It has been hard for me to come here, here to this particular place of writing.  For two years I have been blocked; not because I couldn’t think of anything to write, nor because I couldn’t conjure the words in order to write.  For two years I have been faced with writing about this one thing.  In the natural flow of weaving my story, I cannot move forward until I have addressed it fully and completely. This one thing has not kept me from living my life nor has it dampened my creativity, but it has deeply affected me and the telling of it must happen so that the rest makes sense.  I cannot leave a hole in the pattern that is my life.

So, now, in the latest part of autumn, the garden has been put to rest, the first snows have fallen in the Pacific Northwest, and the rains and winds are a daily occurrence. I have settled in to the quieter time of the year.  I am looking towards the darkest of days and am ready to face telling the darkest part of the story.  Winter Solstice is less than a month away.  To prepare myself for the richness of the darkest time which turns itself toward the light—I will write about this one thing.

In September of 2016, my dear friend, Britt, came to join me at Goat Rock Beach after my regular Full Moon ceremony.  She and I have bonded through the years over similar life circumstances and world view even though twenty years separate us in age.  Something was on her mind, something that distressed her deeply, and she wanted me to know about it.  I was hoping to be able to offer some support to her.

We sat on the sands, staring out across the Pacific, with the sea cliffs and its huge boulders creating a solid base behind us.  She had given much thought to it, and her words were well chosen. The difficulty of what Britt wanted to say was tempered by her need to say it. By her need to be heard.  By her need to have me hear it.

I sat in stunned silence as she related circumstances regarding Jaichima, Rutury, and Indois Huichol, Inc. about which I was not aware because I had been away from it all for over a decade.  Five years after my re-connecting, she could see that there was a need for me to be made aware of what had transpired in my absence.

Jaichima had passed away just before my return.  At the funeral ceremony, her sister spoke at great length about their life growing up in Tucson. Jaichima went to high school there.  It was not the life of someone who grew up in a mountain village in Mexico and was raised her entire life to be a healer.  The story of her life that she had purported to hundreds of people over more than thirty years was fabricated.

As I began to emotionally digest this information and what it meant (that all those ceremonies, all those “teachings”, all those years of heeding her counsel, were…what?…made up?… lies…wasted energy time and money spent…). The second wave came;  Britt talked about Rutury and his recently publicly-stated partner having been hiding their relationship for years.  Britt was still upset and deeply hurt that he had propositioned her over the years.  There were others, she was certain; some that she knew and some that she had some suspicions about.

This is when I knew that I could finally break the silence that Rutury had asked me to keep under the guise of maintaining our “sacred space” of ceremony. It had been a secret that I had been carrying for three years.  Britt sat as calmly and quietly, as I had for her, as the wave of this information washed over her.

In 2013, Rutury had called me to tell me that he had had a vision of me as he was doing ceremony in the sacred prayer hut that Jaichima had built in the back yard of her house in Phoenix.   Over the decades, countless ceremonies had been performed there. It was the culmination of every workshop for each individual to spend time there in prayer. It was the focus of the annual gatherings for four years that were held in Jaichima’s honor to mark her passing. He had asked the elders, he said, about the vision of me sitting in prayer position just to the left and a little behind.  He was told, he said, that I was to help him do ceremonies to hold the energy of the sacred hut before it was dismantled and would at some point be rebuilt at the retreat center outside Sedona.

And so began a web of ceremonies that he and I shared, whether I was there with him in Phoenix, he was with me in California, or we were separate but connected by simultaneous ceremony.  On nearly a daily basis, we talked at length about the ceremonies, and about my dreams and their imagery.  He gave instruction to me in how to perform certain ceremonies.  There was discussion and support for things that I did intuitively on my own during my ceremonies.  I began and continued the monthly 6 hour drive/trek and vigils in ceremony at Goat Rock Beach for the Full Moon.  I was instructed to offer prayers for him and the elders who could not be at the ocean themselves.

All during this time, he cautioned me to stay separate from others who came to the gatherings; he led me to believe that they had little affection for me and that if they knew that I was doing these ceremonies, it would only heighten their disdain for me.

