Celebrate another passage through winter. Manifest the dream seeds of the cold and dark.”
From the Spring card in the Wisdom of the Crone deck.
Spring has come to my part of the world.
Delicate blossoms appear on the gnarly trees in the Arroyo where Tessa and I walked this morning. Buds appear on the tips of the lilac tree in our yard. We thought the tree was dead when we moved into our home. But it just needed a bit of care. Now it is a centerpiece in our yard, a sculpture in the middle of the path on the way to the Writing Shed. Mourning doves scurry past it this morning.
It was a rough entry into this new year. I found myself descending into a place I thought I had left behind—an esteem held hostage by the demon that whispers discouraging words. Words that dis my courage, send it deep underground.
Depression and a persistent virus silenced me. Or at least my blog voice. I wrote every day in my morning pages. I sometimes wondered if they were my mourning pages.
I would start my morning by pulling cards from the Animal-Wise Tarot deck and the Wisdom of the Crone deck. I do not see these cards as fortune-, or even truth tellers. They just give form to the chaos of feelings and emotions that rise during change. The recurring theme in the cards I pulled said, “Let go of the past that haunts you.”
What was the past that haunted me?
Ideas and concepts that I had discussed with various art groups appeared all over town during this time period, but with no acknowledgement of my contribution or any room for my own creative endeavors.
I’m not a victim. I don’t even play one on TV. Yet it is a recurring theme in my life—being left behind. So what was this about?
I have started writing Beans and Meatballs and the Pink Stuff—a creative nonfiction account of three women of similar age who influenced my life: my mother, and two women, Sally and Jeanette, I met through the Gray Panthers. I was 30 when I met Sally and Jeanette. I was in my late forties when they died. I was in my fifties when my mother died.
Each of these women was quirky, none aspired to be a lady. I don’t know what it would have been like to be the daughter of either Jeanette or Sally. Jeanette never married and had no children. If she had, I suspect she would have been a bit tyrannical in her expectations. Sally had a daughter. From what I could glean, I think that to reject the conventions of her time, Sally rejected the importance of mothering a child.
I do know what it was like to be my mother’s daughter. She rarely pulled out the matriarchal card with me. But when she did, that demon that dissed my courage was dissing hers, saying, “You’re a woman. To show love, you give up all that is you.”
It was a covert act, done under the cover of being for the “greater good.”
I was angry that my ideas and concepts had been co-opted. And then I felt guilty that I felt angry. That I felt entitled to what was mine. Guilty that I felt entitled to my own life. As I had done throughout my life, I sought to leave myself behind.
It was the ghost of that self that haunted me, a ghost left in limbo, waiting for permission to be, and wanting that permission to come from my mother. That ghost wanted to feel loved and loving. To let go of it, I had to leave behind the regret for the love I did not find in her, and still love my mother.
The dream seeds were planted in this cold and dark time—another round of grieving for my mother. The dream seeds are beginning to rise to the surface where they will reveal themselves. They are the seeds of entitlement to my life and the gifts I bring into the world.
Spring has come to my part of the world. Soon lilac blossoms will adorn the gnarly ancient branches on the sculpture that is the lilac tree. As I walk past it on the way to my Writing Shed, the delicate, subtle fragrance of its flowering will remind me that during times of cold and darkness, the seeds of change are awakening.