The silence can be sliced with a cold sharp knife and in the morning air I have to draw back the thick heavy curtains to let in the light from outside. Those curtains were going to be the fabric for some kind of priestess performative dress I was going to make. Now they contain the night and the light of candles and the sacred altar we have made.
Great Bast, my little panther Babooshka, Great Sekhmet, my loyal warrior Medbh have passed beyond this realm. Almost 20 years. My cats.
The grief hits me like a lead weight in the cold morning. I can hear the chanting of buddhist mantras– they’ve been going since they’ve both passed. Ritual feels really good. Especially ritual that I’ve created with my lover. This is not just about grief, about being a crazy cat mother, but about learning from beings that showed me just by their primal animal presence how holy they were. They both showed me, every moment of their lives, how to live in grace, in total commitment to an actualised self. They grew into their souls. They even showed me secrets, initiated myself and my lover into rituals, into magic. They communicated with me without words, through dreams, through their bodies. We’d peer into each other’s eyes and we’d see the great SHE, the great OM the great wild huntress who had all the time in the world, and who had no time for regrets. They gave me the taste of motherhood, they allowed me to be their devotee. They held me, every day, without fail. They loved my body, its fat, its muscle, its scars, its smells, they thought I was a goddess too.
It’s been a journey up from the underworld. How do I speak about it all? If language fails me at best, then I must cut it up, write in segments, non-linear traces, thread the liminal feelings inside me into a garment to wear.
I’ve not posted about the journey of Motherhood. It’s been so painful. There were days when the darkness was comforting, when I would look at my own body and feel sex-less, drifting, bobbing with just a head on a potato. For some reason I do associate motherhood with sexiness and powerful sexuality. I don’t equate it with any thing that relates to an essential cis-gendered ‘woman’ identity…but there is a sexy sensuality in motherhood. All that milk, and blood, and flesh, and spirit, and life and ecstasy. All that she-wolf.
I was pregnant once, and I was a warrior. I was on a battlefield and there was an army coming across the valley and mountains. But I had to fight, otherwise my entire city would be destroyed. My lover shielded me from most of the arrows that came flying. Neither of us survived in that life. Wars are horrible and no-one really wins. I get flickers of other lives, of memories of motherhood.
I have a beautiful greyhound now. Willow Artemis and she is all languorous lines and soft gentle presence. She is distinctly dog, a great wild presence, who raises an ear when she knows I’m thinking about her, looks me in the eye and pauses with a look of expectant commands. She sometimes feels like a deer.
During my myomectomy to remove quite a substantial amount of fibroids that had encircled my womb, my lover was anxiously waiting. The five hours of surgery felt like a moment. Once I woke up to a degree of pain I didn’t know my body could handle, I asked ‘ is my womb still inside me?’ It wasn’t ‘where, what, how’. Yes, it was inside me. Yes the surgery was successful. A glimmer of hope, like a dust mote in the sun that becomes much brighter burned in front of my eyelids. My mother was there throughout the whole recovery, using her nursing skills, her pragmatism and her experience to be the incredible woman she is. That was a year ago and I was in another world it seems to me now. I birthed my cats into the other-world, I cared for them in their last few years, with loyalty and commitment. Both my partner and I attended to their needs every night, getting up at 1am, 3am, to bring them to bed, to offer them water, to give them opiates for pain. We crooned to them, sang to them, journeyed to the outer-realms of consciousness. We bargained, sleepless and bereft, full of laughter at memories of their cat hijinks. Finally we stopped bargaining and asked them what they wanted…
They told me in waking dreams. I won’t say more than that. Because it is one of the secret teachings of my initiation and I’m not ready to speak more about it. I don’t need anyone to initiate me. For years I thought I did, some other more powerful more beautiful woman would tell me I”m worthy, I’m magical enough. For years I waited and hoped for validation from other witchy women. I doubted my own powers. I doubted my own magic. I hid from the world. I wasn’t good enough. I felt monstrous but without any power. I felt great loneliness without the comfort of solitude. Of late…something very real and very potent has shifted inside my being, I’ve begun to feel powerful, to feel beautiful, to feel full of magic. Not from going outside myself, but from stillness, solitude, and practise.
The light streams in more than I first remember the light in this house. Effulgent, transient, mellifluous. It seems to come through like a waterfall in the morning, and when I coax it in gently it floods the house. When I first moved in here I thought this house didn’t have much light. Light glints in every room. Behind my eyes, behind my masks, I feel them peering out, gently guiding me, I feel them in my blood.