I spent my summer soltice in the ocean.
Summer soltice is my favorite of all the pagan holidays. The passion, the heat, the sultry lust that lingers on the skin like the sweat from the sun, all speak to my inner goddess (it´s no accident that I have an Ishtar symbol tattoed on my right breast). In the not so distant past, I let go of my pagan years for various reasons but of late they are trickling back into my life. It was with a bit of a pang that I realized my summer solitice would not be spent around a bonfire this year.
But we were in Veracruz, and to my suprise I found that floating in the ocean on this day was sacred enough.
I am not a beach person. When I went to Haiti, I did not overly enjoy the couple of days spent on the beach. I much prefered the city and the sacred waterfalls. I do not enjoy lingering about in the sun. And mostly I am just afraid of being in the ocean. Perhaps because I come from a place where the ocean is always wild, I do not find her comforting. I find her overpowering, frightening, and am in awe of her power. Even on the beaches where she does not pound her fists into the rocks, I find her great length a bit terrifying. I am terrified of drowning, and often have nightmares about dying in such a way. But I am also drawn to her, and when I see her, I feel this heavy lump in my chest, like I might cry and run into her arms. But I am wary of her call.
Thus I was not suprised when I felt that longing as we drew closer and I smelled her--the most overpowering female scent in the world. And when we saw the gulf spread out before us, I felt that terror mangified as my children ran along the unguarded docks. I no longer felt afraid for myself but afriad that she would pull my children to her breast, taking them from me. My children felt no such fear and showed an immediate and firece love of her. Camille, who arrived in Veracruz sick, was happy for the first time in days. She splashed in the waves, lying in the surf like a luminious beached mermaid. All of them splashed and played, and laughed. The beach we were on was tame and gated so I felt fearly safe....until I looked out on that endless horizon and felt that familiar terror leap up into my throat.
But then I sat back, drank a pina colda and a couple of beers. I drank in the sun and I ventured into those bekoning arms. I laid back, and floated. Bliss. Mar seduced me with the gentle laps of waves, the up and down off her motion. I felt relaxed and free. I understood the lure of just sinking down into that wonderful liquid and becoming one with the sea. It was the most peaceful I have felt in many months. I did not think of anything but the feel of the water on my arms, and the motion of being rocked. This was my mother holding me in her arms.
I thought as I floated that perhaps I had been a siren in another life but felt rather silly. Here I was this overweight woman in a black bathing suit...not a sultry seductress luring sailors to their watery deaths. And then I felt irrated that I thought of myself as such a stereotypically female thing, powerful as the siren might be. And I thought maybe I had been a pirate or a sailor, lover and hater of the ocean. But my mind kept bringing me back to the siren, and I embraced it. The siren as untamed femaleness, powerful and seductive, rather like the goddess whose symbol I inked into my skin.
I left with the taste of salt on my lips.