Three Sacraments for Women Returned from Hell: Re-Wilding for the Soul Bride.
The sky loomed devilish over the quietly raging ocean, but this Sisterhood was not going home.
The coming dawn would mark a true holiday, for their long-gone Priestess had risen from the depths of her own hellish torment. They had thought they lost her, you see; to what, they did not know, but she was here now. The catalyst for her underworld journey did not matter, nor did the nature of her return to the Holy Wild.
The broken Priestess stood before her sisters, weeping and covered in bloody ashes. Her red-hooded cloak had been singed on the ends during her own Burning Time, and her aging skin had been cracked within the crucible of soul-loss.
She had returned, this wounded Witch, to herself, to her circle, and to her wild purpose, but she wavered; the memory of her downward spiral and ego-shattering anguish was vivid, and she stood with quivering knees, her bare feet deep in cold sand and intermittently licked by Aphrodite’s waves.
The ascended Priestess sobbed now not for her time spent boiling in the wound-cocoon; it was not time lost but time dedicated to her soul’s gestation, after all. Her tears fell as a testimony to her severed parts. She could barely recall the buzz of divinity she would feel between her legs when she stood bare-breasted under the trees. Where had her erotic innocence gone?
She used to dance with these women, these three holy creatures who looked to her now with fierce validation and belly-born support. She used to make love like it was a body prayer to the god-stars, and she used to affirm the she-magick in her blood with every breath she took.
There was a time when standing on this beach, while the sun rose behind an August storm, would have made her cry out like a wolf in ecstasy, but now there was nothing but numbness. I used to be wild, she whimpered, but now she felt a bone-deep disconnection between her soft body and enduring, cosmic spirit.
Her three red-hooded Sister-Witches moved to encircle their long-lost Priestess just as the morning sky darkened, each of them feeling their own raised scars throbbing. The lightning bolt looked like the fangs of the Dark Goddess Herself, and the broken one gasped.
Pure electric prana erupted in her guts, a volcano of soul-renewal, and her spine arched as the foundation of her sex-spirit bridge was thickly poured by the She-Gods themselves. She pulled her hood down, letting the first raindrops fall on her knotted hair and scratched cheeks. She was ready.
The youngest of the Sisterhood stepped forward, pulling the Chalice of the Holy Sensual from her robe; it was an unbeauteous but sacred thing, brown clay carved with the symbols of the Ancient Feminine, hand-built by an elder-woman long since passed over to Spirit.
The young one remembered her own Re-Wilding not so long ago, when her heart had been broken too many times, her skin bruised by the hands of the ego-mad, and her rage seethed under a thick blanket of false perfection.
The Maiden held the chalice in front of the returned Priestess, letting the storm’s warning drops fall into its well.
Crashing waves and howling wind crooned their wild song as she offered the first sacrament, and the Priestess stood a little taller at the young one’s words: Drink from this vessel, and you affirm the divinity of your body. Inside your cells vibrates the sanctity of the holiest of holies, and everything your healer’s hands touch is blessed by the Goddess Herself. By the grace of your sex, we are all redeemed. Blessed be.
Blessed be, the Priestess repeated, her voice small under rolling thunder, but she drank then, the Maiden holding the cup for her Sister, and the holy water filled the dry, dark, cobwebbed spaces in her sacrum. The young one dipped the chalice into Mother Ocean then, pouring the salty wet over her Sister-Witch’s already soaked hair. The Priestess winced as the water burned her eyes and the salt settled into the still-bleeding places.
The ash was washed from her skin, and the bright of her eyes shone for the first time since she had gone under.
She tossed her red cloak to the dry sand and stood naked in body and soul before her Sisters now, and a Mother pregnant only with her sacred work stepped forward, bearing the Chalice of the Wild Spirit. This cup was bejeweled with dark, of-the-Earth stones, sent to the Sisterhood not from heaven, but from the depths of consecrated caves.
The Mother held it high, letting the now-steady rain feed the vessel and remembering her own spiritual isolation.
She called the second sacrament out at a volume that rivaled the torrent around them: Drink from this vessel, and you affirm your cosmic connection to all things. Drink from this vessel, and know you are forever liberated, for there is no external salvation, no outward and upward divinity. Drink and know yourself as God-Goddess-All Things Holy. Blessed be.
Blessed be. The Priestess gulped the Gaia-sent elixir for her spiritual disconnection, and her ethereal crown beamed as shock-white as the lightning above them. The Mother anointed her then, the seawater running in cool rivulets, spiraling around her raised scars and deep wounds, healing the damage done to her feminine psyche by years of social injustice.
The Priestess stood before them, dripping with nature’s womb-water and owning a new vitality. This was the bridal shower for her soul marriage, and her gifts were renewal and vindication.
The holy storm whirled around them, wild hair and red robes flung in all directions, anchored only by the Stalwart Feminine. Their feet sank deep in the sand, and they were unmoved by these elements. The Priestess spread her arms and legs, standing like a five-pointed star under the great downward volcano of bursting clouds and electric danger. She knew full well this storm might be her undoing, but she had been to hell and back.
She harvested the most guttural war cry she had in her belly, and sent it out to the four directions as the old Wise Woman stepped forward, bracing herself against the current sucking sand from under her feet.
The Chalice of the Unstruck Heart had been cracked so many times that no one remembered how it looked originally; its outsides had been repaired and repainted after countless betrayals and rebirths. The inside of the vessel was solid tungsten, the hardest metal, and remained intact no matter how battered it appeared.
The Wise Woman held it high, trying to recall the number of times her lips had whispered this final sacrament: Drink from this chalice, and remember who you are. You are the wild one who has come home. You are Persephone ascended from Hades. You are Inanna. You are the dark angel. You are She Who Is, and will forever be. You are Shakti embodied. You are raw sexuality and shining spirit. You are compassionate connection and unbridled destruction. You are the darkness and the light, hell and heaven, depression and joy. You are everything, and everything is you. Blessed be.
Blessed be. The Priestess shook as she drank breathlessly from the last chalice. This was her holy homecoming, and the storm was proposing to her with all the elemental energies it could muster. This was her birthday, and she was risen. The Wise One anointed her one last time, a baptism of wild awakening, and the Priestess was born again.
The four Priestesses of the Holy Wild chanted words of reverence until the rain slowed and the sky turned a grey-blue, and the Priestess smiled for the first time just as the sun’s glow became visible.
They marked the rest of the day with sultry swimming and bonfires, adorning the returned one with crowns of seaweed and shells. Her soul was forged in the flames of an ego-death so irrevocable that she would never be who she was before her descent, nor would she want to be. She went to sleep that night for the first time, New Moon heralding transformation, and she dreamt of calmer days.
In her dreams, she was the Witch-Bride marrying her inner wolf, vowing her sex and spirit to be forever hand-fasted, and affirming her own abundance and grace with every beat of her heart-drum.
All blessings be.