"The power of a story is never stronger than when it lives on the breath of those from whom it came". (Gayle Ross Cherokee Storyteller)
The short story below is a fusion of my work as a community educator and my shamanic practice. I was given this ‘oral story’ in the dreamtime to share for International Women’s Day. It is written from a feminist perspective and is dedicated to all the women whose souls could bear the pain no longer, souls that have fragmented like shards of glass to the four winds. It was written to be spoken in coordination with playing of the frame drum.
Sculptress of souls
It is the shamanic belief that in addition to the world we inhabit, there is also a lower, middle and upper world. I invite you to take a journey with me to the lower world where the spirits of the 4 legged, 2 legged, the finned, the winged ones and the creepy crawlers go when their bodies are returned to the earth. There are many doorways to this land, you can cross the rainbow bridge, enter through the world tree, or even through a hole in the ground. But to get there we must close our earthly eyes and see with our hearts. We must ride the sound of the drum and allow it carry us to a place where there is no day and there is no night, a place of indescribable beauty that is all and yet nothing.
The spirit of the drum is calling you…its sound, like the heartbeat of mother earth…..are you there yet? Can you see the luminescent grass and the technicoloured sky? Can you see the old stone giants that have stood for all eternity, to bear witness to the inhumanity of man against woman?
Breathe deeply and stay silent, for the sculptress of souls is coming your way…..
Her footsteps shake the ground, as this earth goddess comes ever nearer. Her hair the colour of menstrual blood, her skin black and thick as tar, her belly round and full of the breath of life. For it is she, who sings the souls of the dead home, to this land of sweet resurrection.
The souls of women, whose broken bodies and spirits, have chosen to be reborn into another form. A form that knows no shame for not being good enough, slim enough, pretty enough, or smart enough. A form that is not judged by a society, that whispers “she must have asked for it” and shouts “why doesn't she just leave him?”
With her big fat fingers, the mother sculptress molds new life from the warm, wet earth. She lovingly creates a vessel for the souls of wounded women. A vessel that is transformed in the sacred fire that burns beside her huge body. As she pulls these lifeless forms of newborn flesh and blood from the flames. She places her mouth to their breast and gently breathes life into them. They are no longer inanimate objects, they are living breathing creatures.
Before she returns the once fragmented souls of her broken and battered daughters to the earth world, she gently kisses them one last time and watches, as they spread their feathered wings and take flight, as wild birds that cannot be caged ever again.
Just as these birds are returned to the earth world, so must we. For only lost souls are permitted to dwell in the lower world. It is time to ride the sound of the drum and return once more to a land where man is still master of a female race that is enslaved by unspoken cultural rules that require women to be submissive rather than strong.
They say a soul can remember, so if you see a bird that has the courage to look into your eyes before it flies off into the sky, it might just be a bird who once had a human soul, so show this daughter of the soul sculptress the kindness she never received from mankind, when she was once a human who once had a human soul, so show this daughter of the soul sculptress the kindness she never received from mankind, when she was once a human woman.
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