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Year of the Metal Rat – Face Your Shadows and Prosper

January 14, 2020

Note: The Chakra Empowerment for Women web seminar begins 1/14, it’s not too late to sign up (you can do the first – and all – classes by recording if you are reading this after the 14th.)

The lunar new year is almost upon us! And with that comes my annual ‘for fun’ intuitive and visual riff on the symbology of the astrological cycle we are entering. There are differences this year on when the lunar new year is observed based on variations in calculations – Chinese New Year is celebrated with this month’s new moon January 25th, while Tibetan New Year (Losar) corresponds to next month’s new moon February 24th (most years the two correspond but this year they do not.) So you can think of this time as an extended New Year period, and build momentum for new beginnings throughout the next six weeks.

In both traditions we are entering the Year of the Metal Rat, which for many of us in the West is not very inspiring or poetic – not like say, the Year of the Water Dragon or even the Wood Horse. I admit when I first heard this, my own mind conjured something along the lines of:

Robot Sewer Rat, Alexandre Corcoy

However, I realized this is very much based on my own biases about rats, as well as Western biases. The rat symbolizes many good things within the Chinese zodiac, and ditto for metal, which I tend to associate with hardness and rigidity. But letting go of biases is part of the spiritual aspect of the year-turning process. Cultures that observe the lunar new year usually prepare for it with a ritual house cleaning, and a house cleaning is the perfect metaphor for how to best work with new year energies: Turn and face all those dust bunnies and hidden (or unconscious) items that usually go unseen under your beds, closets, or corners and clear them out.

I just attended a Chod retreat – Chod is the Tibetan practice that Feeding Your Demons (which I have mentioned many times here before) is based upon – and the idea of a house as metaphor for our own psyches came up several times during our retreat. Chod is very much about facing that which scares us, including (or most especially) within – the dark corners of our own home – in order to meet these usually unseen parts of ourselves with compassion. While this can seem terrifying, in the long run it takes less energy to face and heal/transform these ‘shadows’ than to continue fighting them or hiding them away. As I explored the symbology of the rat, I feel this is the overall theme  – how do we turn to face that which we have not wanted to see – the parts of ourselves, our culture, and our world, that we would prefer to push away, hide, or ignore? How do we instead look at these things straight on and meet them with an openness that allows for understanding and change?

Symbolically, what better animal to represent this, especially within a house metaphor, than a rat? Hiding unseen in walls, attics, and basements, we usually hear them, sometimes discover their scat or remnants, but rarely see them – or want to. We expend alot of energy trying to get rid of them. What if instead we opened up the walls and said hello? Found out if there was a way to live together?

A little crazy sounding I know. And this approach has probably not warmed you to the Year of the Rat yet. You may still be feeling a bit like this:

Couldn’t resist this one!

Cats actually have their own side story in the Chinese zodiac that tells us quite a bit about how the rat is seen in Chinese culture. Cats famously do not have a year in their honor, and a fable called The Great Race explains why. Although there are multiple versions of this story, the general gist is that when forming the zodiac the Jade Emperor called all the animals together and told them he would conduct a race across the river, and the order they each arrived would determine who got a year in their honor, and in what order. Neither the rat or cat could swim, so they both decided to hitch a ride on the back of the ox. However, just as they were approaching the far shore where the Emperor awaited, the rat pushed the cat off into the water. The rat then jumped off onto the land in front of the ox and arrived to the Emperor first, becoming the first sign of the zodiac! The cat took so long struggling to shore that he arrived after the twelfth animal and did not get a year. He has never quite recovered.

Ox carrying the rat during The Great Race (after pushing the cat off!)
Picture Credit to D.h.Isaism

The Year of the Rat then is not only the start of a new lunar year but also the start of a new 12 year cycle, so it has double the new-start energy. This story tells us a lot about rat energy too – it is smart, strategic, ambitious, adaptive, and stealth. This is a year where these traits are rewarded, and so plans of action developed from these qualities are what will get you ahead. Of course this story also highlights one potential pitfall of the rat – were his actions in this story unethical or just good strategy? That is a matter of debate, and although rat energy is not necessarily associated with a lack of ethics or character, traits like integrity and loyalty are not usually its’ strong suit. So that is something to watch for in yourself and your actions as you work towards achieving your goals – are your actions in line with your core values and ethics?

Daikoku, Japanese god of wealth with his rat

The rat is also associated with wealth in many cultures, including Japan, where Daikoku the god of wealth (and other things) has a rat familiar. This is because rats flourish where food is abundant, and historically the stronger the harvest, the larger the rat population. So rat years in general are considered years of potential abundance, good economies, and strong harvests. Of course the question is, good for who? For the rat population to grow in accordance with the harvest means they have to be allowed their share, rather than being killed off or starved. That was part of the natural order of things at the time this link was made. Is there a lesson in there for all of us? For you? Think about what you consume and what you share – is it fair? There are a lot of lessons about resources associated with stories about rats and harvests. How can you apply this to an assessment of your own life?

