Sweating, not Burning.

In my mid thirties I was struggling to express my spirituality within what I perceived as rather limited guidelines given to me by A.A, N.A and treatment centres.

Rehab, although non-specific as to religious affiliation, had made it clear that my own rather dark spiritual expressions were aberrant and indicative of ‘ using behaviour’.

The tarot deck that I had for many years was taken away from me, as were several of my books on magick and mysticism.

Up to that point my spirituality and art work was oriented around a rather chaotic mix of animism, ritual magick and an intuitive interpretation of folk witchcraft into which I integrated my sculptures and fetish work.

The loss of this personal expression was quite simply a loss of a keystone of myself, and whilst the anti depressants I went on to cope with this assisted in dealing with my misery, they didn’t address the cause.

Thus, I decided to explore the ‘New Age’ movement.

I went to drumming classes, danced Gabrielle Roth’s Five Rhythms, attended a Goddess Seminar (I only managed one of those), regular kundalini and hatha yoga classes and a variety of healing and meditation groups.

I learned how to use Tibetan singing bowls, experimented with toning and voice work and practiced breath and re-birthing techniques.

I appreciated and learned from many of these approaches and the yoga was a joy and a love affair which I have never ended, however none of these things really ‘touched me’.

I had friends who were heavily into an appropriation of Native American Traditions and they asked me to attend a sweat lodge.

I was menstruating at the time but the couple running the lodge indicated that this wouldn’t be a problem,so I thought I’d give it a go.

Anti depressants and a messed up post drug using body had left me bloated and physically uncomfortable being naked in public, and the recovering sex addict stoking the lodge’s fire didn’t give me much solace either.

Once in the lodge we went through the prerequisite rituals, and as the heat rose the group started singing Kumbaya.

Something snapped in me at that point, and I started swearing profusely.

This didn’t seem to be the type of cleansing and bonding that the group liked, and they proceeded to try and exorcise what they perceived as my demons, to heal me.

I survived that event, albeit slightly traumatised, and soon after had a visit to the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall. I was peering at various fetishes and charms that were uncannily like pieces I had created myself over the years, and I had that ‘coming home’ feeling. I realised I had been gifted with a way of relating to reality that was right for me, and only by working with that could I find a measure of acceptance in myself and life.










About charlottejane2002

Author of 'P is for Prostitution', 'The Bloody Sacrifice' and co-editor of 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead' which are all published by Mandrake of Oxford. Italian publisher Roberto Migliussi has recently released 'The Sky is a Gateway, Not a Ceiling', a book of Charlotte's collected essays printed alongside images of his own art work. Charlotte is also an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects. She has had her written work printed in anthologies and various magazines and on line publications and has given presentations at many events and institutions including Edinburgh University and Brooklyn's 'Museum of Morbid Anatomy'. Her art work has been exhibited widely including at London's Chelsea Gallery and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, and is soon to be shown in New York.
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One Response to Sweating, not Burning.

  1. Lynda says:

    The return journey home, many pathways, many options….and as we know, many people never find it. Thanks for sharing your authentic life Charlotte…inspiring as always

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