|In preparing for this symposium, I started out writing my life story, then realized I was stating the facts without exposing the feelings. I felt devoid and detached from it, even as I am in the midst of deeper introspection and healing of my Core Wound than ever before. Though I’m sure that many of you would identify strongly with my story, I won’t bore you with all the nit-picky details (blah, blah, blah…). I’d much rather encapsulate and distill it all down to the root, then share a kick-ass way to transmute old wounds and patterns to fuel your dreams.
At the core of my Work is the desire to heal, grow, and learn in such a way as to ascend well beyond the patterns of dysfunction that I, and my clients, grew up with. I was raised in your typical dysfunctional suburban family (who wasn’t?) And, it became the catalyst for my spiritual growth and transformation. Growing up dysfunctional paved the way for the spirals and layers of knowledge and understanding that is my Core Soul Work.
The alcoholic-codependent relationship was my model growing up. Add to that a narcissistic mothering style, and there you have a recipe for extreme teenage angst, and patterns of dysfunction in adult relationships. Mine.
I never felt good enough, accepted, or that I belonged.
I longed to feel loved, nurtured, affection. Black sheep, scapegoat, wild child – that was/is me. These feelings, coupled with my parents’ unhealthy life skills, inability to cope, and lack of empathy, led me to act out as a teen. Misplaced desires for attention led to hanging out with the party crowd. Misplaced desires for affection led to sex at an early age, and hooking up with lots of teenage boys. A complete ignorance of boundaries found me skipping school, engaging in risky “new experiences”, and acting out in desperate ways. My parents were so caught up in denial and their own dysfunctions, that they didn’t know how to handle me. They blamed me for the dysfunction in the family (yes, a teenage girl is obviously the responsible party) and kicked me out at age 16.
That became a turning point for me.
While the risky behavior continued for some time (and even got a little worse at times), I began asking soul-searching questions. Who was I? Why didn’t my parents love me? Why couldn’t we get along? What do I believe? And thus began my spiritual path.
Along the path have been many crossroads, u-turns, and other pivotal moments. And the shedding of behaviors, limits, patterns, beliefs and relationships that held me back and kept me stuck in places I didn’t want to be. I have cried and danced, fucked, meditated, gotten high, and been to the lowest depths. It’s been a wild ride and a fulfilling adventure. Ultimately, this path has been about learning self-love and acceptance, keeping my heart open despite pain, and going deep in to the darkest places of my soul to find my strengths, own my faults, and to learn how to fully stand in my Power.
I am a work in progress.
The layers that I shed, reveal more beneath. And the Work continues. It deepens and intensifies. Over the last 2-3 years, the planetary alignments that include 7 Uranus-Pluto squares, have forced us all to evolve, either willingly and consciously, or kicking and screaming in pain. And here I am, dancing in the Dark, facing some of the most difficult, challenging, shamanic-soul-shifting I’ve ever encountered; as my Core Wounds from childhood have come to challenge me for an Epic battle that will see me transmute and triumph, or stay stuck and struggle, never living my potential.
And I intend to KICK ASS!
I’ve been in the midst of this darkness for some time, and instinctively I’ve sensed the need for rituals of alchemical transformation and self-initiation. Not just for myself, but for many women I know. I’d like to share with you parts of this ritual so that you can engage in self-creation at the most primal, fundamental level.
Ritual shifts your consciousness on all levels, and aligns your intentions with Universal energy to bring about the desired results. Take all the parts and use them together, or just the parts that speak to you. Do it all at once, or over time. Do them once, or repeatedly. And, add your own brand of Power and magnificence to personalize your experience and healing.
Cleanse and clear – clean your home/space/environment. Clear out the clutter, take out the trash, put things away. Dust, vacuum, etc. Then, smudge using sage, palo santo, sweet grass – whatever smudge you love most. Smudge, clean and clear yourself. Bathe in sea salt and baking soda to strip your energy field of psychic debris. You may even begin with some fasting. It’s your ritual, you decide.
