I am a Terrible Mother


Change is good but sometimes it's fucking hard.

Last night I walked to the corner of my back yard where I had just created a little fairy altar, complete with a butterfly bird bath and mini angel chimes that remind me to SHINE and BLOOM and that CHANGE IS GOOD.  I knelt down, pressing my skin into the earth, and checked my neighbors' back yard to make sure I was all alone.  Then I gave myself permission to break down and sob until I had snot running down my face and smeared on the back of my hands, arms and shirt.  It's the sort of monthly ritual crying that releases all the denial that everything is fine.  I need to take time to face all the worry wheels and trauma wheels that like to spin under my radar and keep me moving along too fast to stop and notice what precious dears I'm neglecting and what's really going on down below.  

I seem to have a special sort of break down at the beginning of July every year as if a deep portal is open to me during this time, since I was little, since the abuse happened, when my life was pulled into the underworld.  Years later, my divorce trial took place at this same time, tacking onto my earlier trauma deeper grooves like an exclamation point.  I simply must kneel and release at this time.  

Life spirals around that old stuff and sometimes you wonder, and then you worry, and then you freak out because you realize you may actually have a role in recreating the past traumas of your life (or your ancestors) over and over again and even if you want to stop, you may not yet know how.  

Sometimes I worry if I stop and face the piercing parts of my inner world, I might not ever stop crying. I smile so that people don't know how sad a part of my heart always is.  I'm trying to build a more flexible bridge between my heart and the world.  I might go mad in the process. I might be even more disorganized than I already am.  I might not get the dishes done.  My kids might catch me losing my shit. I might not be able to stay the same as I was today.  I might have to change.  

Life, she reminds me, is always changing.  If you're alive, then you're changing.  Sometimes change is fucking hard.  That's why we created orthodoxy--to give the illusion of change without all the existential angst.  In orthodoxy, isn't the original sin creative imagination? Is this not Wisdom's broken crown weeping at our feet? Once an Episcopal Bishop confessed to me: it doesn't matter if it's true, the order comforts people.  Yes, I replied, but without the animating spirit, the life force herself, the Shekinah, God's presence on earth, the church will die.  

Tradition says change is not good.  Family members and friends often prefer we change back lest we outgrow things they have given up on, and who are we to be better than someone else or suffer any less?  Change somehow singles you out as a magician for the true magic of life is growth and the spiral of energy that keeps consciousness expanding and learning from old mistakes that we might turn humanity's sin into gold.  The ways to work this are known, but they are not renown.  They have been hidden for an age.  But we are remembering.

I am a shapeshifter and that makes people, including myself, uncomfortable.  I bear 10,000 faces of the lost Goddess, this includes the weird ones that make your tummy hurt and your heart race.

I feel into the subtle realms and I can tune in with the codes in the air. Unconscious shadow material arises and I hold the mirror.  I can become your missing parts so that you may find yourself again.  I can become a garbage can so you feel better having loosed your shadows upon me.  I can become your wildest fantasy, I can embody the sexual energies of tantric priestesses of old who used to heal men after war. I can be your worst nightmare for I am not really any of these things and by our participation mystic, I am also all of them if we so choose.  For I am eternal divine essence and so are you.  This is why the angels always remind us: do not fear.  Because it is too easy to forget that we are playing and become trapped in our worst 3D nightmares. 

But my body does quake at times with fear.  I try to hide this from others very well.  I come across as aloof, stuck up, spacey, pushy, controlling.  Sometimes I tremble and shake as if the ancient wounds happened today, as if I can feel into the wounds that open like screaming mouths and so hungry for healing.  The PSTD care is ongoing.  This is why I do what I do.  Relaxing and feeling safe in the body that has known violation takes a lot of practice.  It takes a lot of gentleness and embodiment to sneak past the fiery gates of inviolable rage.  It takes a lot of strength to swim in the deep sorrow beyond the fire and let it rebirth you.  

I weep because the earth weeps.  Because Mary weeps.  Because Jesus wept.  I weep for all those who are now unable to weep because they've lost access to their tender hearts.  I weep because the prophets are still killed for the profits of a few and the demise of many.  I weep because there is so much broken that I cannot mend.  So much hurt that I cannot make go away.  For what we do to another we do to Christ, we do to the divine, we do to our very selves.  And our bodies are wounded and traumatized.  The human family is a little jittery, a little schizo, and when I feel into that, sometimes I am too.    

