Reclaiming the Dark Goddess

On Friday night I offered Priestess facilitation at a Goddess event in Portland. I created a space for people to compose prayers to the Goddess, spoke with attendees about their relationship with the Divine Feminine and helped them craft their intentions. The show featured DJs, live musicians and channeled ceremony. All the performers, live painters and facilitators were female.

In preparing for the event, I imagined that many people would interpret the Goddess in typical fashion: flowing, white fabrics, sparkles, flowers, and other symbols of the gentle feminine. My relationship with the Goddess (especially lately) has been much more influenced by the Dark Goddess, so I was determined to represent her in her powers of destruction and transformation. I wore a beautiful and slightly intimidating boar tusk necklace given to me by one of my deep medicine sisters, strung feathers through my wild hair and donned subtly shimmering black and purple clothes. (I’m not much of a “photo person,” so it wasn’t until after the event was over that it occurred to me that I should have taken a picture. Oh well.)

I was pleasantly surprised to have my expectations proven completely inaccurate! Most of the attendees looked dark and fierce in their interpretation of the Goddess, and as I spoke with people throughout the night about their relationship with the Divine Feminine, I found that many more than I expected were tuning into her aspect as Destroyer. Plenty of people are actively calling upon Kali to help bring about some serious change in their lives. I also welcomed the opportunity to discuss the Aztec Goddess Tlazolteotl and her Divine service through her role as the Filth Eater. Deep in conversation with someone about the Goddess as Transformer and hearing him passionately proclaim the need for societal revolution, I expressed my preconceived notion and how happy I was to see people reclaiming the Dark Goddess. He agreed completely. White, flowing fabric has its place, but now is a time for teeth and claws.

Kali Teeth and Claws Meme

My favorite part of the show was the midnight ceremony facilitated by a woman called Lux Moderna. I met her backstage before she went on, and she told me that her entire dance performance is channeled in the moment as Spirit moves through her. During her time onstage, I felt like I was high. I could absolutely feel the energy she brought forth through the ceremony and the entire room was buzzing in response.

I had the opportunity yesterday morning to go to brunch with her, as she is staying with a friend of mine during her visit. Amidst our collective nerding out over the New Sacred movement and Goddess Spirituality, she brought up the Oracle at Delphi.

Brief history lesson: the Pythia (aka Delphic Oracle) was the name of the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. This temple was originally built to honor Gaia, then was taken over by the Apollonians. The Pythia, who was always a woman, was held to certain standards of purity and dressed as a virgin to symbolize her readiness to form a union with Apollo. She was forced to inhale “sacred vapors” (fumes emitting from a volcanic vent beneath the temple), then priests would interpret whatever she said as a prophesy in exchange for money from whoever wanted to ask her a question. In other words, the house of the Goddess was taken over by the masculine and Priestesses were fetishized and forced into spiritual slavery. (For a very “Hollywood” interpretation of this, see the movie 300).

Oracle 300

I’m not going to delve at all into whether the visions that she had came from a connection with Spirit or were drug-induced raving (but who’s to say that some of those ravings were not inspired by Spirit?). My point for the purposes of this article has to do with a potent example of the power of the Divine Feminine being seized, manipulated and sexualized by the out-of-balance masculine. For thousands of years, we (as collective humanity) have learned that “feminine” qualities include grace, beauty, virginity, gentleness, purity and nurturing. The Goddess was put in a pretty, little, white box.

So you can imagine my fierce pleasure the other night when I witnessed hundreds of women and men coming together to honor the Divine Feminine, and the predominant vibe was that of the Dark Goddess unleashed at last. Yes, the Goddess is all of those qualities listed above. But the Goddess is also destructive. The Goddess is ruthless. The Goddess is the embodiment of transformation: she receives the seed and transforms it into a tree, alchemizes solid rock into molten lava and composts decaying flesh into healthy soil.

The Goddess belongs to no one, yet lives in all of us. We are most able to honor and receive her when we embrace all aspects of her medicine–light and dark, creative and destructive, birth and death. Regardless of where we are on the gender spectrum, the Divine Feminine shows herself through us. How does the Goddess manifest in your life?

