I showed up early and placed my tent in a most inaccessible spot well away from any other campsite. It would turn out to be a lot of extra walking and my legs were already beginning to feel the burn. I had learned the day before that the event I was attending was also to be attended by "him" and I was a nervous wreck.
I waited in the guest house hanging out with my hostess who promised to be my support should I need it if a conflict arose.
Conflict that is what I expected and I was terrified of it. I had tried not to let my imagination run away with me but never the less I had envisioned all sorts of anger and nastiness from this person. I was tense and stressed and the group finally had dinner together but this person didn't show up until the last minute. Watching them from the corner of my vision I kept myself in low profile, my eyes averted hoping to avoid any 'scene'. They came in and hugged all their friends and avoided me as much as I avoided them.
Earlier that afternoon I had volunteered to help with the ritual, but at this moment all I wanted to do was crawl back and hide in my tent. We all gathered at the edge of the circle, received a sage blessing from our hostess and took our place around the circle. Our Priest called the group to attention explained our purpose here at the fire; to find balance in ourselves in this season through the elements. We were to walk this marvelous 4 spiral labyrinth and seek the guidance of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. He then turned and called in Air we all did, then my turn, I called in Fire, we all did, then Water then Earth. Once the spiral began I was to begin the chant, I was so nervous I could barely breathe, I could hardly sing, my voice felt like ash in my throat, my stomach was in knots. I had to pass this person over and over as we wended through the spirals. I kept my eyes on my feet and thus got reprimanded later for being hard to hear.
Finally we were set adrift to circle the fire or drum as desired. I was rooted at the edge unable to brave my way to dance or even walk the circle. Finally I just sat, the ash in my mouth and what felt like a five pound weight on my chest. Fear. Fear of confrontation, fear of ridicule, fear of an others' spite or anger.
Finally a friend came by and asked me "was I ok". These words apparently are some hitherto trigger to my subconscious for I burst into tears and continued on with gasping sobs for several minutes while he patiently hugged me and patted my back. When I could finally speak again I told my friend that I was just too afraid to enter the circle yet. He checked my energy and just shook his head.
I watched for a while as the group danced and chanted and drummed. Finally the person I was avoiding left the circle to get some food. I took my chance and several deep breathes. I visited each quarter altar asking for guidance and blessings. The drums picked up and I was able to drop in to trance. My eyes barely slits so I could just see the fire and the other dancers. I spun, dipped, swayed and flowed with the rhythm of the drums, my tension receded to a corner of my mind and I was finally free to twirl in ecstasy for the fire, for myself.
When my breath and legs finally gave out I twirled toward the drummers and gave a low bow in gratitude. I opened my eyes to discover ‘he’ was among them. My heart jolted and hammered and I nearly ran from the circle, shocked to realize we had been that close, and then kind of curious. As I bundled back up in the necessary layers one needs to be away from the fire. I sat and contemplated his nearness, the fact that he was drumming while I danced. That his face held no show of disgust, no judgment, no reprimand for invading his holy space. I decided that that was enough for tonight. My tension levels were back up and I feared to tread any further so I headed off in to the night, to my tent, way the hell off at the bottom of the ravine, where no one could sneak up on me.
It took a while to get to sleep that night, so many things whirling through my head as I listened to the remaining revelers dance into the darkness. But sure as the sun comes up I was awake and by my standards of vacation it was too bloody early.
However my bladder and my stomach conspired to get me up and out. I made it to the guest house around 9ish, fed myself, showered and headed off to the ponds for some reading. It was quiet and restful, the sort of weekend I had hoped for until I had learned 'he' would be there. I really had no idea what to expect now, there had been no vengeful scene, no glowering, and no confrontation. Was it really going to be ok?
I realized I had a whole day to kill before the night’s revelry of another fire circle. 11:30 I was hungry again, I put my book away and headed for the guest house. Just as I rounded the corner heading up to the kitchen we encountered one another. I tried to vanish but it didn't work. I looked at him, smiled and said 'good morning' and turned to dash up the path. He replied 'Good morning...it's nice to see you'. That last part stopped me in my tracks, I whirled around and looked at him square in the face and asked 'Really?' Thinking to myself how could he be glad to see me??
'Yes' he said. My mind was reeling; his voice was filled with kindness as were his eyes. I was rooted to the spot as he approached me. We started talking and I really cannot remember all of it but at one point I complimented him on his earrings. He pulled one off and handed it to me. Again I was utterly stunned, kindness and now a gift, a peace offering. They looked like screw heads and he told me they were holding his head together which made me laugh. We hugged, very tentatively at first then both of us burst in to tears and hugged again more fully. The five pound stone suddenly dropped off my chest and I could feel, feel the tentative compassion and longing from this other.
Awkwardly we decided to go sit and talk privately, we were both shaking, crying, nervous and surprised.
The sharing here was intimate, heartfelt and heart rending. We exchanged a few stories and a few thoughts. We shared a longing for peace and repair. The air was so thick about us, the stories worded so carefully as to not place blame but to share one’s own feelings. We were so close to something, some sort of break through. But we were interrupted by others who needed the space we were in. If not for having to disengage from that moment I think we would have continued our heart sharing for quite a bit longer. But we were both in shock and needed to take care of our personal needs. 'He' headed for the shower; I headed for the kitchen, still clutching the proffered earring.
I ate, I know I did because I had avocado all over my face and crumbs down my front but I don't remember eating it. I could not stop crying. The tears ran freely down my face and neck as I stared in to space and reviewed the sudden and miraculous turn of events.
It was at this point I made my decision to fully embrace the miracle. I took out the earring I usually use to represent my father and placed this gift in its place. Now I had one screw to help hold my head on. =)
'He' stopped by my table and asked if I was ok...no, I replied but I was hanging in there. We held one another's hands for few moments and then he departed to get himself some food.