Saying goodbye to my children for four weeks every summer hasn't gotten easier over time. Never mind that on Thursday I was counting down the minutes until I would get a break from an intense period of transitioning as we moved in with other people that--let's face it--all of us have some fears and reservations about.  Nobody wants to repeat old traumas.  We all want to know we have learned our lessons and have moved on--but we can only learn together as we learn from our repeated mistakes.  And we need each other to make good mirrors for one another.  If our horns and tail are showing, someone will definitely point it out.

Have you ever lived with someone who refuses to see their shadow?  Have you ever experienced that feeling when you are the epitome of pure evil because the other person is so out of touch with their tender spaces?  

I reminded myself that people tend to regress in transitions, and then we make leaps in growth.  The past few weeks we were all regressing, short tempered, anxiety-filled, yet trying our very best to do life in a whole new way.  The challenge of leveling up and undoing the years of pain that threatened to cocoon us into a breathless space marked by the traumas of time, bound by ancestral sin and unconsciousness. Some days seems insurmountable.  But we press on.  

"We only fail when we give up," Grant reminds me. "I'm not giving up," he says.  Me either, I say, but sometimes I just want to give up for an hour and cry in the backyard.    

I cry because I am a terrible mother. I ground my children from video games and I insist that we treat everyone with dignity and respect. They argue that people deserve what's coming to them.  They try to solve violence with more violence. I can't keep up with all their toys; sometimes they get lost at my house.  I am a terrible mother, just ask my kids. Just ask my ex.

Some days, on my worst days, I wonder how I was able to manipulate the court system so well into believing that I am actually worthy of raising my own children. Why didn't they believe all the stuff my ex said about me? Some days, on my worst days, I listen with dread as the things that were said in court and written down into public record replay throughout my mind and draw me deeper into shame and lack of self-trust.  "Everyone lies," a clergy woman once told me. "It's how we play the game to survive."

It's a long history to shake off.  This week as a trauma anniversary rolled around those energies came at me full force again.  This has been my crucible for many years, my secret shame, that I have been treated with such disdain and disrespect on a regular basis in my own home.  Some new age philosophies tell me that it is ultimately my responsibility: that I invite it, that I agree to it--at some level--even unconsciously and so the energy continues to be attracted into my life.  One mentor pointed out: it's like I have "abuse me" written into my auric field.  I don't know if it's all my fault or if this is just what people are trained to do to love when faced with primal fears of survival: they kill it.  

Jesus showed me how love was sometimes an undignified sort of surrender, a turning of the other cheek and praying for those who hurt you.  It's also a scary bit too close to Stockholm syndrome.  

I am worried about our boys and the accumulation of so much trauma done to men in war and throughout time. So much shame that is shifted around and hidden behind silent heroic feats.  So much weeping left undone for the wounds of our most tender human aspects.  So much energy cut off from the heart center, where warriors of love were transformed into soldiers of war, wearing such heavy armor over their tender love, so they could be good obedient sons, committing atrocities for a manufactured ideal of honor.

Women's studies classes at college helped me wake up to my own participation in hating my feminine essence.  I'm still working on mending our Christian theological history and how it cut out the divine feminine and how these wounds flow through our human family still. 

A few weeks ago I walked down my apartment stairs with "the stern mom-look" because I heard my two children screaming and playing too loudly in our thin-walled halls.  My youngest took one look at me--knew he was busted--and proceeded to run straight into the corner of the wall giving him a fast swelling shiner.

Once he was feeling better both he and his sister decided that it was my fault he ran into the corner because of how I looked at him.  They decided that I "made" him do it.  I suddenly felt the echo of those witch trials where young girls accused witches and wizards of making them do things like roll their eyes or pass out in court.  People fear I have some magic power to do them harm--or heal them. It's up to them I guess, what they want to bring to the field.  It's like waking up to the Matrix that we're all living our own realities and creating so much on the screens in front of us, through the logs in our own eyes, through our projections of evil onto one another, that we're all walking around in a panic--or a kind of dissociated madness.

No matter what happens, we must not lose connection with our hearts, for the light that flows through us here, connects us all to divine love.  We are one family.  One body.  May we love one another.  May we be whole again.    

