The past couple days have brought about some (more) changes. No, it doesn’t ever stop – life is certainly far from boring for me right now! As I think I’ve discussed previously, I was raised a conservative Christian. When I finally got the guts to start exploring Paganism and Witchcraft, I had to undergo massive de-programming and get rid of all the misconceptions, lies, and untruths that I had been taught and ingrained to believe. It was an extensive process of which the bulk took about a year to walk through, as I had never encountered a need to de-program before.
After an eye-opening discussion with dearest Tehlanna/Jade, I realized that the changes I’m facing and had labeled as ‘difficulties’ are just another period of de-programming that I’m encountering. It seems like such a simple observation when I type it out that way, so obvious. And yet it has taken a great deal of work to get here. And I most definitely could not have gotten here without some very amazing people in my life, these incredible teachers – Jade, signmom, and Draven. It is amazing how my perspective has shifted since approaching this part of the transformation I am undergoing as a time of de-programming. I think back to my previous experience and recall what it was like, recall intentionally wrapping myself around certain concepts and scrutinizing them, feeling them, probing them, tasting them, smelling them, and eventually discerning Truth from untruth. When I think of the idea that the ideas I am confronting now are deeply rooted in fear and are not an automatic, given Truth, I find myself relieved. Oh, thank Goddess, I say to my Self, I’ve just got a bunch of crap floating around up there that needs to be cleaned up and/or tossed out.
Another major difference I am feeling is a lack of resistance in this process. I feel calmer and much more comfortable flowing with this transformation. I think this is a direct consequence of the aforementioned epiphany. If what I am facing is not Truth, then why would I want to cling to it? Further, I am understanding the lack of need to cling to anything, which goes with the whole flowing thing. Since the Mama made it clear that She wasn’t going to let me do that this time (like She did during my first de-programming), I have stopped fighting to hold on to something. Till now, I found myself clinging to good days and feeling like a little kid in that I’d stomp my feet, whine and cry that all my days should be good days, damnit! And I have railed against the hard ones, sulking and sullen both, and wailing because I wasn’t getting my way.
So many changes crammed into such a small amount of time, so much growth. I don’t say that to sound conceited or arrogant or like I’m anywhere near done. Truly, I don’t think our growing ever stops (or at least I don’t think it should), but I have worked hard to get where I am right now. Over the past few days, the Mama has made it clear that I need to look at how far I’ve come and give myself a pat on the back for all my hard work. When I first heard this from Her, I breathed a sigh of relief – whoo! A breather! And I started to think of it as a pause in my journey, a brief pit stop. But then I realized that it wasn’t – this is still forward motion. It became clear to me how looking back to where we have come from is not a stop in the journey – it is a significant part of moving forward. I choose to celebrate how far I have come to get to this point!
Some times it feels like I come to my blog searching for something. Searching for a means to express, reassurance or a kind word from one of you readers to brighten my day, something intangible that doesn’t have words to fill some need that cannot be described. And I come here today in search of something as well.
I’m reminded of that U2 song “Some days are better than others.” Of all the U2 songs I’ve listened to, this one is certainly not a favorite, but the theme and title seems beyond apropos for this time in my life. There are days, and I feel as though recently I’ve been encountering more of them, where I feel as though I am “making progress”, where I feel as though I am expanding my Self enough to be able to begin thinking about what it would be like to embrace this unknown future I am facing. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, something happens or I just wake up and feel shitty. And everything seems shadowy and I can’t find light anywhere and it’s cold and my hope, like the flame of a candle near a partially open window, starts to flicker.
And that started again last night. It snuck up on me and caught me unaware by means of a medicine card reading (I recognize perhaps it shouldn’t have since I was asking what was going on, but it did nonetheless due to how different it felt from previous readings). As I sat there reading the description of the cards in my book in utter confusion, I felt as though all of the sentiments I had expressed to the Mama several weeks ago (when it seemed as though She was saying I needed to grow beyond them), She was now pushing back in front of my face and affirming. And I felt alone. And it felt as though the map I had been holding to help me to get where the Mama told me She wanted me to go suddenly changed and was written in a new language with new symbols, and I can’t understand what any of it means.