I am currently accepting clients for my three month long intensive transformation healing program, New Moon Rising: http://joyofenergy.com/newmoonrising.html

In our work together, you will receive energetic healing, coaching and practices to help you through your Spiritual Awakening or Deepening. Together, we will delve into your relationship with the Divine Feminine and Masculine and examine how you can balance them in your life in a healthy, constructive way. We all have an inner Masculine and an inner Feminine. It is time to honor all parts of ourselves so that we may be whole and healed, and honor all parts of the Goddess so that we may fully receive her medicine.

Contact me for a consultation to work one-on-one and commit to yourself and your journey.

Many blessings,

Michelle

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Politics, Spiritual Awakening and Dark Teachers

This is not a post about politics. This is a post about looking at the current political climate through the lens of a Spiritual seeker/mentor.

Throughout my whole life, politics have never interested me. I don’t really understand them, I have never followed election season (except at the last minute to do just enough research to make an informed voting decision), and I definitely don’t involve myself in discussions about policy.

This election season, however, I find myself absolutely fascinated. Not by the ravings of a racist, misogynist businessman-turned-politician, but by the clear duality between two very different ideologies that is presenting itself for examination, and the opportunity that comes with it.

I should say at this point that I am pro-Bernie all the way. #feelthebern #berniesanders

When I first found out that Drumpf was running in the primaries, I was amused. “Yeah, right. That won’t last long. There’s no way that people would vote for someone like that,” I thought.

I have since been watching the primaries with a growing degree of incredulity. I wondered how on earth it was possible that a person who embodies so much hatred, manipulation, deceit and a total lack of ethics could be gaining so much support.

When I consider the voting pool and how many people out there have yet to delve into their Shadow work, it makes sense to me that they would vote for a person like Drumpf. Imagine all the unexamined wounds, the ancestral traumas, the pain and hatred and blame and self-destructive tendencies that live inside us until we are ready to look at and release them. Most people aren’t willing to do so, and so these Shadows continue to reside and grow within us. All of a sudden, this person comes along who is using his public platform to say all the things your Shadow has ever wanted to express. Of course you would resonate with that message, because your Shadow is running the show! Through his hate speech, this candidate is offering validation to the inner Shadow of all these deeply wounded people.

Let’s take things further and look at the situation from the cosmic perspective. Why is it that this person is appearing now to bring so much hatred and violence to the surface of our collective consciousness?

I believe that Drumpf is here as a Dark Teacher to catalyze within the general population a massive movement toward Spiritual Awakening.

Let me give you a brief personal example. I encountered another such catalyst in my own life a few years ago. At that point, I was already well on my path of Spiritual work and investigation. I had been a practicing Reiki Master for about five years and was in the process of developing my work with Channeling and stepping more deeply into consciously working with Shamanic energies. Nonetheless, when I met a charming, beautiful narcissistic sociopath, I ignored all my intuitive warning bells and fell into relationship with him very quickly. I was with him for only a couple of months, but that was plenty of time for me to step away from my guidance and become deeply drawn into an abusive, manipulative relationship full of coercion and me wondering why I didn’t feel connected to Spirit around this person. Thankfully, I figured it out in time to leave with no lasting damage and with rock-solid commitment to always staying in alignment with my Highest Self and my guidance. I refer to that experience as one of my Underworld Initiations and to that person as my Dark Teacher.

After ending that relationship, it came to light that this person had followed a similar pattern of abuse and manipulation with several people in the community. Long story short, examining the collective Shadow was the catalyst that led to healing for many, and my Dark Teacher was later arrested for domestic assault. My healing process included a lot of asking how a person like that can exist in the world, and what the cosmic purpose is behind it all.

I would consider Drumpf to be another Dark Teacher who is offering society an amazing opportunity to confront our individual and collective Shadows. Knowing that everyone has a purpose, and that ultimately everything works for the Highest and Greatest Good, I have to believe that people like Drumpf and my ex are here to offer themselves in service by embodying the Darkness so deeply that they catalyze transformation and awakening in the masses. In my own case, even though I was already “awakened,” I can credit that situation with cementing in me the certainty that I will always work in service to the Highest and Greatest Good, always stay attuned to Spirit, and always work for healing for myself and others. That was the medicine I needed to receive to bring my Shadow into the Light for healing.

