Monthly Archives: August 2018

Darkness, Spirit, and the Feminine

It is the tendency of our culture to mistake what is dark within ourselves for what is wounded, rather than seeing darkness as its own kingdom, and carrying its own beauty.

It has been a long path for me to separate my rather dark tendencies from what was wounded within me. We tend to speak of dark as “bad”, and especially in modern spiritual communities the idea of transmuting anything that is not of the utmost purity into “light” is the predominant ideal.

This means that individuals who are naturally dark, who resonate with the earth, with death, who if they saw something slightly mischievous or simply not compassionate would be fine or even curious (to get along swimmingly with), who love their inner wildness, their bodies, their sexuality– all things that a perfectionist mind steeped in unconscious christianized patriarchal mythologies creates strict guidelines against in an effort to separate from– are often cast out of spiritual communities, or must find their way in “dark” communities often populated by individuals who are confusing darkness for adolescent angst or mental instability.

I have been sitting with this pattern for years, as what I have noticed is that those who are the “darkest” carry the most light. Generally many of the individuals steeped in “lightwork” are simply looking for escapism; many who believe that they are only working with what is “compassionate” are simply self-creating or may even be being fooled because of their lack of discernment when it comes to the spiritual realms. 

Mostly people end up blocking themselves because the spirit realms, and the natural realms, and our daily lives, do not fit into tidy transcendentalist paradigms.

We create light by making room for it. By digging in our own dirt, by going to our ocean floor. By healing, and healing is a messy job. Becoming conscious is a messy job. We cannot be light unless we have contended with our own darkness and integrated our own shadows.

Those who have traversed great pain, trauma, who are drawn to hospice and death work, nursing, firefighting, have had near death experiences (that they have integrated) and have gone through the shamanic katabasis process in which they have either died or stuck their hands in enough of their dirt to truly work with what is at the bottom of themselves have empathy for how others suffer because they have been there.

We can see others through by that process of being a wounded healer, of traversing our own depths, of seeing how what is monstery and dark underneath is simply what is unknown, not what is bad. That what is dark within us, and outside of us, does not need to transmute into light, that our inner anger and swamp monsters and mermaids that wish to drown us simply because they can, can be exactly who they are, except they can be integrated.

They can simply be an aspect of ourselves. They can be accepted and heard and seen so they do not have to get our attention or be enacted in harmful ways. Once integrated, such things are no longer feared or separated from– either internally or externally.

Our shadows, our darkness, can become again a vital aspect of our being, becoming transmuted not from “dark” to “light” but from disassociated and castigated to the fuel of creative energy, the creative impulse. We can regain our vitality by becoming fully who we are, and that includes our darkness. We are yin and yang, dark and light, and without our darkness we are half a being, living a half-lived life, if that.

If we look at much of modern spirituality, it is within the context of “solar”, or masculine. This does not mean “male” (although…) it means that the masculine principle is one of daylight, of knowing the edges of things, the conscious mind, of control and certainty.

Our feminine principle is one of darkness, of creativity, of our shadowy depths, of our subconscious and all that is unknown within us. The moon, oceans, and seas and the earth. Our dreams, death, spirit and the spirit realms. The formless void– the great mother we all emerge from and all return to.

It didn’t take me long on my own path to see something quite wrong with how spirituality was approached. To see that something ineffable, that truly could not be known, was claimed and oppressively seen as “known”, with neat edges and easily claimed principles regarding how spirits operate, what the spiritual realms are like; for years I thought that it was because people simply were looking for escapism, for easy answers, for control.

I still have a valid point with that, but if we look at the root of that force it is a masculine oppressive force– a force that has found its way through patriarchal religions and ways of being that tell us that nature is evil, that our bodies are sinful, that we require a middleman to tell us who and what the divine is, that we are separate or should be separate from our bodies, from the natural and supernatural realms.

Lately I have been researching seers and oracles from different traditions and what you will often find is women who had natural capacities being kidnapped or offered to varying temples or priests (insert other appropriate terms here) and who had the divine pour through them– often quite painfully. They were often young, upset by their gifts, upset by being apart from the lives they saw their family or others in their community lead, separated from that life to be kept “pure”.

They would be treated simply as vessels, and their messages, either scratched out, spoken, or related in symbols would then pass through the priests who would then relate them to the community. It was a life of isolation, often ending poorly for the women involved. If she was to become pregnant (thus not virginal and “pure”) or simply outlive her usefulness, she would then be relegated to a life separated from both her role as oracle and unable to be assimilated back into the community again.

If we consider the feminine, it is of kundalini, or of creative principle and consciousness. The female form has the unique capacity to create, and is integrally tied to kundalini, or the creative principle.

A kundalini awakening is then the emerging of that creative principle (consciousness) and its rising up the midline, taking us through the varying levels of consciousness until we are able to permanently reside with our divine, realized selves.

It is a meeting of that feminine creative principle with the male static principle (above the head) at which point they descend, bringing grace into the heart area, and the experience of divine pulsation, or experience of being in the dynamic stillness of embryonic pulsation, occurs. This is not our own embryonic experience, but that of the cosmos, of the great mother.

We deeply fear the feminine, what cannot be fully seen and known, what cannot be thrust into daylight. My experiences of the spiritual realms have always been of that formless void– of that realization that no matter how much I know, I could know more, I could be more, that no matter how much I know, I only know an infinitesimally small amount of what is around me or out there.

Such a thing can be seen as a thing of beauty. But it requires both stepping away from the masculine principle– the conscious mind that so desperately wants control, to announce dominance and authority– as well as our religious-cultural conditioning that teaches us that what is dark, and thus feminine about ourselves, is something to be feared or separated from.

It also requires coming to some hard and rather obvious truths about ourselves. To get less “spiritual” for a moment I will say that our outer culture which means that the masculine impulse to destroy and dominate the feminine has led to quite a few misogynist emails to me over the years. Things that if someone had about a fiftieth of consciousness that such senders believe that they have (such as asking the question of I wonder if I would send this to a male spiritual teacher?) would lead to some wonderful internal questioning, and a much better world overall.

Or anyone out there who because of their implicit societo-religious conditioning has disassociated from their bodies (our “Earth”), their sexuality, and split from the natural world as well as the spirit realms because of a great fear that has been passed down that needs to be healed for anyone to really be whole. It certainly needs to be healed to not look at the spiritual realms through the masculine impulse to dominate, decimate, and claim authority over. To not see the spirit realms as black/white, knowable, controllable, its wildness tamed and brought into the daylight.

People are where they are, and will do what they do. But our darkness is a gift. Our wounded darkness is not. Neither is our wounded light. But in our darkness lies our creative energy,in our unfathomed depths and our darkness our greatest light. It is by accepting all aspects of ourselves, by having compassion for every aspect of ourselves, that we awaken. That we become whole. That we can clearly have life-changing experiences of divinity, of spirit, that go beyond what we can see, know, and claim.

 

Announcing The Shamanic Workbook I

I have taught more than a few courses over the years, and due to many requests (and some polite demands) I have compiled three of my courses into a book. It is a whopper of a book, too.

You can order the book here…
It will be available through other Amazon sites as well as other retailers over the next few weeks

This book is called Shamanic Workbook I (as I do intend to write more of them, or compile other courses eventually) and is focused on spiritual study and skill building for individuals who are ready for a spiritual path of depth. It is focused on techniques and skills that will allow for someone to become a person that can offer such a foundation for their own lives, as well as hopefully the lives of others.

Although the focus is in Shamanism/Animism, I have had a path that has intertwined heavily with Chinese Medicine, bodywork, energy work, occultism, folk magic, and other spiritual paths. I do feel like in the modern world that the modern-day practitioner needs to have knowledge of many paths, and as long as they are done with depth and reverence, they can only add to the lives of the individuals who traverse them.

The first section is my Cleansing and Clearing eight week course. It teaches about spiritual bathing, house clearing, egg cleansings (limpias), dream pillows, and methods of protection, including banishing and warding.

The second section is my Discernment Course. This was a five week course, and like the Cleansing course, both Discernment practices (how to tell what you are interfacing with, and the skills to do so) and Cleansing practices are the first foundation that any spiritual worker should have.

Discernment is essential. I don’t know how to say this enough times. In order to become a spiritual healer, or to do any form of spiritual worker, someone needs to understand what they are interfacing with. Otherwise they have no idea how to work with it, or do a poor job doing so. Clarity through discernment is absolutely essential, and it is so direly needed in spiritual studies.

The third section is my Ancestral Course. This is a four week course that teaches how to build an Ancestral Altar, how to work with an Ancestral Guardian, how to interface and work with the power of your lineage through a power object, as well as advanced work that includes working with the Void and working with non-human ancestors.

Ancestral spirits are the first that any spiritual worker should interface with. Learn techniques that will allow for you to discern who your ancestral guardian(s) are, as well as build connection to a healed spiritual ally that will form the basis for any other spiritual work, or spirit work (work with other spirits, deities, etc.) going forward.

This is essential work, and it is really time that spiritual studies is given the regard and depth that it deserves. It is such beautiful, life-changing work when done well, when given regard, and when that foundation is built. It is work that is direly needed in this world, both for individuals as well as for people looking to build skills to assist their families, friends, or clients.

I do hope that you enjoy the book. It really is my passion and mission to bring work of depth into this world for those ready for it– and I am aware more and more of just how many of you are out there. I express my gratitude to each and every one of you who is willing to do work of this depth, as it not only changes your life, but a small part of the collective web that we co-create together.

Learn more about my journey to this book below…

When I learned that something “spiritual” was going on with me I looked for groups and communities, to teachers, guides, and gurus to help me along my path. I have had some wonderful teachers over the years, as well as have learned some essential skills through them, some of which are in this book.

But my experiences of many communities left me initially with a lot of confusion and anger. Although I would find at each workshop or in each community someone “like me” or individuals that I could at least get along with, what I primarily found were people looking towards the spiritual realms for escapism and/or illusions of control.

From working with the spiritual realms since a young age (before I even knew to call it “spiritual”) and by my direct interface with the Other over the years I knew how nuanced the spiritual realms were, how much beauty and depth they could bring into our lives.

That spiritual interface should result in deepening connection to ourselves, the world, and the people in it. That spiritual work results in deep transformation spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically, and that we should emerge more functional, more embodied, more whole, and better able to traverse our lives on a daily basis from it.

That our perspective should shift… quite profoundly, with that evolution. This is the basis of what I teach, and how I approach spiritual work, and I have seen such profound things happen through spiritual work of depth. I am immensely honored and grateful at this point of my path to have discovered the depths that I have.

What I have realized over the years though by healing my own not being met by such communities was that simply many of them were not for me, and that that is perfectly okay.

What I realized is that I am someone who likes and feels called to work with the oceanic depths of things, to discover greater and greater depths, and that my potential and purpose was in those depths.

There is a real lack of training and foundational work in this world for individuals in spiritual matters beyond a certain depth. That there are so many like me, who have had to wade through swamps looking for that proverbial pearl again and again. That I could be of real benefit to this world, as I have spent more than twenty years seriously studying and exploring a spiritual path of depth, including ten years to the exclusion of everything else in my life studying and going through a serious period of spiritual initiation and education (I am very glad that period is over, as it ended five years ago but I am still evolving as we all should be)… and that I could help others who were ready to cut through a path that I had already traversed. That I could help other fellow bottom-of-the-ocean seekers.

That there are so many out there hungry and willing to learn, to open themselves, to evolve, and I realized with complete clarity that my focus should be on being of benefit to those who are willing to look deeply within themselves, who are ready and able to build skills, and who are looking for spiritual and energy work from a pragmatic, embodied standpoint that could allow for them to become who they needed to be, both for themselves and for others.

I thank all of you “bottom dwellers” who are willing to see and work with those depths. The world needs strong, competent, and skilled spiritual workers who can do work for themselves, their families, clients, the world.

This work has so much beauty, so much depth, and it requires someone of courage to be the type of psychonaut who is endlessly curious, who knows how ever far they have traversed there are countless depths still left unexplored. Who explores with humility, realizing that the spiritual realms are nuanced, that we do not have dominion over them, and who is willing to be a person of compassion and regard (as well as skill) in their interactions with them.

I thank all of you who are willing to look towards yourselves, the natural world, the Other (the spiritual realms) and the external world/one another seeking such depths. I hope this book helps you on your path to doing so.