The Five-Pointed Benediction: A Parting Gift for the Venerable Wild Child.
They came to the Church of the Holy Wild, seeking refuge from those who would shun their thirst for whole-body prayer, shame their sacred sexuality, and cage their naturally unbridled, miraculously generative ways.
They came to fiercely protect the hearty bridge between sex and spirit they so carefully constructed out of divinely feminine mud-bricks, and they packed the wild word in their bundles. They stood on green, fertile ground now, not kneeling but eye-to-eye with the red-hooded Priestess who had birthed this holy land into being from a womb discontented with a too-built landscape.
They stood, waiting for her to speak, to lead, to offer some bit of sage advice from her cracked, wise crone lips, but the Priestess of the Holy Wild was silent.
The faces looking back at her were marked by features that may well have been her own in her younger days. Years of hedonistic laughter, knowing smirks, dark nights of the soul, and hot nourishment from the god-stars had carved the Priestess’ skin with deep chasms of age. When she woke on this morning, her tears wandered in familiar rivulets, falling from her soft jaw onto the faded pentagram tattooed on her chest.
Yes, her tears traced the same path they did after countless betrayals, innumerable losses, and overwhelming joys, all born from the holy well-spring of her heart. The path was the same, but the tears she cried this morning were sourced from an emotion she could not name.
The Priestess lowered her hood just as the first cool August wind caught her wild grey hair in its grip, sending her wiry curls into a frenzy akin to Medusa’s slithering crown. She met all of their eyes, these blessed freaks who had been cast out, these venerable outliers who refused to conform, and these holy, wayward temptresses who had been shamed into hiding.
There were dozens of these beauteous ones, some with eyes lined with the thick black of feminine ferocity, and others with unpaintable skin. Some bodies dripped in jewelry fashioned from Gaia’s stones, and some others naked as newborns.
These wild ones were in a relationship with the land, with each other, and with their own unruined souls; they had been hand-fasted to all three in their dreams, and they held raw reverence for their Priestess without worshiping her. They bowed to no one except their own faultless selves. They had come to this place only recently, some only the very night before, and they had come for answers.
They looked to their Priestess to preach the wild word, to show them the way, and to pull them out of the mud.
But the Old One was tired. She had lived a long life of rebellion, and she did not want to be the spiritual leader of so many who deserved to head their own charges into the dream worlds of our collective future. In truth, she had never sought followers; she had sought the wild mind, and it had sought her.
These were her children, and, for them, she had one final benediction. She cast her red-hooded robe to the ground, letting the hearty fabric frame her feet like a pool of woolen blood. Her soft round belly showed the marks of children born and a life well-lived, and the Priestess was not ashamed of her crone-queenly shape. Her congregation froze, clasping each other’s hands in fierce solidarity and holding their breaths.
Breathe, young ones! Breathe, for your breath is holy, the Old One said, You are the sensual Maiden on the inhale, the full-bodied Mother at the breath’s peak, and your own wise elder upon the out-breath. Hold your breath for no one. Your life is a great, cosmic body prayer to your own wild worth, and, while you bless yourself into being over and over again, I have a final, five-pointed blessing for you.
Whispers and expressions of confusion surged through the crowd, but the Priestess continued, pressing her fingertip firmly into the paper-thin skin above her right breast, her nail digging deep into one of the tattooed pentagram’s southern points: You are of the wild Earth, and She will never cast you out. Your skin is her muddy loam, and your limbs are the branches of mighty mother oaks.
The Priestess waved her hand ceremoniously, motioning to the trees around them then to the ground beneath them. Here, in this place and anywhere on our majestic planet, you are forever held. The holy Earth will not let you fall, and, though those who cannot see the she-magick may call you unworthy of their practical company, know that you always belong to the Sacred Unnamed, to the Forever Untamed.
A young woman with sad eyes and a baby in her arms started weeping, comforted by those around her who, too, had wet eyes and quivering lips. A full-bodied woman in a sultry sundress smeared some mud on her cheeks and bellowed out the names of the Earth Gods and Goddesses, sealing her short and solemn prayer with an affirmation of her sisters’ holy nature, and they howled with much guttural passion.
