Energy

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!

The Nature of Service, and Free Content for You!

What does it mean to serve?

I sit with this question often, as I wonder about the role my work plays in the world and how I am driven to be "of service." To serve means to provide for, to present someone with something, to attend to, to deliver, to be of use. All of these may be true, and yet they feel very technical to me.

When I ask myself, "how do I serve?" I come up with some variation of this core answer:

I make myself available.

This availability looks very different now than it did many years ago, as I discovered the importance of personal boundaries and maintaining my energetic protection. However, it still means that I'm living my life in such a way as to offer my time, my knowledge, my insights and personal experience for the benefit of others on the path.

Being available in this way usually entails a certain level of vulnerability and transparency for me.

Through making myself available as part of my service, I have told stories and shared publicly about moments in my life when I experienced deep trauma, shame, abuse, fear and heart-wrenching grief. I have told stories that don't make me look good, don't paint me as "qualified" or contribute to my professional image at all. I have shared moments of uncertainty, questioning and times when I have later changed my mind.

...and I am happy to share all of these moments and stories with you as part of my service. I know that, in doing so, I am making myself available to YOU, so that you know that you are not alone in your experience.

It is said that a Shaman's life does not belong to them: it belongs to their Tribe. A Shaman lives their life in service to the health and well-being of their community, and makes themselves available for the benefit of those around them, of all beings on Earth and of the Earth Herself.

As I bring a new vision to the archetype of the Shaman, by doing this work, I reclaim that my life DOES belong to me just as much as it belongs to my community. In doing so, I redefine the nature of service: how can I be just as much of service to others while still being of service to my own Highest and Greatest Good? How can I share my journey with others in order to inspire, uplift and connect us all? How can I serve even more?

All of us who offer our lives and our work in Service may ask ourselves these questions, and continue to discover the answers.

Free Content and Resources for You

One of the ways in which I enjoy making myself available in service is through creating FREE content and resources for you! I have hundreds of hours of free audio, video and plenty of articles available on all sorts of topics. And it's all FREE!

Check out some of the resources:

  • Free Monthly Master Classes on a variety of amazing topics! See below for March's class, and links to past classes.
  • Shaman Sister Sessions Podcast (just made a new website for the podcast! Links to 50+ past episodes and information to sign in to listen to the live recording. Sign up for SSS newsletter to receive the weekly episodes directly in your inbox, as well as calendar updates with upcoming episode topics!)
  • My blog with tons of articles and insight I've gained from my personal and professional journey.
  • Follow me on Social Media: Instagram and Facebook for updates, stories and photos!

Emotional Alchemy

EMOTIONAL ALCHEMY IS A POWERFUL TOOL.

During a session the other day, I enjoyed witnessing a client move herself through the process of some pretty impressive emotional alchemy. She has been working with identifying and transmuting a lifelong shadow pattern for quite a while now, and during our session, with a few nudges, she took herself through a powerful journey of redirecting her behavioral structure and programming.

She was able to shift her heavy shadow pattern (rooted, like so many of us have, in not-enoughness) and fully recreate her lived experience of this belief. With a little guidance, she formulated a new belief structure based in empowerment, self-trust and service. When she breathed this new system into her body, she felt her heart glow with the strength of this belief.

This process she experienced the other day is an example of emotional alchemy: applying the art and science of transformation to the way we feel about the world. In this case, she was able to transmute her wounded feelings and trigger response into understanding, compassion and self-love. As she practices and integrates operating from this new paradigm, it will shift her relationships, her confidence and her way of being in the world.

What would YOU like to alchemize? How can you apply these ancient practices to your own Self and way of being? What does emotional alchemy have to teach you?

Join me on Thursday for the FREE master class! You must register to receive the login information. All registered attendees will receive a link to the recording after the live class.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Master Class: Alchemy of the Soul

Alchemy, an ancient body of knowledge originating thousands of years ago, is not only the origin of all modern sciences but also a profoundly Spiritual practice. While popular understanding of Alchemy centers around the transmutation of lead into gold, this belies the core principles of Alchemical philosophy: in short, the transformation from Spiritual immaturity into enlightenment through harmonizing with Universal life force. The procedural steps of Alchemy, which eventually led to the foundation of modern chemistry, were merely the physical representation of the Spiritual journey of the practitioner.

Today, we apply the principles of Alchemy in the context of personal actualization and empowerment in order to transform ourselves and our lives to embody a state of grace, harmony and freedom. We employ ancient practices, surrender to the cosmos and align with the Universal Cycles of Power. We consciously ground Spirit into our bodies and our lived, human experience for the benefit of ourselves, of all beings on Earth and of the Earth herself.

Join me for a Master Class as we delve into the philosophy of Alchemy, its role in the modern context and ways that you can begin to awaken your own, inner Alchemist to align with the process of true transformation!

