Rhiannon's Body

I am doing yoga again, for the first time in eighteen months.

This also, is part of re-entering the world.

You know, all this time, I’ve been going to witchcamp, been doing the personal work, been trying to face the shadow, be fearless, act “as-if”…

All this time, I’ve been hearing my teachers and my beloved friends, even, tell me to listen to what that body knows.

But I had lost mine, in a very real way.  Now I am found,again, found my way back -- out of pain, out ofthe simple back-injury fear of picking up a sock, of holding my kid’s hand and being tugged too hard… this sounds too melodramatic. I don’t even want to write this down.

But I am sitting down now, with my laptop on my lap and my body has the fluid, relaxed electricity that only yoga has ever brought me, and I remembered, as I worked my spine through cat-cow, as I pivoted my hips through downward dog, that the nagging feeling of instability that I’ve been feeling, even as so much has been going right, is that I haven’t had my body to depend on. I remember this, because I have it again. Now. Fluid and electric.

Last year, when I had the story of Baba Yaga to guide me through the work of living and writing my way out of shadow, I had an actual this-many-pages-written-down story. A clear and concise rendering of the myth by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, includingan interpretation of the themes at the end, from her wonderful archetypal tome, Women Who Run with the Wolves.

This time, with the Legend of Rhiannon, there is no such short work. There is The Mabinogian, which is far from clear, and The Mabinogian Tetralogy, beautiful but long…

I have been wading through this story this year, not flowing with a sense of the whole, but sticking to images in it, like boots in deep mud: the image of Rhiannon riding slowly and effortlessly, but uncatchable until her love Pwyll uses the power of the word. The image of Pwyll, meeting her before that, when she sits by the well, bathed in golden light, orbited by her three birds, and instills in him the hope he needs to navigate despair and prevail over the forces of darkness.

The image of her hands, smeared with puppy blood.

This is no easy story. It is asking such striving of me. So much more effort.

Why is this body such effort?

Why is this story so elusive and beautiful at the same time?

Only two days ago did I begin to get my hands on the larger themes that were handed to me with last year’s Baba Yaga myth. Only two days ago did I get that this story is about the choice to incarnate, and to take all that comes with being in a body, in this world, with all the suffering and limit and electric, distracting pleasure that it offers.

Now. As I am returning to my breath. To my spine. To the cat cow, the downward dog, the ritual of it all, candles lit, music without words, breath the connection between what was and what will be.