After dinner, my daughter and I run in the fading light.
“Roar” she squeals, giggling as she chases me, chubby cheeks aglow, long not-so-toddler-anymore legs akimbo.
When she catches me, we sit on the warm stone driveway, pulling hundreds upon hundreds of grass spears from my shorts, and then her long lilac dress.
She lays down, hands crossed behind her head, watching the sky as I sing her songs and pull one by one by one each tiny grass spear.
I sing to her the ancient songs as I crouch over her little body, the Native American songs my teachers taught me in circle many moons before.
The songs and sounds fall and rise and flow, my wrist flicking grass spear by grass spear.
The stones are warm and the twilight is gentle.
“Moon” she says simply, blue eyes round as she gazes up.
I look up.
There on the horizon, just above the tips of the rainforest, she hangs with her almost-full moon belly.
Grandmother Moon, my daughter and me.
I remember a workshop once, with Ostara still rolling in the deep of my belly.
The teacher asked:
“What do you most look forward to about your child?”
I thought for a while, before knowing:
“I look forward to sharing my spiritual tradition with her.”
And she laughed that dry, jaded laugh that mothers get sometimes, and said:
“You know there’ll come a time when she’ll want nothing to do with it, right? Where she’ll reject all of it?”
And I shook my head and stayed silent, because my story was so different from her own.
It’s not about the crystals.
When I say this I mean: it doesn’t matter if my daughter doesn’t always love crystals or meditation or journalling or healing or talking or art or shamanic circles or intuitive healing or bushflower essences or any of the other myriad ways that my spiritual tradition is sometimes expressed.
It’s not about who I pray to, or if I pray, or what specifics I believe in. Those parts aren’t my spiritual tradition.
She can choose, or choose differently.
It’s all the same to me. Because that IS my spiritual tradition – the one where you choose. The Buffet Tradition of Spirituality – where you choose what’s right for you from the great panoply of possibilities, and leave the rest.
My spiritual tradition is the Great Act of Living:
Of seeking. Of looking for happiness. Of looking for moments where the world is lit up and bright and holy.
Of hunting for who we are and why we’re here and please God, let this be good.
Of seeking. And attempting to see:
see the magic inside you. see the magic in the world.
The magic. The love. The beauty. The sacred. The joy of it all.
I hunt for it + I seek it, each moment, each day, each year.
And sometimes I don’t find it. Sometimes I fumble + grumble + fuck it up + lose my way.
I lose faith that it’s all going to be okay. I forget to still myself to glimpse that tiny window of peace.
I don’t get it right all the time, and I’m not a guru.
Sometimes the only things I see are the things that piss me off, the things that get me down, the things that make me feel attacked.
But then a bird feather finds its way to my feet. The exact right words come my way. I fall back onto the right path. A moment of kindness is bestowed upon me.
And I witness it all again. All the glory and the joy and the choice and the magic.
There, just before me, is the holy.
The hour folds over into warm baths and darkness.
At bedtime, she looks out the window, looking for wallabies or scrub turkeys to say goodnight to. There is only stillness and the moon.
“Goodnight Moon”, she says, but she won’t leave the window, too transfixed she is by that golden orb of light.
I take a deep breath in. There, in that moment, I have a choice.
Each life, a collection of a million infinitesimal choices.
Do I insist on closing the curtain, settling her into sleep earlier?
Or pull it back and let magic (and potential sleep-deprived mayhem) weave its way into our evening?
Do I escape earlier into the night, into my solitude, or do I remain here? Here with Grandmother Moon, my daughter and me?
Where is the holy to be found tonight?
I breathe out, tie the curtain in a knot, pull the pillows close to where the moonlight falls in the window in a great cast of silver tinged light.
We curl up together in the shaft of moonbeam, and watch together the most beautiful light show ever created.
Mists and clouds roll over the moon, enveloping her and revealing her.
Birds flight across the sky atop the rainforest canopy, the last stragglers finding their way home to nest.
I whisper Ostara a story of a woman who shares her full brightness and retreats into a cave each month. I know her story, have lived it.
I dream of all the times before I have gazed in rapture at the moon: as a child, watching as she rose over the farm’s fields, how she painted the land ghost-silver even in the depths of night when I’d awaken to stare out my window. As a teenager when her light would fall through the window of my bedroom in the boarding school dormitory. I gave up the large senior sized room just for a window so I could bask in her moonlight.
And as a maiden, when she was no longer just moon to me – she became family – she became Grandmother Moon. She was kin just as Mother Earth and Father Sun was to me. In her story I learned the rhythms of my creative spirit, the bleeding cycles of my womb, the depth of my own womanly wisdom and intuition. Which is all just a whole lot of words which really mean: when I looked at her, I felt at home. It feels like everything is alight.
Grandmother Moon, she means so much to me. Even when my relationships with my own mother and grandmothers are disrupted, distorted, dissolved, there is always this. This grandmother who knows my secrets. This grandmother who calls out my widest, wildest, most womanly self. This grandmother who reminds me:
I am divine. I am whole. I am home. There is magic in this world.
This is all I hope to teach my daughter.
I’ll say some with words, but most of all I hope to show her by knowing it myself,
so each cell of hers knows the song:
I am divine. I am whole. I am home. There is magic in this world.
And sometimes she’ll forget the song.
And then sometimes she’ll remember again.
Fruit bats fling themselves across the sky now, their silhouettes cast strong and midnight black against the moonlight.
I dream what they are up to. I like to think they are celebrating some kind of tropical Halloween, all dressed up humorously and ironically like Count Dracala, all headed off to some exclusive soirée just around the river’s bend.
My daughter whispers “Moon, Moon” as she tries to find that elusive spot to fall asleep in.
Finally she settles on one of her favourite places since she was born three years and three days ago: laying curled up on my chest, her head beneath my chin.
As a newborn she occupied just the space of my chest down to my belly button. Now five times the size of a newborn, she extends over my torso until her legs tango with mine, down to my knees, her heavy weight soft and warm and comforting.
I fold my arms around her, stick my nose in her hair and we watch the moon together, chests rising and falling together until softly, slowly in a beam of moonlight, she drifts into Dreaming Land.
I kiss her head. I whisper goodnight in the soft fuzz of blonde curls.
She, the daughter I was destined to have.
Me, the woman I was destined to become.
Grandmother Moon, the one who holds us still.