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Self-Guided Energy Work Script: Release Untruths, Affirm Your Truths

October 20, 2020

Lisa is offering many free webinars this Fall and Winter, check her event calendar for details.

The value of energy work is often that it is non-lingual, and can help us work with our emotions and emotional patterns as energy and vibration, dropping away from our chattering minds. Energy techniques employ our senses through sound, visualization, touch and more. But words are powerful too, and right now is a particularly good time to work with words to clear imprints and self-beliefs that do not serve us and replace them with those that do. 

The following script is simple, and uses the chakras as a structure for releasing and replacing false self-beliefs or imprints along the following threads:

  • I’m not safe.
  • I’m not allowed (permitted.)
  • I don’t deserve (am not worthy.)
  • I’m bad (wrong, evil, heretic.)
  • I can’t trust (or believe.)

These are addressed in relation to primary themes of each chakra – body (root), emotions/sexuality/feminine energy (sacral), power (navel), love (heart), speech/expression (throat), intuition and being seen (third eye), and belief/spirit connection (crown.) These beliefs associated with each statement aren’t necessarily held in just one part of the body or energy body, but focusing on a particular chakra and body area, and attempting to see and feel the light and energy clearing in that area, is a powerful tool for shifting in this way. 

The source of these beliefs is not relevant for this work – it might be personal, linked to your family history, past trauma, ancestral patterns, or past lives. Or it might be imprinting from cultural forces such as patriarchy, white supremacy, cis-gender conditioning, religious conditioning or related forces that operate on our consciousness and energy body. Within this exercise don’t let your mind wander to the source or stories related to it – that is another type of work (good work, but it’s not this.)

To utilize this script, just settle into your body with a few breaths, and then do the entire UNTRUTHS script, imagining clearing one chakra/body area at a time, and then do the entire TRUTHS AFFIRMATION script, cultivating increased light in each area. Take your time. You can adapt the script as needed for yourself – in general bracketed phrases are suggestions for words you might choose from, and parenthetical phrases are words you might add. If you like working with color, you can use the rainbow chakra colors (which is the color I’ve highlighted in the title for each) or you can just use white/clear light – which is actually what I prefer for this kind of work.

Questions welcome in the comments. Happy clearing and embracing your truth.

RELEASING UNTRUTHS SCRIPT

ROOT

Focus on tailbone and base of torso, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • I’m not safe in this body.
  • I’m not allowed control of this body (my body is not mine, or I’m not allowed to decide boundaries for my body).
  • I don’t deserve [pleasure, success, happiness – use word of your choice] in this body.
  • This body is [dirty, bad, wrong, etc.].
  • I can’t trust the sensations of this body.

SACRAL

Focus on pelvic bowl, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to express or experience my [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy – your choice.]
  • I’m not allowed to express or experience my [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy.]
  • I don’t deserve [sexual pleasure, joy, or feminine power.]
  • My [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy] is shameful, bad, or wrong.
  • I can’t trust my [emotions, sexuality or feminine energy.]

NAVEL

Focus on navel and solar plexus area, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to use or show my power.
  • I’m not allowed to have power.
  • I don’t deserve power.
  • Power is bad or evil.
  • I can’t trust myself having, using, or showing power.

HEART

Focus on chest, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to love or be loved.
  • I’m not allowed to love or be loved.
  • I don’t deserve to love or be loved.
  • My giving or receiving love is bad or wrong.
  • I can’t trust love.

THROAT

Focus on neck and throat, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to speak (or speak my truth.)
  • I’m not allowed to speak (or speak my truth.)
  • I don’t deserve to speak (or speak my truth.)
  • Speaking my truth is bad or wrong (or what I have to say it bad or wrong.)
  • I can’t trust speech (my own or others.)

THIRD EYE

Focus on midpoint above brow and entire forehead, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to see (intuition) or be seen.
  • I’m not allowed to see/intuit or be seen.
  • I don’t deserve to see/intuit or be seen.
  • Seeing or being seen is wrong or bad.
  • I can’t trust my seeing/intuition.

CROWN

Focus on top back part of head, visualize light clearing this area of dark matter as you speak.

I RELEASE THE UNTRUTH THAT…

  • It’s not safe to believe or align with spirit.
  • I’m not allowed to access spirit directly.
  • I don’t deserve to access spirit.
  • Spirit experienced directly is wrong or bad.
  • I can’t trust spirit.

AFFIRM TRUTH SCRIPT

ROOT

See and feel light at tailbone/base of torso. 

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • I am safe in this body.
  • I control this body (and access to it).
  • I deserve [pleasure, success, happiness – use word of your choice] in this body.
  • This body is [joyful, healthy, strong, beautiful – your choice.]
  • I trust my body.

SACRAL

See and feel light in pelvic bowl.

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe to express or experience my [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy – your choice.]
  • It’s my right to express or experience my [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy.]
  • I deserve [sexual pleasure, joy, or feminine power.]
  • My [sexuality, emotions, or feminine energy] are beautiful, joyful expressions of light.
  • I trust my [emotions, sexuality or feminine energy.]

NAVEL

See and feel light in navel and solar plexus area.

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe to use or show my power.
  • Having and expressing power is my birthright.
  • I deserve power.
  • I use my power for good.
  • I trust my power and how I use it.

HEART

See and feel light in chest.

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe for me to love and be loved (may want to add ‘by those worthy of me’ if you have patterns of relationships of any type in which you are not treated with care and respect.)
  • I choose to love and be loved (may add ‘by those worthy of me.’)
  • I deserve to love and be loved (may add ‘by those worthy of me.’)
  • My giving and receiving of love is beautiful and joyful for me and others.
  • I trust in love.

THROAT

See and feel light in neck and throat. 

