Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Love Letter

I have been thinking lately about the direction my life is going.  As a Crone you do that a lot.  You realize that you have far more years behind you than in front of you.  This knowledge gives you pause and you find yourself thinking about all sorts of ideas and things that you might never think about normally.

With weddings and births coming up my thoughts have turned to family (see posting "Life, Changes and Everything - July 12th).  I recently sent an e-mail to my older brother (also a blogger - The Geezer's Guide to Life) that had an attachment of quite a number of photos of the Los Angeles area taken in the 1940's and 50's.  He responded, waxing poetic about his childhood in Southern California.  All these thoughts reminded me of my childhood and how our views of them are so very different.  While my brother loved his, I hated mine.

We grew up in a rural part of a state that has a predominate religion.  My parents were not "good members" of the church and that spilled over on us as children.  I'm not sure if this caused my brother any problems but it did me.  I can remember being excluded from classroom activities because I wasn't "good", having children tell me that they couldn't play with me, and while the rest of the class went across the street to a private home for bible reading I had to sit in the Principal's office.  I grew up with no friends, feeling excluded.  I know this is why I have such a distaste of  organized religion  and those who proselytize.

I am a middle child and unfortunately conform to that stereotype.  I am a mediator,  I compromise and I have always given up things that I want in order to maintain peace and harmony in the family.  I was a good girl, I took the classes my parents suggested rather than the classes I really wanted, I didn't go out but stayed home to help, I didn't go to dances or the prom as I knew it would cost too much money.  Like my brother I gave up hopes of college because I knew my parents could not afford it.

I was never ME!  I hid who I was, what I thought, what I believed, what I wanted.  Once I was on my own I married, had a child and divorced.  Then I spent everything, physical, monetarily, emotionally on my child.  While I have absolutely no regrets about this at all, I once again left "ME" behind in order to do the right thing.

I don't want anyone to think that I'm complaining because I'm not!  I realize now as a Crone that everything I did was my own choice.  As a child though, especially one who has a natural tendency to be quiet and compromise I honestly didn't think I did.

So, now we come down to the point of this posting.....a love letter.  

I love my husband (Himself). 

Dear Love,

You have given me the courage and support to be ME.  You may not like some of the things I do, you may not understand them, but you still have always been there for me and I can not express how great of a gift that is.

I know you may not approve of me getting tattoos (even if you secretly love them!), they are a rebellion against all that I was.  I am celebrating in ink and blood all that I had always wanted to be and have now become because of your love!  I never went to dances as a teenager, but now, because of your love, as a Crone, I belly dance with a sword balanced on my head.

I have the freedom to BE and I love the wild free woman that with your help I have become.  I can look into the mirror and see my silver hair and wrinkles and love who I am...all because you love me.  I only hope that my love has given you what you need in your life.

Le Petite Crone says:  You are never too old to write a love letter!



Friday, July 26, 2013

Sharp Pointy Things

I love sharp pointy things, I always have.  I have a love and passion for swords and knives.  I know my fascination for bladed weapons comes from my father.  He was a U.S. Marine and one of my most treasured mementos from him is his K-Bar fighting knife.  As a young girl (6 or 7 years old) I would sit for hours listening to him tell me his (sanitized) war experiences from the Pacific and Korea.  As I grew older the sanitized version slowly morphed into the more accurate stories.  Even as a child though, he didn't shield me from too much of the truth.  I knew knives and swords could kill, but they could also keep you safe.

  I loved to sit and watch my Dad sharpen all his knives.  To sharpen a knife by hand takes talent.  It's an art that very few people can really master.  My Dad had the touch, and he passed on his passion for a razor sharp blade to my Son who also has the touch.  I however am just passable, good enough to keep my kitchen knives usable but no more.  There is something mesmerising about the hiss and rasp of a blade lightly sliding along an oiled whet stone.  You enter into an almost magical trance, your fingers becoming one with the blade, you breath in time with your passes of the blade.  It's relaxing and energizing all at the same time.

As an adult I started collecting swords and knives, I even belly dance with a sword.  Many cultures around the world all  have their own version of a sword dance from the Orient to Africa, Scotland and the America's. 

A sword or knife seems magical to me as they contain all four elements: air, water, earth and fire.  All of the elements are forged into one life giving, life taking, symbolic, mystical creation.  Swords represent transition, power, leadership, rank and sovereignty.  The queen or king creates a knight by tapping him upon the shoulder with a sword.  Arthur was king with the help of the magical sword Excalibur!  Officers in almost every military carry swords as a symbol of rank.  Of course swords and knives are also quite phallic in nature and many believe that this is the only symbolic nature of blades.  The act of cutting or stabbing with a blade can also be looked at as a metaphor for the act of creation with the phallus and the blood.  You create death from life or save a life by creating death.

