“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
Strength is one of my favorite Major Arcana cards in the Tarot, because it calls for us to anchor in love and embody our truest selves. The Strength card is a reminder that when we know the our power, it cannot be bought, sold, given, or taken away from us. The healing of humanity and the planet is dependent on dismantling and recreating the systems that have taught us that our power lies everywhere but inside of us. True strength requires the risk of arriving at the door of our own heart and recognizing it as the heart of the world. We will see how our lives weave into every life, understanding the greater risk of ignoring the deepening pull of owning who we truly are. We are living in times of great upheaval, calling for us to be fully present in our bodies and connected to our souls, so we can move as gracefully as possible through the changes afoot. Strength reminds us that transformation is an inside job, and that we are courageous, resilient, and creative enough to do it. We cannot force change, but we can become it. We are seeing old structures fall within and around us, bearing witness to the unearthing of old beliefs, identities, and ways of being that thrive on the “power-over” dynamic that has wounded us all. When we are grounded in our strength, we move with more ease and confidence through our lives, no matter what outer circumstances are; we understand that there is enough, and that we are abundant beings with immense potential to create and share from the heart. There is a gentleness in this card that brings us back to love and connection. We live in a society that encourages a disconnection from nature, our bodies, our hearts, our needs, our desires, and from each other. In order to learn how to own our power and direct it in ways that are nourishing, uplifting, and life-affirming, we must first understand that we carry in our bones and our energy fields the imprints of a culture that is based on an imbalance of power. We are fully capable of clearing the old to make way for the new, beginning from within. In fact, we were made for these times.
We learn to outsource our power from an early age, grasping outside of ourselves for a sense of validation, safety, and belonging; of course as children this makes sense. We are made to exist in relationship, it is a primal pull and irreplaceable aspect of our experience and healing. Problems arise when we do not have the tools for healing as we develop, and continue searching for self worth and security anywhere but within. The depth of our capacity to truly connect is impacted by how true we are being to ourselves, how safe we feel, and by knowing our inherent worthiness. As feminine creatures, we are trained to find our value in how pleasing we can be—whether that means repressing our true expression, desires, and sexuality in order to “keep the peace” or not appear threatening, or using our power in unhealthy ways, because we have learned that we must do whatever it takes to gain ground and get our needs met. But we do not have to play that game. In fact, we can no longer afford to. We are healing millenia of patriarchal programming that creates an environment where competitive and conquering behavior is the way to finding power and “safety.” Paradoxically, we are taught to silence ourselves, stay small and quiet, and not step out of line. We can see the harmful effects of this paradigm in racism, sexism, rape culture, cult culture, destruction and pollution of the planet, and unequal distribution of wealth. We are also inundated with media that sells to us that impossible standards of beauty, the message that we have to “do it all” in order to be powerful; and in order to do that, we have to compete with each other. Masculine creatures too are deeply wounded in the cultural messaging to disconnect from their emotional selves, perpetuating the seeking of power outside of themselves while devaluing a vital part of their humanity. The Strength card reminds you that your heart and creative spirit are unrepeatable, there is enough for us all, there is room for us to be who we are, and once you have touched your light, it can only grow. The new paradigm, and one I have worked for in my own life, is one of service, compassion, listening, slowing down, healthy boundaries, reconnecting to the body, the earth, emotions, and creative energy. We all need each other to be doing the inner healing work of returning to ourselves, and choosing to heal and find strength in our vulnerability.
True power is understanding that we have a choice to be and express from a place of wholeness, where all facets of ourselves are loved and given space to exist, and where we support each other’s growth. Acting from strength means our yes’s are full on yes’s and our no’s are clear as day. We also must realize that we are a part of a greater whole whose health and well being depends on everyone’s well being, with everyone granted access to the tools and resources they need to thrive. We are not bound to any way of being that is harmful to us, and when we feel rooted and strong enough in ourselves, we realize we have a choice as to what we participate in, becoming more aware of the places where we have given our power away. When we can begin to unravel the ways we are complicit in oppressive systems, we disentangle the whole mess. This is the work of generations, but it will always begin within each one of us, and we can choose to access our strength in healthy ways right now. Setting fire to any and all remnants of self betrayal. Setting fire to the memories still alive in our bodies of what humans have done to themselves and each other in order to survive. Setting fire to self judgement. Setting fire to self abandonment. True power does not take. True power does not harm. True power does not manipulate to gain. True power burns for what is real. True power burns for the pieces of ourselves still in hiding, in service to healing and love and justice for every being and inner fragment who never had a chance to thrive. True power burns for our softness and our freezing, our confusion and our clarity, our anger and our joy. True power burns for exposing untruths and setting the course for freedom of expression, a right to exist however we are. True power burns for choice. True power burns for nourishment, feeding the flames for what must go, so what is to come alive has room to grow. Anything less than that dissolves here now. May the ashes make a gorgeous bed for new dreams to take root for humanity.
Because of the disconnect in our culture, reconnecting with our wildness is a courageous and rebellious act of tuning in to the deepest parts of our beings and loving ourselves through the process. When we reject the pieces of ourselves that are seen as unacceptable by the social norms, we inevitably see those pieces “out there” and point fingers, blame, or seek to control. Reclaiming the pieces of ourselves we have been taught to feel shame for and fear—sadness, grief, anger, needing help—are keys to knowing our wholeness. Mindfulness and embodiment practices (which can be as simple as walking, journaling, meditation, and movement) are essential for connecting with our primal states of being. Engaging in our imagination and creativity also causes a glorious ruckus in the status quo because it tunes us into the complexity of who we are. Old systems don’t function too well with soulful people expressing themselves fully and supporting each other in their unique magic.
