My path has been one of darkness equated to light, a state of constant transformation and evolution. With each deep dive into the underworld, I somehow managed to make my way to the surface gasping for air, the sun shining brightly upon me. Back and forth I’d go, from dark to light, examining each experience with focus, unearthing jewels of wisdom as I went. As a younger woman, I laughed in the face of demons; my exploration with the underworld became obsessive and far reaching. No dark stone was left unturned. I crawled through gutters and ravaged through filth until I experienced each piece of grit and grime, carrying fragments of them with me as I went…collecting them for my final tale. I navigated through altered states of consciousness in shadow for years, ignoring my root. Ignoring my existence and connection to the earth, ignoring my right to be here. I simply wanted to slip away. The abandonment I felt was deep, ingrained in me, and I scared anyone who came too close. I wore my scars like badges of honor, you knew exactly where I’d been just by looking at my skin.
A beam of light entered me and I stumbled and paused on my path to demise. I could terminate it or bring him earth side. This ray of sun was my only hope, a life raft I couldn’t ignore. It was then my son grew inside of me, begging me to see the other side. I was still lost, scared, meandering through a dark forest trying to shed my addictions, my compulsive attraction towards the gnarled parts of the soul. My partner vowed to stand by my side and we unearthed the demons below with uncertainty as they clawed at us to stay.
Our boy arrived and catapulted us into a state of wonder. I didn’t know up from down—twenty-five years old…fragile but strong, afraid but determined. Our birth had transformed us. I began to trust this body I had always feared and lived strangely in, I had beat it down with every tool I could. I became transfixed by the sheer power of women, how we deserve to be held in honor as we birth the babies of this planet. For the first time in my life I felt surrounded with love through my pain and through the pushing and throbbing, every sacred contraction bringing him closer to us all. I knew that this strength lived within me and needed to be shared and expanded, transmuted and transferred into the hearts of every mother and child. How could someone like me have done this? How was I allowed to be the vessel in which this perfect being came through? Everything changed the moment he exploded into my womb. How determined he must have been when he chose us.
Our family grew in love and in pain and in crisis. Years floated by, it ebbed and flowed in intensity…this was all we knew. It was as if we kept screaming at one another “I love you so much and I’m so fucking scared” in every single action we took, in all the good and the ugly. I was determined to run clean, but each time I would stop up one part of me, the waters became murky and dark in another. My partner was patient and kind but needed to keep his secrets. My hysteria burned into us all. After another crash and burn, we left everything we knew and found solace in a new place. Here it would be better. Here we could breathe and let the rain wash us clean. With our tiny teacher in tow, glowing at us with promise, we rooted down and all that was broken became a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon with a mosaic foundation. We rebuilt our life with scraps, our bare hands bloody from trying so damn hard.
Our love conquered all and our son bound us together until we found ourselves at yet another crossroads, a Tower in flames staring at us. The Wheel of Fortune turned below us in fate and we had nothing but the Stars to guide us. We had been the Fool over and over, and there we were again. Why is this happening to us? Why won’t the addictions and anger and grief and trauma just go? They were no longer wanted. We’d hid them under rugs and in coat closets, with the tumbleweeds under the bed. Cleaning them out meant something much different. How could it be done? We’d tried what felt like everything…the pills and the doctors and those twelve long steps. Where do we go?
An old story came back to us from our days in the city, one that glimmered with hope and light and curiosity. What could this Earth medicine mean? What is this world where you darkness is welcomed with open arms, where you are given elixirs and shavings and pieces of root? It called to us hauntingly until we accepted. This would be the new way.
We walked away reborn, in sacred truth and universal love and eyes filled with deep sorrow and light all in equal measure. I began to feel my strength again, the same way I had been shown through my son. I needed to understand which parts of my journey were teachers and what my offerings could be and all the grey that drifted in between. I had found my purpose. I had been here before, this story felt familiar and true. I gathered my strength and I scoured books and sought out teachers and pushed myself to every edge of light I possibly could. The shadows I knew well, but the other side was something entirely different. I was illuminated and free.
I swirl between both, moving every direction, exploring and seeking truth. I love deeply and forgive grandly and take my time with myself when I can do neither. My journey has been one of heartbreak and grief and of love and bravery. I transform and mutate often and try to wake up to myself, polishing that old dusty mirror as often as I can. I understand that I am here to learn, to teach and to create a seal of protection where others can find their strength. A place where we can begin to honor our shadow, sit and have a cup of tea with it, and then move along to freedom, and honor the strength hard work brings. We are here to heal ourselves with the Earth as our greatest teacher…our connections and relationships our deepest doorways. We must transform and allow for rebirth and a new way, a peaceful way.
As we settle back into life in California and welcome spring, I have begun to honor the sacred spiral that is my life, our life, a collective spinning through infinity. As the poppies sprout up around us, reminding me that beauty can come from the darkest of places, I am privileged to have experienced every twist and turn. When the gloomy dramas took every ounce of energy within me, and the places that were so small and impossible to escape from clamped down on us without mercy. Somehow, we’ve made it and I’m humbled. We are ready to share our wisdom with inclusivity. We know nothing and we know everything and it’s time we do it all in love.