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The Death Cycle

Everything that lives lives on the death of something else. Your own body will be food for something else. Anyone who denies this, anyone who holds back, is out of order. Death is an act of giving.”

― Joseph Campbell

Midway through January and the bitter Manitoban cold has surely been a stern reminder of it. Many of you other fellow North-Dwellers can most certainly relate. The solstice has since passed and the cycle continues. Winter seems to be a rather harsh teacher sometimes. Quite often hardships and strain go hand in hand with the season.

While this week’s article is a rather personal and cathartic one, it has a message I hope everyone can take something from. I aim to inspire, after all. The idea for this week’s article came to me one evening in particular. My shivering hand clutched my pipe as I tried to enjoy a smoke. A windchill of -48 makes that a tad difficult, but alas it planted the seed of inspiration. A concept further cemented in my head by the current turns of fate and the frigid jaws of winter itself. 

Nourishing Destruction. Death and Rebirth. Destruction of something to spur the growth of something else.The serpent devouring its tail, the phoenix from the ash.

To swallow down your own death, and let it birth new life within you. 


The Isa rune stands front and centre often this time of the year. A very challenging rune at that. It’s very name is “Ice”, and it embodies it. Imagine yourself as a river or creek, once running and flowing. The river is frozen over. The water once in motion now waits, stagnant. 

It shows energy of restriction, of stillness and the lack of movement. As with any rune none are inherently bad or good, however this one truly outlines one of the harsher parts of life we must deal with. 

Oftentimes the harshness of winter and Isa’s cryogenic touch do wonders to slow down our momentum, oftentimes stopping us in our tracks completely. We often very easily succumb to it as well, but it’s not necessarily bad. 

Just as death is the cessation of life in a literal or figurative sense, the freezing over of our river is also a potential to break free. The ice will always melt in the spring, or can be broken by our own means. 

Next we come to the idea of the phoenix. The mythological creature who is reborn anew from it’s own ashes. It achieves new life through its own death. 

The stillness of the ice has us in a state of either a slow trudge or immobile entirely. The reasons for this are entirely down to the individual. Whether tragic, self imposed or thrown upon unjustly, the reasons are there. 

But alas, we need to continue forward. Certain aspects of ourselves must now, for lack of a better term, die. 

As challenging as it may be, it’s a critical step in this collection of ideals I’m getting across here. Certain things may be a massive part of our lives. They may carry a lot of weight whether through nostalgia or memory. Perhaps even by blood, or by friendship. 

It’s seldom an easy task to put major parts of your life to rest. But would you not prefer that as to your total identity crashing and burning entirely? 

Certain dead weight oftentimes must be shed. Some events happen without warning. It is the volatile nature of the human condition. However regardless when those chunks of ourselves are burnt to ash, they can be seen as fertile. A birthplace of the new and the strong, the bird born from the ashes of its former self. 

Where there is death there is rebirth. The serpent devours itself to create itself. 

As it exists in nature. A creature dies, it’s body is broken apart to feed the earth once again. From the nourishing death new life springs from the soil. 

This cycle of death and rebirth exists within ourselves. It is a component to our development in all stages of life. Parts of us die, and are recreated. Elements once dear to us depart and we come back stronger through the struggle. 

The cold stasis we find ourselves in leads to glorious and fiery recreation, to continue on the cycle symbolised by the Ouroboros. 

We are all different. We all have our own demons, our own struggles, and most important our own achievements and badges of honour. I may not know what you’re going through, and I don’t need to. 

You yourself understand the key to growth. The key to new life where the old has grown stagnant and foetid. 

Shake it off, man. Let the old shit burn. A little piece of yourself that needs to die isn’t worth killing yourself over.

Is this the cathartic ramblings of a madman or something more? Perhaps both. 

But I’m already climbing from the ash, and let me tell you, my wings are gonna cleave the skies. 

You’ll become better, friend. I promise you that. 

Now let’s get after it. 

9 thoughts on “The Death Cycle

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