Howl for me, Wolf Woman!
I’ve been hurt by someone close to me. I’ve broken off the friendship, but even after two years, I find myself thinking about her constantly. Not all the time, but in dense pockets of time. Sometimes I will feel a lot of love for this person, but other times, I just get so pissed that I think about physically hurting them. I never would hurt them, but it gives me satisfaction to express my hurt in this out there kind of way. I don’t want to rekindle anything with this person, but I do want to let go of them for good, but can’t figure out how to do it. I don’t get the idea of forgiving and forgetting. Perhaps I’m not thinking of it in the right way. I just want to move on and stop wasting so much energy on all of these after thoughts. I’ve tried cutting cords. I’ve tried offering this person love through my prayers. I’m pretty sure I’ve forgiven them, but cannot get rid of the remaining residue and I’m just tired of it taking my thoughts and energy. Can you help me?
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Deep bow to you for admitting your rage, for women frequently have their anger invalidated more than any other emotion. Feminine ire is holy hellfire, and you have a soul-deep right to feel your rage. One of the greatest, energetic obstacles to forgiveness is the inability to release emotions deemed by the New Age, spiritual by-passers as “low frequency,” “devolved,” or any other number of names implying that our feelings, and therefore our very souls, are naught but illusion.
Your emotionality is akin to your sensuality; it is the stuff of your inner Maiden, residing in your lower chakras. It is the generative, heart-centered Mother who forgives, empathizes, nourishes, and accepts, but the Mother is groundless without the Maiden’s right to be here, of this wild Earth, and to feel deeply. Forgiveness, or any heart-born action for that matter, cannot be forced by external circumstances, nor can it be rushed without engaging and attending to the lower, soul chakras first. Your efforts to offer love and prayer or cut cords at the heart are admirable, upper-chakra actions, but, if they feel inauthentic, it is because the Maiden has been forsaken in the name of the Mother.
On Imbolc, February 2nd, the Northern Hemisphere began the collective shift toward Maiden time. She is most awake in late Winter and Spring, and, now more than ever, she will not be ignored.
Consider forgiveness as an act of self-preservation; you are not condoning or validating what your friend has done to you. You are not giving them permission to do it again, and you are not even accepting it was part of your soul’s path.
Forgiveness is a strategic act of refusing to let someone who has wronged you consume valuable real estate in your heart-scape any longer. Mind you, while I say “strategic,” the choice to forgive must be a genuine one. Very often, a deep betrayal will burrow its way so deeply into our energetic body it becomes a part of us; in this instance, we must ask ourselves if we are indeed being served by the betrayal’s memory in some way or if we are truly ready to release the experience.
Betrayal by friends, lovers, and blood family gets stored within the cells. It is traumatic, and it cuts to the bone. The feelings you are describing seem to be unprocessed grief and rage, emotions which vibrate alongside fear, guilt, and shame. Such emotions are soul-deep and must be released before any move toward forgiveness can occur. In a previous column, I wrote about a forgiveness ritual for betrayal, but, for you, I will focus on the medicine of rage release.
This ritual is best done with as many people as you can muster. If you have a circle of wild ones who care for you and want to see you move away from this hurt, call on them to join you for support. However, if you must move through this ritual solitarily, it will still be effective in causing an energetic shift. An important guideline is this: Should you be able to gather a circle of women to move through this ritual with you, the energy raised will be very intense. You must be sure to assert the intention of releasing the anger and not directing the collective circle’s rage toward the one who betrayed you. This is not a binding spell or hex. This is simply a sacred purge, an energetic detox.
Your anger’s transmutation depends on your voice, movement alchemy, and, if possible, communal acknowledgment of your feelings. Even if you can only find one friend to be with you, to see you, and to authentically hear your words, you will harness the power of compassion. Compassion means to “have passion with,” and there is much healing medicine in having your rage validated.
If you can gather others, position yourselves in a circle within a space where you will not be disturbed. You will need a burning bowl with clearing herbs such as sage, cedar, or frankincense along with drums and rattles if you have them. Have everyone psychically shield themselves, envisioning a semi-permeable, black tourmaline shell around the outside of their aura so that anything they wish to release can be pushed out but nothing can come in toward them; this is to protect the participants from absorbing your anger. Strong boundaries are key, particularly for extremely empathic people. Give everyone, including yourself, permission to take a time-out if need be, then proceed as follows:
- Have the circle begin softly chanting ‘I hear you.’ This chant will get louder/softer, faster/slower as the ritual goes on. It will want to take on a life of its own, and the instruments can join in as needed.
- You will begin with these words: “I am here, and I am angry. I am angry because…” and continue, all the while the circle is chanting ‘I hear you. I hear you. I hear you.’ If you are alone, every so often switch to the “I hear you” chant then go back to your rage release. You should speak loudly, howl, shake, swear, hit the floor, wail, but do your damn-dest to keep talking AND moving. You may find you switch from anger to grief to fear or other emotions; let this happen, for it means transformation is taking place. You can enter the center of the circle is this feels comfortable or stay in position, but you must move. If the others feel called, they can mirror your movements as a show of support. When it feels finished, and this should be at least twenty minutes but could take hours, rejoin the chant, saying ‘I hear you,’ and the others will know it is nearly over. Keep chanting “I hear you” until it feels right to stop, then let everyone sink to the ground.
- Pass the burning bowl counter-clockwise and have everyone, especially you, bathe in the smoke to recenter. Drink a lot of water, rest, and take a ritual bath in sea salt, if possible. If the ritual took place indoors, the space will need to be cleansed within the next day or so.
Your rage is righteous, my love. Your feelings are holy gateways to your soul’s wounds, shadows, and passions.
Our concrete, built-up world has told us to suppress all feelings that are not socially valuable, and this means all emotions that highlight a loss of control are condemned as immature. Far worse, our New Age wisdom has deemed the whole of our complex, emotional landscape an illusion, thereby invalidating our very selfhood and soul’s worth. We are still human, and we are still here. Delve into the muck of your pain with your mouth open and spit it moonward. This is how we stay wild and free.
I am howling for you, Ania.
In love, light, and dark,
➵ Submit your howl to firstname.lastname@example.org.
➵ Find our guidelines for submission to the Wolf-Woman here.
Sip a little more from Danielle’s medicine:
➵ Witch, Howl Moonward:
The Timely Salve Of The Dark Primal Feminine
➵ The Wolf-Woman’s Book Of The Dead:
A Samhain Benediction
➵ Invoking Artemis: The Liberation Of Our Wild Spirituality