So I have to ask how many people out there, especially those who might be considered more “moderate,” or those who haven’t yet found a reason to examine their beliefs more closely, are being catalyzed by Drumpf’s hate speech into Awakening? How many people like me are there, who may not generally prioritize politics as worthy of my attention, who are called into action in the face of such darkness to use every opportunity available to invite people to connect with each other in love and compassion? How many people see (whether consciously or subconsciously) the choice with which we are presented, and are seizing the opportunity to step into alignment with community, Truth, accountability and togetherness? How many people are experiencing their Spiritual Awakening as a result of this Dark Teacher’s work and the political climate?

There’s a video I like of an interview with Bernie Sanders, where he says, “My Spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me.” In my mind, this quote epitomizes the duality with which we are presented: the choice between separation and connection, between violence and peace, between manipulation and accountability, between hatred and compassion. Watch the video here: http://mic.com/articles/134326/bernie-sanders-my-spirituality-is-that-we-are-all-in-this-together#.6hvNK241p

Let us choose connection, peace, accountability, compassion, community, Truth and Love. Let us choose to Awaken, offer gratitude to our Dark Teachers and forgiveness to our wounds, and stand in alignment with our Highest Selves. Let us receive the medicine we need in order to commit to working for the Highest and Greatest Good of ourselves and of all.

I am currently accepting clients for my three month long intensive transformation healing program, New Moon Rising: http://joyofenergy.com/newmoonrising.html
In our work together, you will receive energetic healing, coaching and practices to help you through your Spiritual Awakening or Deepening. Together, we will examine old wounds, ancestral traumas and offer gratitude to your Dark Teachers for their medicine in helping you confront your Shadow. We all have one, and it’s time to bring yours into the Light to be healed.

Contact me for a consultation to work one-on-one and commit to yourself and your journey.

Many blessings,

Michelle

Dark Teachers Meme

Embodiment

There’s a term I came up with that I like to use with my clients and students to impress a certain idea upon them. The term is “Divine Embodied Being.”

I find this term very appropriate for a few reasons, but largely because it reminds us of the multi-faceted nature of our existence. The term “Human Being” is of biological origin and serves only to describe our physical and genetic makeup. How are we different from other beings? Well, we’re Human Beings!

However, we are so much more than our limbs and our brains and our genes. We are the embodiment of the Divine. Our physical forms provide the anchor for our souls to live on the Earth plane.

And so, we are Divine Embodied Beings. We are the physical manifestation of Spirit. We are Source and matter.

(For the purposes of this article, I only talk about human Divine Embodied Beings, but plants, animals, crystals, minerals, etc are also Divine Embodied Beings.)

It is so easy for us humans to use duality to separate and exclude: “If A, then not B.” Or, “If I am human, then I am not Divine,” or even, “If I am Divine, then I have no reason to pay attention to my human body.”

This last example is one that I see all too often, especially among people who have begun to realize their Spiritual awakening but have yet to balance it with the earthly aspects of their existence. Many clients come to me who are so focused on the energetic part of their process that they haven’t bothered to bring their physical bodies up to speed yet.

So let’s talk about the purpose and importance of Embodiment practice from a Spiritual perspective.

In order to honor all parts of our nature and live in the world as whole beings, it is of equal importance to devote care and attention to the parts of ourselves that are Divine AND the parts of ourselves that are Matter. Moreover, we must not treat them as separate facets of our existence, but as deeply interwoven and mutually necessary components of our wholeness. It is our bodies that offer a place for Spirit to live inside of us, and it is our Souls that animate our physical forms beyond the level of a biochemical machine.

One of the ways we can support both parts of ourselves simultaneously is through Embodied Meditation. Absolutely any activity can be a form of Embodied Meditation, if you hold the intention for it. When students or clients tell me that they’re “bad at meditating,” I ask them what activities they enjoy, and what brings them peace. Often the answers include things like walking outside, gardening, yoga or going for a run. I tell them that these are all wonderful forms of Embodied Meditation, and when they do these activities, to practice bringing intention and mindfulness to the exercise.