Perform a meditation I refer to as The Council of Self. You go into a meditative state, then call a council made up of all your guides, angels, deities, ancestors, animal totems, crystal allies, etc. Then speak with them about what you want to change, what needs to shift, and what should be called in. Once you’ve established this Council, you can always go back and ask for their help and counsel.
Cut the cords. Feel into your energy field for cords of connection to people, relationships, places, situations, patterns, trauma, etc. that are sucking your energy. These can be the things that happened forever ago that still bother you, an ex-lover, whatever you find yourself complaining about, or that hostile work environment that drained you. Once you are aware of these cords (most are around the abdominal region) cut them for good. You can use string as a representation and cut it, or use your hand like a knife, your fingers like scissors, or a special knife or sword (my favorite method) and sever those energetic ties. Then, with your mind’s eye, see those strings cauterized with Light so they are healed.
Shamanic burial. Make an effigy of your old, former self – the one you want to let go of. Or the parts of you that you are giving up and no longer serve who you are. It can be anything, even something as simple as a picture of yourself that was taken during a time in your life when you felt powerless. Then give the effigy a burial and treat it much like you would an actual funeral with burial. Say a few words, dig a hole in the earth, and bury it. Bid it farewell with love and gratitude. “RIP old shit I no longer need!”
Soul Retrieval. Go into a meditative state and travel back through your life to the moments where you gave your power away, or were left drained, changed from your authentic self, or altered in a way that didn’t feel good or “right”. Imagine making different choices, standing up for yourself, and standing fully and firmly in your Power. Call your power back to you in the here and now. Retrieve it, reclaim it, re-integrate it. Just last week I saw a great blog post from Danielle LaPorte with a proclamation that fits perfectly with this part of the ritual – “I call all of my Power back to me now! I am whole and complete.” Say it like you mean it. Say it until you believe it and feel it. Say it as often as necessary.
Set your intentions. Whatever it is that you want to have, do, be, change, summon, in your life, get clear about it. Then send your intentions out in to the ethers. An effective and simple way to do this is to write down these things in a clear, concise way, and burn it.
Consecration. You are made anew and your initiation has taken place. You will be setting your feet down on a new leg of your path. It’s time to consecrate yourself. You can get all primal-shamanic with this and use ash or blood to consecrate and bless yourself. Or you could use your favorite lavender or rose oil. Anoint your third eye, your heart, your solar plexus, your yoni, your feet, and whatever else speaks to you.
Give thanks – gratitude is everything. Count your blessings, feel the gratitude for your life and your journey. Then breathe deeply and rest, integrating all that you’ve done.
This is the powerful Work of the Soul. Go forward, and find daily rituals and reminders of your Initiation, that will further strengthen and reinforce your intentions and the changes you are making.
As your SiStar in Spirit and Solidarity, I send you my fierce love and utter devotion as you walk the path of healer-warrior.
Just over five years ago, I began living alone. That is, I left my marriage of over a decade, and have been living alone since then. I moved out on my birthday which, has since become a time of reflection where I take stock – an internal inventory of where I’ve been, what I’ve learned, and what I’ve accomplished. Of course, I quantify these things on a mental, emotional, spiritual level, counting personal growth and spirituality as my center. My greatest assets.
I’ve found living alone to be satisfying and healing. I enjoy my own company. There’s inner work that can only be done or accessed by being alone. Self-love has been the greatest gift of being alone. Insights, quiet, introspection, space, self-reliance, independence – have all been part of the equation. I’m one independent, self-reliant, strong woman. I stand alone. And, I’m surrounded by love, and by loving, supportive people. Soul Tribe.
