Fire in the belly

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Mystical insight and enlightenment occur when the veil between the worlds is lifted, the worlds are bridged, the gap closes, and we cross over. Tom Cowan

In Celtic symbology, the cauldron features frequently. One of the major Celtic stories, that of Taliesin, begins with a magical brew of the goddess Cerridwen, to create ‘awen.’

Awen is broadly described as a flowing spirit, a kind of life essence, a source of spiritual strength, prophetic insight, and poetic inspiration. Similar to the hindu concept of shakti in the sense of being a living, feminine, flowing, creative force. 

The feminine noun, Awen, has been variously translated as ‘inspiration’, ‘muse’, ‘genius’, or even ‘poetic frenzy’. According to a 19th century Welsh dictionary, the word itself is formed by combining the two words, ‘aw’, meaning ‘a fluid, a flowing’, and ‘en’, meaning ‘a living principle, a being, a spirit, essential’. 

The story of Taliesin is filled with shamanic wisdom and clues to the practices of the ancient Celts. It includes shape-shifting, magic potions, goddesses, forbidden cities of druids, and supernatural babies being found in rivers. One of the many symbols found there, is that of the cauldron. Whilst the cauldron is used for seemingly ordinary purposes, to brew up a potion, the symbology is that the cauldron is the container for awen.

Teach to me the mystery,
Of the Cauldron’s Brew,
Let Utter Darkness give way to light,
And be reborn anew. Damh the Bard

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Erynn Rowan Laurie has written about the energetic system of the three cauldrons in her book Ogam: Weaving Word Wisdom. In this system, the cauldrons are energy centres, much like the hindu chakras. There are three cauldrons, roughly relating to earth, sea, and sky – referring to the chthonic, oceanic, and celestial aspects, and the correlation with the three realms. The Irish loved things in threes!

Like much of reconstructed Celtic druidry, revived from stories and poems, the concept of the three cauldrons comes from a 7th century Irish poem, called the ‘Cauldron of Poesy.’

Sources of nourishment, objects of quest, and containers of transformation, cauldrons simmer at the heart of Celtic myth. They are sought after but out of reach, redemptive yet threatening, holding mysteries that few ever plumb. Mary Pat Lynch

The poem describes the body as containing ‘three cauldrons’. The three cauldrons are known as the Coire Goiriath (Cauldron of Warming or Incubation), the Coire Ernmae (Cauldron of Motion or Vocation), and the Coire Sois (Cauldron of Inspiration or Knowledge). The poem is attributed to Amergin, an ancient Irish poet. It is an ancient poem of the oral tradition, written down by an Irish monk in the 7th Century.

The relative positions of these cauldrons within each person was thought to determine the overall health of a person as well as the state of their mind and psyche.

The first cauldron Coire Goirath, is the Cauldron of Warming or Incubation. Located in the pelvis, it represents physical health, physical movement, and life force, and should be in the upright position. It provides the heat and energy for the body, like a furnace.

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The second cauldron, Coire Ernmae, is the cauldron of Vocation or motion, located at the centre of the chest, in the area of the heart. This cauldron is found on its side at birth and as a result of intense emotional life experiences, begins to turn and eventually become upright. It is turned through ‘joy and sorrow’, including  spiritual joy, sexual bliss, and grief and sadness. The cauldron is matured through this process of emotional growth experiences.

The third cauldron is Coire Sois, the cauldron of Wisdom or inspiration. This cauldron is upside down in most people and it is only through the intensive work on the emotions in the second cauldron and deep esoteric study or spiritual experiences, that this cauldron begins to turn. Poetry, wisdom, and prophecy are the rewards for it cultivation.

How many divisions of sorrow turn the cauldrons of sages? Not hard, four: longing and grief, the sorrows of jealousy, and the discipline of pilgrimages to holy places. These four are endured internally, turning the cauldrons, although the cause is from outside. Cauldron Of Poesy 

Right, well some holy pilgrimages and that’s me sorted!

Drawing parallels between the cauldrons and the chakra system is unavoidable for me. Energetic centres that correspond to external stimuli and that require spiritual and emotional growth, to open and produce energy, feeling, wisdom, inspiration, and prophecy.

However Laurie warns against trying to superimpose the two systems directly, she writes that “It should be understood that the cauldrons are not identical to chakras, and their functioning is different. Rather than “wheels” of energy, they are containers, holding or pouring out different substances. Within these cauldrons one may heat, boil, or brew one’s health, talents, emotions, and wisdom or poetry.”

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The three cauldrons are said to be located at the pelvic girdle, the heart, and the centre of the head. Many moons age I had a flash of inspiration during a chakra meditation, that suggested the cauldrons loosely aligned with the chakras as such, the base/sacral/solar plexus (the ‘physical’ chakras) corresponding to the cauldron of warming, the heart chakra (the ‘bridge’ between the physical and spiritual) corresponding to the cauldron of motion (e-motion), and the throat, third eye and crown (the spiritual/etheric chakras) corresponding to the cauldron of inspiration.

My friend who has done work on the Celtic stories, aligns the chakras a little differently, with the base/sacral corresponding to the cauldron of warming, the solar plexus and heart corresponding to the cauldron of motion, and the throat, third eye and crown corresponding to the cauldron of inspiration. Elen Sentier, who writes about the celtic chakras, also combines the solar plexus and heart chakras at the centre, aligning with the Cauldron of Motion, however she couples the chakras quite differently.

The Cauldron of Vocation
Fills and is filled,
Grants gifts and is enriched,
Nourishes and is enlivened,
Sings praises and is praised,
Chants invocations and is enchanted,
Creates harmonies and is harmoniously created,
Defends and is strongly defended,
Orients and is aligned,
Upholds and is upheld. Cauldron Of Poesy

The cauldrons can be described as filling, turning, brewing, and boiling, reflecting the level of awakening and development as well as the results of working energetically with the energy centres. It is necessary to turn them to activate ‘imbas,’ the Irish word for ‘awen.’

