Ceremony

Reclaiming Our Innocent Hearts

What is the role of Innocence in the heart of the awakened Spiritual Warrior?

Let me begin by saying that I have never placed an enormous priority on the value of Innocence. To me, the word has often been associated with the idea of naïveté... ignorant of and unwise to the darkness in the goings on of the world and the human realm. I remember reading William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience in high school English class and picking up on the foreboding undertones regarding the dangers of vulnerability contained in the poems on Innocence. I associated Innocence with childhood, and subconsciously rejected this virtue as synonymous with "unqualified." Especially at the beginning of my professional journey in my early twenties, I was eager to not be seen as “Innocent.”

However, I received some profound teachings regarding Innocence last weekend during a deep meditation ceremony. This gift has since radically shifted my ideas around the quality of Innocence.

Let me share with you some excerpts from my journal about this meditation ceremony:

As I entered a deep meditative state, I began to receive images and information. At first, my guides showed me animals. I connected with (and in some cases, became) a whole array of different creatures, including cats, various kinds of fish, sloths, wolves, foxes, snakes, and so many birds. I noticed as I did so that one quality was ubiquitously present in all of these beings: they lived in Innocence, and in order to connect with them, I also had to be in a state of Innocence. I registered this as congruent with my lived experience of working with animals: in order to engage with animals and connect with them on the heart level and communicate with them psychically, I need to embody my Innocent Heart. I had never consciously recognized the particular flavor of this feeling, but upon further reflection, the energy is unmistakable: being in the presence of an animal (either in the physical or the psychic realm) immediately drops me into my own Innocence.

Following this array of beautiful connections, my guides showed me a series of very dark entities. I saw an enormous, shadowy mask of a being that fed on fear, and I witnessed how these Fear-Feeders cover the Earth, ravenously consuming the energies of human stress, despair, anxiety, anger and loathing… but their favorite food is fear.

I watched this giant shadowy shape with a feeling of detached curiosity. It aroused no terror in me and I felt no need to defend or protect myself. I knew that I was safe. As I regarded it, I noticed at its base the figure of an orange cat walking nonchalantly toward it. The Fear-Feeder had no effect on the cat. I released a gentle breath, and the Fear-Feeder disappeared.

“Fear cannot live in the Innocent Heart.” I heard these very distinct words, and again, I was shown the Earth. This time I saw that the Fear-Feeders easily attached to some people, but not to others. Looking more closely, I noticed that these dark beings hungrily feasted upon the energy of those people who had lost their Innocence, but seemed somehow invisibly repelled by those whose protection came from their Innocent Hearts.

Reflecting on this information post-ceremony, I find myself sitting with this question: What is the role of Innocence in the heart of the awakened Spiritual Warrior?

As a self-identified Spiritual Warrior, I have long associated this archetype with the qualities of courage, resilience, compassion, grace and the ability to fight and be fierce, if need be. The Warrior of the Light must be willing to face the darkness and work in the Shadow realms, though their ultimate power lies in peace.

Until now, I had never attributed the quality of Innocence to the embodiment of the Warrior archetype. However, after witnessing the Shadow entity have no effect upon the cat in its Innocence and arouse no fear in me as I embodied my own Innocent Heart after connecting with the animals, I realized that Innocence is the ultimate protective force. Instead of banishing the Fear-Feeder with an intention, surge of energy or by invoking my Spirit Guides, I exhaled a gentle breath from a state of Innocence and the Shadow being vanished immediately, without a trace or a struggle.

In addition to acting as a protective energy, the quality of Innocence enables deep connection. In the Innocent Heart, there is no room for shame, guilt, blame or unworthiness. Instead, there resides love, compassion, grace, curiosity, acceptance, joy, authenticity, and plenty of spaciousness to invite shared experiences. Think about young children in their Innocence: they love easily, feel no sense of shame or judgement, and effortlessly invite others to join them in their space of enjoying the world.

Is it possible to reclaim our Innocence once we have seen and experienced the darkness?