As a little girl I hungered for safe space to recover from sexual abuse and the anger that erupted in our home and in my private inner world. I too was a part of the problem.  In fact, maybe I was the whole problem; I wondered for years if people like me didn't exist, then the world would be a better place.  All that externalizing our worst fears really causes a big mess. Then we have to turn around and make peace with the wake of illusions we bought for truth. 

Just before my youngest left on this long vacation with his dad he said to me, "Mom, I wish you were dead." You don't ever want to hear your children say that to you, especially when you remember the way you felt when they were born, when you held these little miracles in your arms.  When you never knew how much love would flood your heart for another creature who depended upon you for everything.  And then you see past the hurtful words into the hurt emanating from their heart that is working so hard to shield itself from deep pain that is unable to be integrated. And so it is projected, and you hold it tenderly as a mother does, those fragile things.  

I think in a past life I was a sin-eater, for I feel into the role of someone in a community who is agrees to take on the sins of the dying in order to help their soul pass onto to a better realm in the afterlife.  Isn't this sort of work a minister, a priest, and a shaman does? Often times the sin eater was a person was of lowly stature and often homeless or living in poverty--an outcast--such as became the Shaman Medicine Women and the witches (who were midwives and healers) to Western medical culture.  

In family systems theory this role is played by the black sheep or the scapegoat.  In Christianity this is the role Jesus plays, which gets really confusing for a young girl who wants to do good.  I remember when it dawned on me: the soul never dies or sacrifices itself--it is only the illusions that shield the truth of the eternal soul which fall away.  In the Tarot deck the Emperor reigns over the crucified reality as an archetype of the Prince of Peace.  His crucifixion involves protecting the energies of the Empress (Being) and Priestess (Wisdom) and Magic (divine co-creative play).  True surrender is for love and protection of the vulnerable.  True surrender does no harm to the vulnerable, in divine cosmic law.  But sometimes we confuse the archetype of the crucified Emperor, the good son, as one who is simple dead inside with no animating feminine life giving spirit, because that has been sacrificed instead to a lesser god presently ruling this world with trauma.  

I feel into the experience of being burned at the stake in the public square.  I seem to remember gazing at faces who both love and hate you.  I remember into the way the body feels, how the womb constricts and the heart bursts into flames, when a woman was put on trial by theologians who feared her magically feminine ways of being. I feel into the safety given to "good Christian men" who didn't know what to do with their deepest fears and darkest fantasies, but to project them outward, to externalize them upon certain women who fit the bill--not to ultimately be condemned as evil themselves--as some feminists have confused--but ultimately to help men become more conscious of themselves, to grow in love towards all parts of self, so we can grow in consciousness. 

I am remembering that I came here to work on this issue in my lifetime. It's this soul contract that set me up in a way--to choose to be born into this Norwegian Lutheran lineage, to experience the shadow of the "good sons," that we might remember also remember the "good daughters" and the Goddess, and heal the wounded feminine, and Medusa's madness, and the wounded masculine, and restore Poseidon's passions.  

With all these strange energies in my field, in my cellular memories, in my agreements made before I was born, I am remembering that I agreed to carry the archetypal projections of the whore and the holy woman in this lifetime in order to resurrect the body of the Goddess and activate her divine feminine energy for humanity's ascension, for as she rises, so do we.  

I am remembering that I agreed to initiate people into the underworld because these are the resurrection mysteries known by Mary Magdalene, Isis and the Great Goddess of old; these are stored in all of our DNA awaiting activation and integration.  The Divine Feminine fell under the sea of unconsciousness, as the Gnostics understood Sophia to fall for an age, for our understanding of all these things.  Now this age is coming to an end. This lifetime is to be different.  What was held in secret will be shouted from the rooftops.  

What I am seeing now is how the human imagination has been hijacked to spin repeating traumas.  How much have we stoic Norwegian Lutheran's been told we can't think about certain things?  See how much fear we have stuffed down deep.  How the energy line between the third and fourth chakra has been severed so that we work with a good crucified son energy, while working ourselves unconscious and disconnected from our body wisdom and our sacred sexuality.  This was never the plan.  We are allowed to dream and to imagine.  So let's stop fearing the worst is about to happen and externalizing evil.  Let us instead see the fragile children behind the evil masks throwing tantrums with compassion.  

