Peek Behind the Veil: What happens at I AM Alchemy Retreat?

I just got back from our second four day retreat with my I AM Alchemy 2018 students, and I feel...

...full of energy, enjoyment, grace, and amazing food.

...inspired by my amazing students, by my personal takeaways, and by the body of knowledge itself.

...supported by my wonderful Shaman Sister, Katherine Bird, and by Ruthanne and Heaven and Earth Retreats.

...eager to share the magic with you!

Here's a sneak peek inside what goes on during a magical I AM Alchemy retreat:

Every morning, we began our day with Qi Gong practice lead by guest instructor Katherine Bird. Kat brought us practices from her Medical Qi Gong studies to support the energetic work. During this retreat, part of our focus included working with the Three Essentials (Salt, Mercury and Sulfur) and our personal Planetary Constitution. Here, Kat introduces us to the philosophy behind our movement practice:

We learned how to calculate the personal planetary constitution of everyone in the class, based on the Alchemical doctrine of Planetary Rulership. This includes primary archetypal influences, personal "power hours," and supporting the energies with corresponding metals, herbs, colors, foods and embodiment practices...

I AM Alchemy Retreat Teachings Planetary Correspondence
I AM Alchemy Retreat Planetary Constitution Moon Mars


...Then we studied  the necessary correspondences to support our personal Salt, Mercury and Sulfur Level Planetary Forces. I'm a double Moon plus Mars, which explains a lot.

I AM Alchemy Retreat Class Lightworker Portland Alchemist

We played games and found out who among us is competitive (hint: 2/3 of Team Mars, big surprise). We ate incredible food, we did intuitive readings and healing work for each other, we took a stargazing stroll and saw Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars. We laughed a lot and witnessed each other through our joy and our tears. We examined our personal and professional practices in light of this mystery school and renewed our commitments to Self and Spirit as wayshowers for a New Earth.

I AM Alchemy Retreat Altar Ceremony Oracle Magic Eclipse Vision Quest

We all took an afternoon of solo ritual space to Vision Quest and practice journey work to step into this next initiation phase of our course. Everyone worked some pretty powerful magic and came back with epiphanies, commitments, messages from Guides and new, powerful energies to supercharge the next stage of the journey.


I AM Alchemy Retreat Personal Practice Journaling Alchemist Teaching Portland



The weekend included plenty of time for journaling and personal reflection. In such a beautiful setting, you can't help but breathe a little deeper, tune in to a more subtle awareness and just let yourself simply be.



I AM Alchemy Retreat Portland Alchemist Magic Spirit Synchronicity



There were signs and synchronicities everywhere! We received plenty of visits from animal guides, whispers from Spirit, and massive inputs of eclipse energy. Every sign felt like a message from Source, saying "you're on the right track. Enjoy the journey."



I AM Alchemy Retreat Heaven and Earth Portland Alchemist Training Teaching Magic



Plus, we got to wake up with this right outside every morning. Check out the view from my bed:



I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful, nourishing, inspiring retreat experience! This work is so much FUN, and I get to share it with a cohort of passionate, powerful students who are changing their lives and changing the world. It is truly an honor and a joy to dive deeper and deeper into this work. I AM Alchemy is stretching me, pushing me and inspiring me to uplevel my practice and my craft in ways I never imagined. What a journey.

If you're interested in I AM Alchemy 2019, get on the wait list here!

I'll be taking the next few days to rest and integrate! Catch you in August.

Full Blood Moon Eclipse Magic

Full Blood Moon Eclipse: Friday, July 27 at 1:22pm PST.

This weekend, we get to enjoy the second of three back-to-back-to-back eclipses, which also happens to be the longest eclipse of the century. For those of us in the PNW, we won't get to appreciate witnessing the eclipse visually, but we can still take some time to bask in the energies and set intentions.

