matters of the heart {red as red hawthorn + shadow time}

My four year old daughter, Echo, loves to tell the story of Persephone.  She's actually telling a story about herself, as she claims to be Persephone and will fight her sisters until her thick veins on her neck bulge trying to convince them.  I’ll admit, I shared the story one time last year trying to get her to wear a new black dress I bought.  It was on the fly and it just sorta came out. She was fighting me as I attempted to pull it over her head: Don’t you know? You’re Persephone! The great witch of the Underworld! You need this black dress, and this cloak {wool sweater} and this magic jewel {my red ring} to travel to the Underworld.  I proceeded to tell her a half-assed version of Persephone's journey mixed with the Sumerian Goddess Inanna’s journey plus a bit of my own white-girl random style thrown in cause you gotta make it work when you need it.  It would have been blasphemous really, if it wasn't already pagan...

{{this year's persophone dress is red- which she came to on her own accord.

And so now this is woven into her story. It's the one she loves to tell anyone willing to listen.  And this time of year it's a bigger hit with her, the time of Persephone, the time to get ready, venturing down the path to darkenss.  She is four and preparing {stocking up “food” in her bag, gathering flowers for her journey, collecting books and piling up blankies}.  The other day she asked me Why {besides saving her sister Pomegrante – yes I pulled that one out of my ass} we go to the Underworld, Why there is an Underworld?

I think we go to heal our hearts.

Yes, she said.  We go to heal our hearts.  Why do our hearts get healed there, mama?

She was long gone off to play before I could answer her my truth ::: I don't know.

So instead of talking about it,  we go into the woods.  We gather berries for the journey down.  Every year the girls and I go to the same place, gather from the same tree, Queen Hawthorn, who offers the most perfect red fruits for potions,  the drink of embarking on the journey to the insideworld, the flip side of the sun.  In front of the dark red of the hearth, we do our heart work, our healing, our resting.

We enter the path.  Our hearts might be tired from the solar movements, all that wild energy.  We are ready for Mystery and Quiet.

We see her.  She sees us.  We offer because we know stripping something off and leaving it behind is the only way to bring something new with us. We pull out some hair and leave it, we sit at her base and sing.

Slowly we fill our baskets, careful not to take too much, or take the unripe, or the overly ripe.  There is a slow and steady search with our fingers to find the perfect ones: red like our hearts, ruby like our blood, like creation that isn't going to sleep, but getting the opportunity to gather in for the Night. 

 

The gift is almost too much.  Too bold.  Too obvious.  It's terrifying to know we can be this held in the middle of our hearts, in the middle of the breakage, the bleeding, the cracking.  But the flame is always lit, the red reminds me.

We have prepared our vessel just by emptying it fully. 

 

And knowing the right time to fill someup.  And so we do.  Kerplunk and plop and bounce.

And we infuse with spirit because we honor the dance + struggle between spirit & matter.  It's the merging of those two that leave us lusting for the winter ahead. 

And infusing love inside, upside, all sides.  As only a nine year old can do,  her magic is pure and her heart barely needing any mending. 

And this one, answering the call to Persephone, accepting the walk down under because her heart longs for love and adventure and mystery.  Her heart longs to be seen on the edge of all things.  Her heart is immaculate flame.

So the story here is just to tell them, flared with imperfections and fantasty, shot up with reality and seduction. Just always tell them.  With a simple story of a grand little witch who is also a girl, who is also a heroine, who isn't afraid of the dark, and who loves to get under the covers while the earth freezes over ::  my daughter see's herself, in that story, more clearly.  Stories lead to ritual and ritual leads to more stories.  We tell the stories of the night, the light, the berries and the bark.  The stories of the shift of seasons and the stories of the birds who change their call.  We tell the stories of magic and potions and wandering in the woods to heal, to gather, to share, to create a shrine for our lives, for their lives, for the lives to come.  Because if we don't... who will?

Blessings and cheers as Persephone heads down and her Mama prepares to freeze the Earth with her saddness and longing.  Enjoy the stillness and death, the shadow work that will come.  

Prepare.  Eat.  Sleep. Write.