The Devil has your number, he has your name too.
He knows what box you have ticked, and what you belong to.
This heavy, quantum, archetypal energy could also be known as hatred, or maybe indifference.
It is full of malice and violence, highly opinionated and extremely judgemental.
The devils job is to divide and conquer the enemy; us.
He divides us into smaller, weaker, easier to manage fractions and groups, labelling each group something different, something ‘special’.
Once he has done this, he will make us hate each other.
We start to point the finger at each other, blaming one another for all the problems in the world, when really, we are the problem, we are also the solution.
I believe one of the biggest issues we face in the western world is the labels we depend on.
We give ourselves these labels, tick the right boxes, answer the questionnaires to find out which group you belong to.
We call each other names, we give ourselves names and wear these masks with pride.
Think for a moment, of all the labels that you identify with;
Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, Muslim, atheist…Black, White, Asian, British, American, Native, Aboriginal…Slut, whore, MILF, frigid bitch, lady killer, ladies’ man, Casanova, pervert…Man, woman, trans-gendered, gender fluid, gender neutral, gender queer…gay, straight, bisexual, lesbian, objectophile…Good, bad, legend, evil, gorgeous, sexy, gross, ugly, survivor, victim…
Have I mentioned them all?
Of course not!
I bet you cannot believe I have not mentioned one you have thought of, how dare I?! Metaphorically speaking, what if you were to gather all your labels and throw them away.
Who would you be?
These labels help us to understand who we are, our place in society, history and our culture.
But we can confuse these labels for us, and who wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to defend them? These labels are not us, they are merely signposts pointing in the general direction of who we are. You are not a signpost, you are you.
If you are a Christian, for example, and wore a neon sign around your neck saying ‘Christian’, (maybe you do…) then it serves to tell others and remind yourself that you have chosen the path of Christ.
If you were to remove that label, (would you remove the cross around your neck for an experiment?) would it change who you are?
Would you be any less than you are now?
Would you change your ways?
Would you change your faith and prayers?
If you were to remove the label Christian from your persona, would you still be you?
Or would you be something more, something freer?
If you do not understand this, or you simply wouldn’t be you anymore, then what does that say about this label?
‘It is easier for a camel to go though the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’
We carry our labels like they are our riches, but when we reach the end of our lives here, will you need them in heaven? Will they matter? I wonder who gave all these riches to us? The Devil bestows so many boons, but all that glitters is not gold.
We must not be divided.
We need to break down these walls, these labels, these fractions, not create more unique and special ones. Let’s focus on who we are individually and how we are united in our humanity, we are unified in the love of love, in the need for peace and the desire for happiness.
Kindness is the key to our survival.
There is a healing ritual I’d like to share with you, to free yourself from these, often times, limiting beliefs about yourself.
Burning Our Masks.
Start by opening sacred in your way.
Write down every label, mask, fraction and group you identify with on a small slip of paper.
Collect either a fire proof bowl with a candle or light a small bonfire.
Find many small twigs or cocktail sticks.
Pick up a slip of paper, read it, wrap it around a twig.
Meditate briefly on where this label came from, what it means to you now and where it may lead you too…use a rattle or drum to help you focus if you wish.
Stamp you left foot three times to stamp out this energy blow into the stick, and pop it into the fire.
Do this with all labels.
Light more candles and place them amongst the burnt labels, and like a phoenix rising from the ashes of who you once were, shine your light brightly.
Who are you now?
Be your authentic self, full of truth and honesty.
Be fierce in who you are and above all else, be free.
A part of my work as a shaman, is to re-animate the world around me.
But what does this mean?
My shamanic path is a animistic one, meaning that I believe, to a certain extent, (it depends on my level of consciousness at the time) that the world is organised by supernatural/spiritual/energetic beings. Places, plants, animals, even inanimate objects contain an essence that is conscious. These spirits can be communicated with and even implored to help you, be it for wisdom or a quality of power.
In my opinion, the most powerful and beautiful of those beings are the Apukuna.
Apu means Lord or Mountain, they are the Spirit of the Mountains. For me they are colossal, both in size and presence, and yet they are as gentle as falling snow, and so inconspicuous, you will doubt they are even there.
The stone people, stones, live in a different time and space to us human people. We are barely visible to them, we are born and die in such a flash that we are almost inconceivable to them. They are unaware of us until we interact with them. Maybe we pick them up, hold them, speak to them, or maybe we bring their heads together awakening their memory of fire, and then, they will see us.
I am joined to the lineage of the Altomesayoc, and as such I can appeal and converse with the Apukuna. Stepping outside of time and space is a way of communicating with these most ancient and majestic beings.
I recently acquired a set of seven chumpi stones. They are quite large compared to many I have seen and are made from meteorite. Each stone has a different amount of points, which relate to different sacred mountain, or Apukuna, and, among other things, are used to gift one of the nine rites of the Munay Ki, the Chumpi rites, or the Sacred Bands of Power.
I decided to create a seven-day ceremony to attune each stone to a mountain. Each day I carried and held one of the stones while summoning the correlating Apukuna. I took note of anything I noticed about me and my day. Then later that night I chanted 108 times the name of that mountain spirit summoning them to be joined to that stone. I then anointed it with my favourite oil, Nag Champa.
What did I notice? I hear you ask. They had messages to tell and wisdom to share, and I will tell you.
I must admit, I wasn’t sure what would come up. What did happen was a huge shift in my energyfield. Deep, powerful and long standing wounds that I have dealt with many times, including during my own experience on the medicine wheel, came up, and not only did they show me the true face of my wound, the Apukuna showed me exactly where the wounds came from. The answer shocked me to my core and brought up many long-buried memories. I still find it hard to believe this didn’t show up during the many healing sessions I have received. I now know what I need to heal; the journey continues.
