Death Pays A Visit - or - Making Love Like Our Lives Depend On It
So I want to talk about something that is as precious to me as the beat in my children's hearts, the breath in the Earthquake Man's lungs and the sound of the chickadee's song outside my window this warm winter morning. The wild and necessary primary partnership of Life/Death. Warning: if you err on the side of the linear, empirical and non-mythic this post IS absolutely for you. A few years ago, after a vision fast brought the name of 'Night Mare' into my life, as I was coming alive to so many things, I was awoken in the middle of the night by a presence. In the dark of my bedroom I felt a cold, fierce energy standing next to my bed. The fear I had was deeper than merely for my own safety and the effect this fear had was to call me to attention rather than to flee. I sat up, wrapped my blankets around me, grabbed my notebook and pen and carefully asked "who is here?"
And the conversation of a lifetime - perhaps all lifetimes - ensued. The voice that spoke sounded a bit like the hissing voice of the serpent in the Harry Potter films, the sound when Harry and Voldemort speak Parslemouth. In slow hissing speech the presence announced itself as Death. Since I had already been introduced to Night Mare, somehow I felt reasonably comfortable in this conversation, even imagining it was a gift, an intimate connection I dared not invite my dayworld mind to think about (and therefore obliterate or at least denigrate). Luckily it was about 3 in the morning, so the dayworld was nowhere to be found. Without going into details, the gist of this conversation was, to me, profound. Death was enraged, in a careful and quiet - ultimately powerful - way (because no matter WHAT we humans do, Death will always win, every time). As I listened to what Death had to say, I realized I was listening to the lament of a heartbroken lover: "You have squandered the only relationship there is, the one between Life/Death. Ours is the first relationship. The primary partnership. The One to whom all else answers, to which everything is in service. In your acquired disconnection and ignorance you imagine one (Life) is greater than the other (Death). Because of this you have hobbled the entire thing. You cannot have Life without Death. I will always be here, whether I am relegated to the shadow or, in right relationship, revered and honored alongside Life. Life and I dance together or nothing dances at all. Bring us back together. For your own sake, reunite us. Make this right."
So, depending on the mood you're in as you read this, you may already be talking yourself out of this post. I understand. It's a bit dramatic so far. But dramatic or not, a damned good dream or a waking hallucination, the voice that spoke to me in my bedroom has a point.
Our capacity to feel alive has everything to do with both the imminence and eminence of Death. It is the push against one that allows us to feel the other so vibrantly. Just like the dance between the polarities of masculine and feminine. Without one, the other has no pulse. There is no border to rush. No 'other' to feel our own opposite innateness. These days it appears we have domesticated ourselves right out of these relationships. In service of a distinctly unsophisticated definition of equality, we've neutered the wildness out of the masculine and the feminine. We've taken the necessary danger that rightly exists between these two literally cosmic forces and in turn gotten an abominable domesticated violence. Under the nearsighted belief that security means happiness, we've exiled Life's lover, Death. And we've been desperately trying to recreate the thrill of living ever since, at the expense of all Life.
So here's an exercise I offer to the couples I coach in their intimate practice, folks who - like so many of us - are trying to undomesticate themselves; trying to re-wild themselves back into a healthy and reverential relationship with Life/Death by reclaiming the innate energies of all life - the wild masculine and wild feminine. Next time you are making love with self, with other, with the more than human world....with whomever is lucky enough to be your partner in the moment...imagine you do not know if you will survive this endeavor. If you're telling the truth, if you're really allowing the process to happen, to take you out of your body and into a trans-personal place, you don't rightly know that you will survive. Really. That's just the fact. Despite the stultifying nature of 'First World' post-industrial human mating, we're still dealing with the energies that create new life...which require new deaths to feed it. These two, Life and Death, are playing cards all the time, "you take that one....I got this one...ok, that one over there is yours, but it'll cost you those three over here..." and so on. Imagine you're going in and who knows where you'll come out. This side, that side, somewhere in the middle, a new place entirely. Let this all-consuming energy that determines so much of our decision-making, actually have its way with you. Let go. Die. Live. Die again. Sing your allegiance to the Ones Who Made You. Sing loudly so we can all hear you. I will sing too.