I firmly believe that there is no experience so terrible that we cannot heal from it and release the wound completely. In light of the messages received during this meditation ceremony, this conviction now includes the belief that part of our journey is to reclaim our Innocence, not from a state of denying or forgetting the darkness, but from knowing that it is there and choosing not to be afraid. When we can accept that the darkness, shadow beings and Fear-Feeders are an ever-present part of the energetic balance of the cosmos, without succumbing to fear or despair, we shall be truly free and empowered. In this case, the Innocent Heart is not naïve, but makes a conscious choice to embody its original nature. It does not deny the existence of the shadow, or engage it in battle, or fear it—the Innocent Heart is simply immune. Its protection is its very existence.

As I sit with this information and integrate the teachings, I invite you to join me! See below for a suggested meditation and journal prompts. Together, let’s explore our Innocent Hearts and find more ways that this quality of Innocence appears in our lives. The Innocent Heart chooses the path of love, and love liberates all beings.

From one Innocent Heart to another, you’re doing great out there!

Here is a suggested meditation ritual for you to explore your own relationship with Innocence:

(For the suggested altar arrangement, please do not choose items that you think “should” be associated with innocence! Let every selection reflect a specific intention and invoke a genuine sensation of enjoyment. If you need some support, call in your Child Self to help you choose those things that reflect your authentic Innocence.)

Find a beautiful candle in a color and scent that is the most pleasing to you. Let it be something that you genuinely enjoy and appreciate. (Bonus points for a beautiful candle holder or dish.) Set the candle, along with flowers, crystals or any other items of your choice, on a sacred altar space. If you do not already have an established altar, please consider this an opportunity to create one!

Place yourself in front of the altar, light the candle, and offer this prayer:

“I call upon and invoke the presence of my own Innocent Heart to guide me in love, grace and compassion. Please help me to fully embrace and embody my own Innocence and reclaim this natural state of being. I ask my guides and teachers of Innocence to please reveal themselves to me, so that I may learn from them and receive the wisdom of their teachings. May my heart be forever pure, and love forever shine.”

Allow yourself to drop into a meditative state and see what comes to you. I recommend sitting with this for at least 10-15 minutes, although please feel free to stay with it longer if you like. When you feel complete, you may close with gratitude:

“It is with so much gratitude that I integrate the wisdom of these teachings. To all the guides and teachers who made themselves available to me for this work, I thank you, I honor you and I lovingly release you now.”

Make sure to journal about your experience! See below for additional journal prompts. Feel free to repeat this meditation and see what comes up as you continue to connect to and build a relationship with these teachers of Innocence.

Journal prompt:

What is my relationship to the quality of Innocence? How can Innocence support me on my path?
When do I feel most connected to my Innocent Heart? How can I more easily embody my Innocence and share it with others?


Grab a journal and a pen. Don't overthink it, just write and see what comes out!

Spring Equinox

Yesterday was the Spring Equinox! (Cue Michelle's happy dance and sigh of relief.)

As we step through this Seasonal portal, it's an opportunity for us to bring closure to the most recent chapter and plant the seeds for new growth (see suggested meditation below).

Today, I took a moment to sit with some Winter energies that I am ready to release. One of the primary themes of this past season for me has been inactivity, immobility and some stagnation. Due to my shoulder injury, my movement practice (and thus, my personal practice) took a serious detour and I spent far more time than I would like inside, and not able to pursue my usual level of activity.

As I considered the lessons of Winter and the other energies at play, I honored the stillness that I enjoyed as a result of this slowing-down phase. Last Winter was very active for me, and even though this Winter felt a bit stagnant, there was also a greater opportunity for going within and experiencing quiet.  I invited the gifts of Stillness to stay with me as I move into this Spring phase, and gently honor and release the energies of immobility, inactivity and stagnation.

The seed of intention I planted for myself is around comfortable movement, activity, and grace. I planted the seed of healing, easy motion, physical strength and flexibility in my shoulder to let it grow and blossom within me.

What chapter are you ready to close? What seeds are you planting?

