by Demelza Hillier
This year I have been gently piecing back together my spiritual practice winter of hibernating.
Well, after a winter of rage against the divine. Abandonment by my Goddess. A dark night of the soul. Being outrageously grumpy and pissed off.
Spirituality has always been really important to me. A couple of years ago, I initiated as a Sister of Avalon and I wanted something to remind myself every day that I was in a relationship with the Divine. I wanted a wedding ring to signify it.
So I bought myself a beautiful brass crescent moon ring on a silver band.
To make sure the crescent moon points didn’t catch on sweaters too much I wore it with my grandmother’s gold ring, which my mum gave me when I was 18. I liked the combination of my spiritual commitment and my mother line – it made sense to me, being a big ol’ goddess hippy.
My ring symbolises my commitment to Spirituality, Priestesshood and the Goddess. My whole life has been a process of uncovering my devout mystic nature, layer by layer, piece by piece. It keeps me sane, it makes me, me.
However, last winter spiritually sucked. SUCKED.
After a really challenging and frustrating year, spirituality just felt pointless. It felt empty. It felt like the cause of so much sorrow. I felt alone and furious after a year of intense spiritual heartbreak.
A lot of really intense stuff went down in 2015 that really had me questioning my commitment to my Goddess and sent me spiraling into spiritual depression.
The biggest thing was that I quit a spiritual priestess training I had been passionately dreaming of doing for my entire adult life.
And by quit I don’t mean quitting in a polite, mild-mannered English “Oh I am so sorry I think I must leave now” kinda way. Nope.
I mean quitting in a fiery, betrayed-feeling, ugly-crying, world-falling-apart, wholly-and-completely-disillusioned-and-heartbroken kinda way.
Have you ever had a dream that you held so tightly, something that you had smouldered for and wished after endlessly, something that held a mythic quality of importance in your life? Something that scared you and thrilled you in equal measure, something that you felt was your life’s dream and purpose, something you could barely imagine ever happening to you?
Have you ever been brave enough to reach out and take your dream, saved for it, reorganised your life for it, finally given yourself permission to be brave and claim it…
…only to find the reality so far from what you dreamed, so disappointing and empty, that you were left broken and shattered beyond hope?
Yup. That was me.
Coming to understand that leaving the priestess training was the best thing to do was a huge shock to me.
I think whenever the manifestation of a heartfelt dream is cataclysmically disappointing it hits you with an almost out-of-proportion tide of emotions and grief, whether your dream was spiritual training in a particular tradition you loved, or going to circus school, or spending a summer in Paris.
Sometimes people around you just don’t quite understand why you are so freaking messed up by it.
Sometimes YOU don’t understand why you are so messed up by it.
Leaving the training really affected me on a deep deep level – it had taken so much courage and bravery to claim my dream and then start the training, having it fall apart so awfully was too much for me to take.
Every time I tried to sit down to do my spiritual practice and meditating I was just overwhelmed with misery.
I felt I couldn’t continue using the tradition I loved because it brought back memories of the upset and disappointment.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I couldn’t help feeling that my dream had crumbled around me.
I couldn’t help feeling furious and sad about how shit went down.
I just couldn’t get past the anger, the shame and the heartbreak.
And dude, I tried. I tried SO hard to get past it.
I wrote it out. Burned unsent letters. Tried white-light new-aging the crap out of it, tried giving it up to God, tried crying in the dark, screaming into pillows, rationalising it away, “empowering” myself to move on, saying “fuck it” endlessly. Nothing worked.
I was still sad. The feeling was still there.
I would lie awake at night thinking, is something that brings so much pain and upset and frustration really freakin’ worth it? Isn’t spirituality meant to make life better rather than more awful?
Sometime last November I was in the bathroom thinking about all this and washing my face. I accidentally caught the points of my crescent moon ring on my eyebrow and ripped through the flesh. Blood trickled down my eyes.
RAGH! It was just one shitty thing too many. I took it as a sign. With my fresh cut prickling and smeared blood over my forehead, I took the ring off and left it resentfully on my altar.
I was done.
No more spiritual anything for me. I was taking time off.
No priestess research.
No daily practice.
No reading spiritual books.
No talking to Goddess whatsoever. I was too pissed at Her.
She could fuck right off. I was out.
I spent two months with no expectation, no trying to connect spiritually to Goddess, no revisiting things that reminded me of my sadness.
