Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/23/11—Honoring the End of an Era

Today's Draw: Gaia, The World from the Gaian Tarot. Are you completing a cycle in your life right now? How do you acknowledge the endings of major cycles or eras? Or is that not something you do?

For the uninitiated, Gaia is what you might think of as Mother Nature, The Earth Mother or Grandmother Earth. Whether you see her as a goddess, an energy or an idea, she is the mother of all. And she brings only blessings. 

So The World card has a sense of blessing to it. And because it is the last card of the major arcana (the 22-card group of major life lessons in the tarot), it is a card of completion. As life moves in cycles, we move through a series of endings and beginnings. The World says we're at the end of a cycle and should take the moment to have gratitude for the cycle we've just completed before moving on to the next one. 

There are so many different kinds of cycles in life. A relationship can be a cycle. A life period, such as your 30s or 40s could be a cycle. Then there are larger cycles that are more like eras. The maiden/mother/crone cycle, for example, denotes particular eras of a woman's life. In that cycle, I'm near the end of that "childbearing years" part and am quite aware of the era's passing for a variety of reasons. And in another part of my life, I've just reached the end of another era. So The World is very relevant to me at this time.

Sometimes the end of an era can feel bad or foreboding if the era you're entering into seems like it would be a darker one than the one you're leaving. I was 21 when my mother died and that ended the cycle of "having parents" and the innocence or illusion of immortality. And while the end of that cycle was punctuated by loss, it nonetheless started a cycle of maturity, awareness and truth that I couldn't have had otherwise. 

For my mother it was also the end of an era, one where she passed from the physical body into an ethereal one. My sister Janet still experiences my mother's presence, even though she's been gone for 27 years. I tend more to feel my father's presence, and he has been gone 23. Some day they'll move from the ethereal state back to the physical in some form. Cycles are eternal. And each is blessed in its own way. The end of one may be punctuated by sadness, but momentum steers us ever forward toward new gifts and blessings. 

Some of you may know how I love to do ceremonies. But it never really occurs to me to do a ceremony for these kinds of passings. It should, however. Whether the end of a cycle seems like good news or not, it's important to show gratitude for the gift of the cycle just ending...to acknowledge its worth in our lives. And whether we're looking forward to the new cycle or not, it's also important to honor it and the blessings yet to come.

As we sit with our families tomorrow for turkey and stuffing, remember what the day is about. It's about giving thanks...for the gifts we've received from those around us. For the cycles that keep us growing in our lives. For our physical bodies and ethereal ones. For the gift of being a child of both heaven and earth. And for all that which has come before and is yet to come. 

Right or wrong, 364 days a year we walk through a world of mixed blessings (though I believe there is a gift in everything, we don't always manage to see it or allow it). This one day we all get to live in nothing but blessings. Acknowledge it. Allow it. And embrace it.

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