Sunday, January 19, 2014

the island


In a wet and fiery forest thousands of miles from home a cauldron sits upon a fire of hot coals made from ancient wood.  Inside the cauldron the story of my life and lives simmers as it mixes with the prima materia.  Contained within that prima materia is the substance of all that will make me whole. That will transform my heart and open me to the essence of my soul, the alchemy that is awen my life-blood. I search for that cauldron on this ragged volcanic mountain, asking for guidance from spirit in it’s fire and earth form. I know now the dreams have guided me here.
 
So in the quiet of this ancient rainforest I walk a path to it’s highest point open and clear thinking I can run from present conditions. But I falter, and my shadow reappears whispering their words that I am unworthy of love or experiencing a fulfilled life.  Voices from the present and past haunt me, flooding my mind and body telling me I am wrong in every way, my body, my words, even my way of being in the world. I become filled with the pain of hurt and anger. I feel so vulnerable and scared. I can’t run from the very visible and verbal words that feel destructive to me. Those words tear at my heart and I don’t walk away. I drink them like a fine wine but instead they are explosives that slowly tear at my insides.

The tears that well up become waves of grief not only for the words of others but also for the fear that blankets my body in my inability to not react. I know now this is what drives my desire to be alone. I will not be hurt or afraid to be me if I am not in relationship with anyone. To be alone is to be safe and unharmed. It hurts more then it ever has because I am right in the middle of both worlds, the world of judgment, negativity, fear and the world of the divine and the Druid in me. This island demands no less from me but to see where I have been who I am now and who I can become.

Dream: I am walking with my sister to a building where we will have a counseling apt. We walk in and my sister goes into her apt. when we get there. My apt. with (S) is an hour later. 
Instead of sitting and waiting I decide to do errands. While I am away I look down at my watch and discover that I am late for my apt. and will probably not have it now. I am angry with myself and disappointed that I have missed my apt. I was looking forward to it.

And then I stop to listen, to smell, and notice the edges of everything that surrounds me and I remember why I am here, to sit and wait my turn.  A clear moment of awakening to her, to her love and then in this dense bamboo forest it begins to rain and I stand still as the water soaks every part of my body. I feel nothing but alive, absolute joy in her presence. I know the cauldron is near. I climb to the highest point of the mountain this fiery, watery volcanic mountain and I see what the future could hold and I want it. I let myself yearn again for the love I desire and the tears flow.

In the Druid/Welsh story of Taliesin “the great bard” a young man first known as Gwion is asked to take on the task of caring for a cauldron, a mixture of prima materia that will create the alchemy of awen that the Goddess Ceridwen will use to transform her ugly and ignorant son into a beautiful and talented man. Gwion with guidance from Modron a blind elder take on the task of caring for this cauldron for a year and a day. But something remarkable happens, when the day comes to share this mixture with Ceridwen, Gwion causes the cauldron to overflow and the liquid touches his hand, which in pain he tastes. The result is that he receives the alchemy of awen. The cauldron explodes breaking into pieces sending the liquid alchemy into the fire. Ceridwen is enraged and goes after Gwion but he flees. In the pursuit Gwion shape shifts to a hare, then a salmon and finally a grain of wheat, each time hoping to avoid a shape shifted Ceridwen reprisals. Yet in the end a voice tells Gwion that he must be eaten to transform and so Ceridwen eats the grain he has become. Then 9 months later she gives birth to a son. After caring for Gwion for a short while she places him in a leather bag and takes it to the river. Gwion floats along this river until a loving family finds him and names him Taliesin. They raise him to be the most beloved bard of all time. There is much more to this story that is told as well as wisdom.

I have been caring for my cauldron for a long time. Inside everything that is of me mixes with the elements, my dreams, love, and much more that I still do not recognize. The fire underneath is the energy of my commitment to live, the courage to believe in the love of the divine and the perseverance to be in the process of alchemy. 
As a Druid the story of Gwion/Taliesin can be my story.  I see how I have sat with the cauldron for many life times and have been touched by the liquid. Each time the cauldron cracks this is the breaking apart of my shadow, so that the depth of who I really am can appear. As Gwion did I keep running from being eaten or bitten by the snake because I am afraid of the anger or being punished. Even though I recently had a dream where I was bitten by a snake without running away I still run from what will transform me. One thing I know I run from is others anger and disapproval of me. Even natural regular feedback terrifies me at times especially from people who I love deeply. My own anger scares me because I know it lurks deep beneath the skin. Anger represents destruction on so many levels. It is Ceridwen anger and it comes after me. Again as the cauldron cooks it’s mysterious concoction it boils over because that is the only way it will touch me. What if I tasted the liquid, stood in the presence of the anger, let it blanket me, feel the deep grief of it’s impact and at the same time feel the love of the anima being with me in it. Teaching me it will be alright, that I will be loved. What would happen then? What I know as a Druid is that my shadow is my path to understanding and the pain (the wounded part of me) is the energy that will assist me in becoming whole if I work all the feelings as they are gifted to me in my dreams. The pain and the love.