At the edge of the forest, where tall shading trees meet a wide open space, transition creates its own ecosystem. The soil is different at the edge of the forest than it is deep in its center, or out in the meadow. Specific plants and animals thrive in these edge conditions, in having access to two different worlds. The foresty world of multi-tiered protection gradually becomes the wide-open world of light and space—and this environment shows us how transition is not really a thing we do, but rather a process that takes up space within us and all around us.
Edges are where relationships happen—where we encounter what is other. Edges are a realm that needs tending, so we neither erase difference nor ignore connection. Edges are where day meets night, where sky touches earth, where land meets sea, where skin meets skin. We hold edges within us, too—the shifting of moods, the inner diversity of perspective, the cultural worlds we inhabit that don’t smoothly blend into each other. Sometimes these edges are blurry and gradual, sometimes they are crisp and distinct. Can you feel them? How do you recognize that you’re inhabiting an edge?
About the spell
Tending the edges means noticing what happens in that space where differences meet. It is an endless balancing act—a practice of learning to preserve difference as a vital resource while also allowing yourself to grow and be changed by that meeting. Distinction is what allows for richness and complexity, but too many edges can threaten our sense of wholeness. When humans fragment the forest with their roads and developments, the whole ecosystem suffers. This spell calls for us to be present and attentive to where our edges are, to the edges we encounter in our world, and to learn what we can about the medicine in these edgy, transitional spaces.
Some edges are obvious, but many remain unnamed and often unknown. What do we call the place where a human meets the world? Where the faculty of our mind meets the capacity of our heart? How do we name our connection to ourselves, to place, to history, to each other, without neglecting or erasing the distinctions and harder edges? How do we take responsibility for tending to the edges we find?
Meditation on Tend the Edges
To begin, please find a place where you can get comfortable. Let your gaze be soft and open to the colors around you. See if you can hover your awareness around your senses—what you see, hear, touch, smell, taste, and know. Let this sense of yourself be like a soft light on your skin, touching every inch of the edge of your body, where it meets the world outside you. Then, wrapped in this cocoon of awareness, begin to notice the quality of your breath and the rhythm it is carrying.
Notice, when you try to settle down into this meditative state, if there is a part of you that resists focusing on the present moment. Perhaps it is your thoughts, moving forward and backward in time, expanding on what you sense and telling stories about it all. Perhaps it is tension in your body that conjures up restlessness to be somewhere else, or someone else. Perhaps it is a hard-to-name static quality in you that simply interferes with keeping your warm attention on yourself and your senses and your breath.
If it feels good to, begin to associate your exhale with the part of you that is attuned to the present moment, and your inhale to the part of you that is eager to flee it. So, with every exhale you allow a deeper sinking into the awareness of now; and with every inhale you allow your resistance to exist and express itself fully. See what it’s like to play with this for awhile. To let yourself be both. To let the one breath consist of these different elements. When you’re ready - take stock of that what experience was like for you. What did you feel and learn from holding this edge within your breath and conscious awareness? What other edges can you tend to in this way? How might your simple awareness of difference begin to support you as you confront it?
About the painting:
Corina: This painting’s subdued sky tone reminds me of an old postcard found in a dusty wooden box at jam-packed thrift store. I love that sense of history and aging that shows up really subtly in this image, which is otherwise fairly bright and cheerful. Again though, we’re looking not just at any pretty birds but at bluejays—birds that assert their boundaries loudly—and at what is either cooperation or competition between them for the fiddlehead ferns. The image has a sweetness and sharpness to it at the same time.
Jocelyn: This one has such a mood to it—there is the edge of day and night, the edge of ecosystems, the edge of relationship. Birds who are not subtle about their needs, resources, costume, and territory. I like the crispness of the leaves beneath them and the softness of the sky behind them. This one is also dear to me as it reminds of the edge my sister and I are always tending this collaboration—or, rather, the many edges we are tending as artists, sisters, business partners, and friends.
This month's offerings:
Creation! This is the month that holds our main creative effort for the next year’s calendar. 2020 is well on its way and we are feeling ever deepening gratitude to be partnered together in this way and partnered with all the other muses of creation that come together for our art to exist. L’Chayim!