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Dementors, Thanatos and Black Bean Corn Salad

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A mealy seasoned center

Bursts out of blackened skin

Onto tongue

Dressed in pungent protection

Garlic and salt weaving forcefields

Into and around nostrils

Down my throat

Mashing, knashing

Through crisp white skin

Bursting sweet corn juice

Rolling, crunching, mealy crispness

Finally descending

~~

I think back to that day

As I sit here, my own voices still protesting

Of the temporary profession

I wore for them, with them

~~

I remember their faces, sweet and rebellious

Looking to me for guidance

Likening their struggle to Dementors

Soul sucking

Child self

No more

~~

Helping them

Once I felt confident

That I was to battle

That there was this enemy

That I’d overcome

And would help them too

~~

But sitting here, mashing and knashing

It’s still all been measured

No matter how much I try to alchemize

The fact remains the same:

If I look into the void

The void still stares back at me

Alive and well

Waiting, overtaking

~~

After journeys into underworlds

And far off lands

I’ve found the complexity

Of not an “enemy”

But a shadow

The Unforgotten

Lurking

Banished and condemned

And simply rising in another form

To try, to try to get its message across

A message rarely heard

~~

This garlic bean mash

Stringy kale strips stuck in crevices

And toasted avocado smothered denseness

Mix together in me

Like the complexity of the real journey

Unable to truly be separated

Into its

Clean

Distiguishable

Measureable

Elements

I once thought comprised answers

Before

~~

Now

I sit here

With my own caudre of inner figures

Fearing, questioning, rebelling

And although my gnosis attends

Still I’m left with the pungent aftertaste

Of question marks

And the persistent

Harrowing

Drive

A return to inorganic substance

Thanatos, my love

The Void

Staring back at me

Waiting, overtaking.

~~

This week’s food memory re-enactment is named “Dementors.” In my memoir, Food Memories, I name the chapter this way due to the fact that it centered on a memory I have of me sitting at a table with a bunch of young eating disorder sufferers. In this memory, I was a “staff” helping them through their meal fears, and although I did feel mostly “healed” from my struggle, my journey at that point had only begun.

At the table, one of the clients mentioned how the eating disorder felt to them like the Dementors from Harry Potter–something that sucked them empty of all desire, happiness, joy. Something that basically left them with a feeling of having no real reason to live.

I of course, being on the “good side” at the time, encouraged them to fight back against this energy, like Harry did with his Patronus conjure, seeing this other part as the enemy that they had to overcome, like I had.

But mixed into this memory was my budding confusion on the black and whiteness of the matter, that while I told these amazing kids these things, I was beginning to doubt the certainty of such statements. I had just started studying Animism, at one time called Shamanism, which held a much broader and deeper understanding on the nature of illness. That on the one hand it is something to strive for health, but on the other it is also wise to understand why the illness, or “demon,” has come. These concepts were blowing my mind and making it difficult to totally work with confidence in a system that didn’t address this complexity in some way.

In my re-enactment, I decided to make the same salad as I made for them, and myself, to eat together that day. I measured it this time like I measured it for them. Only the most advanced client would not freak out if they noticed their portions hadn’t been exactly measured. In an effort to get food into them, we made it as safe as possible.

At first I was going to tune into an online chat support group while I ate to mimic being surrounded by the clients, but the timing didn’t work out. I decided instead to turn on a video describing the “History of Dementors” while I ate. While I chewed and savored the meal, I learned of JK Rowling’s real life experience of depression and how she created these characters to embody the heavy, soul sucking feeling of going through this process (I’m much more of a Lord of The Rings fan, so that was new news to me :}).

As I listened, I thought of how this woman, instead of letting herself be swallowed by these energies, chose instead to bring them to life in her story. To give them a place, to give the darkness a place. I thought of how many countless others were affected by this depiction, how they felt seen and understood by this characterization of their experience. And I thought that, hmm, if this depression was ignored by Rowling, battled and not really spoken of, how so many people may have never had that feeling of being seen, of being given a way to let these energies “have a home” in some creative way too.

Using art to honor and allow dark energies to live outside of us has been a very helpful way for me to deal with the complexity of understanding the shadow, not just “battling” it.

JK Rowling’s choice to honor these energies and express them artistically gave them another place to be, and a “voice” in a sort of way. Even though they were depicted as evil, the very fact they were created in many ways actually honored them.

This in turn helped many people. If it weren’t for these energies, would the Dementor characters…or even the entire Harry Potter series for that fact, would it have ever been created? Do we thank these dark energies for inspiring such a character? Do we owe these dark energies for this fantastical work of creation? Hard to say, but maybe.

Today as I sit with my own inner circle of voices, self-counseling them through anxieties around this meal, I think back to how simple the black and white perspective was and how it made it easy for me to have words to help these young ones. They simply must just battle.

Today, I use much more complex words with my own inner parts, helping them be both with the complexity and yet still strive for life more than letting the Dementors consume them. I encourage them to create art, through writings like this, to give these darknesses a home. I encourage them to savor the tastes of the black bean corn salad and avocado toast whilst the Void sits next to them, always staring back, filing its fingernails.

I pick up the pen to give it, too, a place at the table.

*Thanks for reading. Please join me next week as I re-create the food memory, “The Apple.”

**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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Yearning For The Sun

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I wake up

And even though you are shining

Inside it is so very cold

So very dark

So very quiet

The hearthfire

Has burned down to embers

Only struggling glowlight

Remains

Unlike an external furnace

I am not equipped with instructions

Of how to revive you

Oh internal Sun

Where have you gone?

I yearn for your rays

Your red hot arms

Ankh extended throughout being

To revive me

Inspire me

Help me

Know who I am

And what I am here to do

Instead it is just this flickering

This flickering

Silence

Of question marks

Evanescence wandering

And perpetual grasping

Oh internal Sun

Would that you burn brightly

Within me

To know this

To give this

To serve from this

My deepest desire

Yearning

I both create space for hope

And wait without hope

That someday

I will feel you

Roaring brightly

Within

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Inanna, Part Four

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And suddenly

She is before me

I feel her palm rest on my heart

I feel her gently pry open my mouth

And place It inside

I feel droplets

Of cool, cool mist

Bathing my withered exterior

And I hear her

A breeze of word

Into my ear

Rise, rise

She says

And suddenly

I do.

Ascendant

I have seen the turning point

Glisten in her eye

Steam rises all

Around

Her smile

Trickster Creatrix

She hath steadied

Thy hand

Weilding

Life-sustaining

Bread

And reviving

Crystal

Waters

By my own hand

She has fed me

Risen from grave

Begging me, integral

To stand by Her side

Her determined staff

Points my way.

Light washes down

The distant beckoning staircase

She urges me forward

The gatekeepers await

I arise

I arise.

Against the weighted

Gravity of descent

I take back my body

I take back my sex

I take back my pleasure

I take back my Will

I take back my Heart

I take back my Voice

I take back my Vision

I take back my Connection

To the All

Standing tall

I take back my Connection

To the All

And carry these Dark Lessons

Into the Light

Gleaming

Star-crusted

Mirage

Reality

Above

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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

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Inanna, Part One

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I am Inanna

And I feel Her

My Dark Sister

I hear Her

I cannot ignore Her

Writhing in pain and agony

Below

Pretending to occupy myself

With the bright and shiny

Above

She

Distracts

Me.

I am Inanna

And I hear Her

She pulls me

She calls me

I descend

Spiraling downward

Sometimes cycling daily

To visit

To visit.

I am Inanna

And I am dismembered

By Her

She

Pulls

Me

Down

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A Hunger For Purpose…A Purpose Beyond Hunger

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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the state of the universe. The state of our species and the species we live amongst. Whether the Earth is in danger or just waiting to flick us off like fleas. Whether there’s really anything we can do about that, this, anything.

I’ve always had a pretty intense existential streak, and while there is a percentage of me that plays pollyanna optimistica, it is this part that often takes up most space on the stage. The other day I found a journal entry during a low point of my struggles with food, and it rung with this existential, purposeless tone. After reading it, I honored that it is of course my own struggle, but found myself wondering if what I am feeling with food is indicative of the soul loss of many of my species. And whether those who struggle with food issues, in emergency ways, are canaries in the coal mine rather than disordered weirdos. There again is my pollyanna optimist.

“February 17.

I am full. I hate this feeling. Fullness. Why? Most people want to feel this, but me? I hate it. Because it means I don’t HAVE to eat, that I have to wait for a long time to feel hungry again. It means I don’t get to eat for a while and if I don’t HAVE to eat, if it isn’t the most necessary thing…what else do I do with myself? Everything revolves around controlling my food so I can eat as often as possible with the least discomfort of this fullness. Moderating everything so I am hovering around emptiness. Everything. What the hell would I do with myself if I wasn’t so focused on this? It really is a question.

It is why the vision quest was a good practice, and a terrifying one, for me. Ironic! For a restrictor! Being with myself for a day without the focus of food, oh the incredible grief that comes! Sitting in the vast desert, wishing and wanting to be inspired by something else but only finding silence and sadness. Grief. Wishing for a vision to come, but…nothing. Feeling abandoned by my own soul. And the same silence, this sense of purposelessness when I’ve been in treatment, sitting with my feelings of fullness, waiting for something else to inspire me, to take my mind off of this hounding obsession, a bigger purpose. I’ve put myself through treatment over and over again to find that, and all I’ve found is nothing. Whether hungry, or full, there’s just this vast empty desert of purposelessness.

At least when I’m hungry, I know I need to eat. I know I need to go get food for myself. So I keep myself as near to that as possible.

Some people I know only eat once or twice a day and that’s also amazing to me…what do they do with the rest of the day without food breaks to bring purpose to their the day? I can’t really imagine. It is so important to me. And I’ve MADE it important…like emergency important. It’s my “issue” so I have to eat, or I have hypoglycemia so I have to eat little bits every few hours for my blood sugar, etc…but is that true? Are these all just elaborate stories to make eating more important than it really needs to be?