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe for me to speak (or speak my truth.)
  • Expressing myself (and/or speaking my truth) is my birthright.
  • I deserve to speak (or speak my truth.)
  • Speaking my truth is an expression of light as it comes through me.
  • I trust and value speech (my own and others.)

THIRD EYE

See and feel light at midpoint above brow and entire forehead.

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe to for me to see (use my intuition) or be seen.
  • Being seen in this world (and/or using my intuition) is my birthright.
  • I deserve to see/intuit or be seen.
  • Seeing and being seen is an expression of light as it comes through me.
  • I trust my seeing/intuition.

CROWN

See and feel light on top back part of head.

I AFFIRM THE TRUTH THAT…

  • It’s safe for me to believe or align with spirit.
  • Accessing spirit directly is my birthright.
  • I, and all beings, are worthy of spirit.
  • Direct experience of spirit is sacred, and light as it comes through me.
  • I trust spirit.

SEE YOUR WHOLE BODY FILLED WITH LIGHT AND REST IN THIS FOR A BIT.

May you feel safe, free, deserving, sacred, and supported at every level of your being. 

Manifesting Through the Chakras

September 16, 2020

So often on this blog I have focused on the upward path of the chakras – the movement towards spiritual awakening. But the downward path is just as important – that of working towards goals in our lives and birthing new aspects of it. While this is often called manifesting, I actually prefer the more recently popular term ‘co-creation’, because it better captures the interactive and interdependent nature of how we experience our lives. As we work to manifest something new, we will naturally encounter delays and obstacles (hello 2020!) These can stop us in our tracks, or open the doorway to adaptation and adjustment in a way that births something unexpected, but not necessarily lesser, than what we originally planned. This is co-creating with the universe, and it’s what we are all doing all the time – co-creating reality with others, all of humanity really, and whatever divine force you feel is also present within us.

I have chafed over the years at some manifesting/LOA teachings that emphasize personal will and work as the exclusive driver to what we can manifest. In this way of thinking, when things don’t go as planned, an individual is often left feeling self-blame and shame, or that they somehow failed to think positively enough, visualize strongly enough, or work hard enough, or that they self-sabotaged from some counter energy they had not yet healed. While of course our own energy, and any emotional patterning that doesn’t serve us, can hold us back, it’s simplistic to dismiss all external factors as reflections of internal blocks. It denies the complexity of world events such as COVID19, wildfires, and economic collapses, as well as denying the reality of social structural constraints such as racism, sexism, and other biases. We are not manifesting in a vacuum. And manifesting is not only for ourselves either – we are in a moment in history where we have an opportunity to co-create a different world. We are all feeling this, and perhaps what you feel called to manifest right now is one thread in a larger tapestry of change.

The chakras provide a great framework for working towards a goal, and for relating to setbacks as opportunities to both heal and regroup/ adjust. Manifesting, or co-creation, can be viewed through the downward pathway of the chakras as the process of birthing energies we want more of in our lives (crown) through something tangible we create in the world (root.) Each of the chakra functions play a role, and looking at our goal through this lens can help us identify what we’re good at, what we need help with, and what healing or adaptations our setbacks might be calling upon us to make.

Just like the upward path of awakening is not simply linear – we don’t march one by one through lessons of each chakra – so it is with the downward path and co-creation. I’ll present the chakras in linear order, one by one, from crown to root, but really this is just a framework. You will work iteratively with the themes of each chakra as you manifest, and some goals may involve some chakras a lot and others not at all. Similarly, the listing of Blocks/Calls to Heal associated with each chakra is just a framework to help you assess – most blocks don’t lie neatly in one chakra, we are much more complex than that! But working with the chakra listed first will almost always be a helpful starting point. There are so many ways to work with each chakra, so that’s beyond the scope of this post, but you can of course start with some of the other posts here, and my book, as well as any other chakra methods you find helpful.

I could easily make this a multi-post series, as this is often complex work (and I do work with this in client sessions and teach it in more detail in classes) but my hope is the framework below can provide a useful starting point for you.

Crown Chakra

Setup – Vibration: The energy, vibration, or state of being you are seeking to create more of in your life. This is what you are actually trying to manifest – or a truer way of saying it might be this is what you are actually seeking to bring forth more of in your life, through the process of manifesting in your external world. For example, abundance, security, joy, purpose, love, connection, ease or vitality. These are your True North – your vision (third eye) or the specifics may change as you move through the process of manifesting, but you use these crown energies to assess the adaptations you make as the process unfolds.

Practice: Identify at least three for yourself, and give them each a color. Try to feel/see balls of light representing these energies as these colors above your head, and dissolve them into your crown chakra.

Crown Blocks/Calls to Heal: Doubt, uncertainty, disconnection from sense of purpose, feeling of no spiritual support (‘the universe is against me’), or that occult forces are obstructing you.

Third Eye

Setup – Vision: Your actual vision of what you want to create. For example, a new job, business, non-profit, book, course, product/service offering, home, or relationship  (or it might be more abstract – a mind state, state of health, or new belief system – but in this case you still need to get specific in this vision step.) Flesh out your vision as fully as you can at this point, and carefully assess whether it actually aligns with what you identified in the crown section. Remember this is an iterative process though – go back to crown and refine if you need to. The details may clarify or change as you implement various steps or trials.

Practice: Flesh out your vision in as much detail as you can – create 1-3 mental visuals representing your end goal, perhaps tied to each of the vibrations/states you selected for the crown setup. Bring these visuals to mind in front of your third eye, with a line of white light connecting your third eye to each. Try to feel/see each one as you visualize. Imagine them each coming fully into your third eye and the vibration spreading throughout your body. If you like vision boarding, you can also create an external vision board to support this step.

