“Raspberry Leaf is an astringent and an anti-inflammatory. Raspberry Leaf aids pelvic circulationin the female reproductive organs and also aids in childbirth. As an anti-inflammatory, Raspberry Leaf is used for fevers and is good for nausea and motion sickness.”
I chose this card in hopes of finding some sort of inspiration for writing today…I seem to have been dropped into a wide Void this week as far as creative confidence goes.
Of course, The Queen of Wands would come, to stare at me, to give me a complete opposite to gaze upon–she of utter passion, determination, motivation and confidence. She, surrounded by Raspberry Leaf, the herb of fertility and preparing the body for birth.
It makes me think of the birthing process, and if, once again, I am in another one. It makes me wonder (having never birthed physical children) whether pregnant mothers come upon these strange pockets of blankness, of “what the hell am I doing?” during their pregnancies. Whether they hit long stretches of doubt, cloudiness and lack of surety about what they’ve decided to enter into creating.
That’s how I feel now.
You see, I’ve decided to create a workshop around the Food Memories book/process…I actually have the whole thing written out. My business mentor asked me last week, “Ok, so now we need to get really clear on who this is for.”
And that’s when the blankness set in. Or rather, the swirl of possibilities–but nothing clear. I spent time at the drawing board, trying to mentally plot out objectives and goals for each of the clientele I felt come into my mind. But then those swirled wildly around too. Now there was a lot of goals, and a lot of client types, flying around like wicked monkeys in here.
So I stopped. I stepped back. I asked the deeper parts of myself and whatever may be co-creating with me to send me clues about who the hell my offering would best serve. And waited.
And only silence met me.
Again I think back to the pregnant mother, drinking her Raspberry Leaf tea, preparing her body, all the while feeling a blankness as to how she’ll ever be able to do this. I think about the courage it takes for a woman to face that risk, not knowing what may happen, but committing to the gargantuan task anyway.
And I think of her praying in the dark of night, calling out for support, and feeling only silence. Wondering if she’s making a mistake, wondering if bad things will happen, if she is healthy enough, or if she decided to conceive too soon. Wishing, yearning for her internal guidance, and external forces to show her the way through her doubt and fear. But hearing only silence. What must she feel in those moments, those terrifyingly silent moments in the night?
Again I look to the card. I see this woman, who seems grounded and wise, facing forward. She holds the staff firmly in hand, but not to prop herself–it is an extension of her internal power. I see the Raspberry plant winding around her, framing her, supporting her. I see the white cat, her familiar, by her side.
Looking into her eyes, and upon this whole scene, I feel my sense of lostness transform into hope again. She seems to be saying to me that I have her in me, that I am on this birthing process, and that I just need to keep going, keep trusting in that process. She seems to be holding one of the Raspberries in hand…almost like she is offering it to me.
It’s all a very non-linear directive, but I’m trying. I’m going to go make myself a cup of Raspberry leaf tea right now, envisioning it nourishing my creative centers, my deep internal strength. Despite my internal agnostic, snickering, I will also make space for the possibility that I too, have a spirit familiar, helping me somehow.
I will sip and let the possibilities grow, and let the blankness be okay. I will let the Raspberry and the energies of the Queen of Wands infuse me, and see what happens.
This memory sought to re-create a morning I woke to utter hopelessness, lost in a deep and dark void–in the bed of a stranger’s home. Don’t get all excited, I had come to this place to housesit, and although I’d met the family for a moment before they left, they were essentially strangers and I was essentially sleeping in a stranger’s bed.
I remember that day feeling like I wanted to die.
I had just relocated myself to the mainland US after having spent some years in Hawaii, and had nothing really, just a suitcase to my name. I had no plans, my identity of what I was and what I wanted to do with my life had spun out immensely while on said islands. I had hoped by coming back to the mainland I might find some sense of grounding, some sense of sanity but evidenced by this memory I had not found what I’d wished to find.
In the original scene I remember feeling nauseous, no hunger and like my life force was trickling to a dribble. I remember being on the edge of not wanting to try anymore and how then this force of anger and frustration came bursting through. I remember asking for an image, any image to help me get my sorry ass out of bed and back into life again, if only for the day. What appeared was an image of a chocolate chip cookie, a cup of coffee and some sort of a metal music magazine. Inspired by this sudden force, I strapped on my falling apart boots and made my way to the Safeway down the road.
At that store, I found all of the ingredients to this magical trio, including a Rolling Stone magazine dedicated to Metallica. Not exactly what I was looking for, but this music had carried me through the darkest times of my life and spoke to some of the darkness I was feeling, so I felt met and companioned…here in that store with my Void amidst the neon case lights and roboticized voices shouting, “Have a nice day!” around me. Metallica and their world held such sparkles in my mind at the time.
Fast forward to this day, roughly 15 years later, where I aimed to recreate such a scene. Oddly enough, I spent much of the week prior to this re-enactment wallowing in another deep well of Voidness, swimming in the Nothingness. One of those gut-wrenching hollow feelings, haunting me. I didn’t think of it then but now I wonder if in aiming to recreate this scene, I was conjuring also this deep feeling to “get me in the mood” ha.
