Awaken at the Spring Gate

Spring took me by surprise. The excitement of more light and so much activity and new beginnings has been a bit tampered by a subtle wish to return to the hibernation mode of winter. Spring has brought love, birth, new ventures, deepened friendships and new depths of profound inner healing to me. Spring can be overwhelming with all it's enthusiasm, seed planting, romance and bright ideas. I am pacing myself during this transition and remembering that I still need to rest even when the garden begs tending!

May we rest and nourish ourselves with the wild greens of the violet, dandelion, nettle and mallow popping up all over the ground and the scent of violet blossom and cottonwood buds wafting in the air as we welcome in the glorious spring! 

The wisdom of the bear is a wise loving support as we welcome in the spring! 

BEAR TALK

in the winter 

in the deep quiet earth

in the slumbering silent dream

in the dark resting place of roots

in the smell of rock and dirt

we bears gather 

the deep inner resource 

of stillness and containment 

which carries us through

the green moving time of summer

in the summer 

in the taste of sweet berries

in the slippery salmon struggling in our paws

in the sunlight playing on the dancing waters

in the pungeant medicine root aroma

we bears gather

the physical resources 

to carry us through 

the snow time of winter. 

be like a bear

always carry the stillness and containment 

of winter within you

even at the height of summer

go slow and watch 

what comes in and out 

of your mouth 

in and out of your life

with reverence and a playful heart

keep a vigil to the deep 

centered resting place within

-Katie-Keath Silva 

March 2016, Portland, Oregon

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Katherine A Silva
Resting at The Winter Gate

This Winter Solstice, I was stopped in my tracks by a ravaging flu virus. I can honestly say now that I am grateful for the experience. I had a fever for seven days and seven nights and I happened to be child and work free that week, so I simply rested. I rested for so many days that I sank into a very deep place of quiet and healing. In this place of dreaming and fire, many things burned away. Everything that no longer resonated, anything that was distracting to my true purpose, my essential being-ness left me. There were moments of profound emotional and physical pain and somehow this commingled with divine ecstasy. Of course I had my plant allies with me; Yarrow, Elder, Balsam Root and plenty of bone broth stew. When I finally emerged from my deep hot hibernation, there was snow on the ground and I was a changed person. Ever since this winter's rest, I have not been able to allow people to cross my boundaries. I suddenly find it impossible to participate in anything dysfunctional. I have made healthy changes and clarified everything in my life, making room again for my own poetry, delight and nourishment. I plan to set aside time like this (hopefully without the flu) to just rest, each winter, allowing my soul to heal, decompress and simply be. 

I wrote this poem in the days of winter stillness:

I MISSED THE HOLIDAYS

Floating in starlight

as my body throbs with sweat

on this queen futon

piled with grandmother quilts

strewn with journal,

cedar smudge, matches,

tincture bottles,

tea cups, beeswax candle, drum, pen, soup bowl

and the book

"The Earth's Blanket"

in my tiny loft

in my tiny home

so warm so wooden so quiet

In December

outside

the crispy greying snow

hugs Portland

and cold duck feet slide

on the shiny ice around

the Current, The Elder

and The Fig

Saliha says that as a child she loved her fevers when she was both very large and very small

all at the same time

Fevers bring dreams

and messages I cannot decode

like pomegranates

and white wolves

like lost loves flying out of

open windows

I feel a gentle brush and whisper at my temples

saying,

"Someone you love will die"

as the sky cracks

and strands of faraway light

stream through and

penetrate

my closed damp eyes

delirious

I float to where Thunder

the rabbit now lives

touch his shoulders

and we fly

into the speckled night sky

as tears stream down my cheeks and Our Sorrowful Mother's heart

beams eternal love

from the rocks of The Grotto

Katherine A Silva
Grieving at The Autumn Gate

As all of nature lets go and returns to the earth, we have a precious opportunity to die to all that no longer resonates with our true essence and passionate path to joy. 

Whether or not there are changes and losses occurring in our outer lives as the leaves turn gold and fall, some aspect of ourselves is always changing, releasing and letting go.

Autumn holds a sacred container for us to grieve the current and distant losses that may have been buried in our heart's for many years. 

This deep, brave work of grieving revitalizes our cells, frees up our hearts and awakens our compassion. 

Tears are a vital medicine for our soul's unfolding.

Here is an invitation to set aside some time to feel, to grieve, to weep, to reflect and release the outer shell, the dry and brittle stalks, the crispy leaves and return to the soil of your essence. 

Perhaps create a ritual, in honor of your tears and hold your own heart through this home coming and consider inviting these plant allies into your life to help you flow through your grief; Elder, Oak, Violet and Wild Rose.

Here is a poem I wrote about my Autumn grieving ritual:

Ritual of Grief

Tonight we are our own Doula

As we light the candles

And pour salt into the water

Choosing all the crying songs

and the bittersweet herbs

Arms encircling this tender shaking body

Rocking in the warm bath of tears

Championing our own selves

Standing watch over the young one within

We dive down deep and brave

Passing through the previously impenetrable places

Where we took those drugs

Where we slammed the door

Where we ran into the wrong arms

This time 

We are all here

experiencing every nuance of this painful passage

Through this ring of fire

At the risk of life and death

We birth this total unknown being

And name them joy

-Katie Keath Silva

Hood River December 2017

Hear me read this poem here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sHXW_3-gFM 

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Katherine A Silva