Third Eye Blocks/Calls to Heal: Lack of clarity, difficulty deciding on vision (may present as too many ideas), fear of ‘being wrong’, lack of trust in self to see clearly (seeking outside counsel on every detail.)

Throat Chakra

Setup – Communication. A concise, clear description of what you are creating, tied to the first two steps. If you like, you can use the ‘as if’ format many manifesting approaches advise, wording it as if it is already fully present now. For example, ‘my energy healing business is financially prosperous, helping many, and fulfilling to me’ or ‘My home is nurturing, close to nature, bright, and affordable’. If you are creating a business you may also want to create ‘elevator’ speeches – versions of this that inspire others to support you (financially or otherwise) or become your customer or client.

Practice: Say your main statements often to yourself – and practice feeling them as true, in every part of your body and subtle body. For the elevator speech versions, practice saying them to others, and emanating out your own contagious enthusiasm and belief as you do so.

Throat Blocks/Calls to Heal: Wanting to hide, remain inconspicuous, or keep parts of yourself secret, fear of others’ reactions, fear of persecution for speaking your truth or desires, fear that speaking it makes it too ‘real’, difficulty expressing self or finding words (bringing the inside out)

Heart Chakra

Setup – Support: The people and resources you need to attract as part of your manifesting process. This varies depending on where you are in your process – for a business it initially might be investors, money, a mentor, or partner, but eventually becomes clients/customers, employees/contractors, and supportive systems. For a health goal it might initially be the practitioner who can properly diagnose your issue, and then becomes the healers and modalities who support your healing, along with the resources to compensate them. Throughout, the support of family and friends is usually essential, so this step is not always about attracting new people into your life – it may also be about getting those already in your life on board (or letting go of those who can’t or won’t support you.) This can be spiritual support too (linked more to the back of the heart chakra) – are you in need of spiritual guidance or protection? Identify what you need.

Practice: Practice receiving! Often the hardest thing for us to do. Once you have identified what you need, imagine you are receiving it every day, and that it is pouring into your heart chakra. You might visualize beings of light representing the actual ‘people’ you are attracting, or a new location, website, or even money. See it pouring in and try to release any feelings of discomfort with receiving in this way. You can visualize spiritual support pouring in the back.

Heart Blocks/Calls to Heal: Feeling unworthy or undeserving, self-criticism and self-judgement, fear of others’ criticism and judgement, jealousy and comparison, imposter syndrome (“I’m a fake” – other chakras can also be the primary holder of this, but I find working with the heart is always helpful), resistance to asking for or receiving help.

Navel Chakra

Setup – Plan: Your plan of action – the actual steps and timelines for what you need to do. Depending on what you are manifesting you may have several versions of this – a long term plan that’s higher level, and then a shorter term one of your next tasks. These will evolve over time, as you move forward, but initially it’s important to at least have a long term ‘map’ and the next three specific tasks that you want to accomplish along with a target timeline. It’s easy to get stuck here, and if you do, it’s always best to DO SOMETHING. Take some action, because then based on how it goes, you get FEEDBACK (from actual people or the universe in general) as to what your challenges are – then you can revise (see Sacral), release blocks, heal, and regroup. Often there is a lot of circling between these bottom three chakra steps of Plan-Adapt-Act. In practice they are closely entwined, although for the initial setup, they are more distinct.

Practice: Write it down! Write down both your long term steps (which might be more general) and your specific action steps in the immediate future, and determine a target timeline. Speak it to others whom you trust to support you.

Navel Blocks/Calls to Heal: Lack of confidence, difficulty committing, procrastination, paralyzing perfectionism, mental fogginess/fuzziness, time management challenges, fear of owning your power and what that might bring (fears of persecution, betrayal, targeting, scapegoating – generally multi-chakra issues, but healing your relationship to your own power through navel work is a good starting point)

Sacral Chakra

Setup –  Adapt: This is both your inspiration energy, and your ability to stay fluid and adaptable when setbacks arise and you need to adjust. While the navel and root are about structure and specifics, this chakra is about flow. As I mentioned in the navel section, these lower three chakras are where the real ‘work’ is, and we cycle through them in many variations and iterations as we move through the process of actually ‘birthing’ something new in our lives. When obstacles arise or disappointments occur, our navel provides the will and plan to move forward, but our sacral energy provides the inspiration to continue and the fluidity to adjust. In this process we use the crown energies we established as our guide – adjustments that stay true to this are fine, and may reverberate through all the other levels, modifying our vision, communications, support needed, and plan.

Practice: Initially focus on your inspiration – this is probably closely tied to the crown chakra energies you identified, but is more the ‘why’ than the ‘what’. Why do you want this change? What inspires you to birth it? In the iterative phase, this changes – instead focus on letting go of your original plan, and adjust and adapt based on what you have learned from your setbacks or obstacles.

Sacral Blocks/Calls to Heal: Rigidity, hopelessness, patterns of giving up/discouragement, joylessness, stagnation/stuckness, cycles of shame/self-blame, feminine conditioning that says you can’t have what you want.

Root Chakra

Setup –  Action: Execute the tasks you identified as your immediate ones. Take action. This is the birthing process. Unless you actually take action, you can’t get feedback to refine from. There is risk involved in this, and issues of safety and risk are paramount when working with this chakra, as are issues of gain/loss and resources. Embodying resilience is key – the ability to act even when there is fear or uncertainty, and receive whatever outcomes arises as a key to wisdom, rather than a reflection of who you are.

Practice: Do the first/next tasks on your list!

Root Blocks/Calls to Heal: Risk aversion, feeling of overwhelm, safety/security concerns, poverty attachments/vows or other money or resource issues, lack of support from family/friends (and ancestral patterns, also linked to more than one chakra, but this is a good place to start on your own.)

REPEAT.