Once we have access to our deeper layers, can move through the world in full responsibility and compassion for our feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and actions. This presence with our bodies and emotions fosters clear-seeing and clear-knowing. Being gentle, kind, and loving with ourselves is key to being loving with others; not judging things as good or bad, right or wrong, and instead just being honest, aware, and open to shifting. Our strength is inside of our softness. Our strength is inside our willingness to hold the entirety of who we are, and commit to knowing, accepting, and loving ourselves and each other completely.
Outsourcing light only makes it darker, and wings burn too close to the sun we keep outside ourselves. Turning to the heat of our own hearth and inner sanctuary, we will remember who we are. This is how we strengthen the web of connection to each other. To express the light of our true hearts, we must continually turn inward and offer love to those pieces of ourselves who may still be in hiding, waiting for a sensation of safety until they come into view. The crux of heart-work is to listen to these fears, this grief, these human stories we carry in our cells, and to let them exist, so they can change form. We may watch aspects of self die, and watch others blossom— allowing these facets to be however they need to be is the crucial alchemical ingredient for transmutation.
Often the most powerful transformation is a shift in perception; there is much we cannot change, and contending with this requires feeling deeply, and holding ourselves and each other through this process of often brutal surrender. Surrender can feel like softness too; it can feel like vast empty space, and it can feel like a portal of infinite possibility. The practice of compassion during uncertainty deepens self trust, and is vital as we come into stronger resonance with the magic of our life force; we are creator beings, and we are beings who must face letting go. Without devotion to the inner anchor, we remain complicit in the systems that do not honor individual power and expression, nor do they honor the mystery, or feeling, or connection. Without access to tools and practices to strengthen inner connection, so that we can become intimate with our true desires and needs as we grow and change, our relationships to self, earth, and each other suffer.
Strength does not seek domination but rather to be expressed with such fullness that it empowers all beings to be free to express the fullness of who they are. We can practice graceful engagement with the parts of us we are afraid to meet and walk with; these are the ones of us that need tenderness, who hold the light of our passions, and our capacity to create new ways forward. Creating new ways forward is what we are here to do.
Stay tuned for Strength, Part Two: Practices for Reconnecting with Your Inner Strength, where I will share grounding exercises, creative exercises, and other ways to connect with your body, intuition and imagination in nature.
Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
The Moon and The Virgin: Reflections on the Archetypal Feminine by Nor Hall
Gatekeepers, guardians, travelers between realms: unbind the stones from your feet and sing your life into the deepest part of the river. Listen, listen, listen, as Spirit speaks. You are not separate from any of it.
Your beauty moves in all the changing ways, without knowing who you will be on some other side, which is really always just right here, a black-winged moment, and you, inside it. Your will can’t hold transformation the way it wishes it could. You can only let it take you. If you trust nothing else, trust this. You and your beauty, changing, here and in every in-between.
The High Priestess is a gatekeeper to Mystery, who calls for us to access our intuition and innate wisdom from the depths of our psyche. She is the keeper of ancient knowledge passed down through the ages, who reminds us that surrender is sacred. She sees all as a wise observer, all-knowing yet neutral, a cosmic queen who walks the earth, moving like water between realms. She is visible when she wishes to be, and cloaks herself in the same breath if her intuition calls for it. The High Priestess honors the liminal, the ephemeral, and the empty spaces yet to be filled. She speaks to us of our ever-burning inner flame, kept safe within a temple whose walls hold the records of all that is, was, and will be. She calls us to settle into the unknowing, and let there be space to open into. The High Priestess is an archetype that portrays one aspect of the Divine Feminine, a term that I relate to as the yin essence, the fertile void, the unknown, and the connectivity of all things. Varying expressions of the Divine Feminine blossom and wither from one source of wholeness, as she is a container vast enough for all to exist within her.
A powerful way to explore different expressions of feminine energy and the complex layers of yourself is to dive into archetypes, which is why I love tarot and its connection to mythology. Persephone is a goddess I connect with whose myth tells the story of a maiden (Innocent archetype) torn from her life in the sun with Demeter (Great Mother archetype) and taken against her will to the underworld. But Persephone is also the High Priestess, as expressed through the Dark Goddess archetype. Her story through the patriarchal lens emphasizes her victimhood, diminishing her power as a realm traveling goddess of the unconscious, bravely traversing the shadow realms. What isn’t so widely shared is that she chose to stay in the underworld, and brought back gifts to the light when she was ready to share them, reflected in the changing seasons. She honors our countless initiations and threshold crossings, and our own timing through which we move. She reminds us to move at our own pace, to stand sovereign in our own energy, to own our choices and our power completely. Artemis is another goddess whose energy speaks to both the Wild Woman and Dark Goddess archetypes. She is the one of the woods– embodied, emotive, unapologetic, intuitive, creative, brave, and unto herself, belonging to the moon, the earth and the wild things. Exploring these expressions of the feminine connects me to my soul’s yearning to embody the fullness of me, to arrive here and claim my voice as the witch. The wild one. The deeply feeling healer. The empathic and psychic one. The writer. The creator. The shadow dweller. The light worker. Guardian and guide between worlds.
Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration
What happens when I full on surrender to the present moment? How does accepting myself where I am allow me to actually begin changing? How do my own internal shifts effect change in the world around me?
What happens when I start to get more into my body? How does it feel to find stillness? How does it feel to move my body from that point of stillness? Note the sensations, emotions, and thoughts present.
Who will I be on the other side of another transformation? What will I have to leave behind?
What happens when I show up in the world with all the shadows and light that I know I am? What do I need on a physical and emotional level in order to feel grounded and safe? How am I meeting my own needs in these ways? How am I honoring my own growth and tending to my needs at this point in the process?
How does staying with myself and loving myself through my entire growing process strengthen me? What does trusting myself feel like physically? Does it feel calm, even if I don’t exactly “like” the information I am getting? How can I get myself to a place of calm in order to intuit from a more observational viewpoint? How does observing and witnessing my own experience help me respond, rather than react?
