Hylde-mođer (Elder Mother)

The Little Elder Tree Mother
Ellærn, eller, eldre
Eldrun, hyldor, hylanntree
Hylde-mođer you shall be.

Holding

My tender silver reaching roots
in winter cradle death.
Moulding,
mourning,
moving back.

Icy winds
whirl around my naked branches.
Black crows sail across the sky.
At night a million tiny moons
glitter in the snow drifts.

Quickening

The wind shifts
and the sun warms my branches.
My sap softens
and moves through me in a tickle of delight.

The flowing up
eases my holding.

Blooming

A ruffled feathered sparrow alights
in my branches
and calls to her sisters.
They chatter.
My leaves unfurl.

I am white blossom bliss.
Each a tiny peak of pleasure.
I tremble in delight,
gladly offering my innocence to the pollinators who
court me again and again.
My winter dreams are
carried off
on their wings.

Growing

Through the heat
and glorious warmth,
my white petals flutter and fly
like tiny winged ones.
They leave behind anchored green nubs
that grow and expand
and slowly reach into the darkest of pink red fingered stems
that end in green that turns to purple blue.

An anxious hummingbird flits by each day
to check their progress.
The cicadas sing.
The sun is regal and relentless.

Flowing

My plump purple baby berries
are staining,
draining,
dripping
from the beaks of cedar waxwings,
finches and flickers.

I am giving and giving as mothers do
all my love and labour
in that purple berry blood.
I collapse again and again
into the fullness of giving.
Mothering in the mercy
and the mourning
of the holding and the nestling
and the nurturing
and the letting go.

Returning

The winds begin to fly again.
Autumn tangles my branches.
My leaves spiral and fly.

A flock of busy grackles
come to feed on the last of my berries.
They are all I have left.

And when they are gone
I am content to settle.
For once again,
the deep dark ground is calling to me
of endings
in beginnings
and beginnings
in endings.

 

The elder was deeply honoured by Celtic cultures and chosen by the Druids as the sacred tree to rule their thirteenth and final moon. Elder was used by extensively by village hedge-witches for all its parts are rich and potent–leaves, flowers, berries and bark.

The elder speaks to us of regeneration and the power of the life force. The elder mother, or Hylde-mođer as she was called in Old Saxon reminds us of the never-ending cycle of life, death and rebirth, bringing power and hope at as the wheel of the year turns.

Image: Arthur Rackham. Illustration for Little Elder Tree Mother by Hans Christian Anderson

Crone Mother at Calan Gaeaf

goddess of the western isleNow Winter is calling her.
The Western Gates are open,
And once again she stands in liminal space.
Not spinning, not weaving, not wondering.

She peers into the indigo depths ahead.
Straining to see in blackness that confuses her open summer eyes.

She pulls up her hood as shelter from the light,
And tentatively leans forward.
Still not sure if she wants to let go of the amiable warmth of summer.
She feels unclothed, light and airy,
Her diaphanous dress floating above the still green ground,
So full of light, so full of air,
Not ready to sink into the murky depths ahead.

She awkwardly and cautiously reaches forward,
And like the heliacal rising of Venus
she begins to shine as an evening star,
Brightest and retrograde, before her descent
and her triumphant rise again to the heavens.

Taking a deep breath
She pauses to seek the blessing of her Gods and Ancestors.
She whispers a prayer for those who have gone before
And those who will follow.
She blesses and purifies herself.

She allows herself to consider the infinite possibilities that lie ahead.

And as she stares, she can see the space between the light and the dark.
No,
She IS the space between the light and the dark.

She is the Goddess Inanna
Remembering a time when her confidence was strong,
And (not one to be taken by Hades),
It is she who chooses to descend into the darkness
and willingly offer her seven most treasured possessions.
From her root she offers her stability
And moving along her chakras she offers compassion, confidence and deepest love
Her voice, her vision and finally from her crown she proffers the deepest depth of her spirit.

And once again she is riding the edges of her dreams and goals.
She is navigating the world between normal and no man’s land
Stepping into her darkness,
Her soul a shining star in the heavens.

Image: Goddess of the Western Isles by Iain Lowe

And this:

Eclipsing

Milkweed pod

The milkweed pod splits in my hands.
And silky white seed tails scatter through my fingers and across the meadow.
Floating.
I watch as they are caught by a gust
and carried above the quivering yellow goldenrod spires,
Around the dusty green seeded nettles,
And over the chokecherry bushes along the Jock River’s edge,
Branches drooping, heavy with purple berries.

Yes, I have been eating them.
For six or seven weeks now,
haven’t got sick once.
Probably keep us both alive. 

Did the needle on the album skip?
What is that slightly off-center sense of second guessing?
What is that high-pitched buzz?
Is it the menacing whine of the wasps that hover around the white sweet clover
Like tiny little drones that threaten the innocent white blossoms?
Is it the incessant sound of the bluebottle flies
Swirling stupidly and endlessly around a discarded blue poopbag
plopped on the ground at the edge of the path?
Or is it the harmonic hum of suburban air conditioners in the distance
that makes me feel that the roots of my upper back molars are pushing up through my cheekbones?

There is a retrograde.
And an eclipse is coming.
In Leo, no less . . .
(the ego–
dear gods that ego–
is so hot; it shines down on me,
burning my skin
and makes me want to flatten myself face down on the dry hard dirt path of this long hot summer.)

And everything is veering slightly off center again.
My neurons are clicking, but
There is no steady beat to hold on to.
The edges of my thoughts are sharp
and the shrill sound behind my eardrums is piercing.