Pied Piper of Hamelin leading the rats out of the village

The most famous fable from Europe regarding rats is probably the Pied Piper – and it is not a pleasant one. Like many German morality tales it offers its lesson through a pretty morbid tale. The town of Hamelin was overrun with rats – most likely due to a good harvest! – and the mayor hired the Pied Piper to take care of the problem. He did his part, playing his flute to lure the rats out of the village, and depending on the version of the story you read, he either resettled them elsewhere OR led them to a river where they all drowned. In any case, when he returned to the village the greedy mayor refused to pay him. In revenge the Pied Piper led most of the children out of the village and they were never seen again. Not a pretty story! Some have surmised that this is actually a tale of children dying from the plague carried by the rats, as rats most certainly were linked to the plague throughout Europe. In any case, the morality tale may still have something to tell us about the Year of the Rat – it is a call to honor your obligations, or else. Don’t let the demon of greed overtake you.

Ganesh riding his rat, or bandicoot

Speaking of demons, in Hindu mythology rats are often associated with the darkest of demons. However, Ganesh, the much-beloved elephant-headed god associated with beginnings and called upon to clear obstacles, actually rides a rat. This came about when Ganesh used his magical noose in a battle with a rat-demon to transform him into a loyal servant and partner. In some stories this rat later helps him by chewing through obstacles he cannot himself remove with his trunk. What a wonderful symbol for transforming our shadows into strengths, our obstacles into aids, our fears into lessons! So now, go for it: What have you not been facing? What has been holding you back? Particularly think in terms of obstacles – what is blocking you? Can you look at it? Seek to understand it? Learn from and utilize it for your growth and success?

Rats drinking offerings at the Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan

There is actually a rat temple in Rajasthan, India, where thousands of rats are given offerings every day. The origin story of this temple dates from the 1400s, when it is said that Karni Mata, a widely revered female mystic considered an incarnation of the goddess Durga, asked Yama, the god of death, to reincarnate her stepson who had drowned in a tragic accident. Yama initially refused, but at Karni Mata’s continued insistence relented to a compromise: Her stepson and all future male descendants would be reborn as rats, and after dying as a rat come back as a man. Today the rats of this temple are revered as descendants within her lineage.

I have to admit, I cringed when initially seeing this photo and others of the rats at this temple. But gazing them actually became a powerful practice in non-reactivity. Eventually I could release my feeling of revulsion and simply feel the essence of these rats enjoying their offering. This is the first step in facing anything we have not been willing to see – identifying and gently releasing the resistance. Then we can see with fresh eyes.

Rats themselves are also linked in some stories to a special kind of sight, and indeed in the Chinese zodiac they are known for being good observers and judges of character. In the west it is said that sailors believed rats knew if a ship was doomed to sink before it sailed, so a ship without rats was a bad sign. Rats in fact do have phenomenal sensors for weather changes and natural disasters and shifts in their behavior were used in many cultures as a predictor of earthquakes, storms and droughts. What new seeing abilities can you develop this year? Or what insights have you been ignoring that you should now heed?

This temple picture also reminded me of the social aspect of rats – they are communal animals. There are serious cultural shadows to be faced too this year, and rats are quite powerful when grouped together. Contemplate how this might be used for good. Rats too are associated with fertility – a female rat can birth up to 5000 a babies a year! What might you propagate this year?

Remy, the rat who wants to be a chef, Ratatouille movie

As for the ‘metal’ aspect of this Rat year, as you might expect metal is associated with persistence, strength, and determination in its positive expression, and rigidity and stubbornness in its negative. Rats themselves are associated with these same traits, as rats are nothing if not persistent. So how can this be turned to good? I think  Remy from Ratatouille, the wanna-be chef rat, is a great example of rat energy turned to good. Remy’s dream is not a conventional or easy one, but his determination, persistence and positive nature gets him through. Don’t give up this year! You (we) may be tested, but persistence can win out.

So there you have it: The Year of the Metal Rat signifies the potential for abundance and luck, with a call to face that which we haven’t wanted to see and act on it with intelligence, adaptability and foresight. Avoid greed, act with integrity, and consider the communal impact of your actions. Transform obstacles to wisdom and persistence and determination will be rewarded. Happy Year of the Metal Rat!

Feel free to share your intentions or wishes for this year in the comments…


Book Giveaway, Early Bird Pricing, Why I Wrote It (And What’s In It For You)

December 7, 2019

Chakra Empowerment for Women is officially published! I know some of you have already received the book. I deeply appreciate your support, hope you enjoy it, and welcome your reviews (especially on Amazon and Goodreads which use them for rankings – think what would help someone decide if this book is for them.) I wanted to let you know of current promotions and events, and share a little about why I wrote this book the way I did, which may help you get the most out of it.

First of all for you Goodreads fans, I am running a giveaway from now until December 18th, for 25 signed copies (if you’ve already bought the book maybe you can gift it and keep this one if you win!) I’ll also answer any questions posted there (although of course I’ll do that here too.)