The Yapanapukuna, the Sacred Mountains.
The Sacred Masculine, the divine source of water speaks; Stop, take the time to smell the flowers I offer to you. Take notice of the joy that ripples around you, play with our children, give them all you have at that moment, we all deserve tickles and cuddles. Drink plenty of my sacred waters, they are offered to you freely, let it nourish you. Opportunities are given, you need only ask, stand at the edge of the forest and ask for what you want, know that you will get what you want and more besides.
The Sacred Feminine, Wild woman speaks; Run! Like the wild horses, raw and natural. Be just who you are, embrace all that you are, the good, the bad and downright dirty! See those sparks of life in all, and allow that spark of the wild to shine secretly to those who know it, and to those who do not, may you scare them with your wild beauty. Create a splash of chaos, if you wish, but it is far better to move silently through this world without creating a ripple, like wild geese on a lake of morn-light.
The First Light speaks; The first light of Inti, our star, shone down upon the earth and cast the first shadows amongst the people of stone. Now the sacred light is at its brightest, and the shadows are at their darkest, yet we are living in the darkness. Be the light, trust in yourself, trust in your light. Notice and observe the nonviolence, notice the places where there is no arguing, no fighting, no swearing or screaming, be this. Know it is your choice to stop protesting and complaining, accept or be the change you would rather see. It feels good, doesn’t it? Look to the sun, and breathe.
Coiling Serpent speaks; Know what is in your heart will be reflected in the world around you. Look in the streets, the media, your own life, see that it is truth. What can sometimes feel daunting is a lesson in connection, we are all connected. A fine thread connects us to the war and torment of another the other side of the world. Our reflections are us, we are our reflections, All is One. Know when to strike, and when to recoil to the safety of your inner landscape. Learn the power of No, and the beauty of Yes.
The Satisfied Falcon speaks; Be true to yourself, be honest. Allow the winds to blow through your mind, clearing space for you. Be in integrity, it's OK to feel happy, give yourself permission to be satisfied. Know your truth, speak your truth, live your truth, it cannot lead you astray. Take a deep breath in and just Be.
The Sacred Tears speaks; When you allow your tears to run, you allow the river within you to flow. All rivers nourish the soil around them, all rivers deposit their gifts. Nourish the soils of your heart, allow the rivers to flow, you will find the roots to your wounds and with it, the fragments of gold you have been waiting for.
Apu Machu Picchu.
The Wise Old Man, the Sage speaks; Listen to the young, their wisdom can sometimes surpass that of the old, both are invaluable. Listen to the children of our future, to the inner child within. You have within you all the answers you will ever need, and the questions that follow. Open up your heart and listen to the wisdom of the Divine, it is your Sacred voice that speaks. Be the light in the darkness, be the goodness in the world, step into your authenticity.
These are the words of the Yapanapukuna, all the Sacred Mountains.
It was in the winter of 1531 that a 57-year-old Juan Diego heard strange music coming from the once sacred hill of Tepeyac. He walked up the hill and was greeted by a woman of his own Aztec heritage.
She introduced herself as Mary, Mother of God. She told him that she wanted him to build a church on top of the hill, and urged him to speak to the Bishop. Juan left and demanded that he is greeted by the Bishop of the New Church of Tenochtitlan, Juan de Zumarraga.
The Bishop was understandably sceptical, and asked for more proof, a sign, maybe, that she truly was the Holy Mary, Mother of God. Eagerly, he ran back to the hill and prayed to the Virgin Mary that she would appear again to him once more. She did appear, this time she told him, (in his language, Nahwatl) that her name was Coatlaxopeuh.
She showed him a garden of roses, which do not bloom in winter, a miracle by any means.
She told him to collect them up and show the Bishop the rose buds, she even helped him arrange the roses in his tilma, his modest cloak.
When he arrived at the New Church, he blurted out her name, the Bishop, due to nahwatl pronunciation, heard Guadalupe. Juan emptied his tilma of roses, letting them spill across the floor, but the Bishop did not fall to his knees in disbelief because of unseasonable rose buds, but the imprinted image of Our Lady Guadalupe on his tilma. A church was built on the sacred hill of Tepeyac. Eight million descendants of the Aztecs converted to Catholicism.
The tilma is still held, after all this time, in the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. It is made of cactus fibres and in 500 years it still hasn’t disintegrated. No paint was used. The eyes of the image reflect those of the clergy and those of Aztec heritage. Even more fascinating is that the star constellations on her dress are exactly what you would have seen if you were in Mexico in 1531.
But, Our Lady has another identity.
She is Coatlicue, ‘Skirt of Serpents.’
She is Tonantzin, ‘Our Mother.’
She is Cozcamiyawh, ‘Corn Tasselled Necklace.’
She is Cihuacoatl, ‘Snake Woman.’
And, she is also Coatlalopeuh, ‘She who has Dominion over the Snakes.’
Earth Goddess, Mother Most High. Patron of Serpents. Pachamama.
In the Image, you can see that her cloak is midnight blue, and adorned with stars. Coatlicue’s son Huitzilpochtli created the stars from his dead brothers. She stands on a dark crescent moon, held by a child. Coatlicue’s son created the moon from his sisters severed head. Behind her, shines the rays of the sun, Coatlicue’s son is the God of the Sun. She wears a black sash around her waist. Coatlicue wore a black sash around her waist as did many Aztec woman during pregnancy and childbirth. Her tunic even shows the sinewy lines of the image of Coatlicue.
