What wild times we are in. New York is renting ice rinks for dead bodies. My client just layed off six good employees. A wise Wild Woman is planning to camp in the woods for the next however many months so she can afford to live. And so and so’s cousin/friend/brother-in-law just died from COVID. And this has happened, is happening, will happen, everywhere. This virus will likely touch everyone, disrupt every corner of our planet, every way of life.
So much change and so much unknown.
I am so afraid to say all the things I feel compelled to say, because I can only say them from privilege. Right now everyone I love is healthy and safe. We have organic kale and avocados and big bags of pinto beans and rice. We have a front porch full of sun where we can wave and talk with neighbors, and a car to take us to wild places with wide paths and space to be wild and alone. We will pay the mortgage this month. (That we even have a mortgage.)
But I promised whatever it is that’s coming into me–the mugwort that kept me up until 3am, the birds and frogs and golden poppies, (I don’t want to be that person who says “download,” but that’s how it feels)–that I would say it. When I was at Putah Creek yesterday with my kids, teaching them about wild radishes, Juniper naked in the creek, Japhie making a seesaw out of an old log on an exposed root, me swimming laps against the current, I felt joy in a way I haven’t in a long time. This is the school I want to give them. This is the simplicity I’ve longed to have.
Business as usual has come to a halt. Change is almost always unwanted and painful. No one, aside form the wisest of witches, is thrilled to pull the Tower in the tarot. And yet, look….the skies above China are clear. Some argue more lives will be saved by the clean air than lost to the virus. And all the flights we’d be taking, all the things in the shut down factories we’d be buying, do we really need them? I’m an overscheduler, overachiever, constantly planning, doing, going, getting, doing. It’s a sick old western world spell that’s needed to be broken, and for now it has been.
For me, it’s as if a wise parent forced me to do what’s really best: slow down, stop your business, pare down, BE with your loved ones, your feelings, be aware this abundance could vanish, these beloveds could die. Be awake and alive. GO OUTSIDE! Don’t go to restaurants, to bars, to work for 40-50 hours, to stores. Strengthen your closest bonds. Write, garden, read, play ukulele. Woman, Sit Still!
And you, wild warrior who is not in the thick of it (those of you in the thick of it, please forgive me. I don’t want to be the friend who tells you while you’re in the thick of it about the wonderful growth in your pain), don’t you feel it too? It’s going to take something this big to break the spell, to let things slow down enough and possibly fall apart enough, for all of us to pause and reflect, “Why am I running around like a crazy person with all this working, doing, buying, while I long for things like presence, creativity, and joy that I can actually have?”
When I was a kid, I loved it when a big storm hit and the electricity went out. We’d light candles, play board games and cook on the wood-burning stove. We’d call everyone we love and shout, “Are your lights out too?!” I was always so sad when all the devices turned back on and things went back to usual.
I don’t want the folks on furlough to remain so, as their savings drain away, or for the virus to stay with us until it’s our own cousin/friend/brother-in-law who’s died, yet I do hope the machinery isn’t back up and running too soon. When I pull away from our personal losses I see the opportunity for a break in the Way Things Are. I see the Tower on fire, burning all that no longer serves us, and I hope the spell is broken long enough for a collective awakening.
My beloved wild human, I pray you are healthy and safe, that you have food to eat, that your loved ones are health and safe, that you can get out into the local wild spaces that are GLORIOUS right now, and I pray that your spell, our spell, is broken, and stays broken. Knowing human nature and history, I imagine we’ll be asked–as we did after 9/11–to go back to business as usual, and we will. I pray we don’t.
For further reading I highly recommend Charles Eisenstein’s recent article The Coronation.
I’m currently getting deep, intimate, and magical with online sessions on Zoom. If you or someone you know needs support, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free 15-20 minute free initial consult.