I sit before flowers to learn their Wisdom

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Photographed in Squamish, BC (iPhoneSE)

My greatest teacher is Mama Earth… I learn so much from her. What do you learn from Mama Earth? Or perhaps you have another teacher with whom you connect even more?

These words by Canadian poet Shane L. Koyczan express my feelings for Mama Earth much more eloquently than I could.

I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up

I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go

I know
nothing

but I am here to learn.

― Shane L. Koyczan


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Photographed near Squamish BC
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sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook


WP Sidebar graphics-5Connect to your purpose, your medicine, eliminate self-limiting beliefs, and integrate the new wisdom into your life through this unique you-centered blend of shamanic coaching and journeys, energy healing, alchemical healing, Earth Medicine, PSYCH-K® and PER-K® balancing, and six-sensory work. Together we draw on the modalities that best support your journey. Click on the picture for more information or visit our website:  www.innerjourneyevents.com

Making The Darkness Conscious

The journey of spiritual enlightenment is not necessarily a direct or straight line. . . it is more like a spiral, coming back to what may feel like the beginning but with all the knowledge and experience from the journey . . .  you are starting afresh, but with a new view of the world, with your newly acquired wisdom.

The Journey meanders through light and dark, through mountains and valleys of energy, frequently bringing us back to revisit, relearn and re-evaluate. And, although we move consciously towards the light, it is also true that we may walk in darkness at times, trying to understand and learn from the shadows around us and the shadows within us.

And each step — in both light and dark — brings us closer to our goal. Each step peels away the layers of delusion, illusion, filters, and beliefs until we arrive at our Truth, until we begin to know and understand not just our Self but our place in this world, and the Medicine we carry.

This is why I love and embrace shadow work. As we acknowledge and work through the darkness, the light is revealed. This can be the most challenging aspect of our Journey, but also the most transformative.

So when you find yourself revisiting familiar territory, do not despair. Recognize this as an opportunity to dig deeper, to peel away another layer, to use your new wisdom and perspective to find a deeper understanding. .  . or a new way forward.

Embrace and love all parts of your Self.

Learn from them.

Honour them.

Thank them.

Forgive them.

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
― Carl Jung


If you find you need support on your journey, consider working with me to bring those pieces together through a you-centred combination of shamanic journeying, PSYCH-K® balancing and six-sensory work.


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook

Journey to YOUR Inner Cauldron on November 14th

In Celtic traditions, we work with the concept of three… three worlds, the triple goddess of Maiden-Mother-Crone, the triskele symbol, and our three cauldrons of energy: our womb, our heart and our third eye (aka our Medicine Eye)

Have you ever spoken directly to your Inner Cauldrons? Forged a connection with them? Asked them what wisdom they have for you? Given them thanks for the support they have given you in this journey through life? Or forgiven them for what they have not given you?

This journey connects us to our Divine Feminine and our inner cauldrons, the source of life itself, through one of the three worlds – the Middle World – surrounded by a virtual circle of like-minded women, and our guides and ancestors.

We will begin with Calling in the Directions and a symbolic cleanse, and after the journey we can share our thoughts and experiences in a Talking Woman segment. We then release that which no longer serves us, followed by Closing the Directions.

Info and Registration

Date: Monday, November 14th
Time: 2 PM Pacific / 5 PM Eastern / 10 PM GMT(UT)
Location: On-line via ZOOM (dial-in also available) in the comfort of your home
Registration Required to Participate: Click HERE to register

The event will be recorded, to provide playback for registrants who could not attend LIVE.

PREPARATION

  • Be well hydrated, and have a beverage handy
  • Find a comfortable and private spot so you can fully engage in the Circle
  • Bring a small stone for the symbolic cleansing portion of the event (it can be a stone you’ve found, or even a favourite crystal).
  • Something to take notes or capture thoughts during the Talking Woman segment
  • If you have headphones, please use them as the sound quality will be MUCH better:)
  • The event duration is roughly 90 minutes, but may be longer or shorter depending on the number of participants (limited to 50).

