The year of the body--Week 52
in which we finally realize what 2021 has really been about
Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,
Well, here we are at the completion of our 52-week experiment. When I sat down to write the first Sunday Notes from the Field for January 3, 2021, I typed something at the top that I’ve never done before.
The year of the body—Week 1
I always talk in January about the numeric vibration of the year. 2021 was a five, so I’d been reading about five in my numerology books and talking to my brilliant depth numerologist Emma Kupu Mitchell about the deeper meaning of 5.
In general, we see 5 as change—and didn’t that prove to be oh so true this year!
But back in the first week of January, I wanted to talk about 5 as more than change.
In preparation for The Return of the Witches pilgrimage in the summer, I had been reading everything I could find about the long appalling history of how patriarchy uses the label witch to abuse and control women. And men. But first and always it terrorizes and silences women.
In October of 2020, I had taken a course called Your Witch Will Come with Sharon Blackie, author of the essential book, If Women Rose Rooted. In that event, she gave an overview of the history of the witch hunts but said if we wanted to delve into the full history of how patriarchy conjured up the image of the evil old witch across the entire European continent, we should read The Witch by Ronald Hutton.
So I did. It’s a tad on the dry side. Lots of facts and figures and dates. But I kept reading and sure enough, I suddenly stumbled across something essential—not to my understanding of witches, but something essential for the first newsletter of a new year.
I had five on the brain, so when Hutton suddenly quoted Hildegarde about the pentagram and the five, I sat up. He writes:
“…Hildegarde of Bingen asserted that the human body is constructed on a base formed of the number five, having five senses, five limbs (including the head as one), and five digits on hands and feet. This made the pentagram an obvious symbol of the microcosm that the human form represented of the divine image it which it had been shaped.”
And just like that, I realized 2021 was the year of the body. And I labeled my first January Notes from the Field The Year of the Body—Week 1.
I’ve continued this story every Sunday and now, after 52 newsletters, I’m looking back over this wild year of change and chaos and more Covid, and considering what we have discovered about “the body.”
I started out with a simplistic image of 2021 as the year of our physical bodies. But just one week later, on January 6th as I watched a screaming mob erect a gallows at the US Capital, crawl over the walls of the building like a swarm of roaches, breach the entrance, bash in the heads of police, and proudly parade the confederate flag, the flag of traitors, in the inner sanctum of democracy, I had a whole new understanding of “the year of the body.” Did you?
My body flinched. I felt sick. Although I was watching from the safe distance of my writing office in Florida, I felt assaulted. My body told me that the body of the United States was being attacked.
I don’t think I’d thought of my country as a body until that moment.
Then, just two weeks later, my body experienced a totally different feeling, one I can only call a blessing. Perhaps you experienced it too.
At President Biden’s inauguration, a young beautiful Black poet, Amanda Gorman, stepped up to the microphone and spoke her poem, The Hill We Climb. I loved her poem, but the full blessing came the next day listening to her interview with Anderson Cooper of CNN. He asked her to share her mantra, a prayer she says silently to herself before she speaks. And she did.
I am the daughter of Black writers.
We are descended from freedom fighters
who broke their chains and changed the world.
They call me.
Here was a new body—the body of the ancestors.
And I realized I wanted to name and acknowledge and call the body of my ancestors. This is my daily prayer now, my Mystic Family Call.
I am a daughter in Woman Speak Truth,
an old and sacred family of mystic witches,
past present and future.
Columns of saints praying
in the thresholds between worlds.
They call; I listen. I call; they come.
The ever-expanding awareness of what or who is a “body” took over my anointing too.
I’ve anointed my body every morning for several years, but thanks to this year of the body, I suddenly realized last Spring that the anointing actually has three parts—three bodies.
- First, we anoint the body of the ancestors by calling them.
- Then we acknowledge the body of the land by honoring the four directions.
- Finally, we’re ready to anoint our personal physical bodies.
This year of the body has been quite the revelation. And it culminated this month in the strange confluence of problems in my house and the death of bell hooks.
I’ve lived in this townhouse for 22 years this month. For most of that time, there wasn’t money for repairs or improvements. And issues piled up.
Slowly, over the last three years I’ve fixed things, updated the kitchen and bath, even put in wood floors.
I got to know my plumber rather well thanks to a pinhole leak in the garage and not one, not two, but all three toilets giving up the ghost. At the same time that the toilers went on strike, I noticed a strange pile of black specs on the bookshelf in my office. Wanna guess? Termites.
The body of my house was talking to me and she wasn’t happy.
The day I realized there were termites in the wall, bell hooks died. And people poured online to pay tribute. Parker Palmer put this quote from bell hooks in his memoriam and it grabbed me and wouldn't let me go:
“I believe wholeheartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love.”
Her words, “sacrament of love” took over my deep soul writing, entered my Winter Solstice Ritual, birthed my next novena, and emerged as the name for 2022 on my mandala. I want to be Her sacrament of love.
That phrase, “sacrament of love” covers all my bodies.
- my physical body is Her sacrament of love
- my ancestral body is Her sacrament of love
- my house is Her sacrament of love
- my work is Her sacrament of love
- my writing is Her sacrament of love
- my prayers are Her sacrament of love
- my intensives are sacraments of Her love
I close this year of the body bowing in gratitude to Hildegarde of Bingen and bell hooks, surely two soul sisters of love.
What have these 52 weeks in the year of the body taught you? Have you, like me, discovered how vast this word, body, really is?
Next Sunday, we step into week 1 in 2022, and you might be wondering what path we’ll walk for 52 Sundays in a 6 year. I didn’t know. Until I listened to Marcia Wade in our non-forecast forecast for 2022.
Listen to this brilliant Star Sister talking about astrology not as prediction but as a “field of possibility” and see if you hear the theme for 2022.
to honoring and cherishing the body--all our bodies