I went to Confest, never been, the lift seemed to fall into place, the timing, well a relative died two days before and I needed space to grieve.
work wasnt working out.
I needed out of the city. it fell together. it felt right.
I had just finished making a divining tool. started it in 2006 in Wales on a retreat with an African shaman (...yawn) yea I know, we pseudo-hippies just cant stop looking for answers under these god awful banners but, you've got to keep looking everywhere without judgement when you know the hounds are chasing ever on, fueled by those consuming flames, and getting closer each day.
So, I threw the bones...looked and saw....ritual, things needed, to be addressed, for my Nan and my Aunt. Both now dead, but grief is a strange thing. I didnt do it right until I did it right. Let go to the pain, not for a few hours silently alone together in some cold church, but for a few days in the heart of the natural world. I had learnt from Malidome Some, of the Dagara tribe, a process. So I figured I would follow it.....them bones....d'em bones...thrown down and like a compass they seemed to show me the way. How did I know this stuff? I wasnt sure at all, but I did.
I knew I needed water, to heal, I knew my gran had some stuff there needed addressing, I didnt know what, my aunty too, so it seemed. I knew Nature was to be the arena, it was all in there, clear as clear could be. Then me. l'il ol me. I was in there too. my gifts. my magic. a little deeper. I was about to go a little deeper.
that is what d'em bones were saying.
I felt kind of like Bambi that first day trying to walk up the creek barefoot slipping over rocks, until I got to a quiet water-hole that caught my attention. I saw a small cave and knew it was the place to set a shrine to the beings that lived around there, to ask for welcome and acceptance and to ask forgiveness for my intrusion, just simple respect really. Then another spot seemed to flicker in the corner of my eye and made me look. it was by the water and I knew was just right for setting as a shrine to my dead, my relatives, my Nan, my Aunty and in some ways my entire lineage going right back to the beginning. Dont you wonder sometimes what we might find there if you could touch them again, speak to them again, like some Avatar world.
and people go to the movies for it. Why not go into nature, since its there. doh! too obvious maybe. and scary. Easier to buy a ticket and some popcorn then to dribble listlessly, unblinking for three hours, feeling fluffy yet strangely sad when it stops, and like you might be in heaven if you dreamed or wished it hard enough, but instead get in your metal car and drive through concrete streets, to walk into your box-like fabricated house and get into nylon sheets, and cry yourself to sleep because how can it possibly really exist? Yet for a moment the child in you was brave enough to want it more than anything in this life, or the next?
so I do my stuff, set the shrines up. speak out loud, feel stupid, like a city slicker in the wild, just totally out of place, stumbling loudly, crunching sticks and generally making a noisy nuisance of myself in the garden of the gods. but I dont really care for my own stupidity and embarrasment because today I am fuelled by death, my wrath at its theft, the sense of loss, the sense of needing to do something to help this pain , this gnawing in my guts , to make it move along, to know it, to go into it. to deal with it. and fucking well deal with it the right way. so I feel stupid? so what. listen, or kill me. I dont really mind which.
I speak my thoughts out loud, let that place know my intention for being there, for setting up the shrine, for wanting to find healing, not just for me, but for my family, my Nan and my Aunty , the things they never got to do , the things they never got to fix, the things that hurt them, broke them, suffered them, the things they loved, the things they did and didnt dare do, the places and people in this beautiful world that they never got to say goodbye to, or say sorry to, or say thankyou for, or to forgive, or to love, or even maybe to hate.. I am here, right now to address all this, for them. for me. for them. for the living, for the dead. maybe even for you.
then ...once it is said, out there, put out there, said, done...I stop.
look around, sit down
and more importantly...
shut the fuck up.
the minutes pass....
my mind calms....the cogs of the machine slowly calm ...a little.
I was considering ways to dig it out with a kitchen knife once, I am glad I didnt. Now, I just sit still until it calms to a lull, a dull thud that seems so loud when you enter the utter silence of nature. then something else starts to grow, a sound. I think at first it is inside, then I realise it is crickets.
until it is so loud it almost hurts my ears.
little legs, hundreds of little legs scratching making that amazing sound that actually hits me like soft bullets. I can feel them making out my shape with their sound, assessing me, reading me.
what is this?
I sit in it.
bathed in the sound.
and something else occurs to me.
that sound just shut the machine whir in my head off completely.
I sink into it. happy because despite the fire ant that just chomped into my foot and the mosquitos that are right now drilling my back for blood, and the ...JESUS H CHRIST !... those are leeches I can see wiggling between my toes....yuk....despite all this taxation by nature on my body, those god damn crickets are cleansing me of something far more intrusive, demanding, deadly and quite possibly evil.
I sink into natures' bossom. home again, she devours me. quite literally. it hurts, physically, and it hurts like fuck emotionally, but spiritually I know just where I am at, and with that I enter what some might now call Pandora, and the roller coaster ride of turmoil we have come to call grieving begins.