Tag Archives: ~burning woman~

Our World is Essentially a Violent Place (or if you wish, How did I discover myself here from there?)

[scattered remembrances from   ~burning woman~   by Sha’Tara]

This may come across as a strange piece of admission but…???

When we are young we live as if we were immortal. That is a truism except that for some of us, we do not want that immortality which translates as eternity. It demands responsibility we have no idea how to deal with.

Some of us are born watchers, observers of our world, perhaps because at birth we partially broke out of the programming, or because it didn’t take. So what do we see, or to be more personal (and honest) what did I see?

I saw that the weak and the meek get the raw deal. Though I sometimes saw the other side of the coin what hit home was its dark side: the fear, the hate, the distrust, the anger – the IN-JUST-ICE!

I cringed when the parents fought each other and there was no place to hide except under useless blankets if I couldn’t get dressed quickly enough to run for the barn and hide among the cows, not for protection but for their warmth and so as not to have to listen and feel the “terror” taking place in the house, a terror that could quickly turn against me as the convenient scapegoat.

Then I got older and saw that the family squabbles resembled the world squabbles only these were on a much greater scale. I was learning responsibility too at the same time. More choices.

Mine, I judged, was a harsh world with little leeway in terms of forgiveness. You made a mistake, you paid a price, often way beyond the weight of the mistake. The same was true of nations and races; of the poor and for the powerless gender, all claims and propaganda to the contrary.

I so desired to do away with myself but what to do? I had a life and my religion stated unequivocally that if I took that life I was damned to exist in a burning hell for eternity: again, no escape, not even the warm flank of a milk cow there. I would stare at a pitch fork and try to imagine what it would feel like to be endlessly prodded by that as a punishment for something I had done out of despair millions of years ago. I would also know that despair was another mortal sin that was added to my punishment, of course.

So no escape, just choices. I saw and felt pain, my earliest recollection. Then I saw jealousy and senseless expectations. I saw injustice and how it nurtured fear, doubt, distrust, hate, anger and brutality. Where in that did I fit in? Nowhere, but since there was nowhere to hide from all of it, and as my knowledge expanded exponentially, I sensed a growing awareness of the essential brutality of the world and I was forced to make hard choices.

I saw two: I could choose to accept and suffer the arrows of injustice upon myself and for the most helpless of the world (I did not know that was known as being empathetic) or I could fight back. Fighting back meant using violence, no matter what word is used to hide that fact and using violence meant losing my heart. It wasn’t what I wanted but it seemed to be the only logical choice.

At the beginning of this journey and still much in the dark as to who I was and what I would choose to become, I chose anger as my companion and then violence just seemed to make sense. It took several years before I realized that my reliance on anger was eating me up and then came more guilt: was I committing suicide? I wanted to leave this world desperately but was I willing to risk the potential consequences? I had already sacrificed my heart to one choice, would I lose myself for eternity?

The frightened child had grown into an adult. I had learned to bluster my way into the adult world even if I felt I were an alien or something altogether weird. I hid my real thoughts and feelings and expressed only those I thought would make me seem normal and acceptable. I used ideas and words from books, magazines, the radio, songs, sermons, political speeches, and that seemed to satisfy people even though it polarized them. For a time I was a complete stranger to myself but at least I had some mental peace, a pretense of belonging and discovered I had accessed some power.

I might continue this and explain how I came to the edge of my own personal black hole and found myself inexplicably pulled out of it.

I Am Shallaya

(I must have done something “wrong” when I posted this poem yesterday as my comment section disappeared.  Therefore and all the rest, I’m re-posting it without the links to  “the Cafe Philos poetry prompt” to see if the comment section shows up again.)

               I Am Shallaya

[remembrances of a      ~burning woman~ ]
                as told by Sha’Tara

Spring steel: that was the Word.
I arched my back to feel it.
‘Yes,’ I whispered to the damp stone walls
Encompassing me, imprisoning me,
Spring steel:
That’s what I must be, it’s what I am.

Let them come for me now, I am ready.

They came then, as I knew they would.
They came, two by two at first,
To lie dead and bleeding on the stone.
It wasn’t what they had expected
As they leered at my naked body.

I stood waiting for the denouement:
There was a commotion in the hall
The clank of halberds and swords,
The yell of commands, curses, questions,

Confused calls echoed in the dungeons:
I discovered something else, a new power
The Spirit had left with me: dark sight.
With my mind I extinguished their torches.

They were sightless in the hallway;
Smelled the blood of their fallen comrades
Never thinking I could have done such.
I smelled their fear then, that of retribution
From their superstitions, the dreaded unknown.

I spoke for the first time since captured:
Five days it was I had been stripped, mocked,
And thrown in the dungeon for future sport.
Five days and I found my voice again,
But not the one I’d used to plead with!

‘You will all die,’ I said, growling
As the power beast rose in my throat,
As the spring steel twanged in my back
As I came out slowly, tearing out the steel door
As if made but of straw wattles.