I love the Holy Virgin Mary, and I also love Coatlicue, the primordial Goddess of all things wet, dark and tangled. That is why Our Lady Guadalupe is so special to me.
Elders tell us that she has been holding the Divine Feminine energy within her heart, until such a time that the decedents of the Mexica set aside the beliefs imposed upon them by the Spaniards, and bring forth into the light of the sun, the ancestral teachings, and the restoration of woman’s place of honour in the community.
This speaks volumes to me, not just for the feminist principles, but for bringing Her back. Bringing back the Divine Feminine within our culture and community and spirituality. It means acknowledging the presence of the female face of God as Mother, Divine Creator and nourisher of All, as pure creational potential and the feminine energy of flow and movement.
Already the ancient teachings of the Americas have been brought forth into the light, we shaman and mesa carriers have these teachings, I have these teachings within me, and I willingly share them with you if you choose to show up.
All religions have a hidden, or not-so-hidden, female face of God; you just have to search for Her. The best place to search for her, is within your own hearts.
Embrace her, for She will embrace you, and She will give you back your power and your grace that She has been lovingly holding for you.
The twelfth of December is The Feast of Our Lady Guadalupe, light a candle for her, embrace her, for she carries within her womb, your gold.
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
Did you know Santa Clause has his own day? The sixth of December is the Feast of Saint Nicholas. He was a Christian Saint and a Greek Bishop of Myra. He was known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker, and has since been used as the model for our modern-day Father Christmas, Old St Nick, Santa Clause. He has many names, he is also known as the Holly King, the Green Man, The shaman, and even Odin.
He rewards the good and well-behaved children of Christendom with gifts and trinkets and sweet delights on Christ’s Mass Eve.
But, did you know, just like me and thee, he has a shadow too? What would Jolly Ole Father Christmas’s shadow look like? What could possibly be a contrasting image of Santa?
Are you sitting comfortably? Are the lights on nice and bright? Are your loved ones near? Then I shall tell you.
He has no shiny, buckled, black boots that crunch through the snow, but cloven hooves that clip and clop.
No red coat dons this man, but a tangled mass of dark fur.
He does not wear a red hat, (and if he did, it would probably be the foulest blood red) instead, two great, goat horns curl and twist.
Does he say “Ho, Ho, Ho?” Oh no, no, no, he couldn’t possibly, not with those fangs and that long, red tongue.
What about a sack full of toys? I hear you ask, he carries a sack, or sometimes a basket, over his shoulder, but it doesn’t contain toys, only the naughtiest of children.
He holds, not the reigns of a beautiful sleigh, but chains that attach him to the devil.
On the fifth of December, the part goat, part demon Krampus punishes the naughty children, whipping them with his ruten branches, or gifting coal instead of toys. Ruten bundles instead of sweet nectarines. On The eve of The Feast of Saint Nicholas, he gifts an early Christmas present to those who have been exceptionally good. But, God help ye merry children if you have been very, very bad. If you have been wicked, then he will take you away, leaving a log of wood in your image behind while you are taken to his lair. Maybe he will make you work for him, or maybe he will devour you, or maybe he will drown you the fiery pits of hell.
For me, the Krampus the naughty side of this season, Christmas in all its gory glory. It is the time that the birth of the Holy Sun of God is born, in many ancient paths, not just Christian. And as wholesome and holy as this season is, there is a sombre side to this season too. There is loneliness and bitter sweet memories, there is greed and over indulgence. There is consumerism and debt, there is chocolate, alcohol and burning loins. Families argue and fight, office parties end in the walk of shame and guilt, and the streets are littered with drunks wearing sexy Santa outfits (or are they the slaves of Krampus?).
As Advent begins, Saint Nick sits on one shoulder, and Krampus sits on the other, whispering sweet nothings in our ears.
I have a soft spot for the Krampus, he has been commercialised into a jolly and slightly satanical Christmas figure, and there is a growing number of people within the anti-Christmas community, who use the bar-humbuginess of Krampusnacht to celebrate something slightly less Holy.
Once, I accidentally celebrated Krampusnacht with my son. He was ill during the last week of November and as he was feeling better and as he had been exceptionally good all week, we decided to gift him an early Christmas present on the night of the fifth of December. Later that night, I found out it was Krampusnacht.
So, to all my kith and kin, have a cheeky chocolate, or a snifter of rum, watch an X rated movie or simply snuggle up with your Shnookums or your Snugglybum.
Like everything in life, it’s about balance and moderation, holding the two polarities of life in balance in each hand, so you can be the stillness in the centre.
Be both the bright and the dark, the light and the shadow, the oak and the holly, the Santa and Krampus.
Merry Krampusnacht to you all, and to all a good night!
Over the years, since qualifying as a shamanic practitioner, I have worked with only three male clients, one of which is my husband. Approximately 99% of my client base are female, I have often wondered why this is the case.
Girls, Ladies, Women, Mothers, Grandmothers. Vixens, Divas, Princesses and the occasionally, a wise, old Fairy Godmother. One thing they have in common is the word ‘victim’.
It is one of those words that we all shudder at (I’m not sure about the men, do you shudder at that word?).
You can be a victim of a practical joke, maybe a clown dramatically trips over his large feet and pours the contents of his bucket over you. You blush crimson red as confetti billow over you.
You can also be a darker, far more sinister victim.
I have seen the word victim a lot recently, in the media, news feed, even friends of mine have used the hashtag #METOO in their own personal social media feeds. ‘Me Too’, unfortunately refers to sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. The words cut like thorns on your skin.
I know, that men also experience this tragedy. But today, I am talking about women.
I also know, (and have unfortunately, witnessed and intervened) that women can also be the perpetrator. We can All play a role within the drama triangle.
