|Art by Arna Baartz|
My love affair with darkness began at birth; I was born with death as company and lungs roaring with rebellion.
Not even for my entry into this world did I stick to the script; a theme that continues throughout my life.
For my entire childhood and most of my Maidenhood, I didn’t understand or appreciate the heaviness I carried; not understanding that heaviness would bring me to depths in the collective and my personal psyche most people can’t fathom.
Society merely skims the surface remaining shallow.
I didn’t know then that my ability to face darkness and bring it to light is a gift.
I didn’t know then that my ability to turn wounds into eloquently worded weapons is another gift.
And, I didn’t know that my fearlessness when it comes to voicing my opinions as a Woman is yet another gift.
You can’t teach courage. You can’t teach strength. You can’t teach rebellion.
You can’t teach someone to be anything other than themselves; their inherent nature will always exist.
Their inherent nature will always win.
The only things you can teach are how to use strengths and faults to become better, to be better, to do better; anything else is futile—people are who they are.
And people can only see as far outside as they have gone inside; the journey must start within.
My outlook on life wasn’t always like this though, and it took a couple of Dark Nights of the Soul to help shift my view.
One Dark Night stands out in my memory more than the others; this is not to say that the other Dark Nights were easy, or less traumatic, it just means the one I am speaking of changed the entire direction of my life.
Not that my life had much direction, but after my dance with darkness in 2012-2013 my life had a destination, and I had a newfound purpose.
And, this sudden set course, and deep rooted desire for more out of life was all because I hit rock bottom, almost died, and had to claw my way back up.
It’s amazing the fire that burns in one’s Soul when the Warrior is called to action, and self-preservation required.
Up until this point the Goddess didn’t really exist in my life, or my Craft.
I mean, I had Hekate around and was beginning to experience my nights in the forest with Baba Yaga, but other than those two, there was no real Feminine inspiration of the otherworldly kind.
I didn’t know how much I was missing out on.
I didn’t know how much that power, that raw Feminine creative power the Goddess embodies, was going to change everything.
On my path I had worked with deities and Archetypes that matched how I viewed myself: dark.
I am filled with rage, it’s my most natural state of being, and can be (if left uncontrolled) a very toxic emotion.
I am filled with Shadows of trauma and pain that began at birth and didn’t stop. Hasn’t stopped.
When I thought of my emotions and experiences, they were Masculine and Daemonic. It’s amazing how we perceive ourselves even in a Magickal and/or Spiritual context because of the lies Patriarchy tells us.
“Women can’t be angry. Women can’t be enraged. Women should be pretty, sit up straight, cross their legs, nod in agreement. Don’t forget to smile.”
“Women can be whatever they want, and angry is definitely something they should be. Be comfortable in your skin, sit however the fuck you want, firmly plant your feet into the ground because they will try and shake you, question authority, be defiant and smile knowing there is a Beast within.”
I had always thought of myself as being a “girl’s girl” but I only ever encountered mean girls. This didn’t deter me from speaking out on Women’s issues or calling myself loudly and proudly a Feminist; from my perspective, mean girls are Women with wounds left unaddressed. They’re the ones who need Sisterhood more than anyone.
I had several very strong female role models in my life; our family is very much a Matriarchy. But, I moved away from them, from that central community, at the age of 12.
Then it was only my Mom, myself and “the abuser” for 10 years.
A prison sentence I will never forget.
I don’t regret the move though, because I wouldn’t be who I am now at 33, if I didn’t experience all the trauma, abuse and Soul Wounds inflicted on me; I do sometimes wonder what I would be like if I had stayed. Who would I be? Would I be as rebellious? Would I be as brave? Would I be as strong?
I believe strength is part of my nature, but it wasn’t fully awakened until I was forced into survival mode at a very young age. I don’t think any child should have to experience what I did, but I don’t resent the experiences anymore either; I’m grateful for them.
I’m grateful for them even when my C-PTSD is triggered, even when anxiety is illogically telling me I am not safe, and my fight or flight is turned on and I can’t control my thoughts or emotions. I’m especially grateful when I am sitting in the abyss facing my darkness and turning it into something beautiful.
That probably sounds fucked up to say, and I know Freud would have a field day with it, but it’s true.
Pain and trauma are extraordinary teachers; they’re the Universe in its most basic yet complex form.
My hysterectomy in 2012/2013 (it had to be done in two steps) was loss on a level I still cannot put into words.
And, it has been my greatest teacher.
That loss is how I was introduced to the Dark Goddess, Crone power, and my Beloved Inanna.
Besides the hysterectomy, I was fresh out of an abusive relationship, recently had a back injury that resulted in my Kundalini awakening and had went thought a mental breakdown; there was a lot going on and I was lost in the darkness with nowhere to turn.
Spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically I was breaking; my Soul was dying.
One night while in the throes of pain and emotional anguish, I cried so hard for so long that I didn’t have anymore tears to shed, so I wept silence and then I slept.
I slept for days.
During my days of sleep, I was accompanied by a Goddess and a lion, a huge majestic lion, in a field of gold as far as the eye could see. There was golden grass, and clouds, golden dirt and animals; it was a Magickal place.
There was the sound of rushing water that called to me through the golden trees, I know it now by name, the crisp blue waters of Creation: the waters of Apsu. I would later experience firsthand its healing powers in a baptism of water and darkness.
A Goddess who was also gold with crimson lips and eternally flowing hair the color of night became my guide. I came to know her as Inanna.
It was She who helped me re-connect to my womb space; she reminded me that I am still Woman even without my organs. She reminded me of the power of my pussy.
She taught me that I was worthy, and that within the void of womb there was endless wisdom to be tapped into.
Inanna reminded me of my sexual nature, my divine Feminine power, and my birthright to be a Mother through other ways than birthing my own children or becoming a Mom in a similar capacity.
She gave me permission to become a Creatrix and my career was child number one.
When discussing Inanna, not many other people see her as a Torchbearer, or a Lightbringer as I do, but for me, that’s exactly what She is.
Inanna came to me when I had lost sight of who I was. She came to me in times of darkness with Her golden lessons and ignited a spark inside of me; I turned that spark into a wildfire and that’s how my torch came to be.
That very torch is what guides like Souls to me, to my blog, and my books.
It’s the torch I carry that reminds me even in the darkest of nights, there is still light, and that light exists inside of me.
Inanna taught me the Alchemical process of turning trauma and pain into golden threads of wisdom and beauty; with these threads I can weave not only my destiny, but I am able to help others see their own inherent divinity.
An excerpt from Inanna's Ascent.
Jaclyn Cherie has her roots in Upstate New York. She is an Author, Witch, Feminist and Luciferian. The Owner and Creatrix of The Nephilim Rising strives to tell raw, real stories of Magick, the human condition, Sacred Sex, Women’s Issues and her favorite topic, rebellion. Preferring the Shadows to the Light, her Magick and writing reflect this; it is in the Darkness that she found her true form. Her written works originate from the watery depths of her Cancerian Soul and chronicle her cyclical death and rebirth from the Womb of the Dragon.