How can I cope with my own insecurities around being truly seen by truly seeing myself? What do I need to feel, accept and love about what I see when I explore myself honestly, so I can be with what is and transmute what I am ready to change? In what ways do I choose to be in alignment with my true needs, rather than in resentment because I am not honoring myself or listening to my intuition?
Will I be able to show up in my fullness without the fear of being “too much?” or “enough?” What does the cultural programming of “enoughness” look like? How does it affect the choices I make? I willing to disappoint others, rock the boat, and be uncomfortable in order to stay true to myself?
Can I identify when a wounded aspect of me is operating and clouding my judgement? What aspects of me still remain as fragments awaiting full acceptance, unconditional love, and forgiveness? Can I acknowledge them, hold them, and release them with deep love so I can more fully occupy my own body and energy? Can I begin to notice when I am grasping outside of myself for validation to quell inner discomfort? In what ways can I validate myself? How does validating my own experience create more grace and ease in my life?
I belong on this wild, breathing earth. I am capable of holding this great responsibility. I am brave. I am powerful. I call all of my power back to me now. I am safe. I am grounded. I am connected. I am fully resourced and operate from my wholeness. I trust myself fully. I validate my own humanity. I feel my own divinity. I am loving. I am patient, gentle, and honest with myself through the journey, accepting my wholeness as I change. I honor my interconnectedness with all things. I practice responding rather than reacting by slowing down and asking myself what I truly need. I take time to feel what is present for me and I listen. I practice receptivity and openness when my protective pieces urge me to shut down, trusting and loving all facets as sacred. All I need to do is be here, and pay attention to what moves me. I am dissolving every belief and pattern of energy that does not belong to me, and that is no longer mine to carry. I am allowing myself to receive new information about all the ways of being that reflect my truest essence.
I am continually diving into the way these archetypes are reflections of my being, feeling how they hold and nurture each other, how they are part of a greater cycle, and how they cycle through me in my own phases. Below is some more writing that came exploring these faces of the Divine Feminine.
I went to the water with my heaviness today. This is my secret spot I always go to alone. This water hasn’t flowed here in a very long time. The first water in a drought will conjure up all that has laid dormant, it will run muddy and carry with it tangled branches, and it is not conventionally beautiful or pristine. The first water will bring to your attention all that you wish you didn’t have to see. It will tell you stories you wish you didn’t have to hear. Chasing the light is easier than communing with the shadows. After a little while the clarity comes, the peace comes, if you submerge and surrender for long enough. After a little while you understand that the light doesn’t care to be chased, just respected as an integral piece of the spectrum, a warming ray of what is possible, of who you are at your core. I prayed into the water, washing my hands clean, asking for guidance. She told me to listen, and to trust what I hear. She reminded me that there isn’t a savior beyond our own understanding that we are part of an eternal river’s ebb and flow. There are layers to healing. There is no easy answer or endpoint, just the willingness to pay attention, to feel, and to trust the wisdom of our experience. The more powerful we become, the more we are asked to kneel closer to the earth, and let go, deeper and deeper. The more we allow energy to move through us without resistance, the more we get to experience moments of radiant fullness, connected to our place in the web, strong in our clear presence, humbled by all that is beyond our control. In this state of surrender, we feel empowered to choose our next step. Our hearts will not stop their work of breaking, but we will stop hoping for that anyway. Often the most we can do is honor the water’s wise path, sometimes bone dry, sometimes teeming with life. Listening, trusting, listening, trusting. I trust my body as an extension of the earth, my vision as an extension of her knowing. I trust her cycles and I trust my own. I listen to what calls me further in. I trust presence, the movement that spirals out from stillness. I listen to what I don’t understand. I become the river who always meets the sea.
We are not initiated once, but thousands of times. Many of our leavings and arrivals are barely noticeable, but we notice, and we are changed. We are led, continually, over thresholds we cannot plan for. Divine order changes its tune as we sing along. And the chords we strike, just by being, create cosmic waves. Barely perceptible or earth-shaking, our energetic signatures exist here as an essential part of our collective experience. As we empty the vessel of striving, we make space for what forces desire to come alive through us. It is simply a welcoming. An opening. A walking through. We are merging worlds, grooving gracefully and tumbling foolishly between the accepted and the unacceptable, learning to tone in resonance with Mystery, breaking contracts with which we no longer agree, weaving our stories one revelation and one question at a time. One toe always in the water, inviting the ceremony of entering. The soul is not static. Spirit shifts. Bodies soften and harden with the rivers and tides of time and emotion. The mind is as pliable as it is powerful. We are called to crack open wide, not for ultimate bliss but for ultimate presence, as we leave behind the comfort of knowing and enter the realm of soul that begins at the edge of the woods, at the precipice of comprehension. Transformation asks of us full devotion. It can be terrifying, to let go, yet it is the only thing that ever really happens, awakening in the center of silence. Even stillness changes shapes. But your hands know the heartbeat of everything. You will remember. And it will be beautiful.
As I settle in and acclimate my system after any journey, it is important for me to commune with the language of the land in order to get grounded and fine tune my energetic alignment (just as essential as finding my favorite cheese shops and bakeries, of course!) This feels important especially when I travel alone, as it amplifies my awareness; connecting to the earth, our place of belonging wherever we are, is essential. The land here in The Netherlands is flat, and the water, contained by canals, creates a circuitry of calm; it is 10:00 at night now, and summer’s golden glow just left the tops of the trees. When I traveled here last year, I was coming from the Mediterranean, whose firefly-filled summer oozes a lush volcanic chaos; the ancient energy brought back pieces of my soul that had been hiding. I found an owl feather (the one shown above with today’s cards,) beneath a pine tree on the coast of Tuscany, overlooking the sea. I saw the feather at my feet right before I decided it was time to leave, and make my way north. I ended up in the same place I find myself now. I thought I should bring the feather with me on my journey back here, as I connect in with layers of my inner being that show up when I venture across eight time zones and an ocean.
