Empowerment, Healing

Healing the Father Wound: My Journey from Rage to Reconciliation

I remember the seething, white-hot rage I felt inside. I wanted to burn shit down or blow it up and leave a trail of ashes behind me. I had finally connected the dots between a father who was emotionally absent and impossible to please and the men I had attracted into my life. Guess what? They were emotionally absent and impossible to please, too.  

When you don’t receive that unconditional love and support from the man who is supposed to teach you how men should treat you, then you’re likely to make poor choices in the relationship department. You keep trying to be good enough. You twist and mold yourself into whatever shape you think he desires. You make too many compromises about where and how you’ll live. You sell yourself out. You get swept away. You bury your dreams. You dismiss your gut feelings. You keep hoping that the next one will really see you, appreciate you, and actually be there for you in body and soul.  

So you try—again—to love someone else, to be open, to get past the scars on your heart. You light up inside when he approves of you and die a little when he doesn’t, because the wound is still there. You’re still hoping to earn his love. You have expectations he can’t possibly fulfill. It’s not even his job to fulfill them, but you don’t know that yet. Every relationship you have with a man is just another opportunity to heal the bleeding, gaping Father Wound, but the problem is that you’re not going to the source. 

Then you get fed up after all the painful goodbyes and starting over for the umpteenth time with your life in cardboard boxes. You want things to change. A light comes on. You start doing the work on yourself, because why not? Nothing else has helped, has it?   

You see the pattern you’ve been repeating. It feels like wading through miles of swamp water and muck. You grieve. You rage some more. You feel disgusted. You kick yourself for not waking up sooner, for not knowing what you think you should have known. Then you kick yourself for kicking yourself. You sit in circles, alone and with others. You tell your story. You listen to their stories. You feel heard and witnessed as you are, raw and unvarnished. You shed holy tears. You forgive. You breathe. You do this work for months or years, however long it takes.         

Gradually, with wobbly legs and new skin, you begin to give yourself the love you never received. It is strange, at first, to walk in worthiness, to know your own power, to have clear boundaries, to not seek validation. Then self-worth becomes your default setting, and those around you either adjust or fall away. You know your triggers quite well; they are old friends by now. You catch yourself long before you are at risk of falling into the same old tar pit. 

Sometimes, your healing ripples outward through your words, your prayers, your offerings.     

I have watched my father go through his own metamorphosis, prompted mostly by terminal illness and the realization of his own mortality. We’ve had many conversations that usually start out with how the weather has been, who is ill, and who died recently. There have been times, though, when we transcended the whole father-daughter relationship to simply be with each other as two souls trying to figure out life. 

I once told him that I never learned how to do marriage very well.   

He paused for a minute and said, “I never did either, honey.” 

Then we laughed! It was one of the most real moments we’ve ever had, both acknowledging that we’ve fucked up and even finding humor in our mutual fucked-up-ness. 

I understand now that I had to go through this whole cycle of healing the Father Wound, because you can’t teach something that you haven’t lived. I didn’t ask for the wound, but the responsibility to heal it was, and always will be, mine. Much of what informs and enlivens my coaching practice is my own journey toward wholeness. It took years for my rage to become compassion, years before I would see my father as the catalyst who set me on my spiritual path, and years before I could have a 360 degree view of it all and feel gratitude.  

Healing the Father Wound changed how I viewed all men, and maybe that has been the greatest gift in this journey. When I stopped categorizing them as either oppressors or saviors, I began to see into their individual and collective pain. It was just as valid and deep as my own, and that awareness cracked me open. It still does, every single time that a man drops his armor and bares his soul to me. 

My dad has an incredibly sensitive heart—he just had it beaten out of him by a tyrannical, abusive father and an indifferent mother. In another life, he might have been a poet and a dreamer like his only daughter turned out to be. I carry what he wasn’t allowed to carry because of a patriarchal culture that equates sensitivity with weakness. I carry it like a medicine staff, because it is one.  

May we rise above the outdated paradigms. May we heal our parental wounds, for ourselves and the generations to come. May we strive to understand each other, and in that understanding, may we find peace.    

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.    

Goddess, Healing, Rituals, Witchcraft

When a Witch Doesn’t Feel Like Witching

 

I spent most of 2015 grieving the loss of my mother. The following year was consumed with celebrity deaths, the election, and a general feeling of malaise and anxiety over what lay ahead, both politically and personally. It was supposed to be a year of recovery for me, a year to get my groove back…except it wasn’t coming back so easily. It was sort of inching back like a snail on a Hosta leaf.

