This post started as a comment to Annie Finch’s part 1 of Abortion As A Sacrament post. Realizing it was a story that was getting too long, I’m sharing it here as a reiteration of the practical significance of ritual, and finding our way through the no-longer-charted territories of being a female human — in the sense that if we were a female of any other animal form, we would still know exactly how to navigate all the challenges.
I had a years-long pregnancy-related experience in which ritual was the only thing to finally bringing closure, though the real issue was more the other being’s feelings or intent than mine. About a year after the birth of my only child, still nursing full time and using what should have been sufficient birth control, I became pregnant and aborted at Planned Parenthood. I had been well along, not having suspected anything because my menses hadn’t yet returned.
At the time, there was no debate in my mind, if I had added another responsibility to my already excessive load, I would have failed at everything, the most important being my daughter.
So, though hubby and I were subsequently exceedingly careful, with methods we had already used for years, still, over the next year i became pregnant twice. Each time a menstrual extraction was done after all the herbs that might work, didn’t. During that time i was very aware of a boy spirit ever present, trying to come in.
In fact, some months after #3, during an all-night women’s sweat lodge and retreat with deep ceremonies, at one point a close friend and I were alone in the light of a single candle when she peered above my head and remarked, There’s a boy hovering over you.
“Yes, I know.”
A year or so after that, despite so much precaution, i was pregnant again. This time, I took herbs again but felt compelled to go out to a particular spot on our land and do a ritual. Part of it involved speaking to this person. I said that I fully understand how important coming here and now is to him, but that I was truly unable to take care of him at that time. If he could wait and come into my life later on, I promised that however he arrived, I would be there for him 1000%.
Everything felt clean. The herbs worked, there was no longer an extra presence inhabiting my aura, and no more unplanned pregnancies.
That was all 30 years ago. The whole thing never crossed my mind unless some very specific related topic came up in reading or conversation. Or the couple of times I ended up in a rich mentor or cohort relationship with a young fellow who would have been born around the same time. I would vaguely wonder if that was the person, but it would become obvious there was no subterranean bond.
Then a few years ago, a young woman I’m very close to announced she was pregnant and instantly everything came back to me, though no previous pregnancy announcements from others in my circle ever brought any of that to mind. I said nothing to anyone and pushed it out of my mind. But I knew it was a boy and it was.
So much has happened since, that there is no doubt in my mind that this is the person I couldn’t birth and raise myself. Fortunately, he had the wisdom and timing to arrive exactly where and when i can fully be there for him. We also understand each other very deeply. There is no need to go into further detail in that regard, as I’ve never spoken about it to those around me; I wouldn’t want someone to think I was claiming this child in some way. That particular past is not important for this particular present. Also, I’ve never assumed it was only me who was so important to this person. It may be someone else, or several someones, in our realm.
What is vitally important to share is — as Annie showed us — the necessity of pertinent, profound ritual when walking through deep waters, even if you have to make it up as you go.
I imagine some readers may see wishful or magical thinking in this story. That isn’t important either. I’m sure that some of you will feel a profound resonance with something you’ve experienced which our culture has given us no way to express. I hope that this story will strengthen that resonance and your own trust in your unsanctioned knowings.
Anonymous author is known by the FAR co-weavers.
4 thoughts on “On the Pertinence of Ritual by Anonymous”
“I hope that this story will strengthen that resonance and your own trust in your unsanctioned knowings.”Hopefully it will…. as you say any other female creature would know just what to do … we patriarchal women (not by choice) need help and it’s important to include the Other World however we define it….
PS without ritual I would really be left a sea… 8 rituals a year, keeping track of my dreams, and being with nature help me stumble along.
I am so moved that my post inspired this one. Thank you for your courage, and blessings on your journey!
What a moving story. I am so moved that my post inspired you to share this beautiful tale. Thank you for your courage, and blessings on your journey!