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A Circle of Healing

by Lori F.

 

How am I supposed to heal? How do I make these deep wounds, these horrible losses I have suffered, fade from memory and spirit?”

As I stand in a circle of women, their voices rising and fading in endless tones of healing and love, these words come to my mind. Words I had begged the Goddess to answer the night before as I stood under the full moon, robed in black and holding a cauldron of pure Divine energy in my hands. She had not answered me then. She had instead filled my heart with love and cradled Her daughter in Her arms. She was a mother in that moment stronger than any motherhood I had experienced in my life. I accepted that love, and figured either She had no answer for me, or that the answer would come later.

And here I was again, standing with those same women, and that question entered my mind again. Yet this time there was an answer. That same energy and voice that had visited me on that hillside under the moon was with me again. She stood behind me and leaned to whisper in my ear.

 

This is how, my daughter. This is how you heal.”

 

Tears streamed down my face and goosebumps covered my flesh. I looked around the circle of women, some of whom I had known for a decade and some for three days, and as always, I felt the presence of women who weren’t there, but had stood with me in circle so many times before. When I was young, I knew no such women. I was surrounded by boys with only one female in my life, a mother who doubted herself at every turn–who knew not where to look for the happiness she was so desperately seeking, but continued looking everywhere except for within herself. We learn from our mothers, whether we want to or not, whether we are aware of it or not, and for a long time, I, too, looked elsewhere for my happiness. And in being supremely disappointed in the one woman figure in my life, I never would have thought a circle of women would help me find it. Yet here I was. My voice, one of many, suddenly cracked with emotion as I thought about the pain I sought to release from my life and these women witnessing this huge stage in my journey, whether they knew it or not.

I thought of how I’d lost my mother and father both too early, one unexpectedly and one after a devastating illness that left my mind ravaged and my heart empty. Of how I had left my home and family and started over halfway across the country and ended up losing sight of my goals and dreams. Of the illness that almost took away the man I loved and wrapped us both in his slow recovery, and me in the constant anxiety that any day he would be gone.

And then I thought about how through all of those things, there were always these women. When I lost my mother, how many comforting words did I read through a computer screen? When I lost my father, how many times did I cry over the phone as my sisters, now dear friends, cried with me? When I spoke of how lost I felt on my journey, how many words of wisdom and guidance did I receive? How many times over the thirteen years of being in the Avalonian Tradition had my sisters stood beside me? At retreats, during visits to sisters’ homes both near and far, on the side of Glastonbury Tor under a round, white moon–they have been with me for so long and through so much. It was endless—the support, the wisdom, the unconditional love.

And now as I sought to leave all the pain I had carried with me behind, that revelation was finally open to me. That I was surrounded by Wise Women and that I had immersed myself in the spirituality of the Goddess, and in doing so discovered Sisters who were as close as family and a Mother who is always there for Her daughters. That I only needed to reach for my sisters to not feel alone and to the Goddess to feel whole.

In Goddess and in Sisterhood, I had found my healing. I looked around that circle again, lifted my voice to match theirs, and let go.

 

Photo by Bobbi Hollars