Your Darkest Wound Holds Your Greatest Light
When I was a young teenager I first came into contact with deep suffering.
It was a time of massive confusion, feeling completely overwhelmed by my emotions, and without a clue of what it meant to be a woman in this world. I didn’t have any healthy role models for relationships and no idea what it meant to self soothe. So when the boy who had promised me forever dumped me for another girl, I actually felt like my world had ended.
This total shock to my system and unraveling of everything I thought I could trust thrusted my abandonment wound from a slight nuisance in the background into a throbbing infection that oozed all over everything. In a world where it’s so easy to pretend that we’re not all heartbroken over the fact that we’ve been separated from our Source, the heartbreak of a boy put me in direct contact with the ultimate source of all human suffering.
Him leaving triggered the most core of all fears: that God, Love, Source, the One, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, had left me.
With no guidance, wisdom, or understanding about how to handle this level of pain and unworthiness, I became obsessed with trying to figure out WHY. WHY had he left me that way? WHY wasn’t I lovable anymore? WHY did I go from being a goddess to garbage seemingly overnight?
The more I asked myself “WHY” the deeper I spiraled into confusion and obsession. The more I lost myself. Lost my friends. Lost the inspiration to live.
Mental anguish had completely taken over me, and my parental figures who had no idea that I was actually in the process of profound spiritual awakening and transmutation, made it worse. They projected their fear onto me, put me on medication, stuck me with an inadequate therapist, and offered me no form of real medicine.
What saved me was a brief meeting with the Goddess herself.
In my time of desperation my parents had agreed to pay for an expensive stayover camp out in the wilderness in British Columbia that some of my “Born Again Christian” friends had invited me to. They tempted me with stories of gorgeous mountains and crystalline lakes and all kinds of water “toys” and “hot guys.” I didn’t realize that I had actually signed myself up for a kind of bait and switch evangelical conversion scheme.
Nonetheless, I found myself in one of the most stunningly beautiful natural surroundings I had ever seen, awe inspiring snow capped mountains and glowing blue water and miles and miles of forest in the middle of nowhere. I slept in a moldy wooden cabin with six sister friends and the whole Christian thing only slipped in during the mealtime prayers on the loud speaker.
That is, until the day of the crucifixion.
At a camp where kids were disappearing into the woods to get hand jobs and were lured in by the promise of other teenagers in bikinis all week, the organization behind it all had a very different mission.
On our final evening together we were brought into a large conference hall with a huge screen where we were given a long sermon and then watched a film of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Needless to say, this was both unexpected and incredibly emotional. First, to witness this kind of violence and human suffering will crack open any sensitive empathic soul’s heart, but secondly, this story touches something very deep in everyone.
It’s actually the journey we all go through when we feel that the world is against us, the universe is punishing us, and we have somehow been forgotten by love. It is heartbreak itself.
Following the video, we were instructed to go be alone out in the woods, to not speak to anyone, and to ask for Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, to save us. I did as they asked, but it wasn’t Jesus who found me there, it was Goddess.
In the woods, alone, totally cracked open and ready for a miracle, I felt Her for the first time in my conscious awareness. It was a love beyond anything I had ever experienced before. It was a love that blew any adolescent romance I had ever been consumed by straight out of the water. It was pure love. True love. A love that can often be forgotten, but that can never actually leave.
This moment changed everything for me.
Except, because my fifteen year old mind didn’t have a proper context to place my spiritual awakening within, I assumed that I had been saved by Jesus Christ and accepted him as my lord and savior. I was told that all of my suffering was due to a hole inside of me that only Jesus could fill, and because I felt so broken from my painful breakup I was willing to completely trust and surrender. Yes, this was the beginning of my phase as a born again Christian.
My family totally hated it and all of the judgements and moral superiority that came along with the territory. But I was actually much healthier and happier than I had been... ever. Where I had once felt so dirty, unwanted, sinful, and unworthy, suddenly I was the golden child radiating in the love of the One.
I started valuing myself, respecting myself, and holding myself at a level of worth far beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
People treated me differently. Boys definitely started treating me differently. And the one who had so heartlessly dumped me out of nowhere actually begged to have me back.
I wish I could say that this was the end of my story with the wound of unworthiness, the plight of suffering through heartbreak, and the delusion that I have ever been separate from the infinite source, but it was actually the beginning, because I had so much more to learn and so much more to heal. I still do. We all do. This is the human journey.
