At the beginning of the performance my collaborator Kathy Halfin and I, dressed as Kali (Kathy) and Cailleach (me) rubbed paint on our hands and placed them over our mouths, marking the silence we were asked to endure after our #metoo moments.
As we moved through the city, we found strategic spots to perform interventions. We stood in front of the alcove of the Salvation Army Building on 14th Street, in NYC and read from the inscription posted in large letters inside.
A coincidence, a confluence, a bit of magic.
“While women weep, as they do now, I'll fight While little children go hungry, as they do now, I'll fight While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I'll fight While there is a drunkard left, While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, While there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I'll fight-I'll fight to the very end!”
We changed God to Goddesses
During wakes in Ireland, there is a tradition of keening - a practice of public wailing, crying, calling out in grief . This is part of the healing process. Hearing others cry can be a trigger for release.
A remembering, a conjuring as we stepped into the Goddesses that lived inside of us all along. We held a eremony in a grove of Oak Trees, found along the route we traversed during our performance.
Oak groves were the site of sacred Druid ceremonies. They chose these groves in reverence to their stature, strength, perseverance.
Oak leaves resemble hands, here hands were transformed from harmful to supportive.
We have fully stepped into our powerful Goddess selves, allowing ourselves to fully express our rage.
This unabashed emotional outpouring is an essential element of Healing.
After each Smudge Stick cleansing ceremony, we gave participants their own Smudge Stick to take home with them so they could continue their healing.
“Sometimes, madness seems like the only possible response to the insanity of the civilised world; sometimes, holding ourselves together is not an option, and the only way forwards is to allow ourselves to fall apart. As the story of Mis shows, that madness can represent an extreme form of initiation, a trigger for profound transformation.” Dr. Sharon Blackie, writer, psychologist, mythologist.
After expressing our rage, we came to place of calm and acceptance. Stepping forward, knowing that we would be ok. We lit Smudge Sticks to cleanse ourselves and others of negativity.
After our Smudging Ceremonies, we moved into ritualized dancing and singing - a symbol of release and recognition of our transformation. We then cleansed our faces with soil, a generative source, tying us to the landscape. This scrubbing removed the green hand marks from our face.
The ceremony took place in front of a luxury condo building.
An angry doorman told us to stop. We were in the middle of a joyful dance and ceremony, so we ignored him.
In front of this building a man was ignored. So he called the police.
And they came.
One can only image what was said about us - “Crazy Women”, “Mad Women”. When the police approached us, one had his hand on his Taser and the other was donning gloves so she could use the Pepper Spray attached to her belt.
They yelled at us to return and sweep up the soil that was left on the ground outside of the building.