This is a glimpse of the journey of Reclaiming My Wild, as it has unfolded so far and continues to reveal itself. I have chosen to devote my life to knowing Spirit in all that I meet, touch, taste and breathe, to know the magic of being alive, to purify, to grow and to rise up in love and service. The more committed to this path I become the more I am guided by a deep inner calling which means I have made some choices that made no sense to anyone else and sometimes not even to me at the time. However I have followed the persistent tug of my heart, gradually surrendering into the unknown….what at first was a dark void then revealed itself as the embrace of the Goddess, the black mother, catching me as I fell and sweeping me up in Her loving arms and into her flow.
As extraordinary and beautiful as this may be, it has not been without fiery initiations and a huge amount of trust…..
Reclaiming My Wild
Life is a continuous process of birth, growth and decay, over and over this cycle goes. The processes are woven into each other, over lapping and dancing together as the story of life plays out. When we are young we speak about growing pains, the phrase itself honours the stickiness and the discomfort that so often goes with growth. Growth inevitably holds decay within it as there has to be some part that dissolves and falls away so as to create the fertile soil and space for the new to emerge. The changes we undergo from childhood, moving into adolescence are so obvious, we literally shed the physicality of being small and move into a new form. As women we grow breasts and curves and our body starts to express itself with monthly bleeding cycles that attune to the rhythms of nature and of the moon. As life unfolds before us and within us we move through different gateways of life; birthing processes whether it be physical birth or creative; we meet ageing and illness; we start, sustain and release relationships, with one another and with aspects of ourself or life; there is death, both metaphorical and when life in this body ends. We are in a constant dance of constriction and expansion with which we can choose to cling to and resist, or we can keep letting go, honouring where we are at each moment and surrendering to the flow.
The spiritual path itself is woven of these same these rhythms. As a path committed to growth we meet challenges that ask us to question where we are holding on too tight, trying to change the past or control the now and the future. Of course, we can have dreams, ideas, aspirations and ambition as to how we want our life to unfold. However if our grip is too strong we will find ourselves in a struggle and create unnecessary suffering. What we resist, persists! This is a law of the universe and if we do resist it inhibits the autonomous nature of being alive, which includes all possibilities, of all textures, colour and flavour. We have the capacity to accept and embrace all that is, as it is, to hold our whole experience with great love ~ and with this, experience extraordinary freedom.
This is no easy accomplishment. It may be our innate nature, but we are deeply conditioned and shaped through our bloodlines, karma, society, culture - there are so many influences playing out through us. It is a life long, many lives long, journey to see, to own, to clear, to reclaim and to recalibrate ourselves on a cellular and soul level! We go through a thousand cycles of birth and death and everything in-between, dark nights of the soul and times of high celebration and great joy, little by little we meet all the parts of ourself that we left behind, locked away, shamed and hidden and initiations along the path will both challenge and affirm our commitment to our soul’s highest growth.
I have both flowed with and struggled against the unfolding of my own path. It is easy to celebrate and feel stable when the world is going your way, but when it is shaken and rocked to the core, then what?! Do we crumble with it, squirm in the discomfort, try to numb the pain, stifle our vulnerability and harden our heart. Perhaps this can work for sometime but imagine if all of nature clung to a certain form as the inherent movement of life force tried to move through. This life force has more power than we can imagine, think of the small dandelion that pushes through the concrete. The source of all things is consciousness, this consciousness in motion or the universe as we experience it, is known as Citti Shakti and it has the freedom to become whatever it wants. It will either express through the power of love or the power of fear, this is the reflection of our ability to surrender or how much we resist.
We have learnt to be a certain way, we have shaped and conformed ourself to fit into a box that we believe is acceptable and will be loved. Sadly this shape and form has disconnected from the ancient primal way that is deeply true to itself and intimately connected with all of life. Each of us, as both embodied men and women, have the possibility of embarking on our own unique journey to reclaim our ancient wild ways.
