Earlier . . .

There was so much I wanted in my life, and I wanted it so urgently, that I put myself on a kind of fast track. In November of that year, I went to Memphis, Tennessee to attend a second [Shadow Work] workshop—this time as a full participant. Three months later I went to a women's retreat called the Woman Within Initiation and, with other women who had attended, became part of a women’s group that met weekly. . . .

Excerpt from Chapter 9, "Finding Support"

I attended the Woman Within Initiation in February, 1996, seeking to build a support network of women friends. I knew I had a lot of work before me and I wanted help getting through the dark nights of the soul I knew lay ahead. I had been having nights like that for years and no longer wanted to spend them thinking about suicide.
      I knew that, as an initiation weekend, Woman Within was structured quite differently from the workshops I had attended thus far. But I knew from a friend who had gone through it herself that I would have an opportunity to draw out a scene from my inner play and take action to change it.
      My inner play looked like a birthing room, with my infant self struggling to be born from the womb of the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine. Through an opening in the circle of women, I crawled on my belly as the group urged me on. On through the birth channel, formed by the stomachs of women on their hands and knees, I struggled into the open and into the welcoming arms of a woman playing the role of midwife.
      As I lay resting, looking into the faces of the women surrounding me, I heard a female voice say, “You are not alone." The voice came not from anyone in the room but from somewhere inside me, yet it was as audible as if it had been spoken aloud. It frightened me. I tried not to think about what it meant. I was still an atheist, and I had no way to explain it. In the months that followed, I tried to push away the memory of hearing that inexplicable voice.
      Not until a year later was I ready to admit to myself whose voice I had heard. It was on a dark day when despair had taken over. As I lit a candle and set it next to me, I felt a presence, as of a woman with strong, loving arms. I knew that her voice was the one I had heard, and that she was Divine. She was letting me know that I was not now, and never had been, alone.
      Like my father, who [while fighting in the South Pacific] had visualized drinking milk from a bathtub suspended from the ceiling, I longed to believe in something greater than myself and to be nurtured body and soul by it. When I allowed myself to acknowledge that longing, and the possibility of that longing being met, I began turning away from atheism. My Sovereign portal to a life of spirituality had opened just a crack.

 

Copyright © 2007-2012 Alyce Barry. All rights reserved.