The thing about walking between two worlds, is that your never quite sure what is real, are they both real? Is one more real than the other? Is either of them real? It's like walking a tightrope between two completely opposite worlds and ways of being, conceptualization and structure, that blend together in some uncontrollable chaotic dance that you have no choice but to learn to maintain your balance within the evolving mists. The worst part is, you can hardly talk about it. Either your explanations are met with confusion, incorrect assumptions, shutting down or panic and distancing. You could go to a shrink, but they will label you with some form of psychosis, disconnect from everything you attempt to explain, and in the abscence of anything other than a recipe for suppression will prescribe you with something to numb out your "symptoms". You could go to a therapist, but it will take you a long while to find one who will actually listen to you and be content to sit with you in the abyss, fully understanding and acknowledging that they can have no idea what is going on for you instead of in their uncomfort and self-conciousness listen only for key words to help them categorize your problem and get you out of their office. So it's lonely and you will search and search for recognition of familiarity, the same knowing in another, if just to be validated in what feels to you like perfect sanity but looks anything like the sort. Until the moment arises that you make peace with those worlds that will always reveal themselves to you, that you will be disciplined in learning to walk between them in balance, that most of everything you have been taught is a lie, that some things you dreamed of will never be yours. Grief sets in, rage, terror, anger, when the lion awakes, his roar rich with the containment of so many years of silence, denied. Slowly, the worlds begin to merge to co-exist, and in the acceptance instead of the attempts to explain, change, fix or deny, you learn to walk between them.
I suppose thats the road I'm wandering right now. I was talking to Mr E. late last night. Mr E, a screen name for a man that I've known for almost twleve years online, serving as an early Pagan mentor, a Merlin to me, bustled with questions from the inquistive fourteen year old I was. There's a familiarity in our conversations, a comfort in the fact that he's watched me grow up all these years, familiar with all the sideswerves, nosedives and complete lightning storms that reared their heads throughout my journey. I suppose I feel like he knows me well and with wisdom and endurance, a jem with all the transitions in relationship my particular walk has demanded of me. He said something interesting. In descibring his observations of the ways in which i had grown and the woman I'd become he noted that I had finally stopped running from my path. He was referring to my complete abondonment of identification with paganism when I entered my career in social work and the science of the human condition. I stayed connected to the spirit world through the identification of spiritualism but I detached from my union with the Goddess. My study of the practice of helping through the ideologies of the social sciences, intermingled with the ways I had conceived of the world from a pagan feeling, rather than perspective. I attached a conviction of dense vibration to the practice of magick and became concerned about the integrity of my involvement. Connecting with one's power and fealing their way in the world is enemy to the colonized mind. The colonizer says...everything is dead, and a peice of you dies with it.
So what exactly was E referring to when he mentioned that i ran from my path? Was he meaning that I again was running by moving away? No, he never said much about that. He reminded me that I knew what it was that I had to do, and knew that a long time ago, but instead went in search of some different way. There was that concept again. "You can not escape your fate", the words had jumped off the page while reading the Mysts of Avalon this week. An empath, he said, "you will always be an empath and people will always come to you for help and when they do you have a responsibility to respond to them. So if you can not stand the ignorance boxed by the structure, process, legislation, construction or understanding of the work you were professionaly trained to do as therapist, find something you love to do. At least than you will love what you are doing, while helping people, but don't ever think you can walk away from helping".
I thought about the things he had said. "Helping" was a tired concept for me. I had spent my life helping, only made aware of in retrospection, that I had been helping my entire life. When things broke down and worlds broke apart, mine or the people that surrounded me, I helped. But when mine finally fell completely apart, noone was there, no one. BURN OUT! And all this time, not only was I helping, helping, helping, I was studying to be a better helper! My relationship with helping was certainly under revision and a big chunk of the reason I decided to move was to distance myself from the entanglement. That also meant, I would need to step away from social work for awhile a thread I realized I had clenched with white knuckles, I had found a community to which I belonged, I wasn't about to let it leave.
Three years ago, I had a dream. In it, a childhood friend of mine that I haven't spoken to in roughly 13 years, with the exception of a casual run in some years back. She was driving her car and I was riding in the passenger seat. I had been considering the move, to British Columbia since my seperation with Ken, but I wasn't talking about it. I still had much to learn and let go of, grow in the neccessary ways needed to make that possible. Out of nowhere she looked directly at me and with some force stated seriously that I would need to go to British Columbia. She continued.."If it's about the money, I'll give it to you but you need to go". I was startled, was she reading my thoughts? How did she know I was thinking about going there? Oh yeah, it was a dream. For a person who has always had a difficult time remembering her dreams with clarity, there was something strong in this one. Yet when I awoke in the morning, it was a dream after all so I let it go, but I would find it would not let go of me.
