My poorly painted eyes snapped open, breaking the crusty seal of tears and mascara, and I held my breath until my ribs ached. Yes, this was it. The flutter in my belly told me it was time. The darkest moons of the year had finally run their course, leaving me with sunken cheeks and cracked lips, but now there could be no more hiding under warm blankets and beside maternal hearths. The Quickening had come, not just for me but for us all, and I stripped myself bare in the name of all-things-holy.
The night was damp, starless, and smelled of rot, but I left my wild home just the same. I left, naked and sure-footed, because what I was about to birth could never be contained within four stone walls. My bare feet pounded the frozen mud until they bled, and I bid the Creatrix gift me with a sign.
“Show me where!” I begged. “I am deep in the devil’s woods, and I no longer know my way!”
My bones were ice, but my skin was covered in fever-sweat, heart-drum sounding an uneven warning in my ears.
“Dark Mother of death and birth! Show me my birthing bed this minute lest I will build my own nest in the mud. Show me where to unleash my womb water, for the river-flow will surely consume all that is dry and dead on this haunted land. If there is anything about my old life that needs saving, shield it this minute!”
I clutched by bony belly, digging hard nails through the skin, and listened with my whole body. I heard night-birds in mourning and a wolf howling, but there was no disembodied voice showing me direction. I was my own midwife in that moment, and, so too, I was the death doula of all things untrue.
I fell hard on all fours and moaned with such a primal feminine force the forest went quiet. I curled my toes and fingers into the dirt and rolled my spine. I let the ancient serpentine moon-milk course through my Witch’s veins, and I body-prayed to the holy huntress for protection. This skin of mine was stretching so thin. My aching bones were breaking under the pressure, and I could no longer hold myself upright. I heard tissue tearing and joints being ripped apart from the inside, and I lay helpless and wailing in the late Winter dirt while the iron scent of my blood pervaded the air.
I do not know how long I labored, or how many agonizing contractions rolled through me. I remember praying for death, and I remember when my prayer was answered. Just as the sky glowed a soft orange like the last embers of a funeral pyre, I crawled from the warm pile of guts and stood. I was naked as a newborn and covered in afterbirth, looking down at the gnarled corpse of my past.
I smoothed her hair and closed her eyes. May she rest in the deepest peace there is. She had been a temptress, and a wild child, a Witch of the word, a hooded Priestess of the Holy Feminine, but, still, she had been too small to house the enormity of my newly awakened soul. I, this untamed and feral child she had birthed, would have to prove worthy of the mother that bore me.
Danielle Dulsky is a long-time activist for wild woman spirituality and the divine feminine’s return. She is the author of Woman Most Wild (coming May 2017 from New World Library). A multi-media artist, yoga teacher and teacher trainer, and energy worker, Danielle is on a mission to inspire women to be fearless...