This full moon lunar eclipse takes place in the sign of Aquarius: the revolutionary keeper of the Sacred Vision. As part of our I AM Alchemy retreat, we'll be holding a vision quest ritual for the eclipse. Here are some of the themes we're working with as a class:

  • Moving into the Separation stage of Alchemy: stepping back to gain perspective, and separating out the pieces of our sacred inquiry in order to understand and evaluate them all.
  • Moving out of the Black Phase (sacred destruction) and into the White Phase of Alchemy (reorganization/reconstruction).
  • Working with Eclipse magic: playing with energetic polarity and the role of tension and harmonization of duality.
  • Designing powerful rituals to amplify energy and participate actively in the creation process.
  • Claiming our roles as Visionary Leaders of our lives and of the world.
  • Working with powerful planetary correspondences and alchemical calculations in order to align more intentionally to our primary influences.

I hope that gives you some ideas! If you feel called to join us in working Eclipse Magic, please come meet us in the ethers.

Many blessings and happy Eclipse!

I AM Alchemy Retreat and Sacred Visions

I AM going on retreat this weekend, and I couldn't be more excited! This Thursday begins the second retreat of my year-long I AM Alchemy certification training course.

I find myself blown away by the amount of growth and change that has already taken place within this container. Each of the seven of us, by committing to this work for a year, gave Spirit the green light for:

  • Massive shifts in energetic foundation and belief system.
  • BIG life changes in the realms of career, relationship, purpose, home and health.
  • More magic, more questions, more beauty, more challenge, more grace, more trial by fire, more support and more love than we imagined.
  • Rapid upleveling of sacred practice, craft and work in the world.
  • Profound energetic connection, intuitive awareness and awakening of innate knowing.
  • Permanently altering perception of and bringing closure to old wounds and traumas.

...and much more. It seriously boggles my mind, even though I "knew" going in that this Sacred Vision would be powerful beyond anything else I have offered.

...and I AM so effing grateful.

Not many people know this, but I AM Alchemy almost didn't happen this year. It was originally supposed to begin in February, then March, but both times, other life challenges arose that required my full energy and attention. By the time my March start date rolled around, I had no students enrolled and no conceivable way to launch the course. In despair, I called the retreat center to cancel my dates and told myself I would try again in 2019.

The next day, I had a business review session with two friends/mentors/fellow seekers on the path, Andrea Leda and Chris Wilborn. I tearfully described to them the challenges and struggles, the missed start deadline and how I felt somehow as though I had betrayed my commitment to a Sacred Vision.

The advice they gave me pushed me to commit to my work in a way I never had before. They told me to push the start date back one month, just one month, and to put everything I had into telling people about my vision.  That same afternoon, I called the retreat center back and reclaimed my dates, and told myself that I would do everything possible within one short month to give my Sacred Vision a chance to be born.

...and it worked.

My course began promptly at its new start date in April, and this weekend we get to gather together in person for the second time this year. Three and a half months in, we have already witnessed and supported each other through massive transformation and growth. We have shown up for ourselves and for each other. We have celebrated each other's wins, supported each other through challenges and held each other in our Sacred Visions.

...and none of that would have happened if I hadn't recommitted to mine.

As we enter Friday's Full Blood Moon Eclipse (see below for more information and ideas!), we have the unique opportunity to relate to our Sacred Visions in a powerful, new way:

  • What Sacred Vision do you have that wants to be born?
  • What fears or challenges do you face around actualizing this Vision?
  • What do you need in order to believe that it is possible, and to take action on that possibility?

For me, I needed a push from two people who believed in me and one more month to make it happen. I invite you to sit with your own Sacred Visions and let them whisper to you... they will tell you how they want to be born.

Many blessings!

I AM an Alchemist

I have been working on developing an I AM Alchemy year-long training and certification program.

It's amazing how the core essence of who we are and what we're doing in the world can be right in front of our faces, and yet it sometimes takes years of practice, learning, falling down and peeling back the layers to see it properly.

I AM an Alchemist, and I have been one for not only this entire life, but definitely many lifetimes. Mentors and friends have reflected this to me over the years:

"Michelle, you're addicted to personal growth."

"Transformation is your THING."

"You work with the process of change better than anyone I know."

And yet, for most of my life, I was blind to the bigger vision of what I was doing.