Anyhow, I woke up thinking of Metallica and decided to turn the knife extra deep by watching a video of me pissed off and disillusioned by the “scene” at an event I had worked at for Kirk Hammett…one where there were such bad vibes I basically felt like running away from the whole gig, but of course didn’t. I revisited a feeling full of shame and judgment and mind-games I encountered there, and how my dreams of working with my heroes, being able to find purpose there…or at least some good people…were totally smashed.
So that started out my re-creation experience. Feeling the heaviness again, but inspired by my own writing project (this one), I strapped on my slightly less beat up boots and made my way to the nearest Safeway.
One chocolate chunk cookie was there for me, and I ordered a small cup of hot black coffee to go with it. I was excited to see what awaited me in the magazine aisle to go along with this treat…would I synchronistically find a metal magazine, here in suburbia? And why did I feel excitement, still, for this scene?
I walked up to the magazine section and, balancing the hot cup back and forth in my hands, started scanning. Bummer. An issue on The Doors, but not really anything else awaited me there. I had wanted something filled with images of gore and darkness and people throwing up the heavy metal horns. What could this mean? What would I spend my recreated experience with? The magazine was definitely part of the original scene. Hmm.
I went to my car and set the goodies down. On the other side of the armrest was my book, Food Memories, and that was all there was to entertain. I opened up the cookie bag and started taking in the perfect soft chewiness, gulping down sips of the dark coffee with it. I peeled open my book, to the poetry section and began reading.
As I read, I realized that maybe it was necessary to have an illusory inspiration via Metallica and other metal bands. During a time where I needed to see others creatively expressing their darkness–so I didn’t feel so alone, so I knew I wasn’t totally crazy, so I had some sort of role model with how to process the intensity I was feeling but didn’t know how yet.
But how interesting that here, now, with this chocolate chunk cookie, I was being inspired by my own creations. That having gone through the journey of seeking to be involved in a world that I thought would make me feel better about my own shadows–and ironically only feeling more lost in doing so–that here I was, finding my way back to my own medicine. How interesting.
On this day, I sat back and thanked my inspirators, even the f*cked up scene that exists in the industry, for teaching me and for helping me get to this point. I also thanked whatever the hell has inspired me to get back to a place where I am hungry again, despite the crumbling world around me. And I thanked the fact that it is in my own creating process that I find inspiration to rise and meet this strange, strange world.
(Ironically, after I finished this experience, I went across the street to get lunch at another store and lo-and-behold, in the magazine section was a Rolling Stone magazine focused entirely on Metallica. I picked it up and flipped through it but felt no wide-eyed projection take hold. I put the magazine down and walked towards lunch.)
*Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “The Mocha.”
**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here:
This week’s memory brings me to re-create the Medicine Walk* I went on in 2004, as a part of a group teaching by a local medicine person. On that walk, I was taught that while traditional Vision Quests* involved fasting from food and water to receive guidance from spirit, a Medicine Walk proposed the same outcome without needing to put oneself through such a harsh experience. Having struggled with Anorexia, I already had much experience of fasting (although I did not do it with purposeful sacred intention) and was glad to hear of a ceremonial way to connect with the Great Mystery that didn’t involve fasting. Trail mix was the food that I chose to sustain me, forgoing the varying tastes of different meals for the whole day as my sacrifice instead.
This time I chose to venture out in my local mountain town before sunrise, to sit somewhere and watch for the sun to break through. On the medicine walk of decades ago, it was suggested that we wait to eat anything until the sunrise touched our skin. Also at this point, whatever animal was around in a prominent way would be our “medicine animal” for the day, one we would learn from while out on the land in silence.
Unfortunately, the sun was not out on this morning as it was very cloudy. I was a bit perplexed in how to move forward if I couldn’t follow that guidance in the re-creation, so instead decided to sit out until the exact time of sunrise was reached. At that time I would eat my trail mix and look for what animal was around.
This made me think of how mechanical my food intake is sometimes, run by time, rather than the wisdom of my animal body. It made me think of how I add trail mix to my salads pretty regularly, and whether that is somehow an attempt to stay connected to the magic of that Medicine Walk of yore. It made me think of how much I wanted to be led by something sacred and clear and bigger than myself in my eating.
I waited for the sun, I waited for the clear signs, but they didn’t come. Crow was around, cawing, so I thanked him for showing up as my guide. But not entirely sure like I was that day, with the sun brilliant and skies clear. It was so clear back then, when I had beliefs and rights and wrongs and no idea of the complexity of reality. How interesting that “Crow Medicine*” often relates to living in the void between worlds, having no sense of time, seeing simultaneously the three Fates, Past, Present, and Future. How Crow merges light and darkness, seeing both inner and outer realities, beyond human law. How very interesting.
These days, just like that morning’s sky, I often sit, unclear about what it all means. Whether there’s something bigger that is meeting me, or if there’s really nothing listening, responding. I sit on the fence, waiting, waiting for the sun.
At least I’ve got trail mix, and perhaps Crow, to sustain me.
*These terms are used with respect to the first peoples, the indigenous peoples of this land and their ceremonies. I use them as they were the words used by the native person in the ceremonies of that day long ago. It is not my intent to culturally appropriate them.
**Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “Dementors.”
***If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: