|Mining the most fleeting of crystals.|
Several weeks ago, (actually, more like months now as it has taken since October to find the time for this post) a girlfriend & I headed out, child-free & sans spouses, in search of anything remotely resembling a lizard lounge in Anchorage. This city has a proclivity for bars, but "the seedier, the better" seems to be the motto here (or, shall we call it "rustic"?). Of course, I must remember I am living in a city also dubbed "worst dressed" in the nation... Anyway, all we wanted was a dim, warm, womb-like space with overstuffed upholstery so we could curl up like the two cats we really are & purr over big, round, aromatic glasses brimming with the dark, leggy blessings of Bacchus.
Knowing our desires, Hubby had proposed that we try the lounge in a relatively upscale restaurant not too far from home. He said, "Go in the backdoor." When I looked at him quizzically, he encouraged, "No, really." What we found there was blissful, satisfying nearly every requirement for ideal & had it been a shy bit quieter, it would have been rubbing elbows with perfection...
But, enough gushing over lounges dubiously residing in the backsides of fancy eateries.
Through a peculiar series of coincidences (?), we were introduced to a woman named "Mary" who (apparently) makes the rounds in this establishment quite regularly. Mary is a palm reader & I was told much later in the evening, also a well-traveled, "good Catholic girl" who is somehow tied up spiritually with Mary Magdelene. Mary has peculiar grace & subtlety to both her demeanor & appearance. Warm & unassuming, she asked for me to choose a hand which surprised me because she had been sent to read my friend's palm, not mine. I began to correct her, but she stopped me & said, "No, I would like to read yours first." Dubious (& with a certain restrained arrogance), I handed over my vitals-etched-in-flesh.
Eyes closed, she did not read the lines in my palm. She read something intangible, invisible. I capitulated & listened to the words of this lounge-wading clairvoyant (what was this woman doing there?) because her woo-woo was undeniable. I could feel it as she pressed her hand into mine. Woo... From whence do these gifts arise? I will forever find the truly gifted utterly baffling.
Mary spoke of many things, but mostly of art. This was strange & confusing to me. It still is. She also said, "You want to continue your education, but right now you must stay with your children. They have something more important to teach you. They have very important things to teach you that you can find nowhere else... but you know this, right?"
Yes, Mary. I do.
|Creatures of Earth.|
Somehow, while writing my personal statement on animism, I overlooked the children:
"Some methods for reclaiming animism are fairly simple, others present complex logistical challenges. They all basically require some kind of active disengagement from our Western cultural & social status quo -- those systems that perpetuate rational thought... Among the many viable approaches to reclamation are: solitude, leisure, unstructured time, direct contact with nature, disinhibition & altered states of consciousness."
This is astounding because when I think about animism, I think about children. Children first. My children, your children, all the children. I find comfort in knowing that most children are out there, still connected, still engaging the Web in their special way. I think of the children dancing the Web as they do a Maypole. I lament those who become jaded, having their ribbons snatched from them prematurely. I celebrate that most are still grasping their colourful connections to the Whole, laughing, singing, creating patterns & chaos, communing as many & as one.
Children are innate freethinkers. If you take the care to listen & absorb their youthful wisdom they will provide you insights available nowhere else. The lessons are -- much like the children themselves -- fresh, spontaneous & inexhaustible. Children are the most willing of teachers; all they want in this world is for someone to hear them. Listening to children is an exchanging of gifts.
My children are always teaching me (& not just about how to be a better animist). They teach me about patience, compassion & the merits of simplicity. Their natural sense of aesthetic is so entirely wrapped up in their own internal symbology, I forget sometimes that what they create is purity, not profundity (& I tend to prefer the former). Almost daily, they illustrate to me the need for a life of authenticity. With boundless willingness, they just know how to relish life. Carpe diem, absolutely. Without books, crutches, mentors, or rules, they weave spells, find secrets & talk to the other than human world -- they intuit the all of it, all day, every day. When (& why!) do we unlearn all of this?
One of the many reasons that I am so in love with animism is that it is among the few spiritual traditions which does not need to be neutered or simplified to be inclusive of children. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We are all born thinking as animists, but over the course of our socialization -- that is, those of us in "rational" cultures -- we have the animist's innate senses, skills & understanding worked out of us. (Presumably, so that we might be successful in modern society... What a sad an unnecessary sacrifice.) Children, on the other hand, are experts. They hold the ribbons. Regarding children & the spirit world, Hubby always says, "They are closer to the Source." Yes. Being younglings, they retain a grasp on their connate animism. They are naturals & there is nothing quite like discovering & sharing the magic of this world with a child.
Sometimes I feel ensnared by motherhood; tethered day after day to wee ones, limited in my endeavours as an individual, shelving my projects, suspending my freedom indefinitely. I forget that they are my in-house spiritual guides. Sometimes I need a reminder about priorities, values & the bigger picture. I have to stop & examine the gains, the blessings & beauty of this road I travel. Roll down the window, Moma & rejoice in a faceful of fresh air. At times of great frustration, I try think about something restated in abundance by that unlikely women's guru: "The greatest freedom is found once you make & embrace your commitments, fully." (I'm paraphrasing, it was a long time ago.) My commitments bind me to small humans who have a 24 hour life line to the great Web. I am their student, as they are mine. The bonus: I love these small humans more than anything on this Earth & they love me with the same fervor. We are bound by a sacred reciprocity. Love & Spirit, together, onward we grow.
"They have very important things to teach you that you can find nowhere else... but you know this, right?"Thanks for the reminder, Mary.