Under a sycamore tree a few days ago, across the water from a medieval bridge whose gothic turrets inspire faerie tale visions, I was transported by a familiar scent on the wind. I remembered what a sycamore in a California canyon told me as I visioned beneath her a couple months back. She said to me, “sit in stillness and let yourself be moved.” I felt that was the gentlest way I had ever heard transformation explained (leave it to the wisdom of trees!) As I continued my walk through the cobblestone streets, past giant hydrangeas, swans gliding in the canals, and cats playing, I found a ceramic sign embedded in the ground, breathing the word “earth,” up to me.
Even as I move through this dreamy portal I am in now, I still carry the messiness that comes with being human—bliss, peace, sadness, questioning, wondering yet again, who I will be on the other side? And who am I now? What do I desire? How can I expand this joy I am feeling? How can I make it last? How can I be present without holding on? Am I worthy of all the incredible magic alive in my life? Is this real? Really? Yes, I tell myself, YES! And then I laugh to myself like a mad mystic. I breathe, root into the ground beneath my feet, and smile, “thank you.”
I ride the waves, and I trust the unearthing, the shedding; this is the process through which we live out our soul’s weaving. Trust the inhale, the exhale, and every in between. Trust the feet and open them to the radiant currents. Trust the inner compass, the golden thread, connecting the heart of the cosmos, the heart of the animal body, and the heart of the earth, sacred from every angle. Primal and ethereal threads are woven by the hands of Grace, skin weathered like human hands, if I see them through my human eyes, the most tender expression, still made of light.
We are always emboldened inside transformation’s unpredictable trajectory. Uncertainty is often our ground. With the earnest intention of full bodied, heart felt presence, we become. And we remember. Even in the forgetting we can be Fluid. Fortified. Anchored. Ethereal. Here.
Healing might happen in a doorway. It might happen in the middle of the ocean, alone with the morning star and no shore in sight. It might happen in a room full of people you love, where no words are needed because you have loved each other for lifetimes and there is nothing left to prove. It might come one morning, as an answer to a prayer you forgot you prayed, with a sweet lung-heavy ache for how long it took you to know the fullness of your magic.
Or maybe it never happens at all. Healing is not inevitable on the journey; you can fight your way through or give up completely. For some there is not enough time in this life to make things ok, whether by choice or circumstance, and no path is worse than another. Some are up against walls that won’t be busted through, and some won’t get the tools needed to repair their stranded boats. People can only do what they can. There is still beauty there.
So whatever you are “blessed” or “cursed” or compelled to choose or be chosen by, know that you can’t think your way into letting go, but that is all you will ever do. And you can’t hope for something better without doing something better, or without letting go completely of what “something better” even means, so you can just be here, unraveling knowledge for bone deep feeling. This is the wilderness of soul, becoming undone continually so you can know yourself completely— in devotion to a love whose task is to open you — in grief, in fear, in everything you don’t understand.
Healing will remind you of your spark while you’re neck-deep in mud, thick with doubt and the seeds that will carry you into the light of the front porch of God, who will answer the door even if you don’t believe in God, who will love you even when you don’t love yourself, who will hold you until you break into a song of tears that run like hot petals on your face, until you can see yourself through those eyes, as beloved.
At the core, there is only love and the map you chart. The one you chart, crumple, toss, and chart all over again, navigating mysteries and connecting constellations across the heart of this living planet. The earth is a good place to be. Remember this when you have forgotten. Make this known for you however you can.
“Everything changes when you start to emit your own frequency rather than absorbing the frequencies around you, when you start imprinting your intent on the universe rather than receiving an imprint from existence.” Barbara Marciniak
The Magician is the second card in the Major Arcana, arriving on the scene after The Fool embarks on his journey. He is an alchemist, who is all about personal power, imagination, and manifestation. You have probably heard the phrase, “As above, so below,” but, what does that mean? The Magician acknowledges that the outer world is a reflection of the inner world. As a bridge, or conduit, of universal energy, he recognizes that being in balance on all levels is the key to creating experiences that serve the highest good of all. He knows he is not separate from the great expanse of all that exists, ebbing and flowing with the cycles of the earth and the cosmos. The journey with this archetype is about a commitment to knowing ourselves and creating what we desire within the natural unfolding, by focusing on working with our own life force. The Magician honors our vision and individual expression as a vital piece in our collective evolution.
A master of the process of manifestation, The Magician reminds us that things can change and come to fruition when we shift internally, aligning our innermost beliefs with clear intentions, and taking action in a state of trust. Healing deep layers of beliefs around lack of worthiness and capability will be a part of this process. This happens in the body and psyche in a feeling (energetic) state, not a thinking state. Positive thinking alone doesn’t change reality if inner work hasn’t taken place. If you can acknowledge where you have tender spots — such as those aspects of yourself that are fearful, resist receiving love, or have the compulsion to lay blame — you can hold them in gentleness, respect them as parts of yourself that serve as protectors, and set them free with unconditional love and compassion, so fresh energy that is in resonance with the experience you desire can exist.
Inner work is alchemy in action—the continual movement and transformation of energy from one form to another. This process is an exploration of where you need to call your power back and focus on your own energy. You will begin to know your wholeness through feeling, loving and integrating all aspects of yourself. Profound shifts can occur very quickly sometimes, but healing takes time, and you will revisit different layers of the same patterns so you can continue to grow, love what is hard to love, and clear stagnant energy to nurture creativity and a deeper sense of aliveness and connection to your own soul.
