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Taking the Red Pill & Living Ceremonially

I set out toward the river, to peer down from the look out point to where the salmon jump up the tiered stream. The salmon weren't running. I just needed more time. I was about to perform a ceremony that was unquestionably needed, but that I didn't want to enact. Just a few more minutes in my fantasy world, I bartered, before committing to the truth of my being. Plus I needed to invoke some wholeness, ask for back up from my ancestors, make an offering, so I could feel the larger web that holds me.

I already knew that you'd better be fully behind whatever ceremony you perform, because what you ask for might mean a whole lot more than you imagined at the time. And this ceremony beat that knowing into me. Not a great advertisement for living ceremonially I suppose, but its hardship is its possibility. If it doesn't have the power to upend your life, it doesn't have the power to transform it either. The more profound the potential, the deeper the danger. I hope to write about all that soon. But all that is to say, I was trembling. Never before had I performed a ceremony that so many of my inner protectors protested against.

I wanted, more than anything, to cling to my romantic fantasy. You see, I had fallen in love, fallen in lust. Holy shit it was everything. The depth! The dance of intellect and myth! The promise of collaboration, experiments. And the sex! I had never experienced pleasure like that, zinging and throbbing. Being profoundly turned on sexually made the whole world come alive with beauty, intoxicating aromas, ecstatic textures and flavors, orgasmic colors, melting music. I wished it on everyone! And I felt deeply connected to my power, my gifts, my genius.

Then the romance ended. Truly before it even began. Heartbroken, devastated, my desperate hope of finally feeling whole, worthy and lovable, crushed. Even in my devastation I wanted it to be that way -- I wanted it to be possible that a man could give me that.

I had little idea at the time that this was my father wound smarting, that I was projecting onto this man what I needed from my dad, plus a lot of repressed eros. Logically it made sense. For God sake, the whole thing started because I attempted to claim back my projection onto him in a ceremony that Animas calls the Heart Warrior Council. (Needless to say, I was not successful). This lead me to read The Eden Project, James Hollis's account of parental projection always and forever accounting for "falling in love", and Richard Schwartz's You Are the One You've Been Waiting For. I listened to my mentor and my therapist tell me repeatedly this was all intrapsychic, and had nothing to do with him. Yet it seemed so much easier, not to mention more romantic, to imagine being rescued by a man than having to unearth all that pain and hold it myself. But I couldn't deny when they pointed out that the amazing sex I was having was actually all in my head or by my own hand or tool. The man was in fact thousands of miles away from me.

I had this dream.

The two of us are in an all white room. There is nothing else in there and we're on the floor. We're looking into each other's eyes. This is the moment. Will we finally make love? We know what it will mean, how serious it is, and say yes. The sex is otherworldly. Then I'm coming to, still in that white room, but alone, and covered in my own cum, wondering, "was he ever here?". Working that dream when I had it, I couldn't push past the love making part. It was too painful to imagine him not mattering.

The easier thing, though still full of anguish I'm sure, would have been to go on believing a man could rescue me from my unworthiness. To grieve my heartbreak, let myself look at his picture, listen to his talks, fantasize about him, and then begin my search for another man who could fill that role. But fuck that patriarchal crap! I wanted to know what was under it all, what was that powerful in my own psyche that I could feel so wild, so loved, and so free. Despite what all my worried wounded parts were saying, I knew beneath my love and lust for him, was my love for me. And I knew to fall in love with me, I needed to meet my pain.

So that was the threshold, the choice point. Do I take the blue pill and go on believing it is about him, whoever he is, feeding my addiction to him, or do I swallow the red pill, and open myself to my own wounding, breaking the spell of the Magical Other fantasy? And it was more than that. It was also the spell of my story that childhood was good, that I was fine, my trauma denial.

The night before was a mess of grief and anxiety as I squeezed in one more fake fuck before the fated ceremonial firming of the boundary of our break up, after which I swore I wouldn't fantasize about him. I reread our messages, looked at his handsome confident face. And tossed and turned until at least 4am, dreamt of anxious sex, and woke a basket case, weeping and needy and desperate, wishing I could keep him. Heartbreak mixing with grief over hardly being held in my life, how I've rolled over for men, and how hard it is to stop, so much harder than I think it should be. I felt lonesome and wanted to stay in bed and cry all day and not go outside for that stupid ceremony, but I did.

Leaving the creek, I walked down to the sound, hoping the fear around the ceremony would let down. A thick fog settled on the sea and made the world small, as if it ended some near distance away. I thought I saw a whale out there, but it was just a duck, much closer in, as if the fog were creeping near at an undetectable yet rapid pace that could swallow me effortlessly and no one would notice.

It took me some time before I was even open to encountering a red pill, much less taking it. The blue one, a small stone, rested easily in my pocket. At long last, I encountered a big red rosehip, which seemed to shine with an assurance that was surely not mine.

I went to the forest of my protectors. Not consciously. I just found myself there. I couldn't really eat that pill without their willingness. They are good at what they do. I marveled at the dense web of roots, the solid ground they've made to keep me from the soft wound beneath the surface. Yet right in the center, an opening, a portal. It felt like a gaping gash, opened by a whole series of blows to my life. Now was time to enter into that wound portal, into myself, that I might heal, that I might encounter my deep pain and sensitivity and be kneaded by that, and to draw from that my power, my own love.

The gates to my vulnerability, my hurt, had been closed most of my life, flung open only in moments of rare incapacitation, only to be locked tight again as quickly as possible. With my ceremony, I opened the gate consciously, an invitation to my wounded parts to come home into my heart, no longer guarded. I thanked my protectors out loud for keeping me safe behind the gate for so long. I promised my care. Looking to the blue stone in my left hand, I expressed grief over the heartbreak, and honored the profound experience of the fantasy, its allure. Looking to the red berry in my right, I honored my commitment to my own unfolding, come what may, plopped the fruit into my mouth and took it down.




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