Into The Storm

Jun 24th, 2016 Posted in Thirteen Moons | No Comments »

Thirteen Moons

Into the Storm: Recovering the Soul After Rape

One of the most compelling reasons I wanted to share the individual stories of the women who journeyed through the Thireen Moons process was to illustrate the power of healing in community. During the course of the collective journey of soul remembrance, many women not only remember experiences that help them to connect of the dots of their childhood story, they also find that weaving into the grace and power of the divine feminine realms offers access to transforming painful trauma in a deeply personal and profound way. This beautifully raw and tender sharing from a brave Thirteen Moons sister is one such example. I am honored to hold space for the transformational healing and reconciliation  that is part of our terrain together.

Please take heed to the gentle warning at the beginning of this blog piece so you are taking care of yourself in accessing if this material may be too triggering for your overall well-being.

~ Susan Lipshutz, LCSW, Founder

From a Thirteen Moons Sister

Warning: This article contains content relating to sexual assault and date rape. If you’re healing a trauma of your own or are sensitive, use your best judgement to whether this will be healing or not for you. I whole-heartedly wish you the best in your healing.


It was the Fourth of July in Chicago and it had finally started to feel like the vibrant summer we midwesterners have been starving for. My giant gold earrings got caught in my curly hair and I showed off a brand new red sundress which was so different from practical clothes I usually wore. Armed with my cleverly concealed bottles of wine and whiskey, I was ready for a night at the beach to watch the fireworks and partake in drunk revelry with friends. Mostly, I was hoping that some fireworks would spark between him and me.

When we got together, he offered me shots of vodka and I gave in. I usually overlooked that particular liquor, but I reasoned that this evening was going to be different. I wasn’t my usual lonely self that night, and I didn’t stop him when he poured more shots than my intuition warned me was wise.

I don’t know what I expected from him at the beach, but I wasn’t expecting the sour company he would become. As the night went on, he showed his disinterest in everything around him: the fireworks, the beach… me. I was hit so hard with the ever familiar pain of rejection that I downed my whiskey flask just to numb out my self hatred as I tried to ignore the tears welling up in my eyes. This night was going nowhere so it was better to just end it now.

The local businesses were all closed so I let him into my apartment to use the bathroom before telling him how to get back to the train.

Only he didn’t leave.

My body began to reject the vast amounts of alcohol I had consumed, and he took that as his cue to stay. I told him to go but he said he couldn’t leave me in that state. No, it’s fine, really. I live alone, I’m used to this. You should go. Still he didn’t.

As the alcohol came up, so did every insecurity I was trying desperately to hide from myself: the feelings of being unattractive and having nothing to contribute to another person’s life; how ugly I believed myself to be; how I could never open myself up to anyone because they would use my vulnerabilities to hurt me.

Then he kissed me. His fingers pull up the hem of my red dress and I pushed his hands away. Despite my protests—the No’s, the You’re only doing this because I’m drunk, and the Really, you should leave—I couldn’t convince him I would be okay on my own. Still sick, he convinced me to lie down in bed. Not yet in control of my mind and body, he climbed in with me.


A nagging feeling woke with me the next morning. Did that… Did that just happen?

My heart stopped as the answer hit me like a semi truck. He had raped me. Despite my education in feminism and survivor’s rights, I was completely unprepared for the emotional meltdown and identity crisis that would be my constant companion for the months ahead.

I was even less prepared for the tremendous spiritual transformation about to take place in my life.

The thrusts he forced on me were a sledgehammer breaking down everything I thought I knew about myself. He held a mirror up in front of me that was so close, so real, and so urgent that no truth could hide. Never before have I seen myself with such clarity. Everything I hated about myself was reflected back at me: the beliefs about my unworthiness, the past I tried to forget, and the ways in which I kept myself from living life passionately and with love. I had to face the self I thought I wanted to be but that had never made me happy. I had never felt so broken in my life.

My utter vulnerability to his attack made me see how I was being controlled by the very loud and insistent Good Girl within me. She believed that if we made the right decisions and did as we were told, we would build an untouchably perfect life and would be protected. Yet this carefully planned, pruned, and executed life didn’t protect me that night.

I kept myself from living my highest truth all for a lie.

I quickly began unraveling. The next month and a half became a whirlwind of therapy appointments, medical tests, skipped meals, mental breakdowns, identity crises, meditative visions, energy healings, spiritual counseling, impulse book purchases, impromptu travel, past due bills, and so-called “bad” decisions with amazing results.

Without even realizing, all of these paths held a single thread. They have connected me to a force that has been slowly creeping up on me over years. They echoed a voice in me has always been a little seedling I’d been too scared to let grow or even acknowledge existed. I had caught glimpses of this power slithering into the light from the shadows where it was repressed by me and the culture. In the wreckage of my heart and body, it blossomed within me—the undeniable presence of the Goddess. I found the part of my soul that I had been desperately seeking my entire life.