I often wonder what it would be like to just eat and move on. Move on to something I am more passionate about, something I enjoy more than eating. I wish I had that. But nothing compares to the comfort I get from eating. Nothing. Is that ok? Is it just my passion, food? And if so, how can I make that a fun thing rather than a tragic thing? Where I’m like Pippin enjoying his Elevenses? Or the kitchen witch?


I love food so much. It is kind of ironic that I struggle with restriction when this is the fact, but here’s why: restriction makes it okay to eat. Restriction makes it NECESSARY to eat. Do you understand?

Somewhere I got the programming that it is not okay to just want to eat all the time for the joy of it, beyond what I need for survival, but if I am restricting then eating is necessary, important, urgent. There’s something too about feeling an undeniable signal from my body, undeniable direction, that I treasure. Nowhere else do I feel this clarity from my body in what to do with myself. When I am hungry though, when I am starving, I know exactly what to do, the most important thing to do to survive. 


What life would be like if I had an internal guidance system that told me exactly what it wanted in other areas, too. If I had inner direction that was so strong to focus me on tasks, I wonder if my need to have hunger as my direction would fade? Hunger is really the only clear conversation I seem to have from my body…where I know what it wants, where I know how to decipher its messages. Otherwise, I’ve not a clue what my body/soul is communicating to me most of the time, what it really wants and needs or what it wants me to do with my life, in this big, overwhelming world. Everything, besides the clarity of hunger, is so cloudy, murky. 

And there is of course the shame of making this my purpose, when so many people don’t even have enough to eat. Layer on some of that and it is a wonderful soup to be swimming in. But I cannot pretend it isn’t true for me. It is blatantly and embarrassingly clear.


I hope someday I find some other purpose. For now it is the reason I have for getting up in the morning, what makes going through my days tolerable. To have to create hunger to have to feed myself. And as someone who has walked the line of death in that struggle, it is always somewhat of a dramatic issue. My own little dramatic issue. Or is it ours? Yours?

The ironic truth is that as a restrictor and controller of food, I definitely live to eat. Do you understand? It is astounding to me, the energy spent in this, and the paradox. And that there seems to be nothing else. Maybe someday I will find out how to eat to live, a purpose beyond hunger.”

*I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I am not looking for advice or sympathy, more for a dialogue about the parallels to soullessness in our society and what we do to feel any sort of purpose within it. The extremes we go to to find something, to feel something, to be involved in something important. Do you understand?

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Darkness

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Let the darkness eat your eyes

it will give them back to you

and you will know

compassion

Let the darkness

tear open your form

release your

glowing innards

Let the darkness

leave you still

on the cold, cold earth

watch it play

as you stand witness

your eyes, its form

Let the darkness heal you

stitch you back together

fill your occiputs

nuzzle your cheek

This friend

it teaches

it heals

it terrifies

it waits

Let the darkness eat your eyes

it will give them back to you

and you will

Know

~This poem was recently published in a women’s literary anthology! If you’re interested in all of the other amazing reflections on this timely structure, check out Death: Deep Reflections from The Sisters of The Holy Pen, ed. Pamela Eakins at:

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Deep-Reflections-Sisters-Holy/dp/B08GVJLKZN/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=death+eakins&qid=1599943100&s=books&sr=1-1

Hospital Gown

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Today, on my walk

I saw cast aside

A hospital gown.

A few hundred feet forward

A bleached white hospital blanket

Was lying in the road, as if a cast off shell

Of someone ready to leave their horrible experience behind.

It sometimes brings me shame to say

That I am not that person

And that I’ve found reasons, many reasons

To be in hospitals.

To have to be in hospitals.

After all, it’s crazy to actually want to be in one

So I’ve always found ways to make it necessary

When the yearning arises.

Granted, it’s been a long time since that yearning

Appeared

One might say I am in “full recovery” from needing

Wanting

Yearning

Finding a way

To be in hospitals

To need to be in a hospital

To get to wear that gown

To have to be wrapped in that blanket

To feel safe and warm and like

I can’t kill me.

Funny what a walk will do

Those memories

A Bigger Box

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I want out of this box

Out of suffocation, deadness, restriction

The same, same, same

To totally bust free

To fly, soar with Hawk eyes

Touch down and live a life embodied

With Sensual leading

Desire

Beauty

Magick

But let’s be real, here folx

This box is all I’ve got

With me for the whole of existence

And I’ve tried

Ceremonies, spells, tools, techniques

Alchemy, great alchemy

Perhaps perspective may shift?

Perhaps if you

Saw

It

This

Way

So many perspectives tried

And still here

In this box.

But not to lose hope

It’s not what I do

The goal, instead of extreme

Is the subtle expanse

Of a bigger box

How can I create

A slightly bigger box

One with a little costumery around its edges

A breath of space

A bit of play

What I really want

To fly free, unencumbered

For now, perhaps all that can be done

Built by microshifts

In this human body

A slightly bigger box