As spring wanes, the mane of Shamash Sun-Cat has grown back to its full splendour after his battle with the Black Horse of Winter and, with it, its rays of light and heat bring life and vigour back to the world in the way of summer. While spring may have brought us new growth, the things we have planted have not yet bloomed or come into fruition. But now is the time for the work to begin. Summer is almost upon us and the hard labour of reaping and harvesting is on the horizon. It is the time of the Sun-Cat, and the celebration of all things male and solar.
In Grimalkin society Shamash Sun-Cat rules the Day while his mate Inghira Moon-Cat rules the Night. Shamash is the embodiment of health, strength, vitality, virility and the essence of life itself and, even as his mate rules the darkness, his presence can still be felt as his warm rays still heat the world below and reflect upon the surface of the moons. Shamash is the life-giver and the regenerator and he, and all things male, are celebrated on Midsummer’s Day, or Adrach, in the Grimalkin Calendar. At Midwinter, the roles are reversed and all things female are celebrated.
Grimalkins celebrate the male deity that is Shamash, not only as a life-giving force, but as a representation of the male energy. The male Grimalkin is a creature that knows his role in the fabric of the clowder, and in the Cosmic Order. He fulfils many roles, not only as protector and builder of the place we call home, but as the maintainer and grower and creator of things. Just as the female creates things of use for different purposes, so the male creates things of purpose that keep the clowder and all its functions going. If the female Grimalkin is the soul of the clowder, the male Grimalkin is most definitely the heart. For there is no real separation between the sexes; while one gravitates towards one particular field, so does the other. But both male and female work together as a team to keep the clowder functioning as a well-oiled machine and a safe and comfortable home for all.
But to day is the day of the male. We need our male-folk. They are the very foundation stones upon which we build our society. Their unfailing dedication to their work and tasks make them invaluable, irreplaceable and much valued individuals in our world. Their brightness, vitality and creativity beams out of them with everything they do, whether they tend to the sick or elderly in the clowder hospital, or are thatching the roof of a new tavern. Their energy is infectious and inspires others to take up tasks they would not have necessarily considered before, galvanising others with their leadership and get-up-and-go. These Grimalkins are like solar flares or hot days in the Moon of Hazel, blazing, cheerful, garrulous and free with their laughter and mirth. For the more reserved of the male-folk, there are those who are passive and kind, warm and glowing like late summer afternoons by the sea. They are thoughtful and generous with their time and knowledge. Such male Grimalkins have their whiskers in a book or journal and will always seek to assist others in need. The studious and bookish Grimalkin is a good friend in times of crisis.
All of the male-folk embody the spirit of Shamash in one way or another. Midsummer not only celebrates the day of the male-folk – fathers, brothers, uncles, nephews, male friends or spouses – but also is a time to begin new projects. It is an assertive and productive time when all things and all tools are available to one, and the long summer ahead provides one with the light and the resources to begin in new endeavours, or journeys. Spring is a time of new beginnings, yes, but summer is the time when folk are at their busiest, and when most opportunities arise to partake in things one has never done before. Shamash Sun-Cat gives us the energy and the courage to take a leap of faith into the unknown and see where it takes us, all the while his sun-ray mane lighting the way.
It is important we start new things, or pick up the threads of what we did before if we do not want to stagnate. Our personal growth and our happiness, to a degree, depend on our ability to adapt and learn new things, or to hone our skills, or perfect old ones. The male Grimalkin is always learning, always striving to add another string to his bow. This makes his a great asset to those around him, and because of his light, his skills and his creativity, he is in need, and in demand. The fact that his skills are in demand are a testament to his talents and ingenuity for he has worked on those skills alone. He has no-one to thank but himself. That is a noble calling and any Grimalkin who has honed his skills, made them his own and set himself on his way in the world should be a proud creature indeed. The world requires more of the industrious and enterprising Grimalkin.
But those skills and those talents are rare and to be valued. Such time and effort has gone into the making of the enterprising Grimalkin. The creativity in his paws must be given room to act freely and without hindrance. Good, solid, things can be made with those paws. And good, solid foundations can be found if the Grimalkin values himself and his talents as much as those around him do. If he gives his heart and soul as much attention as he does his skills, then a fortress he will build out of himself. And it will be good, and right and just.
