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A Letter to Shadow Woman

For the Resilience Collective New Moon Cycle 7 Offering, February 2021.

Embracing the Dark: Radical Vulnerability/Snow Moon


In the chaos of dissolution, we bear witness to the breakdown of our worlds. Something has been destroyed and we are left with the fragments of a life we once knew to be true and complete. As this world shatters, there are new eyes that are born from what has been broken. Dissolution brings us to a certain death; a certain ending. When this trauma occurs, we don’t often allow ourselves a moment to rage and to cry, consciously. This cycle, I am consciously naming my wounds, embracing my rage and allowing my tears to flow. I am inviting my ghosts to dance in the dark with me; knowing I am held in its promise of rebirth. May this offering inspire you to dance with your own ghosts-to feel the power of your outrage, to mourn your losses and let your tears purify, cleanse and re-member the parts of yourself that have been torn asunder.




Dear Shadow Woman,


It has taken me years to write this letter. 

I’ve pushed the words deep down into my gut; afraid of what you might say or do; afraid of what you might think or withhold from me, another cycle of losses to cycle through, yet again.

It is time.

I can taste the bile on my tongue as I write.

This letter is for you. 

For all of the ‘you’s’ that I’ve been made to stomach; for all the times I’ve ever called you “friend”, “sister”, “lover”, “comrade”, “mama”, “beloved”.

For all the dark, slippery holes that I’ve barely clawed my way out of because of you. 

I remember the seeds you planted in me as a child.

I’ve seen your face.

Pale and white.

You. In yellow stained classrooms, passing notes back and forth about how ugly I was.

I remember how for one year, you made me the star of your all white-girl hate club; how somehow I blocked that out, and still

showed up every day with a smile on my sleeve and a thread of hope in my pocket.

How I filled the pages of my 4th grade diary, obsessing about you and what you wore, how you looked, who you liked, and all the ways I hated you for being what I knew I could never be.

How you invited me into your home for birthdays and bat mitzvahs- as a matter of course; and how clear it became to me over the years that you would never return the favor.

I’ve seen your face. 

Wearing blackness like it was simply a dress that you could put on and take off when you felt like it; a go-go song that you could learn to dance, if you just paid enough attention to the rhythm; a slang word that you could master with an eye roll, some bass in your voice, and a pair of Reebok classics. 

I’ve seen your face. 

An Indignant Spectacular.

How the fragrance of your ignorance and entitlement permeated the air in a room; how oblivious you were to the stench.

I remember the tenderness of my young mind then-and how I believed that this was what beauty looked like; and that was how you summoned a crowd of admirers to circle around you.

Shadow Woman.

Black, like me. 

Brown, like me.

I’ve seen your face.

And I remember how I got told that I was living in a dream; how the residue of my white girl dreaming was locking me out of my black womanhood-how I needed to wake up and get with the program or else I wouldn’t have a seat at the table.

How often I was welcomed at arms length-pending approval.

How I was never enough of this, but always too much of that.

How I learned to take on the roles that you demanded of me-how I learned to pour your scorn for me into myself; how I learned to project your disdain onto my strangeness; how I learned to reject and abandon myself for sport.

How I took the rap for things I didn’t do-joints I didn’t smoke, men I didn’t fuck. 

How often your blame fed my shame.

You taught me how to weave your crazy-making into a long heavy cloak; a garment thick enough for me to enjoy losing myself in; heavy enough to be dragged down into the confusion and loneliness of it’s dark folds.

You taught me how to cast spells: 

“Everything you ever done to me, already been done to you.”

Shadow Woman of many colors.

You who question my humanity; my right to be in this body, in this skin, with this voice;

You who have known the pain of exclusion and so excludes.

You who have known the pain of abandonment and so abandons.

You who have known the pain of erasure and so erases.

Your talents have always made me feel invisible and undesired.

Insatiable huntress.

I’ve seen your face.

Stocking your next prey. 

You are here. YOU ARE HERE. I can feel you now..opening your nose.

Searching, searching...

I see you, Shadow Woman.

