The thing about going out into the dark of the woods is that sometimes you meet other seekers on the path.
A couple days ago, I mentioned that my folks are helping me out right now, though I didn’t mention that it’s because of a back injury I haven’t been able to heal. I’m very lucky and blessed that I have family that will see me through this. My work with Brigid is giving me the strength to talk about not working, not being able to support myself right now, even though so much of me is used to believing the massive cultural narrative that “making it on your own” is the only definition of worth.
But I know that turning away from that story is part of what we are all doing right now. By “all,” I mean us, as a world. This is called by an increasing number of people “The Great Turning,” a term coined by Johanna Macy to describe the movement away from an industrial growth society to a life-sustaining one. When I say that I am in the dark woods, I mean that I am trying to refind my place in bringing that turning about. Yesterday, I got an email from Rain Crowe, a wonderful Portland witch, activist and teacher who I have not met, but with whom I share some dear friends. Her email was like a star in the branches. Here are her words:
Now is the time to attend to the Great Turning. I have decided within that I no longer have the patience or the time to do anything less than dismantle the Empire and feed the multiplicities of regenerative earth cultures with the remainder of my life, and tend to the bounty of relationships that sustain me, those of human and beyond human orientations. To tell the ones I love, “I love you.” And to do the best I am able to keep lifting you and myself up, through spell and prayer, through discerning kindnesses.
This is frightening, in so many ways, as someone wholly unaccustomed to tolerating the dangers of visibility and risk. It is frightening to contemplate my inevitable mistakes and failures. And I have been thoroughly indoctrinated into the centuries-long behavioral modification practices imposed by a ruling class. I am reminded that one step at a time, and one moment at a time is a good practice to abide by as I conjure myself into the one who might someday become an ancestor worth re-membering, and leave the burdens of the world an ounce lighter for the ones to come.
When I tucked Forest in tonight and turned out the light, he asked, “Will you check on me one time tonight, or twice, Mama?” It is better to have friends, in the dark. If you can, it is good to know that someone is with you. I am not a child anymore, but I have family looking out for me, and a circle of good friends. For tonight it’s enough.