Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Samhain Prelude, or What Samhain can do for you, pt. I

I knew it was Samhain week. Really, I did. And I knew things were shifting. But I didn't expect to do much more than small adjustments. I mean, I know I'd been making a practice of every morning (yes, just in case I forgot to do it before I left the house, I have an Outlook reminder set) of saying a prayer - or several - akin to this beautiful one by Tosha Silver that I've tweaked a bit:

Dear G-d, take me over and do what You will with me.
I am Yours alone.

take me over and do what You will with me. 
Fill the space between us. Make Me Yours.

Change me into One who surrenders to You and trusts in Your way for me.

You, who have numbered every hair on my head and called me in the womb, who from the body of my mother named my Name, You know me far better than I know myself; You know my true Way. Lead me.  You lift my burdens. You know every longing and fear in my heart. You show the way even in the dark.

I am Yours.
You are Mine.
We are One.

All is well.

Just needed to keep on keeping on with that and I could carry on in cruise control, give or take a few steering corrections, right? 

Oh so wrong. Because when you ask G-d to change you, G-d's going to take you at your word and do it. His way, not yours. And if you're someone with a leaning towards Kali and with Oya as your orisha, it ain't going to be a walk in a pretty meadow on a halcyon summer day. I mean, as a Kali/Oya girl, why would I want that when I can have a stormy winter North Sea, Eyjafjallajökul or monsoon season, right? Oy vey.

I'd been saying that prayer for a week, people. A FREAKING WEEK.

Little did I know that when I gave a good friend the advice, 'Process your emotions, NOT events' (i.e., your feelings are where the truth is, processing events is being a gerbil on a wheel; you'll end up re-creating events that kick up the same feelings until you listen to what they have to say) that I'd be thrown into that crucible myself less than 72 hours later.

There had been signs that this was coming. The student who came up to me and introduce himself, and we ended up bonding intensely over not having talked to our parents (his father for 30 years, both of mine for 9) and the pain in that, no matter how close or distant you were. That I needed Hecate as my profile picture for the two weeks leading up to Samhain. That I needed more space; had even less tolerance for small talk; got home wanting to zone out, not talk. That fewer and fewer male friends could touch me without my flinching. The rising panic as I kept turning over 'I don't know who I am if I'm not taking care of someone. Who am I? What do I want? Am I ANYTHING outside of that?'

Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul, my spirit's sleeping somewhere cold
Until You find it there and lead it back home

There may be trouble ahead would have been the warning; Evanescence's Bring me to life the soundtrack.

I'm a therapist. Signs like that should make me stop and listen. Friends telling me my energy was chaotic should have made me stop and listen. They didn't. 

So Kali and Oya took things into their own hands.

Breathe into me and make me real
Bring me to life

A therapeutic conversation about how my parents alternately idealised/demeaned me and moved to prevent me from genuinely and deeply connecting with anyone outside the immediate family (always the hallmark of a toxic/abusive group dynamic) started the ground shifting under my feet. I felt the tremors, prepared for the usual situations highlighting them to come up; made the choice to process with a couple of close friends.
One was what was expected.

The other friend surprised me when she said, Damn it, now I want to pull Goddesses for you.

My eyebrows went up. That WASN'T usual. We carried on chatting, and at the end of the conversation, I said, If you want to pull Goddesses for me at some point this week, I wouldn't be averse.

When I woke up in the morning, she'd done the reading. I waited till I got to work before reading it through, having expected the usual Demeter/Brigid/etc. goddesses that tend to qualify as 'mine'. You'd think I'd have learned by now.

Persephone. Ogboinba. Cybele. Oya.

As I read, I felt the winds whipping through, the surf rising, the storm coming. I looked for a hand to hold, for sanctuary, for shelter. From the conversation the night before, it was clear to me I couldn't ask the other friend to hold the space for what was coming, to hold the coming intensity. I frantically searched my inner circle for those who could hold the intensity, pull me up, those I could reach out to and dismissed the choices because of where they were in their own lives. Then I looked at where they would try to pull me into - a brightly lit room, warm, safe, calm...but tame. Status quo. And I knew the price was far too high to pay. There was only one choice.

Frozen inside without Your touch
Without Your love, darling
Only You are the life among the dead

Like Amy Lee, I let go of the hands of those who would pull me to safety - but only by holding me in place - and kicked back off the narrow ledge, falling into the abyss, trusting in the Unseen.

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