For now I’m speaking particularly from the the perspective of a being embodied in a woman’s form; we have, by society and culture, been repressed as women of earth and rhythm, objectified, sullied, the very essence of our being, our creative power and centre tarnished and pushed into the shadow realms. We’ve been asked and expected to show up without honour of our cyclical nature. Menstruation, birth, menopause ~ these sacred gateways of life became taboo. Taboo - can it make any sense, the very rhythms that give birth to all of life have been shamed. This has embedded deep into the psyche and is reinforced on so many subtle levels we barely notice as this way is now considered normal. On a very basic level, think of a tampon advert, with the carefree woman in white jeans skipping in the park, or racing around her busy day. Why should we be expected to wear white jeans and skip in a park on the days we bleed. Menstruation is a strong and natural process of letting go and release, an invitation for us to tune into and enter the subtler softer spaces of our mind and to access our intuition. Ideally we should be in nature, with the trees, with the earth, dancing with and merging with the elements. It is such a powerful time to turn inward and is often in alignment with the new moon, when it turns from the dark void, and starts to wax, to grow, to fill up, toward fullness.
I know for the most part of my life I denied myself to feel into and to honour my cycle. Quite frankly it was inconvenient and shameful! I’ve embarked a gentle journey towards allowing myself to become intimate with these innate rhythms and patterns, to be with and to bless the process. To stop using bleached and chemical products inside of the sacred channel of my body. To collect my blood, to offer it to the earth. If you recoil at this, that's ok, just witness your reaction - reconditioning takes time and patience. I just invite you to witness how this provokes you. Shame lives inside of our cells and we ignore how it feels, we turn away from the discomfort. But what we feel can become the guide to witness and understand how right and sacred our relationship actually is with all the parts of ourselves and to see where we still need to reach out and to heal. Perhaps this does feel too primal, it did for me too, even using a moon cup took a while for me to adjust to but once I did, I never looked back. What else of being a woman have we exiled, where do we hold guilt, shame, fear, insecurity? Where do we change and shape ourselves into someone else’s idea of who we should be. Are we ready to let go of this inauthentic identity and reclaim our true, raw, untamed and wild feminine power, a power that has no limits.
When we are not willing to embrace fully as wombman we disempower the very centre of our being that holds all the power we could ever dream of. Reclaiming these parts of me is still in process, I loved being a toy boy growing up, I hated my body turning into that of a woman. I was horrified when I first started bleeding. I don’t have a child, but I have been pregnant and although that journey was not one to full term, it was an extraordinary gift of realising the power of creation that I hold inside of myself and it changed my whole relationship with myself, as creatrix, a living embodied expression of the very energy that spins and weaves spirit into matter, whether it is in the form of another human being, or a creative project or endeavour.
In esoteric understanding we hold both masculine and feminine energy inside of us, whether we are embodied as man or woman, and in balance these ‘polarities' are in harmony, and create the perfect expression of the universe. The Sacred Feminine, represented in the left side of the body, essentially the the Triple Shakti of Love, Power and Wisdom and the Triple Goddess, the maiden, the mother and the crone, has a thousand faces, which all reflect back different aspects of ourself for us to learn from and integrate our whole being. She is the moon and the power of water, the symbol is the descending triangle, the descending force, the power of manifestation. In full freedom she is our naked bare self before she was told how to be, what was acceptable and what was not. When we reclaim our Sacred Feminine self we take full ownership of all the parts of ourself, of our sexuality and sensuality, our feelings and emotions, our rhythms and cycles and everything in-between and we exist, express and act through the Power of Love, albeit sometimes fierce and very strong.
