Post Modern Love 🖤

“I think of the postmodern attitude as that of a man who loves a very cultivated woman and knows that he cannot say to her “I love you madly”, because he knows that she knows (and that she knows he knows) that these words have already been written by Barbara Cartland. Still there is a solution. He can say “As Barbara Cartland would put it, I love you madly”. At this point, having avoided false innocence, having said clearly it is no longer possible to talk innocently, he will nevertheless say what he wanted to say to the woman: that he loves her in an age of lost innocence.”

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

“This is our meditation practice as women, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of ourselves, calling back the dead and dismembered aspects of life itself. The one who re-creates from that which has died is always a double-sided archetype. The Creation Mother is always also the Death Mother and vice versa. Because of this dual nature, or double-tasking, the great work before us is to learn to understand what around and about us and what within us must live, and what must die. Our work is to apprehend the timing of both; to allow what must die to die, and what must live to live.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

This is what I must do now.

This is a turning point for me, and I must choose what will fall away, and what I will carry forward with me into the future.

I’m starting to come to terms with what has happened to me. I’m starting to be ready to see where I need to go next. And who I need to be, in order to get there.

I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.

Hermann Hesse

Lilith: The Original Feminist Icon

I recently acquired this pendant showing the Seal of Lilith on the front.

I’m still not sure if I’m ready to begin working with Lilith in ritual, but I do know that I’ve been somewhat obsessed with her since I’ve learned of her story.

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For those of you who don’t know, Lilith was Adam’s first wife in the Garden of Eden.
She was made at the same time Adam was, of the same material (not of his rib like her successor Eve), and believed herself to be equal to her male counterpart.

When Adam forced himself on her sexually, she chose to leave the Garden of Eden and pursue an independent life on her own.

This is where the story gets controversial. What did Lilith do after she left the Garden of Eden?

According to many sources (especially traditional Jewish texts), Lilith became a demonic goddess, who consorted with demons out in the wild territories far from God, bearing their devilish children and stealing the children of other women shortly after they were born.

Although this is what the majority of “tradition” has to say about Lilith, I’m not convinced. I personally count myself among those who would see Lilith as the original independent woman, the godmother of all feminists who choose to respect themselves and their power to choose their own path.

I think it’s likely that the majority of negative press Lilith has received has been constructed as the instrument of a patriarchal system, who would have other women who are starting to get certain independent ideas in their heads to think twice about disobeying the male-dominated social order.

I, for one, have a lot of respect for this mythical woman, who shows us that women were created in equality with men, and who deserve to have their rights respected, and refuse to tolerate any less.

Although I’m still unprepared to follow some of the more traditional uses of Lilith’s seal, I will still choose to honor her and let her seal represent the values of independence, self-respect, and fiercely expressed femininity.

Lilith reminds me that taking the path of conviction and honoring your full self as a woman can be difficult (if not seemingly impossible at times). Although she never recovered in the eyes of her society of origin, she was true to herself and lived a life of brave authenticity, which is something I will always admire.

The Mastery of Self

This week, I was lucky enough to come across The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr. the author is the son of one of my favorite authors, who wrote, among other things, The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love.

The main premise of the book is that we have been “domesticated” by those around us, in particular those that we love. This is done through the use of conditional love. Ruiz shares the example of a grandmother who tells her grandson that it is a sin to waste food and he must eat all of his lunch before he can get up from the table. The little boy resists; he is not hungry, and he would rather go out and play. But he is made to feel that the love and approval of his grandmother will be withdrawn if he does not comply.

And so he finishes all of his food, that day and for years afterwards. He adopts the value that wasting food is a sin, and he still now eats past the point where he is full, even though he knows it’s not healthy for him. When he internalizes this value, he is domesticating himself. (Foucault would probably say that this is the process of discipline is action.)

This conditional love is used to control others, as well as ourselves. This conditional love is in contrast to unconditional love.

Unconditional love is not given to us because of who we are and what we do. When we love unconditionally, it is not because of who we are or what we have done. It is based is simply on the fact that we exist, that we are children of and co-creators with God (or the universe/the infinite/whatever you prefer).

We can all choose to love ourselves unconditionally. Through this brave act, we are freed from our domestication, and we becomes true masters of ourselves.

This book came at just the right time for me.

Just a few weeks ago, I did a small candle magic ritual where I “married” myself. It sounds a little funny, but when I say that, I mean that I finally made a serious commitment to love, respect, and honor my self above all else. I even bought myself an expensive ring to remind myself of my commitment!

It might seem silly, but I was very serious about it. I’ve spent most of my life doubting myself, wondering if I was good enough, looking to others to tell me what was right, and disrespecting my self in order to gain others approval.

At 29 years old, I have finally learned to trust myself. And after my ritual, I began learning how to love myself. I began honoring my feelings, trusting my intuition, and respecting my wants and needs. I learned how to decisively say “No” to what wasn’t right for me.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” -Oscar Wilde

I can finally say, at almost 30 years old, that I have embarked on this romance with my self.

It has been the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I never really believed all those people who said you needed to love yourself before anyone else will love you. I was trying to do it the other way around! I desperately sought someone who would love me, hoping that would finally convince me I was worthy of love and my own approval.

Then one day I got tired of waiting for someone else to love me. I’d been trying for years, and hadn’t even gotten close. I decided I would be the one to love myself, as sad and weird and uncomfortable as it felt at the time.

Slowly, I started to appreciate the small things about myself that no one noticed. I started to thank myself for the actions I took to take care of myself. And I spoke to myself with compassion instead of self-reproach.

As much as I hate to say it, “they” were right. The more I loved myself, the more others were drawn to me. I wasn’t demanding anything from them anymore; instead, I just sat back and allowed my own self-acceptance and care to radiate outwards.

Today was a turning point for me. I truly feel that I’m getting the hang of this whole “mastery of self” thing. I no longer get caught up in this search for love and approval, because now I know how to give myself all I need.

Yet, just as I stopped “needing” it, the world has surprised me and given me more love than I can handle. I almost feel overwhelmed, it’s like I’ve just eaten an entire cake by myself, the experience is so sweet but even a bit nauseating! I don’t know what to do with all this love now, it scares me to be so happy… But I’m also convinced that this is natural, these are just growing pains I’m experiencing, I’m being forced to stretch to let all this joy in.

I’m grateful. A little sorry it took me so long, but I’m glad I finally looked in the mirror to see that I am “the One” I have always been waiting for.

Nepantlera 🙋🏻

In a constant state of mental nepantilism, an Aztec word ‘meaning torn between ways’, la mestiza is a product of the transfer of the cultural and spiritual values of one group to another. Being tricultural, monolingual, bilingual; or multilingual, speaking a patois, and in a state of perpetual transition, the mestiza faces the dilemma of the mixed breed: which collectivity does the daughter of a dark-skinned mother listen to? 
-Gloria Anzaldúa