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Personal Sharings / Healing Fragmentation
Note: I'm telling this story the way it came up for me... in bits and vignettes... non-linear, and from more than one viewpoint. I seem to be crying the memories of several different parts who were all alive at the same time.I am being whipped. My wrists are tied together and I'm hanging from a beam above me. The whip lashes me and I feel my skin open. The lash comes again and again, in the same place. I scream and scream.
I wake up later in a cell, on a slab of rock. I try to sit up but the pain in my back is horrible. I realize I can't move my left arm. It seems the muscles in my shoulder in my back have been severed by the whip. They come to get me again and this time it's a thing like the rack. I am tied and stretched. My left shoulder is completely out of its socket now. My bones are broken.
These things, although extreme, are not the worse to come. These torturers are clumsy compared to the one who comes next. He is clever and devious and cruel. He uses fear and anticipation as much as actual pain. The combination breaks me and I hear myself babbling and saying anything, anything, I'll tell you anything, what do you want to know, anything, just please, no more.
Later I realize I have given them names of other women. I realize then what I've done. As they take me to the fire to die I see the other women being dragged to the prison and I know what will happen to them there. I hate myself for what I've done, some of the women are young and they are all innocent, we were all innocent. I am so filled with self-hate and shame and self-loathing and guilt, I go willingly to the fire, I know that is what I deserve.
I have been whipped and beaten and I am now bound and kneeling before a small group of men in black robes. They are interrogating me, but I am angry and refuse to tell them anything. Hypocrites, men of god, so they say. They hate us, they hate me, and they fear us, they fear what we found in the forest. I am so angry, I hate, I hate them all. I am taken away and beaten again. Later in my cell I wake and there's a man there. One of the robes. He is quiet and calm and gentle. He offers me comfort, he reads from the bible. He tells me it would be best for my salvation to confess to my crimes and sins, that God will forgive me, but I must confess and then avoid all this pain and torture. He tells me that Satan has deluded me. He tells me I followed a dark path because I believed a lie. He says he does not believe I am evil, just deluded. Still, he says, I must confess. We must cast Satan out, or the whole community will suffer.
I listen and as I listen, I feel splits happening within me. There is the central part who is so angry. There is a part who holds firmly to her faith in the Goddess, to what we felt in the forest, she sides with anger and uses it as a shield against this soft-spoken man of god. She believes in her rightness still.
There is a part who desperately wants "salvation", who believes the words of the man in black. She longs for safety and heaven. She longs to be on the "right" side. She fears Satan. And a part of her wants to be loved by the man in black.
There is a part who is confused, who fears being crazy, who fears more pain. Maybe we were wrong, she whispers, maybe it WAS Satan we heard, and not the Goddess. If it was the Goddess, why isn't she saving us? How do we know anything, she says, she gets smaller and more confused and feeling crazy and not knowing who to trust. I'm so afraid, I don't know how to know, and not knowing means more pain and death and I'm so afraid!
We are brought before the small group of robes once more, and asked to denounce Satan and our dark rituals. Rage rises up and I scream at them, hate words, angry words, kill you words. I scream - I hate your God, he is a sadist, a hypocrite, a cold bloodless thing. This causes a further break inside us. The part who is confused and the part who wants salvation pull away from the rage part. I feel them looking at her, afraid of the rage, as if she IS a demon of Satan. The one who doubts thinks the rage part maybe is a liar who wants to drag them down, maybe she is even a voice of Satan. The one who wants salvation thinks it's time to get as far away from the rage part as possible, because she will surely roast in the fires of hell for such blasphemous words. Not just rage at the cruelty of men, but hating God!
I feel them leaving. One of them goes to the man who read to us. I feel her rushing to him, she feels as if he will protect her, there she will be safe. She makes herself very small, she has little identity of her own, she hides within him and lets him be her "self", her wisdom, her thought. He doesn't know, he thinks he is just feeling more, and he thinks maybe it is a gift from God because he is a morally righteous man.
He's so smug, I hate him more now, because he will use her for his feeling self, and she has denounced me as evil, and she won't listen to me anymore. I hate them both. I don't know where the other went, and maybe there were more than those two, but those are the ones I'm most aware of.
Before the pain, before the arrests, before the robes ---
We are in the forest. I am standing in a ring of trees, looking over a group of women around a fire. I have gathered them all together here. I am so proud of myself. And I'm filled with pride and certainty of "rightness". The Goddess is with us, I believe in her, I believe in her power, and in our power. I can feel it in this circle, and I can see it reflected in the women's faces. They feel it too. Somewhere inside me I know this hasn't happened for many many long years, this kind of gathering, and just by virtue of our togetherness, we are generating power. We dance and sing and are giddy with the power, absolutely drunk with it. We have never felt such a thing, and even the ones who have doubted, now they feel it surging in our togetherness and they believe. I am puffed up with my ability to inspire and so sure the Goddess is with us. So sure she will protect us.
As I look around, I can feel the undercurrents of jealousy and competition. It is like a black spot in the fruit of our gathering, and I choose to ignore it. I only want to see our love, our sisterhood. Even in this time, when what we're practicing is considered illegal and immoral, I choose only to see the hope that we can win against the male structures and their stiff religion.
Even when I am arrested, and accused of witchcraft, I can't seem to let go of the belief that the Goddess will save me. Part of me tries to hold onto it, but it slowly erodes, breaking as the parts of me break away, becoming less and less with each torture episode. I begin to doubt. And then finally I see. I see what a fool I was, how WRONG I was. I invested my whole belief in something, and it was WRONG. Between episodes I sit in the cell and think on this, I think long and hard, trying to unravel the belief system I built, trying to understand what happened. I was wrong, and I caused the death of all of us. The enemy didn't even have to go looking for us, I gathered us all together, nice and tidy, sitting ducks in the middle of the pond. I am no better than the black robes. Prideful. Lusting after power. I believed in the power of the goddess and I set the others on fire with the force of my belief. I called them all together, and I was drunk on the power... and the result was death.
I made several decisions at that moment that stick to me to this day. One, I decided I will never believe in anything as the absolute truth, I will never embrace any belief system with such religious fervor again. If I never have belief and fervor, then I won't be tempted to influence others with my belief, I will never lead ... never be in that position of being responsible again... I will never gather us all together where we are sitting ducks. And as much as I long for them, my sisters are not to be trusted. Betrayal is to be expected.
In spite of these decisions, in this life I have this huge desire from my heart to gather us all together. It absolutely drives me. And it makes me crazy sometimes. But on the flip side is all this fear and certainty of rejection and doom. I hold myself aloof and alone because of my fear.
And the rise of what I called my Indigo part - she is the one who embraces things with certainty and fervor. That's who she is, that's what she does. And I've been afraid of her for a long long time. Afraid if I let her up she will cause our deaths.
But we couldn't cry before. There was no way it could work way back then, we didn't know how to cry and our denials and splits got us in the end. Scattered us to the winds. We can cry now. We can heal the splits. And maybe rewrite the ending this time.