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Food Memory #17: Diet Yogurt, Wrathchild (1981) and Sacred Anger

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Sunrays glint

Off of silvery tines

As they pierce

The grey-pink gellish substance

I am warmed

By the schoolhouse stucco

And watch while being watched

Grateful for my life

Holding precious time

I take the saccharine gloop

To my lips

And place the lightly coated tines

Onto my tongue

A grimace instinctively forms

As I force the fork to stay

Hints of…strawberry?

A memory of what milk is supposed to be?

Fake sweetness, sweetness reached for

I let it stay

And think back to her

I see her pacing

Back and forth like wilderness

Trapped in a life

She surely didn’t ask for

Pacing feverishly

Pushing sgainst

The terrifying bars

Pacing feverishly, growling

To the angry vibrations

The only connection

She still had

To love

I see her in the sun

Shivering

Pre-pubescent life cheering on around her

As she, aimed at descending

Her HELL NO

Her way out

The only way she knew

I see her holding

The silvery tines before her open mouth

I feel her nausea

I see her turn away

Her skeletal arm dropping the fake sweetness

Still full

Into the trash

HELL NO

Of course she’s starving

This ain’t no place for a little girl

***~~***

This week’s memory is an attempt to recreate “eating” diet yogurt during a lunch break at high school. This was another challenging foodstuff to imagine magically, but I did my bestest:

Original ingredients: Cultured Grade A Nonfat Milk, Strawberries, Water, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Potassium Sorbate Added to Maintain Freshness, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Red #40, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

**~~**

Hack, hack, pffffthht! Which I managed to turn into:

Milk: Fertility, nourishment, mother

Strawberries: Fertility, sensuality, feminine

Corn: Sacred to many indigenous people, as the first mother

Sugar: Sweetness, attraction

Beef: Strength, assertiveness, grounding

Earth/Soil/Minerals: Grounding, mother

After researching these ingredients, I found it interesting to notice that all of them (although in this diet form offer weak substitutions) are somehow connected to fertility, femininity, the mother, being grounded in the physical form, enjoying sensuality. And in seeing this pattern, I began to think on the girl that chose to eat only a forkful or two that day, and upon doing so, how she became nauseous. How she threw that mother-full substance, that grounding, feminine, life sustaining substance straight into the trash after only experiencing a bite or two. How her aim to make her way back into the safe treatment center, away from the grief she was drowning in, away from the psychotic breakdowns of the group home residents around her, away from the fact that her family left her, away from the fact that she no longer could see a reason for living……how this aim was so much stronger than her desire to eat, and thrive.

Of course I also thought of the literal wisdom of such a reaction to this gross gellish goop–that while she was leaving it behind for other reasons, the distaste for such a foodstuff made sense. And of course there might of been a reason she chose to eat something she wouldn’t have a hard time leaving behind. What might have happened, were she in an environment that provided her with real food, with real elders, with real care? Might she not have chosen her fateful path of descent? Or was it necessary either way? Was it, as James Hillman might say, her acorn arranging?

Ultimately, there’s no way to really know these things. It is my preference to re-imagine all of this as a sacred journey, and that that little girl’s soul knew just what it was doing. That murder, abandonment, group homes, starvation, psych wards and abuse were part of her invisible initiators. As perhaps was the Diet Yogurt, staring back at her, as she left the most of it sweltering in the sun atop a mound of the empty wrappings of teenage fast-food trash.

Later, after my re-experiencing, I went into the art. So much anger arose as I drew and let myself express. It was as if I was feeling what she couldn’t allow herself to feel, that her starvation was enacting inwardly. I let myself pace and growl whilst listening to Iron Maiden’s Wrathchild, like she did. I let her anger rise and flow through me, into the pacing, into the flames and jagged etchings drawn. I let myself be with her, this Wrathchild, honoring her choices, her possibly sacred choices, and held her broken heart with a hope she’d take decades to find.

*Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll join me for next week’s food memory, “The Restaurant.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 

https://www.ebookwoman.com/book/9781689839075

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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Food Memory #15: Cinnamon Apple Oatmeal, Owls and Offerings at The Gate of Death

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it is the dead of night

and stomach wakes

screaming
unlike that day

so many years ago

whilst cinnamon spices

and dessicated apple chunks

rehydrate

this stomach hungers.


a lone owl

hoots into the blackness

and i sit here

slurping

skimming gruel surface

hovering spoon hollow

pooling watery sweetness.


stirring, slurping

fruity chunks now sponging

between thoughts

laced with the spice of death

and

the descent

that

young

girl

held


headed for destruction

her unconscious Nigredo

filling and consuming

the dark master’s strings

lifting 

limbs up from

seated

leaving precious sustenance

behind


but this time

i let the earth fill me

i let the warm groats

rest in my center

i stay

until the end.


the owl has gone silent

but this time

i feed her

this time

i love her

amazed how we’ve made it


through fire and ash

she’s come back hungry

and grateful to be alive.