Also a reminder that Early Bird Pricing for the corresponding web seminar ends at 11:59pm December 8th (publication date). This is an opportunity to integrate the material more deeply into your life, with breakout sessions and energetic support from me over a three month period. You can read more about it here. I will be reducing my private sessions while I am conducting this course so that I can give it my full support.

If you need to hear more about the book before you know if it’s right for you, I have done a number of podcast interviews (which has been more fun than I anticipated), and each has had a slightly different slant. With ‘Energetic Alchemist’ Yolanda at Reiki Radio we focused a lot on women’s life cycles and relationship to our bodies. With Chance Garton at Innerverse we talked more about energy healing in general within the context of spiritual growth, trauma healing, and the masculine/feminine. With Karen Hager at Out of the Fog we focused on the foundations of chakra work – what really are the chakras, what are the different ways we can connect with them, and what role can energy work play in our overall personal development.

I’ll be on several more shows in the coming weeks, including some live, and for those of you in the Los Angeles area will be doing two local book signings. You can check where to listen or go on the book website event page.

Of course I am also out there on social media more than usual – join me at the book page on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or GoodReads. And if you have the book, I’d love for you to post a picture of yourself and tag:-) Many of you here at this blog have been with me for a long time, and I really appreciate your support in this new venture.

Now a little on what I was trying to accomplish in this book and why I wrote it the way I did. We are living in a very dense time energetically. It is part of the spiritual teachings on this time in history within virtually every tradition I can think of that energy is becoming denser and impacts us in a more physical way. We are seeing that in the intense ‘otherization’ and tribalization occurring in politics and really in every aspect of society. It is more critical than ever to have tools for working with energy consciously. This is why I structured the book around 12 Chakra ‘Empowerments’ or tools. They are very different than chakra meditations. In chakra meditations we generally seek to either bring the kundalini up from the lower chakras into the crown, or to go through the doorway of a particular chakra into the planes of light or vibrations available through it. With these Empowerments we are seeking to go in the other direction – we are pulling energy through into our mind and body. And we are using the power of our energetic memory to train ourselves to be able to do this very quickly. I feel that developing this ability in some form is very important for any sensitive being on this planet at this time, and it will only get more so.

So this is the #1 reason the book is structured around these, and why these are not actually chakra meditations. For this reason, even if you are already very familiar with the chakras, I urge you to consider trying to really work with these in a deep way, and through them gain more conscious control over your energy body and how the world impacts it.

Secondly, of course, I wanted to bring forth women’s energy body teachings in a wider way. I continue to read very popular books about the chakras, or spiritual systems using them, which make no mention whatsoever of differences in women’s and men’s subtle bodies, even when they are talking about the subtle body level closest to the physical (and of course as I’ve often talked about here, there are levels to the chakras, and it is the levels closest to the physical most impacted by these differences.) I recently read a very popular spiritual book, written by a man, that incorporates ‘energy center’ meditation, and talks about the lower two chakras in the context of sexuality with absolutely no mention of the power of procreative energy and the womb! The energy that creates life, and the spiritual doorway that births it, is completely ignored! (And of course if you’ve been around here awhile you know that the power of this chakra is not about giving physical birth, but all the magical ways we can utilize this energy in our lives to create and inspire.) Let alone the energy changes corresponding to the life cycles and phases of menstruation, pregnancy, post-partum, perimenopause and menopause. We are still so deeply uncomfortable with these topics that women are not able to own the amazing power available to them at these times, and often only relate to them as hindrances and medical events. 

That being said, I am very sensitive to the fact that at this time discussions of gender are old-fashioned to many. And I hope some day it will really be a non-issue energetically. As I have often said, in my experience those who identify as female will generally find the particular mapping I am using in this book the most relevant, but gender is a spectrum, and others may too. Calling it Chakra Empowerment for Women is not about exclusion, but about redressing an imbalance that is still very much present energetically in each of us and the world, and this is one way of helping to redress that imbalance. Ultimately this book is for anyone seeking to redress this imbalance within themselves.

And the final reason I wrote this book is to make self-healing techniques for sexual trauma healing more widely available. In the midst of #MeToo more and more individuals are coming forth with their histories, or recognizing past events as traumatic, and seeking healing. Many organizations, therapists, and healers are seeking to meet this need, including those like The Breathe Network which helps connect survivors with trauma sensitive holistic healers of all types, but the truth is that many people do not have access to these. While this book on its own is not meant to be a healing program, and I hope anyone working through sexual abuse or assault has a wide and deep support network, the book is a starting point, and based on the teleseminars I have done and emails I have received about the free ebook I published in the past, a book of this type can be a lifeline. All healing is ultimately self-healing and we have much more power within us than we know. I hope this helps awaken that inner wisdom within many.

So I hope that you will find something of value in this book, whatever ‘level’ you are coming to it from. I truly value your readership and any feedback or questions that you have. Feel free to leave them here or at Goodreads. And blessings to you as you move into the Winter Solstice – may you dive deep, shed the past, and shift into a beautiful, joyful, wise and powerful new you in 2020. I will be back in January to share about the Year of the Rat, which will be upon us before you know it!



