Let Go And Let Goddess/God

autumn mist

Samhain is upon us and I have been feeling strongly the energies of release this year. At this festival, we think about our connections to the Ancestors and to all those we have loved in this life who have now passed over. I have been moving through my own grieving process having lost my dad a couple of years ago. It has been a long and difficult journey but there comes a point when we arrive at a place of acceptance within ourselves. Letting go of those who mean so much to us has its own time span; it is something that cannot be forced or faked; we must feel those painful feelings of loss that the absence of loved ones can bring. Eventually, something shifts. It is not that we ever let go completely, for those dear ones are never very far away, however, there does come a moment when we can surrender up our grief, handing it tenderly over to the Divine. As the trees prepare to shed, I feel that I find myself willing to offer up my own grief in order to move on.

Samhain is a gateway, a door to be walked through between two places. Physical death is a threshold between one state of existence and another; we can grasp the truth of this in a psychological sense through the many experiences of our lives when we are confronted with endings. Of course, not all ending are unwelcome; some are easier to move through but all endings bring us to that threshold and, to truly pass through it, we must eventually surrender what was, in order to embrace the potential of what will be.autumn branches

I recently bought myself a decorative gift box – I had read somewhere the idea of having a ‘Let go and Let Goddess/God’ box. This would be a container where I could place all those issues or situations in my life that I was holding on to, to the detriment of moving on. I would write on slips of paper, anything that I felt I was struggling to release. This very simple act of writing down and placing inside the box with the intension of giving over to the Divine, has been for me a wonderfully helpful experience. It has felt like an emotional fist inside me – my rigid psychological grip around all those hurts and struggle – has been relaxed and opened, transformed into a hand ready to receive.

Surrender is intimately linked to our capacity to trust. When we accept and let go, we place our trust in the Divine, in ourselves, in life and in the healing power of Divine Grace. It is a powerfully magical act that brings with it an enormous sense of peace and relief. Not only that, it is the first step that we take over the threshold and into another life .We leave behind what needs to be shed but we take with us the wisdom and the hope that wisdom brings.autumn-threshold

Samhain has many layers. One of them is undoubtedly the pain of loss and grief – the Dark Goddess and God with scythe in hand whose initiations can leave us feeling like our entire lives have been dismantled. But this is only a part of the process. For me, the deepest mysteries of this festival are found in the profound transformation that comes at the moment of surrender. The dark expressions of the Divine that brings us our most challenging life experiences, soften into the deepest compassion at the moment of true release. It is at that moment that we can fully understand the paradox that each ending is in fact a new beginning.

I dream of my dad often and feel his love as strongly as ever but I now realise that I can let go of the pain and loss, and in doing so, embrace the love. Loss is like the alchemist’s alembic; it holds us within its often unbearable intensity until we are distilled into a more potent version of ourselves. It is the Goddess’ cauldron that we all enter, surrendering to her all that we are in order to become all that we could be. As I cross over the threshold this Samhain – as I let go; as I trust in the power of release – the sweet, dark, softening peace of surrender will hold me.

Advertisements

Are You Your Biggest Fan

solar-plexus-close-up

Previously, I have written about the Base and Sacral Chakras and their gifts of grounding and joyful grace and continue now with a short exploration of the Solar Plexus Chakra.

The Solar Plexus Chakra, as its name suggests, can be likened to the body’s engine room. As the sun fuels life on our beautiful planet, this chakra enables us to metabolise our food into energy; it also aids us in taking our thoughts and turning these into action. It is a wonderful yellow in colour, our very own sun at the centre of our body and being.

As an energy centre that deals with action, it is also a place where both our fears and our courage reside. We all know that feeling of agitation or butterflies in our solar plexus as we engage with our anxieties or desires. The Solar Plexus Chakra teaches us that we can move through these fears with positive action, and in doing so, we build our courage and confidence in the process.

This Chakra has held the greatest challenges for me. I have long wrestled with my confidence and my fears of not being good enough. This in turn has often made it very difficult to act. When we fear we will fail; when we let our lack of confidence prevent us from even trying, the light of our inner sun is diminished and we rob the world of our talents and potential to serve and contribute. When this becomes a habit, it can rob us of our energy and joy too. We are beings in a material world and positive action is key to materialising our visions and plans. In short, we all need to take risks and to act in the world if we are to truly grow and learn.

