On Winter, The Crone and The Dark Moon

In the latter part of winter, I start to emerge from a period of stillness within myself that this year – above all else – has been mostly unsettling. An eerie stillness of things not being “right” – an imbalance. Grief, is the word that comes to me most often. It comes as I grieve the death of friends. Of mothers. Of women all over this planet and of the sons, and daughters. Of it all. I find it all too heavy with sadness. I grieve for the forests, and the waters, and for the creatures whose patterns are intricately and infinitely intertwined with ours. This year, more than any other year, I have been consumed with grief. And I believe that this is OK.

I read last week Aiysha’s moving piece on the Isra wa l’Miraj, grief and the miraculous. It was warm cocoa for my embattled soul – and gave me hope. It made me cry first, because I recognised myself in it all. It came at a time where I felt I was having a series of inauthentic encounters which were leading me into a corner of loneliness. As if everyone but me was feeling “normal”, and only I could see the death, the grief, the pain of it all. Aiysha’s honesty felt like honey after that experience. Her piece explored the life of Muhammad (S), and the grief-flooded year that lead to his miraculous night journey – an encounter with the Divine – and an ascension, or enlightenment of sorts. The gift of the prayer, our ultimate solace, was the result.

I cannot state enough how much grief I feel. It is anger, in a sense, for women, for the marginalised, for Mother Earth – for the sacred web, and for our ignorance. For this pandemic, for the ones I have lost to it and before. For the dreams I have buried in the darkest of nights, along with the visions I had of myself that could not continue to breath. Some of it, I must say, came as a relief. To let go. To spiral inwards with a year that demanded it – although I must stress, that I still would not call this a “blessing” – there is no escaping that this is all the pattern of grief, the web she weaves upon us in our stillness.

I wish I could say – to those who try to argue otherwise – that there is wisdom in sadness. That only when we rest, dive deep, and dwell in the damp and earthen corners of our souls can we emerge laden with magic. That there is wisdom in that process – that it is not the endless pursuit of happiness. That we as humans were made to feel more than that. That we were made to hurt, and to mourn. That the cycles are our truest and most emboldened spaces of power. That sat in the winter of our souls, we ARE all that we were ever meant to be, in that moment. Filled with powerful, unassailable rage.

I do not crave to be understood. Not in this moment – not in the darkness of this winter. That whilst the seasons begin to change around me, something of this experience continues to linger. That even whilst I pass through my own cycles, that even as I gain strength, I remember this. The answers start to come first from the trees – who speak to me in their grandeur and enfold me with their sensual embrace. Back to the soil, to decompose. To come up – in some spring – as a bluebell, or a crocus. This is the process I rely upon, the magic of which is the balm I need to move forward. Because I know that the magic is coming. I know that I am already deep in the magic, with the company of my dead friends, my dead dreams, and my sorrow. Carrying it all, I know I sparkle. That is enough.

One more moon, and we will be greeted by a new astral year – Spring. Norooz. And Ramadan. An invitation to new intentions, and new growth. I await it eagerly, knowing that a part of me wants to reacquaint that maiden inside of me, to experience the lightness of the breeze that it will bring. I need it. But as the crone of the winter, on this last dark moon, I linger a while longer in the darkness of things and embrace it all, in all its wholeness, and thank it – for all it took away from me, for all it shed, and for the hope, the magic and the sweetness that awaits.

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