This is an exploration of the Inner Voice that has guided me throughout my entire life, I realize now after having been through a major mental health crisis that took me about as high as I could go where everything in time and space really was possible, and then about a month later plunged me about as deep as I could go into a place with no windows, no light, no hope other than my own will to live, and a single exit that far too many lost souls decide to walk through. My parents and my brother walked through that exit, as did a good friend, though my brother did it passively by drinking himself to death, and I had decided a very long time ago because of my father’s suicide when I was the age of 2, nearly 3, that I would never walk through that door.
Fortunately when I found myself in that dark room with the single exit, I wasn’t alone, though I did not say I was in that room because it scared me and I did not want to scare other people. I also did not say so because deep within me was the Inner Voice saying “this too shall pass, just wait”, and so I did, crying at the local Jim’s diner into my eggs and hash browns while the poor waitress who is always so nice to us asked my husband if I was okay. Then I went home and crawled back into bed where I had already been several times that day, under my nice soft flannel sheets, three quilts, and my husband’s heavy terry cloth robe laid over it all to add extra weight because it was comforting, and I because I do not have $250 for a weighted blanket. I turned on some music, curled up, and shut my eyes.
I spent the next 12-24 hours like this, waking up about once every hour as I had been wont to do ever since my manic episode hit on May 21. Sometimes I’d try to do something on the computer, sometimes I’d try to watch a movie, and sometimes I would take my phone downstairs to the porch to smoke and think and listen to music, which had been my salvation for the previous month. Every now and then I would sense the Voice if it sensed I was getting too anxious, afraid, irritated, agitated, or otherwise unbalanced, which at the time was a very precarious state I could only manage by doing a very restricted number of things: sleeping, going to the bathroom, choosing new music to listen to, making coffee, smoking, and taking my meds. Anything else would knock me off kilter and send me skittering back to my bed to curl up.
During the past month, I developed a habit of leaving my laptop computer open and on while I was asleep, resting next to my bed on a bench where I could reach it readily to change music and to, more importantly, record the thoughts that sometimes wrenched me out of my sleep like someone grabbing me by the collar and saying, “Write!” What came out at first was gibberish as I was basically trying to interpret the vestiges of whatever dream or piece of music my brain was focusing on at the moment I was jerked out of sleep. Then I’d write something sensical, like the title to a blog post, and I’d leave them both there on the screen, put on my robe, go downstairs to make coffee, and then sit on the porch smoking, listening to music, and pondering whatever the hell it was that my brain had been trying to say before laying down some solid ideas.
Then I would go back upstairs and write, sometimes for hours or at least until my eyes began to glaze over the concepts and words, which was my cue that my poor body had been dragged along by its manic mind for long enough and needed to rest before I fell down, something I was afraid might happen a couple of times over the last month. The Voice was speaking to me at those times, too, though subconsciously. I would just find myself seemingly mindlessly doing something like putting the computer aside, getting undressed, and then under the covers, without ever really registering that I had realized I was tired. The Voice did, though, and it always made me stop when I needed to.
It was only after analyzing things like my manic cycle of sleeping for an hour or two and then writing until I went back to bed, along with some of my other behaviors over the last month, that I became aware of the Voice and realized with a bit of shock that while it was of course a part of me, it was not bound by my mental states and was able to essentially narrate and dictate to me things I should do that would become important later.
One of those things has always been writing, but that was something I always did consciously and with self-guided purpose, instances in which the Voice was not necessary as I was walking the Path on my own. The Voice typically only presents itself when I have strayed from the Path, when the Path itself has become dangerous, or when it senses that I am in danger of either straying myself or being led astray, and in this way it’s almost like the Voice can see the future and help prepare me for it. And for the first 17 years of my life, the Path was very often fraught with peril.