I hope this is a helpful framework for you and I welcome questions. If you are a woman looking to work on any of the chakra blocks/calls to heal listed here, I invite you to join my next round of the Chakra Empowerment for Women webinar, beginning next week.

Be Well.

Upcoming Online Energy Work Intensives and Book Events

July 24, 2020

Making quality energy work more accessible both in terms of content and financially is a passion of mine, as I truly believe working with our own energy body is a birthright (and necessary as part of the global shifts that need to occur on a planetary level.) While I do distance healing and energy work in my private client sessions, most of my public work revolves around creating and sharing tools anyone can use in their daily lives to work with their energy body on their own. This is the essence of empowerment for me – not creating dependency on my own gifts, but helping you develop yours.

In that spirit I am experimenting with 3-hour online small group energy work intensives, and the first one is tomorrow! Offered at a price lower than private client energy work sessions, the idea behind these is to do some of the energy work and distance healing around particular topics that I do most often in private sessions in a small group setting, while also teaching and guiding tools you can do on your own to help you with each issue. In addition, I have one final free online book event for the summer coming up, sponsored by an independent bookstore in Fort Collins Colorado. And then finally, in the Fall I will be doing my 3 month intensive tied to Chakra Empowerment For Women. All sessions are recorded if you are not able to attend live (although live is always best in order to ask questions and make individual healing and work requests real-time.)

I hope you will consider joining me for one (or all!) of these. I’ll be back next week with a post on my favorite books from this summer so far (favorites related to the themes of this blog anyway.)

Women Mystics Series – Sarada Devi and the Role of Tradition

July 9, 2020

Sarada Devi – so serious! But it was customary not to smile in photos at the time

I had planned to write about Sarada Devi as an addition to my Women’s Mystics series way back in March for Women’s History month, but then the world went sideways. Like many of us I was struggling to manage work with kids at home, and provide the best help I could to clients struggling with increased challenges brought on by sheltering in place, economic anxiety, social justice issues, and related trauma triggering. Returning to blogging now, I contemplated the relevance of writing about Sarada Devi – what value could learning about a 19th century woman in India betrothed through an arranged marriage as a young girl to a famous guru, and most well-known for selflessly serving him and his disciples, have to offer me (or you?)

On the surface, very little. I have in fact hesitated to write about her in the past, favoring mystic rebels and groundbreakers. In many ways, Sarada’s life story represents the worst of the patriarchy as it has applied to enlightened teachings and the cultures they largely developed within – she was selected as Ramakrishna’s bride as a young girl in order to serve and ‘anchor’ him, as he was already showing a tendency for high states of meditation that often left him unable to care for himself. He did not openly teach women, so she was not allowed to attend his formal teachings. The house was often filled with young male students, all of whom she was expected to serve. As Ramakrishna and his disciples meditated, sang and danced in blissful ecstasy she was in the kitchen cooking for them all. When they finally went home to sleep, she cleaned up after them. This all left very little time for her own spiritual practice, to which she was, nevertheless, devoted. After his passing, she largely lived in poverty until some of his students realized this and managed to do what they could to care for her. She was the quintessential ‘spiritual wife’ – serving behind the scenes, revered for her ‘purity’ (code word for chastity) and never publicly teaching in her own right.

And yet, I had a profound meditation experience related to Sarada Devi almost thirty-three years ago soon after I first began meditating, and this initiated a lifelong reverence for her within me. She spontaneously appeared in my mind as I practiced, and I felt and saw a powerful flow of gold light transmit from her heart into mine. At the time I had only recently learned about her, and her well-known husband Sri Ramakrishna, through a book I was reading by one of Sri Ramakrishna’s most famous students, Swami Vivekananda. Vivekananda was the first Indian yogi to travel to the United States, to speak at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. He spoke on the unity of all world religions there, a message far before its time, and his speeches and travels throughout the United States played an important role in planting the seeds for the later flourishing of yoga, meditation, energy healing, and the New Age/Human Potential movement.

As all of these have since transformed from counter-culture to Big Business in the West, it occurs to me that in fact looking at Sarada’s life opens up a lot of questions relevant to those of us in this spiritual/energy healing ‘space’ at this time in history. Questions like: How do we separate the patriarchal/sexist history of the traditions from which some of these teachings have come from the teachings themselves? Can they even be separated? Can a culture ‘own’ certain teachings, and if so, what authorizes someone to utilize or adapt them? Where does lineage transmission end and cultural appropriation begin? What, if anything, transcends culture and history as universally human on the spiritual level, and thus is owned by no one (or rather, is the birthright of everyone?)

Sarada herself was born in 1853 in a small Indian village to a poor but high-caste family. Little is known of her life as a child, but at the age of 5 she was betrothed to Ramakrishna, who was 17 years older than her, and was married to him in her teens. According to biographers, the marriage was never consummated, as Ramakrishna wished for a ‘spiritual marriage’, and within his tradition spirituality and sexuality were not linked. In fact, Ramakrishna spoke often to his young male followers of the dangers of ‘women and gold’. While he had many disciples with families, he encouraged them to practice chastity except for procreation. He wished them to preserve their energy for spiritual practice – devotional meditation for long periods of time. He was himself well-known for his high states of bliss, and in his presence many reported themselves transported, their spiritual longings awakened.

Ramakrishna taught at a pivotal time in India’s history. Most of his young students were educated in British-style schools, and studying with him was frowned upon by their families. He was himself illiterate, and to these affluent families, many of whom had benefited materially under British rule, Ramakrishna represented outdated superstitions and nostalgia for India’s past. Despite this, although Ramakrishna only lived to the age of 50, his impact on India’s history through his students was profound. In addition to Vivekananda’s influence by bringing Eastern teachings to the West and asserting the universality of religion, several other of Ramakrishna’s students became prominent supporters of Mahatma Gandhi, their studies with Ramakrishna having fueled their pride in India’s native culture and beliefs, which became a bedrock of Gandhi’s movement to oust the British.

