Mothers’ Day and GrassRoots RA/MC Survivors’ Collective

Mothers’ Day

MOTHER

i weep when your title is called. v

i never understood you. weak woman of child. comforter. betrayer.

you chose to stay. you chose to abide. you chose to adorn the robes.

i remember you dressed up as a black cat in a kindergarten play.

i remember your soup.

you were a victim of the times.

From Leni’s blog, “My life as a dissociative.”  https://ourdissociativelives.wordpress.com/2022/05/08/mother/

Once again this year, I skimmed over Mothers’ Day…until I read what Leni wrote about her mother. I found it beautiful and evocative. I almost saw my own mother in Leni’s writing – but she was never a black cat in a school play, and I never went to kindergarten.

How very different both our mothers might have been if the society they lived in had known as much about trauma as ours does today. It makes me very sad.

She was always a vague, undefined figure to me. Partly it was her passive personality, partly because I was raised by others for the first ten years of my life. She was more like a babysitter than a mother. I considered my mother a minor player in my life.

We didn’t celebrate Mothers’ Day, either in the Day Life or the Night Life. It wasn’t a big Hallmark holiday back then. No wonder I don’t react much to Mothers’ Day.

Here is a quote from a post about Mothers’ Day that I wrote in 2016. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/

“One year, though, I got a shock when I was driving to therapy. I was listening to a C&W radio station, and there was a song about a mother comforting her daughter about loss. The loss of her best friend when she was a child, a divorce, and finally, the mother’s death. “What can I do to help you say goodbye?” The tears were streaming down my face.

“My mother would not have comforted me. At best, she would have told me to act my age. As a result, I learned early on not to let her know my feelings. I never went to her for advice, for a quick good-luck hug, for a smile on hearing good news. I aimed for a distant, polite relationship, like two strangers who don’t much like each other thrown into close proximity. I got the distance, all right, but underneath the veneer was seething resentment and anger.”

I didn’t know then that I could miss what I had never had.

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GrassRoots RA/MC Survivors’ Collective

I just realized that I hadn’t written at length about the project taking up most of my time. It provides me with a lot of fulfilling experiences, including working with a kick-ass group of survivors, as well as a goodly number of triggers.

At this stage in my process, triggers only rarely send me into intense, long-lasting flashbacks. They are more like little reminders that something happened long ago that could use some attention today. I finally can welcome them! I get why my first therapist called them “gifts from the unconscious.” At the time, I wanted to strangle him because they felt like gifts given in the cult, prettily wrapped packages of blood, poo, or the corpse of a pet. Now I understand that my unconscious is suggesting a way to make today’s life a little bit better.

Why did I tell you this? I think it was to explain why I have time and energy for a big rewarding project. Perhaps this is the light I occasionally glimpsed when I was deep in the tunnel.

GrassRoots was envisioned as a place where survivors could come together, find ideas for projects, find volunteers to help them bring their idea to fruition, and read how-to articles on a variety of subjects. We imagined that people who worked together might well “click” and heal a little with and through each other. They might even go on to work on other projects or become personal friends. On many levels, it promised to be a way to break the isolation that so many survivors feel today. And as survivors talk to each other, tell their stories, work together, and form friendships, it breaks the old rules – “Don’t talk,” “You are stupid and incompetent,” “It’s forbidden to have a friend,” “Happiness is evil.”

The process would build community in two different ways, on a micro-level with one-to-one connections and on a macro-level by having more books, art exhibits, podcasts, Webinars, etc., readily available to survivors all over the world.

I must have been a matchmaker in a past life. It gives me so much pleasure to bring people together and have them be grateful to have met each other. Or maybe I was an agent running around finding a publisher for a wonderful book on an unpopular subject.

I remember the joy I felt when I put together poetry readings, first in my living room thirty years ago, then in feminist bookstores. We could speak of things that were taboo, we could witness each other’s pain and struggle to grow, to become healthy, and to create happy, fulfilled lives. I could see joy behind their tears, and my joy was increased ten-fold, twenty-fold, by theirs.

Back then, the joy was ephemeral because I quickly sank back into a stream of flashbacks. Now the flashbacks are far fewer, and I handle them much better. The joy lasts and gives me a desire to do more in and for my community. It’s a feedback loop; the happier I am, the more I do, and the more I do, the happier I am. Of course, I get down at times, but I always seem to pull quickly out of that place of lingering despair and come back to my new normal.

Now the structure of GrassRoots is set up (of course, it needs polishing), and word is getting out. There are quite a few people who are saying,” I can’t right now, but maybe next month, or in the fall, or after my hip replacement.” One day, this little hatchling will take off like a big bird, a bird that keeps growing all its life. And so many people will be cheering it on!