The poem by the celebrated Bard Eriffin Aengus illustrates the rise of the masculine thus:
Wake up, wake up, O my brother,
for you have slept too long in the darkness.
Throw off the shackles of your past
and break the prison bars of your despair.
Wake up, my brother,
and feel the touch of sunlight on your skin.
Throw open the window of your soul and let fly
your spirit into the great beyond.
Wake up, my brother,
and shed not another tear for what has gone before,
or for maidens loved and lost,
for your life is just beginning.
Wake up, my brother,
for the battle cries of long fought wars
are slowly receding from your memory.
Step into the light; that will be your victory.
Wake up, my brother,
and feel the solid and bountiful earth beneath your feet.
Take up your bow and hunt the sacred boar
and pursue the faerie hind that holds the secrets of your heart.
Wake up, my brother,
and know the mysteries of life and death.
For all that you are and all you will become,
and you shall become a god.
Eriffinn Aengus of the Golden Branch
The male Grimalkin is an essential part of the Whole, the All. We cannot function without them. We must recognise and honour the Divine in them as they recognise and honour the Divine in us. The world is too much out of balance right now. One is set against the other and that cannot be. We must work as a team. They are as much a part of us as we are a part of them. Let us see them as Sun-Cats, and our Brothers in Light.
Yours By Star and Stone
There are times in life we become wrapped up in things. Life takes us over and we forget what is important. We stop doing the things we enjoy and other things take presidence. It may be a conscious decision, or we may have found ourselves swept along by the current of life and circumstances. Either way, we may find ourselves in someone else’s story and have left our own far behind. We are not ourselves anymore. We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten our own story.
This can happen to any of us. Our hopes and dreams, our ambitions and the plans we had have all fallen away and been taken over by things outside ourselves. We find ourselves dancing to someone else’s tune, forfeiting our pleasures and our desires for the wants and needs of others. We may feel time is slipping away from us and all the things we had planned we can no longer partake in because of other things, other plans, other schedules, other agendas…and so it goes on. No longer do we wake up in the morning and think “I’m really looking forward to starting that project today…” as our lives cease to be our own. There is no place for our creativity anymore. no place for our individuality to expand and explore the far reaches of our imaginations, to start new things, to experiment, to try new things out, or to just allow the mind to wander like a errant moon across a star-studded sky. No room to be ourselves anymore. We cease to be. We wink out of existence like we never were. The light inside of us goes out. It is like the sun going out.
When that happens it is missed. The light and the creativity and the spark that made us is missed by others. Terribly so. When one begins to disappear like Marty McFly in his photograph in Back to the Future, it is noticed by others and our friends and loved ones can do nothing but watch helplessly and with great sadness as we fade from view with all the happy and fun memories fading with us. As we forget who we are, we fade. When we no longer do the things that drive us on, the things that get us out of bed in the morning, the things that make our hearts and souls sing, we fade. And we are missed. We are missed terribly. And such a sight of us fading from the ones we love is a travesty. Good things should never fade. They should shine and be seen. For it is that light and that energy that draws others to us, that forges connections that are deep and profound and life-changing. When that fades, the earth breaks asunder and that cannot be.
Be that crab that climbs out of the bucket. Be the crab that reaches for the moon and touches it and brings it down to earth so bright things can be forged in silver. Hide not the light inside for, when it fades, it is missed. The world needs the light and the creativity and the imagination. Be the creator of worlds as you once were, and never again let that be taken from you. It is far too valuable and precious to be allowed to fade, to disappear into darkness. Let it not fade into obscurity and mediocrity for you are unique and made of stardust. Your skills are needed and so you must pick up the items of your trade and begin again. Everything exists in cycles. Night and day. Life and Death. Winter is over. Turn your face to the sun and let your creativity flow once again. You are enough and the world needs it. The world needs YOU.
Your Friend Always,
It is all to easy to become lost; lost in one’s own thoughts, lost in one’s problems, in one’s own world, lost in a myriad of things. Being lost has become, as many see it, an insurmountable problem, like a derelict ship listing at sea with no hope of discovery or recovery. We can be left in a proverbial ‘Bermuda Triangle’, a temporal anomaly of lostness, not knowing how we got here or how we can get out of it. Or we may know exactly how we got lost but the end result is the same – no way out. Walking and talking in circles until we exhaust ourselves and give up.