Karmic Clearing, Kundalini, and Grace

November 21, 2019

Be sure to check out Lisa’s new book and corresponding web seminar, both of which include tools relevant to this article.

Karmic clearing is one of the topics I am asked about the most often, and with us emerging from Mercury retrograde and Scorpio Sun over the next few day (both energies conducive to karmas arising in order to be cleared) I thought it was a good time to write about it. I mostly stay away from the word ‘karma’ in my teachings and writings because it has become so widely used with many different interpretations. It is a complicated subject, with volumes of intricate teachings within Eastern wisdom traditions covering the types and intensities of karmas based on whether they are generated by action, thought or word, and based on our level of regret or attachment.

I find that within the framework of the energy body, when most people use the word ‘karma’ what they are really referring to is closer to the Eastern idea of ‘samskaras’ – longstanding reactive patterns embedded deep in the psyche that feel like they play out over and over. They may play out externally, for example as a pattern of choosing the same kind of romantic partner or work situation, with the same kinds of issues arising repeatedly, even though initially each partner or job seems completely different. Or they may play out more internally, as a particular anxiety or weight of unworthiness that feels like it is always there, even when we had thought we had overcome it, but then come to realize it is still driving us.

If we are involved in any kind of personal growth, healing, or spiritual path we are likely working to change these patterns moment by moment through developing our awareness of them. These patterns define our ‘default’ when responding and reacting to the world. Through self-awareness and mindfulness we enable ourselves to override these defaults, to see them as we are triggered, and choose a different response. But that’s not easy. We often feel we are taking one step backwards to move two forward (if we’re lucky!) We have to be very vigilant to create the ‘space’ between our default reaction and our normal response, so we have time to choose something different. That space is a reflection of Source (by whatever name you choose to use for this) – it is the space in which we are free, not defined by our past conditioning, able to choose.

Working at the level of our energy body has a lot to offer because we can speed this process by loosening or even liberating patterns where they are stored as root structures in our karmic body. Although there are many different mappings of the levels of our energy bodies, using the simple three level one I laid out in my Chakra Levels posts, these kinds of patterns are stored deep down in the second level. We can deconstruct these patterns through various kinds of energy work and modalities, replacing them with new healthier patterns (an upgrade!), or in some cases just deconstructing them with no need to replace them, as they are just blocking the light. When this happens the natural light at the center of each chakra, at the heart of our entire being, shines through unobstructed. This kind of deconstruction is usually what is referred to as karmic clearing in energy work – deconstructing and/or replacing deep-seated negative thought or emotional patterns at the energy body level.

But we can also go about changing these patterns another way – by bringing light straight through from the innermost level of the chakras. This kind of light, the kundalini, liberates us. It is like a light bath, clearing obstructions as it flows through. Meditations and practices designed to activate the flow of kundalini function in this way, and while it is usually talked about in terms of rising from the root up, in fact kundalini can flow through from the innermost level of any chakra. Sometimes the effects are jarring in the short term, as issues may rise to the surface for us to deal with on some other level first – mind or body, internal or external – before we can truly let go of the deeper issue. These physical or psychological ‘symptoms’ are like messages encouraging us to pay attention, and clear on a more profound level.

There’s a third way these patterns can be rewritten or released, and this is through grace. Grace can really be seen as a spontaneous kundalini experience, and depending on your spiritual beliefs you may view grace as a gift from the divine, a deity, or a teacher. In any case the experience of grace is as a gift – a gift of light dissolving and embracing you, taking what is unneeded or causing you pain, and showing you the true light of your own being in the process.

Whether spontaneous grace or sought through practice, when the light moves through us it can bring about remarkable change very quickly. Near death experiences or spiritual epiphanies from which someone emerges forever changed are examples of the light literally remaking someone from within. Old negative patterns can disappear overnight. Most of the time though, change happens more gradually even when the kundalini is involved. We heal and awaken over time, becoming more and more immersed in the light, with the experience of many stops and starts.

Whether from karmic clearing, kundalini rising, or grace, when karmic patterns are loosened or released at a deep level of our energetic structure, we have a profound opportunity to transform – and we often have trouble taking advantage of this. It’s not uncommon to feel like we have made a profound shift, or experienced a deep realization, for several days (or even weeks or months) only to later revert back, lapsing into our old patterns. What pulls us back? What keeps us from letting go of the past?

The reasons are often individual, but here’s a few of the most common beliefs or issues that can cause us to reverse a shift:

  • Viewing karma as punitive. Our entire culture is based on reward and punishment, starting from when we are young children seeking our parents’ approval and continuing through into most school and work environments. In addition, most religions have some version of divine ‘reward’ and ‘punishment’ written into their theology (at least at the exoteric level.) Until we have truly let go of this, we are likely to have difficulty accepting and allowing light to remake us because we believe we must pay for our mistakes, and this never feels ‘done.’ Feelings of unworthiness are often a reflection of this belief, rooted in the sense we ‘deserve’ to feel bad or even that we are intrinsically bad. Releasing this whole structure, the entire idea of a universal reward and punishment system, is key to allowing the light to remake you. You deserve not by virtue of what you have or have not done, but simply because you are. You are light.


