The year of the body--week 24
in which I look back at my first entry in my first soul writing journal 24 years ago and get a bittersweet surprise
Friends, soul writers, mystics, and lovers of prayer,
Twenty-four years ago, on April 23, 1997, I picked up a pen for the first time and something happened.
Something strange. Something unexpected. Something that set everything in motion.
Only I didn’t know it.
I didn’t plan what happened. I didn’t ask for it or expect it. I just started slamming angry words onto the first page of a blank journal.
I was going through a terrifying divorce and everything—I mean everything—was falling apart around me.
I needed to vent. I needed to scream. I needed to beg somebody—anybody—for help. So I grabbed a pen and started a thick black ink diatribe to Dear God—whatever or whoever that might be. I didn’t know and I didn’t care. This was not a time for a theology. This was a time for tears.
I’ve saved all my journals. I save them because in those pages are the seeds of all my books, past and future, including the book that introduced deep soul writing to the world, Writing Down Your Soul.
Writing Down Your Soul is 12 years old and in her 9th printing.
She is now in the hands of well over a hundred thousand people. She has changed countless lives. And she is about to celebrate a major relaunch with my new publisher.
All the goodies and gifts surrounding this relaunch will be announced here in these Sunday newsletters, so you might want to pay attention for the next month. I'll also post promotions on Facebook. If we're not friends yet on Facebook, please like my professional Prayer Artist page and send me a friend request on my personal page.
When I noticed this is week 24, the number 24 sizzled in my brain, and I realized Oh wait a minute! I’ve been soul writing for 24 years.
So I did something I haven't done for years.
Years. I opened Journal #1 to see what I wrote that first day, 24 years ago.
Here are the first sentences I ever wrote:
“When are the tears going to end? When am I going to feel that lovely surge of power and confidence? When are my days going to be organized and connected instead of chaotic and disjointed? When are things going to be easy again? Fall into place again with effortless ease of living the life I want to live. When are my prayers going to flow spontaneously again? When are my friends going to be my friends again? When is work going to come to me the way it used it? And when am I going to take a shower before noon! When am I going to sleep through the night?”
It goes on, and on, and on with 5 pages of when questions! With—as you might guess—zero answers.
When that first day of soul writing finally petered out, I must have run out of questions, because I closed with:
“Tears. There are always more tears.”
Reading the opening pages of Journal #1 is a bittersweet memory.
Yes, it’s bitter to feel all that pain and confusion surging through my body again. Reading my words at 49, (I’m now 72), I remember what was happening. I remember the house falling apart. I remember my friends and money and clients disappearing into the ozone. I remember my son’s night terrors. I remember all of it.
But I can also read what I wrote with a sense of sweetness because a magic seed was planted that day. It didn’t sprout right away, but by the end of that first week, something different happened.
I showed up as usual steaming mad—crying and cursing and begging and screaming. I threw myself onto the page demanding help.
But instead of asking when, when, when, when, when, I started asking different kinds of questions.
Questions like “What have I been unwilling to see?”
Now these kinds of questions elicit a response! Maybe not one I wanted, but the voice on the page jumped into action and started answering. And slowly, I started putting the voice's guidance into motion.
As I flipped through that first journal, I stumbled upon this sacred memory.
“Who am I God, who am I when I am me? I asked this question while I was taking a long hot bath. I had been given Conversations with God and in it, God says that our purpose is to remember who we are. So I screamed: WHO AM I? Nothing came at first so I got out, dried and was brushing my teeth, when a word came zapping through the air like a little ball of wind, bore into my heart and burst open and released itself.
It was powerful but still. I didn’t jump up and down. I just kept brushing while the word went through me. And every fiber of me said, Yes. The word resonated. Vibrated. There was no doubt. no sense that a better word might come tomorrow. it was God’s voice, God’s answer and I had nothing to do but affirm it. Yes. Unafraid that’s me.”
Well, here I am 24 years later, still deep soul writing every day.
And slowly growing into “unafraid.” It’s a big word. A big label. A big calling.
And I think it came to fruition this April when I received this prayer in the night. (My deep soul writing now happens around the clock.)
This prayer, from the woman who told her inquisitors, “Je n’ai pas peur.” I am not afraid. I am not afraid of English soldiers. I am not afraid. Because I was born for this.
Jeanne d’Arc Invocation
©Janet Conner, 5am, April 20, 2021
woman of mystery
woman my heart
You listened to your voices
I am listening to mine
and you call me, you call me
Daughter, go on—go on, go on, go on
Be not afraid. I go before you
The path is clear. The crown is yours
woman of mystery
woman my heart
Give me the courage, grant me the grace
to see what wants to be seen
to hear who wants to be heard
and to do what must be done
woman of mystery
Queen of my heart
I received this invocation for The Return of the Witches Jeanne d'Arc Listening Pilgrimage. I say it at every Circle Ceremony. We had our 2nd of 13 on Saturday when we met Mary Magdalene. (Talk about a brave strong woman.)
Everyone in the pilgrimage loves this invocation so much that they are sending translations of it in their native languages. So far we have French, German, and Italian, with recordings of the prayer in Spanish, Hawaiian, Ilocano, Piedmontese, Occitan, and Dutch on the way. (I'll be recording a video of the invocation in sign language.)
I find it startling and sweet that I've been slowly growing into "unafraid" for 24 years.
I started out utterly terrified in the divorce and slowly found my way to being able to live on my own, start writing professionally, start teaching online, embrace being a prayer artist, and the big one--take on the mantle of mystic witch.
I think these 24 years of soul writing have been preparing me to step into my sacred calling to look at what was done to witches with courage and grace.
It can feel like a paradox, but when we are willing to see what wants to be seen and hear who wants to be heard, we can finally find the courage to create a world with reverence and safety and love for all.
Thanks to opening Journal #1 today, I see that this is the personal pilgrimage I've been walking all these years with the divine guidance of soul writing.
That quivering frightened woman unable to stand up for herself or envision any kind of future now stands erect and strong and speaks what wants to be spoken. What needs to be spoken.
Who are you?
Have you asked your divine voice that question? Have you listened for the answer?
Who are you?
Who will you be when you activate and listen to the extraordinary voice on the page?
Who are you?
Who will you become when you speak this Invocation to a woman who is not afraid?
Take the invocation. It's yours. Speak it. Speak it aloud. She will hear you. She will come. And she will give you the courage to find your own strong voice and purpose.
to knowing who you are and speaking with a clear firm voice
PS: Would you like to experience Jeanne d'Arc and the 13 strong women in the pilgrimage? We've only just begun. Next week we meet Queen Boudica, the warrior leader of the Iceni. She was fearless.
We gather every Saturday in June, July, and August at 2pm Eastern plus 3 Sunday gatherings to talk about our personal and collective healing.
Don't worry if you can't be with us live, everything is recorded.