Who's a mycelium then?

Mushrooms under Fir

I wonder some things…
For instance… my grandmother,
my granddaughter. Some might say,
if they saw what I’ve seen,
that this child is Gran’ma’s dharma heir,
and neither of them know the word “dharma”.
And some would say that one
is the reincarnation of the other,
if they saw what I’ve seen.

I had an odd little experience a couple of evenings ago. I was on an inner journey to talk to the goddess in her aspect of the crone. (I often refer to the crone as “grandmother” and have great affection for her.) On this night, when I addressed her as Grandmother, my own Gran’ma Susie (mother’s mother) was suddenly there beside the goddess, just to the right of her.

She was smiling a contained little smile with such a twinkle behind it — you could just tell she was trying not to burst out laughing. That expression is so well-remembered, and I’ve seen that same smile on my granddaughter’s face. It was there a lot when Megan was a small merry person full of jokes. Gran’ma liked to deliver her jokes and outrageous puns with a straight face — or nearly straight — and Megan does the same. Anyway, Gran’ma was standing there, atwinkle and beaming, and I was just plain startled to see her.

I used to see or hear her often before Megan was born, but I had, we had reasons to think that perhaps my grandmother had reincarnated as my granddaughter — keeping herself in the family, as it were. A whole range of psychics, channels, mediums, clairvoyants, shamans and what not have told us over the years, first, that Gran’ma would be coming back as my son’s child, then later on that she was then taking the first steps to manifest that, and then after Megan’s birth, over and over that Megan was strongly connected to her. This information was always volunteered, never asked for by one of us.

In her turn, even as a very small child, Megan had that half-teasing smile, along with the strength, courage, wry sense of humor, and lovingness that one would expect if she were indeed Gran’ma come back. But here Gran’ma stood, feet planted firmly on the earth of my inner world, “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” as we say in my family and very much herself.

“You’re surprised to see me, aren’t you?”

I nodded and hesitantly admitted that I thought she had reincarnated.

“Well, I won’t say I haven’t, exactly. But I won’t say that I have, either.”

To say I was puzzled would be understating the matter. I was even more baffled when Megan abruptly appeared to the left of the goddess. She is ten years old now. Gran’ma looked to be in her 50s — about the age she was when I had the years that Megan has now. It was easy to see the resemblance: the eyes, the way the hair curls, their hands, the feel of them both — a fierce and deep compassionate love they both hold for others, leavened by humor and a charm that I suspect comes from just loving people and the world in general.

(I remember that when Gran’ma was dying and I was sitting with her in the hospital, one of the very last things she did was to look up at me and with an obvious effort breathlessly said, “I love you all. I love each of each of you.” She struggled to say more and couldn’t, so I tried to help. “Do you want me to tell everyone that for you?” She immediately relaxed, smiled, and a tiny nod said all I needed to know. Then her eyes shut. After that, she slipped into a coma and was soon gone. And when she was gone, I spent a couple of days calling each of her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grand children and telling every one of them, “Gran’ma Susie said to tell you she loves you.” It wasn’t exactly the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it was one of the most rewarding. And educational.)

But to come back to the present… here Gran’ma is, and there Megan is. Alike as two peas, but in different pods — or the same pod, strung out over time. Or something. Are they the same person or not? Is there linearity here or not? I just don’t know.

The Crone Goddess steps back and somehow reaches around all three of us, pulling us into a tight hug — so tight that we all melted together for a timeless time. It was indescribable.

Then we separated again and looked at each other for one of those forever moments. And Megan and Gran’ma both faded away. The Crone, whose eyes were both Gran’ma’s and Megan’s eyes, asked. “Did you understand that?”

“With my heart, perhaps, but not with my head!”

She nodded and said, “That’s all that’s needed. But here is a picture for you to play with.” An image blossomed in my mind — tiny mushrooms in a faery ring. For a moment I was puzzled. I’ve been learning about fungi recently and they are truly fascinating. What we see above the ground are not individuals. Under the earth, they connect with each other, sharing their roots and underground structure in one much larger being. The things we see are just the fruit of that being, deeply rooted in their living self. Although the mushrooms we see are separate in appearance, in reality there is just one, and we do not see much of it at all.

That larger underground being does vital things to support the life of trees and other plants. The network of the mycelium, the living body of the fungus underground, is really just beginning to be scientifically studied and faintly understood. Scientists have ideas about how mycelium helps the trees, may even be a communication network between them, how it makes the soil fertile and nourishing for all plants — and how it does some other quite magical-sounding things. And did you know, that there is more biomass (living material) under the surface of the earth than there is on top of it? Much more! I didn’t, and am still stunned by that.

However, to come back to what happened in my lunar cycling meditation, this explains a lot about the relationship between Gran’ma and Megan, and yes, even me, without me being able to quite articulate it. I had been thinking of us as being something like pearls on a string with other beads or gems between us. But…

…from the online Urban Dictionary: chronosynclastic infundibulum ~ n. A point in space where, upon a person entering it, that person’s existence in space-time ceases to be linear, becoming discrete. This means that a person that has entered a chronosynclastic infundibulum exists at multiple points and lines in space-time. For example, such a person could exist at all points in time in one place and also appear at another point for five minutes.

And Verbotomy.com says: ~n. A place, or a moment, where all the different kinds of truths fit together, and where there are many different ways to be absolutely right about everything.

It has been so many years since I read the book — it seems that perhaps chronosyclastic infundibulum was both of those things and more, just as the ideas of reincarnation and dharma heirs and mycelium are all true of this and all other relationships, but not even the three together tell the whole story.

What if we are all chronosynclastically infundibulated all the time, and only our indecision (or something) keeps us from realizing it? What if all this is related to the ideas on non-local consciousness and natural magic? (This may be too much thinking for a Libra…)

Lineage & Hands

Megan’s Hands On My Altar Stone

Here I am this morning:
reading Mary Oliver,
having fits of ecstasy
at the beauty on the page —

and feeling that
I have wasted my life.
I am 75 and still
cannot write so exquisitely!

It’s all about seeing,
looking past the surface
into the layers of kinship
and deep story.
And yet —

my granddaughter and I
sat in my garden and compared
our hands, the shapes and lines,
hers, young and smooth,
no more than a tracery of
the dominant pattern —
and mine, old and full of living,
a spider’s crazed web
between the main lines —
yet those deepest ones
forming a pattern
quite like Megan’s.

Once, many years ago,
I did that with my grandmother,
and we, too, found that our hands
were uncannily alike.

When Megan was birthing
and I was rushing
to be there to greet her,
I heard a voice say,
“She has your hands.
You women are like
pearls on a string,
and the lineage endures.”

I told Megan this yesterday. She is ten,
and her eyes grew wide as she listened,
as mine had ten years before
when I saw a line stretching
back and back into the mist
of pearls and hand prints —
healer’s hands.

So, perhaps it was
not wasted after all, this life,
but simply a pearl to be found on a string.

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.