I’m coming to you today with Rachael Maddox, Sexual Trauma Resolution educator and healer, to talk about healing with integrity! We discuss how your niche calls to you in unforeseen ways, where trauma hides in the body, and being a Secret Bad Girl.
On Monday, we spoke about forgiveness and spirituality when it comes to trauma. But instead of focusing on forgiving who harmed us, I think it’s more important that we forgive ourselves for the emotions we feel as we go through the healing process. It was not the clothes you were wearing, how much you drank, what you said, or how you said it. Abuse is abuse, and nothing will change until we make that abundantly clear.
So, to promote SELF- forgiveness, I’ve concocted a special ritual for victims of abuse (sexual or otherwise.) I think it will help to stimulate growth and strength.
Be well and be strong, for you are a survivor.
Rose Quartz (for unconditional love)
Rose incense or Sage
A water basin
Use sage or incense to purify the area. If you wish, smudge in a pentagram formation to call in the elements to help you through this. Also, use the smoke to cleanse your rose quartz of unwanted energy.
Sit in a comfortable position on the floor, with your white candle in front of you. This signifies purity. Sprinkle the black salt completely around you in a circle for protection, light the candle, and take out the journal.
Write down everything you can remember about your assault. I know this is difficult, but in a clear and objective manner, write down what happened. If you start to cry, it’s ok. Just feel through the emotions. Once you are done. Fold the piece of paper in half away from you and set it down,
Stare into the blue light of the flame and call in it’s power. Call in it’s passion and will for survival. Stare into the blue flame until you, yourself, become hot.
Take your piece of paper and set it over the flame, watching it burn as the memory becomes part of your past, and not who you are as a person. Before the flame grows out of control, throw it in the water basin.
Take the mirror, and stare into your eyes. Find the deepest part of you, and repeat three times:
“My body is merely a vessel, and no harm can come to my soul unless I allow it. I call in strength, power, and forgiveness to propel me forward into healing.”
Then put the mirror down, hold the rose quartz to your heart’s center, and imagine a pink light emanating from the stone and connecting with your heart. Imagine it slowly enveloping you in it’s radiance, and chant “forgiveness” as it grows.
Sit in meditation with this illuminating light for as long as it feels comfortable, and when you are ready, snuff out the candle, thank the elements, and break the circle.
I hope this proves to open the gate of healing for you. Stay witchy ( *)
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 ( *)
My relationship with sex has been a complicated one. It must have started out with the pressure of losing my virginity, because I slept with a boyfriend of four days “just to get it over with.” This kind of set the pace for devaluing my body, and I didn’t even know the power and sacredness of my sexuality.
It also didn’t help that I caught that boyfriend cheating on me with his neighbor. This incident created a haphazard idea of sex. That it just didn’t matter.
The road became more and more cluttered when I realized that I so desperately wanted, NEEDED, male attention. I was craving love of any kind, so I would drunkenly throw myself at men and then become puzzled as to why they weren’t in love with me. Like, why isn’t this like in the movies???
Further down the line, I would try to pretend that my unsuccessful tactics, and the inevitable outcomes, didn’t bother me. I was just going to Samantha Jones myself through life and hope someone respected me along the way. But sex or not, I didn’t respect myself. See whats wrong with this picture?
Then, as you know, I was raped. What a freakin doozey that was in my sexual landscape. That turned everything upside down, flipped it, and reversed it (thanks Missy.) Now fear was a factor. How was I supposed to land a man if I couldn’t let him touch me?
And lo and behold, who is there to pop up? But my infamous ex. I felt comfortable around him, got drunk, and took him home on the first night. He stayed for the next three days. And rather than questioning if he should be at his job, I let our insecurities click and the rest is history.
So all of this leading up to my turning point was synonymous with the message of The Devil. I was ruled by obsession and trauma, rather than intuition, respect, and just plain logic. I gave away the whole fruit and couldn’t satisfy myself.
