A Cycladic Paradise
I loved Athens when I visited for 3 days in 2018. I knew I wanted to return, and when Camille (Creator of This American Girl) notified me that she was running a women's retreat in Greece, I knew I had to go. I was the first person to sign up, actually.
I had been inspired by her for years and knew that I wanted to meet her at some point, but never imagined it would be so soon or that she would touch my life so deeply.
I booked my flight to the Cyclades, not knowing what the path ahead looked like. Here- we would create altars out of nature, sing to the sea, and reclaim our sacredness on a cliff at sunset.
The very first time our eyes met, I knew she was a true priestess in every sense of the word.
I stepped into the shala and stood before her, the biggest smile imaginable on my face. I couldn't stop smiling- I was here. She searched my eyes for several moments in silence. We were fully seeing each other for the first time.
We both let out a giggle, and she offered Aegean sea water to bless myself with, before asking if she could also bless me.
I had no idea that she would be my midwife, my angel, my priestess, my sister, and many other titles by the end of this week. She would take me through the womb of creation and out to the other side to gaze upon what I had just transcended.
She would guide me through ceremony, breathwork, trauma release, boundary-making, and encourage me to push past my safe walls I had built so long ago.
In breathwork I dove into the darkness of my shadows. I found wordless screams escaping from my throat as I was broken open and left raw. Everything I loved was burning before my eyes; adrift and out of reach.
I felt her touch, and she whispered it is safe here love. I was with the angels. I was merely a spectator in an unfortunate event that had less to do with me and more to do with others perpetuating their own traumas onto me. Suddenly Elohi, creator, god, goddess, divine being, whatever you choose to name the great universal energy of life- it spoke to me; A light across a dark horizon.
All evil is in the DNA. It is the divine wound, perpetuated through millennia and generations. It will continue to perpetuate and wound further until it is healed. The divine masculine carries the guilt, and the divine feminine bares the fear. Both wounding each other again and again ad infinitum.
I saw thousands of faces with the same eyes, rebirth throughout the dawn of time, of one soul dearest to me. I watched her die a thousand deaths, some so excruciating that I ugly cried. I watched her fling her hands through water playfully at the beach. I held her hand in the forest. I saw her by my side since we became incarnations, since the very moment we became sentient souls. I held her dying form in my hands. I held her while she breathed in life in this new form as I know her now. My little wild child.
I was in my own body again. Light filtered through the billowing curtains of the shala and a breeze gently wafted through. I am among the living in this time line once again.
I was shell shocked, unsure what I had just witnessed or how to integrate back to life. Camille coaxed us into a cuddle pile. A stillness came over the waters of my soul. Where there had been a storm and crashing waves, suddenly the sea was like glass. Perfectly calm.
At the beginning of the week, we were all tense the first time we cuddled together. By the end of the week we melted into each other leaving only space to breathe. Draped across and through each other, we rested in safe arms.
This could only have been orchestrated by Camille. Only she could lead us through this magical journey.
It could have happened anywhere, but this island called to her. It told her we once walked here, acolytes of a Goddess temple many lives ago. I too, felt this. I felt like I had come home after a long journey away.
I covered myself in her velvet muds, baking in the golden sun, bathing in her crystal waters.
I waded in the cove of forbidden land, stepping onto the shore. I sat in the shallows surrounded in a strange circle of curious fish.
I treated a jellyfish sting, drummed messily with calloused fingers, slipped and fell on smooth stones, played gleefully with puppies, and was wholly human.
I felt both my divinity and my humanity, a constant tug of war between sides as this life surges waves of events on either side.
This is home, and these are my sisters.