By JILLIAN KRISTINA
Full moons are a time for purging. For release. For fire. And today’s full moon in the fire sign of Sagittarius is no different. These times we’re living in are the very definition of liminal – neither here nor there, caught in the past that so many are clinging to in fear of what would happen if we just let it go. Even if that past is rife with pain. With torment. With sorrow. With violence. Because the comfort of the known, no matter how brutal, is still just that – known. It takes the ultimate courageousness to walk through the flames and face the smoldering corpses of days gone by, or perhaps listen to what they have to say and join them.
Charlotte Colbert’s 2021 feature directorial debut, SHE WILL, leads us through bottomless oceans of grief, through the deepest, darkest woods of memory, pain and betrayal – of what’s ready to be dead and gone, once and for all. After undergoing a mastectomy, aging actress Veronica Ghent (Alice Krige) seeks an isolated retreat in the Scottish countryside to recover, physically and emotionally. Accompanying her is her nurse, Desi Hatoum (Kota Eberhardt), a devoted and oftentimes verbally abused companion. Upon arrival at the retreat, the two are greeted by a raucous cocktail party: The isolation Veronica was promised is anything but. After being told that the roads are flooded and they’ll have to wait until morning to leave, the two are ushered away to a remote cabin on the property – a place where isolation truly lives and breathes.
Upon exploration of the property, they come upon a graver marker with the year 1722 and learn that around 3,000 witches were burned here, the year on the marker indicating the year of the last burning. They’re also told that it’s said that this land has healing properties due to the ashes of all the women who died there.
Have you noticed how the wind here sounds like whispers?
This land holds atrocities, and these atrocities speak through dreams. The voices of the condemned communicate through the astral plane – travel through mud. And it’s the mud that calls to Veronica – this slithering, shifting, oozing mud that moves, seeping up through the floorboards of the cabin, seeking reclamation.
There’s blood in that mud. And bone. And rage. And fire. So much fire.
Executive Produced by Dario Argento, the mud becomes a character in itself, dancing with the dead, enticing the living. Visions of women emerging from the fires that incinerated them, the mud reaches out to Veronica, who feels an instant connection with the cursed soil. She feels the women’s pain. She knows it, deeply. For she, too, was betrayed. A part of her, too, was brutalized – her innocence, slaughtered. She, too, held a deep well of rage within her, waiting to be unleashed. All she needed was a little help from her newfound friends.
Her new community, another aspect of today’s full moon is urging us to join our communities, be it in celebration, in socialization or in composting what we’re ready to release into the infernos burning us from the inside. There’s power when women come together, a power that has been feared for time immemorial. Now, Veronica is going to show the one who stripped her of her childhood exactly what that power feels like; She’s going to show him that his fear of her is not unfounded.
It will torture you.
Through astral travel, she tracks her abuser. She leads the mud, the sludge, straight to him.
I want the truth. I want to wash you out.
All the while, her nurse, Desi, is on her own journey of transformation …through intoxication. Having lost her own mother to addiction years ago, she’s now devoted her life to service. And when she’s invited out to a local pub by one of the property’s groundskeepers, she reluctantly accepts, embarking on a night of altered awareness. When black soot from burning charcoal begins to fall from the sky (“witch’s feathers”), her awareness shifts again, and horrible clarity falls upon her.
When the night turns violent, it’s the woods – the mud – that rises to the occasion. It’s Veronica, dreamwalking, who sees what’s about to happen. It’s this newly formed bond of community that comes to the rescue, making compost out of the blackest of intentions.
With this offering, the ground grows stronger. The ashes are alchemized into embodied action. Spectral will. The connection between Veronica and Desi evolves into affection, and just like that, Veronica sends her away.
It’s time for Veronica’s ultimate astral flight – one of confrontation and finality. One of liberation.
Clean the bastards out of you.
She makes a final offering to the fire – an offering for herself, for Desi, for all those who came and burned before them. She offers up the old stories of anguish, of terror and of trauma. She offers all that she was carrying that was keeping her from herself. And in this final act, she shatters the chains that have bound her for so long and breathes hope. Finally, hope.
Imagine that. To be able to love without ghosts in your bed.
May you, too, offer the chains of the past to the fires of the future. May you, too, find power and community under today’s full moon. May you, too, reclaim those parts of yourself you felt lost forever. And may you, too, find that freedom is closer than you think.
Tarot Spread for Release: Hashtag #shewilltarot on social media to share!
- What is ready to be surrendered to the fire?
- What message does the mud have for you?
- What power lies within your chosen community?
- What is waiting on the other side of this release?