In case you missed it or want to add something to your Equinox practice, here is a suggestion for meditation:

If it feels comfortable to you, go outside barefoot and put your feet on the Earth. Tune in with your breath and arrive fully in your body.

Bring to mind the energies, events and themes of the past three months... what was happening for you over the winter? What are you ready to honor and release from this time? With your breath, invite these energies to leave your field. You may also offer this prayer:

Thank you, Winter, for offering me the lessons of ______________________. I fully honor the gift of these lessons, and I am grateful for how these energies served me. I now release the energies of _____________________. I fully close this Winter chapter as I step through the portal into Spring. Thank you for the blessings.

Once you have fully honored and released the energies from Winter, consider what seeds you would like to plant for the Springtime. Call these energies to mind, and you may visualize them as seeds in the palm of your hand. The seeds glow bright with the light of your intention. You may offer a prayer:

I fully activate these seeds now. Let the energies of ______________________ sprout, grow and flourish in me during this growing season of Spring. I fully align myself and my process to the Spring energies of abundance, fertility, new life and blossoming. Thank you for supporting me in bringing life to the energies of ___________________________. May these seeds grow within me for the benefit of myself, for all those around me, for all beings on Earth and for the Earth herself. Thank you for the blessings.

Place your hands on your body in the place where you would like to plant the seeds of your intentions. Feel them in your body and your field, and make sure to "water" them with further love and attention!

The Door of Initiation

How do we interact with our initiatory experiences?

Many times, until we learn to recognize them, we don't recognize our initiatory experiences until well after the fact. We perceive them as struggles, losses, challenges and opportunities, yet it is usually not until after we have passed through the "door" that we realize the true significance of crossing the threshold.

A lot of the people I work with come to me after they have experienced an awakening initiation: they have stepped through some sort of doorway (sometimes consciously, sometimes not) and now find themselves in unfamiliar territory where the world is not the same... and neither are they.

These doorways of initiation and awakening appear in all forms: job opportunities, death of a loved one, relocation, kids growing up, new people appearing in our lives, financial losses or failed careers, or even just waking up in a different reality.

How we interact with our initiatory experiences usually depends on whether or not we're aware that we are currently crossing a life-altering threshold. Sometimes it takes everything we have to choose to step through that doorway, and sometimes it feels as though we are dragged through it, kicking and screaming.

I have found myself in both of these positions: taking a breath to center myself, then deliberately crossing a threshold into a new way of being--sometimes with excitement, sometimes trepidation, usually both--and also, I have cried, howled in pain and clawed tooth and nail to try to get back through certain doors of initiations in the Shadow.

I feel inspired to share these thoughts today because we've all been here. And we will all be here again. Every single one of us has felt the squeeze, the uncertainty, the discomfort and growing pains associated with an initiatory experience. Learning to recognize them makes it easier to approach with purpose and resolve, rather than dread.

What would it feel like if you knew that your current experience was an initiation in disguise? How would you interact with it then?

Journal prompt:

"What door is appearing to me now? How do I feel about stepping through it? How have I interacted with my past initiatory experiences? How can I claim and recognize them in the future?"

Don't overthink it, just write and see what happens!

New Moon in Leo: Self-Love, Sovereignty and Addiction

Self-Love, Sovereignty and Addiction.

...Wait, addiction?

Yes, you read that right.

The Leo archetype is well known for supporting the energies of self-love, worthiness, self-expression, sovereignty and shining our inner light into the world. But what does addiction have to do with that?

In short, everything.

In this case, I'm referring to addiction in many forms: not only substance abuse, but addictive patterns of behavior, addiction to beliefs and energy cycles, addiction to relationships... you get the idea.  Addictions help us cling to old ways of being where we get to stay small, disconnected from our truest selves and not claim our inner worth.

Let me give you an example. One of my own addictions that I learned of recently is addiction to suffering as part of the healing process. This came to light during a very intense ceremony where many people were struggling, and I was not. I felt very comfortable and grounded, but started to become anxious, wondering why I wasn't struggling with everyone else. I wondered if the healing I was receiving was as deep or profound as it could be. At this point, my guides tuned in and told me, "We're not going to make you suffer. You are addicted to suffering as part of the healing process, and it's time to release that for you, for everyone in this room and for all of humanity. You need to learn that healing that comes with ease and grace is actually more valid than healing that comes through suffering."

