This month’s image comes with a mouthful of a spell and a heartbreaking story. Meet Toughie, believed to be the last of Rabb’s fringe-limbed tree frogs. Identifiable in the wild by his song, Toughie died in captivity in 2016 after waiting silently in a box for 10 years. In an environment where animals are usually numbered instead of named, Toughie was named by the toddler child of one of the scientists in the lab.
Isn’t he beautiful?
This month we grieve the loss of this individual frog, and we grieve the loss of his whole people. We acknowledge silence where there once was song, and the absence where there once was form. We try to remember on our own skin what sunset feels like in the Panamanian rainforest. And we extend this same offering of grief to all the species, all the cultures, and all the languages that once graced this earth that are now no longer.
About the spell
"Apocatastasis" is pronounced a bit like “apple catastrophe”: A-po-cuh-TASS-tuh-sis. It is a Greek word meaning “restoration to the original or primordial condition.” This month we cast a spell for the return to wholeness—a process that cannot occur without heartbreak, so long as we are embodied beings. We offer this spell to help encourage the grief that flows from a broken heart, for this is the offering all dead things need to move on with their lives.
Working with this spell, we acknowledge what has gone beyond returning. We honor the place that is beyond all places. We sing of what we still remember, in this generation, from what we’ve experienced. We hold the beauty of what’s past and what has yet to come in this present moment of uncertainty.
Meditation on Apocatastasis
For this meditation, you are invited to drop from ideas about grief to get heavy enough to be in your body. Plant your consciousness in your flesh and bones and in the spaces between your muscles and your skin. Notice gravity tugging on you to be here; feel every inhale resist that tug, and ever exhale surrender to it. You carry life and death around with you in your breath, in your chest, in every cell and every cycle you move through. We need one another to create the conditions necessary to grieve all the big griefs. This private meditation is a way to practice being with all the little deaths we carry with us all the time; the passing of a each moment, gone forever. Can you be with what is passing? How do you feel as you drop into Time’s current and let go? What tries to stop you? There may be tension in your body, thoughts in your head, deep belly feelings that don’t express themselves in language—they are all welcome in this river. And if you ever feel fearful or too out of control, like you want something to hold on to or rest on—go to the bottom of your breath. At the end of an exhale when, for a moment, you feel yourself empty—can you pause in that space? Keep breathing; keep welcoming life—and every time you exhale, before the inhale comes, pause and let yourself drop to the bottom of your pelvic floor, through your legs and your feet. Relish in the delicious inbreath, and then ride the exhale back down to empty. Pause. Drop. Here, there is a chance to touch and be known by that which is beyond life and death.
About the painting
Corina: Working from one of the photos of Toughie in captivity, we imagined him back in the Panamanian rainforest. We researched the trees and plants, but in the end wanted an image where he was central and the background was less solid—more like a memory or a hope. Jo had never painted an amphibian before, and I’m so impressed with how she expressed his vitality and shine!
Jocelyn: I was in an altered state while painting Toughie. Staring into those deep, dark eyes... I committed myself to a honest representation of this handsome frog despite being intimidated by all his glistening moistness. In the end, I love how solid Toughie appears while poised in such a precarious landscape. I’m also curious about what this painting evokes for someone before they know Toughie's story… if you’re reading this and want to share your first impressions, please do.
We've got a sale going on this image for the whole month of April! Buy this print and get 15% off, using the coupon code: TOUGHIE
This month, Corina and Jocelyn are hard at work on the 2019 calendar! Catch the sneak peeks in Instagram: @abacuscorvus.
Corina is also gearing up to teach new astrology classes from her office in Olympia. For more info on those, and her solo art projects and astrology biz, follow her on Instagram, @corinadross
Jocelyn is finishing all the things that need finishing in order to graduate! Tonight she’s performing a movement & spoken word piece with Caroline Daniel for the Boone Art Crawl. In the next few weeks she will take the big exams, write the final papers, articulate her professional position and vision, and then gather with community to mark this exciting rite of passage! You can get catch glimpses of this and whatever else catches her eye on Instagram at @jocelyncorvus