I was approached and chatted with by another but my head could not wrap around it. Then my friend reappeared and I asked if he would take a walk with me. We wandered around and bounced out of a couple conversations with others until we found a spot in the shade where we could talk alone. I related my experience and this friend knowing us both and had some very kind counsel for me.
The shock and adrenaline had worn off by then so I went to my tent and took a nap.
When I awoke it was late afternoon, I lay in the tent writing in my journal trying to sort out all the chaotic feelings I was having.
Dinner at the guest house again, we were able to share space and meet one another's eyes. I met and chatted with several members of the group. I shared an awesome conversation with the evenings Priestess then received a massage from a lovely woman who offered it when she saw how much pain I was in. I greeted a few late comers that I knew, and then got dressed up for ritual.
Ready and prepped for the evening’s festivities I helped our hostess schlep some food out to the circle.
Again we entered sacred space with a smudge of sage, we stood in circle and listened to the Priestess explain the evenings goals, again it was about balance but this night we were to ask the universe at large for the answer to how we might better create balance in our lives. I swear she looked directly at me a few times, stressing a few points. We called in the elements and started the swirling dance and chant. My bodily pain escalated and I faded off to get a drink and beg for pain killers. My hostess happily gave me some with caffeine in them for good measure. The pills and the wine relaxed me and without the weight of fear in my heart I danced and swirled to my heart’s content.
I was resting a moment when 'He' began a chant of haunting familiarity. I was thrilled I was going to be able to bear this memory and greet it with great joy. I rushed to the circle and joined in to the hypnotic song. It had been a very long time since I had heard this tune or his voice for that matter. I had forgotten just how much I liked it, just as much as I had forgotten that 'he' likes to get everyone started singing the base line before he starts in on a more complex verse layered over the top.
The words he sang poured over me like liquid flame. Memories firmly stowed in the back of my mind flooded forth, freed from their captured and frozen state. Good memories, fond memories...loving memories.
I careened out of control and spun off in to the night. I sat down on a stump as the memories and tears flowed. Oh dear Goddess! The love that once was and had been forever lost to me. I gave myself up to the wave after wave of emotions, all I could do was sit and hold my hands before me in supplication to the energy from the center.
The song faded, the drums shifted and I realized I was chilled. I dashed for my cover up, coat and blanket. I sat in my chair and just shook with unbridled and rampaging emotions.
Our evenings Priestess materialized out of the darkness, she stopped and asked me how I was doing.
Yeah those three little words sent me off in a torrent of sobbing again. She stayed and talked with me for a while. I finally tried to explain that it felt as if I had just had duct tape ripped off an open wound in the middle of my chest. For one that I had loved so deeply, so long ago was here. That I had feared hate and rejection and had received love and compassion and now all these memories of love and good times were flowing forth in my mind.
I asked her then if she knew who I meant. She said she did, I asked her if she knew who I was, she said she did not, not fully.
"I am Tymn’s ex-wife" I explained "and we have not spoken face to face in over 5 years." and in that moment realization dawned in her eyes.
Astonished she gave me praise for being willing to go through what I was going through. For the bravery she suspected it took for me to be in this space. And then she firmly dragged me off for chocolate, wine and more hugs.
The rest of the night was sort of blurred. I really really wish I had had more time to talk to him. I think there was so much more to say, I just did not know how to start it nor did I wish to drag him away from his evening just so I could 'process'. So I let it go and just watch him as he drummed, and sang and danced. Memories flitted and battered my mind and the tears ran freely down my cheeks.
I lost stamina about 3am and wandered off to bed. I could hardly get to sleep with all the emotional turmoil, the continued drumming and the deflating mattress. But I did sleep some and woke again, damn it, far too early for a vacation. The pain in my leg was worse now and the thought of trekking up and down the hill was too much to bear. I decided it would be wise to just break camp and load up my car. Then I drove back up to the guest house.
I was intent on cleaning up my stuff but got drawn in to another conversation. 'How are you?' she asked and the tears started again. I was unaware that I could cry so damn much at the drop of a few simple words. I explained to yet another one of 'his' friends who I was and what was going on. She, like the others, looked immensely surprised and then she dashed around the table to hold me in a very kind hug.
We were just finishing up our chat when Tymn came up the trail. We greeted one another and gave each other a hug. Shared some random small talk of the fire, the lack of sleep and the hangover. He offered me coffee and I accepted. We sat at the kitchen table and chatted amicably with his friends around us. All were now aware and it seemed their interest was keen despite the grogginess.
I finally checked the time and excused myself to finish gathering my things, I loaded them in the car, slipped in to the shower for a quick rinse then returned to the guest house. I was glad to see they were still there hanging out and chatting. I prodded my hostess, Susan, for a hug, then Shimmering Wolf. Tymn jumped up next, we not only hugged but held on to each other for several moments, letting the energy flow between us unhindered by fear, looked deep in to one another's eyes and then he gave me a parting kiss. (WOW!!)
Staggering from this I got a huge hug from my friend, Bear, and deliriously waved farewell and got in to my car and drove home. Not entirely sure how, I don't really remember the drive. Something to do with sleep deprivation and emotional shock but the car knew the way home and all the rules of the road so I was safe.
I feel like I had a rocket explode inside me. My heart is raw, my head is spinning and I hurt like hell. I reminded myself that I did some spell work on Wednesday night. A dark moon ritual with Hecate, asking her for clearing and openings, Good grief!
Not certain where this leaves or leads me but I am certain that it is better than it was before. One must lance the festering wound before it can begin to heal properly. And now I have at least one screw in my head to try and hold it in place.