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Angel Ladders & The Sacred Hoop


"Truth comes into the world with two faces.

One is sad and suffering and the other laughs." Cree-Woman


I was reminded of bravery on a cold and blustery late summer day when a much-anticipated storm stirred up the familiar smells of water moving through the desert. The winds from the storm front brought the quick scents of wet sage, pungent re-hydrated cowpats, and the old smell of filamentous algae as it floated by in the shallow, meandering stream.


A friend and I stood near the waterline, our backs facing partially north, our faces wet with this first rain as we witnessed a brief lesson in bravery. We watched with amusement as a third friend brandished a navy blue umbrella like a rapier while he slowly advanced towards a lone, wandering, and mellow Appaloosa mare that was chewing on our monitoring equipment.


“Shoo!” and, “Hey you, git out of here!” floated upstream as he “parry-riposted” with his umbrella, herding the horse across the stream.


“Well, look at that,” I said with a chuckle, my hands crossed in front of my chest in a benediction to warmth before finding sanctuary under my armpits. “That is a sight!  Just a moment ago he was telling me how scared he was of horses and now he's herding one across the creek. That was a brave thing to do."


My other friend turned his head towards me, not enough to alter the windbreak formed by his back, but enough to face me in quarter profile. “It's good to be brave every day,” he replied, as a sure and steady smile formed on his face. I savored his words as the river moved around my legs.  “You are right. It is good to be brave every day.”


This story is about the miracles of bravery, faith, forgiveness, and the evolution of feelings healed after the sacred hoop of my life was broken by sexual molestation. When I could no longer sleep on beds and found myself on the floor, burgeoning with paranoia and suicidal thoughts like a sated tick, I knelt in desperation against a rose-pink, velvet love couch my brother and his girlfriend had made for me and wept, “What is wrong with me? Dear G-d, please, I beg you! What is wrong with me?”


The question placed me onto a road lined with leftover strands of Jason's Golden Fleece as I addressed the pea*. Not always upright but always moving I never gave up, even on the days I thought it would be easier to die. Through the grace of the Divine, I was finally able to listen to what my spirit, body, and mind cried to me: “Enough is enough!”


Although I may still be unsure, I am no longer silent, chained to my repetitive, self-abusive behaviors, and as I winnowed through my grief and despair I found the simple beauty of Magi's Prayer.**


Magi's Prayer


May you walk a hundred-thousand

miles instead of lying in one stranger's bed.

Weep enough tears to fill Valle's Marines***

and when you're through, dance until you laugh.

Cut off all of your hair, but not your wrists.

Keep a piece of pink chalk in your pocket

and if you feel like lying draw the truth.

Hold your hand in a tender embrace

before you sleep, and may the last words you

hear be "I love you forever Beloved."


My hope is that my tale glimmers like a chain of fireflies, and lends courage to others to begin their own journey to the sacred and wonderful place called 'yourself,' where true joy dwells.


Peace and much love to all~

S.A. Goldberry


*In Hans Christian Anderson's tale ―“The Princess and the Pea” the Princess was unable to sleep atop the magical peas. Likewise, I call healing from molestation “addressing the pea” for something was also hidden under the mattresses of my bed.


**Magi, is third in a line of beloved Labrador Retrievers who have guided, licked, ran, swam, howled, slept, loved and fetched me to wholeness. I kindly suggest that if you have a burning desire to acquire a boyfriend/girlfriend, drugs, sex or a gun, instead pray to be led to an animal companion who will teach you how to become a better human. My gratitude and love to them is immeasurable, and I promise they will change you for the better if you listen to them.


***A canyon on Mars approximately three times as deep as the Grand Canyon and if transposed to earth would stretch across the United States.



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