Hey – just had a thought – why not put the GrassRoots newsletter up on this blog? I’ll sneak it in between posts!

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Upcoming Holidays

May
5/15 Full Moon
5/15 – 5/16 Total lunar eclipse visible in south and west Europe, south and west Asia, Africa, much North America, South America, and Antarctica. https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/lunar/2022-may-16
5/21 (?) Armed Forces Day
5/26 (?) Ascension Day
5/30 Memorial Day

June
6/5 Pentecost
6/6 (?) Whit Monday
6/12 (?) Trinity Sunday
6/14 Full Moon
6/16 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/19 Fathers’ Day
6/21 Summer solstice
6/23 Midsummer’s Eve

6/24 (?) St John’s Day

 

July
7/4 Independence Day

7/13 Full Moon

7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God


7/27 Grand Climax

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

6/4 – 6/6  Shavuot (Harvest Festival, Festival of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments)

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.

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You can find more information on the following holidays at:

Candlemas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-
Beltane – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/
Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/ 
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2 – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-ii/
Fall Equinox – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/ 
Halloween (background) – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

The Poetry Reading Was AMAZING!

A first event is supposed to have lots of glitches, and then the second one goes much more smoothly. This one had only two glitches.

1. We promised a full hour for Q&A and didn’t have it, so we offered to go an extra 15 minutes

2. I kept forgetting to unmute. And a couple of times I forgot what I was saying. Nobody else had these problems, that I could tell.

Both no big deal!

What was truly amazing was how connected people felt, how grateful to be together. People, including some of the poets, cried together. Nobody wanted to leave. It was powerful, inspiring, and a total high, I think, for everybody.

There was so much feedback about how vulnerable the poets were, how the poems pulled no punches about the abuse. Some people said they had never heard a particular topic spoken of before. I think many were amazed that we weren’t all struck dead by lightning for saying and hearing such things. The rule of silence sure the hell was broken many times over in those 2 1/4 hours!

None of the attendees knew what was going to be shared when they signed up so, in my mind, it was a small experiment to see how many survivors lived through what. What surprised me was that several people said in the chat that they had experienced abuse by Nazi doctors. I think this is something that screams to be brought out in the open.

I remember the days when government mind control programming was never spoken of publicly. Why? Fear and denial. “If I even allude to this, they will find out and come and kill me.” “Our own government couldn’t have done anything like that, not in a million years.” I think we are in that same stage now regarding the Nazi mind control experts that were brought over during Project Paperclip.

The reasoning behind quietly bringing German war criminals to the US was that they were too dangerous to leave where they were – they probably would just go underground and keep doing what they had been doing all along. And that it was better to have them working for us than for Germany. I think that it would have been far better to have had them working for nobody at all and to have had them tried and brought to justice.

There were other things, of course, that elicited a “You, too? I thought I was the only one!” That was what brought such a sense of cohesion, of community, to the group.

The elation I felt was accompanied by a deep sadness. There is such a need for survivors to find each other, to talk, to meet over the Internet and on video conferences. And to meet in person, one on one, and in groups. There is practically nothing out there for us. What little exists is hard to find, and so people remain isolated.

The scarcity makes it seem like it is dangerous for survivors to connect, both because the abusers will find out and take revenge and because, in some way, contact with other survivors is intrinsically dangerous. They might be plants and lure you back into the cult. They might not have worked out their issues and you risk physical or psychological violence. Listening to their memories might contaminate your own; you might end up believing things about yourself that are not true.

Of course, it is only sensible to be cautious around survivors, just as you are cautious around other people. Test the waters before you trust. But the vast majority of survivors I have met are brave and kind people. They have made a deep commitment to being different from their abusers.

The environment of fear and isolation is especially sad to me because it hasn’t always been like this. When I first remembered, it was so easy to find others and to make friends with them! And it continued that way for several years until the False Memory Syndrome Foundation people won the media over and intimidated therapists and survivors alike with lawsuits.

It took me exactly three weeks from my first flashback to meet another RA survivor. There were several conferences a year in Massachusetts on ritual abuse. When I moved to San Francisco, there were daily “Nothing Too Heavy to Share” meetings (Survivors of Incest Anonymous meetings for RA survivors) within a half hour’s drive – sometimes two a day. Three Survivorship conferences a year. Poetry readings in bookstores. People having lunch and coffee together, forming their own non-12-step groups, sharing apartments.

All that has faded away. It’s time to do something about it and start bringing people together. We need connection and healing, not fear and isolation. Who can make it happen?

You! Me! Us! As Lily Tomlin said, “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” Go for it!

