Welcome back to the Balsamic Moon Blog! This is where I report back to you on the rituals I’m working this year to face grief, loss, and transformation. I took a break from posting last month because what came up in ritual wasn’t ready to be shared yet. This month’s ritual deepened into the same themes. This is the risk I take in having a public-facing project that delves into the mysteries of transformation! But here are some thoughts from the last two months, and I thank you as always for accompanying me in this process.
Balsamic Moon Ritual #4 and #5 – A Spell for Letting Go
Letting go is harder than it seems.
I talk a good game about letting go. Every week, I support clients in releasing stuck patterns and getting curious about change. My sister and I even made a painting called “A Spell for Letting Go.” I spent a full year embroidering a screen-printed patch of that image. It was the first year Trump was in power, and the last year I was in a particularly difficult partnership. Looking back now, I find it interesting that I chose sewing as a way to work a spell about release—with each stitch, I was fixing the energy of that moment into the cloth. I was preserving, mending, cocooning in silk all the vast and tiny fears, stress, and uncertainties about the future.
Sometimes you know something before you let yourself know it. I could feel my future careening away from what I thought it would be, both with my partner and in the larger world. I told everyone embroidering this spell was a way of embracing these changes, but if you’re gonna to do a releasing spell, there are far better methods I can think of. I could have burnt something, thrown something in the river, buried something, ran or sang until my lungs ran out of breath—but no, nope, I made an intensely detailed, tactile object that is really a map of how much I try to keep things together. I tried so hard to keep that world intact. And I poured the stress of that activity into this piece of fabric.
The fun thing about embroidering is you get to stab something over and over again. Perhaps you’re in a tense meeting where people have different ideas about how to plan a rally or handle an accountability process. Perhaps you’ve reached a place in your relationship where you can’t communicate clearly anymore and the silences are full of misunderstandings. The needle goes in, sharp little jabs, again and again. It leaves a beautiful trail of silk in its wake. This is what I’m good at—taking the pain in the room and transforming it into something beautiful. Actually letting go of the pain or the fear or the attachment, not so much.
What’s the big deal about letting go, anyway? My Taurus Moon really wants to know. I get strongly attached, even if a home or a lover or an identity is no longer good for me. Is attachment like this a fear of death? Because we experience so many deaths in our lifetimes—when an important relationship ends, who you were with that person goes through a kind of death. If you are able-bodied and become disabled, if you transition away from your assigned gender, if you break ties with a family member, if you leave your home country and settle far away—even if you just keep living and don’t make any conscious changes, you’ll still find parts of you have died while you weren’t paying attention. And the thing is, as sad as this may make us, it’s pretty beautiful. I don’t know about you, but I see death as part of a larger cycle that always includes a kind of rebirth. All these small deaths teach us how to transform. They let us become instead of merely being. If we can’t let go, we can’t become.
Energetically, what we can’t let go of ends up somewhere in our bodies—a pattern of lower back pain or migraines, a disruption in the endocrine system, a hyper-vigilant nervous system. I’m fascinated by how our bodies hold our stories, almost like they are dream images we need to decode to understand what’s happening in our minds. Too often, we focus on frustration and fear, we interpret our bodies’ symptoms as antagonism instead of love. We feel betrayed. We resent the pain, the incapacity, the godawful uncertainty of when or if this symptom will end. Our resentment tightens us. Fear of future pain, fear of illness, fear of any kind constricts us. To learn to let go, we need to first let go of our fear.
So this is my ritual for you, if you choose to share it with me. You can read it as a bedtime story, chant it as a lullaby, rewrite it and share it however you wish. It goes like this:
Your body loves you, an animal love.
Growling, howling, nestling, settling.
Here is the place where you stay warm.
Set a watcher so you will know
when to spring up, and when you can let go.
And when it’s time for letting go,
May each death bring you deeper
under water, into amazement, back to love.
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Balsamic Moon Blog Schedule:
February 21: Ritual #6
March 9: Blog Post #6
March 22: Ritual #7
April 8: Blog Post #7
April 22: Ritual #8
May 7: Blog Post # 8
May 20: Ritual #9
June 5: Blog Post #9
June 19: Ritual #10
July 5: Blog Post #10
August 17: Ritual #11
September 2: Blog Post #11