  • Denying the body and pysche. So often spirituality and spiritual healing are presented as a transcendence of the body and ego. The whole idea of ‘self-improvement’ is founded upon the belief there is something ‘wrong’ we need to fix. Most people feel there is something wrong with their body or ego. If you’ve experienced trauma, especially physically-based trauma such as physical abuse or sexual abuse, patterns of disassociating from the body may come into play as well, and can play out on very subtle levels. Embracing the body and psyche as that which awakens and heals – rather than as that which must be overcome to do so – is key. Then the shifts can filter all the way through from the innermost core of our being, the most subtle level of light, into the densest level – our body. This is NOT to say however that disease or illness is a sign we are blocking the light – that is a terrible form of victim-blaming. Physical issues are much too complex to reduce to this. But embracing our body in whatever its state recognizes that the light comes through no matter what, it is not dependent upon our health (though often our health will be positively impacted.)


  • We don’t practice what we’ve realized. When we have a spiritual realization or dissolution into light, we have to continue to reinforce it. If it has released a deep-seated pattern or belief, we have to be very vigilant and let any residual thoughts or emotions reminiscent of it go, and repeat this consciously for awhile before the pattern entirely dies. And we have to practice bringing the light back through us too! Even in cases of grace, it’s important to engage in something that will help you maintain that connection and grace stream, and allow it to continue to work its magic on you.


  • We’re afraid. We often cling to our old habits even when they are hurting us because they are familiar, and we fear the unknown more than anything. This is when reminding yourself of what you are gaining, rather than what you are losing, is so important. More freedom, ease, joy, love, calm, wisdom – these are what arise when the light comes through us, and when an obstruction to it is cleared. Cultivate and rest in these. Allow them to complete the work for you.

Wishing you much success in completing whatever shifts have arisen for you so far this season. May they complete as we reach the Solstice and year end, and may you know yourselves as light always.

Chakra Levels – Part 1 of a Series

October 31, 2019

Both All Hallow’s Eve and Mercury retrograde (also starting today) are about the unseen. While Mercury retrograde is often viewed as a nuisance time when logistical and technological complications arise, on an energy level it can add a boost to karmic clearing – it has the energy of ‘circling back to move forward.’ In that spirit I had started a post on karmic clearing through energy work. However, I realized that to set it up I was repeating a lot of what I’ve already written in my Chakra Levels series. So I’m reposting the initial post in that series first, and will post the karmic clearing post next week to build upon what is already written in these 4 posts. Enjoy, and please check out the sidebar for links to my new website for my Chakra Empowerment for Women book and webinar, as well as the new Facebook and Instagram pages. Like/follow them to receive updates, events, and deals related to the book as we get closer to the Dec. 8th publication date. Thank you!! Yours in Light, Lisa

Mommy Mystic

chakrahandsEverything you see has its roots in the unseen world. Its form may change yet the essence remains the same. ~ Rumi

Note: This is the first post in a series, for links to the rest of the series, please see the bottom of this one.

Many modern chakra teachings focus on methods for ‘opening’ or ‘clearing’ the chakras, and while this can be very useful, it really provides just a glimpse of the many ways we might work with our subtle body. Chakra systems map the intersection between body, mind, and spirit – they allow us to navigate the flow of energies between these levels of our being. These mappings provide guideposts for our subtle sense – the aspect of our intuitive mind we use to work with our chakras.

Although there are different models for the levels of the chakras, the basic model that I find very helpful…

View original post 1,480 more words

Kundalini – The Energy of Change (5 Things You Should Know)

October 18, 2019

Note: I have been getting a lot of questions on kundalini lately so I decided to repost this article, originally written for the now defunct, and currently residing on my client website This article was the first in a 3 part series, and if you’re interested in the other two articles you will find links to them on my client site at the bottom. Please feel free to post your questions in the comments here, as others may benefit – I have worked with many clients over the years on these issues, in addition to engaging in chakra and kundalini meditation for over 30 years myself. Blessings – Lisa

Whether you are trying to achieve a big goal in your life, develop a new habit, or let go of a harmful old one, any true change is grounded in a shift in awareness. We can will our way through for a while, but change only sticks long term when we are able to click into a new mode of perceiving and thinking. Modern neuroscience backs this up, with an increased understanding of what it takes to overwrite old neuro-patterns with new, healthier ones.

From a spiritual perspective, kundalini is the energy of change. A lot of mystique and jargon surrounds the traditional teachings on kundalini. But it is a natural energy that moves through us in varying degrees all of the time. We can all learn to feel this beautiful power within us, and to work with it as the organic, transformative energy that it is.

A common image used to explain kundalini is that of a snake coiled latent at the base of our spine. Through spiritual practices – traditionally yoga, meditation, and pranayama (breathing practices) – we ‘awaken’ the snake, and the kundalini makes its way up through our chakra system. As it does so, it clears blocks – the energetic component of our emotional wounds, mental conditioning, psychological blocks, and limiting perceptions. As each of these are nudged to the surface of our subtle body, the opportunity to grow beyond them arises. As the kundalini moves all the way through our subtle body into our crown, we experience a new sense of union with the divine.