This week’s memory brings me back to part of my original intention of these food memory re-enactments…to introduce magickal correspondences into the meals that once were laced with trauma, and to re-experience them with a new energy. I’ve been a bit lax in my last few posts on this point, and I’m glad to be back to it.

First, let us jump to the supposed magickal/ceremonial qualities of this re-imagined gruel:

Owl: The traditional meaning of the owl spirit animal is the announcer of death, most likely symbolic like a life transition, change

Oatmeal: Used to invoke or worship Brighid. Brighid’s invention of keening, a lament for the dead, reflected her status as a goddess of life and deathBrigid also protected cemeteries, which can be found at many of her holy sites

Apples: Considered the food of the dead, use as an offering to appease the Gods of ancestors, the Underworld, and life/death crossroad guards. Also called “Fruit of the Underworld.”

Cinnamon: Use to raise spiritual and protective vibrations, draw money, and stimulate psychic powers.

Sugar: Use to attract object of desire…even if it is death. Skulls made of sugar are said to attract the souls of the dead to eat them in Dia De Los Muertes ceremonies.

Water: Cleansing, clearing.

This was a different way to view Quaker oats for sure!

What brought me back to wondering about the magickal properties of the meal? It was the experience of being woken up by hunger in the middle of the night, choosing to make and eat this meal to follow that hunger, and upon sitting down to take it in, realizing that not only was I eating under a full moon but also a loud hooting Owl outside my window. The setting was so haunting, so quiet and deep, it made me wonder about the significance of the items of this meal I restricted so long ago, as well as why the owl decided to show up so powerfully during my experience.

What I found, and thought about whilst eating, was very interesting. As I tried to recreate the slurping, agonizingly slow pace of eating that once I undertook, I was lulled by the Owl. This sound, this animal, was my deepener.

Its presence reminded me of its reputation as the gatekeeper to the death realms, the Underworld, the psychic realms. Its hooting drew me into reminiscence of the cold fall morning where I sat in front of the heater, shivering, body shrinking from my sad aims of chasing Thanatos over the summer. I remember sitting in front of that bowl of overly watered-down oatmeal, battling myself, wondering what the hell I was doing on the planet anymore, of my aims to leave. I remember battling with that oatmeal, and my waning appetite, pushing it away after a few feeble attempts to reverse my trajectory.

So Owl showing up now, here in the blackness, so many years later, and my hunger, roaring, was very curious. My meaning making mind wanted to understand the layers of things I was experiencing as I ate this similarly watered-down oatmeal under its echoing call, under the light of the bright orb in the sky. But I couldn’t, I just let it move me, feeling into the depths of this recreated grief-laced memory.

As in the last few posts, in the original memory I was grieving the loss of him, this tragic death of a friend. But I was also grieving the loss of my youth, the loss of my hope for any kind of consciousness to come through my mother, drowning as she was in her own loneliness, sorrow and gin. I was grieving at the sorry state of the world and what lie before me, with no role models to show me the way, with no elders to help me understand the intensity of what I was feeling, and doing to myself. What was this something, so much more powerful than I, pulling me under, drowning me, too? Why did I want nothing more than to die?

This time, I finished the oatmeal, pondering these deep thoughts. I lifted a hefty dollop of glistening almond butter to my mouth, allowing its savory nutty goodness to disperse across my senses and to provide more sustenance than that day. I let the experience simmer within me.

That evening, I did some art–of the Owl, of the emotions of that adolescent. And then I went into the research, finding that much of the things that made up this meal were in some way or form used as offerings to appease the dead, as you saw in the above descriptions.

And that cold fall, I was headed into the last serious stages of restriction, before I’d shortly be admitted to the hospital. I was headed…into death. And there was part of me that wondered, if on some mythological, soul level, if I left that bowl filled with these ancient ceremonial items…for the lords of the Death realms I was about to enter. I imagined myself pushing the bowl not away from myself, but towards Her, that Dark Goddess I was in some way courting. I think this same thing for a lot of shadowy, shame-laced behavior…is it really an attempt by the soul at some sense of the sacred? I let that possibility exist, re-imagining her, on that day, making a sacred offering for the hell of what she was about to enter.

