Grief:  Magi of the Sacred Fire

“COGI QUI POTEST NESCIT MORI” (‘Who can be forced has not learned how to die’) ~ SENECA THE YOUNGER

A 13-year-old girl I know recently overdosed on prescription drugs.  Her Godmother grieved because she promised the girl’s mom who was on her deathbed with cancer that she would protect her daughter.  Hence, the motivation for the following article on grief.

"There can be no grief without love, for a person who does not love, cannot grieve. Grief is the Servant of Love, but this Servant's duty is of 'Firekeeper.'

What is the purpose of grief?  Grief fire burns off everything that is not essential to Love. This whole, lengthy undertaking, is excruciatingly painful to the carrier of Love but is key to Love's purification.

Ironically, Grief burns off illusions and attachments, but nothing more. The only thing real is Love, and when the attached illusions are but embers, Grief itself does its Sacred Last Dance around the Dying Life of the Fire.

Then, its duty consummated, Grief throws itself upon the embers of an old existence to die in a brilliant burst of flames. The beauty of the moment illuminates beautiful mystery, and unforgettable higher learning is left alone to leave its newborn to experience life on life’s terms.

Here’s another Seneca quote: "ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes homines". A loose translation, ‘as fire tempers gold, so strong people are tempered by suffering.' To become pure gold, the original gold-bearing ore must go through the tempering process or Trial by Fire; the analogy being that for a person strong in spirit, adversity and suffering are the tempering agents necessary to refine character and bring out real potential.

The entirety of humanity is at times perplexed by its inner demons, but burn off the demons, and all that remains is true Self. Our problem is that we have forgotten who we are. But there is Hope, for our Friend Grief is the Magi of the Sacred Fire.

If Grief fails to kill itself after performing its duty, then the process of renewing attachment begins, and the cycle of grief begins anew. Wave after wave of pain drowns the fire until the Spirit learns Love is more powerful and necessary than oxygen.

Here's a poem titled, "Phoenix" that I wrote about this process from my experience, and I share it to help my friends make some sense of their Grief." Religiously stated, maybe the process was like LOVE...the ghostly gift rising like the phoenix from the curse, like Christ leaving hell. This Too Shall Pass.

Follows is a poem I wrote about grief after losing a marriage, a loved-one who drank herself to death, and more.  No matter what happens to us, we grow stronger with time.


spirit body

gathered up limbs
collected for a stretcher.

he’s cutting, again.

shadow sky dips into midnight;
snail clouds creep along

straight razor moonbeams.


not like a nightmare,

for nightmares shift quickly
and unconsciousness' dies in the waking.

There are few pains as sickly,

As lost love spoken thickly.

ease along,

press into and face your pain,

but lean not, oh outer mind, to your own understanding.
travel through every drawn & quartered layer

 of affection vanished.
it’s a sacred space where slowness heals just fast enough

to create new skin.

~new skin~

for the next cut.
moving, sliding, inching along, just keep moving, surviving.

how many more times will you watch this full moon rising? 
it all seems so limitless, so fruitless.  
this seems the strangest life one can ever know,
this surviving surviving.

only when I realize I am both snail and blade,
my aloneness plummets like honest angels to the earth,
the high blade bathes a blood red moon.


~the fall murders my pain~
finally, I am