Each cauldron can be in one of three positions: upright, tilted, or inverted. This position indicates the ability of a cauldron to function. An upright cauldron can hold and ‘cook’ its ingredients; a tilted cauldron allows its contents to slip away; an inverted one loses everything.

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Last year, I was training as a Chakradance facilitator, part of which was intensively dancing each chakra and doing some Jungian style self-analysis on each centre and it’s associations. The solar plexus chakra was a particularly powerful one for me.

You can read about it in detail in my post here, but suffice to say, the imagery was of a golden cauldron, burning away all the detritus of my past. Around the same time I had a dream so violent that I woke bolt upright in bed, after a cauldron exploded, and blew its lid. It was these experiences that prompted me to learn more about the connection between the chakras and the cauldrons.

I researched this connection and found both the Irish Celtic and the Taoist’s energy systems use the concept of cauldrons or dantian. In the Taoist tradition, the first cauldron, Lower Tan Tien, is known as “the golden stove” representing the refining and vitality of the life force into the Ching energy, which is basically a highly refined, super potent form of chi, or life force energy. Ching is creation energy, associated with the creation of life through sexual union, it is a solar channel of yang energy in the energy body.

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It seems that these ancient systems acknowledged a similar kind of energy alchemy. The lower part of the body, the belly and below, was the manifestation of our physical energy, our bodies, our senses, our will to action.

Unfortunately the Irish literature gives little clue as to how the three cauldrons were used. The Irish were an oral culture, they transmitted wisdom through song and storytelling – the bardic arts – and by use of pneumonic devices like the ogham tree symbols.

What remains of Celtic cosmology is somewhat fragmented, mostly due to the colonisation of Europe by the Romans where Celtic culture was almost completely eliminated. What little was recorded was often done so by Christian monks.

So here I am left to look to other cultures and how they manage their energetic systems, and to tap into the collective unconscious to access ancestral knowledge of the Irish. Therefore my practice is part extrapolation, part intuition.

Fortunately there is much in common in many ancient shamanic practices, and much work that has gone on, and continues to go on, in reconstructing these wonderful practices. I just have to be very careful – in my blind enthusiasm – not to make assumptions about apparent similarities and appropriate other practices inappropriately!

Other writers of the Celtic Shamanic tradition have interpreted the system of the ‘celtic chakras’ differently. Elen Sentier, in her book Celtic Chakras, uses the Celtic symbol of the spiral – specifically the triskele – to find a celtic inspired pathway through the chakras. (The triskele is the triple spiral image you see in the first image of this post)

Her method is quite different to mine, but I intend to try her meditations as I love the idea of using the triskele as a basis for navigating the cauldrons. It removes the sense of hierarchy that most westerners approach the chakras with and unites the energies of the lower and upper chakras. Here is a diagram of her method, which I am sure I will be writing more about in the future.

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So back to what I do know, the chakras we understand them in Chakradance.

The solar plexus chakra relates to our metabolism, which is basically our inner furnace. Anodea Judith says “we can assess the health of this chakra by examining our body structure at this level: tight, hard stomachs, sunken diaphragms, or large potbellies are all indications of third chakra excess or deficiency.”

Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – the third chakra revolves around themes of personal power, physical power, self-expression, and will. It its the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose.

To dance the solar plexus chakra is to call on the ancient warrior dances. In Chakradance, fast dynamic movements ignite the fire in our belly, fuelling our dance with energy and strength. Reining all this fiery energy in, movements then become strong, purposeful and clearly defined as our inner warrior emerges triumphant, brave and strong.

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The lower chakras work together, the solid ground of the base, the warming passion and pleasures of the sacral, all tend to the fire in the solar plexus. Without a solid foundation or the warming of sensual delights and creativity, there is no fuel for our fire.

When the third chakra is closed down, one may feel tired, afraid, shaky, quiet, or withdrawn. There is a fear of taking risks, confronting people or issues, taking charge, and with all this, a lack of energy. Anodea Judith

The archetype of the warrior – standing strong in their power – is the vision of the healthy solar plexus chakra. It is not aggressive, but it will not subvert itself either.

Many cultures associated this solar plexus area with our life force, the entry point of spiritual energy into the body. In traditional Japanese teachings and reiki healing, the hara system – located in the belly – is the main focus for building a person’s energy.

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Thus if our spiritual energy is low, it may manifest strongly here in our belly and solar plexus centre. Childhood traumas or abuse can lead to a depleted solar plexus chakra, and to a condition shamans know as ‘soul loss.’

Soul loss can be symptomatically identified by asking these questions:

In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence? Angeles Arrien

In shamanism, soul equates to power. Each person should have guiding spirits and power animals to protect and maintain their spiritual power. During trauma, or sometimes as a result of ignorance to their existence, we can lose these helping spirits and our power with them. Shamanic healing involves reconnecting those lost parts of spirit and our spirit helpers.

It has always been the role of the shaman to go into an altered state of consciousness and track down where the soul fled to in the alternate realities and return it to the body of the client. Sandra Ingerman

It is said that power animals and spirit guides will only stay with a person if they are honoured and cared for, we must invite them to dance with us in our journeys, listen to their messages, and live our lives with the vitality they bring. Otherwise they will get bored and wander off.

I think the same can be said for ourselves. If we don’t tend to our spirit, to our life’s passion, if we don’t ignite and tend to our inner fire, part of ourselves gets bored and wanders off, abandoning ourselves, and the lustrous gem we hold within.

Affirmations for the Solar Plexus Chakra by Natalie Southgate:

“I am worthy of the best in life.”

“I am capable.”

“I am powerful.”

“I set and reach my goals.”

“I stand up for myself and for what I believe in.”

“I know who I am and where I am going.”

Centering practice with the three realms:

http://www.tendingthepath.com/meditation-practices.html

Bless!

Damh the Bard performing the tale of Cerridwen and Taliesin

Further reading:

A comprehensive breakdown of Celtic cosmology

What is awen?