There are volumes written on kundalini – on how to prepare for it, how to activate it, how to manage it, and what to expect. For most of us though, I think there are 5 basic points that are the most important to understand about kundalini:

  • Kundalini movement is normal and natural, and happens to most of us at some point. Kundalini is the energy of spiritual consciousness, and of awakened mind. Whenever an event occurs in our life that triggers deep shifts in our understanding, our kundalini has been awakened to some extent, and movement has occurred. While there are many kundalini preparation and triggering practices, awakenings aren’t limited to those who utilize them, or to traditions that do. Mystics throughout the ages from virtually every spiritual tradition have described very similar experiences, all of which can be seen as kundalini awakenings. To study kundalini is to study the technical underpinnings of awakening – the ‘how’. This isn’t necessary or even of interest to everyone, but it can be helpful.
  • Kundalini doesn’t just rise once – and it doesn’t just rise! We often hear about the ‘kundalini rising’, and in a general sense, the movement of the kundalini from our root to our crown chakra is the trajectory of spiritual growth. But the kundalini doesn’t simply rise once through our system and catapult us into enlightenment. It moves through in stages, each time clearing on a deeper level, and each time shifting us into a more expansive understanding of ourselves and the universe. (I cover the experiences and life lessons associated with shifts at each chakric level in the next article.)

Kundalini also doesn’t only rise – it moves downward too! Teachings on kundalini vary, and some traditions distinguish between different kinds of kundalini, some that flow from root to crown and others from crown to root. Upward-flowing kundalini is linked to spiritual seeking – our journey from knowing ourselves as finite, material beings to knowing ourselves as part of the infinite, cosmic flow. Downward kundalini is linked to manifesting spiritual understanding and goals on the physical plane. Both may clear blocks, and both are equally important to our spiritual – and human – journey.

Formal kundalini meditation practices are traditionally focused on the upward path, but for many people the greatest lessons come when we attempt to manifest in our lives from spiritual insight. Doing this is like trying to plant a kundalini tree in the earth – we are literally attempting to bring the kundalini through us from spirit to matter. So while the upward path is usually meditation and contemplation-based, the downward path is action and manifestation-based. Many of us like a mixture of both!

  • Kundalini movement is beautiful and pleasant, most of the time. Stories of kundalini ‘emergencies’ have left many people fearful of kundalini, and it’s true that overdoing practices specifically designed to bring it up quickly without proper supervision is never a good idea. But most kundalini shifts are either so subtle that we don’t register them, or are beautiful and blissful. We may feel waves of light or tingles moving through our body, upswellings of love or joy, bursts of creative ideas, expansive spiritual epiphanies, or sudden insights. What’s not to like?

Warnings about kundalini are based in the fact that if we pull too much through too fast, it can feel as if we’ve short-circuited our system. Just like electrical circuits, we each begin life able to handle a certain amp level. If too much kundalini shoots through before we are ready, we may experience bodily or psychological symptoms that are uncomfortable and distracting. But in most cases, we will naturally adapt to the change with time and self-care, and it’s nothing to worry about. Of course anyone who experiences health or mental instabilities that may be kundalini-based should work with a professional healer, energy worker or therapist skilled in such issues. Pushing through is never the answer. In fact stopping any explicit kundalini practices for a time, focusing on grounding and centering in the heart, exercise and good nutrition, are the first steps.

  • A grounded body and mind are the best preparation for kundalini shifts. Just like electrical sockets have to be grounded to safely conduct electrical currents, so our body and mind need to be grounded to conduct kundalini. From a physical perspective, grounded means living a healthy lifestyle, being comfortable and strong in our body, and connecting regularly to nature in a real and fulfilling way. From a mental and psychological perspective, grounded means we have a keen, focused mind and are centered in a healthy sense of self and reality. We may still have issues to work through, but we have a foundation of self-esteem and mental stability.

Most of the formal spiritual practices meant to prepare someone for kundalini work revolve around strengthening mind and body. Physical yoga in fact partly developed as a method for doing both. Inquiry practice, mindfulness, and concentration meditation are all also means of strengthening both our mind and self-awareness. While doing these in a formal way is usually only necessary for someone engaged in explicit kundalini awakening work, they are all good practices for managing spontaneous kundalini movements when they occur (and of course they all have other benefits too!)

  • Seeking in the form that truly inspires you is the best way to awaken your kundalini. You don’t have to fit yourself into a certain mold to get your kundalini moving. Any sincere form of spiritual seeking – one inspired by true questioning and desire – will pull this beautiful power through you to some degree. Situations or practices that open your heart and encourage self-honesty, or that are based in true inquiry, will trigger shifts. The only thing that shuts down our kundalini is stagnation – a rigid mind or frozen heart. True spiritual seeking is itself fueled by the Source or spirit already awake within us, and the kundalini moves when we open even more to this urge.

