I have been thinking about my journey with cancer and realizing how the Wheel of the Year and the cycles of La Luna have brought me deep gifts as I flow through this all too common but powerful human experience.
This cancer, my cancer is for me part of the flow of seasons and cycles that I stepped into when I was born and will end for me when I die.
This cancer began around Samhain of 2016 before I even knew there was cancer growing in my body - not a surprise, Samhain is a time of death and unbeknownst to me it was a dying of what had come before - I was diagnosed much later, actually on Lammas of 2017 by then what had begun growing in my face and neck had metastasized into my lungs and was stage four squamous cell carcinoma. Lammas is a time of harvest, this was a hard harvest and yet even in the midst of that there was abundance as medical folk came into my life and my team of mysterious ones rose to greet me and hold me: The Virgin of Guadalupe, the Compassionate Christ, the Trickster god Loki, Brigid of the Forge, my ancestors and La Luna waxing and waning, bringing in healing medicine, releasing fear and pain and anxiety. They formed a bubble around letting in the blessings and love, prayers and power from people far and wide, yet also forming a barrier so that the fear and anxiety that often accompanies cancer from others hit the bubble and slid to the ground to be transformed and composted. Slowly I shared the diagnosis and found myself surrounded by beloveds who would care for me whatever the harvest. There were tests and and more tests and treatment plans in place as Mabon moved toward Samhain. My very first infusion was on the Full Moon of October, the Blood Moon.
At first the immunotherapy I was on worked well shrinking the tumors in my lungs and killing off cancer cells in my face and neck. I was on a every two weeks schedule so as La Luna waxed and waned I had the powerful sense that infusions during waxing were bringing in healing medicine, and during waning helping clear out the dead cells. Not long after Yule the dead cells became infected and there I was no longer flowing with the seasons but in the midst of a crisis while my medical team worked to make sure I didn’t step off The Wheel at that point and I spent a week in the hospital. I was still here but it became clear I was not getting the calories I needed to sustain my life and so on Ostara of 2018 I was back in the hospital having a feeding tube put in my stomach. Ostara that time of balance of preparing the soil and planning for a new growing season to feed and sustain us. But things went awry in those plans - we were using the wrong formula it turns out and so I was again hospitalized and that first night in the ER I could have easily stepped out of this life. I remember moments of floating in space in the vast beautiful rich velvety darkness feeling held, loved, knowing that whatever happened would be fine - I waited for my ancestors to come for me, they didn’t, and as my body received hydration and medication I once again felt present in this life.
I emerged after another week in the hospital at Beltane. The perfect time to emerge. Beltane that time of dancing around the Maypole winding ribbons symbolizing the ancient understanding of life and sexuality bringing forth life. In my Reclaiming witch tradition we acknowledge that aspect and so much more. And so as I emerged from what could have killed me (severe dehydration and not enough calories in to sustain my life) this Beltane reminded me about the powerful life force flowing through everything. The same power that brings new life to the land after a fire or other natural or human caused disaster that interrupts life. This Beltane for me was about dancing those ribbons in my body, through the amazing medical community who tended me and the passion of family of blood and choice who surrounded me, and all of you who added energy, thoughts, prayers, and love. This Beltane I was blessed beyond measure by the power of life and love. So I rejoiced and sent blessings to everyone and their beloveds this Beltane whether they were lovers, friends, children or a passion for work and/or creativity bringing forth art or the simplest bits of work or play that keeps life juicy.
And here I am moving toward Litha, the Summer Solstice. It feels like I am getting stronger - the treatment plan is transforming growing into something new as The Sun begins the journey away I am hoping that power of leaving will take with it more of the cancer. I am hopeful but also understand that many things can take us away from this life in a heartbeat.
And so there it is my life turning with The Wheel, waxing and waning with La Luna, just as all things do whether we notice or not, your life my life all life. Blessings on you as you live The Wheel, the cycles, the ancient and mysterious magic.