One of the Muse’s nicknames for herself is the Guide to Soul. She’s a lover of mystery, a devotee of the fecund dark, and aficionado of profound change, a freakish fan of fearsome affairs, and an enthusiast of symbolic significance. The West Self loves nothing more than to wander, hopelessly lost, in the romantic and alluring dark waters of the underworld; along with the well-honed capacities and sensibilities of the North, South, and East. There a person can undergo a transformation considerably more profound than what the West can work in the middleworld, and this is something the Muse-Beloved loves. There in the underworld, you can glimpse and be shattered by the revelation of the myth, story,name, poem, or song you were meant to live in this lifetime. This shattering- this ‘decisive defeat,’ as Rilke puts it- enables your reconfiguration, your reshaping, into a means of expression for your true identity. And this reshaping allows you to make, as David Whyte puts it, ‘a promise it will kill you to break,’ a vow to manifest the mysterious, metaphoric truth at the hub of your psyche, to carry this truth, as a gift to others, in what you do and how you be…….Bill Plotkin
we make promises and then we forget we didn’t need to make them after all…it is what it is….no, we probably do not know what we were meant for, but we know what pales and disappears…..we feed the liminal world through our beckoning, our disappearing, our inhabiting…..
Discerning our native gifts is difficult for many reasons. We live in a culture that tells us there is no such thing as a gift, that we must earn or make everything we get. But the most subtle barrier to the discernment of our native gifts is in the gifts themselves: They are so central to us, so integral to who we are, that we take them for granted and are often utterly unaware of the mastery they give us. The skills we are most aware of possessing are often those we have acquired only through long hours of study and practice, at considerable financial or personal cost. Precisely because these skills once cost us effort to acquire, we are acutely aware of owning them. Ironically, these self-conscious skills are often not our leading strengths; if they were, they would not be so effortful. Meanwhile, our native, instinctive gifts either languish unused and unappreciated or get used unconsciously without being named and claimed. This is one of the less desirable habits of the ego. It is the ego that decides what skills it prizes, the ego that exerts the effort to develop those skills, the ego that manipulates and markets those skills once it acquires them. Indeed, the very fact that we have gifts that the ego did nothing to earn is threatening to the ego. We need ego-strength to live fruitfully. But it is a paradoxical truth that in order to gain the strength that comes from knowing our gifts we may have to fight the ego’s drive to dominate our lives……Parker J. Palmer
Passing by, he could be anybody:
A thief, a tradesman, a doctor
On his way to a worried house.
But when he stops at your gate,
Under the room where you lie half-asleep,
You know it is not just anyone-
It is the Night Traveler.
You lean your arms on the sill
And stare down. But all you can see
Are bits of wilderness attached to him-
Twigs, loam and leaves,
Vines and blossoms. Among these
You feel his eyes, and his hands
Lifting something in the air.
He has a gift for you, but it has no name.
It is windy and wooly.
He holds it in the moonlight, and it sings
Like a newborn beast,
Like a child at Christmas,
Like your own heart as it tumbles
In love’s green bed.
You take it, and he is gone.
All night- and all your life, if you are willing-
It will nuzzle your face, cold-nosed,
Like a small white wolf;
It will curl in your palm
Like a hard blue stone;
It will liquify into a cold pool
Which, when you dive into it,
Will hold you like a mossy jaw.
A bath of light. An answer.