The underworld is a place where we have met life’s challenges and come away transformed, the hero’s journey if you will. We all have these treasured stories. My own underworld story is one of hardship over a year’s time frame that came in three’s. First the Earthquake, an unexpected divorce after 17 years of marriage; then the Tsunami, the 2008 crash which meant no job and lastly, the Nuclear Meltdown; having an industrial chemical exposure that left me with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, a serious condition that means your body is no longer able to quickly process or detoxify chemicals, (MCS).
Though I had been a shamanic practitioner prior to this, had a meditation and yoga practice, the severity of this illness forced me to strip away my previous beliefs and take stock of all that was happening in a new, deeper way. The illness forced me into an isolation I had never experienced and a loneliness that seemed to have no end. I was a visionary that had lost her vision. It was clear that no outside source could ‘heal’ my MCS and definitely not my eyesight.
In the endless dark of each night I wondered what was left to me? How and why was this happening? The whispers of my inner knowing said that there were other ways, other alternatives to my healing. How could I use my skills, knowledge and inner power to heal? Slowly, I began to see that this was a sacred opportunity, a letting go, shedding of skin; a true dissolving of worn out identities, behaviors and ways of being that no longer served me. I needed to sit by the furnace of hell and let it burn away all that I no longer needed.
The Gift of the Feminine
The gift of this underworld journey was a deep awakening and a visceral, felt experience, of learning to trust the messages my body was constantly transmitting to me. My isolation demanded that I listen, to stay focused on my darkness. The more I listened, the more it called out to me, helping me to learn, firsthand, that our healing and wisdom lie within, not necessarily in the hands of outside “experts”. That as a woman, my greatest strength and power lay in the dark shadows of my own experience. For the first time, my feminine wisdom was taking form. I saw clearly that my masculine “doing” wasn’t my way out. I was learning the Feminine Ways of Being, Knowing and Doing. Of first listening and being, and then doing.
I can see with clarity that my illness was the song that was destined to sing me home. This quote from McCall Erickson, says it all:
“Soul work is not
a high road.
It’s a deep fall
into an unforgiving
darkness that won’t
let you go until
you find the song
that sings you home.”
My Work of Sacred Passages
As a child, my home was the Sonoran Desert, where interacting with horny toads, lizards, coyotes, snakes, quail, cactus and tarantulas was a daily occurrence. Throughout most of my life I have been drawn to nature and Earth-based practices and did my first 7 day, ‘solo’ quest with John Milton’s Way of Nature. This vision quest transformed my experience and oneness with Nature and the other-than-human world. It led me to other quests and vigils that profoundly changed and deepened my work today. I studied with many indigenous elders from around the world to learn more about earth based practices and rituals, and have delved deeply into my own ancestral, indigenous roots from early Britain.
Today, my work is focused on the Feminine Way of being, knowing and doing, that is derived from my life-long journey with nature, the elements of earth, air, water and fire and my deep, on-going listening to the natural world around me. I have been supported by and learned from a vast number of teachers on this sacred pilgrimage of mine. Though my work is ever changing, it includes tools for listening to nature, utilizing ceremony and ritual, shamanic journey practices, energy work, ancestral healings and deep work with ancestral helping spirits. I love teaching and sharing these ways so that others can discover their own wisdom and healing, empowering them to be their own guides and come home to where your spirit lives.