From the Tale
“With a tender touch Ereshkigal lifts my chin, and says, ‘Nothing is lost that cannot be refound. You need only set your feet on the Dark Goddess’s path and say yes.’
I once more meet Her gaze. This is no gentle Goddess. She is terrifying; a blaze smolders within the blackness of Her pupils that could easily reduce me to ashes. And yet, deeper still, I sense only love; not a Valentine kind of treacle sweet love, but a fierce, tugging love, like the ocean, that insistently calls me back to its life sustaining waters.
‘Yes,’ I say, ‘Yes, I will follow where the Dark Goddess leads me.’
Ereshkigal dips Her index finger into the blackened iron pot, whose earth and water holds our dirt of life magic, and stirs in a slow, clockwise direction.
‘So it is chosen. So it will be,’ She says, as She paints a warm, mud smeared star on my brow.
The mark burns, not painfully so, but enough to let me know that these words, this vow, that has passed between us, won’t be washed away when the surface layer of mud is gone.”
Within my cupped palms and trembling heart, I hold my destiny. I can risk what I’ve got, and move past my fears into the raw potential of my true, deep self. I can choose to follow the Goddess’s ancient path, and let its mysteries heal my life and my world. I can become Hecate’s daughter, no longer lost, but returned to Her powers and ways.
I stand between the opposing walls of my walk-in closet, one side lined with business wear and the other with my supplementary, wardrobe categories: casual, evening, yoga and visits with my mother. I’m selecting from my extensive collection of gray, black and navy suits, white and cream, tailored shirts, black and navy pumps, and matching purses — all monotone, subdued, sexless and very expensive.
I don’t even glance at the other wall, with its splashes of scarlet-red and midnight-blue, and full display of my boot fetish. There is no way in hell I’d let even a peep of the other me squeak out at the office — the one who emerges from this closet on weekends wrapped in delicious, feminine folds of sensuous fabric and bold color, and the thigh-high, sex appeal of stiletto-heeled boots.
With the deeper vision of my dream knowing, I detect the warrior-like squaring of my shoulders, and the clenched muscles in my abdomen and at the base of my spine as I don my dark-suited armor and fortify myself for battle in a man’s world.
Every morning I do a version of this routine, and then spend the rest of the day in a state of constant vigilance, knowing that I have to act like a man, actually a better man than all the rest, while somehow still displaying subtle indications of my womanhood. Unspoken rules dominate my actions, derived from a fine, balancing point between beauty and brains, the secret boys’ club ethos, and the even-more-secret, girl-against-girl rivalry. This is the price of my power and success, and of retaining my privileged membership in the upper ranks of the corporate world.
“The world is in trouble, Sarah,” Will says, “Clearcutting and the destruction of wild habitat are only the tips of the iceberg. I’ve always lived close to the ocean, and paid attention to her patterns and well-being. The oceans are dying; we are poisoning them and destroying precious ecosystems and species that we depend upon for survival. I’ve known these things for a long time, but I couldn’t see how I could make a difference. I still don’t really know how, but the ritual made me hopeful that we humans have better, beautiful instincts. And these instincts are connected to the Goddess, to women and to life. I am part of this change. How I think, love and act matter. You matter, Sarah. You have big, inner power; it’s just been waiting for the opportunity to shine.”