The lowest point, my darkest shadow, taught me the most about my light.
The clearest path to a relationship with my father was surrendering to becoming the path. He died when I was only twenty months old - sacrificed his life to save a stranger from a road-side accident and was electrocuted by the live power line. They told me the wire jumped twelve feet to his grounded body. I told myself he must have been a clear conduit. I also told myself he was dead and that was that. For the entirety of my youth, my grief went ignored. Refusing to mourn him was wearing my "big girl panties" and I threw enough teary fits as a tyrannical toddler to refill the Gulf of Mexico. It was history, a distant piece of my life's story. *shoulder shrug* I was over it. That tactic served my development well... till it didn't.
At the ripe age of seventeen, I was initiated into the role of an unfathomable archetype. I became a lightning dancer. My brother, a wiseman and guide, told me the Yaqui Indians believed women have the natural ability to call the wind. Theoretically, I imagine everyone has the skill. Nonetheless, my brother planted the seed and I was inspired. That was around the time I began to explore the bitter truth that I actually really missed my Dad. A yearning to know my father became my poetic muse and I, in turn, became an elemental muse.
Trauma breeds compassionate connection.
When I began my practice, my home life was bad. Like "homicidal demons for breakfast" bad. My mother suffered with severe bi-polar disorder which looked like "rage sickness," a.k.a. demonic possession. I ran away often, but I always came back to protect my little sister and our dog. We lived on the border, just outside Big Bend National Park. Nature walks into the open desert became a regular coping practice. I could sing and cry as loud as I needed without anyone around to hear me and I felt liberated to be wild, to be me. With each step away from home, I felt safer and stronger. Sometimes, when things were really bad, I camped out inside a tiny chapel dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe. The dusty pitched-roof shrine was just large enough for her devotions and a single person. The scorpion carcasses and waxless candles were much safer than home, even when I was empty bellied and shivering through the desert nights. I often cried and prayed myself to sleep there, invoking the grace of the river to bless my mother. Prayers for the grace of the holy river mother to flow her blessings to my family. Prayers for balance. Prayers for peace. Prayers for grace and the strength to become a great lover, wise woman and guide. The prayers brought the Lady of Guadalupe's blessings into my field of awareness and I began to witness profound synchronicity. The wind became my lover, bearing tributes of wild creosote, iris and igneous ozone. The thunderstorms danced on the horizon. I called the wind and let myself be moved by it's presence. The romance began.
the grief catalyst
Amidst the chaos, I finally began to accept that I deeply wanted to be held by someone strong and safe. I yearned to know my Dad and finally, after 17 years of dispassion, I began to let myself grieve his death (electrocuted while saving a stranger's life). The desert was in the sky, a space that felt sacred enough to let myself embrace the depths of my sorrow. I bellowed and howled. I sang sweetly as though my father were listening. I watched the thunderstorms role in on the horizon and reveled in the magnificence of the earth's turning. My father's body had returned to the earth. His spirit, therein completely. The best way I could come to know his heart was to witness the sentience of the nature around me. The wind, the lightning, the trees, the sanguine crested ocotillo, the creosote musk. To grieve is to love. To love is to grieve.
I fancied myself a wizard.
I needed to feel like a wise-woman, fully equipped to cope with the intense chaos at home. My brother told me about calling the wind and those words resonated to the parts of me that needed to feel wise, connected, strong. I leaned into a dance between my desire to be held by something greater and my desire to witness my own majesty. A love affair unfolded.
Like any love affair, at first you don't believe its true, but with repetition you learn your lover's queues and you can let yourself be moved by their spirit. I practiced calling the wind like a Yaqui maiden. I sang to the storms as a beloved sorceress. The lightning struck in time to my crescendo, again and again. My voice and tears were pure revelry for the great sky-father. I, like my father, was an electric muse, a clear conduit, a magnetic heart. My gratitude roused into a dance with my sorrow as the heavens stepped-in to dance my bitter joy to the ends of the earth.
I knew who I was in those moments. The power was so grande, so awe inspiring, so big, I just didn't know what to do with it. I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility - small and inept but also implicitly gifted to witness such profound magic. I mean, next level telekinesis, but then maybe I was the one being moved. It would be my greatest secret for decades.
the phoenix storm
Facing the deepest wound
Fast forward 20 years from my initiation. I was so alone, fifty miles from the nearest city. I proclaimed to be a beacon of strength as I drudged my duty to support my delirious grandfather in the wake of my grandmother's death. Losing her shook my foundation to the core. She exemplified mother. She was truly an epic pillar of strength and the greatest woman I'll ever know - the one who held me during the nightmares and filled my belly with hot meals. She was the one who assured me that grief was OK after my father's death. But with her body gone and my grandfather's mind slipping away, I needed physical connection more than anything. I needed to ground in physical affection. I needed love most of all and I wanted it from a guy. Of course, my desperation resulted in repeated rejections.
Destined for defeat
I lost myself. The dark season of the soul loomed over me. I was fully alive to the surrounding beauty, but engulfed by isolation and grief. Death made sense and felt right. That fall's deer moon beset a dismantling of all my constructs to attain love, prove my worthiness and connect with someone abiding. My lighthouse bereft of fire, I swallowed a lethal dose of sleeping pills.
