Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Paradox

©Brian & Wendy Froud
Another daily meditation, this time with card 52 from the Heart of Faerie Oracle (Abrams Books, 2010).  I've scanned it twice so that you can see both faces.

I see so many paradoxes here: the fact that there are two faces in one, the fact that one is fat and the other thin, the fact that both look sad.  That last might not seem like much of a paradox, but when the words fat and thin come together, most people expect happy and sad to go alongside, in one combination or another.  Either as a jolly fat person, Santa-Claus-esque and always smiling, contrasted with a sad anorexic, deprived of all of life's joys.  Or else as a slim person happy to be so in our culture that values image, dieting and plastic surgery, contrasted with a sad, overweight person who feels out of control and unloveable.

Yet really, as the examples show, happiness is rarely directly connected to appearance - it has far more to do with attitude and a sense of self-worth.

©Brian & Wendy Froud
Like so many others, this is something I struggle with.  The wonderful Arwen, of Tarot by Arwen, wrote a couple of really moving posts last week about just this topic: here and here.  For me, the issue isn't exercise and movement, I'm an exercise junkie!  However, comfort eating, and in particular sugary treats, are my downfall.  When I'm stressed or unhappy, angry or resentful, out come the chocolate/cookies/cake.

At one time, I tried making my own: non-dairy, non-gluten, non-sugar etcetera etcetera.  No matter how "healthy", though, eating too much is still eating too much :(

I have had stretches of time where I find a healthy balance, at least for a while.  But like the saying goes: "the only thing constant is change"!  And when one thing changes, other things do, too.  Strategies that worked in the past may not work now: there is no "final solution".

Instead, I realise that I have to be constantly mindful, trying to tune into my emotions.  My daily meditations and card readings help a lot in that regard.  I am also wary of having any sweets in the house.  If I'm really upset, there's always the corner store - one of the problems with our "instant gratification" society!  Still, just not having stuff in the cupboard is at least a first step.

I'd love to hear what works for you, and what doesn't, how you struggle, and how you forgive yourself if you occasionally fail...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Tarot of the Sidhe Interview

Although I've been working with the Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) since it was first published, I decided to do an interview with this deck to see where we are currently headed together.  I find this spread, originally created by Fire Raven on Aeclectic, is just as good with a deck you already know as with a new deck.  So, here goes:

1) Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?  Maker Ten - Kingdom Prospers
I can bring you abundance through connecting you with your ancestors, and with your roots.  In me, you find a partner who is grounded, practical, and who draws joy and many different faeries into your life.

2) What are your strengths as a deck?  Maker Six - Generosity
Because I exist in a place of abundance, I am always happy to share: my knowledge, my connections, my experiences.  I help you act from a place of generosity, too, as you feel happy and able to share that wealth of joy.

3) What are your limits as a deck?  Dancer Eight - Escaping Stagnation
I cannot help you with your emotions unless you are willing to help yourself.  You must be willing to listen to your higher self and draw away from people and influences that pull you down.  I will shine my light, but you must follow it.

4) What are you here to teach me?  Warrior Six - No Foe Too Great
I am hear to teach you to face your fears and triumph over them.  I will always be here to support you in this, and will remind you of the other beings who are also willing to assist you, helping you to feel strong and joyful.

5) How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?  Warrior Four - Foundations Blessed
We can best work together by creating a sacred space together, and by acting from this place as a team, united in our search for spirit in the land of faery.

6) What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?  Maker Three - Labour's Fruit 
Together we can begin to grow something beautiful. Our combined energy is nurturing and inspiring, it can bring new life to projects and create the possibility for growth.

It feels really positive to have Maker Three in the outcome position of this spread, given it was also the card I drew to represent what I am ready to commit to in my Litha Faery Spread :)

Monday, 25 June 2012

Cry For Nature Again

©Lucy Cavendish & Selina Fenech
This card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) returned in my daily draw today.  This time, I pathworked with the card and was able to support and nurture this sad faery, rather than seeing myself in her.

Sometimes we cannot fix what has been broken, we cannot return to what was.  However, we can always begin something new, and take the time to nurture it and help it to grow strong and beautiful.

As with the faeries, who care for the planet and all its creatures, plant and animal alike, taking care of something takes time and effort, and especially love.  Daily attention, nourishment, and affection are a small price to pay, though, to bring renewed colour and beauty to our lives and the world in general.