My favorite form of embodied meditation is dancing. And I’m not talking about the kind of dancing where you sort of stand there awkwardly and shift your weight from side to side. I’m not even talking about structured dances with certain steps and standards of correct form. I’m talking about allowing your body to move in whatever way it feels called, whether or not it’s pretty. The kind of dance where you feel energy coursing through your veins, filling your cells and making your chakras spin and glow. The kind of dance where, as you start shaking, you feel all the blockages and stagnant energy inside yourself start to melt and release into the floor. Dancing until you are drenched in sweat and your hair is full of tears from crying as you allow powerful energy to rush through you, releasing old wounds. Dancing and channeling our ancestors who danced for thousands of years before us to honor their bodies, honor Spirit and feel alive. Dancing until you drop in so deeply that you enter a trance state and forget completely who and where you are, and all that exists is movement.

Needless to say, I start more slowly with my clients and we work up to trance dancing when/if they’re ready. I teach some basic practices and help my clients find what works best for them. Some forms of Embodied Meditation can be relatively peaceful, like gentle yoga. Some are more playful, like my friend’s game of “Zen rock-hopping” (jumping from stone to stone through a river or stream. As he says, if you think about it too much, you get wet). Others are fairly extreme, like my roommate running 100-mile races. She told me about one instance, about 70 miles in, were she started seeing ghosts coming out of the ground. But what is the point of activities like that? No matter what form it takes, why do we need embodied meditation?

Physical practices like these unite the part of us that is Embodied with the part of us that is Divine. When we bring our Spirit and our intention to an embodied practice, we can move energy through our physical system. It is the perfect union of tangible and intangible, working across the hemispheres of our brains and across whatever barriers we have put between our energetic awareness and our bodies.

Throughout my whole life, I have had some form of physical practice. Whether it was being part of a sports team or doing activities by myself, I always knew that I felt happier and healthier when I took care of my body. When I officially began my Reiki practice in 2006, it took a few years for me to make the connection between the energetic work I was doing and the physical process of moving energy through my body. There were times when I would do all I could with Reiki to release stagnant energies, but until I went for a run and flushed them from my system, they were stuck. In the last several years I have come to a deep understanding of how physically shaking and sweating old energies out of me is just as important to the healing process as the energy work itself. We are Divine Embodied Beings, and in order to be whole, we must honor all parts of ourselves.

I used to only teach Embodiment practices to my private clients as part of our work together, but I recently included an Embodied Meditation workshop in my Shamanic Reiki Apprentice Program. The next one is coming up on March 12th, and I am happy to expand these offerings out to those who are interested!

Contact me to book a consultation to work one-on-one with me, or if you’re interested in taking classes. In the meantime, I encourage you to look at your physical practice with a new perspective, through the lens of yourself as a Divine Embodied Being. See you on the dance floor. Divine Embodied Beings Meme

Rage and Constructive Destruction

Every now and then I fantasize about a certain superpower. These fantasies start whenever I hit a certain level of righteous fury, usually after I’ve read several articles and had conversations about politics, violence, misogyny, oppression, manipulation, wealth inequality, rape culture, environmental and human rights atrocities, etc. At that point, my heart starts burning and my muscles knot and I fantasize about screaming my rage so powerfully that people can’t bear it and they cover their ears, cringing away from the sound of complete destruction. Glass starts exploding all around me and as I keep screaming, fissures open in the ground beneath my feet, buildings start to tremble and I literally crumble the establishment with the power of my voice.

However, since the most success I’ve had with that in my life so far has been setting off the glass-break alarm as a screaming infant, I will have to strive for a less literal interpretation of that particular fantasy. I still plan to crumble the establishment with the power of my voice (with all of our voices), but maybe that will take place through my words, rather than through sheer decibels of burning fury.

