” The Frog Priestess
See the red frog. There. Right there. That’s the one that secretes the poison the hunters dip the tips of their arrows in”… So she said. And so I believed her. Just hours before, I was a frog under her spell myself, bug-eyed and puking in a blue bucket on the beach. Confused, bruised and tattooed, I’d watched the Romanian Frog Priestess with conviction and precision, burn into my calf, each side “7 gates” to connect with trust, and the divine. A “sun” on the right to represent the father and masculine in me. A “moon” on the left to honor the mother and feminine, plus 3 “stars” above it for my daughters.
“Ports to the divine” is what she called them, then with a small wooden spatula-like tool applied the frog venom to said “ports” she’d just burnt through. How had I gotten here? I asked. Why wasn’t I flinching in the least? What kind of beast had I become? I remembered back to age 4. The frog puddle where it all began. I’d killed them all, with a stick, with my baby sis. My dad beat me for it. My mom watched on. All love for God or anything in me good and holy was gone, my innocence lost in that moment..
The day before I told Kay and Bruno abruptly that I had to leave, that I needed the beach, the sea, and I did. And I did. But they saw deeper under it and supported me. Like a madman I rode from the volcano. Then across the wasteland of road construction, full of dust between San Jose and Limon… she was calling me home, the Frog Priestess, to Father Kambo, to close a karmic loop..
Like 100-proof, I felt the lymphatic rush as the Kambo venom flowed through my veins, and felt my throat close up. I felt the sweat pouring like cayenne through every pore. I stayed half up, propped. I watched her, Frog Priestess in snake-like dance, her hands above her head, with a click-click-click of her fingers, chant, calling Father Kambo to me. It was a date with destiny. Drink water she said. Drink water she said again. I kept forgetting.
“Show yourself”, Dad in Heaven. “Show yourself to me”. “Fucking show yourself”. “Step into the ring”, is what was going on in me. And I glanced up, through palm leaves on the beach, and in that instance the clouds parted and Father Sun bore down on me, and I grew strong. Why I’d come. “I’m sorry. I’m so fucking sorry. I didn’t know”. I became both Benji, age 4, and Benjamin, forty years past. Mad, sad, taking on my karma at last, on Cahuita beach. I left it all there.
I hurled a half-bucketful. (I hadn’t followed the fasting protocol to a tee. That morning I was hunting coconuts with a machete and drinking milk and eating pulp). And then I hurled again.. And then a separate peace set in. Everything went blue, and then went white. I went “into the light” so they say. And I came to, slowly, as of shavasana to Love’s grace… “Welcome back” she said. “Welcome here”…
I said “thank you for taking care of me”… I shared the story of Benji the frog-killer with her, and her partner Roberto. He admitted for the first time, even to her, that growing up his nickname was La Rana (the Frog). And they forgave me with both mother and fatherly and froggily love. My karma was done.
And I was released. On Cahuita beach.
My karma was done. Only Love from then on out. True story.”