That is what makes this time exhausting. As soon as I feel as though I’ve found my footing – unsure and shaky though it may be – something happens and the floor moves or walls spring up where there were none, and I have stumbled and fallen yet again. And I am yet again totally disoriented in a maze that shifts and moves on me. Even the end of the maze moves locations and though I feel as though I had come within short sight of it once, I blinked and suddenly, it was in the exact opposite end of the maze from where I was standing. And it feels as though I will never find my way out.
I have been struggling the past several days. The Mama has been kickin’ my ass on just about every front that there is. And it’s exhausting. And I’m reminded of that Mother Teresa quote about knowing God would never give her more than she could handle but wishing he didn’t trust her so much. But it’s not easy to keep that in mind when I feel beyond overwhelmed, scared, and like I cannot breathe because of the hard-ness of what I am walking through. I am eternally grateful that my Beloved is here, walking through this with me no matter what it looks like, no matter how hard it gets. But I wanted to share a conversation I had with the Mama yesterday.
I had gone up to see Her thinking I’d ask about one thing, and She of course directed the conversation back a few steps to discuss some more basic important matters. She then proceeded to call me on my shit. I have been wanting to grow – NOW – and fast and a lot but with entirely the wrong intention. I have wanted to grow so I would be “better” than who and what I am right now. So She pointed out a two year old and a four year old. Can they do the same things? No. Right. The four year old can think more complexly, has greater vocabulary, and can generally do more than the two year old. Does that make the four year old better than the two year old? Of course not. Why? Because the two year old isn’t supposed to be able to do those things yet – developmentally, those aren’t appropriate for the two year old. Exactly. (I love it when the Mama explains stuff in this kind of way to me.)
So now, She said, let’s talk about soul development. Ohhh…I think I know where you’re going with this. There are lots of people walking around who are at certain points in their soul development that are different than other people. Some people are developmentally older and therefore can do more than others who are younger. That doesn’t make them better and it doesn’t make the younger people worse. No, Mama, you’re right. And just like the two year old who runs around all crazy-like, is constantly asking questions, exercising their use of the word ‘no’, and being generally annoying at times, do you think the two year old is “bad” because she does this? No – that’s what she’s supposed to do cause she’s two. Right. So just like there are lots of people who are developmentally younger running around and maybe being annoying, it isn’t fair to think they’re worse because that’s what they’re doing. That’s normal for where they are developmentally.
Now, let’s talk about you, She continued. You want to grow NOW and A LOT but you want to because you think that would make you better than who and what you are right now. But, as we’ve already discussed, that’s not true. No, Mama. You don’t become someone else – someone better – when you grow. You become MORE of your True Self. And just because that True Self looks distinctly different from who you are right now doesn’t make it better, nor does it make you right now worse. They’re just different. Yes, Mama.
And in all seriousness, I haven’t been very fair with the Mama. Yes, I want to grow Now and A Lot, but I seemed to have not taken into consideration that growing at any rate can be hard and painful, let alone growing fast and a lot. So I’ve been bitching at Her when She’s just giving me exactly what I’ve been asking for. Even if She did know I hadn’t taken the “hard” part into consideration.
So last night, I crawled up into Her lap again for a truce. And She snuggled me all up and we talked. And She reminded me of something signmom had said to me a while ago – that I had beautiful wings that I couldn’t even see yet. And She told me that She was teaching me to fly. And learning to fly isn’t easy. It usually entails a good bit of crashing as one gets accustomed to one’s wings and learns how to use them. But I saw them when I was sitting with Her. And they are incredible. And I think about all the Hawks I’ve seen the past few months and how I’ve been enthralled with watching them, seeing how they just hover and float on the wind, swooping down or across with an angling of their wings. And I dream of flying…
Yesterday started a 14 day abstinence project from all mood-altering substances (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, various other drugs, etc.) for my Addictions class. The various other drugs part doesn’t bother me a bit – haven’t touched anything in that realm for years. Even the alcohol isn’t going to be a big deal since student budgets don’t provide a lot of cushion for luxuries like that. The caffeine will be interesting. I don’t intake a lot of caffeine. I don’t drink sodas, I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, and I only have about 1-1 1/2 cups of coffee in the morning with breakfast. I drink coffee more because I like the taste. The added oomph is a bonus, sure, but not the main attraction. Food does the same thing for me. It’s the nicotine that sucks.
