I’m sitting amongst a group of deep-living women. I know this by how they speak of themselves; one speaks of death, and its provocative place in her art-making. Another, after decades of moontimes, tearfully names that it has ended, and how that too is a dying and a birth. Another of her melding into the land she lives on; its stories and how she hears them through sounds. This is how we talk together; speaking the inchoate, the usually unspeakable, all the day weaving a dark braid of days lived.
Although it’s a workshop, the gathering is a celebration, a revering of the feminine. Our guide invites us to ask a question, one that sits on the leading edge of our thoughts. I know that here, when people are talking like this, they’re courting revelation. So I know that a gathering like this ripens a place for wisdom to enter, differently than when alone, when the same magic might not muster.
I want to know the nature of when the first two cells meet.
Our guide plays soft and sensual music. She encourages us to draw, dance, and look at images she’s provided–all gateways into our intuition; pathways into mulling the questions. I choose to dance.
No stranger to exploring movement, sometimes to even answer a question, my body faithfully leads me into the music. Before long, my limbs begin painting the answers. I’ve never danced these particular gestures before, but once I do, they’re recognizable: There’s a round cell made mostly of cytoplasm–an egg. A sperm grazes past her outer membrane, announcing his presence. Her membrane lights up, and soon after de-materialize. An opening in her membrane traverses the full length of her cytoplasm to the other side of her body–a sort of “middle” forms, that later splits in two to become outer membranes of the two cells to come. He enters along this opened slip in her, curling into her cytoplasm. He opens his head so to empty it. Because she makes space for him, he dies to be reborn.
As I’m dancing, I know science already knows something about this. But there are things that are new here in the phenomenology of two.
It’s my sense that we are meant to approach and re-approach these questions, in a way to leave them opened, so to never be fully answered. I’ll bet if I asked again and moved into another form of following that I’d be shown another phenomenal layer, and years later, another.
When two people come together in the spirit of welcoming a child, may they be blessed, as I was, to lean into the mystery with the support of a deeply knit community. May the child they welcome know themselves more intricately because of it, and should we have missed that for ourselves or our children, might we revisit these same mysteries again through art, dance, inquiry, and reverence.