STEPPING INTO THE LIGHT: BLODUEWEDD’S CALL
By Robin Corak
The first time I saw her, It was 2003, and I was at my first intensive in the Berkshire mountains. My fellow sisters and I, cloaked in black, walked silently through a labyrinth in the forest. When I got to the center of the labyrinth, I glimpsed a beautiful woman with long, blond hair and magnetic eyes staring at me from under the hood of her cloak. I blinked for a moment, and she was gone.
The second time I saw her, a day later, she did not come to me in strictly human form. I was in a small temple, huddled in a circle with my other sisters with nothing but the barest sliver of a moon to illuminate our workings. There, in the darkness before me, was a woman with the eyes and face of an owl. Predatory amber eyes that looked deep into mine and conveyed a sense of strength and challenge as well as acceptance and love. I knew without a doubt that I was looking into the eyes of Bloduewedd.
I felt exhilirated.
I felt moved to tears.
I felt sick.
Literally, I felt sick. I experienced a sudden rush of energy so strong that it caused me to be light headed and dizzy to the point where I had to sit down.
Bloudewedd had made herself known and make no mistake….she was there to kick my ass into gear.
Given her frequent portrayal as a young, (initially) submissive creature, you wouldn’t necessarily think of Bloudewedd as being intimidating. She didn’t seem to be the type of Goddess to jar you into an awakening and hit you upside the head with a “clue by four”. In my previous experiences, that type of energy would have been reserved for Ceridwen, or perhaps even Arianrhod. Certainly, Bloduewedd’s energy and tone are different than these other two goddesses. But while her energy was loving and light in many ways, she made it very clear that she meant business. Never had a deity inserted themselves so powerfully into my life.
In hindsight, the timing for my connection with Bloduewedd couldn’t have been more perfect. I had initiated a divorce the previous year. Telling a man that I truly cared for that I no longer felt our marriage was working had been heart breaking and terrifying, and ran counter to every instinct I had as a life long peacemaker who dreaded rocking the boat. Shortly after that relationship ended, I unexpectedly fell head over heels in love with another man much to the chagrin of some who felt he was too old for me and/or that I was moving on too quickly. Out of sensitivity to his teenage children and our former spouses, we at times had to downplay our relationship.
My son was diagnosed as having special needs and I was the only parent prepared to be his advocate. I was increasingly finding that my position at work required me to stretch outside my comfort zone in order to speak up, share my ideas, and advocate for the low-income customers we served. I think it was no coincidence that throughout that time I began repeatedly and frequently coming down with illnesses characterized by a sore throat and swollen glands. My doctor sent me to a specialist who told me that I needed to have my tonsils taken out. In the midst of freaking out about this (even a minor surgery can be complicated due to a rare condition I have), I came across an acquaintance who was known for her intuition. She promptly suggested that I get a second opinion and told me in no uncertain terms that my throat issues were directly connected to what was going on in my life.
I used to be scared of the dark (in more ways than one), so you would think that I would have gravitated strongly towards a goddess that I considered to be “lighter”. Yet, as much as I was excited to be working with Bloduewedd, I was also a bit terrified. Although the dark intimidated me, I had always been very introspective and as a child was incredibly shy, to the point that I would become paralyzed with fear at having to ask a grocery store clerk where something was. Having to speak my truth was far scarier than doing the dark, introspective internal work. Say what I really feel? Out loud?! Risk rocking the boat? Uh, no thanks. I’ll just be over here in the dark corner with Ceridwen, talking to my shadow…
While I may have been scared, I was also recognizing the gifts that I had been experiencing by simply daring to claim my own happiness. Thus, despite my fear, I decided to take a huge leap of faith into Bloduewedd’s arms. With Bloudewedd’s guidance, I began to grow and speak my truth. My voice slowly but surely became less shaky. My confidence increased and I found myself accomplishing things that I had not previously thought possible. I listened to my heart and married the man that I had fallen in love with, and I was happy. Interestingly enough, as my voice became louder and I dared to be more authentic, with the exception of the occasional illness, my sore throat issues vanished. Bloduewedd became my “go to” deity, the one I would almost always seek out first when I needed guidance or comfort. I felt that she and I had developed a strong bond.
At some point years later, I found myself becoming disconnected from the Sisterhood and the Avalonian goddesses. I still maintained my membership in SOA, but found the need to experience other things for a while. I had to walk a path that took me away in order to find the path that took me back.