I was not self-aware enough as a child and later a teenager to be cognizant of the Voice. I just seemed to naturally avoid dangerous Paths, was completely unaware of others and walked right by them, or found myself in a world with Paths I could see and wanted to explore because it seemed like people were having fun on them, but the Voice sensed danger and kept me away from those people as much as it could. At the time I interpreted it as just being an outsider that people didn’t want to be friends with for a variety of reasons: the clothes I wore, the apartments I lived in, the states I was born in and had moved from, what my parents did for work, or any of the other myriad reasons children judge and isolate one another.
And so much of my childhood was very lonely, and stuck on a Path set by my family that was full of abuse, dysfunction, alcohol, and other things too numerous to mention. Though I did not hear the Voice or even recognize that it was there, it always really was and would manifest as things like quiet courage and determination, and sometimes a hidden bravery in the face of frightening situations. I could not hear the message, but it was the same one I heard at Jim’s as I cried into my food: “this too shall pass, just wait”.
And it did. I spent last night as I described above: listening to music, watching movies, sleeping as much as I could curled up under the heavy soft blankets, writing, drinking tea, and smoking. When morning came for me around 8:30am, the dark windowless room with only one terrible door had zoomed way back out again, its black walls now a shadowy gray easily seen through to see the other Paths that led from the dead end I had found myself. During the night while I wrote in between the brief hour-long snatches of sleep, I was thinking and feeling from the dark place and was desperately writing myself paths out of it, and so the Voice that guided my writing was an angry and stern one that told truths, but ones that need to be filtered so that other people can read the words and hear their own Voices.
I would come to realize that the Voice has always been there, ever since I was born, perhaps in realization of the life that I was about to be forced to live as a child, and would always be there to keep me from the ultimate harm even if the Path I was on was a terrible one.
Different cultures and religions have names for what I deem the Voice, and I will make no claim as to the source of the Voice. Maybe we are all born with a Voice yet are given different abilities to sense it. Some sense it very loudly, like I do now, though I can turn it down sometimes, while to others it may as well not exist or isn’t to be trusted for some reason.
For many who call themselves Christians, they merely call this the Voice of God. Regrettably and sadly, those who call themselves God’s Children cannot agree on what the Voice is saying to them, and they have fought for two thousand years on how to interpret that Voice, even splitting into whole new religions who continue to wage war in the lands where that Voice was first supposedly heard by so many through a man history calls Jesus.
I will be honest here: I have shunned Christianity and its various interpretations of the Voice of Jesus because they conflicted not only with my own Voice, but with what people kept telling me the Voice of Jesus was supposed to be saying, which always revolved around unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion, even if it came without understanding.
But those proclaiming to speak the Voice of Jesus almost never said or did those things, with a very few exceptions that were too sparse to be heard over the clamor of all of the others proclaiming sometimes awful things in Jesus’ Voice. And over the decades I saw many, many millions of people take the inherently loving and wholesome and terribly human Voice of Jesus and turn it into a cudgel guided by their dogmatically created version of God, a paradoxically loving yet hurtful and punishing God that simultaneously gave us free will and then punished us for using it, saying that we had strayed down the path of Satan.
I will not unpack the inherent insanity of that particular view of God and Satan myself because that is easily done by any individual who chooses to study two things: The Book of Job, and the Problem of Evil, both of which are available on Wikipedia and other places. Reading and understanding either or both of those things reveals the gaping holes in most American churches’ theologies, though not all of them. I will state here and now that the only manifestation of Christianity in America that I have ever truly heard Jesus’ Voice was from the Episcopalians. While I still do not agree with their view of the world as filtered through their perception of Jesus and God, that worldview is inclusive, loving, and charitable, as all who proclaim to preach and spread the word of Jesus and God should be, but so often are not.
And so I will finish speaking about the Voice of Jesus by apologizing to him, even though it’s Jesus, so it’s not necessary, for seeing him through the various lenses of perception I wore for so long, some of which were unconsciously worn as the views of others, and some that I purposely put on that even caused me to view Christians with hatred. Which is understandable especially in this day and age when so many who call themselves Christians but really aren’t continue to use the Voice of Jesus as that sometimes lethal cudgel, one that I first became familiar with during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, during which nearly everything enjoyable became a tool of Satan, from music to games to books to movies. And I’ll talk about the much maligned visage of Satan in another post, and if you see him the same way I do, you’ll laugh much like I did and say, “Sorry about that, man.” To which he’ll say, “Don’t worry about it, it’s all good.”
