I Will Not Leave You Comfortless

This week has been, to say the least, fraught.  My favorite astrologer, Diotima, predicted as much:

On the national stage this month, the chart rings a patriotic bell long and loud. This can manifest as courage and loyalty, or xenophobic nationalism. There is an emphasis on public health (this will be true through August as well), institutions of seclusion and separation (hospitals, prisons, etc.) and major power struggles within the realm of the military, public service, and labor. Sudden events in the executive branch of government are likely, and we’ll need to look at the way we ensure the safety and appropriate education of our children. Unfortunately, there is a strong signature of violence and oppression in the area of the chart ruling children, creativity, sports, and entertainment.

*  * *

Pay attention to that Jupiter-Pluto trine. While the trine is not an aspect of action, it can set the underlying belief system that will drive the behavior activated by the more challenging aspects (like the opposition to the stellium), and Pluto-Jupiter can indicate a belief system based in an overweening pride and sense of entitlement. It can also bring new, expansive perspectives and resources.

The presence of Mars and Saturn in the 5th, even though they are not yet in orb of a conjunction, is disturbing. This is a problematic combination at the best of times, and Mars is strong in its own sign, in conjuncting Uranus in Aries, which it also rules. Saturn, of course, is in a tight square to Neptune still. Keep your bullshit meter calibrated, and expect that people will hold on to their opinions and beliefs with all the fervor of a drowning person holding to a raft.

It can all seem overwhelming.

It’s good to have a small basket that you keep, just for weeks like this, in the back of a dim corner of the cabinet in your ritual room.  You know, the corner scented with dried orange peel and bee balm from a summer when life seemed wonderful and love seemed limitless.  You can have bubble bath in it, and some glitter.  A tin of jasmine tea.   A picture of your grandmother holding you on her lap and looking at you with so much love.  Warm fuzzy socks with stars on them or a cotton sarong in warm colors.  A candle that looks like a magnolia blossom and floats on water.  A broken-backed copy of A Wrinkle in Time, or The Secret Garden, or The Wind in the Willows, or Redwall.

If I could slip through the internet into your kitchen, I would make you an Amy Stewart cocktail called a consolation:  a ripe peach muddled in a glass, crushed ice, good bourbon.  (If it were cold Autumn or Winter, I’d warm the muddled peach for you, but it’s July; let’s muddle a ripe, room temperature one that smells of heaven, and humid southern nights, and a porch.)  I’d read you Wendell Berry’s poem, The Peace of Wild Things:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

And I’d sit across from you, hold your hands, and ask you to close your eyes with me and listen to The Lark Ascending.

Then, I’d share with you these wise words from Byron Ballard:

Lighting Signal Fires in Tower Time

I’ve written rather a lot about Tower Time. For Cassandra figures like me, there is nothing satisfying about seeing visions come to fruition. We are experiencing the roiling change, the fear, the uncertainty that is almost programmatic in this enormous shift. Many communities are easily seen to be in peril but I say to you that all communities are thus.
Yes, the Veil is so thin as to be nonexistent, so if you are feeling your Ancestors and Descendents close to you, you are experiencing that. If your garden is flourishing and feels delightful, that is because it is filled with beings of delight that you can now perceive on some level. If you are not meeting with like-minded people to figure out where we as a species go from here, you had best get started. Time’s a-wasting, as we say hereabouts. This world is shuddering and shifting and moving out–it is up to all of us to decide the human worlds that will inhabit this physical space.
Perhaps we can refrain from the word-bombs and ego-lightning and get on with the reasons we’re actually here.
Something you may find helpful right now is to ground yourself deeply and shield yourself, too. Do all the self-care we’ve been discussing ad infinitem–hydrating, exercise, nutritious food. Holding fast to the good that you are and that you know.
Remember how strong you are and what you have already been through.
We are shaky now, frightened, angry. Go to your altar and renew your daily spiritual practice. Go outside. Remember, remember who you are and where you are, and your golden wild heart. Find your tribe and sit in circle with other tribes, either literal or virtual.
A thought, in love, from your village witch.

