Right now, at midday on this placid Labor Day weekend Sunday, I am looking out from the back deck onto this. Sir Galahad, my 33 year-old horse, has finished his mid-morning nap and is back out, grazing in his field. And all around us, visible and chatty to us but unseen in the photograph, are flights of swallows. They are today's teachers, advisors, entertainers.
A flight of swallows is the collective noun, as is a murder of crows or a gaggle of geese. All around me for the past few days are flights of violet-green swallows, barn swallows, tree swallows. The barn swallows that come each year to build their nests and raise their babies on top of the fluorescent lights in the barn have been joined by other barn swallows. Each year the swallows gather in flights, dive-bombing the cats and chasing each other about in the air, eating bugs in preparation for their migration. They become my teachers for this period.
But I'm not going to relay facts about swallows, or even copy any of the many poems I wrote about them in the past two years of writing Into the All Empty. Suffice it to say they feature prominently among a host of other feathered friends. At this moment there are hundreds of them flying and chattering, as a red and blue light plane flies overhead, one of several small aircraft that populate the skies over me on the weekends in fair weather.
The swallows teach me that uncertainty, movement, change, and the urge for going can be beautiful, graceful, natural, effortless, and fun. They show me that you don't have to take anything with you except your joy in being alive, your energy, and your natural instincts. They demonstrate that community is important, and that community shows up when it's time. Playfulness is an obvious part of their preparation for a journey of thousands of miles, along with gathering, self-expression, and eating whatever food they encounter in the sky. The are flying madly about partly because it feels lovely, partly to feed up for the journey, partly to gather together, partly to pair up, and partly to get in top shape for the long flight ahead.
What are they saying to each other? I always wonder what birds say to each other. What do you think?
In a half hour I'll be preparing to fly myself, in a remote shamanic journey for a client. I never know who my helpers might be for the work. Perhaps a swallow, or a flight of swallows, will show up to guide me to a lost soul part, or take away a thread of energy that does not belong to my client, or bring some energetic gift that is needed. Whomever I work with today, the swallows have helped me find that place of detachment, of lightness, and openness to simply be, that is required for the work. The wind chimes softly play a note here and there on the breeze. A few cottonwood seeds drift over the house from the woods. In each moment we can connect with the field of all possibilities, the invisible that creates the visible, whatever we need. This is where the work happens, where we know, and receive. This magical anything can happen feeling is pervasive this weekend. I hope it's surrounding you wherever you may be.
Last night's Blue Moon – the rare second full moon in a solar month – lulled me early into dreaming, and woke me in the wee hours with its light and power. I don't think I was alone in responding to the 'whispers tucked into the turning of Earth's curve' as she flew across the sky. The title line of this blog post is from a recent poem I wrote, and felt apropos for this time, this moon, this subtle seasonal shift.
Morning flights of geese, calling to each other; a certain crispness to the air, changes of light at sunset, and the first few yellow leaves signal that the planet is at that place in her cycle where our hemisphere is tilting away from the Sun. My favorite season approaches, and with it the strong magical pull through space and time I always feel. It's as if time kaleidoscopes and the matrix of past, present, and future aligns and opens. I'm aware of all three at once, and of threads coming through the opening. The veil between the worlds thins.
One of the medicine tools I use to work with time is this Selenite Wand. Selenite is very good for journeying into the past and future, and seeing the threads that connect who we are, were, will be. This information can be very helpful for a number of reasons and in a plethora of circumstances. Dreams, body symptoms, subconscious emotions, premonitions are, like the whispers, telling us something we need to know, relocate, release, re-member.
This wand has a story. I had the selenite, and it told me it wanted to become a proper wand. So I asked one of my dearest friends, a master artisan of wood, stone, ash splint basketry, and darn near anything, if he would make the handle. He asked what I wanted on it, and I think I said a dragon or something. He took the stone away, and when he returned with the finished wand, he'd carved the triskele instead.
A triskele is an ancient Celtic symbol, sometimes seen in this pattern, sometimes in other whirling patterns of three. It symbolizes the unending interconnectedness of past, present, and future, through life, death, and rebirth. In the triskele, the three are also one, with no beginning and no end.
My friend said, "It just seemed to be the right thing." I don't think he knew the stone's properties and main purpose, but on another level he realized it perfectly. Selenite sees the past, present, and future, and can illuminate information on the soul's path and progress, aiding understanding in the present, and showing connections that assist the onward journey. Bingo!
The carving is not an overlay. Yew wood has an outer wood layer that is lighter. Mark Kelz, the carver extraordinaire, created the triskele by carving away the wood around it. The entire handle, from its delicate petal-like top to its perfectly turned round end, he carved by hand, and gave me as a gift. The Selenite Wand resides in its own basket with preserved Flicker wings as its attending spirit. It seldom calls out to be used for the work, but when it does, I know we're going to be flying through time.
Yesterday was one of those days. The work fit the whispers, the V's of geese, the magnetic pull to the stones and green valleys of my once and future lives. I think I've been doing this a long time.