Being an animist means that I am quite naturally spiritually eclectic, swimming in a sea of esoteric and pagan traditions. One tradition that always fascinated me is chanting with mala beads. I would see the Sadhus on TV, with their beads swiftly flowing over their fingers as their minds and souls would soar over the Ganges and wonder what they were doing.
The first time I did a full round of the beads with my chant, my mind became crystal clear and needle sharp, I couldn’t believe how wonderful it made me feel.
I haven’t stopped since.
Chanting has helped me to reach a higher state of consciousness, connection and wisdom.
I reach a place of peace and serenity that I rarely reach in any other form of meditation.
Recently, after attaining mastery over a chant, I started receiving messages from a being of another dimension, it seems that a way to access this is through chanting.
I love the idea of the mala beads, ‘garlands from heaven’ I see the beads as they are in this world, often beautiful, strings of beads, maybe with embellishment or a tassel.
But in the other world, through my shamanic eye, I see its true form, a garland of sacred flowers plucked from heaven itself.
There are 108 beads and as many reasons why it is 108, one of which is, there are approximately 108 meridians that run through the heart chakra, seat of love, compassion, creation and manifestation.
There is also a guru bead, which we never chant on or cross, it is left as a holy bead, it is sacred, reserved for gratitude and thanks to our teachers, God, higher self.
I love how chanting with these beads fit so well with any other tradition, for example; I sit, every Saturday evening, along with my fellow shaman, with our mesa’s open, dreaming our world into being.
I still do this, but I end by chanting a full cycle of a world prayer.
I’ll tell you about that later.
So how do you do it?
Acquire a set of mala beads, either made or bought.
Dedicate them in your way.
Bless them, in your way.
Drape the beads over your middle or ring finger, (never the index finger, the finger of ego) use your thumb to gently squeeze, roll, or stroke the bead whilst you chant your chant, (silently or out loud) then you push it along, continuing with the next beads.
Once you have made your way to the ‘guru bead’ at the beginning, you can turn it around and start again.
For some reason only my higher self knows, I decided that I needed a set of mala beads for each of the chants I use. And so, it began…
My first mala was made from rudraksha, seeds of a holy tree that only grows in the Himalayan mountain ranges.
Rudraksha beads are good for protecting you from heavy energies and supporting your energy field. They also help to purify your body and mind.
Om Namah Shivaya.
Om is the sound that came out of the void of potential, before existence came Om.
Namah, means literally bow.
Shivaya means God, higher self, divine self, the inner self, future potential. ‘Om, I bow to my sacred self’
Loka Samastah Sukhino Bhuv Antu.
Loka, means all the people, the universe, all is one.
Samastah, means All beings in the same time and location.
Sukhino, means free from suffering, centred on happiness.
Bhuv, means the state of unified existence, unity consciousness.
Antu, means May it be so.
Om Mani Padme Hum.
‘Om, behold the jewel in the lotus of the heart!’
For me this beautifully phonic chant opens up the heart chakra to love, munay, compassion and a fierce one heart flame.
I dedicated this mala recently to this exact cause, the dawn of the One Heart Flame.
There is so much to know within this mantra, I couldn’t possibly go through it all now.
It purifies; pride, jealousy, lust, prejudice, judgementalness, violence and apathy.
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
It is literally the word ‘peace’ repeated three times. It is a divine feminine chant, for each of the three worlds within us.
Om Kreem Kalikayai Namaha.
The chant I use has been said to be only used by very few initiates due to its purgative nature, you literally call Kali to come and destroy all that does not serve you, destroying the ego, fast-tracking you to enlightenment.
One chant I have created myself, is for Mother Earth, Prithvi in Sanskrit spirituality.
Om Shree Prithvi Ma Purnatva Prithvi Ma.
This chant for me is so melodic, it calls for healing of the earth and offers great respect and gratitude for Her. It connects you to the earth around you, allowing you to find that deeper connection and truth, that we are a part of her.
Mala beads and the chants are such a blessing, and I implore everyone to try it out and see what you think. Experiment, and find your voice.
Ask the universe for a garland of flowers direct from heaven, maybe you will find one that suits your practise.
Sometimes, if you sit in silence and stillness with your morning coffee, you can mistakenly think that the world is equally full of stillness and silence. In reality it is quite the opposite, a global storm blows fiercely in our collective psyche. The governments across all nations are in shambles, people are vicious to each-other, not to mention the horrors of the earth. We treat nature (and its animals) as a commodity, something to be sold and abused at our will, when in reality we are a part of it. Pollution, plastic in the oceans, GMO, pesticides, ecocide, animal cruelty, oil spills, 5G, fracking, chemtrails…the list goes on.
There is a prophecy, according to the Inca people of Peru, that states that we are in a time called the ‘Pachacutti,’ the ‘Turning of the Earth Right Way Up’. It is a time of the Great Gathering, a reintegration of the people from the four corners of the earth. The new caretakers and healers of the earth will come from the West. Those who have made the greatest impact on Mother Earth will have the responsibility to heal their inner landscapes, transforming their old worn-out wounds and re-build their relationship with nature. The prophecy marks the end of time as we know it, the end of our current, toxic way of thinking and being on the earth. They speak of a golden age to come, but before that, there will be great changes in the earth and in our psyche, a redefining moment exploring what it means to be human.
This end brings a trail of destruction and chaos. European civilisations will continue to collapse and a tear in the fabric of time and space will appear, then, Pachacutti will return to restore balance.
There is more, but I’ll stop there for now, because I have recently read a very similar prophecy in another culture that I’d like to share. In fact, this prophecy is eerily similar to many other prophecies in different cultures, these prophecies’ are all coming true.
On the 18thof February, 3102BCE, an era called the Kali Yuga began, it was considered the time when Krishna left the mortal plane and returned to Vaikuntha. From this moment on we slowly descended into spiritual darkness, turning away from the light. The spiritual essence of mankind began to degrade, we became further away from God and morality lost its legs. I have read that during this time, humans’ lowest instincts are stimulated. Similarly to the Inca prophecy, the Hindu prophecy says that man will persecute the sages, false Gurus will be honoured as Brahmans, delivering sacred knowledge to the unworthy. Unseeing men will study sacred texts, self-proclaiming themselves as experts, yet will spread rot in the hearts of the vulnerable. Fear will spread like a plague, countries and assemblies will oppose each-other. Thieves will become kings and kings will become thieves. The earth will become barren as will our bodies, drought, flood, strange weather patterns. Language will become foul. Homelessness will increase, envy and discontent will reign, those without honour will preach of virtues, and censorship will cloud the truth. Water and vegetation will lack nourishment, men will fall through lack of self-worth and value. Many people will become listless and lethargic as if befallen a contagious disease…
There are many prophecies like this, each herald the end of the old world and the beginning of a new one, another common factor in these prophecies’ is The Return of the King; Krishna, Pachacutti, Jesus, Merlin, King Arthur, Horus, Quetzelcoatl, Elohim, Buddha, the Witch King – even the return of our alien over-lords has been predicted.
The Inca prophesised about the tear in the fabric of time and space, what is this? Within the centre of our galaxy is a black hole, seen by some as the sacred yoni of the Dark Feminine, the yoni of Kali Ma perhaps? Are we being birthed something new?
