I shouldn’t be surprised, that when I signed up for the Goldmining the Shadows Soulodge Session, that my shadows would come up- and that they wouldn’t be quiet or mellow. No no…they are insistent, loud, digging in deep and biting hard. I’ve been feeling the sting of the shadows and issues I have been working so hard to tame this fall, coupled with the ecstatic and transformative energy of feeling a deep and clear knowing of my calling- in how to deepen my work- so that is more fulfilling for me, and serves others in a beautiful way. So that I can be a clear vessel to receive guidance, instruction, direction and support from spirit, from my ancestral guides.
I’ve been set on this path of plant medicine- without real understanding or questioning- since childhood really, but with more focused intention in the last ten years, but never really knowing where I was going with it. And I’ve almost given it up entirely in the face of the ugliness that I’ve seen it bring up in me at times in the last few years.
Its this awesome, strange conundrum of as I get closer and more aligned with my real purpose and calling, that all the inner demons and shadows I have built over my lifetime – that originally kept me safe and small- are getting louder and more freaked out, as I move away from safe habor, as I strive to allow myself to be seen, to not be small and shy and unimportant. Its this recognition I’m having of the import of what I do, unique and needed in the world and the community I call home- that is calling out all these shadows- because I’m doing something that isn’t “Safe” anymore.
It doesn’t make it easy or less painful having more clarity about what is going on for me. The poison I have fed myself over the years still circulates in there somewhere, and gets triggered at the right moment for me to move forward, thwarting me. Ouch. But- one thing is certain- the messages from the other side of the veil, as it has been thinning, and now, at Samhain is virtually transparent- are loud and poignant. Coming in dreams- in omens from nature- in journey work.
I take this poison to ceremony, to journey, to Mama Luna, to Earth- and I ask for help. If I am to be this which you ask of me, to receive your guidance and wisdom- help me transmute this poison- this fear- this part of me which is still terrified of being seen, or of being ridiculed, or looking like a fool.
I take this pain to the Earth, to the Plants, who are my guides, who when I listen, when I allow the monkey mind to rest, and be in the quiet space of presence with plant, dirt, rock, sun, tree, butterfly, bird…speak without tricks or mystery. Be present. Be intent. Be in Your own heart. spirit. body. There is no need to look outside. Your work is clear- your place is here- with the Grandmother Juniper, with the Marigolds, with the crunch of oak leaf and pine cone underfoot. Just do what you are called, and the medicine will follow.
And I surrender to this wisdom that comes. Gasp, inspiration of breath, affirmation.
The medicine for the poison. Fill up on that which nourishes and sweetens. Eat soup. Deer medicine. Sweet Corn. Gentleness. Holding that scared lonely little girl, who only wants to be loved. Dive for sweet nectar like the hummingbird. Bloom in the strange light of night- moonlight, starlight, earthlight- like the moonflower. Blend your medicine- marigold, rose, cacao. Honor your intuitive wisdom- and see the results of ignoring it – and honoring it in the same day. (It’s never too late to turn the day around by honoring your wisdom- even when you’ve made a complete mess of the first half.)
Transformation is at work. I can feel it, even if I don’t see the end results. Like the snake shedding skin, and jaguar stalking in shadowed forest, hummingbird at twilight finding sweetness in the dark. And of course- like the catterpillar/butterfly transformation, which I wrote just a few days ago in a Samhain lesson for students, and then came again to my email box today….
When the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, there is a stage in it’s metamorphosis where it is completely liquified. It is a “nutritive soup of enzymes.” Entirely unrecognizable. You can’t tell what it was, or what it will become. Soup.
Many of us are familiar with Joseph Campbell’s metaphor of “the hero entering the darkest part of the forest, where no one has entered before.” But what’s often left out of that teaching is this: “…and the hero moves in a dream landscape of curiously fluid, ambiguous forms.” More soup.
And so, as my ancestors near tonight, and in the next cycle, I am listening ever deeper, trusting even harder- through the fear, through the bitter poison, and give myself sweetness- from this land that holds me. Land of the Corn Mother, Deer Dancers, sacred ceremony between human and spirit for thousands of years. And give thanks for they have been with me all along- guiding each step I have taken up to this point, molding me, making me, preparing me from bone and blood, and spirit and earth.