Yes, there’s some overlap in these recent posts; after all, I’m making it up as I go along. Each early morning with a notebook brings a new set of reflections to add to the soup. Dream-makers, memory-keepers, storytellers – in a sense, they’re all part of the same thing. But they each have different gifts, and each of those gifts is critical at this time in its own unique way.
Dream-making, yes – that’s one part of what’s needed in this crazy, on-the-brink world. But there’s something rather more than that which was nagging at me as I was writing yesterday’s post, and it came to me last night, in the middle of a rather strange but mostly enjoyable young adult book which I’ve found myself reading for reasons I can’t quite remember. Except perhaps that it includes a sort of alternative world in which storytellers are the most powerful characters – which probably appeals to my sense of what might be appropriate in a good, honest utopia of the kind that I’d like to live in. Anyway: the passages I’ve copied below grabbed my attention because they relate to something else I’ve been pondering – and by no means for the first time – in these dark days of midwinter. And that’s how to live well, when the world is crumbling around you, and when most of things that most of your fellow humans seem to care about while that crumbling is happening seem to you to be signs of mass insanity, verging undoubtedly on an increasingly virulent species-wide psychopathy. We don’t need to wait for the zombie apocalypse; we’re living in it right now.
Well, we’re back to caves again. You can’t get too much cave, at midwinter. At this time of year I feel very bear-like, drawn to the warm darkness of my dreaming-cave. It’s a time for dreaming, for sure. For me, this year is a time for dreaming up new stories, letting the voices dream their way into me. It’s a bit of a hibernatory time, curling up in bed for an hour before sleeping with a book that makes me dream of better worlds. It’s a time for incubating dreams of all kinds.
Dog is very much on my mind right now, as our quiet midwinter time has been fractured by a new arrival. With three border collies already in the house, we don’t of course have room for a fourth, I reassured my long-suffering husband a few days ago. (Though there really is plenty of space …) But wouldn’t it be nice to help out MADRA, the utterly brilliant dog rescue centre down the road, by responding to their plea for foster-homes for some of their dogs over the holidays? Our third dog, Jess, is a rescue dog, and she is the most well-adjusted and adoring companion you could ever wish for. Surely we could give another poor rescue dog a couple of weeks of respite?
Do you feel it in your bones? A sense that something has shifted, that the world has turned? The dark is far from over, but it’s no longer rising. Something new is coming; something new is ready to be birthed.
But there you are, still in the darkness; still hunkered down in the cave. And caves, as I wrote in If Women Rose Rooted, are ‘the black, chasmal mouths of the Otherworld; the gateways to transformation – the deep and enduring transformations which are delivered from exposure to the darkest of places. The night-filled, fecund womb-places of the Earth – out of them we are reborn.’
Winter Solstice. Today, at 16.28 GMT. The still point of the turning world. Where the dance is. Will you dance, at 16.28 GMT? I will. I’ve been practicing my still dance, my contradictory dance, my paradoxical dance: my dance that is a dance and yet is a still point at the same time. That’s what I’ve been working on for the past few days. To repeat my Eliot quote from the beginning of all this: