When I was younger I used to think of death as this peaceful sleep, as a dive into darkness with the wind in my hair. I idealized the shadow of it. I was convinced that there was no life after death. Evidenced by the, for lack of a better word, lifelessness of my grandmother’s body. I could not feel her there anymore, and so I thought that was that.
I thought death was a way to escape the mundane responsibilities of the world. A way to rest when I was so, so tired. I thought death was stupid. I thought death was the ocean. The dark black of the sky out at sea. The color of darkness the world turns when there are no artificial lights.
I was blinded by the shadow of death. Seduced by its mysteries, of the unknowable force that beckoned me time and time again.
And yet, I shunned my own death-energy. I shunned my own dark sea, my own starry sky. My bleed. My womb. The dark cavernous walls of my yoni.
Most importantly, I never let go. I never let old versions of myself die. I never let relationships that no longer served me go to the grave. This was because I did not understand there was life after death. Rebirth alluded me.
Though we cannot stop death, we also cannot stop the rebirth that glimmers on the other side. Our wombs will bleed and turn new once more. We will surrender to la petite mort, the little death, while lost in pleasure only to emerge wanting. And as much as we try to hold on, as much as I’ve tried to hold on, the blood will come. The ovary will burst. The water will break. The old ways of being will disintegrate.
Of all the things in the world that have helped me feel the most alive, honoring my menstruation wins gold.
So when I am struggling to let something go, I think about my blood and the wisdom of my body. And how I’ve learned to soften my womb, open my yoni, and move with the rhythm of descent.
I’ve learned that when you don’t do this, when you try to hold on, when you try to stop your blood, the letting go becomes more painful.
So can you lean into the descent, the death, and trust that the rebirth is there; a rainbow growing from the earth, a star shimmering behind a cloud, a ray of sunlight on a winter morning. Something out there, waiting for you to be reborn.
The Ancient Mysteries
The cyclical, spiraling path of the Feminine, the Goddess, has always included death. We see this even in the similarity between the words tomb and womb. The place where you go to rest and the place where you are (re)born. In many ancient cultures the tombs were literally shaped like wombs, like pregnant bellies of the earth. There were round mounds of earth that were hollowed out to create tombs in which people were buried. Graves were circular and bodies were adorned with red ochre (a symbol of menstrual blood).
In Egyptian mystery schools, the Priestesses of Isis performed sacred rites for the dying to ensure they had a smooth transition to the afterlife. The priestesses anointed the body with sacred oil and menstrual blood. They performed energy healing to reduce any pain, sang sacred chants, and danced in a ritualistic trance to support the soul transitioning from one realm to the next.
There were even grief rituals in the Isis Goddess Temples. The priestesses reenacted Goddess Isis (Auset) searching for her beloved, Osiris. They cried and cried. Their tears another sacred elixir of letting go. We see the process of grief mirrored in the image of Mary Magdalene weeping for her beloved before he emerges from the tomb (womb) reborn.
Soul Doulas & Letting Things Go
Wise woman magick has always included the liminal space of death and birth. There were Soul Doulas who took part in assisting the journey of a soul coming to Earth to be born, and Soul Doulas who helped ferry a soul departing from Earth. The space of birth and the space of death were both held by the womb priestesses.
Eventually, the patriarchal patterns emerged in society and the ways of the Feminine were scorned, vilified, and prosecuted against. Both death and birth became medical occurrences instead of spiritual initiations. This disconnected us from both processes, on the external and internal level.
The spiritual journey is often described as a continuous cycle of death and rebirth. The old version of ourselves dies and a new version is born. Women have an even deeper connection to this cycle, as our wombs mirror it each month. We "die" with menstruation (the shedding of our uterine lining) and are "reborn" when our wombs begin to build up the lining again and the new egg starts to signal to the ovary she wants to be released.
Even though this process is literally embodied within us it can still feel like a dark night of the soul when we are going through a "death" process. Shedding an old version of yourself is really fucking hard. It's painful to let go of friendships and relationships that you know are not in your highest truth. It's so hard to let go of an old way of being, to release a pattern that has helped you survive. How are you being called to let go? What part of you must die in order for a new part to be reborn? Can you become the Doula of your own soul, your own life, and travel to the future to bring the rebirth to Earth even when it's an unknown?
In my own life, I've procrastinated this process many times. I've been resistant to it (just like I used to be resistant to my menstruation). Of course what needed to happen, happened anyway. Even though I have been shown, time and time again that the process must occur (and will occur whether or not I want it to), it's still a challenge to leave something else behind. It's hard to say "No," to someone you don't want to disappoint, it's hard to stop yourself repeating a relationship pattern, it's hard to unearth the courage to change your life. Sometimes I still just look up at the moon and say, "Help?" willing her wisdom to whisper to me. Overtime, I developed the tools to hold myself with love even when I felt like everything was falling apart. I discovered that letting myself experience the emotions I was afraid of freed them from my body. I chose to honor the death part of my feminine process and found that by doing so I was able to be happier. I learned what it meant to nourish myself through my fear so I could find the courage on the other side. In many ways I'm still learning.
But we don't have to uncover this courage alone. Just the other day I asked my good friend how she found the courage to continuously go after her dreams. So get vulnerable with a friend. Receive the help of a trusted coach or mentor. Ask someone whose story you respect what she did to change her life. Surround yourself with aligned community. Nourish yourself on a soul-deep level. And remember, this cycle of death and rebirth has forever been in the hands of the feminine.
This October, I'm holding a nine week group mentorship container for women. It will be a space of collaboration, co-creating, healing, and support. I will guide you through my favorite foundational principles of nourishing your womanhood. We'll explore everything from Womb Wisdom and Menstrual Health, to Goddess based spirituality and the importance of the female orgasm. This is for the woman who is ready to change her life from a grounded, sweet tasting place.
Let's work on finding that courage together ♥️