Modern Western culture is not good at dealing with grief.
We have these one hour funerals and then we go back to work.
We hide from the dark shadow of death, reaching desperately for the illusive light of immortality.
I lost a friend a few months ago, and while the grief was intense then, and I took time off work, and I cried and cried… it eased.
Now, these past few days it’s back.
Back, with the grint of Saturn conjunct Pluto and i’m noticing some things.
I’ve hurled myself into this series I’m writing – a lucid dreaming fantasy series for young people. Saturn has been squaring my MC and I’ve been determined to keep trecking up the hill towards publication.
When the grief came back I realised I had been carrying this emotion along with me, through the ambitious grind towards publication, and perhaps my determination was also avoidance of facing the emotion of grief and guilt and despair – not that it’s clear what else I would do with all that emotion…
I used to be heavily involved in organising our local regional Burning Man festival, and one of the things I loved about it was the Temple.
The Temple started years ago at Burning Man when a guy lost his close friend just before the event. He contemplated not going, but decided instread that his contribution to the participatory festival would be to build a temple – a monument to his friend; a place for grief. Others joined him and together they created a sacred space, beyond the bounds of religion: a space for grieving, for letting go, for hope and dreams and blessings. People sat, they shared, they wrote on the walls and left old journals, ashes, gifts. They cried. And then, at the end of the event, they burnt it, silently watching. Releasing all that pent-up emotion: a cathartic release.
Don’t go into the Temple if you don’t want to feel. I tended to avoid it for most of the festival, until I really needed Temple time, and then I would go and write and cry and sit with the feelings and have my own time to let go of whatever emotion or trauma I needed to dissolve.
I wish there was a temple in my everyday life, for when I need it. I have a computer to face, emails to check… thing after thing after thing… but sometimes I need Temple time, and a place to release my grief.