Those are the words that dramatically stood out from the two hour playlist I created to honor the cycle of the moon, the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of my life. The words play over and over in my mind, reminding me to have faith and continue working towards my dreams. You can listen to Creating a Dream by Xavier Rudd here.
Last night’s Full Moon in Aquarius also happened to be a partial solar eclipse. I read that this eclipse completed a 19 year cycle, providing an ending to what was beginning 19 years ago. In August of 1998 I was days away from leaving for college, embarking on my dream of someday becoming an art therapist. I was soon to be clear of the confines and limitations that came with being a minor under my parents’ roof. I would have the space to fully express myself, make my own mistakes, and to feel into who I would become.
In light of this, I felt called to create a ceremony about letting go of certain aspects of who I was and who I am so that I can more fully step into who I am becoming. I spent a lot of time thinking about my 18-year-old self, reflecting on the hopes and dreams I once held dear. I marveled at my courage and determination, and extended compassion for my tendencies to hide and binge drink.
I sipped cacao out of my grandmother’s china. I asked the cacao, a sacred plant medicine, to gently open my heart and show me what it is that I need to see at this time so that I may release what no longer serves, heal the tender spots, and align with my highest good. (For more on Cacao Ceremony, check out my post here.) I used movement to get out of my head and bring myself fully into the present moment. I circled through my whole body, inviting in a feminine flow. I used movement as metaphor to open my heart and activated my creative center by waking up my hips.
I used oracle cards for inspiration with journaling. I wrote about who I was, who I am, and who I desire to become. I honored my strengths and limitations, noting how far I have come. I wrote down and spoke aloud what it is that I am ready to release and offered it to the fire. I wrote down and spoke aloud my dreams and desires and, as a sign of releasing my attachment to outcome, I offered those to the fire as well.
Then, I gave thanks for who I was 19 years ago and for what I released- noting the ways those habits/beliefs/actions actually served me before becoming a hindrance. I didn’t make them wrong, I know that I was doing the best that I could. I gave thanks for the challenges that are present in my life right now, looking for the lessons and the ways they are here to teach me. I gave thanks for my “chariot moments” the ones where I felt powerful, proud, aligned. I tend to focus on growth and things yet to be achieved and too rarely celebrate these moments. I make a note to celebrate myself more often.
I gave thanks for my beloved when I noticed that the color scheme and flowers I selected for the ceremony were the same as the ones from our wedding. I marveled at how my 23-year-old self could have chosen a man who would turn out to be an amazing father and truly supportive partner. There’s no way he could have anticipated all the ways that I would challenge him, myself, and us. And yet we have managed to remain together through it all. I’ve had two different intuitive readers tell me that we’ve been together for several lifetimes. Although I can’t say for certain if this is true, it does allow me to lean in, to surrender, to open up, to tear down walls, to love him even more. Which, I guess, is the whole point. And for that I am so grateful.
With that, the last of my gratitudes spoken for the evening, I thought my work and the ceremony were complete. I bundled the Despacho (gratitude offering), blew out the candles, washed the china, and headed home. However, when I attempted to fall asleep, I discovered that I wasn’t quite done. I needed to rage. I was angry about all the things that I needed but didn’t have as a child, as a young women, even now. It hurt. I wanted those things. I was worthy of those things. I NEEDED those things. And yet, I was careful not to fall too far into victimhood because I also KNOW the tremendous gifts that I received in the absence of those needs and desires. Gifts that make me a better parent, therapist/healer, partner, and person on this planet. I felt both so intensely – the anger and the gratitude. It was so powerful to be able to hold that paradox.
Then came the tears, a release valve for the anger. I cried for that little girl. I sent her so much love. I witnessed her pain. I witnessed her courage. As I cried I felt the weight of these burdens detach, leaving an opening in their release. And in that moment I felt myself own the strength and the lessons. I could actually feel myself embody more of my power and become who I am meant to be. I felt a truly a tremendous transformational shift. I felt…. whole. I received deep healing for those wounds I’ve been carrying for 19-37 years.
It is in shifting energy in this way that we are able to heal, to become whole, to embody our dreams, and to serve the highest good. In order to show up fully as ourselves, to do our sacred work in the world, to mother our children, to be in partnership, we must be able to embrace our shadow, as well as, our light. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “You have to feel it to heal it.” The shift I describe happened because I allowed myself to feel it all, trusting that when witnessed, the feelings would simply move through me.
If you are interested in this type of transformational work for yourself, I would be truly honored if you would join me for An Exploration of Shadow and Light. During this new moon ceremony, on the eve of the great American eclipse, we will call upon the bold courage of the Leo archetype to shine light on our shadows and mine them for wisdom, integration, and healing.
(If you’re reading this after August 20th, check out my current offerings on Instagram.)