Tag Archives: Ritual

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…

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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.

Midsummer Magic

Photo via wortsandcunning.wordpress.com
Photo via wortsandcunning.wordpress.com

This Saturday, June 21, is Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and while some say it’s the first day of summer, it actually marks the peak of light, the peak of the element of fire in our Wheel of the Year.  In the old days, and among some groups nowadays, Midsummer is celebrated as a fire festival, honoring the Sun as it passes its highest point and begins to gradually decline into dark, marking the waning of the light.

So this is a turning point. All of the seeds we have sown for ourselves are reaching maturity and coming close to harvest time, when we can see and reap the fruits of our labor. It’s a still point, before the pendulum swings the other way toward darkness, when we begin to turn inward and reflect on this past period of growth.

And as for this fire?  Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation.  It can burn, consume, shed light, or purify.  In order to transform though, there has to be a container, and that is why we have our spiritual practice.  To hold space for ourselves in love and trust.

I have been deeply listening to my soul, allowing myself to feel grounded, settled, and supported. More and more, I’m letting myself say “no” to things that don’t resonate in order to allow space for things that call to my spirit.  Things that I know I’m meant to do.  I’m following the wisdom of my heart, my guides, my allies.  Old wounds have begun to heal, and I’m going back to pick up pieces of my soul that had been cut off and left behind.  This Summer Solstice I’m reflecting on the teachers I’ve had this past year, lessons I’ve learned (mostly the hard way), and how much I’ve grown to trust my Self.  

What this means for Wild Grace?  You can expect to see a lot more work in this space with plant medicine, moon magic, animal spirits, weaving words, and dancing with shadows.  Sharing more of my spiritual practice and my deep soul with you.  

And as for you…What is being transformed in you by this elemental fire that we’ve been in, that’s been burning, transforming, and purifying?  What has this fire felt like for you?  And as this light is waning, what is waning in your life?  What is ready to be lovingly and graciously released?

On surrender

moon whale

Usually I work with the theme of release during the Full Moon.  I meditate on the old patterns, things that feel stuck that I’m ready to release, to let go of, to clear.  Often I’ll do some kind of releasing ritual usually involving burning things (I am a Leo after all…we love our fire) and then burying the ashes or letting the wind carry them away.

This month, however, in honor of the huge transition going on in my life (as well as I’m sure many of yours), I’ve been sitting with the idea not of letting go, but of surrendering. They sound like the same thing, right? Although they may be similar in definition and sometimes even outcome, to me surrendering has a different energy behind it, and so contributes a different quality to this journey through transition and change.

For most of us, change can be really uncomfortable.  Even when we know it’s what we need or even want, we tend to resist, freak out, lose our center, and fight to hold on to situations, people, jobs, or patterns from which our soul is ready to move on.

To say the first half of this year has been intense for most of us would be a gigantic understatement.  To me, it felt like my very foundation was being shaken until everything I knew to be true crumbled, my walls were leveled, my heart broken open to reveal a softness inside I had allowed very few people to witness before now.  I was knocked to my knees, literally and figuratively.  My physical body changed, and sometimes it felt like those deeply engrained ways of moving, thinking, speaking, and acting were being burned away, consumed by that very fire that used to terrify me when I’d feel it rising.  And when I finally surrendered to that fire, that blaze that I had been afraid would burn out of control if I didn’t contain it, began to soften and reveal something brilliant underneath.

And then I could finally take a deep breath.

All that crumbling, breaking, splitting, and destruction that we’ve been navigating can finally lead to the most space, the most depth, the most compassion, and the most peace we’ve ever felt.  As I look back at the aftermath of the last six months, I see the rubble of old beliefs, relationships, addictions, and roles that I had held onto for my whole life.

And now is the time when I surrender to my uncontainable and irrepressible Being within.  My wild grace.  My creative spirit.  With all this space that’s been opened up, with this unwillingness to abandon myself any longer, unwillingness to edit or hold back this wild creature that’s been set free, I can finally surrender to the Wild Soul I’ve always known was there, waiting to be awakened and uncaged.

So it’s not a letting go.  I’ve done the necessary (for now) letting go and making space.  Now is the time to surrender to my truth.  Under the blessing of this Full Moon, standing in my own sacred space, I now have the necessary space to fully trust my soul to guide me.

