I have long been fascinated with the mythos around the fertile darkness, the dark feminine. For many many years, I have felt that our culture has been too light focused (we are developmentally stuck in an endless "summer" in how we approach the world as consumers and in the way we work). The cycles of going within, letting fallow have been harmfully ignored and this is where the truly fertile soul work and wisdom-making takes place. We can gain spiritual insight from the light, but the dark turns that insight into body-and-soul-level wisdom. And I think that part of reclaiming our relationship to the darkness is dismantling the pejorative we have assigned to the dark and dense as "bad/evil/wounded" which frankly is also a root of racism and spiritual bypassing.
I especially love the myths that share our ancestor's understanding of these cycles. There is a good book "the descent to the goddess" that talks about the Inanna myth as a guide for "initiation" (as into greater soul mastery) for women especially, which has similarities to persephone's descent to the underworld. And recently I learned that there are even myths where RA, the Egyptian sun god, descends to the underworld and merges with Osiris, the ruler of the underworld. In my own experience with the masculine principle of the fae there is a chthonic (dark/underworld) aspect and a solar aspect that dance with each other throughout the cycle of the solar year.
Just recently I was spending time with the myth about Gwyn Ap Nudd, the welsh faerie king, god of the wild, and keeper of the underworld who battles with Gwythyr, who is a solar deity, over the hand of the maiden Creiddylad who is the embodiment of sovereignty. Gwyn wins, interestingly - it is not the solar that wins. What has come in my meditations on this myth is that sovereignty is the equivalent to the sacred void and that both the dark aspects and light aspects vie for her attention, but she has a special affinity for the dark. This makes me think of the taoist principles of the emptiness that can flow through nature if unimpeded. When the dark and light forces are in right relationship with the void, the state of nature's sovereignty, then order is restored. It also makes sense that the dark and the void are associated with each other (thus Gwyn winning), because they both are void of light. Also with scientific principles of entropy... energy eventually dissipates (unless there is a new injection of energy). I think that some have interpreted this as "renewal always comes from above, the solar" but in the Innanna myth there is a map for how renewal can come from below, in the darkness. Chinese medicine also recognizes this and the work of Lorie Eve Dechar is especially powerful in showing that the lighter energies (Shen) are not the only sources for renewal, but it can come from the denser energies (the Po and Zhi)... and in some ways the work that is initiated from the dark/ground/dense up causes more foundational shifts than the more solar inputs. In the celtic wheel of the year the cycle of creation really is initiated at Imbolc (Feb 1st) and from a tantric astrology perspective this is the root of the root where the energy is at its deepest descent and then rises again through the chakras (peaking at Lammas in August).
I find it interesting that the new cycle of creation doesn’t start at the solstice, that there are 6 weeks of laying fallow - of deep rest - after the longest night of the year before the new cycle is initiated. That speaks to us about the nature of our own creativity in that when we enter what feels like darkness, we are actually just beginning a longer period of stillness before regeneration can take place.
Overall in my mind we need to better honor the dark, the chthonic, the underworld, as it is just as important part of the creative life force on this planet as the light, but we also need to come into deeper relationship with the void, which gets even less attention than sacred darkness (or gets mixed up and confused with darkness). I will also share that my own experience with bipolar - if I get too light or high vibe focused there is an equally dark polarity that forms in the world of my psyche that must be integrated. If I stay oriented more towards the void, a place of neutrality that favors neither light nor dark, I can interact with anything from the full ray of the spectrum from a place of equanimity. It just feels better to my mind, body and soul.
This is really why I felt called to offer "Wyrd" at the first new moon in January - as a way to tune into the deeper nature of reality and forces of sovereignty, the sacred void, in a way that is not tied to any particular tradition, but rather explores it as a mystic would, through first-hand experience. Learn more.
I have been working with plants as support for emotional and spiritual healing in different forms for almost a decade. I first ventured into this world through flower essences, working with Diana Pepper at Tree Frog Farm. I then started taking herbalism classes through Wildroot Botanicals and began exploring “micro-dosing” tinctures and working with plants as teas to support the system as it unwinds patterns. This led to an intensive on Plants and Planets by Sovereignty Herbs and Ritual Botanica where I started to bring my relationship with astrology to my relationship with plants. As above, so below. What I discovered in my explorations is that the wild intelligence of nature has profound abilities to support psycho-spiritual healing and the development of consciousness. They are our teachers, supporters, healers. And they do this through the relational field – the “this treats that” mindset about plants only goes so far… it is more about our opening ourselves to the relational intelligence of the plants and allowing that to change us.