As soon as I heard that message, I released any remaining anxiety I had about my lack of suffering and was able to drop fully into the ceremony experience. Needless to say, it was powerful, profound and I DEFINITELY received deep healing.

Now that it's come to my attention, I can see that this particular pattern of addiction has been present with me for many years. Historically, I have liked to learn things the hard way. I have put myself in many situations where I experience deep suffering in the name of healing. I have used suffering to keep myself smaller than I am, because it's safer than living the fullest expression of my sovereignty.

Another addictive pattern that arose in my awareness recently was my addiction to self-judgement. During a ceremony, I received a gentle correction from a mentor of mine and immediately felt myself spiral into judgement. I made a tiny mistake, I did something wrong, now everyone things I'm horrible, blah blah blah.

I was fascinated to observe this very self-punishing thought pattern emerge from such a tiny thing. No harm had been caused, it was absolutely no big deal, and yet, I immediately plunged into criticism and judgement of myself so strongly that it took me aback. I observed these punishing thoughts like vines made of razors slicing over my my heart and mind, and I consciously released them.

I share these stories because addiction can be sneaky, and most of us don't easily recognize the addictive patterns that keep us small and disconnected from our self-love. In both of these cases where my addictive patterns came to light, I was able to discern them in part because of some powerful messages from my guides, but also because I have spent years cultivating a strong practice of self-love. This practice allowed me to see that these addictions made me feel unworthy, small and stupid. Because of my extensive personal practice of owning my sovereignty and my worth, I could distinguish the thought patterns that made me feel separate from my truest state of being.

I invite you to consider your own patterns of addiction. When you tune into your choices and behavior, what do you notice? What beliefs do you hold about your own worthiness and sovereignty? What patterns do you have that get in the way of living the fullest expression of your self-love? Now is the perfect time for these inquiries. Align your energies and intentions with this powerful New Moon container to release patterns of addiction. This is the first of TWO New Moons in Leo. Use this first one to remove any blockages and old patterns that no longer serve you, so next month you can plant the seeds of self-love and sovereignty under the container of the Eclipse.

(For more information on working with the Lunar Cycle, check out my LUNAR ALCHEMY course beginning September 12!)

In the name of loooooooooove!

What I Learned From Dancing With Angels

I'm feeling very tender and hypersensitive today.

But spending the weekend holding ceremony, communing with spirits, dancing with Angels and opening a Galactic channel will do that to you, I suppose.

I had the pleasure and honor of being invited to attend ceremony this past weekend with one of the foremost experts in Spiritism and Mediumship in the country. The weekend was a whirlwind of visions, healing, working in the astral plane and connecting with the Divine. I am being guided to share one particular message with you.

Part of the ceremony involved opening up the circle to practice Mediumship. For a more detailed discussion on the practice, please see this episode of Shaman Sister Sessions. In short, Mediumship is a process of opening oneself up to become available to connect with energetic forces, spirits, Angels, etc. In opening myself to practice Mediumship, I issued an invitation to Spirit to direct me in whatever way would serve the Highest and Greatest Good.

During a particular part of the ceremony, people were invited to come sit around the altar and open themselves to channel. I felt a nudge from Spirit to go to the altar, but the particular seat I wanted was already filled by someone else. I felt the nudge again, but still, I didn't move. Finally, I felt someone shove me in the back, making me fall forward out of my seat. Taking the hint, I went to kneel at the open space in front of the altar.

Immediately, I felt a rush of energy as my body began to move. I have experienced trance dance before, but never like this. I could feel beings moving my body to create a flow of energetic current, and I knew that they were Angels who had come to dance with me. After a few minutes, the song ended, and my body returned to relative stillness.