The ambulance was stark. Incessant involuntary shaking but I couldn't lift or control my muscles. My pleas for god to help me cut through the night as any true siren's howl. The phantom's touch woke me from my nightmare into a real nightmare. They told me there was nothing they could do and I was going to die. So I witnessed my murder. ME! This brilliant creative genius, sorceress, lover - murdered by my own hand. I will never know more regret. It would all be gone. There was nothing to be done but pray for salvation. Miracles, magic, angels, all the sources rallied. I still can't make sense of why I'm still here, but I am, telling you my darkest secrets.
I survived the suicide
My famished body irked against the melamine seats in the back of the cop car - court ordered to the looney bin. My first "recreation" break: a solo yoga practice. I kissed my knees. My new peers flashed smiles from wondrous facets of the human psyche. I knew myself well again. My integrity was shaky but my foundation was fit for framework of the greatest self love I'd known. My conviction rallied into the charisma needed to raise a phoenix from her ashes.
Fall transitioned to winter. Scarlet cardinals heralded hope for my transformation as I resurrected my communion practice: resounding and howling as an electric banshee to woo coyotes and sky fairies from the horizon. Life became a healthy bag of daisy-duke moon gardening and music production. Everything was a gift. From my mother's obligations, to my bleeding cunt, to my stellar yet clumsy album release party. I was still traumatized, both physically and spiritually.
PTSD ate my lunch with tri-weekly anxiety attacks. The ashes of my disintegrated self smoldered. I was a veteran again. But see! Now, the phoenix is risen and I'm here to share.
Honoring the Synchronicity
Its fair to say I exercised due diligence with a healthy dose of skepticism. At first, each timely lightning strike brought me to tears. But soon after the storm, I just wouldn't believe it was anything more than my poetic imaginings. In time, it became more logical to accept what was happening. What to do with it though? The connectivity was so powerful and so profound. I felt irresponsible by casually accepting that maybe I was a sorceress, and entirely unprepared for the responsibility of assuming the role. It was too big. Too powerful. I didn't know what to do with that kind of power. So I tucked it away, put it on the back burner and played small. It was never "my power" to wield anyway. It was compassionate connection, not a fighter jet. Still, reverence for the supernatural was and is still in order.
I got cocky
A few years after my initiation, my brother and I decided to rummage cow patties for psychedelic mushrooms. Bunked up in a corrugated tin barn and lit the f$#k up, I blissfully confided in him about my experiences calling the wind and lightning dancing. He confided that he also had "the gift." We decide to play a "little" game and call a thunderstorm over to play. We set our intentions and fell asleep in the barn. Irresponsible! Hours later we awoke to the sound of the good lord's freight train crashing tin as our barn was struck by lightning. The corrugate metal next to my bed whipped my ego like a cowboy on coke. That night I learned the heavens are not playful puppies.
Once again, the responsibility became so overwhelming that I tucked it away. Attempting to integrate that much power just didn't fit into my new vibe as a corporate whore. Yup. That was a life I entirely created and destroyed. Praise Kali.
Learning to trust the process
I couldn't take it on all at once. A seasoned life of charade and compromise was exactly what my inner witch-doctor ordered to help me step into owning my responsibilities gracefully. Cultivating compassion and a sense of humor was a great way to ease the transition, but then fucking up again and again certainly speeded along the process.
Being a powerful wizard does not mean we have to have all the answers, be evolved, meditate every day or have a baller's bank account. Trust the process. Trust your process and try to remember the magnificent gifts you've stored away on your back-burner.
ascending the nimbus
The earth is still sentient
I was firmly reminded the day after my 37th birthday and epic album release party. It had been years since I'd consciously communed as the lightning dancer but I'd recently revived my communion practice with regular melodic nature walks so my sensitivity was keen. That evening I felt strongly called to communion on the ranch. High ground offered up a young oak tree. I knew it to be sacred for its scars, marred by a lightning strike. The ozone leached sepia and titanium into a thunderhead. The setting sun refracted Venusian copper against a slate condensation. I knew what would happen if I touched the tree. I sealed my fate. That very second, the horizon climaxed a frenzy of electric fingers, clamoring and enamoring me to remember our marriage. I began to cry. I sang. I apologized for my lack of devotion! I offered melody as a sound sacrifice to my lightning lover. The currents ran through my crescendos again and again and again until I relinquished into a fervor of sobbing gratitude and mournful laughter. I asked it flat out, "What am I supposed to do with this? What do you want from me?" The storm lingered over my body until I essentially honored my answer.
The connection comes first
Keeping implicit faith in the connection itself is all it wanted. Fostering it. Being the tree on the hill. Ecstatic gratitude and splendid grief! I never needed to prove my worth. I didn't need to burden myself as a great and mighty sorceress or take on the profound responsibility of channeling lightning bolts through my fingers, although that may well be happening now. ;) In that moment, the thunderhead charmed this fledgling phoenix to ascend into its electric mission as it charmed the thick air to condense into it's nimbus heart. This was it. This celebration of my lover was my path. I would structure my life in such a way that I could become a conduit for others.