I could see them, they not me!
Pathetic, I thought, as I touched one:
He peed himself, dropped his weapon,
Begged for mercy, as each one did,
Gurgled, as I ripped his throat out,
A fitting end for such cowards.

I found a young one about my size:
Took his clothes, tunic, armour,
Walked out openly, thought a guard
Until challenged at the main gate.

I recognized some of the gate watch:
They had leered and laughed as I was paraded
Naked for their benefit.

‘I am Shallaya the witch,’ I said
Matter of fact and simply intoned
With a normal woman’s voice.

Their eyes grew big, they made their move
And I mine: five men became five bodies.

I turned and cursed their battlements then,
And watched as they collapsed.
I cursed their gate and walked on through.
I cursed their drawbridge. It collapsed
Like a rotten log into the stagnant moat
And what a stench arose from that!

I walked away not even looking back
As the people fled screaming
As mice from a burning barn.

“You did that well” said the Grimmer
As he floated beside me, grinning stupidly.

‘I passed my test, then?’ I asked of him.

“I’m not supposed to tell, but of course
Yes, you passed your test. You are Power.
You are Witch. They await you
To give you your power staff.”

‘Thank you, Grimmer, for the gift.’
And I pointed back to the dying castle.
He laughed and disappeared.

With such power, how did we lose?
How did we not see the Patriarchy coming?
Though nobody now, I remain Witch.
I am Shallaya, and I still ask the Question

And it will never, ever, be over.
That I have sworn upon my staff
The day they burned it, and my body.

180924 – Dear Diary #1

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~ ]

Am I “in the mood” for this? Can’t say, but let’s try.

Good morning diary. I know you have no idea who I am, or why I would be addressing you in such familiar terms. Well neither do I. Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Introductions, perhaps? My name is Sha’Tara. Pleased to meet you. No, don’t read between the lines, I know I’m pretending but we have to start somewhere.

Where? Well, we’re in my back yard under a very bright Autumn sun and enjoying the latent heat. Got the garden mostly cleaned up – this is a text editor so no pictures – and I’m looking at some little things I could do to “the homestead” to forestall some more frost damage due to those bitter eastern winds I’m anticipating by at least 3 months! I think closing that garage entrance “wind tunnel” with a wide half-glass door would be good.

For now, everything is very green and lawns are still being mowed, including a contract one I have to get to tomorrow afternoon on “Little Mountain”. I’ll try to get some pictures, something I’m definitely not reliable at doing. That’s it for the small talk, diary. Now to what I really meant to say.

I woke up this morning, as on so many mornings now, with a weight on my heart as if I was carrying the whole world. Was it due to dreams? I don’t know, I cannot remember having any, just the weight that with a nice light breakfast of protein mix and a slice of thick, raisin toast, seemed to lighten up. The feeling is still here though, as if it is begging to be analyzed and understood.

I’ll tell you what, diary. I think these heavy mornings are due to a rise in my level of empathy, stretching out further and farther upon the planet, picking up “stuff” that unfortunate “others” are experiencing. Wouldn’t that make sense? It cannot be from my own life: there’s nothing personal in it that one could label as negative. Peace, relative quiet, health, enough money to live comfortably, a small mortgage carefully managed. A few friends also carefully “managed” so there are no cling-ons in the mix. So, definitely not about me.

What about “out there”? Well I know that there is a lot of trouble brewing and spewing out in many places. I know there are literally millions of people, animals and “others” suffering terribly because of the greed and presumption of some and an uncaring attitude from many. Am I one of those, diary? If I take my comfortable life as pivot point, then yes, certainly I could be accused of not caring.

But it’s not that simple, is it. I know that I could throw in the towel, as far as this middle class lifestyle of mine is concerned, settle my “debt” with the bank and take the left-overs, something like a half a million dollars of “cold hard cash” and go out into the wild blue yonder looking for more effective ways to help the downtrodden. Yes, technically that is a possibility. But realistically?

Back to working with those ubiquitous “charitable organizations” being told how to dress; how to behave towards others; how to speak and what to say – most of the emphasis being on conformity to some group rather than on the work at hand. Chances of that happening, diary? Nil. Binder Dundat, never again.

Other possibility, give it all away. Sure, then become a burden on “the State”? No, that isn’t happening either. And at my age, how long in any case before the body does a back flip and it’s all over?

So, back to analysis of this heavy feeling upon awakening – using that term in the literal and etheric way. It isn’t about “me” doing “more” for the oppressed, it’s really about sharing that place and space with “them”. It is how true empathy develops and makes its home in the mind and body. If I live with this growing sense of empathy I know that it puts me in a differnt space, from selfish to selfless. If-when someone calls for help I know I will be “on-call”, ready and willing to respond. That’s what this is all about: a tuning of one’s attitude to the world, from one of taking, to one of permanently ready and willing to give or share.

Right now. From right here, from within my comfort zone, independently in charge of my choices and movements, self empowered and fully responsible. What do you think of that analysis, diary?