Radiant with something like ease-something like gentleness in one hand; yet ablaze with nothing but fire and bitter resentment in the other. 

Shadow woman, full of silent rage.

I remember the rhetoric that somehow never matched the practice.

I remember you who speak of ‘community’, ‘progression’ and ‘the collective’.

You who say: BIPOC, non-BIPOC, Queer, Transgender, Non-Binary. Masculine of Center. Feminine of Center.

Words that guard entrances to rooms I bolted years ago-sanctuaries for ghosts. 

My children will never remember your absence the way I do.

They will never feel the pain of being ghosted by you.

They do not have a history of enjoying and seeking the embrace of your kinship.

You were once the village that I thought I belonged to.

All the wild night memories will never make up for the holes you left behind when you decided it was convenient to stop showing up once I became a mother.

But even ghosts like to be remembered.

Shadow woman who lives beyond the veil.

I remember the cities I traveled to, excited to meet you under the guise of friendship.

I remember calling you up in a phone booth on New Year’s eve in New York City in 1999, and how funny it was that later that night, I would play the part of a girl who gets shot at home on a Super 8 camera. 

I remember that I never saw you that trip and how hard it was to bring the new year in with strangers who really weren’t friends at all.

I’ve seen your face. 

The hidden one hiding hidden things.


You. Who claim the mantle of the “Divine Feminine”. 

But who truly can’t stand to share Her power at the Altar. 

You. With your “namaste’s” and your “aho’s” and your “ashe’s”.

You who use Her teachings to mask the discomfort of your own self-hate.

You who use Her teachings to profit from the innocence of the women who have placed their trust in your words, your actions.

You who can’t stand to see, feel, touch, or taste the glory of another’s woman’s triumph.

You who betrays another woman’s secrets for the sake of gossip and fleeting ‘security’.

You who betrays herself for the pleasure of another woman’s Beloved.

You who have placed unforgiving judgment on tribes of ‘difficult women’ whose lineages belong to the radical, unapologetic, riotous and trouble-making constellation of Ancestors before them;

You who have built entire careers out of ensuring that another woman will have no access to the abundance, prosperity, recognition and empowerment that she is due (over).

I’ve seen you at my door, in my home, and in the Dreamtime.

I’ve studied with you. Danced with you. Cried with you. Cooked with you.

I am speaking to YOU, AND I SEE YOU.

I see your face.

Fierce and duplicitous.

An intoxicating illusion.

On dance floors and dinner tables; in coffee shops and yoga studios; in lecture halls, birthday parties, and funeral homes; in misas, conferences, sweat lodges, bookstores, art galleries, Bembes, classrooms, theaters, retreats, mosh pits, wine bars, prayer circles, brunches and now zoom meetings.

Shadow Woman.

You who generously take but have no intention of generously giving back.

You, the narcissist. 

You, the parasite-the sycophant. 

You, ‘can-do-no-wrong-do-gooder’.  

I am still paying for you because I convinced myself that you were an investment.

My body tallies the receipts that will still not reconcile the lifetime of trauma I’ve inherited through the ruthlessness of your blade.

Shadow Woman who thinks herself to be without Shadow.

She who now calls herself ‘other’..the manufactured ‘OTHER’, who has only been able to mimic, and not trace the shape of her own unique

line in the world-she who takes another’s song and swallows it without gratitude.

I’ve given away my joy with brutal carelessness. 

I’ve given away the honey between my legs, when I didn’t love myself enough to know that my pussy was much too Gangster to entertain any foolishness in Her Temple.

Shadow woman. 

You were there. 

Are you listening to me?

I see your face, and  finally have the courage to look you in the eye; to stare down your glare and apprehend the trail of your bloody carnage.

I fear you no more.

I take back the vision of my soul: original, complex, ancient, beautiful, and on-purpose. 

There will never be another like me. 

I take your power into me, Shadow Woman.

I swallow your poison and extract the medicine.

I am the alchemist of my domain, and this is my gaze.

I am awake. I am alive. I am present. 

I am Woman.

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