I awake from a dream.
I am climbing a broken ladder, the kind found on a fire truck. It swings precariously from a second story doorway as I try to reach my home. Below me, rising up from the ground, is the broken bottom half of the ladder. A disoriented drunk man is trying to climb up. All I know is I want to get away from him.
Six years earlier I stepped into the center of a circle with a poem in hand not knowing what would come next. It was a weekend retreat honoring the Divine Feminine. Through the art of sacred drama a few brave souls embodied the Goddess aspect of womanhood.
Until then, the way to get love was to give my body away. Using sex like a beggar, hungry and needy, operating from the wounds of shame and ugliness living deep inside me. Yet, at this gathering, I invoked Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty, Goddess of Love, to dance my sacred divinity. To enjoy my body and its sensual pleasures—to let my beauty rise up to be seen as an intimate expression of vulnerability.
Aphrodite, the most sacred aspect of me.
I read my poem. On cue my music started. With no thought in mind I began to spin. Whirling like a dervish in the center of 100 people, in a dance for Aphrodite, this dance became a prayer. It became a call to a beloved—a lover that could take me to God.
What began soon after would change my heart forever.
I returned home with a desire to imprint the Goddess Aphrodite on my soul. Exposing the woundedness of my sexuality in such a public forum was profound. I decided I would weave the music and poetry with images of the feminine form—my feminine form, naked, vulnerable and intimate. Stripping myself in this way would be empowering.
I knew a photographer, a casual acquaintance I’d met once through mutual friends. With the breath of Aphrodite I called him and a date was set. I was not attracted to him right away. But as he placed a delicate rose petal on my back, an erotic charge quivered in my belly and rang down my legs. I was stunned at the feeling.
When our photo shoot was over I wanted to see more of him.
Our courtship began with a practice of contact yoga, two bodies entwined in one posture in an intimate merging of body and breath. I had always slept with men way too early. This yogic practice created a safe and sensual boundary of sexuality. After months of touch, practice, body and breath my hunger for him was ravenous.
I waited so long for our first kiss.
A kiss that came with a blindfold and a chocolate cherry in his mouth. I meet you in the dark moist earth. I touch you where the water falls gently. I long for your fire. I breathe your heart. I offer you my divine connection. I give you this vision, as a thousand lotus leaves open to the sky.
We devoured each other in passion.
A passion that grew slowly, fused with yoga, meditation, ceremony and prayer. I wanted a lover to take me to God. He stood before me manifest in form as the sexiest lover I had ever known, a sacred meeting of flesh and spirit that spoke in poetry.
You have knelt at my feet in awe of my perfect beauty. You have rejoiced in my rivers of passion. You have arched your back in pure pleasure at my touch. You have showered me with loving praise as I stood in doubt. You offered me your secret pleasures in the silent darkness of our sacred souls. You are the Green Tara. Your compassion and love of my perfection are exquisite and unending.
Yet, beneath our erotic paradise seethed a world of demons.
Demons chained to ancient hurts and betrayals dragging the oppressive weight of hearts irrevocably broken. We began a well-worn dance to this underworld on the needs of my heart. A simple need of acknowledgment.
The word girlfriend twisted his heart in barbed wire, clenched his tongue in a choke hold. To avoid this painful contortion I was assigned the status of friend, our most sacred connection publicly eradicated. My own demons of I am not enough were provoked with every dismissal.
This chasm reflected the broken ladder of my own heart. Its roots were anchored in the heartbreak of a little girl wanting attention from a father lost in a dry martini. I waltzed with my lover between two worlds, tenuously stuck in a mid-air balancing act, afraid of a deep yes to the poetry and afraid to come face to face with demons.
You, like a river of sweet milk. I lower myself to taste your beauty. It is rich beyond comparison. You taste of the earth. You feel like fire. I embrace your ecstasy.
The death of his mother forced a move, one that took him a thousand miles away. I traveled those miles with a yearning to join him there.
We broke up over the phone. A month later a box of my belongings arrived at my doorstep. It was not the miles between us that killed our relationship. It was the voice of demons that strangled our passion to death. Amputating Eros was easier than facing ancient fears and mistrust.
The loneliness I feel is so deep, it surprises even me. Everything feels different and I let myself imagine sitting silently with you, face to face, like Buddhas, like we sat so many times. I let myself imagine you in my little bed, watching me undress. I let myself imagine the kiss. That I had to push you away makes my heart so heavy. I gasp for breath.