What would happen if you sat in the fire?  If you held your space, not knowing how you would come out the other side?

Plant Totem: Hawthorn, Fae Tree of Heart + Transformation

For a good while now, I’ve been considering how to work with plants just as some coaches/practitioners work with animals.  As spirit totems.  Teaching how to work with plants not to only heal us physically, but also spiritually, emotionally, and energetically.  Understanding what they have to teach us in terms of our relationships, career, life circumstances, money, and most importantly, how to form better connections with ourselves, other people, and with the earth.

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Lots of herbalists out there write beautiful and well-researched pieces on materia medica of western herbalism, herbal energetics, and the medicinal and therapeutic actions of herbs.  However, I think the deepest healing occurs when we form our own relationship with the plant and learn to work with the medicine it has for us individually.  This is the story of my own journey with Hawthorn, one of my foundational plant totems.

Traditionally viewed as a heart tonic, Hawthorn reminds us to be patient with ourselves, slow down, and give our heart space to breathe, be still, and speak his or her truth.  Though its prickly thorns protect the heart from outside assault, that very protection is what allows it to be such a nurturing and calming spirit.  It provides sacred boundaries and a soft space to rest in times of heartbreak, grief, or when the energetic heart needs a rest.

hawthorn thorn
Thorns of a Hawthorn tree

For the past few years, I’ve been working and learning to listen closely to the whispers (or sometimes shouts) from my heart.  Establishing boundaries, softening, opening, protecting, clearing, and filling up my heart with the things she desires, yearns for, and guides me toward.  It’s been the hardest thing I’ve done so far because so often my ego wants to take over with the shoulds, the have-to’s, feelings of anger, guilt, and most of the time, fear.  Hawthorn came to me soon after my heart got cracked open during part of my Visionary Craniosacral training that I learned to work with the four-chambered heart (another shamanic concept that I’ll write more on later).  The lessons Hawthorn taught me allowed me to integrate the wisdom of my heart and of love itself, sometimes gracefully sometimes not so much.

Artwork by Ruby Clark
Ogham Artwork by Ruby Clark

Hawthorn is known for its associations with magic, witches, and fairies.  As Darcey Blue writes, Hawthorn’s “rank smelling flowers and thorns and association with spirit worlds make Hawthorn a tree of ‘death’ and transformation, and also of protection and caution.”  Death here, to me, doesn’t mean literal death, but rather a shedding, releasing, letting die that which no longer serves us.  The archetypal theme of life/death/rebirth.

A key element of transformation, of alchemy of the soul is in the allowing of what needs to die in order for the rebirth parts of our self.  It’s the Death card of the Tarot: learning how to detach and release, cutting through old patterns that bind us so that we can give birth to new forms and previously unexpressed parts of ourselves.

Death card from the Thoth Tarot

One of my favorite things about Hawthorn is the magical obstacles it presents to us at just the right moment.  It reflects to us the exact lesson we need at the exact moment in life that we need it.  Synchronicity at its finest.  Somehow she knows what we’re ready for, what our next lesson needs to be on our path in order for us to meet our purpose.  Hawthorn will “guard you as it teaches you – sometimes strongly, sometimes gently – but always with love.”

Wild Self-Love: A journey from Starvation to Soul

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Dearest Wild Ones,

You remember a couple months ago when I created Shameless Self-Love, my 30-day video campaign to cultivate and encourage a deeper, healthier and more meaningful relationship with our bodies and souls?  Each day, for 30 days straight, I made a video with tips, quotes, tidbits of wisdom, stories and journaling prompts to begin softening our hearts toward ourselves, and to learn how to wildly LOVE our own souls (here’s one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLwWnaSgjmo).

Of course those videos were a way to offer some of my work to you all, to get my voice out there in a big way, and to share the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own mentors.  But another major part of my reason for creating those videos was for myself.  To get clearer on my message, my truth, what I wanted to share and teach with my clients, and to distill what was the essence of Wild Grace.  To get clear on what I feel my soul’s purpose and message is to the world.