In alchemy the sword is a symbol of purification, the metaphorical sword cleanly piercing the spiritual soul of man. This symbolic action sacrifices physical bondage to release a path to ethereal or enlightened freedom.

In the the Celtic tradition the sword is associated with the god Nuada, the first king of Tuatha De Danann. In fact, Nuada's great sword is considered one of the four Celtic treasures (sword, stone, spear, and cauldron). Nuada was associated with the supernatural forces of the underwater realm.  Archaeologists have found many ancient Celtic swords under water. These may be offerings to Nuada made by the ancient Celts honoring him by passing their broadswords into the waters; effectively insuring that the power of Nuada would run through their own veins.

This is a very powerful statement as Celtic swords were considered to be an extension of their being. To release such an intensely personal, valuable and meaningful object was indeed an honor. Nuada was said to recognize this sacrifice and live long within the hearts of men who recognize his nobility with this sacrificial gesture.  Could this be the origin of the sword Excalibur being raised from the waters by The Lady of the Lake?

The swords of central and northern Africa are deeply symbolic of transition. The quillons (cross guard on the hilt) of swords were designed so that one side turns heavenward, the other side turns earthwards. This is symbolic of the powerful connection between sky and earth, and further solidifying the symbolism of life and death.

In China dreams of swords indicate birth gender. It is believed that dreaming of a woman drawing a sword from water indicates the birth of a son. Many swords together or dancing swords in a dream indicates the dreamer is experiencing a fear of limitation and or avoiding death issues

Many swords are given names in order to honor the spirit of the blade.  This holds true especially with the Samurai Sword.  There is something truly mystical about Samurai Swords.  A traditionally forged sword may take years to create and is priceless.  The ore is hand mined, sorted, purified (but only so much).  The ore melted in fire driven to just the right heat by hand pumped bellows.  The metal is formed, beaten, bent, and folded thousands of times.  

Two different qualities of metal are used in the sword, one softer and more flexible the other stiffer.  The sword must be strong yet able to bend.  When the sword is ready the straight blade is plunged into icy water, the different qualities of metals cooling and shrinking at different rates causing the blade to slowly bend into it's distinctive delicate curve.  If any step in the process was incorrect at any point the blade is defective and perhaps years of work will be for nothing.

The blacksmith was an honored profession in many cultures.  Here was a man who could harness the elements and create a thing of use and beauty.   His work was vital to the survival of the community or tribe.  What he did was akin to sorcery and you can see that reflected in folk tales, poems and images throughout time. 

 Knives weren't always created from metal - I am lucky enough to own two obsidian blades (both have new hilts).  These blades combine all of the elements as well - created in the volcanic depths of the earth, cooled by the air and rain then crafted by hand into weapons.

I often hold these blades and wonder who created them, where did the stone come from, what history have these beautiful creations seen?

I know it seems strange for an old Crone like myself to wax poetic over a weapon.  I am a creation of my upbringing and like a sword tempered by my age.  I can see and appreciate the beauty, history and mystical nature of swords and knives.  I love them!

Le Petite Crone says: En Garde!   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Life, Changes and Everything

  I've been remiss in posting to my blog.  No excuse, just life getting in the way and a large dose of being lazy.

There has been a great deal going on recently that has taken my attention as well as that of my beloved spouse "Himself".  Life on "The Peninsula" is interesting even when things are slow.

The weather has finally changed from Winter to Summer...well at least for what passes as summer here.  The days usually start out foggy, misty and cool and even if the sky turns that odd shade of blue we so seldom see it rarely gets above 70 degrees.  Himself and I finally removed the flannel sheets from our it must be Summer!

We have some major life changes happening to our family.  

We will be celebrating our daughter's wedding in August.  Himself gets to walk her down the aisle.  He is having all the appropriate fatherly pangs lamenting the loss of his little girl.  It's hard for a Dad to realize that he won't be the primary male in his baby's life anymore. 

Our son and his wife are expecting their first child in September.  This will be our fourth grandchild but the first grandchild by blood for Himself.  Another notch in his "Am I getting older?" belt I'm afraid.

You will survive My Love!  I promise!

Our other son and his family are thinking of moving to the mid-west.  This will take them much further away and make our being able to visit difficult.  We feel that we don't get to see them as often as we'd like as it is.

All of these things are normal life changes that everyone goes through at one time or another.  Marriages, births, leavings.  It's what life is made of.  The ceremony, celebration and acknowledgement of the change is what holds a family, community, and society together.  They are important and vital.

There are other changes that happen that are worth recognizing, acknowledging and  perhaps even celebrating.  The changing of the seasons, the cycle of life in my flock of crows, the change in my own body to crone.  Revelations and new found clarity in my spiritual path.  A friend discovering a vital new element in hers. 

It's taken me years to learn how to slow down and enjoy my life.  I still have to occasionally remind myself that it's OK to do so. 

Le Petite Crone says:  Don't let life get in the way of living!