The music began again, and once more, the Angels started to dance my body. This time, I felt my mind creep in with its concern. "I'm only supposed to be at the altar for one song. I should go back to my seat and give someone else a turn." Immediately, however, the Angels responded with the knowledge that I was in exactly the right place, and they would release me when the time was right. I relaxed back into the dance, then felt that concern creep up in my mind again. I opened my eyes a tiny crack and saw that no one else at the altar was moving, and my mind seized upon the idea that not only was I hogging altar space, but I was the weirdo who was dancing while doing it.

Again, I felt the Angels calm my mind. They told me without words that I was in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing, and to continue to trust and be guided. Once more, I relaxed and allowed myself to be moved in the most beautiful dance, conducting the energy current through my body.

When the song ended the second time, I returned to stillness, and the Angels released me to go back to my seat.

What is the message from that experience? Drumroll, please:

As long as we practice trust and surrender to our guidance, we will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

That was one of my biggest takeaways of the weekend. I cannot overstate this, so I'll repeat it as a mantra that I invite you to say to yourself out loud:

As long as I practice trust and surrender to my guidance, I will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

Yes, our minds may creep in to make us doubt ourselves. Our human brains are very good at trying to keep us safe and make us question things that seem beyond reason or control. That is, after all, their job. But guidance exists beyond reason or control, and the Divine forces we invoke possess no human limitations or concept of shame or social correctness.

As I integrate the energies and messages from ceremony, I'll be asking myself the following questions (and I invite you to do the same):

  • Where in my life am I in alignment with my guidance?
  • Where in my life am I not in alignment with my guidance?
  • How can I more fully practice trust and surrender in order to bring myself into alignment with my guidance in all areas of my life?
  • What is required for me to show up differently to practice trust and surrender with ease and grace?
  • Where can I call guidance into my life in order to support me in embodying the Highest and Greatest Good?

And one more time, for good measure:

As long as I practice trust and surrender to my guidance, I will always be in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing.

Many blessings!

Summer Solstice: Expansion & Contraction

I don't know about you, but I need a break.

I just arrived a few hours ago in San Diego to visit my dear sister, Katherine Bird. Over the next several days, we'll be facilitating ceremony, attending ceremony, doing healing work and offering our channeling and mediumship skills as guest experts in a Galactic Channeling Activation intensive workshop.

This is definitely not a vacation.

And yet, as soon as I arrived, I felt my nervous system immediately go into a state of contraction in anticipation of rest and nurturing.

When working with Cycles of Power, expansion and contraction are both equally important parts in the ebb and flow of energy. Today, on the Summer Solstice, we exist in the biggest possible container of light--the greatest potential for expansion. We have been building to this point for the last few months and the energies of expansion will continue to prevail throughout the summer, then wane back into contraction in the fall. This is the time to harness the power of illumination to reveal the deepest parts of ourselves that might otherwise stay hidden.

ILLUMINATION. WITNESSING. REVELATION. EXPRESSION. These are the keys of the Summer Solstice.

So, where does Contraction fit in all this?

Contraction is the space that enables us to go within, set our intentions, write the contracts (literally, "CONTRACT-ion") for our soul blueprints, work with the Karmic records and adjust our energy frequencies. Contraction is the essential counterpoint that turns Expansion into an effective, directed process, rather than an unsustainable explosion of energy.

I need to contract first in order to expand even more.

As I prepare to dive in deep and move some massive energies (I can feel it already), I will be taking some time for stillness and receiving. I'll be attending a singing and voice activation workshop with a master sound healer, lounging in the sun with my sister and snacking on healthy food. I'll be journaling (see below for my Solstice Gift to you!), setting my intentions and preparing to deeply alter my soul contract.

And then, I'll be ready to expand even further and continue the Cycle of Power.

What are your intentions for this powerful time?

Happy Solstice!

Walking Through Fire: Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius: Friday, June 9 at 6:10am PST.


"Elegant, curving lines, like the arching holes on the face of a cello, twist through the darkness. A reddish glow emerges from the depths, and the outline of pulsing embers becomes clear beneath my feet. The air crackles with heat and intensity, but I am calm and steadfast. I softly close my eyes and step onto the coals in front of me. The sound of shifting embers fades, and I can hear only my own breath as I continue to calmly walk forward into the unknown."

