In the dreaming I found myself in the world of the dead, or one of the realms of the dead. I do not remember the story. I returned with the knowing I was there. The knowing will unwind through the day. Maybe this story is part of it.
This morning I learn of the death of my voice teacher in LA, Kathryn Skatula, an actor/singer originally from Sheridan, Wyoming. She acted and sang in plays and quite a list of accomplishments. She was in her early fifties, a young fifties. I worked with her about seven years ago. To find her I would drive south on La Cienega, past Olympia then turn west towards the ocean. In that part of LA ocean mingles heavy in the desert air. It is intoxicating, especially when mock orange blossoms ripen. I'd park, walk up to her apartment/studio on the second floor for my voice lesson. She was vibrant, intuitive, and an excellent voice teacher. What makes an excellent teacher? The core is belief in the student, love for the music (in this case) and absolute respect for the sources, the ancestors, and the process. She was always cheerful, had a glass of water and chair for me. Then we'd work. She took good care of my voice. She studied it, saw what I needed to grow. It wasn't just about voice. The voice is directly connected with the spiritual condition of a soul. When I first stepped into her home my voice was hidden, tentative. My voice had learned to speak and was restless for the next part of the journey. Singing meant another threshold, another realm between living and dying. Singing had been stolen from me by a demon when I was fourteen. Kathryn helped my voice emerge from the underground. She became one of my helper spirits.
Thank you Kathryn.
I read that she struggled with Lou Gehrig's disease. I look up Lou Gehrig's disease. It's degenerative. She suffered. At least she took her last breath at home, with those who loved her around her. That gives me comfort, however I ask the question we all ask when confronted with the suffering of one who appears to have acted with grace in this world, someone who has given back many times over.
The only reason I know for suffering is knowledge. And I've come to understand that there is a cost for everything. Sometimes there is grace, we are given gifts from out of apparently, nowhere. I'm beginning to understand that even those beautiful pieces of grace, or luck, were probably paid for by our ancestors' prayers or actions, by someone thinking of us even as they were breathing the smell of mock orange and saying thank you.
I'll keep that in mind as I walk out into this realm.