Whether it be a relationship, a project, a child, a familiar animal, a garden or a single plant, all require work, but all offer us so much in return!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Child of the Moon

©Lucy Cavendish & Selina Fenech
This card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery (Blue Angel, 2009) makes me think of rites to call down the moon.  In that sense, I see the link with forgiveness and transcending the ego: when we connect with the divine, we can let go of our own smallness for a little while, and trust in the love of spirit, gracious and forgiving.  
To me, this faery seems to sway to the rhythm of a music we cannot hear, and she reminds me that one way of achieving this divine connection is through dance.  I notice, too, the fact that she stands on a single spiders thread: when we embrace the Goddess we step outside of the web of life, if only for a moment.  Still connected to, yet not enveloped in, the mundane, we balance the spiritual and the physical, and can see beyond the everyday.
I have need of this message right now, a reminder to forgive my perceived imperfections.  The Goddess loves us all just as we are right this minute, not as we wish we still were or might one day be.  Those are just traps of the ego, believing we know what is best, but not necessarily respecting or understanding the dark pull of emotions, the changing tides of life.

As I step back into home and family, work and play, I shall try to remember that while I weave the web of my life, it also weaves me, in a constant to and fro that is not under my control.  I shall pray to the Goddess to help me make my dreams into reality, but I shall also remember that ultimately she will guide me to a path that suits me, whether I know it or not...

At least I am a bit happier today.  I used the guidance of spirit yesterday to speak with my DH, and realised he was pretty much oblivious to all the pain and worrying I'd been through.  So, I forgive him for not noticing, and I forgive myself for worrying!

Saturday, 23 June 2012


©Lucy Cavendish & Selina Fenech
Drawing this card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009), I did some path working.  Originally, she had bare legs, but I added in the coloured stockings, as that was something that came to me.

The card is subtitled: Glamour, Confidence, Allure, Charisma.  When I first saw it, I didn't much like it.  I went into my hypercritical mode, thinking, "But she has fat legs"  Yeah, I know, sometimes we see the strangest things!

Anyway, when I entered the card, the first thing this charming faery did was ask me for some stripy stockings, a la Jasmine Becket-Griffith.  Then she told me that all those positive traits - glamour, confidence, allure, charisma - are about state of mind, not physical reality.  If we want to be seen as glamourous and alluring, what we have to change is not ourself, but our attitude.

This message rings true to me on so many levels.  I remember when I was in college that I was able to put on my "I'm ready to party" attitude, and I'd have a great time.  It was quite tough for me, I'm naturally quite introverted, but I had somehow found the switch I needed to flick, and then I could do it.  I'd often feel very tired after, but I'd do it and enjoy it.

Other switches, though, are not as easy for me.  At the moment, I'm having a hard time with my DH, and I just don't know how to have a good conversation with him about the issues.  What this card tells me is that I need to reframe my attitude.  A timely post was this one from Arwen of Tarot by Arwen, talking about finding a bridge between a statement that isn't helpful "I'm angry with my husband, but don't know how to talk to him in a way that won't cause a huge fight" into a useful one "I speak my truth from a place of love".  This card says that what I need to do is find a way to be playful, to not take the situation too seriously, and then my attitude will soften and I will be able to approach the conversation with less fear.  Also, hopefully I can charm him so he will remember what he loves about me, and not just the negative stuff ;)

Storm Beacon Fairy

©Lucy Cavendish & Jasmine Becket-Griffith
I drew this card from the Oracle of Shadows and Light (Blue Angel, 2010), and was struck by the message on it: "Guidance, but where will it lead you?"

Is it really that the faeries may guide us to our doom, or is it more that we can misinterpret their messages?  Pathworking with this card, I felt how hard it is to act as a beacon for others - it is a heavy responsibility to bear, and we have little control over how others respond to our light.  They may see it as a message to come close, or a warning to keep away.

All we can do is to act as light workers, to shine as brightly and as clearly as we can.  And in working with faeries, we must take responsibility for how we respond to their messages, and for where we go.  Ultimately, the faeries are what they are, and it is how we react to them that will determine whether we find help or hindrance.