Fire.

Trust.

Surrender.

These were the themes that presented themselves when I received this vision about the energies of the upcoming Full Moon.

Sagittarius works in service to Spirit through the intuitive pursuit of Truth. This particular Full Moon creates a beautiful, luminous container for us to explore just how far we are willing to trust ourselves (and Spirit) along the way. Are we ready to surrender to the power of our intuition? Do we believe that we are held and supported in answering the call of our Soul's Mission? What is needed in order for us to fully trust ourselves?

These are questions to keep in mind as we enjoy the powerful energies of this Full Moon!

Lunar Ritual

If you would like to hold some ceremony for yourself (either alone or with community) to capitalize on the energies of the Sagittarius Full Moon, here is a ritual suggestion:

Light a candle and make yourself comfortable in front of it. Maintain a soft gaze at the base of the flame, imagining the burning ember.

Take a few moments to drop into your body and your breath.

Allow your attention to drift toward the questions posed above (you may journal about these if you like, or not):
-Do I fully trust myself?
-Am I ready to surrender to the power of my intuition?
-Do I believe that I am held and supported in answering the call of my Soul's Mission?
-What is needed in order for me to fully trust myself?

When you feel as though you are complete in your consideration of these questions, offer whatever you would like to release (blockages/beliefs/fears/etc) into the candle flame and commit your intentions to the Moon with the following affirmation:

"Moon, Luna, I release to you all that which does not serve me. Please assist me in dissolving away any blockages, beliefs, patterns, karma or anything preventing me from fully trusting myself and my intuition. I am ready to surrender to my own magic and live the fullest expression of my purpose. Thank you for the blessings."

When you feel complete, blow out the candle and trust that the work is taking place!

Winter Solstice Blessings

December 21, 2016

I allow my gaze to float serenely over the bare birch limbs visible immediately outside of my office corner window. The sunlight streaming from behind the pine trees turns the water droplets hanging from twigs into gleaming starbursts that decorate the seemingly lifeless boughs.

What juxtaposition to witness this afternoon of the Winter Solstice in its gleaming golden glory. The misty haze that rises from the trees captures the sunlight and turns my thoughts towards tree auras as I imagine my hungry cells, like those of the languid pines, greedily slurping up every photon in photosynthetic gluttony. (I had my DNA tested earlier this year and I’m about 36% solar panel.)

How interesting, I think to myself, that this, the Darkest Day of the Year, can be so full of glowing, radiant light. The sweetness that comes from an unexpected sunny day creeps inside my chest like a beautiful poem, and I feel Gaia whispering to me as a lover would, telling me to relish this gift. I gaze at my sunlit hand in awe, noticing my fierce pleasure at the warmth and illumination. I employ my Hawk vision to help me observe in intricate detail the texture of my skin, the precise shade of each freckle and the exact pattern of the tiny, almost invisible hairs that cover the back of my hand.

Tonight I will drop into the fullness of the darkness and surrender back into the womb space of our Earthly cycles. I embrace the dark. I welcome her touch. I feel at ease in her inky softness. We have worked and played well together over the years, and I appreciate her for her wisdom.

Yet, for now, I hold in my heart the simple joy of knowing balance and grace. Even on the Darkest Day of the Year, there still shines a painfully beautiful light. Even in our own darkest moments, there still exists that same excruciating luminosity. This idea is the very speck of radiance that saved me three years ago, when I thought that I would be swallowed whole by the insurmountable Shadow. Darkness and I hadn’t yet cultivated our comfortable friendship at that time, and I feared that she would make me disappear.

I needn’t have worried (though that was part of the journey). Darkness has proven herself to be a wonderful teacher and powerful ally. She and I have achieved a level of ease and intimacy that I enjoy with only a few trusted beings. I have danced and held ceremony to honor her every year since we began our partnership, and will do so again this evening.

