The Once and Future Son

At the end of 2015 my soul-sister and childhood friend embarked on a healing journey.  She is such a beacon of positivity and light that you would never know the darkness through which she has come.  Her heart is so big and so open, you could not imagine that it had once been mishandled, manipulated, abandoned, and betrayed.  Her generous heart just keeps shining, giving, expanding.  She is one of my great heroes, and without a doubt, a soul with whom I shall always resonate… together, we create a kind of harmony.  She came into my life when we were ten years old, and though there have been separations of time and distance, when we come together, it feels as if no time has passed, because clearly… we are always together… hearts singing to one another over the miles.  Our favorite pastime is what we call ‘couch time’.  This is when and where we go deep.  The season that her healing began brought us ample couch time, as she was staying with me while working on a project in town.  She engaged the support of an intuitive life coach during this visit, and it was from her first session that our assignment was delivered.

I never wanted to have children of my own, though I’ve always been grateful for the faery goddess babies in my life, that are the sacred legacy of dearest friends who have nurtured my presence in the lives of their children.  I’ve witnessed the joy, pride and glory of motherhood through many of my girlfriends, and I’ve witnessed the sorrow and heartbreak of some whose longing for such a blessing did not come to fruition.  This is where our story begins.  Being separated by distance sometimes does not allow us to be witness to the suffering of loved ones.  With 2,000 miles between us, I fear that, at the time, I was aware of my dear one’s miscarriage, but perhaps failed to be present with her at the time of her loss and grief.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to make up for my failure, when she shared with me the task before her.  The very first mission of her healing journey was to make peace with the loss of her son.  It was suggested that the work would be most powerful and effective at the Winter Solstice.  It was early December and she was about to return home, but she asked me to help her with this endeavor, and booked a flight to return for couch time later that month.

My own spiritual path of the last 26 years spirals around the Celtic wheel of the year, and the significance of a ritual to greet her son on the day that the ancients celebrated the rebirth of the Sun was not lost on me.  I set forth to create for her a sacred space in which to find celebration and closure.  The following meditation was inspired by my journey to Ireland in 2008.  As I walked into the passage tomb known as Newgrange or Bru Na Boinne, it was clear to me that we were walking into the womb of Mother Earth.  It can be seen from everywhere in the Boyne Valley, and this is where the people of this region would bring the cremains of their loved ones.  There is a window box over the only doorway through which the rising sun enters only once a year… on the Winter Solstice.  It is my strong belief that they were longing for the rebirth of their beloveds, along with the rebirth of the Sun, as this is the time of year (in the northern hemisphere) we see the longest night… from which point the days begin to grow longer.  This is the journey that my friend and I shared on the longest night of 2015.

The journey into darkness has been a long and difficult spiral inward.  You have come to this place, upon a frosted, moonlit valley, to seek healing, comfort, and to lay down your burdens.  In your mind’s eye, you travel over the river… the surface alive with movement – spirals ascend as if to caress the face of the moon. 

You  journey upward, to that ancient place on the hill… the earthen mound that can be seen from anywhere in the valley… the womb of the Mother.  As you approach, following the path that leads to the curb stone that marks the entrance, an Irish Hare pops up from the landscape, and dashes off, into the night.  You arrive at the portal stone and run your fingers over the petroglyphs left upon the stone more than 5,000 years ago… clearly symbols of the river that brings bounty to this valley, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Now, you step forward and walk into the doorway, surrounded, as you move forward, by megalithic stones that form a passage, protective walls, and ceiling.  It is dark here, and you step with intention, guided by the feel of the protective granite, but it is safe, and you can breathe with ease, knowing that you are safe in the belly of the Mother.  As the wall begins to curve, you know that you have reached the center… slightly up hill from the ground from which you entered.  Here, you take a seat… and wait.

On the longest night, you find peace in the darkness.  You have come here to reconnect with the one you thought lost, the one who tried his best to come to fruition as the child of your womb…  the son of your heart.  It is here, in this ancient, sacred place… that you are finally able to give him a name.  Here, before you, a shadowy image begins to emerge and take shape in the darkness.  Outside, the very edge of the top of the sun is kissing the horizon, and a tiny ray of light has begun to journey toward you, across the cool stone floor.  The pale light allows you to see that there is a large stone basin in the center of the chamber, and the small being that is emerging from the darkness is a young boy… who bears a striking resemblance to someone familiar.  As the light continues to gather in the chamber, you are able to see more clearly now, and the boy before you holds out his hands, reaching for you, and as you lean in… you feel the small, dry, warm palms upon each side of your face.  As you look deeply into those eyes…  YOUR eyes, gazing lovingly back at you…  you are finally able to have that conversation that your soul has longed to share.  Greet him by name…  and take the time you need to speak with one another.  Say the words that float from your heart to wrap him in mother’s love… and wait to hear his reply.  There is no need to rush, in this sacred place…  you are both, for this moment…  timeless.