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I sent out a follow-up questionnaire and learned that people wanted another poetry reading. Now that we know what we are doing (I think!) we can offer that. The three co-hosts and planners, River, Leni, and I, just need to get out our calendars and pick a date.

The other thing people were interested in were Webinars. I’ve had experience with Webinars from Survivorship, as I organized and hosted a Webinar series for them. That was a dozen years ago, and the apps weren’t nearly as good as they are today, so technically it was more difficult. It was a perpetual challenge with things breaking down, trying to work around problems, and explaining the software to the attendees. The other challenge came at the end of the series when I had trouble finding new people to present. It should be a lot easier this time around.

I case you can’t tell, I’m still a little high from the experience!

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Here’s a summary of the questionnaire. Rather than emailing me (though of course you can do that), let’s respond to it in the comments section.

I want to be on the mailing list!                     

     yes ___ no ___  

Would you like another poetry reading?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in reading your poetry?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like to have an art exhibit?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in sharing your artwork?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like a musical performance?

     yes ___ no ___

Are you interested in sharing your music?

     yes ___ no ___

Would you like some Webinars?

yes ___ no ___

Suggested topics?

Would you be willing to give a Webinar?

     yes ___ no ___

Can’t wait to learn what y’all want!

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Upcoming Holidays

July

7/23 Full Moon 
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God 
7/27 Grand Climax

August

8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh 
8/13 Friday the 13th 
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 
8/22 Full Moon 
8/24 St. Bartholomew’s Day

September

9/5 – 9/7 Feast of the Beast/Marriage of the Beast 
9/7 Labor Day (United States) 
9/20 Full moon 
9/22 Fall Equinox 
9/29 Michaelmas/Feast of Archangel Michael and of all Angels

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups

7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party 
9/1 Start of WW2 
9/7 Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year, Day of Judgement) 
9/16 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement) 
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday 
9/21 – 9/27 Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Jewish harvest festival

(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices, and the equinoxes.)

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Additional information on various holidays:

Lammas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/category/lamas/
and https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 1: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/the-feast-of-the-beast/
Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan: Part 2: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/feast-of-the-beast-part-il
Fall Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Halloween (personal): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/
Halloween (background): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/
Thanksgiving: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/
Candlemas: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/candlemas/
Valentine’s Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/valentines-day/
Spring Equinox: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-spring-equinox/ 
Easter: personal. (for background, see Spring Equinox): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/easter-blues/
Walpurgisnacht/May Eve: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2017/04/20/walpurgisnacht/
Beltane: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/beltane/
Mothers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/mothers-day/
Fathers’ Day: https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2020/06/20/ritual-abuse-and-fathers-day/
Summer Solstice (corrected text): https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/well-this-is-embarrassing/

An Unexpected Gift for My Spirit

* Detailed instructions for making comments are in “News Items.”

* Additional information on the following holidays is available at:
Thanksgiving https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/thanksgiving/
Yule/Winter Solstice https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/ 

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This morning I poured myself some cold coffee, added ice cubes and a little ice cream, grabbed an almost-empty bag of jalapeño potato chips, and sat down at my computer to read my email and the Guardian. (Don’t worry – later I made myself a proper breakfast.)

I subscribe to “A Poem a Day” from https://poets.org/poem-a-day. Some days I simply cannot understand what the poem is trying to say, other days I find it uninspiring. Some days it speaks with force and beauty to my condition. Today I was moved to check out a second poem because the title appealed to me, and it transformed my day.

I know I will read and reread this poem over and over. It gives me courage for the journey and makes my heart sing. It will make me feel like each day is a coming-home-to-myself party.

I share it with you, hoping you may glimpse what I cannot yet fully describe; something I totally believe in, something which has always been just beyond my awareness.

Joy Harjo, by the way, is our current Poet Laureate and the first Native American Poet Laureate.

 

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

 

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
 Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
 The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

 

Reprinted from “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo.

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Upcoming Holidays

November
11/28 US Thanksgiving
December
12/1, 12/8, 12/15, 12/22 Sundays of Advent
12/11 Full moon
12/21 Winter solstice/Yule/St. Thomas’ Day
12/24 Christmas Eve
12/26 Annular solar eclipse. Totality will be visible in Saudi Arabia, southern India, Sri Lanka, parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines.
12/31 New Year’s Eve
January
1/1 New Year’s Day
1/7 St Winebald’s Day
1/10 Full moon
1/10-11 Penumbral lunar eclipse. The moon will turn a shade darker during the maximum phase, which will be visible in Australia, Europe, and Africa. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual full moon. See https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/map/2020-january-10
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
12/22 – 12/30 Chanukah
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes)