Goddess bless the old stories. Those marvelous tellings passed down from generation to generation, comfort against life’s difficult truth: that there is pain here where we live; that in this land death has no mercy. These have been hard weeks in the human realm as we have tread through deep sorrow and battled troubling distortions. So yesterday in our dooryard I went looking for Demeter’s daughter, Persephone (1). I wanted her enticing spring song, her mischievous smile, her darting, gleeful energy.
I strolled around our acre, dropped and open. My attention out of my head, opening instead from the grounded place of my sacral and root chakras. Open to sounds and sights and sensations of this tiny eco-system, my land base. Feeling the warm sun on my skin, the gentle pressure of a breeze against one arm. Sighting far into blue, blue skies. Filling my ears with the symphony of bird song, cicadas, peeper frogs, and the buzzing of a newly hatched brood of bees, gentle Italians, Apis mellifera ligustica. Breathing in the rich smell of dank earth and new growth as each footstep squelched into the water-soaked ground.
Persephone’s energy trail was everywhere. She had passed through columbine, lambs ear, butterfly bush and purple lilies, all sprung green, buds expectant. I noticed her touch in the bushy new leaves of the sage and the rosemary, the salvia and mints, the lemon balm and the mugwort. I sensed her presence in the luscious droplets of royal purple flowers called hairy vetch that twine through the winter rye, now over 6’ tall and ready for the scythe.
Her song wound through the carrots and onions, the rainbow chard, the spinach, the lettuces – crooning to life these seedling sentinels now clinging to their hilly desert vantage, peering cautiously over the edge at the water-filled gorges below. I followed where her feet splashed through puddles, stirring the yellow pollen scum floating on top.
Suddenly in my periphery, I saw a huge black shape swoop down to the lawn. The birds in the eastern willows began to screech and caw, surrounding the shape and darting at it. I began to run toward them. Too late and I was screaming “No!” as the hawk lifted, a baby bird in its talons.
I watched as two birds flew after them: taking straight off, wings pumping, struggling to catch-up with the hawk. A mother and father, fighting for their baby, flying after to see it through to the end. And their reaction was so visceral, so sentient and vivid and real and true that I stood there in our dooryard and cried.
When I saw the hawk family circling in that blue, blue sky, I gave them the finger. So childish, I know. Sometimes the hawk must eat. Sorrow and anger, if they are best placed, should lie at the door of that basic truth: that for one to live, another must die.
As I made my way back to the house, I wondered at this aspect of Persephone. For as she is the Maiden, the gentle, spring daughter of Demeter, so too is Persephone the Queen of the Dead. More, it is from the Underworld, place where the dead and the unborn dance together, place of all possibility, that she brings her gift of precious seeds. Persephone, Goddess of Renewal.
And I am certain, then, of two very clear messages from the green realm this week. First, that in this land what is true is that there is a cycle of birth and death and rebirth. Second, that in this land, killing to eat and killing to take a life are two very different acts.
© Jennifer S. and harvestliberty.net, 2012.
(Apologies for missing my usual Friday posting for Gleanings from the Green Realm. It appears my electronics are not immune to Mercury retrograde and I got internet back only this afternoon.)