Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rain Medicine

The rain is full force today, and I am resisting the temptation to call this rain “awful” and “terrible.” I am trying to embrace autumn after all, not be cruel and call it names.

This morning I drove my partner to Granite Falls, WA to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America where he received a Shingan Joju Kigan ceremony (a Shinto ceremony for “realization of heartfelt wishes”). This was a birthday gift and a surprise, and it was during our time that I actually felt the pleasure and cleansing power of rain—a sensation I have not felt in a very long time.

The grounds around the Shinto temple are landscaped with bamboo, stone structures, fountains, and other beautiful adornments from Japan. As we walked in the rain toward the temple, I noticed how quiet it was. I heard our steps crunching on the rocks so clearly, and I heard the rain’s sweet patter on the autumn-hued trees and plants around us. I looked up at the sky, gray as it was, and said aloud, “This rain feels cleansing.” I said it almost as a question, as if I couldn’t quite believe my own words. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the sky, letting the water hit my skin, causing little streaks, almost like tears. But these clearly weren’t my tears and this rain was not melancholy: it was gentle and comforting somehow. And refreshing.

After the powerful and centering ceremony, my partner and I walked the grounds just a bit more. Near the path to the river was a stone statue of a frog. As soon as I saw him, his placement made sense to me, for Frog is often associated with water and cleansing energy. In David Carson’s Medicine Cards, he writes, “Frog medicine is akin to water energy, and the East on the medicine wheel. Frog teaches us to honor our tears, for they cleanse the soul.”

This passage made me wonder about the purity we must attain each year here in the northwest after months of fall and winter rain. It also made me recall moments of my own tears and how they have seemed to purify me by my release of built up pain. And I think of the tears that flow for some of my clients during our massage or Reiki sessions; I welcome these tears with open arms and some of my clients are surprised by this reception. I tell them, “This session is about you, not just your muscles, not just your sore back; it’s about the whole you, so if tears must come, we will let them flow. And we will attend to all of you.”

Carson also writes, “Like Frog, we are asked to know when it is time to refresh, purify, and refill the coffers of the soul.” It occurs to me that autumn and winter may be just that for me – a time to refill the coffers of my soul. And perhaps like frog, I can learn to appreciate these drippy, soggy days because they remind me to honor the deep waters within me.

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