In the wee hours of the morning, we rise.
the time when our dreamtime sleep is pierced with the wounds of the past.
we startle awake, frantically searching
our surroundings for safety,
our bodies for breath,
our minds for unity of our many selves shattered at the hands of our violators,
our gods and goddesses for harmony within our spirit.
One by one, we stumble into the darkness, leaving the places where our bodies reside but our spirits restlessly search.
The old woman, long ago widowed, crawls from her warm bed where she sleeps alone.
The new mother stands from the chair where she’s been rocking her infant for hours.
The young father checks his slumbering children before creeping out of the door.
The maiden whispers goodbye to her lover in his sleep.
The aching isolation of our souls prompt each of us to emerge from our earthly dwellings looking for that place beyond ourselves
for our tribe
our kindred connection
Once outside, we stand in the darkness, drinking in its moist feminine energy,
simultaneously fearing the danger darkness can bring yet slowly stepping into it.
For we sense a beckoning, a sacred longing that begins to ease our fears.
The clouds part as a path is illuminated by Grandmother Moon for safe and easy travel.
The faint distant rhythm of a drum synchronizes with our own heartbeat.
A far away glow beckons us where a fire already tended crackles warmly.
And we descend upon it.
In that fire circle we sit, bathed in the moonlight, faces illuminated by the brilliance of the embers and we glow.
We greet each other by simply looking.
And it is there we truly begin to see.
Our tribe, made of many wounded souls.
Some faces empty, devoid of emotion. staring.
Some young with wide frightened eyes.
Some wrinkled, filled with years of despair and longing.
Some with eyes closed, deep in thought.
One cradles her baby to her breast and while he nurses, she weeps softly.
One pokes and tends the fire, focuses on his task, never looking up.
One screams at the moon until wordless and spent, sinking to the ground.
One rocks a sobbing adolescent sprawled awkwardly across her lap.
One lurches out of the circle, purging and retching from her deepest parts.
The elderly crone stretches her crooked legs out in front of her and softly begins to sing.
Some reach out for another’s hand,
some stare at the fire,
some sway to the song of the crone.
In the night, we join each other.
Bonded by our wounds and the desire to transcend them.
In the night, we hold space for each other, knowing each of our paths differ as much as the pace that we travel them.
The wise crone stands, reaches deep into her medicine pouch that sways from her middle and tosses white sage onto the hot stones and we witness the hissing smoke that arises.
Young and old, we hush in unison, casting our prayers onto the smoke that travels to the heavens.
The owl who guards us from the trees above, gives a guttural hoot in support of our ceremonial gesture.
The crone continues around the circle toward the young woman who nurses her baby, still quietly weeping.
She stands behind her, gently places her gnarled hands into her long, thick hair,
stroking and raking,
stroking and raking.
The young one’s body relaxes and responds with gratitude, leans into her as the crone weaves magic into her hair.