Retracing Your/My Origin Story — Revelations Part Two

ARE YOU CALLED TO INITIATION? Where are you on your journey? You can write in the comments.

Remember: A woman’s initiation begins with the poor bargain she made long ago while still in unconscious slumber. By choosing whatever appealed to her as riches, she surrendered in return, dominion over some and often every part of her passionate, creative, and instinctive life.

“When we recognize our spiritual daughterhood, allegiance to patriarchal ranking structures, we have some excavation to do. We trace our journey to our roots to uncover the pearls of wisdom that are ours to reclaim and birth anew.”

As I retrace my Origin Story I invite you to do the same. You will see as we unpack the five stages of initiation in the Tale of the Handless Maiden how essential it is that we complete each stage. You will see. We are not there yet. Many initiations require endurance and take years to complete. It is not about age or time. It’s about learning to see when and where we forfeit or abandon ourselves for something other; we give ourselves away or we had something taken from us.

Take any part of your life story and let it cycle through the Heroine’s Journey: 

  1. The ordinary world: What is your world like at the beginning of your origin story?
  2. Call to Adventure: What happens to prompt you to take a step into the adventure?
  3. Refusal of the Call: Do you refuse to you? if so, why?
  4. Meeting with the mentor or guide: Who helps you gain wisdom?
  5. Crossing the first threshold: When do you cross the point of no return in the story?
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies: How do other characters affect you?
  7. Approach; Dharma; Practice: Do you try and fail? How so? What do you do when you fail?
  8. Ordeal: What happens when the story reaches a life or death point?
  9. 9. Reward: What do you receive as a reward?
  10. The Road Back: How do you attempt to return to your normal life?
  11. The Resurrection of you: What is the final test?
  12. Return with the Elixir: What knowledge, wisdom, lived experience do you bring back with you?

The Before: I continue with my origin story as The Protectress. In writing this I reclaim a very valuable aspect of myself that fortifies healthy boundaries and discrimination. I’ve facilitated enough healing retreats to understand the universal human themes in our stories. Let yourself write or speak your story. In naming, shaming dissolves, healing happens and you reclaim your gifts. Have fun with this. I did.

Early on I learn to play the role of protectress, similar to a passionate peacemaker. Born with a seventh sense, instinctively I knew where to be, to hear all sides of a dynamic, and to use my voice as an elixir to soften recurrent jolts. I practice this often. On one particularly sunny afternoon my mother, our queen bee decides to leave the Catholic Church and divorce my father. I knew removing my bamboozled father from the house would not be easy. As an essential worker bee, I am there to defend the nest and perform the tasks of survival.

From the upper landing of our staircase, I hear a rumble break out in the living room below. I descend not anticipating I will need to protect my inebriated father from my fed-up mother. She has him pinned to the ground, devotedly bashing his head with the base of a wooden candy dish. I see a stream of blood dripping from his forehead. No further assessment is needed. I call time out, pull her off, and fetch our first aid kit. When I return, my dad is up, charging at her like a bloody bull. That’s when I take out my sword and roar STOP! Enough of this malarkey.

Reliably, I untangle them. My dad clearly needs stitches. My mom mercifully asks me to drive him across town to the hospital. My four older licensed siblings are not at home. I load him into our station wagon, ignite the engine, take the steering wheel with my left hand, right hand with a cold clothe pressed against his wound, and speed on like an ambulance. After my dad is stitched up nicely, we head home. When we arrive at Main and Chestnut Streets, he tells me to pull into his favorite pub for a reward. I remind Dad that I am his middle child, not yet fourteen. It was not unusual for my dad to forget our names and ages.

My job was to keep a sober watch. Curiously, I felt something integral to my nature present to show up right in the nick of time, to call 911, bail a brother out of jail, or to feed my hungry siblings. Like an untaught talent that stretched itself out to mend pieces together for a feeling of stability. I looked after people. I also sensed something much larger than myself looking after me. Something sacred, wild, quiet, and awake, instinctively guiding me through dark and challenging times. I longed to abide in this sacred solace, like my grandmother who awoke at sunrise all the days of her life to pray the rosary and receive the sacrament of holy communion.

When I turn fourteen, the family purse is nearly empty. I had a job at a home for the elderly but it did not produce enough funds to procure my private education with the Oblates of St. Francis. I had a notion to cook for the priests in exchange for my tuition. My proposal was accepted with unforeseen benefits and calamities. In keeping with the holy orders of the catholic church, my seven-year-old wish to stand at the right side of the priest as an altar boy is denied. I make up for this on my weekly cooking days when the priests are out visiting the needy or sick and dying. I have full access to their consecrated attires. I fervently create a bathroom ritual. I identify the smallest vestment in the cloakroom, snatch it, lock the bathroom door and scrupulously progress to perform secret rites of passage. I am aiming for ascension with the prayers I’d carefully memorized in the house of the fathers.

My rituals came to an abrupt halt about a year later when an endorsed employee, the football coach offers to drive me home. It was a damp rainy day and my bus was late. He opened the back door to his black Sudan. I followed his kind voice and climbed in. On that day, I discovered the danger of gullibility. The sword I used to protect others did not extend to me. Raping me was not enough. This ugly burly beast whispered atrocities in my ear that no one ought ever to hear and almost never forgets.

From that day I live with a disturbing sense of being peripheral to my own life. Straightaway, I cloak myself in lies. An insidious disappearing agent crept into the inner chambers of my being. I dim my inner spark with numbing fuels of alcohol, sex, drugs, and external feats of compensation. Shame-based behavior perniciously suppresses the parts of me that shined with value, valor, and dignity. I would not share my dark secrets until seven years later when Lisa, my college roommate shakes me awake and tells me, “Your behavior is not normal. I know someone who can help you.” Like a cherishing mother, Lisa sobers me up to take the four-hour bus journey to Manhattan to meet an oracle named RW. Eventually, I make my way to a well-lit room reserved for my one-hour session. I am told I can record the session as a reference for the work that will follow.

RW began with a short prayer to the ancient seers of souls. Subsequently, he/she asks me, “What is your first question?” Clumsily, I say, “Why am I here? What is my soul purpose?” I felt a tender piercing melting my fright. Then my voice unsealed itself, “I want what I was made of returned to me.” Some moments pass before RW says, “your soul purpose is far from consciousness. There is great work to be done.” This was no surprise. RW continued to unveil in no uncertain terms the lies sketched in my psyche and the soul initiations before me. Bamboozled by the exacting details of my prior life, I tipped off my chair. Just before the hour ends, upon recovering myself to the chair, RW tells me, “Many will join you in this work, including your children. Eunice will be your guide.”

On my way back to the grand central station I toss my recorded life into a trash bin. “Impossible. Oracles. Soul Purpose. Ancient Feminine Wisdom. Children…” I mutter out loud as I bolt in search of a beer. It isn’t but a few blocks when I retrace my steps and retrieve the cassette. As wild as it sounded. I urgently need and want this guidance.

The following week my initiation into ancient feminine wisdom begins with Eunice. Eunice was well-known for her reputation as Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist, and spiritual guide. She reminded me of my mother’s mother, nanna O. She is an older woman with snowy white hair, eyes that glisten, and a no-nonsense demeanor. She embraced me like a daughter. She listened, soothed, and protected. She is a sturdy guide that cleverly fostered independence by never letting me leave her cave-shaped room without an assignment.

To Be Continued… Let’s hear how far you’ve come so far and how your story fits into the phases of the heroine’s journey. No conclusions, judgments, or expectations. What we hear can heal. You are doing this for yourself, to reclaim all of yourself. Let’s keep going…

Check back I will post again.