Posted by: nightmistwalker | October 1, 2014

Sometimes May is the Cruellest Month

Winter left us slowly this year. Everything on the Temple of Gaia’s grounds seemed to be a month late in blooming. The March bulbs bloomed in April. The early April flowers bloomed at the end of the month into May. May flowers were 3 weeks late.

When we moved to the grounds that became the Temple of Gaia, we began to change what was a semi-suburban landscape into a place of worship of the Goddess. We established a fire circle in the South.  My daughter crossed the creek, establishing an outdoor altar which effectively placed the water in the West. My father and I measured a large circle in the front of the Temple, which has undergone many transformations in the years since.

At first, I planned an herb/vegetable garden for the front circle. The back grounds are flooded periodically throughout the growing season, which does not allow that to be a great garden site. The Temple, however, is placed some 8-10 ‘ above the yard, on an archaic creek bank. The rains drain from the front to the back, contributing to the floods. So the front became the place where Gaia would be allowed to show Her power most fully.

Over time, the vegetable/herb garden idea morphed into a labyrinth idea. Stones were brought from the creek and a labyrinth began to slowly take shape. High Feline Priestess Patches loved “helping” with the labyrinth. She ran back and forth to the creek with me and watched as the pathways began to take shape. In fact, Patches walked the labyrinth pathway from the beginning to the terminus point for the day. She would lie on the cool stones in the heat of the summer, shaded by flowers and watching the birds. It was a pleasure to have her with me for that time.

Sadly, the labyrinth was not finished before the snows came, and, over the years, the project became abandoned. There are still flowers and vegetables in the garden – asparagus, roses and blackberries thrive in the Goddess’s loving hands – but the garden itself has gradually turned into a memorial garden for various cats who have passed away.

This past May, HFP Patches joined them. She had been slowly declining for years, but maintained a happy attitude and also her position as the ruling monarch of our little cat family.  The final week of her life, she stopped eating and spent most of her time sleeping. She was not in any pain, but she did seem to know what was happening.

During her last few days, we took walks around the Temple grounds. I carried her in my arms as we paid our final visit to the creek, as we repeated the ceremony of our moving to the Temple, and as we visited the Goddess Garden. I pointed out a place where I thought she might like to be laid to rest, and she agreed, laying her head over my heart and sighing slightly and comfortably in approval. The next day, she fell into her final sleep, and I conducted a ritual to Bast, sending Patches’s spirit up the golden staircase to her Mother Goddess. The three remaining Feline Priestesses mourned her, and the cat next door (Mr. Jackson Pollack Kitty) visited us to pay his last respects.

The next morning, I buried Patches at the terminus point of one of the branches of the labyrinth path, which she alone had walked. The roses bend over her grave, birds visit the birdbath which I had placed in the center of the labyrinth, and butterflies visit the wildflowers which have since taken over the unfinished garden. After the interment, I sat alone in my garage thinking back over the years we had spent together, the journeys we had taken, and the adventures we had had. While I sat grieving, Mr. Jackson Pollack Kitty came to visit. He leaped into my lap, placed his front paws on my shoulders, and licked my nose and the tears from my cheeks. Comforting purrs filled my ears. How wonderful of Bast to send me a kind little friend to care for me.

Our children fill our lives with love and joy, no matter what species they are. We are blessed by their presence, and we grieve at their absence.  They live on in memory. They wait for us as we cross the final threshold.

Patches was 19.

We miss her every day.

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