Christian Ritual Abuse: Remembering
It hasn’t been that long ago, if you speak in mystic terms. Four years old. Fifty-two years ago. Still quite fresh in my memory. They call them “cults” now. Lord knows what they were called in the early fifties of Hollywood. Just a friendly neighborhood church, I guess. No particular sect. Non-denom. (But not non-demon, if you get my drift). And yet. All fire and brimstone. All judgment and retribution. Locked. Locked door. Locked in. Locked up. Hearts, minds, and souls. Bodies, too. But in a different way, I’d guess. Like maybe you could check out of the “church”, but you could never leave. Alive. That was in the undercurrent. Sharks in the quiet depths that you forgot were there until you caused a turbulence. Then, “oops…” – some accident happens. Lethal. Not that I knew all this. Just in tune with the deep waters and the “sharks”.
Sometimes, the men would “have their way” with a woman who was caught or accused of being unfaithful or insubordinate or not submissive enough. Then, the Leader would call her up in front of everyone and do the fire and brimstone lecture and admonishing, whipping up the white caps and frothing surf, until – when he pronounced his merciful punishment (merciful = not killed) – everyone, including the women, not only were in agreement, but they also participated in the brutal rape of the woman until the Leader calmed them down and stopped them. If she could get up, she was taken home by her husband who would continue the punishment as was judged appropriate for any misdemeanor she might perpetuate, or think to.
Children were taught Bible phrases, and to obey without hesitation. “Spare the rod, spoil the child” definitely ruled here. But they wrapped the rod in rubber or such, so as to leave no physical external cuts and bruises. At least, nothing apparent. They knew where to inflict pain that would go unnoticed. They had a baptizing pool. Sometimes, if a child were being unruly (or accused allegedly of being disobedient), the parent would take the child to the Leader. Or the Leader would single a child out to be brought to him. He never performed sexual atrocities with his own “tool”. He used other items to elicit more invisible pain. He had a spiky thing, like a tire iron; he had a wired electric long metal thing; he had a long scalpel-like thing. The tire iron thing glowed reddish-orange from its heat. He told everyone that all disobedience (alleged, accused, judged) was centered in the evilness of sex, and that obviously that’s where Satan started it all with Eve, and it was still the only way to purge and purify that Possession: to burn it out, cut it out, force it out… whatever. Sometimes, in the baptizing pool, he would dunk a child underwater longer than necessary – almost to drowning – until they were compliant enough to being punished properly.
On special occasions (holy days, he called them), we all went to a place way way out back in the woods. Not a forest of green, particularly, but crowded with brownish trees and briar bushes, so no one else could see in. Of course, it helped that the Chief of Police was one of the main Elders. No interference, you know. Out in the woods was this big flat boulder with grooves in it – for the blood to flow straight to the earth (or into cups). At these times, it was even scarier than normal. This was when and where the blood sacrifice would take place. See, the Leader said, it was important to appease Satan so he would leave these Chosen alone. So they would bring ( capture, kidnap, pull a runaway off the streets) a young’un to be that. They upped them with an opium cocktail. That’s what my father said. All I saw was like a rag doll – no control over movement, no resistance. Except their eyes. And eyes still fascinate me. “Windows of the soul”, I’ve heard. Seems right.
And they would bind her (almost always a “her”) to the boulder – just in case, and just so the blood would flow right. And then, the Leader would go into his tirade sermon. But, somehow, it was different out here. I could “see” better – as if my “sight” was interfered with by electricity and heavy metal in regular places. Maybe it wasn’t different – maybe it was just that I could perceive more, discern more – out here. I could’ve wished I couldn’t. And, in fact, I think that the last time I went, it was just too much for me, and I locked down all my Gifts of discernment and Vision – completely – no more of that. But, it also manifested in a physical way – and at age four, I started wearing glasses.
At the midnight hour, he would have them all in his palm, in his fist, in his trance – chanting with him, saying all such wrong things – so very wrong – I mean, it wasn’t right – all this hate, for what? All this venom, for what? And even if he was right, did it still make it right? Somehow, the ripples of his speech etched acidic sigils into the very water of life – marks that burned of fire – black fire – unseen fire – by most. I saw.
I tried not to be afraid. But he saw the fear in me, and fanned it until it smoldered with a black oily smoke, and I couldn’t breathe. He smiled at that. A nasty, evil smile. An echo of some horrid void, that love – denied and perverted – had left in him. He fanned the embers of my fear, increasing the unbreathable smoke, drawing up the dragon from my fear-flames, drawing up some phallic wyrm that filled my innards with filthy energy that I could not control or deny – drawing it longer and larger in my mind til there was no part of me that was not filled with its pressure and slime, and threatened to explode from my mouth and eyes and private places. But I cannot explode it for I am bound in those places, plugged with fleshy slugs that rock back and forth as if dancing with the devil inside me.