We will connect virtually via ZOOM

  • ZOOM is free, works on iOS and Android devices, both MAC and PC with the following browsers:
    • Windows: IE7+, Firefox, Chrome, Safari5+
    • Mac: Safari5+, Firefox, Chrome
  • We will have full audio and visual capability in this ZOOM meeting, so will be able to see each other and speak to each other. There is also chat functionality.
  • At times I will place everyone on Mute to allow full concentration on the journey and reduce background sounds. You will still be able to “chat” during this time.
  • Full details for joining the ZOOM meeting will provided in your reservation confirmation, along with a tool to add the details to your calendar.
  • For those with poor internet connections, dial-in participation is possible, although long-distance charges will apply (unless you have a great free VOIP number!). The dial-in number will be provided when you register.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you!


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

For more information about the Circle, CLICK HERE

Or, CLICK HERE to join us today on Facebook

Fly away little bird

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Earlier this week, I returned a little sparrow to Mama Earth, one who had flown into a window at our home … heartbreaking, yet with a message for me.

I’m sure many of you have experienced this… a loud bang on a window, jumping up to see what happened, then seeing a tiny feather. However, for me, this was the first time and it saddened me profoundly to find the lovely little sparrow so still. I cried for her sudden passing, and said a blessing for her. The little bird looked so much like the figurine in this picture, a memento and beloved possession of my Mother who passed two years ago… it seemed like there was also a message from her, although I couldn’t see it at the time.

I have supported friends in the passing of their companion animals — mostly horses — leading a shamanic-based blessing and transition ceremony, and also journeying with them and their animal companion prior to its transition, so that they could bond one more time. By facilitating that journey for them, the animal friend can share their emotions, how they want to transition, and what their hopes are for the Otherworld. The human friend can step inside and experience that journey with them in a loving act of bonding.

With this little creature, I had no immediate bond, no shared experience, but I mourned her sudden passing and wanted to return her to Mother Earth in a gentle and loving way. When my long-time companion cats Rundle and Ludwig passed several years ago, I was not yet on the shamanic path… but still found myself creating ritual for their passing to honour the beauty and wisdom and love and companionship they had brought to my life in the more than twenty years we travelled together.

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Smudge / Limpia wand made with foraged Scotch Broom twigs

I wrapped the little bird in leaves and a piece of fabric, and carried her to a favourite meditation spot of mine, placing her under a rowan tree for protection. I surrounded and covered her with leaves, branches and rowan berries, and then foraged some fresh Scotch Broom from a nearby shrub for a limpia (cleansing) wand to use in the ceremony.

I called in the directions to begin the transition ritual, gave a blessing, and then released her, cleansing the release spot and myself at the end… I was her Doula to the Otherworld.

When I returned home, I asked for wisdom from my guides, and Horse called out to me… So fitting, as Horse is such a powerful communicator of messages between the worlds.

I pulled the Close to Shore card pictured above from the beautiful Way of the Horse archetype deck by Linda Kohanov, illustrated by Kim McElroy:

The message of the card? In brief —
🕊 Crossroads
🕊 Detachment and Surrender
🕊 The Pain and Wisdom of Old Age
🕊 “This horse (which I read as bird, to honour its passing) has reached the final crossroads of her life, the place where she will share her hard won wisdom and surrender to a higher will.”

I felt some comfort in acknowledging her journey on Earth, that it had meaning, and that the cycle of life, of which we are all a part, would continue for her.

I later journeyed with the little sparrow and with Horse, and meditated more on the meaning in the card and the message from my Mother… a profound experience. My Mother too passed quickly, far from me.  I had left her only a few days earlier, promising to return soon to celebrate her birthday a few weeks later… but suddenly her health deteriorated rapidly, and there was no flight that could get me there before she passed. I was numb with grief, and with the realization I would never smile with her again. The message I received was that we had already said our good-byes, that she was okay with that, and that she was surrounded by love and family as she passsed into the next life… ready for the crossroads of her life.

🐴🕊


sidebar graphics 7If you love working with Mother Earth (known by so many names, such as Gaia, Pachamama, and Danú), following the energies of Grandmother Moon (Seanmháthair Gealach), of the Goddess(es), of Father Sky (Daghda), following the Celtic Wheel of The Year, creating or learning ancestral crafts and herbalism, or follow an earth-based spirituality…. or are interested in learning more about this path, you will find great resources – and the opportunity to ask questions, share rituals, and more – in our NEW private Facebook Group, the Wise Woman Bean Gealach Circle.

Join us today as we start the new Celtic year and celebrate Samhain week!