For the sixteen years that stretched between that meeting with the Goddess and an even more profound one, I continued to play out my abandonment wound through various long term relationships, only this time I was sure that I wouldn’t ever let myself get too vulnerable again. I wouldn’t open my innocent self in relationship the way that I had the first time. I wouldn’t let them see that crazy girl I had spiraled into after my first heartbreak.
I would make safer choices and I would do everything to keep her buried deep, deep, down where no one could ever find her.
That is until the start of 2018 when she found me again. 31 years old and my teenage self had finally come to meet me, to demand that I start taking ownership of her. It was an incredibly shocking, shattering, heart wrenching process of re-living all of my old shame that was easy to deny within the shiny persona I had created for myself in the world. By that time I was already a well known travel blogger that thousands and thousands of women looked up to, millions of people had read, and seemed to have the answers to happiness that so many hungered for. But you know what I didn’t have? A clue about how to deeply deeply love.
This is what happens when we avoid our darkest shadows. We miss out on the deepest invitation of love that will both consume you into the One and also rip you into two.
We may be able to create something beautiful on the surface, present a solid image of ourselves into the world, acquire a lot of outer success, and even live a totally magical life, but the evidence of how fully we are actualizing our purpose and totally harnessing the power of our evolution can always be seen in our relationships. Which... I explored half heartedly.
Men were my mirrors.
Since I had discovered the magic of traveling the world alone and living in the wild jungle of Costa Rica I repeatedly attracted the same wolf in sheep’s clothing. Men who were allured by my surface but had no desire to go deeper. Often men who were experiencing challenges in their relationships with other women and wanted to receive me as some kind of enlightened prostitute. Through my Born Again Christian years I had learned early on that the safest way to protect myself was to keep my legs closed at all costs.
Feeling like an absolute victim of this story I spent years investigating every spiritual system under the stars to try to shift the pattern. Nothing made a difference. My life continued to flourish, my fame continued to blossom, more and more people flocked to me as a leader living “the dream”, and my deep feminine heart remained totally unanswered and unclaimed.
But eventually, it did shift. Through my meeting with the Goddess again. Only this time, with a different face of hers.
The one they call Kali, Hecate, Cerridwen, baba yaga, the Crone, the dark Goddess, the Dweller at the Threshold.
It was my initiation and total annihilation. It was the stripping back of everything and anything that ever kept me from feeling the deepest recesses of my own suffering. It was the total re-experiencing of every single man who ever left me feeling used, abused, unloved, and unwanted beginning with my own father.
And it was the total loss of my whole shiny surface, the huge numbers of followers, the fame and validation, the stability, the home, the life that had both shown me love and kept me from the deepest kind of love that exists. It was death.
What was mind blowing to witness was that while my entire outer reality seemed to speak that I was a complete mess, a failure, unwanted, and unworthy, I finally came into contact with the one and only thing that actually did make me worthy: my infinite soul. The precious diamond inside of me that nothing could ever break or taint. The one thing that was actually mine.
It was the very savior that I had met that day alone in the forest at Christian camp, revealing herself to me from within me.
Plunging into every single gateway of unworthiness and feeling the labor pains of all this karmic suffering was the most heart wrenching thing I could have possibly imagined. And yet, it always brought me home to the reality that nothing could touch my true sacredness. Nothing could diminish my worth. Nothing.
This is the forging process. This is transmutation. This is the journey of alchemizing more and more of our karmic density into insight, wisdom, and gold.
There is a rebirth myth that is far older than the story of Jesus Christ. It’s of the Sumerian Queen Innana.
One of the priestesses of Isis who willingly journeys down into the underworld to reunite with her twin sister Erishkigal. Innana seems to have everything… fame, wealth, a Queendom of followers, beauty, sensuality, and all that is alluring. But what she has forgotten is love, and for this she must return to the underworld.
Along the way she is stopped at seven different gates where she is stripped of layer after layer of clothing, identity, and dignity. We all know this feeling of coming closer to the roots of our suffering, where we are systematically destroyed again and again. It can feel neverending. Because to actually arrive into the underworld requires a state of total humility. It requires the utter surrender of one who has willingly handed over any false identity for the sake of ultimate truth.
