I will occasionally offer something from a guest writer, and am pleased to share the incredible power of this first one.
In this time of the Rising Feminine, more and more women are telling their stories, stories that need to be told. Telling them breaks the painful silence; calls would-be perpetrators to think twice; and opens the opportunity for greater healing.
I have learned to do a wonderful kind of trauma release work, and know the power of it to help do just what Tanah did – leave it behind and move forward in beauty. No longer should our lives and happiness be ruined by the negative actions of an abuser, at any level. Healing is available.
Tell your stories – they need to be heard. Then you can tell the new and deeper story – of your own healing into the light and joy which can be found in the darkness.
In light and beauty, Brooke
I have done a U turn at the Pearly Gates several times in my life. Have I lived so that I can share these stories? Perhaps I am the one I came to inspire. Nevertheless, I have begun to write them down, and have a sense they are meant to be shared. This story stands out the most.
The place, Alaska, a place I still hold as one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I was very young and was on a college break adventure. One night I accepted a ride home with a co-worker I barely knew. He did not take me home, rather to remote forested area. It was winter, very cold and the area was covered with snow and bright moonlight.
There in his car I was beaten and assaulted. Through the haze of events there was a moment when time stood still. Through the window I saw a branch, covered in icy crystals. They were a bright dance of light twinkling in the moonlight. It looked alive and so incredibly beautiful. It felt like mine, for me. I fell into the abyss of such splendor. I felt no fear, only peace. I was immersed in light…I was going there. This beauty could not be taken from me. I knew he could not let me live to tell the tale…but he did.
He dumped me, broken, bruised and disoriented. I did tell the story. There was a trial. It was headline news. There were threats. I had round the clock State Trooper bodyguards. He was a member of the mighty Teamsters Union. My case would be a landmark. There had never been a rape conviction before. My case was solid, and they told me I could not lose. He was found innocent of all charges.
All these years later what do I remember most? The branch.
Years of healing followed, searching for wisdom and the ‘why’. I was not alone that night. The ‘branch’ moment carried me through more dark times in my life. In retrospect, there was always a branch. I am still here. I still drink deeply from beauty and kindness. They feed my soul, my body responds, my life reflects them. I slowly let the story go, my need to understand it. I realized it is in the past and can no longer hurt me. I refocused my attention on not just surviving, but thriving. I was created in love, beauty and kindness. It cannot be taken from me. By whatever name, I realized the branch is who I am.
I have not forgotten the trauma of what happened, it has forgotten me.
My love and blessings to all of you, all of your stories. You are my family. I pray you health and joy.
Tanah traveled the world, eventually returning to her roots – founding a wilderness school, retreat and Buffalo Preserve, based on honor and respect for all life.
Women’s Spirituality emerged in the 1970’s and 80’s as a major component of the “second wave” of the women’s liberation movement. On this site you will meet some of the Foremothers of that emergence, many of whom are actively continuing and evolving their work today. They are scholars, artists, activists, authors, teachers, performers and ritualists.
Many people today do not know of these pioneering women and their ongoing living wisdom. And that is why this Foremothers of Women’s Spirituality Online Resource was created.
The Resource aims to bridge that gap, the gap of knowing our history so that we can weave the generations together, restore, and inspire the ongoing resurgence of women’s collective spiritual wisdom and power.
I’m honored to be a part of it!
Many Blessings as you learn and are inspired. Brooke
Special Thanks to Charlene Spretnak, Charlotte Cressey and Wolfgang Nebmaier. And to Miriam Robbins Dexter and Vicki Noble for their anthologyForemothers of the Women’s Spirituality Movement: Elders and Visionaries, which inspired this Online Resource. And to the many women who gave of their time and wisdom to make this Resource possible.
The Women’s Spirituality Online Resource Center (womens-spirituality.org) is a project of the Shakti Moon Foundation (Shakti-Moon.com) a federally recognized 501(c)3 Not-for-profit Organization. Your tax deductible support for the effort to create and maintain the project and the website is greatly appreciated.
Website design by Wolfgang Nebmaier
My birthday time is coming – late April, snow on the high peaks, blossoms bursting forth in the valleys, blackbirds singing in the reeds as they pair and repair their nests. Radiance, aliveness, burgeoning irrepressible….