I hear words like these all the time, whether they are from the mouths of clients, friends or from victims in crime films or books;
The bruises have gone, but I can still feel their touch on my skin…Even though it was a long time ago, I can still feel the warmth of their breath on my neck…Their words hurt me back then, but now they still play, over and over again in my mind, they’ve become my inner voice…No amount of bleach can make me feel clean…It was my fault…I just want to be free…Why me? What did I do wrong? It must have been my fault…I froze, I couldn’t even say no. I couldn’t move, it was like I was paralysed, in a dream, a nightmare…It was my fault.
Sexual abuse, harassment, jokes, assault and violence all directly affects the root chakra.
It is the place of our power, our sexuality, and our connection to our bodies and the earth herself.
When it is damaged, we no longer feel safe in the world, we no longer feel. We no longer feel secure in our bodies, secure in ourselves, or even the people around us. We become disconnected from our bodies, disassociated from ourselves, from ‘who’ we are in our bodies. We no longer feel grounded, connected to the earth, even our families feel alien to us.
When a perpetrator commits an act of violence or violation against you in this way, even a hurt remark, it energetically damages this chakra, vital life force begins to leak out (in a way, I think that the perpetrator feeds on this life force.) This life force is most potent and most sacred at the root chakra. It is your vulva, your sacred yoni, your sexuality, your power of creation of life itself.
What I have noticed, is that all these women all have something else in common, they all contain an original wounding, one that dates back hundreds, even thousands of years.
In a way it is like the ‘original sin’ in Christian philosophy.
It is the wounding of the Divine Feminine. Having worked with many women now, (and within my own personal work) I have witnessed countless heart-breaking and excruciating tales within the place of our souls.
Too graphic to retell here, (and nor shall I, as these are personal tales that live within each one of us) but they are there, in all of us.
A perpetrator is weak, and holds massive wounds, the wounds of the Divine Masculine, mainly a deep suppression of all emotions from a young age (I will talk about this another time).
They hold this wound like a parasite, they pass it on to its victim.
This parasite is like a magnetic hook that sits, quietly attached to its familiar host, (for it recognises the same wounding within you too, the suppression of woman) and draws more power to it.
It needs to feed, so it magnetises more abuse, hooking more pain, more of the same to you, reiterating the belief that you already held about yourself and your life.
My role as shaman is to track the ‘original wounding’ and heal this piece.
The stories we hold from our past lives stay with us, and they show up in this life, for a reason only, to be healed.
I see these ancient wounds as sacred weeds, whose roots go down, attached to many parts of our lives; our bodies, our relationships, our family, our hearts desire and our fears.
I go back to this wound and pull it up, pulling up all its roots with it.
During a healing session, these fears and past traumas all get energetically placed within a kuya, (a sacred healing stone that I use) then, using a process called miqui, this heavy energy is combusted and uncoiled from you.
After further extractions of stuck energy, or energy that’s not yours in the first place, you will then naturally go to a place of great peace, what we call infinity. You will be touched by infinity, and infinity will touch you back. When you bask in the in the arms of All That Is, for me, this is where great healing happens.
I am then able to begin the illumination process, where divine light is poured into you, illuminating your soul, and a final shamanic piece is gifted, your lost soul parts are reunited with you, you reclaim transformational and life-giving quantum pieces of energy.
So, what is it with all these voices starting to pop up? It has always been this way, men will be men, boys will be boys!
We are starting to wake up from the nightmare that says that this is OK.
There is power in this vulnerability, a strength in ‘ME TOO’.
Putting a voice to the pain of ages, sharing this collective pain so publicly is a true strength.
We are finally saying, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
This Is Not Right.
It Was Not My Fault.
I Am Not To Blame.
As a man, as a father of a son, I feel I have a responsibility to teach our future generation something different.
Have you ever said something derogatory, even in jest, to a girl before?
I know I have in the past, I did it, and I am sorry, I understand now.
Have you ever sneakily pinched a women’s bottom?
Wolf whistled or said something ‘big’ in front of your mates?
Have you ever tried it on with a girl, only to have been knocked back, then follow with an assault of words from your broken ego?
Have you ever been in a position where you did not hear the word no, or did you choose to ignore it? Or maybe you are like the hunter, enjoying the chase, the hunt…what comes next?
Men, where are you? Where are your #IDIDIT #IMSORRY #IKNOWBETTER?
What are you teaching your sons? And your daughters, for that matter.
Are you teaching them permission? Asking and granting permission.
Are you teaching them respect? Respect for themselves and others, respect for the sanctity of No, and the joy of Yes?
Are you teaching them the power of NO!? Are you teaching them the beauty and grace of YES!? Are you teaching them integrity? That they are, and will be, loved for exactly who they are?
Are you teaching them boundaries? I’m teaching my son all of these things.
It is not all men! Of course! We all know that! But, we have all made a remark, smirked at our mate’s dirty joke about a female office worker, told someone about their experiences with a certain person.
We have all heard something that was ‘below the belt’ and not said anything, we have all laughed at a derogatory remark, and felt guilty afterwards, not saying a word in defence of the woman involved.
We are teaching our sons that this is ok. We are teaching our daughters that this is to be expected. What else, do you think your sons will also think is ‘ok’?
We are all guilty of perpetuating the vicious cycles of abuse.
What is sad is that It doesn’t matter what age you are, what gender you are, where you fit in on the social scale, it doesn’t matter if you think you are hot or ugly, dress outrageously or modestly. Nothing can protect you from a perpetrator of abuse. Until these predators, with all their wounding, get help themselves (where are you, anyway? I know you’re hurting too), we are all at risk.