My Voice is not the Voice of Jesus, not exclusively, yet he’s there with the other mythological and religious figures, as well as simple human legends, that form the collective aspect of my Voice, because it needs to take different forms and tones and pitches in order to be heard, depending on the situation. And until my early 20s, when I began to explore the different doors to the Voices of what people called God, or sometimes Yahweh or Allah, I still did not sense the Voice, despite the fact that it had guided me through, over, and around so many obstacles that I was sometimes not even aware of until much later.
At some point during that religious exploration, I found myself before a door I had peeked through before called the Occult, a door I had been warned away from many times by people who called it evil and against Jesus and God. Since I had long since been disillusioned of those warnings, as it seemed that to these people, everything was evil, and I was intelligent enough to know that couldn’t possibly be true by any stretch of logical standards, I was not afraid to walk through that door. I had initially been introduced to it by my mother via Tarot cards and Ouija boards, two terribly misunderstood things by the world outside of the occult, especially Ouija boards, which are nothing more than doors to your own subconscious, or Voice, not to a world of evil as shown in the movie The Exorcist, as well as others. In other words, if bad things are said by a Ouija board to you or you experience what you perceive as bad things after using one, that’s not an evil spirit: it’s you, and it’s a sign you need to take a look at your life. Similarly, Tarot cards are also nothing more than potential messages from your own subconscious. Their problem lies in the differing human interpretations of the imagery, which is another way of saying there are good Tarot card readers, those who have strong Voices, and there are bad ones. Sometimes finding a good one is hard.
Walking through that door to the occult led me to magazines, really interesting places of business filled with many beautiful things, none of which included anything bad, and classes on things like Wicca, a 20th century manifestation of the age-old practice of what is called witchcraft, something that varies widely depending on the location and people using it. Around the world, being accused of being a witch can be a terrible thing. Even small children who have just begun to walk and explore their world can be declared “witches” due to completely normal childlike behavior and curiosity, which usually means shunning if not outright death.
Such has been the case for so-called witches for centuries. The word “witch” is probably best known from what modern witches call The Burning Times, those centuries during the Crusades when many women were labeled witches for often ridiculous reasons, including mental illness, or sometimes just because someone didn’t like them. Sometimes all it took was someone pointing a finger or starting a rumor for some poor woman to find herself labeled the village witch, usually leading to terrible fates from stoning to drowning to yes, burning alive at the stake, an occurrence that was blessedly less common than sometimes perceived, and yet because it is such an incredibly horrific thing to do to a person, that is why they are called The Burning Times, and in certain instances you will hear witches say “never again”. That’s what they’re talking about. Never again The Burning Times. Which may make you understand why the modern world is so frightening to so many witches, because they hear the calls of the ones in power who are perverting the name of Jesus that say things from the Bible like “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”. And unfortunately, you can now replace the word “witch” with just about anyone who is not white, male, and rich.
I had to talk about witches in the context of my Voice, because it was in the world of witches someone gave a name to my Voice: the Goddess.
The Goddess takes many, many forms, especially in places like India, where they practice Hinduism and it is sometimes said that there are 30,000 deities, or sometimes one for each household, because to a Hindu, the Goddess and the God often walk hand in hand, sometimes taking the forms of sacred couples such as Kali and Shiva, to name just one of many.
