Sacred Wounds: A Love Story

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"SACRED WOUNDS contains very potent material with powerful relevance for our time."
--Dr. Jean Houston, principal founder of the Human Potential Movement


(The following is an article using condensed material from my book and published in the Summer 2005 edition of Dream Network Journal. Available at Tattered Cover Bookstore.)

      It was September 22, 1991 and I arrived promptly at Dr. Glenn's office for my Radix Bodywork session. I had no idea that the life I thought I had been living was about to crumble like so many pieces of stale bread.
     In the course of my four year tenure with Drs. Linda and Austen Glenn, I began to experience a series of visions that disturbed and intrigued me. The images that revealed themselves to me had come flooding forth, unraveling in the most unexpected way. Each new insight brought its own unique cascade of terrifying emotions, but the nature of the work kept pulling me back. Not unlike peeling succeeding layers of skin from an onion, I set about the task of looking deep within my own psyche. Other trips I had made to my inner landscape had always been fruitful, but none had led me to the place I was about to go.
     As I dragged my feet slowly up the red brick steps to Linda and Austen's office in their suburban Conway home, I felt a deep sense of dread. I stopped for a moment on their front porch to take a deep breath as I remembered how painful my last session had been. I took a long look at the cascading ivy that tumbled off their porch and covered most of their lawn. I could smell the delicious fragrance of the thick white Gardenia blossoms that dotted the bushes next to their porch like so many clusters of perfume drenched clouds, drunk on their own elixir. I opened their front door, listening to the familiar creak of the hinges as Linda met me with open arms and a warm, inviting embrace.
     As I lay on my green mat in the middle of the hardwood floor, a series of cartoon-like figures unraveled inside my head. A tall, dark man apeared first, etched in red. Initially, he seemed to carry a red cane. I could scarcely breathe as I watched this walking stick turn into an erect penis, which he rubbed over the naked body of a little girl. Then the image folded up like a paper fan, transformed into a vertical black line in my field of vision. A little girl's voice spoke out: "Bad boy! You were not supposed to come out." Next, I saw the chubby fingers of a child's right hand, holding a key. She reached over and locked the black line, as if it were a door.
     In the years to come, I would embark on an odyssey of epic proportions, leaving my body and soul wracked in agony. I would journey even further inward, back through time and space, even past the dark holes of my personal past, and finally arriving face to face with spiritual ecstasy.
     This story is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, and triumph over darkness. But most importantly, this is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, I was joined by a celestial figure of light whose name is simply Grandfather.
     As a psychologist in practice for over 13 years when I began uncovering the secrets of my past, I was already well acquainted with much of the literature on childhood abuse. I knew that betrayal in the form of sexual abuse creates an opening -- a sacred wound -- through which the Divine may enter. It is no accident that abused children often have greater access to the world of the spirits; they have, after all, been penetrated.
     I don't know for sure when I first encountered the black ravens of despair, but I strongly suspect they have been with me all my life. I do remember, however, hearing them at the age of four when I traveled by train to St. Louis with my great aunt to see my grandparents. The ravens awoke when my grandmother said it was time for me to take a bath. When I realized that my grandmother and aunt planned to bathe me -- naked -- the haunting screams of the ravens reverberated inside my head. The flapping of their wings as they began to tear at my heart, sent me into a panic. No one, not even I, realized that the ravens had good reason to fear the vulnerability of a naked body.
     Being the oldest of five children, I often spent long periods of time alone when I was very young, and I had a very rich and active relationship with an imaginary playmate named Jocko. I was emotionally troubled, always anxious and afraid, and I had a very difficult time making friends.
      I remember my grandmother as my guardian angel. She actually paid attention to me and often intervened in my defense; I knew clearly that she was an answer to my prayers. No one else did that. The ravens went mad when she died. The clawing and tearing, the awful screaming inside my head, seemed endless.
     I did have one secret that was all mine, something no one could take from me. I discovered a world full of brightly colored fantasy creatures with whom I carried on many lengthy conversations. And, best of all, Jocko lived here! I delighted in my ability to escape to this other world where I could leave behind all the emptiness and misery of my real one. Until - one day when I tried to talk to my parents about my friend Jocko
and the world he inhabited. "Crazy," they called me. "Evil," they said. And I believed them.
     By the time I started school, I suffered from nightmares, eating problems, and behavior problems. I found out years later when my father inexplicably handed me my childhood medical files, that I had been diagnosed as emotionally disturbed in grade school. And the doctor had discovered two outbreaks of vaginitis. The ravens were nowhere to be found.
     After successfully battling major depression, a result of grief over my divorce in 1985, I found myself grappling with mysterious physical ailments. I sought medical advice from family doctors, chiropractors, and neurosurgeons. But no one could explain the unremitting insomnia, back pain, and chronic dis-ease and anxiety that plagued me. Psychotherapy and bodywork provided only minor relief.
     Then the dreams began -- strange images of a small hysterical child, hurling herself against the fiery red, burning walls of a pit, desperately wanting out of this "burning place". And in 1988, there was this dream: A body of water stands surrounded by trees and flanked by mountains to the left. A large number of tribal chieftains march over the ridge of these mountains blowing their tribal horns. I am awe struck, thinking to myself within the dream state that this must be a very significant dream and one that I must share with my dream group.
     I watch myself walking on the water towards the base of the mountain. I now realize these tribal elders are calling me. I am dressed in a thin white gown as I climb up the side of the mountain where I discover a younger Indian man. I am now naked as we perform a ritual. White smoke billows all around us as he dances in a circle around me. It is okay that I am naked because he and I will never marry. The elders watch as the ceremony proceeds. The Indian man and I walk off arm in arm as we are now to be married.