In my childhood on the ranch, baby calves came forth and their mothers licked them into wakefulness, yet their big, soft brown eyes grew weary in the sun of feeding time and they slept on the hay. I would slip up behind them and gently rest myself on them until they stopped their startled struggle, felt my warmth and sweetness, and then we both slept there together among the blossoms in the nurturing light of spring.
In the sky on the April morning of my own emergence into the light of day, the constellation Taurus the Bull lined up with the sun and also with the horizon – giving me double the energy of Taurus (sun and rising). I ran wild and free in that mostly unsettled part of the reservation, following animals trails into the high mountains on the back of my pony. In times of challenge in my young life, my mother would say to me “Stop fighting your head,” when I would bloody myself on whatever tried to confine me, as did the huge, thick muscle-necked bulls when we ran them into confining chutes on rare occasions. I eventually learned to stay calm and breathe my way un-bloodied through the small spaces, yet I was never tamed.
This day I have visited the high mountain Andalusian town of Ronda, and the oldest bull fighting ring in Spain – blessedly quiet on this sunny afternoon. All around me are images of wild bulls, brought into the confines of the ring to fight and lose their lives. On the town walkways, famous matadors’ names are enshrined, and their colorful and extravagant moves flash at me off post cards and posters. But mostly, i can feel the bulls, already harmed – frightened and wild-eyed in a full and shouting ring of those who will cheer and watch them die.
I have recently felt myself in such a place, with my heart pierced in the end and the townspeople applauding; and I am with the bull in the glory and sadism of his final challenge. The crowd is there – looking, judging, yelling, frenzied by the thought of blood. The dark, magnificent bull awes them; his wildness frightens them. They hurl their cowardly shouts from behind high walls, clustered together with others of their kind, yet wishing they had the courage of the last one who steps forth into the ring – the only one brave enough to act out the people’s bloody will. Toreadors – horsemen with their long weapons – dare to be in the ring, near the danger, yet above it.
Yes, then the matador – the one who has courage enough to step into the ring and dance with the wild one – comes forward. He reminds me of the man who recently stepped into my personal ring with its power and challenge. Although his elderly walk was stiff and seemed clumsy, when he danced he was young and agile and joyful like a matador in his shining moment. He dared to join the thrill and intensity of the dance with me, and was buoyed up by the love and power of it until he could hold me no more. It was time to finish it, and to my utter astonishment, instead of setting me cleanly free, he unsheathed the long blade which plunges through the back.
Toro, the bull, comes out of it’s dark and tortured enclosure into the blinding light and is surrounded – by the small ones above who judge and jeer, and by the horsemen who start the slaughter with spearlike weapons. Only the brilliantly-clothed matador is smaller than the wild one who fights for life. In the glaring sun, a bull fighter swirls his enticing cape; the bull charges, and comes out with a barbed banderilla stuck in his back. Again and again, the toreador’s dancing skill allows him to strike, and soon the bull’s back is festooned with those small picks that looked like feathers flying and bouncing as he runs, unable to escape, blood trickling down from his back above his heart.
All of it – the fear, the rage, the shouting, the horsemen, the bleeding, the unrelenting barrage of insult – begin to wear him down. He does not know he is to be killed; he is only fighting to be free. His wild heart beats fiercely until the end, when the matador drives a sword down through his great heart. He falls, to the cheering roar of the small people in the stands. The wild one has once again been vanquished; their hero has come out unscathed! The people of city and town can go back to their lives, feeling safe again from the terror of what seemed an intense and powerful darkness.
And yet some place in their heart mourns the loss, for deep within them lives the song of wildness that comes from Great Earth Mother. It calls to them of pure streams and clear air and sloe-eyed baby calves born of huge bulls, and of meadowlarks and blackbirds singing in the valleys under high, white peaks.
Magnificent wildness cannot be tamed or conquered by smallness. In the heart of life, the bull lives and is free again. What is destroyed is destroyed within the hearts of of the mob who fear and judge and jeer. The ‘triumphant’ crowd which hangs together feeling satisfied and proud, are diminished and yet cannot perceive what it is that eats away at them during the sameness of their days, huddled together in agreement and colluding in justification behind walls of numbness and judgement.
GLORY TO ALIVENESS and FREEDOM!
The bull’s magnificent life awakens again on this spring day in Andalusia, beating in the heart of a newborn calf just being licked by his mother in the sun of a new and radiant morning. Wildness lives on among the blossoms…..
PS: I came upon a site which tells the whole story of the bull’s torment, should you care for the nitty gritty…
Art by Rogue Guiry Simpson