The Magician knows that embodying change comes down to knowing how to interpret and move energy using his own awareness. A little chakra talk — the Magician activates the will at the center of the belly (the solar plexus) to manifest his soul’s visions in this world. This requires the root and sacral chakras be grounded in order to create from stability and well being — rather than by trying to control outer circumstances to quell inner turmoil. He knows the magic of a loving heart, and his throat chakra is open, trusting, and communicates clearly, claiming space as a creative being and an essential part of the whole. As the crown chakra receives higher wisdom and frequencies, the third eye must be clear and neutral, giving him the ability to see things for what they are, so change can truly happen. The empowered Magician believes imagination is not a frivolity, but a necessity; he takes full responsibility for the energy he brings to any space, and trusts that when he is in alignment, things fall away and into place without forcefulness. Learning and practicing energy management is essential to his self mastery. Understanding his motivation behind why he wants to create something is essential. (Notes: Links below for further exploration on the chakra system, meditation, and the philosophy of magic; Also I use the pronoun “he” for the sake of ease; The Magician represents a masculine expression, but all archetypes are representations that exist beyond gender.)
It takes immense courage and devotion to meet the self, in all its facets, and it often takes much more time to create something than we would like it to. It takes focus just as much as surrender. It also requires remembering that you are whole just as you are, and nothing “out there” will fill you up without this knowing. There is also nothing within you that is not deserving of your full love. With heartfelt, mindful presence, you can feel gratitude for that which is here already.
Remember that the Law of Attraction is worth understanding at its deeper levels, and it gets really whitewashed and glamorized in the “new age” biz; from this shallow and often harmful depiction, the reality of systemic oppression of people of color, women, those who are non able-bodied, neuro-diverse, gay, transgender, etc, is denied, and the experiences of people who are shamed in our society remain unacknowledged. To understand creating your own reality from a deeper perspective, it requires taking into account that the structures our world has functioned upon do not offer an even playing field, and not everyone has equal access to tools that will support their healing and thriving. If someone is continually traumatized by violence, racism, sexism, hatred or poverty, and has little access to support and healing, their ability to “vibrate higher” is limited, and the system can continue to incarcerate, criminalize, and silence them. When society tells you what your worth is based on who you are or what are able to do, and systems are in place to keep you down and make you unsafe, there is a host of problems that are difficult to “manifest” your way out of. Other details seldom explained are that sometimes you manifest just what you wanted, but it no longer fits with where you are in life. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes what you manifest doesn’t look like how you thought it would, but if you trust the feeling of it, roll with it. And sometimes you manifest things that you desire, but are neither prepared to contain nor sustain them. Going slowly, and respecting your own rhythm and divine timing, will ensure that you manifest in a way that truly nurtures you and sets you free in all the ways you want to feel free, along with the collective. Our consciousness can shift very quickly, but changes within the body and societal structures take awhile. Avoid getting into shame or thoughts of “something must be wrong with me” when life gets hard, and no amount of inner work seems to be changing the outer experience. Sometimes it is NOT you at all, it is the world you live in and those who are running oppressive energy and beliefs. The perspective of your higher self reminds you that there is always evolution occurring, often beyond the comprehension of your earthly self. Blaming and shaming yourself or others for not being “right” or “in alignment” only causes further harm. Allow yourself to have your experience, and others to have theirs, even when it is challenging and there are no easy answers or quick fixes. Notice how miracles show up that you could never have expected, as you direct your focus to the now and practice acceptance and non judgment. Let the energy move through self expression. Stay with, and love through. Be a light for the world and listen to those who have been oppressed, and all those pieces of within that have been silenced.
My favorite way to enter into a state of altered awareness in which I can work with my energy to release and “call in” is through meditation. It could be a moving meditation like walking silently in nature, dancing, qi gong, breath work; getting into a creative zone; receiving bodywork and energy work; doing a sound meditation like drumming or singing; or laying down listening to a guided meditation with visualizations, or just simply being with the present moment— anything that allows me to be fully with myself and in my own energy. Find what works for you, as that is where true magic happens. The marvelous thing is that you get to adjust your own vibration to create change in the environment. Shifting your perception, and thus your experience, is always possible.
Once you feel clear, spacious, and balanced, get still, and allow yourself to feel your desire in your body; expand on this feeling, let it flow through, and let it settle in. Your experience is sculpted from here. In addition to the above practices, I call upon my higher self, and ask my guides and angels to help me clear away anything that is hindering the flow of my life-force across time and space. I ask any pieces of myself that I have given away to come home. I ask that anything less than love and truth be dissolved, and that the clear light of love heal me and all beings. I ask that universal life-force energy move freely through me, anchoring light, so I can be a channel of goodness in the world.
Then, I let it all go. It is all a beautiful experiment, and mostly a practice in love and trust. Stay in awe. Stay grounded, neutral, and trust the timing and the process. Go make magic!
Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration
If the core of reality and who you are is formless awareness, and all the stuff of your daily human experience “accessories,” then you can imagine that magic is not unlike redecorating the set of the movie that is your life. Center into your energy. Visualize what is. Clear your energy. Feel into your dreams. Visualize them. Write about what you would like to create in this current act of your life. Write about how you would love to see your life in 2, 5, or 10 years. You can also create imagery through collage, painting, or drawing on a vision board. Have fun with it. Your dreams don’t have to be grand to be meaningful to you and the world. What you are pulled towards means something. What interests you means something. Envision. Explore. Shift. Actualize.
Example: I believe I am a creature of unbridled joy in every cell of my being. I intend to create joy from the inside out and experience joy wherever I find myself. I will engage in activities that bring me joy. I will move this energy to shift any perceptions, which helps me make changes where I feel a lack of joy in my everyday life. I trust in my capacity for joy. I trust in the divine to support me. I let go of expectations and receive miracles, feeling my way through. I am grateful for the joy that is here now. I follow signs and synchronicity and revel in the joy that brings. I get curious about joy.
Once you begin to write, draw, or collage your visions, do you notice if any resistance is coming up? What needs identifying, accepting, loving, and releasing so you can shift into a wider field of possibility? Can you notice how the resistance is showing you something important about what you may need to explore more? Do you notice how exploring these sticky places creates space for new visions and ideas to come in?
