Packing to Move House

We are in the process of packing to move house. For me it’s my tenth move in nearly 17 years, for my husband it’s his first in as many.

I have more little, fiddly things to carefully wrap, preparing them to be boxed up until the place for them is ready. These will not be the things in the house, but in what I am calling my Sacred Shed at the bottom of the garden. I am hopeing it will be in place by Winter, it will be insulated and have power so myself and my special bits will be comfortable.

What is striking is finding some little thing that sets off a cascade of memories, some happy, some sad, some bittersweet. People and pets gone, dreams shattered and ways convoluted to get to where I am now, where I firmly believe I am meant to be. The ways have not been straightforward, many twists and seeming doubling backs, yet here I am.

The place we are going is wonderful in a magical place, the place we most wanted to be but had begun to doubt we would end up. Nevertheless, we perservered and in the end we were led to the place, or the place opened up for us. I am not willing to take a stand one way or the other as to which it was – that is was is all that really matters.

So, the response is one of deep and abiding gratitude. Even in the midst of all the upheaval for us and Wyntre, Nocturne and Purfling. We are all a bit fragile and on edge, off our feed a bit and due to the weather a bit hot and bothered. As I wade through packing paper and weave around the boxes of books, bits and bobs (I’ve not gotten to the crockery yet!) I hold in my mind the house we are going to.

In leaving here I give thanks for the shelter is has been for me these past two and a half years, for my husband, his late wife and their family in the nearly fifteen years before my arrival. It has seen its share of angst and sorrow before my arrival, as well as joy and hope. It is now time to pass this house on to another family as a place to make their memories and live their life in what I trust will be joy and gladness. I wish the same things for us as we move into our new home. I trust is will be a haven of calm and a safe harbour of all who pass through its doors. I trust we will live long and prosper between its walls and know when we leave it that we have honoured ourselves and the space to the fullest extent within our powers.

It will be guarded and warded by the spirit animals who companion us, and by the gods who have called us into their service, and the spirits of the land whom we will seek to honour by living gently and working with them in the years ahead.

Now, I’d best take up my tape gun, wonderful invention, grab some more packing paper and see if I can figure out the best way to pack the rest of my study and sacred space this weekend.

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Music for the Holidays

Very belatedly I’m listening this evening to two of my favourite holiday CDs. Because of the upheaval in the house I’ve not had the chance to do so before now.

The first one is Celtic Christmas II, a collection put out be Windham Hill in 1996, and which I have listened to for the past twenty years now. This music takes me through two turbulent decades of my life beginning with the year I graduated from seminary and my mother died, encompassed my dream job as worship administrator at Trinity Church in Boston, through a marriage and two divorces, eight moves, one emigration, and, finally now, to my settlement in the UK.

I can see all the events that are part of this process without closing my eyes. Music powerfully evocative in this regard. Some of the music of Enya does the same for me, taking me over the same years, though not in the contexts of holidays.

The power of sound to tug the heartstrings, amazes and humbles me. The way melody can harness emotion and then release it in floods of tears or gentle sobbing, leaves me weak. Love. Loss. Pain. Joy. Emptiness. Fear. Hope. Yearning. All these emotions follow the tracks of this CD and the one that I will play after.

The second one is Celtic Solstice by Paul Winter and Friends. It came out in 1999 and was recorded on the longest night at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York City, where I was baptised. It is still available and has some lovely tracks on it. This CD evokes different emotions connected with the place it was recorded, different memories and a longer history encompassing the first 45 years or so of my life and then tucks it into the Pagan context in which I now frame my spiritual practice and path as a Druid, which I have travelled for past 18 years.

Again, the images of my experience dance in front of me and envelop my awareness when I hear this music, so different from the first.

I tend to settle into a deep place of reflection between the Winter Solstice and January first. I review what I have done, and not done, achieved and not quite gotten done or not done to the best of my ability. I give thanks for the gifts I have received. I mourn the losses and rejoice in the births of new experiences. I review and then let go where appropriate. I take the lessons and release that which no longer serves.

This year has seen my second divorce. It has also seen me settled not only in the UK, but with a wonderful new partner and a new life with him. In the Autumn I managed to reconnect with my brother after trying for nine years, after my settlement paperwork came through. We aren’t close really, but at least I know he’s out there. Recently, it has seen as well my reunion and reconciliation with a friend whom I thought was gone forever after seven long and arduous years for both of us. The stories of which are unfolding in emails between us and bringing us tears of joy and sorrow for each other. And because we are separated by an ocean the deep yearning we each have to see each other and hear each other’s voices, and to one more hold each other in the embrace of forgiveness and love, which never parted from either of us as it turns out. The former can be done by technology, the latter will have to await her visit within the next several years.

So, the music I am listening to touches me on many levels and across and through so many layers of my life and my living. I listen and remember. It is an exercise in anamnesis. In unforgetting. In opening my heart to joy and sorrow. Opening my soul to its past. Letting the notes of the instruments wash over me and the words sung take me back gently, so that I can move into the future more whole and with a measure of contentment.

Joy the Morning

Joy this morning
And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.

Severed from active presence
another’s inadequacy dictating
actions that should have been
mine alone to take or reject,
but I was not strong enough
I was not secure enough
I was not safe enough
to challenge.

And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.

Years later,
at the urging of my gods,
the ancestors of the land
and the saint who with
this friend brought me
for the first time to
my soul’s home
my spirit’s home
the land of my truest
connections –
I reached out.

And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.

I reached out across
the waste of seas,
the wasteland of seasons
devoid of sharing,
and to my delight and hers
future seasons now open,
friendship redeemed
redemption grasped,
welcomed and embraced.

And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.

The years of then are lost,
the years of yet are found,
different people
different paths
different stories,
the same reassuring presence,
the same willing smile,
the same deep story
alive between us.

And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.

Welcome back
my friend
my sister
my daughter,
for the man with whom
I now share my life is not jealous
but with me instead rejoices,
that a friend of deep connection
is found again
and we are linked once more.

And there was joy this morning,
years of silent sadness
turned to song.