Harvesting Grief: Lessons from the Dark Seasons

by Tracey Frink

This is the season of harvest, when we admire the beauty of color around us and get ready for the cold and silence of winter. Everything around us is dead and dying. In this exquisite paradox, we gather the food that will sustain us through the cold, dark winter. Being closely tied to the earth, we learned to celebrate and give thanks for all of earth’s bounty and goodness. We learned it is necessary for death to come that life might be sustained. Deep in our bones and in our hearts, we understand this cycle of birth-death-rebirth. We know it happens every day. And most days we accept it; we are grateful and maybe even celebrate it. But what happens when we are suddenly struck by it in our wounded places? What happens when we are shaken off our foundations and have lost our footing? What then?

This autumn was not easy for me. My husband was hospitalized twice for a life-threatening illness. In between his hospitalizations, our front barn, which we were renovating into our Magic Cottage, caught fire and burned to the ground. We had been working on it for over a year and were almost finished. Friends and family had contributed various items for the Cottage, and I had placed many of my grandmother’s things in it. It was already a magickal place. Even now as I write about it, waves of grief wash over me, and it becomes difficult to convey what the Cottage meant to me and how much of myself I had poured into it.

I am a rational person. I understand my husband is okay. I understand I can rebuild my barn/cottage. I can even understand that the true significance of my grandmother is not in her things, but in the memories I have of her. I can know all of these things with my head; my heart, however, is still wounded. This is where an understanding of our many selves can come in handy. I have to be patient with my wounded selves and rely on my other selves help those parts heal.

Because of Elizabeth Kubler Ross and her phenomenal work with death and dying, we now have stages of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance. There is no set order for the stages, and there is no time limit or pattern. Grief is as unique as the individual. And grief is as real a wound as a physical one; it is a wound of the heart. I am experiencing grief on the chakra level and the auric level which then affects my physical and emotional well-being. One could say grief hits us from the inside out.

So what is a magickal person to do? First, I would recommend being gentle with yourself and listening to your intuition. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Let yourself grieve. Second, ask for help. Last night I called a meeting of my Spirit Team which consists of the angels, spirit guides, Divine entities and animal spirit guides and elementals who work with me and guide me. I was feeling miserable. I asked for help. I told them I needed more direction and guidance. Third, talk about it. Tell people and others about your pain. This is not always easy to do. Choose your listeners wisely. You may want to find a therapist for a while so you can work through your grief. You can also journal your grief. Fourth, get some exercise. Even if you just walk around the block, get outside at least once a day. Fifth, take baby steps. Motivate yourself back into normal routines with small, specific concrete actions and then reward yourself with a healthy comfort.

If you find yourself sinking into the dark places and are not able to come out of it on your own, then please seek help. Remember, none of us get through this journey of life by ourselves. We are all in this together. No one gets extra points for “grinning and bearing it.” Be kind to yourself and call for help.

Most importantly, remember the Wheel. In time it will turn and soon we will once again experience the joy of rebirth and newness and life. We will rejoice and dance and our mourning will turn to joy. This is the promise. This is the dance. This is the beautiful paradox of life.

Blessed be.

Grace Epona aka Tracey R. Frink is a modern mystic, healer, equestrian and faery lover.  She lives on a small horse farm in North Carolina.  She has studied all the great world religions and is forever trying to throw her arms around the world.  She is just finishing her first year in TOW and is looking forward to Year Two.  She holds a Master of Divinity and is currently a Masters Student of Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Equine Assisted Mental Health.  She is a Reiki Master and an avid barrel racer.

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