Not only that, what seems like hindrance today may, over time, reveal itself to be a lesson that we needed to learn.  For example, my current problems with my DH are a perfect opportunity to work on clearer communication, on honouring my needs and expressing them in a way that can be heard.

Perhaps if the faeries guide us onto some rocks, it is because we need to smash the boat we're in so we can have a swim in the sea of emotion...

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cry for Nature

©Selina French
Harsh winds or the will of man have felled a great tree, and a faery huddles naked and despairing on its stump, tattered wings exposed to the elements.  Was this tree her home?  Perhaps her sacred space?  Or both?  Whatever the case, she mourns it.
For me this week, the mourning is definitely caused by human intervention.  My DH made a comment last week in which he mocked a ritual we had done together for Beltane, and I’m finding it cut me to the core.  It was the first time that I had invited him to join me in a celebration, and on the day if felt like it went really well - I had hoped we might do more rituals together.  
Now, though, I feel like not only do I not want to do anything spiritual with him, I don’t even really want to talk to him.  I’m pretty sure he only made the comment because he was angry with me.  Still, it feels like a complete dismissal of my beliefs and of me as a person.
It fits, too, with the title of this card, as I was asking for us to consider a natural, gentle, emotionally considerate approach to something when he made the comment, while he wants to go in all guns blazing.  
So, I mourn the coming of science and all its ills, and I mourn my trust in his respect for what I consider sacred.  I just hope I don’t end up mourning our relationship itself.

Image from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009).

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Summer Solstice Tarot Blog Hop

Image from the Fairy Ring Oracle
My thanks for being included in this round of the Tarot Blog Hop!  Whether you have hopped in from the ever witty Ania M's blog or elsewhere, welcome.  And if you have any trouble making your way around the circle, you can always check out a map of the terrain here.

I love this time of year, and this festival seems particularly relevant for me to start on this blogging tour of the sabbats.  It is often talked of as being the solstice most closely connected to faeries, with whom I have been working a lot of late.  Aine, considered the Goddess most appropriate to this solstice by Michelle Skye in her book Goddess Alive (Llewellyn, 2007), is also sometimes seen as a Queen of Faery, for example in Kris Waldherr's Goddess Inspiration Oracle (Llewellyn, 2007), and in the Fairy Ring Oracle (Llewellyn, 2002), where she is also linked to the Summer Solstice.

Image from the Fairy Ring Oracle
What faery wisdom, then, will I find this Litha?  Thinking about lore around faeries generally, and Midsummer in particular, I came up with three concepts for my Litha Faery Spread.  Faeries are associated with protection.  Well, protecting ourselves from faerie's more mischievous side - for example, the nursery rhyme "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush" is associated with asking for protection from faeries and their Midsummer raids.  They are also connected with nourishment: leaving food, honey or milk out for the faeries is always advised.  Thirdly, there is the concept of commitment, seen in the fact that June wedding's are considered the most propitious.  Also, at Midsummer faeries are said to come out of their elfhames and entice humans to come back with them, the humans then being trapped in faerie for a good long time.  Thinking about these, I realised these concepts can also be seen as falling into three categories: the personal, the social, and the spiritual.

Drawing three cards, I asked my beloved Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2011) to help me with my Litha Faery Spread:  What protection do I need?  How can I nourish others?  What am I ready to commit to?
Images from the Tarot of the Sidhe, ©Emily Carding

What protection do I need?  X - The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune speaks of life changes - the cycles of life from maiden to mother to crone, as well as the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune".  Do I need protecting from these cycles?  Or perhaps these cycles are themselves a protection, accepting them allows me to deal with life by flowing and adapting to it.  Certainly, I'm glad not to face the same challenges now, in my forties, as I did as a teenager!  Being able to go with the flow of life protects us from stagnation, as well as honouring what is.

