A Spiritual Midwife During a Dark Spell

Now that I am alert to this November chill, these late autumn doldrums, I see lives being eked out in the shadows all over the place.

It is happening on a global and national level as economies falter and threaten to fail and we come to realize that capitalism might have been some sort of cruel joke. This gathering darkness even after all that shiny hope of only a week and a half ago (can you believe that the elation over our new president has slid into naked financial fear in only eleven days?) is crippling everyone to some degree.

I am watching it happen to the people in my own circles. Relationships are changing irrevocably or are falling away. New illnesses are emerging and some are losing in their battles for wellness. The ability to pretend everything is fine is dissolving. It is time to admit that life cannot continue on this twisting track, at this breakneck pace.

Like I said, I am watching this happen to those around me right now. I find myself wrapped in a blanket of blessing and abundance that I thank the Gods for every day. My friend BlissChick talks about how such good fortune can set us questioning this luck, and sabotaging ourselves because we fear we have been granted “too much blessing.” I completely understand that impulse to throw on the hairshirt and deny ourselves the joy of what we have been given, and have fallen into that trap countless times.

This time around, however, I am able to look at my blessings and comfort as a divinely given shield and solace. I am so well shrouded in a soft cloak of peace that I can stand beside those who suffer and absorb their stories without the interference of my own fears and losses. None of this is to say that I am cleansed from all of the selfish whining that I regret occasionally mars my conversations, but I recognize that I am free of the deeper dramas that others need to be supported through right now. I can strive to be a vessel that takes in tears and offers them back as different brew of solace and hope.

For all that we are all marked by the wheel of the year, but the ebb and flow of nature, I think that we are occasionally chosen to stand outside of time. With all humility, I admit that I am caught in a time of joyful midsummer even as the skies turn a dirty pearl and wasted wet leaves choke the walkways. I give thanks for this role as spiritual midwife, a candle burning in the fog for those who are lost in the early evening gloom.

Have you been given a warmer coat to ward off the first frost? Is it big enough to wrap around a friend who needs it?


November Chill

In a post looking back at an unobserved All Hallow’s Eve, I thought about the madness of the encroaching holiday season and the need to find sacredness in all of the other days on the calendar. As I recognize this odd in-between time that spreads from Samhain (the final harvest and the start of the Celtic New Year) to the return of the sun on the Winter Solstice, I think it is even more essential to find the touchstones that connect to our vitality and to the Divine.

I am watching several people I love experience a sense of dissolution in their lives. Illusions are stripped away and they are confronted by resurgent realities that they had once been able to escape. There is solace to be found in the belief that this too shall pass, that God offers nothing more than one can bear, and that it is only possible to be truly alive when all of the veils that lay between you and the true presence have been ripped away. And yet, the desire to just keep driving away from all the problems is so strong and the need to ask “why” is so persistent. It is so hard not to shiver in the brutal winds of our fate as the bitter chill of November settles into our bones.

To stand as naked as the trees is to be living in direct contact with nature, and though it may threaten to turn you to coldest stone, it is nothing more than the Earth herself is going through at these moments. Cold comfort, that, but perhaps it is just the Universe’s way of reminding us we are alive. She cannot wake us with the calls of birds and the warmth of a July sun, but she can remind us that she is always there with us by allowing us to feel the rattling of her bare branches and her sorrow of another summer passed.

The world will keep turning, the secrets will be uncovered, and the globe will tilt back to the sun again so that light may return. We just need to find the faith to witness its sweet, slow progression.