The Three Cauldrons by Mary Pat Lynch

The Three Cauldrons and the Cauldron of Poesy explained by Erynn Rowan Laurie

The Celtic Chakras. Elen Sentier

The Solar Plexus Chakra by Natalie Southgate

Images:

Triskele by Dorothy Bunny Bowen

Ceridwen

Beltane by Dorothy Bunny Bowen

Three Cauldrons positions by Searles O’Dubhain

Celtic Chakras by Elen Sentier

Golden Cauldron

Fire Transformation

Fire in the Belly by Bone Goddess

Joyful Fire Dance

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The sweet spot

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She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails. Elizabeth Edwards

This week marks both the four month anniversary of my break-up with the one I thought was ‘the One’ and the six year anniversary of my marriage ending. My second marriage, that is.

It would be easy to just fall in a heap of ‘woe is me’ weeping. Truth to told my heart is heavy and raw, but I feel that the time has come to just launch myself forward and embrace life as best I can.

The time has come to shake off the doldrums, and what better way than the Sacral Chakradance. The moon is new, the celestial energy is ripe for a rebirth of fresh, vital energy.

The sacral chakra, based in the lower belly, is the colour of a vibrant orange sunset, the centre of femininity, sensuality and feeling, the dance expresses itself through the traditional belly dances of the East.

It’s element is water, so the imagery of the dance is of flowing rivers, and the ocean, and the full moon. It is the chakra of emotions, of feeling, of the senses.

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As I have written previously, I feel that igniting the belly chakras is a great way to move through difficult emotions and replenish the lust for life, that can become depleted after prolonged illness or times of grief and sadness.

Last week I cancelled a hot date becuase I was feeling so down and disillusioned. I am hoping that moving through this sad energy and revitalising my belly chakras will shift me into reclaiming my inner goddess energy. Into feeling alive with the energy of the senses, feeling the flow of sacral energy through my belly.

In her amazing book, Vagina, Naomi Wolf describes the connection between female sexuality and creativity, she calls this the Goddess energy.

Calling to mind writers and artists like Anais Nin and Georgia O’Keefe, whose creativity skyrocketed during their passionate love affairs, Wolf uses both anedoctal evidence and medical science to support the theory that an orgasmic women is a women in full force of her energy.

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The tantric tradition supports this notion absolutely, for both men and women, a healthy and satisfying sexual and creative life is a integral part of their vitality. Fortunately for many of us, tantric breath work and practices can be done alone as well as with a partner, so being single doesn’t preclude anyone from accessing this aspect of their spiritual vitality.

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are many ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Rumi

The sacral chakra is connected to our creativity, our flow. That there exists this connection between emotion, sensuality, and creativity, makes perfect sense to me. The grief of the past few months has had a dulling effect on my vitality. Making a conscious intention to revitalise my sensuality has created a shift, and as a result I am smiling more, singing, feeling lighter. Feeling in the flow of my energy.

The sacral chakra – or Svadhisthana in sankrit – means “sweetness” or “one’s own place”. I like to call it “the sweet spot.” This alludes to the sensual bliss of an awakened sacral chakra, but more broadly to the awakening to a place in our own lives where we can embrace bliss in every area of our life.

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What makes you smile? What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? What are you passionate about? Is there any reason not to follow your bliss? For many of us the secret to success in life lies in following our heart and doing what we love, living in alignment with our natural gifts and talents.

There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy. It rises up in wordless gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being. Thomas Merton

The sacral chakra resonates to the colour orange – the colour of positive emotions, pleasure and success. The colour of flame that represents your true nature, and refers to the true and pure essence of the real you.

Svadhisthana is the seat of sexual desire, pleasure and nurturing. The sacred art of tantra uses divine energy, including this sensual, sacral energy, to propel Kundalini energy up the spine, inspiring bliss and enlightenment.

The Svadhisthana allows you to find pleasure in self-expression. Whatever that may mean for you, it may be writing, painting, dancing, singing, gardening, parenting, being of service to others – we all have our innate gifts to share with the world.

The self-respect that comes from doing the things we love and feel gifted at, flows from our sacral chakra – if you’re enthusiastic, sociable, energetic and self-assured, your sacral chakra is strong.

Here a little video to show you how to balance your sacral chakra:

After discovering Sally Kempton’s wonderful book, Awakening Shakti: The transformative power of the Goddesses of Yoga, when I was attracted to the energy of Kali, I have continued to read about the hindu goddesses in their myriad forms.

Yesterday feeling depleted and lacklustre, heading out on a date when I had absolutely zero confidence in my appeal to anyone except the dog (you know they love us unconditionally), I picked up this book and began reading about Lakshmi. I kid you not, after about ten minutes I felt my mojo begin to return. Rejection hadn’t made me undesirable, it had just made me feel that way.

Lakshmi throws the spell of the intoxicating sweetness of the divine; to be close to her is a profound happiness and to feel her within the heart is to make existence a rapture and a marvel; grace and charm and tenderness flow out from her like light from the sun and wherever she fixes her wonderful gaze or lets fall the loveliness of her smile, the soul is seized and made captive and plunged into the depths of an unfathomable bliss. Shri Aurobindo

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Prayer to Lakshmi:

O mother

Deeply embedded

Is my fear, my insecurity

Have mercy, O mother, on my wretched state.

Uproot it

With the joy that arises from your sweet and compassionate glance

Plant in us the seed of auspiciousness

As we make our way in the world.

Of her many names, one means lotus, the sacred flower that blossoms in the waters and roots itself in soil. The lotus represent the manifest world, so Lakshmi’s power can be seen as the manifestation of this flow, the energy of the waters and the fertile soil into life.

Lakshmi is beauty and life. When Lord Shiva inadvertently disrespects her, she withdraws from the three realms, and all the flowers wilt and the crops fail. She doesn’t create mass destruction like Kali, she simply withdraws her luscious, life-giving energy from the world. And the world is a drier, colourless place for her absence.

Lakshmi represents the fine balance between giving and receiving. The cycle of the natural world. As we enter into the Chinese New year of the Yin Wood Sheep, a very feminine, receptive, and nurturing time. After the strong yang energy of last year, this year is a time for nurturing, for reflection, for reestablishing our flow.

The energy of Lakshmi is the perfect meditation to restore balance and harmony to our depleted bellies. Here’s to finding your sweet spot!