Of course, you may want to work more consciously with your kundalini, and to tune-in to its subtle shifts in your energy body. The guided meditations included in this 3-part series are designed to help you do exactly this. They are not kundalini transmissions, but instead guided techniques that you can use to gently increase your own connection to your kundalini, and to support its movement within you. 

In this first meditation, I will guide you through developing a strong foundation for kundalini work, and then use visualizations to help you urge both an upward and downward flow. Then we will focus on your root, heart, and third eye chakras, as these are each unique gateways in the kundalini rising process. This is a meditation you can do once, or over and over – it is gentle enough to repeat at will, although of course don’t if it makes you uncomfortable in any way:

Gentle Kundalini Movement Guided (mp3)

Here are the other two posts in this series (these will take you to my client site):

Stages of Kundalini Rising- Growing into the New You

Kundalini Rising in Women


Free Equinox Guided Meditation – Turning Point (mp3)

September 14, 2019

Equinox is a balance point – between day and night, sun and moon, past and future.

I haven’t posted an energy work meditation in awhile, and I have a favorite sequence for equinox that I’d like to share. This work helps you make the transition from past patterns and goals to new ones, on an energetic level.

If you roll a ball uphill, it will slow and then pause for a second before rolling back down. This pause is the perfect metaphor for the energy of the equinoxes – they are pauses at the balance point between light and dark, day and night, sun and moon, before a change in direction occurs. As such equinoxes are the perfect time to mark a transition in your life in a conscious way. You can use this balance point energy to affirm a turning of the page, a shift in emphasis, a new set of goals, and the release of old patterns.

The following guided meditation is designed to guide you through this process on an energetic level. You will need to do some preparation to engage with it, and then you could do it just once on the equinox itself (perhaps combining it with other rituals you like to mark the occasion with) or everyday for a few days before and a few days after to affirm the shift you are bringing into being.

The meditation has two parts, each consisting of three sub-parts. The first part is focused on looking back with gratitude at where you’ve been, and pulling forward lessons and wisdom you can use in the future. The second part is focused on turning forward, establishing your highest energetic vibration/foundation, affirming the direction you want to go, and what energies you would like more of in your life.

Here is an overview of the meditation, and what you will need to prepare (I suggest writing these down on a prep sheet beforehand):

Backwards/Past Section:

  • Express gratitude for three things representative of the phase of your life you are shifting from. These might be events, people, gifts, or lessons (although you will focus on lessons explicitly in the step after next.) Although you could choose more or less than three, three is a good number for these kinds of exercises, so I have used it throughout. Write down your three items on your prep sheet.
  • Affirm the release and/or say good bye to three items from this phase of your life that you do not want to be a part of the next phase. These might be relationships, an old job or home, or limiting emotional or conditioned patterns. Again, more than three is fine, but it’s hard to affirm a shift in a clear way if too many aspects are involved, so three is generally a good number. Write these on your prep sheet.
  • Acknowledge and ‘own’ three lessons, or three types of insight or wisdom gained, in the period you are moving on from. Write these down on your prep sheet. Within the meditation, you will not only verbalize but feel these as energies integrating into your body. In fact feeling each step in your body is what distinguishes this meditation and makes it energy work. So as much as possible, feel the energies of what you are visualizing or contemplating.

At this point we’ll pause for an affirmation that represents the turning point you are consciously marking.

Forwards/Future Section:

  • Chakra empowerment and affirmations. No prep necessary for this section, I will guide you through focusing on each chakra with a visual and affirmation, in order to fully clear and activate your energy body.
  • Name and cultivate the feeling of three qualities you want your future to be filled with. These might be emotions like joy, contentment, or calm, or it might be more situational states such as successful, confident or financially secure. Either way, imagine what each of these is like as an energy, in particular what color of energy you would represent each as. You will use these to bring a felt sense of each state into your mind and body.
  • Identify three goals you have for yourself in the next phase of your life. Then identify a visual you can use that represents you already having achieved each goal. You will utilize these within the final part of the meditation, in which you will first establish energy lines between your third eye, heart and navel chakra to each goal, and then integrate your goals, and the feeling they have already occurred, into your body.

Close out and complete the transition.

I’ve put this together as an audio for you, although you could certainly do this sequence on your own without an audio. Keep in mind this is a home-made audio, so there is some minor ambient static and background noice – in general, playing it on lower volume will help screen that out. I hope you enjoy it and I wish you all a joyful, abundant and transformative equinox!

Equinox Turning Point Meditation (21 minutes):

Books to Close out Your Summer

August 30, 2019

Summer is winding down, and we are heading into the shedding, introspective, and germinating energy of Fall and Winter. I haven’t done a book post in awhile, and have read many interesting books this summer. Here’s a few you may be interested in reading as part of this transition – including my own, which you can now pre-order, finally due out in December!! As always, I have included a mixture of self-published and wider release books.