Through all of this exploration I found the most profound way to relationally connect with plants is through essential oils. Through my training with Aromagnosis in aromatic shamanism I experienced how essential oils bypass the thinking brain and take us deep into the inner realms of our consciousness. The plants hold profound space for a depth of inner work that is possible when we have a wise intelligence that is holding us in our work. In my ancestral and spirit work we rely on supportive powers to hold ritual safety. Plant allies can play this part and essential oils are a very direct way to connect with their support.
The work I am trained in comes to the transformation of consciousness from a Jungian perspective meaning that we work with the alchemical forces of psychological transformation, shadow work and inner parts work (inner gender, inner child) to go through a process of evolution with the plant spirits as the allies and guides for this work. This work looks like dropping into a guided meditation with the essential oil as a support.
I usually work in-person for this work, because, well, smell-a-vision is not something that has been invented yet, but if you have access to essential oils or are open to purchasing some to partake in the work, I welcome working remotely as well. If you would like to learn more about working in this way, feel free to contact me or set up a free initial consultation.
The wild world around us is cyclical in nature. Our earth orbits the sun and this shifts the light and heat on our planet in what we call seasons. These seasons are alchemical processes of change, each initiating a process of life- or death-giving states. There are times of germination, of birthing and growing, of harvesting, of death and of returning to stillness in preparation of the next cycle of growth. Historically humans have looked at the movement of the moon and the stars to help predict these cycles. They noticed patterns of where the sun was placed in the constellations during certain seasons and started to associate earthly natural rhythms and the alchemy found at certain times of the year to these constellations.
We like to think that our psyches are separate from the world and even the galaxy around us, but like the ocean tides moving to the pull of the moon, we feel the pull of the celestial forces around us.
I've been fascinated by astrology for some time, but my connection to nature spirits has increased this. As more subtle beings, they are even more in tune with the subtle changes in the celestial realm. I believe this is why the Celtics and even Maori and Aborigine art feature spirals. There is a way in which nature is a series of spirals. The earth around sun. The earth around its axis. The moon around the earth. The planets around the sun. Everything in the heavens is spiraling and in correlation all of creation here on earth, including consciousness, is spiraling too.
What wasn't clear to me until recently is that we can view the entire human lifespan as one larger spiral... I see it as an orbit around our evolving soul/heart. And during that cycle we go through the same stages of alchemy that we find in a calendar year... germination, birth, maturation and death. These cycles happen multiple times in a life, but what nature has shared with me is that each human has an overarching unique rhythm to this cycle that is based on their birth chart.
In my life cycle astrology readings I take people through their life map to explore themes in their creative rhythms. We look at ways to entrain to the alchemical forces at work during this moment in your life and unpack some of the experiences you may have had previously in your life during other alchemical stages as well as look at what is to come.
What is powerful for me in these readings is that it deconstructs the idea that at every stage of our life we must be living into full productivity. On contrary, there are times where the prevailing energy is asking us to rest, go within, reform ourselves at our deepest levels. Giving this consciousness and giving ourselves permission to be as nature is intending us to be is liberating.
If you would like to explore your personal alchemical process and where you are in your creative lifecycle, do reach out to me!
My psych meds kill my soul. They add a layer of toxicity to my energetic system that takes near constant alchemical work to transform. They distort my soul’s onboard navigation. So in order to remain centered and clear on my path, I have to work to listen to the world around me and to transform the negative effects. I will never be as clear as someone who is not on meds. But does that mean that I do not have a message to be heard or support to be offered? No. In fact with so many people around the world being put on psych meds, I think I hold a very important key to navigating this brave new world. And that key is my own experience with alchemical healing...of soul work.