When words have been shared, tears have been shed, and laughter has tickled the tips of your toes…  you look again, into those familiar, beautiful eyes that reflect all that is perfect in this world… the one who has never let you down…  recognizing YOURSELF as great warrior of your own story, you are able to release the feeling of loss and sorrow, feeling in your heart, that it has been replaced by gratitude and joy.

By now, the bottom of the sun has gently caressed the horizon, and its beams of pure, radiant, healing light are streaming through the window above the doorway to the passage… and the altar stone, upon which your sacred child is seated, is enveloped with a golden light.  As you gaze upon his beloved being, you gasp to realize that HE has become the light.  Every cell of his body has begun to shimmer, like sparkling gold.  He reaches for you again, and you take him into your arms for a final embrace.  When you both have shared the comfort of touch, and are ready to say… farewell, for now…  you loosen your grip, and his shimmering being pours through your body with a warming, glow of golden light.  He has been released from this world, and his radiance leads you gently out of the ancient mound, and back into the full, warm light of the sun.  It is a new day, and you feel refreshed and light.  You are ready to emerge from the passage… and for the new opportunities that you shall bring to birth in the days and months ahead. 

We are the earth. We are the womb.   Come rising sun.  Lead us from the tomb.  

Beautiful being… welcome to the light! 

Through these words, and upon this journey within, my friend found the closure she sought.  She made peace with her sorrow and regret, and found a way to have a relationship with a soul that she cannot see, but that surrounds her and moves her, despite the limitations of an earthly body.

If you are aching for the loss of a loved one, whether or not you knew her or him in a form made manifest, know that my soul-sister and I are holding you close.  We invite you to take this journey into yourself, and there, we hope you may find comfort and deep peace.  Love and brightest blessings shine brightly upon your sacred journey.

solsticesunrise

Witness to Healing

It was exactly six years and two months ago that one of my soulmates entered my life.  You may know that a soulmate is anyone in your life who speaks to your soul and helps you to grow… they are not always a romantic partner, but sometimes, if you are really lucky, they may become a life partner… one soul you would choose to have at your side through all of the ups and downs, highs and lows of this great journey we call life.

She was kind of a mess at that time, but you wouldn’t know it to see her… as she was a master of disguise, much like many survivors of childhood abuse.  Whether it was my empathic gift or our souls’ recognition of one another, she had the great courage to remove her mask whenever we were alone.  The very first time she came to my home, we sat together on the couch and she looked at me with fear in her eyes, because she could not believe that she was confessing to me all of her deepest, darkest secrets of her childhood horrors.  She said that it had taken her eight years of weekly therapy, to get past the crushing silence and tears of her shame to speak of these things to a professional… and there it was, spilling forth from her being like a flood gate had opened.  It was a great honor to me that she trusted me with her truth, especially since she didn’t actually know me, at that point in time.  Here’s one thing I know for sure, if you have the courage to go deep with someone, to share your truth, be authentic, and vulnerable… you will have no choice but to become bonded.  Know that I am not betraying her trust by writing of my courageous, warrior soulmate here, because she has given me permission to share.

Here’s the really amazing, wonderful, miraculous thing about my joyful sharing of this piece of our shared history… my beloved friend and soulmate, who once would go fetal at the mere thought of her abuser, or who would lose her shit over a tragic anniversary, or who might punish herself with self harm of any sort, because she was drowning in the tidal wave of shame, fear, and self-loathing… is now completely healed.  It wasn’t a spontaneous lightning bolt of healing, it was several years of dedicated hard work on her own behalf.  She saw a therapist at least twice a month, and every week, if she needed it.  She took her medication religiously, and never stopped her practice of self-care with her daily vitamin regimen.  She sought and engaged a therapist who practices EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), which is pure magick that reprograms the way the brain deals with trauma and PTSD.  She is Christian, and so she engaged with groups at church that were focused on healing and coping.  And most of the time that she was really struggling… she would reach out to me, and we would talk through it.  When I asked her to see a psychiatrist to help with her chemistry, she made a promise and followed through.  It wasn’t easy for her to do all of these things.  Even making a phone call, or answering the phone was a hardship, at times… but she always found the strength and courage to accept that lifeline.

