The Big Thawstarts with a tricklewater running through silenceas innocous as breath, a slight relaxationat corners of the mouth.Just when winter has become a habit,an old coat the sun peels off with a touch.Your foot leaves a signature in new mud, shiny as a new skinor fresh, primed canvas.You notice a blade of grass:green, defiantly green.Inhale, you take your coat offa crocus opensin the blue irisof someone's glance.
So I took the day off. I remember many times when the Equinox was celebrated with large groups of people, in rituals many of which I organized or hosted or collaborated on. Now, I live very quietly indeed in a little town that (at night) really does seem to fall off the edge of the world into some starry pool of the galaxy......and I must celebrate the Equinox alone. It's been a hard winter, a winter of composting so many layers of the lives I've had. So what calls now, what weaving to begin or join if I can, as the world wakes up? What is needed, what is possible?
Here, on this auspicious day, I offer a prayer for my brother, Glenn Greene Pillsbury. Thank you for what you've taught me Glenn, for travelling down the roadways of this life with me in the ways that we have. May you forgive me for all the ways that I failed you, did not understand, was unkind, understood so little. May you be truly at peace now, healed, reborn. It is strange to be thinking of death on the first day of Spring, but that is what is. Death and Life are always joined, yin and yang, Persephone's journey.
Last year it was my privilege to teach a 5 day class at Kripalu, and in the class was Ilana Stein, a professional midwife from NY. Ilana had a serious illness, and was thin from chemo, but luminous in the work we shared. When we tranced to begin our mask work, she had a vision of a white Goddess who came to her, dancing before her in gestures of "gathering" and "offering", an infinity sign. Ilana made a wonderful mask to wear in honor of that vision, and, syncronistically, another member of the group, who was a professional ballarina, had brought a white dancing dress with her. She spontaneously offered it to Ilana..........and it fit her perfectly! Ilana passed away in September - but I have always felt that her poem, and vision, was an extraordinary gift to all of us present. I copy it again below.
Gather and Offer
by Ilana Stein
Gather towards the North
Gather towards the South
Gather towards the East
Gather Above, gather below and gather the great Mystery
Gather what you’ve studied
Gather what you’ve learned
Gather how you’ve lived, and gather what you’ve earned.
Gather what you’ve loved and gather what you’ve lost.
Gather what you’ve soiled and gather what it’s cost
Gather what you’ve wasted and gather what you’ve saved
Gather what you’ve shopped for and gather what you’ve tasted
Gather who your friends are and gather how they’ve cared
Gather your relations and gather how you’ve fared
Then Gather birth and celebrate, gather death and cry
Gather hope, regret and longing and gather up the why
Gather up the waiting, gather struggles, gather challenges.
Gather all the goals you’ve met and gather up the bravery
Gather faceless fear and all the broken promises.
Gather yesterday today, and gather time tomorrow
Gather what you’ve ruined and gather when you’ve failed.
Gather up the personal and gather up the frail
Gather up the culture and gather up the myths
Gather all the songs you’ve sung, and all expressive art
Gather dances gather dreams and gather up your heart
Gather in the garden and gather at the beach.
Gather on the mountain and gather what’s in reach
Gather in the workplace, and gather on the roads
Gather in the home you’ve made and gather all you kin
Gather your impatience, your frustration and your greed.
Gather up the words you’ve said and gather what you need.
Gather up your journey and all the time you’ve spent
Gather up your courage and walk inside your tent.
Gather up your secrets and and gather up your wisdom
Gather what you’ve forgotten
Gather what you’ve meant.
Gather faith and Reverence
Gather truth and and gather lies,
Gather secrets great and small
Gather wisdom of the ages and wrap them in your shawl
Gather sickness, Gather health gather tenderness and rage
Gather all your stories and gather on the stage
Gather up your gatherings, and stir the basket’s bounty
Gather all remaining threads and search across the county
Look out among the human beings, look out among relations
Then offer up your gatherings to all nations and creations
Offer to your children and offer to your kin
Offer to the hungry, to the needy and the grim
Offer to the blessed and offer to the prim
Offer to the kings and queens the princess and princesses
Offer to the beggars, paupers, jesters and priestesses
Offer to the little birds the chipmunks and the deer
Offer to the badger, mole, the frogs, and yes the bear
Offer to the green spring shoots, the white and yellow crocus
Offer to the budding trees the bushes and the rushes
Offer to the sand and mud the concrete and the buildings
Offer to the cook and maid the seamstress and the butler
Offer to the farmers - offer to the farm
Offer to the doctors and offer for no harm
Offer to the visionaries offer to the artists
Offer to the frightened, offer to the scared
Offer to the endangered and to the unprepared
Offer to the hurting, offer to be healed,
Offer to your neighbor and offer to the field
Offer grace and offer peace offer possibility
Offer privilege trust and faith
Offer gratitude amazement wonderment and awe
Offer loving kindness, compassion, joy and love
Offer up your story, offer honor and integrity
Offer for community Offer your vulnerability
Offer what you’ve learned and offer what you have
offer what you know
Offer what you’ve shared
Offer both your ears, your shoulders and your tears
Offer all you’ve gathered, offer all your cares
You’ve gathered through the springtime,
the summer and the fall.
And you’ve offered season’s greetings without going to the mall.
Now rest and build your strength up.
Cycle with the moon.
Cycle through the mystery time.
Close your eyes and sleep.
Dream the dreams of where you’ve been.
Dream of where you’re going –
Dream of where you’re going –
dream the dream that dreamers dream.