The boxed set holder of books on cassette tape from the library was HUGE; the size of those fat yellow pages…like the ones I used to sit on so that I could see over the steering wheel to drive. After listening to the first tape, I was hooked. I was so drawn into the stories that I would sit in my car, parked out front of a home health patient’s house, and I would have to remind myself that the story would wait for me… my inner child begging for five more minutes. PLEASEEEEEEE!
The Mists of Avalon~ oooooooooooohhhhhhhhh. Could it be true?!
As fate would have it… isn’t fate INTERESTING?! As fate would have it, 6 or 7 tapes into my submersion… into the historic fantasy(?) of The Mists of Avalon, a visiting speaker comes to my favorite Unity Church in Overland Park, Kansas and invites the women of the congregation to come along with her and other women from other churches to Glastonbury, England for a Spiritual Pilgrimage!
Seriously?! O.M.G.!!!!!!! ….thousands of dollars…..ugh. I just hate it when money prevents me from doing all the adventures I long to have, don’t you?!
So I “Vision Quested” the trip. I cut out pictures of England and wrote affirmations on countless 3X5 index cards, and I plastered them all over my house. I came up with the deposit, and then, the final down payment! This was really going to happen. O.M.G. (Insert song “All Night Long”/Dancing in the street)
I was going to step into my fantasy…walk where Morgain, Merlin and Author walked… What will I learn? What gifts will I be given? What healing will happen there? SO excited!
I could barely sleep.
There were 19 women in all of various ages, backgrounds, most in groups of 2. I was alone and kept a private room wherever we landed.
Once we landed, we traveled by private bus. Each stop carefully planned out and a local historian there to meet, guide and educate us. It was absolutely amazing and overwhelming…too much for me to take it all in. A few memories stand out that I want to share…
In Glastonbury (when seen from the sky looking down, Glastonbury looks like a naked woman, where the vagina is, is the town of Glastonbury) on her breast was once a castle, all that is left now is the circular narrow path made by sheep going round and round the tall “breast” and at the top is what they call the “TOR” …like a section of castle still standing solid and proud. Once you make it up to the “Tor”, you can go inside…like a giant stone cylinder with an opening at the top just under the roof. When I made it to the top, there was a group of young students there on a field trip, maybe 10? Years old…and teachers from Australia on their own field trip of sorts. Inside the Tor was a stone bench attached to the wall. A group of us sat there and introduced ourselves. Come to find out, the Australian teachers taught music and suggested we sing together! I had met a little girl from the local school and had her on my lap. I felt I had known her forever. The teachers taught us a song called “A round”…you sing the lyrics like we would sing “row, row, row your boat”…you know one group starts then another begins… There were about 10 of us singing and with the echo of the stone cylinder the acoustics were out of this world! Our voices joined…all strangers from all over the world…singing together with an amazing harmony and vibration for a good 30 minutes. Each one of us, child and elder, were beaming with joy in that moment in time. When we reunited with our group below, who were unable to climb, they said they could hear our music like a loud speaker, and all below stood quiet as we sang. I don’t remember the words to the music, but I can feel the vibration of it still within my body.
Another memory was at the Chalice Well Park, where we were given rare permission to sit in the room where they say was the last place the Holy Chalice was ever seen. You may know that the Holy Chalice is the Goblet that Christ used at the last supper. “This is my blood, drink it in remembrance of me…” They believe that each thing from that Holy time had incredible meaning and power. So there we were, guided into places that most aren’t given access to, and educated by historians…amazing. As a manipulation to convert Pagans to Christianity, churches were built OVER the scared streams/wells used by the Druids/Pagans with female deities. Mother Mary was used to ease the conversion from Goddess focused spiritual practices to Christianity. Over and over again, each church had a special “place” where a locked iron top was placed over an ancient well of significant importance to a non-Christian religion. Fascinating! It was here at the Chalice Well Park, after our educational meeting, that many members of our group took off their crystal heavy necklaces to dunk them in the Well! Side note: When Prince Charles broke his leg, playing polo, he was brought to the well to soak his leg in the healing magical waters here. Just sayin. I dipped my crystal necklace in too, and then I had a thought…
“If this water is magical & healing… then BRING ON THE HEALING!!!” I took off all my clothes, and, although the stream was only maybe 6 inches deep, I rolled my body around until every inch of me had been submerged in the healing Holy waters! Can I get an Amen!? Wahooooo!
We learned a lot about water. Next was the fire walk. Yep. FIRE WALK.
