Friday, July 10, 2015

Transmogrified

A peculiar child I was
Somehow always pressing my nose against
Acceptance staining the glass
Where love sat on the other side
Feasting with the few
The light in there was always
Warm I could tell by what it wasn't
Out where I was in between
Pushed down small in a space
Meant for what could not be
Put in a recognizable form

Light skin
                    Good hair
                         Cute
     Sweet
                                        Nice

When you're a child
Your body is this yet unknown
And perfect holy place
Where you live and remember
Why you came here

My body was a temple
Razed and burnt to the ground
Until the ash sifted into the earth
With the brown spotted apples
Under that twisted old tree
My friends the ants bore my remains
Into their home under roots
Of the Lilies of the Valley
In the side yard
Faeries that lived
In there sang
Over the dust
Of my bones

Dark seeds dug
Into the fallow land
Of my desecrated ark of skin
Burrowed into the cobwebs
The darkest of the starless black
Where no man dared to tread
Where even I was terrified to tread
Because fire and lightning and rivers of blood
Danced to the music of bones in teeth
Filed down to deadly fangs

Still Life always finds a way
Like Lupine or Scorpion Weed
Sometimes we can prosper
In a desert subsisting on
Mere drips of rain
We grow around the poisoned heart
Surrounding and protecting it
From sight and sound
Because that poisoned center
Is as much us
As the sweet shell of wanting
Of skin hungry, of please like me
Of what can I be for you
Of how may I die to myself
So that you may feast on the
warm side of the glass

Of late my dreams are
Filled with Warrior Women
Rising up in Stygian vapor
Slicing out the tongues of
The revelers who smack their
Lips over the corpse on the golden platter
Covered in dead fruits and ant hills
Oya presides over the slaughter
Her lariat of lightning and wind sings
Kali, brilliant obsidian beyond
The darkest truest universe
Holds up the corpse by its hair
And I see what I see for the first time
And all of the other times
This carcass, this atonement, this oblation
Is my shame, my acquiescence
My complicity in the revelers' need for this meal

La Loba growls in my ear
And I break that fucking glass
Strip the flesh from the revelers ignoring their
Crocodile tears and cries for mercy
There is no Jesus here
To turn my cheek

Don't you know I am the daughter of Kings and Queens
I am the daughter of Earth and Wind and Sky and Water
I am the daughter of the Thunder Beings
I am the daughter of Destruction transmogrified
Into the whole of who I am
And I pick my teeth with the bones of your
Desire for my demise

I am Queen of Light
I am sweetness, succor,
Love and compassion in action
I am Tara, White Buffalo Calf Woman,
I am Brigid, I am Osun

I am Queen of Dark
I am what goes bump in the night
I am the monster under the bed
I am La Loba,
Kali, Baba Yaga,
I am Morrigan I am Iyansa

I am dragon and phoenix
Diamonds deep in the bottoms of my feet
I am the stuff of stars

Your indoctrination is useless
Against me I will not be defined
I am no longer responsible for your fear.

Once I was a temple
Now I am vast forest
Green with growth and sweet
With the scent of time
In me lives yawning dark and limitless light
I am all that I am and still I am coming.

La Loba

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, 
then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 
― Audre Lorde






Been reading Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Here's a core of truth from her words: in order to be whole and in touch with all we are as women, we must embrace the Dark within us, be able to look with fully opened eyes at what we find in our Dark and stand unflinching. In this culture we get the Dark pushed, hounded, whitewashed, and yes, beaten out us until we're little more than a husk of a soul. I have been the Many-Breasted Mother, the Caregiver, The Healer, The Grandmother Soul, The Sacred Whore. The Warrior Goddess, Daughter of Oya and Kali, La Loba, Baba Yaga have been in my Dark, pushed down crammed into the cobwebs of my soul. Lately, they've been showing themselves in dreams and in the smoldering anger that curls around my insides "for no reason at all."

Of course there is a reason. I need them now. I need the ugly hags of my dark places, the ones I keep hidden because people will think I am not "nice." They won't like me and I want people to like me. In this stage of my life I have come to know that my strength is not only in bearing and enduring, but it is also in the transformation of my undesirable self. People always tell me how sweet natured, how kind, how calming and loving I am. This is because I only show them this place in me. They do not see the murderous or vile because I do not let them. Best that I don't in their raw form, but hiding those places from myself does not serve me. So yes, Oya's bullwhip of Lightning and Wind has been in my dreams and bone music plays over the carnage and destruction. Monsters run amok and there are rivers of blood. In a very Jungian way, this part of me is calling to be embraced, transformed and incorporated into the all of who I am.