I don’t actually believe someone of high spiritual ranking will return to save us, we are not damsels in distress, I believe the return of the King represents the consciousness shift we will/are going through. Call it Christ consciousness, Buddha consciousness, whatever you like, it is the shift from our lower instinctual self, to being in our highest and most authentic self, recognising our divinity. We are becoming the people we want to see int the world, we are collectively stepping up and being the hero in our civilisations story.
But first, the darkness. We truly are in the shit aren’t we…the truth is, we are in a dark shadow. Spiritually speaking, metaphysically speaking, quantum physically speaking, we are all light, everything is light. Matter, our 3D world, is less than 1% solid and 99.99999% empty space, we live in the less-than-1% world, what goes on in the 99.99999%?
We are in a very important time in our civilisation’s (his/her)story. This light is not only getting brighter, it’s getting bigger/closer. We live in the 1%, the shadow, the darkness, the place of chaos, so as this light gets brighter, the shadow place gets darker. As this light gets bigger/closer, our shadow becomes smaller, more compact and tighter.
Imagine we live on the edge of a precipice, a huge, endless chasm spans out between us and a giant mountain on the other side. The sun is on the other side of the mountain, the light, we can’t see it. We live in the shadow of this mountain, the sun is rising slowly, as the sun rises, the shadow gets smaller, as the sun gets stronger the shadow gets darker. We are on very edge, there is almost no more room for us all, imagine how you’d feel on this edge? Wouldn’t you want to fight for your place in the shade? Wouldn’t you fear falling off the edge?
In this place we call home, the shadow world is at its most active, EVERYTHING is coming up out of the shadow world. Personally, anything you have resisted, hidden away, blocked or pushed down, is now popping its head up in your world whether you want to see it or not; It wants to be heard, it wants to be acknowledged, you need to heal it, learn from it, transcend it, it’s YOUR responsibility.
Collectively, in our culture, all our repressed cultural wounds are screaming to be heard. These shadows are coming up through each one of us too. We are mirrors to each other, we are literally voting for the clearest of mirrors to become our Prime Ministers and Presidents, and really, they are doing a great job of tapping into our cultural wounds too! Well done for shining the brightest light on the shadow of repression, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, abuse and all the other murky, underworld shit we didn’t want to deal with. It’s all up now, the corruption, the exploitation, the rape, the violence, the murder…big words? Big shadows, all ours!
I did wonder, were the fires of the Amazon Rainforest, the ‘Burning Bush’ we’ve been waiting for, the signal of the end? The darkest hour is before dawn; the Kali Yuga ends 2025.
So, what do we do, I hear you ask. We are standing, fighting for space, on the edge of the precipice, our world is on fire in every sense of the word. We could jump, but what if we fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? Jumping into the unknown isn’t as crazy as it sounds, we can’t create a future from our past, if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always get what we’ve always got, which, at the moment, is a bit shit to be honest. We need to inform our lives from our future, from a place that says, ‘I don’t know,’ it means trusting that the path will find our feet if we just take that leap of faith into the unknown. Some of us will do this, we will fly, we will lead, we will change the world, it’s already happening.
You could just stand still and let the Shadow wash through you. Dealing with our shadows (wounds, things that press our buttons) internally so they no longer personally affect us is vital for a bright future and present. We shaman say, ‘Shine like the sun, who does not cast a shadow,’ be the brightest thing in the universe, deal with all your shadows so you don’t cast any shadows onto the rest of the world. We all need to heal our wounds, we owe it not only to ourselves, but to our children and the world around us.
The Golden age in Hindu mysticism is called Satya Yuga, it is the next era we will eventually live in, a time of peace, beauty, kindness, compassion and love, but this wont start till about 2325, we have a 300 year interval period, where I think we will be setting the scene, ready for this golden paradise, we have a lot of evolving and growing up to do before we can have this! (Guessing it will take several generations before this fully happens…)
But, in reality, we make our own heaven and hell, the Kali Yuga is all around us because we make poor choices, we live a life of greed, only serving the self. We allow bad things to happen around us without standing up and saying, not in my name. We are unkind, unkind to each other, unkind to the earth and the environment we live in and we are unkind to other beings who live on this beautiful planet, the animals, the plants the trees.
If we live an authentic life, a full life, if we love deeply, share our compassion and understanding generously, be truthful, be fierce and be congruent, if we choose love over anything else, we will always be in Satya Yuga.
The Pachacutti is happening, the world is shaking itself free, all that is false is crumbling to the floor; when it comes to the corrupt, as it is seen, so shall it be destroyed. A planetary shift is shaking us to the very core of who we are as humans, what is it to be human anyway? We are only now finding this out.
I believe it’s going to be a bumpy ride; I think things are about to get much worse to be honest, how we act will determine how we survive. There are those who are living Satya Yuga, those imaginal cells who are paving the way, learn from them. Live consciously; if you think you ought to be doing something, stopping something, changing something, if you are called to do, say, act, be…listen to that, live consciously. If you are equally called to stop, to listen, to do less, and Be more, do that. Expand your knowledge, learn, be an empty vessel to receive new information, question what you see and read, lift that bull-shit veil from your eyes. Always question; what if this isn’t true? We are all in this together, hold each-others hand along the way, we are about to learn what it means to be human! We’ve got this!
There is a silent revolution. It has no leader or hierarchy, no rules or creeds, yet there are thousands of us around the globe; and we are growing. There isn’t a name for us, so the governments and those who control them cannot find us. We are hidden yet ever present and fully aware. We can all feel it, the need for change. We see the chaos in our world, the corruption in our governments, run by horrifying, bigoted clowns. Fear has turned us against each other, brothers and sisters at war, neighbours at war, nations at war. Our land has been raped, our rivers and seas poisoned.
Amongst the darkness in our world, there is a light burning brightly in the hearts of those who care. I believe there is a shift happening in our collective consciousness. The morphic field around us is tapping into our moral codes, helping us to make better choices, to see the reality of what’s really going on. A revolution is happening.
The Amazon has always had a special place in my heart, so seeing it burning really hurt my soul. It was, is, a pivotal point in our history, I believe it was the burning bush we needed to see to be called into action, to be present, to take a stand and make a pledge to dedicate our lives to the survival of our humanity, our earth and our future generations. Leonardo de Vinci once said,
“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing, knowing is not enough, we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do.” I think this is says it all.
So, I have a list. The best way to stick two fingers up at all governments and cooperate companies (who are partly responsible for the atrocities of our planet and us) is to go against their agendas. They want you to feel like you are not good enough. They want you to feel that without them, their polices, their rules, their products, are worthless. They want you to be fearful, numb consumers, they want to separate and segregate us in to thousands of factors and fractions so they can keep us small, controllable.
There is a secret love in RevolUTION. Love is all you need, lets real-eyes what they are really doing and let civil disobedience rule!
Now, what can you can do?:
The Q’ero people do not believe in heaven or hell, they don’t believe we were kicked out of the garden of Eden either, they believe we never left. We just built cities on it and painted her with cement. Can you imagine if we treated the earth like it was the garden of Eden? Wouldn’t you want to help restore it? Join me and be an Earthkeeper.