Early on in the timeline of this, Rutury talked with me in the healing room at Jaichima’s house about opening our relationship to include sexual intimacy.  Using the elders as his guides, he said, he had been given direction to approach this with me; there was much for me to heal on the sexual level, and we could grow together in this way.  It didn’t make sense to me.  It never did.  And yet, I wanted to believe that it was true and real.  I did believe that he had knowledge of the spiritual realms that I did not.  If I could trust him to guide me in ceremony, couldn’t I trust him in this as well?  He did have a point that I have been to heal on the sexual level.  Rape and molestation can be healed emotionally, but there is always the knowledge of it that lingers like a distant fog.  Add to that the broken relationships over the years.  Perhaps this was my chance to finally step out of the muck of it.  And, besides, why else would he bother with a woman who is fourteen years his senior, post-menopausal, and overweight?

When Rutury publicly announced in December of 2015 that he was, and had been for many years, in relationship with someone else, I was at first shocked and then beyond angry.  It wasn’t only that he had lied, or that he’d made a whore out of me—it was also that he secretly and without my permission endangered my physical health.  Of course I had discussed sexual history previous to our first sexual activity.  He had plainly stated that it had been ten years since his last sexual relationship.

While the integrity of the sexual relationship had been destroyed by him, the integrity of the purpose and pattern of the ceremonies was larger.  Or so I thought.  He asked me to continue to be available for ceremony, and in order to remain in my own spiritual integrity and to complete the sacred agreement that I had made, I agreed to continue with them.  It wasn’t until June of 2016 when, after a ceremony at my home, he tried to initiate sex with me again that I realized that he had no integrity whatsoever.  About anything, I assumed, ceremony included.

For the next three months I was in acute depression.  He had destroyed the entire framework for my reality.  It wasn’t just the sexual lies. Quite frankly, I have grown to expect that of men. Far worse were the lies about the ceremonies. I realized that it was, in fact, that the ceremonies had themselves been lies.  It was becoming more and more clear that the ceremonies had been contrived merely to further his sexual predator behavior with me.  I had no one with whom I could talk about what had happened to me, and no place to receive any type of support.  Embarrassed and humiliated, alone, and certain that no one would believe me, I insulated myself in my silence.  The only thing that kept me going was my garden and the monthly drives out to Goat Rock for the Full Moon.  The ceremonies there became completely my own, and I performed them from my own spirit and in my own intuitive manner.

There Britt and I sat, each of us having bared our deep emotions, both of us having been strong and supportive for the other.  Three-and-a-half hours of compassionate commiseration between us.  After she left, I returned to my ceremonial self and cleared everything that I had with me.  Some things had been used in ceremonies with Jaichima and Rutury, and some had not been.  Some things lost their power for me immediately as I realized that their ceremonies had not had the power they pretended to give them. Some of what had been used with them had become completely mine over the years, and so had no connection to either of them anymore.  It was not only the items, but the parts of me that I cleansed.  What was truly me, truly mine, was washed in the ocean and stayed with me.  The rest was let go of.  Completely.

Over the next year or so Britt and I debated on what the next steps should be.  Obviously this was a larger issue than what the two of us were experiencing, and it needed to be addressed.  We grappled with the best way to do it.  She tentatively reached out to a few people over a couple of months and the reaction was not one of belief or support.  We stayed quiet for a while, and then an opportunity presented itself to her and she had a lengthy discussion with a couple of people who then took the time to talk with me and hear my history.

From those conversations came a very thorough investigation on their part, and the end result was full support for Britt and me which they made public.  It was a difficult process for them, and I honor their handling of it.  Soon, not only more women spoke out, but others who had invested time and thousands of dollars over the decades began to realize that things were not as they had been presented. Over the following three months or so, there was a great amount of discussion between very many people that began and fulfilled the process of clearing the smoke from the mirrors and bringing forth clarity.  We saw how the lies and the tricks had been manipulating all of us. We all learned a lot: about the workings of the group over the years; about the group dynamics; about each other; and, about ourselves.

For me, the culmination was when quite a few people gathered together to process the facts—and their emotional responses to them.  When I moved out of California I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t return; but to go back a few months later and have a couple of days re-connecting and bonding with people whom I had admired over the years but only been allowed to know peripherally, was one of the greatest gifts I have ever been blessed to receive.  The blessing was solidified as the core group of us stood together at Goat Rock Beach and let the pounding surf and the brisk wind cleanse our tired spirits.

I am deeply sorry that we all had to go through the experience of this one huge and deeply damaging thing. But I will never be sorry that, having gone through it, I have come to a place within my own knowledge that I know is fully and completely mine and that can never be taken from me.