(Essay) Growth & Guidance, Goddess-Style by Rachael Patterson

Featured Image -- 10048I began my path to the Goddess by, unbeknownst at the time, rejecting Christianity and diving deep into my wound.  I began my path by destroying myself; by releasing the hold of the narrative of who I ‘should’ be and by running from the safe but smothering arms of my family and hometown.  I began my path thinking I was getting off the path.

The Goddess is funny that way.

You see, we tend to find ourselves right where we are supposed to be, right when we are supposed to be there, even (and especially) if we don’t expect to.  I thought God was a joke.  I thought of the God of my Father as the mythology of capitalism; as something made up by people who wanted control over people too stupid to recognize the chains woven into their souls.  I was bitter as a teenager, jaded at 20, angry and begging for death at 22.  I didn’t realize just how much I had destroyed of myself to play the part I was playing.  I was most at home in the philosophy classroom, or in a smoky bar.  I could barely tell them apart.

Then I found Sue Monk Kidd.

Dance of the Dissident Daughter was the thing that finally shook me to my core.  I laughed, and cried, and read it over and over again until I could recite passages and found the courage to share them with some of my friends.  My girlfriend at the time was younger, but wiser, and was able to help guide me through some of the first stages of my awakening (long before I knew what an awakening was).  I began writing in earnest, spilling out my soul onto pages of the first journal I’d had in years.  I remembered that I had a soul, a love for the written word, and a talent for bending a phrase.  I thought I’d write a novel.

Goddess had different plans.

She decided to break me further.  My girlfriend had a nervous breakdown and went to the hospital, before moving across the country to her parents’ home.  I started dating someone else, he had a breakdown too.  I thought I was poison.  I fell into alcohol, lost my apartment, became an escort—and finally, gave in.  I went home to my parents, the hometown I had run from.  Within a few days I found a card for a free yoga class, at a studio I didn’t know existed (not an easy feat in small town East Texas).

It didn’t take long to start my teacher training.

The next six months were life-changing.  I opened, strengthened, aligned and rewired until I was a new person.  I devoured literature about the Goddess and paganism, about intersectionality and socialism, about philosophy and history.  I filled my head and my heart, drinking in as much knowledge and spirit as I could, and it wasn’t too long before I was ready to reenter my old life with a steadier stance.  I moved back to Dallas, found a class to teach and a job to pay the bills.

After a few years of slowly growing, studying, practicing, and writing, I got pregnant.  I had never intended to become a mother, I was still terrified, but I knew that I was meant to bring that pregnancy to term after two miscarriages and one termination earlier in life.  Goddess blessed me for accepting her gift instead of fighting.

My son has only speeded my growth.  I have seen my business flourish, my relationships strengthened, my savings grow, and my sense of purpose solidify.  Now, I run a non-profit yoga organization that was started to provide yoga and community to families staying in local domestic abuse shelters.  I get to write, to teach, to learn on a daily basis.  My little Solomon is my teacher, my opportunity to change our future.

I serve the Goddess by showing up for my life every day—not hiding in the dark corners of my mind, heart and soul; but exploring them and shining light there.  By learning as much as I can and teaching everything I learn.  I serve the Goddess by embodying her, by allowing myself to see that in the mirror and in everyone I meet—that is my ‘how’.

See (Meet Mago Contributor) Rachael Patterson.

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