Journey to your River of Life

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We are now firmly into the waxing crescent energy of the new lunar month. Your Yin intuitive New Moon energy is still powerful but starting to wane, and you are likely feeling an increasing Yang energy as we move towards the Full Moon.

We are also now fully flowing with Autumn energies, associated with the element of Water. And even though we are in Libra with its balance of head and heart, change — with its flow and strong emotions — may feel like a constant at this strong turning point in the year.

This brings us to our word for the month. Currents… the currents in the River of your life in all their forms… currents of energy, currents of emotion, back currents, rapids, stagnant pools, deep stirrings, surface ripples, floating with or fighting the current.

As this month progresses, bring your awareness to the currents in your life and take some time now to journey or meditate on the River of Your Life…. taking note of its appearance and course:

🌙 What does the River of your Life look like? Is it deep? Shallow? Wide? Narrow? Calm? Turbulent? Does it have steep banks or perhaps a sandy beach?

🌙 What does the landscape around your River look like? Forest? Arid lands? Prairies? Mountains?

🌙 What is the course of your River? Does it flow across a continent… or perhaps smaller, starting from a spring and flowing into a nearby lake or sea?

🌙 If you have journeyed to your River before, does it appear differently now? If so, how?

And now consider these Soul Questions:

🌙 What does your River tell you about your current (!) situation?

🌙 What is now coming to the surface of your River that calls for your awareness?

🌙 What happens when you stay in flow with your River?

🌙  Where the dams in your River?

🌙 What happens when you stay in flow with your River?

It’s now time to take those New Moon musings and River meditations and commit to action for this month’s lunar journey.

Remember that you don’t have to change the world this month, or commit to climbing Everest. You can commit to something meaningful that might be a small step, such as choosing to connect with Nature every day… to exercise more… to add more fresh foods into your diet… to reconnect with a friend you haven’t seen in a while… to complete a project you’ve put off… to read a book.

Whatever you do, let the currents of your River flow freely and strongly in your life.

Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and ploughing a valley of my own?
― Aidan Chambers, from “This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn”


 

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Quarter Moon in Sagittarius: Meet your Mentors for the journey

The First Quarter arrived today, September 9th, at 11:49 UTC. It’s time to take those seeds and ideas you nurtured at the New Moon and take action, and to ask the Soul Questions “What is flourishing?” and “How do I move forward?”.

This Quarter Moon is in Sagittarius and wants us to think BIG… to look at the BIG picture.

Last month we looked at the obstacles that might come up in the journey when we reach the Quarter Moon, such as fear or self-doubt, and ways to conquer them.

But sometimes the obstacle is not fear… it may be a lack of inspiration, or a creative block, one where we literally cannot see a plan for manifesting our goal. We are thinking so big that we cannot see the details.

Our journey with the Moon is often compared to Joseph Campbell’s (s)Hero’s Journey. And at this stage of the journey, our (s)Hero finds their mentor or teacher, the guru who shows them their power and how to dig deep into their Wise Inner Self to understand that they are capable of the journey and to show them the way forward…. Think of Dorothy and her series of mentors such as Glinda and The Scarecrow, think of Luke Skywalker and Yoda, or Jason (of the Argonauts) and Hera.

Maybe you already have a Mentor or Guide. If lack of inspiration or a creative block is your  obstacle, sit with your Mentor and ask for their guidance.

But there is another way…. You can call on ANY mentor or guide who can help you, in a meditation (or journey) such as The Mentors Circle:

MEET YOUR MENTORS IN SACRED CIRCLE
Once you are relaxed and grounded, in your mind’s eye visualize (or journey to) the place you would like to meet your Mentors…. a place you feel comfortable and secure, perhaps with a flame of inspiration burning in the centre of the Sacred Mentor’s Circle.

Think of one question, the one question that when answered would free up your imagination to create your plan. It could be something simple like:

  • “What am I missing?” or
  • “What is the key to moving forward?” or
  • “What do I need to know here?”

Think of three (or more) individuals who could advise you. It can be anyone at all, perhaps someone you admire or look up to, or someone you have turned to before… they can be real or fictional, dead or alive, human or not. I had one client who called on James Bond. Another called on her childhood cat. Another called on Athena. Yet another called on Wolf.

Invite your mentors to the Sacred Circle you have created, and ask each of them in turn your question. Listen with awareness. Thank them for their insight and wisdom when complete.