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Sacral chakra affirmation by HealingJourneysEnergy.com

As I focus on this orange light that radiates from my sacral centre, I feel radiant, alive and strong.

I am able to feel all the positive emotions, I embrace them as they allow me to stand in power.

I am able to feel all the negative emotions, feelings of fear, anxiousness, doubt and I truly understand what causes them, I accept them as they bring about feelings of joy, dignity and peace as they teach me lessons of growth and truth.

I am at peace and I lovingly release any negatives feelings that cause me any discomfort and pain.

(A deep breath in) I lovingly acknowledge, accept and appreciate.

Bless!

Images:

Tantra Goddess

Khajuraho

Lakshmi

Tantra healing

Tantra Art

Further Reading:

http://www.originmagazine.com/2012/10/23/free-your-sacred-belly-by-shiva-rea/

https://sensualblissvoyager.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/imbalance-in-the-sacral-or-sex-chakra/

http://www.chakrahealing.com/blog/sacral-chakra-healing/

What is love anyway?

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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of every day’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Finding myself bemused by my New Year intentions, that one repeated word intrigues me. Love. What does that even mean?

These are my intentions, by the way. I can’t even remember them, so I certainly don’t expect you to!

Love myself, Love the natural world, Love animals, Love people, Love my work, Love my space, Love my spirit

I don’t know if it’s the Valentine’s Day hangover, but that amount of love is making me feel a little nauseous.

Love is a word so overloaded with meaning, both societal and personal. Poems and songs are written about its lofty heights. It’s the word used to describe both our most precious relationships and how we feel about a good cup of coffee or a new dress.

What did I really mean when I wrote these intentions to love so widely and completely?

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close. Pablo Neruda

To love myself or love nature, is that the same kind of love? Does it need to be? Could these intentions be an exercise in stretching my ‘love muscles’ – and you can get your mind out of the gutter, right now. There’s more than one kind of love, y’know.

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There are so many different kinds of love. Love can mean like, adore, adulate, care for, worship, cherish, yearn for, hold dear, pine for, enjoy, like, delight in, savour, fancy, admire… you get the idea. Other languages and cultures are much more nuanced in their expression of love – with words for which you need a whole sentence in English.

Saudade (Pronunciation: saw•’day•djee – Portugese) n., a strong feeling of missing someone you love.

In his wonderful article on the subject, philosopher Roman Krznaric, writes that the Greek language distinguishes at least six different ways as to how the word love is used.

The ancient Greeks were just as sophisticated in the way they talked about love, recognizing six different varieties. They would have been shocked by our crudeness in using a single word both to whisper “l love you” over a candlelit meal and to casually sign an email “lots of love.” Roman Krznaric

The first kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. Something the Greeks saw as a frightening loss of control, not the desirable state of constant arousal our modern society views it as.

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. Neil Gaiman

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The second variety of love was philia or friendship, which was valued more highly by the Greeks than the sexuality of eros. Philia describes the deep friendship that developed between men who had fought side by side on the battlefield – it epitomised loyalty, sacrifice and the sharing of deeply affecting experiences.

We’d never know how high we are ’till we are called to rise; and then, if we are true to plan, our statures touch the sky. Emily Dickinson

Ludis was the Greeks’ idea of playful love, such as the affection between children or young lovers. Think of flirting, teasing, bantering and light-hearted fun.

The fourth love was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people – compassion, charity and an empathy for all people (and all living things).

Pragma was the deep understanding between long-married couples, who demonstrate compromise, patience and tolerance.

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche

The Greek’s sixth variety of love was philautia or self-love, of which there were two kinds. One was a narcissistic self-love, where you became self-obsessed and focused on selfish ends. The second type was the idea that if you have a healthy self-love, you will have plenty of love to give others.

Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them. Leo Tolstoy

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Krznaric suggests there is a correlation between the lack of attention given to these non-sexual, non-romantic forms of love and the modern obsession with romantic love, and with finding ‘the one’. The Greeks clearly articulated that expecting one person to fulfil all our love needs was completely unrealistic.

So it makes sense that there are different kinds of love, and perhaps we are designed to experience them all. Like getting all our nutrients, perhaps this longing for the ‘one’ is a manifestation of unfulfilled love in other parts of our life. Too much focus on the meat and not enough vegetables. (Okay, that pun was intended.)

On a recent shamanic journey, I was shown another aspect of love, receiving. One of my regular animal guides, the wolf, took me on a journey that showed me how resistant I am to the love and support all around me.

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love. Rainer Maria Rilke

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As the western world celebrates – or commiserates – Valentine’s Day, I wondered why we laud the romantic love above all else?

Feeling triggered by the ebbs and flows of my own heartbreak, I found the constant emphasis on that kind of love demoralising. A guy from an online dating site asked me ‘what had reduced such a beautiful, intelligent woman to this?’ I found that strange. I didn’t feel reduced. I wanted to meet single men, it seemed like the place to do it, was I missing something?

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. Arthur Golden

And then, after some last minute cancellations, I found myself waiting for the last remaining Chakradance attendee who was a no show. Abandoned on Valentine’s Day. Uh oh.

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Then tears came. I wish they didn’t. I wish I could write that I’m all strong and warrior-like, but I’m not.

As I sat in my beautiful studio, feeling alone and abandoned. Opening my eyes a sliver of light from the red candle flame was kaleidoscoped by my tears. So unexpectedly beautiful – the outlines of angels and holographic tribal images. I began to play with my tear-filled eyes. It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain…

Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Pablo Neruda

Unable to reconcile the Valentine red hearts, roses, and chocolate idea of love; the light and sparkly new age all-embracing love; and the love that has left me so bereft,  it occurred to me that love is so much deeper than the use of word suggests. The love of mother at her child’s sick bed. Of a husband as he holds his dying wife’s hand…

Love is a risk. The risk of the loss of that which we love. Love walks the razor’s edge between unconditional love and devastating, debilitating attachment.

