Season 2, Episode 9 is live! Today’s interview is with Emily Heather, aka the Voluptuous Witch! In this episode we discuss Libra and Scorpio season, how to stay active in your community, and manifestation over different social classes.
Listen up and stay witchy ( *)
Tune in below and on iTunes, and be sure to subscribe and leave a rating!!! ( *)
Kristen Johnston was recently on my favorite podcast (you guessed it, What’s the Tee?) and she mentioned an article by Nancy Colier. In this article, titled “Letting Go of Toxic People: When Staying in it is Not More Spiritual,” she details the immense pressure we put on ourselves to be open and forgiving to those that have wronged us, for fear that we have not achieved a heightened sense of spirituality.
When it comes to certain trauma, like abuse, we are taught that forgiveness will set us free. And when we still have emotional responses to triggers or actually seeing our abuser, it’s possible to feel that we actually haven’t forgiven at all.
However, these emotional responses are a product of our reptilian brain, the oldest and most basic part of our brain that is only focused on survival. While you can decide on forgiveness in your prefrontal cortex, your reptilian brain may not follow suit. And that is ok. In fact, the forgiveness we practice should be turned towards ourselves. Rather than pushing the limits of our instinct to be “higher” and more “elevated,” we should accept ourselves for what just is.
If you have experienced this kind of immeasurable betrayal, as pictured in the Ten of Swords, forgiveness is not something that just happens because you decide so. There is a natural ebb and flow to healing, and while self exploration will help move things along faster, you cannot cut corners on healing from trauma. This is because new questions arise every day, concerning what you did to deserve this kind of treatment. And the answer is nothing. The answer is forgiving yourself for every feeling and honoring your emotions. THAT is where the spirituality lies.
As the Five of Cups suggests, it is time to move on and forgive. But the only person you owe that to is yourself. And in time, once you’ve accepted your space and have healed properly, you may forgive your abuser. But, as the article above stresses, you don’t need to push yourself in that direction. Your fight/ flight/ flee responses will always try to protect you, and they don’t need to be shamed. Suffering through these responses by being around your abuser, just to prove you’ve forgiven them, is not helping anyone.
So, forgive from afar. Protect yourself and honor yourself first. You don’t owe anyone contact if it doesn’t serve you. Remember that, and stay witchy ( *)
I’ve talked about these topics at length, as well as of my favorite book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. In this book, Clarissa Pinkola Estes talks about the cycle of love in a new, and yet, ancient way that speaks very clearly to me.
In this book she dissects old fables and explains how they inspire the Wild Woman Identity. In one in particular, entitled the Skeleton Woman, she describes the Life/ Death/ Life cycle and how you need to die in order to be reborn.
In love, from what I’ve come to understand, is that a broken heart is your death cycle. But rather than being a tragic occurrence, it is more of an opportunity. Much like the Death card suggests, it is the gift of rebirth, rather than the mourning of a loss. When you “die,” you are given a low platform, a new angle from which to learn. And once you do, it is then that you are allowed to live again.
Once you reach this new ability of living, you are given a new age of innocence and vulnerability. This is not to be confused with ignorance. Your death cycle has taught you well, and you know now more than you did before. This new innocence, on the other hand, is an act in self trust. Because your knowledge is more advanced, richer, you are able to trust yourself to move through a new relationship in a way that is wiser.
Further, when you live again, you will come across more opportunities to die and reincarnate. There is not just one cycle. In life and love you are constantly learning. And whether it is with the same lover or someone new, if you are not constantly moving through Life/ Death/ Life, you are not living at all.
Life includes pain. But it is what we do with this pain, how we grow with this pain, how we mold it to strengthen us, that creates the new life and all of the blessings it has in store for us. To sit quietly in bliss does not breed knowledge. To focus on pain does not help us grow. We need constant and fluid movement to live fully and experience everything with a wise knowing that this is how we reach the Wild Woman within us. Get moving and stay witchy ( *)
The Eight of Swords depicts a feeling of powerlessness, and nothing will make a person feel more powerless than sexual trauma. It’s an indescribable feeling of emptiness from abuse, but it is not the way one has to feel forever.
When one holds sexual trauma in their body, they will react to triggers. I’ve written about triggers before, but when you have been abused in a way that involves sex, intimacy with a partner is going to be a bit of a struggle. It can look like an unquenchable thirst, a sheer reluctance, or an all together abstinence. And with one of the definitive qualities of a sexual relationship versus a friendship being, well, sex, that can prove to be a bit of an adjustment.
