The Internal Revolution with Jennifer Racioppi
By Allison Rapson
On the heels of this New Moon in Cancer and after celebrating a weekend of Independence, I really can’t think of another woman who I would be more excited to share with you today than my friend, Jenn Racioppi.
Jenn is a Master Astrologist. And, this practice of reading the cosmos, seeking the cycles and rhythms of the Universe, and unraveling the Mysteries in this distinctly feminine way is not a path she chose in an effort to place a mystical feather in her cap: it was, instead, a necessity that found her so that she could dance in time with her body even while her body felt as though it was betraying her and moving against the order of time. Her story is unlike any other I know of and I am excited for you to learn more about her.
I become connected to Jenn through the magical network of girlfriends recommending girlfriends to other girlfriends who are in a moment of despair. Let me break this down: I was FREAKING out — freshly divorced with an additional new, heartbreaking break-up under my belt, in the deep trenches of trying to get We are the XX up and running (read: it can be EXTREMELY difficult for two female founders to get their feminist media company off the ground in a moment where this ushering in of truth is being pretty radically fought against) and I was both at the heights of anxietal panic and the lowest lows of strangling depression all at once. And so, my sister friend Nitika, suggested I talk to her sister friend Jenn and I did. Jenn gave me the gift of perspective, patience and a renewed belief in the perfect order of my own passion-fueled purpose in this life.
The way I see things is that we are all making our way through life with hunches, best guesses and a whole lot of hopefulness. I think life is as magical and mystical as we say it is. I think we can all choose from a host of tools and resources and pluck out those offerings that resonate, that provide relief, that keep us keeping on. For me, many years ago, I decided that my life was magical, mystical, meaningful and — yes — Divine. I believe it is and, so, it is. Jenn is someone who champions this way of thinking with her heart in the stars, her feet so firmly rooted on the ground, and her soul having really gone through it.
Here is her journey of Internal Revolution:
Q: In your journey to where you are now, did you have a “dark night of the soul”?
A: During the years 1997 and 2004 I went through one of the hardest transitions of my life. My dark night of the soul started with a cancer diagnosis, which turned into me experiencing a radical hysterectomy by the time I turned 19 — and my grand entrance into Menopause. At that time in my life I didn’t really understand what menopause was. While I inevitably understand my body could no longer create or carry life, I didn’t really understand hormones, or the affect of no longer having a fully intact female endocrine cycle would have on me. After my hysterectomy, I went through a major clinical depression, and I experienced crippling panic and anxiety as a result — I had regular panic attacks for a few years. It was excruciating. It’s hard to explain, but my personality shifted dramatically with this experience. This launched me on a multi year journey to heal and to find happiness.
Q: What are the soul sparks that propelled you forward?
A: In 1999 after two years of intense challenge, I took a massive risk and moved to California. This is when my healing journey officially began. While it took me 5 long years of work before I was out of the woods of my depression and anxiety, moving to California became a massive catalyst for this healing. I realized that if I wanted to heal myself, I needed to take my life in my own hands. I also needed to become fully independent to manage this. For me, this included my finances. Taking financial control of my life, while incredibly challenging, ultimately gave me the options to live my life as I pleased, and as I needed to heal. Learning how to do this, gave me strength, courage and confidence — but more importantly, it gave me freedom to live authentically. By doing so I reconnected with my sacred rhythm and I learned how to take care of me.
Q: Why is feminism personal and important to you?
A: As a small girl growing up in an Italian patriarchal family, I saw my brother receive preferential treatment based on his gender. I also witnessed some women in family feeling, at times, disempowered and less worthy due to their status as being a woman. I grew up Catholic and my religious training furthered this feeling of feminine inadequacy. I made a vow to myself at a young age that I live my life differently. After going through gynecological cancer, and having become victim of a medical industry ignorant to the emotional connection women have to their hormonal rhythms, it became part of my life’s work to change this. As women, we need to take a stand, understand our bodies, and claim our worth — no one else can do this for us. We are the change.
Q: Are there any Goddesses / matriarchs / historical female leaders that resonate with you?
A: I work closely with Kali Ma, she is as fierce as they get. I trust her to remove all obstacles from my life and keep me in alignment with my soul’s journey — despite my ego who can lead me down dark roads. She is one of my toughest, but most important, spiritual teachers who represents the feminine.
Q: What do you know now that you want other women to know, too?
A: Sometimes dark nights of the soul take a long time to sort out. Mine took seven years. The maturity of our soul doesn’t work on our ego’s timetable. We need to be willing to be with ourselves through our dark times with patience. I know this is easier said than done. Though having lived through a time like this myself, I know it’s all worth it. In our fast past world we want solutions like yesterday, but often our soul needs more time. Don’t rush your soul.
Here’s to you. Here’s to sisterhood. Here’s to The Internal Revolution.
p.s. Next week, The Internal Revolution features my funny friend, Molly Austin. Molly is funny and Molly is powerful. Her voice, her humor, and her being are all giving rise to an element of the female experience so worthy of all of our attention. Stay tuned!