I talk a lot about something I call “the fundamental wounding of humanity.” Anyone who has hung around with me long enough has heard me discuss at length how any manifestation of violence, inequality, or just treating each other poorly, can be traced back to this fundamental wound: separation. The belief that we are alone. The belief that we are disconnected from anyone and everything around us–this is the root of abuse, neglect, apathy, hatred and cruelty. Humans have a history of defining themselves (ourselves) based on what they are not. A human looks at a wolf. “I am not like that. That is an entirely different being from me.” And through separation, the potential for fear is born. A member of one tribe encounters a member of a different tribe. “I am not like that. That human looks different from me. He behaves differently from me. We have nothing in common.” And through distancing ourselves, the potential for fear is born. Fear grows into hatred for everything that we are not. Through separation, we give ourselves permission and justification to abuse animals, because they are not like us and do not experience emotion. We give ourselves permission to hate people from other cultures and ideologies, because they are not like us and they can’t be trusted. We give ourselves permission to clear cut forests and burn thousands of acres to the ground because we are separate from the earth, and plants feel no pain.

When I read these articles and have discussions about the state of the world, I see how there are so many people invested in keeping things the way they are. Right now, we exist in a system designed to make people slaves and perpetuate the belief that we are separate, and therefore powerless. If we lived in a world where empathy and connection was the norm, many of the atrocities that we see every day would not exist. They simply do not fit with the idea that we live in an interconnected Universe. This would not exist: http://economy.money.cnn.com/2013/03/08/wealth-video/

And neither would this: http://www.naturalnews.com/052943_Zika_virus_hoax_larvacide_chemical_GM_mosquitoes.html

And neither would this: http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/10/22/orangutans-are-dying-indonesia-burns

And I don’t have an article for this one, but I was speaking with a friend the other day who told me that her partner worked for years with a medical research company developing technology that was less invasive and more successful than our current model of surgery. Guess what? The technology was abandoned after it was found to be less profitable than the current treatment protocols. In a world where we prioritized compassion and empathy, such an occurrence would not exist.

And neither would many other things. But I’m not here to list everything that’s wrong with the world.

What I am here to do is to channel my rage into a constructive avenue. I call upon the super power of my voice to bring complete destruction to the corrupt establishment.

And how does that happen?

Through healing the fundamental wound of humanity. Through remembering that we are all–humans, animals, plants, elements, energies, Earth–more deeply connected than we could ever imagine.

I call upon the super power of my voice to teach empathy and compassion. I call upon the super power of my voice to reach people with Truth and love. I call upon the super power of my voice to penetrate to the darkest corners of our collective being so that we may call for the complete destruction of all that which does not serve the Highest and Greatest Good of All That Is. I call upon the super power of my voice to channel my compassionate rage for the purpose of constructive destruction. I call upon the super power of my voice to inspire people to discover the miracle of connection within themselves, so that they can connect with others and the world around them. I call upon the super power of my voice to heal myself, so that I may heal the world.

*Glass shatters.*

screaming_rage_by_silvietepes-dnhvjyPhoto: Screaming Rage by Silvie Tepes

Truth Belongs to No One

Yesterday I did some deep healing work on myself and moved massive amounts of energy. The session was brief, but very intense. During that time, a past life of mine was revealed to me for the purpose of integrating those energies into my current embodiment.

I saw myself immediately as a young teenage boy (maybe 13 or 14 years old) on a vision quest. I was sitting in a snowy forest at nighttime, singing to myself. I saw that I was practicing trust, but at the same time knew that I was so cold, and felt alone and afraid. But I sat in trust anyway, and I sang.

I’ve been out here for days and I can’t go home. There’s a feeling like I have to prove something, but I don’t know what it is that I have to prove. There’s an element of not being good enough. No one expects me to bring anything home or succeed. Fox appears to me. Fox of the inquisitive mind, of keen observation, of knowledge.