Last year for the Winter Solstice, I wrote a love letter to my Medicine Family in celebration of community, Tribe and witnessing us hold each other through our journeys. This year, I write this love letter to both Darkness and Light to honor their wisdom and their presence in all of our lives.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Happy Solstice.

Reclaiming the Dark Goddess

Originally published on Eagle Song March 14, 2016.

On Friday night I offered Priestess facilitation at a Goddess event in Portland. I created a space for people to compose prayers to the Goddess, spoke with attendees about their relationship with the Divine Feminine and helped them craft their intentions. The show featured DJs, live musicians and channeled ceremony. All the performers, live painters and facilitators were female.

In preparing for the event, I imagined that many people would interpret the Goddess in typical fashion: flowing, white fabrics, sparkles, flowers, and other symbols of the gentle feminine. My relationship with the Goddess (especially lately) has been much more influenced by the Dark Goddess, so I was determined to represent her in her powers of destruction and transformation. I wore a beautiful and slightly intimidating boar tusk necklace given to me by one of my deep medicine sisters, strung feathers through my wild hair and donned subtly shimmering black and purple clothes. (I’m not much of a “photo person,” so it wasn’t until after the event was over that it occurred to me that I should have taken a picture. Oh well.)

I was pleasantly surprised to have my expectations proven completely inaccurate! Most of the attendees looked dark and fierce in their interpretation of the Goddess, and as I spoke with people throughout the night about their relationship with the Divine Feminine, I found that many more than I expected were tuning into her aspect as Destroyer. Plenty of people are actively calling upon Kali to help bring about some serious change in their lives. I also welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Aztec Goddess Tlazolteotl and her Divine service through her role as the Filth Eater. Deep in conversation with someone about the Goddess as Transformer and hearing him passionately proclaim the need for societal revolution, I expressed my preconceived notion and how happy I was to see people reclaiming the Dark Goddess. He agreed completely. White, flowing fabric has its place, but now is a time for teeth and claws.

My favorite part of the show was the midnight ceremony facilitated by a woman called Lux Moderna. I met her backstage before she went on, and she told me that her entire dance performance is channeled in the moment as Spirit moves through her. During her time onstage, I felt like I was high. I could absolutely feel the energy she brought forth through the ceremony and the entire room was buzzing in response.

I had the opportunity yesterday morning to go to brunch with her, as she is staying with a friend of mine during her visit. Amidst our collective nerding out over the New Sacred movement and Goddess Spirituality, she brought up the Oracle at Delphi.

Brief history lesson: the Pythia (aka Delphic Oracle) was the name of the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This temple was originally built to honor Gaia, then was taken over by the Apollonians. The Pythia, who was always a woman, was held to certain standards of purity and dressed as a virgin to symbolize her readiness to form a union with Apollo. She was forced to inhale “sacred vapors” (fumes emitting from a volcanic vent beneath the temple), then priests would interpret whatever she said as a prophesy in exchange for money from whoever wanted to ask her a question. In other words, the house of the Goddess was taken over by the masculine and Priestesses were fetishized and forced into spiritual slavery. (For a very “Hollywood” interpretation of this, see the movie 300).

I’m not going to delve at all into whether the visions that she had came from a connection with Spirit or were drug-induced raving (but who’s to say that some of those ravings were not inspired by Spirit?). My point for the purposes of this article has to do with a potent example of the power of the Divine Feminine being seized, manipulated and sexualized by the out-of-balance masculine. For thousands of years, we (as collective humanity) have learned that “feminine” qualities include grace, beauty, virginity, gentleness, purity and nurturing. The Goddess was put in a pretty, little, white box.

So you can imagine my fierce pleasure the other night when I witnessed hundreds of women and men coming together to honor the Divine Feminine, and the predominant vibe was that of the Dark Goddess unleashed at last. Yes, the Goddess is all of those qualities listed above. But the Goddess is also destructive. The Goddess is ruthless. The Goddess is the embodiment of transformation: she receives the seed and transforms it into a tree, alchemizes solid rock into molten lava and composts decaying flesh into healthy soil.