But all of this happened later. While they were young men, Ramakrishna’s students spent hours with him, and Sarada was expected to serve them. While Ramakrishna did not openly teach women, there were several, including Sarada, whom he privately initiated into meditation instruction. She awoke at 3am every morning to meditate before her duties began, and witnesses describe feeling an overwhelming peace emanating from her as she did so. According to one story, a kitchen worker dropped a heavy metal pan on a tile floor while she meditated nearby, and she was so deep in meditation she did not even flinch. When asked about it later, she remembered a wave of vibration had entered her awareness, but it was subsumed by the larger vibration of the states she was experiencing.

In Ramakrishna’s final months Sarada nursed him tirelessly through throat cancer, and some of his senior students came to revere her as the ‘Divine Mother’ – an embodiment of the feminine energies of the universe. When later asked if she was sorry not to have had her own children, she often answered that she loved all the world’s children as her own, and that Ramakrishna’s students were in fact her first children, and the ones to awaken this greater universal love within her. After his passing, when many were bereft with grief, she herself held them together (as woman so often do) while helping arrange the funeral services. As she went to remove her bracelets (as traditional for widows) she saw a vision of Ramakrishna telling her to keep hers on throughout her life, as he had only ‘moved from one room to another.’ She felt a deep spiritual connection to him throughout the rest of her life.

Sarada later in life, one of my favorite photos of her

After his death Sarada quietly devoted herself to spiritual practice, saying to others, ‘practice meditation, and by and by your mind will be so calm and fixed that you will find it hard to keep away from meditation.’ As a widow she had no means of livelihood or even worth within Indian society, and though she moved to her husband’s village as was customary, she fell into poverty. It was Ramakrishna’s disciples who heard of this and moved her to Calcutta where they were forming a new monastic order. Although she never took on a formal teaching role, she did initiate several of the young monks into monkhood, and some of the monks revered her throughout her life. Vivekananda is reported to have said that he could not be in her presence for more than a few minutes, as he would be transported into such states of spiritual bliss that he could not function.

Although she didn’t formerly teach she did lead a small group of women, mostly widows and some of whom had also been initiated into meditation by Ramakrishna. She also devoted herself to service to the poor, and advocated the monks to engage in this service too. She consistently advocated for service to others as a spiritual path, and to this day she is revered within Ramakrishna spiritual centers around the world for her selfless service. Some of the Western women who Vivekananda met on his travels travelled to India to visit and meditate with her, and at her suggestion helped to fund a girls school in India. She passed away in 1920, just as Ghandi, and the many changes he would initiate, gained momentum. Her final words are reported to have been “I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own.”

To me Sarada represents the value of discipline, humility, and compassion in action. While I have often focused here on women mystics who represent the ‘wild’ or ‘fierce’ feminine, the qualities Sarada represents are no less a part of the spiritual journey, and in fact have often been overlooked or even denigrated within contemporary spirituality as we all seek to ‘own our feminine power.’ While her life is not an example of rebellion against patriarchy, and in fact she was only able to receive teachings at all because of her role as a guru’s wife, by all accounts she achieved a high state of realization, and utilized it throughout her life to aid others. And based on my own meditation experience, and those others have shared over the years, she continues to do so from another realm.

As her own final statement conveys, she was also a universalist (like Vivekananda) in the sense of believing ‘the whole world is your own.’ This was in its own way radical at the time, counter to the traditional Indian caste system. Vivekananda, who actually would not come to the United Stated until she blessed his journey, continued this message through his teachings in the West. He believed it was imperative meditation and enlightened teachings travel to the West, and devoted his life to this.

Like so many women before her, Sarada Devi chose to work within the system she was given, and did what good she could. While I have not fully come to peace with her history, and all it represents, I feel looking at her life, and those of many women like her, is just as important as looking at the life of the mystic rebels throughout history. Paraphrasing the famous quote, if we do not look at and understand the past we are destined to repeat it. At a time when we are questioning much about religion, cultural appropriation, sexism and racism in larger society, we also need to look honestly at these same issues within spiritual traditions, including the contemporary New Age movement, in order to assure we are truly creating something ‘new’, and not just packaging the past in a new form.

May you feel the blessings of Sarada’s grace and may it help you navigate these challenging times.

P.S. Please check out my upcoming online events and intensive healing sessions. 

Ring of Fire – Guided Feminine/Masculine Energy Work for Change

June 20, 2020

A ‘Ring of Fire’ eclipse will occur June 21, the same weekend as 2020 summer solstice.

“MoonChild be free.
Free from the tides of being boxed.
Free from the norms of those who status quo.
Find your path and follow it to the moon.”
Malebo Sephodi

The Solstices are considered powerful transformational times in wisdom traditions around the world, and special meditations, rituals, and retreats are often performed in the weeks before and after. This weekend we not only have the Solstice, we have a new moon and rare Ring of Fire eclipse on Sunday, where a bit of the sun remains visible around the moon during the alignment, from those parts of the earth where it’s viewable. We’re also in the midst of a mass retrograde planet year, a profound calling to bring the hidden to light to facilitate change.

Whether you are into astrology or not, you probably don’t need to be convinced we are living through an unprecedented time. We are being challenged individually and collectively to dive deep, release the status quo, and change. I have often posted guided energy work sequences at Solstices to facilitate transition, and while I contemplated what to post this time, I felt that something connected more to the eclipse is the most useful, particularly because there is a ‘companion’ eclipse in two weeks, that in many ways is the end of a particular eclipse cycle, and the start of a new one.

