Losing My Skin by Carol P. Christ

I arrived to Crete on June 6. Movers were in my house in Lesbos on the 4th and 5th. I put myself, my car, and my cat on an overnight ferry from Lesbos to Athens on June 5, and, after a day, took a second overnight ferry from Athens to Heraklion. Then another day moving my furniture and belongings up to my 5th floor apartment using a crane. The agreement was that the moving company would put all of the furniture in its place, while I would unpack over the next few days.

This was the end of a very long journey. I bought the apartment at the end of September and expected to be in Crete by Christmas. Paperwork problems delayed the contract of sale until the end of February. My architect was ready to begin renovations. I hoped to be in Crete by the end of March. Then the Covid quarantine hit Greece. Luckily work on the apartment was allowed to continue during the quarantine. And my architect sent copious photographs and asked my opinion about everything.

Not so luckily, it was discovered that the heat and air condition system needed to be replaced; the jacuzzi bathtub was broken and could not be fixed; and due to a series of loose tiles the whole apartment would need to be retiled. I understood that in the long term it would be good to replace the heat and air condition now rather than later. And the new tiles I found days before the quarantine would have made seeing them in person impossible are stunning.

The renovations were coming to an end about the time Greece began to allow travel to the islands (which had almost no Covid). The move itself was a bit more chaotic than I had anticipated, and of course the two days of travel to reach Crete were tiring. But I was very pleased with the renovations. My little cat who had been indoor-outdoor was very good on the trip and told me that she is happy with the large balconies in the apartment and glad to be free of the “mean cats” in the garden of our former home.

Though I was exhausted when the movers left, I recovered my strength in the next few days. There were workmen in the house the first week, but they were all kind and careful and eager to please. I did not make as much progress unpacking as I had hoped, but I succeeded in making the bedroom and bathroom beautiful. On the downside, my cell phone broke and every time I went out to shop, I got very lost in a warren of one-way streets that were not laid out geometrically.

Then exhaustion hit and my gastro-intestinal system packed up.

I spent most of the next week sleeping and did not have the energy to open a single box. I live alone and am not used to asking for help. I suffered. Finally, I asked new friend and FAR sister Eirini Delaki to send me healing energy from far away Spain. Within in the hour the blockage in my gastro-intestinal system cleared! I felt I was on the road to recovery. Still I could not gather the strength to resume unpacking. There was still something blocking my path.

My friends reminded me that no matter how well I had planned it, the move I am making is massive. They told me to be sure I was eating fruits and vegetables and olive oil (I had been surviving on fast food) and to rest as much as I needed to. During one of my naps, while pondering the tasks ahead of me, I heard the words: the uprooting of the sacred tree. Though I would never condone the literal uprooting of a sacred tree, I understood that this was exactly what I had done when I moved.

“Some people have altars in their homes,” my friend Christine Downing once said, “but Carol’s whole home is an altar.”

Not only are images of the Goddess and found shells and stones lovingly placed in every room, but also, inherited china and silver, peacock feathers from my grandmother’s garden, and special pieces of furniture testify to my ancestral connection to my mother and grandmothers.

As I thought about the words “uprooting the sacred tree,” I realized that I had dismantled the sacred space of my home.

The next message came in the words “losing my skin.”

Those who know me, know that I am very sensitive. Two energy healers have told me that my energy field is—very unusually–right on the surface of my skin. One of them commented that it is as if my electric wires are without the normal plastic coating. I have learned that my extreme sensitivity, while not always easy to navigate, is a gift: it is the reason that so many women have responded to my work and that many have confided their deepest secrets.

No wonder it has been difficult for me to be living without the protective skin that is the sacred space of my home!

Now that I realize that my home is not only an altar, but also provides the protection my sensitive nature requires, I trust that I will find the strength (slowly slowly) to re-root the sacred tree in my new home in Crete.


Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.

Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.

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19 replies

  1. So thrilled for you that you are finally in your new home, and can begin re-creating your altar and your sanctuary! Please take good care of yourself. The world needs you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Carol! How I feel for you! What a huge uprooting! The thought came to me that maybe these times of great trial, suffering and exhaustion are telling us just to be in the now, in the nothingness. In my experience, only there can we regenerate. I send you much love and many blessings. Many thanks for your important and wonderful work.
    Suzannah Beechwood-Hunt

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So nice to hear from you again. Sending you love and energetic re-charge.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for your story Carol it resonates with me and tells me to be brave and fearless in my goddess journey.


