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Holy Water

Tending to grief is an essential task (if not THE essential task) of the alchemist/healer. Providing a sanctuary and safe passage for its unfolding – in the body, the psyche, and the nervous system – requires that we fall to the ground, at times, and weep.

Weep for the shattering of dreams, for the loss of connection, for the dying of an idea, for the entirety of the unlived life. Tears are a restorative substance, the salve to the wound. Following the flow of our tears leads to the portal of deep and abiding joy.

Grief is not something we “go through,” or “get over.” Grief is not really a process that we come out on the other side of, fully intact. Grief is actually like all things in nature; a non-linear, purifying midwife of the unknown. It moves not by way of straight lines, but in cycles and circles, spiraling through the endings and new beginnings of every moment, every day.

Grief is a partner with whom we live, a companion we learn to honor at times, resist and argue with at other times. Grief is with us as all the cycles of our lives unfold, as the known, the accomplished, the achieved and the manifested all pass away and the unknown asserts dominion over our movements . . . leaving one moment behind as we step into the next moment.

We live in a society and culture that has largely forgotten about the psychic/spiritual reorganizational potential of immersion in the holy water of tears. But to marginalize the experience of grief, to minimize or repress tears, is to work against nature. Perhaps we might notice even the earth grieves by way of her seasons. Can you feel her grief in a rain drop? When we allow ourselves to be dissolved in the liquid solution . . . taken apart and put back together . . . we can be dissolved, reorganized, transformed.

There is no endpoint to this restructuring, no final state of resolution where we land in some untouchable place, liberated from our embodied vulnerability, free from our somatic aliveness, and thus protected from more dissolution.

Rather, we find ourselves in what the alchemists called the rotatio, the holy rotation of vast cycles of rupture and repair that break us open to recognizing the universal nature of our souls and accepting the vast and varied contrast, the gains and the losses that define the human condition. With this in mind, grief and tears are prelude, prologue, cyclic emissaries foretelling of deep and abiding joy . . . wholeness, mercy, and light.


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