     On September 15, 1992 I began seeing a therapist named Anna. I knew very little about Anna except that she had an excellent reputation and that she was very interested in Buddhism. The day dawned bright and sunny as I dragged myself out of bed after another sleepless night. My heart felt heavy and the burning sensation in my stomach I had been living with for over a year, seemed worse than usual. How I managed to drag my listless body up those many steps to her office, I will never know.
      With Anna's help and encouragement, I began paying close attention to the visions that had begun resurfacing earlier that same year, during daily meditations. During this time, I frequently meditated for 3 to 4 hours at a time. I began to record everything in painstaking detail and the visionary process intensified over the next three years. By early 1993, a spirit by the name of Lady in White (LIW) began confronting me with some unexpected and frightening material.


     LIW stands off in the distance, on top of a purple mountain silhouetted against a celestial moon. She holds a tiny baby dressed in white garments and circles round a blazing fire, stopping at each of the four directions to elevate the child to the heavens. As she hands the infant to me, I notice a large amethyst crystal embedded in her forehead. "She has been called forth to do some important healing work on earth," the Lady explains. "Everything is about to come together for her but her soul will feel as if it is being ripped and torn into many pieces."
     LIW places her hand over the purple stone that is beginning to take shape on my own forehead. "This is the mark we have given her. It is designed to provide an opening. She will be illuminated from within and without and she will know. She is meant to illuminate the earth, to shine light upon all she encounters. She must know the burning nature of this light."


     LIW dances joyously on top of the purple mountain, arms outstretched to the sky. The brilliant moon stands as silent witness to her supplications as the stars wink in appreciation. The baby, ashen in color and barely breathing, lies prostrate on the ground in a coffin-like pit. The amethyst in her forehead barely flickers and her skin is bluish-gray. I am worried that she is close to death, but the Lady explains that she is just awaiting rebirth.
     I watch in horror as LIW dumps mounds of dirt on top of the baby. Thin blades of light stab at the air from beneath the soil and a roaring fire explodes from the slivers of light. The fire burns itself out, leaving the little pit looking whitewashed. The baby is nowhere in sight. A tiny amethyst stone is all that remains of her.
     A bolt of lightning crashes down from the heavens, striking the purple stone. A liquid begins to sizzle and bubble around the crystal.  From this liquid, white smoke appears forming a solid cloud over the pit.  The smoke clears to reveal a very small frozen infant.

     I was seeing Anna twice a week for individual sessions and meeting with my dream group weekly, while working with my analyst three times a year during four day retreats. Amazingly enough, I managed to maintain a successful private practice and continued to meditate daily. However, I found it almost impossible to socialize with people and found myself living a sort of hermit lifestyle. Other than going to work, taking care of household chores, and visiting with my family on special occasions, I rarely left my home. Most of my friends eventually drifted away.
     The visions continued as I grew increasingly ambivalent about the intensifying connection I felt with Anna. Even though she was very good about letting me know how to get in touch with her whenever she was out of town, the closer I felt to her, the more frightened I became that she would abandon me. I remember calling her multiple times one day, first cancelling all my appointments and then calling back to reschedule. I marveled at the patience and compassion she showed me during all the years I worked with her. I know now that I owe her my life.


      As I stare into a blazing fire, I make out a dark face with golden eyes wavering in and out of the flames. Mesmerized, I continue to stare as the flames die down. A huge man wearing a long white robe with golden threads now stands before me, towering miles above the earth. In the encounters to come with this mysterious and compelling man, I would come to know him as the Master.