Getting a healing to remove the imprint of ‘abuse’ and ‘victim’ from your luminous energy-field is so important, they are like magnetic hooks that bring more of the same to you, reinforcing old and unhelpful beliefs about the world.
I hear people say, “I feel like I have ‘victim’ written on my forehead.” That for me, says there is a hook somewhere in your luminous energy-field that desperately needs removing.
Another thing we as shaman can do is gift the chumpi rites. A set of elemental, energetic bands of power are woven around you, holding you and protecting you from harmful energies. Instead of these energies depleting you, they serve only to feed and strengthen these bands.
Call Light to you whenever you feel unsafe, the light of all light, the power of light. Call Kali-Ma, or any Goddess that protects you.
Listen and trust your inner-tuition.
Do not minimise who you are.
Do not live a small life because of fear.
Rise up from the ashes of the stakes you were once burnt at, like a phoenix from the flames.
Reclaim your gold, your majesty, your sovereignty.
Radiate and enjoy your sexuality, because it is a gift from All That Is, from the Goddess herself, it is pure creation.
Heal the wounds of the Divine Mother, the Goddess, and know that you are One of the many faces of She.
Samaritans 116 123
SWITCHBOARD An LGBT+ helpline 03003306630 www.switchboard.lgbt
SANE 03003047000 www.sane.org.ukhelpline offering practical advice, information and advice.
RETHINK MENTAL ILLNESS www.rethink.orginformation and online directory of local support.
Anxiety UK 08444775774 www.anxietyuk.org.ukinformation and support
National Domestic Violence Helpline www.refuge.org.uk08082000247
Victim support 08453030900
Rape Crisis www.rapecrisis.org.uk08088029999
ARC Youth counselling serviced 01189776710 www.arcweb.org.uk
CBD oil is great for PTSD and dealing with past traumas, this link is great for advice and information. www.drugscience.org
We are about to enter the hallowed season of Ayamarca, the Inca Festival of the Dead.
The whole of November is dedicated to honouring those who have passed on, beloved ones who have died in our life-time and those who died long ago, our ancestors, our grandmothers and grandfather, those who have stepped outside of time and space.
We, in the western cultures, also celebrate something similar, Halloween.
It is a shame there is so much misunderstanding, mainly by Abrahamic religions, and ignorance regarding this sacred and venerable festival. It is not about evil, horror, gore, or the devil. In my opinion this fear is based on the shadow self of this season and the shadow of these masculinised religions, the fear of death, and the annihilation of the ego. It is a curse, the belief in death.
In reality, it is quite the opposite. It is about the light of Spirit, munay - sacred love – the humanness, the finality and in-finality of life. Honouring loved ones both here in this world and those who have gone, but never forgotten.
Halloween has a far older name (and I’m sure there are older still,) Samhain [SOW-IN] is a Gaelic festival of the dead, marking the end of harvest and the beginning of winter. The dark half of the year, a crossroad, a time where the veil between the worlds is believed to be at its thinnest, the Good Crone Calliach rides the winds and the Mountain Sprits of the North blow the Icey winds across the land.
At this time, the animals would be driven down from the summer highlands to be slaughtered for the winter. With the dark night’s drawing in and the copious smell of blood and decay in the air, it is no wonder nightmarish imagery would be conjured in the night. Talismans and amulets were used to deter fearful spirits, turnips would be carved with crewel faces and put outside to scare them away; we do this even today with our pumpkin carvings. Masks would be worn, so the spirits would not tell who was who, we do even this today with trick-or-treaters running amok.
Halloween is for me the conch shell horn, signifying the start of the season of honouring those who have died of flesh and have been re-born back into light.
Ayamarca is a period of time, in which we make sacrifices, what are you willing to let go of, in order for life to flow?
It is a time to be grateful, to fill your heart with gratitude, what/who are you grateful for?
It is also the season in which we speak to our loved ones, both living and light-bodied.
Light a candle in their name, tell your stories and fondest memories, look through your old photo albums or research your family tree. Above all, talk to them, they can hear you, the veil is thin and beautiful, maybe they will share with you their wishes and prayers for you.
Remember, one day we will all be ancestors to our children’s children, what is your wish, your prayer for them? Be a candle in the dark this season, shine your light brightly.
They say that you can hear the call three times before you find the courage to answer it; a call to adventure, a call to destiny and life. Writer and storyteller Joseph Campbell said,
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day, into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
My call was a call to parenthood, but that doesn’t sound very extraordinary, being a gay man means I would need to make some tough decisions, and do something out of the ordinary, other than the usual ins-and-outs of life to produce a child (pun intended).
When is anyone truly ready to be a parent? “When I have X amount of money in savings.” “Once I’ve seen the world.” “Once I’ve grown up.”
Knowing I couldn’t just ‘Fall pregnant’ meant that if I decided to have a child, then the ball will start rolling…Ok…deep breaths…YES! The call was answered.
I need to go back a few steps before I tell you the magic. You see, I had always wanted children, but back when I was young that wasn’t even an option.
I’d like to thank all those who fought for our equality.
In 2011 I took my first step on my shamanic journey, and received the munay ki rites. During a spirit journey, upwards to the Upperworlds, I visited the crystal gardens, a sacred and holy place, where we meet with our celestial parents, those who birthed our souls. And also, the children of the future, golden beings of light, so beautiful, waiting to be incarnated with us. One small boy struck me as extra special, he had the brightest smiling eyes, and was so excited to see me. We had to ask them for a message to bring back to the people of the world, ‘I can’t wait to come down! It’s so beautiful down there!’ that was my message.