I feared change because I didn't understand it. I submitted to transformation with gritted teeth because it felt beyond me, bigger than me and outside of me. I felt subject to the whims of the Universe and awash in a sea of energetic currents, and it felt as though every ounce of ground I gained took colossal effort.

Over the years, I softened my relationship with change. I learned to align with the Universal energy currents--the Cycles of Power--and to ride the waves rather than try to steer against them. I developed tools to bring ease and grace to my life. I learned to enjoy and look forward to the process of transformation with excitement, because I finally understood it. I had the tangible skills and embodied practice to become the magical creator of my life.

Alchemy is the art and science of transformation. For thousands of years and and for many devotees, the process of Alchemy provided the keys to undergo initiations of the spirit, burning away all that was heavy and impure in order to reveal the gleaming gold of an awakened soul.

In the year of I AM Alchemy, we'll be applying the magic of Alchemical principles and practices to master the process of transformation and create an easy relationship with change. We'll play with the Universal currents of energy and learn how to channel them into grounded manifestation of our intentions.

We'll explore our powers of self-transformation and actualization in order to come into the fullest expression of our I AM, bringing our God selves into existence on the Earth plane.

If you are interested in joining me on this journey, contact me and I will send you the information for the next steps.

Many blessings!

"What's Your Animal Guide?"

“What’s your animal guide?”

People often ask me this question after I introduce myself as a Shaman who works very strongly with Animal Medicine. In the context of a quick conversation, my short answer usually sounds something like, “Oh, I have many animal guides, and so do you,” but this brief response does nothing to illustrate the infinite layers of complexity and magic that come with delving deep into working with Animal Totems.

“My animal guide is an otter, because I’m very lighthearted and I like to play.”

I love that Animal Medicine has worked its way into popular consciousness! Many people share with great certainty the identity of their animal guide and an attribute of this guide with which they resonate strongly. However, as soon as I ask follow-up questions such as, “How else do you work with otter? What other aspects of its medicine do you find particularly impactful?” Most people answer that they haven’t really done anything further with their totem.

To me, this is akin to meeting your new best friend and powerful ally, learning their name, shaking their hand and then never speaking to them again. Imagine if you were at a party and the host tells you that a friend of theirs wants to meet you. The host leads you over to this person and you immediately perceive a strong energetic connection. You find yourself drawn to this person and feel excited to know them, and perhaps a bit honored to receive an introduction. The host goes on to offer further explanation of why this person was interested to meet you, and you find out that they are a wealth of talents, knowledge and power. This new person smiles glowingly at you and you shake their hand, feeling a surge of energy at this new, profound connection! Then, someone else calls your attention away and you make mental note to return to speak with this amazing new friend again, but you never do. You leave the party without exchanging information or making plans. You never reach out to the host to ask to put you in touch. From this point on, you recall with fondness the memory of that one time at that great party that the host introduced you to this amazing, glowing person with whom you felt such a strong connection, even though you never spoke again.

What if this potential best friend is still out there for you, waiting for you to rekindle the connection? What if this powerful ally has been waiting for you to reach out and ask to know them better? What if this amazing, magical being has been watching you, witnessing your life, ready to offer their teachings as soon as you are ready to receive that wisdom?

Throughout my many years of working with Animal Totems, I have witnessed time and again the magic and profound lessons that come from diving deep into animal medicine. To date, some of my most powerful initiatory experiences made themselves known through Animal messengers appearing for a dramatic introduction.

And yet, the introduction is exactly that: the first step in claiming your relationship with a powerful ally. The work that follows holds the real magic of depth, subtlety and power. By stepping into relationship with your Animal Totems, you cement a bond with their medicine that can last a lifetime and support you in your continued unfolding of joy, love and purpose.

Do you already know the identity of your Animal Guide and want to delve further into your personal connection with its medicine? Even if you don’t know its identity, do you feel your guide out there, waiting to meet you?