I had smoked on and off for several years beginning in late high school and for the first few years of college. I had been cigarette-free for over a year when it came time to study for the GREs and write grad school applications. I didn’t stay cigarette-free during that period, though, as perhaps only fellow smokers will understand, I didn’t get to the point of buying my own packs. I’d just constantly bum off my upstairs neighbor who also happened to be my GRE/Grad school cheerleader. I had been again smoke-free from June to mid-December. Then my world started doing back-flips and aerials.
Something I’ve come to realize is that of all the coping mechanisms I have at my disposal (i.e., that I use), my very last-resort-holy-fuck-what-the-hell-is-going-on-I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-what-the-hell-is-happening?! coping mechanism is smoking. When everything else is too big to swallow at once, too overwhelming, etc., that’s where I go. I thoroughly enjoy smoking. I think it’s 2 parts enjoyment, 2 parts calming, and 2 parts rebellion because when I’m faced with a situation so huge that I resort to smoking, chances are good that it’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a while to walk through, and I’m going to have to compromise to at least some degree, in some fashion, which means any little rebellion I can get at the same time makes me happy. Also, I do some of my best contemplation over cigarettes, and in these such situations when I resort to smoking, that’s usually exceptionally handy.
Aside from some cravings yesterday, I was doing rather well until I got to my 4:30pm class when a monster headache started to devour my brain. It was a nicotine headache mostly. Thankfully, I had my oomphy amethyst with me and putting it on the back of my head from where the pain was emanating was helpful. Class took forever to end.
And so now, I greet another morning. Coffee-free, cigarette-free, only slightly cranky. I suppose it’s kind of beside the point of the assignment to start counting down the days now, eh?
When signmom and I were together in December, we discussed over tarot the changes to come in our lives. I learned that this next period of time brings for me a complete transformation of my Self. When it is over my Self will be distinctly different than it is now and has been recently. And the Mama has made it clear to me that (ironically) She will not be giving me any indication of what these changes will mean, what they will look like in their entirety, and any other helpful bits of information that one would want to know when faced with such a situation. I am to walk blindly through this, trusting in Her to dance it out for me, with me, and completely embracing the medicine of Black Panther – the unknown.
This morning, as I was working with my medicine cards, I felt the need to get in touch with my recently re-drawn totems. The totem of the east which guards the path to illumination and my greatest spiritual challenges is Bat, the representative of rebirth. Seems fitting, no? In reading about Bat, one reads about shamanic death. A complete death of the former self in order to be reborn anew. I hadn’t put the two together recently, and after consulting my pendulum, it made it clear to me that this experience through which I am to walk blindly through is a shamanic death of sorts, or at least parallels it in energy (this is not to say I will be a shaman once this is over, it’s the process of the death part that I’m really referring to).
In the face of such a situation, myriad questions come to mind ranging from, “Why does this Self have to die?” to “What will my new Self look like?” (to which, I know that I am not supposed to know throughout the process which I find mildly irritating). I find my feelings vacillating from uncertainty, fear, heightened anxiety and anticipation, mild resentment (at the process, not the situation), and a sort of “Oh shit…” – the kind that I feel on a rollercoaster when the cars are climbing up the first mountain right before they plummet into who-knows-what. And it makes me want to scream at the Mama, but I know that it won’t do any good and now, more than ever, my energy is better spent elsewhere. It also feels as though in the midst of all of this, more than anything else, there is no room for fear. I think I would be okay with that if I were allowed to keep my fire in all of this, but the Mama has made it clear that in the months to come, my fire will be behind me, I will have no access to it. Fire is will, and I am left wondering how will I be able to move through this with my will, my force, not readily accessible. I am left with the remaining elements to work with, and I must find a way through this with them. I must draw on my Capricorn qualities of persistence, perceverence, and perhaps plain stubbornness as well as my intellect and what I Know, and my water, my emotionality – trusting in what I feel and what I know others involved feel to be constant no matter how much circumstances might make it seem illusory.