At the flat base of the “Tor”… the breast of the Goddess… we gathered. Others came too…some men also. We learned about the history and the symbolism of fire walks. Like an emotional totem, using the experience to evoke courage in oneself. For example, if I can walk across fire, I can….lose 10 lbs. (or whatever). I thought it was of interest, but I had ZERO desire. I wasn’t afraid at all. I was just NOT INTERESTED. I needed no totem of courage…my whole freaking life…my survival WAS a totem of courage! I didn’t need or want to prove anything to anyone. My life, I thought, stood on its own courageous merits. Thank you very much. I was happy to watch and support the others who needed this ritual for their own healing.
Imagine a flat lawn. Now imagine you are going to “till” a flower bed. You dig down 4 inches, three feet wide and 17-20 feet long. That is the fire walk pathway. Next, nearby, is a stack of cut firewood. In silence, each person takes one log and holds it like a hug, to his/her chest… concentrating on what he/she wants to burn up in the fire. What pain, resentment, trauma, shame, etc. does one want to burn up? There is a fire now “going” in the middle of the fire pathway. Each person, when ready, puts their log in the fire, still in silence. One by one, each log goes in. We are a large group and easily make a long narrow circle around the path. One man tends the fire, and as it burns down. This takes time so we go inside to get our education. After a while we all return outside to form our circle around a long narrow bed of red orange hot coals. The hot coals are raked-out evenly to fill the 4 inches and 17 foot long path, like a red runner carpet in someone’s hall. We are taught a chanting song and take each other’s hands. There are two people who stand at each end of the path. One stands to help you step on the fire path. The other stands at the end to help you step into the plastic container of water and then out.
We are under a blanket of black night sky and brilliant diamond stars watching us from above the “Tor” which is out of sight but not mind…still humming from the songs…
One by one women and men walk over the flaming hot coals to the other side. Round and round we go in support and in song… I still had no desire, I but thought to ask the heavens… “If it be YOUR will for me to walk, please show me a clear sign.”
Three shooting stars flew overhead at that exact moment.
I went to the “start” spot and listened to the two helpers advise me to keep walking…look forward not down, and do not stop walking. Yeh, well that’s a “no brainer” when walking on fire. Keep walking. Got it! L.O.L.
I stepped onto the burning coals and walked, one step after another. I was totally blowing my own mind. Is this really happening? And then, I was at the end with two arms pulling me to the tub of water for my feet. As I stepped in, I heard a loud HISSSSSSSS from the hot coals stuck to my feet as they hit the water and cooled off. Then, I stepped out of the water onto the cold, damp, hard ground…rubbing me feet to wipe off any pieces of coal still stuck to my feet, and rejoined the circle. OMG!
On the bus ride back to our hotel for dinner and conversation, we were told firmly: “Under no circumstances are you allowed to take your socks off or look at your feet”. Seriously?
I felt “off” on the bus, withdrawn, nervous. At dinner, I could barely eat. They were enjoying happy hour as I went to my room.
And there I lay for countless hours, in agony. I imagined I could feel my feet bubbling over with tiny boils like tadpole larva, bubbles over bubbles over bubbles of burning oozing flesh that once was the bottom of my feet! I KNEW the fabric of the sock was soaking into the burned oozing goo and would have to be painfully- probably surgically- peeled? Pulled? Scrubbed? Cut? Off.
I committed to NOT looking at my feet until morning, so I would wait until morning before getting a ride to the local hospital with a burn unit.
I started thinking (usually NOT a good idea for me).I asked myself: “Self? Why in hell can’t you just do something, anything, in this life time withOUT some sort of a fucking drama or trauma?! Seriously”!
Then I pondered the answer for hours. Why can’t I heal WITHOUT suffering? I believe it’s possible. I believe people CAN heal without suffering. Why not me? Do I think that I NEED suffering? How about I claim for myself …from now on: CATHERINE ANN MOSSMAN WILL HEAL AND GROW AND EVOLVE WITHOUT SUFFERING! I will bloom into my highest and best self WITH GRACE AND EASE. DAMN IT!!
Then it was morning.
I went to the bathroom and sat on the edge of the tub to peel off one sock and hopefully not the bottom of my foot with it. Grace and ease, grace and ease, grace and ease, grace and ease. I take one sock off. Grace and ease, grace and ease. No flesh on my sock. Grace and ease, grace and ease. No pain. I look at the sole (soul ;-)) of my foot. NOT ONE HINT OF ANY SORT OF BURN AT ALLLLLLLL!!! OMG!
I started to sob and muttered something about, “I CAN do things without suffering…and then louder…. I DON’T NEED TO SUFFER!” I went running down the hall…sock in hand to our leader’s room. Knock. Knock. Knock! (Way too early to do this, by the way), and she opens the door, a crack so I can see one of her eyes, and I pronounce: I DON’T NEED TO SUFFER! She replied, “Good for you! See you at breakfast”, and shut the door. I floated, with joy, all the way back to my room.
The last few nights before leaving I shared my room with another woman from our group. I didn’t need to be alone anymore.