Meditate on their answers, then ask your Self these questions for each Mentor:

  • If I were to take the advice of “Mentor One” (Buddha, Brigid, your Great Grandmother, your animal Guide, etc) as a starting point, what now opens up for me?
  • If I looked at my question through the eyes and wisdom of Mentor One, what else would I learn? 

Do this for each Mentor, and journal the insights that are now opening up for you.

Alternative
I love using Oracle or Tarot cards for my Mentor Circle, and the unexpected insights that a random (but we know that nothing is truly random!) three card draw can bring. I especially like Oracle cards for this. Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Cards, Colette Baron-Reid’s Enchanted Map of the World, Steven D. Farmer’s Earth Magic, The Wild Unknown’s Animal Spirit Deck are all favourites I go back to time and again.

Pull a card for each Mentor and follow the meditation/journey the same way.

And know that these Mentors are always available for you next month, or whenever you need their wisdom.


 

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Animal Allies: Embrace your Dingo!

 

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I love working with my Animal Allies, an important part of my team of Allies which includes life guide(s), spirit messengers, ancestors, crystals, journey guides and so on.

I learn from all the Animal Allies that show up for me… creatures of the land, sea, air, extinct animals, and those of myth and legend. All are powerful. All have medicine for us.

Lynx has been with me for a long time and often guides my journeys into non-ordinary reality. She is a Life Guide for me, what some people might call a Totem Animal. For me, however, that term is more closely aligned with clans and kinship, and the animals of the various Medicine Wheels and zodiacs…. but we can each have our own terminology.

I have other Animal Allies too, and I am often both surprised and intrigued by who shows up in life and in dreams or meditation. Often we get quick doses of wisdom from what many call Animal Messengers: Hummingbird reminding us to be joyful or agile, Spider reminding us to connect with our creativity, Mouse reminding us to look at the small details. Messengers disappear once we have received the Medicine or learned the lesson… although they can reappear when we need to be reminded!

We can also work with the spirits of animals that have passed. Very recently, my childhood cat Ginger showed in a dream with some lovely wisdom and messages. I know many people receive messages for years from their companion animals.

Connect with the wisdom of your Animal Ally

I have participated in many Animal Ally workshops, early on as a participant but most often leading workshops (alone or with co-leaders such as Roz Shakespeare, and Sharron Basanti of The School of Gypsy Arts) so that others can connect with their personal animal allies.

I love that moment of discovery, that moment when people make a connection and start to form a relationship with their Ally.

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When first discovering their Allies, many want “powerful” animals such as Horse, Bear, Lion, Whale, Butterfly or Eagle. Or they hope to “choose” an Ally that is somewhat like them… a gentle deer, a busy beaver, a beautiful songbird.

Few want Stink Bug, Mosquito or Rat!SM 800 x 800-21

But here’s the thing: we do not choose our Allies. They choose us. We can discover our Life Guide Animal Allies (and other allies) through meditation or through a journey to non-ordinary reality, where we connect with them and are accepted by them.

And, of course, some may know intuitively what their Animal Ally is because of messages they have already received.

Myths about Animal Allies

Myth # 1: One Medicine Only
People often believe there is only one type of Medicine for each Animal Ally species, but their wisdom can differ from others in their species as much as we as humans differ from each other. Although, as Maya Angelou says “We are more alike than we are unalike”.

IMG_6460Each Ally carries different Medicine and has its own personality. And each culture may have different insights into the Ally, based on their history or culture and geography. Spider means one thing to me in my Anglo-Irish culture, but something very different to my husband in his Jamaican culture.

Yes, there may be “general” Medicine from Bear or Lynx  or Deer, but it’s important to connect to YOUR specific Bear or Lynx or Deer. Is your Bear male? Female? Young? Well nourished? Ailing? Scarred? Wounded? Mature? Hunting for salmon? Stuck on a lonely ice flow? Polar Bear? Grizzly Bear? Spirit Bear? Yogi Bear? (seriously, that happened in one workshop!)

Myth # 2: Good-Better-Best
I also find it interesting that for many folks — especially when they first start working with Animal Allies — there may be some sort of perceived hierarchy of “good-better-best” Allies in their mind.

But truly, their medicine is equally powerful. We receive the Medicine we need, not the Medicine or Ally that we want or think we need. The power is in how the Medicine can transform our life and our Self, not in how big or small, “good” or “bad” the Ally is.