Enter 2017. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion at first, and then it sprinted forward in May. Suddenly, my husband has a fantastic new job, and we’re hopping one state over to Alabama. As I’m writing this piece, the movers are filling cardboard boxes with all our worldly goods. I am parked on the patio, preferring the company of my dog, the songbirds, and the rhythmic sounds of Layne Redmond’s Hymns from the Hive.

Instead of focusing on the move, I’m thinking about my spiritual practice and how it has fallen into what can only be described as a slump. I am a witch who has not felt like witching. Other than my daily Tarot draw, I don’t do much. I’ve allowed Sabbats to go by with a yawn. I’ve acknowledged the moon through astrology reports more than I’ve gone outside to soak up her soft, comforting rays. Candles remain unlit and stored away. Crystals stay in a lovely wooden box that a dear friend gave to me years ago for my birthday—it even has an image of the wolf goddess Lupa on the top. There are reminders like that everywhere, symbols of the Divine Mother’s love and strength, but I walk by them as though they are shrouded in mist.

 Rather than chastising myself, I’m looking deeply into why I haven’t felt inspired. Why do any of us turn away from our rituals when life gets nasty and we actually need them the most?

Weeks pass. The move is complete. Now I sit here on a rainy morning in a new room with a new desk in a new town, still looking, still questioning. Honestly, I have felt somewhat annoyed with one aspect of Goddess spirituality, particularly the intense focus on self-improvement that continues to mushroom. If I could roll my eyes any harder, they would slide right down my back.

For all the attempts to build women up and make us feel that yes, we are goddesses incarnate dammit, there’s also an assumption that we’re quite flawed and in need of fixing…and there’s plenty of money to be made from women who desperately want to be fixed. All of that makes my hackles go up. I’m baring my teeth, and this is my low growl that says, “Back the fuck off. I’m not buying, because the Goddess is not for sale…and by the way, I’m not broken.”

The problem with having your spiritual nose planted so deeply in your own ass is that you’re constantly in a state of “healing.” I’ve been there, and it’s exhausting. You bounce from one program or one ideology to another. You think that you’ll get out there and make a difference as soon as you finish cleaning up the shit from your childhood and your bad relationships and your grief and all the rest of the baggage you’ve been hauling around for eons. Here’s a hard truth: that day won’t ever come. You’ll never feel so perfectly “healed” that fairy dust exudes from your pores and rainbows shoot from your nipples straight to the heavens. Don’t use that as an excuse to avoid making your own unique contribution to the betterment of humanity. Have you looked around? No one is levitating off the floor, are they? You’re as good as anyone else. We can’t afford to be so inwardly focused that we don’t see what is needed in our own communities and the world at large.

Here’s a little story about that from my own dusty archives. I once practiced with a circle of women that really got into prosperity magic, which could be defined as rituals designed to bring about financial gain. Granted, this was about the time The Secret came out, so a lot of people were convinced that they could have wealth beyond their wildest dreams if they could just think positively, create vision boards, write themselves fake checks for a million bucks, and repeat a shit-ton of affirmations in the mirror every morning. I give that book about as much credence as the cow patties in the pasture down the road. Actually, the cow patties are useful as manure and do serve a purpose, which is more than I can say about The Secret.

Anyway, one member of the women’s circle finally began to question why we weren’t doing rituals that focused on world peace, healing the environment, equal rights for the oppressed, and so forth. After all, this is what the earlier Dianic covens did, and their political activism made an impact. She was beginning to see that prosperity for one is good, but prosperity for all is better. We were raising energy strictly for our own purposes, when we could have made it broader and more meaningful. Not surprisingly, things began to shift in a more positive direction for me when this group dissolved, and I went my own way.

I may be tired after all that has transpired the past couple of years, but I’m not defeated. I’m looking at everything with a very skeptical eye, and I believe this is healthy. I need to question my role, my path, and my focus. So forgive me if I don’t become positively rhapsodic about writing up a wish list for the full moon or a banishing list for the dark moon. Forgive me if my cauldron stays empty right now. If and when my witchy practice returns, it will have to encompass a lot more than personal transformation. It will have to reach wider, dig deeper, and feel truer.

Blessed Be

Copyright © 2017 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.