One of those days that she reached to me for assistance was when her group therapist assigned each survivor of childhood atrocities to write a letter of loving support to herself.  Though I have no doubt she could have done that for someone else, at that time, she simply could not find the words for herself.  So, she engaged her friend with a gift for words.  This is the letter that I wrote for her.  She told me that she shared it with her group, and that another member of the group asked if I would write one for her… and so she took my letter and adjusted the greeting.  It went like this:

Dear [Friend]~

Have I told you lately how very proud I am of you?  You are a warrior woman, goddess incarnate.  The word victim has no place in your personal vocabulary, for you are a survivor.  Heartbreaking atrocities occur every day, but it is not every soul who chooses to stand up and fight for her freedom from internal conflict and for wholeness.  YOU are that woman. 

At times, as you face these nightmares from the past – with your inner child, you may feel alone and helpless.  The truth is… you are never alone, for we are all one.  When you are in the midst of darkness, I shall be your torchbearer… shining a light on your truth, that you are whole, worthy, valued, loved, adored, and perfect – exactly as you are, until your own light is able to shine more brightly to illuminate your path of enlightenment.

I, too, have been through the darkness, in my own small way.  As you know, I dwelled in self-loathing for over 25 years.  Until, one day I decided that I deserved to be treated with loving kindness and respect, by myself as well as by others.  It takes constant vigilance to choose the right words for one’s healthy self-talk, instead of the negative, nasty words we learned from others.  It is absolutely worth the energy, time, and commitment to ourselves.  We deserve what we accept… and we teach others how we deserve to be treated by our own actions…  by what we tolerate.  Never, ever tolerate abuse, disrespect or a lack of kindness… especially from yourself.  Ask yourself, when you are speaking to your own reflection – would I ever say “this” to someone I love?  If the answer is NO, then you MUST replace that thought or statement with something loving and kind.  This is what I learned, and how I continue my own practice of self-respect and loving kindness.

With this important work you are doing, with such commitment and dedication, you are moving beyond being a survivor… you are becoming a THRIVER!  Darling, precious, sacred friend…  I can see your light and I look forward to seeing it shine more brightly.  Go on – remarkable woman of strength and healing…  SHINE ON!

Here’s my challenge for you…  I dare you to make yourself feel as loved by you, as I do.  I know that you have it in you, because you make me feel valued, appreciated, loved and adored.  And the truth is… you deserve your own love and compassion more than anyone in the universe.

Love, blessings, and awe… 

If this letter resonates with you, I hope you will fill in your name where [Friend] is written.  The one for whom this letter was originally penned no longer needs it, though I know she holds it among her healing treasures.  One day last winter, she received news footage of her childhood home, and the room that was hers… a virtual hall of terrors for one beautiful little girl, had burst into flames.  She sent me the footage, and told me what I was seeing.  My reply:  “Oh, wow!  Do you know what this means?”  Her reply:  “Yup!”  This image, the symbol of her childhood trauma engulfed in flames, was her sign from God (the Universe) that her healing was done.  That wounded past was being cleansed and purified… like when the forest floor is set alight to clear away old debris, and allow the pine cones to break open and spread their seed of new beginnings.  Today, she no longer struggles with depression, and as of this morning, she is off of medication, after months of weening with her doctor’s and therapist’s guidance and support.  She is my great symbol of hope.  In her new beginning, she has become MY torchbearer.  She has informed me that if I never give up on myself, and if I am willing to remain committed and focused on attaining my goals, someday… I might just become a writer.  😉

Fireplace 11-20-2013

Sunday Service or Faery Fantasy?

Have you ever had an experience, that when over, you look back and wonder if it really happened?  My memory is rather selective.  I call it Swiss Cheese Memory, because it seems I may remember pieces of a story, while other bits fall through the holes.  But there is this one magickal day, though buried beneath twenty years of mundane history, which offers me remarkable clarity when plucked out to be shared.  I keep this memory planted in a tiny pocket behind my heart, and am always grateful to be able to return to that very moment… as if to prove time travel a reality.

