A friend of mine is fond of the saying: “The only permanent thing is change.” That maxim has been true of my life recently, and will be for some time to come, I am certain. Words have circulated in my head. I have planned journal entries that flow seamlessly while I am measuring the streets of the neighbourhood with my feet. Yet, when I sit down to write, the words are censored: they choke, and somehow I do not make time to allow them to flow. Inside, I am snarled in the weeds, stagnant, unable to move, while outwardly I seem to be making progress, as evidenced by the movement of one foot before the other.
In early March I was visited by a dream in which I was, for want of a better phrase, a bird-woman spirit, with a worn, ruffled plumage of black feathers. I was set upon by a group of others who, with apparent disregard for my natural state, turned my feathers a deep sky blue. Before I had time to adjust to that change, they turned the feathers red and incited me to feel anger and express the emotions long held inward. Afraid of that anger, I resisted, which only made them heckle me more strongly. I awoke feeling unsettled.
The next three days when I ventured outside, I saw a raven fly by, uttering her somehow plaintive yet insistent cry. On the third day, she spoke continuously as she flew over, as if expecting me to understand every word of her detailed and demanding song. For the raven is a songbird – something I was not aware of until she flew into my life. In the weeks since then, Raven has visited often, going so far to appear as a black dog whose owner called “Raven” to her as they passed.
Collective wisdom describes Raven as a guide to deeper magic and the mysteries. She is the harbinger of continuous change. While I am not sure of all the things she is telling me, I am certain one is this – to not be complacent in my earthly frame, to challenge myself to keep evolving, and most importantly, to root out the places of fear, anger and poor self-esteem that keep me stuck and separate from access to the magic that resides within me.
Sometimes it is too easy to yield to the continual chronic pain of the body (and yes, the mind), and allow it to drag me away from my purpose – to write, to heal, to teach, to learn, to grow. Opportunities unfold around me, and amazing people walk into my life who understand the nature of the “withered” me I have kept locked away in the dark, afraid of what she might say. Tentatively, bravely, I begin to speak. I do things that seem hard for me right now. Talking to others, answering a telephone, even writing in this journal. I know the spirit inside me will unfurl, and the damaged feathers will heal and shine. I will go through many transitions, many colours, many feelings, which may scare me, but I will do, nonetheless.
Illustrated by a more recent dream, I will learn to let go of the clutter that I carry with me – substitutes for feeling and living that fall from bags and pockets and leave me scrambling to pick up these false treasures and keep them close to me. I will let others see the hurts and scars as they fall away, scattering like battered parcels on the pavement at my feet. They no longer serve me. They keep me from expressing fully, and keep me living in fear and shame of all the things I did not do because I was afraid. I will let them scatter, and I will discover the feathers that were concealed beneath my burden. I will learn to speak and not be afraid. I will learn to fly. I am certain this is the challenge that Raven has thrown down to me.