The Goddess belongs to no one, yet lives in all of us. We are most able to honor and receive her when we embrace all aspects of her medicine–light and dark, creative and destructive, birth and death. Regardless of where we are on the gender spectrum, the Divine Feminine shows herself through us. How does the Goddess manifest in your life?

I am currently accepting clients for my three month long intensive transformation healing program, New Moon Rising. In our work together, you will receive energetic healing, coaching and practices to help you through your Spiritual Awakening or Deepening. Together, we will delve into your relationship with the Divine Feminine and Masculine and examine how you can balance them in your life in a healthy, constructive way. We all have an inner Masculine and an inner Feminine. It is time to honor all parts of ourselves so that we may be whole and healed, and honor all parts of the Goddess so that we may fully receive her medicine.

Contact me for a consultation to work one-on-one and commit to yourself and your journey.

Many blessings,

Michelle

Solstice Darkness

Originally published on Eagle Song December 21, 2015.

Tonight marks the Winter Solstice. This is a personally significant holiday for several reasons. Not only is this when I celebrate the New Year, but four years ago today (on the Solstice in 2011) I received my Shamanic Initiation. Add to that the perfect container to call in the darkness to do some lovely Shadow work–this is a very Shamanic holiday.

Last night I attended Solstice Dance for the third year in a row and spent some time taking stock of the last year. I felt considerable distress when I noticed some similar themes of what was going on this time two years ago, last year and now. And as I danced, I thought, “Has that little actually changed? What the fuck am I doing that this is still a main theme in my life?”

But of course, things have changed. This is one of those examples of the Cycles of Power: after all, everything is cyclical and we live in a spiraling Universe. So even though it seems that around this time every year I revisit themes of power, love and wounding, each year I do so with a new level of understanding, awareness and comfort of working within the darkness.

Two years ago, I remember my big Solstice revelation was centered around the idea of “It’s okay to not be okay.” Using darkness itself as a healing tool was relatively new to me, and by that time I had already been going through Underworld Initiations for at least six months. Accepting that I didn’t feel happy and shiny all the time was a big step for me.

Last year, one of the main threads of darkness was working through healing my relationship to relationship itself. I held three consecutive days of some form of ritual and I worked as hard as I could to move through the darkness so I could come out the other side and be done.

And I’m still not done, because the Underworld Initiations have continued. (And according to my astrologer friend, they probably will for about another year, until the end of my Saturn Return.) But I’ve reached a place, after spending the last two and a half years or so working through some level of wounding and trauma and challenge, where I’m totally okay with hanging out in the darkness. And even though this Solstice is helping me confront some of my deepest fears, prompting crises of purpose and inspiring new levels of pain, I finally know how to welcome it.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been saying “I feel like I’m dying.” I’ve actually been able to feel parts of me shriveling in the presence of intense emotion and energy. But it occurred to me last night as I was dancing that I didn’t really know what parts of me have been dying. Given the trajectory of my path thus far, it seems like a good thing. So I decided that I would dance my Death. As I danced, I called upon Pluto and Persephone, Lord and Lady of the Underworld, to bring me my Death. I asked that all the parts of me that were ready to go move with Death to be guided into the Underworld. I also asked that, if the next year will continue to bring Shadow work, Pluto and Persephone stand with me as guides through the darkness. (Owl also showed up for me yesterday when I was teaching Reiki Master class, so I danced with her as well. She is another entity who has offered to guide me through the Shadow.)

Even though it initially felt like I was in a similar place as I have been for the last two years, so much has changed. The mere fact that I am now completely comfortable calling in the deepest darkness available to work through my own wounding is new within the last year, and I can attribute this ease in working with the Shadow realm to the last several years moving deeper and deeper into darkness with myself and others. This particular Cycle of Power has offered me some wonderful reflection about my growth in all areas of my life, and I am grateful to embrace the Darkness as my ally for transformation. This has been a long process of Death, and I’m happy to learn everything I can until I’m ready to be reborn in the Light.

Artwork by Veronica Gutierrez