The biggest lesson(s) of these last five years by far, has been the lesson of boundaries and boundary-setting. I marvel that it took such a long time (40-something years) to finally be getting these lessons. And, that it has taken so many messengers to bring the lesson home. I’d like to thank Saturn in Scorpio for the harsh reality, and simultaneously tell it to fuck off and let me find some levity. The universe, my guides, Goddess, great Spirit- whatever you want to call it – really, really wanted me to *get * this lesson.
Through meditation, My Council of Self holds regular and on-going meetings – often when I’m in the tub. But I can call Them at any time and do so in a special place of power that I visit in meditation. This place of power is also where I perform many rites of healing. Either I, my Guides, ancestors, or even nature spirits conduct healing within a sacred circle.
[The Cleanse and Purge]
Over the past year I’ve watched my life change externally as a result of the internal changes I’ve made. As I set new boundaries or asserted myself in ways that are healthy and best for me, I’ve seen the falling away of all that is false. I think I know more about what love is. I definitely know what it is not. It’s not lies, betrayal, denial, or neglect. I’ve shed belongings. I’ve changed my lifestyle to drop some weight, address health imbalances, and get clear on what my body is telling me. My smudging and ritual baths are on-going.
I left a work situation that lasted a brief time, but was hostile, unhealthy, unprofessional, and just outright bizarre. It’s amazing to me that crazy people somehow manage to have money and keep a business afloat. Good riddance. I saw a friendship disintegrate as I called out behavior I found harmful. Then, was accused of being fake by the same person who closely emulated everything about me, buying the same clothes and jewelry, dying their hair the same color as mine, and even trying to do and perform the same work as me, despite having no experience.There was the long-overdue dissolution of a relationship that I strived hard to make work. Repeated forgiveness only goes so far when the other person refuses to tell the truth. Apparently I stay too long in situations that don’t serve my highest good, determined to make things right and prove (to myself?) that I did the work, and have what it takes. I finally (FINALLY) stopped accepting the lies, cheating, and siphoning of my energy and resources.
I saw my family’s issues play out in grand dramatic fashion, much like they had when I was 16. Only this time, I didn’t allow the blame to be put on me. At first I became frantic searching for ways to help them heal (I am a healer, after all) before realizing that I am not responsible for their healing or emotions. They are. Adults that don’t take responsibility for their own messed up lives, cannot keep blaming a 16-year old child for everything that is wrong in the family. They also can’t control the woman she has become in the same manner, or by holding inheritance over her head, unless she allows them to do so. I’ve come to peace with knowing they never have, and will never be capable of, giving me the love I wanted, craved, and needed so desperately. I pray that we can find some way of having meaningful relationships.
My nurse practitioner denied me a refill of my thyroid medication when I couldn’t afford the week’s worth of income to come for an annual exam that I technically don’t need. After all the years of being fastidious with my health, spending money there, and sending dozens of referrals her way, she saw fit to hold my medication hostage. Fuck that! She’s fired.
Most recently, I was fired from a place where I’d worked for 7 years. I quickly became the top producer there and stayed on top. I cut my hours back to pursue my business, and began setting boundaries around not coming in to work on my days off, or sitting around bored on days when work was scarce. Apparently, my boss became concerned that I’d leave and take my clients, considering me a threat, so he let me go. I’d figured out some time ago that he is fueled by greed and not interested in the lives of the people that work for him. I’d prayed for some time about the situation, putting my faith and trust in the Divine to provide me with the guidance I needed. Being fired was clearly the sign I’d asked for. I’ve performed my cord-cutting ritual over and over again. And, I will continue this practice until I see that the remnants of all that I released, are completely gone.
The shedding and purging of false relationships has made room for more trust and fulfillment in the true relationships in my life. I’ve seen them deepen, and I’m noticing my willingness and ability to let down my guard. I look for this trend to continue. And I welcome the deepening.
There are times when I wonder if the Inner Work of self-growth will ever be done. Or if it’s possible to learn and grow in fun, happy ways. I’ve been in darkness for several years, but I see the light growing brighter. That said, I wouldn’t trade any of the pain, tears, anger, hard lessons, and hard-earned wisdom the darkness brings. That’s some real power right there.
