I have been ruminating on the idea of flowing water, and the elements in my existence and practice a lot over the last couple months.
Last week, I had the incredible opportunity of shadowing on the labor and delivery unit. The idea of water took on new life for me in those moments. The waters of life, literally, the bag of waters; surrounding, nourishing, and protecting our young. I have tried to keep my passion for women and children away from my blog, because I don’t want others to feel that I am anti-man, or anti-anybody in my sentiments, but it is hard for me to keep my mother-loving to myself.
We decided to go for a little day trip, my son, fiancé and I, which included smores and a hike to this waterfall. Of course, pictures do little justice. I stood in awe, the mist of the roaring water tickling my skin. “Water is life-giving, and destructive,” I said aloud to my family. The usual nod in my direction occurred, but the realization was felt deep in my bones.
I have been through much in my young life, and in my desire to stand tall against the abuses, and against abusers, and to give voice to other women who struggle or have struggled; I have tried to find solace in an archetypal understanding of goddess which focuses on death.
If you have been here long enough, you know that I have a special love of death as a concept, and it is often an undercurrent to the aesthetics of my choice. (Here is a witchy ramble about my feelings on death, if you’re curious: Darkness and Death In Craft)
In the lessons I have learned with the dying over the last three years, I felt that my move into a new specialty was a betrayal of my values, somehow. That by choosing the life-giving end of the spectrum, that I was no longer being an advocate for the death end of the spectrum; which I felt so passionate about. I felt that moving deeper into an understanding of a water goddess like Danu, that I was moving away from my understanding of the Lady of Death. I felt that I was betraying myself.
But, ah, as ever, the universe speaks, does it not?
Water is life and death. The universe is building up and breaking down. I am giver and if necessary, destroyer. There is strength in giving life- in appreciating and loving life, and in appreciating the thread of death which exists in it, and makes it all the more worth my while. Perhaps, to understand life and water, you have to understand death and drowning. The Lady of Death, and the Mother of Water, to me, have shown themselves as facets of the same divinity: the cycle of existence.
Ultimately, the lesson I have learned this week is this: all that is, exists in the grey area. Nursing had started to teach me that lesson a few years ago, but now, the lesson echoes in my bones. There is no extreme, and trying to fit ourselves into that type of rigid box is futile at best.
In embracing water, I embrace the nature of life and death, and the ebb and flow that rocks me between the two. My inner Queen of Cups raises her glass to me in acknowledgement. Yes, child of earth and water, you have learned.