Magic & Medicine is an in-depth, four week long journey of discovery with your Animal Totem. This experience includes:

  • The Meeting: Welcome the new Totem into your energy field.
  • The Messages: Learn why this Guide is appearing to you and how it wants to reveal its teachings.
  • The Merge: Bring your Animal Totem to life within your own body and make its energy actionable on the Earth plane.
  • The Manifesto: Delve into the purpose of your work with this Totem and solidify your mission together.
  • And more! Learn the details of Magic & Medicine here.

Contact me for a free consultation and begin your Magic & Medicine journey with your powerful animal ally today.

Love and Sex Magic

Originally published on Eagle Song November 14, 2015.

In the last several months, I have had so many fantastic conversations with various amazing women about Love Magic and Sex Magic. Just the other night I was speaking with a new friend, a lovely empath who is self-employed as a sex worker, and halfway through the evening I realized I should have been recording our entire conversation because it would have made a fascinating podcast episode. And last week I spent an afternoon catching up with two medicine sisters, both powerful healers, one of whom has worked for years as a professional dominatrix in New York. Add to that my weekly women’s group meeting (where one of the members is a dancer who works at a popular strip club in town) and the recent conversations with medicine sisters not employed in the sex industry (Shamans, empaths and lightworkers all), and the result is an amazing picture of the true depth of healing power that comes from the Divine Feminine when she works through Love and Sex Magic. Holy cow.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that my healing and energy work was as deeply integrated into my sexual and love relationships as it was into every other aspect of my life. After all, just because I wasn’t consciously “doing a healing session” on my partner doesn’t mean that healing work was not taking place, maybe on a deeper level than either of us realized. Purely by virtue of the fact that I am who I am–a Shaman who has committed her life to working in service to Self and Spirit and offering healing to the collective consciousness of All That Is–anyone who spends time with me, or comes into contact with my writing or any other manifestation of my work in the world, will receive the ripple effect of my healing work.

I think my first conscious inkling of the fact occurred sometime early this year, when my partner at the time mentioned something about my “Reiki hands.” We were cuddling in bed and I had my hand laying flat on his chest, right over his heart. “What do you mean, my ‘Reiki hands’?” I asked, pulling my hand away to look at it, as if that would explain his observation.

“There–you took your hand away, and the difference is just as if your hand were heavy and you removed a weight. Not in a bad way, but in that it has a definite presence,” he said.

“But I wasn’t intending to do Reiki on you,” I replied, obtusely.

“It doesn’t seem to matter,” he replied, smiling. “Your Reiki is so in you… it’s just there.”

Even after that conversation, it took me until just recently to cultivate a more tangible awareness of the concept. Prompted by some summer romances that all included some serious “I have no idea what the hell just happened” moments of moving massive amounts of energy, I began to consider things in the light of sex magic to see if the idea offered any more information.

As soon as I looked at my romantic and sexual history through the lens of treating these interactions as healing experiences, the pattern became clear. I mean stupid obvious. Here were all these men, most of whom would never think to seek out my help in a professional context, who needed deep healing. So instead of hiring me, they showed up in my life to receive healing work through the magic of love and sex.

It also helped me gain some serious perspective when my medicine sisters and I shared our stories of love and sex magic. I finally recognized the difference between a love relationship in which healing occurs as a function of the love already present, and a healing relationship in which love manifests as a means for the healing to take place. I realized that most of the confusing terminations to many of my relationships could be attributed to that very distinction: I have always operated from the place of being in a loving relationship where healing happened to take place, and I see now that many of these encounters actually existed in the realm of a healing relationship where love existed as a means to facilitate the healing. No wonder it didn’t work out.

But, through this lens, I’ve been able to fully appreciate the depth of some of the healing that has taken place, both for these men and for myself. I am absolutely amazed at the beautiful opportunities for growth, safety, awareness, transparency and healing of all kinds that have resulted from the love and sex magic that I have shared with them. The more I learn, the more firmly I believe that Love and Sex Magic are some of the most potent forms of alchemy available to humankind.

