A Hand of Years

It struck me while I was sitting on the floor today reading the signs, that it was precisely five years ago that I first sat down on this floor and chalked it up, on a Saturday like this one. Five years. I also realize I’m starting to get old, too, because I now find myself thinking that yoga postures were developed by yogis trying to stay limber while they spent hours contemplating the five square feet of earth they were working.

That first sign was half dreamed and half inspired. I knew to whom it was addressed and that a part of its goal was the integration of that presence into my life, to give it a form it could play across, a visible mirror through which it could pass itself from the invisible beyond into the invisible within that defined my life and work. When I went to find my record of the ritual, the trace of the sign I had recorded as an aid to recollection, it reminded me of a much more recent token I received on a contemplative walk.

I don’t feel it appropriate to describe that original sign, but the token feels right to share. While resonant in structure, they differ quite a bit in appearance and tone. If that first chalked sign was a seed, then the token was a flower. Well, actually, whatever the case, the token was a flower—a nine-petaled camellia.

The petals were arranged in triplicate, one set of three layered atop the previous, each layer slightly smaller and rotated about forty-five degrees from the previous. Each petal standing for a spirit, each set of three a specific constellation of spirits and works. Those threefold movements sitting one atop the other, rising up to support the next.

I think about that now in the context of the tree of life, of the three triplicities that animate it, and of the fourfold orders I am tracing now that interweave the triplicities into a body. Five years ago, though, and the tree was just another useful abstraction. Much like the flower seemed until I considered the structure of my workings.

But five years, and the work is still not complete. I have been tempted to rush and push at points, but this is the sort of work that takes time, that takes as long as it takes. The cycles this follows aren’t just my own (like these five years stretched between two of Saturn’s days).

That moment was itself the coming together of years before that, an inflection point years in coming, a pistil atop which this camellia’s petals have unfurled. What next these five years? Another flower? A more vibrant and lively relationship to this one? A fruit or a seed? Time and work will tell.

May all be well with you in your work, it is well here.

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