When I stepped out of the bus in San Sebastian it was as though I had been here before and my blood remembered what it was like to stand at the shore as the surf washed over the flysch rock formations. Rh negative blood, which is the type I have, has a higher concentration of copper, is considered sticky and has been associated with the migration of the giants. This blood type is ancient and without a trace of the rhesus protein. There are physiological complications to this blood type which, until modern times, remained unsolved mysteries. And yet, for me, the spiritual, psychological mysteries remained.
Before I came here these mysteries dominated my thinking. But being in a place you’ve always dreamed of is different than thinking about it. The first thing I did was fall to my knees in gratitude. Memories of past lives came flooding in. Disbelief turned to joy and inspiration. That’s when my soul asserted itself. It helped me to see that solving mysteries isn’t always the most important thing in life. Discovering myself, my lineage, my connection to this ancient RH negative blood line; that’s what mattered to me. The energy that I felt in Donostia-San Sebastian in Northern Spain on the coast of the Bay of Biscay resonated through me and something inside me healed. It wasn’t until this happened that I realized that’s why I came.
Donostia means Basque, a region I have been interested in for many years., primarily because it has the highest concentration of the RH negative blood type per capita in the world. Basque Country is ancient and unique. It didn’t take long for me to notice the circularity and smoothness of the land. With a strong connection to the elements, particularly the feminine energy of the Earth element. She is known as the Goddess Mari and is said to adopt any desired shape. She lives in the caves across the Basque Country at the trailhead of the Camino De Santiago (a pilgrims walk with Christ).
As I mentioned above RH negative blood has been associated with physical complications. The most serious was for women when they became pregnant. Any pregnancies would result in what is called blue baby syndrome. The results ranged from debilitating disease to death for the newborn. Often the baby never made it out of the womb. The worst part of it was that women had no idea why it was happening. Then in 1939 with the study of blood the RH antigen was discovered and in 1968 RhoGam vaccine was developed. The end of a horror for women happened. This is where my story begins.
My connection to the Basque country and to the blood line asserted itself when I set foot on the shore in San Sebastian. In that moment memories of loss came flooding back. I bring this up now as I believe the message is timely.
As you all know, the Supreme Court recently overturned Roe vs. Wade.
For thousands of years women were outcast for their inability to hold a child to term because of their RH negative blood type. Then modern science came up with a vaccine and women had the freedom, the right and the CHOICE to reproduce a healthy baby.
When Roe vs Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973 it provided women with the right and the CHOICE to NOT Reproduce. That ruling was controversial then and , now 49 years later that choice has been taken away. The controversy has only grown more intense over the years. As I look at what’s happening I sense a deeper conflict wanting to be resolved.
I know what it’s like to choose not to have a baby, to feel the blood of a soul inside of me and to choose an abortion. When I was a teen it was an easy choice for me, maybe because my body memory had loss stored in the cells. Or maybe I was afraid of what my parents and friends would think if I had a baby. In any case my motivation was unclear and hasty.
I am pro-choice in every manner. At the same time I do feel the pain of a decision I made long ago, and who's to say I would have done it any differently knowing what I know now. It is unfortunate that there is no warning to young girls on the after effect of abortion, from the picketer’s waiting to shame you as you leave the hospital to your body revolting against you from the invasive procedure.
The consequences of even a safe abortion can wreak havoc on the body. I almost died of toxic shock syndrome while my parents lay sleeping. We were all in denial and pretending not to know what was going on. Luckily, after I screamed aloud dad ran out and got me the medicine to keep me alive while my mother kept me from slipping into a coma. The memory of her badgering me for my choice and the shame it brought to our religion is a painful for me. It was a very confusing time. It was then that I found out about my RH negative blood type. I received the vaccination.
My purpose isn’t to say what is right for a woman or not. I’m here to say this; with the overturn of Roe Vs Wade women of all ages have an opportunity to reflect on how we make the choice to have an abortion and why. Only then can we understand the impact it has, as any surgeries does. This impact is felt in the body as well as the mind, and it can last long after the surgery is complete. Our bodies remember everything, both before the surgery as well as after. Memories are also passed down through generations. They can influence the choices we make, such as whether or not to have an abortion. Having an abortion adds to the collection of memories stored in the body, memories that can have profound impact on us for the rest of our lives.
What I hope for is that women will reflect more on why they make the choices they do. What is underneath the fears that women face; what will others think? Can I afford to raise a child? Will the father stick around? And then there are the more subtle forces at work? Is it our unconscious mind? Is it cultural? Or is it our blood type? It’s different for every woman. For me it was a deep memory of loss, stored in my DNA, continuously recreating itself. A destiny for centuries of women with RH negative blood type.
The consequence of abortion are profound. They impact the mind, body and soul of a woman in the present moment and for the rest of her life, as well as her family and those close to her. And by extension everyone is affected. Though I do not believe anyone has the right to choose for me I do believe we have a right and a responsibility to be fully aware of our choice. Being clear about what we’re doing and why is critical to keeping the mind, body and soul from disintegrating.
The poem below appeared in the Fall Newsletter with a typo. Rather than seeing that typo as simply a mistake. I'm viewing it as an opportunity to emphasize what matters to me; namely using the gifts I have been blessed with to make a difference in people's lives. Please reach out to me and I promise you I will make a difference in your life.
Brave Soldier of Space
What is the best kept secret you are searching for?
It grows stronger every day
It drives you and taunts you.
You just can't get away.
Through filtered rays of light
The stars speak out through the night
I'm here for you
Brave Soldier of Space
-Karen Barbarick Collins
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Wellness Coach, an Accredited Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach and a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.