Last weekend, I drove nearly four hours each way to see a girl about a wedding. Some may feel this would be too great a burden and wonder why a phone call wouldn’t suffice, especially for someone who is not a blood relation. Those people probably don’t have a Tribe. We made a commitment to one another beneath a full moon in February 1994, and that contract maintains our connectedness regardless of time and distance. We are bound by more than love.
While I chose not to have children of my own, I have been blessed to have several extraordinary children in my life. They are the daughters and sons of members of my Tribe, and I am referred to, by some, as their faery goddess mother. My eldest goddess baby is currently a music education major in college and is now busy planning her wedding, to be held at the Winter Solstice this year. Before she was born, I dubbed her Starlet… and I would sing to her through the mystical cocoon of her mother’s belly. The chant that I found most soothing, at that time, went like this: “The river is flowing, flowing and growing. The river is flowing out to the sea. Mother, carry me – your child I will always be. Mother, carry me out to the sea.” Think about it… she was encased in a saline ocean of her mother’s love and care… a sacred being on her way into the light of the world that would be made more sacred with her arrival. This weekend, I wondered aloud what that tune might sound like on the cello, her instrument of passion and choice. My heart did a little dance when she dashed upstairs to grab her cello and a blank page. I sang to her that old familiar tune, and her pitch-perfect ear deciphered the language of the voice into the music of soulful strings. (I recorded the outcome, and you can hear it here: https://youtu.be/N4Mpa1YLfko )
Unfortunately, due to geography I had to miss much of our Starlet’s growth and becoming. She and her mom moved to be near her grandparents when she was about four years old. I was sad to lose them from my weekly life, but I am grateful that they made that move. She was blessed to have her grandparents in her daily life until they each departed the living realm within recent years. I can count the times I got to see her in person on my fingers, over those years… but there’s a certain kind of magick wrapped around this sacred Tribe of mine, and somehow it is woven around our ‘legacy’, as well. Our Tribe first met at the end of 1993, and we were committed to meeting weekly. Each week we were devoted to mutual spiritual growth and diving deep into the mysteries of womanhood and our own becoming. Pregnancy never really interested me, but I have to say that I learned quite a lot during the ‘baby years’ of our connectedness. Here’s my favorite and most quoted tip for nursing mothers: When you are painfully engorged with breast milk, you can place cabbage leaves in your bra, and find relief as the milk recedes. Is that not amazing?!
For each of these life altering events, we would celebrate with a rite of passage… a blessing before the birth to protect mother and child, to grant gentle passage from the womb and into the light, and a special blessing of each child as s/he reached a year of age. After a while, my beloved Tribe scattered to the winds, due to marriage or career opportunities. None have managed to find what we had before. But no matter how much time passes between meeting – together or one-on-one – that magick remains deeply intact. When we meet, it is as if no time has passed at all, even though many have been gone a decade or two. I sometimes wonder if our souls have continued to meet weekly in a sacred circle in another realm. That would certainly explain how time has managed to stand still. Of course, to see our babies today… well, you’d know that time hasn’t stood still at all. They are ALL so remarkable, amazing, talented, brilliant, compassionate, caring, and kind. I always knew they would be special, being born from my most sacred personal goddesses, but seriously… it can’t be that I am just biased… I know they are spectacular beings of light.
Last weekend, we explored a whole new rite of passage, as far as our ‘legacy’ is concerned… a handfasting (a traditional Celtic ceremony of union from which we gained the term, tying the knot). How is it possible that one of our babies is even old enough to be getting married? Sheesh! How time has flown. Our sweet girl met her beloved in high school. She was a senior when he was a junior. Since I am so far away, I have only met him once. It was at the memorial service for her grandmother a few years ago, that I first learned that she was smitten. I won’t lie. It totally tickled me that she introduced me to him as her faery goddess mother. Of all of the titles I have held in my lifetime, this is certainly one of my favorites. I have to admit that I am astonished that she could feel such a bond with me when I have been so far away for most of her life… even if I have loved her every single day of her existence. Technically, since I loved her Momma before she was conceived, I have loved her even longer than that. Even more amazing, and a great honor to me was that she wanted me to perform her handfasting and ring ceremony… this is actually a ritual that falls just short of a wedding, as when we gather, they will already have been wed.
You see, this young man who has stolen Starlet’s heart was raised Mormon. In order to move forward into a future with him, she has chosen to convert. On one hand, it feels impossible to relate to this decision, as I cannot fathom making the faith of another my own. On the other hand, I can recall that moment in 1992, when I experienced energy rising through the soles of my feet and into my heart, and was offered an introduction to how uplifting and soul-filling it can be to find a spiritual path that fits my own deep truth. What I know for sure is that my truth will not be the same as your truth… and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Starlet was raised to be a free-thinker, like her Unitarian Mom. When I asked her if the study involved to be adopted into this religion made her feel anything that might be considered a spiritual experience her reply was affirmative. Coupled with the fact that this young man seems worthy of her love and devotion, as they’ve had the two years of his distant mission trip to get to know each other through verbal and written communication alone, this goddess mother feels pretty good about her choice. In other words, due to a geographical divide, chemistry and hormones have not been able to get in the way of really getting to know one another. This feels like a lovely alternative to the instant gratification culture to which we’ve all become accustomed.
Since only Mormons can attend the actual wedding ceremony of this young couple, Starlet’s family and friends will be invited to attend the ring ceremony on the day that follows their union. I learned a great deal about this unfamiliar faith as we discussed creating an outline for this joyous event. Together, we created a general plan for the ceremony, and when her beloved is home from his mission, they will help me to fill in explanations of symbolism that might be different from our own customs.
I’ve begun building the words that will convey the deep meaning and purpose of our Solstice gathering. My ultimate hope is that my darling goddess daughter and her new husband will feel unconditionally loved and supported by their new families and the community that surrounds them. A difference of religion should not be a factor that divides a community. If love is at the core, it can only be made stronger by the rich diversity and mutual respect for the choices we have each made for ourselves.
If I can manage to do right by these two young darlings, I may just find further illumination on my own path forward. Perhaps I am not becoming an end of life doula, but a transition doula. If needed, I may accompany souls from one path to another… from single to married, from old life to new life, from endings to beginnings, from loathing to loving… from healing to thriving… the way is only limited by the boundaries of the mind. May we all be unlimited!