• Jess

Sit By the Needfire

(Photo credit: Hans Isaacson)

Þat kann ek it ellifta:

ef ek skal til orrostu leiða langvini,

und randir ek gel,

en þeir með ríki fara

heilir hildar til, heilir hildi frá,

koma þeir heilir hvaðan

"An eleventh I know, | if needs I must lead

To the fight my long-loved friends;

I sing in the shields, | and in strength they go

Whole to the field of fight,

Whole from the field of fight,

And whole they come thence home".

Hávamál, stanza 156

It’s hard to know what will knock the wind out of us, what will take us by surprise and make the earth feel as though it’s been torn out from under us. Sometimes, we see it, we sense it, and it moves toward us in slow motion. Despite its lack of speed, it strikes a hard blow.

Like many people, the past week has brought a maelstrom of emotions to my body, my spirit and my heart. Rage and grief and terror. Rootlessness and despair. This is what happens when empires crumble. This is what happens when greed, fear and control try to rule.

It’s been hard to feel at times, because that bracing for the fresh disaster of a new day is distracting and draining and it begins to unravel us. Within each day, there is also magic, whether it comes in the form of pouring rain during a heat wave, or the compassion in the eyes or touch of a beloved, or the chives and plantain and geranium winding through parks and sidewalk cracks, insisting that we remember beauty, that we take notice of it when it is before us. Beauty is fuel.

How in the world do we understand that as we lurch closer to more grave destruction of all that sustains life, we also have the opportunity to move closer to each other, to hear each other’s dreams and suffering and longings and do something about them? I don’t have many answers and those I do have are not guaranteed to safeguard you from harm or loss or uncertainty. Here they are nonetheless.

1) Whatever helps you feel in touch with your emotions, give time and energy to that. It doesn't have to be an entire day. It can be 10 minutes before you go to bed. So often, we're discouraged from being in touch with our feelings because they're seen as inappropriate or unprofessional or because other people don't know what to do in their presence. Make time to understand and affirm your emotions.

2) Anchor into your consciousness and your being the knowing that you and all of creation deserves the just, loving world you are dreaming of and working toward. Every effort counts and the actions we take are often based on what we believe about ourselves and the world. Write it on a sticky note, turn it into your morning prayer, the art on your fridge or a voice memo on your phone. You will need to remember this when it feels impossible, like you are asking for too much or it is taking too long.

3) Let one of the pillars of your existence be that the world we have known is but one possibility and that the world which is becoming, which we are dreaming and doing into being is just as possible. As we stay with our work (and each person's work will be different), we will use the tools we already have, we will find the path appears as we move along it, and we will remember, through the wisdom and strength of our ancestors, what they did in times like these.

The July newsletter drops in a few days and it will feature resources, recipes and other bits of wisdom and magick to help us stop and drop into our bodies, connect with giving and receiving care, and whatever else might be of use. May we be gentle with each other and ourselves. May we fight for and protect each other. May we persevere without losing touch with our grief and our hope and the tremendous power we bring to bear in weaving the world we are longing to live in.

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