An eclipse is an alignment of moon and sun from our perspective here on earth, and the moon and sun represent yin and yang, feminine and masculine energies. For change we need a balance of of these, and the awakening process in general – individual or collective – can be viewed as an integration of these energies into wholeness. Feminine energy is movement and change – a river raging through a valley to reshape it. Masculine energy is the structure of change – the direction, and the materials, and the valley itself. To change we need a balance of both – just change for the sake of it doesn’t necessarily lead to positive transformation. So when in a time of change we need both the feminine/yin energy of change (kundalini is one expression of this) and the masculine/yang energy of direction and structure.

We are all, of course, a balance of both, as is each chakra. But as many of you know, within the 7 chakra system I like to work with the odd-numbered as masculine and the even-numbered as feminine. Within this context, the masculine chakras provide the direction and structure for change – root (stable base), navel (will), throat (communication), crown (purpose.) The feminine chakras provide the movement and fluidity – sacral (inspiration), heart (heart!), third eye (vision). That’s a quick overview and obviously there is a lot more to it, but it’s enough to understand the following feminine/masculine pathway integration exercise.

If this resonates for you, I recommend doing this exercise daily over the next two weeks, while focusing on the changes you are trying to bring about, or in the case of collective change, the change you are contributing to. This video is part of a teaching I did earlier this year, so if you are already familiar with the teachings, you can just skip to the exercise guidance around the 4:50 time mark (and of course you can do the exercise without the video.)

If you’re looking for ways to work with your chakras to support change over the coming months, take a look at my current course schedule as I have recently posted events and classes through the end of the year, both free and paid (and as always, I offer sliding scale for those in need of it.)

Wishing you much power, insight, and self-care as we transit this transformative time.

Classes and Resources Available Now

April 20, 2020

I hope this finds you healthy and safe. This post is long overdue! March was Women’s History Month and April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I had posts relevant to both planned. But my plans have had to be adapted, as I suspect has also happened for most of you. I do have another post ready that I will publish next week, but before that I wanted to post upcoming online events that may be of aid to you at this time.

Goodreads Giveaway: In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month I am hosting another giveaway of print copies of Chakra Empowerment for Women. (I will host a Kindle giveaway here at this blog in the future.) Good luck if you enter.

 Chakras For Daily Living Zoom Class – Includes Book: May 9th, 3:30-5. Sponsored by the non-profit Sage Holistic Healing Center, this was originally planned as an in person class, but will now be offered by Zoom, and includes a copy of the book (if you select print I will mail it to you, or if you prefer Kindle a link will be emailed to you.) In this class I will focus on activating the chakras in daily life situations as needed, including for energetic boundaries, intuition development, and stress management. Learn, get a book, ad benefit this wonderful non-profit healing center at the same time! Sign up Here.

Trauma Training from The Breathe Network: Also a non-profit, The Breathe Network is offering two self-paced trainings in April – Trauma-Informed Yoga and Meditation for Sexual Assault Survivors (to which I am a contributor) and Healing Sexual Trauma: A Professional Training in Trauma-Informed Care. While both have started, the videos and readings can be done on your own time, so if you would still like to join, use the Contact link to request participation and I’ve been assured you can still join (I meant to post this much earlier.) These are very comprehensive courses, and are reasonably priced for the content, but in recognition of these difficult economic times, TBN is very committed to sliding scale fees so please inquire.

Free Online Sacred Sexuality Summit: Therapist Hellen Hillix has put together a comprehensive and fascinating group of speakers on intimacy, sexual healing, the divine masculine and feminine, and sacred sexuality. I have contributed to this series myself, and you can sign up free here.

Spiritual Care Through Chakra Care: Author and Spiritual Director Jan Lundy and myself will be conducting a free video teaching focused on energetic health, well-being and balance during this difficult time which will be posted on her blog on April 30th, and YouTube the week after.

I hope these will all be useful to you and that you are finding the resources you need to get through these trying times. I will post additional offerings as they are finalized on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sending many blessings your way. 

Chakra Immune Support and Anxiety Management

March 16, 2020

We are all seeking ways to adjust to this new reality right now, and I seriously considered whether I should add to the ‘noise’ with a blog post at all. But different tools work for different people, and so in that spirit I wanted to offer something for those of you who resonate with chakra work.

First is basic immune support. All of our chakras are involved in our overall immune response, as they are each linked into our glandular/endocrine system that supports our immune system. But focusing on flow and balance between the lower three chakras provides the base that we need to boost our entire immune system energetically. Our first/root provides grounding in the body and adrenal support, our second/sacral provides reparative and regenerative energy (think energetic stem cell energy), and our third/navel provides centering and supports healthy boundaries on all levels.

To gently activate and energize these three each day, simply focus on them in turn, one after the other in rotation, for a few seconds at a time. If you are more kinesthetic in nature, you can touch your tailbone, lower pelvis, and navel in succession. If you like to incorporate color visualize red at the root, orange/amber at the sacral, and yellow just below the navel. When you are done imagine all three lit up for a moment, and emanating light upward and throughout your entire physical and energy bodies.

A key aspect of supporting our immune response is managing our stress levels, because we know that stress hormones seriously undercut our immune response. On an energetic level this reflects as a frenetic energy that impedes flow and balance between the chakras, as well as disassociation from the lower chakras as we spin in our ‘heads’. So if you are feeling anxious, below are two older posts that may be useful. This first one includes a guided audio meditation (not as good of sound quality as I can currently create, so I suggest listening on a lower volume.)

Root-Heart Meditation for Managing Anxiety

The second includes stress responses as reflected through each chakra, along with affirmations for transforming these into an open, energized expression instead.

Chakra Affirmations for Transforming Anxiety

As empaths, you may also be struggling with the collective anxiety. A focus on clearing out through time spent in nature and in and around water may be particularly helpful. In addition, focus on energetic boundaries to help retrain your energy body ‘default.’ If you are reading Chakra Empowerment For Women, consider skipping to the Second Skin chapter, as that is a chakra activation you can work with even if you haven’t gotten there yet in the book, to help you retrain your boundary default.