Come prepared with a journal and questions! There may be some opportunities for individual coaching.

Eleven attendees on the live call will receive a FREE gift from me!

Upon registration, you'll receive a confirmation email with login information for the class. I look forward to seeing you there!

Register here to reserve your space!

Personal Alchemy

My Morning Practice lately has been largely a movement fusion of my own invention: DanYoCoGong (dance, yoga, core and qi gong). Here's a bit of the dance part to let the creative expression flooooow...

I had a mini Soul Map reading the other day with a new friend. One of the things that resonated most deeply was the confirmation she offered about letting the silly, funny and creative part of me shine through my work.

As I've been playing with this process of Personal Alchemy over the last several months, I'm noticing my internal objections that naturally arise. Historically, I haven't shown that side as much when it comes to my professional face. I think a lot of that has come from wanting people to trust me, think I am capable and qualified, and not too young to be guiding them through major life stuff (I started my business when I was 21).

However...

There is room for Divine Play in the healing process. There is room for laughter in the darkness. There is room for dancing and being funny, even when it feels like everything around you is heavy. It doesn't mean we're taking the work less seriously. It just means that we remember that all things are birthed from the void and that creation springs up where death has passed moments before.

It means we remember that we can exist simultaneously in grief and humor, rage and creation, heaviness and grace.

Let the creative expression flow.