How deeply can you surrender to the natural unfolding of your life, beyond your own expectations? What does it mean to be a co-creator, bridging human and divine will? Write about what destiny means to you.
In what ways can you engage with your experience as a piece of living art? What adjustments do you want to make to your moving masterpiece?
How does engaging in creative pursuits open you to more energy and inspiration to work with? How do you deal with a lack of inspiration, and get those creative juices flowing again? Do you notice how “doing nothing” increases receptivity to inspiration?
My creative practice is simple: make space, pay attention, and go for it. I get into the moment to quiet the over-thinking mind who wonders whether the expression “is good enough,” or “makes sense,” instead letting what wants to be, just be– what I call releasing our winged things from their cages. Create now, refine later. Even just gently noticing, or scribbling notes, can be like planting seeds that will grow in their own time. Follow inspiration over judgment (you simply cannot get creativity wrong, what a relief!)
If you are divinity or consciousness experiencing itself through the lens of your particular human embodiment, how will you use this awareness to create a variety of experiences that bring you and the world around you more beauty, joy, truth, freedom for all?
The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy of Personal Transformation by Dennis William Hauck
Bringers of the Dawn, Teachings of the Pleiadians by Barbara Marciniak
“Each time you meet an old emotional pattern with presence, your awakening to truth can deepen. There’s less identification with the self in the story and more ability to rest in the awareness that is witnessing what’s happening. You become more able to abide in compassion, to remember and trust your true home. Rather than cycling repetitively through old conditioning, you are actually spiraling toward freedom.” Tara Brach
“As above, so below; as below so above.” The Kybalion, Principle of Correspondence
“Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
The Major Arcana in the Tarot is a series of 22 cards that follows The Fool’s Journey, or as Joseph Campbell called it, The Hero’s Journey. Each of the cards in The Major Arcana depicts a symbolic expression of the human experience, called an archetype. Engaging with the energy of each archetype helps us connect to soul and be present in our own evolution.
The Star is the 17th card in the Major Arcana, coming to us as the soothing light and transcendent energy after a passage of darkness — illumination in a time of far-reaching transformation. The Star pours celestial medicine down upon our tired souls. We drink deeply of her generous offerings, bathed in blessings that purify, cleanse, and soothe — a peaceful salve on our wounds as we kneel by the riverbank, dawn breaking on the horizon after a dark night of the soul. There is a sigh of relief, as we open our eyes and see that nothing is as it once was; we have been transformed and thus the world sparkles a little differently around us.
Like a newborn child with ancient memories, our skin is new but we are tender, our inner scars echoing stories of the difficult journey. Wobbly-legged and bright eyed, we are given a chance to begin again, to wake up to the wonder of a new beginning. Our task is to stay open and receptive to the abundant gifts and blessings offered to us now. The Star tells us we have known the groundlessness of profound change– what it means to doubt ourselves, to feel lost in caverns of uncertainty, to not know what it feels like to trust ourselves or others. When we have lost faith in the unfolding of our lives, and wondered what the purpose is in the struggle, the Star reminds us that we have been forged in the fires and are being offered reprieve on the other side. The light has returned.
Through these trials we have encountered the divine spark within that remains no matter what has been stripped away. Here we know the truth of our basic goodness, our light, and our beauty; we have touched the essence of who we are, that can never be taken from us. We carry a renewed sense of intuitive awareness, and a sense of calm that tells us all is meaningful. There is a richness in this place, an opportunity to open to a greater sense of connection to our true selves, to each other, an awareness of our integral role in the web that we weave together. The Star brings us into alignment with self-trust, self-esteem, and purpose. It carries a visionary energy that attunes us to otherworldly wisdom, ideas, and creative energy, the kind that pours through us like a fountain of inspiration. The Star encourages us to understand our worth, and to share generously our gifts with others, without fear of how we will be received. We are encouraged to stay open to miracles, and to know our divinity, shining from the innermost vaults of our being; we are empowered to trust in our highest hearts, to have faith in the magic that we are, and in the visions that call us and the collective into deep healing and renewal.
Ideas for Journaling and Self Exploration
Unhealed parts of ourselves will hinder the clarity of our intuition. Our intuition is in its optimal state when we have lovingly called home our wounded fragments and are standing inside our wholeness. Can you explore what your intuition feels like in your body, when you are coming from a place of wholeness? What does it feel like when you are acting from a wound or a fragment? Can you identify your protective pieces? Offer compassion to yourself here, before reacting from here. Can you identify the neutral space of intuitive awareness? Act from here. Note that making snap judgments is not your intuition at play; judging others is a key to where you can go in and work on healing a wound; intuition feels like a calm, and neutral awareness.
As you continue to heal, and trust yourself more and more, your intuitive abilities will get stronger and more clear. How does self-nurturing and healing bring you into a deeper state of self trust?
How are you receiving the blessings that are being offered to you? Clearing and reprogramming old beliefs and patterns, held on subconscious, physical, and energetic levels, is important so you can fully show up and receive the beauty of a new beginning. After a time of profound change, it can be difficult to accept the peace, beauty, and love that is being offered. First of all, know that it is a process and one that takes time. Healing is about integration of all aspects of our experience, not banishing any part of it.