There are many ways in which we become lost. We may take a wrong turn in life, or simply drift from situation to situation, environment to environment, paying little attention to what we are doing. It may be a conscious choice, or it may not. But we end up lost because we have missed something and we can’t find our way back. What then?
Being mindful of our thoughts and actions helps us to become more aware of where we are going and examining our intentions leaves us less likely to become lost in future, but if one is lost and floundering in rough seas with nothing to grab on to for support, it is best to stop flailing and just float. Wait. Think. Let the tide take you on a current that may lead to a solution, or a lull in whatever chaos or drama that may be going on. Like consciously choosing to be alone for a period, it is prudent to allow things to take a natural course as this may be the ONLY solution. Inaction may be the only action, but if the lostness is simply too much to bear, one is in need of a lighthouse. To the lost, the world seems like a vast, empty ocean. But if one looks up, there are stars to guide one if the night is clear, or the moon if it is on the wax.
But one can never stay lost is one truly wants to be found.
To the lost I say look for the light. What I mean by this is look to those who brighten your day, lighten your heart, make you laugh, make you smile. Move towards the sunlight. You do not always have to engage with others if you do not want to, but strive to do the things that make the centre of your being glow like the sun, and feel warm like a summer’s day. There are those who want to help you, to offer genuine help, from a place of goodness and compassion, not from a place of narcissism or possession. Should the hand (or paw) be offered, do not feel guilt or shame in taking it. It comes from a place of Universal Love and empathy for other beings. The door will never be closed upon you nor safe harbour denied. There will always be ports in a storm; you just have to reach out and take the rope that will bring you in from the tempest.
To those who have compassion for the lost – be the Welcoming Light. Be the light in the darkness for those who have fallen by the wayside. Many need and want help but are to afraid, to proud or too weary to ask for it. Many simply do not know how to ask. Have patience and compassion. Be the lighthouse that weathers the storms of their indecision and their inaccessibility for we cannot always know their stories and cannot know their hearts. To reach out and ask for help, for some, is a deeply difficult task. It is not for us to judge their reasons for not doing so. The lighthouse simply stands guard and watches, and casts light on the treacherous rocks below. We can give the warnings and shine the light. It is up to the vessel to heed it, and come towards it. The lighthouse, or the Welcoming Light, does not ask, or pry or question and so we must not. It must come from a place of neutrality no matter what has transpired in the past. It is the essence of true empathy, compassion and mercy.
Yours Under the Boughs,
It is never easy when anniversaries come around. Or birthdays. Or Mother’s/Father’s Day. These days, we feel, can only serve as painful reminders of the things and the people we have lost; the good times or the futures stolen from us. Birthdays especially, for once they were happy times, now reduced to remembering that there will be no more celebrations, only memories of what once was, and, for the one who is lost, to never grow a day older from the moment they passed beyond the Veil. For they, once gone, shall never grow old and never more suffer the maladies and ravages of time and old age any longer. For them, time has stopped. For us, the ones left behind, the steady march of time beats on like a melancholic heartbeat in the darkness.
Grief is a paradox. It both leaves you with a feeling of emptiness and filled with so many things – anger, despair, denial, resentment. It can veer from one extreme to the other. It can be confusing and numbing at the same time. Not knowing how to deal with it, who to turn to, where to go, what to say. There are many suggestions about how to deal with grief and loss, not necessarily with death, but also other kinds of loss which can leave one with a feeling of “….maybe I should be feeling like this at this stage, or that stage. Maybe I should be over it by now. Do I have to go through the stages of grief in a particular order…?”
The answer to this is no. We think of grief as something that has to be controlled, managed and harnessed. Yes, to some degree we must manage our pain, but what many do not understand is that grief and all the feelings of loss are all part of the human experience and so MUST be treated as such, and not crafted into some form that fits neatly into a category or list. Grief simply does not work that way. We go through life never knowing grief and then suddenly we do. There is a life before and a life after grief. It becomes part of our make-up, our being. It becomes integrated into ourselves so that reality itself turns inside out so that there are now two worlds – the reality before the experience, and the one after. Things can never be the same again. At this time, and for some time after, we must learn to integrate this new feeling into out psyche and make it part of us. It will never leave us and it is for that reason we must learn to nurture it and find a place for it within ourselves.