Nowadays it’s a whole different ballgame. I have done the work and thoroughly respect my body, but let’s be honest, we all need a little pleasure in our lives. I do not want a relationship right now, but I’m not above a hookup. The difference here is that I understand what I want, I communicate effectively with a potential partner, we are both 100% consenting, and there is no grey area of sadness and depression.
The Lovers describes a union and an alignment of values. That is the important part, and what I was missing the whole time. Trying to drunkenly (and half-assededly I might add) seduce a man into loving me and then cry when he doesn’t is idiotic. Being up front about what you need in a partner and seeing if your values align gives you a choice, and if you choose to give your body over to someone who doesn’t want what you want, you’re putting yourself in a compromising position. You’re setting yourself up for hurt. And to do it over and over and over again expecting different results is insane. You gotta revolutionize your sexy little world to find that happiness. Cuz it’s hiding on the other side of the bed.
Sex might be a plush display of love in a steamy relationship, or a taboo icon that is used for selling t-shirts and hamburgers, but it is also a necessary way of life. Sex is sacred, yes, but it is also fun and pleasurable and NATURAL. You don’t have to wear a chastity belt for the rest of your life in order to protect yourself. You just have to get to the root of your needs. If your needs consist of a sweet and quick release, then by all means sugar, get yours (while staying safe.) And if your needs consist of a relationship, get to dating! Communicate that you are looking for a partner and don’t settle for less. You can’t change his mind with sex. It has never happened and never will. Align your values before you get busy.
So sex wisely, my kittens. You’re worthy of a good time. Just be sure you protect your heart first, and stay witchy ( *)
And through some interesting research and my favorite podcast, an idea was brought to my attention. You feel unsafe for surface reasons that are obvious, but also a deeper biological reason that isn’t so: you haven’t finished your fight or flight response, and so discomfort is an underlying feeling in similar situations. And this covers all forms of trauma.
The Tower can symbolize trauma. A card of disaster and upheaval, this card from the outside looks like doom. However, like all things in the tarot, and all things in life, there is ALWAYS a way to move through.
Trauma stores in your body like a parasite. And your fight or flight responses, your mammalian brain, always tries to rectify that. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I personally have slept with many a drunk stranger trying to correct what I thought I did wrong. And I always woke up feeling guilty because I couldn’t remember if the choice was mine or not. I was trying to rectify a sexual trauma with promiscuity.
In my case, my trauma (having happened while I was near to black out drunk) lives in my body and tries to mirror my traumatic situation in order to complete its fight or flight response. That means that, when out partying when I was not getting help, I would go up to strangers and flirt, using my mammalian brain to recreate a similar situation so I can fully act out my fight or flight, quenching the animalistic need to do so.
It’s almost like when you reboot a computer, but an application is still running so it won’t let you do so. That application is still trying to finish its job, but can’t move forward because you’re trying to shut everything down. By ignoring the application, you’re actually doing harm to the system and slowing down the progress, aka, your end goal.
What needs to happen, on the other hand, is addressing the situation head on. If you have lived through any kind of trauma (and that could look like anything, be it a divorce, rape, death, or something that isn’t textbook traumatic but simply made an impression on you) there needs to be an acceptance of what happened before you can move through it.
But what if you don’t know if you have trauma? What if something is holding you back underneath the surface but you don’t even realize it’s there? You don’t even realize it’s traumatic? Well I suggest this first: if you are engaging in unhealthy behaviors consistently, I ask you to dissect the context. When do you reach for that drink? When do you shop to numb out? When do you clean excessively? When you get curious about your habits, you will embark on a new mystery: solving the case of the root and not the symptom.
This is where you are guided by The Star. This is a card of transformation and healing, a reminder that you will always have the universe surround you and that you will never be alone in this world. Use this as your guide through the pain and into a lighter and brighter future.
Get curious. Address your feelings. Do not be afraid to indulge in your sadness, pain, or fear. They exist because you are human and you are a survivor. But in order to heal and move through, in order to rectify your trauma, you must ask the tough questions and accept the truth you find. Find your truth and stay witchy ( *)