by Tau Tara
We are the grand daughters of the great mothers whose stories they destroyed.
But little did they know, that the grandmothers would one day return
As the very voices of the grand daughters who will not know the stories, but will still feel the pain
And know, simply know that they need to free these ancient voices to their home.
That time is now.
And we all have waited for a long time to meet here.
Us grandmothers and granddaughters.”
The biggest love-hate relationship I have in my life is with my motherland.
There is a part of me that holds such deep connection to this land.
Land as in where I know I once had my feet dig into earth like the roots of a young tree.
Land from a time when I did not feel excluded as a species.
Land where the sun touched my body bare, and I felt no shame to share it’s heat with another.
Land where the rains streamed into where my earth contained pools of life,
Land, fecund land.
Land as I knew through an invisible thread of blood connection, my body as my mother’s body, and her mother’s body, and her mother’s and right back to where it all began to the Great Mother’s body, the Earth.
And then is another part of me, that has experienced such harsh severance from it too.
So that as I grew up, people talked about how the land needed to be tamed, dug into, used, ploughed, turned into gold.
With promises for a better, richer, grander life.
And I’m afraid I might have believed them for a while.
And that’s how forest spirits who protected the trees turned into evil seductresses overnight.
Yakshi – image source
They were called Yakshis.
How powerful enlightened feminine beings who transformed consciousness with body and blood sacred, turned dark and dangerous.
They were called Dakinis.
How the timeless, primal, dark essence, that most powerful initiator of life and soul turned into a fearsome goddess,
Belief in the existence of the Earth spirit was laughed at as stupidity of the naive natives.
Miracle became myth.
Magic turned black.
Knowledge of the body suppressed in women and handed over to the scholarly, the ascetic, and the learned
Who then took possession of the knowledge and hardened it into tradition.
And earth and women became property
And medicine became trade.
Wisdom of the grandmothers got skewed, and banned from participating in what became strict masculine traditions, the practices degenerated into sickly superstitions.
And women disconnected from the blood, the thread, the earth. And ran far far away into better, acceptable pursuits, ones that received sanction from their culture and protection for their bodies and babies.
Some agreed to stay educated, yet unknowing, with a life full of comfort and choices but all of which came with soul sacrifices.
Others remained uneducated, without any life choices.
Pain numbed, life force weakened, desires deadened, suppressed pain growing as tumors, fibroids, cysts in the body after years,
Only to be advised to cut off the body parts to remove the pain.
Because everyone else but us women knew all about our bodies and souls, and told us what to do with them. Lie down neatly on cold beds and noiselessly, without fuss and mess, make and birth beautiful babies.
Caught between these many worlds and not really knowing why, I fled my motherland.
For many years I remained dead to this place. I held my blood red heart and numbed it with all the mundane important things I could find.
As of late it has begun to change. I’m sensing the rise of yet another part in me that longs and yearns to reconnect again. But this longing and reconnecting is not going to be easy.
It cannot be done with recounting nostalgic stories about childhood times spent climbing mango trees and sharing at lunch the recipe of hot avial or romancing the rains.
Nor can it be bypassed with messages of love and light as I’m often advised.
So don’t you dare!
Because this longing is a deeper ache, that is rising from the molten souls of the Great Mothers whom I haven’t seen.
I’m not well informed from reading the histories of my land and people.
For they have stories and not histories and those stories haven’t been written about.
This longing is far more dangerous.
It rises from the friction and confusion that sets free into disturbed psyches, ancient archetypes.
And I’m informed by such volatile beings – the tree spirits, the Yakshis, the Dakinis, and Kali.
For this, this is not research, it is not my thesis.
This is neurosis, of entire families that have been disconnected from their Great Mother, She who was the first model of them, and from whom came all of them bearing Her imprint, Her beauty, Her love, Her wisdom.
The hurt of the grandchild who would be born generations later to find her grandmothers – one tender, the other wise, both wounded, turn mad.
It is the longing of a baby who grew terrified in the belly of a beautiful mother too scared to love her child safely into the world.
For freedom, soul force, love, beauty, ecstatic states of joy and wonder, these were traits that could get you killed, or worse, raped, tortured, abused, impaled, cast out, demonized, stigmatized, disregarded, invalidated, even as you stood breathing in front of their eyes.
