I realized quickly how much I might appreciate silence if I’d make the room for it. Today was hectic. I spent the day running errands, checking on relatives, and driving out of town to appointments. Clearly, I need to let some of the rush and clatter go. A few moments of silence before bed on the first day is what I allowed myself. I thought it was a sad start but then I scolded myself for being a bit too critical.
On day two I worked for ten hours came home and suddenly realized my most optimal quiet places would either be outdoors early in the morning prior to going to the gym or while I was in the bathroom. I felt a yearning for the quiet as if it might bring me an unexpected solace. The dark was cold, I was outside and grateful to be without the buzzing of mosquitos over my head. My fuzzy red robe brought warmth as I sipped hot tea and sat in the swing. I could still hear birds flapping and chirping in the trees. Briefly, my mind wandered to my father and back again. My eyes settled on the oak tree. Fifteen minutes had passed and that felt like a good start.
Tonight, I chose my fifteen minutes of silence in front of my altar. One candle flickered in the darkness and I sat and gazed at the smoke rising up from the burning mugwort. A heavy creak moaned across the ceiling and I felt a presence behind me. I chose not to panic despite the spiked heart rate. Breathing myself into the calm I sat. I ended the time and acknowledged what I felt and heard. I followed up with something to eat and watch on T.V before bed.
The sun rose early and I enjoyed the near silence. In the distance, I could hear a few cars starting and I was nearly startled into getting up and getting the day started. All the things I needed to get done were on my mind. I could hear myself questioning if I needed the silence and knew immediately the thought indicated that I did. The air was cool, damp leaves were piled under my feet.
Dreams of winged monsters lacking in ferocity shrieked across my dream. The witch in my dream seemed to know the monsters personally. She felt sorry for them saying “Poor thing, it has been too long since you’ve eaten, the beast seems to have taken over.” As though it were ashamed of itself the monster wailed and flew away. In the past five days, my dreams have become more vivid. Also, I recognize my need to create something -anything. I picked up my paint and started working today.
My family and I attempted to put up the Yule tree tonight. It was a little disaster. I wanted everyone to enjoy the experience, to put the tree together, instead, there was complaining and corrections, directions and criticism. I recovered from it by going outside with a hot cup of tea and discovered my inner critic has been on the rage. Why I wondered am I so critical -of myself and sometimes of those that I love? I asked the question out loud and let it go for a while. Much of it is due to expectation and hoping that those around me will enjoy it as much as I do. I couldn’t see joy, I felt that others had a “could care less attitude” and it frustrated me. The dark brought calm as I drank my chamomile tea and listened to the migrating geese flying south for the winter.
Day seven was spent sitting at the base of a gum tree. I settled myself in the little warmth the sunlight offered and sat at the base of the tree. I’d decided to simply sit and look -nothing more. I noticed the spiky seed pods on the ground. Some of them were withered without spines. They appeared alien but I felt tempted to bag them and roll them in glitter when I got home. I resisted the urge -barely. Red and orange leaves dappled the damp ground nearly covering the small parking lot. In this space, I felt calm. Few children played in the park. As the sun set, I found myself alone in the park, the night settled in and I packed up for home.
On the porch, darkness waited. A large cup of tea rested warmly between my palms. I sat in a chair at the edge of deeper shadows cast by trees and bushes. This is where I met the dark goddess in my dreams last year. She came with the snow and I let her into my home without hesitation. I closed my eyes and called out to her. Silence settled into my surroundings. Crickets stopped chirping and for a moment the only sound was a buzzing streetlight. I focused on the sound of my breath until I was suddenly startled by dogs beginning to howl. The sound was eerie and seemed to echo. As suddenly as it began, the howls ceased. Steam danced from my cup and warmed my nose. Without a doubt, Old Mother was listening.
A raccoon attempted suicide by leaping in front of the van I drove this evening. I missed. I was greatly relieved that I would not have to contend with the guilt of viewing an animal carcass in my rear view mirror. I felt grateful for that. The rune Isa greeted me as I settled into mediation. Sulfur streaked up my nose as I lit the singular white candle this evening for meditation. I caught an image of a warm hearth fire in the dark darting across my thoughts as I glimpsed the first flicker of the flame. I resign myself to silence, not to think but to wait until my mind finds the quiet. Floating in the velvet abyss, I lost track of time, consciousness shifted in and out.
