Winter

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!

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!

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.

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