Fragile is not a word I want to associate with this time of year. Yet I'm getting daily reminders of how short and precarious--and how precious--our lives may be.
The egg, the chick, and the rabbit are showing up everywhere now and must be handled, if at all, with gentle hands, to preserve the new and eager life within. But these aren't what I am talking about.
The daily reminders are a bit more personal and human, I am sad to say. At this time of year, at least two of my Pagan friends have been reminded that even their own existence is not a given, that this life could be taken away before its time, whether by illness or by someone else's petty prejudice.
It is tempting to get on the soapbox about these things and say 'Bad things happen to good people because ____' or 'Look, Pagans are still being persecuted.' But when you are in that moment and have just confronted your own mortality--on this plane, at least--reasons don't exist. Everything you have ever known seems far away, and you are left with some sort of wordless thought in your head and nothing else. It cannot be described.
Nor is it always a noble and dignified ordeal. The more I think about it, the more I think it just can't be a storybook experience. It is by nature the opposite of neat and pretty. Like Inanna descending into the underworld, we lose the reasons, the beliefs, all that we know and are and even all that we love. Nothing of ourselves is left but the body.
I can't speak for my friends, so I'll simply tell you about my own undignified experience. I wasn't shedding seven garments to venture down to Ereshkigal herself. I was watching X-Files with friends in a dorm room many years ago, sitting on a bottom bunk, when the top bunk collapsed over me. There was a lot of wood-related noise and I heard one of three people screaming somewhere over my head. My head was pinned to my chest and I could not move.
Due to my slouchy posture, it was not the gateway to the underworld it could have been. I experienced a lot of pain afterward, but that was it. So many others have suffered more and ventured further to the other side of the veil.
What is there to say about the very thought of a life cut short? I don't have any good answers. The only thing I know to do is make the most of this life. One thing I manifested at the Ostara chant circle last night was to live a full life.
I will do this partly by simply living it, and partly by recognizing the great gift it is. And for that, I must say thank you.