Updated: Dec 10, 2019
“There is a crack, that’s how the light gets in” –Leonard Cohen
Winter Solstice presents an opportunity to gaze inward.
To reconnect with prayer.
To take a look at our underworld of emotions, hidden aspects of ourselves that can be represented as a shadow archetype. This is part of our being that is often resisted, shamed and neglected. Often addictions mask our opportunity to karmically evolve. The work of Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist, and his study of the archetypes helped to shed light on the connection between the Yogic Gods and Goddesses’ of the east plus many other cultures where energetic deities, represented as archetypes, were shared as stories or prayer mantras.
In 2011 I became a single parent in Kelowna, I had some rough waters to navigate. Divorce came with some messiness to clear up and I ended up living in a women’s only shelter building for about a year with my 3 year old daughter. I was navigating a new life, grieving the sudden passing of my Step Dad and embarking on a new career as a yoga teacher.
Teaching soon became my passion and medicine. It was an opportunity to ground, breathe deeply and find a calm eye from the chaotic storm that often ensued in my life. It was hurricane season I suppose. The moments of complete surrender to prayer during challenging times was a divine appointment for rebirth and renewal.
Yoga, mantra music, artistic expressions, nature and community became my garden for growth.
I eventually moved into a beautiful home with friends, advanced in my career and became curious about alternative healing methods. With a background in herbology and personal development, this was a natural transition for me.
I taught yoga at an addictions centre as well as retirement homes, these soon became some of my most rewarding clients. The people in recovery were in desperate need of some TLC, often already knocked to their knees, requiring a sense of unconditional love that comes from spirit. Exactly the medicine that I was needing. The most powerful thing I could do was hold steady in my heart centre for those afraid to die, feeling depleted or left to unpack the unresolved trauma that was masked by addictive substances. (Being a death doula is something I am also called to do.)
I was on a deep healing and journey into liberation for a few years. I experienced new levels of unconditional love, an evolution of my relationship with myself and others, I was forced to gather Momma Bear strength and attracted many soul tribe. Much different than my previous role as a house wife.
When I had free time from packing school lunches, homework and paying the bills- I made time to work with plant shamans, Iboga and Ayahuasca. Iboga was my first experience. Iboga is a root bark from west Africa used for thousands of years in tribal healing ceremonies. Researchers and scientists soon discovered the therapeutic use of Iboga for addictions, successfully treating everything from alcoholism, heroin, meth and cigarettes. In 2016 I participated in a Iboga ceremony in Costa Rica, I knew I had some inner work to explore but considered myself quite grounded and ready to embark on this quest. I didn’t have issues with addictions that I was aware of.
When I returned from Costa Rica, interesting things started to happen. My IUD came out, I was averse to hair die, I no longer enjoyed a glass of wine, I wasn’t interested in marijuana and I became more selective about who I would share my intimate energy with. I started to collect spring water, eat more plants and became increasingly self-aware of my limiting beliefs. I also had life and business coaches, mentors and teachers that I would turn to for support in healing and stepping into my light.
The Iboga plant assisted my physiology and psychology to a higher state of instinctive knowing of how I should live in my most optimal state.
I felt more awake to my sovereignty and decisiveness as a woman and business person. There is a reason why many of the Goddesses carry swords, in the Tarot they are representations of the divine feminine cutting through our illusions, making clear decisions, downloading intuition and setting boundaries. Animals do this naturally in the wild, wolves are a nice example.
(PS: Read “Women who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes)
We embody all the elements of nature in different ratios- fire, earth, water, air. Ancient alchemical medicine and the invocation of certain energies as archetypes draw many parallels.
It was through these stormy seasons that I developed a new relationship with darkness. I realized resistance was futile, patience was required and a willingness to embrace and love myself unconditionally through every season and cycle life would inevitably serve.
Deep winter season carries an element of our shadow archetype. Earth, water, wind and the darkest days of the year (in the northern hemisphere), snow and cold temperatures. At this time we are encouraged to seek the internal and eternal sunshine. To connect with each other in community, to practice prayer, play with music, devotion, drink hot elixers, witch cackle (take note next time you hear your Aunties laugh), journal, attend ugly sweater parties and have pajama days.
Radical self-care is a spiritual practice.
I am grateful to witness the growing culture to embrace diversity in spirituality.
“Imagine all the people, living life in peace”
Yoga means unity, I see this as embracing all aspects of ourselves in our complete combination of physical and spiritual bodies. This reflects in the natural world outside. We see the sun and moon, birth and death, rose and thorn…the examples of duality in nature are endless!
The ancient sages recorded sacred text from around the world, they shared poetic musings about our spiritual communion with nature, the cosmos, how we must nurture intimacy with our connection to such forces in order to intuitively navigate the changing seasons and cycles of our planet and ultimately our own being.
This is the foundation of many indigenous healing arts from around the world.
For us to experience a state of unity consciousness or yoga, we must experience this integration with both the light and the shadow aspects of ourselves, we must love our whole being and learn a deeper form of listening to our bodies innate, intuitive wisdom.
During winter solstice season we can become our own inner alchemists and gurus. With the support of some ancient wisdom that is present in our DNA.
What does Guru mean? A transformation from darkness into light.
A solstice prayer:
asato ma sadgamaya tamaso ma jyotirgamaya mrtyorma amrtam gamaya om shanti shanti shanti.
Lead me from untruth to the truth Lead me from darkness to light Lead me from death to immortality Om Peace Peace Peace
(Brhadaranyaka Upanishad — I.iii.28)
This is true prayer for the seeker’s embodiment of their sense of limitlessness and their heartfelt cry for assistance in transcendence. It is not a prayer for the things of the world. It is not a prayer for food, shelter, health, partnership, riches, success, fame, glory or even heaven. One who recites these mantras has realized that such things are temporary enjoyment and not to be relied upon or you will forever be wanting more. It is in this full understanding that one turns to this prayer.
"What if our religion was eachother? If our practice was our life? If prayer was our words? What if the Temple was the Earth? If forests were our church? If holy water—the rivers, lakes and oceans? What if meditation was our relationships? If the Teacher was life? If wisdom was self-knowledge? If love was the center of our being?
You are love
You are loved,