RevolUTION = LOVE
Parenting, I currently live with a ferocious five-year-old, the minute he’s conscious, my world is blown to the four corners.
Modern parenting is very much stuck in the mind. Let’s face it, it’s a mind-field and we feel that what you say or do can have explosive consequences to their future development, eggshell alert!
We want our kids to grow up to be responsible adults, we also want them to become fierce leaders, rule breakers, change makers, to have a voice in the world, to be a lover not a hater. Yet, we teach our children to be obedient, cooperative, to sit still and be quiet. We want them to comply and conform and to learn exactly what we teach them; may the Gods be in their favour.
As adults – especially in these challenging and brutal times – sometimes situations call for us to be bad, to be disobedient, courageous, to be a rule-breaking non-conformer, isn’t this how revolutions happen? Evolution? Change? Sometimes we need a little bad.
So, what do we do to teach our kids to be kick-arse peacemakers within safe and freeing boundaries?
Seriously though, say a kid, no names mentioned…whips it out and takes a whiz on the sofa, or something equally feral? We as a culture do a few things:
We shout and scream. I’m ashamed to say this has been a default setting for me, I didn’t know I could reach such decibels, a banshee would be proud of me. Kids push our buttons, they are great teachers, showing us the darkest parts of ourselves we’ve yet to deal with, if there’s a hidden rage button, they will power-punch it many times. Shouting is a form of violence, we become like big, scary toddlers when we scream at them. We are essentially teaching them that shouting and screaming gets you what you want in life; and having worked in a call centre before, I can assure you that it does not.
We shut down, we give them the silent treatment. What they learn is that, “When I’m bad, people will leave me.” It creates a fear of loneliness. Someone once told me that they shut down and avoided their child when things were bad, their child told them once, “When you go quiet on me like that, it feels like you are dead,” for someone who is notorious for shutting down, this made me feel so sad. Be open, be present.
Something I’ve done a lot recently is to remove something they find valuable from them, “When I am bad, I will lose something valuable to me.” how many times has that one stopped you from asking for a pay rise?
The other side of this is rewarding for not being bad. We have a small box we put stars in when he’s done something good, at the end of the week when its full if stars, he gets a reward, it works, if you are on top of it. It stops working when you say, (and I’ve heard this one) “Give me my keys back and I’ll give you a sweetie!” So, they can basically get away with being an monster and get rewarded for it, manipulation will be strong in this one.
The Naughty/Thinking Chair. Time out is good, being mindful, time to think things through is so important, but isolation is a form of torture, so be mindful of this one. Being sent to your room, maybe with the door locked or even being locked outside are painful memories I have had to deal-with with clients. We are teaching them that their feelings don’t matter, that having a voice or opinion means you will be lonely, isolated, with no one to talk too, you remain Stuck on that chair forever.
One thing that does happen is physical violence. Smacking, hitting, shaking or even aggressively moving a child is a warning sign, it means you have lost control, not of the situation or the child, but of yourself. Physical violence towards a child causes post-traumatic-stress syndrome, mental health issues, shame, not good enough, rage and anger. The child’s compassion and empathy gets numbed and the story of violence continues. This type of punishment has been repeated generation after generation until it became perfectly acceptable, when did this happen? Maybe it was when we started to believe the lie that says, “I was hit as a child, it didn’t do me any harm.” Fear, shame, disrespect, powerlessness, sound familiar?
These little humans respond differently to situations the same way we do. Some kids are cerebral, logical, linear, they may need boundaries and support, resources and external stimuli. Some kids are more kinaesthetic, wild-hearted and creative, they may be better suited with more freedom, open spaces and opportunities for self-expression and movement.
So, what do we do when our little beasties start power-punching our buttons?
Breathe, you need wriggle room to be able think logically and to connect to your heart.
Remain calm, again breathe. It’s so important for self-care to be able to get to this step, if you’re not caring for yourself, then you will always struggle. Remove yourself, nourish yourself, move, be mindful, whatever you need to do to get back to you.
Ask yourself, “Is this something I can let go of?” If it’s not really that important, let it go.
Kids feel frustrated the majority of the time, communication is key. Listen, really consciously listen, they want to be heard. Get down to their level, lovingly make physically contact and make eye-contact. Find out what is really going on in their beautiful little minds.
Explain your expectations, calmly assert your boundaries. Explain simply what you expect from them. Be real, be authentic, there is no point manipulating the situation, they can smell a lie from a mile away.
Give them another chance, trust them to make the right decision, even when you know they won’t.
Bring to their consciousness their own feelings, give them space to be with that. Allow them to make their own mind up on what is the right decision, rather than society or yourself.
Importantly, check yourself, their behaviour is learnt, from you. Are you bashing about in the kitchen, shouting and moaning, saying NO all the time, chances are your kids are bashing about, shouting at you, moaning and saying NO to you?
Sometimes, I have to remind myself how precious my son is, I look at old baby photos and it shifts my mood instantly.
Be softer, be kinder, be present and above all else, love those little Beasties.
I am a Paqo of the Inca tradition, it is a shaman for want of an easier word, a medicine man. I received the karpay rites, which are the rites of passage to become a shaman. They are initiations that have been passed down through the lineage of the shaman priests of the Q’ero people of Peru; the medicine men and women known as the Laika (translates as ‘long hairs’) who have until recent times, kept these initiations sacred.
Alberto Villoldo is the director of the ‘Four Winds Society’ in 2006 he was instrumental in bringing the Karpays to the western world, as the Munay Ki rites.
Villoldo is a Cuban born psychologist and anthropologist who studied the shamanic healing practises of the Amazon, Andes and the Laika medicine men and woman of the Inca tradition for over 25 years.
There is a prophecy in the Inca tradition that the medicine people of the future will come from the West, those who helped destroy the earth, the conquistadores, will be the ones to help repair the earth, bringing us back into Ayni - right relationship with the universe - and become the new healers and medicine people. Their prophecy also stated that one man from the conquistadores will be the one to share this wisdom to the west; they chose Villoldo to be this messenger.
There was and still is a controversy surrounding the Munay Ki rites. Villoldo was very much a participant in all of the rites and customs of the Amazon and the Andes, whereas most other ‘Anthropologists’ took the approach of non-participatory observational learning’s, seeing the indigenous ways through a non-dogmatic and non-mythic place, Villoldo immersed himself in the life of a Q’ero Shaman, as a westerner, to the west this was considered as a misrepresentation of the tradition.
The Karpays (the shamanic rites) are the keys to our evolution to the next level of humanity, to that of homo -luminous. Bringing about a rainbow body, the Karpays are the initiations into the shamanic priesthood. The Munay Ki rites are an evolution of these indigenous Karpay rites, out of the pot of the whole Inca/Q’ero traditions with all its rattles, drums and feathers sprang forth a seed that is the Munay Ki. This seed has grown into a set of simplified rites, more accessible to the Western world, using a simple Pi stone, a torus shaped stone to transmit them.
A decision was made with the Q’ero and Andean medicine men and women, that the time to share these rites was now. But a question was posed, ‘Can we give these rites to everyone, in a matter of a few days or weeks?’ You see the Karpays were traditionally given to a student over a period of years, during which training was given to the student. The answer was, ‘No, I don’t think so...this hasn’t been done before…so let’s do it!’