So why take meds at all? For those who have never navigated altered mental states it may seem like a poor decision. It is one that I definitely fought for years. And it is one that I may reverse some day. For now I know that my meds allow me to navigate the ordinary world in a way that I would not be able to without them. I wouldn’t be able to have a regular job, which means I wouldn't be able to support myself in a way that has allowed for my learning from many of the influential teachers on my path. Staying oriented to normal time and space continuum is challenging for me without meds. It is hard for me to even remember what is me and what is the rest of the world. Boundaries and protection are nonexistent. I walk with a permeability that is risky at best and a complete hazard to my own existence at worst.
So the meds have their place.
Why not work on boundaries and strengthen my system until it is strong enough to not be on meds? People with a higher level of spiritual mastery have often viewed me with pity or concern because I have not developed a strong energetic body. The meds deplete what is already depleted. However, I am one who does not force practices on myself. There was a time where I naturally had a daily yoga and meditation practice and it still didn’t prevent me from psychosis. I’ve come to accept that I have a certain “way” and that way is a bit more challenging and requires different kind of work to maintain. It is this respect of individual paths that I bring to my work with others. The trick is to find your way and walk it.
So for me my way requires a LOT of internal processing of poisons. From my meds to all of the junk I absorb from the outside world, I am constantly working to remember my truth and my path in the sea of muck. The alchemical process of changing the lead in my system into gold has been critical for my health. And there are days where I am closer to the lead and days where I am closer to the gold.
Perhaps some day I will obtain a higher level of mastery where I will get to lay down some of the struggle. Some level of alchemical work will always be there… otherwise one is at true homeostasis, which is death. Until then, I offer my insight into the struggle as my unique balm for the world.
Life in the Void
I have had a vision of my spirit very first incarnating in another universe at the end of that universe. This might be my mythopoetic way of coming to terms with the fact that I am alive during a time when humanity is facing the void in terms of how we have lived up until now will no longer work and we must change or be destroyed. The universe I was in was destroyed, so I’m not sure how hopeful I am about our times. I was recently told a quote that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism”. You can insert just about any self destructive feature of our society in for “capitalism” — pollution, consumerism, individualism, racism, sexism, etc. But what I want to talk about here is the gift of my experience with the void. In my personal mythology, my spirit emerged from the void and into incarnated form only to experience the frightening collapse of all space and time back into the void. It was like I was invited to experience going back into the void with all of my senses and in doing so became one with the void in a new and profound way.
My soul gravitates towards death as most gravitate towards life. It is enamored with the void. I find life to be intriguing at best and confusing and alarming at worst, but it always seems foreign to me. I love the foreignness at times just as I loved living in foreign countries. I love the sense of confusion in life, it reminds me of crashing into the churning water while surfing only to be pearled underneath the waves, never quite knowing if you will come up for air. That is life for me. So the void, the void is home. It is the awe inspiring expansiveness that contains the potency of every potential. It is intimately clothed with becoming, it resides inside everything that is created. The void wears the energies of earth, air, fire and water like one would wear a hat or mittens or scarf. I joyfully play with her in these disguises. But I revel in the times she comes to me unclothed. It encourages me to disrobe and remember my nakedness. Because she is that which underlies everything, my intimacy with the void allows me to touch into all things. It is like speaking into her ear is speaking into the ear of any part of reality. I find myself in conversation with the plants, trees, water, rocks and it is the void that is the psychic conduit for these conversations. She is my telephone wire. But she is a telephone that you become. There is no picking up and putting down of this instrument of communication, one only becomes this communication by merging with her.
I’ve always been curious about death as an initiation. The myths of Inanna, Osiris and Jesus are examples of the archetypal energy of dying to be reborn. In the Inanna myth she meets with Erishkagal who is the goddess of the death realm. Erishkagal embodies the primal void and in order for Inanna to truly come into herself, she must pay Erishkagal respect. The void opens doors that are otherwise closed to us. Each time we grieve, each time we enter heartbreak, we are invited closer to the void. And our union with her brings us into union with all things only if we do as Inanna did and make it back to the realm of the living. There are those who get lost in the void, never to quite come back to life. These are those who fought the gravity or clung to the thing that brought them to the void. She asks that we let go and fall into her, to disrobe as Inanna did on her way into the underworld, so that we can stand naked before the primal void. Only then can we be right with the void and she can take her proper place as the center of all life.
My thoughts on the path of deep animist relationship