And I was innocent… but no more.
Sometimes, I would wish that he would use his razor-talon on me, and let my life-force escape, but – no – he enjoyed this more. He told them that this appeased Satan more because my sin was so immense.
Some days, I would wake up and find I had not died, could not cry, could not breathe except enough to stay alive.
And no one knew.
No one wanted to.
And I didn’t. And I didn’t tell. Because he said that good girls didn’t tell. And I knew that good girls didn’t get hurt. So I didn’t tell. But I always did something that needed fixing to appease the devil.
And you would think I would hate the devil by now. But the only devil I knew was him.
That was after I had shut down the Vision and Gifts. Before, before I could see the Demons. But I could also see the Angels. And the Faery Folk among the Woods. One child escaped with them. No one knew but me because they left a replacement – that wasn’t real and couldn’t feel, but it still reacted well, and bled and all. I thought it was funny. But it was even more important not to betray the Faery and tell on them, so I was next to be de-possessed, after the pretend-boy. I don’t laugh anymore.
Before, when I could see the Demons, I watched how they grew in power with the Words that were spoken, filled with hate and anger and fear. The Angels watched.
“Why are you just watching? Why don’t you stop this?”
“Free will. Choice. Lessons.”
“No – that’s not right! You should stop this!”
“Are Demons more powerful?”
[ sad chuckle…] “No.”
“Did God say?”
“Then God is wrong. God doesn’t care.”
[ A shimmering in the energy field of the Woods ]
“God cares. God is here. You can see.”
“Yes, you can see.”
[ A rainbow rippling so imperceptibly that only a few Demons look up from their feeding frenzy]
“Doesn’t make sense.”
“Doesn’t seem to.”
“Doesn’t seem to, Here, in this Time and Place.”
[ There seemed to be a sound-proof wall between me and the gristly happenings by the altar. ]
“God gives permission for this stuff?”
“No. Big difference.”
“People get hurt. People die. People hurt people.”
“And God is there. God feels all this, experiences this.”
“Not like this!”
[ This last I shouted out into the mundane, apparently, which disintegrated the wall, and brought attention to me… oops…]
“Wisdom, Child…” [ a fading whisper ]
Two hands grab me. Bring me up in front of him. The Leader. And behind him, Lucifer himself… smiling…
“This is my grand-daughter in whom I am displeased.”
I watch fascinated by the energy swirling around his mouth. I watch the Demons gathering, like ichorous clouds before some putrid infected pus-filled thunderstorm. The barometer was falling, and I was transfixed by the thunder and lightning – forgetting the imminent danger I was in. I watched his hands, and the Demons whispering in either ear. I watched him smile then – that ghastly evil smile. ( though never as insidious as the smile of Lucifer standing behind him, his hands reaching through him, to touch me…). I thought sure the Leader was going to use that razor-talon after all, and end this charade I called my life.
But no. The air around him buzzed with Demons like angry hornets, and I could feel their stings go deep to an inner place like my soul’s heart or something. I realized the stings were just coming from Lucifer’s fingers touching me. But I couldn’t scream – he wouldn’t let me. The Leader had no clue this was happening. He just assumed my discomfort came from him, the arrogant bastard. The Demons took turns speaking in his ears. Then I watched them actually extend tendrils of their vomit-colored energy into his ears, into his brain, coming out his eyes, nose, and mouth, pouring down from him like an open wound. I was mesmerized by the Vision, but I didn’t realize the horror that would unfold within it. Satan – Lucifer – had his own plans.
The hands of Others pinned me down on the altar. Pinned arms and legs. I wished they had covered my eyes. But even that wouldn’t have been enough.
He lifted his fist, with the razor-talon, above me. Terror and relief flooded me.
I thought he was going to kill me for sure.
Lucifer moved quickly to straddle me. I was confused, and scared beyond reason. I saw him smile; I saw his eyes; I saw him become … I don’t know. Angelic hands were placed upon my eyes – the horror was so unimaginable… a sense of him drawing from me permission… desire… emotions I didn’t even understand and couldn’t stop… Fear is such a poor and inadequate word.
Then, suddenly, Grandfather slammed and jammed his greasy razor-taloned fist into my private place. Simultaneously, Lucifer thrust his incredibly huge “tool” into me. Grandfather didn’t see. I screamed, and screamed forever, but no one really heard – Lucifer made sure of that.
My secret garden was shredded, over and over and over, til blood flowed freely, and his insane lust had been satiated… both of them… sated… beyond all limits known and unknown to me.
Much later, I heard him call the Elder who was a doctor.
I never disobeyed Grandfather again. I did not laugh, play, cry or speak without permission… ever.