I see the transformation and newly blossoming Dark Reina in my response to sidelong looks and gossip from neighbors about my schizophrenic daughter being a "dirty"prostitute. My response is to refuse to feel less because the gossipers wish to smack their lips over the corpse of my shame. I refuse to be ashamed because they need that meal. Instead I snatch the bones of their ugly words and pick my teeth with them, unapologetic for my daughter's behavior, not because I approve of how she behaves, but because I am not responsible for what she does now at 35 years of age. I am transformed as I form the words to my neighbor on the corner who allowed my daughter to "camp out" in the alley behind her house because she "felt sorry for her". When she disappeared for a couple of days and left her stuff, the woman came to me to complain. Light Reina was right behind my lips ready with apologies and whatcanIdotohelp, but Dark Reina spoke: "You are going to have to figure this out on your own. My daughter is mentally ill and I am not responsible her behavior. I have no answers for you and no, I will not come collect her things."

Dark Reina is the culmination of all the most extreme feelings I have ever had in my life as a result of every wound I have been dealt. I have buried them in the dark because frankly they are apocalyptic. Think I'm exaggerating? Think of the dark seeds planted when a child is molested or beaten. Think of the ink sludge that coats the psyche of a woman who was raped. Think of the demonic pitch of internalizing the message of you are not enough, you do not belong, you cannot do or be. It takes extreme amounts of energy and focus to keep that level of rage and murder covered and quiet. The fear that these things would swallow me whole and make me into the monster I thought I was consumed me.

It's been many years of soul work with teachers and guides that  have allowed  me to not be swallowed whole. Even longer it has taken to come to terms with the truth: the monster is me as much as the sweet, the good, the loving me.The fact that my dreams are full of La Loba--the Wolf Woman, Dark Goddess, the one who gathers bones and sings them into Life, is a sign that I have come to the place of looking at my own Darkness full in its face without turning away. Little by little I am renewing, re-imagining the tenebrous  lusus naturae of my spirit into a power that makes me more of who I am.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

30 Days of Ritual ~ Assessing

My 30 days ended on June 15th. It has taken me time to look at the result, to feel all of what has been in that 30 day period. The daily prayers, incense and tiny periods of meditation have done much healing within me and caused me to look deeply within myself. How much of this my mentally ill  adult daughter has been open to, I cannot say. The month brought many changes for us both. Hers involve deeper pain, and deeper lessons, which will find their way into her life one way or another. My lessons have been in further letting go of what I cannot control and allowing what is, the Rule of Acceptance to be more present for me.

The Rule of Acceptance says that what is at any given time exists because it is meant to be so. It doesn't adhere to our opinions or desires. It is not bound by any laws except those of the Cosmos, which are beyond our ability to comprehend in our earthly form. So we simply allow what is to be, and not fight it. It is the Cherokee version of "It is what it is." We begin wherever we are and go from there--forward and with the intention to learn, to grow, and to act in right relationship with all our relations.

This is the greatest gift of this 30 day period--an underlying peace in the midst of what most would see as tragedy and a time of great sorrow and sadness. My daughter was arrested a few days ago. She threatened me and  tried to attack me during a psychotic episode. After feeling hopeful for the brief days she had been here at the house, I was crushed by the glaring evidence of her unhealed drug addiction and her worsening mental illness. Co-occurring disorders are among the most complex and devastating illnesses. Hers is a "push me pull you" of enormous challenges. The voices were torturing her, tormenting her and she is continuing to self medicate with meth, marijuana, and alcohol in an effort to get some control. Because I would not give her money, or make calls to government agencies to tell them to stop torturing her, she snapped. It broke my heart anew. I felt I had failed yet again to save her.

Still, I continued my ritual and the tearing of my heart, while still present, did begin to move again from the center of my consciousness. I began to see that what I had been praying for did take place, just not in the way I envisioned. I wanted her to be be safe, to not be hungry, to get help. I do not get to choose how all of this happens, and I do not get to choose whether she is open to what is there for her. What I prayed for was for help and it arrived imperfect and messy. So now she is in jail. Does a mentally ill person belong in jail? No. We have a culture that refuses to care for the most vulnerable among us and values a twisted hyper-individualism above a beloved community caring for one another. So we put mentally ill, addicted, and soul sick people in jail. In jail there is yet more imperfection, but there is the opportunity, shoddy as it is, for her to receive the care and help she needs. It may happen. It may not. Much of the outcome, all of it truly, lies with my daughter. My prayers now are that she remain as safe as possible and that our ancestors surround her with their wisdom and love.

I have come to place of reckoning during this period. I have always been someone who cares for everyone, leaving the leftovers for myself. I've learned that it is a dead end where everyone loses. This is a soul lesson that I learn again and again because it has presented to me in so many different versions. I am a late bloomer and a slow learner and I accept that this piece of soul work keeps coming up repeatedly because I am a hard head and this is spiritual business that I really need to internalize in a profound life changing way. Without love and care for my own self there can be none of any worth for anyone else.

This 30 days has been a time of purification, a time of going down into the dark places, the places I never want to look. Yet, unless I can stand the darkness within me, I will never be strong enough for the work given to me.

