MUSINGS OF A MODERN MYSTIC: Generational Trauma and the Outcast

Water 5

“After all, when a stone is dropped into a pond, the water continues quivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottom.”

Arthur Golden

I saw a meme recently that hit the deepest recesses of my being, and I have searched high and low and cannot seem to find it again; I know I didn’t dream it, either. I searched on FB, IG, Pinterest and Google, so if anyone knows what I am talking about, PLEASE, share it!

The meme said (loosely quoting, there was a great caption, too): “In order to heal generational trauma, you must begin by understanding the black sheep of the family; they are wounds embodied.” Note: Black sheep is one of those terms that has tones of subtle racism, and so I am choosing to use the word outcast instead.

It stopped me in my tracks.

I dropped my phone.

I sobbed.

I sobbed until no noise came out of my mouth.

I sobbed until my tears ran dry.

I sobbed until my Soul was tired.

I have always been the outcast; my family seems to believe that because they love me, that means they accept me, or that they understand me.

They hardly know me, so how can those other things be true?

I have no ill will towards my family, I love them, but I am the product of what happens when parents’ divorce and one of three children is moved away from *everyone*.

Separation happens.

I have written about my Father Wound before so many of you know what happened there, and how that affected me (how his absence and abandonment molded me, and my views of Men)—I plan to share an epiphany I had on the subject later in this blog.

Much of my family didn’t try to have a relationship with me, a child, and they blamed me, a child.

I type this and worry one may see and get offended.

But I don’t care.

Keep reading.

Trauma

I was 12 at the time, and quickly learned that my new home environment was abusive, and I remained there for 10 years; that is where a lot of my CPTSD comes from.

Having a connection with my family wasn’t at the forefront of my mind: surviving was.

Truths need to be brought to light, and hard truths even more so.

This is about more than the divorce, what happened after, and the dynamic of relationships within my family; this is about what it means to be the outcast.

I scoff, roll my eyes, and bite my tongue every time I see someone claim to be an outcast (really black sheep, but again, a tad racist) like it’s a badge of honor; same as people who claim to be “weirdos”.

This shit isn’t a trend.

Being an outcast is isolating, painful, lonely, and traumatic as fuck. As a child you wonder, why am I not good enough, what did I do wrong, why can’t I be normal? Am I not worthy of love?

And, as an adult not much changes, except maybe having the strength to draw hard lines in the sand, or the compassion to forgive and move forward; other times it’s cutting them off completely.

Being a weirdo usually means we’re bullied in our younger years (which may even transfer to adult life, too). It means not being accepted, being ostracized and ridiculed.

I had no choice in being weird, or an outcast—both are very much who I am, but they were not easy roles to play, or paths to walk; they still aren’t.

I am proud to be both but I won’t sit here and make either look pretty.

As far as my family goes, on one hand I want to be understood and accepted, on the other hand I know they won’t “get it” so why even bother?

I am loud, opinionated, wise, in tune, defiant (also respectful when I need to be).

I take up space, my presence is undeniably powerful (Jupiter on my Ascendant can be thanked for that, among other things).

I say what I mean and mean what I say; I don’t let racism, sexism, classism, or any “ism” happen in my presence, and that has made for some very interesting family gatherings.

Last Easter (a Holiday I don’t celebrate, but it coincides with my Grandfather’s birthday) I cleared the table when I said that my brother’s fiancé was wrong for wanting to get “a Native card” so that her daughter could get a discount on college tuition.

That’s the whitest, most privileged shit I ever heard.

Eye roll

I had to call that out.

How can I sit here and tell all of you to burn in your truth if I won’t burn in mine?

I also called us (white people) colonizers, because we are; regardless if we (my family) have Native blood in us (we do) or not.

We are white passing; we have never been oppressed because of our Indigenous heritage, we don’t know what it’s like to live on a Rez in 2019 and not have running water, and electricity. We don’t face the addiction rates (a direct result of, you guessed it, Generational Trauma and colonization) that Indigenous people do, nor do we have to worry about our girls in the way Indigenous people do ; their girls and Women go missing and/or are killed in staggering numbers.

Don’t get me started on the sexual assault statistics. It’s mind-blowing.

For reference and education, click here.

So, no, you don’t get a “Native card” for higher education.

I was not about sit there in silence……in compliance, while some privileged shit went unchecked.

I checked it.

LOUDLY.

For clarification, I do have supportive, progressive and amazing family members whom I love more than anything in this world; they are my anchor to my humanity.

This leads me to the Mother Wound and Generational Trauma.

