A place of pause, renewal, and connection for seekers

Jul
12
2017

Pilgrimage Report in Poetry and Prose

For Grievers – For Seekers – Nature – Poetry – Seasonal Observances – Tarot

The Summer Solstice-hinged e-retreat Walking the Ways of the Summer Light just concluded. This offering is a poetic report from a few moments of my Pilgrimage trip to Acadia National Park. 

 

Love, the shaper, makes her

a light fish with dark eyes

swimming green, this passage

skims skin from her cheeks.

What she wanted once

was to be born without borders

before she knew

the price of this Love

and now a strange joy

in its payment.

Before tall pines and the few hardwoods give way to granite, a fullness of green growth: sheep laurel leaves spreading, constellated with magenta corollas of tiny, fused petals. Low bushes reach to each other across the narrowing path. I pull myself in to make the passage. Feel myself sway a little like the leaves I am brushing. The sun and the green and the swaying are weaving together some kind of magic.

I will play with the magic. I reach into my pack to pull out one of the handful of Tarot cards I carry. The 2 of Rivers emerges.   A dark fish with a light eye and a light fish with a dark eye entwine, reminiscent of the Ying-Yang symbol. They float above the sea and below a range of rocky peaks. At the edge of the image, smaller fish come and go through the streams that feed the sea. The fish swim by a lantern – or is it a miniature lighthouse guiding their journey?

First I see a quite literal mirror to the landscape I am walking in Acadia National Park: a narrow place between bushes on top of a granite bald. Then I remember the card’s meaning: an offering of Love. The card’s emergence calls me to see and to swim through this green growth as a place of Love.

But not necessarily an easy Love.

I travel more deeply into the image. I become the light fish with a dark eye. The dark eye of my illuminating Love sees Grief, knows Grief. This is the place that I’ve come each year as a kind of pilgrimage since my partner John died.

The first year after his death I was a dark fish. The sadness my skin. But it was pricked by surprise. I was by myself but I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t lonely. I was accompanied. It was strange. This was the little light in my eye.

It’s five years on. You might think I will say I am the light fish now, but, no, I am not one or the other. I might be the circle of them, as we are all the circles of light and dark shifting and breaking, shaking in the flux.

Sheep laurel is a plant of flux, springs up after fire. New shoots come from dormant buds on buried rhizomes exposed to the striping flame. The green waits below the surface, and when it returns the tiny kinglet and the tiger swallowtail come, too. Raise their wings above buds now burst.

The breeze blows lifting leaves and I feel the fish open up their dance. Press closer to each other. Make each other sway. Love and Grief pulsing together pushing me through into the new.

Love, the shaper, makes her

a light fish with dark eyes

swimming green, this passage

skims skin from her cheeks.

What she wanted once

was to be born without borders

before she knew

the price of this Love

and now a strange joy

in its payment.

The Two of Rivers is from Rachel Pollack’s Shining Tribe Tarot

***

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