Another day, sitting at the chalice well, surrounded by a circle of brave warriors, I looked deep, into the depths of the sacred well and saw a reflection of myself in the future, it was me as an old man, surrounded by my grandchildren. Tears flowed out of my heart and spilled into those waters. I wasn’t even aware (even at this point in time) that I would start the process of parenthood (weird I know.)
Looking back, I can now see that my shamanic journey, was also the path of fatherhood too, I just didn’t see it at the time. I did the medicine wheel a couple of years later, and a lot of the issues that came up personally for me was about my masculinity. Provided, protector, warrior, nurturer, poet, sage, hermit, hunter, king, sovereign, father. There are many architypes of the sacred masculine, and many of them came up, fatherhood was prominent, and it was a discussion at home too.
It just so happened that my partner Tom, AKA Unlikely Dad, worked for an adoption agency at the time. The call felt like a silent bell going off in my heart, I felt like a spider tentatively stepping and sensing his way along a thin thread trying to grasp what was on the other end, the thread was my new path, a heart string had been pulled.
I was due to go on an advanced shamanic class, ‘Working with the Mythic’ with Chris Waters www.spiritoftheinca.com ‘Bring with you a fairy-tale that you feel connected too…’ I couldn’t even think of any, so I called another shaman friend of mine, Charlotte Gush www.shamanicway.co.uk who was given the name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ by Spirit, I listened. It was one of my favourites but I couldn’t see how it related to me. I arrived at misty hills of Avalon, The Glass Isles of Glastonbury, where the world reflects back to you like a mirror.
I sat in a group waiting to tell the tale I brought with me; even the trees listened as I told the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. I told it from the place of ‘I’ the I being the poor nameless girl who was trapped in the dungeon by the King, who demanded an impossible task of her; to spin straw into gold, a lie told by her father.
I could definitely feel the link; I was trapped in a dungeon, a 9-5 office life that was not authentic, and I had the impossible task of creating a family that was biologically not going to happen. But I couldn’t fully connect with the character, she wasn’t my story.
We performed many tasks and beautiful ceremonies within the land of Glastonbury that week. Sat on the altar was a beautiful statue of the horned lord, Gwen Ap Nudd, I longed to be connected to him. For me, his presence represented fatherhood in its purest form. His resplendent horns are the horns of passion, fierce love, protection and guardianship, he is both provider and teacher, all the things needed to be a father; I lost my horns a long time ago. Nothing was spoken about him during the week, yet there he was. Where was he in my story? Where are my horns?
It’s funny, there is a thorn tree in the Chalice Well Gardens. It is said that the tree grew from a sapling from another tree that grew on Wearyall Hill, and this particular tree grew from the staff of Joseph of Aramathea, Jesus’s Uncle. The staff was cut from the same thorn tree that his crown of thorns was made from. A small ceremony we have done before is to walk under this tree, and comb our hair through its thorns, giving back our own crown of thorns that we no longer need, global guilt. I was looking forward to visiting this ancient tree and as I approached, to my horror, it had gone. The previous year, the tree on Wearyall Hill had been vandalised beyond repair and died, a year later the tree in the garden was struck by lightning and split in half. All that is there now is a fairy ring of toadstools. I stood looking at this fairy ring and it dawned on me of a story of the horned lord.
I have heard that there once was a sacred garden, maybe the Garden of Eden? And in that tree stood an ancient tree. For some reason, lightning struck it and it split in half, and out of its centre stepped the horned lord. Had he stepped out of this tree in the Chalice garden?
Once I was back at base camp at the Abbey House, I decided to tell my story from the place of ‘I’ but instead of the young girl, I chose Rumpelstiltskin instead, (after all, it is his story, the only one with a name.) Suddenly it all started to make sense. Rumpelstiltskin did the impossible, he spun old straw into gold, he was promised a child in return, he had a secret name, a secret identity that if anyone found out would cause his demise, he was betrayed and the promise of a child was taken away from him, and he tore himself in two with the pain and rage.
“What if this story came true for you?” I was asked.
“It can’t, I would be devastated.” I replied, it struck me at this moment in time how much I wanted to be a dad.
“But what if this is exactly how things are supposed to be?”
“I feel like my life would be over, I would be in so much pain and rage I wouldn’t know what to do… I’d tear myself in two.”
That night we burnt our stories in a ceremonial fire. In the flaming remains of all that ‘stuff’ I was working on that week, I saw the image of a King.
Simultaneously that night, Tom went into a meeting to official ask to start the adoption process with his agency. Through misty rain I ran back indoors, put on kettle for a hot chocolate and checked my phone for a response from Tom. I called him after reading his text. We weren’t allowed. Rage flared inside my heart. It was purely a conflict of interests, due to Tom working there, but in my head and in my heart, I ached with the loss, the story came true, the promise was taken away. I went to bed.
Something was splitting, my head, my soul, my heart? One of my kuya (healing stone) is a split stone, I call it ‘Emergence’ is this what is happening? It didn’t feel like it.
The next morning, I woke up with a powerful migraine, I stormed about the place swearing and punching walls in rage. I felt like I was splitting in half, I was Rumpelstiltskin tearing myself in half, I had to tell my story! Someone took the words out of my mouth, “Where is the fierce masculine in all of this? Where is the horned lord?” YES! WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?!
I told my story.
“Where do you feel this loss in your body?”
“It’s in my head,” I sobbed, “and in my heart, I feel like I am about to split in half.”
“What would happen if you allowed yourself to split?”
My heart swam in relief, I could finally let go, was it that simple? I stood up, raised my hands to my head and slowly with great intention, I tore myself in two. I felt liberated, peaceful. I was still in pain physically, but I accepted the pain, I accepted my heart just the way it was.