It will always resurface and that is why we need to befriend it. Understand it. Learn that we feel grief because it is the highest expression of love. We grieve deeply because we have loved deeply. Even if we have had fractious or broken relationships with those we loved, it does not matter. Love is as complicated as grief and to try and pick it apart and make sense of it is a fruitless and demoralising task. Grief, like love, is what it is. There are things we are not meant to understand and the feelings and expressions of the heart, like love, grief, compassion and mercy are some of those things. We cannot explain them even though we try our best to. But they are sometimes way beyond our understanding.
Grief, like love, can be expressed by the heart in a thousand silent ways.
Grief can also be subject to social norms. A female may be frowned upon for seeking out love after the loss of her mate soon after his passing. Why is this? Is there a time limit on grief? I think not. We must get past this notion of time when it is relation to others’ feelings and emotions, and pre-conceived ideas of what it means to grieve. Some may grieve for a short time and process the loss quickly. Some may grieve the loss of their loved one for the rest of their earthly days. We cannot know the hearts of others. It is impossible, and wrong, to judge others on how and when they process their grief and loss. We must set our own houses in order first before turning our attentions to the dwellings of others.
And so, what happens if you feel you can move on? What then? How do you feel? More to the point, how do OTHERS make you feel? Guilty? Pressured? Ashamed? Are they projecting their own morals, ideals and virtues onto you out of some feeling of lack or want within themselves? Ask yourself – how do YOU feel about it? Your loved one is in another reality. They are not here to advise you, or admonish your for your choices. They cannot direct your life now in any way, so be wary of those who say “Your mother/father would want this/that, be so disappointed if you….” That is emotional manipulation, and control. They are not here. You are. Be mindful of that. We only have a short time here. Use this time wisely.
In the end, it is perfectly acceptable to move on with life. There is no shame in that. You do not forget those who have gone before you as they will always be a part of you – they may have shaped your life in some way, made you the person you are for good or ill. In some small way, they will always be a part of you, a part of your being. Holding a space in your heart for them does not mean you forget them. You may not think of them every day and, the first day you forget to think of them you might feel guilty. This is natural. It is a natural process of letting go. But letting go does not mean forgetting. Holding a place in your heart means you NEVER forget, you just store that memory and love away like a treasured album full of pictures and stories to be picked up and examined at a time of your choosing. It is a conscious choice to remember, not a forced one out of guilt, duty, obligation or external pressure. And with that, the memories become sweeter, if they were good, or have less of an impact if they were not. Holding that space is neutral. And it is good for you in the long-term because it allows room for that process to run its course and settle where it is supposed to without the pressure of social norms or other people telling you what should and shouldn’t be. Let it rest in peace in your heart and soul.
My Most Healing Blessings At This Time
Your Friend Always
Imeldra Geraldine Moonpaw.
In times of toil, strife and hardship, it is difficult to see the good in the world. It seems the Great Mother has turned from us and all love, hope and faith has fled from us.
In troubled times it may seem love is all but gone from the world. But times of deep grief show there is great love in it still.
Go with the current to calmer, stiller waters.
Don’t fight the tide.
The ocean is calm and deep.
Let life take you to freer and more interesting horizons.
Not everything is black and white.
Not everything is love and hate.
There is every shade and every feeling in between.
There are those you remember because they are just a memory.
And there are those you remember because they have touched your heart and soul in ways you can never forget.
In this time of cultural nihilism, we are often told that loneliness is a scourge on our community. It is. The lack of interaction – true, meaningful interaction – with other sentient beings, human or Grimalkin, like ourselves can leave us feeling very detached from the world, bereft and isolated. I want to address some things as this is a subject close to my heart. I have felt loneliness at times but I have also known those who are lonely. And so, this blog is for them.
We all seek out others of our kind. Our family. Our community. Our clan. Our tribe. It is a natural response to want to be with those who understand us, who can care for us and who we can care for in return. We seek sanctuary in these relationships. We yearn for that deep connection that touches our minds, hearts and souls. We want that silent knowing that we are accepted without question by those who are like us. It is where we find security, peace, love and friendship.