So all of this came forward with that seemingly simple bowl of gruel. These food memory re-creations continue to amaze me in what they bring forward. I am so grateful to have a place to play and share about them here, and also…for your eyes. I realize I am making a hell of a lot out of a bowl of oatmeal, but such is my right in the realms of imagination and writing. I do hope you enjoyed this week’s ponderings :}

*Join me next week for the next food memory: “Ensure.”

**If you’d like to learn more about the Food Memories book I am referencing for these posts, you can support a small bookstore by purchasing it here: 

https://www.ebookwoman.com/book/9781689839075

or by searching for Food Memories by Reagan Lakins on any major book selling website.

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Inanna, Part Three

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Body, lifeless

Hollow

Carcass dripping

Yet still able to peel open weak eyelids

Through the sliver

I see

They’ve come

Attendants

Fly-like beings

And they’re with Her

She is wailing

She is raging

She is screaming

She is grieving

And they

Are with Her

Days and weeks and eons pass

Relentless

They hold

They hold

Until a most surprising

Teardrop struggles its way

From the lid of the queen

Rolling down her concavity

She wipes it away

Looking at this wetness with wonder

Confusion

Remembrance

Fire breathing

Bitter

Decimation

Her way

For so long

But they are with Her

And She has changed

Not fixed

But Alchemized

By holding

A new form appears

Glittering

Not Her yet of Her

Split selves

To reach above

To give them what they need

Even if it is my

Rotting corpse

Of which She has no use for

Any longer

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Inanna, Part Two

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At the final gate

Her cold glare

Sees right through

All the masks I play

Burns them away

I am Inanna

Left hanging

Dangling

By threads of myself

In Her presence.

I am Inanna

I’ve come through

Various forms of identity

Above

Being “someone”

Doing “something”

But nothing holds up to

Her glare.

In Her view

All is Void

All is Illusion

No-thing matters

Anything I build

If not real

She starves away.

I am Inanna

I think…

It’s been so long

I’ve been hanging here

Forgotten most

Of what came before

Where was I going?

Who and what do I love?

Hanging

I can feel the cold

Sharp hook

Piercing

Hanging

Frozen, it fills my stomach

Falsely

While she laughs

At my past attempts

To try to fix Her.

Ereshkigal

Void

Mother

Kali

Anorexia

She’s cruelly entertained

My Puppet Master

Bled out so much

No more tools to

Try

Forgotten is my mind

Hanging

Frozen

Amidst Her echoing laughter

Spirits Of Illness

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Spirits of Illness

Do you come in service

Or do we ready

For battle

Or

Is it both

Spirits of illness

Do you come to destroy us

Or wake in initiation

Is there a message you carry

Or do you just aim

To lay waste

Spirits of Illness

What is the message

Stay home with the children?

Honor the elders?

Take care of our bodies?

Respect our boundaries?

Go inside and Slow it down?

No wall can separate us?

Or is it

Clear the planet

Lighten the load

Let the trees breathe

The grasses grow

And the Coyotes run wild in the streets

Initiation, Wounded Healers

Tragedy, Victimization

Initiation, Transforming Alchemy

Devastation, Fear Apocalypse

Initiation…Initiation?

Spirits of Illness

Do we find relation

Or do we destroy

Spirits of Illnesss

Plagues, Measles, HIV, Ebola, SARS, Addiction

Spirits of illness

9/11

Spirits of illness

Mass wildfires, lava eruption, flood

Spirits of Illness

Blackouts Blackouts Blackouts

Spirits of illness

Inflammation in our

Breathing

Grieving

Center

Are you another form teaching, preparing

As in the Dream

Do we face you as ally

And learn

How do I stay balanced

In this momentous occasion

Honoring the reflection

The great power of the Death Mother

Yet not willingly succumbing to Her annihilation

May the well ones guide me

May I be guided

Steered

Shown

I put my life in your hands

I put my life in your hands

Spirits of illness

Do you come in service

Or come to destroy me

Or

Is it both

Please show me

I’ve been asking this question

My whole damn life

*Previously published in Pandemic Corona: Poems of Shock, Fear, Realization and Metamorphosis, ed. Pamela Eakins