This new awareness of mine has also served to offer healing to my understanding of past relationships that either ended painfully or in confusion. The most recent example is my latest partner. He and I had our third round of breakup two weeks ago, after dating on and off for a year and a half. The more I move through the process of grieving and bringing understanding to this relationship, the more apparent it becomes that this was a healing relationship in which love manifested as a means for the healing to take place. This in no way diminishes or makes any less real the love we have for each other–this man helped me discover the depth of my heart and my enormous capacity for love–but I’m realizing more and more all the ways in which it was truly a healing interaction. We showed up for each other in some enormously powerful circumstances, and I will be lovingly grateful for the rest of my life, but healing was always the primary driver of the relationship. And that’s exactly how it needed to be.

I have also noticed (and conversations with medicine sisters have confirmed that they have seen this as well) that, when love and sex magic create opportunities for healing, people don’t always take them. I suppose this is the case when an opportunity for healing becomes available through any means, but the circumstance when someone says no to healing created through love and sex magic results in its own kind of tension, especially when misunderstanding about the nature of the relationship comes into play. Of course, humans on this planet have the power of free will and may choose whatever windows of opportunity they wish to pursue (or not), but not accepting the energies offered through love and sex magic holds its own brand of pain for all involved. (Unless the sexual healing takes place in a professional context, and I’ll return to this idea later.)

Again, I will use the example of my latest partner. Knowing what I do now about the primary energy of our relationship being that of healing, it’s easier for me to see all the ways in which we were in service to each other. At the time, however, I saw how much I wanted for him to fully step into his power so he could show up completely for his own life and for me. I spent the majority of the relationship waiting around for him to take this window of opportunity that I was creating for him with the magic of my love, but he never did.

And that is entirely his decision. Even though the relationship included some serious pain, I have zero regrets about spending the time and energy that I did with this person. After all, I still love him deeply, and I am working to transmute it into a love free from attachment and in complete acceptance of the healing nature of our relationship. And with this new layer of understanding, I feel as though I am more capable of receiving all the gifts he offered me while we were together, and of seeing all the ways in which love magic works below the surface.

I have also had experiences with other people who shy away from fully immersing themselves in the opportunities created by the healing of love and sex magic. Their interaction with me prompts an energetic shift in their awareness that scares them, or brings up something that they are not prepared to confront, or a decision that they are not ready to make. I briefly dated a man last year who had so much shame boil to the surface about his struggle with cocaine addiction that he could no longer see me. Another man earlier this year experienced some strong emotions after being intimate with me. The sensation overwhelmed him and he shut down in fear, despite my efforts to help him place his feelings in a healthy context.

This is where I return to the idea of professionally facilitated sexual healing. In speaking with both my dominatrix and sex worker friends, they said that creating the space for healing to occur through sex was the majority of their job (whether their clients realized it or not…mostly not). My dancer friend and I have also talked at length about the safe healing container that she facilitates when interacting with her customers. In each circumstance, these women use sex magic to create a window of opportunity for healing for their clients, who may then choose to accept it or not. Hearing about some of the profound personal breakthroughs and revelations that these men experience under the guidance of facilitated sex work is absolutely fantastic. It was fascinating to speak about the trauma work I’ve done with my clients and to hear from the dominatrix perspective about how BDSM can be such an amazing tool for healing deep shadow. When people accept the opportunities created for their healing, healing occurs. And love and sex magic work on some of the deepest wounds known to humanity.

Who exists in the world who does not need some type of healing? And how much of that pain and trauma could be released through the powerful alchemy of love and sex magic? I’m not necessarily advocating that people go out and hire sex workers, but if that’s your thing, go for it. Rather, I will absolutely advocate for bringing impeccable awareness to the healing potential of love and sexual relationships. Through some serious oversight on my part, the idea never occurred to me that, “I am a healer and healing is present in all aspects of my life, therefore healing is present in my love and sex life. The same awareness and capacity for healing which I hold to the rest of my interpersonal relationships must be present in my romantic and sexual relationships as well.”

I already feel the effects of this new awareness (particularly around the distinction between love relationships where healing happens, and healing relationships where love manifests) and I look forward to implementing these ideas in my experiences moving forward. I have yet to see a limit to the depths to which we humans can reflect each other. Love and sex magic are some of the most potent forms of alchemy, and when used with deep awareness and understanding, the opportunities for reflection and healing are endless.