      The Master and I stare silently at each other through the flames of a roaring fire. His eyes are definitely golden and without pupils, with black lines etched across their surface, giving him the appearance of some wild, alien creature. Still he seems Oriental, with white hair, a white goatee, and thinning hair. When the fire dies down, his eyes flash beams of light that illuminate the darkness all around me.
     As if by magic, my body begins to levitate as a table appears, suspended in mid-air over the embers of the fire. The Master maneuvers my body onto this table, removes my clothing, and cuts me open from neck to groin. He reaches inside the cavity and pulls out a tiny crystal clock that reads close to midnight. "It is almost time for the soul work to begin," he says. After examining my heart, he probes deep into my uterus and discovers a baby. As he touches her lovingly, a smoky white mist begins to materialize. The Master sighs with apparent pleasure and then breathes upon the little white cloud. It immediately shudders in response and bright lights dance through it's transparent form. He closes up the opening in my body and I retire to the opposite side of the fire.
     Silence descends upon us. I plead with him to tell me who he is. He paces back and forth, then sits back down. A large tear rolls out of his left eye. I reach over and gently wipe it away. "You do not recognize me yet, do you?" he says.
     "Not yet, Master, but you told me the last time we talked that Anna would know who you are. Is this true? Do you want me to ask her?" He says that I should talk with Anna, that he and Anna know each other very well. "How will she recognize you, Master?"
     As I look up at him, a brilliant blue, round light forms in front of his face. Then it changes to white, outlined in blue. The Master says: "Tell her about the blue light fading into white, so brilliant there is nothing else and she will know."
     As he prepares to leave, I run up to him, calling out and addressing him as
Grandfather. These words fly out of my mouth, as if uttered by someone else from some other place. He is as surprised as I am. "Is Grandfather right?" I ask. "Grandfather, I do know you. I do know you, Grandfather!"
     Both in tears, we embrace. When I open my eyes, he is gone. I catch a glimpse of him disappearing behind a golden door. The blue light reappears, and again fades away into white. And I hear these words: "Blue light fading away into white -- so brilliant there is nothing."


      I am in a strange land. White curtains hang everywhere. The winds howl and the mists are on the rise. Voices echo all around me but I see no one. The curtains form a maze through which I cannot see my way clear.
     A very old man appears from within the billowing white fabric columns. He wears a long brocade gown similar to the Master's, only weighted down by heavier ornamentation and golden threads. He has very long fingernails, long hair, and a long pointed beard. He looks Oriental like Grandfather -- only much older. Both his hair and beard are pure white. His long jeweled fingers beckon me to follow him and he leads me into a lavishly decorated room, embellished with gold.
     An ornate, golden, glass-topped case sits high on a pedestal. As I
get closer, I can tell it is a casket. There is a body inside. I am overtaken with grief as I recognize my beloved Grandfather! I crawl up on top of the casket, weeping and crying out to him.
     Miraculously, I find myself once again outside amidst the maze of white curtains. The winds continue to howl as the mists gather all around me. Voices echo everywhere; shadowy forms float past me. Grandfather's golden visage appears in the sky, and he speaks to me. "This is the land of the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown, the land of reality and unreality, of death, rebirth and reincarnation. I will be with you always."
     From underneath one of the curtains crawls a little boy, pulling a red headed little girl in a white gown. A strange light surrounds them.


      I saw Anna yesterday and told her about my meditations, as Grandfather had asked. Anna wore an Oriental looking silk jacket, navy blue in color with brightly colored silk flowers embroidered onto the front. I kept my eyes locked onto that jacket as I was so afraid of her reaction. What if she told me I was out of my mind? or delusional? No sane person would admit to seeing ghosts now, would they? I held my breath and traced the toe of my foot around the design on her rug as I read the entry dated 2/8/93. When I finished with the passage, I looked up to see Anna smiling at me. She indicated that I should stop reading and then she just stared at me for what seemed like an eternity. I can still remember the loud ticking of the small mahogany clock on her desk as I waited for her response. Then she took a deep breath and told me that she indeed recognized Grandfather! "His name is Medicine Buddha," she said. She pointed to the lapis lazuli ring she wears. "I wear this stone because of my relationship with him."
     Chills ran up and down my body as she spoke. As I left her office, my legs felt like rubber bands and I was overcome with emotion. My journey had begun. I felt totally confused and dazed, and, strangely elated.

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2002 Kathy Martone |