Generational Trauma is the idea that trauma is passed on through not only DNA but as a psychic imprint.

You can read more about it, here.

I faced my Father Wound with rage the likes of which can’t aptly be described.

I held onto so much fucking hate, and utter disdain for my sperm donor that I removed the concept of having a Father altogether.

I handled my Mother Wound with complete understanding, and compassion; anger at times, too, when she would project her pain onto me, but it didn’t linger because I took her pain on as my own, and together we sifted through it.

Unity

As we began to heal our traumas and our bond, we noticed the Women in my family waking up, and they started to ride the frequency of their intuition; my one Aunt even has begun to build her first Altar.

She also buys all my books and supports me like no other. My cousins are into spirituality, Feminism, crystals, etc. and a few are even anti-religion like me (which makes me so proud!)

My Mom is an outcast, too so teaming up, and attacking our pain (most of which was experienced together and is why our bond is so strong) has allowed the Generational Wounds to show themselves and be healed.

We called on the Ancestors for help, as well, and filled any missing pieces by asking the elders.

My (step) Sister has recently come out as a Witch.

One of my Brother’s has completely opened himself up to the otherworld (he doesn’t quite know it yet, though) and he and his wife even birthed into creation a beautiful baby Witch who is now 4.

These awakenings brought me back to my Father Wound after I heard a story about what happened to him when he was a child. Apparently, he was caught playing with his Sister’s dolls and the punishment was severe.

Hell, my brothers played with my dolls with me, just like I played with their G.I Joe, matchbox cars and Wrestling figures.

Punished for playing with dolls?

But, back in the early 60’s it was unacceptable in his home (still is in some homes today) and he was forced to wear one of his sister’s dresses and stand out on the front lawn from morning until evening “to teach him a lesson”.

And, this is only one example of the expectations put on him as a child to be hyper-masculine, that he has carried all through his life.

The patriarchy hurts us all, and this is a prime example—toxic masculinity at its most vile.

Water 4

Last time I saw my Father, he was so….old and fragile.

I could see life had taken its toll on him, I could see the pain in his eyes—the pain he tries to cover so hard. I could sense the unhappiness that he hides with new shiny toys and home renovations. And, suddenly I didn’t feel hate anymore, I felt pity at first, then I felt nothing but compassion and empathy for him. I wanted to take him in my arms and swallow him up with Divine Mother energy.

After that encounter I sat down and readdressed the Father Wound; I know he will never be what I need or want him to be, he will never love me the way he should, the way I need, or want, but I understand him on a deeper level now, and for some reason that makes things, not okay, but easier for me to swallow.

The same goes for the rest of my family.

I am not excusing actions, but I am refusing to allow them to continue.

It ends with me.

There is something profound seeing the work you have done individually, then teamed up with your Crone Mother manifest into real healing for the ones you love most.

Trauma is complex, love is complex, family is complex.

Generational Trauma takes years to fully comprehend, but it can be understood, and to some degree overcome; healing can happen on some level, and cycles can be broken.

CYCLES CAN BE BROKEN.

CYCLES WILL BE BROKEN.

I had to stop running, face the truth, no matter how hard or ugly it was; then I Alchemized that shit and watched how things shifted.

RANTINGS OF A MAD WITCH: The Great Divide

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“The human body resonates at the same frequency as Mother Earth. So instead of only focusing on trying to save the earth, which operates in congruence to our vibrations, I think it is more important to be one with each other. If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us. Yet if she is sick, it is because mankind is sick and separated. And if our vibrations are bad, she reacts to it, as do all living creatures.”

Suzy Kassem

I don’t identify as Pagan so writing a post that has been inspired by Pagan community issues is ironic, and that point is not missed by me.

As the world spirals out of control due to Government policies not in alignment with or appropriate for modern, progressive times, among other things, our system becomes further and further unbalanced with an “us vs. them” dichotomy.

This divisive narrative has bled into all areas of life.

And, yes, that includes Magick.

I always looked to the Witch community for inspiration.

For hope.

I sought out my Brothers and Sisters in Magick when the world got me down; it was my escape.

And, as socially and politically aware as I am, perhaps that escape became blinders.

Note: For clarification, I use the term Witch broadly in the context of this piece, and in general; I don’t use the term Pagan broadly (even though many people do) and I’m aware that by definition my practices are Pagan. We will unpack that mess another day. I also know that some Practitioners of African Diasporic Traditions, for example, do not identify as Witches, or practice Witchcraft. They are still and always included.

Carrying on…

Over the last several months I have noticed how deeply divided we are within the Witch community, and I must admit, it was surprising to me.