I channeled these messages from my guides, who were speaking to me as the boy on the vision quest (and inviting me to integrate these messages into myself as Michelle):

“‘Too clever for your own good,’ Fox Child. You ask these questions that challenge the system, and so people think you do not believe. They think you will not succeed. People view your questions as a challenge to what they hold dear, and so you are cast aside. But it is not out of malice that you ask these questions. It is out of love and it is out of exploration. When we say it is out love, it is not out of love for the system, but it is out of love for knowledge and love for Truth. And so, Fox Child, we invite you to continue to ask your questions and to trust that the system in which you are succeeding is not necessarily the system into which you are striving to fit. The reason that you feel alone and the reason that you feel cast out from this Tribe is because you are of a new process, a new energy that does not fit the old beliefs. And when you question them out of your love for Truth and out of your love for exploration and inquisition, it is viewed as harmful, and it is viewed as malicious and disobedient. The reason no one expects you to succeed is because you are asking all the “wrong” questions. And so you, yourself, brought on this vision quest. You yourself thought it would be helpful. And yet, there is an expectation when you return to your tribe that either you will have heard nothing because they believe that you do not listen. When they tell you things they believe that you do not listen, and so they believe that you will not hear if Great Spirit speaks to you. They think that maybe you will have learned your lesson and that you will obey and that you will listen.

“But just because you are not accepting what they tell you as absolute Truth doesn’t mean that you are not listening! You must always continue to ask your questions, Fox Child. Because when you ask, you show your love for Truth. And you understand that Truth is an ever-changing entity that does not exist in a static Universe. Truth belongs to no one. This might feel very isolating to you because other people work in service to established ideas. Your tribe exists in service to itself and in service to its established identity. And when you ask your questions, they feel threatened and they feel unstable and they feel as though you are challenging their established identity. They do not see that your inquiries come out of love for Truth itself, rather than an idea which was established by others, long ago. Maybe there is some sadness there for their own lack of discovery of personal Truth.

“And so, at times it may seem a lonely path. At times you may sit out here, in the cold, by yourself, feeling that no one will expect you to succeed and no one supports you. Oh, but Fox Child! We see you, and we love you, and we see that you ask these questions in service to Truth and in service to Love. And we support you. We know that this is not an easy path that you have chosen. There are times when you will not feel us here, watching you. That is because there are times in which you need to know what it feels like to be alone. And yet, we encourage you to keep asking these questions because your work does not go unnoticed and your work does not go unacknowledged in the cosmic context. Oh, Fox Child! We will see that no harm comes to you through this dark night. We will see that you are surrounded and protected, though you will not know that we are there. You will not know, and you will feel alone for now. And you will experience this dark night of the soul as though you were completely on your own in this forest of snow. And you will witness only the Fox, your fellow Truth-Seeker. He will be your only companion for this dark night. But no harm will come to you, and you will sit by your fire. And you will sing your questions.”

These messages ring very true for me through my exploration of my work and of living in service to Spirit through the pursuit of Truth. I’ll be sitting with this information and integrating these energies, and perhaps later I can expound further upon the implications.

Many thanks, also, to Fox. I look forward to getting to know you. Truth Fox

Image from http://fishergrilcolorado.blogspot.com/2011/12/visiting-redtail-fox.html

A Love Letter to My Medicine Family

Dear Tribe,

Happy Solstice! I am so grateful to take this time to reflect on the past year and its lessons, and on the people with whom I exchanged beautiful energy.

Thank you so much for the times we danced together, laughed, cooked amazing food, dressed up in costumes, drank tea and talked about the Universe and sat in hot springs until we felt like we were dissolving into infinity.

Thank you for sitting in the forest with me and listening to the rain, nerding out with me over communication and human consciousness, serenading me with beautiful songs and feeding me chocolate.

Thank you for witnessing me in my grief, offering me reflections on my process, being amazing mirrors for my own growth and awareness, teaching me about Power and Love and living your own journeys so fiercely that it inspires me to do the same. Thank you for showing up to talk about the hard stuff with me.

I am so happy to hold space for your process, to reflect with you on your journey, to hold you as you cry, to read your words, to crack jokes all night so you can laugh for a moment and forget your broken heart. I am happy to hold ceremony for you and offer you healing.

I love journeying with you into your own darkness, helping you discover your demons and shine a light on your deepest fears. I will always be there to share my insight, offer my intuition or be a sounding board. Tell me your stories, share your epiphanies and bare your hearts. I love watching your soul sparkle as you speak your Truth.

