Adjusting practice, African slashers, Completion, Creation, Cutting grass, Dissolving, Gaia, Gardening, Grounding, Inner connection, Manifesting, Mercury Retrograde, Mercury Shadow Period, Post-retrograde shadow, Pre-retrograde shadow, Restructuring, Rotary mower, Supportive energetic grids
This evening I had a lovely, and unexpected opportunity. Due to some internal conflict and subsequent wise suggestions from my Beloved, I took some time to create space for me…away from everyone and everything going on in my life in this moment. This opportunistic space took the form of working in the backyard.
It’s been many years since I’ve had the responsibility of caring for a yard. The last time I experienced this, I discovered an unknown passion for gardening and landscape design, resulting in connecting with the rhythms of nature. In many ways, that time spent in the garden not only supported me through the transition from my childhood religion into my soul’s home, but also began my journey into a spiritual practice that has brought me to where I am today.
One of the many things I learned while gardening many years ago was that I really don’t like the motorized gardening tools. Yes, they make things easier, faster, and more efficient…all things that I value highly. However, when connecting with the Higher Realms, those values, I’ve discovered, often clash with the process that works best for me. Manual labor allows my brain to turn off and I enter a heart space, creating a peace-filled, dream-like experience. In that space, without any jarring sounds or sensations or time constraints, I can easily find not only myself, but the soul of the Earth around, in, beneath, and above me. The wisdom flows, and harmony is easily achieved.
So, it surprised me when, instead of purchasing a gas-powered lawn mower, my mother chose a rotary mower. After assembling it and making the desired adjustments, I took it out to the backyard tonight to mow the bit of lawn. The rhythmic movement and the sound of the blades instantly provided the respite from my churning mind. All I thought about, as I mowed, was the dance of the African men in my childhood who used slashers to cut down tall grasses and maintain lawns.
These slashers were very simple, primarily constructed from a long strip of metal. At one end the strip inserted into a carved wooden handle. At the other end, the strip curved, similar to the style of a golf club, so that the last six inches became parallel to the earth. At this end, both sides of the strip were ground down to a sharp edge potentially cutting whatever came in contact with it.
The men would take the handle in one hand and swing the slasher, first up to gain momentum, then down and across the front of their bodies, cutting the grasses in front of them. As they swung back up, preparing for the next swing down, the blade would trim whatever had been missed with the initial swing. Back and forth they would go, patiently, rhythmically, slowly moving through the field…often singing as they worked.
This same methodical and intentional process consumed me tonight as I mowed…no roar of engine filling my ears or exhaust filling my lungs. Only the sound of birds singing their good-night melodies and the smell of the grass, errant herbs and wildflowers mixed with the scent of the approaching rain as the blades whirred with each step and push through the tall grass.
I felt a sadness when I completed mowing…I wasn’t ready to be finished, I had enjoyed the process so much. So, I pulled out my pruners and set to work on the few plants that had survived the long move to this house with my Beloved. As I worked through the pots, I felt a bit ruthless, cutting back deeply and even pulling out a few of the smaller plants in order to make room for the stronger ones to expand. Some pots I cleaned out altogether, making room to plant something completely new.
As I worked, I realized that this is exactly the work that this Mercury Retrograde has been accomplishing in my life…pruning, cutting, pulling out, and preparing for the new and the strong to flourish. Most of my practices through the past eight years have been specifically designed to accomplish manifesting very particular things in my life. Now that those things have manifested, my practices need to be adjusted. Some need to remain, in a slightly altered fashion, in order to maintain and support my manifested life. Others have completed and need to be allowed to die away.
The difficulty lies in discovering which is which. And, because one of the laws of the Universe is that a vacuum never exists for long, anything that has completed indicates that something new is coming to fill that space. I have no idea what that something is at the moment, and there is a simultaneous sense of loss and gratitude in that realization and understanding.
Part of the gratitude comes from remembering that I experience Mercury Retrograde in three stages: Pre-retrograde shadow, Retrograde, and Post-retrograde shadow.
In the Pre-retrograde shadow, I experience hints and an introduction to the areas of my life that are about to be addressed. Sometimes the hints are subtle…so subtle that I don’t recognize them until I’m in the middle of the second or third phases. Other times, the hints are extremely loud and strongly unsettling.
In the Retrograde period, the addressed areas experience an unraveling…an undoing…a falling apart. These areas may be long-standing patterns, or they may be areas reconstructed during the previous Mercury Retrograde process. In such things, I’ve learned, time is irrelevant…what matters is whether I’ve accomplished what I’ve intended to accomplish. It doesn’t matter if it takes three months or three years to accomplish…if it has been completed it will dissolve.
Once it dissolves, there is space for something higher and better to be planted, created, and grow. The Post-retrograde shadow time is when the energetic grids which will support this new construction are put into place. Often during this time, I experience hints of what this new construction will bring to me and the specifics of where I’m heading.
No, I don’t always know the specifics of where I’m heading…I learned that lesson several years ago. To be too specific in setting intentions for manifesting is to limit the gifts of the Universe, stifling the potentials of abundance and my greatest happiness. Instead, I recognize that I may not know what is possible or what my greatest happiness could be, so I focus on the emotional energy I want to feel, always requesting that this desire or something better is manifested…then I let it go. And, in letting go, I release control, opening myself to the delights of surprises, awe, and the magic of life.
And so, once again, I step into this space of uncertainty. Mercury is slowing down his retrograde motion and on Thursday will begin moving forward again through the Post-retrograde Shadow process. I don’t know what’s coming or what has ended. But I do know how to support myself through this particular restructuring, for as the above understanding came to me while gardening this evening, I felt a few rain drops…and looked up. When I did, this rainbow greeted me…growing into a full arch around my backyard…becoming ever more brilliant…assuring me that all is well.
May it be so for you.
And so it is.