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Reclaiming My Voice

Through the Cycle of Healing

by Heather Embree

Last year for the Cycle work, I was focusing on releasing the energy of sexual trauma and PTSD.  I knew the cycle was going to be challenging because this is an issue that has haunted me for most of my life.

Everything was lining up with the process to start my journey into Descent. I know when working in the cycle of healing of Avalon, that it is all for a higher purpose, no matter how hard to face, and I was here to work it through on a personal, business and collective level for some mysterious reason.

Firstly, I had a dreadful ending of a relationship in the previous year, because the person was threatened by my sexuality and wanted to control it. He became jealous, suspicious and attacking – for no reason whatsoever. I was loyal and committed to him for four and a half years.  Through his mental breakdown and abusive backlashes, he took away my sense of community, safety, and sanity.  He was symbolic of a narcissistic and misogynistic male energy that has been around me since I was a child. My stepfather and father were very much like this, so it’s no coincidence I had to face this again to be released from it and learn how to stand up for myself.

Also, in the world, there were two major public events that happened which caused great internal distress for me.

The first one was the Jian Ghomeshi case — a notable, lefty, social justice type in Canada, where he was released of charges against him for repeated sexual assault.  This triggered many women in Canada, in ways we never expected. For me, personally, I had been in a relationship with someone like Ghomeshi, and I hadn’t identified or processed out the trauma.  So it became more disturbing in my subconscious and created a lot of unknown anxiety in me.

Then the event of Trump’s election which recreated the same atmosphere of sexual harassment and male domination that I grew up with, adding to my PTSD and sexual abuse issues.  What “perfect timing” to release this wound.

To start healing this issue, I decided to take belly dancing classes. I felt this would be safe space to explore this part of me that got lost to men’s perspectives and desires of me to look and be a certain way.  I have had various men on my path who wanted to dominate, possess, criticize or demonize my body and sexuality. They wanted to groom me into the perfect woman for their liking and not hear me or care about my feelings and needs.

Belly dancing gave me a chance to feel good, sexy, and sensual again in my 40-year-old body on my terms, not a man’s.  I didn’t want those abusers to have the power to take my joy, pleasure and dancing spirit away from me.  Learning how to move my hips again, noticing the pains in my body, feeling the depression and retraining my brain to stop overthinking and go back into the flow, was an important part of my healing journey. But it was still not the answer.

By the time Spring came, I was still trying to figure out the light in all of this.

I went to a ritual at the Hive and Grove and immediately I felt a blessing in my solar plexus of being a writer.  I had no idea why this was coming to me for this cycle. I am a writer and I dabble, and I’ve had a dream of wanting to be a freelance and literary writer.  But what did this have to do with sexual abuse and PTSD? I knew that the Goddess had a higher wisdom that I could trust and knew I just had to see how it would unfold.

The pieces started coming together.  First of all, I realized that four past partners who were unhealthy for me were writers. My attraction to them was because they were brilliant artists. I was giving them my power, putting them on a pedestal while their behaviour and actions took away my dignity and silenced me.

Then about a month after the ritual, I met a person who asked if I wanted to be a ghostwriter for a romance novel – and it paid a really good amount of money. I thought:  Wow! What a perfect outlet – writing romance for women readers – 20,000 women at that and many of them were in the States and could very well be Trump supporters.  The Goddess works in mysterious ways.   This contract gave me the money and confidence to write a book professionally, even if it was somewhat fluffy and not in alignment with all of my values. It helped me step back into the realm of female desire, changing the story to a happy ending even with all the stereotypical gender archetypes.

So by May, I was belly dancing and feeling good in my female form, while working on a romance novel.

But I couldn’t shake the pain away, literally.  I started seeing a counsellor at the local women’s centre.  I saw a poster there for a group for childhood survivors of sexual abuse.  Through the centre’s resources, I was able to emotionally release all the built up pain and hurt that I was triggered by in the world and past relationships. I am forever grateful for the great work of women’s shelters and centres and the strong women who came before me who created them.

For my integration period, I did a ritual to release the energies of men with mental health issues who become violent towards me, seeing clearly that this is their issue, not mine to carry the burden.  I am more in alignment with the victims of sexual abuse and assault than I am trying to figure out the perpetrator.  I feel released energetically from the craziness of this kind of man in the world and in my life.

As is true for me at the end of each cycle, I am called to bring something into the world from this.  I tossed and turned and wondered if I was meant to volunteer at the women’s centre or become a sexual assault counsellor or anything like this.  No, what I’m really meant to do is be on the path of the writer, as I was blessed with in the Spring, to tell my story so others can feel understood.  One of the healing tools for survivors of abuse is to find one’s voice again.  I keep getting the message that I need to tell my story.  This is service and it is valuable and important.  I am not afraid to speak my truth and voice anymore.  This kind of man has no power over me anymore.

Now that I’m in a new cycle, I’m reflecting on the issues in the background that are showing up for me now for this coming year.

It seems I’m having to face other issues that have blocked me from self-nurturing, self-nourishing and self-care.  It makes sense, given last year’s work, that I need to learn about self-care and self-nurturing.  Last year, the root of sexual abuse and PTSD has come from the narcissistic man. Now this year, I am having to shed the narcissistic woman from my consciousness and life. This personality has caused me a whole lot of damage, including allowing the sexual abuse or abuse in general to happen.  We will see where this leads in my life for this coming year. But I am hopeful.

I am constantly humbled with each turning of the wheel, how deep the work goes and how I come out the other side. The Goddess is so beautiful, wise, strong and caring.  She holds us through our pain and helps us come out greater in the end…I’m convinced of it.

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    TriskeleThe Sisterhood of Avalon (SOA) was founded in 1995 to serve as a receptacle of lore and wisdom for all aspects of the study of Avalon, as well as to act as a medium for community building for all who are beckoned to Her shores. Over time, the SOA has evolved to become a Sisterhood in truth, united in disciplined work and dedication, and committed to re-establishing women's connections to a strong Celtic-based Western tradition. Through study, research, and personal workings we are once again recalling our heritage.
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