Time is speeding up and so are our energy fields, so it makes sense. All things need to evolve, each one of us, each view, each thought, each action, each breath, otherwise we will always get what we have always got, which is no longer working. This is an evolution of shamanic practise.
The rites are stripped of some of their Q’ero traditions, these rites are still given in the traditional way, during the shamanic training, but the Munay Ki rites are much more effortless, pure, it is energy work for everyone. Today they are available to anyone who ‘shows up’ to receive them, honouring and accepting their guardianship of all of creation, becoming co-creators of the infinite.
‘Munay’ means ‘Love’ in Quechua, the language of the Q’ero, descendants of the Inca, ‘Ki’ means ‘Power’. It is the power of love in its purest form, all healing is simply a form of love, any shaman or healer will tell you this, it’s all love. A good healer doesn’t actually do anything to anybody, a good healer knows how to heal themselves, to hold the client already healed and hold sacred space energetically so they can both embark on a healing journey together, hand in hand along the way.
At the core of these rites lay a foundation of five principles.
· Non-violence; rather than a principle of ‘peace’, non-violence allows us to act accordingly when faced with a difficult life situation, with non-violence we become the peacemakers rather than a passive participant of life.
· Moderation; we learn to not take more than we need, and also not to give more than we have.
· Integrity; with integrity we learn not to compromise our self in order to please others, we see what our values are, and as long as they serve us well, we live by them, to help us serve others.
· Truthfulness; to hold and live truth. Once you know that what you believe, think, speak will manifest, you develop a great responsibility to be truthful. What you speak contains the principles of non-violence, moderation and integrity.
· Generosity; giving without looking for what we can get back, taking your gifts out into the world to share, to be in service.
So, why did I show up? Good question, I have always known I wanted to be a part of the healer’s lineage, ever since I was a kid, I wanted so much to take all the pain and suffering away from the world, I saw sadness everywhere, illness, famine, pain, it’s a lot for a kid to deal with, I always wished I had magical powers to heal, see into the future, to fly. Growing up I went through vast challenges which knocked me down to the floor, power-less I became very interested in the occult and witchcraft, to regain my powers and control, but it doesn’t quite work like that does it.
I was told about the Munay Ki rites from a shaman, Chris Waters, we spoke about becoming a shaman and receiving the rites, so my reason for showing up? I wanted to be the most beautiful vessel I could be, to contain the healer’s knowledge, enabling the grace of Great Spirit to flow through a clean and clear channel, for the service of mankind and the earth.
I didn’t know what to expect when receiving the rites, as far as I could tell the rites run contrary to scientific beliefs that say that who we are, our determined futures selves, comes from our past, by the gifts and illnesses of our ancestors, our DNA, bound by time and genetics. The Munay Ki teaches you that when you step outside of time, into the timeless, we can be influenced by who we are becoming, like a giant hand from the future pulling us forward into our destiny.
One thing I remember vividly when receiving and especially performing the rites on others was that they somehow felt very familiar, like I had always known how to do this. The tools of the Munay Ki are very simple, a small round stone with a hole in its centre, found all over the Americas and throughout many other lands and cultures. These ‘Pi Stones’ represent the luminous energy field (aura) which is torus shaped. It becomes the star gate in which these rites are channelled through, also the physical presence of this stone takes ‘You’ out of the equation, allowing you to become a vessel, rather than the great ego ‘I’
One of the rites is called the ‘Ayni Karpay Rite’ here we received the archetypal spirits of the four direction into each of the lower chakras and three arch-angels of the Inca tradition into the higher chakras.
During the Munay rites, I laid down in sacred space while enveloped in the other persons energy field, a seed was then placed in each of my chakras for me to grow. A Serpent was sent to my base chakra, a Jaguar was sent to my second chakra, I then received a Hummingbird into my third chakra, then a great Condor into my heart. I received the three arch-angels, Huascar Inca came to my throat, Quetzelcoatl came to my brow and Pachacutti Inca was placed at my crown.
I felt a great and humbling honour to receive and to gift these rites.
During my south class training (medicine wheel to become a shaman) we received these rites again, but this time in the traditional way, the Karpays.
A shaman elder laid out her mesa, (healing bundle of sacred stones) seven kuya stones were set out, each to become the vessel in which the archetypes were to be transmitted. The archetypes were blown into each chakra and sacred words were spoken over them in Quechuan. Oils and sacred water were sprinkled over them. The dark room was hazzy with incense, I sensed a menagerie of animals all fluttering and pounding about the room, I could almost smell the heat and sweat of the animals, all waiting to join with their new beloved host. Two elder shamans sat at the back waiting to tie our mesas to all the other mesas in the world through time and space, above them I could see Grandmother Spider weaving out threads of silver and gold tying all our mesas with everything in the universe, all is one, she seemed to be saying. It was a truly remarkable and very different experience.
Both the Munay Ki rites and the traditional Karpay rites were equal in their grace, beauty and power. The Munay rites were simple, less fuss, it felt like a deep remembering, not just from our ancient past from our future. But if, like me, you like tradition, then the Karpays from the elder shamans are powerful and evocative, full bodied, so I guess you’d better start your medicine wheel training!
Amongst all the controversy and tradition, these rites are a true blessing, I hold them dear to my heart, they transformed me and helped me fall in love with life again. I have a deeper and greater connection to the world around me and with Spirit and Mother Earth, how can that be controversial? Now it’s my turn to pass these seeds on.
There is a saying amongst the Q’ero;
We are here to grow Gods, the way we grow corn. This is exactly what we are doing.
For more information on the Munay Ki rites, please visit my Munay Ki page.
I’m sat writing this as we are about to enter Ash Wednesday, which strangely coincided with the last day of my Kali chant, chanting Om Kreem Kalikaye Namah; the ashes of crematoriums are her domain.
It’s been a difficult few days for many people. I’ve heard many people complain they feel stuck. We all feel it sometimes, like every day, you can’t escape that Monday morning feeling. You wear the mundane like a dirty apron, your shoes sticking to the floor of the rut.
Sometimes, as a husband, a father, a shaman, a teaching assistant and even an artist, my life feels like I’m here purely for the service of others. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, in fact, the funny thing is, I dedicated my life to the service of others when I became a shaman. I do love being able to be of service to my family, friends, clients etc, I choose my choice! I choose my choice! (If you know, you know.) So why does life occasionally feel like a rut?
Welcome Cinderella, to your Ashes!
Robert Blyth in his book, Iron John, speaks about the cinder path, a period in your life called The Ashes.
Cinderella is a great architype to work with when you feel stuck in a rut, her name means ‘Little Ashes.’ She was always cleaning the pots and pans, scrubbing the floor and the almost impossible task of cleaning the hearth fire.
So what is your ashes? Once upon a time, I had ideas that I was going to be a famous fashion designer, working with John Galliano or Alexander McQueen, a bohemian millionaire living in Paris…(I can hear my spirit guides chocking on laughter now.) Not that long ago, I took for granted the lay ins and idol hours binge watching Friends or Family Guy. Life changes you, especially parenthood, all these things and more go up in smoke in the sacred fire of transformation.
I often hear ‘spiritual’ people or life coaches speak about ‘Living your best life.’ They question, ‘If money was no problem, what/where/who would you be?’ then, ‘IF THE ANSWER ISN’T RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, YOU NEED TO CHANGE IT!’ Bullshit.
The life we are living Is our choice, we made it, long before we were born. Our hands may be black with the soot of the ashes of a life we once knew, but, know that it was our choice. We took all we knew, all we were, and we put it on the ceremonial fire to be transformed into the life we are living now, or about to live. The path of cinders is calling us now, it’s time to clean out the ashes. It needs to be done, for how are you supposed to hold any more transformational fires? The fire in our bellies that changes lives, creation itself, needs a clean heath to burn in.
It isn’t about changing your life in dramatic ways, trying to forge your dreams out of the ash heap you own.
We all have dreams, ambitions, desires, the universe knows them, your heart knows them, relax. The only way Cinderella escaped the mundane was the invitation to the mythic through the Fairy Godmother.
Come to peace with your rut through the mythic, step away from your chores for a moment and see what you are doing, find the importance of what you are doing, see that what you are doing is sacred. Can you see the tiny specks of joy in it? can they be made bigger? You are a sacred being, living a sacred life, own it.
Come to peace with your life, claim it, own it, choose it. Nothing can change while you hold on tightly with fear or dread.
You are a human being, not a human doing, practise conscious sitting. Sit, just be, take a moment out of your day and immerse yourself with your own presence. No distractions, no phone, no scrolling, feel what it feels like to be you. How do you know what you really want unless you know who you really are?
Can you see your dreams now? Boil them down, what is the purest quality or feeling of these dreams? Is it freedom? Connection? Adventure? Be that, take smell steps at creating those feelings.
Know that the period of ashes is just a phase, this too shall pass. Your new fire will be stoked, your dreams will ignite and flare, they will burn brightly from the place of the mythic, from a place of peace and joy, then, you’ll know the secret, that you have always been the fairy Godmother.
I am relieved that the topic of men’s mental health has cropped up into the consciousness of our culture, hashtags like: #itsoktotalk, #itsoktonotbeok and #mensmentalhealth are circulating the social media scene.
As a shaman, I see things from a slightly different angle, I see things from the mythic and the sacred, not just at the literal or the cerebral; so, what’s going on?
Firstly, I am only dealing with men’s mental health in this topic, I am fully aware of the issues surrounding women’s mental health and even young children, this, I will leave for another article.
I don’t really talk about my own personal issues, I don’t air my problems, actually, I don’t talk about them much at all, unless I’m confronted by my husband or I am in a healing session myself. But reading this without my own personal experience would not be very congruent. My own mental health issues started when I was a teenager; being empathic and also gay made me quite an outcast, years of bullying finally tipped me over the edge and in my late teens I had a break down. Mild depression developed into acute psychotic episodes, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, body dysmorphia, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. I blame Seroxat, a pharmaceutical medication for depression; all I really needed was acceptance. More than a decade of pills, counselling sessions and cognitive behavioural therapies did not even touch the grief that lay within my heart, it was a spiritual issue, it always is.
In the western world, our men are dying between three and four more times than our woman. In 2014, suicides amongst men aged 45 and under in the UK reached 78% of the total of 5,140 suicide victims.
I have often noticed that when a little girl falls over she is swiftly picked up, kissed and cuddled, allowed to cry and held reassuringly till she is ok. When a boy falls over (not so much these days, luckily,) he is told to be a brave little solider, to dry those tears, boys don’t cry! His emotions are suppressed and he is taught how to suppress them throughout his life; here lies the problem.
Older men grew up believing that they have to be just as strong as their fathers and forefathers, after all, they went to war. They have to be the alpha male, the silent provider, the rock, the hero, to be austere in the face of adversary and not to talk about your feelings, again, they are taught to repress their emotions. This is seen in many young men too, where the alpha male is powerful in the family; the wound is strong in this one. As a backlash and because of a change in the woman in our lives, some men, especially younger men, have grown to become something new; something the older men cannot compete with. Woman are (quite rightly) becoming more socially and financially progressive and are often the main provider. This has created the ‘modern man’. He too must be progressive, open, creative in his outlook, in touch with his feelings, yet, be concerned with the feelings of his partner and his children above his own - again, repression of his own feelings - we as a culture still see men’s emotions as not as important. He is independent and can often be found clothes shopping or at the gym. He should have a good amount of seriousness and humour, with a touch of competitive and banter with his peers.
But both of these types of men are turning to drink, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or work to hide the fact they are not happy. Worse than these addictions, they go within, shut down and disappear from the world.
This vulnerability is seen as worse than death; remember the 78%.
There is something we as men are trying to push down and hide. We are terrified of it, scared someone might see it, yet we are scared too, that it may not even be there in the first place. Suppressing it is causing anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, panic attacks and addiction. In extreme cases, suppression of it is causing some of our men to act out in rage, violence and sexual violence. So, what is it that’s hiding behind this anxiety? What’s lurking beneath the depression? Who are we trying to pacify with drugs and liquor?
The Wild Man. The Hairy Man. The Fierce Masculine. We could call him the Dark Masculine, much like the Dark Feminine I have recently written about, he has been feared and suppressed. Deep inside all men there is an aspect of ourselves we are too afraid to see. The being who stands tall is frightening, fierce, fear-less, wild and unabandoned. Hidden deep in our psyche is the fierce masculine. Having a willingness to descend to him, accepting what darkness is down there, including the nourishing dark, your gold, takes tremendous courage, this path is only for the brave.
So, who or what is this Fierce Masculine? He is the authentic part of yourself, the original man you were supposed to be when you came into this world, before it got all fucked up during adolescence. Due to this, he began his journey as the inner child, the Divine Innocent and through an epic journey, became the Sovereign, the Father, the Hunter, the Warrior, the Sage and the King.
He is the fierceness in saying NO against the many and taking a stand for what he believes in.
He is the empowerment in saying YES and asking for what he really wants in life, he is also the belief that he actually deserves it.
He is the strength in vulnerability, acknowledging when he needs the support of his brothers or the love of a partner.
He is the openness that enables him to share what sits deep within his heart, he is the way in which he expresses it.
He is the Divine Masculine, the authentic masculine, the true King.
He sits, waiting for you to find him under the murky waters of your psyche.
Clearing this psychic, muddy water is the first step in returning the fierce masculine. Dealing with all our emotional baggage and deep-seated wounds, past traumas and karmic pasts can be slow and painful, it is also often times, quite liberating too. With each healing step we make, with each group work, therapy, illumination, talk or meditation we undergo, we take a step closer to our true selves. Each laborious breakthrough is an honouring of who you are, each one a sacred bucket of our psychic pool being emptied, eventually revealing the one we have been seeking. If you feel angry, terrified or shame during this process, you are on the right track!
We have all lost something of ourselves, normally during puberty, sometimes, sadly, earlier. Maybe it’s our safety in the world or our sense of adventure. Maybe It was our voice or sense of place in the world, mostly, it’s our bliss. Where did it go? Why did it leave, you already know those answers. I know who holds them now; like the ball we lost in our scary neighbour’s garden when we were six, he holds it. Dare you knock on your neighbour’s door? Dare we ask the Fierce Masculine for our ball back? When we are face to face with the true power of who we really are, dare you ask for your golden balls back? Suddenly we are six again, feeling sick to our stomachs as the door opens.
Marianne Williamson, an American spiritual writer, once wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure, it is our light, not our dark that most frightens us.” A quote so true.
I could go on, this is only a tiny fragment of the article I originally wrote, I would have to write a book, instead, I’m going to ask you to read a book, both men and woman, go read Iron John by Robert Blyth. For men, it is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can gift you. “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Albert Einstein, aka wisdom-keeper, said this. The next level up from our mental health issues, deep seated wounds and emotional baggage is the mythic. Take all of this story, all this murky water you have accumulated and take it to the mythic realm, read Iron John and see where you fit within the story. Take your stories, and with honour and grace, let them go. What is your new story?
For me, I met a shaman, Chris Waters of Spirit of the Inca, I had a healing session with her and skipped out of there like a child. After ninety minutes, more progression was achieved than over a decade of therapy and medication, a new journey was set, a new mythic map was created, I started my training to do exactly what she did for me for others. As shaman, we are the strangers that show up, the ones who reverently help to bucket out the murky waters, we are the ones who hold sacred space while you meet Iron John, the Hairy Man, the Fierce Masculine and then help you create a new mythic map for you to follow. I have met my own Iron John, it was scary, I had to metaphysically rip myself in half to reveal him, it was physically and emotionally painful, but it was liberating and joyous too.
There cannot be peace in our world until we heal this wounded masculine that sits lurking within us men. For we as men will continue to fury and rage at each other with war and torment, we will continue to ignore and even assist in the violence towards women, and we will continue to rape and abuse our women, our children and our earth.
We all need to heal our puzzle pieces, so we can all fit together as a community.
The woman and girls in our lives need us to do this, our sisters, our mothers, our daughters.
The men and boys in our lives need us to do this, our brothers, our fathers, our sons.
The earth needs us to do this, our Sacred Mother, our planet, our home.
For more information on one to one healing sessions or advice on dealing with some of the issues raised here, please contact me on my contacts page.
Samaritans 116 123
SWITCHBOARD An LGBT+ helpline 03003306630 www.switchboard.lgbt
SANE 03003047000 www.sane.org.ukhelpline offering practical advice, information and advice.
RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS www.rethink.orginformation and online directory of local support.
Anxiety UK 08444775774 www.anxietyuk.org.ukinformation and support
CALM a campaign against living miserably, www.thecalmzone.net0800585858 provides listings, support and information for men at risk of suicide.
The Silver Line 08004708090 support for older gentlemen.
There are three important bones in your life; your back bone, your funny bone and your wish bone.
I have been a seer longer than I have been a shaman. Twenty-five years ago, when I was fifteen, an illness took me beyond the grave and onto my healers’ path. It took me a while to recover and rehabilitate, that Christmas I received a deck of tarot cards, something new in me took over and I began to read the cards. I experimented with runes and crystal ball gazing, but one thing always pulled me yet terrified me at the same time; the archaic art of bone reading. This year, something called me to start my collection of my bones.
Part of me had an issue with using animal parts, in other parts of the world, alligator feet and penis bones are used! For me they just felt, icky. I am a tiny bit of a hoarded, so I actually enjoyed hunting through my treasure boxes looking for items that could be included in my set. The more I looked the more I found, things started to jump up out at me as if desperate to be a part of the bone party. I had many objects, but I still felt I needed something ‘bone-like’ to put in my set, dare I? `no, so I found wooden pieces, twigs and bits of wood to use, but when I did eventually begin to read with them, they didn’t feel right, they had no spirit. Pieces broke, some became damaged, some I took out.
One night during the summer of 2018, I had a powerful vision, Crow Mother visited me. Authoritative, dignified, she towers over me, her head cocked to one side, as if studying me, deciding my fate. One black beady eye glared at me and I heard the words, ‘You can have our bones, it is an honour to be used for such things.’ Her skull and beak began to glow a pale blue, the centre warm orange like an opal and I knew there and then that I needed to find my bones.
As I was packing to scout the countryside of my forefathers in Wallingford, I set my intentions to the universe to find my bones. I took my son and my dad, I could feel my ancestors beside me as I arrived. It didn’t take long before I found my first bone, a perfectly preserved skull, I think it may have been from a squirrel or a rodent of some sort, I was awe-struck that I even found one, and so soon! How often do you see bones on the floor? Within seconds of finding it, the heavens opened, and we got very wet. We sheltered under a huge great oak, a personal favourite of mine, they bring back happy memories of childhood. There was a large badger set under this tree, we crouched down looking into the hole, telling my four-year-old what lives down there. He loves digging in the dirt and so revelled in finding fresh turf to riffle through, he picked something up and said ‘Look Dadda!’ it was a bone! I continued to dig around and found even more bones, I could not believe it! I could tell from the sound they made and the smoothness that they were pretty ancient bones. Later on, we found the house that my Great-Great-Great grandfather lived in, opposite the graveyard where he was buried. We walked around for a while, and I kid you not, I found several human bones too! No, I didn’t pick them up, I don’t think a human thigh bone would work in my bone reading, grimace. I laughed out loudly, seriously Crow Mother? I said as a crow croaked at me.
If like me, you are interested in acquiring your own set of oracle bones, set your intentions clearly, go into the wild places, walk the secret deer tracks and knock on the doors of badgers. Dig around in the dark ancient soils, they will be there, your bones. Some of your pieces will be in your children’s pockets, some down the back of the sofa, they are treasures after all, go find them! Normally each piece has its own meaning, but not always, some of mine have no meaning at all. I have a crow’s foot that can either represent grasping something important or it can mean being held back. Bone sets are mailable, they adapt as we do, allow it to happen naturally.
Throwing the Bones
Many readers throw their bones on to a circle crafted onto a cloth or skin or large plate, even a cooking hob, you know who you are…I started using two interlocking circles, a vesica piscis, representing the balance between al things, the centre piece representing the sacred yoni. Use what you feel comfortable with, a square will also be sufficient, there is no right or wrong way, its nature, you are nature.
I treat mine with sacredness as `I would my healing mesa, I bless them with incense, palo santo wood, aqua de florida, bells, anything I can get my hands on.
When you are ready, open sacred space in your way, set your cloth out, hold your bones in your hands while thinking about the questions you have in mind, and blow this into the bones, then let them gracefully scatter across the reading space/cloth.
I tend not to read all of the bones, I am normally drawn buy things I see, enter into that daydreaming state, what do you see?
Get closer, have a look through the eyes of serpent where everything is exactly as it is: bone, tooth, claw, button. Look at where there are large collections of things and empty space.
Shift your attention to the mammalian part of your brain the eyes of jaguar, where nothing is what it seems. What’s the feeling here, the emotion? What’s coming up for you? What buttons are being pressed? Look at certain pieces, what are they doing? How are they interacting with each other?
Shift again, the mythic realm, eyes of hummingbird, where everything is and is not…What’s the story? Look for pictures, patterns, images, how do they relate to your questions?