Empowerment, Healing

The Receipts We Carry

 

Cleaning out my purse is a weekly ritual for me, because I can’t stand digging through unnecessary items to reach the one thing I need (usually, it’s my car keys). Receipts tend to accumulate more than anything else. I buy something and shove the receipt down in my purse, as I’m grabbing the handles of my reusable tote and zooming out the door to the next task on my list. I forget about the receipt, unless I happen to need it for a return. It just stays there as a reminder of what I purchased, until I do my weekly purse purging.

When this subject came up in a Facebook group, I shared my routine and wished out loud that getting rid of emotional receipts could be so easy. Suddenly, those annoying slips of paper took on a much deeper meaning.

Let’s unpack this idea a little more.

When we buy something, we’re exchanging our time and energy. We convert work into currency, and then we use it to pay for things. We also have “emotional currency” that we exchange all the time, although we’re not always conscious of these transactions. Sometimes they are subtle, and sometimes we are keenly aware of what we’re giving and receiving from others. Either way, we pick up “energetic receipts” that remind us of what a choice or an experience has cost us…until we’re ready to let them go.

It is astonishing how heavy a purse can get when left unattended. It becomes a black hole that keeps taking on junk until it throws off your gait, ruins your posture, and causes your back and shoulders to ache. Curious things, these purses we carry and all that we store inside them. They are much like our wombs that also house more than we realize, literally and emotionally.

After learning the art and practice of womb centering from Diva Carla of Orgasmic Alchemy, I began to understand that the womb has a natural capacity to take things on. Its ultimate goal is transmutation—changing something from one form or state of being into another—but that process gets very muddy if we’re not properly trained. And how many of us are? How many are even speaking about the womb in this context? Few indeed. So things get stuck. We have energetic receipts hanging around there in the dark recesses of our womb space until we make a conscious effort to deal with them. If we don’t, then the weight of it all will be felt as depression, anxiety, PMS, shame, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, fibroids, heavy periods, and the list goes on and on.

I’ll share one of my energetic receipts, because I know this is an abstract sort of thing that needs a concrete example. I also like to practice what I preach, and I’m okay with being a little more vulnerable these days. So here goes.

I stayed in the same job many years longer than I should have, mostly out of fear. It’s like I couldn’t see beyond the walls of my cubicle, even though there must have been at least a hundred other jobs I could have done and a hundred other places I could have lived at that time. I was divorced with no children. The only person keeping me there was myself, and still I had this tunnel vision when it came to my livelihood.

People asked me why I didn’t just write a book at night in my spare time. Sure. Right. After 5 p.m., I had exactly enough energy to make a meal, do the dishes, and catch up on some laundry before falling asleep and doing it all again the next day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. There was no room for creativity in such a caged existence. Still, I told myself that this was survival, independence, and how the “real world” operates. I believed that being creative also meant starving and struggling, and that seemed even worse than the cubicle farm. I also believed that one office was the same as any other. So I paid my energetic currency to the devil I knew. I racked up a long receipt for 12 soul-crushing years, and the itemized list included:

  • eating antidepressants like candy for a year after my first divorce, because there was no time and space to grieve
  • meaningless sexual encounters that became an outlet for the creativity I could not express in any other way
  • entering a second marriage for all the wrong reasons, and divorcing three years later
  • having two master’s degrees and still earning less than $50K annually
  • feeling disgusted with myself for not using my education and abilities in a more meaningful way
  • trying to function inside of a broken organization, and feeling powerless to change it
  • feeling like a victim of workplace gossip, jealousy, and the good ol’ boy system
  • believing it was impossible to have a career and a family at the same time after seeing how working mothers were treated

That was the price of my decision to stay there for a paycheck, even though it was clearly very painful to do so. I was not keeping a conscious running tally of what the job was costing me (that came later), but the soul (and the womb) registers everything. The receipt was always printing in the background.

Truth be told, I am still working through issues related to money and sexuality, because they are both tied to the second chakra. It’s just that now I refuse to suffer in silence. I refuse to bury “the things we don’t talk about” under layers of shame and oppression.

The past year has been illuminating…and overwhelmingly dark at the same time. As this Mercury retrograde cycle continues, I will be looking at more energetic receipts that need to be emptied from the purse of my womb and soul. If you are doing the same, then know that I see you, sisters, and you are magnificent.

Blessed Be

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved.