What is to give light must endure burning. Viktor Frankl

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Love is an act of courage. The courage to remain open after the heaviness and shards of hurt rain down on us. In the birth/death/rebirth cycle, grief is an inevitable part of love.

Grief reunites you with what you’ve lost. It’s a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that’s going away. You follow it a far as you can go. But finally, the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him. Philip K Dick

Martin Prechtel is the author of Secrets of the Talking Jaguar, an autobiographical account of his initiation as a Mayan Shaman. His lecture series on Grief and Praise is a simple yet profound insight into the false distinction between love and loss, positive and negative emotions.

It is an interesting reflection on our modern desire to both suppress grief, whilst simultaneously expressing it in unhealthy and unhealing ways, on Jerry Springer, Facebook, from a bar stool. Most of us lack the real community which would hold us as we safely grieve.

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses. Colette

Prechtel talks about grief and praise as part of the same continuum, as a yin/yang process where one always contains the other – it must or it is devoid of any real depth. Love and praise are only of substance if there is a connection involved where the loss would be felt deeply.

I love my cup of coffee but if I spill it, I’ll be upset for a moment and annoyed, but there’ll be no real grief. My dog on the other hand… The same goes for grief. We only grieve that which we have deeply loved. If there is no grief, there was no real love.

The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God! Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Perhaps this kind of community, Pretchel speaks of, where people can bear witness to our pain and our joys is something we have to create in the modern world, we don’t live in extended families and tribes, and if we break down in the street we are more likely to be carted off to the psych ward than given a cup of tea and a friendly shoulder to cry on.

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break. William Shakespeare

In a society where it is not safe to grieve, we abandon ourselves before anyone can abandon us, and withhold emotions because we fear it is unsafe. This repression and denial of grief manifests as all kinds of psychosis and physical symptoms, passed down as psychic wounds from generation to generation. These tribal and ancestral wounds are energetically lodged in our base chakra and can make us feel unsafe and insecure.

You won’t find these wounds on an x-ray or ultrasound, yet they will emerge from within when it is safe, if the timing is right, and you have the tools to process and honour them, if you give them the words they need to take flight, you can finally grieve them.

Each of us has his own rhythm of suffering. Roland Barthes

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I was fifteen the first time tried to take my own life. That wasn’t the last time. That medicine cabinet still stands in my mother’s bathroom. Whenever I see it, I can still feel the ache of that girl.

As she emptied the pills in her hand. Her tears as she swallowed them, really thinking it was the end. Of what she thought she would find there. Relief, escape from the burden of an open heart.

Instead of a white cadillac to the clouds, I vomited until I bled, and there were tearful confessions, remonstrations, and resolutions.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. Joseph Campbell

I don’t know what makes someone that thin-skinned. I don’t know why things never bounced off my skin the way the did off other people’s. Why the stings and arrows all got wedged in my heart.

This has been my journey. Being born with an over-full, ever-open heart. Experiencing shame at a too young age. Learning that people would stop loving me if I wasn’t good enough.

Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing. Elizabeth Gilbert

Open heart. Broken ever wider. Yet when I journey there I see a beautiful garden growing in the ruins.

Maybe it’s okay to be alone in my garden. It’s beautiful. It lives. I am grateful.

So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love. E.A. Bucchianeri

I am grateful for my body
I am grateful for my heart
I am grateful for my spirit

Bless!

Images: http://www.jamesreads.com/

Embracing the dark

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How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole. C.G. Jung

Sometimes I wish my brain had a flip-top and I could lift the lid and just pour in all the wisdom of the ages. That, or a plug-in upload, Matrix-style.

I know, I know my brain would explode, my mind would be fried…

It’s just, sometimes, let’s face it, most of the time, when I go to write a blog post, I feel so fired up about the subject, and yet so awed and humbled by all that I don’t know. It’s almost enough to stop me from writing. Almost, but not quite.

My time is limited, as a working mum, running a small business, writing blogs, and studying online courses, my research is dillentantish at best. I know, I know, I could just do less and research one thing and not get fascinated by new aspects of my journey every week, but, pfffft… Have you met me?

This is the pile of books I’m trying to absorb by osmosis as I write…

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As such, I find myself madly trying to absorb information and write and meditate on my subjects. I’m sure in time I’ll reflect back on this mess and chaos in bemusement, I hope I’ll be kind to myself for attempting all that I am, and remember that from chaos all things are born.

In fact, many of the dark mother goddesses, Sekhmet, Lilith, Hecate, and Kali were ‘born’ from variations of the concept/deity/state of Chaos. It is a force present at the conception of most ancient creation stories. Chaos is the great void, the un-manifest. All potential but no form. (Much like this post.)

So please accept my mental meanderings, they are definitely not the results of years of scholarly research and practice. They are the musings of a woman on fire.

A woman who has glimpsed her true nature and power. A woman who intends to waste no more time being small and meek and silent. A woman who is not afraid to get things wrong and make mistakes and ask obvious questions, or even write ill-conceived blog posts, if it opens a sacred door inside her and others. (Okay, well maybe she is sometimes afraid, but she’s doing it anyway.)

the way to create art is to burn and destroy ordinary concepts and to substitute them with new truths that run down from the top of the head and out of the heart. Charles Bukowski

So in my quest to understand the dark mother archetype, I plead to the goddesses for mercy, I mean no offence, my heart is pure. I want to know you better.

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Chthonic “in, under, or beneath the earth”, from “earth,” The literal translation is ‘subterranean’. The translation of meaning discusses deities or spirits of the underworld, especially in Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for “earth”; it typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land (as Gaia or Ge does) or the land as territory (as khora (χώρα) does). It evokes at once abundance and the grave. Wikipedia

Chthonic. One of my most favourite words. That conglomerate of consonants sounds so dense and seductive. Like the earth herself. The wisdom that comes from deep, within the earth. We all come from the earth, from the raw materials that make all of life.

We are all mothers, creators. Even if we don’t reproduce actual humans, even if we don’t consciously create, every thought, breath and action is co-creating, contributing to the world.

And we are destroyers too. We bring death and destruction with our every breath, as our body shifts and transforms, cells die and are jettisoned to make way for new life.

Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction. Pablo Picasso

Why then do so many of us deny this aspect of humanity? And what effect is this denial having in the world?

The distinctions between the ideal attributes of the mother, and the attributes of the dark goddess seem, to me, to be a by-product of civilisation, of taming the natural cycles of life into nice, neat pigeon-holes. This delineation is certainly exaggerated in modern western culture, to the point where we whitewash, malign, or deny the dark mother archetype entirely.

Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event. Carl Jung

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Yes. It’s a repeat of the first picture, I know. Just to save you have to scroll to look at it again…

Look at Kali Ma, isn’t she sexy? Can you imagine thinking the Virgin Mary was sexy? How many hail Marys and eternal damnations would that invoke?

Many religions have completely separated the ideal of the ‘good’ mother from the real woman, who actually has sex, who must balance light and dark, who may be loving and nurturing but also ready to destroy and battle at the drop of a hat. The mother who has a libido, who is lusty, luscious, and lascivious, whose sexual energy pours forth from her innermost being.

And when I say mother, I think of her in the sense of the maiden-mother-crone archetype. She is indicative of a phase of the feminine psyche, not the direct result of bearing children as such, although those attributes may also come into it.

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Kali is the goddess of empowerment, or shakti. It is said that after drinking the blood of Raktaveeja, Kali was so aroused by the battle that she could not stop her dance of destruction. The only way Shiva could stop her from destroying the whole universe was by lying down in her path.

In one version, as Kali stepped on his chest, he was in her way after all, she managed to arouse him enough to receive his seed and bring about his rebirth. In other versions he appears as a baby to arouse her maternal instincts and placate her.

Some say Shiva here represents the manifest, the stable. Kali comes along to destroy the status quo allowing change, transformation, regeneration. Kali is the creator of life, the destroyer of that which has served its purpose, and the re-creator of new life from the seeds of the old. Like a bushfire burning out old growth and triggering dormant seeds to grow.

Other interpretations read the scene as Kali and Shiva – the masculine and feminine energies – needing each other for balance. Gopi Krishna proposed that Kali standing on the dead Shiva symbolised the helplessness of a person undergoing the changing process (psychologically and physiologically) in the body when the Kundalini Shakti energy is awakened.

The urge to destroy is also a creative urge. Pablo Picasso

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Mother and destroyer. Nurturer, life-giver, and the taker of life. How do we reconcile these extremes of the dark goddess?

Perhaps they are only extreme to the modern reader.

In ancient times the great mother birthed us, we took refuge in her womb-like caves, and then returned to her earth when we died. Life and death were not seen as distinct and separate things, life to be sought after and death to be avoided, they were part of the natural cycle.

The human body is not a thing or substance, given, but a continuous creation. The human body is an energy system which is never a complete structure; never static; is in perpetual inner self-construction and self-destruction; we destroy in order to make it new. Norman O. Brown

Many of these ancient goddesses were conceptualised as triple-goddesses, manifestations of the various aspects of the feminine life-cycle and attributes, usually in the form of the maiden-mother-crone archetypes.

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I’ve been afraid of the dark. I have been raised to associated dark with evil. But that’s a dirty, rotten lie. We came from the dark of the womb and we return to the dark of the earth when we die.

And as I get older I am more fascinated with the dark goddess. Not satisfied at a soul level by just being a ‘good’ wife, mother, daughter. I feel compelled to investigate the full depth and breadth of my being. And I need to find a way to integrate and honour all aspects of being in a spirit of wholeness.

Life is fury, he’d thought. Fury — sexual, Oedipal, political, magical, brutal — drives us to our finest heights and coarsest depths. Out of furia comes creation, inspiration, originality, passion, but also violence, pain, pure unafraid destruction, the giving and receiving of blows from which we never recover. The Furies pursue us; Shiva dances his furious dance to create and also to destroy… This is what we are, what we civilize ourselves to disguise — the terrifying human animal in us, the exalted, transcendent, self-destructive, untramelled lord of creation. Salman Rushdie

Darkness can be beautiful, whilst excessive light can bleach out all nuance, shadows play with light to create the otherworld. It is only in the dark that we can see the spirit world, in the light there are too many distractions. In the dark our inner eye, our third eye, or ‘strong eye’ as the Australian aboriginals call it, can see with clarity.

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As someone who has been conditioned to believe in the light, in goodness, it has been a challenge for me to acknowledge, let alone accept, my shadow aspects.

Yet as I spend time in a darkened room journeying by candlelight, dancing the dance of the base chakra, following the roots of trees into the moist, dark earth, dancing with spirit animals in caves, and sitting in quiet meditation in the dark, I have been pleasantly surprised to find deep solace and respite there.

Think of the taoist concept of yin and yang. The nature of change, constant interaction, balanced in an infinite manner due to its relative nature.

I know, I know, I’m drawing on a hotch-potch of cultural influences here. But my point is that all traditional cultures recognised the natural way of balancing the energies of dark and light. There is not judgement about what is ‘better’ merely the recognition that balance is essential to the flow of life.

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When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.
Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other. Tao Te Ching

And as I research this blog, as I tried to find meditations and affirmations of embracing the darkness, I was not surprised to find a dearth of such things. There’s plenty of stuff about turning darkness and shadows into light, but what of embracing the dark and the shadows, of seeing what it has to teach us. Not so much of that…

If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth. Carl Sagan

I have been drawn to the images and stories of the dark goddesses; Sekmet, Kali, Morrígan, goddesses who revelled in blood and battle, and the fiery transformation of death.

In reading these myths and stories, it helps me to think of death, not only in the literal physical sense, but also in the sense of a dying to self. That process where we let go of old ideas, old versions of our self, to be transformed into something more vital, more alive with life-force.

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In my limited experience with these goddesses, that is the energy they bring. It’s a no holes-barred challenge, are you ready to face your fears, to grow, to let go of life’s detritus, to battle the forces of stasis and entropy?

