May you never hear body hating as healing.

You were never "dirty".
#WiseWoman #Healing #AnarresApothecary

Our bodies are a complex community, and we are home to billions of germs and small beings who clean us, release nutrients for our use, and help us eliminate waste.
Let's be at home in community, in darkness, in complexity.
Let's honour our earthiness, our heaviness, our density as we cherish the stones we call crystals, with the strength of granite.
May you never hear body hating as healing. Ask me why at Anarres Apothecary. In Love & RRRRRevolution, Tracey Tief

The piece below is by the Original Poster, Sophie Strand·
I Will Not Be Purified

You are infested with parasites. With Lyme spirochetes. With bacteria. We just have to kill them all off, and then you’ll feel clean, you’ll feel better. This was the promise of my doctors that first year of being sick. Here, take one more drug and we will “clean you out”. Your gut is “leaky”. Your body is toxic. Your kidneys are full of heavy metals. Your brain is toxic. Your lymph nodes are swollen with snowmelt. Anyone who has ever been life-threateningly ill will know the desperation it breeds. You’ll try anything. You’ll do anything. And when treatments fail, and doctors, shockingly unskilled in empathy, shrug and suggest this means you will die, you start looking anywhere for help. Rational orthodoxy fades and you find yourself lying on a vibrating crystal in a room covered in purple velvet while a “shamanic healer” tells you that, first, you are a “martyred turtle of great significance” and second, you are unclean. You have karmic baggage. You are sludged with demons and darkness. Your illness is dirty. You are polluted. Karmically. Biologically. Emotionally.
This information came as no surprise to the survivor of early sexual abuse. “Yes,” I shuddered. Although I’d kept the information a secret from my family and my friends, here it was showing up on a blood test, in my failing organs, in the perspicacious eyes of an energy healer, a psychic, a nutritionist. I had failed. There is no way to hide the contamination. Just like my “leaky” gut, the darkness was finally leaking out. “Yes,” I tearfully affirmed to my assortment of healers and doctors and guides. “Yes. I knew it. I knew I was contaminated. I have always been impure. Tell me please. How can I live? How can I be purified of this illness I have obviously brought upon myself?”
The answer always cost money. A lot of money. And the answer was always packaged in white light, ascension, purification, and the chlorinated scrub of my gut, my blood, my body, and my soul. And when these treatments, spiritual and medical, not only failed but tended to make me much sicker, the healers and doctors would send me a bill and say, “You’re too sick for us to handle. Too dark. Too inflamed. You didn’t “want” to get better.
Abandoned by medicine, manhandled by new age healers, doggedly set on an academic achievement at all costs, I decided to try to pull myself into another life. I just needed coping mechanisms so I could get through the pain, live through an extra year to finish the book I wanted to write, put a bandaid on a mortal wound. I took matters into my own shaking hands in college, fully indoctrinated with purity jargon. My gut biome was obliterated. Years of antibiotic treatment, before my correct diagnosis with genetic connective tissue disease, had opened up too much real estate for monologuing pathogens. The doctor's attempt to “clean” me had left me as vulnerable and barren as a tree farm is to fungus and forest fires. Plagued by life-threatening allergic reactions to food with no recourse to a cure, I limited my diet again and again, unaware that your gut doesn’t want purity. It needs diversity, a little dirt, a little contamination to thrive. Likewise, I looked to academics as a way of externalizing the success I could never somatically embody. Here were thin, severe men with ideas as knife-like as their countenances, who told me to reject the shadows and walk out of the cave. To reject the body and prize the mind. To find the real forms. The sicker and thinner I got, the more my professors praised and fetishized my “perseverance” and “asceticism”.