I was working as a women's advocate at the time in a women's residential program. My sensitivity as an empath had increased, making it more and more difficult for me to work within the dense environments of social services and I was in the process of making a decision between graduate schools of social work with an eye to examine how one may practice social work from the lens of the "spiritual", but was very aware that the politics of the institution would not make this an easy task, undoubtedly trying to place the principles of such within a western paradigm, therefore defeating it's purpose. I decided to study Aboriginal social work, if there was someone who could guide me in the integration of these, it was the Indigenous. It was here that the Goddess found me again.
When I left Madison's father in 2006, although a radical feminist and schooled in the pragamatics of women's oppression, I received a loud message about my worth as a woman in western society. Ken had been charged with three counts of assault and one of uttering death threats. I was in the last year of my undergrad balancing motherhood and stepford wifehood, he was sleeping with another woman while he abused me at home, when i ended it he drained my student loan accounts leaving me no tuition for my final semester. I had $800.00 to my name, no assests, no savings, no property, no livlihood. In my naievity I thought someone could see the moral logistics of the situation and help ensure we transitioned solidly. Family court and criminal court were indeed a man's land, I had to fight for housing, fight for daycare, fight to finish my schooling. The outer conditions had created just the right mulch for my dive into the fertile inward soil. I received a vision of a commuity of healing, marked with the symbol of the fertility Goddess, unbeknownst to me at the time. It was clear that my fight with the system on behalf of women's rights was no longer neccessary, women's healing needed to be transformed from the inside up, they did not need a man's permission to reclaim their power, 'nor did they need to wrest it from the hands of the government. I saw a glimpse of the Goddess here, but it was within the Indigenous master's program that i began to feel her stirring.
Indigegogy says, that the wealth of social problems as evidenced in Indigenous populations resulting from colonization can only be healed by a reclamation of the cultural teachings of their ancestors, a return to ceremony, rituals and rites of passage, a reclamation of their rightful place within the cosmo's. Day in and Day out, the message I received was to return to my roots, to know who I am, and that to discover who I was meant I had to return to my roots. I remember the confusion that amounted with this concept of roots and cultural teachings. My parents were Dutch immigrants, but I was always raised "Canadian" and have vivid memories of my dad correcting me when I stated I was Dutch. He would say "You aren't Dutch, you are Canadian". I spent some time with my parents asking them questions about the process of immigration in this year and what life was like as a newcomer to Canada. They told me stories of assimilation and acculturation, my dad now known as Robert completely abondoned his Dutch name of "Bastiaan" glad to see the memories of ridicule as "bastard" behind him. My mom's siblings were given Canadian names by the school teachers, their identity left behind. Just as I heard stories in the classroom of the cessation of the passing of cultural teachings in an effort to protect their children from the dangers of the colonial class, I saw my dad's efforts at reminding us that we were Canadian born of the same link.
Colonization they called it, finally a word I could relate to the disparity between these worlds I had walked between and in attempting to describe, had always come up short. Yet when I looked at myself in the mirror, my white European face showed the reflection of those same colonizer's that continued to be at the very baseline of the Indigenous stories of eradication, terror and genocide. I was caught between a whirlwind of the growing internal familiarity that seemed to be accentuated by my participation in ceremony, dance and drum and the reflections of my whiteness branding me as part of the other. But I remembered the witch burnings, in fact I could still hear the echoes of it within me, and I came to think of our own colonization, the centuries of destruction, burning and devastation, eradicating European nations of their pagan rites, long before we continued to rape, sack and pillage those of the Indigenous cultures of the world. My roots, I had seen, were lost there, amidst centuries of colonial rule, what was in the process of reclamation without the recognition of the cultural colonial rape in my view had become distorted. It would be a long journey towards reclamation, and somewhere deep within me, I knew this was part of me, for looking back over the years of hardship, pain and struggle that had seemed to be my walk, it was clear I was being prepared for something. I suppose Mr E was right, I had attempted to run from my path and everytime I ran, I was being pulled back into it. The wisdom of the Goddess lived within me long before I had even a concious awareness of her, from the early years of Christian school, to my practice at 14, to her whispers at 23. Social work had called me, the closest embodiment of healer in western culture, but it would not allow me to actualize that of what lived within me.
So, after a year of fandangaling legislation, legalities and professional fees in an effort to start up a holistic social work practice, in opening month, I shut it all down and decided to move to BC, the accpetance of the walk between worlds....