Last night, I was inspired (by Woodpecker, no less) to hold an off-the-cuff Fire Ceremony. Part of the message I felt that Woodpecker was trying to impart to me was that I should become more free and active with my drumming, rattling and ceremony. I have begun collecting rattles of many shapes and sizes—I have a goddess rattle and a hand-carved ceramic raven, a hummingbird, and others. But for all that I have been collecting these things, I am still inhibited and guarded about using them.
It’s not so much that I feel silly doing it anymore…but I’ve developed an irrational fear of someone hearing or seeing me rattling by the fire and thinking I am crazy. I honestly don’t know why that should matter. I don’t usually give a rat’s ass what other people think about me. But this is a hurdle I slam up against more often than not, and I think the Almighty is telling me to Get Over It.
Back to last night’s fire. My intention was to honor the first full moon after the Equinox—so would you call this an Equinox Fire? And I wanted to open my spirit more fully to the presence and influence of natural spirits—bird, animal, air, tree. I don’t know what I expected to happen at my fire last night. I guess I kind of wanted a bird or animal spirit to appear to me. But what I got, as I rattled and focused on the gentle face of the moon (it seemed to me she was nodding ever-so-slightly to the north, and her lips were pursed as if she were chanting a wordless “oooooohhh, ooooooooooohhh”) was a message. A thought. An admonishment.
“You have too much stuff.”
An interesting and not all that unexpected revelation. And certainly true enough.
All this conflict going on in my head, lately, about needing to be employed, not wanting to be employed, not really needing to be employed… I keep thinking, “I am bored, I need something to do.” And yet the Almighty has set before me many things to do, but I can’t seem to recognize them as actual Things To Do. They bear so little resemblance to my definition of Something To Do that I am helpless to formulate even a feeble approach to them.
What I am being told to do are things like, “Slow down. Listen. Sit. Breathe. Seek. Discern.” The directions are clear, in the back of my mind somewhere. But, all my life, these have been the things you do when you’re done doing everything else. And it seems, though I’m not working or doing anything I would have formerly described as worthwhile, I still believe I have to finish with everything else before I get to slow down, listen, sit and breathe.
Those last few days I spent out in the woods, just me and the dog and my little camp to worry about, I finally got an inkling of why, since we closed the restaurant, I’ve been beset by this nearly constant need to get away. Alone in the woods, surrounded by things which much more closely resembled the bare essentials than what clutters and fills my “normal” life, I found time. Time to do what I’m beginning to understand are the really important things: write, read, have a ceremonial fire, rattle and meditate.
On any given morning, I hop out of bed with all sorts of good intentions to tend to my intellectual and spiritual life. But, oh…I have to make the bed. Wipe down the vanity. Straighten the closet. Collect laundry. Vacuum the upstairs. Make coffee. Make breakfast. Sew on this button. Plan dinner. Start laundry. Sort through these old papers. Pull these weeds. Clean up this dog poop. Sweep up the cat litter. Scrub the sink. Empty the dishwasher. Call the fireplace guy. Deal with the car insurance. Et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.
It never stops. It’s a full time job, and then some, just to deal with all the stuff in my life. And if I got a job, all that busy-ness would simply go on the back burner (where it has simmered for most of my working life) to be dealt with when I got the time. So the idea of Sitting and Listening and Breathing as actual things to DO are about as foreign to me as going out and spearing a whale and toting home a piece of blubber for dinner. Totally outside my frame of reference.
Hence, the message: You have too much stuff. Too many distractions. Too many meaningless objects that drag your attention, your spirit, away from where it needs to be.
I related this to the husband this morning, and he said to me, “So now what do we do? Sell the house, get rid of all our stuff…?”
I interrupted him before he could get a full head of steam.
“No…maybe not that. But I guess it means, for one thing, that I shouldn’t go about acquiring more…” Do not for one moment think that this was not a difficult pronouncement for one whose favorite form of recreation is shopping.
Too much stuff. It is true.
Now I just have to figure out what to do with it all.