Instead I did a lot of journalling and ended up casually joining Carolyn Elliott’s shadow work course Influence and had fun remembering my witchy roots.
After some time, I realised that some powerful experiences and feelings just have to be felt through and experienced.
You can’t explain these experiences away, rationalise them out, or try to be all “spiritual” and take the new-age high road about it. I know. I tried. It just doesn’t work.
All this emotional energy and pain HAS to be witnessed and embraced before it can be processed.
You can’t bypass big feelings.
You can’t lock them away or ignore them, because they leak out.
It’s as if, FINALLY, Brad Pitt got his act together and realised he was in love with you, you spend days and nights fucking and sharing in-jokes and talking romantic mush about the future. Then six months in he just walks out on you at your luxury mini-break to Barcelona saying “Ciao, babe, I’m out, just soo not interested, I’ve been shagging the nanny the whole time anyway.”
Instead of letting yourself drown your sorrows in 6 hour baths, swigging champagne and fois de gras charged to his card and wandering tear-streaked around the streets shouting abuse at happy couples, you stuff it all down, pretend you are totally okay with it and wonder why you cry at the slightest thing and snap at all your friends and feel like crap all the time.
Big emotional happenings have big emotional results.
Without feeling that pain, honouring that anger, it blocks the flow. You can’t grow into understanding and wisdom without letting that cycle of pain and anger run it’s course.
And sometimes, feeling pain and anger means that you act like a bit of a dick. I did. We tend not to be trained how to handle pain and anger – all you can do is the best with what you got.
In my story, with time and lots of tears, the heartbreak dulled, the anger faded, understanding blossomed.
And then, a long while later, I was dusting and rearranging my neglected altar and I thought, It’s time. I’m ready.
And I put my Moon Ring back on.
Symbols are powerful. When something physical acts as a potent symbol for something important, what you do with it really does makes a difference.
My Moon Ring is a symbol of my commitment to spirituality and the feminine divine, a symbol of my commitment to train as a Priestess.
Taking it off left a big impression on my wild symbolic non-linear unconscious. Putting it back on made an even bigger impression.
I began to hear the whispers of the Goddess again.
I saw magic and beauty in the world.
I noticed synchronicity, the tiny nudges and gifts that the universe gives us when we are awake to see them.
The world has slowly come alive again.
I can see now that what I went through and how I dealt with it changed me for the better. It taught me important things I needed to know, gave me more compassion, and made me wiser.
In fact, that huge explosion, that horrific sacrifice of my dreams, that summertime nervous breakdown, was essential to my growth and path on my training as a Priestess. I had to make a mess to be able to grow and change. I know that now. I see that.
But, I had to have that shitty winter, to sink into those betrayed feelings and sunken truths to be able to see that.
I couldn’t skip it. I couldn’t come up to this river of shitty feels and then just teleport over it.
That’s not how life works. It’s not how Spirit works. It’s not how feelings work.
I had to wade through it, even though the current tried to drown me.
Even though I wanted to teleport over it so much because the disappointment hurt so very badly.
It’s shitty, but it’s a part of the process.
I had to fully experience that stuff to transmute it.
I had to learn to experience and honour my anger to become compassionate.
I had to learn to listen to myself and my feelings to grow. To give myself permission to feel those hot, wounded feelings.
I can’t gain compassion and wisdom through trying to be “spiritual”.
I can’t learn and grow through trying to be perfect.
I can only get that stuff by fully experiencing what comes up in my life.
It’s OK to be angry sometimes. To feel like shit. To feel hopeless sometimes. To be furious at God and the whole world for being so fucking awful.
In fact, sometimes, it’s an essential part of the process.
You can’t get to the other side by ignoring that shit. Even though it doesn’t feel that way, the darkness and frustration is sacred too.
Life isn’t all angels and unicorns and positivity, you know.
Sometimes you need to tell God to Fuck Off.
Just know that when you are ready, She’ll be back.
About the Author:
Demelza Hillier is a Mermaid Priestess, an Artist, a Dancer, a Professional Mermaid and a lover of peanut butter. She teaches peeps about Goddess, writes fab e-courses about connecting with your bad-ass mermaid spirit, and teaches dance internationally. Additionally she loves playing the Ukulele, expensive breakfast cereal, all the animals and… Gary Oldman as Dracula. Sssssh. You can learn more about her work and get mo’ mermaid freebies at her website Rockstar Priestess, pop on over and say Hi on Facebook or join our mermaid coven at the Mermaid Sisterhood.
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