* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”
* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween: (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Memory is often thought of in black or white terms. “Is it accurate, or did I imagine it?” “Yes, it’s true – no, it’s false.” But the real truth of a memory is, “it depends.”
Let’s look at some of the things that affect the accuracy of a memory – everybody’s memories.
Most important is your perception of an event. If you are a little kid and see a person in a gorilla suit, you might think it is a real gorilla. You will then remember seeing a real live gorilla. Not in the zoo, but out on the street or running around a football field at half-time.
So is this memory true or false? Both! You don’t remember what you actually saw, you remember what you thought you saw.
When I was four, they took me to see Bambi, and I was devastated when the forest started burning. A few months later, in a vulnerable state, having been separated from my beloved caretaker, my dog, and most of my toys, I was taken on a sleeper train to my grandfather’s summer home. (I have ritual abuse memories from that summer.) On the way home, on the same train, I stared out the window, watching as dusk turned to night.
I never forgot the train racing through burning woods and my fear that the flames would engulf the train and I would die, as the forest animals had died, in the fire. If this had actually happened, it would have been talked about and become part of the family history. Later, I could have researched it in newspaper archives. But it wasn’t a real fire I remembered. It was an imagined fire that blended the scene from Bambi, scraps of things I had heard of forest fires, my intense fear and rage, and a sense of imminent death.
Was this memory true or false? Both! It was not a memory of an actual event, but it was was a true memory, accurate in every detail, of what I saw in my mind’s eye as I was carried towards an unknown fate.
Another time I believed that a memory was a fantasy and it turned out to be of a real event. I was sitting in my high chair, and my mother was sitting in a chair a few feet away. I was playing with the most beautiful thing – a paper circle with pins with colored glass heads stuck all around the edge of the ring. This couldn’t be true, because I doubted I could remember that far back, and because nobody would be dumb enough to give a baby fifty sewing pins to play with. Years later, when I mentioned this to my mother, she said it was indeed true, and that she was sitting right there watching me so I couldn’t get hurt.
Sometimes memories change a little each time we think about them. They evolve over time, like a good story. This kind of drift is normal. Sometimes they get fuzzier, especially if we don’t think about them very often. Our minds aren’t like cameras, recording every detail for posterity.
Now let’s look at some of the effects that extreme abuse, like ritual abuse, has on memory.
Most important is that trauma memories get stored differently in the brain from ordinary memories. Different parts of the memory get stored in different places. Sometimes it is the beginning, middle, and end of the event that are separated from each other. Sometimes it is sight, sound, emotion, etc. that get separated. Each time the brain encounters trauma, it reacts the same way, until it becomes the brain’s default setting. If the splitting is extreme, alters are formed, and different parts of the memories are stored by different alters.
Many survivors’ memories are of what they believed at the time, rather than what actually happened. Children are easily tricked; they are naive and do not have the experience to tell lies from truth. Children desperately want to believe that adults know more than children do and that adults tell the truth. And their abusers are masters of deception who carefully plan how to trick children into believing what they want them to.
Finally, it is because the trauma they suffered is horrendous. If your whole body is wracked by pain, if you have been given hallucinogens, if you are terrified that you are about to be killed, there is very little brain-power left over to figure out whether something is real or not. Especially if you are only three years old.
When memories first surface, they can be very confusing. It takes time to figure out what they are all about. It takes courage to hold on to the belief that you would not be seeing these images if nothing terrible had happened. It takes time and patience to learn to be aware that you are in the present, not back then when all those crazy things were happening. When you have one foot solidly in the present and the other in the past, then you can look at your memory with adult eyes and figure out if you were tricked as a child, and if so, how.
Slowly, things start to make sense. You gradually start to believe you are not crazy. You start to believe in yourself, in your own judgment, your own intuition. This is called healing!
9/23 Fall equinox
10/13 Full moon
10/13 Backward Halloween
10/14 (?) Columbus Day
10/31 Halloween/start of Celtic New Year/start of the dark half of the year
11/1 All Saints’ Day
11/2 All Souls’ Day
11/11 (?) Veterans’ Day
11/12 Full moon
11/28 US Thanksgiving
Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
9/29 – 10/1 Rosh Hashanah (New Year, Day of Judgement)
10/8 – 10/9 Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement)
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/13 – 10/20 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, harvest festival)
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s actual half-birthday
10/21 Hitler’s alternative half-birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday and half-birthday on 4/20 and 10/20. His alternate birthday is celebrated on Easter of the current year and his alternate half-birthday six months later.)
10/21 – 10/22 Simchat Torah (celebration of the annual complete cycle of reading of the Torah)
11/9 Kristallnacht State-ordered pogroms against Jews in Germany and Austria)
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)