How can I nourish others?  Dreamer Seven - A Coward Betrays

I notice the person hiding behind the tree, which makes me think I can nourish others by not hiding quite so much, by being willing to come out and lend a hand in slaying fears and inner demons.  Certainly, my tarot readings always try to be empowering, and with my Youtube videos I try to share my experiences, too.  This is quite a new venture for me, and this card says I'm on the right path :)

What am I ready to commit to?  Maker Three - Labour's Fruits

What a lovely card!  This suggests that I am ready to commit to pouring my energy into growing something, to creating beauty and something nourishing for others.  Although the lands around me may sometimes feel barren, I can make a difference, bringing new life to what may have felt like a desert.  I get the sense that it is my inner landscape, as well as the world around me, that will be enriched by this.  These things take time and effort, and a little help from the faeries never goes amiss ;)

Continuing on with this blog hop, next are the sensual delights of Beauty, History and Magic!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Far, Far Away

A few days ago, I drew this card from the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009).  The companion book talks about being off in a land of daydreams, and the value of that for creativity and spirituality.  Certainly, I see the parallel with path working, which I did with this card.

Some people find it easiest to path work with very detailed images.  Others find it hard to see anything at all when path working.  It may be related to which is our strongest sense, or our most active psychic sense.   People who consider themselves clairsentient may just get a "feel" for where they are and what is happening, or clairaudients sometimes "hear" a narrative, like a story teller in their minds.  Yet, this isn't just us telling ourselves a story, or our regular consciousness processing sensations, as is apparent when we are totally surprised by something that happens during path working.

For me, with this "Far, far Away" image, one of the things that surprised me was that, when I entered the card, the surroundings became incredibly clear and detailed.  On the card, there is almost no detail, just a faery on a standing stone.  In my path working, though, this stone was at the top of a cliff, overlooking the sea, with the sun shining above and a breeze playfully tossing her hair and mine around, all four elements very present.  What that said to me was that we can be at our most creative when we are balanced, able to draw on all aspects of life, on all the magickal elements, to support us.

I'd love to hear about other people's experiences of path working, or how you access your creativity...

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Gift

One of my daily draws with the Wild Wisdom of the Faery Oracle (Blue Angel, 2009) brought up this card.  Meditating on it, a number of thoughts came to mind.  The companion book speaks of accepting a gift, lovingly offered.  Still, that's far easier said than done.  And I wonder whether it's a good thing to even try to do.

Not for nothing do women suspect their partners of wrong-doing when presented with an unexpected gift.  If the partner can explain it in terms of something nice she has done recently, that's fine, but if not...

There is much to be said for reciprocity.  If I am offered a gift, at the very least I should give a thank you in return.  Oftentimes, a gift is given for a gift.  It doesn't necessarily have to be at the same time, but there is that sense of a balance needing to be created.  This has long been recognised, as discussed in Marcel Mauss' classic text The Gift.

Sometimes people talk about altruistic giving in terms of mothers with their babies.  Personally, I've yet to meet the mother who doesn't hope for a smile or a laugh or a cuddle from her baby when she's busy feeding and dressing and playing and changing poo-ey nappies and doing the million other things that babies want and need done.

Strangely, it is normally a lot easier to give than to receive.  If we receive something, we often feel that pressure of needing to reciprocate.  Meanwhile, when we give we can be happy with something which may seem far lesser - a smile and a "That's delicious!" for hours spent cooking and baking, for instance.  Many of us need to learn to receive more graciously, be it a compliment, a card or a gift.  Not that we will ever stop feeling a need to reciprocate, it seems to be human nature, but that perhaps we can value what we give in return more - a thank you really is valuable!

To those of you who take the time to read this, thank you :)

Saturday, 16 June 2012

The Heart of Faerie Interview

Having long been a fan of Brian Froud and Jessia Macbeth's Faeries Oracle (Simon & Schuster, 2001), I recently purchased the Heart of Faerie Oracle (Abrams Books, 2010).  And so, to get us better acquainted, I decided a quick interview was in order.  I chose to just ask three questions, based on the theme of the deck, which is relationships, the balancing of masculine and feminine energies, and the  journey to faerieland.

What is the prime energy of our relationship?  The Gift

The prime energy of our relationship is one of sharing, of giving and receiving generously.  This deck, and our whole relationship, will be a gift to my continued exploration of faery, and of my path.  Not only that, our relationship will help deepen my connection with nature (the Green Man aspect of the image), and balance the male and female energies inside me (a female body but a male face and horns). I also see this deck offering me a way to connect with the Goddess and God, who are both referenced here.  A feeling of being spiritually connected, in harmony with life, is the greatest gift!