Night 10, 11 and 12
Night 10: Silence continues to be a daily practice. The past three days were documented in a written journal I refer to as I write here. I’ve noticed a restlessness settling in my spirit. It has made meditation difficult; silence even more so. On night ten I sat to paint. The results were a myriad of colors painted over abstract forms I’d sketched months earlier. I felt a frustration rise and fall as I painted. I’ve encountered this before. I do not judge it, I acknowledge it and clean up for the day.
Night 11: needed to be spent moving. I wondered briefly to myself if I was uncomfortable with stillness and if I was actually seeking to avoid it. I breathed and considered the thought for a moment. I danced and recorded it. I played it back and noticed myself smiling. Dancing made me feel very good when I was a little girl. I started writing out of a need to express pent up energy and emotions I could not express to anyone else. Still, something deeper is calling me.
Night 12: Silence was a matter of ten simple minutes setting in front of my altar space. I found I was tired and falling to sleep. Right before bed is never a good time for silence. It lulls me into dreams. My dream journal yielded positive results with a message that felt more like a warning.
The message was this: The Price is Too High.
Night 14, 15 and 16
Night 14: Tonight was more formal. I decided to sit down and connect with my guides. Lately, I’ve had more trouble than I’m willing to admit connecting to them. The facts are in, I’m avoiding something. Still, it is difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what. It is the “something is amiss” feeling. The theme of my dream tonight was an apple. I did not recall the details clearly but I remembered the image of a T.V. with dancing figures that had no faces at all. Night 15: Earlier today, I was delighted to find that a book came in. While digging deeper into the stories of the dark goddess, I came across a book called: “Journey to the Dark Goddess How to Return to Your Soul” by Jane Meredith.
Night 15: Earlier today, I was delighted to find that a book came in. While digging deeper into the stories of the dark goddess, I came across a book called: “Journey to the Dark Goddess How to Return to Your Soul” by Jane Meredith. Although only a few chapters in, I find myself able to connect with the text. I am most interested in the exercise she called “Listening to the Underworld.” I put this into practice tonight.
Night 16: Although being formal doesn’t make it more likely that I will connect with my guides, I am lured to ritual. I enjoy the beauty, the sounds -and in some cases the lack of it. Tonight is the second night I am listening to the underworld. There were vague whispers and in my own inner vision, I saw images from previous dreams drift in and out of my visual frame. Tonight, I chose not to become drawn in but to linger in that space to familiarize myself with the feeling. An eerie feeling settled in behind me, I breathed with it for a while and decided to go to bed.
Night 17: No Silence
I did not sit with silence today. It was difficult to find it -make it.
My favorite place for silence, the shower. I set candles on the counter by the sink and in the corners of the tub. A spell for peace helped me along the road to silence. I sat in the steaming water and listened. Tonight was without murmurings or noises from the rest of the house. Everyone was gone. I don’t mind that sometimes. It felt good.
It is December 10, 2016, as of the fifth, I’ve given my notice at work to return to work with the school. I need the flexibility. It does make me a little nervous but I know that things have a way of working out. I feel that I am in a safe place with people I can trust. It is time to move forward though I’m sure I carry some naivety regarding the meaning of forward. I reorganized my altar and drew a rune before beginning. I received Fehu. Tonight my mind was active. I pictured work I’ve done old and new. I find that I am concerned about my future and my ability to be more decisive. I wondered if my thoughts would abate and had to bring my attention to the sound of my breath. I wanted to stay in the “breathing space.” It was more peaceful. I am looking forward to a little silence every day.
My most notable observance are that my dreams appear to be clearer. I sat in silence but this time with the intention to listen to the house. I heard creaks and moans and the whiz of electricity, snoring of dogs and suddenly, I found myself turning inward, away from the house and into myself. I considered for a moment that when I dream, I am able to reflect upon my life by seeing the “condition” of my inner home. Within the silence I felt something, it had little form but I felt it, something is coming with the winter, I need to find more silence to understand the message. I crave silence now.
Night 21 (The Final Night of Silence)
The more I sit in silence the more I hear. I place my ear low to the ground to hear the whispers of the underworld. Silky darkness brings flourishing dreams that I record each morning. A new chance is coming but I must release something first. Today, I decided to let my job go. The pay was decent but in order for me to complete school I needed more flexibility. I discovered there may be more to what I desire. I am “called” to be honest with myself, to consider what I deeply desire and to move forward without hesitation. Before the stillness, I first ask a question. Often one curiosity leads to more inquiry and because of this I don’t move to the next one before clearly hearing the answer to the first. From silence I’ve learned, I am impatient with myself and that this need needs to be addressed. Silence holds many gifts. Embrace it willingly without defined expectations.