I have slowly and painfully realised on my journey with this energy centre, that’ feeling the fear and doing it anyway’, as the saying goes, is a far less damaging option that retreating from it.sunflower closeup

In working with this Chakra, I noticed how difficult it was for me to support and encourage myself. Like many, I had internalised this hyper-critical voice that denigrated my efforts. I felt the need to act but this was so often undermined by my rather hateful and mean-spirited inner critic. There have been so many times in my life when I have walked away from challenges that would have enriched me and built my confidence because I convinced myself there would be no point. This conflict between our inner judge and our urge to act can be utterly paralysing, demoralising and de-energising. It can lead to depression, apathy and a lack of inspiration; it can feel as if the light has gone out in our life.

This chakra flourishes when we decide to allow ourselves to shine. Many of us were brought up to believe that expressing our talents was tantamount to ‘showing off’ and therefore inherently negative. Humility is a noble virtue but not if it robs the world of your divinely gifted talents. I love to see others shine; it is so wonderful to witness people deeply connected to their life path and sharing this with the world and I always feel good when I encourage others. Why wouldn’t I do the same for myself? The world needs us to express and act on our gifts; it enables beautiful, healing, inspiring, life-changing things to be birthed into the world. We owe this to ourselves and each other.

8609e66039aa8dab5754a672c8420bcf_640

It is vital that we all allow ourselves to shine and to encourage others to do the same by showing appreciation, by praising, by bearing witness to our unique and glorious selves. We each need to be our own biggest fan! When we do this for ourselves we can take joy in our actions, we can back ourselves to take the risks that are needed to move forward, and we can encourage ourselves to recover when we fall. We can also rid ourselves of petty envy and jealousy; let go of the ‘compare and despair’ mentality that can lead us to be less than supportive of each other. It is interesting that the Solar Plexus Chakra resides between the Sacral and the Heart Chakras. For me, this suggests that our actions flourish best when they work in tandem with pleasure, playfulness and creativity (Sacral) along with love, compassion and joy (Heart). When we express these qualities in our actions with self and other, everyone benefits.

This energy centre teaches that we are all more than enough as we are; children of the Divine; blazing stars in the body of the Universe. So, let that sun in your tummy glow brightly – let it warm and energise your body, heart, mind and spirit. Be your own biggest fan and shine!

Life Is A Dance

life is a danceMy previous post was about the importance of grounding and of my love of the Chakra system; of how the Root Chakra teaches us to feel ourselves as embodied beings. As important as it is to feel ourselves steady as a rock, it is equally important not to allow our beings to become set in stone. We need to be rooted but we also need to experience flexibility and motion, physically in the movement of our bodies but also in our emotional, mental and spiritual expression.

The Root Chakra is ruled by the element of earth, it has weight and density. The Sacral Chakra however, is ruled by water; it teaches us about the value of flow. When this chakra is functioning healthily, we can move through life with ease and grace, riding the currents, adapting our course without resistance, embracing the changes with faith and optimism. We feel our emotions moving through and out of us, thereby, never overwhelming us as they might if we held them tightly within us. When water becomes trapped, it can become stagnant and deadly to us; it is the same with our emotions – if we repress, suppress, or become rigidly fixated and stuck, our emotions can cause us a great deal of pain and even illness.flexible Just as our bodies need flexibility for ease of movement, so do our minds and emotions. Stiffening on any level limits our experience and increases tension within our beings; to stay flexible we have to keep moving. Being flexible and open allows for an exchange between us and the world that can shift us out of our stasis; there is a circuit set up between us and other which challenges and exposes us to new ideas and ways to be. It is the place of relationship and union, a place where we allow the connection with life to transform us.

Going with the flow demands a certain level of trust in life and self. Our fears can cause us to stiffen and resist just at the point life is asking us to relax and surrender to the rush. It is no accident to me that the sacral chakra is also the place of our child-like joy and the seat of sensual pleasure. There have been many times in my life when I have frozen myself out with the fear of ‘what if’ rather than trusting in the direction my life is taking me. When you start to engage with your adaptability in the face of change, it is a real joy and a confidence boost, and makes the transient nature of life more of an adventure than a struggle. We are reminded to draw upon our child-like innocence and excitement about life, where each day is a new adventure and we feel ourselves at home in the dance of the day to day.

lovely_dolphinstangoThis chakra is also the place of our creativity. We need that circuit of exchange with the world to feed our creative spark. We cannot hold on to our creations, they must be shared with the world; once again that circulating current between within and without must be honoured. If we hold onto our creativity, if we don’t express it because of fear or lack of confidence, then we often find that it starts to wither. Little can survive in stagnancy; we can’t thrive in a stranglehold.