The Goddess that came to me is the wild, passionate, sultry, embodied Goddess feared out of existence during aeons of patriarchal rule. She came to me in meditations, visions, sensations in my body, through the voice of my intuition, and my own passion. She spoke to me in symbols and synchronicities, leading me to books and teachers who would give me the counsel I needed. She taught me to embrace my emotions, every one of them, and trust what makes me passionate. She told me and how to live from my truest self and speak honestly, regardless of what others think. I slowly began to love my body for the first time, as it is Her muse and messenger, and every act of love starts there. She taught me to embrace endings and let go. Most importantly, after everything I had been through, she is teaching me how to love deeply. During a time I could barely find a piece of myself to hold on to, She found me. Lead by Her voice, She offered me a self I would never have recognized before. In Her arms I began to find the woman I had always meant to be.

Two New Moons after the Fourth of July, I was ready to reclaim my freedom and pledge allegiance to a piece of my own forgotten soul. With Her guidance, I donned the red sundress once more, ready to leave my apartment. The lightning cracked and it nearly drove me back inside, but I remembered that fear no longer lead me. My wild side craved and needed to meet the Lady at the lake in the rain, and neither of us could have it either way. I had torn apart a dozen roses with the intention of breaking down the Good Girl that kept me enslaved to rules and not my heart. I carried these in a mason jar with me, an urn for the girl I was leaving behind for the woman I was to become.

I walked back to the beach and the voice deep inside urged me further down the pier to where I could see and speak with my Goddess more freely. Just at the pier’s curve, I stood, watching the lightning hit the horizon in Her name.

Lady, thank You. Thank You for coming to get me. As horrible as it was to have to be
broken like that, You came for me, spoke to me, embraced me, and encircled me with Your love. You awakened me to Your grace. I am a new woman now. I know my heart deeper than I’ve ever known her before, and will continue to reach out to her and seek her wisdom and advice. I’ve broken down the fears that keep me from listening to her and to You. I have spoken, sang, and even danced my truth, where I would have stayed silent in fear before. I am loving my body and trusting it more, not being afraid to give it what it needs. It’s all for Your love that I am becoming who I am.

The rain continued to pour down and the lightning came to strike and I knew the time had come to finally say goodbye. My urn of flower petals in my hand “Thank you. I know why you had to be silent. I know why you had to give up everything you did to get us here, where we are today. I will miss the stability and sense of comfort that you brought me, but I will not miss how you silenced me and neglected our passions. Good bye, old friend.” I unscrewed the lid to the jar and watched the petals–my ashes–fly out into the vast lake on the Lady’s howling breath.

Lady, it is done. I am yours. We are one.

The empty jar now back in my hand, I walked off the pier and back home. At the last moment, I remembered to blow a kiss out to the lake. The little red dress, the one I wore when She first called me to Her, clung to me, merging into my skin. Yes, we are one now.

Feeling inspired to share your own Thirteen Moons story, art, poetry, etc.? Click here for our guidelines.

For more information about Thirteen Moons, our monthly seminar series honoring the spiritual life cycle of a woman, please visit our website

Am I more interested in being real than being seen?

Mar 22nd, 2016 Posted in Thirteen Moons | No Comments »

Thirteen Moons

Am I More Interested in Being Real than Being Seen?

As we continue our sequential  journey to recover and reclaim elements of our essential selves through the Thirteen Moons process, the first several sessions take us into deep emotionally textured memory filled terrain. These sessions focus into the earlier parts of our lives  with an emphasis of locating the the source of our resources, gifts and sacred treasures- not our deficits, limitations or fears. When reunited with our innate enthusiasm for life, we awaken connection, rhythm and flow that serves as the conduit for genuine fulfillment of not only needs but also desires. This tender alumni story  invites us into an intimate soul retrieval with her lost little girl within, reminding us that it is not the magical child who is lost but our ability and permission to believe we our innately magical beings that was in need of remembrance.

~ Susan Lipshutz, LCSW, Founder

From a Thirteen Moons Sister

The authenticity of young children can be disarming. As I raise my 5 and 6 year old children, I am frequently in awe of their sheer presence. They answer questions unequivocally that many adults can’t. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” ” A unicorn doctor, of course. To help sick unicorns.” They are not afraid to be vulnerable. When someone hurts their feelings on the playground, they say it, simply: “she hurt my feelings.” There’s no projection, no passive aggression. Just the raw feeling itself. Their artwork sings with flow and freedom. They have not yet learned to mask their creativity, for fear that their art won’t be “good” or “right.”

I marvel at these qualities in my children because they have felt so lost to me for so long. The idea of leading a life that felt authentic, true, real? Honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I think about the things that gave me so much pleasure when I was a precocious kindergartener. I loved to read, loved libraries, told anyone who would listen that I wanted to be a librarian when I grew up. I would drive my father crazy by taking stacks of his books at home and stamping them and writing on the first page to “check them out” to my stuffed animals.