And I would offer you solace, as David Whyte defines it:


is the art of asking the beautiful question, of our selves, of our world or of one another, often in fiercely difficult and un-beautiful moments. Solace is what we must look for when the mind cannot bear the pain, the loss or the suffering that eventually touches every life and every endeavor; when longing does not come to fruition in a form we can recognize, when people we know and love disappear, when hope must take a different form than the one we have shaped for it.

Solace is the spacious, imaginative home we make where our disappointment is welcomed and rehabilitated. When life does not in any way add up, we must turn to the part of us that has never wanted a life of simple calculation.

Solace is found in allowing the body’s innate wisdom to come to the fore, a part of us that already knows it is mortal and must take its leave like everything else, and leading us, when the mind cannot bear what it is seeing or hearing, to the birdsong in the tree above our heads, even as we are being told of a death, even as we receive the news, each note an essence of morning and of mourning; of the current of a life moving on, but somehow, also, and most beautifully, carrying, bearing, and even celebrating the life we have just lost. – A life we could not see or appreciate until it was taken from us –
To be consoled is to be invited onto the terrible ground of beauty upon which our inevitable disappearance stands, to a voice that does not soothe falsely, but touches the epicenter of our pain or articulates the essence of our loss, and then emancipates us into the privilege of both life and death as an equal birthright.

Solace is not an evasion, nor a cure for our suffering, nor a made up state of mind. Solace is a direct seeing and participation; a celebration of the beautiful coming and going, appearance and disappearance of which we have always been a part. Solace is not meant to be an answer, but an invitation, through the door of pain and difficulty, to the depth of suffering and simultaneous beauty in the world that the strategic mind by itself cannot grasp nor make sense of.

To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others. Standing in loss but not overwhelmed by it, we become useful and generous and compassionate and even more amusing companions for others.

But solace also asks us very direct and forceful questions. Firstly, how will you bear the inevitable loss that will accompany you? And how will you endure it through the years? And above all, how will you shape a life equal to and as beautiful and as astonishing as a world that can birth you, bring you into the light and then just as you were beginning to understand it, take you away?

And, then, to brace you and re-inspire you, the Ballard Query:

[A]in’t you people got no gods to worship? No holy days to celebrate? No Ancestors to deal with, er I mean venerate? In short — don’t you people have some sacred work to do? Justice work? Environmental work? Community weaving?

We were made for these times.  You are the result of generations of ancestors who lived through the terrible times and survived.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  Take out your comfort basket.  Enjoy beauty.  Hold your beloveds close.  Drink tea.  The struggle will still be here when you come back.  Goddess knows, it ain’t showed much sign of disappearing heretofore.

8 responses to “I Will Not Leave You Comfortless

  1. Dayam, you do produce some damn fine prose for non-pay too.

    Thank you.

  2. Blows kisses to Xan. I do the for-pay prose to buy time for the non-pay. 🙂

  3. Your blog has often served as a part of my comfort basket. Reading this post has given me much solace and inspiration. Thank you.

  4. I agree with Jill – your blog is an important part of my comfort kit. Thank you for putting it all on one post like this! I cried this week for all the awful news everywhere, then I read this and cried again, but party in joy, partly in beauty, partly in cathartic healing, and partly because this gives me great hope and sustains me. Blessed Be.

  5. Agree with Jill. Every single paragraph felt like a healing balm on my soul.

  6. Thank you for every bit of balm that is in this post. Such a collection of heartfelt juju is indeed a gift to us, your readers. I hope you know how much good you do in the world with your words.

  7. Thank you for your words. I am having a hard time dealing with the state of the world right now and your words are a comfort.

  8. Lighting the Beacons — “Hope Is Kindled” from LOTR …..

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