bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: experiences

A strange thing that leaves me speechless.

I keep having this … recurring thing.

I do not know how to describe it.

It’s a visual thing.

A repetitive vision?

A visual thought?

~~~

All I can say is that it began as a dream I had a little over a week ago.

I woke up last Sunday (the Sunday that came before the day before yesterday, mind you) from what seemed like an extremely vivid portion of a dream….but I wasn’t quite awake and I wasn’t all the way asleep.

I know this because the volume of a program on the television in my bedroom had gotten really loud – loud enough to awaken me enough to wonder in a split moment or two if the sound was loud in my dream or if it was reality – but I had not opened my eyes yet.

But then the sound went entirely away and I heard a loud ‘click’ – and I assumed that the sleep timer on the television had just gone off.

So I rolled over and started to fall back asleep, feeling thankful that my husband had thought to set the sleep timer (rather than letting the television blare all night as he sometimes does, unfortunately.)

I was aware of the possibility that it might have been early in the morning because I recall laying there in bed, with eyes shut, but sensing the light in the room.

And that’s when it happened.

Though I had lain there in silence – newly aware that the silence existed because the tv had shut off and feeling tired on the edge of returning to sleep again – I was acutely aware of the fact I was dozing off, and I felt pleased about it.

And the visuals that bloomed before my eyelids were the typical blobs of color that I’ll usually see as I am dozing off and I watched as they slowly formed into different abstract shapes, as that slow process is how eventually, I allow myself to fall asleep.

But then as clear as day – suddenly I saw a sharply defined image of an older woman – as clear as a photograph – in my mind’s eye. I could not place her – she did not look like anyone I knew. And I was a little shocked – because if it was the beginning of a dream, it came on pretty quickly and I felt a little concerned.

You see, the woman was crying loudly.

She wanted some soup. She was asking me for soup.

Please make me some soup, she wailed, please give me some soup! Please Pleeeeeeaaaasssseee….Why won’t you? Why won’t you?

And it was very strange! I was awake and aware enough to have a rapid string of thoughts, such as that I was in bed, and I would have to get up and most importantly, did I have any soup to give her?

I didn’t think so.

I recall actually rolling over and saying aloud, I’m sorry! I don’t think I have any soup and I recall that my mouth worked fine, my voice was clear and I was fully awake then…so much so that I opened my eyes and looked around the room.

You see, the sound of my own voice answering this dream-visual woman had woken me up.

And on that Sunday, I was certain that I had just had a rather vivid dream.

And so, I forgot about it.

~~~

And then this past Tuesday, I was sitting in front of my altar just as I was beginning to meditate, and I saw the same visual…of that same older woman again.

And the memory of that vivid vision of her and her wailing request for soup came rushing back.

To my surprise, I even felt a wave of nausea and guilt, as if I had broken a promise.

(But at the same time I also felt a bit foolish for feeling guilty. I mean, that whole thing had just been a dream, right?)

But as much as I tried to meditate, I couldn’t focus.

~~~

Wednesday into Thursday, another short interlude of that woman interrupted another dream I was having.

In the dream, I was walking down the street, in the midst of a conversation with someone else. I don’t even recall what that person and I were talking about, I just know that suddenly I felt a hand pulling on my clothes, and I looked behind me and there she was.

That same old woman standing in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to get my attention

And she was still crying, wailing those same words, that same request

Please make me some soup.

Please give me some soup!

I didn’t know what to say to her, but her sudden appearance in my dream was enough to shake me awake.

On Thursday afternoon, lunch-time, I found myself looking in my pantry-closet.

And though I was there to look for something else, it occurred to me that I should see if I had any soup.

Turns out I have a two cans of chicken noodle, and one can of beef stew.

I wonder what kind she wanted – broth or stew?

Who knows?

~~~

I was watching T.V. on Saturday, involved in watching a film I’d seen before, a comedy I enjoyed. I was laughing, focused on the dialogue.

And then, I was suddenly overcome with a thought of the old woman!

The vision of her just floated through my mind.

I can guarantee you that I wasn’t thinking of her even a moment before, but then I was.

I don’t know why the thought of her – complete with that same vivid image in my mind’s eye of her tear-stained face, and me watching helplessly as her wrinkled mouth opened and closed, as she choked over each word, her voice clogged by emotion that dragged over the long insistent vowels of please and why.

It occurred to me that when the vision of her comes, I cannot seem to shake it away.

