Some bridges are meant to burn.
Sometimes we see that first flicker of warning and walk away unscathed.
Sometimes we strike the match ourselves in the name of sweet release.
But sometimes, even if we try to stop it, the bridge erupts beneath us and we barely make it out in time, choking on the churning smoke that engulfs what once was, our hands and knees skinned with the impact of our escape.
We claw the earth, dragging cold, fresh night into our lungs, desperately trying to make sense of a very simple truth:
THERE IS NO LIE IN THE FIRE.
It consumes, indiscriminately and without deference, all that is presented to it. It is the ultimate cleanser, destroying that which must end for the beauty of new beginning.
The rising phoenix, Kali’s sacrificial altar, the sacred flame of a Full Moon circle – all are meant to release what no longer serves to make space for what must be embraced.
What is meant to burn will burn, and there is no retrieving that which has turned to ash. The finality of the fire is the only way we can truly leave the past behind us, as it destroys all possibility of remaining the same. We were meant to grow, and the flames of Spirit rid us of the shackles we strap on to keep ourselves from wandering too far from what we deem “safe” and “normal”. All that threatens our growth must be destroyed without risk of retrieval and when we cannot get to that point ourselves, Spirit makes the call and sweeps in, forcing us to see bars where we believed there were windows, and chains where we believed there were roots.
And sometimes the need for escape is so very clear to us: we see the cage, we feel the trapping weight, but still we remain, holding the key to our freedom but refusing to use it until we “finish” what was started. We see the spark, we smell the smoke, and still we stay, trying to gather everything we think we need and cannot live without before the fire consumes it all: closure, admittance, acceptance, forgiveness, awareness, responsibility, love…
We cling to our choice to escape or burn, believing that if we just wait, just a little more, just a little longer, we can make it out with minimal loss and damage. But it’s these attachments that ultimately kill us before we can get to safety; attachments to ideas, to people, to places, even to outcomes that we refuse to believe are wrong – because we earned it, because we deserve it, because it’s the only way everything – the only way we – will be okay.
But it isn’t true.
The only way to be okay – the only way to save yourself – is to make it out before it’s too late. You can’t save everything, and you can’t save everyone. Some will choose to stay in the fire; you cannot make that choice for them. It can be infuriating, their stubbornness and dismissal of your pleas to make things right, to make things “safe”… But the truth is it is not your path; it is theirs.
IT IS NOT YOUR PATH. IT IS THEIRS.
You cannot make them see, you cannot make them listen, and you cannot make them understand. Sometimes, no matter how much it hurts, you must accept the truth as it is presented. Sometimes, they won’t offer comfort, they won’t take responsibility, they won’t forgive, they won’t apologize, and they won’t give you the love you so desperately crave from them. And it’s their choice.
It is not your path.
Eventually time will run out, the flames will erupt, and the fire will win.
Whether it consumes you or not.
And in the aftermath, gasping for air, feeling your heart race beneath your breast at the near-miss of fate, you will see.
The brightness of the inferno will lay light upon the road ahead, and looking up, through the clouds of smoke, you will see stars glittering in the indigo of eternity.
And you will see.
SOME BRIDGES ARE MEANT TO BURN.
But we don’t have to burn with them.
Rise up, Survivor, Warrior, Truth Seeker, and see, that all you thought you needed, Spirit has stripped away, proving – lovingly – that you don’t need those things after all, and that the path continues, easier travelled without the burden of conscious chains.
They won’t apologize, and they don’t have to.
But you can still forgive:
Forgive yourself for the weight you have carried.
Forgive yourself for wanting them to accept responsibility for the part they played in shaping the behaviours you adapted when you didn’t feel safe or loved.
Forgive yourself for the reality you created, and the time you spent afraid, angry, and so very sad.
Forgive yourself for giving your power away and feel its triumphant return.
The choice to apologize is theirs, but the choice to forgive is yours.
So forgive yourself.
It was your heart that lit the fire, and it will be the light that guides you home.
It is your path.
To your Holy Fire,
Witch, Writer, and Wild Heart, Sates has been making magick and seeking Spirit for over two decades. She is the creator of The Corvus Circle, a spiritual movement to rekindle our primal relationship with Mother Earth and Her unyielding love.