Years of talk therapy and then a vulnerable plunge into Somatics and EMDR left me feeling similarly ragged. I showed up to every appointment. I paid ridiculous sums of money to therapists and psychologists who would say, “If you work really hard maybe we can “remove” these memories. We can complete them. You can move on. You can officially heal.” And when years of reliving pain, diving headfirst into putrefied wounds, didn’t produce the joy I so badly wanted to inhabit, they would go back to the refrain: “Maybe you don’t want this. Maybe your illness, your sorrow, your PTSD is your fault. Maybe you don't want to get clean.” I was nuclear waste. The lightworkers said I was all shadow. The shamans said I was an underworld being. Too contaminated to handle. But, always, curiously, not too contaminated to bill for more and more money.
Mice raised in sterile labs without bacteria are dysfunctional. They are prone to disease, to anxiety, andto behavior linked to schizophrenia. Research into gut biomes has shown that decreased biodiversity leads to depression, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other problems. Similarly, our attempt to blitz mosquitos, to clean our crops, and to “sterilize” the soil of pathogens, has created an agricultural and climate crisis.
“Pathogens”, it turns out, often constitute health. Soil without its microbial and fungal biome cannot sequester carbon, cannot grow nutritious food, and cannot, ultimately, support any life at all. We “clean up” forests in a simplistic attempt to prevent forest fires, and end up creating the conditions for the very fires we are trying to prevent. Plato’s cave paired with monotheism’s demonization of embodiment has created a spiritually sterile binary of light and dark, ascent and descent. This dualism is remarkably incomputable with the biodiversity of healthy ecosystems. And worst, it is deeply uncompassionate to the ill, the bereaved, and survivors of abuse.
What if your illness doesn’t have a cure? What if you can’t “remove” the memories of assault? What then? Will you never be pure enough? Light enough? Clean enough? Scrub harder. Scrub your skin off. Scrub your shadows off. Scrub until you bleed. The turning point in my life came when I realized that the healthiest metaphor for me wasn’t light, or soap, or ascent. It was compost. It wasn’t “clean”. It was everything. Refuse. Dirt. Fungi. Bacteria. Water. Grubs. Worms. And remarkably, it was fertile. It made soil. It supported new green shoots. My gut didn’t need another dose of antifungal medication to remediate the problem created by antibiotics. Cleaning was killing me. I needed to compost my body. And I needed to compost my spirit. I needed to add more microbes, more foods to my diet. I needed to add herbal lore and indigenous knowledge and folktales and children's books and romance novels back into my philosophically neutered world view. And I needed to approach psychological wounding not with a scalpel and hydrogen peroxide, but with flowers and joy and laughter. I needed to overwhelm the pain, not try to get rid of it. I didn’t need to “integrate” the abuse. I needed to softly place it in dark soil. I needed to say, “Okay. You’re nasty. But please make something grow.”
I said recently that I’m much more interested in ensoilment than ensoulment. I want to have actual roots. I want my spirituality to have fur, pheromones, funk. I want it to live in a specific place. And I want it to teach me intimately how to be dynamically present and useful to my ecosystem. And I want to tell people that healing isn’t about completion. And it isn’t about lightness. It’s about the mixing bowl where nothing is exiled, everything is included. In order to grow a garden, you need manure. You need compost. In order to heal the soil, you don’t clean it, you add to it: fungi, ferment, bacteria, woodchips.
Researching Rabbi Jesus/Yeshua for my ecological reimagining of the gospels I realized the folk magician’s real teaching was not purification. He ultimately even rejects John the Baptist’s water immersions. In a time period when people were traumatized by Roman imperialism, diseased, and obsessed with purity rituals, he offered something radical. His offering was to brush the question off “Who cares? Come and eat with me. Come and share a meal.” He purified not by cleaning, but by including. Everyone was invited. No one was exiled.
I’m no longer trying to get clean. And when I see healers prioritizing light over darkness, ascent over descent, purity over contaminated survival and biodiverse flourishing, I want to ask: when was the last time you asked the land for advice? When was the last time you sat in the woods at night without a flashlight? When was the last time you invited everyone to the table?
(mold image by dashaplesen )