The Priestess pointed to the pentagram’s point at the top of her left breast and continued, her words preceded by rolling thunder: You are of the wild water, and your sexuality is yours and yours alone. Open your legs to the moonlight and let every star propose to you with Tantric fusion, for your sacral center is the innermost chamber of the holiest of holies.
The wet on your thighs is holy water, and every angel sings with you when you cry out in the rawest, ripest ecstasy. Make love to every sacred stream, rushing river, and raging ocean, and let the world nearly drown in the ground-swell of your sex. Wear your skirt as short as you goddamn please, and do not be afraid to stand out.
A vividly painted woman kissed two fingers and raised them high, shouting in fierce validation while the Priestess finished: Swim naked in the gushing lagoon of your own lust, and fear not their judgment, for their wounds are not yours to heal.
The rain began pouring in hot sheets then, and their mascara ran down their cheeks like war-paint as the Priestess pressed on with a battle-cry, tapping one of the star’s base-points low on her left breast: You are of the wild fire, and your fem-power is a force to be reckoned with. Never, never let them silence you. Speak out against the untruths.
Set the dead parts of your world aflame in a funeral pyre of soulful transformation, and tell them who you are. Tell them you are the wild child come home to claim what’s yours. Tell them you are the Magdalene come to vindicate the women they called sinners. Tell them you are she who is and will always be. Tell them you are born of the fierce feminine, and tell them you will not lie down, and you will not go home.
The congregation howled in an uproar so loud the trees bent backward, and a small, unassuming woman at the back of the crowd remembered what it was to righteously rage. The crowd parted for her while she tossed her good-girl clothes to the ground and set them aflame, her old self dying and hissing in the rain.
I am she who is! She chanted over and over again until the rain stopped coming down, the wild women of her bloodline shaking anything that made noise and dancing like it was the end of days.
When they calmed down, some collapsed with pulsing bellies on the ground, and the fire died, sending sultry smoke skyward to the parting clouds, the Priestess went on. She pointed to the star-point at the top of her right breast and grinned crookedly: You are of the wild air, and your voices are holy. Speak and sing the hymns that make little girls cling to their rebellious natures like it is their greatest gift.
Write the poetry of the wild word, and send it to those who have been told to keep quiet. Rest in sacred silence when you are called, but rise up and breathe fire just as often. The world needs the unbridled wind of your story. Write your own myth. You are the holy heroine heathen returned to breathe the world alive, and, my loves, you do not need me to lead you.
The Priestess pressed her finger so deep now into the topmost point of the pentagram that she drew blood and winced: You are of the wild, ethereal spirit, and there is as much divinity in your blood as there is in mine or any god among men. You are the blessed, and you need no redemption. You are the majestic Mystery that penetrates and invigorates all.
You are the ones books will be written about when your heavy body feeds the worms and your soul is reborn into babies who will relish the visionary, rainbow-colored future you yourself created. You do not need me, you beautiful, divine freaks. You are God-Goddess-All Things Holy, and I lay in whole-body prostration to your power.
The Priestess waved away help and lay face-down in the mud, bowing to those who loved the feminine face of divinity so dearly they had forsaken all they knew in the name of the wild.
The old one spoke into the ground now: Go now, but do not go home. Hide here no longer. The world needs your Earth magick and sacred sex. The world needs to be nourished by your fem-fire and holy breath. Take your god-spirits home now, my children, and keep preaching the wild word.
A few of the women shrugged, questioned nothing, and disappeared into the trees, but most of the wild congregation stayed, faces painted with protest and grief. We will miss you, our Mother, our Priestess, one woman choked. Thank you for all you have done, offered another, then asking, Where will you go?
The old Priestess was still and silent for a time, and the women wondered if she had left her body.
I’m not going anywhere, she answered finally. Even after I’ve taken my last breath on this Earth, my Witch’s soul will forever haunt this place. Go now, and return to visit my ghost only when your hair is as grey as mine. You are your own she-gods now, and it is my turn to pray to you. Go out-preach the ones who cast you out. Your voices are louder than theirs. Go. I am tired, and you are ready. Go!
And go they did. The congregation dispersed slowly and quietly, some kissing the Priestess’ soft back and spotted hands, fueled by her final benediction and vowing to stay wild.
Blessed be the venerable freak. Blessed be you. Blessed be me. All blessings be.