Once upon a time, on an island far far away, there lived a passionate High Priestess and her cat.
She had not always been a priestess. Indeed she had landed on those shores a mere maiden on a path of discovery. A sweet, well-behaved and polite girl, she had touched down on the shores looking for something she had not yet known. Searching for the meaning of life, for depth, for love and for all of the qualities that make life worth living…the young maiden was attracted to this island that seemed somehow so alive.
However, her initiation into the Mystery had all come about, as is oft the case, though misfortune.
Our young heroine had been enjoying living in Paradise for a couple of years. She lived in a simple house with a loving man, had plenty of wonderful people around…from the outside, all should have been well. Yet the young maiden suffered from a deep fear she could not explain. This fear seemed to be eating up inside of her, and would send her into bouts of panic and anxiety for no apparent reason.
All of the security and comfort in which she had been raised she had left far behind her. She had been brought up so very well, without a single comfort missing. Yet somehow life had brought her here, in a place so far from all she knew. Sometimes she wondered if she should give up all of this dream seeking, and go back home to undertake a “normal” life. But part of her soul craved a depth of living she knew would be stifled in that existence. After several years of travelling these far eastern lands, it was as if she had seen too much to ever return to “normality”.
So the young maiden found herself hovering between two existences…between the known and the unknown. And, being on the brink of the unknown, she felt a permanent bubbling of fear in her belly.
She felt her mind landsliding into confusion…did Paradise really exist or was it just an unobtainable dream? Were all the people here chasing impossible dreams, or were the people back at home caught in a deep slumber? Somehow she had to know the answers to these questions.
Afraid of the possible answers, the young maiden avoided looking into these issues fully until one day when she received a shocking piece of news.
Whilst going to the medicine man for a routine check, she was informed that she had a growth inside her body, near her precious female sexual organ, her ovary. Stunned and shocked, the maiden found herself in tears. Tears continued to flow like a never-ending cascade, and soon she felt waves of an emotion hitherto unfamiliar to her: she felt angry. More than that, she felt rage.
Now, this maiden had been raised to be very sweet and very polite indeed. Well-spoken, never dropping so much as an h and annunciating each word with Queen’s English precision… the maiden had been raised to know the virtues of being “good”. This did not include expressing the more vulgar emotions such as anger. She was known by her friends as someone who would never ever swear in a crisis.
Yet, upon receiving the news, our maiden found herself screaming and howling in pain, a pain that felt much larger than her…it was as if she felt the pain of all women of all time. She beat cushions and wailed in agony. Somehow, her hot tears were tumbling down in empathy with all of the women ever suppressed, abused, raped and pillaged, burnt at the stake. It was deeper even than empathy, it was her pain; it was as if their blood ran in her veins. She felt as though all of the stifled screams of her motherline suddenly wanted to push their way through her body, here and now, and be heard.
Now on a rational level (for that co-existed with these intense sensations) this was all completely irrational. The maiden had never herself been subject to any sort of abuse. Successful in a “man’s world”, our heroine had achieved many accolades of achievement, and really felt she had been accepted. In fact, she had often scorned the women who ranted on about female suffering, and yet here she was weeping the pain of the female collective. What was going on?
Yet these feelings could not be denied; could not be suppressed. And more than that…she now had a solid physical growth undeniably expanding inside her body.
The medicine man had given her three months before he would open her up and operate upon her, and so she decided to go on the journey of a lifetime: to enter the Unknown, and find out what laid within.
So the maiden found herself a simple dwelling deep deep in the jungle, without even a sea view, where she planned to spend the next three months journeying inwards until she found out what her own mystery held.
For the next few months, the maiden lived in the company of herself and the creatures of the jungle. Though she became used to the sounds, she never quite knew what kinds of animals were making them. Sometimes she would sight creatures that looked like nothing she had ever seen before…crawling creatures with a million spikes along their backs, huge lizards that looked like little crocodiles, spiders the size of her hand with gold sparkles on their backs, and once she saw a snake so large that she could not see the whole body from end to end as it slid through the undergrowth.
At night she would lie and give herself healing by placing her hands over her body, resting across her sexual area. As she tuned in, she realized that she really hadn’t ever given this part of herself much attention, somehow vaguely aware that it existed. Perhaps she had only really paid attention to her sexuality when she was with a lover. To place her hands here now and breathe deeply into her sexual organs, she slowly became aware that they were there all of the time, and she had never really bothered to investigate.
Thus began a new relationship in her life…a relationship with herself. Her ovaries, her womb, her vagina…these parts of her being which had the potential to create life. Perhaps they were connected to all aspects of her creativity.