Because you see what I suffer from cannot be categorized under a label – trauma, depression, abuse…
There is no translation in this foreign tongue I have adapted to, that can convey the eerie meaning and consequences of ‘maathru hathya’, the murder of one’s mother.
Some texts say the sage who founded my homeland did so. He killed his own mother. And raised my homeland from the sea.
And of course there were ample justifications given for why he did so. There always is. Disconnection affects men just as it does women. Sometimes more. It hurts us all.
The Great Mother had creation stories.
But generations of Her children grew up with a single history of destruction.
I am scared of visiting my motherless land, where Her form remains, but Her essence is gone.
And years later here I stand, the daughter of a long line of women, bearing not only their beauty and wisdom, but also their neurosis and the darkness.
I fear coming back to this land, from whose lap as I lay suckling, I fed on the fear of my mother, and her mother, and her mother’s mother.
I come from a generation of women who were breastfed on the fear and pain from knowing the story of how the timeless Great Mother was dragged away one day from her home, the ocean, the mountains, the deserts, the forests…
…and She came back torn apart in body, blank eyes that never blinked, and a voice that never be heard again.
Her fecund earth broken, her roots pulled out, her sacred lips swollen, her cries muffled with tight fists, her waters poisoned, her life force ebbing.
And they said she was mad, a crazy hag. Unholy, impure, vulgar, sinful. Dirty, dangerous, demonic, evil.
Isolate her if she complies. Teach her a lesson if she rebels. Stone her to death if she resists.
I do not suffer from an ailment.
What I carry, and it’s not a burden, is the rage, the cry, the howl, the tears, the roar,
the spit of dark curses, the flow of mad verses,
the red of wrathful eyes, the stomp of well trodden feet,
the whirl of body, the clunk of stone and metal talismans and jewelry,
the full of exposed breasts that bounces without shame,
the unfurl of wild black curls that calls out spirit names,
the courage of all the women before me who were insulted, muted, stripped
off their truth, their power, their voice, their love
and forced, manipulated, tricked,
to become disconnected, disembodied, disempowered in order to live.
My love-hate storm and rage relationship with my land, my body, my soul, cannot heal any other way but through the stories I need to speak through the splendid betel leaf red mouths of my grand mothers.
So watch me,
As I free my voice to sing their rapturous songs
As I spin verses fearlessly out of their madness.
As I howl ecstatic in their pain.
As I stomp my feet and let it rain.
As I let myself go meet their demons.
Right back to the first demon who was ever created in the psyche of the first grandmother when she bore shame and pain.
To go to where she lies bleeding as a neglected crack in the earth, and wear her sacred robes and fill the emptiness she occupies
To lift her body in my arms, and lay her on my lap
And tenderly kiss her wrinkly parts.
And to rise up, not in anger, not reeking of revenge,
But with all of the passion and love that they could not flow from their breasts,
I will pick up no weapons, and shed no blood.
But you will see blood,
My sacred moon blood,
As a bursting full red moon on my forehead.
Because this is how it is done
Not through spewing soft love and light
Not by telling each other that the past is past and to let it go.
Because how do you drop a story you don’t know?
How do you let go of pain if you don’t know it?
How do you release a past if you don’t know it exists?
So don’t you dare come stand in my way
Asking me once again to shut my expression, to be a nice girl, a good woman
And if I have to go to God’s country, I will come whole and full
Not as a passport sized photograph, my lower body cut
My womb, my blood, its wisdom, its memories denied, as has been done before, no.
This is rage and madness
And my story is not finished
I have walked to my undead Great Mother, and
Her spirit from their history
And released Her fully into Her story
If this essay resonates with you, please join our WITCH email list by using the forms on this website so we can stay in touch.
About the Author:
Tau Tara is a young budding witch, engaged with the healing process and learning about her witchy gifts which she is still discovering through the power of plants, sounds, body wisdom and soul connection. Tau is spring born on Indian soil, chirpy in the sun, but sharing a special relationship with violent storms. She loves digging up ancient secrets from the buried past, and buried truths from primal spaces. You can find and follow her adventures on Instagram.
featured image source