What balances this?  One of the unnamed cards

In this deck, as well as 65 numbered and titled cards, there are also three that just are.  They have no explanation in the book, simply the naked images.  That's something I rather like, being an intuitive reader in any case, so I decided to leave them in the deck when reading.  And lo, in this interview one of them came out to play!  So, as well as the very spiritual nature of this deck and the sharing that it brings, there is also a playfulness, a sense of mystery, and a challenge to step up, to bring my intuition into sharper focus, and to allow myself to be surprised by what we share.  Sometimes the messages may be confusing, psychedelic, jumbled, but bit by bit they will open connections leading to that more spiritual message of the gift.

What journey will we take together?  Oh No!

What I see here is that this is a journey to flesh out my understanding of faerie, and to bring colour to my life.  While this may sometimes drive me a bit mad with its secrets and its cheekiness, there is also a playfulness, a joy in nature and a sense of humour that will make the journey forever interesting ;D

Friday, 8 June 2012

Snow White

On Thursday, my DH and I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman.  I really enjoyed it, though he compared it somewhat unfavourably with the Game of Thrones.  Certainly, there were some parallels, but for me they are completely different genres - one is epic drama, the other is a fairy tale.

What does that mean: a fairy tale?  I think there is something about fairy tales being more archetypal and multi-faceted.  They often don't make a lot of sense at an overt level, yet have many different layers and ways of being understood.

Take Snow White, for instance.  Kenny Klein, in his book Fairy Tale Rituals, discusses Snow White as being about a seductive faery changeling, who could be all things to all men - each sees her as the perfect woman, though each would have a different idea of beauty and desirability.  So, it is about what makes us attractive, and about varied male perspectives on sexuality, and how a fey could satisfy any and all of them.  The book uses this understanding to suggest a ritual for finding true love.

On the other hand, from a more psychological, archetypal perspective, I had always previously thought of this fairy tale as being about the difficult relationship that can sometimes result between mothers and daughters.  As Kenny Klein points out, in some versions of Snow White it is not an evil stepmother, but Snow White's own mother, who tries to kill her.  Whether actual or step, the point is that an older female feels challenged by a younger woman coming to sexual maturity.

The evil Queen perceives that men only value women for their youth, beauty, and sexuality.  So, the threat of losing these means losing her sense of self, her feeling of being powerful.  It echoes with more modern reality tv shows like Hotter Than My Daughter, where mothers face both their desire for their daughters to be beautiful, and their own wish to remain the sexual focus of the men around them.

In this reading of the fairytale, it makes sense that the evil Queen glamours herself as an old crone to entice Snow White into eating the poisoned apple.  For that is the last guise that Snow White would imagine the Queen would take on, being the antithesis of all that the Queen holds dear.

Interestingly, in this new re-telling, there is far less of a focus on Snow White as sexual or even beautiful.  More emphasis is placed on her life-giving, rejuvenating, and healing abilities.

For example, with the dwarves, Snow White doesn't keep house for them, as she does in older tales.  Instead, they prize her because, in her presence, they regain their health and vitality - ridding themselves of gout and coughs, amongst other ailments.  The whole land, in fact, is wedded to the Queen - turning black and dead under the evil Queen's reign, and flowering anew with the coronation of Snow White.  In this, the tale is closer to pagan ideas of the Summer and Winter king, the corn god who dies and is planted in the earth to grow again in spring, and the way that the land is dependent on the health and vitality of the king, as found in the Fisher King tale.

It's curious to find so female-oriented a pagan theme in this movie, and may go a ways to explaining why, near the beginning of the film, Snow White is heard to recite a modern day version of the Lord's Prayer.  Some tidbit had to be thrown to the Christian Right to make this film palatable to them, and with this the whole matriarchal pagan emphasis is slightly disguised.  I guess it also helps that Snow White is almost asexual in this version - sharing a chaste kiss with her childhood sweetheart, and then being given two kisses in her sleeping state.  In fact, unlike in some traditional versions, it isn't a kiss that wakes her, but rather the tears of a good man.

There is something about fairy tales that lends themselves to this kind of telling and re-telling, with subtle differences or altered interpretations.  And that's one of the things I most love about them.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Faeries and Psychology

©Anna Franklin & Paul Mason
Recently, I have been drawn to work more with the Hidden Folk.  I wasn't sure what was calling me, whether just something about the aesthetic of my favourite faery decks, or the fact that they are a means of connecting with nature in a spiritual way.  However, what I wasn't expecting was an epiphany about the "why" of some faeries and plenty more questions.

