Change and Water

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Water. Water is our primal force. Our first being. The first atmosphere we are birthed into is a watery place, not air. We are fish. We breathe in the water. We are kept safe in water. Water holds us in a way that earth will more obviously do once we emerge out of the water, into the world, onto the land.

We are evermore drawn to water. Listening to the sounds of water: standing watching the waves on a seashore or walking by streams or rivers. Being held by water: in the bath; swimming in salt or clear water, diving or spending time floating under the surface. This holding in stasis is incredibly healing for us. Maybe because this recreates our first place of safe growth. We are held softly and fluidly as we career through a crazy period of huge growth and change.

Change is usually stressful for us, although it happens all the time. In seven years every cell in our body will replace itself. Slow growth like this, imperceptible to us, is easier for us. It’s the quicker changes that freak us out. We know, even if it’s under the surface and not immediately in our consciousness, even if it’s only bodily that, if we don’t grow, we decay. So, we must grow, and, once we’ve achieved that physically (and, as young people, thrown ourselves into every experience fully) we must also grow on a mental plane. Everything that we go through is there to teach us. All positive experiences as well as more negative ones.

Sometimes growth is physically painful. Just as physical changes can cause us physical pain. There is a parallel process for our emotional journey. At those times of great change, such as puberty or menopause, the body physically pads herself out to soften the strain of great effort, we get physically larger. We get more tired, more often. We crave rest and sleep. We also crave our own space more at these times. The gentleness, the peace, the quiet of our own company. These times include great emotional change as well, but pure emotional change can also have a similar effect. We need to cushion ourselves. We need to seek out the pillow that will help us rest enough to make it through the mental journey. Seek out the places of comfort. Seek out that feeling of being supported, or being held, like being in water. Quiet. Sleep. Wearing pyjamas and comforting clothing. Keeping warm. Sometimes we get destructive on ourselves to relieve the pressure – cut ourselves, squash our feelings down with drink. When really what we are after is comfort, albeit comfort in a kind of escape. But let’s not be too judgemental on ourselves here. Hurting ourselves when we are changing  may give us temporary release but we can’t avoid these changes. They will happen. We cannot really avoid them. Temporary escape/release is possible, as is temporary comfort, but let’s not kid ourselves that we can avoid it. Even though some punishing tick inside of us keeps on trying. Let’s find healthy ways to do this, to cushion our emotional falls, to comfort ourselves when we scrape a psychological knee.

Let us stand full face to the power of change, like standing under the light of a full moon. Your face to her face, embracing whatever change will come. However, let’s also make change less harsh by not drowning in water’s comforting pull. After all, we have now been born. The womb is in a place we can no longer return to. We no longer float in the watery fluid and breathe it in deep. We are bound to the earth now, with the air as our life-giving mistress. We need to seek out those gentle places where we can nurture our growth.

The Last Witch of Pennant Gofid

and then, this marvellous piece of thought work by lorna smithers…

Signposts in the Mist

I journeyed for weeks
through mist and hunger
to find the split rack of her bones,
bones stripped, flesh burnt
and boiled in the cauldron,
blood drained and bottled in two jars.

I plundered the ashes where the cauldron stood,
sniffed for blood where the jars were filled.
Played maracas with her bones,
made intricate arrangements,
chanted and sung
but could not raise her ghost.

“She is amongst the spirits of Annwn now,”
spoke the god I called instead.

“Lay her bones to rest. In the fire of poetry
console her burning spirit.”

***

I’m laying her bones to rest. The Last Witch of Pennant Gofid. Her name was Orddu. It meant ‘the Very Black Witch’. Whether she had black skin, black hair or used black magic seem irrelevant now. All that is left is her scapula split in twain, her shattered pelvis, two arms, two legs, her broken skull…

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