And though her tears, her insistence affect me deeply, I feel helpless to speak to her.

I feel this wave of guilt and nausea when I see her, and though I feel those feelings, I don’t know where they come from when they come.

That probably doesn’t make much sense.

I feel a bit haunted, to be honest.

I don’t know what it means or who to ask about this strangely repetitive thing.

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Month for Loki, Day 27: Cartography

We die containing a richness of lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we have plunged into and swum up as if rivers of wisdom, characters we have climbed into as if trees, fears we have hidden in as if caves.

I wish for all this to be marked on my body when I am dead. I believe in such cartography–to be marked by nature, not just to label ourselves on a map like the names of rich men and women on buildings. We are communal histories, communal books. We are not owned or monogamous in our taste or experience. All I desired was to walk upon such an earth that had no maps.
~ Michael Ondaatje  (The English Patient)

~~~

I stumbled upon this lovely quote on a friend’s blog today, and he spoke of being inspired by its metaphors.

I was so moved by it as well that I felt the need to share it.

Month for Loki, Day 10: Fools Gold

Inspired by a detail in Northern Tamarisk’s blog associating fool’s gold and Loki the other day, my brain went off on a tangent, thinking about items that some folks associated with Loki.

I was intrigued by the casual reference to her association of Loki with fool’s gold.

As you may have read my experience of that first Dragons Treasure meditation in 1997, I was reminded of how I had participated in another guided group meditation ritual several months later that same year

Except instead of a vision of Hostess Donettes, I received the ‘gift’ of a piece of fools gold.

It strikes me as strange to think now about how that was twice in as many months that I had sought out answers in guided meditations during a public ritual that initially appeared  – on the surface – to be in the form of some sort of joke or trick.

And trust me, no one likes to be made fun of or to be the butt of a joke…least of all, me.

Nonetheless, after that first guided meditation, it became a goodnatured joke in the community I was trying to join: If they couldn’t remember my name, I was that ‘newbie’ that received the doughnut.

And a few months later, I became known as that woman that got the fool’s gold.

And yet, I am amazed to realize how both times these odd ‘journey-gifts’ were read by others – the Pagan elders and the other assembled group members – as a sign that I must be pulling their leg or proof that I wasn’t taking whatever spiritual exercise I was attempting to engage in seriously enough.

The gifts don’t lie, they’d said.

So as we sat in the circle and shared our experiences:

What is that again? some folks snickered in response to my share, that makes no sense.

While others muttered, I don’t understand how you could have gotten that.

Are you sure that that is what you saw? sighed the leader of the meditation.

I was dismayed by this…and at the time, I recall that I was ridiculed for not taking the meditation seriously and the woman who’d led the meditation eventually opined that the presence of fools gold always represents/symbolizes ‘what  is not for you’

At the time, I felt that it meant that the Gods were rejecting me in some way, and I feared that that meant that perhaps the Pagan path was not for me.

And I took that to heart.

And it would seem that a lot of those ‘experienced’ Pagans (‘experienced’ at least by virtue of the fact that they’d been practicing at this Paganism thing a lot longer than I had) had some rather specific opinions about what is and isn’t an appropriate level of piety during guided mediation.

Honestly, I was just trying to fit in…or at least, find others like myself in the Pagan community…and yet, in this small way, I was looked upon as this person who wasn’t taking things seriously enough, whether I was sharing my experiences or I was asking questions.

In short, I began to feel as a bit of an outsider at their rituals, as no one seemed to take me or my experiences seriously.

Because, in their eyes, if I was taking things seriously, I’d be getting meaningful gifts like roses or silver chalices or the feather of a spring robin, or…whatever.

I became discouraged.

I began to question myself.*

~~~

And several years after that, in 2000, I was sitting at a Catholic funeral.

I could have sworn that I had silenced my phone. I distinctly recall turning off the ringer before putting it in my handbag.

And yet, my cell phone rang loudly right in the middle of the priest’s sermon.

Just as he was just getting to the part about how even during times our darkest times of spiritual struggle, we can all find shelter within the arms of the Lord.

