About a year ago, in the beginning of the great tumult that was 2016, Frigg stepped into my life. It was something that shocked me and that shamed me; after all, the messiness of my room and of my life was no worthy place for the All-Mother. And yet She took me in Her stride, feather-touched but firm, with a compassion that to this day makes me weak in the knees from its power. It was a compassion that carried me through the darkest hours and moments of my life in 2016 – a compassion that swept me in gently into 2017 with a newfound power handled with ancient grace.
Every Queen must have Her Garden, She told me once. At the time, I didn’t exactly understand what She meant by this. I understood, to some degree, that one must cultivate what one wants; I understood that one must work to surround oneself with the things that one desires. But just a month ago was when I saw another level of this multivalent statement from the All-Mother, and it was this depth that completely put everything into perspective for me.
A guy I had been casually seeing for four months told me something that I already knew: whatever we had was temporary. He had a job and a life where he was; and I was going to be graduating in May, then moving to California by June to pursue my doctorate.
But for whatever reason, when I came home that particular night that he and I had this conversation, there was a strange, aching sadness. I realized very quickly that I was mourning something that was completely out of my reach.
This person wasn’t meant for me, and I wasn’t meant for him; and I knew this, deep inside, when I met him (even when I tried to challenge the Gods and the people close to me who told me from the very beginning that he was not the One); and yet it struck me deeply, hearing this truth that he and I had both understood perfectly from when we met up in late November to now in March and April.
See, I knew the ending to this story between us – but life, people, and the Gods have a funny way of turning your world upside down in both an eternity and a split second, if only so that you may see that your feet are settling back on the ground where they are supposed to be.
In the middle of my confusion, my anger, and my tiredness, Frigg stepped forward with words that were much more gentle, much more comforting, than the harsh reply and stinging bite that Cernunnos had for me.
Every Queen must have Her Garden, She said. I could hear Her mantle softly stroking the floor, could smell the perfume of flowers and sacred incense that always seemed to follow Her. The Garden is the home, the palace, the safe space. Every night, the Queen returns to her Garden; and every day, She leaves it to take a walk.
And the Queen may not always know where She will be walking. Each day bears a different path; and each path has all sorts of flowers in the way. We will see these flowers as people.
Some of these flowers belong to the path, already rooted in other Gardens; they belong to Her walking only, meaningfully present only for a little while. That does not mean that She cannot stop to admire, to smell, to love that flower. That does not mean that such flowers cannot teach Her their scent, cannot reveal to Her their lessons, cannot enjoy a short while with Her. The time that the flower spends with Her, and She with it, does not in any way define the importance of that exchange in each other’s lives; nor does it define the impact of its scent and grace in Her day.
But as the sun falls, She must understand that this flower is not Hers. This flower, She knows, belongs to another Garden, and that must be respected. So She and the flower will thank each other and move their separate ways – the Queen to Her Garden, and that flower to its own.
This man, who came into your life for such a short time, taught you many things, as you did to him; and he healed your heart, as you did with his; but he was not the One. He will remain on a path you will walk only in your memory, for your feet will never tread his path again; for the most ripened fruit that could have ever been yielded between the two of you has already fallen.
Leave this flower behind, and come back to your Garden. He was never meant to flower in the soil of your Garden, nor to take his place beside you, for he has long belonged in his own Garden.
Leave this flower behind, for the time that was to be spent between the both of you is now over.
Leave this flower behind, and do not forget the wonderful things that this flower has shown you. Do not allow pain, confusion, or anger to blind you from the moments of beauty, of healing, of great importance that the both of you shared.
These words struck me slowly, my Sight taking in the metaphor and seeing it in my mind. I realized that this man had done something to me that I didn’t actually understand until now: that he had a reason for coming into my life, something more than just companionship and whatever else we had had together those few months. I realized that I had laughed with him, had worked to understand him, had had fun with him, had been understood and honored by him. I realized with shock that my life would have been decidedly quite different had I not chosen to start something with him in late November – had our paths not met.
This shock wasn’t something simple, something minuscule. As an introvert with social anxiety and a lifetime of bad experiences with people, I am very careful with the kind of people I keep around me. I yearn for deep connections, those that can only be made with time and effort; I yearn to see that there is someone working just as hard as I am to get to know them. At the same time, I yearn to be known by all, to be engaged with all, to be able to enjoy the people around me and be a living space for them to be themselves. It is difficult to be torn both ways – torn between wanting to be part of a friendship and wanting to be alone.
To add to the pot, my logical, clear, sharp nature often slices through to help me save a heaping portion of heartache: Don’t try to get to know people here. You’re only here for a little while, and then you’ll be gone. This isn’t long term. Most people just pass you by, remember? They have the gift of being able to enjoy you without meaning, without attachment. They don’t give a shit about you. Keep your head down and look forward. Be friendly, but never let them in.
This is a protective mechanism that reveals many things. Something in me has gotten angry after meeting person after person who has taken but never given back. Something in me has gotten lonely beyond compare when I get a phone call from a “friend” who wants to vent to me and wants my advice but doesn’t even bother to ask how I’m doing. For a long time, I have been someone who has always given but who has rarely received.
Something in me wants to protect me from having my heart bruised; something in me that thinks always in the long-term because long-term is the only thing that I could truly depend on. And even that is not promised to me. The answer, I thought, was to go through life with my head held high and a sword to my chest.
I didn’t realize that I had this mentality until Frigg showed it to me; I didn’t realize how easily I slipped out of it when this man bumped into me and we started something we knew had an expiration date. I didn’t realize, until that moment when Frigg showed me the Gardens, that I had been thinking of people, of the world, of myself in an unhealthy way. So, too, did I understand the great milestone I had crossed – of being able to enjoy someone fully, present, in-that-moment – and of being able to part ways with fond memories, strengthened spirits, and changed vision.
And here, She smiles, is where your capacity to love begins its journey.
If you can love a flower when it blooms for a second, you can love the Garden that remains forever. New flowers will bloom into your Garden: new people will rush into your life like hummingbirds, and they will take root with you as you will with them. All of this is good. Welcome this. Share your Garden.
Do not be afraid to let them in, Laura; for all of your Seership, you shall never see who will become a part of your Paradise until their roots have firmly set in you; until they’ve chosen to make their nests in your heart; until they’ve decided to be in your Garden forever and until you’ve decided to be a part of Theirs; until you realize that you love their presence in your life, whether short or long or forever; until you realize that your Garden, when letting in the light and the flowers and the complexities of other people’s Gardens, has transformed into your Paradise.
Hail to Frigg: the All-Mother, the Falcon-Feathered Joy, the Queen of Heaven!