And it has already begun. It is hard and uncomfortable. And it will get harder. This is Kali. Long ago, I invited her to me, and this is what She does: wipes away at everything I would normally grasp at in the process of this Death of Self so that a new Me can be reborn. She illuminates what is illusion and what is Real and then promptly destroys everything that is illusion so that only the Real is left standing. She is a harsh teacher, and I am not an easy student. Quite the pair we make together. And as the illusions are getting wiped away, one thing is clear to me. One thing I know is not illusory: my love for signmom and hers for me.
Over the past month, though more precisely the past three 1/2 weeks (and when I type that out I can barely believe it because it feels like a lifetime has gone by in that short period), my world has turned upside down. And it’s not like the movement was a nice, neat (though when is upside ever really neat?) finite event (though it may have started out that way), it was and is a jumbled, spinning, bobbling, ever-shifting, ever-turning type of motion. I fell in love.
Falling in love. When I look at that phrase, it doesn’t seem quite accurate. I see no fall anywhere. It was more like being swooped up in love. It was a rather unexpected turn of events. I had been yelling at the Mama for the past several months that I wanted my Beloved, and I wanted my Beloved RIGHT NOW. And, you know, the Mama is funny. So often whenever I’ve worked with my tarot cards, medicine cards, runes, and the like, I’ll ask one question and the Mama will give me the answer to the question I should have asked instead. And when she does that, she gives me a great gift. This was much the same. I was envisioning a typical picture of finding my Beloved in the face of a man, envisioning a very typical life that would follow. But the Mama loves me so much that she took one look at what I envisioned and said, “Oh, no, baby. Your Beloved doesn’t look that plain and boring and typical. Your Beloved is more than you ever dreamed of.” And so, instead, the Mama blessed me with a goddess. A lot of you know her.
And when I look back in retrospect, I had a feeling that something was there, nestled into that deep friendship that meant the world to me. When she began speaking to me of wishing to be with a woman, signmom described the experience for which she was yearning. We talked in great detail about it together. And during one of those conversations, a little voice within me had whispered, “It’s me…” And it wasn’t that I didn’t believe Her, because it was most certainly one of those instances where I knew what I knew; rather, it was that I could not imagine that I would have that great place of honor, that privilege to be with such an amazing woman in such an incredibly intimate way. In every way.
And so it was that when we finally met in person in the middle of December that it took a day and a half before the floodgates opened wide and love came in and swooped me up into her arms. I have never experienced such an intensely deep love for another in this life time. And it is this deep love that lives within me, between us, through us, enfolding us that enables me to overcome all of the challenges that face us. Challenges of telling my conservative Christian parents, of living 9 hrs apart, of sifting through friendships and re-evaluating them, of re-working family life and figuring out how new pieces fit in, of working through the seemingly never-ending ripples that look different every day…
It is very energetically demanding work. It has put into perspective so many other things in life, and I find that things I would have considered catastrophes a month ago suddenly seem very small. Much of the time, I feel like Mama only fills my coffers of energy with just as much as I need each day, when I’m used to having a surplus from which to draw. And many changes are coming, and Mama has told me that as much as I’m going to want to DO in these changes, that I will not be able to. At first, I found this incredibly frustrating, but my Beloved helped me to see that the reason I will not have to do anything is because during the time to come, the Mama will be dancing with me, for me. And as I walk and dance this through each day, with each day looking different from the one before (some times a little, some times a great deal), it is my love for my Beloved that gives me strength. With her, I can do anything.