I pushed past a huge fear and lack of technical know-how to build my own website. I’m now fully self-employed. Responsible for my own destiny. I’m looking for the next steps on my path, ready to take leaps, and spread these new wings. I have dreams and inklings of greatness that I’m learning to accept and embrace. Now, the challenge is melding my intuitive nature with proper planning and goal-setting that goes well beyond day-to-day survival. Months ago, I contacted a Shaman to aid me in my own soul-retrieval process. There is still some work to do here, but I feel that most of the major incidents in this lifetime have been re-integrated. The little girl and the teenage parts of me are much happier, and feel safer than ever, in my care. I am loving them, and myself, more than ever. All the facets of me that wanted for love, nurturing, and care, are receiving exactly what they always craved, because only I can give that to myself.
I’ve been engaged in the Ritual of Alchemical Transformation for months now; a ritual that has taken time, and has been completed in steps. Not necessarily in the order I thought it would go, and the ritual is not yet complete.
Just over a week ago, I performed the Shamanic Burial. I had a profound moment when the crows spoke to me on the Full Moon just before Samhain. They told me that since Samhain was upon us, the moon would be waning, as well as the sun, the time for the burial was at hand.
It’s been apparent for some time now, that I am not the person I used to be. The old ways of being and doing things no longer serve me, and no longer call to me. The grip of old patterns has broken.
I went through my photos and easily found the perfect pictures of myself at my unhappiest, lowest, un-empowered, numb, complacent self. I wrote what was dying and those aspects of my former self that I was laying to rest. The pix below are the representations of what I shed, release, and let die.
The effigy was shrouded and a gift was included. I performed a very intimate, personal, loving farewell tribute as I buried her in all her forms by digging a hole, placing the effigy, and putting a stone over it. Then topped it off with dirt. No marker or headstone except the one in my heart
I even shed a few tears as I thanked her for getting me here, and for all she endured.
The processing and grieving is still at hand. But I am at peace with her passage. At Samhain, in ritual, she was gently ushered beyond the Veil.
I’ve taken control of my health issues and will be going to graduate school soon, to help myself and others heal and achieve optimal health. My life has opened up in magical ways, proving to me that I am loved, provided for, and on the best path for me.
Finally, I have so much love within me, so much I want to share with my loved ones, my community, the world, and, a partner. I yearn to live and love with a worthy, equal partner. I’m ready. I have desires. I also know that I have a great deal to bring to the table. I’m the kind of woman and partner others dream of. The total fucking package. I know that person exists and is somewhere looking for me, too.
This desire is not out of loneliness, or of neediness like co-dependence. This is born of the natural existential need to love.
I’m grateful that the Divine so clearly has my back and is nourishing the seeds of dreams that were planted a few years ago. While fear looms at times, I’ve learned to believe in myself and trust that I will be provided for. Another lesson: opening up to, and receiving all the good that the Universe has in store for me. I’m walking forward with trust and faith. I have many moments throughout the day when I just pause and give thanks for my tremendous blessings – especially the very special people in my life. Gratitude never ends. It is an on-going, never-ending practice.
The consecration part of the Ritual has not yet occurred. I will know when the time is right. I expect to consecrate myself in multiple ways, including new ink in my flesh as applied by a shaman friend. Perhaps I will blog about that step of the Ritual process when it happens.
A new awareness is that I have not felt the need to rush or push through the last year of profound change. As I let go, and trust in the Divine, I find that many things come to me effortlessly, and in good time. Life flows better and it feels much easier this way.
Thank you for taking time out to read about this process. Rituals of Alchemy and Transformation are soul-shaking, unearthing higher levels of potential than you may have thought possible. Most of the change takes place within, at a deep soul-level. Love this process. Embrace all of it. See the good in the falling away of all that is false; that it is truly making way for your dreams to be fulfilled.