Let the Alchemy of personal transformation unfold.

~~~

It's so easy for us to get stuck.

  • Have you ever taken a look at where you are in your life and had a sinking moment when you realized that you're in the same place you were a year ago? Two years ago?
  • Have you ever felt like you always get to a certain spot in your job, your life, your relationships... and then everything falls apart and you have to start over?
  • Have you told yourself over and over that you want to create a change in your life, but felt at a loss as to HOW that change was going to come about?

If you found yourself answering "yes!" to any of these questions, you might be stuck somewhere in one of the stages of the Alchemical process.

Alchemy is the process of change: even if we don't know it, we are moving through these stages in a continuous cycle throughout our entire lives. Most of us have no idea that we are living this cycle, and find ourselves washed around by the currents of change without any sense of direction or ability to consciously move through the process.

I have a gift for you.

I am offering eleven free one-hour sessions of Personal Alchemy! Here's the deal:

  • This is first come, first served: once they're booked, they're booked. No reschedules, no wait list. Yes, this is my gift to you.
  • We meet for one hour on my private conference line. I'll make a recording of your session, if you like!
  • We'll explore where you are in your life right now and discover which of the Alchemical stages you're currently in.
  • We'll look at the best way for you to get unstuck and continue to move through the cycle of Alchemy--get ready for personal practices and tools!
  • If it feels like a good fit, we'll talk about ways we can continue to work together in your process of change (I AM Alchemy or one-on-one with me).

Book your Personal Alchemy session here!

Last time I put out an offer like this, it filled within a few days. If you're interested, please book your session ASAP.

Once you're registered, I'll contact you with further details for our Personal Alchemy session! I look forward to diving in with you.

My Gift to You: Happy SOULstice!

This Winter SOULstice, I've been thinking about what I would like to give back to YOU, the amazing people in my life who inspire me to continue the work I do.

As work with Soul Contracts comes up big time during this darkest, most contract-ive time of the year, it feels more important now than ever before to clarify and clean up our Soul Agreements before heading into a new year.

So, I would like to invite you to receive a special gift. I am offering five FREE Soul Contract healing sessions to you during December 26-29!

Here are the details:
-These must take place in person at my healing studio in SW Portland. Address provided upon registration.
-Once you register, there are no reschedules.
-First come, first serve! Once these sessions are filled, they are filled.
-Register here to reserve your FREE Soul Contract healing session.

What you can expect from these sessions:
-We will journey into the nature of your Soul Contract to examine any clauses that are no longer serving you.
-If possible, we will erase and rewrite them with a healthy, new agreement.
-We will do energy healing work to help this contract alteration integrate gently into your lived experience.
-I will not be doing this work "for" you. I will be guiding you and holding space for you to claim your full power in stating the nature of your Soul Contract with Spirit.
-There will be an audio recording of this session for you to revisit at any time.

If you would like to claim your FREE Soul Contract Healing session now, register here!

Identity Structure

This article is a follow-up exercise to my last post.

What makes up an Identity Structure?

Identity structures are exactly what you'd imagine: they're all the parts of ourselves that constitute any component of what we might identify as "Self." Some of the things included in our identity structures are:

-Physical body: What container do you live in?
-Emotional body: How do you feel about things?
-Mental body: What do you think about things?
-Energy body: What is your vibration and how does it respond to the world?
-Thoughts and beliefs: How do you think and feel about the world?
-Relationships: What role do you play in other people's identity structures and what roles do they play in yours?
-Childhood/past events: What formative experiences shaped your beliefs about the world?
-Memories: What is your subjective interpretation of past events?
-How you spend your time: Sacred Work/job, activities, pastimes... what do you do with your precious days?
-Language: What words do you use to speak about yourself and your existence?
-Interests: What captivates your attention?
...and SO many more!

Understanding Your Identity Structure

In order for us to work with the nuances of identity structure, we have to know what comprises the foundation of our Being. Here's my best advice to you:

Start with ONE of the points above. With your journal, sit quietly in meditative space and write intuitively about what comes up for you when you examine that facet of Self. For example, if you were to choose the "Memories" option, you might ask yourself, "What are some of the strongest memories I have from my childhood? What emotions are attached to those memories? What do those memories say about me? How do I feel about them?"

After you feel complete, review what you wrote and notice what jumps out at you. Is there any new information there? What themes do you notice? Does what you wrote feel positive and in alignment with a healthy identity structure? Does it feel as though it needs some further investigation and support to be fully processed and integrated?

The Outcome of Working with Identity Structure

Why do we do this? Ultimately, knowing who we are on all levels and allowing it to be witnessed is what lets us live our fullest expression. By diving deep and asking ourselves, "Who am I?" we create space for healing, processing and a healthy way of being in the world for ourselves and for everyone else.

Intuitive Super Powers

What are some aspects of your intuition that you would like to cultivate?

Seriously, please share :)

A couple of years ago, I came across an old journal of mine from when I was about 13 years old. When I opened it to reminisce, I saw that the first page contained a list I had written, detailing the super powers that I wanted to have. I had organized them into categories and made notes about the possible combinations of these super powers and how they might inform and support each other. Here is the list:
ANIMALS
-Being able to talk to them
-Take on an animal shape
PLANTS
-Making medicine/using them for healing
-Helping them grow
PEOPLE
-Reading minds/telepathy
-Healing
-Giving energy
OTHER
-Flying
-Time travel
-Seeing future (drawings, poems, songs, visions, dreams, other methods of divination)
-Communicating with other worlds

The fact that I wrote this list as a 13 year old (and more importantly, the fact that I now practice most of these, and many more) blows my mind. From a fairly young age, I had a clearly defined idea of the “super powers” that I wanted to cultivate, most of them related to developing my intuition. Over the intervening years, I forgot about this list, but I somehow ended up finding the appropriate circumstances, teachers and guides to help me awaken these intuitive abilities.

So I invite you to consider what super powers you have always wanted to cultivate. What intuitive abilities do you wish you could awaken? Maybe your psychic vision is very clear—would you like to grow your clairaudience as well?

Please share--I am genuinely curious! And if you feel called, please join me on Sunday, March 26, for my workshop on Sensory Intuition. Register here.

One Client's Amazing Healing

I love witnessing my clients as they make amazing shifts in all areas of their lives! I checked in with one client today who, before we started working together, was feeling stuck—stuck in an unfulfilling job, stuck with friends and acquaintances with whom she no longer had anything in common, stuck in a place of less-than-optimum health and stuck in a mundane daily routine that zapped her of any drive and energy. She contacted me several months ago after she came across a book on Shamanism, and she described the feeling as though a fire was lit inside of her. She knew that her health, her marriage and her life force energy were all suffering and she needed help to “get unstuck” and reconnect with her joy and sense of purpose.

