Friday 27 April 2007

The shaman one (post-Bill)

The shamans say there are lessons in everything. They teach that, if you are mindful of the signs and signals around you, life will show you what you need to learn. On a ‘medicine walk’ you would keep your eyes peeled, alert to warnings and instructions. A feather found in the grass at your feet, a certain stone, a bird or insect that flies across your path, all these can be guides, often offering clear metaphors. A tiny flower pushing up through a concrete path teaches perseverance; a tiny lamb gambolling down the hill teaches us that life should be fun from time to time.

Sometimes I walk like that, looking for meaning. Often I don’t. Sometimes I look for meaning in different places, like maybe on a certain website which also has its ebb and flow, its highs and lows. The image that stayed with me from North Wales was the single buzzard hanging motionless above Bodran mountain. We have plenty of buzzards in our valley here at home but this one had a message: it was up high, looking down, seeing clearly without being involved in the hustle bustle of life on the ground. I know I have a tendency to launch in and become embroiled with the detail, with the minutiae so I am trying to hang on to my inner buzzard for a while at least. The second lesson was coming back to the website after a week’s absence and meeting the maelstrom that was fermenting on it. Reading posts and blogs it seemed as if nearly everyone was feeling it personally, taking it on themselves. If I’d been here, I strongly suspect I’d have done exactly the same thing. But, with buzzard vision, it’s easy to see that it’s not about any of us in any way, shape or form – it’s all about the other person and her own tormented inner world-view and problems.

As buzzard-Jane I also pondered on how the whole theme of conflict is coming at exactly the right time of year. However high-tech and modern we may consider ourselves, we all follow the natural rhythms of the year, we have ‘tides’ that run within us. Not just our monthly tides as women (sorry, DelArun, Bill, loony and any other chaps) but also seasonal tides. There is a time for everything: for starting new enterprises; for beginning or ending relationships; for looking deep into the psyche and for letting go.

At the moment we are in the run-up to the old pagan festival of Beltane. While Christianity absorbed a lot of the old festivals (Easter, Christmas and to a lesser extent Candlemass and All Saints Eve), Beltane (May 1st) was a bit too much to stomach so was quietly forgotten. For Beltane is the naughty sex festival, with all that dancing round the phallic maypole and plenty of trip-trapping off to the wood for some unbridled passion (hopefully with clement weather). But Beltane is not just about sex. It’s also about energy, determination and freedom. It’s a great fire festival packed with feisty young headstrong energy – the energy of new thrusting life. Freedom is exciting, but it’s also stressful. It means making decisions, balancing opportunities and it also means the freedom to break.

Beltane is often known as the festival of vows or contracts. Not only is it a natural time for weddings but it is also the time when many partnerships break up. It's as if the energy is being put in a new vessel and, if the relationship is not strong, the vessel might crack and break under the strain.

This is a bit esoteric but it is, I think, why so many people are feeling edgy and indulging in a bit of ‘shall I go or shall I stay’ at the moment. New energy is flying out all over the place and, hate to say it, may well continue to do so for the next few weeks. I think it’s a case of surfing the tsunami, hard hats firmly buckled on.

Personally I am coming to feel that a little dissent is a good thing in any relationship – be it a partnership or a website community. If we were all just super-nice and simpering all the time it would become a bit stale and boring. I have to say that what I found of Bill was like a breath of fresh air (but I don’t think I found all his offerings) – he said things out loud that I suspect a lot of people were maybe muttering under their breath. Equally I was a little disappointed when ACritic was unceremoniously bundled off the site. As a writer I am well used to criticism and, providing it is constructive, I welcome it with open arms. But I think it’s the ‘constructive’ bit that’s important. All-out spite and rancour may be commonplace on other websites (and I totally take the point that here we are probably way too sensitive) but I think it’s fair to say that very few of us would want it on this particular site.

Here on Exmoor the new energy is being highly irritating. My new computer is not playing by the rules and may yet become a very large expensive ornament in my study. I drove all the way over to aerobics to find an empty village hall and car park - harrumph. The eggs we bought from the ‘wonderful’ farm shop in Shropshire are out of date and one was cracked (Adrian, of course, didn’t notice). The phone keeps ringing but nobody leaves a message and our buyers are still being tricksy. But hey ho. The primroses are going bonkers and Muddie is on the mend. Let’s get life in perspective and ride the waves, gang.

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