In college, I took four semesters of American Sign Language.  That’s not to say that I ever had the confidence to do anything with it, but I can still spell out the alphabet and offer you my gratitude, my love, and inform you that I have to pee without speaking a word.  My classmates were far more confident than I, not limited by a false belief of not being good enough, my old wound – now healed.  So, when a total emersion opportunity in St. Augustine arose, I joined them for the weekend trip, but did not attend the course.  As they headed back to the college for the deaf on Sunday for their final class, I got in my car and drove along the waterfront to find a parking spot.  My thought was that I would find a tree beneath which I would read a book before meeting up with the ladies for lunch.  On this particular day, the sun was shining, the breeze was beautiful, and there was not a single place to park.  So, I kept driving.  Soon I found that I was no longer in familiar territory.  I ended up in an old neighborhood, and thought I should probably turn around and go back the way I came, so not to be lost (in an era before GPS and cell phones).  When I pulled over to get my bearings, I found myself in front of quite a sight.  I pulled out my journal to write about what I saw, scribbling imagined emotions to go with the vision before me.  Surrounded by a chain link fence, was a small cinderblock structure that was covered in small white crosses, some atop blue hearts.  There was no roof, floor, windows or doors on this house, and with all of the crosses, I imagined a whole family having died there (morbid, I know), as it resembled many roadside memorials I’ve seen.  When I looked up from my writing, I noticed a car to my left was inching slowly past, with two women eyeing me with suspicion.  As they parked in front of me, and got out of the car, I rolled down my window and they approached, each dressed to the nines, pillbox hats, and all.  I told them that I was intrigued by this house and had to stop, and asked them if this was a place of pain for them.  One woman replied:  “Oh, no honey.  This is our church!”

The next thing I knew, I had been invited to worship with two elderly black women somewhere off the beaten path of historic downtown St. Augustine.  Of course I accepted their offer, and I helped them carry items from the car into the curious structure that was sacred to them.  Together, we transported a canvas bag with a few hymnals, a battery powered keyboard, and a Christian bible.  As we passed through the gate to enter the property, one of my hostesses placed a halfway deflated balloon at the gate, and turned a sign around to show anyone arriving late that church was now “In Service”.  We entered the ‘sanctuary’ through the unhindered doorway that faced the road, stepping onto beautiful green grass.  There were randomly placed cinderblocks and a few planks of wood that leaned against the wall.  By their guidance, I helped rearrange these items to become a pew and a keyboard stand.  Next, I was guided through a side-doorway, and found that there was a small wooden closet with a lock, from which was pulled a small wooden lectern.  It looked more like a plant shelf that had been painted blue with a white wooden cross added as a symbol of its importance… to cradle the holy book for reading.  There was a porcelain heart-shaped box that sat on the shelf, behind the cross.  With this final placement, in the front of the room, facing the single pew, and to the left of the ‘choir’ section, we were ready to begin the service.

One woman took her place at the keyboard, and the other behind the lectern.  I took my place with hymnal in hand, respectfully, upon the pew of block and wood.  The service proceeded in the usual fashion… a bit of music, followed by words of scripture.  At each phase of the service, I was informed of their traditions.  “This is where we do the meet and greet.”  And the three of us stood, and I introduced myself to Vondelin and Petronella, two sisters, both in their seventies.  They called each other Von and Pet, for short.  Their mother had taught at the local school for the deaf, and it was a fire in the nearby historic district that sent embers aloft to burn down their family church.  We returned to our assigned places to continue the service.  I was invited to read something from the ‘Good Book’, and not having a Christian background, I asked Von to select a piece for me.  As she took my previous place on the pew, I looked out over my congregation, and delighted in the sight.  When I finished my reading and returned to my seat, Pet asked if there was a song I’d like to sing.  I told her that I was not familiar with this hymnal, and the only song I could think of that might be appropriate was one performed in the church scene from the movie, Corrina, Corrina with Whoopie Goldberg.  And so, the three of us moved to the music of the keyboard and we let our little lights shine!  Next, it was time to do the offering.  Von pulled the heart-shaped box from the lectern shelf and informed me of this part of the service.  When I told her that I had left my purse in the car and offered to run out, she handed me two dimes, and said:  “No, no, honey… too much money just invites thieves.”  And so I placed the two dimes she gave me into the box, and Petronella did the same, then Vondelin returned the box to the safe place beneath the bible.  Again, we all returned to our designated roles, and I listened to the completion of our service.  As I sat there, in this simple structure with my feet in the grass, looking up at blue sky and lush green treetops, and then looked back at these two, lovely, authentic, open-hearted women… my heart experienced such bliss.  When the service ended, I helped them return the space to the state it was in upon arrival.  We locked the lectern and porcelain box in the closet outside the side door, and removed the planks of wood from the cinderblocks and leaned them against the wall.  I helped them carry the keyboard and hymnals out to their car, and thanked them for sharing their Sunday Service with me.

As they drove away, I sat in my car, as I had done just an hour before… looking over at this curious structure, and wondering to myself…  Did that really happen?  I eventually drove away to find my friends, whose voices had been liberated over lunch before our drive back to Orlando.