And the response to those videos from you all was AH-MAZING!  I heard from people all over the world who had seen my videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest, and who wanted to reach out to say how badly we all need the reminder not only to love ourselves, but how to heal those wounds that prevent us from doing so.  I got such incredible feedback and so many equally inspiring questions, that I decided to write a program based on the video series, only now we’re diving much, much deeper.  I’ve been exploring how to use self-love coaching, energy work, animal totems, shamanic ritual, plant medicine, chakra work, visionary and craniosacral therapy in order to heal trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, and other stuck patterns of behavior and beliefs.  All of this work has effectively led to creating my own life coaching methodology that I CANNOT wait to share with you!

After months of writing, researching, rewriting, scrapping, and starting over, I’m officially (but unofficially) launching Wild Self-Love, a 3 month, one-on-one program to reconnect to your Wild Soul and fall madly in love with your Self with passion and grace.  I say “unofficially” because it’s not even on my website yet.  It is brand, spankin’ new.  And since you’re already on my list, I’m offering it to you, my incredible tribe, FIRST and at a special price…

What happens when you cultivate more self-love and connect with your Wild Soul?

  • You attract better, healthier, happier, and more whole relationships, both romantically and otherwise (i.e. you have amazing friends!!)
  • You manifest abundance in your life, whether it’s literal financial abundance, more satisfying life experiences, or more time to do the things you love – all wonderful, valid forms of abundance
  • You have the ability to create the life you crave, and the power to decide how you want to feel EVERY DAY
  • Your creativity EXPLODES and you become capable of designing your life and anything within it
  • Your body feels free, limitless, and light
  • You know how to make yourself JOYFUL, happy, and fulfilled without looking outside of yourself in order to feel a certain way
  • You feel free from past traumas, addictions, and stuck, recurring patterns that aren’t serving YOU

If you’re ready to fall WILDLY in love with yourself, reconnect with your SOUL and her purpose, now is your time!  I offer a complimentary Self-Love discovery session for any woman interested in working together so that we can chat and make sure we’re a good fit!  Remember, your wise soul contains all the answers within, this work provides the space and support to tap into your inner guides and learn to listen.

I am so passionate about this body of work I’ve put together for you!!  It’s truly an honor to share it, and I can’t wait to work with you…

All my love,
Katie XO

Dreaming out loud

Oh you guys!  I meant to write earlier this week, and then got so distracted.  This windy weather we’ve been having always leaves me feeling a bit ungrounded, not to mention that it’s 80 degrees in January, so my body is all kinds of confused.

At first I felt guilty for my day dreaming.  I tried finding ways to justify it, but I had work to do.  Blogs, marketing copy, programs, irresistible product descriptions, and meditations to write.  Reading to catch up on.  Silver to get polished (seriously).  Instead of doing any of that, I’ve spent the last week visioning, dreaming, and heart-storming.  I watched that guilty “I feel unproductive” feeling come up, wreak a little bit of havoc on my peace of mind, and then I made the best decision I’ve made in a long time.  I decided to let it go for just a couple days and see what happens when I let my intuition, my soul truly guide me.  To see what happens when I just let myself dream, even if it got to feel a little bit too big and too daunting.

And I’ve come to a profound soul truth.  It feels expansive!  Still big, still daunting, but powerful, spacious, and authentic.  And f*cking awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you all!  Because I know dreaming can be scary, we see these amazing things that we want to do, and then think, “How in the hell am I going to make that happen?!”  It’s easy to proclaim “Follow your passions!”  Rumi even tells us, “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.”  And you listen to your heart and everything sounds wonderful and bright and shiny.  And then it comes to taking the steps to ACT on that wisdom.  And we freeze.  And sometimes we stay frozen.  But I don’t want to feel stuck, and I definitely don’t want you to feel stuck.

So now you get to take a journey inside my head, through my visions, and a peek into my dreams…

When I was young, my mom had me watch Practical Magic with her.  She must have known that I loved witchy things.  From the moment I saw Sally’s shop, I needed to have my own.  (You all know what I’m talking about, so no judge-y snickering.)  From then on, in my heart of hearts, I wanted my own space for herbs, magic, healing, teaching, and communing.

And now it’s finally beginning to take shape…

I’m beginning to allow myself to really want it, to let that desire guide me, and take real, practical steps to making it happen.  I’ve even looked at potential spaces for it!  And the most fun part, I’ve begun to imagine it.  To feel, see, smell it…

Think vintage apothecary meets Hogwarts meets gypsy caravan with a touch of whimsy.  And a lot of hanging plant matter.  Are you starting to see it come together?  No?  Here are some pictures to help for those of us who need visuals.

