I’ll be visiting India soon, to spend time with my parents, as well as conduct another session of ‘The Goddess Dances’ with Madhu Nataraj. I sit at my desk, watching the sun set behind our neighbours’ homes, and a wave of gratitude brings on a smile.
Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible to travel like I am about to now. Back then, all dreams, and aspirations were discarded, or at best put on hold, as I went down a rabbit hole, underground, in search of all the pieces of me abandoned, wounded by childhood trauma. I was depressed and by keeping my mental health, as well as childhood flashbacks a secret, life felt extremely lonely. But I was adamant I didn’t want my daughters, extended family and friends to know about any of my secrets. So, with my husband’s loving support, I shrank my life down to the size of a dull grey handkerchief. I had no choice but to abort most of my activities, including conducting Goddess workshops in Australia or anywhere else. I felt that juggling too many things would tip me over, and blow open the lid barely covering up inner turmoil. So, I narrowed down my priorities to one: Doing what was best for my teenage daughters. We had just moved to a new home and my older daughter was in the final year of high school.
I slowed down, and that made things harder. There were days when I struggled to get out of bed because the only thing to look forward to, was dealing with a sadness that hovered and sometimes, without any warning, swooped down like a dementor, and sucked out any remnants of happiness. One morning, after the children were dropped off at school, I was staring out of the kitchen window, hoping to find solace. But when the dreary July skies mirrored back gloom within, I screamed out to the Great Mother, ‘I don’t know why you’re making me go through this, but you’d better help me because I can’t live with this level of pain.’
The Great Mother was mute that morning. But she must have heard me because over the next four months, with the support of my counselor, my husband and a few dear friends, I had significantly fewer episodes of being overpowered by a sadness without name. And all the way through, I was fortunate because I managed without antidepressants.
I got better over the next 18 months, but something changed. I didn’t feel the urge to rush back up to what I called the ‘top soil,’ the outer world, and carry on where I had left off. Maybe this was because every time I recovered a piece of myself, a voice in dreams and visions urged me to keep going. ‘Just one more clue left- and then you’ll know yourself better,’ the voice whispered.
When I found the ‘one more clue’ I realised the wisdom within was just cajoling me along, like a coach. Because the moment I discovered the clue, she would entice me with another mysterious piece that needed retrieval! By now the descent had taken three years, and often I was frustrated, beating myself up for agreeing to travel on this lonely journey, while everyone above me was busy doing wondrous things with their lives. Oftentimes, I worried I’d never find my way back up.
It was then that I heard the women of my bloodline and I understood why I had to travel so far down in the muck and darkness. They had hidden themselves for thousands of years. They had been long forgotten, as if they were ghosts. But here they were, in my blood and bones, in my DNA. I knew I was meant to be on this subterranean road. I had made a pact with them, before I was born, to write their stories. Their stories and mine were intertwined, the same in so many ways. For they too had suffered and been silenced. Worse still, they had been written out of family history as well as human history. So, I agreed to be their scribe, and wrote down their stories. It wasn’t easy. In the beginning, they mostly wept, their words incoherent, and often angry. Not surprising given that for thousands of years, their tears and stories had banked up, and now they had someone willing to sit with them and listen. I stayed underground for another five years, listening, writing, crying and laughing with them.
When I discovered the identity of my bloodline women, I found meaning to my life. The women of my bloodline were storytellers, initiates of the Great Black Mother. Ten thousand years ago, they travelled from village to village, sat in sacred circles, sharing their Love for the Great Mother. But when patriarchy threatened to destroy their way of Life, they sacrificed their identity, and went underground to hide the wisdom stories of the Great Mother. And they waited for the prophesied time. Like so many ancient tribes, and First Nations Peoples of the world, they knew their stories would be returned at a time when they were needed the most.
Today, as the sun sets, on a far too warm winter’s day in Sydney, I bow with reverence to my ancestors. The stories are written (currently as an unpublished novella). I don’t know how long it will take to publish their stories. I am sure it will happen when the time is right. In the meantime, the women of my bloodline have returned Home to the Light of the Great Mother. Their work is done. And mine has just begun. It’s time for me to return to the ‘top soil.’ ‘The Goddess Dances’ workshop is one of the ways I spread my ancestors’ Wisdom, and share their Love for the Great Mother.
Recently, I have met many women and men, who are walking this path, back to Love. It feels like we’re all returning from the underground, healed because we have dared to share our stories and those of our ancestors. In this way, human history is being re- written, because women and other minorities are adding their stories back into the world after being silenced for far too long. This is why many of us are returning to Remembrance: To a time when humanity lived in peace and harmony. That’s why we can reimagine a world where Love transmutes fear. Hope and Courage have returned to ‘the top soil.’
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