(featured image by the brilliant Quinn Blackburn found here.)
And now for something completely different…
The way is long and convoluted to her house, but when I arrive, the journey behind me feels like a breath. Old and wrinkled, bright clear eyes, she’s at the door of the ancient stone cottage, wooden spoon in hand. Behind her in the hearth, flames leap, steams and interesting smells waft.
“You again,” and I ride a wave of defensiveness of my intention. This visit was unplanned and is always happening, and I must bring a pure heart.
“Greetings, beloved Grandmother,” I begin, and bow deeply. Then, with an inhale for courage, “I seek An Bradán Feasa.”
A sparse white eyebrow raises. “Why would the likes of you…”
“I need to know, how do I work with these subtle forces well?”
“What is well?” She is untying her apron, stepping fully out into the sun, upright carriage though she is impossibly old. “What is work?”
I am silenced with the immensity of this journey.
I say instead, “How can I host gentle, loving curiosity and kind regard in this moment?”
“Come,” as if these words reveal my heart, and we walk into the deep grove of ancient trees. We approach a large poplar I know well, roots exposed, and she nods, “Here is the way.”
And I dive into the roots, first deep down, and then spanning across until I burst into a crystalline pool.
“I seek An Bradán Feasa,” I announce underwater, and the huge ancient Salmon of Knowing is swimming beside me.
“Do you come devoted to not knowing?”
“Yes,” I say without considering, and An Bradán Feasa opens a great mouth and swallows me as if I were a hazelnut.
“What?” I am shocked in my consumption.
“This is participation,” I am instructed, “true and coherent with the whole.”
The fish swims deep and I watch from within as long, thin black strands of poop come out and float down into the depths.
Then the fish leaps into the air, a great arc of silver flash and rainbows of water crystals.
And in fear, I shout, “There are fishermen seeking you!”
An Bradán Feasa laughs and laughs, until I am shuddering with the motion.
“They see me leap,” and the great fish rises again in powerful joy.
Without warning, I am choking.
Wordless, together we follow the movement of the energy to the place where a prisoner of time is caged. A terrified and tiny being, unmet, restrained and constricted. She can’t breathe in her fear. We bring the space of loving curiosity and allow the energy to move. There is no attachment to what emerges, simply this respect for the blocked energy and the intention to release it through light and space.
And the next breath eases and opens and I sigh.
Exhausted, I rub my eyes and realize I am swimming up through the roots, back to my grandmother, who gives me a cheeky grin and a careful kiss on my third eye, and I am following the drums and the call to my place and time of the seven-chambered heart where my siblings open their own eyes and we regard each other in silent wonder, swimming gently in our connected stream.
Featured Ancient Wise One as recounted in Irish mythology. A version can be found here.
Note: Normally, fish poop is the color of their food. Long stringy poop is a sign of stress. The long thin black poop right after eating me suggests a lot of toxins I brought to the mix, that An Bradán Feasa was able to process and expel. I’m just guessing, standing in the invaluable “I don’t know.”