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. Joseph Campbell

A few moons ago a friend asked me to assist in a ritual to The Morrígan. I was a little wary, I mean I’m a white-lighter from way back, give me Brigid or Danu any day, but The Morrígan, she scares me. The ritual was both powerful and enlightening (en-darkening?) for me. I saw that my fear came from the suppression of the very qualities The Morrighan evokes.

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The Morrígan is a goddess of battle, strife, and sovereignty. The Irish sidhe (varieties of spirits) were shape shifters. Morrígan sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above warriors, and in the Ulster Cycle – one of the main stories that inform Celtic mythology – she also takes the forms of an eel, a wolf, and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity, although her association with a cow also suggests a role connected with the land.

She is often depicted as a trio of goddesses, all sisters, although the names vary, most commonly used are Badb, Macha and Nemain, or Badb, Macha and Anand.

In the Irish tradition, Miranda Green write that there is a very direct relationship between goddesses, sovereignty, and warfare, and that warfare and fertility seem closely aligned, suggesting a concept of giving and taking, birth and death and “the opening and closing of life.”

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Attending a Shaktipat ceremony last week, where we performed powerful pranayama (breathing) exercises, followed by an awakening of the kundalini energy, I found myself experiencing a powerful rising of energy from my belly, in a roomful of people who sounded as if they were having spontaneous orgasms! The energy was electrified with primal and ecstatic cries. I have never experienced anything like it, well, maybe once, but we won’t go there right now.

There is a time in my life where this would have completely freaked me out. However my chakra work allowed me to ride these waves of energy, and allow my own waves to undulate with snake-like grace through my energy body. It was truly blissful.

Since then, and with the constant preparation for the base chakra and sacral chakra dances for my Chakradance classes, I have been investigating the ‘belly’ as a primal and vital feminine energy centre.

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The belly contains our lower three chakras. The base, our instinctual and primal centre, the sacral our sensual and emotional centre and the solar plexus, our centre of will and power.

Of course, wanting to extend and expand on this experience, I have been reading about the belly, belly-dance, breath work, and tantric exercises. The belly is the birthplace of the body, but also our connection to the earth, to our sensual natures and to our powerful warrior natures.

By awakening the kundalini energy, we can experience flow through these chakras, uniting the earthy, dark, sensuality and fire of the lower chakras with the airy, light and etheric nature of the upper chakras. We can balance our dark and light energy and nature.

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Guided cave meditation – take a journey into a cave and see who you meet there…

Affirmations and reflections for embracing the dark goddess

Contemplate the Dark moon, the Great void, places of potential, of creative intention, not so much nothingness, but the space from which all creation comes.

See the darkness as a space of infinite possibilities. Visualise a force that creates, that transforms, and re-creates in a continuous cycle.

Imagine the darkness of a cave, of the womb, as a sacred space to explore hidden aspects of yourself.

Ask yourself:

What part of self am I denying?

What burdens am I carrying? 

What is weighing me down?

What can be burnt or destroyed?

What detritus is lurking in my heart?

Where am I stuck?

What is stopping me from living out loud?

Affirm:

I embrace the darkness within

I am unafraid to bear witness to my shadow self

I honour my pain, my grief, my scars

I am in the natural cycle of death and rebirth

I release all that is no longer needed to the fire of transformation

I honour my sensual, sexual, animal self

More than any other goddess, Kali has the power to free you from what keeps you stuck…. She appears fearsome to those who fear letting go of their veils, but when we’re open to her power, she is the mother, the teacher, the Lover. Sally Kempton

Bless!

Spider woman post

Read more…

The Manifestation of Kali as an Astrophysical Anomaly

Images:

Kali

Kali Breasfeeding 

Kali Dancing on Shiva

Lilith by Susan Seddon Boulet

Dark Goddess

Beauty and the Beast 

Morrigan

Moon Goddess

Crone Goddess by Susan Seddon Boulet

Diana by Susan Seddon Boulet

Oshun by Susan Seddon Boulet

Spider Woman

Let’s get wild

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We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. Henry David Thoreau

There’s a half-written blog post languishing in my drafts folder, intended for this week, but as often happens, some thing burns a hole in my soul and I just have to write about it instead.

The soul-burning issue this week is self-restraint.

Now I’m a fan of self-restraint to a degree. I accept that we learn to keep our hands out of the fire and to not blindly walk across the road in the face of a Mack truck. Not to mention the restraint of pen and tongue that is so vital to peace in relations between family, neighbours, and nations.

However, when self-restraint tips over into stifling our wild nature, well, I have a little something to say about that.

As I resume teaching Chakradance for the New Year, I have been fielding lots of queries from interested people. And there is a disturbing trend emerging. Now I want to make it clear that this post is not based on any one individual, but on what seems to be an overwhelming reaction to the idea of dancing without inhibitions.

The refrain I keep hearing is that you would love to do Chakradance but…

You think you can’t dance

You think you’ll look foolish

You’re feel insecure and self-conscious about your body

You are worried what will people think of you

After one gorgeous person after another laid these concerns on me, I began to feel really sad. I mean it’s possible that these are excuses, that they really don’t want to do Chakradance, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to evangelise here!

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But you see, I know they’re not just excuses, because I have had them too.

For years, I was a party animal, I would get drunk or high and dance the night away. When I gave up all that, I felt like I had lost the ‘fun’ button. I didn’t know how to relax into my body, how to move freely. When I danced, I feel like I had wooden legs.

And the irony is that the only cure for these inhibitions and insecurities – for me – was to dance in spite of them. To dance harder in the face of them, to thumb my nose and stick my bum out and wiggle my hips at them.

You see, they are a barrier to my wildness, and once I opened the door to my wildness, she came and whooped those fears right away.

Wild child full of grace
Saviour of the human race. Natural child, terrible child
Not your mother’s or your father’s child
You’re our child, screamin’ wild. The Doors

The idea of me being a Chakrdance teacher seemed ludicrous to me. I mean, I’m the one always turning the wrong way in dance class, I stumble a lot. I don’t look like a dancer…

So many mental barriers.