Although I know a few people (whom I deeply respect) who believe in faeries as actual, physical creatures, I have always seen them more as archetypal energies.  The two are not mutually exclusive, of course.  And Nancy Watson, in her book Practical Solitary Magic makes the point that, whether they are external or internal, it is best to treat them as though they were real, and with respect!

The Fairy Ring Oracle (Llewellyn, 2002), which I wrote about here, gave me an additional, new perspective on the whole question.  The companion book to this deck gives a lot of well-researched information about faerie lore throughout the ages, focusing mainly on European folklore.  Reading some of this information, I was struck by how often faeries of old were seen in quite opposite ways: with the potential to either be a great help, or a terrible hindrance.  For example, a pacified brownie might help with house chores, while an irate one might throw possessions around and make an awful mess.

One thing that suddenly sprang out at me came in particular from the cards "Changeling" and "Garconer".  Garconer is a gypsy-like faery, dashing and handsome, who seduces human women.  Then, when he leaves, which he always does, they pine away for their faery love.  Changelings are faery children who are left in place of a human child, and who grow up sickly and pale.

Those sound to me like serious cases of love-sickness and post-natal depression!  Blaming them on faeries doesn't change the fact that they are likely more to do with the person affected being unable to accept their situation, and so blaming it on something outside themselves.

It makes me question Nancy Watson's statement: in what way is it helpful to react as though a child really is a changeling, or as if a lost love really was someone special and irreplaceable?  I guess that anything which allows us to externalise pain, if we use that to then look at it and deal with it, is a good thing...

Altogether, this has given me a different perspective on the use of working with faery energy.  As well as allowing us to connect with nature in a more personal way, they can also help us deal with some of our individual demons.  I like how Jessica Macbeth expresses it in the companion book to Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle (Simon & Schuster, 2001): "The Faery Challengers bring us face to face with our fears, our denials, our inner traumas, our insecurities, our delusions and confusions, our misbehaviors... Faery tests and challenges are not like the tests we had in school, which only discovered what we had already learned.  They design their tests so that, in the process of passing them, we actually learn things that move us to a higher level of being."

So, our experience of faery challenges, of the feeling of having a changeling for a child, or pining away for our faery love, allow us to grow and stretch ourselves spiritually, even if it doesn't feel that way at the time.  That's something I can get behind!  How about you, do you believe in faeries?  And how do you work with them?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Shallow Grave

©Lucy Cavendish & Jasmine Becket-Griffith
No, I'm not talking about the film of that name, but rather a card from the Oracle of Shadows and Light (Blue Angel, 2010) ;D

To give a bit of background, one of our cats had to be put to sleep on Tuesday, and so I have been working through my grief, and the reminder of other loved ones who have died.  I drew this card yesterday, and meditated with it.  A couple of insights came out of that, which I thought I'd share here.

Firstly, when I entered the card I was invited to lie down alongside the main character.  Doing so, I realised that we all three were looking up into a starry sky.  It made me think about the fact that some things are near enough eternal and universal (from a human, earth-based perspective).  Wherever on the planet you are, if you look up at night you can see stars (well, clouds permitting), and that would have been true ten thousand years ago, too.  There is a commonality of experience there, a way of connecting with others from whatever location in time and space.  Likewise, when mourning, it is helpful to remember all the shared moments and joys, the things we liked to do together, the ways we were the same.  In that way, we find the other still in our self.

Secondly, it seemed to me that she had dug the grave up, so as to be with her love once again.  It reminded me that having some kind of tangible way to connect is helpful.  Memories alone are not always enough: having a special place dedicated to the person's memory, or having some object as a reminder isn't maudlin, but rather can be a way to remember them that is supportive and grounded.  For example, we will be getting our cat's ashes in the next few weeks, and plan to have a little ceremony and spread them in the garden, under his favourite bush.  Then, when we see the bush, we can always remember him.

This is nothing new, I know, but it was a good reminder for me.  My father died a couple of years ago, and for logistical reasons (and maybe something more) we haven't yet managed to scatter his ashes.  I think this was a reminder to me that I should call my brothers and light a fire under their arses!  And that I can perhaps create something for myself as a reminder and a keepsake...