Invoking the Red Tent: A Vow to My Wounded Sex.
With this glass of wine, I invoke the red temple within.
Savoring each sip is like drinking in the life force that flows through me.
I feel as that life force is drawn down — down and out. The way I’ve become so accustomed to feeling during this time; a time I would’ve never referred to as sacred, but rather sacrilegious.
It’s always been punishment, torture; a time of incapacitation. Of time of tears and sweat and piercing pains and blackouts. A time that, I was sure of it, visited over and over again because of something I had done. Some atrocity unknown to me. Some transgression that would not go without monthly ritualistic brutality.
I lower my glass from my lips, and a bit spills over my fingers. I lick it off tenderly, the way I wish I’d always tended to myself during these bouts of assumed lashings. These cycles of battered grace.
I think back to the days confined to my bed. Blood lost, life lost. Moments, days, memories — all drowned in a pulsating river of desperate sobs and perceived powerlessness.
There was no safety. No knowledge. No respect for this miracle that stripped my sanity, hacked my body and plagued my sight.
I couldn’t see clearly. I couldn’t feel clearly. I couldn’t speak clearly. I couldn’t find myself in the cesspool of self-loathing and fear and insecurity and ignorance.
I hated myself. I hated my body. I hated my life.
As this wine is drained, I remember the ritual bloodletting, not just of the physical, but the emotional. What should’ve been a reset, a time of reflection, a space held for deepest intuition, became a personal torture chamber of ghosts, tormentors and predators — both spiritual and physical.
The 3 a.m. visits come rushing back. And just now, I realize why I had always been such a night owl. I realize why I wouldn’t let myself sleep, because when I stayed up, he stayed away. I also realize why I still, decades later, throw my lids open wide in the middle of the night. And why I sleep best after 5:30 a.m. — the time he would get in the shower before leaving for work.
I feel like I’ve veered off the point, but this is the point: this is my wound. This is my violated sex. This is my impaled sexuality. This is my bleeding womanhood.
I return to this dwindling wine and see a beautiful, safe, exotic red sanctuary begin to emerge through the still surface. I see the ultimate hearth of self-care, a warm fire gently glowing from behind its paisley-printed walls. I gently peel back the flaps and beads to enter a hut of healing; the sounds of my favorite atmospheric metal pouring through the fabric, the scent of apple and orange and vanilla enveloping me and my aching womb.
There are satin pillows and oversized cushions, all crafted to answer the cries of my contours, aches and needs. Oils adorn cedar cabinets, and bottles of my favorite teas and meads and whiskeys line an oak bar, draped in faery lights and dry bundles of hanging sage.
Jars of nuts and dried fruits and dark chocolate are sporadically placed on small tables and stools, each an arm’s reach from wherever I choose to allow my aching back to be coddled and supported.
This space can only be occupied by me. Tailored, to me. Waiting, for me.
I light the sage and let it burn, allowing it to explore my sacred hearth of its own volition. A journal to my right side, and my favorite books on a hand-carved shelf to my left, provide my heart, mind and soul with all the tools I’ll need to process the messages and insights I glean from my dedicated time in this tent. My committed time to my Self, my healing.
A place in which I can safely and wholly connect with my internal divine warrior goddess who’s been neglected for far too long, because only in a space such as this will she not only extend her invitation, but receive my acceptance.
My acceptance extends to regeneration… reanimation of the deadened soul whose already seething moon cycle ruined her sheets and sent her to the hospital, where they pumped her full of birth control at 14. A numbed soul who didn’t know whether her moods and thoughts and raging feelings were her own or the result of these chemicals coursing through her veins, tainting her hostile blood.
A troubled girl who rejected her femininity to protect herself. And now, an evolving woman who has lived, learned and risen. A woman who is no longer blind. A woman in the process of reclaiming her sex. A woman who is, just now, constructing her own inner temple. Her own sacred sanctuary of soul retrieval.
As the last drops disappear from this glass, I feel a warmth settle into my core. I feel a crimson glow pulsating from my base chakra. I feel a snake, uncoiling; an energy, unfolding. I see an earthen star forming the five points — the rooted stakes — of my hearth’s tent. I see it rise, solid and strong. Stoic, in a way, as it holds within its walls all of the mysteries, the atrocities, the stories and the epiphanies leading to its resurrection.
I invoke the red temple within, and I vow to return, over, and over, and over again. I vow to always tend to my mystery. I vow to always honor my inner goddess and the miraculous waves she rides. And most importantly, I vow to listen, to absorb and to share all that I learn while navigating that vast sea, for myself and the greater good of this hungry, bleeding world.
Fighte Fuaighte. And so it is.