The Divine Masculine, represented in the right side of the body, it is represented by an upward pointing triangle and holds the power of liberation. In essence it is pure Love, an ocean of love or consciousness from which Shakti or Goddess, spins, weaves and pulses, however out of balance this mutates to a Love of Power and the balance of the two is rocked off centre. With the energy of Masculine aspiration fuelled by too much fire and sun, it inhibits the natural swirling, circling, pulsing way of Shakti. Progress becomes a linear goal orientated journey and the power of the wild and free is dishonoured, trampled upon and buried. This imbalance is alive in micro and macro levels inside each of us and throughout the world and can be seen clearly in our societies and cultures. It makes sense in this patriarchal and material world so focused on linear growth and progress but it inhibits the playful dance of the two energies together, honouring and blessing one another in their eternal love play. Know that as the Masculine and Feminine is alive in every single human, patriarchy can be channelled through women as well as men and it is this imbalance that has damaged our earth and all its inhabitants, almost irretrievably. If you are reading this it is likely you are in a privileged enough position to makes choices; to choose healing and hope and to reclaim, at the very least on a personal level, your wild and true nature.
I’ve been consciously watching myself steered by this imbalance for a long while now, making changes where I can, then replaying old ways. I fall off course and then put myself back on it, consciously working through the layers of conditioning, recalibrating my neural pathways and patterns through the path of yoga, mantra and meditation, the path of the priestess, psychotherapy, plant medicine, ceremony, ritual, shadow work...the list goes on. It was, it is, my full time life; to become whole and a clear channel, to get out of my own way and to serve from the highest place I am able and to guide others on this path. I’ve been slowly, gently reaching out to the disowned parts of me I’d buried and left behind. For too long I was trying to conform to the masculine ambition driven world but I was becoming exhausted by it. Oh the resistance I met, it was so strong but my will was stronger, as was the grace that carried me and I was beginning to feel a tangible shift, a return to something softer and gentler. I still had visions and dreams, but they began to align with my higher soul's purpose. They didn’t cause to me contract and recoil or push against the current, instead they warmed my heart and their hope moved me to tears. I finally found the part of me that trusted the unknown and the Great Mystery and whose cry was louder than the one that had kept me fighting all this time. Suddenly it became the easiest thing in the world to leave the safe, functional life I had built and to have no idea where I would end up and once I made the decision I didn’t have to force anything; the puzzle pieces started to fall into place and I kept receiving affirmations that all was exactly as it was meant to be. I was being carried in the arms of the Great Goddess and my whole being sighed with great relief.
This didn’t mean the work stopped here, really every ending is the starting point for a whole new story to unfold and my heart already anticipated the journey that lay ahead, particularly the month I would spend in Italy with my teacher and mentor Sianna Sherman.
I was nervous for Ritual, a year and a day long journey of remembrance of what it is to be empowered as a woman, going right into the shadow of our being. Naturally, I felt resistance and squirmed with some discomfort, even though I yearned to be at ease and also new I was supposed to be there. The night before I was due to go I was home alone at my parent’s house in the woods in the countryside. I had been thinking earlier that day how well I felt, so clear and vital in my energy and also resting in a great sense of trust and gratitude for where I was and where I was heading. Life felt very rich. I was putting together the last bits of my packing, not only for month in Italy, but also for 4 and half months away straight after Italy as I had less than 24 hours to changeover before flying to Asia. I went into the woods to make a fire to burn some things and prepare the house for my parent’s return since they had been away for a few weeks. I had thought to leave the fire, but that masculine charged part of me wanted to be efficient and organised and it nudged me to just go and get it done. Once it was alight, I stood for short while, mesmerised as the flames roared and curled and devoured their food. I was about the turn away to walk up to the road and post a letter but glancing back at the fire I was urged to give it a little tidy up. It was a big fire in a deep ditch, so I grabbed a long stick and climbed into the ditch. I poked around the contents to neaten the pile so it would burn well. Suddenly I was on my backside, blinking from the glaring heat and fiery orange burst of an explosion that had thrown me back. I felt heat raging across my face, chest and down my arm. I ran like a flash of lightning out of the woods back to the house and into the bathroom, I ripped off my clothes, turned on the shower and the bath and did not move from under the cool water for about twenty minutes. The bath filled with black ash and sawdust which had coated me from the explosion and I was shaking and crying from shock, half expecting my skin to fall off my face. I tried to get out of the water but my flesh raged with so much heat I didn’t want to leave the coolness of the water. I got my dear friend Amisha on loudspeaker and she encouraged me to call the NHS helpline and an ambulance was soon on its way and I continued to blanket myself in cool wet towels and running water until they came. My parents arrived from the airport to meet a paramedic tending to me as I lay flat on the kitchen floor with a morphine needle in my arm and burn packs over my face and chest and arm. I was required to go to hospital as it was such a huge surface area and my dear Ma came with me, by this time it was 9 pm and I had a taxi to the airport at 4 am. I was still determined to make the flight. Once at hospital I was handed over and checked by 3 different people and by around 1 am I finally had the all clear from the plastic surgeon who said they were mostly surface burns and with the right care should heal well. They coated me in ointments and patched up the raw wounds before we went on our way. I somehow finished packing then lay down for 90 minutes before the taxi came. I barely remember the journey to Rome, dosed up and floating through time and space, with my skin on fire and bright red and bandages on my face I kept my head low beneath my floppy felt hat. I had literally gone out with a bang, but I was on my way.
I met fellow apprentices Chantal and Jessica at the airport and after dealing with a tricky car hire assistant we were on our way and made it to our destination. The next day or so was a haze, drifting in and out of sleep in between coating my skin in hypericum oil and cooling packs. There was nothing to do but surrender, I was here to be of service but I had to serve my healing and in that moment all I could do was rest. My loving teacher Sianna and the beautiful team welcomed my messiness with so much love and kindness, I just let go, into deep rest until the group were to arrive the next day.
I stared in the mirror at my reflection, there was almost a perfect line down the centre of my face, across the whole right side of my forehead, nose, cheek and chin, the skin was burned and turning a crusty dark red. My face, neck and chest were also weeping from small blisters and my right eye was swollen half shut. My arm was still raging with heat and had turned a dark aubergine purple colour. I felt very shaken and vulnerable yet there was nowhere to hide. I had chosen to get on that plane, it had been as if there was no choice and I was somehow carried in Her arms ~ I knew I was supposed to be here. This was me right now, messy and fragile, I couldn’t change it and would have to simply show up as I was. There was a small fearful voice that wondered if my face would go back to normal, would I be scarred permanently, but to be honest in the first few days I was too exhausted to think too much on this. I simply had to be as I was, bare and naked with my wounds and vulnerability in full exposure. I felt so self conscious in the first moments of meeting the 30 sisters that arrived soon after, I noticed how hard I found it hard to look people in the eye, fearful of what they might think. Later that evening I sat in front of the fire and shared my story with them all, it was hard but also relief as it gave me a blanket of comfort to know that they each new why I looked the way I did but I saw too how much I cared. I’m used to be in control at least on the outside, trying to meet some standard I believed made me good enough. How exhausting to care so much, this was a invitation to let go of that pressure and it was such a sweet release and has perhaps changed my relationship with myself forever.
I watched myself over the days to come, witnessing my face shape shift and letting go of so many ideas of myself. A few days in I had a flare up of sticky discomfort in my skin. I wanted to dissolve into nothing and I scolded myself for being so stupid, to step into a raging fire ~ the fear of permanent scarring raged loudly, albeit briefly. It was out of my hands, I had to drop into the healing journey, to the pace it wanted to move, not that I wanted it to happen. I started to look in the mirror and to see past my changing face and I still saw me, the light of my eyes and my soul. I was still the same at my essence and that softened my heart and allowed me to surrender a little more and simply witness with curiosity. Every day I looked different, the marks were changing form as my skin worked hard to heal itself and soon it gradually started to peel away.
I could take the accident on surface value; I was an idiot, I stepped too close to a fire and it exploded in my face. I won’t do it again! Does there need to be more of an explanation? No, not really, but I don’t believe anything is random, and I am humbling myself to the whole experience as a master teacher and to the rebirth that comes with the fire of initiation.
For this Ritual Priestess journey each of us assistants were to be allocated a role as Priestess and keeper of one of the elements. I have a very strong affinity with fire, I seek intensity, in my spiritual journey, in initiations and the play of my life. I have done deep sadhana with daily fire ceremony and have been the fire keeper on trainings; building, tending and praying to the fire for periods of time. I have a natural inclination to dance in the fire. Perhaps too much and in this most recent initiation with fire, I was given a little slap to find more balance and given no choice but to take refuge in the cooling power of water. Of course, by no coincidence, my teacher Sianna, before she new of the fire, had allocated me to be Priestess of Water for Ritual. What are the qualities of water but receptivity and healing, softness and adaptability, surrender and letting go. Water is of the emotions and the feeling body and of the womb and the sacral area, the region of our sexuality, sensuality and the portal of our creative power.
Ritual is a journey inwards to heal from the root and return to the wholeness of who we are, not only as an individual human, but as a part of the greater whole, to become unified and integrated beings of consciousness. I’ve mentioned that the right side of the body is the masculine and that within my personal journey I have been seeking more balance, more empowerment of my Feminine. My right side took the burn and as it healed and then shed its skin it reflected back the internal process that I was embodying as I finally let go of the harsh and dominating Masculine energy that has suppressed my true feminine power from thriving. Every day the form of the marks changed shapes, they revealed themselves on my skin like tiger stripes and primal animal markings as the burnt skin changed colours and little by little, peeled away. We talk of shedding skins, this time it was both metaphorical and literal. I had finally showed a willingness to offer up the parts of me that were hardened by overbearing rigid Masculine energy and they were finally falling away. Not only did the shedding of my skin reflect this but it literally revealed the dark shadowy primal parts of me I had abandoned. My primal wild self winked a cheeky hello almost as if the Black Mother herself was affirming the process, ‘Welcome home dear child, this is your return to your wild and this time you won’t forget’. You see, during our week of Ritual we ventured boldly into the underworld and bared our body and soul to Her, we reached out to our darkside sister self. Through the initiation of fire and ritual I met her face to face in the mirror and we finally fell in love with each other.
The universe knows what we need, She is simply waiting for us to be truly willing to let go of what no longer serves us so that she can guide us towards the place of our highest growth. It’s not always the most comfortable path as we have to turn into the shadows and the places we feel less at ease; we have to shed the skins that we have outgrown so that we can breathe into the remembrance of who we are and return to the ancient way that our wild heart yearns to reclaim.
But we keep moving forward, feeling into the power of the lessons, all a precious gift for us to learn the new shape of our soul. My soul journey continues to unfold and dance, constrict and expand but I warmly welcome the new freedom in my expression and offering as a wombman of this great earth and of now. Finding my voice to speak of things I have for so long felt shame towards, reclaiming the sacredness of my being, the power of my feminine and of my wild. It is another rebirth, one that has brought me closer to the feeling of me than I have known so far and I am deeply humbled and excited to open up what I offer and share in a new way. to bring the gift of what I have received out into the world. Even at the beginning of last week when I was receiving the teachings of this fiery initiation, I understood them, but I didn’t think they would be embodied, I could still feel resistance. I didn’t think I was ready to share this journey of reclamation, to speak of the taboos in the way I have. To Reclaim My Wild. And now I'm writing this, it has poured through me over the last few days and it is deeply liberating. I am not trying to please or prove, I don’t recoil, my heart doesn’t contract. I am simply sharing a little piece of my soul journey with you, just because. I am certainly not asking for you to walk through literal fire, but perhaps to simply witness where you are holding too tight and to listen a little closer to the longing inside of you heart and your womb. What is it time to release? What is it time to reclaim? Remember everything starts in the dark, the seed in the earth, the foetus in the womb and the darkest night is before the dawn. It is ok to let go, to be messy, to dissolve into ashes….it is from the ashes that the Phoenix rises, ready to start anew.
I believe it is certainly time to trust in something bigger and to trust that you are held.
Are you ready to join me on this journey of reclamation…..?
Women’s retreat’s coming soon, I can’t wait to dive in with you and dance in the great remembering of who we truly are.
I am Whole. I am Holy. I am Sovereign.