know, and then wither in sockets and maybe still see.

Why do I need a skull?  Not one to hold within a mind, or not mine, but one to hold in a hand, eyes withered, dry voices still speaking.

The dead touch you and you remember all the times you wanted to die, or feared dying, or actually feared life so much that you could only think on death.

Breeding life in soil, relentless, so much it drowns in its own fecund exuberance.  A goddess drowns children because we drown ourselves.

You’re drowning in his eyes, which is a kind of death.

“Time to dance with the one who set them free,” and “We live, we die,” and you don’t even like The Doors but it works.

Sit on a tomb while another sleeps in the sun. Say hello, and read their names, and think to yourself it’s so ridiculous that you want someone to laugh at you.  Dionisia. Dimetria.

Dances can kill like Desire.  ‘…thigh, and death smiled.’ St. Vitus and Tarantellas and you really find yourself thinking on this, because

Desire is a kind of death, and desire is a dance, and the threads snap but they don’t because it’s all still together.

Eyes wither in the skull but still see, because we don’t need them.  We never needed the light except to remind us how to look.

He looks, and you cannot imagine that withering.  He comes again, and you wonder if you finished what there was to do.

And you ask yourself why you’re not dancing, because even the dead still desire, even the dead still dance.