First and foremost, anyone who has been sexually assaulted must seek out help and support however and whenever they can. It is a complete must and the avoidance of it will show up in very compromising ways. Mine showed up as codependency, as you’ve read in my previous post. But what if you’ve sought out the help, have been doing the work, and you get triggered during sex with your partner? What then?
Well this may come as a no-brainer to most of you, but it certainly wasn’t to me; in that very moment when you are triggered, you must stop whatever sexual act and breathe. You need to step away from the situation and take a minute to give yourself some time. Your feelings are perfectly valid and you need to re-calibrate yourself with the reality that you are in now. And as soon as you’ve given yourself some time to get to a calm state, you must have a conversation with your partner.
Whether they know about your trauma or not, whether you want them to or not, you need to set a boundary. Maybe the act was too hard, too fast, maybe he/ she said something that acted as a trigger, whatever the case may be, you need to express that you did not like what happened and that it is not allowed to happen again. This will be an act in self protection and self respect, and I can think of no where more deserving to be respected than in the bedroom. This is a place of safety and intimacy, and though you were wronged and abused in the past, you have always deserved that.
Now you don’t have to completely spill your heart out and tell your whole story, but if you want to then you should. Your partner should respect your wishes and listen to your boundaries, and if it becomes an argument, I suggest finding another partner. Your body is sacred, and it took me a long time to figure that out.
You do not owe anyone sex. And after a sexual assault, you’re going to need some time to work back into a feeling of safe intimacy. It is a confusing process, but creating sexual boundaries and honoring what you need from your partner will help you to get back to a safe place.
It is imperative that you feel comfortable with sex. Sex is a beautiful and natural act, and with someone you love can be completely fulfilling. And wherever you are in your recovery, you will find that unless you feel comfortable, it should not exist in the equation. Take care of your beautiful bodies and stay witchy ( *)
Reversed, the Emperor denotes excessive control and rigidity. And that sounds super familiar to me.
You see, regardless of the self help path that you venture on, you’re bound to revisit some demons. But when you face these demons with the tool belt you’ve stocked up, you’re more able to combat them in a successful way.
So, as a person who struggles with control, I constantly come into contact with situations that are far out of my control (obviously) and it makes my psyche suffer. Until I whip out my tool belt.
Let’s take, for example, my trip to Europe. I’ve always had a big problem with money anxiety and in order to keep that in check, I’ve used my tools. Let’s see what that looks like:
Alright so I booked the trip on October 1st. I set out a savings plan to give me “enough” money (3000 US dollars projected) to last me the month that I’m away.
I’ve stuck with my plan to the best of my ability, and yet, there’s still anxiety surrounding the situation.
Because I’m facing an unknown. I’ve never been to Europe and I’m terrified that I’ll run out of money and be stranded.
But where does that stem from?
I’ve written about this before, and it was more philosophical, but now it’s personal. The reason why I feel like I need to control the money aspect is because I’m afraid of my spending habits while I’m there, and also the fear of being unable to support myself.
Having 3000 in hand is going to be as much as it is. That is the bottom line. But it isn’t the amount that’s scary. It’s me. I’ve lived with myself all of these years and know the rabbit hole I can fall down when I live recklessly. I’m still paying off a 15 grand debt from credit card purchases.
So in order to combat the scariness that surrounds me, I breathe and recite mantras that instill trust in myself. I also research the hell out of prices in Europe for peace of mind, but I mostly breathe and chant.
You see, the money isn’t the issue. I have what I have and that is that. A five hundred dollar expense doesn’t just sneak up on you (under normal circumstances) so just remembering to have a little trust goes a really long way.
Having faith in yourself is difficult, because you are faced with your entire wrap sheet. But if you just take a breath, take a look at where you are, understand that there are forces outside of you that you have no control over, you actually gain peace of mind. Accepting and surrendering is the best way to stay on top of yourself. Remember to breathe and stay witchy ( *)
Over my few months of writing here at WitchyWisdoms, I’ve come to notice a pattern in some of my posts. When trying to prove a point, through examples and comparisons, I’ll throw my past self under the bus and shame her for the “mess” that she was.