 

Goddess, Healing

Service and the Art of Self-Care

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“Pure Love of the Divine” by Shiloh Sophia McCloud @ Fine Art America

She goes by several names…Mary, Miryam, Magdala, Magdalena. I won’t speculate on her origins or elaborate on the Gnostic teachings that describe her as Sophia, the original female principle, the Goddess. Many have already devoted books to the exploration of her mysteries, but I will leave all of that for the scholars to pick apart and debate. What I know of the Magdalene comes from simply asking, listening, and receiving. This is what she would like women to know about balancing service with the art of self-care. These are her words:

Welcome, my sisters, to the path of the Sacred Heart. You have climbed the steep, rocky hill like so many others before you to reach the entrance to the sacred cave. This is not the sparse chamber filled with hard, lonely benches and a shrine to the woman they believed me to be. No, this is a warm, inviting place where only a mystic and a priestess of women’s mysteries would dwell.

Now that you are here, step inside and see. I shall unveil it for you. The light of many beeswax candles illuminates the way, and soft rugs woven from the finest wool lead into the inner chamber. The calming aromas of myrrh and frankincense cleanse the layers of your aura. Here you may rest upon pillows that hug every curve of your sumptuous body. Here you may take respite from life’s burdens that press so heavily upon your aching shoulders. Here I shall wash your tired feet in a basin of purest rosewater and anoint them with precious oils. You are safe, weary traveler, and you are loved more than you could possibly know.

I can see that you have taken on the pain of others because of the immense love you have for them, but that is not the role of a healer. A priestess holds space for those who seek her help, and by doing so, she enables them to see the truth of their own existence. All healing begins with a desire to change, and then the source of the problem reveals itself, sometimes all at once, sometimes in layers that peel away like an onion. You must allow this process of shedding and releasing. It is what some describe as a crisis, but it is more like a flower responding to the light. It is the petals opening up at last, spreading out, and revealing the fragrance of the soul. You may water the flower and create a healthy environment, but the opening, the blooming, will happen in its own time and space.

Take care, also, my sisters, that you do not neglect your own body, mind, and spirit in the service of others. Your body allows you to do your work in the world. Treat it with kindness and respect. Bow to your body the way you would bow before entering a holy temple, for it lives inside the soul. Keep your mind free of distractions, and do not allow negative thought forms to become etched upon the tablet of your heart. Be mindful of all that you see, all that you read, all that you hear, all that you take into yourself. Consider whether these things are helpful or harmful to your inner being. Nourish your spirit with uplifting images, words, and sounds.

Allow stillness into your life like the waters of a deep pond, and feel your own intuition ripple lightly across those waters. Speak, move, and act from that source which can never be depleted and to which you are always so deeply connected. Always remember your Divine Feminine essence, even in those moments when you feel that nothing about you is lovable. All about you and within you is lovable. Without roots reaching into the darkness of the soil for nourishment, there would be no flowering branches spreading into the light. You are both the root and the branch, and one is no more sacred than the other. Both must work together in harmony for the existence of the whole. One is seen; the other is unseen. Self-care is the unseen work, and yet it is the foundation for all other works.

Remember this, my sisters, and treat yourselves with gentleness while you are engaged in the greatest of all tasks: the birthing of a new age, a new consciousness.

Peace & Blessings

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Goddess, Healing

Hazardous Material

 

I wrote this poem after contemplating how often women deny or suppress their own power because of shame or social conditioning. I believe many, including myself, have felt that we lost our sensual selves along the way somewhere. The truth is that we can’t ever lose something so dear, but we can (and do) find ways to hide it away or make it more “presentable” for the patriarchy. This is an invitation to be defiant, be disturbing, be whatever they fear most, be the sorceress, be the witch they tried to burn, be the temptress, be the lover, and most of all, be unapologetically you.  

At any moment, you can call it back—
all that power you have bottled up,
labeled Hazardous Material,
and placed on the highest shelf.

At any moment, you can reach up,
wrap your fingers around that amber vial,
twist off the corroded cap, and then…

what shall you unleash upon the world?

the fluidity of your stride,
the sway of your hips,
the grace of your hands,
the bounce of your breasts,
the might of your thighs,
the light in your womb,
the alchemy in your eyes,
the goddess in your smile

You own all of that until the day you die.

No one can take anything
from she who is one-in-herself.

You can remember what you are, woman,
before they said you were unsafe for consumption,
and you believed them.

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Empowerment, Goddess, Healing, Poetry

The Art of Receptivity

 

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“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Oh, you learned that verse too well, my sister.