How we see the Allies may also be a reflection of how we see the world, a powerful indication of shadow work at play.

Animal Allies come to us with Medicine that may be lifelong or may be just for that moment, that crossroad, that experience. And all are equal. Following their Medicine can be life-changing, whether it comes from Elephant or Butterly or Stink Bug.

The Power of the Shadow Animal Ally

There is a very special type of Ally that can also come to us in Animal form: the Shadow Guide. We all have a shadow side, those traits or qualities that we keep out of sight, under the surface of our consciousness, in the dark. The Shadow is often associated with undesirable qualities such as anger, fear, jealousy and other things we don’t like to acknowledge.

But the Shadow can also hold wonderful positive qualities waiting to emerge. By embracing the shadow side of our Self, we can shine light on it and transform/release the negative and allow the positive to bloom.

Raise your awareness for those messages about your Shadow. Do not fear them. Embrace them. They may appear in your dreams, a journey or in real life. I’ve heard some wonderful examples in workshops, such as folks connecting with an Ally in real life but not “getting” the message… and then the Ally getting their attention in a dream by a (painless) bite… the sting of a bee, a spider bite on their heart chakra, a nip from a dog or cat, etc.

When an Animal Ally brings a lesson about our Shadow side to us, it is a powerful opportunity for self-learning and self-development. And in that lovely duality of Yin-Yang, it can carry the Medicine of both Light and Shadow.

Embrace Your Dingo!

I had an experience at a workshop several years ago that both illuminated the “good-better-best” idea of Animal Allies and the power of the Shadow messenger guide.

As we sat in Circle as participants, our workshop leader started with messages for each of us from the Animal Allies she saw around us. This was essentially an icebreaker before we started digging into the main part of the workshop but ended up as a very powerful opportunity for transformation for one participant.

By the way… Seeing Animal Allies is an ability many of us have, including me, and it’s worth exploring as a form of clairvoyance. When I meet new clients, shamans, empaths and intuitives, and lightworkers, I often see the Guides or Allies accompanying them. It can be a great ice-breaker to share messages, with permission, from an Ally folks may not have known they had!

As the workshop leader began to share messages, the woman beside me (who had a very “big” and dominating personality!) leaned toward me and loudly said, “I already know mine will be something very powerful. It must be Bear or Lion. My personal motto is “Hear Me Roar!””

The workshop leader continued to share her insights, eventually coming to the woman beside me and gently said, “Dingo walks with you.”

The woman’s reaction was very strong and totally unexpected. It turned out she was originally from Australia, so was very familiar with that animal. She burst into tears when she heard this.

I am the Dingo“, she said.
“Nobody understands me and nobody likes me.
I scare everyone
.”

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It was a stunning heart-felt moment and insight that allowed her to start acknowledging and exploring her shadow side and start being authentic. The surface bravado (Hear Me Roar!) concealed her deeper fears and her lack of connection to others, her fear of being unloved.

“I am the Dingo”. Knowing that helped her to find a new way to connect that didn’t dominate, overpower or instil fear. She could choose Love over Fear. She could love her Self. She didn’t have to “roar”. She could speak quietly and gently from her heart in future, with assertion rather than intimidation. She didn’t have to worry about being judged as “not good enough” as she reclaimed her confidence. She worked with this insight throughout the workshop, dropping her shields to allow others to see her authentic self and describe her fears.

It was a beautiful and inspiring moment to see her transformation begin.

Each Animal Ally has both the Shadow and the Light within their medicine. Dingo too also has very positive wisdom/medicine. For instance, like Coyote it adapts easily to new environments. It is a messenger with Spirit, a survivor, and carries ancient wisdom. This woman truly was powerful but had to learn to stand in her power authentically. Dingo helped her with both her Light and her Shadow.

What Animal Allies do you connect with?

How have they influenced and guided your journey?


Many of the photographs in this post were used with permission of Sue Ratcliffe Photography, an award-winning and gifted wildlife photographer (and yes, my sister), who has photographed animals that inspire her across Canada, America, France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Ireland, Tanzania, India, Iceland and likely many other places I haven’t mentioned!

You can follow her work on Facebook at @Sue Ratcliffe Photography and on Red Bubble.

The images of Dingo, Rat Babies, Stink Bug and Mosquito were sourced from Pixabay under a Creative Commons License.


 

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