Perhaps every lesson we learn in these bodies is about love. And you cannot draw water from an empty well. With no love for myself, there is none to give away and that is what we are here to do I believe--to give love. In the end everything we do, each choice we make is a choice to love, to act out of love, to give out of love first for ourselves because it is in loving ourselves that we can finally come to see the Grace and Divinity in Creation and all Her beings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Control


Sorrow run the white water
Graze sharp rocks
Course a great unknown
Watch from the shore
Flailing hands sink and surface
A heart is all that I hold
Watch it rise on the white foam
Water diamonds shimmer as it beats
Desperation and grief
Float and toss toward
What is wanted
Toward what is
Beyond reach of control


Sunday, May 31, 2015

30 Days of Ritual ~ Day 15

My daily ritual of prayer for my mentally ill daughter has continued to metamorphose and grow. As the days continue, change continues to manifest:

She showed up one Saturday morning in the alleyway behind our home, setting up "camp" with two shopping carts full of her bags, a tarp, and an umbrella. The woman next door who is selling the house paid us a visit to complain, asking us if we knew the "person" in the alleyway and telling us that the "person's presence" was making it difficult for her to sell her house. Creator saw fit that I was not present when she came to my door, my rafeegh answered her rude knocking.

After discussing our options, we allowed her to move her things into the garage and to make a temporary place to sleep with her agreement that she would go to the local shelter where she would be safe and have access to services that would help her to find a permanent place to live. She had been bouncing around, walking all day and night, being rousted by police wherever she stopped. Her illness has made it impossible for her to go to most of the local shelters and the only one  left is, thankfully the best one for her situation as a Transgendered woman. She resisted at first, but after a couple of days. she let go of her fixation when I promised her that we would continue to help her with doctors appointments and such and that we would help her find a good and permanent place to live on her own.

Physically, she is has wounds all over her legs and feet, some look infected. We're taking her to the doctor tomorrow. This is huge considering she told us a month ago that we should stay away from her and not be involved in her life.

I continue to pray each day. I've added a white seven-day candle and Psalm 15, a Hoo Doo prayer spell from long ago. I reached out to my women's group, asking for them to hold sacred space for my daughter in any way that was holy to them. Several have and I attribute her appearing in the alleyway to the boost in sacred energy from women united in purpose and direction.

I don't know where this is all going. I do not know how it will all end. I only know now. For now she is safe, fed, and watched over. I am profoundly grateful, profoundly blessed.

Ashé, Ashé, Ashé-o!



Thursday, May 21, 2015

30 Days of Ritual ~ Day 5

This morning is the sixth day since I began a small ritual of prayer, offering incense, and healing breaths. At this point, I feel a daily post is redundant as the changes that occur within me don't always happen immediately. I very often need time to allow what is happening within me to come to the surface. I think perhaps a weekly post or even by weekly would serve this time better for me.

These past two days, I have noticed that the candle flame on my altar has been leaping upward, glowing bright red and orange as I went through the healing breaths. This is new, and I'm not going to speculate on its meaning. Still, it is a noticeable change.

The energy in my home is calm, the sound of the water in the fountain keeps the quiet cadence. Today the sun is in and out of the clouds and I want to go into the garden. Last night I indulged in eating far more than I needed. Sleep was restless as a result and today I am not as well in my body as yesterday. A lesson learned.

This act of prayer and offering is causing me to pay more attention to the consequences of my choices. It is bringing me away from autopilot and into a state of awareness I have not been able to experience in some time. It is also teaching me to be more forgiving of myself, less harsh. I'm not sure why this is. I just know that it is.

Songs from Earth

Water sings its own song for its own purpose
The soil it blesses takes up the chorus
Seeds down deep wake to ancient music
The kernel of life within their center
Shivers in anticipation of Sun
Barely a whisper within me
A longing to remember
All that I knew as deeply
As my place among the stars

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

30 Days of Ritual ~ Day 4

I overslept this morning and I'm refusing the strong urge to engage in negative self talk for not rising before dawn to pray and offer the sandalwood. It is more important that I found my way to the altar, eyes full of sleep, achy and tired. My heart is sincere even if I am not as prompt as I could have been.

This morning I added five minutes of healing breath using one of the Medical Meditation exercises from Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa and Cameron Stauth's book. Right now I cannot sit in easy pose so I sat on my low stool in front of my altar practicing the Complete Breath, then breathing slowly through first my left nostril, then my right. In the opposite hand I held the mudra of thumb to fore finger. While breathing this way, my mind became more quiet.

Before beginning this ritual a few days ago, I was so tortured by worry, fear, and dreams of loss. I had been waking several times a night with an unshakable vision of my daughter being beaten or worse at the hands of predatory people.

I don't remember waking last night. In fact, I slept through most of the night. My dreams are not filled with fear, though I haven't focused attention to remembering them as yet. Right now in this moment I am breathing fully and I am looking beyond my fears. Ashe, Iya, Ashe.