But there are times when we can be surrounded by people and feel the loneliest being in the world. Why is this? I believe that we feel this way because we have lost, or never had, that essential connection with ourselves. Some can live their entire lives on their own and be happy and at peace with that because they have a strong sense of self. They know who they are and where they are going. But for many, seeking out others to deal with their loneliness becomes a mission, and sometimes a toxic and all-consuming one at that.
Loneliness is a natural reaction to the lack of meaningful connections with others. I say meaningful because we, as complex creatures, we want to engage with and expand our consciousness with others in our journey of life, share our hopes and dreams with them, share our loves and our pet peeves, our gripes and our simple pleasures and hope they understand them. We want validation that we matter, and that everything about us and our world has meaning and significance. We seek out others of our kind because we long to extend our universal love to those around us, to feel included and safe and secure. We are social beings. Our energies will naturally gravitate towards those who vibrate on a similar wavelength. The saying “you are on my wavelength” means exactly that.
Being connected to those like us brings us joy and peace. It brings out the best in us and we bring out the best in others in turn. But what if you do not have those connections? What if, at some point in your life, you find yourself feeling alone despite being in the midst of a crowd?
There are times when you can feel so disconnected from everything and everyone it becomes difficult to function in everyday life. Loneliness can draw you into a dangerous world of isolation, depression and self-sabotage. You can often feel like it is your fault you feel this way, like you have failed somehow, failed at being a human being because, here you are – you may be popular, have lots of friends or be successful – and yet you are wanting. You may feel guilty for feeling this way, somehow ungrateful, feeling the confusion of wanting to get away and yet yearning for the company of others, and this can lead to a downward spiral of depression. self-blame and even self-loathing. You feel like a fraud for putting on a smile and showing the world that you are okay but inside you are screaming. Keeping up appearances is a Sisyphean task – you get through the day with a laugh and a smile, keeping everyone’s probing questions of “u ok hun?” at bay, only to crawl to bed in the early hours, aching and despairing, having no room in your mind or your heart to think or feel anything but the darkness that is slowly pressing in upon you.
You can’t talk about it. How could you? You have to be the person everyone wants you to be. One person needs you to be one way, another person needs you to be another. You have to juggle flaming torches and spin plates all at the same time, pleasing everyone, or at least trying to. You try your hardest but inside you feel like you are failing, falling apart. You are keeping it together but barely. You don’t know what people want from you. You can’t be yourself. You begin to understand that you can’t keep everyone happy, you can’t please everyone. You can’t be everything to every person. You can’t do all the things you promised. You are being crushed under the sheer weight of the pressure around you – people, things, work, more people, more work, family….. It goes on and on. Your health is beginning to fail. You can’t do as much as you did before. That adds to the guilt. It weights even heavier upon you. The world becomes a carousel of noise and sound you can’t seem to escape from but you long to, long to get away for just a little while. You ache to get away from it all, to be alone, even away from the people you love most, but this also adds to the guilt. You feel like a monster for wanting a few precious moments away from them – to walk in the woods, to sit with a book and just gather your thoughts. Just for a few moments…
But in those moments, you still feel that void inside of you. The inescapable void that longs to be filled with something you don’t know what. You have been seeking it all your life but it has always eluded you. Sex. Work. Friends. Things. But it was never enough. Anger. Rage. Frustration, Depression. Despair, Sadness. Emptiness. It is all there. All working against you and yet there is no-one there to tell it to. You keep it in. You feel like your heart is going to explode with the sheer volume of it all. The loss. The pain. The inability to voice the discordant cacophony of feelings, emotions and thoughts playing a disharmonious dirge inside of you. It is a frightening and isolating place to be, my Dear Human. You cannot voice it because you don’t know how. You never learned that your thoughts and feelings were important. You were never taught that you mattered in a way that you should have done. But it matters. It always mattered. Because, my Dear Human, you are and essential part of the Whole, the All, just like the rest of us.
Your silence is killing you.
But oh, my Dearest Human, there is a way. From one who has walked through darkness and come out of the other side, there is a way to end this cycle of destruction. You can and are worth saving.