Suffice it to say that I did not grow up to be a librarian. But I still think about it all the time. When precisely did I resign this dream? When did I become so fearful to express my guttural, second chakra desire for that which my mind refused? As a child, I felt so invisible — that no one in my life was able to see the true me. But now as a grown adult, I finally ask myself: Am I more interested in being real than being seen?

In the second installment of Thirteen Moons, we did a guided journey that welcomed back this inner child piece of me that had, for one reason or another, departed. During the journey, I visualized riding on a great vessel through the ocean. I arrive on an island where there is one house. The house is the kind you would find in Key West — large shuttered windows flung open, a gentle ocean breeze lingering through, the sun shining above. I walk into the house, and there are ceiling-high bookshelves filled with books on every wall. Great big, soft armchairs and reading lamps are in the middle of the room. A grand, antique writing desk sits off to the side. There is a elder woman in the adjacent kitchen. Without ever having met her, I know she is my Great-Grandmother, Fanny. She’s wiping the counter, as if she’s just finished making something. She gives me a knowing smile, as if to say “I knew you were coming.” I turn back to the great room, and there she is: it’s me, at about 8 years old. She sees me, and without hesitation leaps into my arms. She’s so happy. I ask her if she wants to come with me. (Frankly, I am a bit hesitant. This house is perfect and warm; why would she want to go back to snowy Chicago with me?) But she already has a bag packed and waiting, complete with my long-lost stuffed kitty, Whisper. She’s been waiting for me. She had a feeling I was coming soon. She can’t wait to meet my children. “Are we leaving now?”

It’s an extraordinary feeling, hard to put into words, of feeling like you have welcomed back a piece of your truest self, of what many would characterize as a soul retrieval. I haven’t gone back to school for librarianship just yet, and maybe that ship has forever sailed for me. But to be reunited with that authentic little girl? Perhaps she and I are now ready for both the seen and the unseen.

~ Anonymous 


Feeling inspired to share your own Thirteen Moons story, art, poetry, etc.? Click here for our guidelines.

For more information about Thirteen Moons, our monthly seminar series honoring the spiritual life cycle of a woman, please visit our website


Finding Space for Many Mothers

Feb 13th, 2016 Posted in Thirteen Moons | No Comments »

Thirteen Moons

Finding Space for Many Mothers

While creating a new relationship with our mothers may or may not be possible, by shifting our perspective and awaking to the essence of maternal energy we area seeking – her presence becomes accessible not only around us but also within as beautifully described in this medicine story by out alumni sister.

~ Susan Lipshutz, LCSW, Founder

From a Thirteen Moons Sister

image1The notion of having two fathers is not, in many ways, a novel idea. In Judeo-Christian tradition, there are two fathers: one’s biological father and the other, spiritual father. And whether or not the archetype of the spiritual father is an old man with a white beard or an amorphous energy that hangs out with the son and the holy spirit, chances are that there is at least some element of male gendering associated with this paradigm of a spiritual caretaker.  Particularly when our human experience with our biological father feels unfulfilled in some way, this concept of spiritual father can be securing and comforting.

But what about our spiritual mother? Some traditions are more willing to name the concept of a spiritual maternal figure. Mother Earth. The Goddess. Pachamama. The Virgin Mother.  And for me, it was very much a novel idea to open my mind and heart to the notion of a female spiritual guide. As the daughter of an emotionally unavailable biological mother, I felt removed and unsettled by the concept of the divine feminine. I felt the opposite of comfort – namely, doubt and fear.

At the February installment of Thirteen Moons, “Becoming a Daughter of Mother Earth,” I acknowledged this fear and doubt. How could there possibly be room for the divine feminine in my heart when my human experience of the maternal feminine took up such a large, shadowed place? I explored some tender areas: Who were my nurturers growing up? How did my mother nurture? Was I ever a mother to my own mother? Did my mother love herself? When have I felt true connection to Mother Earth?  I surprised myself with how easy these questions were to answer, but moved by my heart’s response. It made more sense to understand when and why these feelings of doubt and fear emerged, and why I’ve held on to them for so long.

The best part was realizing that I could let some of these feelings go. In our Thirteen Moons journey, I visualized my mother at 23 years old, the age at which I was born. During that journey I was able to take my mother’s hand, and give her back to her own mother, my grandmother – the intended and rightful caretaker of my mother’s pain and chaos. This lifting of shadowed, metaphysical weight felt so palpable. With it came a feeling of spaciousness and willingness to open my heart to the love of a second mother, of the divine feminine – something that I had never truly realized I was searching for, and that has now become an intrinsic part of what it means for me to be a mother to my own children.

~ Vanessa 


Feeling inspired to share your own Thirteen Moons story, art, poetry, etc.? Click here for our guidelines.

For more information about Thirteen Moons, our monthly seminar series honoring the spiritual life cycle of a woman, please visit our website