Note that I am doing many podcast interviews right now as part of the book PR tour and in those airing this week many include discussions of how to deal with immunity and anxiety. Since many of the podcasters are themselves healers and intuitives, you will hear their approaches as well. I don’t always know when these are airing, so am posting them as I find out on my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, so follow there if interested. Also if you are looking for other tools, sign up for emails from the Tara Mandala Retreat Center site, as Lama Tsultrim Allione offered a live Feeding Your Demons session for the emotions around the pandemic yesterday and the recording will be posted for all soon, as well as info on other relate offerings.

Of course, if you are feeling particularly overwhelmed, reach out for support. Especially if you are at high risk and/or have experienced trauma in your life, the collective anxiety can trigger deeper fears. If you need help with managing these, it’s important to prioritize that and reach out to a friend, counselor, or healer. And if you are in a position to reach out to others and offer support, please do. We are experiencing our connectivity in profound new ways right now, and offering support is needed and validating.

Wishing you wellness, peace, and much time with your loved ones – and yourself – during this time.

 

Bitch or Witch? Fears That Keep Us From Owning Our Power

February 22, 2020

Felt called to reblog this post at this time. May you know your power!

Mommy Mystic

WomanInCave

Power is often an uncomfortable topic for spiritual seekers, especially women. We are much more comfortable talking about compassion, lovingkindness, and even wisdom. But power is central to the spiritual path; in fact, one could even say power is what it’s all about – allowing the ultimate power of the universe, the essence of which we are all composed, to flow through us naturally, unhindered, so that our unique expression of it may be known and felt in the world.

If we look at all of recorded human history, it’s clear that the rise of feminine power in all forms (and this includes the breakdown of gender stereotypes that limit anyone’s self-expression or gender identity) is one of the hallmarks of our current age. It’s a gestalt, a theme of our times. Never has it been more important that the old ways of thinking about male and female power, and…

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Tips for Working with Kundalini Overwhelm and Trauma

February 10, 2020

Our kundalini is like a river, and blocks or repressed trauma are like rocks in its path. Activating the flow can dislodge a rock, or working to dislodge a rock can quicken and change the flow. Either way we need time to adjust.

Note: I’ve created two quizzes just for fun related to the themes of Chakra Empowerment for Women. The first quiz is to help you determine which empowerment might be the most relevant for you right now in your life, and the second quiz is to test your women’s energetics knowledge (or learn about it if you haven’t been a regular reader of this blog!) Enjoy and please consider sharing (tag me on FB, Insta or Twitter if you do.)

I’m often asked about kundalini crises, or about how to safely activate the kundalini. Individuals who have experienced trauma in their lives are often particularly concerned about this, as they may have read, or experienced, that intense sensations and feelings can accompany kundalini work and fear this could be triggering. While I do find this can happen, there are ways to prevent it, and then kundalini methods can be a wonderful part of some trauma survivors’ healing and personal growth path. I’ve also found that some people who have come to me for help with unexpected kundalini surges, without having practiced any formal kundalini activation methods, first experienced these surges after participating in some trauma healing or processing modality.

In other words, kundalini activation can trigger trauma release, and trauma release can trigger kundalini activation. Either way it can feel quite intense, and this post is an attempt to share my own experience of what can help. And first my usual disclaimer: None of this information is meant to be a substitute for mental health or medical support, or qualified kundalini instruction and support.

As a quick review: Kundalini is the source energy that moves through the chakras, and the most powerful of the energies that does so. Formal kundalini activation methods exist within both meditation and yoga traditions, and any energy practice will awaken the kundalini to some extent. Our kundalini may also activate without formal practice, often triggered by dramatic life events or changes in our lives. Really, the kundalini is active in all of us throughout our lives, but in varying degrees depending on the extent to which we are openly working to grow and change. This is what the kundalini is: the energy of change and transformation.

The experience of the kundalini moving through us can be quite beautiful and peaceful – a gentle, warm flow of well-being. But sometimes it feels more intense or jarring, and if we enter into a period in which a lot of kundalini is being released, whether through formal methods or due to life events, over time our body or psyche may become overwhelmed and manifest challenging symptoms. This overwhelm is what is usually called ‘kundalini crises’, and while it is relatively rare, it does happen.

Trauma is categorized by experiences our psyche has difficulty integrating, and from an energy body perspective this means we push down or store away the energetic impact of such experiences somewhere in our energy body. Without getting too caught up in what constitutes trauma and what does not, it’s fair to say that most of us experience events in our lives that our psyche cannot process at the time. If we expand our view of trauma to include secondary trauma (witnessed by us or described to us by someone else) and past-life, ancestral, and transgenerational trauma (trauma in our family history), all of which can impact our own energy body, then this word ‘trauma’ becomes relevant to even more of us. From an energy body perspective, these energies we push down or away are a kind of ‘block’, initially created through self-protection. But when pressure is applied by the kundalini moving through, the block might release quickly, and suddenly these energies we had vaulted away are moving through our being.

Think of energy blocks as rocks in a river, creating breaks in kundalini flow. Those rocks may have been placed there by our psyche as a self-protective measure, or they may be the result of emotional wounds or conditioning. However they got there, they are blocking the flow. Energy modalities engage methods to dissolve or remove them in a conscious way. We might also do it through therapy or other methods that don’t actively involve our energy body at all, but as we change and grow these blocks are gradually broken down and dissolved.