At work on Monday, still affected by the wonder of it all, I shared my experience with co-workers.  One who often prayed for me and my Unitarian-pagan soul, said:  “See!  I knew you would find your way to the one true path.”  And I looked at her and said:  “Oh, no!  Don’t you see?  As much as I was in their church… they were in mine!  With words of worship and song, we had our feet upon the earth, and the sun upon our skin, the breeze danced through the trees to caress our faces, and we were all one.”

When I later shared this magickal tale with my Tribe, we all wondered if I had slipped into some kind of faery realm.  But it was all confirmed when, several months later, my friends went to St. Augustine to celebrate their wedding anniversary, and they followed my vague instructions to finding my magickal church.  Not only was the structure still there, but it had new windows in the front.  They attended the service with my not so faery friends, and learned that they had been raising money to refurbish the church, and were doing so, literally one window at a time.  That made me a little sad… that they were working to remove nature from their sanctuary.  Several years passed before I made my way back north to St. Augustine.  When I made that drive around the waterfront and into the old neighborhood, I did not find the church.  I don’t know if it was torn down or rebuilt to be unrecognizable to me… or if it finally passed through the veil into the faery realm, after all.  I do know that I will forever be grateful, for my curiosity to stop, and for the kindness of two sisters to invite me in.

I hope that if you ever find yourself at the doorway of a magickal threshold, that you will accept the invitation… and enter.

naturecross

Embracing Your Inner God/dess

Several years ago, while working in a large corporate office, one of my co-workers invited several executive assistants to a dinner with a theme.  It was called ‘Girlfriends Night’, and we were each to bring a wrapped gift for a type of white elephant gift exchange.  In other words, the gift would not be given to someone specific, but would be selected, randomly, by someone at the gathering.

I decided that I would not bring something that I thought someone else would love, but more importantly, to share something that I loved.  The goal was to share a part of myself with the recipient… and I guess, it may have been about being seen and heard.  After all, how often do we get to be our authentic selves in corporate America?  When I read the letter that I had placed with the gift, it occurred to me that I was practicing vulnerability long before Brene Brown became a household name.  Here’s what I wrote:

 Dear Girlfriend:

Symbolism plays a major role in my life.  I find strength and wisdom in the ‘signs’ I interpret as the divine affecting my life.  Artemis, a Greek Goddess, the archer, carries significant symbolism in her archetype.  As a hunter, she actively seeks her desires, with her Bow, she stands firmly planted / grounded on the earth and with clarity of vision takes aim, with strength of will she pulls back her bow, and with faith in attainment she then sends her silver arrows flying swiftly toward her goals. 

I wish for you to see your true path clearly illuminated.  That you have a vision for what brings you bliss.  That all of your arrows fly swiftly toward your goals.

This gift I have selected with purpose.  I have spent many years of my life feeling inadequate.  After years of self-loathing, I finally had my awakening just about two years ago.  Now I realize that like all women, I too am a sensual being.  This music touches my soul, and connects my being with that misplaced sensuality.  I invite you to dim the lights, light some candles, and bathe or dance or receive/give a massage to this music.  Let it remind you that everyday, you are a woman of great beauty, desire, grace, wisdom, healing, and sensuality.  You are a goddess.  I kneel before you in reverence.

Brightest Blessings…

So, now… I address this message to you, dear friends – female and male – regardless of spiritual path… may you recognize the divine that resides within you, and allow it to glow so brightly that it illuminates the path that surrounds you.  May you find clarity in this present moment, and allow your inner voice to lead you to the important work of cultivating joy and happiness in your life.  May all of your hopes and dreams be made manifest with grace and ease, and may all be well with your soul.  You are stunningly beautiful to behold, exactly as you are… and I kneel before you in reverence and gratitude for sharing this sacred moment with me.

vasofferings

And so it begins…

Writing into the light…

Over the years, friends have suggested that I write a book. I could not deny a gift for writing, and at times, for providing words that heal at the precise moment that a loved one was seeking a symbol of hope. However, much of my life was burdened by self-loathing and self-doubt, and I found it impossible to imagine such a path opening before me. And yet, it seems that the Universe was unwilling to abandon me, the way that I had abandoned myself. Thank you, dear Universe, for your continual nudge in the direction of the manifestation of my soul’s true purpose, delivering me from darkness and into the light – again and again.

The thing about writing a book, in the current era, is that a writer apparently must provide her own following for a publisher to find interest. While I do have an extremely supportive community connected through social media, my world has previously been rather limited. So, here I am, dear world, offering my light to each of you, with a dream of expansion beyond the crumbling boundaries of my former false belief. I would be so thrilled to have your company on this next phase of my journey. Will you take my hand and join me for a peaceful stroll of reflection and illumination?

We are never alone, for we are all one. So grateful for your presence on this path.

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