“Can anyone else see his horns?” I heard someone say, ‘I’ stepped out of myself and there instead of the old me was a horned lord, a father, albeit a childless one (for the moment.)
Little did I know that at the same time, my son, the golden child from the Upperworlds, was being born just a few miles away.
I always knew he was on his way, I could feel him. Every time I journeyed to the Upperworlds and visited with the Children of the Future there he was, always a little golden child, full of energy and with big beautiful eyes who couldn’t wait to see me, I resumed it was a piece of myself, but something told me otherwise.
A golden little boy.
One year later.
I was sitting nervously on the floor of a foster carer’s house with my husband. Fear and excitement rumbled within me, I thought I was going to be sick. I heard him in the kitchen banging something on the kitchen floor.
“Do you want to meet him?” the foster carer asked. She called his name and his tiny little face poked around the corner looking sheepish and coy, he gingerly crawled towards us. My heart melted, I was in love.
‘Munay’ is Quechan word that means ‘Sacred Love’ this is what it felt like, sitting on the floor with our son.
He was looking at us, my golden little boy! I picked him up and put him on my lap, I felt like I had just been anointed king!
I am the victor of my hero’s journey, I am the King of my Kingdom, I am the Horned Lord, I am Dadda, with a bag full of boons to share.
The Christmas horns on my head in this picture is pure accident!
The East class of the medicine wheel is the end of the wheel and the beginning.
My east class coincided with the end of the Mayan calendar, a Great Death; I love serendipity. It was a great end, but it was also the beginning of my path of Shamanhood, a great rebirth; the wheel continues.
The East is all about endings, and beginnings, death and rebirth, transcendence.
All the work I had done was in preparation to that moment, the death of Me, the death of ‘I’, the rebirth of who I was becoming.
It’s funny to look back at your journey, to who you were, I am not the same person I was when I started my healing journey.
I know with great integrity that my internal world reflects the external world.
The quality of my heart beat reflects in my own Be’ing-ness, it also ripples out into the world around me; as I change, the universe changes with me.
All is, and Is not.
On this part of the journey I became joined to the Kurakacullak, the Earth-keepers, the angels and ascended masters, becoming guardian of the earth, holder of sacred space.
I also became aligned to the lineage of the Mosoq, the Star-keepers, those who mulch the wisdom and light of the stars and feed it back to their communities.
I received my final kuya stones, my mesa became full, complete, and yet still only at the beginning.
The east, place of the rising sun, the direction some of us will go when we are ready to leave this place.
I spent some time in the upper worlds, it’s like the Bardo plains of Buddhism. I visited the stone world, a place of stone-cold darkness, a place before the coming of the light. I glimpsed this world when the only light from lightning flashed across the skies, lost souls walked this place.
I found solace in the green lights of the plant kingdom, finally, the warmth of the sun shone down. The plants were so full of peace and light and gentleness, they caressed my skin.
The land of the animals, all the creatures that ever were, are in the place, totems, spirit guides, familiars, animals long lost in the mists of time and creatures yet to be incarnated in the plane.
The Ancestral realm is beautiful, our soul groups, our soul village, our loved ones are all here. The whales and orca live here too, who’s souls have individuated. Wise old beings.
Further still we meet with Pachakuti, a being of great light. Higher still we fly to the crystal gardens, the rainbow fields, the cities of gold, here we meet the children of our future, and our celestial parents who birthed our souls into being.
I got to experience what it’s like to sit with someone whilst they are dying, its beautiful.
It’s a real genuine privilege to be at the threshold of life and death, to be the soul midwife as you oversea the birth of a soul back to source.
I also got to experience what it’s like to leave this place, to say goodbye to those you love, and recapitulate your life, telling your story, and then fly home.
I couldn’t go though, I didn’t experience the flight, many others did, I didn’t, I had unfinished business, things I hadn’t said, promises I couldn’t keep, things I hadn’t done (little did I know this very transition led me onto another healing journey straight after I got back from the east class, as I said, the journey continues…) It wasn’t the way I wanted to go.
I know how I want to go now, and I know what I must do to enable me to do this, I learnt a very important lesson that day; while we are here in our bodies, say what you mean to say, finish unfinished business, keep your promises or un-promise them, do what you came here to do, tell your loved ones that you love them, forgive, accept, thank, otherwise you will not be able to fly home when the time comes, you will have a bumpy ride, and that is not something anyone would want.
Death is such a taboo subject, whenever I have spoken about it to anyone, about the east work, I experience similar reaction; nervous fidgeting, strange screwed up faces, ‘deathly’ silence, subject change, awkwardness, yet if I mention a birth of a child everyone is animated, smiles and rosy cheeks all around, so many questions, so many squeals of joy. I know death brings up our most basic and primordial fear, and brings in its wake a tsunami of grief, but, death is the birth back to source, it Is just as beautiful, I promise you.
The soul becomes like an innocent child again, a child of light, and is brought back into the arms of loved ones the same way it came into this world, full of love and joy and squeals of happiness.
Yet we cannot talk about it, kids are hidden from it, the elderly or infirm sit silently while others creep around on egg shells ‘Don’t say the D word, Ssshhhh.’ I have seen great beauty and joy in death.
Personally, I have seen death, I have walked with death, I have looked at death in the face. I was resuscitated twice, and yet lived, I even carried it for almost two decades, it wasn’t horrifying or traumatic, it just was, an experience, like any other.
Honouring the deaths in our own lives is important too, the end of a relationship, the end of a career, the end of an experience, and all of them teach us how to die when the time comes for us to truly leave, with our eyes closed and our hearts open, flying home to be in the arms of our Mother once more...
