To our Mothers.
We are constantly being drawn into dark places so that we may emerge in the light. From the womb to the tomb, ashes to embryos, birth to earth. The Mother is there at the end and the beginning, because it’s all one thing: our human mother brings us into this plane kicking and screaming, and whether we leave it the same way or slip quietly into the beyond, we return to our collective matriarch, that Earth Mother with whom ancient cultures once
communed in female-centered sacred ritual.
It’s all cyclical, the seasons of the Earth; the seasons of life; the shifting of heavenly bodies and subsequent movement of tides. The rhythms of the body, the things it requires; the movement and bioavailability of flora and fauna; gardens and fields that yield resplendent bounty when loosely held. This knowledge is inherent, embedded in the genetics of all living things; humans have been doing it without having a name, a label, a certification, for thousands of years. Natural, organic, biodynamic, vegetarian, vegan, sustainable, small-farm, small-batch, single-origin, farm-to-table, these terms were unnecessary, because they were simply life. We honored our mothers, methods of sustaining families and whole societies passed down experientially, rarely written, occasionally spoken. In many societies, women and the both-between were not only the spiritual leaders but the knowledge-keepers, each passing season bestowing more prestige; they prepared the remedies for the human condition, their transcendent states and microbial medicines. They were creatives, as a beautiful Cretan restaurant recently told me, in the literal sense of the word, the one that means making life. Devaluing, abusing, or outstripping that which sustained us simply made no sense.
Birth mother, Earth mother, we are all longing to return. The search for the spiritual is the quest for reunification with the Divine Feminine, balanced by the Divine Masculine, as always naturally occurs. Anthropomorphic intervention has upset the scales, and now millions of children are wandering lost, shoving whatever we think might fit into that mother-shaped void in our minds, bodies, spaces, and souls. The cycles now repeated are traumatic re-enactments, nearly 8 billion times over.
The return is the way, and the way out is through—through darkness and pain into the light, and then back again, because that’s how it goes. I am drawn to graveyards and tombs, the museums where the dead things live. But I continually crest the surface of the sentient space: the reflection of shared experience in the eyes of another, the immemorial bonds built by breaking bread. It turns out that I can’t just not create, I was built to be a life-giver, bodies to bodies, whether corporeal or immaterial, I am part of that lineage, and I feel it now.
I have stories inside me, which has been akin to a demonic possession; I feel them rattling my bones and stretching my skin. Not yet grown, but taking shape, and the longer they gestate, the more uncomfortable it becomes. Yet Divine Mothers are surrounding me, and maybe it’s to shift this narrative from demonic possession to heavenly birth. Nurturing what’s inside me, feeding it what it needs, letting each thing incubate as long as it takes to emerge fully formed. Feeling it all, not just the things growing, but my own environment: both the inner and the outer one.
We avoid the feeling part, both individually and as a collective, because that’s where it hurts. The imbalanced, traumatized culture makes it too easy to either disconnect and overanalyze, offering any number of ways to escape the cycle. But it will find you in the end, and that’s the beautiful part, because it means that what you seek is also seeking you. Birth, death, the mother is there, perpetually recycling. There is nothing to fear in any change of state, and what’s beyond is more real than what we call reality with all the labyrinths we’ve constructed: the ruined remains of the once-great Minoan civilization; a modern metropolis covered in cigarette butts and boot-stamped cardboard cups; the dizzying corridors of our own minds.
My next newsletter issue will be about food, and about Crete, but first, I need to let it grow, as all things must do. Bodies exert forces upon one another, objects hurtle through space, breath is drawn and expended. One thing begins and another ends, again, and again, and again.