I know that many of my readers will say they are not shocked at my epiphany as they have experienced division, elitism and, often, racism first hand, but I thought we were better than this.

It’s important to point out that I stick to myself in pretty much every way possible; I have never been part of a Coven, or organization. I am not initiated into anything, and don’t believe someone must be in order to be taken seriously. On a mundane level, I’m a loner with a tight inner circle and extremely close familial connections.

I am a seeker and follower of the Old Ways, my path is my own and my research is endless, vast and deep.

Leaves1

I consider myself to be super introverted, and us introverts know the one thing we do better than hiding is observing.

I notice everything, so how the divide in the Witch community was missed by me is something I must reflect on myself; no outside opinions necessary, or welcome.

It all started slowly, too–the realization, I mean.

First it was certain groups using Norse symbolism and Asatru teachings taken out of context to promote (white) nationalism, and racism.

Then it was white Witches excluding WOC (Witches of Color) from Witch spaces, or worse, talking for them instead of allowing them to speak for themselves.

Then it was white washing deities and/or using them out of context (ie. etymology of words/names and traditional lore must be considered); a blonde Kali threw me over the edge.

I have watched Witches’ pounce one another for “pulling the race card” simply because they wanted to have a conversation, an honest and open dialogue about what it means to live with brown skin in this world, in these times AND be a practicing Witch (again, all inclusive term).

Intersectionality is important—it’s the keystone of progress.

I have watched as Witches called out sexual abuse in the Pagan community only to be attacked in every way possible for daring to have a voice.

I have watched Witches improperly lash out because they are too scared to face their own traumas; Shadow Work is essential no matter what path you walk.

I have watched people use mental illness as an insult, or suggestion that someone’s behavior is because they are mentally unfit; this is dangerous for so many reasons.

I have watched people gather like a group of ‘Mean Girls’ and judge the witchiness of another to somehow validate or invalidate their practices and experiences.

I have watched Indigenous traditions stolen and exploited over and over and over again.

It goes far beyond the use (and misuse) of Sage, too.

I have watched as people were told they couldn’t practice a tradition because they are not the proper ethnicity.

And, trust me, I speak up, I speak up all the fucking time and I am shut down or attacked as people project onto me.

I have witnessed white folx being told they can’t practice Hoodoo, Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo or any African Diasporic Tradition in general because they don’t have African Ancestry.

The folx (gatekeepers) telling them this are the same folx who say that all people come from Africa (which they do).

Here’s a link for your reading pleasure, and my sanity.

You can’t have it both ways though.

We are either an inclusive community or we are not.

YES, black Witches, and black people in general, deserve to have spaces for themselves where they are represented authentically and unapologetically, by themselves.

And, YES, there are many traditions that ARE NOT up for the taking by outsiders because they are rooted in culture as well as practice and tradition (ie. being immersed in it day to day with your physical presence and time).

I DO NOT believe that as a white person everything is available/accessible to me, but when it comes to Spirituality, Spiritual practices and what resonates with the Soul, the lines get blurred really fucking quick, and it’s important for ALL parties involved to acknowledge this.

Respect for the path we walk, and education for the tradition we follow is key, in my opinion.

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I have watched white Witches tell black Witches they cannot venerate Norse or Celtic deities, or any Anglo-saxon group because they themselves are not white; that they will not be accepted because they are black.

I have only met a handful of Spirits who gave any flying fucks about race; generally, they just like to be honored, and most Practitioners, regardless of tradition, will agree with me on this.

It boils down to respect and education, as aforementioned, but also intent.

Another point, colonialism and how it continues to affect this country, and the world is a tricky, tricky subject and one of great complexity.

This of course affects our community.

Racism, sexism and sexual abuse in the Witch community are topics that must be addressed, and folx it’s going to suck for all parties involved.

White privilege is real. White supremacy is real. The patriarchy is real. Racism is real. Sexual abuse disguised as enlightenment or ritual is real.

We as a community cannot expect change on a grand, global scale, like so many of us truly want, if we are unable to see the issues among ourselves.

We cannot resist the system that wants to obliterate our existence if we aren’t even strong enough or brave enough to have the difficult conversations.

Yes, some white feelings are going to get hurt in the process, but imagine the generational trauma that POC must work through?

And, no folx this is NOT SAYING that white people don’t have generational trauma themselves.

Comparing the two is a false equivalency (another reason Intersectionality is paramount).

Our community is better than the actions of a few and I know that, but what I brought up here has moved far beyond just a few people.

How can Witches be a force of resistance, a force in the resistance if we can’t unify on the most basic shit?

How?