Love Songs to the Ladies: The Autumn Mother

cracked-light-woman-sculpture-5She Rots.

She reeks and withers. She opens, opens, comes apart along the fault lines. She lets go. She lets loose. She falls.

This is what She can teach you, and if She can’t teach you, She’ll push you. You get out of nothing alive. Not if “alive” means “intact.” You rise from no bed, cross over no threshold, shake off no season, the same thing that you were before the rising, the crossing, the shaking. You are pieces, held together by intention, and illusion, and from time to time (and always at this time) you fall apart.

You are never not broken, but this is the season when you break.

She is fine with your terror. The loss of structural integrity should feel like that. Does feel like that, to countless beings falling into structurelessness, all the time. If your terror helps uncover your compassion for them, so much the better. But if you cling to your anger about your fear, if you refuse, stubbornly to soften, She’s fine with that too. Hers is the great, patient strength of Water. She’ll break you down.

She’ll also hold you up, if you trust Her. If you relinquish Control (which was never more than an illusion you know you know you know so hush hush put it down) she will take it from you gently, like the toy it always was, and rest you in the waves to float. You will float. The Water of this season is the Water made from the tears of all the world. So much salt will not suffer you to drown.

Her gift is not the peace of relinquishment. Not yet. What is Hers to give is a harder boon to love, it’s the way you feel as your fingers peel, one by one, in ancient agony, from the thing they clutch as if your whole life depended on it. To Depend: To Hang. Imagine you are hanging over an immense gulf, clutching at a branch, maybe, or some finger-hold on a rock face, beneath which there is nothing but your body and the space it will fall through.

Then imagine letting go.

There is a sweetness, when you stop fighting. When your eyes close and your shoulders drop and you release your fingers – your aching, bleeding fingers – from their impossible task. That sweetness is Her kiss. If you let it, it will follow you all the way down to the bottom. Where you will break.

You will break apart along every seam that is no longer sound. That’s how you’ll know what pieces to save. What pieces to dig down into the Winter Earth with, that will become the seeds of new beginnings in the Spring. Because ever since Summer’s burgeoning She has been doing this work in secret, testing the seams, prodding the edges, finding the places inside you that are dead and dying, teasing them out into the open, readying them to split, wide, in this season, to rot and reek, to decompose beyond deniability.

She will show you everything that is not working, in your life. She will make those things impossible to ignore. And when you fall, those rotted places will break open, decay, sprout mushrooms, feed insects, compost themselves into a home for new Life. Other Life. No longer yours.

Because She Rots, you will break clean. You will know, at the end of this season of falling and flensing, you will know, when the snow begins to fall, what to re-invest in, and what to relinquish. This is the wisdom of decomposition. The components that compose you detach, de-tangle, the symphony of your life just notes now… notes you can reassemble into a new song. Because She Rots, because you break, you can leave those rotted pieces behind. You don’t have to pick everything back up again. That’s the gift of the Fall.

She Rots. Break open. Welcome Autumn.


*Image: Expansion by Paige Bradley (

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4 thoughts on “Love Songs to the Ladies: The Autumn Mother

  1. Boneweaver September 21, 2016


  2. Teri Parsley Starnes September 21, 2016

    Holy moly, Laurie. This is the sentence created an aha moment: She will show you everything that is not working, in your life.

    I am used to looking at the things that are not working in my life and in me. The self hater in me is good at that. But the She you describe here is not that. So who is She? Why is her revelation of what is not working in my life different from the good old self hater? As I release my grip on the impossible task, what is left for me to do but rot. Trust the process of death. Not because I’m not good enough, but because I am. Here. Alive and so will die.

    thanks dear.

    • Laurie Dietrich September 21, 2016

      You are so welcome, Teri. And thank *you*, for articulating something that is true about Her, for me, but that I had never put words to before… why is it that, when seen through Her eyes, my “failures” stop being things I beat myself up about, and become simply dead tissue that I should free myself of? You’re right, it’s a spookily-similar internal monologue and yet, when I hear it in Her voice, I hear compassion. The things that aren’t working are just that – things that aren’t working. Things that have outlived their usefulness, or never grew into it. Just normal things at the end of their normal life-cycle in which I had a part, but which is not Me. I spend so much of the year berating myself for these little deaths and then, once a year, when I remember to, I stop resisting and release them, as easy as a breath (well, OK, not always *easy* but at least without all the critical self-talk). Maybe I could work on bringing the wisdom of this part of the cycle into the rest of the cycle?

  3. Amoret BriarRose September 21, 2016



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