That’s what they expect, after all.

Be a nurturer, a supporter, a giver.

It’s your holy calling. It’s what women do.

Give until your creative well is empty,
until your back is broken,
until you are crawling on your hands and knees,
eating dust from a trail
that someone blazed before you.

Go ahead.

Lick some more of that dust, dearest one,
until it chokes the music and the poetry right out of you.

No one taught you how to receive, of course.

Why would they?

You are so tame now,
so much easier to control
when you’re half-starved
and bleeding from wounds
that never heal.

Receiving…yes…that dirty little word,
that unblessed state of being,
on the opposite shore from giving
where they don’t want you to be.

Get in the boat,
take the oars,
go anyway.

It is lush and wanton there,
where the Wild Woman lives in the trees,
feasting on mangoes
with sweet succulence dribbling down her chin.

It is velvety and halcyonic there,
where the Wild Woman lies naked in the sand,
as the foamy waves kiss her feet
and the stars become jewels in her crown.

How do you receive?

Through eyes that see the resplendent beauty of the world
or through filters that render it all in sepia and gray?
Through a mouth that tastes the pungency of life
or one that craves insipidness?
Through a heart that beats with joy
or one that hardly beats at all?
Through a stomach that fuels your sacred calling
or one that rejects vitality?
Through a yoni that glistens as a gateway to the cosmos
or one that has fallen asleep?

Listen, my sister, and I shall write you a new verse.

It is blessed to give, and it is blessed to receive.

It is time you learned how.

Copyright © 2016 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Goddess, Healing, Poetry

A Poem for the Priestess in Service

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I’ve spent the past several weeks thinking about all the women in my circle who are in the midst of deep healing work, women who are called to be the priestesses of a new age. This poem is for you, all of you, who are feeling this energy right now and answering that call to service. Every step you take on the path to integration and wholeness is a step forward for humanity. Don’t give up. Much love and support to you all, as we move closer to the illumination of Solstice. Blessed Be

Now You Know

No one told you of Her sacredness,
of Her exquisite beauty,
of the primordial power She embodies,
did they?

So much strength
couched within layers of softness—
and yet, that wild, feral, earthiness
was never celebrated,
never honored by anyone—
not by mothers or fathers,
not by lovers or friends,
not by tribe or nation.

How could you have known?
How could you have recognized
the Goddess
in something so reviled,
so mocked,
so abused,
so denigrated?

How could you have felt Her stirring
within the wells and caverns of your soul?

How could you have heard
those subtle whispers,
urging you to WAKE UP,
to know yourself,
to claim that most holy birthright
as Her priestess?

Listen now, Wild Woman,
daughter of the crescent moon,
dancer among the radiant stars,
because the world needs you.

Yes, you.

It needs your light and your wisdom,
your healing hands and your open heart.
It needs your truth and your mercy,
your dignity and your grace.

Heal those torn, bleeding places inside of you;
then help your sisters do the same.
Let the tiniest spark within you
become a blazing torch
that lights the way for peace.

You can do this.
You were born to do this.

And now you know.

Copyright © 2015 Jennifer R. Miller. All rights reserved. 

Goddess, Healing

Wisdom of the Womb: A Healing Journey

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The womb first awakens as we bring her the gifts of Presence, devotion, deep respect, appreciation, and the feeling qualities of love and adoration…The womb will then begin to speak of her needs and desires. Only the purified heart will hear, only the courageous will respond. –Padma Aon Prakasha, “The Power of Shakti: 18 Pathways to Ignite the Energy of the Divine Woman”

Much of Goddess spirituality focuses on the inherent power of the womb, the center of a woman’s creativity, her chalice, her Holy Grail, her sacred blood, her life force. When women seek to know the Goddess, they begin to reclaim this power for themselves—and it always shakes their foundations, no matter how solid and carefully constructed. Old modes of thinking, being, and doing simply will not work anymore. Relationships break apart or become refined into something truer and deeper. Careers take a different and often very unexpected direction. Sometimes, even the physical body will react with illness to protest the changes occurring internally and externally. It is all just a process of realigning with something far more ancient and mysterious than any religious text or philosophy could ever describe—the creative force behind the tiniest microbe on our planet to the furthest reaches of space. The womb is a gateway to higher consciousness for both women and men if we choose to honor it in this way. Sadly, most of us don’t here in the West, because we haven’t been taught to do so.

