Back to Spirit Pathways [Guestbook] [Links] [Groups] [Resources] [Events] [Merchants] [Writings] [Search] [Calendar]

Healing By The Touch Of The Goddess

by Lady Lee
as published in Madison Area Pagan Times, 1990

In order to create a cohesive magickal community, operating upon a foundation of honor, we have much work to do. As a result of coming of age in a sexist, racist, classist, homophobic society, we all have some patterning and programming to be undone. The extent and kind of programming that we have to undo depends upon our original position in the social power structure; unique issues exist for survivors of childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. All of our primary relationship models must be called into question so that we can undo a power-over society mode and create a nurturing, power-with society.

However, this is not an easy task. It requires an almost complete dismantling of the present personality and a reclaiming of the childhood self. This is sacred healing and is best done in a supportive, nurturing environment.

When the personality dismantling occurs it often appears in a manner which shamans would refer to as a “symbolic death.” This is both a traumatic and a cathartic experience. It can be as short-lived as a flash of lightning, or as intensely drawn-out as years of psychoanalysis. Regardless, the internal experience can be ego-shattering while the external appearance can be that of a crazy person. None-the-less, this is a very valid and necessary step towards actualizing the True Self and, as such, it needs to be accorded the respect it is due for the vital role it plays.

This process, which tends to the reclaiming of the childhood self, is the same process which incest survivors and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) need to undergo in order to heal. Therefore, many of these survivors are called to pursue a Wiccan or Pagan path as they realize that a religious lifestyle containing an ethical code of self-empowerment is the key to their healing. Hence, we often find that a large percentage of people with whom we are working magick are undergoing ego dismantlement.

This brings into question: how do we work with those who are undergoing an exorcism of childhood trauma? One of the most essential answers to keep in mind is that we are all working the same process-- it’s just a matter of degree. Be compassionate. There is a fine line of distinction between responding to a person in a supportive manner, which creates an atmosphere for self-actualization, or in a co-dependent manner. When one responds co-dependently they are re-victimizing the survivor and avoiding their own issues. Much ACOA literature has been devoted to co-dependency and contains relevance for all, not just adult children.

A more serious re-victimization has been occurring from within our community by means of shunning. By “shunning” I refer to a complete avoidance of someone in all situations: social, personal, and ritual. Although I would not advocate working ritual with someone you are uncomfortable with, a shunning situation can be very conflicting for those caught in the crossfire, as well as harmful to the one who is shunned.

This is complicated because at times, for one’s own self-defense, shunning is appropriate. A question which is essential for clarifying the appropriateness of shunning is: has this person truly harmed me? Not, does this person make me uncomfortable because I can't deal with my feelings which are aroused when I’m around them, but: have they truly, maliciously harmed me? If the answer is no, then the next question should be: what does this person trigger in me? The answer to this question will most likely be a key to one’s own healing. Remember, we are all working the same process. Failure to ask these questions of oneself while perpetuating a shunning situation is a basic violation of the Wiccan Rede, as it does cause harm.

In a close-knit Pagan community issues will continue to arise; none of us are healed to perfection. We are not apples, reaching an inner core, but onions, with always one layer below the current one. It is through successful resolution of conflict that our psyches are able to evolve and restructure. It is through the intimacy of trust and support that we are able to successfully resolve conflict. That intimacy develops as we work together to create a power-with society by pursuing our own True Self while experiencing the touch of the Goddess.