This is precisely the journey that Jesus undergoes as he is publicly humiliated by those who were once his followers on the way to being crucified. It is the ultimate test in faith that meets us when we have reached a certain threshold in our journey of awakening.
When Innana finally reaches the underworld, she is naked, bloody, and exhausted.
Her twin sister Erishkigal, representing the denied shadow self, hangs her up on a hook to die (much like in the crucifixion of Jesus). For many of us when we do finally meet with that shadow within us, with that dark sister that we never wanted the world to see, we feel that she might completely destroy us.
Most of us spend our lives either avoiding deep connection to avoid facing her, or we sabotage deep connection by projecting her onto others and simultaneously pushing them away. Any unclaimed shadow must either be repressed within or reacted to outwardly. The only way to authentically connect in love and live from true power is by actually receiving the very shadow that we want to deny.
Healing arises for Innana and Erishkigal in the form of a magical elixir of compassion.
It’s the amniotic fluids that live in the womb space (a mirror of the underworld) and the continually shedding and replenishing moon blood that nourishes what is mean to birth and flushes what is meant to die. (Nothing but the blood of Christ...)
But the compassion cannot simply be offered to Inanna for her revival. If this happens, Erishkigal will simply kill her again. When we try to heal without giving love to the shadows, they will just sabotage us until we finally listen. The elixir of compassion must first be received by Erishkigal, and then by Innana.
Just as I had realized the love of Goddess alone in the woods at 15, and again in the wild jungle of Costa Rica at 25 that completely changed my life forever, it wasn’t until I realized the love of Goddess through the darkest night of the soul that deep lasting emotional change started to take place. I could anchor more light on the surface, but until I opened into the deepest recesses of my own wounding, the light could only penetrate so deep.
As heartbreaking as it felt, the deeper I went into my darkness, the deeper the light could begin to reach.
This is the painful process that so many of us want to rush through, but it takes its own time. Rebirth takes its own time. The nourishment that is needed to repair the fractures that exist within generations and generations of women who have robbed and raped themselves of their true inherent worth, takes time to fully receive.
Often a rebirth doesn’t just happen once. It happens every moon cycle, every seven year cycle, sometimes within a cycle of a single day. Rebirth brings us closer and closer to the light of who we really are. And it happens in the darkest space. The womb. The underworld. Hell. Sometimes the plunge lasts a few hours. Other times many years. But the compassion is always, always there.
When Innana has been fully rejuvenated by the healing elixir, and the time comes for her to rise back up to the surface of her world, she is not the same as she was before. The very vulnerability that seemed to destroy her has become the source of her power. The thing that she so feared and so denied is a new reserve of vitality that she can source in her new incarnation.
She has far less to fear because she has not only faced her demons but she has integrated them. She has received their pure raw source. She has come to understand and accept the deeper invitation within the shadow itself.
As a collective we’ve reached a time where we are evolving beyond our attachment to the “light” and are being invited to receive the medicine of the dark.
The deep rich sustenance that lives in the soil that we can only source through our own underworld journey. The evil twins of ourselves that live down there, dormant, ready to destroy us just so that we can wake up to our potential. The untapped reserves of power that want to be expressed as love in the world, but that require us to re-integrate them into our wholeness.
Forging my own way through this dark dense and frightening forest, I have come to understand that there is one single magical perspective that makes the difference between being a victim of my darkest shadows, my deepest wounds, and my greatest suffering and being an empowered woman with a clear purpose.
That magical perspective is this: the shadows, the wounds, and the suffering are actually sacred.
What makes them sacred isn’t any kind of new age morality. It’s the simplest and wisest knowing of nature, the Goddess herself. It’s understanding that the wound is the seed of your potential. It is the dark heavy slab of clay that you have been given to mold your masterpiece. Your karma and your ancestral drama is the actual Earth body that your soul wanted to incarnate within, because it knew that this very material is what it most needed to become embodied in the unique love that you are.
When we realize that our shadows are sacred, the desire to shove them down and the desire to project them onto others starts to loosen. As we come home again and again and again to the knowing that “my wound is sacred”, the desire to self abandon actually dissolves. The very wound that we wanted anyone to fix, that we wanted anywhere but here, becomes the very gem that informs the majesty of who we are.
This is the difference between being a follower of Jesus Christ, and the actual embodiment of Christ herself. And this is what we all came here to do. To fill the hole inside of ourselves with the very nectar of truth that only death can awaken us to.