People often confuse being alone with loneliness. The two are not the same. Loneliness is the feeling of lack. Being alone is the feeling of contentment in one’s own company. It can take some time to adjust to being on one’s own but it is an important part of personal growth.
Now, I am not suggesting you end all of your relationships, cut all of your ties and live like a hermit or an anchorite until the end of your earthly days. You can be with others AND feel comfortable BEING ALONE at the same time.
Being alone does not mean shutting yourself off from others. Being alone means setting time aside for YOURSELF and doing the things you enjoy, being present in the moment, reflecting on the things you want out of life.
Being alone sets healthy boundaries with others. If you find you do not have a moment to yourself, be assertive and express your intention to have You-Time.
Being alone is essential to personal growth and development. Many people fear being on their own. If you feel this way, then ask yourself why? Are you afraid of yourself? Do you need to work on some inner issues? Do you need help with anything? If you need help ASK. NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF HELP, PLEASE DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE. CONTACT SOMEONE YOU TRUST, A PROFESSIONAL OR A GP. NEVER SUFFER ALONE.
Being alone gives you much-needed time to evaluate your situations. If your life or situation requires change or improvement, being alone will give you the time and emotional/mental space you need to make rational and informed decisions.
It is easier said than done. The fear of being alone can be too much for some and they spend their entire lives seeking out company because they cannot, or will not, address the reasons why they feel that way. My belief is that is you have a strong, or at least, a stable, inner core, then being alone and doing things on your own, becomes something you enjoy and not something to be feared.
People fear being alone with themselves. You should never fear yourself. If you have difficulty finding yourself, then take time to discover that. But you can only do that by spending time alone. Make friends with yourself. Be your own best friend, your own brother or sister. Being alone helps you to discover things about yourself you never knew existed. You may surprise yourself – once you give yourself time to grow and expand in the new space you have given yourself, you will feel less lonely. You will have forged that essential connection with yourself, which is the most important connection of all, the most healthy relationship you can have. Of course, you will still have your relationships and people around you, but you will now have a choice – you will choose to seek out company because you will not need it as you once did. The need to fill the void will no longer be there because you have done the work inside. You can only fix and heal yourself, but always seek out professional help if you need it. No-one can solve your problems for you, nor can people, addictions or things be substitutes for the relationship you need to create with yourself.
There is one last thing I want to address. You are not a failure. You are not a bad person. You are not unwanted, or unloved, or incapable of doing things. You are not a misfit or a freak or a square peg in a round hole. Your experiences do not make you. Your character and your integrity does. If you have not fit into a particular niche in life, if you have always felt like an outsider, there is a reason why and it has nothing to do with you. It is not because there is something wrong with you, it is because there is something wrong with society. You will always find your clan, your tribe. If you are not resonating with those around you and it is making you sad, miserable, uncomfortable or depressed, never feel guilty about moving on. It is YOUR life and we only have a short time here so we need to make the most of it. Seek out those who chime with you. Never apologise and never explain. Part of the reason why we feel lonely is because we stay in situations out of obligation. We do not need to do this. We always have the choice to free ourselves and seek pastures new and feel less alone in the world.
Yours Under the Boughs
It’s not about defeat. It is not about self-destruction.
It’s about learning who and what you are again. Re-evaluating. Re-organising. Learning what works and what does not. What worked before may not now as, after the Fall, there comes the Rebuild. Just as Rome was never rebuilt the same way, so can a life never be the same after it has been broken. The Fall of the Old Life is an essential part of living, growing and evolving. Many old habits, thoughts, acquaintances no longer fit into the new Empire that is YOU. Feel no shame in opening your hands and letting them descend to earth to be recycled or to decay.
And yet, a few foundation stones remain to build upon – integrity, values – the things that fundamentally make you unique in this world. The old may go. It may die. It may turn to ashes and dissolve into the wind. It is no defeat to allow yourself to fall and shatter and to coalesce into a new form. Stars and planets do this endlessly. And so we must.
It is a difficult task. We are but children again, learning to walk and talk and find our way among our fellows once more. For we are new and untested in this fresh form in a world full of uncertainty, turmoil and despair. And yet, for those who have known a Fall and survived, sometimes many, it is simply another metamorphosis into a different and more evolved form, a better and more stable Empire of Self.