She thought back over her childhood; although she had always loved singing, music, dance and creativity, she had really put these things aside to focus on what was really important: things like maths, science, getting good grades and being an achiever. The message was loud and clear: creative things were all very good and well, but they certainly were not important. They were absolutely second class. They would never make you money or help you do well in life. Unless one was a complete professional (and she has not even reached grade 3 on the piano, because she preferred just to play for fun), there was no point is wasting one’s time on these areas.
And in seeing this message that dwelled within her, she burst into tears. She cried for the rejected parts of her own being. For the artist, the musician and the dancer she had judged and tossed aside. She cried at the pain of the inner voice that had declared science to be the master over the lesser cousin of art. The smugness every time she had received high grades, the time she became a physics scholar, won the economics prize, got a place into Oxford.
In spite of all of these “achievements” there was an emptiness to her life. An aching heart, a feeling of deadness that she could not shake off. Now as she delved into her sexual mysteries she found that her creative center was grieving the losses. She had aborted the creative child within, and now is called to be rebirthed.
The fears she had been experiencing somehow were intensifying. She knew not what she was afraid of, only that the fear was such that it could not be ignored. She decided to do exactly what she had avoided her whole life; instead of doing everything in her power to try to get rid of these feelings, she would create the situation to intensify them and thus enter them completely.
So, one night when the moon was dark and the skies a dense blackness, she laid in a hammock between two trees in the thick jungle. She blew out her solitary candle and found herself in a wilderness so much vaster than anything she had ever known before. The fear that she had been battling to keep at bay suddenly engulfed her.
Fear rippled up through her body like a tidal wave. She watched how much she longed to jump up and run away, run to safety. However, she knew that if she did not meet it, it would forever be running just behind her. It was time to turn around and look fear squarely in the eye.
So she inhaled right into the center of this fear. Her breath had never felt so alive, as if sparking with electricity. Her body was almost shaking with an intense vibration and she could feel her breath entering her body like an icy wind. She felt her fear unfolding from a tight nugget that had been tightly clenched in the depths of her belly, opening out into waves of aliveness almost too much for her to bear. Was this what she had been avoiding? An intense aliveness?
She brought her awareness right down into her sexual center, which somehow seemed to be the epicentre of the quake. She began to breathe into her ovaries and into her womb, as if they themselves were lungs. They seemed to hungrily devour the breath that she brought there as if they had been lying there, waiting for this opportunity of awakening. The tears that now flowed were tears of relief, as if she had come home to a forgotten place.
She laid for some time in this terrifying and yet exhilarating state, feeling more alive than she had ever known was possible. The jungle around her, once a frightening strangeness, a separate thing to be feared, now felt like an extension of her own body. The throb of cicadas was echoing the pulse of her heart, the tree roots led all the way down to the roots of her own existence, the vast skies opened her soul to its source. She felt as if the whole of nature was vibrating orgasmically, her body pulsing within it.
Instead of feeling alone in a forest, she felt more connected to life than she had ever known before. Her sense of separate identity was blurred into the darkness around her. She felt held in the arms of a great nurturing being, like a mother. For the nature around her was undeniably alive, a living being. Was this what they meant when they talked of the Great Goddess? In this moment she was truly a child of the Great Mother, feeling the relief to no longer be alone struggling to find her place in a hostile world.
She laid in the midnight jungle, in a state of bliss perhaps unknown since leaving the womb of her own mother. Finally she was released from the threat of fear, a fear that had called her home. She gently fell into a deep sleep, harmonious with the rhythm of the forest.
When she awakened, she felt a moisture between her legs and found that she was bleeding. Somehow she knew this was no ordinary blood…she knew that she was releasing the growth that had made its place within her body. She felt the change, she felt that her ovary was now free, and was astounded at the miracle of her own body.
She decided then and there that she would never become strangers with her sacred temple ever again. She would learn what served her body, what nourished it, what brought it alive. She would listen to unpleasant emotions and see where they led her, rather than trying to run from them or push them away. She would make space in her life for creativity, for all of the things that had no obvious “use” but were simply enjoyable in and of themselves. But most of all, she would honour the great body of earth that she lived upon, staying as close as she could to the wild nature that is her very own nature.
And thus a priestess was born. The maiden became a woman. She lived wild and free, energy and emotions flowing through her as freely as the wild waves upon the shore. Her body became a vessel of ecstasy and aliveness; her being was a true creatrix, breaking through judgements in the name of expression. A passion was born within her as she had never known before. A passion to live, to love and to taste life’s rich flavours. It became her worship to live in this way, her gratitude to the great Mystery shown through drinking it in as deeply as she could.
copyright © shashi solluna 2011. All rights reserved.