To the mother, the body, and the holy soul.

We are one. From the throbbing clitoris to the pulse of heart and the stiffening of nipple and the wetness of tongue and eye, from the knobby knees to the valley of hair in the secret garden to the hidden caves of the belly button, I am yours and you are mine. What Goddess has wrought may no man tear asunder.

I write reconciliation. I write to the one who felt so hollow in her body that she needed a man to complete her, to carve out her sinews and mute the song of resilience within her bones. I write to the one who asked for suffering because she didn’t know that joy could be a vessel for the sweetest reprieve. I weave new garments for the one who left herself, repeatedly, because she didn’t recognize the land of her own belonging as the most fertile place. Because she did not know that it was permissible to root down and suck in the elixir of life straight from the marrow of Earth.

May you know the map of your own heart’s longing as holy truth. May no exalted teacher come along, pointing at his naked chest as the source of divine knowledge. May you mine the secretions of your holy vulva as the ambrosia whose tasting leads to the gates of paradise. May your subterranean secrets grow as fruit from the trees that strew the road of transcendence. May your walk up the ladder be more of a floating than a striving. May your path be yours alone, even as your hands are woven into the tapestry of so many other hands, all of them re-membering in their own ways.

I’m Nirmala Nataraj, a New York–based writer, editor, book midwife, theater artist, and mythmaker.

As someone who has woven in and out of a number of different word realms—nonprofit communications, advertising, theatre, publishing, and community arts, to name a few—I know that liberation is possible through the stories we choose to tell. As a first-generation South Asian American, I myself exist in the liminal spaces between cultures, art forms, and languages—and it is this multiplicity of narratives that informs my personal and professional approach.

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