An apothecary like this…

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With a touch of this (yes, I absolutely need to skeleton too)…

apothecary kitchen

A bit of that…

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And a lot of this…

drying herbs

It’s being dreamt, manifested, and acted into existence as I move through my fears of rejection, of commitment, and of playing big and showing up for my own desires.  So here is your reminder to keep dreaming.  Big dreams, small dreams, scary, whimsical, childlike, black+white, and colorful dreams.   It can be pretty terrifying to share our dreams of what we really want because if someone shoots us down it hurts A LOT!  You need to trust in your vision so much that even if someone tells you that you can’t, you KNOW in your deepest, gnarliest knowing that you totally can.  Now that you’ve heard about/seen my dream, I’d LOVE to hear about yours!  Feel free to comment below and share with me what you envision, what you most deeply desire to do/create/have/feel in your life?

Shedding off one more layer of skin

As a dear friend reminded me the other day, we’re coming to the end of the year of the snake.  It’s been a year of incredible shedding, peeling back the layers of old stories, relationships, labels, beliefs, and assumptions I’ve held onto.  The past few weeks I’ve been in a slow, painful yet beautiful process of crawling out of my skin.  An old skin.  Like snakes do when they’ve outgrown that layer and it’s time to move on.

shedding layers

For a long time I thought I was meant to work with women struggling with eating disorders.  I even wrote a one-on-one coaching program for healing emotional eating.  I thought it was my calling, my mission.  All along there were lots of signs from the Universe telling me that it wasn’t.  That it was just one step along the way.  I realize now that it was a way to heal MYSELF.

And it was the easy way to respond to the much afeared question: “So Katie, what do you do?”  It was simple and sounded good to just say, “I help women struggling with eating disorders to heal their relationship with food.”  People understood that.  I didn’t have to explain myself or justify my place in life.

Each time I’d say that out loud I’d wonder, “Whose voice is it saying those words?  It certainly isn’t mine.”  It was a cop-out.  An easy answer that in no way encompassed my place in life or my truth.  The problem was I didn’t trust that when I was in alignment with myself, sitting still enough to listen, the people I was meant to work with would find me.  So I resisted what my heart kept telling me.  I stood on my soapbox and told everyone to listen to their gut.  That if they asked their Soul what he/she wanted and needed that they’d get their answers.  That their body would tell them what they needed.  That it’d be scary to trust themselves at first and that’s okay because courage was feeling that fear and doing it anyway.

And as one of my mentors says, we’re great at giving the advice and teaching what we ourselves need to learn.  So rather than sit, listen, trust, be gentle, and know that my soul had a plan, I questioned, ignored, blamed and shamed myself into speaking words that weren’t mine.  Into claiming a place in this world that wasn’t for me because it was easier than owning the work that I love to do and claiming my space.  Luckily, my inner guides had other plans and things began to fall apart so that I could let them go and trust that something bigger was coming.  That the work I had done around emotional eating was really for me, to heal my own scars and wounds.

Now comes the hard part.  The scary, messy, and ultimately beautiful part.  When I have to commit to myself, to my tribe, to the souls who have been on this journey with me from the beginning.  Now I commit to doing what I tell everyone else to do: to speak my truth, even and especially when it’s a bit terrifying.

The truth is, I want to go deeper.  I don’t want to tell women who are struggling with how to love themselves and to own their power that they need to eat.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s unbelievable value in that.  There are amazing souls whose work IS to support people to nourish themselves with real food.

And I want to peel back the next layer.  To go to those deeper, darker places of your soul, to read and listen to the story of your spirit.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed.  It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead.” I’m fascinated by the connection between the Soul and the physical body.  By the way our body manifests health and dis-eases of our deeper Self.  The way that our body holds, negotiates, and releases trauma.  And how my education through experience and more formal training have prepared me to hold space for people to explore and go through their process.

