Twenty years ago today, I self dedicated to the Goddess. Not any one Goddess, or tradition, but simply just The Goddess. The only guild I had was The Spiral Dance by Starhawk. At 16 years old, steeped in the evangelical movement of Christianity, I took a deep breath and inhaled the Goddess' warm embrace of hope and exhaled the patriarchy, shame, and sorrow brought about by the God of Abraham. Even though I had no formal connection to Reclaiming at the time, and knew even less about 'witchcraft' what Starhawk wrote about in The Spiral Dance resonated with light inside my most darkest spaces. There would still be years filled with nights of terror and dread, there would be more fear, more shame, and yes more suffering. Unlike the faith of my childhood, The Spiral Dance and this Goddess never promised deliverance from suffering in exchange for servitude, rather instead simply offered space.
Twenty Years after that first reading of The Spiral Dance, my spiritual path has matured and my toolbox is far more expansive. Yet, in a sea of labels, unverified personal gnosis, rhetoric and opinion, I still have no real name for space I share with the the Goddess. I just have the path. My mentor, Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie once said, "there is misperception that arose that if I committed myself to a spiritual path, that I would rise above suffering. I have come to learn the opposite is true: If I commit myself to a spiritual path, I will suffer with an open heart and a naked soul. "
I wouldn't blame you if you just thought to yourself, "Gee, that's depressing." After all, who wants to hear that it's going to get more painful before it gets better? On the other hand, perhaps that truth is strangely comforting, because it is, after all, a relief to know the truth. Nonetheless, as the faithful psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” And so much of making any headway toward joy is in the spiritual practice of honoring space.