To the Great Below…

by Jennifer on August 18, 2017

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

“From the great above,

She turned her ear to the great below…”

~from translations of the myth of Goddess Innana

When I was a little girl, where I’d visit my grandmother in the South, there were abandoned railroad tracks I’d walk for hours.  I’d balance on the rusty rails and let my feet fall on the haphazard wooden planks, nearly submerged in the earth they were slowly becoming.  I’d get down in the small clouds of hot summer dust I made with my steps and put my ear up to the tracks, like I’d seen people do in the movies.  I knew no trains ran on those tracks anymore, and there would be nothing to listen for, but somehow I could hear far-away trains coming sometimes anyway.

A long time ago, long before I had symptoms or signs, and long before there was anything to look for, I turned my ear to the great below.  Before I could see anything coming…before I could walk, before this life…I turned my ear to the great below.

I’m an Oracle…and while you might think we only look up, I’ve turned my ear to the great below long, long ago.

I had already heard the heavenly songs, so beautiful beyond words.  I had heard the songs of nature and the earth, exquisite beyond legend and imagination.  But for a very long time what has called me most is what is beneath it all.  What is unseen and unsaid, what is hidden and forbidden amongst roots where all the forgotten stories are entangled.  Where the treasure is.  Where the healing is.  Where no one is looking for illumination, but where it most certainly lies.

I’ve been reading a journal from the summer when I was twenty years old.  It was the first time in my life the symptoms flared that I would later understand were due to Lyme Disease and the nervous system dysregulation of early trauma in my life.  In that time I wondered why, at the tender age of twenty, I felt like I was 80.  And an unwell 80, since you can be 80 and wonderfully healthy.  I worked at the deli in a health food store that summer, and at the end of my work day I would collapse into the grass and not move for a long time.  In my journal I said I knew that despite my deep connection to the universe and my own essence, there were things happening in my body I didn’t understand, below the conscious level, and I prayed to the universe to please show me…whatever it took.

And the universe has shown me.

I guess some people would find it disappointing that it took almost twenty years for me to see it all…for me to explore the precious underworld I explored.  Or sad that it has taken ten years of being unwell, culminating in nearly three years of unspeakably challenging treatment, to come through.  And I understand that way of thinking, I really do.  But how can I explain the treasures I have found in the underworld, precious indeed…how, when you heal by climbing out of a treacherous tunnel from the center of the earth, hour after hour, day after day in sheer darkness and often monumental pain, giving up a thousand times and then taking another breath and another anyway…how by the time you are near the surface you are not striving for the light anymore because more than ever you carry it within?  How in the end you can move your body like a panther, stretching at sunrise, because you had to embody so fully as an animal that you remember nothing else?

How can I explain how, in the end, you are able to weave golden threads of dimmest sunlight into healing cloths of bone-deep remembering…remembering that doesn’t just move in your psyche but pulses through your veins like wildfire?

There have been wildfires here, to the North.  If I put my ear to the ground I can feel the warmth…I can hear the crackle dying down now.  I watched the light turn golden, and the moon turn red night after night as the fires raged on.  I remembered the red moons I’d seen so long ago, eclipsing or red from the haze of fires and ruin, in ancient times few could look back on.  Times like now that I also pulled a fabric around my arms against the winds of change, and also at the same time let them flow through me.  Times I also tried to trust fully and surrender to what was meant to be…what I could not resist.

And so the wildfires came, and I danced.  It wasn’t a celebratory dance, but a necessary one.  Now moving for me is as essential as having a heartbeat.  And I never took for granted the ability to move, or breathe, or dance, or speak…but it is certain now that I never shall.

Maybe you haven’t had my exact struggle and emerging renewal, but I know you have had your own tunnel from the center of the earth to climb out of.  I know there was a day you turned your ear to the great below, and if you are still deep in the irreconcilable suffering of no movement, no breath, you may feel profoundly, utterly sorry that you did.  But I want you to know that it is worth it…that the darkest hour can feel like it lasts forever…like, forever…but there truly is a dawn that follows it, and a warmth one comes to finally know in the night again.  And the way you find the courage to keep breathing points toward the direction in which entirely new levels of your gifts are going to open up, even if it feels like moving toward them is like trying to chisel an opening through a boulder with a feather.  There will be traction someday.  You will figure out something a feather could do that you never imagined possible.  You will find passages that weren’t there before, appearing slowly before you…

On the outside, except at my very worst which happened almost entirely at home, you would think I have been fine all along.  While I have experienced enormous suffering, I am also plugged in to phenomenal joy and endless ecstasy.  It seems like an inconceivable paradox, and yes it is very strange to be me…and very wonderful.  I have so many gifts already, and I have gained beyond measure from every pain I have ever known.  So, on the outside I have seemed fine.  Radiant even…rosy-cheeked even.  You couldn’t see what I faced in my darker hours.  And now I look much the same…you can’t see how the ground waters inside of me are now running more cleanly.  But I have my ears to the tracks and I can feel it.  A tide of wellness has turned in me, a light is traveling down the tunnel now.  I’m not done.  I’m not out.  And there are other tunnels to explore other times.  But not like this one.  This is the one for me.  The special one that will have given me the most of them all.

I am still aching from my long winter.  I have been lying still beneath a tree where no one could see my seed coming to life, and now it will take me a long time to restore my full vitality and move across the landscape again.  But I have muscles I didn’t have before.  Muscles I am teary with excitement to feel.  Muscles I had when the world was young and we knew what it felt like to have wings.  And when there were wildfires, and the smoke might have made me sick and immobile like it used to, I was able to dance.  Again and again, I danced.

There is another side.  Another side to what feels like it will crush the life out of you.  There are seeds coming to life when everything looks dead in an unending winter.  Put your ear to the tracks, even if they’ve long been abandoned, and one day you will hear the train coming anyway.  Turn your ear to the great below and you will hear the ground waters flowing again…the humming of new life…

Love,

Jennifer

 

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise August 19, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Dear Miss Posada
You are a heart touching poet thank you for such beautiful words and you can be assured that others will also find them transformational
Much love Denise

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Jennifer August 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

Thank you so much, Denise! That lights up my heart!

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Louisa Freedom August 20, 2017 at 11:46 am

Wonderful, dear Jennifer. You are an inspiration for many women.
I hope your new book is in Amazon very soon.
All the best
Louisa

Reply

Jennifer August 23, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Oh thank you so much, Louisa! Your beautiful words mean so much! And while I have the feeling it may take a few years to write, I too can’t wait for the day the book is finished and out in the world…makes my heart shine just to think about it! Thank you so much for sharing that wish with me and sending love!

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