On from Stonehenge to EarthSpirit, Dundon, Somerset, for the “Open to the Goddess” workshop, where I found the Durga in me.
The building is a converted barn. Those stone walls are more than a foot thick. I love the way that old beams have been retained, contrasting with the double glazing, most clearly in that window on the left, below. Religious imagery is eclectic, fitting for a new-agey, spiritual sort of place. There was a wonderful sense of peace, especially in the upstairs dormitory: two sharing was lovely, though I am not sure I would like to share with seven others. Two of us arrived early, and after dinner relaxed in the hot tub and sauna.
At the end, I burned a book. It was a beautiful gift from a wise friend, hand tied from hand-made black paper, and I had written some of the best of my verse in it. But there was a great deal of self-mockery and self-loathing:
with hair on her fingers and hair in her nose
people shout “tranny” wherever she goes
and it used my old name. So it was a symbol of transition male to female for me. That is not the transition I am in, now. I think I have put it behind me, I can express myself in a variety of ways worrying less about how gendered my expression is. I have felt the pain of my trying to be male, and have mourned it. We burned the book together, by a small stream: a koran may be disposed of by burning completely, and letting the ash fall into a stream. It flamed like a torch in my hand, and the pages burned away.
My other sacrifice, or symbol of what I want to leave behind, was a calculator. Not because I do not want to think about what I do, but because I do not want the rational, reasoned justification to be the only acceptable justification for what I do. I do it because I want to, just as I express myself female because I want to. Rational argument can only go so far. I left it in one of the rooms. Shorn of its symbolic meaning, I hope it is of use to someone who finds it.
No photographs of this, or of me in the red silk sari dancing as Durga. It was an experience, it is a memory, it is a symbol. Photos are unnecessary. Dancing with Durga, and dancing Durga, we did an open visualisation, a ritual invoking, and a dance manifesting. Open visualisation: travel to meet the Goddess through the Earth, Water and Air, but how and where we meet comes from inspiration rather than in the words of the visualisation. I do not want to say too much of these. I knew what I wanted, and I have what I wanted.
I have a tiger between my legs.
And- since, I have done a brief taster of the workshop, and had Kuan Yin.