Even though she was motivated to make some changes in her life, she was very afraid of upsetting the status quo (especially in her work and in her marriage). What if these life changes made her stick out even more at work and she lost her job? What if, by stepping into her personal power, she alienated her husband? What if she lost everything?

A few weeks ago, we completed our three months of working together in my Deep Medicine Path program, and watching her transformation has been absolutely extraordinary. Instead of losing her job, she decided to proactively phase herself out of her unfulfilling line of work at her own, gentle pace. She is in the process of beginning her own life coaching practice so she can inspire and empower others. Instead of losing her marriage and feeling alienated from her husband, their relationship finally has that spark of new life! He has loved witnessing her changes and gladly stepped up in full support of her transformation. Instead of feeling drained and tired all the time, she now has energy to devote to her own health and well-being and her body “hasn’t felt this good in years!”

Hearing “I’m so glad I worked up the courage to say yes and work with you!” from a client is the most amazing feeling. I am so humbled every time someone trusts me to shepherd them through their awakening. It means the world to me that I get to be a mentor and a guide for those stepping into their own power and embodying the radiance of their true selves. In so much gratitude!

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

Embodiment

Originally published on Eagle Song March 6, 2016.

There’s a term I came up with that I like to use with my clients and students to impress a certain idea upon them. The term is “Divine Embodied Being.”

I find this term very appropriate for a few reasons, but largely because it reminds us of the multi-faceted nature of our existence. The term “Human Being” is of biological origin and serves only to describe our physical and genetic makeup. How are we different from other beings? Well, we’re Human Beings!

However, we are so much more than our limbs and our brains and our genes. We are the embodiment of the Divine. Our physical forms provide the anchor for our souls to live on the Earth plane.

And so, we are Divine Embodied Beings. We are the physical manifestation of Spirit. We are Source and matter.

(For the purposes of this article, I only talk about human Divine Embodied Beings, but plants, animals, crystals, minerals, etc are also Divine Embodied Beings.)

It is so easy for us humans to use duality to separate and exclude: “If A, then not B.” Or, “If I am human, then I am not Divine,” or even, “If I am Divine, then I have no reason to pay attention to my human body.”

This last example is one that I see all too often, especially among people who have begun to realize their Spiritual awakening but have yet to balance it with the earthly aspects of their existence. Many clients come to me who are so focused on the energetic part of their process that they haven’t bothered to bring their physical bodies up to speed yet.

So let’s talk about the purpose and importance of Embodiment practice from a Spiritual perspective.

In order to honor all parts of our nature and live in the world as whole beings, it is of equal importance to devote care and attention to the parts of ourselves that are Divine AND the parts of ourselves that are Matter. Moreover, we must not treat them as separate facets of our existence, but as deeply interwoven and mutually necessary components of our wholeness. It is our bodies that offer a place for Spirit to live inside of us, and it is our Souls that animate our physical forms beyond the level of a biochemical machine.

One of the ways we can support both parts of ourselves simultaneously is through Embodied Meditation. Absolutely any activity can be a form of Embodied Meditation, if you hold the intention for it. When students or clients tell me that they’re “bad at meditating,” I ask them what activities they enjoy, and what brings them peace. Often the answers include things like walking outside, gardening, yoga or going for a run. I tell them that these are all wonderful forms of Embodied Meditation, and when they do these activities, to practice bringing intention and mindfulness to the exercise.

My favorite form of embodied meditation is dancing. And I’m not talking about the kind of dancing where you sort of stand there awkwardly and shift your weight from side to side. I’m not even talking about structured dances with certain steps and standards of correct form. I’m talking about allowing your body to move in whatever way it feels called, whether or not it’s pretty. The kind of dance where you feel energy coursing through your veins, filling your cells and making your chakras spin and glow. The kind of dance where, as you start shaking, you feel all the blockages and stagnant energy inside yourself start to melt and release into the floor. Dancing until you are drenched in sweat and your hair is full of tears from crying as you allow powerful energy to rush through you, releasing old wounds. Dancing and channeling our ancestors who danced for thousands of years before us to honor their bodies, honor Spirit and feel alive. Dancing until you drop in so deeply that you enter a trance state and forget completely who and where you are, and all that exists is movement.

Needless to say, I start more slowly with my clients and we work up to trance dancing when/if they’re ready. I teach some basic practices and help my clients find what works best for them. Some forms of Embodied Meditation can be relatively peaceful, like gentle yoga. Some are more playful, like my friend’s game of “Zen rock-hopping” (jumping from stone to stone through a river or stream. As he says, if you think about it too much, you get wet). Others are fairly extreme, like my roommate running 100-mile races. She told me about one instance, about 70 miles in, were she started seeing ghosts coming out of the ground. But what is the point of activities like that? No matter what form it takes, why do we need embodied meditation?

Physical practices like these unite the part of us that is Embodied with the part of us that is Divine. When we bring our Spirit and our intention to an embodied practice, we can move energy through our physical system. It is the perfect union of tangible and intangible, working across the hemispheres of our brains and across whatever barriers we have put between our energetic awareness and our bodies.

Throughout my whole life, I have had some form of physical practice. Whether it was being part of a sports team or doing activities by myself, I always knew that I felt happier and healthier when I took care of my body. When I officially began my Reiki practice in 2006, it took a few years for me to make the connection between the energetic work I was doing and the physical process of moving energy through my body. There were times when I would do all I could with Reiki to release stagnant energies, but until I went for a run and flushed them from my system, they were stuck. In the last several years I have come to a deep understanding of how physically shaking and sweating old energies out of me is just as important to the healing process as the energy work itself. We are Divine Embodied Beings, and in order to be whole, we must honor all parts of ourselves.

I used to only teach Embodiment practices to my private clients as part of our work together, but I recently included an Embodied Meditation workshop in my Shamanic Reiki Apprentice Program.

Contact me to book a consultation to work one-on-one with me, or if you’re interested in taking classes. In the meantime, I encourage you to look at your physical practice with a new perspective, through the lens of yourself as a Divine Embodied Being. See you on the dance floor.