As a river of grief bled my heart dry, I discovered he had taken another lover. The ladder broke completely.
As the stars misaligned in a near fatal trajectory of fate a nightmare unfolded. Weeks after he embarked on this virgin romance, a horrific car accident nearly took the life of his new lover. With the strength of Hercules he now carried the fragmented body and soul of a woman without a safety net, tending to her life and death needs with the love and devotion I had longed for. A true knight in shining armor, he rescued her from her darkest hour. The word girlfriend, now embedded in his heart, flowed like sweet nectar from his lips
(I wish this fate on no one. My life has been dedicated to the sole purpose of healing driven by a desire to alleviate pain and suffering. Every healing bone in my body called for her wholeness. A package of medicinal herbs and remedies for a healing ceremony were sent to wash away her pains and bond their love more deeply. It was all I knew to do.)
Yet to my heart this macabre constellation made no sense. How could he carry the weight of this crisis when a simple acknowledgment of our sacred connection was too much to bear? Who would collect the shreds of my butchered heart? Why had the gods forsaken the cries of my longing? How would the lacerated fragments of love ever find their way home?
There is no way to think your way out of a broken heart. I knew I had to feel my way through. With nowhere to turn I bowed to the breath. The holy breath. A circular breath, in and out of my mouth until the veils between the worlds became thin. The gate to spirit opened. Holding the intention of healing my heart I traveled inward to mysterious waters and depths unknown.
As I dive below the waters in which I am held, I call forth from my heart a spirit ally. One who will guide me underwater to the healing of my heart. A jellyfish appears. Its tentacles wrap themselves around my heart.
The charge of electrical impulses surge through me like a defibrillator shocking a heart in cardiac arrest. An electric current restores flow where my heart has lost life force. Currents of trust flow through my heart. More shocks come, pulsing in love. Other waves recharge my heart with gratitude. Masculine and feminine timidly turn towards each other in a long awaited reunion. The impassible bridge has been crossed on waves of trust, love and gratitude. A prayer of tears wash me clean with compassion for my most tender heart, naked in its humanity.
An unexpected ally from the world of spirit, the beauty of transparency in a nearly invisible form, the utter abandon to flow and fluidity. The jellyfish of all things knows how to repair this broken ladder. It appears as a teacher of the pure of heart. The purest of heart does not cling to hurts or betrayals. The purest of heart flows on the waves of trust. This ally of Spirit knows how to cross an insurmountable bridge to wholeness. Transforming the broken and lifeless space in my heart to one of union and love with a direct infusion from the lifeline of spirit. A healing that reaches through time. Restoring a bridge to a lineage of male ancestors no longer connected through our brokenness. A vision for the future no longer created by dragging around the weight of a broken heart.
At any moment the shifting tides of life unveil what is ready to be healed so we may rise to the majesty of who we were born to be. This knowledge may float through in dreams. It may reflect in the mirror of your beloved. Its roots may lie in the family of origin. Whatever the source, we can choose to look away or look within.
The telling of this story is a step, in transparency, to the other side of the bridge. A waltz of trust in the divine order of all things, even the devastation of a heart bruised and broken. Trust in the destruction that paves the way for resurrection. Trust in a co-creative dance with the world of spirit that deeply longs to dance with us.
So we may learn a new dance of sacred union. A dance that begins with a heart beating in trust. Beating in gratitude. Beating on the waves of love.
Karen Chrappa is a contemporary medicine woman and author of A Structure for Spirit. She works in both the visible realms of form and the invisible realms of Spirit helping clients embody their sacred essence. She has studied extensively with Alberto Villoldo and the Four Winds Healing the Light Body School and with master shamans of the Andes. She continues to travel to Peru with her ayllu, A Bouquet of Light, to awaken the Sacred Feminine. She can be found on her blog, A Structure for Spirit or at herFacebook Page.
Autumn Skye was born in Nova Scotia and moved with her family West across Canada. She spent her youth between the majesty of the Rocky Mountains with her Father, and the lush coastal rainforests with her Mother. Autumn Skye has been painting since she could hold a brush, developing a deep wonder for nature and the world around her. In her words, “My purpose is to create. In that process I find stillness and rhythm, my teacher and passion. With intention, I aim to share honesty and awakening; to celebrate this fantastic adventure; to inspire and be inspired. Each canvas takes me on a journey, and as my paintbrush follows, each time I am lead back to my center.” You can find Autumn Skye and her art on Facebook or her website autumnskyemorrison.com.
Editor: Lori Lothian