If you feel stuck, if you are joyless and feel resistance straining within you, try one simple technique – move! Move your body: get up and dance; go for a walk, a run, a swim. Move your emotions: share an intimate moment with someone you love; make love: listen to music that moves you, or watch a movie that stirs you. Move you mind: read a book; have a discussion. Move your Spirit: perform a ritual, chant, pray, speak of all that you are grateful for today.

We are not designed to stay still. Even in our moments of deep meditation, huge shifts are bubbling away in our deepest core; our cells constantly dying and being reborn.

Make a promise to yourself to approach your life with trust, ease and grace. Life is a dance.what am i grateful for today in the sand

 

Back Down To Earth

Feet-on-ground-in-ivy

Nature never hurries. Atom by atom, little by little she achieves her work. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you noticed how our perception of time directly affects how much time we have? When you have a million things on the go and a ‘to do’ list that seems endless, observe that when you respond to the situation with a sense of panic or rush, time starts to whiz by alarmingly fast. Conversely, when we relax and go slow, time slows too and we get things done with less effort. If you don’t believe me, try it.

Slowing down and relaxing into the moment is a magical process. As Pagans, we come to know the value of grounding – our spirituality teaches us the importance of feeling the tap root of our body and psyche secure within the earth. Sometimes we when start to explore spirituality we can become overly enchanted by flights into spirit or the otherworld; we can find ourselves working solely in our heads, reading and thinking about a path but not actually committing to the work of manifesting that path in our lives. Earth spirituality reminds us we are matter; we exist within a material universe that requires that we feel the value of gravity, the way it shapes and strengthens us. It encourages us to celebrate and embrace the limitations and boundaries of earthly life and to recognise that all those exciting flights of spirit and inspirational thought can only benefit ourselves and others when we ground and manifest them here in the material realm.the-redwoods-in-yosemite-national-park

A great part of an Earth based path is learning to perceive energy. We do this by tuning in to our environment and ourselves. Some energies are light and have a faster frequency, others have a greater density and are slower moving – the energy of a dragonfly feels very different to a boulder on the beach. As we develop sensitivity to these differences, we can also begin to sense the energy frequencies of our own being. I am a huge fan of the chakra system because it understands that the various levels of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual makeup are composed of energy centres resonating at different speeds, each with its own qualities and purpose but all working together as (hopefully) a healthy, functioning whole. No one centre is more or less important than any other and to place too much of a focus on one or two at the expense of the others can bring us some challenges and even impact on our health. Balance is key.

rooted photo

To go back to our earlier example of being stuck in our heads, we know that thought resonates to a faster frequency. We don’t experience it as having the same limitations or boundaries that our physical bodies are subject too. However, if we spend too much time in our heads without tending our physical needs, an imbalance will occur – we cannot live by thought alone, we need food, water, exercise, cuddles, a roof over our heads… In short, we need to ground ourselves in Mother Earth and our bodies; feel our roots within her, enjoying the soil’s denser, slower energy, allowing it to steady and energise us.

The root chakra – Muladhara – is the place within us that has an extraordinary and magical capacity to take our creativity and manifest it here in the material realm. It is not afraid to take it slow because it has stamina, strength and endurance – it knows the patient power of consistency. It takes one look at our ‘to do’ lists, shrugs and goes about them one simple step at a time, utterly rooted in the present moment, no rush, no panic.

As one chakra opens us to the next, being thoroughly grounded in the root can then lead us to the ease of movement, flow and flexibility that comes with the second chakra, a centre of joy and creativity. As we become rooted in our bodies and the earth – as we feel at home in the moment – we can then explore the uncertainty of change, learning to respond to its ebb and flow with grace and joy. It is so much harder to do this without our tap-root deeply secured.roots

When you feel stressed, rushed and overworked, slow down; enjoy being in your body, nurture it, feed it, give it pleasure, let it rest, feel the worry drain into the earth and watch as it transforms into peace and renewed strength.

Remember, when you ground, time is always on your side.