A Crow, a Church, and the Story of Little Soul
Why It's Important to Share My Abortion Experience Alongside the Story of the Rosary
In Choosing the Mystery: The Rosary’s Radical Feminine Heart (Season 3, Episode 3 of KnotWork Storytelling),shared her story about the Mysteries of the Rosary.
If you have come across the global phenomenon that is the book Perdita co-wrote with her husband Clark Strand, The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary, you’ll know that this path of the beads is compatible with the modern feminist path.
Though the symbol of the rosary and the rhetoric of many who wield has been used to shame women, especially when it comes to abortion, Perdita invites us to reclaim the power of these 1,000 year old prayer beads as a direct refutation of the so-called “pro-life” movement.
If you’ve listened to our conversation that follows Perdita’s story, you’ll know that we both alluded to our abortions. It feels like the right time to share the whole story.
(Note: this is an excerpt of my 2020 book, The Sovereignty Knot: A Woman’s Way to Freedom, Power, Love, and Magic.)
The trinity formed by the tall pillar candle, the arched window with its bold and perfect panes, and the golden cross with its sunburst center had a nice symmetry to it. It offered a place for my eyes to rest when I was weary of staring at Christ on the cross, the symbol of divine suffering that loomed over it all. It was easier to sit through Mass with some attitude of prayerfulness when I looked at these steady objects and not the awkward preteen altar girls who would never get promoted beyond choir director in a place like this.
And then I looked beyond my well-honed feminist criticism of the Catholic Church and tried to stop interrogating the faith that had been at the center of my family’s life for generations. Through a distant window, I could see a single crow perched on a naked winter tree. She threw herself into a silent scream, her body rocking with a call that echoed deep inside my own chest. It had been more than twenty years since I had left walled-in religious spaces like these and joined the birds, calling up to Father God in the limitless sky and whispering to the Mother Goddess in the enduring earth. Yet here I was during a Sunday Mass in a prosperous enclave of semi-rural New Jersey. My daughters sat between my ninety-six-year-old grandfather and me. I did the bare minimum to get non-indoctrinated kids to sit quietly and quit playing with the kneeler and the missals. Most of my attention was directed at a sensation between my breasts that was somewhere between the buzz of spiritual energy and a gathering storm of fear. Considering the circumstances, you might have blamed this strange feeling on lingering traces of Catholic guilt.
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