Aphrodite Equinox: Learning to Surf.

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Waterbaby, by Sarahphotogirl.com

Welcome to the creative tumult that is Autumn!

The Harvest Moon at the beginning of this month wouldn’t let my friends sleep.

Through a long, bright night, the Pisces Supermoon pulled us all to the surface, like besotted fish.

Maybe you had trouble sleeping that night, also? If so….

That whole night in early September, I could never get beneath a certain depth of sleep. I was like a diver struggling against her own buoyancy, without enough weight on my belt, tossed around in the surf zone of the night. I remember feverish dreams, the Moon burning white through my window, and my cat’s black silhouette on the windowsill.

Many of my friends complained the next day of headaches.

This is the crash of the wave of the year, the frothiest time.

Autumn is the season of uncertain navigation. The wives of fishermen in mourning know this. They stand below cliffs where ships come and go with cargos of orphans or mangos. Such currents contain artifacts, femurs, and lilacs. Nothing is ever sunken or lost. It is merely temporarily misplaced. It will return to you while you stand undone by stars…. I will send it to you. I am the sailor. I am the girl.  ~ Kate Braverman, The Incantation of Frida Kahlo

The transitionality of Autumn always makes me think of an intertidal zone, and with each turn of the Wheel of the Year, I have new experiences through which to understand it.

This past Spring, I went to Jacó in Costa Rica, where I began to learn to surf. I learned new things about the shoreline there, particularly what quicksilver means to surfers: it is that pink-silver-gold color of mercury that appears the hour before sunset. It’s dimensional: it holies everything, the slick of your skin and salty runnels down your hair, when you come up gasping with delight amid the seams of foam.

It was in one moment of falling off my board during that sacred splice of time, that collapse of the day and collapse of a wave and collapse of a novice surfer, that I understood why the name of the Greek goddess Aphrodite means ‘foam-born.’ She was created when Cronos (aka Time) cut off his father Uranus’s genitals and tossed them into the sea.

She arose from the twisting, spermy swirl that fizzed up from them, that precious filmy sacred lustre that rose to the surface.

That aphros.

Because turbulence is creative. It is life-affirming.

We hear it all the time, that the Universe is like an ocean, that every expression of it, every life and activity, is the congealment of a wave. But sometimes we must actually be in the ocean to realize it. In the simmering, shimmering foam of one wave’s smashing collapse is every Aphroditic potential: another wave of consciousness, a new way of life.

The movement of everlasting, fluidic change.

Every thing we learn in Autumn is the new expression of a wave. Every skill that we learn, every relationship that we end or begin, rearranges the old. The pull of the Moon on a restless night, the Phoenix-pyre of leaves as the trees immolate their old selves in explosions of color, are all what fertility means.

The beauty of the quicksilver light can only show as the Sun is going down, as the day is slipping away.

Only then.

I remember the first time I saw the Gulf of Mexico as a little girl. All I wanted to do was play in the surf. For hours I sat at the water’s moving edge and let the waves break over me, each one a new delight: its suspenseful acceleration as it approached the shore, the mystery of exactly how it would appear, the laughter and joy of its thunderous arrival.

I think I apprehended everything then.

Everything that we lose and gain in life is a changing form.

For everything that we ever lose, something new arrives.

One wave gets sucked out to sea and another comes pouring in. You can ride the waves or dive under them and let them roar over your back. But you have no choice, as long as you are alive, except to engage them. You must play with them.

As the Autumn crashes down, let it roll you, and see how you emerge from the foam.

Blessed be, Happy Autumn Equinox, and love!

 

 

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Editor: Renée Picard

Photos: Waterbaby photograph of Baby Taffeta used by permission by Sarahphotogirl www.sarahphotogirl.com; find her work also @sarahphotogirl on twitter, flickr, and youtube.com

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Laura Marjorie Miller

Laura Marjorie Miller writes about travel, Yoga, magic, myth, fairy tales, photography, marine conservation, and other soulful subjects. She is a regular columnist at elephantjournal.com, contributing editor at Be You Media, and a public-affairs writer at UMass Amherst. Her work has appeared at Tripping, GotSaga, Dive News Network, and MariaShriver.com, in Yankee Magazine, the Boston Globe and Parabola. She is based in Massachusetts, where she lives with a cat named Huck. You can find her on twitter at bluecowboyyoga.

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One Response to “Aphrodite Equinox: Learning to Surf.”

  1. Zoe says:

    Aphrodite, born of the sea. Turbulent, deep, in constant motion, prone to sudden change. Reaching out to touch every shore. Life-supporting. Dangerous. How interesting to think of Aphrodite in relationship to this time of year. Usually at this time I begin to think of Persephone's journey into the Underworld. Love, Z

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