One tool for receptivity is asking your higher self what affirmations or shifts in thinking and feeling would help reframe your experience. (For example: I am safe, I am whole, I am loved, I am powerful, I belong, I am free, I am receptive, I trust myself, I love myself, I am excited for this newness unfolding, I surrender to the flow of life, I gracefully accept the love and blessings being offered, absorbing them graciously and lovingly into every cell of my being, etc.) Write your own affirmations and practice them daily along with committed self-care, as you let the new information settle into your system as fresh beliefs and perceptions. The light you consistently bring in and embody will illuminate and flush out old and unnecessary patterns as you grow and come into your new way of being. Bodywork, breathwork, energy work, rest, creativity, exercise, time in nature, time with friends, time alone, laughter, and tears can all be forms of self-care. Slow down and ask yourself what you need right now, and trust the answer. Ask your guides and angels for healing and support if that resonates with you. Also, reach out for professional help if you need it; healing needs a safe container and there are healers, therapists, and teachers with extensive experience and training who can assist you. Find those who are in integrity, well-trained, and who fit well with you. Cherish yourself as you would a small child, practice compassion and gentleness. Start where you are. We are dancing through new territory all the time, riding the waves. Sometimes it is slow, soft, sometimes it is intense and feral. It is all vital, and it is all ok. Your experience is valid. Take your time.
How can you commit to a practice of gratitude? What are you grateful for right now? What are you grateful for in the morning? Before bed? Can you be present with your struggles and be grateful for how they break you open, expanding your capacity to receive? How can you stay grateful for the simple things, even throughout the toughest trials? How does celebrating the little moments of love and beauty awaken you to your true self? How does a daily gratitude practice shift your perception of your reality?
Write about your experience with miracles. What miracles have restored your faith in a higher power, in your higher self, or in some divine orchestration? Or, do you see miracles in a different way? Do you witness the cycles of the earth and your own body as some miraculous and mysterious unfolding? How can you live so as to believe yourself to be a miracle, and every breath another opportunity to create and experience more miracles? How can you appreciate other people as miracles? How can you shift your daily routine or beliefs so as to expect miracles on a daily basis?
In what ways do you care for your body? Your mind? Your spirit? Your heart? What does a daily commitment to self-care and self-love look like? How do you cherish yourself? How are you devoted to you?
Have any insights, ideas, or visions been coming to you? Are you noticing synchronicities, messages or patterns that keep showing up? Is there any resistance to trusting the intuitive messages you are receiving? What emotions or pieces of yourself need to be acknowledged, felt, loved, and integrated, so you can be an open channel of light, wisdom, and love? What you notice is important. What you feel is important. What comes up for you matters. Write down anything that comes to you that feels meaningful, without any care as to whether it makes sense. Or dance, sing, paint, cook, make love, make an altar, do free form yoga, garden, etc, to get into the flow. Let the insights, ideas and inspiration come through you, as if you are a vessel of magic (because you are!) See what happens when you let your creative energy move without judgement. See how trusting your intuition sharpens it. Stay curious and open to beauty and joy. Shine just as you are.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times by Pema Chodron
A message from Inanna, The Sphinx, Ix Chel, Justice, and the Queen of Wands
You belong in your becoming, you belong in your blooming, you belong in your dying. In the shadows, your clarity of purpose will be visible through light-filled eyes. Open to faith in the materializing and surrender to disintegration. The breaking down breaks you open in service of awareness and integration, obliterating outdated patterns and easing you into equilibrium. Your response to your experience in every moment becomes your life. Stay gentle inside your soft center, with all those pieces that don’t know yet how they will let go, or where they will go when they do. Maybe there is nowhere else to get to that isn’t here already. Maybe grace comes alive in the un-knowing. Remember when your knees buckled and you fell to the earth? That was when you called it in, arms open wide, because there was only one way to go at that point: the way of the miracle. Imagine you are a vessel of spirit, and that magic lives not only in those heavenly moments of wings-widespread, but in the messiness of loss, the reluctance to release, and the moment of freedom, as you offer yourself to the call, following the current that pulls you deeper and deeper in.
What is ripening now, just below your glassy surface, or just below the crackling surface of your beloved Mother Earth, nurturer of creation and conductor of destruction? If you are her wise seed pulsing with potential in the dark of the moon, how potently are you experiencing each sensation? What twinges and aches call your breath to deepen and your pace to slow? How free are the butterflies in your belly, and how warm is the fire in your chest? Are you allowing goosebumps and uncontrollable, inappropriate laughter, dancing, and tears? Are you welcoming stillness, quiet, and dreaming into nothingness? What are you letting yourself feel in the caves of your inner being? If you get quiet enough, can you feel what you have been denying? Can you feel your longing? The Sphinx, Egyptian guardian of Mystery, tells us there is no riddle to be solved that is separate from the self. Let the mind rest, allowing tendrils of emotion and vision to expand in your core, which is the core of the earth, and the roots that grow through your feet are the ancient roots. Let it die, let it grow. Decay enriches the soil of dreams.
You will be revealed here in beauty. Inanna, Sumerian goddess, tells you that each garment stripped in your descent into darkness has shown you the glimmering, groaning underbelly-self, whose tenderness expresses itself in all-the-ways, the-fearful-ways, the-angry-ways, the-beauty-torn-weeping-ways, the-love-worn-wise-ways, the-essential-ways. Ix Chel, Mayan deity, moon goddess of becoming, honors all phases as vital. She is the jaguar who sees past nightfall, sleek, piercing, knowing and silent until it is time. She is medicine woman, midwife, creatrix, and weaver. And the Queen of Wands comes again, another passionate, creative, confident, feline one, free and bursting forth with the radiant sun. They call for you to celebrate the return of the light, earth tilting just so, moon reflecting sun, each integral piece welcomed home. Thank your ancestors’ wisdom, all that has brought you here. Thank your shadows and receive your gifts from the depths. Thank your not-knowings. Thank your certainty. Thank your cycles. Set down what cannot be carried past this point. You will not abandon yourself or your beloveds, but you will respect your capacity, and bring only what is needed for the next leg of the journey.
