Friday, June 24, 2005

When Waiting Is Filled

Hello, all.

My best friend, fellow Doctor, Commodore and water brother, the Artist, is leaving, or as he puts it, gettin' the hell out of Dodge.

I've been offline for the past few days because I cleaned the entire ParcePad from head to foot (it is cleaner now than it was when I moved in, seriously) and then spent a day and a half with him, hanging out and doing our version of saying good-bye.

I have grokked this, and this is the best thing. He needs to get away, he's going to a safe place, he's taking another friend, he'll even have e-mail, and he'll be back, temporarily at least, in a month. He's been happy since he decided to go, and I am happy for him.

Nonetheless, as I said to him, I don't know what I'm going to do with the Artist gone. No one talks to me like he does. No one even has the frame of reference to try, even the friends I've known longer. We've read the same books, we argue fine points of Heinlein (were doing it even during our hang-out night), we grok together in the closest human approximation. Which means he can never really leave completely, because my nest is his, but nonetheless, I'm a short-timer, and it is hard for me to wait until fullness without any sorrow at all.

Ave, aqua frater, ave atque vale.

In his last meeting with the group (well, not last-forever, because he left in good standing and will probably come back as a speaker even if he never moves back to town and rejoins), I did as Saraswati had instructed me to do...before I found out he was leaving, I had had a larger, more ritualistic and not-really-me celebration planned, one that would have required putting off cleaning the PPad for another week. But since he was coming to stay and has asthma, I had to get the place defurred if I wanted to be able to hang out with him without him wheezing and being miserable.

So I asked Saraswati what to do, and dreamed the perfect guided meditation. Since our meeting was the day after Solstice and in the evening, it didn't really make sense for us to celebrate the solstice qua solstice. But it's an important event in the Wheel of the Year, and I didn't want it neglected either.

In some traditions, the year is divided by solstices, the two halves each with their own champion -- the Oak King, who rules from Winter Solstice in December through Summer Solstice in June, and the Holly King, who rules from Summer to Winter Solstice. At the Solstices, they battle, and the King of the previous half-year is slain (and regenerated in the womb of the Goddess).

So what to do for the day after Solstice?

What else but to carry my people to the bier of the Oak King, and allow them to commune with him before carrying him, with the help of the Holly King, to his funeral pyre? They were urged to give their worries about the past 6 months to the dead King, and to discuss the upcoming months with the Holly King.

This was particularly significant because, since Beltane last (2004), the Artist has been closely identified with the Oak King...which meant he came into the meditation as the dead King, and attended his own wake. Pretty neat, and unexpected...and fitting, for the time. The Oak King always returns when his waiting is filled...and, though the Artist is not tied to the sun and seasons quite as closely as his counterpart, I believe he will, as well, when his own waiting is filled.

So all is well, except the little, non-Martian part of me that cries out with fear at the thought of being with the Artist in spirit only until fullness. But that part of me is being soothed by the rest, despite snarky comments like, "Well, King Arthur is supposed to do that too, and I don't see his ass showing up" from the former.

But I am here, and will remain, for ten minutes or a thousand years, until my brother's time comes. Count on it.

8 Comments:

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Wishing you an easy waiting!

Who are the Oak, Holly, and dead Kings?

 
At 2:28 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

The Oak King and the Holly King represent the times of year...the days lengthen from Winter to Summer Solstice, which is the domain of the Oak King, and shorten from Summer to Winter Solstice, the domain of the Holly King. As I understand it, a lot of the early peoples (the Vikings for sure, don't have enough data on the "Celts" to confirm or deny that they shared this in period) didn't use four seasons, only two, Summer and Winter.

Part of the "solstice mythos" in a few cultures is a battle between the two....each Summer Solstice the Oak King dies, each Winter Solstice the Holly King dies. It's kind of a tai chi (what Westerners call yin-yang) situation...even though the Solstice happens before most of the "summer" has ended, the days begin to shorten, and the people must be reminded that as the days shorten, winter approaches. Same with Winter Solstice...most of the misery of winter in temperate climates comes after the Solstice, but the days are longer and it helps people to be reminded that Summer has already begun to approach during those dark months -- the Oak King is ruling, so Summer is sure to come.

The dead King in this meditation was the Oak King, since it was the day after Summer Solstice when we did the meditation. Cernunnos, who we've discussed before, is closely associated with both Kings -- their mythos tied into his life-death-rebirth cycle -- and Cernunnos is one of the Artist's first patrons, which (along with some personal stuff of his I'm not necessarily at liberty to share) is the reason he is tied in with the Oak King, but this cycle in particular was important, again for reasons I'm not at liberty to share in detail.

When we have had more people, or when we've celebrated with Tribe, we've done the battle of the Oak and Holly King (mock, of course) with two of our boffer fighters. That's always fun, but would be totally irrelevant the day after, towards evening. So we did this, instead.

 
At 5:56 PM, Blogger Special Sauce said...

ET-

I'm sorry to hear the artist is leaving the area for a while, but glad you're doing OK with it. I hope the waiting won't be long.

 
At 7:30 PM, Anonymous lady alambil said...

"It would be as if King Arthur returned to Britain, as some people say he will. And I say, the sooner the better." - Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis
We are without a Church of All Worlds. We have noone to teach us Martian. Remember that Jubal - who always grokked with completeness, according to Mike - cried. It is OK. Waiting is hard, oh so hard, but it shall be filled.
"Here is no water but only rock
Rock and no water and the sandy road
The road winding above among the mountains
Which are mountains of rock without water
If there were water we should stop and drink
Amongst the rock one cannot stop or think
Sweat is dry and feet are in the sand
If there were only water amongst the rock
Dead mountain mouth of carious teeth that
cannot spit
Here one can neither stand nor lie nor sit
There is not even silence in the mountains
But dry sterile thunder without rain
There is not even solitude in the mountains
But red sullen faces sneer and snarl
From doors of mudcracked houses
If there were water
And no rock
If there were rock
And also water
And water
A spring
A pool among the rock
If there were the sound of water only
Not the cicada
And the dry grass singing
But the sound of water over a rock
Where the hermit-thrush sings in the pine trees
Drip drop drip drop drop drop drop
But there is no water." - "The Wasteland", ll. 331-59, T. S. Eliot
Shantih shantih shantih to you in your waiting for the restoration of the Waters.

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

LadyA, water is not the essence, and you are totally correct. Shanti shakti to your Old-One-in-the-Egg self!

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

A toast to the Artist, and to the Oak king! Neither will be forgotten, and both will return! perhaps... At the same time?

I must predict a monumentous change for our mutual group of friends, Parce. I can almost smell it. Take a picture of us all now, cause I suspect no one will recognize any of us by Christmas. Though I think the change will be quite welcome on all ends!

 
At 12:53 AM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

On sel shol, gidyon sel ella, to our brother the Artist.

I don't have to take a picture, CDHSarah -- I have you with me always, as you are, and as you will be.

Nevertheless, I must agree wholeheartedly....especially since I just got Ron to give me the 15 Syllable Kali Mantra, to get the last stage of my karmatic-rebirth year started.

 
At 9:01 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

I suspect all the boys will change too. Especially after living together for so long

 

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