The irony being, that after I have this written we’re going to be taking a hard left turn into thaw and I’m moving into new areas. Life is weird though, I’m sure I’ll be back.
Every so often I get smacked on the back of the head and told it’s time for you to write about this, right meow.
Yes, meow. This particular hoard of hooligans reminds me of cats more often than not.
Anyway, the question of death and practice is one that comes up with slightly more frequency than glamouring but with probably more pearl clutching and general whinging. The question is not why are we talking about death, the question is how can we talk about balance and not talk about death?
We are having one of the worst winters in recent memory. Ostara is roughly a month away now and I’ll be shocked, absolutely stunned, if we’re even above freezing by then. The city has given up on sidewalks entire. The foundation. froze. to my. face. the other day. It’s easy, right now, to start talking about Hades and Persephone, Thanatos and his father Erebus, Hel in her kingdom and Freya’s decision to be both death and beauty. But eventually summer will show up and we’ll be back to the land of the fluff ball and ‘stop being so negative! Don’t invite the darkness!’
I’m using this illustration for a reason-this is the exact reason that we should be still talking about the darkness and why we’re afraid of it. I’m actually what’s considered gray aligned, meaning, I attempt to strike a balance between the light and the dark end of the spectrum. I might be the go-to person for several circles for death/darkness/Samhain/Halloween/horror/the boogeyman, but trust me, there are places that I will not go with or without a flashlight. At best this is an introduction (or it won’t and I’ll never write about this again, I have a terrible habit of doing that). So don’t except anything too terribly sociological or intensive.
I am biased (with my intense draw to thanantology and all) but there are some really mundane, completely not folkloric reasons why death should still be near the front, if not front and center, of discussion-we really suck at it in western society. We’ve sanitized it so much that we really don’t know how to handle it. We don’t know the questions to ask, the things to say, what to do, what happens next. I don’t mean in a religious sense-how many times have you sat through a conversation where someone is talking about talking to the bereaved and says ‘I didn’t know what to say?’
From a folkloric standpoint there is this: you cannot dwell on the positives. You really can’t. It doesn’t work like that. To build on the Persephone example: she is the Maiden of Spring, but she is also the Lady of Death. She is Hade’s queen, and all the obsession with flowers and floof and pomegranates doesn’t change that. The two are linked, and invoking her is invoking the grave whether you like it or not. To quote something that came up a lot when I was first learning-staring into the sun will do nothing but blind you. Spend too much time in the sun and you’ll be lost when the moon rises. It’s admittedly just as bad to go too far into the darkness and get lost but most folklore is based around the idea of balance. Energy is a cycle and that means riding out the downs as much as it is riding the crests upward.
I am admittedly a very young crone, and there’s a strong possibility I’ll move out of that phase at some point. But until then I’ll be hanging out, talking to Baba Yaga, and figuring out just why you would choose to eat pomegranates.