In the world of witches, the sacred couple is often merely referred to as the God and the Goddess, though different faiths have different names for their sacred couples, and their relationship, and therefore the cycle of life upon the Earth, plays out in the celebration of the seasons and the dates halfway in between the seasons, called the cross-quarters. Agriculturalists and farmers have been following this cycle of seasons and cross-quarters without naming them ever since the first fields of food crops were planted millennia ago, likely one of many origins of humans’ recognition of the cycles of the seasons of the Earth, along with the passage of the Sun and the Moon. This is why the Full Moon has different names in different cultures, such as the Harvest Moon, which means it’s time to harvest the crops before they overripen or it gets too cold. Whether these people realized it or not, they were also following the Voice of the Goddess, manifested as the Earth itself, yielder of all of the living creatures and plants that we rely upon to live.
The Goddess, and the God, along with their many faces, are my Voice, and have been the guiding Voice for much of humanity until Christianity came along. Which is not to say that Christians were the first to subjugate women into subservience, to put it mildly, but they do seem to be the most successful at stripping the Goddess of her power whenever possible, and when not, to portray her as the ultimate face of evil, Eve, that wicked woman who dared to defy God’s order not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, stupidly led astray by a snake.
Even today amongst the so-called Christians (whom I have to distinguish from Real Christians, those who understand what is probably considered heresy, that Jesus lives within each of them, just as the Buddha and the Goddess do to those who follow them) they still use this image to degrade and defile all women as being unintelligent evildoers who defy the will of God, and tend to split the visage of women into one of the only two faces of the Goddess they are willing to acknowledge, and they are both named Mary. One is the blessed virgin mother of their precious Jesus, and the other is a wicked woman who represents temptation away from the Path of God and must be punished, even unto death to some people.
Walking the Path of the Goddess and sensing her Voice was difficult for me at first, as I had been raised in America, and though we did not attend church, it was impossible to ignore the messages of Christianity that our country is steeped in. While it is correct to say that we are not a Christian nation, for it was definitely not the will of any of the founding fathers of the Constitution to have a government defined by anyone’s particular vision of God, Jesus, Christianity, or any religion, we are definitely a Christian culture. As such the messages, both good and bad, of Christianity in its many American forms, pervade just about every aspect of our lives whether we like it or not, and that includes condemnation of the Goddess in all her forms. That’s why we have pay inequality and “the glass ceiling”.
As such, I see the current sociopolitical struggle of America as a battle for which face of Jesus will ultimately run things: the Jesus of people like Jimmy Carter and Mr. Rogers, or the utterly perverted Jesus of people I will not name, because we all know who they are, and whether we are truly Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or even a witch, we know perfectly well that the face of that so-called Jesus is anything but unconditionally loving, accepting, or compassionate, let alone understanding.
I realize I keep straying between my Voice, the Voice of the Goddess, and the Voice of Jesus, however he is manifesting, but they are intertwined as it relates to my experience, because when I woke up on May 21, I didn’t realize it yet but I was plugged very firmly into the Source of the Goddess’ Voice, which included the True Voice of Jesus, and she was using many Voices to say many different things, most of which were in ridiculous conflict. And the cacophony was driving me mad.
That was the first day my Voice commanded me to sit down and write, because she knew what was going to happen to me and that I needed to leave a trail to follow in order to understand what had happened to me. I would later realize the Voice had led me to leave several trails for myself stretching back through time, some created from pictures I had taken, and some created through the blog that you are reading now.
Here I leave you with a link that tells the story of my mental journey to the outer reaches of the Universe and how I found my way back using the Voice of the Goddess along with many others, along with at least some of the reasons why I was sent on that journey. Because while it was obviously a result of a manic state borne out of my bipolar disorder, I truly believe in my heart that it was a necessary journey that has revealed many truths to me about just about every aspect of my life. And so while that journey was strange and often frightening, not just to myself but to those around me, it had a purpose, one that I am still figuring out but that is constantly leading to a-ha! moments in which things that were once confusing now make sense. So I would not go back in time and stop myself somehow from taking that mental journey, one which I took in the presence of the Goddess, and in doing so rediscovered that her Voice is my Voice, even when I have forgotten it, which I have on occasion. She will always be there to whisper quietly, “this too shall pass, just wait”, even when I do not consciously sense her.