I have to remember the big history I was born into to understand why the present day circumstances feel so heavy at times. They are heavy in the human family.  

I often heard Lutheran's rail on Mary.  She was stripped down with lofty theological arguments to affirm her lack of divinity--only Jesus was divine; the rest of us--we were worms--except maybe Bach.

It's easier to perpetuate trauma in the human family when our dignity is lost. When we forget that we are truly royalty at our core, true sons and daughters of the One Most High, made with infinite light that no sin could truly cover our essence--only ignorance, and only for a time.

I dream of lifting up the floorboards to find the house is rotten.  No one wants to look. There are lady bugs everywhere. In the patriarchal mind: Ladies bug me!  The hatred of the feminine essence is strong in the rivers that flow through history to meet me here; loving our most vulnerable parts is the way to recovering human dignity. I must find the keys to unbind these wounds in the world: You can't be that weak in the world.  You need to toughen up.  Stop being so sensitive.  You think too much.  You feel too much. You'll make a mistake in public and your whole life will be ruined!  Hiding away is safer than standing in the light.  Science is more valid than your silly art.  You make me feel uncomfortable.  I want you.  I am repulsed by you. I hate you because you're tall, because you're skinny (or fat). I hate you because you're beautiful (or ugly).  I hate you because you make me feel insecure.  I hate your naivete because it reminds me of my innocence lost. You are a stupid girl because you can't do math.  Beauty is a deceiver since Satan was the most beautiful angel.  You just want attention.  Women are manipulative and not to be trusted.  Men are to be trusted more than women. You are crazy. You are mad.... the list that binds the feminine soul goes on and on and on.  

The primal fear of the weakest link is being abused by the collective, being the scapegoat of what people fear most: vulnerability.  Ultimately the abuse of the child and what is most tender in humanity.  But we know all to well growing up what happens to the kid who appears the weakest to his peers; he get's beat up or raped.  Loving our enemies is hard. But we are not truly one another's enemies.  We are traumatized creatures projecting our deepest fears onto the divine faces which we all have.

To unlock, I must descend.  I must go through.  I can't fight and deny.  I must accept:  I am a terrible mother. I embody the fears. I hold a place for all the things that have been unacceptable which belong to the wholeness and dignity of the human family.  

I lost my shit one day--granted we were sitting in a hot car without air conditioning for a long time and my son began to complain that I needed to give up being a yoga teacher and get a real job and be a more normal mom so I could make real money and we could get out of this apartment that was too small and I could buy him every video game he desired or something like that.  I snapped. I saw red and words flew out of my mouth from the depths of my own private hell.  Words that I reserved only for me on my worst days.  This rage asks for deep tender healing.  So much healing I have to do still.  I wounded my son with my reaction.  And he'll never forget it, and neither will I.  I am a terrible mother. I am a human mother.   

I was reminded how high school kids tend to be jerks to each other in order to lessen the pain of saying goodbye to all they ever know, to act tough as they prepare to adventure into a new unknown world.  I was reminded how anger is often an easier go-to emotion that resides above the deep grief that invites us into the center of black inertia--not to die--but to be reborn.  But we don't show each other our grief very well.  The anger keeps the boundaries around all that is so fragile and wounded.  And I know that I am only a terrible mother because someone else feels so terrible and doesn't feel strong enough to love and integrate their demons yet, so I must hold them for a while.  I must transmute them.  This is what a healer does.

I've been learning to make peace with the terrible mother that I am who is prone to see red.  I'm a Taurus after all.  Saint Paul asked, "How can we hate our very bodies?" And I want to know if the man felt what it was like to be a woman and hold the deep fears of men in her body?  For we are taught how to hate our bodies and buy products to fix what was never was broken for the striving of perfection and freedom from our Mother.  We are sold illusions and fear and war to keep the Prince of Peace at bay.  The Prince of Peace needs the terrible mother, and she needs him, for they are the partners of sacred union, the true kings of earth, submit to and marry the goddess who is earth herself.   

