Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Article ID: 15895
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: April 2nd. 2016
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When I moved to Maui two years ago, I knew that the island would change my life. Something in that land spoke to me, and that was why I moved there. It had nothing to do with the fact that it's a tropical island (which was quite nice, of course) , and everything to do with the fact that I was in a place in my life where I felt lost, without direction, despite my spirituality, despite the boyfriend I had at the time, despite the fanciful dreams of travel I had dancing about in my head.
I needed to be rebirthed. I didn't understand, then, what a rebirthing was; I only understood that I was stuck in a cycle of dream, plan, hope, leap in, and find myself once again in a hole that seemed to have no way out. I didn't know what I wanted, didn't know who I was, felt no real connection to the Divine despite my daily spiritual practice.
So when that island called to me while I was there on vacation, called to me in sacred hushed whispers in a labyrinth by the sea cliffs, I knew that the island held the answer for me. I knew a rebirth was about to take place, so before I left, I did a rebirthing ritual.
I called Pele down, and danced my death and rebirth. Proclaiming with passion, I invoked a new era of being for me.
What I didn't realize was that to be rebirthed, you have to descend into the dark fire.
Did I know what I was doing when I called Pele to me? Certainly not - only that Pele created new life by destroying the old. I didn't know that fire could burn, but into the fire I went, blind and unknowing but intent on my desire for deep and lasting change.
Do not let anyone tell you the land you walk upon is not alive, because it certainly is. And in some places, the life in that land is so strong, so full of power, that it shapes the lives of those who walk upon it in intangible and just as powerful ways. Islands are one such sort of land. Each island is different, and each island calls to it certain people. You will know when you are called. It is a knowledge you will be unable to explain to anyone. And when you are called, prepare yourself to be challenged in the hardest of ways possible, while also feeling the deepest of loves you could ever feel.
Maui called me to it, and everything started off so well...until it all began to fall apart. My relationship crumbled, I lived in my car with an alcoholic for several months, I nearly became an alcoholic myself. I was in a dark hole that felt inescapable, darker than anything I'd ever experienced. The only light in my life was the intense beauty of the island - the crystal sapphire water, the deep green of the jungles, the magic and mystery of every bit of land. This island was an island of extremes, and it bared its most incredible beauty to me while also forcing me into the darkest depths of my existence.
And then it happened. To my knees I fell on the public restroom floor, gasping for breath. Reality cracked open and a warmth spread through my being.
“Something very beautiful happens to people when their world has fallen apart: a humility, a nobility, a higher intelligence emerges at just the point when our knees hit the floor."- Marianne Williamson
Once my knees hit the floor, in that moment of utter and complete surrender to the island, to the Universe, everything changed. I found handholds out of the hole that I hadn't seen before. I struggled upwards.
Belongings in a backpack, I climbed that last rung out of the hole, and ascended into the light. I was homeless, jobless, moneyless - and happier than I had ever been before.
The sky was dawning. My eyes opened lightly, softened by womb-like sleep. From the inside of this lava cave, I could see the pink clouds of 6:30 am. I got up quietly, wearing only a sarong and my flip-flops. I walked around the side of the cave and began to ascend this ancient mountain – a caldera, cauldron in the land where lava once flowed. Twisted trees and bushes gave the dry land a faerie-land look, and I climbed up the steep hillside, giving a shrill cheee-oo triumphant cry when I reached the top.
My being stilled.
I gazed breathlessly around me. Haleakala – a shadowed, misty silhouette against the hibiscus sky. The ocean – soft, silent, curving against the earth, around these sacred islands. I could still hear the waves, way up there. Whales breathed right off shore. Molokini and Kaho’olawe burning red in the rising sun. A herd of deer wandered among the trees in the caldera – life in the remnants of death. Mating dragonflies flew about in the awakening light.
silence. hushed holiness, a quivering expectation, an anxiety pulsing through the land as all color deepened – the sun sent great beams of light breaking over Haleakala and it was as if the very lungs of the earth sighed in relief, in bliss, in euphoria.
I untied my sarong, and let the light of day warm my bare skin, and let song rise from my throat. song. words. life. light! the gift of my naked soul, because it was all I had to give. thank you, Maui. Aloha…aloha…mahalo nui loa.
Six months later, I was in love, and pregnant with a little Maui love child. Nine months later, she was birthed into the world. Four and a half months after that, here I am:
I'm in Alaska again, back in my hometown. I left Maui not because I no longer loved it, but because the island had given me what it had called me there for. It had thrown me into the fire, burned me up, and rebirthed me from the ashes. It destroyed all the inner barriers holding me back: arrogance and insecurity alike, fear and procrastination, gullibility and pessimism. It helped me open my eyes to the beauty of the world, to the truth of reality, and then it blessed me with a life intensely full of love, joy, and a deep connection to the sacred I am free to tune into at any moment. It was not an easy death, it was not an easy rebirth, but opening myself up to creation through destruction was the best decision I had every made.
Too much in society are we encourage not to look deeper. Therapy has a stigma attached to it, and if you voice your problems, people think you're just looking for attention. But the divine, the soul of the land, and the soul of the universe, has no such limitations: it sees yours problems, your challenges, as gateways to a deeper connection with your Self and with the sacred.
Do not be afraid to let the divine destroy your life. Because when there seems to be no way out, what there really is, is an opportunity to start anew, if you only have the courage to open yourself to it.
A REBIRTHING RITUAL
Create your sacred space.
Put on music you feel connected with and that holds meaning to you.
Dance your death. Put all of yourself into this act - really FEEL it happening.
After you "die, " curl up on the floor in the fetal position and FEEL yourself in the womb of Pele.
Dance your rebirth. FEEL yourself being birthed.
Dance your new life. FEEL the reality of it.
Give thanks and offerings to Pele.
Do something to symbolize your new life - start a new journal, move somewhere, make an entirely new wardrobe, whatever feels most life-changing for you personally.
This sounds like a very simple ritual, but the trick is to get REALLY into it. Don't just act it out - BELIEVE it is happening. Take as much time as you need to make sure you really FEEL it happening.
Aloha, beautiful beings.
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