Having been raised in a very patriarchal religious system, I never thought of my womb as anything very remarkable or even very sacred when I was a younger woman. I was mostly concerned with preventing a new life from gestating inside of it, because nothing was going to screw up my plans to finish graduate school and do something with my life. I would not make the same “mistakes” as all the other women in my family. I would not be chained to anyone or anything that could get in my way, least of all a needy, wailing infant with a loaded diaper. I seemed to have no maternal instincts whatsoever. I never held babies or made a fuss over them. They were cute…from a distance. I never even played with dolls other than Barbie (and yes, I know all about her unrealistic 18” waist). I understood animals very well and related to them easily, but tiny, wrinkled humans? Not so much.

The house with the white picket fence and the 2.5 kids looked like the gray walls of a prison to me. I didn’t judge other women for wanting to be mothers, but I felt continually judged by them for my choice to remain childless, as though my fertility were being wasted somehow. In my view, I was being quite noble for sparing a child from a life of misery with a mother who had way too many childhood issues of her own. I never felt that I was financially stable enough, either, so I was also preventing that potential child from experiencing the poverty I had known growing up. Why couldn’t anyone else see that? Why weren’t they handing out medals to women like me?

So, my womb felt much more like an enemy than a friend for most of my adult life. I saw it as this wild, unpredictable thing that had to be managed, controlled, and subdued somehow. It annoyed me. I was quite envious of the sexual freedom men seemed to enjoy with such ease. I resented the birth control pills I swallowed dutifully, despite the nausea and depression they caused, and then later, the IUD that made me anemic every month from heavy bleeding. My womb was costing me a lot, and I didn’t like it one bit.

Somewhere around age 30, it even grew a polyp that had to be removed through dilation and curettage. Having the entire contents of my womb scraped out was a horrid, bloody, painful experience, and I was quite furious about the whole thing. I didn’t have time to be dealing with this unruly part of my anatomy that seemed hell bent on hurting me.

Even so, I still loved the idea of honoring my womb. I had read plenty of texts on the Goddess movement, Wicca, and pretty much anything having to do with female empowerment by this point. I understood it all in theory. I even experienced what many of those authors wrote about when I gathered in circles with other women. The Goddess in her many phases was something I could relate to emotionally and intuitively, especially her carefree Maiden aspect. But on a deeper level, I knew I was still missing something. I still felt completely disconnected from this pear-shaped organ in my pelvis; yet, it seemed so very central to female selfhood and to the older, shamanistic practices to which I was drawn. I knew I wasn’t going to get a hall pass on this. I would have to deal with it one way or another, but I wasn’t sure how.

The irony is that I didn’t feel any creative blocks at all as an artist. My second chakra seemed to be humming right along, as I churned out poetry, wrote songs, blogged, got published a few times, and worked magic with yarn and crochet hooks. Anyone who knows me well enough would easily describe me as “artsy” or maybe just a bit left of center. I felt like I lived through my ability to write and create, but I was plagued with pelvic pain at the same time. None of it made sense to me. Right after my 40th birthday, I finally surrendered to whatever my body was trying to tell me.

First, I had my IUD yanked out (and I do mean yanked—the removal of the wretched thing was just as bad as the insertion). Then, I started paying attention to my cycle…really trying to understand it for once…charting it every month, getting in sync with the moon, and noticing the alternating fluctuations of activity and introspection that occurred in conjunction with the ovulatory and luteal phases. I thought this would fix things—and it did result in much easier cycles—but my lesson wasn’t over yet.

Years of stress and pain had resulted in a hypertonic pelvic floor, which could only be treated with months of physical therapy, rest, and conscious relaxation of those muscles. After enduring medical tests that revealed nothing, and listening to doctors say that sometimes there is no identifiable cause for pelvic pain, I am inclined to believe that the real source goes even deeper than muscle tissue.

What I now understand about the womb is that it has a tremendous capacity to store love, hope, and renewal…and an equal capacity to store self-loathing, despair, and desolation if it is ignored, denied, and untended. It has its own intelligence and its own emotional center. It remembers everything and everyone who has “entered your inner kingdom without love” as Wayne Dyer would say.

A passage from “Circle of Stones” by Judith Duerk reminded me that answers do not always glide down from above like a feather. Sometimes they wait until you are ready to dive down into very murky waters to find them:

To discover who she is, a woman must trust the places of darkness where she can meet her own deepest nature and give it voice…weaving the threads of her life into a fabric to be named and given…sharing it with the women around her as she comes to a true and certain sense of herself.