It was embarrassing certainly, except for the fact that it was even more so in that my cell’s ringtone at that time was a clip of the chorus from Rage Against the Machine’ No Shelter:

(There will be no shelter here/the thin line is everywhere…)

~~~

So that doughnut must mean I’m not taking this seriously enough.

And yes, that fool’s gold must be a sign that that path was not for me.

And certainly, despite how respectful I was trying to be during a beloved relative’s Catholic funeral…

I took that as a sign that I, for one, am not meant to find shelter in the arms of (that) God.

And so, what did I do?

I ran.

I decided none of it was for me.

Even though it broke my heart to think that any form of spirituality as I understood it was not for me.

But there were more answers in store.

~~~

*In retrospect, I realize that I gave in too easily to the discernment of others, rather than my own discernment. (And yes, I would be presented with that lesson again and again.)

*scene missing*

Hey, how are you all doing?

I realized that I haven’t really written an actual post in quite a while, though it’s not for lack of material.

Often, when I am planning to write about certain topics, my brain will inadvertently begin constructing these wonderfully succinct, perfectly worded posts upon those topics – usually while I’m doing something else (like doing the dishes, walking my dogs, or at worst, trying to sleep).

But the funny thing is, when when I sit down to write out those thoughts, I can’t think of what it was that I intended to say. My vocabulary just disappears!  All of those effortless turns of phrase will suddenly feel out of reach, and I often feel like the moment is damned near lost as I wrack my brain trying to recapture whatever it was.

So, in that sense, my brain is filled with these half-formed drafts of well-thought-out posts:

 

So I’ve been taking this biweekly class on divination and mediumship.

Recently, when I was looking over the weekly ‘homework,’ I notice that the instructor will often reference information from the ‘class page’ or the ‘website’ and I realized

much to my dismay!

that I don’t know what he means.

So I went looking on the Internet for the information, only I could not find anything resembling a ‘class page’ or a ‘class website’, except the initial class registration page, and his FB page (which seemed to be simply a mirror site of that registration page.)

So then I sent him an email, asking specifically what he was referring to when he mentioned ‘as you may have  seen on the website’ or ‘as was discussed on the class page…’

And, as he seems to live on the West Coast, I didn’t expect to hear from him a few hours.

Instead, I got to thinking about this anxiety that I’ve been having, not just regarding this class, but concerning my overall approach to my devotional practice lately. And, as I went about my morning tasks, I began to overthink, trying to pinpoint the root of my anxiety.

It occurred to me that I might have a fear of missing out.

Or perhaps my  anxiety is rooted in the fear that others have access to something that I don’t seem to have access to, as represented by this class page/website that the instructor seems to reference.

And as a result, I am left feeling stuck. Feeling that I must be doing something wrong…that there must be a disconnect somewhere.

And suddenly I was struck with a thought: what if the reason that I cannot find this page that the instructor references is simply because there isn’t one?

What if the root of my fear – and therefore my anxiety – is that I am chasing after the lack of access to something that I’ve only imagined?

What if, indeed?

~~~

Well I still haven’t heard from him.

Perhaps I have answered my own question.

Fragile.

So, as a parent, a Floridian, and an American citizen, I have been thinking a lot about the issues surrounding guns and gun control, along with some personal thoughts on being so recently reminded of the fragility of life and the (sometimes horrifying) inevitability of change.

While I had planned on writing a post about these thoughts – including my opinion that while Donald Trump might talk a good game, I find it highly unlikely that he’d have the wherewithal to run into an active shooter situation to save anybody – I realized that the facts of the experience which I’d meant to call upon to back this personal opinion are presently unavailable to me.

Y’see, in December 22, 2009, I had my own terrifying experience with an active shooter situation … and while I did protect my child (who was seven years old at the time) and myself, the sobering reality of that situation forever changed my mind concerning What I Would Do in an Active Shooter Situation.*

So, unlike Donald Trump… I do know what I would do … and honestly, it wasn’t what I would have thought that I would have done.

But as you might imagine, such situations never seem to play out exactly the way that one would expect, and that’s what makes them so jarring in the way they define our views and responses ever after.

But at any rate, it saves you all from having to read my heavy thoughts on a rather uncomfortable topic, but I had planned to tell you all about it by sharing a glimpse of a defining personal experience.

Instead, I leave you with the haunting truth of  this:

 

 

 

~~~

*But unfortunately, my access to the finer details of those memories – in the form of a heavily filtered LiveJournal post that I made two days after the event to inform several worried out-of-state friends – is unavailable to me at this time.

It turns out that I cannot log into my LiveJournal after 5+ years of solid inactivity and expect myself to remember the exact password.