And in being quite frank, I did look like a mess from the outside. But shaming myself for what I did with what I had is like judging a homeless person on their outfit. It isn’t fair and it isn’t right, for my growth and yours.
Yes, I had many bad habits and made many reckless decisions, but underneath all of that were the bones of a survivor, and through every bad experience I made it out to the other side with a little bit more knowledge than before, and finally I’m at a place of self awareness that allows me to work on myself consciously.
I may have forgotten some creativity to drugs, sex, and alcohol, but it was never lost. It always lived in me and I have to remind myself that the sad girl in the past just didn’t know that. She was told it went away forever, and that made her sadder.
Once women have lost [the Wild Woman] and then found her again, they will contend to keep her for good. Once they have regained her, they will fight and fight hard to keep her, for with her their creative lives blossom; their relationships gain meaning and depth and health; their cycles of sexuality, creativity, work, and play are re-established; they are no longer marks for the predations of others; they are entitled equally under the laws of nature to go and thrive. Now their end-of-the-day fatigue comes from satisfying work and endeavors, not from being shut up in too small a mind-set, job, or relationship. They know instinctively when things must die and things must live; they know how to walk away, they know how to stay.
This excerpt is so empowering because it highlights that all women have the ability to find their original wild woman and excel, and though you may not be in that part of the journey yet, you are one step closer to her because every experience peels back a layer to let her shine through just a bit more.
I am deeply sorry for all of the judgement I cast. I had all of the same traits that I possess now, I just didn’t have the tools. As a child I was free and unashamed, as a teenager I was curious and experimental, as a young woman in my early twenties I was ambitious and tough, and rounding out the later years of my twenties, I can say I have all of these characteristics working in tandem, but with mental health as the glue.
I apologize fully to my past self. She went through hell for me, and she made my present state possible. I love that little sad girl, because the fire within her was always of tenacity and passion. She lived honestly within her means and she survived. She continues to survive, but she blossoms and flowers with the strength of her Wild Woman identity.
I can say now that I am still finding my way to the Wild Woman, but she is visible in the distance. When earlier I did not know which direction I was headed, I ended up back on the path that I belong. Every heartbreak, overdose, sexual victimization, binge and purge, starvation, maxed out credit card and penniless night was not in vain. Though it was not the easiest route, it was the one that we chose, and through it I am able to help others and speak from experience.
So when you reflect, when you compare yourself to how you were a few years ago, do it in a way that is enlightening, but also kind. You don’t need to bring internal shame, because you are here now doing what you need to do as she did years before you. Stay kind to yourself, and stay witchy ( *)
The Nine of Swords reversed is a card of sheer torment, anxiety and depression. It signifies utter sadness and despair. But, as with all cards of the tarot, there is a bright side: it is personal, which means it is manageable.
The title of this post is a quote from the book that I’m reading through now and am infatuated with, Women Who Run with the Wolves. I’m sure I’ve linked up to it in a past blog post. If you haven’t, buy it now.
It is such a powerful quote, because I truly believe that is the secret of self help. Knowing your faults, understanding your faults, and caring for them accordingly.
No one is perfect, nor will they ever be. But shaming yourself for your imperfections is more damaging than cleansing. It will spiral you down the well further to a point where you cannot see the light. And while there is always a way out, why delay the healing process?
So to make the best relationship with the worst part of oneself, where does one start?
Well, I think that you need to do a lot of self reflection in order to get to that worst part first. Mine is control and judgement. And those weren’t easy realizations to come to.
Understanding these faults comes with compassion. In doing some digging, I understand why these are present parts of my personality and knowing the backstory helps me to empathize with myself rather than throw shame in that direction. That is a great way to cultivate a relationship.
But then how do you care for them? Well each fault is unique to each person in accordance to their backstory. That is why the understanding portion is so crucial. But when you see these bad habits (or whatever you wish to call them) arise, you can sense them quickly, find the trigger, and do what you need to do to quell the urge to act on them. I repeat mantras and breathe, as most of you know. You can also give yourself space by removing yourself from a situation. Anything that will help you to care for that part of yourself that may be holding you back. Any team is only as strong as it’s weakest link.
Treat your “worst part” like your own child, but when they are having a tantrum. How are you best going to deal with this situation in order to come out on top? Spank them in public and cause a scene? Or remove yourself from a less-than-desirable situation and handle it after a few deep breaths? Remember to love all parts of yourself, and stay witchy ( *)