Let's start with the Shamanic journeys. First let me say I am not sure if these are indeed spiritual journeys with telltale guides and oracles. I know my imagination and its tricks. But I shall keep these "emergences" here, in this trove, and tell their stories nonetheless because their effects on me were positive.
(Tangent: Regarding the dreamlike images of the dead...are they visitations or reflections, and does it matter? I think the key word is emergences because the images quite literally bloomed or emerged inside my head. Again, I need to reiterate my belief here of archetypes and symbols, of images and mind ghosts: if DNA is the cell's way of communicating with the environment, then the archetypes/symbols/images might very well be the spirit's way of communicating with the mind.)
I am a lover. I love deeply. I have recognized that same love in Walt Whitman (clear and sweet is my soul ...and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul). I long to hear the voices of those who have left me; I long to see the familiar shape of their bodies and faces, watch their mouths laugh. (I tend to feel isolated; I have a brain with deep trenches). So...I journeyed to find those people who have moved on in one way or another and I found them in the valley of blossoms, a world in eternal half light. And they were indeed there, under the trees, with countenances I remember, with clothes too, I remember. My father in his office garb, a capped pen in his pocket-- I felt the pinch of his fingers on my elbow and I threw my arms about his thick neck. My aunt was there in bell bottom jeans and bangs, my grandmother in a long, ethereal gown. Their message to me...we're always here, in this place. We still know you and you, us.
The second time I journeyed, I was a member of a procession moving through the valley. I saw footprints in the mud, my own foot, Ralphie's pawprints. The procession sought the flatlands where a fire could be tended, a focal point for dancing and singing. A deer appeared then, nimble-footed and graceful; she danced and in her doe eyes, the fire danced. The leader handed me a piece of the fire and a flame burst from my palms (before it had been a flock of birds). This was the symbol for creativity, a constructive and destructive force. I accepted it hesitantly, and as I did so, was yanked backward into the sky by a flock of crows.
Both journeys were products of my imagination, yes. Some of it was contrived, yes. What was not contrived was the eradication of my loneliness. I felt genuinely accompanied.
Last week, I saw my first ovenbird. I did not know this small, sweet choirmaster from his song. I had to chase him into the wood, where he rustled among the leaves, observe the stripe of auburn at his crown and his speckled breast, then look him up in Audubon. What an illustrious song; what a lovely gift. I remembered Frost had written a poem about him:
The Oven Bird
There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.
The thing diminished is now winter. The thing diminished is the school semester, and it saddens me. Oh the swan song of the oven bird is a beautiful thing. It is the song of time passing.
I awoke last Sunday to Christ's face impressed in the shadows and highlights of my suede bedroom curtain. I could not not see him. It was the face of the crucified Christ, twisted and hollow, the face of the dead Christ. Oh great, I thought to myself what does this mean? Do you have something to tell me? No answer. There is never any answer, at least one that comes definitely and immediately. I told my meditation teacher this: I suffered for them, my children. All my ignorance, my illusions, for their sakes. I don't mean to sound like a martyr, but there's got to be a purpose other than my own painful enlightenment. O the suffering of middle youth. I'll recognize the signs; I'll try to make it right, because as a mother, that's what I do.