Memory is a powerful thing. Without it, we don’t know who we are.
The cup holds many things and when it’s full to overflowing, do you partake of it all or do you partake and then pour out the rest?
Sigyn’s cup catches and holds the venom that drips on Loki, caustic and punishing. Even the smallest droplets burn her hands and when she leaves for only a moment to empty it, Loki writhes in pain.
There are the bowls that hold the Mead of Poetry, made from honey and the blood of Kvasir who was formed from chewed berries and the communal spittle of the gods.
There is the Cauldron of Aegir where the beer for the gods is brewed. There are containers that hold the blood of warriors and containers that carry the blood of sacrifice.
There is the gilded aurochs horn filled with the fermented liquid carried by Freya, she who receives the dead into her hall Sessrumnir, found on the field of Folkvangr and it is from this gilded horn we all must drink in the sacred marriage of death.
What are the contents of your mead cup? Who holds it for you? Or do you carry it yourself? And when it’s full, do you drink from it before you pour it out? Or are the contents something other than liquid?
To remember is to honor. To honor is to offer something up.
I stand on the mound pouring out an offering to the gods, an offering given in exchange. The endless cycle. The skeletal remains of ancient sea creatures compressed by the weight of ages form chalk and chalk fertilizes the earth where the crops grow and we are fed. We are blood and bone and we return ultimately to the ancient seas that nurtured the sea creatures that became chalk.
Looking at Calc you might see, instead of the upturned container, the three roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. Others do. Each of the three roots grows into a different well, Urdarbrunnr, Hvergelmir and Mimisbrunnr. At some time in the far distant past, which is also the future, did Calc contain something valuable and sacred that was poured out into the wells that water the roots that water the tree? And if so, what was it? And where did it come from? Was it the contents of your cup?
Pouring something onto the ground nourishes the ancestors as well for that’s where they’re buried. How do you honor your ancestors and their memory? How do you feed the World Tree? What are you willing to pour out when Calc appears among the runes?
And I Wore Socks That Didn't Match
The last year I was beautiful I forgot the rules and walked across the 'Do Not Walk On The Grass' grass.
I started drinking Scotch at dawn and told my mother what I really thought about powdered milk and head lice and removed the bars of soap from all the bathrooms so I could swear.
The last year I was beautiful I stopped pretending I liked tidy drawers and I wore socks that didn't match and underwear with holes so they'd all be shocked when I wrecked my marriage, not my car.
And all the Brother Goodfellows and Sisters Uptight in the Kingdom Hall gasped at my irreverence and slithered away so they could hide under rocks that were the tablets of stone, shattered by Moses.
I laughed out loud at funerals to celebrate the all of life and danced naked on the graves of the should and should not and the have and have not and it all began and ended the moment I stuck a pin in the illusion and let the hot air escape with a hiss and a backward movement, out of control around the room that had been drawn with lines I had already colored outside of.
“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”
Ivy Baker Priest*
How do you know the difference between an ending and a beginning?
Is there a difference?
Have you ever been in a place in your life where you were not sure?
Do you believe that all things are a circle?
Do you believe that all life is a circle?
If so, how can there be an ending or a beginning?
Are these just words we use to mark various places on the circle?
It's not about finding the answers.
There may not be any.
It's about asking the questions which will require you to get down to the bare bones, to the roots, to the structure and framework of your beliefs.
It might also be interesting to consider how opposite your feelings and emotions can be for each of these two things.
In one case you may be devastated and overwhelmed by an ending.
In another instance the end can actually bring great joy and release.
You may grieve deeply at the beginning of something.
Or, you may become inspired and enlivened.
Perhaps our feelings about endings and beginnings are related and connected to how we live our life, either inside of time or outside of it.
Perhaps what matters is that you allow yourself to have the experience of feeling.
Perhaps nothing matters if there is no difference between endings and beginnings.
Is this the beauty and the challenge of the circle?
*Ivy Baker Priest, 1905-1975, was an American political figure who served as Treasurer of the United States under President
Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her signature appeared on all US currency during that time.
title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash