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Pagan Dreamer: Breathe. Love. Listen. Change the World.

Posted on:  Apr 7, 2018 @ 20:34 Posted in:  Featured, Pagan Dreamer

The Dream

I’m at a pagan spiritual retreat, helping to lead ritual. I guide our group in a breath exercise that’s a mirror of the process of deep change. We breathe and move in the space together, turning our awareness inward on the inhale, and outward on the exhale, shifting from self focus to other focus.

Breath. Love. Listen. Offer up your best presence and support to yourself and others. This is how we can heal and transform ourselves and world together.

On the inhale, I ask the question: how do you want/need to change; and on the exhale: how do others need you to change? We continue this breath and attention process, over and over again: inward to outward, self to other, personal change versus change in others, seeking our individual place and purpose in this time of collective transformation.

The dream ends leaving me with an insight into my relationship with my aging parents. What they need from me and my siblings is not only our well-intended support, but also more asking and listening on our part: what do you want? need? how can we best support you in this time of transition and endings?

Dream Teaching

Although this dream ends on a personal note, it’s really a big picture dream that addresses the pressing question: how do we find our place and purpose in these edgy, transformative times we live in?  Do we focus on personal change that arises from our life story and circumstances? Or do we dedicate ourselves to outer change?  What drives deep transformation: our individual narrative and journey, or societal, outward-focused action?

In this era of the #metoo and #neveragain movements, people are showing up to their personal pain and translating it into a collective force for deep-rooted, desperately needed social change.  A raw, authentic, irrepressible power is released in this fusion of inner and outer, and self and other that is challenging the very foundations of our status quo reality with its battle cry: enough is enough, and the time of change is now.

These courageous, inspiring movements teach us that there’s no separation between our inner, personal lives and the outer, greater world. Our individual wounding arises from the ills of our shared society, and the ills of society arise out of our individual wounding. Both are in need of our loving focus, and our commitment to healing and transformation.

You don’t need to be marching in the streets to participate in this epic, global movement. Instead you can keep things simple and close to home, beginning with wherever you are right now in your life. Just follow the practice offered by my dream.

Breathe, deep and slow, turning your awareness inward and then outward, from self to other, over and over again: how do you want/need to change? how do others need you to change?

Listen deeply to yourself. Listen deeply to those around you. Listen deeply to the sorrows of the world that call to you. How can you best support yourself and others in this time of transition and endings?  What is your place and purpose in the making of a saner, kinder and more loving world? Whatever you discover can guide your journey of healing and transformation, both personally and in your greater environment, at whatever depth and pace are right for you at this time.

Lesson in Pagan Dreaming

Dreams are not just about powerful ideas and insights. They’re also emotional experiences.  Often dreamwork focuses primarily on the images and content of the dream. Just as important is how the dream makes you feel, and this too is part of the dream teaching.

My dream begins with a group, collective experience, and shares a breath and awareness practice for deep inner and outer change. This is the primary content of the dream. Yet the dream isn’t done with its offerings; it finishes with an intensely tender, emotional part of my life: my love and support of my aging parents.

This is raw and real for me.  In the dream, I connect with the visceral, vital power of my love and compassion for my parents, and my desire to do my very best to listen and support them in this last part of their lives.

And I get, from this emotive, heart-wrenching part of the dream, that this same quality of love, compassion, presence and commitment is what is being asked of me, you, and every one of us as we take this bumpy, terrifying, glorious ride of healing and transforming our lives and world together.

This dream tells us to breathe, to love, and to listen from our deepest, most tender heart and best self, not just to those close and dear to us, but also to ourselves, and the many others in our lives, even those that we may see as our enemy. Death is a messy, emotional business, as is the birthing of new life, and that’s where we’re collectively at: a death-rebirth moment that’s being driven not just by our pain and wounding, but more importantly by our love and best presence.

So breathe. Love. Listen. Offer up your best presence and support to yourself and others.  Start simple, small and close to home. Trust that you’ll find your place, purpose, and kin that walk your same path. The time of change is now.  And this is how we can heal and transform ourselves and world together.

Photo Credit: Elvis Ma on Unsplash

An Imbolc Teaching: The Shadow Dance

Posted on:  Jan 29, 2018 @ 22:22 Posted in:  Sabbats

At Imbolc, Winter is waning and the season turns toward Spring. The groundhog is said to be a predictor of the arrival of Spring. If the groundhog sees its shadow, off it goes back into its hole, informing us that Winter won’t be letting go soon. If it doesn’t see its shadow, Spring is on its way.

Leave behind the dark of Winter, and step into Spring’s light of new beginnings. Where there’s light, there’s shadow. Together they can transform your life.

This shadow dance is familiar to us humans. As the shifting light and warming days coax the groundhog from its den in search of the quickening signs of Spring, so does our hunger for the spring of new beginnings coax us to leave behind the refuge of what we know and sniff the air for signs of shifting possibilities. What we seek draws us into the light of greater consciousness, and where there is light there is shadow.

Shadow in our human psyche is the depository of the repressed, denied and vilified parts of our personal lives and human society: our pain, dysfunction and unpalatable, uncontrollable instincts and emotions. When we encounter our personal or collective shadow, our first impulse, like the groundhog, is to retreat into the blinders and comforts of our old ways and their winter-like grip of stagnation and stasis.

What we forget in this retreat impulse is that light and shadow dance together. There cannot be one without the other. We humans are woven of light and shadow, of good and bad qualities and instincts, and of things known and mysteries yet to be discovered.

We forget, in our fear and projections, that the shadow realm also holds the raw materials of our deeper potential. And that the things we repress, deny and vilify just might be exactly what we need — secret truths, hidden gifts and latent powers — to heal, grow and flourish.

In our forgetting, we act out from our repressed and denied places, and doom ourselves and our world to be ruled by that which we refuse to face and claim as a part of our human experience.

In our forgetting, we become half-human, shut off from essential parts of our nature and selfhood, and truncated in our self-knowing, expression and evolution.

Imbolc is a between time, of Winter thawing into Spring, and of the dark giving way to the light. We are not separate from these natural energies and their life-seeking drives. Nor can we leave our shadow behind as we reach out to the springtime call of new possibilities, personal growth and societal change. Rather than giving into our instinct to retreat from our shadow, transformative change comes when we have the courage and compassion to reach out our hand and heart to our shadow, and to step together into the returning powers of light and life.

Excerpt from: A Path of She Book of Sabbats: A Journey of Soul Across the Seasons. Available in ebook and paperback--visit the Path Store.

Photo Credit: Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash

An Ancestral Teaching: My Body of the Ancestors

Posted on:  Nov 18, 2017 @ 19:33 Posted in:  Goddess

A Spiritual Journey to the Land of the Ancestors

As the season shifts toward Winter, and the mysteries of death settle upon the land, my mind turns to the Ancestors, and the insights that came to me during a week-long spiritual retreat in the wilds of British Columbia.

My body is the body of the Ancestors: the Ancestors are alive in my body, and through my body and lived experiences, I can heal and transform my ancestral line.

It’s day one of my spiritual retreat, and time for our morning learning circle.  I’m part of the Ancestors Path that meets in the shade of a mighty willow tree, with a pristine mountain lake and craggy peaks to one side, and untamed West Coast rainforest to the other.

Our teacher leads us on a guided trance. We’re going to meet our psychopomp: our personal spiritual guide in the land of the dead, and then journey with this ally to connect with the Ancestors.

In the trance, I come to an ancient wooden door. There’s a key in a lock, the key of conscious choice, that I turn and then enter the space beyond.  I find myself on silver, shining path suspended in a black void — a vast, fertile emptiness of infinite possibilities.

My psychopomp meets me on this silver path. She takes the form of a sleek black panther who greets me by placing a paw on each shoulder. Even though I’ve never worked with a psychopomp before, my soul immediately recognizes my spiritual guide as an old ally and friend.

The teacher continues the guided trance, and tells us to seek out the land of our Ancestors with our psychopomp.

So I climb onto my panther companion’s back, and as we begin to walk, she says me: “the land of the Ancestors that calls to you is your own physical body. Your body is the body of the Ancestors, and each part is connected to a different piece of your ancestral story.”

Although there’s more to this guided-trance experience, this one, crystal-clear insight stayed with me: my body is the body of the Ancestors.

My Body is the Body of the Ancestors

On a surface level, this may seem like an obvious statement. My physical form is the result of the coming together of the DNA of my parents, and this DNA holds the material characteristics of the generations that went before me.

But below the obvious is something far more profound and life changing: the Ancestors are still alive in my body, and through my body and lived experiences, I can heal and transform my ancestral line.

In simple terms, this means who I am, how I live, what I give my attention to, how much I let the past and my family patterns determine my now thoughts and actions, and the myriad of other big and small life choices and experiences that make up my everyday existence matter deeply.

Each of us inherits not only the physical DNA of our family lines, but also the energetic DNA of generational stories and experiences, especially those of trauma. For many of us, it’s the unacknowledged trauma, passed on generation after generation, that’s our shadow partner in life. These things live on in our body and life choices.  And they can also end, be healed and transformed, through our body and life choices.

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Pagan Dreamer: The Bombs of Deep Dreams

Posted on:  Nov 12, 2017 @ 14:43 Posted in:  Pagan Dreamer

The Dream

I’m in my house: a special, personal space, and my inner sanctum where I choose the rules of engagement. Messages come to me in this house, delivered by a loud, disembodied voice, and later accompanied by bombs, like the kind dropped from a World War II plane.

Be a badass Dreamer that welcomes challenge and change, understanding that big, deep dreams bring core, powerful healing and transformation.

I understand that these messages are from the Mysteries that are directing and influencing my spiritual journey. They’re pushing me, sending bombs my way in the form of life challenges, waiting for me to answer them.  I refuse to answer, and with every refusal, I enter deeper and deeper into my inner house, to rooms that are secret and special to me.

But still the messages and bombs come. The Mysteries can penetrate this secret, private space within me. And the bombs are getting bigger as I go deeper inward.

After a huge bomb lands on the floor in front of me, I wake up with a jolt and my initial reaction is fear and frustration. Aren’t I listening and responding to the Mysteries constantly?  I work my dreams. I pay attention to what’s happening in my life always. I’m willing to heal, change, grow in whatever ways are necessary. Deep spiritual work is as natural and necessary to me as breathing.  Am I missing something?  And do I really need to just keep getting bombs to do my personal work?  Bigger and bigger bombs… egads!

Then it comes to me — I’m not afraid in the dream at all.  I’m calm, fully present, even slightly amused. The messages and bombs show up.  I observe them, curious, engaged, but choose not to answer the Mysteries’ questions. Then I go to the next level, deeper inside of me, and do the same thing over again with the next message and bomb.

Dream Teaching

The message of this dream is pretty direct: big change is here, and that change is driven by challenges that work the deepest layers of the psyche. Bombs are being dropped in my inner sanctum, going deeper and deeper, and getting bigger and bigger.  Profound, core healing and transformation are required.

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A Fall Equinox Story: It’s Time For Your Awakening

Posted on:  Sep 21, 2017 @ 15:00 Posted in:  Sabbats

The path of spiritual growth and evolution first leads us into the dark. The lost parts of our selfhood and humanity — hidden treasures obscured amongst the shattered fragments of our pain and wounding, mysteries long repressed and forgotten in the waking world, secret stories that can set us free, wondrous possibilities not yet imaginable — await us in the sacred dark.

At the Fall Equinox, the sacred dark opens a portal that beckons you into its depths, and a new cycle on your journey of spiritual growth and wholeness.
A Fall Equinox Story

It’s the cusp of the Fall Equinox. I’m at a secluded Buddhist retreat center. The focus of our dharma talk is love. The teacher rings the bell to start our meditation. Within a few breaths, a vision comes to me. The wooden floor gapes open and reveals a stairway. A man is standing on the stairs, his hand extended to me. I can sense him more than see him. He emanates a powerful elixir of animal magnetism and ethereal beauty, as if he is equally woven of flesh and of light.

“Come,” he says, “it’s time for your awakening.”

I take his hand and descend into the waiting darkness.

So began a new cycle on my journey of soul, one that returned a precious missing part of my humanity and womanhood to me — my beloved — God, man, husband, father, brother, son and my own inner masculine. The promised awakening was one that led me over and over again to lost pieces of my Self and life story that held both my beauty and wounding, and the light and dark of my greater maturity and wholeness.

For the next several years, this soul work of reclaiming my beloved became the central theme of my dreaming, magical workings and personal healing, mending a tear in my soul that I’d carried since my early childhood, and lifetimes before. In the end, I came to the infinite grace and communion of love, with myself, with God and with the men and boys who blessed my life.

Persephone’s Tale

This vision isn’t unique to me. As the wheel of the year turns to the Fall Equinox — a moment of balance between the light and the dark, before the land retreats from the sunlit world of Summer into the cold sleep of Winter — a portal opens to the Underworld and the Goddess Persephone makes Her mythic descent into the sacred dark.

Persephone is a stunning Goddess maiden, full of the juice and joy of Her worldly powers and nature. But She is incomplete in the sunlit realm of Her Mother Demeter. The Underworld calls Her to seek out the missing parts of Her nature in the sacred dark. Persephone descends and walks among the dead and the rich mysteries of the Underworld, drinking in bitter tears and hidden magic. And She grows and matures through Her trials and sorrows.

In Spring, the powers of life call to Persephone once more. She stirs in Her Underworld travels, turning Her awareness to the rustling of green grass, freshening winds, and the life-inducing heat of sunshine on the waking landscape. She returns to the sunlit realm, no longer a maiden, but a Goddess transformed into Her full maturity and wholeness, Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Springtime Growth. As Her feet touch the living Earth, flowers bloom in Her path, for Hers are the powers of transformation and rebirth.

Persephone’s tale is one of spiritual growth and evolution, woven of the ancient ways of the Goddess that remind us that we’re meant to live big, bold lives, sourced from our unique configuration of beauty, wounding and power. But these things don’t come easy. We must descend into the Underworld and claim the dark of our humanity as the twin and beloved of the light.

The “read more” link below will take you to the SageWoman Blog page.

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Photo Credit: Photo by Will Fuller on Unsplash