What is normal?
What is safe and sound and will anchor me to the ground?
What is that tension circling my heart,
and that sinking feeling in my stomach?
What is that steady strident ache behind my eyes?

Is it the eclipse effect?
Am I stationed between the silent dark black moon
and the massive burning summer sun,
pressed from both sides as the dark and the light slowly advance
towards me and
through me and
then swirl together as the planet Mercury dives into retrograde?

I turn my face up to the sky.
I try to look away but I cannot help but watch the black moon move across the face of the blinding sun.

The dark and the light merge.

And in that split second everything changes.
My electrifying ego lets me go
and I am able to escape.
And ride with the tiny wisps of the milkweed seeds
Down the steep river bank and into the cool flowing river.

Milkweed pod image source: unknown

Crone Mother at Calan Mai

Ode to LiminalityNow Summer is calling her.
And she is leaning into that liminal space.
Not spinning, not weaving, not wondering.
Standing sentient, on this holy day.

She stares at the limitless light ahead.
Squinting her sensitive winter eyes.
Pulling her cloak more tightly around her.

She reluctantly raises her tiny foot to take a step forward,
Not sure if she wants to let go of the comforting depths of winter.
Not ready to walk through the fire
before she leaps into the dizzying height and heat of summer.
She feels helpless; heavy and weak.
Her bones crack; her joints creak; her muscles ache.
She stands old and alone.

And so, taking a deep breath,
She pauses to seek the blessing of her Gods and ancestors.
She whispers a prayer for increased fertility and good health for her land and her tribe.
She blesses and purifies herself.

And she allows herself to consider the possibilities that still lie ahead.

She awkwardly kneels down and begins to rub two oak branches together
until the sparks fly
and catch in the kindling of nine sacred woods.
Her breath feeds the flame;
Her fire begins to burn.
And she can feel the music play within her witch’s soul.

She struggles to stand, and looking ahead
She can see the space between the dark and the light.
No,
She IS the space between the dark and the light.

She steps cautiously and moves forward through the flames.
Remembering a time when her muscles were strong and lean
And she raced faster and faster,
Chasing her seed.
Swishing through the dry grasses — a greyhound chasing a hare;
Slipping and sailing through the waters — an otter chasing a fish;
Soaring boundless though the air — a hawk chasing a sparrow.

She is riding the edges of her dreams and goals;
She is navigating the world between normal and no man’s land.
And so she steps into the light
Her mind pregnant with possibilities.

Inspired by: http://paganbloggers.com/breathofninemaidens/blog/2017/05/01/beltane-portal-of-transformation/

Image source: http://www.durgabernhard.com/item.php?type=poster&id=37

The waters within me

How do I let you flow?

The watery tears of my sorrow, my heartbreak, my grief?

Shall I reject you as I have been rejected?

Or shall I bottle you up and contain you?

 

I need tissues, I need toilet paper, I need napkins, I need pads.

I need something to block the flow of this sorrow from me. . . plug it up. . . stop it.

What about meds?  Where are the meds I need to stop this grief?

Is there an app? Invent me something that will stem the flow!

Please stop this flow of water from me.

 

Let me hold it in.

Block it, stop it.

Let it fill me until I explode and my waters run out of me,

down my face,

onto my clothing,

onto my keyboard,

off the desk,

soaking the upholstery of my chair,

creating a dark stain on the carpet that just flows and grows until my waters rise above me and short out my technology and leave me floating.

Like a dry brittle leaf.

 

Poem

I can feel the words rise up from my soul.

At first formless and nameless.

They flow through my heart and my psyche,

Into and around my thoughts.

They pause and take shape before

They slip out through the gap between my fingers and this page,

Humming a language of love and longing.

Sounding like blue and purple and heather grey,

They feel like water as they float and drift around me

Weightless and yet heavy with beautiful truths

That I cannot turn away from

Even if I wanted to.

Zombie Walk in October

Shuffling along a broken path,
Arms swaying limply,
Matted hair hanging around her face.

She trudges from emptiness to emptiness.
Bereft of pattern.
Lost without purpose.
Lonely without comfort.
Empty of reason.

She finds nothing to nourish her soul
As she moves into, around and through.
Within and without,
Over and under, outside and in.

She cracks branches and bumps against tree trunks
Deep in a forest that is empty of perception.
Stumbling and shuffling,
Grunting and grumbling,
Her heavy feet dragging step by step.
Moving ever forward through lifeless leaves and brittle bracken
Littered on the ground below.

Her heart is empty and yet she is full of selfish sorrow.
Mumbling and moaning as she is swayed by forces
That buffet and push her in another direction,
And then
She hears a sound or catches a light in the distance
And turns to move towards it before it flickers out
Or is snuffed by the will of another.

On and on she trudges and turns and stumbles and drifts
Ever moving, ever shifting in
A state of unknown and unknowing.

She is empty.
She is struggling in the darkness of her soul.
Slowly moving from one earthly matter to the next
With an empty passion that is so full of naught
That it is easily shifted by the desires and the wills of others

She is tired. She is rotting.
She is ready
to find a glade where she can pitch forward on the soft moss
crashing down to hit the earth below her,
solid and safe, warm and still.

A place
Where she can settle
To listen to the whisper of the leaves
As they turn to face the sun,
As they grow from bud to leaf to green to yellow to orange and then
Fall on the ground around her,
On top of her,
Covering her
In their comforting decay.