My editor, the illustrious Judika Illes told me that if I’m not nervous about what I share when I write, then I’m not sharing enough. If this blog (when I actually keep up on it) is supposed to be about living a Magickal life, who am I if I don’t share the harder moments? I’m not a friggin’ guru, I’m sorry to say. I’m a human being who bumbles along and makes lots of mistakes, in life and in Magick, and once in a while I get something right. I can share that right moment as a teaching moment, but what is it if I don’t share the harder stuff, too? I’m not doing you or me any favors.
On Halloween, my husband and I learned we were expecting. We kept it largely a secret, wanting to surprise our families with our good news on Thanksgiving. But a few days before Thanksgiving, we had our first ultrasound. The embryo wasn’t developing as it should and the doctor suspected I would miscarry.
I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. I did something I rarely do. I called my mother and asked for help. She told me it would be okay, no matter the outcome.
I had to hold myself still. There was work to be done, a book to edit, a new podcast to launch. However, I knew my emotions were pretty beat up. I had to ask for help from two of my closest friends, the co-hosts of the podcast. They helped me dub the embryo “The Lazy Baby Who Obviously Has Better Things To Do Than Beat ITS Heart, Obvs,” because sick, sad humor is an excellent coping mechanism.
A week later, we got some encouraging news from the doctor. Things had improved, a bit. Maybe it was just a lazy baby. I swore to ground the kid as soon as it was born for giving me the most stressful week of my life. Husband and I went out for celebratory Thai. A shade of pain had been lifted from my heart.
But the next day, I miscarried.
“50 Hours With a Dark Goddess,” I am calling it.
The pain, the sickness, and the strange, scary things my body produced were a living embodiment of the Death Goddess. She’s a strangely peaceful and comforting presence. Despite the discomfort, it was deeply natural. I felt a connection with the rhythms of the earth that I had never truly experienced before. The Goddess gives, and She takes away what isn’t working. I put my trust in Her, and my body, and didn’t fight the process.
Still, I needed help.
My little sister came over with my niece. Sister brought me cheese, cake, and a sweet card. Niece had a line-up of stuffed animals to hug me. Sister did the dishes and then she and my niece finished decorating my Christmas tree because I couldn’t stand long enough to do it.
One of my Priestesses, who is also a doula, kindly returned every text I sent her, even late in the night, answering all of my questions and even sending me a special healing tea, which I’ve been slurping all week.
I’m the co-dependent big sister. I’m the co-dependent High Priestess. I’m supposed to be the one to fix things. But there I was, gratefully accepting the help, although it was hard. I also quickly found out that I like getting help. Help is nice.
But the Dark Goddess wasn’t done with me, yet. She might have taken me on a ride of the body, but she wasn’t done with my heart.
A few days after losing the baby, I got dragged on a Facebook thread.
Dragging happens. There are people out there who don’t like me, or my work. But most of them decide they like me when we actually meet. The hurt came from two places: 1.) The draggers were former Coveners and at one time, some of my closest friends. 2.) What they said wasn’t actually true.
Look, there are plenty of things to criticize me for. I take on too much and lose my temper when I get stressed. I can be horribly critical. Sometimes, I’m downright mean. I listen to Christmas music nonstop from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day and usually re-watch a movie I’ve seen 17 times rather than see a new one. But I do own up when I make mistakes and do my best to make amends. I would even understand if I were criticized for things I have done, but seeing people lie hurt worse. (Seriously, people. I’ve given you a list of shit to shit on me for. Why waste the energy making shit up???)
Good work, people. If you really wanted to hurt me, you picked the right week to do it.
(Of course, I do accept the ‘How Were We Supposed To Know?’ clause because truly, how were they supposed to know? Doesn’t make the timing suck any less, though.)
I stood up for myself, but I didn’t have to alone. My husband spoke up for me, as did my Doula-Priestess. Other people texted, bought me meals and wine, and talked me through it. I at first felt guilty accepting the help, but I knew I needed it.
We are not solitary animals. Humans are pack-animals. We need one another.
The beauty of accepting help is that it makes us better to help one another. I’m en route home from an incredible gathering where I was supporting Black Queer and Trans women and femmes who are engaged in social justice work. These womxn spend their lives on the front lines of change, often risking their own lives in the process. It was a time for them to simply be together and be loved. My job was to make sure they had comfortable hotel rooms, good food, and anything else they needed.
Had I not accepted the love and help of others, I could not love and help these womxn in the way they deserved.
And they did deserve. I had something to do with that. But even more so, the people who lifted me up were also lifting them up.
The Dark Goddess takes away. That’s Her job. It hurts, but I also believe the Dark Goddess is ready with a healing balm in the form of friends, family, lovers, partners, food, and kindness. It’s not just a comfy thing to accept it. In a way, it’s our duty to accept it. It won’t be long before we will have to support someone else. We can’t do that fully if we ourselves are not full.
When the Dark Goddess visits you, when She takes something away, when it’s painful, keep those eyes open for the balms that follow. Take them. They’re good for you. Ultimately, they will be good for others, too.