Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grief and Conflict

We are humans, all of us.  Regardless of our spiritual paths or our religious beliefs, we are not immune to the truth that death is a part of our experience.  We will all lose people we love and we will all have to work through our grief over those losses.  None of us get a pass on this in life.  

Seventeen days ago, my younger brother died unexpectedly and suddenly.  We have shared more than one lifetime together, as well as our bloodline.  I loved Him and we had conflict between us, and we stopped working on our relationship about two decades ago.   

Sometimes we will lose someone we love without warning, with no time to prepare or to say our farewells.  And as is the nature of relationships, either family or lovers or friends, sometimes that loss will be of one with whom we have conflict.  Love and conflict are more often companions than mutually exclusive conditions.  For conflict with one we do not love is often reason enough to walk away from another person but, we will persist in spite of conflict if we love another.  And so, grief is often complicated by unresolved conflict with the one we loved and lost. 

We each grieve in our own way, and in our own time.  For me it is a delayed experience.  For the first two weeks, my perception of reality was surreal, often blurry and out of proportion.  Then life became normal again and my grief began to visit me at night.  When all is quiet and my mind can identify what my heart and soul are actually grieving and, my heart and soul can feel that grief, it is the conflict that I feel, and the pain of that conflict and the anger that it exists. 

Another conflict that accompanies grief is that in moments of unexpected emotional crisis, old habits of behavior, old patterns of relating within the family, reassert themselves.  Conscious effort is required to recognize these habits and patterns and to re-establish newer skills and ways of being.  It challenges my sense of self, and forces me to reexamine my relationships with those whom I love who remain.

I have work to do.  Including the work of reaching out to Him whom I have lost to assist in what way I can, and to ask Him to work with me to make some peace between us before the next life we share.  May our Ancestors and my Gods and Allies bless us and assist us in this work.  Blessed be. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd!

The Grand Sword of the Gorsedd of Bards 
“Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd” The Welsh proverb “The Truth against the World” is only the beginning of a ritual litany.   

Before the National Eisteddfod (a bardic competition of singing, recitation and instrumental mastery celebrating Welsh identity, language and culture) can commence, the Gorsedd (gathering) of Bards conducts a ritual in which the Grand Sword (upon which these words are inscribed) is partially unsheathed and laid upon a stone altar.

The call is made “Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd!” The Truth against the World!

The response is a question “A oes Heddwch?" Is there Peace?

Then comes the call “Calon wrth Galon!" (Heart to Heart!) and again the question “A oes Heddwch?"

Then finally the call "Gwaedd uwch Adwaedd! A oes Heddwch?” (Shout above the shouting! Is there peace?)  

Heddwch (Peace) is evidently a verb, so the question truly is “Will you bring Peace?”

The Eisteddfod cannot commence until the Gorsedd has declared Peace among them.

These words move me.  I have written before about the meaning that “Truth against the World” holds for me but; this past week I have been thinking about them a great deal.  My Third degree Initiation into my Tradition will occur in two weeks. It is an initiation into Service, as clergy and leadership in my Coven and my Tradition.  It is the beginning of a new leg of my journey. 

And I have been contemplating my purpose in this world in light of this new phase.  “Truth against the World” is a large part of that purpose, but it is only the beginning, only the starting point.  It is not about Truth for truth’s sake but, Truth for the greater purpose of Peace.  My heart calls out for Truth, for Love, for Healing of our World, and for Peace. 

Two days ago I had these words, Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd, inscribed (tattooed) upon my right forearm in red script, to commemorate the beginning of this stage in my life but, also to remind me every time I see them of my purpose, and of the entire litany.  To remind myself to ask the question “A oes Heddwch?"  Do I bring Peace?

I am not a pacifist, although I respect those who hold that place in our world.  My heart longs for Peace but, not for peace at any cost. Peace without Liberty is not Peace but rather oppression.  My purpose is Peace and Freedom, my purpose is Peace through Truth.  May my Gods, Ancestors and Allies bless me in my purpose.

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd!