Category Archives: Shamanism

My Soul Speaks of Rewilding

Wild Grace is shifting, shedding, growing, playing, and experiencing a lot. In contrast to the typical summer energetics of expansion and opening, the last few months have been a time of contraction, going inward, craving quietness, contemplation, exploring the inner terrain of my own soul and how it’s reflected in my business, and allowing myself to be guided by my intuition, spirit guides, passions, and deep desires.

I’ve been listening to the plants I use in my medicine in new ways, experiencing them rather than simply learning about them intellectually.  Understanding that they have so much more to teach us than we ever thought possible. That we can learn so much from our environment, the spirits that inhabit the local trees, rivers, meadows, tide pools, and deserts that must be understood through communicating with them rather than reading about them.

Recently, I journeyed with Datura, one of my favorites of the poisonous plants, and thought I’d share with you the wisdom she has for us…

20140824-131602.jpg

First came visions of canyons, ancient tree groves, old gnarled twisted trees extending their roots and branches out to take up as much space as this space will allow.  Damp, mossy, loamy forest floors, echoing our shadow places, the darkness so many of us are afraid to explore and experience even though it makes itself known in numerous ways every day and we don’t even notice…

And then a snake wrapping itself around my low belly and hips, not tight like it’s trying to constrict or squeeze, just loose heavy rings encircling my pelvis. Winding its way up my spine, around each vertebra, and I can feel the muscles soften to let her pass by. She comes up and over my right shoulder.

The shoulder that hurts. The one that holds so much and is never seen because I’m afraid of what’s there. The one that’s been waiting patiently for me to be quiet, sit down, lie down, settle down, and cool down. So patient. Just waiting. For me to let go of my anger to see there’s another way to release this fire, to be seen and heard. Okay love, I’m listening…

She speaks of the wild, of the Earth Mother from which I can now see I’ve been hiding because she’s so powerful, amoral, primal, and raw. Life means death, and death means life. Life is not happening to me, I am part of the event known as Life. An observer. A participant whose role is ever-shifting, but that will go on long after my time on this earth is over.

She speaks of a wildness that is beyond my comfort zone. One in which I go wild and let go of the things I’ve previously believed to hold significance, and go deeper. To listen, to honor the spirits that inhabit this environment. To hear the plants speak their wisdom not in words, but in extra-sensory experiences.

This is what my soul craves. This is what the pain is speaking of, what it is guiding me into, and where the illness originates. And it has been long enough. Through lifetimes I’ve heard these messages, always coming in different and new ways, speaking the same truth. Time to rewild, to step into the shadow with my light, to embrace the death, the shedding, the truth. To descend to and traverse the messy, gnarly, brokenhearted creative chaos of the primal Mother that is reflected in the terrain of my own soul.

And to explore and experience this space between worlds with lightness of heart, allowing my soul to shine in her full brightness, trusting that while we may use anger as creative fuel, it is really love that transforms, shifts, and heals the relationship with our Self, each other, and our Mother.

You can stop asking for permission

Some time between two and three years old, one day as I was strolling through a park with my mom  and some friends, I was attacked by a gigantic blue peacock.  No worries, there was no blood drawn.  No mutilation occured.  I think my mom was more scared than I was.  All I remember is a flurry of brilliant blue feathers in my face and feeling the strong peacock feet pushing into my chest.  Somewhere in a faint memory I recall everyone else freaking out and wondering if I should be doing the same.

In many native cultures, a shaman-in-training will be led into the forest/wilderness to confront their spirit animal.  If they survive, they’ve passed a major test toward becoming a medicine/warrior shaman.  If they don’t, well, they don’t.

peacock

Back to my peacock…

For awhile now, I’ve been studying totemic arts with this incredible tribe, meeting my spirit animals, healing archetypal wounds, and rediscovering hidden parts of myself.  This work has taken me to the deepest places of my heart, guiding me to reclaim lost parts of my soul, and helped me to see huge reservoirs of untapped power within.  I’ve been practicing extensively how to listen to and follow my inner guides to meet my animal totems and receive the wisdom and medicine they have to offer.

Often, an experience such as the one I had with a peacock can be a sign that animal is one of our totems.  When Emelie first suggested peacock as a potential totem, I had MAJOR resistance.  Of course resistance (or a strong emotional reaction) to an animal is another sign that animal is one of our totems.

So I started researching peacock medicine.  Looking into their behavior, patterns, habits, colorings, mythology.  As soon as I opened to this incredible animal I noticed their imagery was ALL OVER my Pinterest boards, articles and photos I had cut out of magazines, long-forgotten books on my shelves, jewelry, etc.

From my research I realized peacock totems are both rare and incredibly powerful medicine.  That they’ve been associated with mysticism, greater vision, immortality.  Like the mythological phoenix, the peacock represents the rising from ashes of that which is ready to be released and sacrificed.

BCard-Peacock

And then a NEW kind of resistance came up, and that voice came in saying, “You’re not good enough for this animal.”  “It’s just your ego that wants to have this totem.”  “What makes you think you’re special, good, powerful enough to see any of this in yourself?”  Not only was I afraid of claiming to reflect any part of this rare and beautiful bird, it made me incredibly uncomfortable to think I could contain any of that symbolism within my soul.  It makes me squirm even now as I write about it.

And then I realized: Here’s the shadow side of peacock medicine.  Staying small.  Believing I have too much darkness inside to heal and resurrect those parts of my soul that have been torn.  Afraid of proudly displaying my vivid colors, appearing arrogant or egotistical.  Feeling shame around being SEEN and told that I’m too much.  Scared of my own magnetism and beauty.  Unworthy.  Sound familiar to anyone else?

I briefly stepped back into my small self, looking to have someone outside of me validate me and give me permission to own my peacock self.  To tell me that it was okay to show off my colors, to shine, to stand out and accept the power and magic that peacock medicine has to offer.  I watched myself look for that external validation, realize that’s what I was doing and that ALL of my totems thus far have brought the medicine of deep listening and intuition, reflecting to me that I already have all of the answers within me.  Peacock was now showing up to help me own my power, my voice, and to show off my colors.  To show me that the magnetism I was afraid of was actually a HUGE ally for me!

peacock goddess

So now, even as I feel that resistance STILL, I say to myself, “Katie, just own it.”  I’m done with the “not enough” the “unworthy” the “I’m too much for people so I’ll just shut up, sit down, become invisible.”  I’m done with invisible.  I’m done with seeking permission to shine.  I’m listening and honoring my soul’s voice and wisdom.  And I’m ever-grateful to my shadow for teaching me where there’s room for growth.  Where the cracks appear.