Ceridwen’s Gift (Samhain, 2013)

(copyright Will Worthington)
All this was a long time ago, I remember, 
And I would do it again, but set down

This set down

This: were we led all that way for

Birth or Death?  There was a Birth, certainly,

We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death

But had thought they were different; this Birth was

Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

From The Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot


Speak the word with voice, not just your mind.
Look upon it.
Play with it.

It is to be feared less than Life.

Some believe in only one god, a promise of life which comes after life, which defeats Death, as if they would also defeat Life.

Some believe in no gods, and no life after life, no life after death, only death and the mystery of Life.

I believe in gods.  I’ve been called by One who means Death– Death, which is Life, which is again Death then Life.
Her cauldron is never still.

Death is coming for a matriarch, and this is a great sorrow.  But in her face I saw the crone look out, reminding me to tend Her cauldron.

Death came for a patriarch, a life lived in suspension, in expectation of a peaceful life after work.  The tending was done before he’d finished, before he’d finally lived.
This was his lesson to me.
This is Her lesson to us.

Death came for an ancestor, death by his own hands, escape from a life unresolved.
She drowns children, She calls from the sea which is the womb of all life.
We crawled aeons before from Her salt tears to the rim of Her cauldron.
Some of us crawl back into the ocean, summoned or pulled or chased.

Death comes for others so quickly, so close to what seemed the dawn that we rage.
We foam like Her waves, we scream at and through Her moon.
We try to pull it down to understand, we try to blot it out, and all the while,
we stir Her cauldron.

Death will come for me some day, but this is less hard than what comes between Death.

Death is the water of life.
It is our food, fed upon life cut down with scythes or blade, ripped from earth and plucked from branch.
It clothes us in skin no longer covering flesh, it warms us by mirthful hearths.
It runs our machines which run us into other lands, which will one day run us under a dying earth.

There is no sense to Death, except as the shape, the shadow, and the light of Life.
How can we see Life without its end?
How can we whet desire without its loss?

In love is Death.
What was, goes away, dies, clears for new life.

In Death is love, and this is not strange–
But beautiful, Her pale face
gazing upon the life she birthed with death,
the life she fed,
life cradled in her crescent arms,
her silvered sharpened scythe.


Death and Life dance in Her cauldron
and I think
Life is the greater Mystery.


Do not shun Her gift.


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