Finally, the god part of your brain, the eyes of eagle condor, everything simple IS…is there a summery? What’s the outcome? Is there a quantum feeling that conveys this reading? What’s the gift?
Thank the bones, put them away, close sacred space.
I have recently started using them in conjunction with tarot cards, and I would urge any avid bone reader to do the same. What fascinates me is how the bones interact with the cards, they add a different dimension to the cards, they point to symbols, they complement the images and play with them like cheeky pixies! They make me feel they are alive, compared to the staticness of the cards. It became a multidimensional reading.
These bones came to me for a reason, they chose me, the animals they once belonged too wanted to be honoured and cherished in a sacred way, and I look after them as I would the living creature they once were.
They have new life in them now, moved by the hand of Spirit, fine tuning my own inner wisdom and inner tuition.
For information on cleaning bones, please do your research, dead things contain harmful bacteria, I have chosen to only use old bones as they have been cleaned by nature, the best cleanser of bones, I then treat them over night in hot water and a handful of washing powder.
Sometimes, the meaning to life finds its way through the deepest cracks in our soul, when we hit that rock bottom of the darkest abyss.
No matter how spiritually disciplined you are, or how ‘awake’ you might think you are, no matter how much yoga you practise or green tea you drink. No matter how much joy and abundance surrounds you, despair, depression and despondency can descend upon you like a suffocating fog. I know this fog, I waded through it for most of my young adult life. The descent into the underworld has always been treacherous, especially when you fall unwittingly; it can feel overwhelming. Old wounds you were quite sure had healed and dealt with, are ripped open, and again, we bleed.
In the deepest and darkest periods of our lives, no-thing, no prayer, no mediation or medication, no soul retrieval or chakra illumination can reach you. All becomes pointless, unbearable, dead, accompanied only by rage or maybe stone-cold numbness. You scramble and trip towards the great gaping maw that opens, and snaps shut, pure annihilation awaits you, and, like the bioluminescent glow of the angler fish’s hook, annihilation seems like a warm welcome.
Here, on the threshold of death, deep in the womb-tomb of our Mother Earth, something new emerges.
Here, in the darkness of despair, she sits.
Here, in the inky void of nothingness, she smiles.
Here, in the blackest night of your soul, she waits patiently for your surrender.
It is only when we surrender to what Is, when we surrender to Her, to the Dark Feminine that transformation can occur.
Born out of chaos, the Dark One is both creator and destroyer, a conundrum that is integral in the dual aspects.
She is the Good Mother, infinitely compassionate and whole bodily nurturing, yet she is wild and sexual, full of scorn and fierce rage, she would rip you apart at the drop of a sarcastic tone. She is the repressed sexuality of all woman of all time. She is the witches burnt at the stake for being too ugly or too beautiful. She is the priestesses who were raped in front of the altars they served at. I am, of course, only talking about the ‘Dark Feminine’ aspect of these archetypical energies, these Goddesses, they are each related, the same, and like yourself, greater than the some of their parts.
She sits waiting for you in the holy caves and chapels as the Black Madonna.
Erich Neumann in the book ‘The Fear of the Feminine’ said that the Dark Mothers womb is the place where all things came from, but in her Terrible Mother aspect, she devours everything that is born, swallowing back into herself, she becomes the grave and the tomb, she is “the flesh devouring sarcophagus, hell and the under-world.”
The Black Madonna sits like all ancient Earth Goddesses of Neolithic times, in the dark womb-tombs of the caves, “here, inside of the earth, the dark abyss of everything living.”
The Dark Mother is within us at a cellular level, with each breath we take we destroy cells and consume them to help recreate new cells and new life.
Do not be confused by the darkness nor by death, if you are in a dark place in your life, ask yourself, what am I not willing to let go of? What is it I am not accepting about myself or my life?
Calling on The Black Madonna feels deeply embracing, if you ask of it, she will hold you in her infinite heart, all of you, all your fears and insecurities, all the shame and guilt, the beauty and the beast.
She stands waiting for you in the temples of India as Kali Ma. She is the Divine, the mistress of time, a wild-fire of rage and fury. She is the destroyer of everything that has served its purpose.
After drinking the blood of Raktaveeja, she became so consumed with rage she could not stop herself from destroying everything in her path. Only Shiva, her beloved, could stop her by sacrificing himself in her wake. Standing on his chest, she stops and notices the emerald green grass around her, she then notices her beloved, and so stops her tsunami of destruction.
Gopi Krishna proposes that this very image symbolises the helplessness and surrender one undergoes during transformation.
When you feel helpless, ask yourself, what am I not willing to let die, for me to be able to live? Calling upon Kali Ma to aid you means calling on the epitome of tough love. She will swiftly remove obstacles on your way to enlightenment, she will sweep you up in a tsunami of spring cleaning and drop you off somewhere quite unexpected. Are you willing to let die that which no longer serves you? Can you accept the unknown that awaits you?
She rocks herself gently in anguish, waiting for you, her sister, in the under-world as Ereshkigal. Waiting to hang your corpse on her meat hook for the three dark days of the moon.
I write this now as I reminisce the underworld journey I just completed into the Cuevas del Drach, the dragon caves in Porto Cristo, Majorca. Sitting in a little white boat, gently lapping my way out of the giant megalithic catacombs, I felt what it must have been like to be Inanna as she was finally released from the clutches of her dark sister, Ereshkigal, accompanied by her demon brood, enchanted, liberated, grateful, humble, empowered; yet still, there is work to be done.
When you are in a place of grief, loss, death or mourning, know that it is a only a phase, it is a moment in time. Sit with it, be with it, accept it for what it is, see it as your grieving sister, just be with her, she will release you, know this.
She dances on the graves of sinners and those who would defy her as Lilith, waiting for you to join her. Her repressed sexuality and suppressed power flares hot embers under her feet. Splinted off from the female psyche, Lilith - Adams first wife, born of the dark earth – represents all the ‘negative’ aspects of women. The evil one, the vamp, the seductress, the whore, filthy one, venomous one, ugly one.
She refused to be subservient to Adam and was banished from the Garden of Eden (as was eventually Adam and his second wife.) But, it is only in the Abrahamic religions of the world that believe this, I do not believe we ever left the Garden we now call Earth.
Lilith is a powerhouse of sisterhood, when you feel defiled, persecuted, desecrated, Lilith would be the women you need. She will melt the chains that hold you imprisoned and take you by the hand to dance naked and free under the pale moonlight.
The Dark Goddess; darkness is something of a taboo subject in many neo spiritual systems, the desperate need for ‘light’ and ‘positive thinking’ is in the midst of a soul shattering backlash as people scream for authenticity. I want my pain to be heard, I want to drag it up from the dark abyss we seem to throw our mess into like a spiritual trash can.
The world was created in a void of darkness. Life came into being from the dark primordial waters of our Mother Earth. Seeds sit, germinating in the dark, wet and tangled soil, waiting to be stirred by the light and warmth of the Father Sun. We, us humans were all once-upon-a-time held in the dark, wet wombs of our biological mothers.