I found myself taking the barge home again when I attended an intensive in 2015. Shortly thereafter, I began paying more attention to this long neglected side of myself and began actively participating in quests. I found myself working intensively with Rhiannon, Ceridwen and even Arianrhod, a goddess that I had previously not had much of a connection with and found intimidating. I reveled in the relationship I was creating with them as part of my daily work and found an abundance of wisdom and insights during my frequent communion with them. The stations of Descent and Confrontation were filled with epiphanies. You would think I would have looked forward to embracing Bloduewedd in the Station of Emergence as if we were childhood friends reunited after a long period of separation.
When I got to the Station of Emergence and tried to reconnect with Bloduewedd, I felt nothing at first but a cold silence. For the life of me I could not figure out why or how such a distance had occurred with a goddess that I had once had such a fruitful relationship with. After weeks of feeling disconnected, I decided to do imramma and walk a labyrinth to try and figure out what was going on. It dawned on me that I had again gotten far more used to the reflection required by the dark half of the cycle than the action required by the light half. The darkness was comfortable, a place for me to hibernate. The watery realms of emotions and the unconscious had long felt like home to me.
Rebirth? Emergence? That was another story. After all, babies typically don’t come into this world with a serene smile on their face and an inner knowing that it’s all going to be alright. No, they come into this world kicking and screaming because they are terrified of losing the comfort and safety of the womb. Emergence required me to have to actually do something, not just think about it or envision it. If I were to fail, I would fail in the harsh light where everyone could see.
To be honest, I didn’t know what she wanted from me. After all, I was light years away from where I had been when we first met. These days, it is not uncommon for me to speak to crowds of hundreds and I enjoy it. I am a CEO for a large non-profit, a job which requires me to make difficult decisions and sometimes deliver news that I know people aren’t going to want to hear. I have been a strong advocate for my son and have successfully spoken up on his behalf time and time again, albeit sometimes with uncomfortable or even painful consequences. What more could she possibly want from me?
But despite all of my growth in these areas, I now realize there is still much work to be done. There are times when those old childhood triggers cause me to leave things unsaid, or to not dare as greatly as I want to. There is a temptation at times still to run back to my warm, safe comfort zone. Lately, I‘ve heard her whispering in my ear, her voice getting louder and louder the more I have surrendered and let her in. She says it’s time for me to be bold and face my fears, to take things to the next level. She reminds me that diplomacy isn’t just about being “nice”, and that you can fight for what you believe in with love and without compromising your principles.
Now that I have become more comfortable with speaking up for myself, she says it is time I speak up more loudly for and with others who may not feel that they have a voice. She reminds me that now, more than ever, this is needed. As a result, I have begun to put even more efforts into the advocacy work I do with elected officials. I have started to explore ways that I can help empower others to speak to those in power for themselves and realize that their voice can be remarkably impactful. I have started spending more time providing my son with resources and opportunities to advocate for himself.
She has prodded me into exploring my creative voice, through music and through my lifelong love of writing. A few months ago, I sang and played mandolin during an open mic session. Despite my trembling knees and knots in my stomach, I sang a solo. While I absolutely love music and have found it to be a powerful outlet, performing any kind of music in public – especially singing- strikes terror in my heart. Yet, I did it, I loved it, and I survived.
Bloduewedd grins and says that rocking the boat may be exactly what I should be striving for. When I worry that I am being too vulnerable by sharing my music or my writing and fear encompasses me like a stifling fog, she says to me, “Screw your fear. Your voice is needed and if you are going to serve yourself and others, you must be brave enough to be vulnerable because it is only when we are vulnerable that we can truly connect, resonate, and love”.
I will never be the “in your face” type of bold; that’s simply not who I am. I am not the storm you see coming, I am more like the river that-with great persistence and patience- has the power to transform the rock with my words and my actions. When I start to doubt myself and my inner child feels the fear that causes her throat to close up and compels her to blend into the shadows, or, better yet, run from the room, Bloduewedd makes herself known.
“Isn’t it time you did you for you? Isn’t it time you stopped worrying so much about what others might think and start worrying more about the unsung songs still left in your heart?”
Her words give me wisdom and wings, and I find the strength to let my songs pierce the darkness so that I may fly again with the grace of an owl.
A member of the Sisterhood of Avalon since 2002, Robin Corak has long had a knack for introspection and a relentless determination to explore the world around her and go after what she wants with empathy and love. Robin’s work has been featured in publications and sites including the recent Ninth Wave Press “Flower Face: An Anthology in Honor of Bloduewedd”, the Sisterhood of Avalon 2014 Datebook, PWP’s Yule Anthology (2012), and the Tor Stone. Robin is currently the Secretary for the SOA Board and in her mundane life is the CEO of a large non-profit, social services organization. Robin and her endless imagination reside in Washington state with her husband, son, two dogs and one cat who thinks he’s a god…but what cat doesn’t? Visit her at www.peacelovmischief.com