Tomorrow morning I enter the hospital to have a partial hysterectomy. I am 46 and am now being thrust into a whole different phase of womanhood. In no way did I think when my healing adventure began in February that it would end up with me having this procedure. Such is life, filled with unexpected twists and turns that change us in profound ways.
Yesterday I held a Releasing Ceremony for myself and people in my community who felt called to attend. I scheduled one, then cancelled it when the location fell through. I was then convinced by a friend to go ahead with it and to have it at her house. The purpose of the circle kept changing as I learned more about what was actually happening with my body. Last Friday I learned that I do not have ovarian cancer (for over 3 weeks I was under the assumption that I did) and this made me realize that I needed to focus on Release. We all carry things that we can set down, release and let go. Fear, resentment, anger, guilt, and shame are big ones. Seeing a need for this is a vitally important aspect of healing body, mind and spirit.
At the ceremony I played two songs that got me through the night in the hospital when I had the cancerous tumor removed from my leg. (I had been in bed so long that my body ached and wouldn’t let me sleep. I listened on headphones and tapped my one good foot and the arm that didn’t have the IV in it. ) We all moved our bodies to the 10 minutes of music while we felt gratitude for our bodies. So many times “sickness” is felt to be a failure, weakness or a betrayal of our bodies. I wanted to start this ceremony with gratitude for our sacred bodies.
Next was time for storytelling. Here is an outline of what I shared-
It is so common to get used to slow change. Our bodies change slowly, pain slowly increases, emotions and relationships change slowly, and we accept it and adapt. The tumor in my leg grew for over a year before I realized that something needed to be done about it. I knew it was there, but didn’t think…
I shared that before my leg surgery my DEATH would wake me up at 4am to tell me things I needed to do. It said “You have held many secrets, you must now unburden yourself”. It was time to tend soul wounds that had eaten away at my immune system. This allowed my own cells to do as they pleased, which was not to my benefit. I had to tell my mother that I pawned her old engagement ring when I was in my 20s (my father and her had divorced when I was 16). I had to send something to someone that I had a falling out with years ago, something I knew belonged to her and that I hadn’t sent… Tending these things helped unburden my heart, which helped my healing.
I also had to track my feelings of fear. With the help of a friend I found a root in my teen years, when my parents divorced and I got mononucleosis so bad I thought I would die. Another root is connected to my ancestors, and my past lives as a shamanic person. When this vocation awakened in me in my late 20s it also awakened the primal and real fear that someone was going to ‘take me away’ and mess with me in the worst way. I do not feel this is paranoid, it happened to my healer ancestors, and to my previous selves as healers. I had gotten used to this fear and learned how to push through it, but it was exhausting and dangerous. To tend these fearful parts of me, I had soul retrievals and healing sessions. By the time I was ready for surgery, I was ready for all this to be removed from me along with the huge tumor. The fear that I would have remaining cancer in my body and might lose my leg changed to the surgeon removing all parts of the tumor easily and feeling very little pain. The core of the fear and regret was gone. And so it is.
The next personal test was that just before that surgery, a ‘hot spot’ showed up in my ovary on a diagnostic test. It took a month to find out that it is not cancer, but painful uterine fibroids. A hysterectomy was scheduled. This brought up a whole other set of soul issues. Over the last few years I have come to realize that I am a blended spirited person. I have a male spirit in me and he is what he is, wants what he wants, and does what he does. He has lived behind the female me all my life and he is ready to come out into the open. I don’t want to change my physical form (as in sex change) because I value being female, and yet my form is being changed in ways, because of these surgeries. Due to these changes, I am shifting from one stage of womanhood to another, and becoming more “in between”. In the last two years I have come to understand that this experience is very common for shamanic people, to be in between the worlds of masculine and feminine. It helps to explain the name that was given to me many years ago for what I am. I was told “You are Oolah, One who Balances.” I guess now I am finally stepping into the name.
When I thought I had ovarian cancer I could hear the masculine voice say he wanted more room for him (and thereby was not sad about having less female chemistry), and my feminine voice say that they (my eggs) had not fulfilled their purpose by having a baby. Neither was satisfied with me. I asked how we could all work together to come to consensus. They said there had to be a compromise. Then I learned that the pain I was feeling was because of my uterus, and it became clear that my uterus was the compromise, the sacrifice. All parties within agreed that this was acceptable. I did not need to become sick or die. We had found a win/win. Tomorrow, I will part ways with my uterus.
While this might seem strange to talk this way (the different parts of me), I have found that much sickness comes from parts of us feeling unloved, untended and unacknowleged. We can, and need to, find ways to come into consensus with our untended soul parts. If we do not, our own cells attack us. If we do not, these cells kill us, and then no one wins.
The last part of the ceremony, and the most important to all involved, was the Releasing Ceremony. I laid a red cloth on the floor, surrounded by crystals and with two bowls of dried Rose petals. I asked that people rearrange themselves in the following way. Men on the long side of the cloth, women who were still having their menstrual cycles on one end of the cloth and women who now do not bleed (from menopause or surgery) on the other end. All but one woman gathered on the end of the cloth for the women who no longer bleed. I didn’t design it that way, yet that was how it came together. I sat with the one other bleeding woman on that end of the cloth. We all began making rhythm together and pondering what we needed to release. In our own time we offered Rose petals on the red cloth to represent that which we were releasing. Some released pain from past experiences, some released fear, I released my uterus. There were many tears and hollers of joy. When all the Rose petals were emptied from the bowls and put on the cloth, I crawled, with my head covered, across the red cloth and all that had been released to the other side. I was crying as I did it. I was greeted by the women who were already there. It was very moving and needed. Many women had shared that they did not have a ceremony after their surgery or menopause (for some it happened when they were in their twenties). We ended the experience by releasing the Rose petals in fire. All felt release. All felt so much better. I felt witnessed in my experience, and grateful that others could receive something needed from witnessing my process.
Tomorrow I will be changed physically. What that will be like, is at this point unknown. Such is life. This whole process has changed me emotionally and moved me into a whole new phase of life, as a Woman, as a Blended Spirit person, as a Shamana. I am grateful and I feel ready for it.
Thanks to all the humans and spirit guides who have helped me create the best possible situation out of this soul stretching adventure. See you on the other side.
Gratitude for Release-Shamanic Ceremony for a Hysterectomy