So now I take a deep breath and say a prayer to the new experiences I have shared, the lessons I have learnt, both the sweet ones and the bitter. Gratitude is the lesson I have learnt from this, it is one of the most important and beneficial modes to be in. Be gracious, Be grateful, Be Gratitude, Be love, be the rEVOLution, Be the EVOLution, All is Love anyway.
At the foot of the mountain, Mount Ausangate, Apu Ausangate, I was greeted by a flock of gentle Hummingbirds.
Siwa kenti, the Royal Hummingbird, guided me to the North, up through the mountains of my soul.
It was a solitary journey to take, one that would ultimately leave me with a choice, do I go back down the mountain, never realising my true identity, or Be-ing my authentic self, or do I step into who I am becoming, and carry on up the mountain path?
My authentic self called to me, I continued.
From this high place I could see my life through the eyes of the mythic, from this place I learnt to journey deep in the underworld to reclaim my graces and lost soul parts, missing pieces of myself I have longed for, for eons of time.
I reclaimed my ‘elfin’ self, a luminous being of great strength and grace, I found my ‘young prince’ a being of dignity elegance and mature youthfulness.
I received my ‘Hunter’ self, the man I am supposed to be, hunter, warrior, provider, father, the part of me that is energetic, yet still and graceful.
With them came creatures of great power, gifts of wonder and inspiration for me to use.
I journeyed higher still until I reached the outer atmosphere to the dark and stormy land of the stone people.
Here I met with my Kuya, and received four more sacred stones.
I ventured further until I reached the forest-that-never-was and the plant kingdom, further one the land of the animals and totem powers.
I reached the land of our ancestors and spoke with the Whale and Orca, and just when I thought I could go no higher, I reached a place of infinity.
That golden place where dreams are formed, a crystalline and etherical land of light and rainbows and love.
Here I was greeted by my celestial mother and father, the archangels who birthed my soul into being. I spoke to our children, the children of our future, my future.
All was quiet and peaceful when I landed at the fires edge, floating back down from The Dreaming.
On top of that mountain, at the fires edge, I met an Altomesayoc. A keeper of the high plains, a keeper of secrets. In that solitude I was told a great and powerful secret, and I gave my word that I would keep this secret until the time was right to share it, and to keep it still.
In sharing this secret with me, I was joined to the lineage of the Altomesayoc, the lineage of Wisdomkeepers.
I stepped into my Shamanhood on this journey, sharing with others my wisdom.
My head held high, I spoke my truth, holding sacred space for others, stepping outside of time into infinity, to bring back grace.
My new kuya contain powerful yet illusive medicines; mastery of time, keeper of secrets, invisibility, and my new kuya, from the foothills of Machu Picchu, the lineage of the first people.
As I went back down the mountain, my Mesa full and pulsing, hummingbirds fluttering and buzzing around, I unhooked myself from my place of origin in this life.
At the edge of the mountain ridge, I hear a familiar cry, I look up at the sight of a circling eagle.
I started my journey in the South with Great Serpent, Sachamama.
Through the vast swamps and great lakes of my soul I travelled, while learning to bask in the light of the sun.
I remember learning how to bring down the light of the sun, our star, to illuminate all of life, it will always be one of my greatest gifts.
I was taught how to remove hucha - heavy energies - in the luminous energy field, allowing us to grow, shedding our past the way a serpent sheds her skin, it is so important that we do this, and do it well, with ease, grace and the greatest of honour.
In this process, my wounds were opened up, left bare and allowed to transform into three gifts; ecstatic laughter, non-judgment, accepting life as it is, and the responsibility of healing my own heart first, allowing life to simply be.
I received new eyes that saw through the heart, removing the veil, the bullshit.
The elements were woven around me, holding me, protecting me and all that I am.
I called back my lost archetypes, ancient and powerful allies within my luminous energy field; a serpent, a jaguar, a hummingbird, a condor, and three Archangels of the Inca people; Huascar Inca, Quetzelcoatl and Pachacuti Inca.
These archetypal energies/beings, now inform me and help me find balance and harmony.
My Journey continued through the Wild West, a place where the mirror is placed directly in front of us.
Here is where I faced my shadow parts, and extracted old wounds and lost, forgotten souls.
As I said my goodbyes to Serpent, I was greeted by Otorangol, mother sister Jaguar.
She came to me, over the rainbow bridge, and took me back with her to her lair.
We went back through time, looking through the pool of remembrance, to bear witness to our past lives, enabling us to learn and to heal from them, rather than letting them inform us.
I met with, and communed with three of my ancestors, who each gave me a gift; the permission to smile, sing and dance, contentment with what is, and peace in my garden. They taught me to shine, to keep shining and to sharing my gift to the world, the gift that is me.
This time I travelled through the dark, wet, tangled forest of my mind, to meet with the Jaguar people who taught me about spirits and discarnate souls who inhabit the places they shouldn’t, inside us.
I was taught how to send them home, back to source, back to wherever of whatever they came from.
I learnt how to extract weapons of mass destruction from our luminous energy-fields.
Crystalline energies that have festered within us over years, decades and even lifetimes. Removing these energies allows our energy to move freely once more,
On the lowland plains, I was greeted by the tribe of the Pampamesayoc, those who built and are the caretakers and gatekeepers of All the sacred places of the world.
They welcomed me as their brother, and tied me to their tribe.
I am now Pampamesayoc, a keeper of the plains and sacred sites.
Jaguar took us back through the chaotic tangled web of life unhooking me along the way, back over that rainbow bridge, to the foot of a beautiful mountain.
Shamanism has been a passion and an inspiration for me for many years now.