i woke up at 4am today.
just couldn’t sleep, and i didn’t particularly feel like trying.
i came into my room… where i write, listen to music, make jewelry, and so on… and i set about lighting candles and burning incense.
i boiled water for tea and made some toast, just like any other morning, only it was 4am. completely dark outside. dead quiet everywhere.
there’s a lot of shifting going on. my sleep always gets bollocksed when changes are happening.
on a national level, it feels like we’re spinning out into shear madness with all of these fucking guns and horrific shootings, and so much unresolved fear, hate, racism, sexism, and all the other isms being propagated by so many people. (it’s too much to bare sometimes. what the fuck is going on!?)
on a personal level, i’ve been returning to my magical practices… inviting in a relationship with my ancestors, hanging with the faeries, consulting the tarot, engaging in the art of childlike curiosity and imaginative play… and generally doing whatever i can to find beauty, joy, and meaning in this mess.
and, on a family level, my grandpa was recently put into hospice care. my sweet sweet grandpa is letting go. and i have to let go too.
…we’ve been very fond of each other right from the start ❤
so, i was going about my morning, doing various things to ease my mind and find some peace amidst the mental chaos that comes with being wide awake at 4am.
eventually i turned to my art journal.
i haven’t cracked an art journal in a very long time. i’ve missed it so much, but i’ve been inspired by other things, and i know that creative channels come and go. anyway, in my big mixed media book i found a black and white image that i had printed out several months ago, of a lion. i sat there looking at it for a very long time, feeling so entranced and comforted by it.
after what seemed like forever, i got the urge to get out some colors and play.
this was the result:
as i was messing around with this, the song “Royal” by Lorde kept popping into my head. i never listen to that song, but i guess it makes sense on some level – lions are a symbol of royalty. and, this image of a lion was rather insistent on queenliness.
so i decided to write the word ‘royal’ at the bottom, making artistic use of the eighth petal / cleavage as the letter ‘y’.
i first drew the ‘o’, then the ‘a’. and then i came to a dead stop. oya. holy shit Oya!
i know Oya to be a fierce warrior Goddess in the religions of Africa and the Diaspora (Yoruba, Santeria, maybe Candomble, but i’m not sure…), similar in energy to other Dark Goddesses, like Kali and Coatlicue…
so i looked her up and this is what i read;
“She is the owner of the marketplace, and keeps the gates of the cemetery. She is the force of change in nature and in life… Oyá’s aché is fierce, tumultuous, changing and protective.”
and from another source;
“She is believed to watch over the newly dead and assist them as they make the transition from life.”
i was struck by the profundity of her having shown up at this moment, in the midst of all this change and looming death.
i started to wrap up this post and get ready to move on with my day, when i got a call from my mom.
my grandpa passed this morning.
aside from the sadness and grief… and the terrible regret i feel for not having dashed home the moment i found out he was in hospice in order to see him and hug him and tell him i love him one last time… i do feel surprisingly at peace.
he went quietly in his sleep. his breathing slowed to a stop while my mom was at his side. she said he looked so sweet and peaceful.
and i was here in my magical space, connecting with the one who watches over the “newly dead”.
i found this quote a while later;
“As Queen of the Dead, She safeguards the spirits of those who have passed and keeps the Ancestral connections, reminding future generations from where they came.”
Iba Oya, thank you for coming to me this morning as my dear grandpa was passing on. I don’t know what’s beyond this life, but please let him know that he is so so very loved.