I plunged headlong into the velvety blackness, because there was no other place to go.

I began engaging in conversations with my womb while in deep trance, and I was often shocked, saddened, and sometimes in awe of what she had to say. Much of it was like watching a slide show of suppressed memories that came back in full Technicolor detail. One journal entry in particular captures some of her dialogue with me:

You went from one unsatisfying relationship to another…You gave your power away, over and over again, but you kept your heart out of the equation. You kept that precious part of you locked away, and yet you exposed me to these assaults, as if I never mattered at all…

My eyes became tidal pools of tears…for the girl I had been, for the young woman who had cast her pearls before swine, for the scars I still carried. I felt like my entire body would become saltwater and that I could just merge with the sea, becoming nothing and everything all at once…drifting somewhere far beyond the ninth wave.

My beloved became my fortress, holding space for me while I healed physically and emotionally. This is what a consciously awake man does for a woman he loves. He shelters her until the wounds heal, however long it takes. Such men are rare, and should you find one, I humbly suggest that you love him fiercely, with your whole heart, and with every fiber of your being—and he will return it back to you immeasurably.

The final phase of my healing culminated with the Rite of the Womb, the 13th Rite of the Munay-Ki. It is a sacred lineage passed from woman to woman, a reminder of the truth that has been there within the core of our being all along: The womb is not a place to store fear and pain. The womb is to create and give birth to life.

 And so it is. And so creation and birth and life take many forms, and all are so very sacred, so vital, so transcendent.

The many sisterhoods forming now in the blossoming of this new consciousness have the power to reawaken this birthright. I see them all around me, bright souls radiating their light and love to a weary world. As we heal each other, we heal our relationships, our broken but beating hearts, and our resplendent Gaia, first Mother of us all.

Blessed Be

Resources:

In addition to a wonderful pelvic floor therapist, the following books were also helpful in my healing process:

  • “Ending Female Pain: The Ultimate Self-Help Guide for Women Suffering from Chronic Pelvic and Sexual Pain” 2nd Edition by Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS
  • “The Path of Energy: Awaken Your Personal Power and Expand Your Consciousness” by Dr. Synthia Andrews, ND
  • “The Women’s Book of Healing” by Diane Stein
Empowerment, Healing

Four Letter Word Starting with “S”

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When four psychologists studied the phenomenon known as “slut shaming”—defaming a woman for the presumed frequency of her sexual activity—they learned the extent to which women shame each other, often for reasons that actually have little to do with promiscuity.

The quote above was excerpted from a longer article published in Psychology Today that snagged my attention.  I wanted to ignore it and just let the whole thing pass by without comment, but I’m being prompted (read: cattle-prodded) to meet it head-on.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “slut” has been around since the 15th century, although the spelling has changed a bit.  It was slutte in Middle English.  Even so, the definition has remained the same:  a slovenly woman; a promiscuous woman, especially a prostitute; a saucy girl.

Hmmm.  Really?  If saucy = slut, then I am all that, baby, and then some.  I hope you are, too!

So, both men and women have been tossing this damning little word around for over 600 years, all because of prudishness and some very warped views about sexuality that grew like weeds right along with the church’s dogma.  Whew.  Could we just stop giving that word so much power, please?  We have reduced it down to four letters.  I think it’s time to wipe it out entirely.

While slut shaming is nothing new, the article does at least shed some light on why women go there in the first place.  It appears to be more of a class divider, and that only serves to keep women locked in the same downward spiral of catty competitiveness that prevents us from being stronger together.

Listen, my dear sisters.  Whatever you do with your body is your business.  Whatever I do with mine is my business.  Our foremothers fought very hard to give us more sexual freedom than they ever enjoyed, so why destroy that by shaming each other?

We are all just spiritual beings in human form, learning our lessons and doing the best we can on this earthly plane of existence.  How about we make it a little easier on ourselves?

Let us erase “slut” from our vocabulary.  Let us all stop passing judgement upon each other long enough to realize that we are all goddesses.  We are all free to express our wild, juicy selves in whatever way that brings us joy.  We are stronger than the labels history has passed down to us if we choose to be.  Real power and real social status is achieved by women who inspire others and lift them up, not by scared little girls who climb to the top of a ladder by pushing everyone else off.

Blessed Be