Writing this blog has given me the freedom to follow my wildness. Because, you see, my heart wanted me to dance. And maybe I thought, I can encourage other people who would love to express themselves in some wild and creative way, but hold themselves back for fear they don’t fit the bill.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver

As I practice for the Chakradance Journeying classes, I dance to the themes of the Earth, trees, and animals. These are dances that focus on connecting with your wildness, your deepest primal nature. Dances that transport you into the ancient energy of your ancestors and the spirit of the land.

I connected with a wolf spirit in the power animal dance, and afterwards I was drawn to pick up an old, favourite book, Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women who run with the Wolves.

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I was given my copy of this transformative book 17 years ago by my first husband. He often lamented how uptight and restrained I was, he could see there was a wild woman in there just itching to get out, if I’d only just let her free.

Over the years I’ve re-read parts and the entirety of the book and it always has great wisdom for me.

I’ve also been drawn recently to books and stories of women who literally go into the wild, like Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Robyn Davidson’s Tracks and Nomads.

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.John Muir

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating a wholesale Thoreau-esque return to nature here.

In his book on the ecology of Celtic spirituality, The Salmon in the Spring, Jason Kirkey writes of the need for integration. We know our technological life is inherently lacking in spirit, and yet who of us wants to live without electricity and running water – only a small few.

The goal then is to integrate our technological advances with a renewed spiritual connection with the wilderness. Intrinsic to our soul is a deep need for this connection and only by honouring this can we bring the vision of a truly modern world – one that respects science, technology, nature and spirit – into being. Kirkey argues that evolution is the key, we cannot go backwards to a more primitive life, nor should we.

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The mantle bestowed on humans in collective evolution is our ability for self-reflective awareness. This is not ‘our’ intelligence per se, but rather the evolutionary process has blessed us with this capacity to be a “particular expression of an intelligence and subjectivity” present in the cosmos from the beginning. In the scheme of things, of nature, humans got the job of self-reflection.

Our purpose now is to integrate this reflective consciousness into a mode of living that is in harmony with the evolutionary functions of all life – and not contrary to it.

It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way. Cheryl Strayed

Sandra Ingerman says, from the shamanic perspective, we dream our world into being, and we can’t keep dreaming the old dream, we need a new one. I keep thinking of Robert A Johnson who writes in The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden: Understanding the Wounded Feeling Function in Masculine and Feminine Psychology, that the feminine psyche tends to solve problems by focusing on reducing the differences between opposing sides – mediating and peace-making – rather than in out and out battle.

In some ways this has lent itself to the feminine being always accommodating to her own detriment. But wildness is not synonymous with aggression. We can be wild and let our wildness shine and radiate its effects on those around us, without any force or aggression.

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Most of us exist for most of the time in worlds which are humanly arranged, themed and controlled. One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence. Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made. They pose profound questions about our durability and the importance of our schemes. They induce, I suppose, a modesty in us. Robert Macfarlane

Think of the Mother bear archetype. I remember after years of trying to advocate for my son with autism, and being consistently made to feel that I didn’t know what was best, because I was a mother not an expert, my maternal ire rose up in me and I started being a mother bear. When something was against my maternal instinct, I stood my ground.

This internal shift has made me a much better mother, as I now have a steady internal compass for my parenting. I am not always looking to others to tell me what I should do.

Wildness in parenting, in any aspect of life and relationships means using instinctual intelligence – trusting our gut. Doing what we know is right even though the ‘powers that be’ – both internal and external – may not approve.

We may have to step out of the dynamic of being good and polite and nice. Perhaps like me, you had these qualities drummed into you as a child, as virtues. Perhaps being polite has also left you defenceless and vulnerable in dangerous situations. Situations your instinct would have warned you from, if you had been brought up to be attentive to it. Situations where sometimes the only way out with your life was to give up a piece of your soul. And bit by bit these woundings deplete our wildness. But the wild spirit is regenerative. The soul wants to heal and it will, given the space to.

Though the gifts of the wildish nature come to us at birth, society’s attempt to “civilize” us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Chakradance is described as a dance practice for the soul. The intention is reconnect to our true essence or self – to tune into that deeper part of us and hear what it has to say.

In our forests
part divine
and makes her heart palpitate
wild and tame are one. What a delicious Sound! John Cage

These days there is an epidemic of challenging symptoms in our modern lives – depression, anxiety, addictions, compulsive behaviours – the list goes on. In traditional shamanic cultures, it is believed that these symptoms arise from loss of connection to the soul.

Oh, I’m burning! I wish I were out of doors! I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free… and laughing at injuries, not maddening under them! Why am I so changed? Why does my blood rush into a hell of tumult at a few words? I’m sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills. Open the window again wide: fasten it open! Emily Brontë

Fortunately, the soul has a natural instinct to heal. It communicates with us through our bodies, our feelings, our relationships, our dreams, our art. And once we listen to our souls language, we find the path to wholeness, we align our inner and outer lives.

Chakradance workshops are a journey inwards. But they are by no means the only way to make this connection.

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We can reconnect with our nature self, our primal self, our wild self, by reconnecting with mother earth, and the elements of water, air, sunshine, moonlight, starlight. This can be as simple as:

Walking on the earth with bare feet

Singing with all your heart

Dancing with abandon

Standing beneath the moon and the starry night sky

Sitting in silent solitude

We can model wildness for future generations as the way to integrate modern life with our inner instinctual selves. A balanced way of life for both the natural ecology and the internal ecology – toward an individuated and balanced psyche. For a balanced person will want to protect what it loves, the wilderness within and without.

What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. Mahatma Gandhi

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Root Chakra Affirmations from Chakra Anatomy 

I feel deeply rooted.

I am connected to my body.

I feel safe and secure.

Just like a tree or a star, I have a right to be here.

I stand for my values, for truth, and for justice.

I have what I need.

I am grounded, stable, and standing on my own two feet.

I nurture my body with healthy food, clean water, exercise, relaxation, and connection with nature.

I am open to possibilities.

I am grateful for all the challenges that helped me to grow and transform.

I trust in the goodness of life.

I make choice that are healthy and good for me.

I trust myself.

I love life.

Bless!

Images:

Anita Anti & Margarita Kareva

For more information on Chakradance