Winter has arrived and we are firmly in the North Shield, short days and long nights. Darkness descends early and we draw in, light the fire, close the curtains, dream-time has arrived. Outside the roads are icy and we may fear falling and so often it is fears that keep us all living in a small world. Once we are able to go into the dark, to face our fears we will find ourselves in an in-between place, a threshold where transition and powerful change can manifest. A threshold is a place where everything is broken down, i.e. the corn is broken down beyond recognition and a new form comes into being, all transitions take place in darkness.
It is in the dark that we discover our roots and come to know who we really are. We can emerge into a bigger story, have a larger vision for our lives. So now I invite you to take this journey with me, let your mind rest on a bed of soft cushions and come into your heart, free your imagination by allowing your logical mind to rest.
See yourself standing at the shore of a great river, in some places the water is calm and in others the waters rage. This river flows with the blood of ancestors, of all who have gone before, the blood spilt at birth and the blood spilled in battles. All life flows through and the waters run through your veins.
You are not alone, in the middle of the river stands a woman. Her skin is as pale as bone, her hair black as raven feathers. She is the washer woman of the ford and once you have seen her you will never forget her. She moves like a bird of prey and her hands are like claws as she washes and washes the armour of the fallen, the banners of the brave. She washes our souls clean.
She calls you into the river and as your eyes meet you find yourself entering the water, wading into the depths until you stand before her. You can feel the weight of the water against your body, the weight of life and the weight of death. This water holds the potential of all things, it washes away the o
ld so that new form can come into being, it is as impossible to stop as is the rising and setting of the sun and moon.
She speaks, “To stand before me you must lay yourself bare, must choose to let go all that was, let go of the past and leave behind that which no longer serves you. I see your heart and I know the truth of who you are.” She scoops water, pouring it over your head, over your whole body, handful after handful and you taste the copper and the iron in the water. She rakes your body with her claws, tearing away all that was, “Let go” she commands, you can choose to resist but she will not stop.
She takes away all that you fear letting go of, all that you have outgrown. You become an empty cavity, you become nothing. You fall back into the river and feel all those beginnings and endings swirling around you. You feel free because there is nothing left except the core of who you are, no expectation, no duties, no one else to attend to; only the bright light in your heart, the luminous radiance that belongs to only you.
You rise out of the water and the Washer Woman kisses your forehead and says, “Become whole again, become who you are meant to be, take back your power and walk through this world without apology.”
You have passed through the river of life; you have returned from the underworld and must now know your own worth, must stand tall and be proud, you shine brightly in this dark world bringing hope and the illumination of spirit.
Return now to the place where you stay, knowing that if you ever need to release sorrow, fear or grief, if you ever need to be cleansed of that which is no longer serving you, you can find your way back to the river of life, she will be waiting for you.