I faced death today.
Not in the way you might think. And, don’t worry, I am fine.
Today I faced death intentionally.
No, not because I wanted to end my life, or the life of another.
Notice how much fear may have come up for you already from reading the first few lines of this blog. Maybe you have decided you don’t want to read any further. (Note: Its okay if you do. There will be more graphic content as you go on.)
Death is an uncomfortable topic, I know.
We are so afraid of death, we spend our entire lives avoiding thinking about her as much as we can, until we, of course, can’t any longer. We all must face her in the end.
If you are still with me, I’d like to share a little story about my meeting with death, and how it came to be that I am more alive because of it.
See today, I sought death out, to speak to her as a friend.
I did not know that is what I was doing.
I was antsy. Avoiding writing the book that I had specifically created this writing retreat for. I decided to do some divination.
I pulled a tarot card: Ruin (Ten of Swords). But why? I pulled another: The Devil. Ok, and how do I move forward? I pulled another: Truce (Four of Swords).
I am ruining my writing retreat by not writing: check. My bad habits of procrastination and anxiety have got me like the Devil: check. And I’m supposed to call a truce with these two treacherous forces? Not exactly what I was hoping for.
I decided on a change of scenery and went for a run.
I did not know where I would run to. I am not familiar with this island. I have been here a couple of times before, also to write, but it was during the winter, and I kept myself locked up in my room with my words.
I started to run back up the long lane I had come in on to arrive at my cabin in the woods. After a few bends in the road I came across an approach leading to what appeared to be a parking lot hidden behind a few trees. I veered off onto it sensing the parking lot was for hikers and there would be trails.
I was right. Trails leading up a little mountain appeared before me. I picked one and continued my run, winding up through the mossy forest along the far west coast of the island. To my left, through the trees, I could see the Pacific spanning out majestically for miles, the horizon dotted with other islands and the passing of the occasional Ferry.
I kept running. Up, and up, and up, until I tired. I slowed to a walking pace. I began thinking it would be nice to get a little closer to the water so I could take in the view.
Not a minute after the thought came to me, a path appeared leading to a little bluff overlooking the ocean. I walked out towards it, feeling for the first time my own insignificance amidst the cliffs, trees and ocean surrounding me.
As I walked towards the point of the cliff, the wind picked up. Adrenaline rushed through me as I steadied myself.
I was high up.
Out over the edge of the cliff was a sheer drop down for a couple hundred meters. I could see tree tops reaching up towards me from far below, and beyond them the water. As I got closer to the edge my pulse quickened. I sat down and inched my way forward until I was sitting right at the point of the cliff a few inches from death.
That was when I knew we were meeting. Not a moment before. Up to then I had simply been wanting to admire the view, take a photo or two, and carry on with my run, before returning to my cabin and (hopefully) some fruitful writing.
Instead, I sat at that point, on the edge of that cliff, for what felt like a very long time; death holding me in her arms. It was perhaps half an hour. It felt like more.
In my mind’s eye scenarios played out. I saw myself fall over the edge and tumble violently into the forest below, hitting various outcrops of rocks and trees until I came to rest splayed out and tattered at the bottom.
I saw myself leap with a malfunctioning paraglider and hit the water with such velocity that my heart stopped and I became pieces with my glider floating in the sea.
I saw myself lose my footing after being backed up against the cliff edge by a snarling animal, and watched myself grasp futilely for a hand hold in the cliff face all the way down.
Visions of possible ways I might die falling off that cliff’s edge continued.
In my present mind and body, I was not afraid. I felt peaceful and aligned. I knew I was not actually coming to any physical harm. I felt connected to the natural world around me, and to a knowing that I needed to be here in this moment.
In the visions in my minds eye, I felt adrenaline; I felt fear; I felt sadness. In each I was acutely aware of my own vulnerability as a human being on this earth, and of my own impermanence. I may not get 100 years to taste all this life has to offer. I may not even get tomorrow. Who knows?
At the moment I faced my end, in each scenario, I felt peace, and also, a twinge of regret.
It was the regret that bothered me.
It was only a twinge, but it was there.
I am at a place in my life where I can honestly say I do not have any regrets about the past. I have made peace with my actions and my story up to now. I know that where I have come from allows me to be and experience who I am today, and because of that, and how much I love my life, I would not change a moment of it.
I also do not have regrets about not telling people how I feel about them. The people whom I love know that I love them. Unexpressed feelings wasn’t it either.
This regret was something more present and pressing. A certain understanding of myself, and of life, that I have been uncovering that I have kept secret. Parts of myself and my experience that I have kept tucked away from the world for fear of judgment or rejection. Gifts I have to offer I am not sharing because I have been afraid of their power.
If I died tomorrow, I would regret not having declared: I know how to make MAGICK.
Yes, it’s true! You heard right, I do!
And you will too!
If you join me on this adventure!
This little tune plays in my head as I am typing.
Am I going crazy? You may wonder.
Well, that depends on how you define it.
All I know is that I have been silent now for a little too long. My truth is burning me from the inside far hotter than the sting of any criticism it may be met with. I must sing and dance and share what I know in my heart to be true.
I can make MAGICK. And so can YOU.
I pause and get up to pull another tarot card as I am writing this: Success (Six of Disks).
This is what I know about Magick.
When you align with your Soul, you align with Life, and Life shows up to support you.
The more you sink in to the deeper thread of truth running through you (your Soul), the more you consciously connect in to the deeper thread of truth and justice running through all of Life, and the more the Magick of Life begins to work with you.
You may at first call them coincidences, or serendipities, or synchronicities. With time, and as you become familiar with your own Soul as the guiding force your life, you will begin to see that you are influencing these seemingly magickal events as much as something outside of you.
You begin to see that there is Magick in everything, including you.
“Magick is the Art and Science of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Aleister Crowley defined Magick in this way. He cautioned that “Will” in the sense he meant it, had to be the person’s “True Will”, i.e. the deepest truth within them. I am pointing at the same thing when I speak of being guided by your Soul. Your True Will; Your Soul; the deepest truth that lies within you. This truth that flows through all of us, is part of, and in alignment with, the deeper Truth and Justice running through all Life.
Let that deeper truth guide you, and you will have the support of all Life behind you. It will be impossible for Magick not to occur.
If I were to die tomorrow, I would want to have said this: You have had the power all along, to make Magick.
To create it: You only have to be willing, to remember your own truth.
p.s. As I am about to hit publish, I pull another card: Truce (Four of Swords). And so it is.