Like so many others, I have been glued to the screen over the past few weeks. Debates, opinions, news of the economic collapse, cowpies from the election trailâ€”it is all so important, and so crazy, that I consider it a survival skill to understand what is going on as best I can.
Along with this, coming from the margins on both sides, have been both predictions of doom and visions of justice served. On one side is the raving, hate-filled mob stoked by fear, and on the other the wackiness of 2012 prophecies. The tension between these two poles of true believers is more than we should have to bear, given that there are so many actual issues that need our full attention. But it is all part of the zeitgeist, part of the craziness that is swirling around and through every conversation, every interaction across the globe right now.
I spent the past few days writing a really funny post about awful New Age jargon. But the longer I wrote the less funny it seemed, and the more serious and philosophical I got. Eventually I realized I had to write something completely different. There comes a time when making fun of the obvious is no longer useful or even enjoyable. Now is one of those times. The world feels like a vast echo chamber this evening, where the ripple effect of all our words is magnified greatly, for good or ill. So I will choose with care what to send out into the chamber tonight.
After my dad died this summer, I took from my shelves Robert Moss‘s The Dreamer’s Book of the Dead. I had been meaning to read it, and this seemed like an opportune time to ponder the many pathways between the worlds, and where one might wander on the way from this one to the next. I skimmed the first section, read carefully the second section where he talks about William Butler Yeats being his spirit guide through all sorts of adventures (Golden Dawn fans, take note), and skimmed again the third.
One thing the book helped me with was imagining where my father’s spirit was during the weeks and months after his passing. I have had visitations from the dead several times in the past, notably with my friend Raven Moonshadow who came to say farewell to me as well as several others just two days after his death.
My father has been much more difficult to track. Early on I saw him waiting on an observation deck, looking down at all of us planning his funeral and dealing with his remains. He was watching it all, accompanied by a couple close friends who had met him there, and was waiting until after our ceremonies had been completed before taking off on the longer leg of his journey.
Then I lost track of his spirit for a while. I had dreams of him walking away with his back turned toward me, or actively trying to exit his life but not quite getting there yet. There is a way that the dead feel like their old selves for a while, then suddenly they change. They let go of their old personalities and become joyful and free, like how we always wished they could be. For Raven that didn’t take long at all. For my father, and for many others, it is a slower process.
In the last day or two, though, I have felt the shift. Suddenly I feel a lightness around him, like he has remembered what he loved about my mother and is looking after her as best he can. I can sense his unconditional love for his daughters and grandchildren beaming through as well. That in turn helps me to simply cherish his memory, and say goodbye in a deeper way. With Samhain coming on, I am grateful for the change.
Why is this what I choose to write tonight? Because at a time when all the news is lit with neon, it is easy to get lost in the bright lights. Particularly if it is our retirement that has vanished, or our job that is on the line, and when the future of so many countries hangs in precarious balance, we are gripped by urgency and cannot easily break away.
The dominant narrative is powerful and pervasive, riveting, life-changing. Yet the subtle flows of power and feeling are still at work too, and can help us if we pay attention to them. In times like these, every heartbeat is a prayer. Every breath taken in freedom, every lightening of the spirit, is a blessing. Let us not forget these.
I don’t think we are entering easy times, but I also don’t think we need to succumb to fear. We can take time throughout the day to feel the life force supporting us, buoying us from underneath and opening the way ahead. There are paths of possibility we can follow, if we have the patience and courage to listen for them, whispering to us from the dim corners of the echo chamber. May our eyes and ears be open, and our feet find the way.