After a rough morning that involved taking her aggression out on the cat, her brother, and her newly cleaned room--my daughter Ela confessed to me in despair: I'm bad, I'll never be good like you...I'm the devil."  For those times I see red, I do have those other times when I open my mouth and I don't know where the words come from.  I've had to undue those taboos that say I can't channel for that is of the devil, and decide that no actually I can for I AM A CHANNEL OF DIVINE LIGHT a living sanctuary.  I say, "Ela--we are both good and evil.  We came here to learn wisdom and the knowledge of good and evil.  We are all devils and angels trying to find our way back home."  

She says she sees angels. She says she sees demons. We carry an ancestral line of sensitive women who've learned to deny what we see and feel and know in order to appease the great fear of the scientific world who overtook the intuitive feminine realms, that force that convinces us that all that is real is what we can see and touch and measure.  Yet I know spooky action at a distance.  I know my feelings are real even when my ex valued his logic over my feelings, even when all his brilliant mind reduced my interior experiences to insignificant madness.  I know there are realms of reality, and I remember the other dimensions from before birth. If that makes me mad, then may my hair turn to snakes.   

I was scared to have children.  I didn't want to be a terrible mother.  But it seems it was my divine destiny.  In the Renaissance feelings carried a higher value than logic.  Feelings and passion could move a crowd much better than logic.  

This long-time dance of opposites continues to spiral through our expanding consciousness as we turn again and try again for integration. 

Intuitive women have been ridiculed, tucked away, silenced, burned at the stake, locked up in looney bins, banned from serving as ministers in the church, banned from the right use of our imaginations, which when graced by divine feminine wisdom, have the power to change the world in the blink of an eye.  We are all magicians.  All weaving illusions.  All invited to co-create a reality together. All remembering how we each belong to something greater than ourselves.

I have been practicing a new relationship with myself as a terrible mother.  This is my shadow work--loving that what I fear with tender compassion.  It's been too easy, to knee jerk to rage on our vulnerabilities.  We were Vikings for godsake.  Don't be a wimp. But being tender and gentle actually takes great strength.  This is why the angels are frightening when they appear.  They know good and evil.  And they restrain themselves with great care so that they abide by the highest laws of love.

 Kali Mandala drawing by my mother.   See our coloring pages .

Kali Mandala drawing by my mother.  See our coloring pages.

The Indian Goddess Kali was also called a terrible mother--and a good mother.  She holds the opposites of these energies together in balance.  She is the Goddess of Terror wielding her knives dripping with blood as she is the demon slayer.  She destroys illusions. It is she who makes the demons tremble.  When she has consumed the demons, she nearly runs mad as she digests and transforms all this energy in her body, as our earthy and cosmic mothers do, it is her lover Shiva that comes and surrenders to her and heals her.  Together they create the sacred marriage and birth the universe anew with their divine sexual union.  And maybe that was the Magdalene's role as well.  Maybe it was she silently standing in the background, adding her divine feminine energy to support Jesus' ministry.  Maybe Jesus died not for the sins of the whole world--but for his own sin (gasp!) of accidentally killing a childhood playmate as he was learning his divinity, as the Gnostic texts reveal.  Maybe we are all here to balance out our personal and family karma, all called to activate our divine-human wisdom and integrate the shadows and the light, to know good and evil, to see it first and foremost in ourselves and all else as an illusion unraveling into deeper mysteries.

I weep because the Goddess weeps.  I love because She first loved me.  I see how much my children love me that they must sever themselves from me with harshness in order to shield themselves from the pain of the loss of my presence.  We have done this for a few years now.  Still our edges are rough.  Thank Goddess her energies are strong even if on some days my humanity is not, for divine love never fails, though it is pressed thin.

I am learning to accept that I am a terrible mother because I know that is the only way I can also be a good mother.  I am integrating the fragmented parts of the divine feminine in my body.  I am the whore and the holy woman.  I am all these things that you see in me, and I am no-thing, for we rise out of the great beginning and we are still divine emerging. 

We created the idea of the terrible mother.  She exists so we can shield ourselves from the great pain of the feeling the loss of our connection to the earth and our most vulnerable aspects of ourselves. If she is demonized, we can stuff away any regret or feelings of neediness for her love.  But She still is among us, sending us love no matter how much we have tried to deny that we need Her.  She who is Terror, She makes all of our demons flee. She helps us to see more clearly the way of love is the way of return to the Garden of Eden.  The love we truly need has been right here all along, no matter how far we as children have strayed.