Dear Collective,

Here’s a story from the farm. The farm, I’ve discovered, is a container of truth… not a metaphor for life, but life itself. 

One of our mama goats, Ruth, gave birth a few days ago. The first baby that emerged from her womb was severely mutated… grotesquely configured, a gigantic-sized monster head with misplaced body parts all in the wrong places. Had this been another time, it might have been regarded as a demon or monster of sorts. Conferring bad omens and nightmares. Recognizing the deformities would have been incompatible with life, the talented woman who cares for the goats swiftly drowned the malformed fetus. 

Ruth began to birth a second baby. The mood now was not one of joy, but dreaded anticipation. Would it be another nightmare? 

This time, Ruth delivered a beautiful fawn-like baby girl goat. A piece of brilliant artwork, all of life’s forces conspiring towards perfection in her. 

So here we are. One womb. The capacity to hold “the perfect” and “the grotesque,” the “light and the dark.” Neither one better than the other. Both a necessary part of this dance we call life. 

For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating, meditating upon the abhorrent site of the first baby goat. Sitting with my feelings of heartache, heartbreak, the darkness of the grotesque and the ugly, the repulsion. Not pushing it aside or shielding myself from it, but allowing it in. Exploring it with eyes wide open. Recognizing the dark and repulsive places in myself that I have not welcomed in with unconditional love. 

I’ve been reading a lot of Martin Shaw recently, a mythopoetic storyteller whose most recent work is entitled Courting the Wild Twin.  In it, he shares a haunting Norwegian tale where a Queen births twins: one a handsome prince, the other a grotesque serpent-like monster (a lindworm). The serpent slithers away and, in his exile, causes menace to the kingdom. It is only when a brave woman helps him lovingly clean his grotesque body, that he sheds his snake skin and reveals the benevolent man that he truly is.

All of us have our wild twin, our darkness. The part of ourselves we quickly drown and bury. We ignore or shun at all costs. Only to see her reappear in unlikely places, haunting our dreams. 

How would it be different if we held up that mutated deformed grotesque creature to admire in awe, her power? How would it be different if we said prayers of gratitude for this ugly creature? Perhaps in shining light upon, in honoring those parts of ourselves we bury in the night, we can all finally find the truth of ourselves, compassion for the ugly in our own beings and thus in each other and for the greater collective.

Every morning I’ve been visiting the grave site of our dark twin. Honoring all that remains hidden, dark, twisted in my own being, giving it permission to be seen, to be loved. This- right here in my own heart- is the only place to begin the work of healing what is broken.

Love always,