This past year has been particularly magical because of my amazing Medicine Sisters who have shown up in all the most beautiful ways. Never before have I had such a strong reflection of the Divine Feminine from so many powerful women.

I am also so grateful for my Medicine Brothers and their embodiment of the Divine Masculine.

This is also a dedication letter of sorts. As I continue on my path and step more completely into alignment with my role as a Shaman, there is a necessary acknowledgement of purpose and commitment. As a friend told me, a Shaman doesn’t choose to become a Shaman. They do so because it’s the only way they know how to heal themselves. And once they pass through the Shadow realm and come out the other side, a Shaman’s life belongs to their tribe.

The work that I am doing now is the work that I will be doing (in some form or another) for the rest of my life. So many thanks to my amazing Tribe–you make it so easy to commit to you! And that’s exactly what I’m doing: I commit to supporting you, my Tribe, in your health and well-being, especially in regards to your Spiritual journey.

I hold so much gratitude for my Medicine Family. Thank you for seeing me. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Many blessings,

MichelleMichelle Levesque

Solstice Darkness

Tonight marks the Winter Solstice. This is a personally significant holiday for several reasons. Not only is this when I celebrate the New Year, but four years ago today (on the Solstice in 2011) I received my Shamanic Initiation. Add to that the perfect container to call in the darkness to do some lovely Shadow work–this is a very Shamanic holiday.

Last night I attended Solstice Dance for the third year in a row and spent some time taking stock of the last year. I felt considerable distress when I noticed some similar themes of what was going on this time two years ago, last year and now. And as I danced, I thought, “Has that little actually changed? What the fuck am I doing that this is still a main theme in my life?”

But of course, things have changed. This is one of those examples of the Cycles of Power: after all, everything is cyclical and we live in a spiraling Universe. So even though it seems that around this time every year I revisit themes of power, love and wounding, each year I do so with a new level of understanding, awareness and comfort of working within the darkness.

Two years ago, I remember my big Solstice revelation was centered around the idea of “It’s okay to not be okay.” Using darkness itself as a healing tool was relatively new to me, and by that time I had already been going through Underworld Initiations for at least six months. Accepting that I didn’t feel happy and shiny all the time was a big step for me.

Last year, one of the main threads of darkness was working through healing my relationship to relationship itself. I held three consecutive days of some form of ritual and I worked as hard as I could to move through the darkness so I could come out the other side and be done.

And I’m still not done, because the Underworld Initiations have continued. (And according to my astrologer friend, they probably will for about another year, until the end of my Saturn Return.) But I’ve reached a place, after spending the last two and a half years or so working through some level of wounding and trauma and challenge, where I’m totally okay with hanging out in the darkness. And even though this Solstice is helping me confront some of my deepest fears, prompting crises of purpose and inspiring new levels of pain, I finally know how to welcome it.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been saying “I feel like I’m dying.” I’ve actually been able to feel parts of me shriveling in the presence of intense emotion and energy. But it occurred to me last night as I was dancing that I didn’t really know what parts of me have been dying. Given the trajectory of my path thus far, it seems like a good thing. So I decided that I would dance my Death. As I danced, I called upon Pluto and Persephone, Lord and Lady of the Underworld, to bring me my Death. I asked that all the parts of me that were ready to go move with Death to be guided into the Underworld. I also asked that, if the next year will continue to bring Shadow work, Pluto and Persephone stand with me as guides through the darkness. (Owl also showed up for me yesterday when I was teaching Reiki Master class, so I danced with her as well. She is another entity who has offered to guide me through the Shadow.)

Even though it initially felt like I was in a similar place as I have been for the last two years, so much has changed. The mere fact that I am now completely comfortable calling in the deepest darkness available to work through my own wounding is new within the last year, and I can attribute this ease in working with the Shadow realm to the last several years moving deeper and deeper into darkness with myself and others. This particular Cycle of Power has offered me some wonderful reflection about my growth in all areas of my life, and I am grateful to embrace the Darkness as my ally for transformation. This has been a long process of Death, and I’m happy to learn everything I can until I’m ready to be reborn in the Light.Beautiful DeathArtwork by Veronica Gutierrez.