  5. Welcome moment-by-moment home, Carol, and may the roots of your new home grow strong and deep.

    Your post made me think of our beloved three-hundred year old tree which fell on a warm, windless sunny day in April. We grieved deeply. The tree still defines the yard, is still home to many creatures. I spend some time with the tree most days. One day I saw the shed skin of an enormous snake in the now horizontal hollow of the tree. We had many times seen the snake’s skin in this hollow when the tree was standing. The snake returned and left the beautiful silvery skin it has outgrown stretched out in the hollow.

    Blessings to you in your new home and your new skin.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh, Carol, you have certainly been through the mill with this move! Sending you virtual hugs from distant Virginia. I think you will gradually unfold like a newly hatched bird in your beautiful new space, and begin to feel at peace again. Know that loving energy surrounds you.

    Perhaps it is best to let everything take its own good time. Life in the USA is mostly at a standstill at the moment owing to the prevalence of coronavirus. During this Plague Year society is transforming: it may be that we will all emerge changed to make our way in a new, different reality.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dear Carol, such a long wait to move into your new place! I know a bit about how that is in recent years. May your new home be the sanctuary and sacred place to nurture you, and thus many others.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Having moved twelve times since I came to California, I totally sympathize with your struggles during your move. I’m so sorry to read that you got sick, but it certainly makes sense in the context of uprooting–and replanting–a sacred tree. Like you, I live in an apartment-wide altar. It’s wearing and tiring and upsetting to take it down, move it, and set it back up. But you succeeded! Hooray for you! Hooray for your live-in altar! I hope you’re happy and successful and healthy in your new home. Brightest blessings there!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Greetings–here in the US I took the title of this piece to mean “loosing my white privilege” which starts with the color of our skin. If we loose our skin and become one with the human race, we regain our soul.

    Good luck and blessings on your recovery from your move.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Hi Carol, I’m so glad that you’ve finally been able to move into your new apartment/altar. Like you, I’m a sensitive woman, and — like you again — I see it mostly as a blessing, although occasionally it trips me up.Like you, I have surrounded myself with sacred objects: photos of loved ones, shells, seed pods, dried pomegranates, and many, many rocks. Friends refer to my house as my temple. But I never thought of it as another layer of skin, protecting me from my overly-sensitive physical skin. Thanks for that image.

    Like you, I also was raised to be a “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps” kind of person. Self-sufficiency was not only a cultural expectation, but one that was reinforced by my parents. But because of back problems in my 50s, I began to ask for help (I had to). I now think of requesting help as the other side of the give-and-take, the compassion, that happens all the time in life. I help others, and others — not necessarily the same people — help me. It’s not a quid pro quo. It’s just the way life flows (not always, of course, but more than I would have expected as a child). And seeing life like this seems indispensable to me as I age, because at some point, I will not be able to be self-sufficient (at least I hope I live that long).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Blessings, Carol, on your new home and the new ground for your sacred tree.

    I have several altars around my home, as one never seems enough, and I just love the understanding of your entire home being an altar! That makes so much sense, and I think that that is how I, too, live. Thank you for that wonderful explanation and understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks to all of you for your love and support. Unexpectedly I do feel a little better today, so maybe it is the energy you send.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh, how did I miss this post? My life is too chaotic these days – I loved reading about your moving and resonated so much with what you said about uprooting your sacred tree – of course you did – and it’s always traumatic – moving is so hard even when it’s a good thing – for sensitives I think our homes are our way of rooting in the world and they certainly create a form of protection that otherwise would be missing completely. Gosh i wish I had understood this earlier in my life. I would have spent less time trying to find roots in me – my roots are in the sacred tree that is my home and land – without that ground and protection I am left walking on air. Literally. Gosh, why does it take a whole lifetime to learn these things.

    As for the “gift” of your sensitive nature – well – you have created sacred space for thousands and thousands of women across the globe – you are an extraordinary woman – I am so hoping that you will be able to re-create your sacred tree and find the comfort and protection that you need soon.

    I was also forcibly struck by the gastro intestinal distress – this kind of blockage is a problem for me as well – amazing how it comes – for me when it hits I crash – I am trying to let my stomach teach me to pay close attention to what I am doing – it is so easy for me to become ungrounded.

    I look forward to reading more and more about your new home and what new things you are learning – and I send you love and oh so many House Blessings… may all be well….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I honor your sharing and this glimpse into your experience. I know and hope you will find intimacy, peace, and health in this new part of your journey. Be well and blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Yes… moving can be intensely emotionally destabilizing… I lived in 13 homes by the time I graduated high school. I hope and pray you find stability and peace and restoration. <3

    Liked by 1 person

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