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Disability is Dís-ability

Reweaving wyrd, reclaiming power.

A hearth with herbs hung to dry, beeswax candles, snakeskin shed, a loom and images of my ancestors.
Altar From The Feast of the Dísir

Dís-ability--The Ability of the Dísir--the way I have been able to reframe my limitations into empowerment is to see my disability as the work of my ancestral grandmothers.

In my spiritual tradition the Dísir of our lineages, our female ancestors (the word Dís means sister, female guardian spirit, goddess), offer us unique opportunities to restructure the wyrd of our lives, the malleable, everwoven fate we live into, along with the ørlög of our descendants, the fate we are born with as given to us by the Nornir. Ørlög is hard to change, it requires spiritual commitment and sacrifice, but it is possible to rework the fate of a lineage, to heal ancestral patterns with dedicated work.

The Dísir appear to me as protective, invested in this transformation. They care not about social stigma or modern pressures, they want me/us to grow, heal and serve. So disability, which means, literally, lack of/not/opposite of ability, becomes Dís-ability, the ability gifted by the Dísir.

My Dís enhanced powers include creativity (born of medical limits), spirit head (AKA brain fog), sensitivity (AKA immune system toxic overload) and dreaming (AKA fatigue). My Dís have removed me from the known world and placed me in a perpetual cycle of initiation (AKA chronic/cyclic illness). Each time I descend (relapse) I return with new wisdom for my community. : Once upon a time I was able bodied. I still sometimes mourn that body and am digging out of a hole of old expectations. Simultaneously, I am un/re/learning, re-storying my concept of ability, and in ritual I have been moved to ask: what if we saw our friends and family members with disabilities and challenges as extraordinary rather than deficient?

Most of us will end up with at least one chronic health condition, and I read somewhere that most of us, in this country, will die from a chronic health condition. Some of these conditions will change our lives, our perspectives on what we are capable of and our relationships with others. What if we were to see these changes not as tragedy, but as potential? What if we embrace the gifts of our Dísir and embraced the sacred task of their initiation?

By this and every effort may the balance be regained.


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