As the scales find stillpoint, true inner power is understood and fully claimed. Drink the sweet, dark moonsugar. Feel the shifting structure of memory. Pyramids and treasure, star roots, scars, new skin, and the light of hope that blooms from blood and fear. Lightbeam eyes and puddle-jumping hearts. Communion across time and space. Past life convergence and relentless miracles. What can’t be explained. What mustn’t be repeated. Origins. Healing. Transience. Connection. Belonging. Longing. Need. Desire. Loving you. Loving me. Loving this fucking insane, suffering world, shadows lit up. Filling, emptying. Staying close to feeling. Admitting it. Accepting it. Breathing. Loving what can’t be unfelt or unseen. Somehow. Finding your way. Illumination is not for the faint of heart. But remember this: you are creating the pathway forward, dreaming in the brave-and-true, wholly-holy-ways, holding your humanness, holes and all.
To let love exist. To let it live out its earthly life in the field where horses lay down, where tiny greens come up after a night of rain, gingerly greeting the belly of a beast who has come to its end. The light will dance on its mottled coat, muscles still soft, and we swear we can hear a heartbeat, but it is our own. Following the pulse through darkness, we stoke fires and sing songs, burning all night for the sailors who left in the storm. Ashes and decay enrich the soil of dreams, who grow like tangled vines towards the myth of the sun, whose warmth is now becoming real. We don’t know how we will change in the unfolding, we only know that we will. To let the earthquake of unfathomable beauty bring us to the ground, sculpting our flesh into something magic, into something we can finally love. To let love exist, to let our strange shapes grow into their own, abandoning understanding and blaming and comparing and falling into the trap of certainty. We are more alive than that. The gift is allowing ourselves the rise and fall of our chest, the squeezing between ribs, the warmth and the glow of a heart set free to the world, with no promise of hands who will truly hold it, except our own. Belonging to mystery, we learn to trust the roses that fall at our feet, a path merging into a light so true, we will come to remember it as ourselves. But even then, when these hearts overflow and spill onto the floor, we’ll let them stay there awhile, because the miraculous mess matches the drapes, and a little creature comfort is welcomed in times like these. To let love exist in its natural habitat, the boundless field. To hold the jewel in the wound. To hold it lightly. To hold it sacred.
You are not the cardboard cut-out of the “worst thing you ever did.” Your silhouette extends infinitely, your flesh the expression of the desire to stand your ground in mid air, and finally jump. Breathe in & feel in your body your strength of being, even if you are exhausted. Feel the bravery that has carried you to now. The weight lifts knowing you did what you could with what you knew, and you continue forward in wonder. Feel how brutally tender it is to be human. Breathe out any shame that has settled in to your system, transmuting the heaviness with compassionate presence. Some of those experiences you label as “mistakes,” have been catalysts for tremendous growth that stretched you in unimaginable ways. You have taken responsibility for your role, release the rest. Honor the transformations and abandon the fear of “getting it wrong” by making the commitment stop abandoning yourself. Hold yourself as gently as you would a small creature, uncertain and groundless. You are here because you are awakening to something vital, the path unfolding with your own becoming. How closely can you nestle into the anxiety when it rises? Can you walk through the unknown and nurture the primal forces surging through you with a slow, steady softness? Could these currents you resist be the same ones that call you home to yourself? Your body does not lie, and sometimes it speaks so loudly it hurts. Can you get still enough to listen, and act from there? Beyond the comfort of knowing is the wisdom of feeling. My commitment, right alongside you: To hold myself tenderly with unconditional love and compassion. To never abandon myself again, by living in truth to myself through every season, knowing that this is my anchor through it all. To love what is hardest to love, bless what is hardest to bless, feel what is hardest to feel. To hold my heart as sacred and to follow the light within as I move through deeper waters, the golden thread guiding me through this wild darkness with courageous kindness, trusting in flight.
Side note: Sometimes I will look back over things I have written and there is this strange sense of remembering an aspect of self that emerged, and then dissipated, or maybe transformed. The process of writing takes me into hidden realms of psyche, heart, and soul, and sometimes I will drudge something up, express it, and it will call to me later, to be seen and held again, maybe in a new way. The first line of this piece above was a part of a poem I wrote called Lunation…looking back at that poem, I felt like I wanted to expand on that feeling, because it hit me, and it felt so relevant to this moment, here. The living, breathing poem, the pulsing of life through our fragments, the call to reconnect and complete…the wholeness of it all becoming more visible with every step forward and reflection back.
As my fleeting name
slips off your silver tongue,
breath escapes heavy lungs
and we are crystalline-
down dirty alleyways
where fishbones and petals
stick to our shoes,
caked in the mud
that you were always here,
that both faces reflected
in your grand chandelier
belonged to us,
shattered and laughing,
what it feels like
to reach beyond skin.
Sparks set fire
to the icy ocean inside,
sacred heart of the feminine
unfolding in an explosion
of roses and flames.
We find water in dry wells,
mirages we can drink from,
where I swear I see seedlings
bursting forth from desolation:
Mother of God, fire breathing nurturer,
offering us a dance
in the riptide.
I promise I’ll be pulled away
without getting pulled under,
or maybe I am the moth
whose wings fry on the porch light,
lost on her way to the moon.
And for each piece of myself
I willingly relinquish,
I hold closer the little wounded me
who is still afraid of what will happen
when I dive in again,
to those same depths
I will always crave,
a sweetness so stormy and true,
a sudden re-imagining
of a world
I have so carefully created.
nothing ever felt as good
in those fearful waves,
to be impenetrable,
even for just a second,
imagined relief from
Let me wear the skeleton key
around my neck,
rusted and hanging
from a cord worn bare
by the redwood’s pleas
where I can hear
the old ones communing,
and bones growing,
molecule by molecule.
And oh how they break,
life blooming continually
where we set sail too soon
on forbidden waters,
or maybe it was never soon enough,
how the surface
will deceive the depth,
how you will let me go
when it is my time
to taste the quiet
in saltwater hair.
Let me be tidal,
you will remember it this way.
Inspired by a journey through beloved Big Sur, California