A foetus sits waiting in the in-between, not really alive in the sense we know, and yet not in the world of spirit it recently knew. They are in a deep state of sleep, they are dreaming. Sleep in not only Important for healing our bodies and minds, but to dream, to be held in stillness. We sleep in the dark, a wave of darkness shrouds us every twelve or so hours, we collectively all sink into a state of blissful unconsciousness.
In the dark, we can dream. In the dark, a foetus dreams its world into being before its even born. Surrendering to what is, surrendering to the Dark Feminine, no matter how hard that may be, is reminiscent to surrendering to sleep. Both require trust, non-doing and a fearlessness that enables you to fall into the arms of darkness.
Sometimes in life, we seem to fall into a state of chaos, a place where She is born. Sometimes in life we must go back to the place we were truly born, in order to die to that part of ourselves that no longer serves us, a place where she will hold us. Sometimes in life, we want to tear the whole damn world apart, our own life included. It is only by the grace of She, who calls us silently to stop, that we are reminded that we are loved.
Sometimes in life we find ourselves face to face with the ugly truth, as a shard of glass reflects to us a face we do not recognise. Horror, disgust, shame. We voluntarily hang our heads on the hook of humility. Here, she sits with us, patiently waiting for us to listen to the face in the mirror that follows us everywhere.
Sometimes in life, we realise we are not living our authentic life, not being our authentic selves; the people we are meant to be. We want to break those chains that hold us back and scream NO in the faces of those who want to keep us small, meek, good, pleasant, nice and quiet, normal…She will be waiting for us with her gyrating hips dripping in warm honey, holding a blow-torch to break those chains for you, together you will run, holding hands through the hot coals and embers of a life that no longer serves you, into the cool, wet floor of the wildest of forests.
The Dark Mother aspect of the Sacred Feminine, the female face of God, is a necessity on my shamanic/animistic path and in my life in general. She sits with me holding my hand while I sit in darkness and journey to the underworld. With her, my visions become clear, more vivid as I know they come from the dark springs of my soul. Try it, turn off all the lights, black out the windows, don’t even light any candles. Call her to you, see through her eyes, tell her your dark secrets, ask her the questions you daren’t ask.
During times of depression and despair, I sit with her, face to face, she holds me, my pain, my shame, my vulnerability, and she mirrors back to me pieces of myself I struggle to accept, holding them too with grace and compassion. She doesn’t make it easy for me, true transformation isn’t all unicorns and group hugs, its gritty, painful and dirty work, it’s only for the brave.
When I surrender to her, I feel safe, I feel her embrace when I go to sleep.
We sleep in a dark shroud of her wholeness, a wave of darkness envelopes us, it is only in the dark that we can truly see into the spirit world, as shadows dance with the light creating the otherworld. In the darkness, our inner vision becomes crystal clear.
We animists and shaman know the dark. I find great respite in the dark, as I am sure you do, a solitary comfort I have not yet found elsewhere, apart from maybe the wild places.
But, like the dawn during the darkest hour, our time in the delicious and fertile dark is only as brief as our time in the sun.
As Ereshkigal released her sister Inanna from the underworld, she will release us back into the light. Like the new moon that becomes a crescent moon, once more growing to fullness, we will enjoy the days of joy and abundance, carrying with us the dark, demon seeds that enable us to grow more beautiful and authentic.
I was lucky enough to spend an evening with writer and change maker, Mac McCartney during a talk about his reflections on darkness. He said something that will stay with me forever, “At this moment, there is a wave of birdsong, a dawn chorus, hurtling towards us at great speed, as the sun chases the darkness away.”
So tonight, as you lay in bed, feel the darkness around you. Feel the safety and comfort of the Dark Feminine as she covers you in her midnight coloured shawl and enjoy the dark beauty of sleep and the opportunity and privilege of dreaming; memories of your womb-time.
The Devil has your number, he has your name too.
He knows what box you have ticked, and what you belong to.
This heavy, quantum, archetypal energy could also be known as hatred, or maybe indifference.
It is full of malice and violence, highly opinionated and extremely judgemental.
The devils job is to divide and conquer the enemy; us.
He divides us into smaller, weaker, easier to manage fractions and groups, labelling each group something different, something ‘special’.
Once he has done this, he will make us hate each other.
We start to point the finger at each other, blaming one another for all the problems in the world, when really, we are the problem, we are also the solution.
I believe one of the biggest issues we face in the western world is the labels we depend on.
We give ourselves these labels, tick the right boxes, answer the questionnaires to find out which group you belong to.
We call each other names, we give ourselves names and wear these masks with pride.
Think for a moment, of all the labels that you identify with;
Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, Muslim, atheist…Black, White, Asian, British, American, Native, Aboriginal…Slut, whore, MILF, frigid bitch, lady killer, ladies’ man, Casanova, pervert…Man, woman, trans-gendered, gender fluid, gender neutral, gender queer…gay, straight, bisexual, lesbian, objectophile…Good, bad, legend, evil, gorgeous, sexy, gross, ugly, survivor, victim…
Have I mentioned them all?
Of course not!
I bet you cannot believe I have not mentioned one you have thought of, how dare I?! Metaphorically speaking, what if you were to gather all your labels and throw them away.
Who would you be?
These labels help us to understand who we are, our place in society, history and our culture.
But we can confuse these labels for us, and who wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to defend them? These labels are not us, they are merely signposts pointing in the general direction of who we are. You are not a signpost, you are you.
If you are a Christian, for example, and wore a neon sign around your neck saying ‘Christian’, (maybe you do…) then it serves to tell others and remind yourself that you have chosen the path of Christ.
If you were to remove that label, (would you remove the cross around your neck for an experiment?) would it change who you are?
Would you be any less than you are now?
Would you change your ways?
Would you change your faith and prayers?
If you were to remove the label Christian from your persona, would you still be you?
Or would you be something more, something freer?
If you do not understand this, or you simply wouldn’t be you anymore, then what does that say about this label?
‘It is easier for a camel to go though the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’
We carry our labels like they are our riches, but when we reach the end of our lives here, will you need them in heaven? Will they matter? I wonder who gave all these riches to us? The Devil bestows so many boons, but all that glitters is not gold.
We must not be divided.
We need to break down these walls, these labels, these fractions, not create more unique and special ones. Let’s focus on who we are individually and how we are united in our humanity, we are unified in the love of love, in the need for peace and the desire for happiness.
Kindness is the key to our survival.
There is a healing ritual I’d like to share with you, to free yourself from these, often times, limiting beliefs about yourself.
Burning Our Masks.
Start by opening sacred in your way.
Write down every label, mask, fraction and group you identify with on a small slip of paper.
Collect either a fire proof bowl with a candle or light a small bonfire.
Find many small twigs or cocktail sticks.
Pick up a slip of paper, read it, wrap it around a twig.
Meditate briefly on where this label came from, what it means to you now and where it may lead you too…use a rattle or drum to help you focus if you wish.
Stamp you left foot three times to stamp out this energy blow into the stick, and pop it into the fire.
Do this with all labels.
Light more candles and place them amongst the burnt labels, and like a phoenix rising from the ashes of who you once were, shine your light brightly.
Who are you now?
Be your authentic self, full of truth and honesty.
Be fierce in who you are and above all else, be free.
Shamanism has been a passion and an inspiration for me for many years now.