Chakra Empowerment for Women: Self-Guided Techniques for Healing Trauma, Owning Your Power & Finding Overall Wellness, by Lisa Erickson (me!) (this link is to Amazon, you can also pre-order at Barnes and Noble and Llewellyn.) I’m very excited for this book to come out December 8th. It presents 12 chakra empowerments to help you activate particular energies within a specific moment in your day, or for use as part of a longer term personal transformation effort. The activation process for each includes visualization, affirmation, memory, and energetic transmission, and the book includes color inserts to help you with the visuals (I’m grateful to my publisher Llewellyn for agreeing to these inserts, as they are rare these days.) It is of course focused on women’s energy anatomy and specific issues women often face to owning their power. I have included sections in each chapter on how these chakra empowerments can be utilized as part of a sexual trauma healing process. This book is inspired by and adapted from the work I have done with many of you in private sessions and workshops, and I’m very grateful for your sharings with me. However, this is the first time I have presented these empowerments in this sequential, structured way that you can reference at any time. A book website including a chakra diagnostic quiz will be available later this Fall, and I will be doing a 12 week video seminar tied to the book starting in January – more info forthcoming on that too. And if you’re a podcaster or blogger looking for interviewees, please reach out, I’d love to discuss the book with you as part of my online book tour.



Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, by Mirabai Starr. I have been a fan of Mirabai Starr’s writing on Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, but had never read her more personal work. This is part memoir and part spiritual call to action, for women in particular. She shares her challenges and heartbreak (including the tragic death of her daughter at 14), as well as the stories of many women mystics and how they have inspired her. Fierce and tender women’s wisdom for sure.


SHOUT, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halsie Anderson is the author of Speak, a moving first person novel of a high school girl’s sexual trauma and healing process. It became a bestseller as well as a finalist for the National Book Award and Ms. Anderson has visited high schools around the country speaking to students about sexual assault, consent, and related issues. Shout is her own story, and really an account of how Speak came to be. Equally moving and wise, it grapples with many issues related to sexual abuse, assault, and healing. Sexual trauma survivors should proceed with caution as she does describe her assault.


Politics of Love: A Handbook of a New American Revolution, by Marianne Williamson. Ms. Willimason is of course running for President and has several politically minded books out, in addition to her bestselling spiritual books. Whether you agree with her policy proposals or not, this book is worth a read as it highlights how our political discourse has changed over the years, how this rhetoric reflects our spiritual state of being, and lays out a vision for how democracy could reflect the foundational spiritual value of love. It just might redefine some things for you.


Five Wisdom Energies: A Buddhist Way of Understanding Personalities, Emotions and Relationships, by Irini Rockwell. This is another presentation of the 5 ‘Buddha families’ or ‘dakini families’ from Tibetan Buddhism, and how this model can be utilized to work with ourselves for personal and spiritual transformation. While I still prefer Lama Tsultrim’s Wisdom Rising: Journey into the Empowered Feminine, this book offers a more psychological and sociological perspective that may be a good follow-up read for you if you liked Lama Tsultrim’s book and/or have been working with the dakini energies.


Yoga Wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring You On and Off Your Mat
, Stephanie Spence. This is part memoir and part mini-interviews with dozens of yoga teachers from many different traditions. Ms. Spence shares her story of finding herself through yoga after a difficult divorce, and embarks upon a yoga road trip as part of her healing journey (also the foundation for her popular blog). Each teacher shares tidbits of how they relate to their practice and how it is the foundation for their own life. Some are more physically based, and some are more emotional/psychological. This is a dip-in-and-out book, and if you’re a yoga practitioner, it may offer your some new insights.


Radiantly Free: Recreating Life and Health from the Radiance of You, Rev Dr. Rachel Wetzteon. I was recently interviewed by Rachel, and so enjoyed our conversation (you’ll find that interview on her podcast page here.) Her background in personal training and a doctorate in physiology give her a unique perspective on spirituality and the importance of the mind-body link. She has combined this with energy healing training and offers her own personal take in this little gem.


Warrior Won, by Meryl Davids Landau. This is spiritual ‘chick lit’ – I mentioned Ms. Landau’s prior book Downward Dog, Upward Fog in a prior post. As you can probably tell from these titles, the protagonist of both books, Lorna, is a dedicated yoga practitioner. She is also representative of many ‘spiritual but not religious’ individuals today, who build their spiritual path from many different sources, including law of attraction teachings, Buddhist teachings, energy healing traditions and more. in this latest novel, Lorna faces a major life challenge, entering her into a ‘dark night’ of sorts, and has to draw upon her various sources for new strength and inspiration.


The Gifted School, by Bruce Holsinger. Not a spiritual or energy healing book! But a novel that’s really about modern parenting (at least American parenting), the pressure to have ‘exceptional’ kids, and the lengths we will go to to make that happen – whether in sports, academics, music, or anything else (I’ve even seen this drive in spiritual parents, who are certain their child is a reincarnation of some great teacher or other.) It’s part biological and part psychological. So if you are just looking for a good read with a few parenting moments in which you may recognize yourself (or others you know), this might be a good fit for you.


Wishing you a wonderful transition from summer to fall (or the opposite if you’re down under!) and will return soon with more energy resources. Much light to you-
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