I’ve known this to be true for a long time, and it’s taken me until now to own this truth:  I’m here to heal through renegotiating trauma, through the power of myth and stories, through plants and the medicine of the earth.  I’m here to teach women to listen, speak, and feel.  To hold space for ritual and soul retrieval.  To go with you to the deepest self in order that your own spirit can heal your emotional and physical body, the connection between the two.  And to help women find happiness by being in alignment with their soul’s truth and loving themselves enough to ask for that much out of this life.  I work with archetypes, movement, your desires, and dreams.  Through the medicine of heartbreak and recovery.  And through holding sacred space for the Soul to come back home.

P.S.  Extra credit to anyone who can tell me what the title of this post is from…

XO

Dancing under the full moon

full moonMy feet are covered in grass, my jeans are wet, I keep pulling leaves out of my hair, and my hands smell like damp earth and burnt sage.  And I’m ecstatic.  I’ve just been dancing under the full moon.

I have my full moon ritual that I do every month, but this time my soul called me outside, and so I listened, performing my simple ritual at the base of a pine tree under the Moon’s soft light.  I sat with her, listening to her and to my own heart.  Listening to any special whisperings she may have for me this cycle.  I heard, “I’m finally here, I’m fully in my body, and I’m saying yes.  And I’m going to keep saying yes.  Keep feeling,  Keep showing up.”

And then I danced, wildly, spinning in circles with bare feet under the Moon until I fell into the dew-soaked grass.  I laughed like I haven’t laughed since I was 7 years old, so fully connected with Younger Self, blissfully aware of my spirit’s light.

On my walk home I can feel my own ecstatic energy pulsing through my body, radiating out so many feet beyond my physical boundaries.  No wonder I kept all this power, this energy, locked inside me for so long.  Its intensity is overwhelming but beautiful.  And since I was young I would get images of ages past, of ancient full moons, stone circles, primeval forests where I would visit with the faeries and spirits, but I had no idea where these flashes of seemingly random impressions came from.  As something settled deep within my belly last night I realized, these are past lives, journeys my soul has already been on, places I’ve been to with my soul brothers and sisters.

Ritual, connection with our Younger Self, creating sacred space, setting new intentions, releasing old patterns, continuing to show up for ourselves.  This is the only way to wake up, to deal with our pain, to get through it all.  Iyanla Vanzant writes, “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.  You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.”  The role of ritual, of magic, of sacred space is to hold and guide us through this process of pulling out the “core of the pain” so that we know can honor this process, honor the old version of ourselves that we must release in order to welcome the new.

Ritual: Calling back our spirit

Ritual smudging
Ritual smudging

These days ritual in its own right isn’t a high priority in our every day lives.  We have our little things we all do, our morning coffee, afternoon tea (like I wrote about here), our bedtime routine, Saturday morning cartoons (do those still exist?), our usual yoga class, etc.  But the place of ritual in our culture has largely been forgotten.  We treat symptoms of the sufferings of our spirit, i.e. anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, symptoms of trauma, etc. as biochemical, medical issues when in fact they are often crises of the soul.

Joseph Campbell writes, “The function of ritual . . . is to give form to human life, not in the way of a mere surface arrangement, but in depth.”  This form is what allows us to acknowledge, honor, even admire our pain rather than be it, which ultimately allows us to release it.  This is where the importance of ritual comes in.

Ritual itself is aimed at awakening our Younger Self, our unconscious mind that experiences life through the holistic awareness of our right brain.  Younger Self communicates through emotions, visions, dreams, and physical sensations and symptoms.  It is through ritual that we communicate with our Younger Self.  This communion with Younger Self, with our unconscious minds, with our soul is how we begin to heal, to connect with the greater mystery of Spirit, of life.  It’s about awareness, acknowledgment, and honoring our process and our journey.

In other words, ritual is one of the ways we put our lives in perspective.  It calls together all of our shades, our experiences, traumas, the “ghosts” that haunt us.  Ritual sorts it all out and puts it to rest.  So what might it be like if more of us (the greater public) created ritual and sacred space to process our  pain rather than approaching it as something that is biochemically wrong with us?  How might that empower us to HEAL ourselves rather than look to some thing or someone else to fix it for us?  It seems to me that simple step of taking our spiritual and emotional health into our own hands tells our soul that we see the deeper issue and are ready to confront and take care of it.

If you are ready to do this kind of deep and transformational work, heal your body, and nourish your spirit, but don’t know how to create the sacred space and ritual work, come over to my website Wild Grace and see if my services are a good fit for you.