If we make the river flow faster and stronger (the equivalent of kundalini activation practices) we might dislodge the rock even though we didn’t know it was there. Even if we consciously remove the rock (through various healing and therapeutic methods), the river will flow through for the first time and that feeling will be brand new to us. If we aren’t ready for it, or if new sensations are overwhelming or challenging for us (a common response to past trauma), this new flow may generate feelings of anxiety or stress. Then our usual response to anxiety or stress (different for each of us) comes into play, and that has its own impact on our mind and body.

This release does not necessarily manifest as the uprising of repressed memories – a common stereotype of trauma release. While this can happen, more often we just begin to experience intense thoughts, emotions or physical symptoms that don’t feel related to another cause and feel overwhelming to us. We don’t really know what’s happening or why. In my experience many experiences that individuals categorize as ‘kundalini crises’ unfold this way. It is a system overwhelm on a mental, emotional or physical level but because we don’t know exactly why it’s happening, it feels out of our control.

However it has come about, here are some tips for working with kundalini overwhelm:

Slowdown and create space for your being to catch up. If you are working with kundalini activation methods, stop for a time. Don’t ‘double down’ thinking you need to meditate or do even more pranayama etc. Take a break and let your system process and catch up to the changes you have triggered. Return slowly when it feels good.

• Similarly, if your kundalini activation happened spontaneously due to other healing or therapeutic methods you’ve been engaged in, kundalini methods are not the first thing you need. Focus on the next few items on this list instead.

Cultivate feelings of comfort and safety. Nest for a bit. To the extent possible, be with people and engage in activities that make you feel nurtured and safe. Bask in these energies to the extent you can – fuzzy blankets, sitcom binge-watching, hot chocolate, a visit home. What brings us comfort is very individua, so really think of this for yourself – what brings forth these feelings for YOU.

Allow yourself distraction. Often when our kundalini is surging, we are sure we need to deal with something RIGHT NOW. Everything feels urgent. Unless you are experiencing a serious health crises, self-harming thoughts, or psychosis, try to allow yourself to be distracted from this urgency. In other words, it’s an OK time to watch funny YouTube videos, or seek out whatever activities will capture your attention. (If you ARE experiencing any of these more serious effects, than please seek professional help immediately.)

Connect with earth and trees. If you are able to engage in a ‘forest bath’ (basically walk through a beautiful forest) in a way that also makes you feel safe and comfortable, then do so. But even sitting at the base of a comfortable tree can help, or gazing out your window at one for a time.

• A little extra protein can be helpful for some to support grounding and the root energy as well. If your diet is already high-protein then this is generally not helpful.

• If you feel restless or overstimulated, experiment with free movement. This might be simply going for long walks, or it might mean dancing or moving around your house in a spontaneous, unstructured way, allowing your body to dictate what you do.

Embrace your normal routine once you feel able to. Routine also soothes our energy body and psyche.

All of these tips are from an energetics perspective – if you are working with a therapist, healer, kundalini yoga, and/or meditation teacher be sure you are also sharing what is occurring for you with them, and that they are open to adjusting/adapting however you are working together. This is the foundation of any trauma-informed work, and anyone you are working with should be open to this. If you are experiencing kundalini overwhelm then you should move forward in a trauma-informed way, regardless of whether you know whether or not your reaction was based on a trauma release.

With time, in most cases your energy body will gradually adjust to your new flow and settle down. At that point you can begin to re-engage with kundalini based practices, or start them for the first time if you are looking to consciously manage the shifts that began. Here are some suggestions for integrating as you do so:

• When and if you feel ready to engage energetically again, first make sure your body feels relatively strong. Establish (or re-establish) a healthy and regular exercise and nutrition regime. This is usually a prerequisite for any formal kundalini activation program, because our body is the conduit for the kundalini, even though it is generated through our energy body. Respect, care for, and nurture your conduit, and it will be able to handle more intensity.

BEFORE any kundalini work, spend more time with your root chakra. This chakra anchors us, connects us with earth energy, and supports feeling safe in our body. The Root Bowl from Chakra Empowerment for Women is a good tool for this, but even simply focusing on red light at your tailbone for a brief time each day, and before any kundalini activations, can help anchor your energy body.

AFTER any kundalini work, engage with your sacral chakra. This chakra helps us process change, and supports flow in our energy body. The Sacral Lotus is good for this, but incorporating movement may be beneficial too. Try standing and swaying with your hands on your pelvis, visualizing the Sacral Lotus or simply a swirl of light in your pelvis, and see it flowing easily and unobstructed throughout your body.

• Notice any tension you are holding physically or emotionally. Are you tightening parts of your body as you engage in kundalini work, or feeling anxious? See if you can gently let go of this and feel free and easy.

• When/if you do experience energetic sensations, attempt to relax into them, and experience them as pleasurable. If the sensations are challenging for you, go ahead and disrupt them by moving on to something else. But if possible, see if you can relate to them as natural. Even simply reminding yourself inwardly that kundalini energy is a natural part of our makeup and growth can be helpful.

Pace yourself – pushing through or going for maximum intensity is not the point. Allow your kundalini flow to be a peaceful and steady stream, not a raging river bringing down trees.

Realize too that you don’t have to utilize methods that formally work with the kundalini at all. Even all chakra and energy healing work does not engage the kundalini. So if it is not for you, that is fine! Find the modalities that are nurturing and transforming for you. And finding the balance between nurturing and transforming is really the key: modalities that feel only nurturing may not foster growth – we need a little ‘stretch’, within our individual window of tolerance, to move forward. Modalities that are all stretch, pushing constant transformation, are more likely to trigger us, or burn us out. So finding the right balance for yourself, and the right pacing, is key. Communicating with any practitioner you are working with is too.

Wishing you a peaceful and gentle kundalini flow!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has purchased and reviewed Chakra Empowerment for Women. If you have reviewed it somewhere and not let me know, please do! I appreciate the exposure and feedback:-)

 

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…

 

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