I wore out the cassette tape of Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette while writing The Teen Spell Book: Magick for Young Witches. Unapologetic lyrics about the pain of perfection or daily indignations women endure, while striving to love ourselves just as we are, could bring me to my knees with wracking sobs or raging fury.
In time, I came to understand that the anger inside was hurting me far more than anyone else. But I didn’t know how to let go, until Ten Speed Press asked me to write a book of spells for teens. I knew Magick would heal me. But Goddess, I afraid of this journey into dark, winding paths to find the parts of me that I had hidden from myself.
I kept a diary from the day of my 11th birthday, December 23, 1978, just like you would bury a time capsule. Written in tear-splattered pen writing, slanted scribbles that are difficult to read, light pencil touches, and entries in code, I was desperate to feel connected and cherished. In particular, I grieved the absence of my mother’s unconditional love, who spent my most of childhood locked in deepest grief from her mother’s death the month before I was born.
Her sadness turned to anger so I strove for perfection that I never attained. I was ordered to forget all her transgressions immediately and completely. To speak ill of my mother or my sadness in my own diary was nothing short of blasphemy in a Mexican household. Whenever she found it, she’d hold my diary aloft like a sleuth who’s outed a criminal. I wouldn’t know what it was like to truly appreciate a mother, she would yell. And then with tears or sarcasm, she would add that her mother was dead, but here you are.
So, I used a code to say that I didn’t feel loved.
And I made myself forget the code.
Who else has ever felt they buried their Magick, truth, or dreams in a time capsule? You would go to sleep and wake up. But would you be able access your Wild Self once you locked it away? Would you remember how to unlock the code and get back in your skin? Did you remember to leave a popcorn trail to find you?
I sat down, terribly frightened, but determined to read my diary. I had a choice. I saw what Alanis had done with her pain – pour it out so it no longer lived inside. I could be the listening and the loving for my teen self. I could face this anger instead of just allowing it to swallow me and destroy any path to happiness. And then let it go. We are all trying our best; there is no one to blame and no one is perfect. If I chose to do this, the story of my journey could free others.
I dove deep into healing including many rebirthing sessions: a deep meditation to remember and breathe through the earliest memory that caused pain or fear. I saw beams of light coming from the world outside of my mother’s womb and as my head passed through, I saw my Nana Della, my mother’s mother, on my right clothed in shimmering light. As in lucid dreaming, I thought, Nana is on the Other Side. She is dead. I forced myself out of the trance. “I have to pee.” I felt some tension in my bladder, but when my healer, Katherine Morningstar, asked, “What are you so pissed about?” the metaphor was too strong to deny. I opened up about not feeling loved or lovable for the first time. The shame and anger that had thrived in the dark was released through many sessions of devotion to my own healing and self-love.
Within a half a year, I called upon Magick to write 75 spells to reconnect with my Divine Essence. What crystal will move this energy? Which herb can help me redirect my thoughts, emotions, perspective? Which Goddess will guide me through this labyrinth of darkness to come back into the Light? I gave my scars, wounds and sadness as a sacred offering to the holy fire to be transmuted into Love.
Recently, my publisher asked me to update The Teen Spell Book, to create The Book of Spells: The Magick of Witchcraft. I pruned every spell that did not focus solely on self-empowerment and added new information to help readers of all ages find the hidden capsule of their truest most lovable self. It’s a self-help book disguised as a Magickal book.
But now I am intrigued by a mysterious connection: The Book of Spells was included in a Random House Halloween giveaway with Liz Phair’s memoir, Horror Stories. Liz will be touring with Alanis this summer for the 25th anniversary of Jagged Little Pill. What is the significance of this coincidence that the two singer/songwriters known for their bold and raw tenderness are both connected to my books of empowerment? Do they feel the contentment and happiness I feel after sharing all my dark secrets, my own horror stories and jagged little pills?
I am freer than ever before: like an empty vessel who has learned how to let in the sunlight. It’s as if the spectrum of light has broadened and I am seeing colors I have never seen before. I am me again: innocent, open and aware of my precious nature. I am Mary who has awoken, the Mother Goddess, who fell asleep under the shade of the Yew Tree, the World Tree. I dreamed a universe of great love and I have come back to share it – to be it. Now.
Maybe there is a common thread of artful contemplation, unguarded truth, and unabashed fearlessness and this is the Magick that has been buried like a time capsule. The universe is telling me something. What would I find if I went to the concert this summer?