I just turned 76. How did life fly by so fast? I accept my age, but wish I could ease the struggles with hearing loss and disequilibrium from Meniere’s Disease. Still, for most everyone, there’s a price for becoming an elder in reasonably good health, so this is my burden for a life blessed with love, spiritual guidance, and teachings that cradle me in my croning years.
An old friend died last month, someone my husband and I met in 1967. We hadn’t been in close contact since he and his wife moved across the country, but the connection remained. He and his wife are my oldest son’s godparents, and his wife has now moved closer to me. A second friend from the 1970s died on my birthday. Life’s endings feel close.
The Greek Goddesses Artemis, the New Moon, and Hecate, the Waning Moon, are my guides now. Like Artemis, I live close to Nature and protect the land. Like Hecate who holds torches to light the hidden paths, I’m comfortable with solitude and night. Both Goddesses travel with dogs.
I imagine Hecate (waning crescent) reaching out across the dark night sky to hand Her torch to Artemis (new moon) to keep the cycle of life going. As I age, I feel myself lingering close to Hecate. When Vic died in 2008, I felt an expanse of time ahead, but life feels less spaciousness now. Still, I have this one glorious day–and each day is a gift.
What do I want from my last days or years?
I want to stay connected to Nature’s transformations, the lunar and solar or seasonal cycles. In the summer, I’ll protect Monarch butterflies who journey to my land and help them survive the perils of climate change, habitat loss, and a migration that baffles the mind.
I want to honor the animals and plants in the forest–the howling coyote and the croaking tree frogs. With the help of long walks and exercise, I hope to stay strong so I can snowshoe and manage the challenges of winter on my hill. I want to study mythology and philosophy, learn more about the magic of Monarchs, and read about Nature and Soul. I want to write about what matters to me and hope what I write also matters to others. I want to cultivate inner quiet and feel well enough to assist those in need.
It’s time to relax into the joy of nature, community, and family. My roots are nearly 50 years deep on this land, and I hope to leave gracefully when it’s time to move on. Until then, may I take refuge in the wisdom I’ve been given by many teachers for half a century and be guided toward inner peace and acceptance. As Mary Oliver reminds me, may I “stay amazed.”
The Autumn Equinox is coming. The days are shorter and nights are cooler. Thank you, Hecate, for staying close and helping me through the dark times by holding your torch to light and warm the night.
What stage of life are you experiencing? How does it surprise you? For other posts about Hecate, see Have They Forgotten They Are Mortal? Lessons from Hecate. For a post about Artemis who is often connected with Hecate in Greek mythology, see Lessons from Artemis: Goddess of the Wild.