Last night, I had the privilege of talking with folks about the metaphorical and material power of gardening, of plants, of the powers of weeds, watering, thinning, and composting.
Composting as a metaphor for “putting death in its proper place.” The need for death to feed life. Recognizing that even human death feeds the cycles of life, whether we are embalmed and buried, cremated, or planted with a tree to be fertilizer and amendment for soil.
Loving the Wheel
As an initiate of the Stone Circle tradition of Wicca, I have spent a great deal of time meditating on death and rebirth, on the Wheel as it turns and the Big Picture of which we are all part. In UU circles we talk about “Affirming and promoting respect for the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.”
For me, “respect” is not enough. It is the kiss of life, the kiss of death, the kiss Thorn Coyle calls “The Limitless.” Kisses of love and surrender. Kisses in which I yield, and yet push against reality. I plant roses, knowing that almost certainly the witchgrass, ths bamboo will eventually consume them. For me, it is not the Cross, not the Pentacle, but the Spiral I’d want marking a place associated with my death.
It was last night, though, that I was humbled by the thoughts and insights of others, by the things that I had not considered. Last night, I was privy to the thoughts of others in our Sowing Seeds of Spirit call, and I was delighted by those who came to share with others on that call.
I Will Constitute the Field
I read the poem, “Witchgrass” by Louise Glück, which is written in the voice of a powerful, insistent “weed.” It ends with the following paragraph:
I will constitute the field.
The “weeds”, the witchgrass, the participants pointed out, can be read as the voice of God, the weeds as the children of God—the ones who endure long after we’re gone. Someone else pointed out that the witchgrass can also be read as something we push against, something we fight that we don’t need to fight, but rather accept as part of the order, the disorder of things.
“I will constitute the field.”
Do We not Constitute the Field?
We will not constitute the field. We will come and go and be long gone as our small, conscious selves. The plants, the bugs, they will be here, long, long after our bacteria-colonized guts have rotted into unrecognizable compost. At least, that’s what I hope for.
And yet we will constitute the field. Because we, like everyone else, will give all we are—consciousness, body, soul—to Earth. We are part of Her now, and we will be part of Her then. We are children of Earth and Starry Heaven, after all, both dust and glitter. Both returning to dust, remember, and made of the same things as the life-giving glory of Sun.
We cannot escape the beauty. We cannot escape the brilliance. We cannot escape the glorious Cycle of the Wheel. And I say, as a witch and priestess, that there is no need to escape the Wheel of life and existence. There is no need to stop the Wheel of life, growth, repose, death, and rebirth. There is gorgeousness in death. There is beauty in the tragedies of life.
May we embrace our right and privilege as compost. As the life that must feed death that is necessary for life.
As the full moon wanes and we begin the long, slow darkening in the northern hemisphere toward Yule, let this be a reminder: At the moment we are at our strongest, we are also the flower wilting by the waterside, the rose that begins to be blown and gorgeous in its letting go, and the Light that is giving over, however slowly, to the Dark.
Remember, I am always here to talk about these things with you. To consider death, life, spiritual questions, and discernment of life’s conundrums. Never hesitate to schedule a complimentary half-hour call just to touch base or to respond to something you’ve read. Or just to get to know one another a bit.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay